I started this interview series because I wanted to know more about the people that are doing health differently and helping us to radically up-level our lives in all arenas.

Mara Glatzel is one of those people. Meet Mara!

More often than not, we feel inspired to do something with our lives and just want to drastically change it for the better. But the thing for most of us is, we do not really know how to even get started on it and so we think to ourselves, “Yea, maybe one day” and that “one day” never comes. We get stuck, either bored or miserable, in our current lives.

Mara Glatzel, a life coach, teacher and writer, has enabled many women start on that very journey. These women, who were perhaps in the same shoes as you are now, has identified each of their own strengths, passions and directions in life through working with Mara, and as a result found the boost they needed to change and be the captain of their own lives.

Like many of the women who have worked with her, Mara, too, has gone through a brilliant transformation from someone who was just passively living her life, to a strong, happy woman who is now living her life exactly the way she wants to. So who exactly is Mara Glatzal and what makes her a life coach who is different from the rest? We are about to find out more about her own journey to living a life that is her own.

Now, let’s hear from Mara!

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1. Let’s begin with what happened a couple of years ago, what were the challenges back in 2012 when you decided that a step-change is the right thing to do for yourself?

In early 2012, I was finishing up a two year masters program in clinical social work and had begun the process of looking for a job in my field. However, every time I thought about finding a social work job or moving forward working the way that I had been – putting all of my needs on the backburner, feeling exhausted and fragile, having very little time for my relationship or myself – I became overwhelmed and anxious. I was doing all of the “right” things, all of the things I had told myself that I wanted for my life: graduating from a great school, excelling in my courses and internship, and getting ready for my fairytale wedding. But, inside, I was deeply restless. The life I was creating wasn’t a fit for me. I wanted something different, but I was too afraid to admit it to myself after having spent so much money, time, and energy on this path.

One day I woke up and realized that I could either allow my guilt and fear keep me tethered to a life that would suffocate me slowly, or I could make a (big) change. This big change included actively shifting my attention to cultivating an online business where I could work with women, write, and have the time and space to take care of myself. In many capacities I had been doing this already, but I hadn’t allowed myself to fully believe that it was possible for a career or life path.

In the end, I chose change, but really, I chose myself – my heart, my purpose, my self-care, my relationship with others and my relationship with my spirit.

2. What sort of impact does your work have on you since you began? Do you draw inspirations from the women you work with?

I guide women back home to themselves, teaching them how to grant themselves the permission to be themselves and to usher more joy, ease, and grace into their daily lives and their businesses. The impact of this work is huge, it reinforces your backbone and teaches you how to stand in your own power, bravely and actively cultivating the live that you’re craving. This work is about bucking the status quo and writing your own rules, but it is also about gathering yourself an adequate support system so that you can do this in a celebratory, kind way. I imagine our work together as practice before the big game – a space where you can experiment, play around, and experience unconditional care during your process.

The women that I work with are nothing short of amazing. They way that they continually show up for themselves, making decisions to remain in energetic integrity with their own personal truths, and redefining their relationships is awe-inspiring. I feel very honored to be able to work in a collaborative capacity with such brilliant spirits and to witness their becoming. I find inspiration in every yes, every moment of reclaimed certainty, and every teensy step forward.

3. I would say that you are now living the life, travelling and working with something that you believe so strongly in. Did you ever think all this would be possible?

Ha! Yes, I suppose I am. The full impact of this hasn’t totally hit me yet, but what I do know is: I feel like myself again. I look around my life and I see the things that I put into motion, actively, instead of a collection of decisions made based on what I perceived was expected of me.

Mara_glatzel_1I will say that the life that I have now felt absolutely impossible three years ago when I was struggling to just put one foot in front of the other and take basic care of myself. I was so afraid that I couldn’t trust myself – so afraid that if I didn’t follow the program set out before me, I would fall flat on my face. Truthfully, the life I had before was one of broken promises and I had a very good reason to be wary of my own intentions and plans. I had to work very hard to earn back my own trust by following through and remaining present with myself during the process.

The life that I have now requires my conscious attention and active participation. It thrives when I show up fully and stand in my power when I make decisions. It is fueled by my desire for a beautiful life – a life that lights me up at the core. I have found that beyond motivation and willpower, desire is the piece that inspires me to keep moving forward. It is the piece that keeps me hooked in and yearning, and that is a very powerful feeling.

4. You offer quite an impressive selection of classes and retreats. How do you normally conceptualize the themes and design the curricula so that there is something for almost every woman?

This is an area where I draw the most inspiration from my clients. I work to pay very close attention to what my audience is asking for and combining that with the topics and themes that are in my heart in the moment. I keep myself engaged in my work by moving between topics and formats, but it is also at the core of my philosophy that I offer courses for different levels of experience and cost. I love that this approach allows for my work to meet people where they are, in that moment, and invites them begin accepting and loving themselves.

When I get an idea for a new course or live event, I am typically so excited about it that I immerse myself in it fully – pulling inspiration from everywhere and writing frenzied notes in my beloved notebook. It is important to me that what I am offering is deeply useful and really inspiring for me as the facilitator. I view each of these offerings as a collaboration between myself and the participants, a group excursion where, together, we are exploring the wild world of becoming more of who we are.

5. There’s one interesting phrase on your site – “falling messily in love with your life”. How does a woman (or a man for that matter) fall messily in love with her (or his) life?

Mara_glatzel_2I believe that you fall messily in love with you life by accepting what is and not waiting until you’ve achieved ________ to begin doing what you truly want to do. Too often, we set conditions for ourselves and our lives, conditions that dictate that we will be “ready” when we’ve achieved some sort of marker or milestone. We are collectively holding our breath and waiting until the perfect moment while we simultaneously raise the bar. The result of moving through your life in this way can be catastrophic. It keeps you penned in, worrying and wondering. It forces you to believe that conditions much perfect before starting the project, writing the book, or wearing a bikini to the beach.

