Nardia: Hey everybody welcome back to the well collective podcast, I am super pumped because, I have got a good friend on the show, her name is Jen Duggard, hey Jen.
Jen: Hey Nards, how are you?
Nardia: I’m great, I am great, and I just have to let the listeners know that last time we were talking was done over a couple of bottles of wine, so this will be a different conversation.
Jen: Absolutely or maybe that one will be more interesting, I don’t know, we’ll see.
Nardia: Yeah we’ll see, it could be just the same as if we were having a bottle of wine. Anyways thank you so much for gifting us with you time, and coming on the show today, you know I have been dying to get you on here for a really long time, so super special that you are here with me today.
Jen: Thank you for asking me.
Nardia: You are very welcome, alright the big question straight off the bat is would you mind introducing yourself to the audience and also letting us know, what sort of impact you are having on the world today.
Jen: Of course my name is Jen Duggard as you know, I primarily run a business called, Body Beyond Baby which specialises in working with mums, mostly after they have had babies, but sometimes we have new mums or pregnant mums, or mums that are having more babies come to see us. And that part of the business operates a group exercise for mums with on-site childcare. I also now have five affiliate businesses across Australia and New Zealand, so the way that works is I support them in running their own mum focused fitness business, and each one of those women has done my safe return to exercise course which is a two day accredited course through Fitness Australia. And now it’s all kind of fitness based, but I think the biggest thing for me is that I’ve realised that fitness has become a really cool vehicle in helping me to help women to remember who they are once they become a mum. So fitness is kind of a starting point and then but that is not the end point.
Nardia: I love it, I love it, we will probably explore that more throughout the show, especially the part about how you talked about you’re now using the you know the superficial, the fitness part as the hook, or the vehicle to create some really significant internal shifts right. But before we go there I want to know, what sort of W you would fall under as part of the WOW collective. So as a quick reminder the WOW stands for Women of Wealth and Wonder and Wisdom and Weird and Wicked and Wonderful, whatever W you want, so what would you say you fall under?
Jen: So at the moment I think I am leaning towards wisdom, and that’s because I’m really into learning as much as I can in my own personal development and then helping to bring that back to other women. And then also wonder, like adventure is a big thing for me, I like to get out and travel and see new things, wisdom and wonder I think.
Nardia: Can I say weird as well?
Jen: Only after wine.
Nardia: Beautiful, I love that you said adventure there because it really kind of ties into the rest of you, now I am just going to do a little bit of a rundown of some of your achievements ok, so since you didn’t talk about it. So you are, I am going to put you into a category, you are an entrepreneur, and you are a badass business owner, and you are an author. You have created this amazing Body Beyond Baby brand and franchise as you just mentioned, you are a course creator, but in addition to all of that you have also represented Australia in the obstacle race and event for Spartan, is that right?
Jen: I have yes, back in 2013 I went over to Vermont and did the Spartan race world championship which was a whole lot of fun and a whole lot of pain.
Nardia: Great, can’t forget these little two other important things, you are a mother of two.
Jen: I am, when you were saying that, I should have said that first, yes my babies are why I do what I do, and they are a big part of my world.
Nardia: Ok, let’s start there then because, I know that there are a lot of mums, or people who aren’t mums listening to this going how the hell has she accomplished so much while also raising two children?
Jen: Alright, to start with and to kind of take the pressure off the people is that, my son turns 9 this year, and my daughter turns 7. And I have had a few really honest conversations with friends, that I have kind of, I didn’t enjoy being a mum till India was almost 6, which is a really really long time, and it’s not that I don’t love my kids, but it was hard work. I had post-natal depression after India was born, so she is 2 years younger than Marley, and that was a big slog. But in terms of getting stuff done, I think I have always been, always had a drive to do something bigger than me, and I am actually quite structured now in the way that I do things, in that it is like what project am I working on, what am I ticking off. I am only allowed to have 3 things on the go at any one time, and about 5 things within each of those projects that I am trying to get done each week.
And I have been there where you try and do it all, and it is horrible, and you are overwhelmed, and it is just shit. And now like when I am working I’m working, and that’s where my energy is, and then I just turn it all off to be with my kids, so I don’t even try to do both anymore. So a big key for me is focus I think.
Nardia: Can we circle back to what you said about how you didn’t enjoy motherhood initially, and can you share your experiences of, what it was like to have post-natal depression?
Jen: Yeah, like I remember my first kind of experience with depression, I was probably about 17 or 18 at college the last years of school. And then I went through ups and downs, pretty much my whole life, and Marley was born when I was 27 and I kind of expected to get post-natal depression after him, and didn’t and therefore my business was born when he was 3 months old. And then Indi came along who was a child who didn’t sleep so for 18 months we didn’t have a full night’s sleep, and when I say a full night’s sleep it was a very broken night’s sleep.
