Susannah Campora, founder of Real Life Book Club (RLBC), created an authentic and affordable community of likeminded women. RLBC is for ladies who crave authenticity, wholeheartedness and connection. This tribe is about discovering who we really are, who we want to be and how we can live meaningful lives.
Real Life Book Club is a place to connect with women on a deeper level. We don’t ask each other “What do you do for work? How many kids do you have? What have you been up to lately?” Instead, we dig deep. We discover the truth about how we feel, set intentions and hold each other accountable. It takes work to live purposefully. RLBC opens our hearts and allows us to pursue our dreams.
- The Book Club: We read personal development books in various, six-week sessions with ten women.
- Real Life, True YOU Sessions: Group coaching with Susannah on a set topic.
- The Socials: Three female panelists are interviewed by Susannah every other month for an evening of inspiration.
Our website is in the process of being re-structured. Greatness takes time to be built! In the meantime, if you want to receive updates on RLBC six-week book clubs, True-You Sessions with Susannah or RLBC Socials, sign up right HERE.
Last Monday, Real Life Book Club celebrated one year of RLBC Socials. I can’t believe how far this community has expanded in such a short amount of time!
Susannah kicked off the night by asking audience members to define what Real Life Book Club means to them. Danielle Norris, Co-Founder of Sovenco, started the discussion. “My first six-week book club session was the first time I became comfortable telling my story in a safe place.”
Lisha Gallegos piped in, “Real Life Book Club has taught me how to love myself. When I first started I couldn’t feel one of my arms. I have M.S. This is a community helped me return to the full me, the real me, not the M.S. me. This tribe is full of women who celebrate our lives. Susannah is on fire and she ignites my flame.”
I share similar sentiments as Lisha because I’ve never been part of anything like Real Life Book Club. We’re surrounded by powerful women in this community, the kind of ladies who are blazing trails and rocking entrepreneurship.
It’s a place where there’s no guilt for saying no, no judgment for being human and no fear that can’t be talked through.
Everyone in this community rides on an accelerated path because that’s simply the way it works- once we discover we can actually BE the people we’ve always wanted to BE, the bullshit that was slowing us down in the first place fades to black.
Susannah introduced three panelists and asked them to take us on a journey from their old selves to who they are in their lives today.
Sarah Marie is a multi-preneur on a mission to inspire and empower women to have abundant health and financial freedom. Her journey began when she married at the tender age of 21 and had her first baby by the time she was 23 years-old. “We’re raised in a culture of people-pleasing. We’re told to be selfless.”
She fell into give-mode until she lost herself in her marriage and in motherhood. She had to start asking herself, “What does Sarah want? What do I care about?” She stepped out of her marriage and created three sets of business cards, one for photography, one for designing websites and one for sewing. Changing the direction of Sarah’s life meant saying yes to the inspiration in her heart. She wanted more so she went after it.
Being an entrepreneur is scary stuff! Sarah says that she still has to work through the bumps in the road, “Fear lives inside of us. It doesn’t simply go away. It still pops up from time to time and I have to work through it.”
Ashley DePaulis went next. I know Ashley because she was in my first six-week RLBC book club session. At the time, I was fresh on the scene, defining myself as a writer and Ashley was already making a living as an entrepreneur. I was impressed! She’s a Sustainable Health Practitioner and helps to ‘Ignite Your Inner Athlete’ by teaching people the secret to sustainable health.
Ashley described her former career of working in health policy. She worked in an office environment that felt reserved, stuffy and a bit lifeless at times. Ashley believed in the work of the organization, however the buttoned-up approach wasn’t working. After 4.5 years she knew it was time to make a drastic change because , “there was more of me I wanted to express.”
She shared what it was like to be hit by a drunk driver at age 19 with her boyfriend and her dog in the car. She broke her ribs, ankle, back and cheekbone. All of her physical injuries healed but a fear cycle remained and she was unaware of it overlapping into all areas of her life.