I believe that we are deserving of our desires now, in this moment, and that falling messily in love with our lives is the permission slip that we require to move forward in faith and love, knowing that we will never feel fully “ready.”

This work is about acknowledging that you are a human being and not a robot. It is not about being messy all the time, but it is about not being afraid of yourself when you are feeling less than sparkly. You cannot simply expect perfection of yourself and damn yourself when you fail to live up to it. You can allow yourself a bit of breathing space, knowing that your inherent worth is embedded in the sum of your parts – both light and dark. When we are able to allow ourselves more space to be who we are, we feel more relaxed in our lives and are able to move forward with freedom and acceptance.

6. What is, in your opinion, radical self-responsibility and why is this radical self-responsibility so important for women to be happy in their lives?

Radical self-responsibility is having honest conversations with yourself about where you are in your life, what you want for yourself, and taking the steps necessary to move you closer to your desires. It is the way that you commune with yourself on a daily basis. It is the tone of the conversations in your inner landscape.

I believe firmly that we are brave enough to tell ourselves the truth about how we are taking care of ourselves on the way to our wildest dreams. That is why radical self-responsibility is a crucial element to your daily happiness – it is about the journey from here to there. It is about the way that you talk to yourself and the way that you decide to take action in your life. It is about operating out of a place of self-love and self-trust instead punishment and ridicule.

Radical self-responsibility is about becoming an active participant in choosing how we want to live.

7. Do you think your life principles and philosophies are relevant to men as well? Maybe some of the men out there could too, benefit from your classes and 1-on-1 sessions?

This work would absolutely be relevant to men, and I know that I have a small audience of men who read my writing and purchase my products. However, my heart lies in working with women. I am constantly amazed by the bravery and resilience of women – women learning how to take care of themselves and cultivate the lives that light them up. I take great interest in how they learn to make homes in their bodies, and balance their personal needs and their caretaking urge. Though, of course, this work is not gender-specific, I am invested in cultivating online spaces for women to find community and share their most vulnerable stories. I’ve found that, for my work, this trust is created more easily in women-only spaces.

That said, I do believe that men would benefit greatly from this kind of work, and I hope that in the coming months and years we see more of this type of self-work geared towards men as well.

8. Do you read a lot? Who are some of your favourite writers and how did they make it to your list?

I love this question. I do read a lot. I adore books from young-adult literature and fantasy genres. I find that professionally (and personally) I spend much of my day immersed in the human experience in the world, thinking about the way that we operate and how I might create things that resonate and are deeply useful. So, when I’m off the proverbial clock, I love to relax into ridiculous and fantastic stories that ignite my imagination.

This past year, I’ve been consuming the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris, the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, and the Divergent series by Veronica Roth. My all-time favorite writer is Madeleine L’Engle, so I can often be found rereading her YA novels.

When I’m craving books to inspire my work, I love anything by Marianne Williamson, Steven Pressfield, and Brene Brown.

9. There are corporations out there that are doing their bit to create awareness in important social issues faced by women, with campaigns like Dove’s “The Real Beauty” campaign and Pantene’s recent “Labels Against Women” commercial. How would you like to see these corporations as well as the media play a stronger role in promoting these values to girls and women all around the world?

It is crucial that companies begin using marketing techniques that empower and endear themselves to the people purchasing their products instead of fear-based tactics. Women should be encouraged to purchase out of a love for ourselves instead of a fear that they will never be good enough until they click to pay. That said, fear-marketing is popular because it works. Making your market feel badly about themselves or feel like they need something in order to be whole works. I find that this is where radical self-responsibility enters the equation. As women, we get to choose how we allow marketing to impact us, what we hold on to, and how we want to “vote” with our money, choosing product and services that are in alignment with your values.

I find Dove’s “The Real Beauty” campaign and Pantene’s “Labels Against Women” commercials interesting, but I would still like to see a much bigger variety of types of women represented. Women of all colors, shapes, sizes, age, and ability. These campaigns are a step in the right direction, but, in my opinion, they don’t go far enough. That said, I also don’t believe that it is a corporation’s job to educate us or create awareness about social issues. It is brilliant marketing, but it is still marketing. I believe that, as women, we have a responsibility to ourselves and to younger generations to engage in dialogue about our experiences, sharing stories and information, and working to educate ourselves and others about the multitude of social issues that impact us on a daily basis.

10. To wrap things up, three women who have made the biggest impact on your life, go.

I know that this is the place where it is customary to describe your biggest role models or women who hold big, fancy job descriptions, but I am most inspired by the women that show up in my life on a daily basis and that I witness bringing so much of themselves to the world around them. That brief list includes my sweetheart and partner, Cookie Hebert, and my two younger sisters, Jules and Nola Glatzel.

Cookie is the hardest worker that I know and also a huge support system for me. Absolutely none of my efforts – business or otherwise – would stand much of a chance without her continuous love and energy. She takes the sweetest care of me and helps me navigate the world from such a strong base.

My sisters are both very powerful in their own rights. Nola is a second-grade teacher and Jules is a doula and midwifery student. I feel very fortunate to have been born into a family with sisters that are my best friends. Though I am the oldest, I am continually inspired by the action that these two women take in their lives. They are brilliant, beautiful, and deeply inspiring.

Thank You Mara!

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Mara Glatzel is an intuitive coach and writer. You can learn more and connect with her at her website @ www.maraglatzel.com or on her Facebook page.