And I didn’t cope well, I kept my business running, I kept doing everything I needed to do, but it was, I had not felt engaged with my children until the last say 12 to 18 months. I don’t even know how to go into it more than that, just to be really open and say it was really hard, I remember one time like moving my shit with Marley, and with the kids, and Marley being in the back of the car and saying, mum, you’re scary. And that’s like, that’s not cool at all, and that was a big stand out in my mind, and was like ok I need to take control of where I am and be better at being me for my kids. Yeah it has taken a long time to get to that, but, yeah the last couple of years I feel like it is really coming around, finally,
Nardia: Well I really appreciate the fact that you are super honest about how tough it was with the kids when they were little. Because I do feel like, and I am not a mom, and I can only talk about this from an observers or an outsider’s perspective. But I do feel like, there is a lot of women who feel like or experience the pressure that they have to love being a mum and they have to be Martha Stewart of mummies, or be that hot mum, what do you call that MILF, and have everything perfect for their kids. And I love the honesty there because I’m sure have you experienced this with a lot of the women that you have worked with, are there a lot of women out there who do struggle to enjoy mothership is that a word, mothership?
Jen: Mothership is now, motherhood
Jen: We are the mothership anyway. Like there is so many mums struggling, I don’t think the facade that we put up is one of the biggest kind of breakdowns in where we are at. And I’m not talking about complaining about being a mum and woe is me and all of that stuff, but being able to say to someone I’m having a really hard day. Having a friend that you can kind of, you know even if it’s just everyone gets together at dinner time and you’ve got 5 or 6 kids between you but the two grownups are trying to move them around. And you have got an outlet because a lot mums they get to the end of the day, and they’ve had no adult communication all day, and that is massive.
I even took my kids to Bali last year on my own, and we had the most amazing time, but it was like at the end of the day how much of a conversation can you have with a 6 and 8-year-old over dinner and not feel like you are going crazy. So you know I think, for women the more that we can break down the barrier and say that we are having a hard time, you know if you have got depression tell somebody, if you are experiencing anxiety talk about it, and move through it together. You know there is a big difference between getting stuck in this is who I am and not moving through that or, talking to somebody and then reaching outside of yourself to learn more about yourself so that you can continue to move through what you are experiencing,
Nardia: Beautiful, so let’s just assume, somebody is listening to this, and they are like oh my god that is me right now, I’m a new mum, and I am freaking the f*$# out, what would you suggest that they do, how do they start asking for help or where do they go to?
Jen: I would start to reach outside, you know if you are in a mother’s group it can be either amazing or not, like if you are turning up to a mother’s group and everyone seems like they have their shit together, then it is probably not a helpful situation to be in. Or be that person that say’s actually I am having a really hard time and you might find that that group flips on its head and everyone becomes really supportive, and if that doesn’t happen then maybe you are in the wrong place. You not to promote my business but a fitness group, you know we are often known as a mother’s group a fit mother’s group, or a place where you are going for exercise rather than coffee and cake and a winge.
Like everyone is moving, everyone is getting their energy up we know it was hard to get there, and people are open, we are talking about your [inaudible 00:11:42], we are talking about how you are feeling. You know if you are working with a good personal trainer or a fitness professional if you are not a 100%, they are probably going to pick up on it and even ask you how you are going. So making sure you are not isolating yourself, and then also there are a few really good books around, or reaching out. I had an amazing coach who is also a kinesiologist and she does something called tension release exercises that I spoke to, even just last year with some stuff that I was going through. So finding that person, if it is not a friend or a mothers group that you can actually go to, there is nothing wrong with being in therapy and talking to someone, it would probably be really good.
Nardia: Therapy is awesome, ok cool, awesome. Now earlier on you said that you started your business when Marley was 3 months old, ok because clearly, you had nothing better to do then to start a business with a 3-month-old baby, what were you thinking?
Jen: I had a sleeper first time around, so I went from this child, you know he would go to bed at 12 and then get up at 3 and go back to bed at 7 and sleep all night, it was like I can do this. I was not overwhelmed, I wasn’t hit with depression which I was kind of on the lookout for, and I found it kind of easy, and I was that mum in the mother’s group going oh yeah my baby is sleeping. And I went back to them and apologised when Indie came along, because I knew it was so different. But it was so easy back then. Also I didn’t put a massive amount of pressure on myself to start with. So my goal was that if he was going to be in day-care twice a week that my income would pay for his day-care and that was my only goal. And I also knew that the first 3 to 4 years of the business when I had Marley, and then when Indie came along afterwards, that it wasn’t about growing the business, it was about slowly filtering the Body Beyond Baby brand into the Eastern Suburbs, and becoming known. And then when I felt ready, you know a year, 18 months, 2 years after Indie was born then that’s when I put my head down. So the business, was quite small and it wasn’t doing a whole lot, so probably 3 or 4 years. So you know I was quite clear on that I’m not trying to change the world, I’m just trying to start changing the world, to begin with, and not put on too much pressure.
Nardia: Okay, so then what was the drive behind creating this business? I mean, like I said it was a very interesting time for you to decide to start launching a business?
Jen: So, I was already in personal training before Marley was born, and I left the gym, I was with a big fitness chain, and I left there when two weeks before he was born, so I was wandering around the gym floor very pregnant for a while. And I knew that I wanted to go back into personal training, but I also knew that I didn’t want to go back into training everybody. And I had known that from kind of the beginning, but I needed to get some experience, kind of cut my teeth to know what I was doing and then fall into the right niche or specialisation. And after Marley was born I was back in the gym you know 6 weeks afterwards and chatting to people in my mother’s group and people like women who didn’t really know what to do. And quite frankly I didn’t know what to do back then, but I knew more than they did, and then I started to learn more about postnatal specific exercise.
And so I kind of in a way fell into it, but I don’t, yeah I fell into it, but I believe that working with women and helping women to become the best version of themselves has been there for a really long time.