In 2013, while driving, Ashley was hit by another car.
She began to experience all kinds of emotions that weren’t going away despite ‘time healing all wounds’. Passing cars on the road made her heart race.
A family friend who worked in trauma therapy talked to her about seeing someone for PSTD. Ashley said yes, and overtime she was able to work through her feelings around that initial car accident. Looking back, she said the aftermath from that first incident felt like she was like living in a fog for 14 years. It’s amazing what happens when we love ourselves enough to talk about all the stuff we never say out loud.
My friend and sista, Shelley Hunter Hillesheim was the last to share her story. She’s a self-care coach, published author, inspirational speaker, workshop leader, sisterhood builder and maverick for ambitious, driven women.
She started her career with a business background while climbing the corporate ladder in marketing, then moved into corporate finance once she completed her MBA. She liked it and she excelled at it, but after moving to a new state, she began to dabble in the world of entrepreneurship where she guided individuals with personal financial goals. Then, after having her 2nd child, staying-at-home became a better financial fit for her family.
After several years at home, she felt like she was losing her own identify in the mix of being mom and wife. She was no longer striving towards a personal passion. It was time for her to get back to Shelley, so she leaped into a spark to join the world of fitness competitions.
This is where she discovered sisterhood and began to find her own identify again. However, Shelley, a natural overachiever drove herself into the ground with her commitment to succeed. She started off by happily spending 15-20 hours a week at the gym, but over the course of seven years, she crashed and burned, hard.
Self-discipline turned into a lifestyle without joy. She traveled the country, leaning down to single digit body fat percentages, lived in tiny bejeweled suits and high heels, stayed tan and unknowingly slipped into body dysmorphia challenges and what she later discovered was a form of eating disorder, all while experiencing complete metabolic burn-out.
Shelley’s wakeup call happened while driving home from the gym one morning, feeling depleted. Her kids were fast asleep in the back seat when she blacked out. She woke up to the piercing sound of her car scraping an embankment. In an instant, she knew- “I’m done.” Her strict and severely disciplined lifestyle had to change. Thankfully, her kiddos remained asleep for the whole accident.
Shelley then decided it was time to take ownership of her body, her health and her nutrition. She graduated from a nutritional chef training program and her business, “A Nourished Life” was born. Broccoli, kale & smoothies became her staple. Whole Foods eating transformed her life. She wanted to share her knowledge with other people so she started teaching cooking classes and re-introducing people to their kitchens.
Over time she realized, “if we’re not treating the whole person it doesn’t matter how much broccoli we eat.” This is when she discovered her coaching niche-teaching people how to make themselves the priority. Shelley’s self-care approach to coaching is changing lives. She teaches people how to honor themselves- mind, body and soul-in order to deliver a holistic, intentionally crafted experience.
Sarah told us that she has learned to embrace fear. Over the years, she’s had a reoccurring dream about tornados. Most nights she knows that she’s dreaming when she sees them, but she’s still too scared to walk through them. She usually tries to wait then out until its calm enough to pass.
Recently when she had this dream, she had the thought, “I have really strong thighs.” The entire room of women laughed, but she kept on, “I knew I could make it. I knew I was strong enough. So here I am, deciding, ‘Sure, I can walk through that’. I’m pulling my kids behind me and telling them, ‘hold on tight, here we go!’ We walk through the eye of the storm and see a wide open field on the other side.”
Sarah learned that fear is never going to go away. We just have to figure it out, be brave and walk right through it.
Susannah asked the panelists if they would like to offer any final takeaways on how to walk through fear.
Shelley: “My non-negotiable self-care go-to is meditation. It’s where I find my soul, my peace and it keeps my perfectionist, overachiever in check. Start by starting. It’s as simple as that. Create a daily practice. Start small, but commit to starting.”
Ashley: “Talk to others and find the right support, don’t go at it alone!”
Sarah: “Baby steps. Love yourself along the way. You were better than yesterday. Try something different and see what unfolds.”
So it begins…