Q+A: Elizabeth Piper
We are so excited to interview Elizabeth Piper, an amazing speaker, writer and wellness coach who inspires us to laugh out loud and be the best version of ourselves. We love to think of her as a young version of Brene Brown. Yes, watch out Brene, you've got home girl coming atcha. This girl may be young but has got to have lived 10 lives with her wit and wisdom. We couldn't be more proud to have Elizabeth (aka Piper) leading our work/life balance workshop at our upcoming Living Forward event. Let's get up close and personal with Piper and pick her brain on some lifestyle and empowerment tips.
Hi Elizabeth! Tell us a little about yourself?
Hello! I am a 27-year-old Speaker, Writer, and Wellness Coach born and raised in Baltimore. While the technical term for what I do professionally falls under the categories of Motivational Speaking and Life Coaching, I've always personally disliked those titles as they seemingly imply that I have all the answers to life, and I'm here to motivate and coach others on how to implement those answers into their own lives. The truth is, however, I don't have nor do I wish I had the answers to life. To the contrary, I strongly believe that life is more about living the questions, trusting the process, and connecting to our own intuitive, wiser selves. I often describe myself as a sponge that has soaked in all of my life experiences, sat in the pain and joy that resulted from those experiences, and then extracted as much as wisdom as possible. This is what I share through my speaking, writing, and coaching. I share my stories - full of heartache and delight, and then use those stories to first heal myself, and then, as any authentic story-teller inevitably does, empower other women to heal themselves, too.
Personally, the important things you need to know about me are as follows:
1. I believe Gilmore Girls heals the soul.
2. I believe traumatic experiences cannot be healed with this idea that everything happens for a reason. The truth is, a lot of shitty things happen in this life that are both undeserved and inexplicable. The only power we have in these situations is to allow our feelings to move through us while we answer the question, "What can I do with this now?"
3. Every day should be Taco Tuesday.
4. Playing the way children play has magical, healing powers
5. While paying attention to life is exhausting and draining, it's also the only way to fall deeply and profoundly in love with yourself, humanity, and the universe.
6. I've made it my life mission to continuously search for the Boom Bands.
What led you to become your own boss?
It's quite simple. I'm not good at doing things for other people that I don't believe in. So I don't.
What do you love most about speaking, writing and developing young women?
To me, it's a natural high. When I can take something that has happened to me and articulate it in a way that resonates with other people - that's just magical. I also know that ultimately, I am speaking, writing, and coaching myself. Everything I speak, write, and coach about is something that I, too, am practicing and learning, so in essence, I am really always talking to myself. Some may see this is selfish, but I disagree. I think we are always healing ourselves and in sharing that process with others in an authentic way, we are inevitably helping them heal as well. As Marianne Williamson once wrote, "As I am liberated from my own far, my presence automatically liberates others."
What is the most important message you like to share with women?
It comes from a poem by Sarah Kay. "You are the type of woman searching for a place to call yours. Let the statues crumble. You have always been the place." I teach women that they are the place they are searching for; their souls are their homes. And only they can fill the empty bowls that symbolize the voids in their lives.
Who are some women that have inspired your work?
Elizabeth Gilbert, Brene Brown, Mother Theresa, my mother, Cheryl Strayed, Glennon Doyle, J.K. Rowling....did I mention my mother?
What are your goals for the next year? What about in the next 5-10 years?
My major goal in the next year is to write my memoir about my relationship with my mother who passed away four years ago from an accidental alcohol overdose. In the next 10-15 years, I want to be traveling around the world, writing books and speaking about those books to audiences of women. I want to surround myself with other women who lift each other up, cheer each other on, and set the world on fire. And I think I'd like to start swimming laps in a pool. I never took swimming lessons as a child and, well, I think I'd enjoy that very much.
What do you love to do during your free time?
I love to jump on my trampoline, interpretive dance to Florence and the Machine, sneak into pools, do Celine Dion and Shakira impressions for my friends (which for whatever reason sound exactly the same as one another), explore new places, go on bike rides, hike through the woods, listen to live music, and spend an equal amount of time laughing and having deep philosophical conversations with my friends. Oh, and doing really just about anything with my Daddy.
Could you provide us with 1-3 tips on how to stay empowered on a daily basis?
1. Buy yourself a trampoline and jump on it every day
2. Create a mantra for yourself for when you're being mean to yourself. Mine is, "I am such a FUCKING BADASS."
3. No matter how much you love a significant other, always, always, always, love yourself more. This doesn't make you selfish. It makes you wise and ultimately, more loving to those around you.
When it comes to work/life balance, what do you think is key for us all to be mindful of as we pursue our passions as entrepreneurs?
Because we entrepreneurs tend to start businesses that we are passionate about, we often struggle separating our businesses from our lives because we see them as being so incredibly intertwined if not one in the same. I struggled with this for a long time (and still do occasionally to be honest). As a speaker and a writer, almost every experience I have lends itself to my work. But the truth is, first and foremost I have a life, not a career. And while that life undoubtedly serves me in my career, it's important to explore other parts of myself , that have absolutely nothing to do with my job, to avoid overwhelm, burnout, and most importantly, becoming passionless in the field that I love. For instance, I want to start taking Spanish classes not necessarily to deliver speeches in Spanish (although, let's be honest, that would be pretty fucking cool) but rather because speaking Spanish is fun to me, and makes me feel sexy and, you know, bilingual. We think that unless our actions or interests are directly aiding us in our career, then they are simply a waste of time. Well, I call BULLSHIT. I'm alive. You're alive. For how long, we haven't a clue. So we gotta get out there are start doing things that bring us delight, even if they make no sense or money or directly relate to our work. The fact that they fill us up with some positive emotion is reason enough, my loves.
To learn more about Piper--visit her website here.