Nardia: Ok, so for all those women out there who are thinking, yeah I might launch a business while I have just had my baby, is it something you would recommend?
Jen: I just think that life is short and I think that it is not even about launching a business, it is what is that thing that you can’t not do. And if you can go to bed at night, and you go oh yeah I was thinking about launching a business and then you don’t think about it again for a week, well then maybe don’t launch the business. But if you are thinking about something consistently or if you have got that drive or just that something inside of you that’s telling you to go in that direction, then why wouldn’t you do it, you know if it fails what is the worst thing that could happen? You know you could end up back in a corporate job or, you know I don’t know, for me the I figured the worst thing I could do would be back on the gym floor running one on one sessions which aren’t really that bad. So work or fail you are going to learn a lesson from it, and if it is on your mind then just do it.
Nardia: I love it, I love it, and earlier on you said that you are using fitness or you have now sort of evolved your business and your philosophies to understand that the fitness part is just the hook. But you are really now about helping women to remember who they were, mums to remember who they are, what does that actually mean?
Jen: So I think that when a woman becomes a mother right, in pregnancy she starts to lose little bits of herself, but when she is pregnant she is still looking after herself because she is growing a small human. So looking after herself is a by-product of already putting the child first. So, women who haven’t eaten properly before, they start to eat properly, they start to exercise they start to look after their body because they want to look after their child. However when the baby is born, the motivation to look after themselves, in the same way, isn’t there anymore, or its not not there, but it becomes the bottom of the pile.
You know you are looking after a newborn, you are not sleeping well, you should be eating well, but you are not because you don’t have time and you are more concerned about making sure that the baby is eating well. Even as your baby gets older, you know you pack a lunch for them the most nutritious lunch in the world, and you forget to pack yourself anything at all because you are not even thinking about yourself. And I also think that even past basic needs, like a woman can start to lose her stuff that set her alight and she can start to think, oh you know that thing I wanted to get done in the world well that was before I had children and I can’t even work out how to get that done now. So bit by bit they become, like you know I become known as Marley’s mum or India’s mum, and you know where has Jen gone, what is she doing, what does she want to get done in the world. And I am not saying have a baby get back into the world, I am just saying you know when the time is right start to remember who you are. Start to remember the things that you love, the things that get you out of bed, the things that you want to get done in the world, the partners that you are with and the reasons you are with them. And just slowly bit by bit start to uncover that person that you were, and I believe that we can only be the best version, like the best example for our children if we honour ourselves to be the best people that we can be.
Nardia: What do you say to those mums who feel like this is completely selfish? Maybe they have been brought up in an environment where they have role modelled off their mum and their mum completely lost herself to the husband and the family, or maybe she is just like, my role is now to completely take care of the kids and with no regard for myself.
Jen: I think that if a woman, and there are some women out there, and everybody is very different, and if you have decided that that’s your role in life. And if there is no resentment around what you are doing then it doesn’t matter, like do what you are doing, until you need to something different. So the woman who feels like she needs to do something as well as being a mum, and I am not saying instead of, and there is a very kind of fine line between you know I am not saying one thing is right or wrong. But if you feel like you need to look after yourself, but you feel selfish for doing that, have a think about you know how you are the best woman that you can be. Are you the best person that you can be if you have not eaten, if you have not slept, you haven’t been to the gym for months, you know you are feeling like you are the bottom of the list, and you are the only person that can actually put you back to the top of the list.
So I think embrace the word selfish, be a little selfish, go to the gym, you know get your partner to look after the child, do whatever you need to do. And bit by bit I do think that as you start to do that for yourself and you realise how much more present you can be with your child or how much more alive you are in your relationship then being selfish has a whole new context. It is not selfish anymore it is what you need to give to yourself to be the best person you can be for the rest of your family.
Nardia: Do you think more and more mums are slowly starting to get this message, I mean even within the fitness industry we have seen a massive shift back to self-care and self-love and putting yourself first, is that trickling through this kind of niche?
Jen: I think it is, but then it is also what kind of circles am I operating in, so I am surrounded by a lot of women that kind of go yeah this is what I’m doing in a business sense and then more and more women I think are starting to go. Recognise when their children are younger, I just need to do something for myself even if it is an hour’s exercise. And I do think you know partner’s, men are a lot more involved in what’s happening within a relationship and taking the children and giving mum a little bit of time out. So I do think it is shifting and I hope it is shifting, and I hope it keeps shifting a lot more.
Nardia: Now you have worked with hundreds and thousands of women I would assume, you are probably working with hundreds each week actually. So in your experience and observations that you have made with all these different women, what would you say some of the biggest mindset barriers that actually keep them stuck or hold them back?
Jen: That is a good one, I think a lot of mindset stuff can come, even like if we talk about fitness in itself. So I think a lot of mindset stuff come from, the stuff we as women do to ourselves in our late teens, early twenties, late twenties, early thirties, and depending on when you have a child. So I have a big belief that having a baby is one of the most socially acceptable ways to reset your metabolism, so you get to put weight on, and if you do it right, you get to lose it in a sensible way, and you get to regain your fitness to a sensible level. Now one of the things that stands in our way is if you are not that educated after you have your baby to do it differently, old mindsets of under eating over exercising come back into play. And then you potentially screw your metabolism up even more, and you set yourself up to a lifetime of yo-yo diets. But if you can get in earlier and relearn that and do it differently, and also you know why do we need to look a certain way, women like we have talked about it a lot before that, the mindset gets in the way if we let it get in the way, in terms of fitness and body image and things like that. Yeah, I think we just need to let ourselves off the hook a little bit. Do it differently and give ourselves a break.
