interview, Mental Health, motivation, Women

Move over Nike!


This post is very overdue!  A few months ago I visited Ashlee Secord, MA, LMFT from Thrive Therapy in Burnsville, Minnesota. Ashlee was referred to me from a networking friend. I have been attempting to contact professional women within the Twin Cities Area to seek advice and resources as I start my LLC and my friend referred Ashlee because he thought she would be a perfect fit- was she ever!  After my perspective-changing discussion with Ashlee,  I wanted to write a huge post about my experience with her after only a few hours. I had a word document draft written up, wrote her a card letting her know I will be writing a post about our meeting…anndd well, it’s now 2 months later and instead of looking at the word document I have drafted up or thinking what I could write I will just do what Ashlee repeatedly told me at our meeting, to “just do it.”

Ashlee is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) who not only provides individual/group counseling services, but also does workshops on weight-loss, communication and women’s strength, has an Ebook called, “Confident Women”  and is an influential speaker. (More to come, I’m sure!)

I met Ashlee at her office while she was wearing her comfortable workout clothes. I noticed immediately how confident she was (is).  I reviewed her website before we met and figured she would be very easy to talk to (especially after I read some of her educational and entertaining  blog posts) but our meeting was even more informal than expected. The whole hour (plus) I was there, it was like having a laid back conversation with a friend.

I could write about the questions I asked about her business start-up and  balancing work & personal life but that can mostly be found on her website. What the website doesn’t show you is how the Thrive Therapy title could not have been a better fit for this woman. She was glowing with passion as she told me all her plans for her business, her hobbies, passion for people, but most importantly (and noticeably) self-care. She mentioned numerous times how important it is to take care of ourselves, and as healthcare professionals practice what we preach.

She was very open & honest about herself and her business. She told me about her successes, but also told me about some of her challenges (e.g. a presentation that once did not go so well). But it was clear she took those challenges, which are typically seen as a negative things, as something positive that has helped her learn & grow to be the successful professional she is today. Why don’t more people accept challenges like this?

After asking her a few times about her business and her Ebook preparation and planning, she repeatedly said, “You just do it”.  I know I get caught up in wanting to do things the “right way” and thinking about it too much that it just doesn’t get done. When it came to her Ebook she said she just wrote and wrote. And while networking she goes as herself and no one else.  What resonated with me after that meeting was not only the “just do it” motto (move over Nike!) that she clearly practices, but how her passion made her very personable and how being open & transparent can establish trust within your first meeting with someone. No one wonder why she has so many clients 🙂

I’m going to go now. Get things done. Thrive like Ashlee. You know, do things!

Thanks for reading and thank you again Ashlee.


Follow Ashlee on Facebook and subscribe to her newsletter!

advice, Career, interview

A young professional’s advice…

Besides that whole stalking thing, from time to time, Facebook’s news feed shows you high school friends you haven’t talked to in awhile. I was scrolling through my news feed one day and couldn’t help but notice one of my friends from high school, Corinn, was/is just dominating in her marketing career. She was coordinating networking events, receiving awards for her hard work and just looking fanastic. I had to see what she was up to and get some of her insight for those young professionals out there. Enjoy the interview with her!


1. Corinn- tell the blog a little about yourself.

My name is Corinn. I grew up in Waunakee, WI and currently live in Oregon, WI. I attended the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse and received a BS in Marketing with a French minor. I moved back to the Madison area after college because I love this city. There is always so much to do! I landed a job in marketing at Wegner CPAs, a local accounting firm that prides itself on putting people first and being an excellent educational resource for current and future clients. I’ve enjoyed growing in my career over the past 4.5 years and strive to constantly learn new things and expand my knowledge of marketing trends.

Outside of work, I serve on two nonprofit boards. I am currently the Board President of Madison Magnet, a young professionals organization that engages young professionals in the community by collaborating on volunteer, professional development and networking events. Additionally, I serve on the leadership council for the Rosenberry Society, a group of young professional philanthropists for the United Way of Dane County.

When I’m not working on marketing, leading board meetings, or attending networking events, I really enjoy focusing on my health.  I like to hit the gym 3-4 days a week.  In general, I choose running as my cardio since I like to sign up for fun 5Ks throughout the year.

