The One Choice I Make Every Morning

May 3, 2016

A couple weeks ago, I spent an incredible, long weekend in Santa Fe with Gail Larsen, my Transformational Speaking coach. I love public speaking and sharing my stories related to doubt and self-worth, but what you may not know, is the act of speaking truthfully completely drains me. It feels like I pour everything out for everyone else, and leave nothing to nourish myself. It’s depleting and feels unsustainable. After I speak, I make like a bear in hibernation and catch some much needed Zs. I have to peel my eyelids open to find my hotel room.

I’ve always wondered why this intense exhaustion was happening to me? Was everyone’s experience of public speaking this way?

Gail commented, “Emily, I’m worried that your speaking doesn’t feel sustainable. I’m wondering why you feel like you have no energy left?”

I polled the small but mighty group of women I was studying with, “Does anyone else feel completely drained?” They all said they felt fine. No one felt like they had a massive energy dump. Just me.

Gail suggested an exercise for all of us, which was my key takeaway from the entire immersion. She asked, “What’s your main persona when you speak? Why?” I answered, “I’m a thinker. An intellectual. And why is a great question. I’m an over-achieving university graduate with a modeling background and I want to establish myself as an intellectual woman. Because I am.”

“Because I am,” was like saying, “Eureka!” It gave me all the permission–or realization–I needed to let go of needing to be so analytical, to being the thinker when I’m speaking.

Gail asked the next question, “If you could not be the main persona you share in your speeches–the thinker–what persona would you pick? What persona do you use today, in your new story, that you might not be using in your speeches?”

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Emily Nolan for L’Oreal Women of Worth

April 28, 2016

Please Vote Today

I was asked to pick a sample audience to give my final speech at Gail Larsen’s Transformational Speaking immersion, and out of my mouth, I blurted, “L’Oreal Women of Worth.” I was a bit surprised to hear the audience I had impulsively chosen for myself.

One of the fiery small group participants, Deb, leaned forward, seated on a slouchy leather sofa, looked at me dead in the eyes and said, nodding, “Is that who you want to give your speech to?” I replied, smiling with a confident head nod, “Yes.”

“Then own it.” She said, as if she was directing my soul, offering a medicine I’m so used to prescribing: “Listen to your Hum.”

So I listened. “You are all the audience of L’Oreal’s Women of Worth award ceremony. You are beauty executives and influential celebrities.” All of me knew, this is absolutely who my audience is, even if it started as a small group of six women in a cozy room in Santa Fe.

I knew nothing of the Women of Worth awards, except for, I’d love to be there and share my story. I didn’t know how or when to apply, I didn’t know the qualifications, I didn’t even know the award nominations were happening as I spoke the words to life. Choosing the Women of Worth audience was completely random and yet so specific.

The day after I gave my final speech for L’Oreal’s Women of Worth, my manifested audience at the Transformational Speaking immersion, I arrived back in Miami Beach and began skimming through Facebook, checking in on all the updates I missed while I was in Santa Fe. My newsfeed refreshed itself, and at the very top of the newsfeed, I saw this:

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Take It Easy

March 4, 2016

The best way I shorten the duration of a head-splitting cold—the kind that makes me want to poke holes above at the top of my eye sockets and temples to relieve the pressure–is FOMO (fear of missing out). Matt gets up to make coffee and I hear the dog tapping on the hardwood and I’m up with gusto, throwing on my laid out running clothes—like I wear anything else—and quickly make my morning cup of Earl Grey tea, all before Matt steps out of his man kingdom–the bathroom–with his iPad turned to the WSJ homepage to not so gently demand, “Take it easy!”

Take it easy, huh?

A recent bout with a very short-lived head cold–thanks FOMO–has been a wonderful teacher.

We’re conditioned to do this “take it easy” thing only when we’re sick. Take a day off…when you’re sick. Why should I wait to take it easy until I’m sick? I can’t even binge watch Madam Secretary without turning the volume up to college party to compensate for the 89% deafness caused by the pressure I consistently deny building in my ears.

I’m resolving to say, “take it easy,” more frequently to people who aren’t already sick. Don’t you think we should all take it easy, even when we’re struggling? Because honestly, we’re all just winging it, no matter how great our poker face.

Take it easy from stressing out about how many followers you need on social media. They will find you in divine time. Take it easy from needing to respond to people on social media immediately–maybe you take the weekends off to be present with your partner, like I do. Take it easy and answer your emails tomorrow morning–they’ll still be in your inbox, mounting, but still there. Take it easy and call someone instead of texting them.

Take it easy and make a lovely dinner with your family. Play cards or charades. Don’t work on the weekends if you can manage. Take it easy and go for a long pointless walk with your dog on a Saturday afternoon. Take it easy and walk freely in your sports bra to let your belly see the light of day.

Life is already beautifully complex, without the iPhone, without body image concerns, without a short-lived head cold. There’s no stopping to smell the roses when you’re congested. So, take it easy, today.

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The Dangers of Bypassing Trust

January 12, 2016

How Bypassing Trust Affects Our Performance

Before I turned in for the night, after seeing The Big Short with my family, I did what I love to do when I’m home for the holidays: Put on my favorite red flannel pajamas that my husband absolutely abhors and I can’t get enough of and snuggle into my Mom’s cozy bed for some mother daughter time, which is welcomingly never about when I’ll finally get around to having kids. Instead, we talk about work and relationships and my red flannel pajamas. Sometimes we talk about yoga or what she’s learning in Ed. Psych, short for Educational Psychology.