Nardia: Which is quite difficult sometimes, when you are seeing in popular magazines, you will see someone who has just gone and had a baby, and within 6 days she is super skinny back into her skinny jeans, training like a demon, and saying oh my god motherhood is amazing, hashtag love life. So there are a lot of unrealistic role models and expectations out there for mums, what about how they start to feel about themselves, you have already mentioned that when you became a mum. I know you wrote a blog recently called Marley’s mum, where your identity starts to shift, could we kind of explore that a little bit more.
Jen: Yeah so I think that, even just retaining that little part of yourself, and whether that is you journaling, or whether that is you catching up with a friend once a week, where it is just, you know you could be talking about yourself and your family. Or you could be talking about something that you want to get done in the world. So just making sure that there is some space in your life to retain who you are is a really a big thing. Even just little bits of education like read a book that you are interested in, do a course, do a one day course that you are interested in, do a two hour course or something that you are interested in. And when you start to feel, it is not an all or nothing thing but, but you know working out strategies or ways that you can start to rebuild who you are and your identity, I think it is really important. And a lot of women you know they go back, it is a really good if you have got the opportunity to go, to start to think about what else you want to get done in the world. So if you have been incorporates, how about you start to think about that, you know business.
You know we all know, mums know there comes a point in your day where you just need to think about something else. So what about just allowing your mind to wander and to go and to think about what else you could get done in the world, and just let that grow. We just need to give ourselves a break but allow ourselves to think about it.
Nardia: Yes yes I love that, I will change tact slightly, and I want to talk about where you are at now currently. Because as I mentioned at the very start you have an impressive list of achievements that you have really ticked the box in such a short period of time, you mentioned that you are a demon for scheduling. I am also a scheduler; I am a big believer that the more scheduled you are, the more freedom you have in your life. Can we talk to that especially around, the energy piece because when you said you are on with work your energy is there but when you are with your kids your energy is there.
Jen: Yeah so at the moment I have got, three projects I am working on, and some people may know a guy named Daniel Priestly, and he taught me a system called what am I. He said what am I trying to get done; I recently changed it to what I’m getting done. So just making sure that I am setting up my day in terms of, I sometimes I only get two hours. So I know my three projects, I know my five things that are going to get done and it can take me a week to get through that list, but I know that is what is going to get done in that week. And I am very, you know I have a rule where I have only two meetings a week, if I have got more than two meeting, I cancel something, I make sure I am training 5 or 6 days a week, and I make sure that today I need to pick up the kids and I need to be watching footie at 4 o’clock, so I am not on my phone. So very much about now, it hasn’t always been this way but, energy into where I am, I am meditating a lot too which is helping to make sure I am present in what I am doing. And so a lot of my focus is in being present with now, so that kind of flows into work, it flows into everything.
Nardia: So it sounds like you are really disciplined, like how do you not allow yourself to not get distracted?
Jen: I get distracted all the time, it’s this thing about being present right, you catch yourself being distracted and then you pull yourself back to not being distracted. And the practice of doing that over and over again is what gets stuff done, you know if you look, and you have been on Facebook for 5 mins, 10 mins, 20 mins, it’s like okay I am really not getting done what I need to get done. And I guess over time you get better at not getting distracted, but I am like a human being like everybody else. I get distracted too.
Nardia: Facebook and Instagram scrolls do make their way into the day. I think we all do it, it’s novel, and we like to see it. But the key there and that is what I love about the scheduling piece, and you being very clear around I was going to say rules, but I think the boundaries, of what you do, is to ensure that you do have plenty of free time. But at the same time, you accomplish a lot, and oftentimes, I think people are not accomplishing stuff because they are getting distracted, they’re not putting energies in the right place. They are diluting the energies across so many different parts of their lives. And then they get frustrated with themselves, and then it becomes one big hot mess, and they fail.
Jen: Or just being busy, the whole busy thing drives me crazy, you know I look, I may look busy from the outset, but I know when I am [inaudible 00:28:51]. So to me, there’s a difference between, what I’m trying to get done being full and manageable, or it being overwhelming, and if it becomes overwhelming, then I know that I need to change something. But I don’t feel busy; I feel like busy is a feeling rather than a I don’t know like a thing, does that make sense?
Nardia: I hate busy, I hate it when people say I am really busy, and I have consciously made an effort not to say I’ve been really busy. Because I just think it is one of those meh vanilla labels that people say in order to make themselves feel good about what they are doing, without necessarily being productive.
Jen: Or just filling your day with distractions, is it busy or just full of distraction, are you frantically running around doing 5 things that you could have done in half an hour if you had structured them differently or got somebody else to do something. So yeah I think if people are feeling busy and there’s a time in life we go through overwhelming, we go through busy, everybody go ok I have got to stop and change it. But if that is you constantly, it is like write a list of what you did today, were you really busy? Or were you just feeling busy? Do you need to go meditate?
Nardia: Do you need to delegate so you are not feeling busy a lot of the time, I think that also comes back to would you say you are someone who has a really clear direction in life. Like do you feel like you have a vision, do you feel like you have a strong enough why to drive you towards that vision?