For fun, I enjoy monthly girls’ nights with friends – our goal is to find a fun, new and exciting restaurant or bar and spend a happy hour or dinner together.  More recently, I’ve been into checking out local breweries, craft beer festivals, and winery tours.  It’s a fun way to try out new brews and expand my pallet for wine.

 2. What have you learned about being successful in your 20’s?

Being successful in your 20s is definitely something you have to work at. As a Millennial, you have to overcome the stereotypes of being “lazy” or “entitled” and show people that you have drive and ambition. Your 20s is a decade of transition, from finishing college, to landing your first job, to finding your footing as an “adult” in a fast-paced world. It’s a time to discover who you are and where you want to go.

That being said, this is a time to set goals and make a plan to reach them. I like to have both short-term and long-term goals, always keeping in mind that I can adjust the long-term ones if I need to. It’s important to set professional and personal goals. Even though I work for accountants, I don’t have a “numbers driven” career so I make goals to learn new skills by taking classes and attending conferences. For this year’s personal goal, I want to read all the books on my bookshelves. I have two in my living room and when I moved into my condo, I bought books to fill them up. Now, I am making a point to actually read them instead of just using them for decoration.

Being successful in your 20s means working hard, but also having fun. We’re still young and should be taking advantage of all the world has to offer. You’re successful if you can find a way to balance life and work that makes sense for you. As someone who’s on the verge of upper-twenties, I am still figuring out the balancing act. I’m really good at being busy and having things to do, but that also means I’m really good at filling my own plate. I am learning that to be successful, I need to work on my delegating skills and remember to take breaks and have fun (that’s why I treasure the aforementioned girls nights!)

3. What motivates you to be a healthier you?

I am very self-motivated, which is a trait that comes in handy when working independently. I think what has motivated me the most is my strong support network. My family has always encouraged me to follow my heart and my passions. My friends are great for pushing me and giving honest advice. I owe my passion for running to two great friends who got me started and have become great running buddies! I also have various mentors in my professional life who’ve taught me so much about advancing my career and how important it is to believe in yourself and your ideas.

I am very involved in the Madison community and that stems from wanting to give back to the great city I live in, work in, and enjoy. In my volunteer work, I have a goal to fuel passion in other young professionals for our community, get them engaged, and help them see that they can make a difference.

A healthier me is motivated by that balancing act I mentioned. I want to do great things in my career, but I also want to enjoy life outside of my job. I can’t do both if I’m not maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I try to make healthy food choices, balance out my happy hours, and hit the gym consistently. I also try to get a good amount of sleep. You can’t give 100% if you’re tired. Sleep is one of my health and wellness focuses for this year. I am trying to turn off technology, enjoy a good book, and get 6-8 hours of sleep each night.

4. Any suggestions for those looking to be better bloggers, professionals, etc.?

I actually have a blog, and I was writing 2-3 posts a week, but for the last 8 months or so I took a hiatus.  I wanted to reduce my level of posting and enjoy summer, friends and fun.  That being said, I too much time off and haven’t gotten back to it, and I miss it!  I guess this would be advice I have to take too since it’s never too late to refresh and start writing again!  A blog offered me a creative outlet and a way to express myself.  I would recommend deciding what it is you want to blog about and stick to it – you don’t have to be everything to everyone.  You’ll eventually attract loyal readers based on your topic of choice.  I would rather have an engaged audience than lots of followers who skim my posts and aren’t that interested.

If you’re looking to better yourself in a professional sense, my best advice is to find something you’re passionate about and then dive in!  I can’t tell you how exciting a career in marketing has been for me – it’s an industry that is constantly changing and I enjoy keeping up with it.  Once you find that passion, it becomes easy to motivate yourself and also strive for more!

Corinn P.

Follow me on Twitter –> @coryplo

advice, Career, Education, goal setting, interview

Kevin Gives us a REAL Interview

Hello again everyone! I recently interviewed my former boss and now healthcare co-worker, Kevin Monroe from Monroe Real Training. He provides personal training, right in your home within the Madison Area. He has a lot of insight about going into the health field, especially as an entrepreneur, and I hope you enjoy his advice as much as I did!

Kevin headshot[1]-1

Kevin, What made you want to start your own business?