Dorey, my black lab slumped over onto my lap like a puddle of Jello. I always love when she does this; when she rolls onto my lap like a trained dolphin and throws her sinewy legs into the sky. With the comfort of my immodestly slumped over dog on my lap, I confessed to Mom that I felt like I was losing my mind. And not in the way you’re thinking. It wasn’t an I’m too busy and I’m losing my mind. It was more of an I’m losing my mind in a way that I can’t even describe without feeling overwhelmingly embarrassed. Like lazy fog hovering over a river, some things just weren’t there anymore, and yet they were there, just under the fog.

I started to tear up before the words could even escape me, which I hate about myself but I’ve learned to love. “I’ll be speaking and in no particular moment and for no particular reason, my mind goes completely blank, like I’m sitting on a chair in a dark room and I have eight limbs for arms, each limb stretching in an opposite direction, reaching for the words I wanted to say just seconds before; reaching for my train of thought. Where was I going? What was I saying?” After seeing the movie Still Alice, I thought, well, there’s a chance I might actually be losing my mind. Losing my words.

To give you some background, my Mom’s an academic. She’s in a Ph.D. program studying Educational Psychology, researching a theory called Flow, broadly defined as the secret to happiness. If this theory is new to you, I recommend you watch this excellent TED talk on Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

Mom also works with Olympic and college athletes, giving them tools to help access their peak performance. So she’s qualified to be my Mom but also to give me great advice as an academic. My prayer was that if anybody in the world had an answer as to why my mind was going blank, it would be her.

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My Belly Moves

December 8, 2015

The holidays are fast approaching. This time of the year brings up a plethora of cheery feelings for me, and some not so pleasant. Every fifth email in my inbox is a detox diet subscription for the new year. My Instagram is overrun with flat belly #fitspo (fitness inspiration). Am I doing something wrong? Am I not supposed to be who I am in this very moment?

For 29 years of my life, I did the whole perfect new year, perfect life thing. I set goals to fit into my smaller dresses I kept in my closet. Some years, my goals were to have my hipbones extend further than my belly. What I found was, by conforming to temporary diets and ignoring my intuition, I destroyed my natural confidence, stripped myself from feeling comfortable in my own skin and my health suffered (hormones, digestion, immunity and overall happiness).

This year, I’m sticking with I’m good enough already. I will tiptoe around the trap that is: I should avoid eating that, I can’t eat there, I should have done that earlier.

I plan on complete surrender. This means, indulging in Mom’s home cooking. Keeping up my 15 minute meditation practice before breakfast and dinner. Going for a run in the morning because it makes me feel great, turning any uncomfortably cold run into a refreshing walk with my family; I move to feel good, not to compete. I surrender to knowing that I need my yoga practice, even when I’m home for the holidays. I completely surrender. I give myself permission to enjoy what I eat, to stop when I feel full, and continue on when my belly’s ready for more.

This holiday, I will not fall into any gimmicks or marketing tricks. I’m practicing radical self-acceptance for 15 seconds a day, and you can join me. Here’s what day one looks like…

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Topless ™ by Emily
Reviews and Giveaways

Reviews + Giveaways

Praise For Emily

“Emily is an absolute joy to collaborate with. She brings the real conversation to the forefront about body image in such an authentic way. Our community left her Topless event feeling empowered & full of possibility!”

- Alison Utne, lululemon athletica

“Working with Emily is always so much fun (so much so that we’ve done it twice!). We love how she connects with her audience and exhibits true love for the companies she showcases, offering her own in-depth and authentic thoughts.”

- Madeline Alcott, Petit Vour

“Working with Emily is a no-brainer. Her writing is brave but vulnerable, sassy but self-aware, and kind but tough. It’s a joy to share her pieces with our community because so many readers tell us that they feel inspired and empowered by her choices.”

- Mind Body Green

“Emily provided great insights and tips as she reflected on the value of seizing the moment in a wide variety of her experiences. In short, she “rocked!”

- Stephen C. Harper, Ph.D.

“Emily was a pleasure to work with on our Rescue Chocolate giveaway. She has built up an active community in a short period. I would do a giveaway or any project with her again in a heartbeat.“

- Sarah Gross, rescue chocolate

“Emily is as sweet as she is smart. She is a true beauty with a body that is powerful, loved, and strong. Doing a giveaway on My Kind of Life was so much fun, her community is filled with wonderful women just like her!”

- Leanne Maily Hilgart, Vaute Couture

“Topless provides not only an opportunity but a call to action for each of us in service of radical honesty and acceptance of ourselves exactly as we are, to show up authentically not just for each other but for ourselves and THAT is magic.”

- Claire Santos, E-RYT

“In a way like very few can, Emily teaches us the importance of embracing our vulnerabilities in order to maximize our full potential. Topless Yoga is not your ordinary yoga class, but rather a movement and a state of mind!”

Tina Pate, KIND Snacks

“Each person involved brought their full heart into the event, creating a space of love, compassion, and clarity like I hadn’t experienced before. If you are so blessed to have Emily and her team visit your city, drop everything and go experience the magic for yourself.”  

- Nikki Novo, Author

Emily Nolan, you just stole my heart. Thank you for this.

- Elena Brower,
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oh darling, indulge a little
this kinda rocks!
oh darling, indulge a little