Jen: Yes, however, if we had this conversation three years ago I would have said, I want to earn this amount of money in this amount of time and doing this thing this way, and it must work out that way and am absolutely not going to digress from the path. Now I have more of a direction towards how I want to feel and how I want to spend my time. And that is what I am driven towards, you know I want an adventure, I want to experience the world, I want to make a change I want to make a difference to women, to people in the world, and I want to be with my kids. So for me now it is about structuring what I am doing and my time and the things that are going to get me there, and being open to other stuff coming up. It’s like one of the best things about, kind of letting go of things having to be in a certain way all the time. What if something exciting comes up and if you have got your blinkers on you are not open to those exciting things, and you might never see it.
Nardia: So would you say then, sorry to interrupt you your definition of, success has shifted?
Jen: Massively, massively.
Nardia: Ok so what I was thinking is really interesting then, because you and I are on the same page with this, is how you went from ok I want to earn X amount that is kind of what my goal is to, I want to feel a particular way every single day?
Jen: So I will backtrack to a couple of years ago to 2014, 15, 16 I was in the mindset maybe two years before that, in the mindset of I need to grow my business, so I need to step out of my business. And what I did is I brought personal trainers into Body Beyond Baby, and I paid them to deliver the face to face sessions and what I thought I was getting done was the growth of the business. What I was really getting done is trying to grow the business in that structured way, I need to earn this amount of money, but what actually happened was I pretty much couldn’t pay myself. So I had 2 tax returns over 2 years of $16,000, whereas we were turning over 6 figures, and moving from that and also going through depression going through anxiety for the first time last year. And thinking about I don’t want to feel like this; I don’t want to be like this, I don’t need to earn a million dollars, I need to earn enough money to be comfortable for me and the kids.
To be able to adventure, to be able to make a difference in the world, so when I said I don’t want to earn a lot of money I am very aware that the more money I earn, the more change I can make in the world. So I am not letting go of that, but I have let go of I need to earn this amount of money in this amount of time. And moving towards, how can I keep making a difference, how can I have fun with the kids, and how can I just be able to go to the beach on a Tuesday afternoon for an hour because it is beautiful down there. Because if I die tomorrow, I will be glad I went to the beach on Tuesday afternoon, I just feel like there is so much more than running yourself to the ground to earn a certain amount of money because you think that is what you need, and what do we really need.
Nardia: You know we could go deep on this I think we need another bottle of wine, but I am curious to know then, now that you have had that shift, and it is more about the feelings of it, what is happening to your business. Because sometimes when you are in it, and you think you are doing the right thing and like you said, you are bringing on trainers, because that is what you had to do to scale your business. You are putting all your time and energy in teaching it to it and it is was a real hard slog. Now that you have let go of the reigns and you have slightly different perspective I am just curious, has the business shifted, has it evolved naturally as a result of you being less stressed or having to push less?
Jen: I think I shifted in my business in that I am now the only person who runs face to face sessions in the two locations in Sydney that we have and I love it, I love being, I don’t think it is my forever, but at the moment I really love it. And then I also by choosing to work with either women that are growing their own business, it has enabled me to really enjoy what I do.
And I am finding that I get emails from people saying, hey how do we work with you, we want to do your course, can we open Body Beyond Baby, no you can’t, but I will help you do your thing. Because Body Beyond Baby is not going to grow outside the eastern suburbs, and the inner west of Sydney. But I will 100% put all my energy into helping you to grow your mum focused fitness business. So I think the biggest thing is I am having more fun, and the avenues that are coming out you know through my course, and the mentoring it is a steady increase in income which is really cool.
And then partnerships like we are running mums only fitness retreat in Thailand at the end of this year. And I didn’t go out and look for that relationship it was something that I knew I wanted to do but it was very organic, and the company that I am working with it has been so easy to do the whole way through. So I kind of feel like I know am on the right track, when opportunities like that come up. When journalists knock on your door and say hey we want to talk to you about this, when the opportunities to partner with different people just happens, and it feels right you know,
Nardia: So as you are talking about this I am reminded of a quote that Mike, Mr. Mikes, for those who don’t know him he is my fiance, he says which he picked up from his mentor, and it is the idea that you remain committed but not attached to the outcome, you are not attached to the how of getting there. And I think this is a really interesting point and a really big take home for anyone who is in business listening to this who is an entrepreneur or whatever is having the ability to pivot your business when needed, and moving into a place of flow which sounds like what is happening for you now. And we can get all airy-fairy talking about the spiritual elements of business but I do believe for a lot of females if you are going into business, learning to trust your intuition and learning to fuel yourself first to come back to your own centre actually allows the business to run from a bit more of a heart centred place versus a logical place, like is that something?
Jen: Absolutely yes, and I think also, you kind of, what you started to touch on is that as women we are taught to just get shit done. So we fit in a very masculine energy, and we are very logical, and we can go out and get all of that stuff done. But then there comes a point in your life, and I know for me it’s like I lost part of who I am and I didn’t know I had lost part of who I am, but I was just so busy. Or I was so committed to getting shit done that I couldn’t enjoy my kids, and I couldn’t relax and be looked after, and I couldn’t do any of that stuff until I started to not do that anymore. And yeah you don’t realise that you don’t have it, but relationships and all that kind of things if things start to flare up in relationships then that is another big sign that you know we as women need to step back into a more feminine space than just 100% being, get shit done.