“One reason, every time I worked somewhere I had ideas, but sometimes my ideas weren’t always 100% accepted.
Another reason, when the health club I managed got really busy and the machines were being used, I would start using the fitness bands and other functional fitness equipment that wasn’t as popular – in the corner of the gym.  A personal training client told me they ‘enjoyed the corner and the functional fitness equipment,’ and asked me, “Can’t we do this at home, or on the road; when we travel?”  And there came the idea to start my own business of in-home personal training.  I identified the possibility of training people without having to use expensive equipment.  The gears started turning and whenever I wasn’t at the health club I worked on my business plan.  I was always researching and thinking of ideas and things started growing & coming together!  It was years in the works before I was doing my own in-home personal training business part-time.”

Advice for those starting their new business or wanting to?

“Never be afraid to ask questions from people you respect and are successful in your field.  Ask questions and read.  I like to read constantly.  I generally have at least one book that I’m always reading, not necessarily about fitness.  They’re usually best sellers about business or self-help and motivation – they help me think differently. So, read, ask questions and more importantly find a have a mentor.  I have two. One is a client.  That mentor once said, “You’re going to make mistake, but don’t make a real costly mistake, because you need financial stability so it doesn’t ruin your business.  Remember that.”

My business mentor teaches me many lessons.  For an example, every single week, after every training session, he’d ask me if I had a couple of business cards to give to his connections.  I would always have to get them from my vehicle. After about three weeks of doing this, I learned to put them in my pocket and always keep them with me.  Now, I don’t leave my house unless my business cards are in my front left pocket.  You never know when you might meet your next client.  Think of them like car keys – don’t leave the house without them!

I also encourage those to write a business plan, it’s extremely important. I wrote mine in a notebook.  I think it’s great to start clarifying ideas in a notebook, but if a person is going to a bank or an investor you probably want to have your business plan  clarified and typed.  Think of a business plan like a relationship, you have ideas of how things will go, but things change and you have to tweak plans and keep going with it.

And, if anyone wants to go into fitness and wellness don’t be afraid to go for it, because if it’s something you really enjoy, you will do well.  Put your heart into it, and don’t be afraid to fail.  We learn sometimes by our mistakes and our failures.  If there is one thing I’ve noticed, when it comes to helping people in fitness and wellness, there is plenty to go around.  So, I recommend anyone that wants to start their own business, don’t worry about the money, it will come…if you put your passion into it! ”

Advice for budgeting for your business?

“I recommend, keeping all expenses as low as possible.  It could be something as simple as packing your food for lunches instead of purchasing them at meetings.  I recommend being really frugal.  I bartered everything in the beginning (i.e. logo, website).  Try to get everything paid off as much as possible so you have leeway for cash flow to start coming in.  And when it does come in, don’t spend it all… see it as the business’ money.  Ask, “What can I do for the business with this money?”


“How I have my business structured – there are no electronic funds transferable (EFTs), so I only get paid when someone meets with me. So just because they buy a personal training package, if they cancel, are on vacation or have a medical appointment – I don’t get paid.

That challenge encourages me to keep my clients motivated so they continue seeing me
on a regular basis.  I motivate them by texting or e-mailing them, be a good listener when I’m training them in their home, and making sure clients are enjoying each workout experience with me.  I always ask myself, ‘Why do they want to train with me…to be with Kevin?’  I’m always hoping to keep them motivated so they stay training with me on a regular basis so they see & feel results.  In return, this also allows the business to stay afloat.”

What do you prioritize/schedule first? 

“The top priority is my fitness; my workouts, because when I feel better… I have more to give to others.  I don’t need to write in my workouts, because I know I will get them in between personal training sessions.”

What type of advice for those seeking greater happiness and health? 

“I encourage people to make goals that motivate them – other than the scale.  I am personally intrinsically motivated, but most people are extrinsically motivated.  Goals could be to finish a 5k, jump higher, 5 pushups, or your first pull up.  When you accomplish your goals, you’ll feel really good.  To me, it’s about having a better quality of life.  As a person goes through that transition and they feel better, they’ll have a better quality of life; they’ll feel like a better person and have more love to give to others.”

Thank you for your interview, Kevin!

Check out his website at
And follow him on Facebook & Twitter!

Thanks for reading,