I stumbled upon Ruthie Lindsey’s Instagram a few weeks ago and gave her a follow for her beautiful images of what appears to be a quaint and perfect Nashville life. When she took the stage at BlogHer Health, I was charmed by her Southern drawl and self-deprecating humor, but the mood quickly changed as she explained her journey since a car collision in high school broke her spine.
Lindsey’s story was one of many standouts and pinch-yourself moments at BlogHer’s first forray into health-focused conferences. More than 70 speakers and 500 attendees across media, fitness and health connected to share ideas, while hearing from successful women including the likes of Julianne Hough, Arianna Huffington, Nastia Liukin, Kate Walsh and Hannah Bronfman.
The day was full of incredible moments and lessons learned, but these three takeaways stuck out most after the conference.
“If you’re an an expert, take a stand. Have a position and stand by it. To me, that’s longevity.” – Jillian Michaels (@jillianmichaels)
You probably recognize Jillian Michaels for her tough, no-bullshit approach to training, but you might not know that she’s also a savvy businesswoman, devoted mom and is seriously hilarious. I went into her talk expecting to hear from the mean trainer from TV, but left a huge fan of her grounded approach to life and business.
Michaels built a career around her belief that fitness is a tool to empower people. She believes the secret to building a successful brand is authenticity and consistency. She isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s okay with her. To be an expert, she believes you need to come with a point of view and stand by it. You don’t need to have an enormous audience to find success, you need to have a devoted niche.
Most of all, she believes it’s okay to be wrong.
“Nothing says strength and confidence more than your ability to listen, hear someone else out and say … I made a mistake here. I’m changing my position and here’s why,” Michaels told the conference.
“The keystone habit that helps you with all the other habits is sleep. It’s the most disrespected part of our lives.” – Arianna Huffington (@ariannahuff)
An incredible way to end the conference with the ever inspiring Arianna Huffington. She spoke at our very first #BlogHer back in 2003 and has supported us all the way through to #BlogHer18 Health, 15 years later. We are so grateful for her encouragement and are so proud of the amazing work she is doing with Thrive Global. Thank you Arianna, for being the perfect example of female leadership
Arianna Huffington spent a career working long days on very little sleep before collapsing of exhaustion and breaking her cheekbone on her desk. Since that wake up call, Huffington made it her mission to expose the damage sleep deprivation and technology addiction has on our personal and professional lives with the intent to shift the culture. Over the past few years she stepped away from the Huffington Post, published The Sleep Revolution and founded the wellness startup Thrive Global.
She emphasizes that with more sleep, stress is more manageable, work is easier and “you’re more present in your whole life.” Her research on the relationship between sleep and business has even inspired leaders like Jeff Bezos to prioritize eight hours of sleep. It’s enough to warrant an earlier bedtime every night of the week.
“That’s the beautiful thing about pain – it gives you eyes.” -Ruthie Lindsey (@ruthielindsey)
After breaking her spine, Lindsey faced years of debilitating pain coupled with the loss of her father and the end of her marriage. She spent several years of her life in bed, dependent on pain medications and numb to her surroundings. Eventually, fear for her future forced her to get out of bed and reclaim her former self. She weaned herself off drugs and slowly began to see her world in a new light, finding awe in everything around her.
When she stumbled upon kintsukuroi, the Japanese concept of repairing broken pottery with gold, her narrative changed. These repaired pieces are considered more beautiful because they have been broken, and Ruthie decided, “That’s going to be my story.”
Ruthie’s chronic pain continues to intensify, but she still thrives, becoming a stylist, speaker and influencer sharing her story with over 125K Instagram followers.
She concluded with a simple but moving message to her audience: “You are so loved, and whatever broken, f*cked up, painful thing you have lived through, this is not the end of your story. This is the thing that will make you so much better, so much softer, and so much more beautiful.”