“I started to ask myself, ‘Am I being the woman I want to be in my life?’”
There is something about having a birthday — one that ends in zero — that prompts one to take a look at life — past, present, and future.
Seven years ago, when Laura Wagner was coming up on her 40th year, she admitted her life was ‘fine.’ But, she says, “I started to ask myself, ‘Am I being the woman I want to be in my life?’”
Her answer was no.
“An accumulation of things had happened,” Laura says. “I had gone through four miscarriages in two years, I had returned to school and gotten my therapy license. I was a high-functioning, high-achieving woman, but I was exhausted with the triumphs and the tragedies in my life. I was not as healthy as I could be, and I was carrying 35 extra pounds.”
Initially, Laura thought that maybe if she lost the weight she would be happier. “I hired a weight-loss coach. She helped me look at how much my body had been through due to the losses, the grief, the depression.
Her examination revealed that not only did she want to lose weight, she wanted to have her own business. She acknowledged her desire to travel sooner rather than later. As a mom, she looked at how she wanted to raise her two children and what kind of lifestyle she wanted for the family.
“Everything that changed came as a result of simple and significant steps. Things I did every single day. I started keeping a food journal. It became a compassionate awareness of what I ate, what time I ate, and why I ate. Was it out of boredom or habit? Was I upset about something?
“I looked at how I moved my body and sought out what I could do that felt like love and was interesting and pleasurable and would not be so hard on my body. I got curious. I started Zumba classes. I was the woman in the back of the room stumbling over the steps, but you know, I had the time of my life. Two years later I became a Zumba teacher. Dancing is a form of freedom. It is expressive and creative and can be done in a community in which you can make connections.”
Laura took a hard look at what she loved to do in order to create a worklife. “I love to write (check out her blog at laura-wagner.com). I’m a therapist, life coach, and a fitness coach. I knew I would have to strike out on my own and put it all together.”
“Although I do face-to-face, one-on-one counseling and coaching, I also have dinners at my house. I hire a chef, and 10 women or so come from all over the country to connect and explore. It’s kind of a coaching workshop in disguise. We have dinner around the table and then retire to the living room to continue our conversations. I’ll do things in places that aren’t traditional. People could come to my office and sit on folding chairs under fluorescent lights, but I wanted to create a comfortable and beautiful space for women to gather and work on personal development.”
She encourages women to get outside whatever box they are in.
“I tell them that someday is not a day of the week. Do things with intention. Instead of sliding into life, start deciding. Our job is to learn and grow and to remain curious and interested in life. I have seen how the Law of Attraction works in my life and in the lives of the women I work with. I am really just helping women excavate. I am a catalyst.”