Nardia: Yes I hear you, Jen and I often talk about this and both Jen and I, if you haven’t figured it out are both high achievers, are queens of getting shit done, and we have to, and it comes at a cost. And for a lot of the times, with people like our personality types, it shows up with anxiety or depression or overwhelmed because we are saying yes to so many things, saying no to the things we should be saying yes to, and it becomes extremely exhausting.
Jen: Disconnected right, yeah we start to get disconnected with who we are.
Nardia: Yeah and I do think that from a business in order for females to operate in this manner you need to both mind and heart centred, but that is just my personal opinion.
Jen: Especially where we are working in the kind of businesses that we are working in, you know where it is a personal business, and people work, or I want to work with the people that love me, and I want to love the people I work with. And if there is a barrier behind that of just getting shit done, it is never really going to work.
Nardia: So tell me a little bit about, I mean obviously you were in your get shit done mode for a really long time, how did that play out in your relationship?
Jen: Oh my goodness, yes so after Indie was born, my husband and I kind of started to get through a hard time and which resulted in us separating about 2½ years ago, and we are actually really good friends and Ben is a really really great guy he is an amazing dad.
And we had a conversation around Christmas, and I was like, do you think we tried hard enough and it was like I feel like I tried hard enough with the tools that I had at the time, and that information, or that education or where I was at. So my parents separated when I was younger, and my dad was very inspiring in that we played all the Dennis Wheatley CDs, and he took us to see Jim Roland in America before he passed away. And so I always had this business kind of stuff in my head, and I also saw mum with two kids, and it was like I just need to look after myself.
And I got to the point in my relationship where I didn’t allow myself to be looked after anymore, and I was so set on being financially stable for me in case anything happened and just getting my own shit done that we just grew apart. And you know what I know now, is every time I tried to get something done in my relationship I was potentially pushing Ben further and further away. To a point where he just like he couldn’t do anything, I stopped shouting and screaming and we just completely grew apart, we probably communicate better now than we did towards the end of our relationship. Yeah so I, you know, it is really, I don’t want to say, women, fought many many years fighting for their own power, and their own space.
But I think that we as women also need to allow men to be men, and it has become very very grey in men. You know men want to provide for us, and we can look after ourselves, so what can they actually do anymore, which is fundamental and very basic and some people will probably just go what the hell are you talking about, and other people it will kind of resonate. And I think that you lose the attraction as a couple when there is not that you know the polarity or the you know when you become friends, the married couples that become friends because there is no spark there anymore. And yeah I think it is an interesting topic, and we could probably talk about for a long time.
Nardia: Yes, I just want to reinforce what you just said too, that this is not saying that women should lay down and be completely submissive in a relationship that is not what you are saying. Because women have fought so hard for equal rights and we are still fighting hard for it, in a relationship I think we need to look at relationships slightly differently from the model of which from which we have all been taught how to be in a relationship, I think that is the fundamental issue right there. When at school were we ever taught how to be in a relationship, like when were we taught how to move a romantic relationship into one that is going to be sustainable over life? You know we have never been taught how to deal with conflict, or to understand somebody else’s needs and wants, I think that is a fundamental problem as well.
Jen: But you also got to think that we are one of the first generations where people aren’t settling anymore.
Jen: So we have got no one to actually learn from because our parents and our parents, parents were in marriages were potentially very gross generalisation but in marriages where the man went out to work the woman stayed at home, the man was the provider, and that is just kind of what happened. So do we even have the people that, we’re potentially the first generation or you know some of the first generation to start to understand the role changes and what women having more let’s say power, more capabilities, more independence, in doing to a traditional marriage or male-female relationship.
Nardia: And it is confusing for a lot of people because there goes all that long-term gender roles. We are challenging them, and I mean you guys know that I have been extremely open about how it took Mike and I almost 2 years to get to the marriage point, because these were the types of conversations that we had to go over, over and over again. Because I was like, well you know I need to unlearn a lot of these poor roles, role modelling that I have had, about the relationship. And then I need to figure out how is this going to show up now.
Jen: Yeah and how do we do it differently when we don’t have a roadmap.
Nardia: Yeah and that is the kind of crazy thing we have spent a lot of time, ok I guess we are going to have to make this up as we go.
Jen: Yeah but I do think the cool thing is that now that we are learning to do it differently, you know maybe there is that, or there should be that. The opportunities for more relationships to work because we have a greater awareness and understanding of how traditional roles have changed but how we can work together to make it work for us. It is not going to look the same for every single couple.
But you know where does the man be the man and where can the woman who has been at work all day you know getting shit done, relax and be looked after. And we need to be as women; it is as much our responsibility to be able to step out of that and say, hey look I can be looked after for a while, that is an ok thing.
Nardia: And it is safe, and it is ok to be you know, I think it was Alexi Panos who said something like, women you can put down your swords, you can put them down, you can put them down you don’t always have to be in warrior battle mode constantly.
Jen: Absolutely yeah and how much of it is for a man to be just able to have a release to just do what he wants to do as well and look after you. I remember being in a situation of do not carry my shopping, you know what if the man wants to carry the bag let the man carry the bag, it is not a reflection on me, I know I can carry the bag let him carry the bag, it is really not a big deal.
Nardia: I remember in my less evolved days I used to get the shits when a man held the door open for me, I was like I can do that, I can open my own door, thank you very much, like completely forgetting that this dude was just being really nice.
