Soul Sister Scoop: Finding your tribe to shine!

One thing I love about life coaching and teaching Pilates is the variety of people I get to meet. Actually, come to think about it, I don’t just like this about my job, I like this about life. There are so many interesting people out there and we can literally meet them at any second and any where.

For example: I met an ex-boyfriend in the line at a bank, met one of my dearest friends randomly at work whilst looking for a flat mate in London – she was in a totally different department than me at the time. I met my husband on a beach in Portugal – the list goes on.

Ok, so now it sounds like I mostly pick up men in random ways  – haha, promise I don’t! But you’ve got to love it when these “accidental” meets turns into a business opportunity, a trip to Iceland, or you score a husband out of it!

You never know who you’re going to meet next and how that will change your life. That’s why we spend quite a bit of time talking about networking in my “Ultimate Career Bootcamp” course, set to launch Oct 5th.

One of my more recent random connections was meeting today’s Soul Sister, Ashley Hilmes. Ashley came to an Aerial Pilates workshop in spring this year. We started talking after class, something she admitted she hardly ever does, and by the end of our conversation it was like love at first sight!

Co-founders of Vega Vitality: Dr Stephanie Moore, Ashley Hilmes RN and me!

It turned out that Ashley was the co-founder of VEGA Vitality – a collaboration of experts with a unison goal of helping their clients achieve optimum wellness. They believe that vitality comes from a deliberate and well-executed effort to nurture one’s mind, body, and spirit. It is cultivated from self-awareness and the intrinsic desire for happiness.

It just so happened that her team was missing a life coach! A couple of days later I met up with both the founders: Ashley and Dr Stephanie Moore. In a couple of minutes the deal was sealed. I was so honored and excited to be part of this amazing team of ladies.

But Ashley and I have so much more in common than just our views on female empowerment. We also shared a past of travel and career transitions to name a few. She’s had to take some serious career risks and today she’ll share them with us and hopefully inspire you to follow your passion to create your dream career!

Hanneke: How did you come up with the VEGA Vitality concept?

Ashley: I have been a nurse in the cardiac ICU for nearly a decade. When I originally decided to start learning about skincare and injectables it was really coming from a selfish place of needing more balance. Being an ICU nurse is intense and I was feeling burnt out, and quite frankly, my own heart was breaking as I watched people and families go through tragedy after tragedy.

Once I started seeing people for esthetic consults I realized a few things: 1) I loved doing it – I was actually surprised at how much I liked it 2) I’m good at it – I have an artistic eye and it comes into play here 3) I could give my clients SO much more – I wanted to give them more.

I love to get to know people and their stories. I use my time with my clients to try and get to know them and also for them to get to know me. Through this process I did my own little social study of what people need to live in a state of happiness and vitality. This self-directed study showed me that so many people were struggling with health issues, pain, body image, emotional stress, life transitions, and the list goes on. I would think, (sometimes I would even say aloud) “I can fix your wrinkles, but you really need more.” That thought is really what drove the whole concept. I am very familiar with the world of western medicine but people need more. I need more. And so, the concept of VEGA was born.


H: How did you know it was time to leave your nursing career and pursue your dream career?

A: Nursing was, and still is, also a dream career for me. I know from the time I was a small child that I would be a care provider. I knew it was time to pursue other things when I found that I wasn’t capable of being as present as I wanted to be.

Nursing is so special because it puts you in a position to see people at their weakest and most vulnerable moments. I always want to be present and able to give of myself for my patients. There was one particular patient that I love dearly and after 9 months of caring for her I felt depleted. I needed a change, some balance. After she had her heart transplant and I knew she was going to be okay, I went to South America for a couple months. When I got back I went to 3-week intensive yoga teacher training. My biggest take away from yoga teacher training was to identify when I was making choices from a place of fear and to instead choose love. This is when I decided to create a new life and career. It didn’t just happen- it took time, effort and faith.

