A practicing attorney for more than a decade, Heather Hubbard left behind her job at one of the largest law firms in Nashville and traded it in for the pursuit of her passion — a retreat company that empowers women to achieve a higher sense of balance, both personally and professionally. From motivational speaking to coaching and a brand new podcast due out later this year, she’s helping us find “simple courage” in our everyday lives. Please welcome this week’s FACE of Nashville, the inspiring Heather Hubbard.
Can you tell us about the personal journey that led to starting your professional one?
I would love to say it’s a very linear story, but of course, those things never are. It was a combination of a lot of different things, but I think it started the year I turned 30. Professionally, everything was going better than planned, but my personal life really started to take a toll. My marriage almost ended that year, my little sister died in a car wreck, and I started to look at everything from a fresh perspective — a set of fresh, new eyes. It was from that place that I began to realize that although I was brave and bold on the outside, I wasn’t on the inside. That led me on a journey to explore what I’m doing in life. I think we just start that rat race and climbing that ladder, and when things are going well, we don’t stop to ask, “Am I still aligned? Is this still what I want? What am I here to do, and why?” It was through a lot of that personal stuff, which had nothing to do with my professional life, that eventually led me to realize that I wanted to do different stuff. I want to write. I want to speak. I want to be talking about things that I’m really passionate about, which includes women and equity and equality. Could I make a difference on that front in a legal career? Sure. But was that what I wanted to do for the rest of my life? No. I wanted to be on the front lines.
What is the most common challenge women approach you about, or what do you get most excited to tackle?
If there was a common denominator, both in what they come to me for and what lights me up the most, it’s a desire for more. As little girls, most of us were raised to believe that we can do anything, have anything, and be anything. Then, we kind of hit the stark reality that maybe we can’t. And yet, there’s still this burning desire on our hearts, so it becomes, “Is there something wrong with me? Why should I not just be grateful and happy? Why do I want more? I feel like there’s so much more I can do from an impact perspective.” Sometimes it’s making more money, but a lot of times, it’s about having more power or influence or impact. And what do you do with that when you’ve got a lucrative career, and you’ve got family and children who have certain expectations and obligations, and you still feel like you’ve got so much more to give. That’s really what I see a ton of people coming to me for, and what I get fired up about because I feel like the untapped potential in women is enormous.
Who’s the ideal candidate for your coaching?
It’s someone who has a lot of ambition and drive and wants to change the world. If we’re going to be super honest, it’s someone who knows she was put on this earth to take down the patriarchy, and she feels the pressure of its time. It’s someone who thinks, “I’ve been playing small, and it’s time to make sure that I fulfill what I came here to do, which was change the world — to burn it down and take my rightful place.” That’s her.
Can you talk about your motivational concept of “simple courage?”
I like to say there are two types of true courage — extraordinary courage and simple courage. Extraordinary courage is the type of courage you need in a life-and-death situation, which most of us don’t ever really need or have. Simple courage is showing up as courageous in your everyday life. Even though it’s in your daily life, it still may feel as though you’re going to die, so it’s these little bitty things; it’s all of the “should”s.
We think we have to do things — to have certain relationships or show up in certain ways. Here is a great example I give: We feel like we have to wear heels on stage. Well, why? This concept of practicing simple courage means I’m going to be brave. What is something simple (which isn’t necessarily easy) every single day? How am I going to show up with that kind of courage? It’s the simple courage in our everyday lives that allows us to create the life we want, so we don’t die with regrets. In some ways, it’s the hardest kind of courage to have because it’s the courage that society will tell us means we’re selfish, or that we need to get in line or act appropriately. That’s where simple courage comes in handy — people pleasing, boundaries, all of that. There’s a particular part of the keynote that I give that talks about how it’s also integrative. So, if you have dysfunctional relationships at home, you are also in dysfunctional relationships of work. We try to compartmentalize, but we can’t. Those things show up in every area of our lives. We may try to hide them, but they’re there.
In your opinion, how has COVID and the increase in working from home changed how we find a balance between our personal and professional lives?
When we talk about balance, what we’re looking for is some kind of through-line of satisfaction where we’re not completely depleted and exhausted all the time. That looks different for each person because you can have someone who’s only working five hours a week but still doesn’t feel fulfilled, and you can have someone who’s working 100 hours a week and doesn’t feel fulfilled. So, when it comes to balance, and this kind of connects to simple courage, it’s really about asking, “What do you need at this moment?” and honoring that. It’s scary to be honest with yourself about what you need and to state it regardless of what others think about it. But when you upset your children or spouse or colleagues because you’re not showing up the way that they expect and need and want you to show up, you start to show up for yourself the way you want yourself to show up. That’s when you start to get back on track. That’s also where you need simple courage because if you allow yourself to have those moments, then you’re not searching for this elusive concept of balance. You know your living in your truth.
Everything that’s happening right now, these aren’t new concepts. We’ve simply magnified what was already there before. If someone was already struggling with having boundaries with their family, or doing everything for everyone and never saying “no,” or trying to juggle work and school and extracurricular activities … that was all there before. It’s just under a magnifying glass. It just gives us an opportunity to say, “Okay, where am I not being true to myself, and why?” That’s the bigger one. Why?
What’s the first step we can take to manage priorities and find balance? Is there a daily ritual that you can suggest to make us pause and reset?
Number one, get in the daily practice of checking in with yourself. We’re constantly asking others if they’re okay. “Are you good? What do you need? What can I help you with?” But are you doing that with yourself every single day? If you can’t do that, you’re going to have a really hard time doing the rest. The second piece is just listening — getting quiet and listening. Few of us are honest with ourselves in that way. It’s easier to overextend ourselves than to acknowledge and be honest with feelings that, frankly, most of us were taught are unacceptable or should be ignored. Most of us weren’t raised that way.
You recently wrapped up your three-year-long podcast, “Hustle and Flow.” What made you switch gears, and what’s next?
“Hustle and Flow” gave a lot of behind-the-scenes information and access as to how to grow a business and a career, and not lose yourself in the process. I think we ended up with almost 200 episodes, and I don’t know how many hundreds of thousands of downloads. But I had my own act of simple courage. I had a Post-it Note on my wall that has been in front of my desk for five years. It was something that I always wanted to do — a book I want to write, a talk I wanted to give — and yet, even as a high achiever, I’m like everyone else. I thought, Oh, I will get to it when … So, I let it sit there. There was a moment last year when I was no longer okay with it sitting there, so I started doing my keynote, and I’ve been giving it for a year now. Then, I started working on my book, which is where my heart and passion is. It’s where I think I can have the biggest impact. My entire platform is about helping women rise, and how do I make the biggest difference? I think it’s the concept of simple courage. So, my own act of simple courage was to take something super lucrative and popular that helps generate the vast majority of revenue in my business and go all-in on what I’m here to do. I’m trying to lead by example. How can I encourage others to fully step into their calling if I’ve got a Post-it Note on my wall?
The “Simple Courage” podcast will be debuting within the next few months. I don’t quite have the release date yet, but I’m super excited to bring that to the world. I think it’s just what we need right now.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
It’s not a quote, it wasn’t given directly to me, and she may not even realize that she taught me this, but it was from Dolly Parton. She taught me to believe in myself even when no one else did — and to believe in my full self.
Outside of faith, family and friends, what are three things you cannot live without?
My fur babies, wine and music.
Thank you for inspiring us, Heather!
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