Jen: Now it is like where are the men opening the doors, we need more of those people.
Nardia: I love [inaudible 00:46:22], I am going to just stand here until someone opens the door for me.
Jen: Yeah and I have got heavy shopping, you are not going to offer to carry it for me.
Nardia: Ok so let’s sort of circle all this back because I do feel like I mean obviously that’s a conversation that we could spend hours talking on. But I am very really glad that we went there and scraped the surface on that because I do think that was a critical learning point for a lot of listeners is just understanding those dynamics. So, if there were three things that you would want the listeners to know what would it be, and this could be anything in terms of your fitness, mindset, anything, what would you want them to know?
Jen: I think that knowing or having a belief in yourself and you are the only person that can make that grow. So I think what would I want them to know, know that they can do whatever they actually want to go out and do, that would be a big number one. Number two for me and around my children is know that they are watching you, and know that they are modelling you, and know that if you want them to become a good person you have to be one yourself. When I say good, be the person you would be proud of them being, you have to become that person for them. And we can’t fix our kids if we don’t fix ourselves. So you know I have seen a massive massive shift in the way that my children relate to me, and the way that they behave which is potentially why I am enjoying being a mum more. It is because I am actually being a better mum because I took the time to learn to be a better mum and not be a better mum, but a better person and you know be more relaxed and more ok with me.
And the last one, know that whatever you are going through now is not the end. And if you are the mum at home that is you know, up to your ears in nappies, can’t get out of the door, hasn’t had a shower for 2 days, there is no milk and whatever and it is an absolute shit fight. Know that that is not going to end, and if you are the mum that is listening and you know that you have everything that needs to get done in the world, and it’s kind of taking you know not even second fiddle at the moment it’s the bottom of the list. Know that it is not always going to be that way, and you just got to start carving out time, and believing in yourself and know that this shit will pass.
Nardia: Powerful, beautiful, how can people reach out to you or work with you? So I have got a couple of different markets we are talking about here. One, mums and then trainers?
Jen: So my website which is jenduggard.com, at the moment encompasses, both Body Beyond Baby and safe return to exercise, you have got to hunt down safe return to exercise a little bit more. The Fitness Australia website, safe return to exercise, so if you are looking for the course you can head there and email me directly through them, I am on Instagram, my Instagram is not, it is a bit fitnessy. But if you want to read my quotes and look at my handstands then that is a good place to kind of follow me, I get a bit more airy fairy on Instagram than I do on anywhere else.
Nardia: You do, I love them.
Jen: I do, and I guess I am on Facebook but without being arrogant, you could google Jen Duggard, and you will probably find me.
Nardia: Oh own it, own it, just google her.
Jen: Google me.
Nardia: Can I just quickly talk about safe return to exercise, and let’s just clarify because I do have a lot of trainers and fitness professionals who tune into the show, why did you create it and what is it specifically?
Jen: So safe return to exercise it was designed as more of a post-natal workshop, however, everything if you are looking for a pre and post-natal course it covers both. So everything that you look after post-natal women with, you would look after pregnant women with, and there is a whole section on pregnancy, in the course. I created it because I have a belief that every single fitness professional or personal trainer that is looking after a mum who has a child of any age needs to understand you know what I call 5T contraindications of what happens to a post-natal mum.
They need to know that they need to be working with a women’s health physio, they need to know how to adapt different exercises to where a woman is at at that point in time, and we work with, we use the phrase a lot, training to the weakest link. And so you might say, the mum that am working with is fine, she has her 6 week check-up, she can do a squat she is really strong. But what you don’t know is that her pelvic floor isn’t functioning properly and every time you load up the squats you are damaging her pelvic floor. And I think there is a lot of; you know a lot of post-natal women, are not guided by pain, there is a lot of stuff that is going on internally that we are not aware of and you don’t know what you don’t know.
So the mum doesn’t know what she doesn’t know, and the personal trainer doesn’t know what they don’t know, so from looking externally at somebody they might look completely fine. But if we get them to a women’s health physio, and we find out that they are bearing down every time they squat, they have got a prolapse, all the stuff that might not come out till five years later. You know most personal trainers are going to train a woman, and a lot of women are going to have babies, and a lot of this stuff is just not getting picked up. So you know my goal is that every single personal trainer or fitness professional has either my qualification, or one very similar under their belt. So I want to change the face of mums being trained in a fitness industry basically.
Nardia: And I wholeheartedly agree because I think we need to, well the fitness industry is patriarchal, it has been set up for men, we haven’t really spent a lot of time diving into women specific training. And both you and I are on this page where we are really making a big push towards let’s understand the female body, a lot better. Is this the kind of course that if let’s say someone who is not a fitness professional but is super interested in their own bodies would they be able to come along to this and still get something from it, or is it a bit too fitnessy, sciency?
Jen: Look they could definitely and a lot of what are the signs and symptoms and how do you adapt the exercise, so absolutely you know even if you are a yoga teacher. You obviously wouldn’t get the accreditation for it, but if you have got a good awareness of your body, and you are training in a gym then absolutely you can come along.
Nardia: Can we just, let’s address this one issue right now, and I want your opinion on this, is it ever ok and normal for a woman to pee while she is skipping and know that there is nothing wrong?