Now I co-own and operate VEGA Vitality and I am still a nurse. I usually work one day a week at Mass General or the Brigham and I still love it. It feeds my soul and I feel extremely lucky to get to do two things that I love so much.

Ashley Hilmes

H: What’s been the biggest lesson you’ve learned being in a start-up so far?

A: Honestly, there have been SO MANY LESSONS! Trust yourself. Ask for help. Lead from your heart. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. You better laugh at yourself so you don’t cry. Timing is everything…. and about a million other clichés. They’re all true.

H: How’d you pick the name?

A: VEGA is the name of a star. We love the concept of following your true north, reaching for the stars, and our official tagline “Choose to Shine”. The VEGA journey thus far has been incredible…I don’t have a doubt in my mind that the stars have aligned to help make this dream a reality.


H: What’s your best beauty secret/tip?

A: There is no beauty without happiness. You have to choose to shine and it happens from the inside out.

VEGA Vitality is more than beauty and more than wellness– it is a lifestyle. We offer acupuncture, reiki, nutrition services and life coaching alongside beauty services such as facials, peels, micro needling, botox, fillers, and more. VEGA also coordinates multiple adventure + wellness retreats each year. Next up is Iceland in November (We’d love to see you there, a few spots still available – click here for more details.) followed by Nicaragua in January (sold out).

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The simple word that changed my life.

A couple of weeks ago I received and email with the headline:’The simple word that changed my life’ and just like you I couldn’t wait to open it. I mean what one word could have such a dramatic impact on someone’s life?

That little word was: “No”. I smiled as I read the rest of the email, because it’s content was so similar to a previous blog I had written: “Heads or Tails?”.

You see we so often say yes to everything in fear of missing out on something and then we either end up stressing ourselves out, letting others down or just not producing high quality results. Ironically that’s also exactly where I found myself a few short weeks ago. Between my weekly newsletter, planning the launch of my first online program (more details here.), my Soul Success Mastermind, pitching my Maternity Coaching package to businesses, Pilates with Purpose and serving my one-on-one clients, things started to feel just a little too crazy.

I had to be brutally honest with myself and say the big “NO” to the following:
No extra hours at Equinox. From now on you’ll only catch me there Thursdays & Fridays.
No to weekly blogs. Starting in September you’ll only hear form me every other week so I can keep giving you high quality tips that you can implement to create the career & life you desire.

Was this easy? No (in fact I’m cringing as I’m typing this). But I do know that this is what I have to do in order to serve you at an even higher level and also to achieve my own personal career and life desires.

Let’s tweet it: To find your true balance, you have to evaluate & adjust constantly, and say no to what doesn’t serve you.

So now I’d love to challenge you: What are those extra things you have on your plate that’s keeping you from performing at optimum level or achieving your career & life objectives? Tell me about them below!

Also  – if you’re currently considering a career change – register for my FREE Webinar here.

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Here’s why you need to zip the lip and listen up!

Is your mind racing like crazy lately? Let’s not kid ourselves, summer is absolutely nuts – parties, barbecues, weddings and what not. It’s no secret that all this running around will also transcend to your thoughts racing around. This can leave you feeling restless and a little uncomfortable.

This kinda reminds me of when I was in my early twenties and I could never be alone at home. I was always on the go, running away from being with myself. I was literally afraid to be by myself and sit with my thoughts. This was due to most of my thoughts being very negative and self loathing.

How sad is that? When I think back at my 23 year old self, I wish I could give that girl a big hug and tell her to calm down, be quiet and listen up!

Luckily I’ve long outgrown that behavior and these days I actually crave my alone time and get really grumpy when I don’t get a decent amount of “me” time.

So what changed? Well – you see it’s a little bit of a lot of things:

1) Through coaching I learned how to love myself and actually be nice to me. As women we tend to have tons of negative self chatter. We seriously are complete bee-atches to ourselves. So how can you stop being mean to yourself? Here’s how…and let’s tweet it too!

Click to tweet it: “If you were your best girlfriend what advice would you give yourself right now?”

I doubt your best friend is a mean witch that bashes you the whole time. Start treating yourself like your BFF. Be kind and be honest with yourself!

2) I started meditating. If you’ve met me in a social setting you know I talk really fast and when I tell stories I tend to interrupt myself. My mind can’t always keep up with my mouth. It also doesn’t help that English is my second language! Maybe you can relate. Women tend to have a gazillion thoughts a minute. Hello? Of course we do – that’s why we multitask so well! However with all that chatter, becoming calm and quiet can be very challenging. Meditation has really helped me to zip it and hone in on my inner wisdom.

Here’s why you need to zip the lip and listen up:

As a coach, I believe that everything we need is already inside ourselves. We have the power to do and achieve everything we dream of. For me a way of connecting with that wisdom is meditation.

I will often get myself stuck on what to do or how to solve a problem. In these moments I’ll take a deep breath, set my alarm for 5 minutes, ask the specific question I’m struggling to solve, and then just sit back and be quiet!

It’s amazing what creative ideas you can come up with in just 5 minutes of zipping it and listening. As soon as I’m done with the 5 minutes, I’ll write down everything that came up during the meditation. It’s like magic – no problems at all!

It truly is as Carrie says in SATC: “The most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself” – so be sure to work on that relationship just like you would on any relationship that you cherish.


Ok now I’d love to hear from you in the comments below: Do you have a secret weapon to help you shut down the negative chatter? How do you calm down and relax? Tell us and share so that others can benefit!

Rob Gronkowski admits to only reading 80% of his book.

In the news recently, NFL player Rob Gronkowski admitted  in an interview with Serius XM radio that he only read 80% of his own book. So this means he also didn’t write his entire book…wow!?

Now granted a) Gronkowski probably has more important things to do with his time like practicing for the next big Patriots game and b) does it really matter? Either way, I must admit I kinda envy Gronkowski for being able to have a published book having put in only 80% of the work.

That brings us to our topic today – wishing to achieve career & life goals when we fail to put in 100% of the work needed. When we set goals we often misjudge how much time and effort we’ll have to put in to actually accomplish it.

It’s like graduating from university in your twenties and expecting to immediately land a job as the CEO of a company or starting your own business and think that you’ll make your 1st million the very first day. Now granted these things can happen, but when you take a closer look at how it was done, you’ll learn that there was a ton of prep work before achieving this goal. Unlike Gronkowski you won’t get away with only putting in 80% of the work, or can you?


Graduation day with my mom.

The optimist in all of us seems to take over right at the beginning of the goal setting stage and leads us to believe that we’ll get it all done in no time. That’s probably why they say that Jan 21st is the saddest day of the year. By then every one has realized that the new years goals are not going to be that easy and it’s then that most people give up and reach for a double glazed donut.

So how do you set and achieve a goal?

It may just be a matter of reworking your plan. Making sure your goals are SMART ones.

Ask yourself:
What is it exactly that you’d like to achieve?

What are all the logistics, time commitment and costs associated with this goal?

Also make sure your goals are SMART: Specific, Measurable And Realistic – I like to change the “R” from “realistic” to “RISKY.” Your goal should challenge you just a little – Lastly give your goal a Timeline. Make sure to put the D-day in your calendar or diary.

Put them all together and BOOM, you’ve got yourself a SMART goal.

By doing this you may be as lucky as Gronkowski and get away with putting in 80% of the work and still achieving your goal! Why? Because in creating a clear strategy and SMART goals, you’ll find that the journey to achieving your professional and life aspirations will feel more effortless. Things will start to fall into place, people will be there to help you and you can get away with achieving that goal without doing 100% of the work.

It is as president Benjamin Franklin said: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail!”

Now let’s tweet: By setting SMART goals you can achieve anything without doing 100% of the work!

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