Jen: No, no no, look no it is not ok. What is different is, if that is happening to you, and you have been to a women’s health physio, and you are working with someone to help you move forward, and you know what is happening, and you have made the conscious decision that you are going to continue to do it. And you completely understand everything about that, then you can’t pull a woman down for choosing to do that because she is well informed of her body. What I don’t think is right is, for example, a woman tells the personal trainer that she’s skipping, doing double unders and she is peeing when she is doing it and they brush it off that is not ok.
So we need to make sure personal trainers are educated, we need to make sure women are educated, and we need to make sure women are sent in the right direction. And my whole thing is I can’t tell you what to do, but I can give as much education as I possibly can to help you make the decision that is right for you, and that is what my job is. I am not a medical professional, I am not going to diagnose something, but I am going to share all the information I have, I am going to send you to the best people that I know so that you 100% know what is going on with your body, and then you make the decisions.
Jen: So no, get educated, as to why that is happening.
Nardia: I just wanted to point it out there is nothing shameful about it, it happens a lot, at the same time, use it as a just sort of a sign that perhaps things are not working or that you need to go explore more about that with a women’s physio.
Jen: Absolutely and who knows you could be, you could back it off for three months, and you could be doing it without wetting yourself, and that has got to be the thing. So don’t be ignorant I think is the key.
Nardia: I think it lends itself to what we are both trying to achieve is enabling women to become gurus in their own body, like the more a woman can understand her body and how it works and what feels good and what feels good for her the greater the confidence they will have in their bodies. But also the more equipped they will be to make the best decisions for their bodies at any one point of time.
Jen: Absolutely, yeah nailed it
Nardia: Cool, perfect thanks, I have done that a pitch a few times. Aright homestretch, is there any other woman that you know that you think I should interview for the collective podcast?
Jen: I was thinking about it today you have to talk to Jacinta Mcdonell.
Nardia: Yes yes.
Jen: So Human Kind, Urban Yoga, Anytime Fitness, she is amazing,
Nardia: Yes she has been on my little list there for a while, so thank you for recommending her, quick fire round, Jen.
Jen: Oh oh.
Nardia: If you are to exercise do you prefer to exercise alone or with other people?
Jen: With other people, you know that.
Nardia: Yes I know, I just had to ask you, do you prefer a night in or a night out on the town?
Jen: A night in am going to say at the moment.
Nardia: Ok, what are you reading or watching or listening to that’s really inspiring you at the moment?
Jen: I am reading the Book of Joy which is the Dalai Lama and Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu, which I am loving, I am listening to the Good Life Project which has been a long time, good a favourite podcast of mine, and yeah.
Nardia: Ok beautiful, what is your all time, self-love or self-care practice?
Jen: I think I go through different, can I say that I go through different phases, I am loving at the moment just being. So I went up on Saturday and ran up to the rocks at Maroubra and hung out there for like an hour, I took my phone off, I took my watch out and just hung out there on the rocks in the sun. Just to be, I didn’t meditate, I didn’t do any that kind of stuff, so just being and becoming more in awe of stuff around me, and basic things in life so self-care, let’s just say trying to take out the fluff.
Nardia: Trying to take out the what?
Jen: The fluff, the stuff that we have, you don’t understand my sentiments.
Nardia: No I do
Jen: Just being simple is self-care at the moment for me, flowing down and just being simple.
Nardia: What an amazing thing to be doing right now, and I love it, simplicity is beautiful. So Jen thank you so much that is it, I am going to wrap you up, even though we could go on talking forever and ever in a day. It was a nice little natural conclusion to this, but I have a feeling I will get you back on the show at some point because there are some things we got to chat about.
Jen: I think so too, thanks, Nadia,
Nardia: Thanks, Jen, take care
Hey there, welcome to episode 52; I hope this finds you happy and healthy and embracing the change in seasons wherever you are in the world.
Im currently back in the motherland of new Zealand as Mike and I had our love ceremony a couple of weeks back – AKA our wedding, and for those of you who have been following along; it was an awesome day. It’s true when they say that the day goes by ridiculously fast!
Anyways enough of me, onto my awesome guest.
My following guest is Jen Dugard, an entrepreneur, business owner, author, speaker, course creator, obstacle course racing guru, and mother of two beautiful children.
I asked Jen to come onto the show because not only has she juggled motherhood with running a business she is also extremely honest and forthcoming about her struggles with motherhood, trying to do it all, and the pressures that many Mums face.
Jen is on a mission and is super passionate about redefining what it means to be a mother in Australia today. While previously it has been all about looking after the baby and children, Jen is showing mums another way.
[spp-tweet tweet=”If you are thinking about something consistently or if you have got that drive or just that something inside of you that’s telling you to go in that direction, then why wouldn’t you do it, if it fails what is the worst thing that could happen? “]
She runs a successful Mum’s focused training business called Body Beyond Baby, and has 5 franchisees across Australia and NZ, and educates personal trainers on how to help women experience Safe Return To Exercise.
She is one hell of a motivated and focused woman and today Jen shares the highlights and the lowlights of how she makes all of this work.
In this episode we jam on:
Facebook: Jen Dugard
Instagram: Jen Dugard
Nardia is an Australian Institute of Fitness ‘Legend’, Fitness Network Personal Trainer of the year 2014, course creator, international presenter and part time comedian (in her lounge room).
She loves helping women in fitness create stronger businesses so they can have more money, flexibility and impact.
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