How Lady Gaga Taught Me to Keep Struggling

“I’m a woman struggling now, not a girl anymore.”

This was the line that stuck with me as I watched the Lady Gaga documentary, Five Foot Two, on Netflix. I’ve always liked these behind the scenes looks at stars like Lady Gaga. They are good reminders of the humanness that tends to be stripped from celebrities who seemingly “have it all.” For Lady Gaga a.k.a Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, there’s a lot going on behind the curtain. And in many ways, she’s just like everyone else: struggling to find her way.

I, like Lady Gaga, like everyone, have had my share of struggles. And while I know there are many that await me in the future, I want to believe I can walk confidently into their wake. For without struggle there is no growth, no perseverance, no forward progress. If I am struggling it means I am alive, and sometimes that’s the biggest victory of all.

This is why Lady Gaga’s words sit so prominently at the front of my mind. Because when I think of the struggles I’ve already overcome, I realize how much stronger I am. How much wiser, kinder, and more courageous. And even when life gets hard and those doubts creep in, I can take a second to notice how far I’ve come. For I am no longer and struggling girl, I am a struggling woman. And I hope that as the years go by I can get older and older and continue struggling, continue fighting, appreciating the woman I’m becoming every step of the way.



Learning to Shout in Begin Again

Shout Your Strong was created on the hope that we would all proudly and unashamedly proclaim our successes, no matter the size, and let them inspire others to work hard and do the same. It’s the idea that one voice can inspire another and another and another, ultimately creating one powerful sound for all to hear. Recently I saw this idea come to life, though on a different platform, and in a different medium.

In the 2013 film, Begin Again, Keira Knightley is an unknown singer-songwriter who teams up with record label executive Mark Ruffalo to make an album. At the beginning, Ruffalo arrives at a bar, drunk and frustrated after being fired, and he hears Knightley singing to an audience who appears to be paying little to no attention to her. Unlike the audience however, he is drawn to her voice, attracted to it, inspired by it. He allows his mind to take her quiet, acoustic, song and expand upon it, adding piano, cello, drums and backup vocals. He is a born producer, it seems, capable of making something good, great, but could he have done so without first hearing her song? Her voice?

In that bar her voice may have seemed small, but to one person in that bar, her voice was loud and powerful. And it wasn’t because she knew what he wanted her to say. It wasn’t because she was saying something that’s been said before. It was because she was saying something new, in her own voice, in her own way. And with that, he was inspired to create something bigger.

Our voices, when used, are never small. They are never completely unheard. And when we are honest about what we are struggling with and the positive steps we’re taking each day, we might finally show others that they are not alone in the battles they’re fighting, and that forward progress is possible.

So use your voice and shout your strong, because not only do you deserve to share it, someone out there just might need to hear it.


Shared Journeys

Pretty Happy

I recently started reading Kate Hudson’s book, Pretty Happy, and was drawn to a point she made about setting goals.

She said, “I think it’s important at the beginning of any journey to understand two things: where you are now and where you want to go. Your motivation and your ability to persevere despite obstacles is only going to hold and grow if you can be honest about these 2 points.

What I love about this is that she doesn’t suggest we need to decide on a destination or that success will only be achieved if we arrive somewhere specific or achieve something concrete. A successful journey, she explains, relies solely on our ability to consistently notice where we are and where we want to go.

I think it’s so easy to get caught up in the specifics of a destination. We want numbers, we want dates, we want places, because the way we see it, once we have those, we give ourselves a better chance of reaching that end goal. But you see, destinations can and will change, either by your hands or those of fate, and what makes Kate Hudson’s two points so strong is their fluidity. For no matter what obstacles are put in front of you or how many wrong turns you make, if you remember to note where you are and where you want to go, you can always get back on track.

So in your own journey, don’t focus so heavily on setting an ultimate “destination”, because a healthy journey is not about reaching perfection, it’s about constantly striving for progress.



Share the progress you’re making using #shoutyourstrong

A Piece of Advice

Climb On

It never ceases to amaze me how inspiration can come in the most unexpected of places. This past week, I’ve felt an undeniable source of it from the new marketing campaign for Coors Light: Climb On.

I’d heard their new slogan in passing over the past few weeks and never thought too much of it. But then this past weekend while I was watching the Dodger game with my family I saw a few ads during the commercial breaks and was instantly obsessed.

“Whatever your mountain, climb on” they say, followed by, “Our mountains make us who we are, your mountains make you who you are.”

It was as if they were speaking directly to the Shout Your Strong cause.

We all have mountains, challenges, obstacles to overcome, and their uniqueness is what, in turn, makes us unique, it what makes us different, and accomplishing or overcoming them, is what makes us great.

So take no mind in the mountains of others, for they are not yours climb. And worry not about the size of your own in comparison, for your steps are all that matter upon their rocky surface.

Keep climbing, keep shouting.

Every step counts, every step matters, and every step deserves to be celebrated.





The Start of #ShoutYourStrong

Featured Image -- 74

Originally posted on Kimberlee K.

Throughout our lives, possibly even multiple times a day, we will tell ourselves, “I can’t.” It’s too far, it’s too high, I’m too weak, I just can’t do it.

Well, to put it lightly, we’re wrong, so wrong.

The truth is, we can do anything, you can do anything.

In today’s world, we are not strangers to sharing what we do. With a wide variety of social media outlets, we can document nearly every moment of our day. In doing so we have the ability to connect with and inspire others, as well as express ourselves in a unique way. When we post, we start a conversation, and today I’d like to start one that, while not necessarily new, is still extremely important and very personal to me.

As some of you may know, I climbed Mt. Whitney a few years ago and it changed my life. It woke me up from a long period of negativity and an “I can’t” mentality, and jump-started my path to self-acceptance. Throughout the training process and ultimately the final climb, I discovered something within myself that I can only describe as “my strong.”

We all have it. No matter who we are, where we come from, or what battles we are fighting, our strong is the intangible measure of what we can do, and against all odds, it moves us forward.

Today I hope to encourage all of you to not only discover your strong, but embrace it, utilize it, and share it with the world. So, I’m starting the hashtag #shoutyourstrong, which aims to celebrate all that we are accomplishing, both in the physical and mental battles we are fighting.

It is my hope that this hashtag can act as a community, a celebration of the positive changes we are all making in our lives amongst the ever-present negativity found both on- and offline.

#ShoutYourStrong will strive to inspire, not spark comparisons. We are all facing different struggles and we should not let the success of others diminish our own, nor should we be discouraged to share our steps forward, even if they seem small. For when we have the courage to admit what we’re going through, we give ourselves a voice. When we find the strength to fight back, we allow that voice to echo. And should another who struggles hear that echo, it might finally give them the courage to speak.

So today I encourage you to join the conversation. For no matter who you are or what you’re going through, and as hard as it may be to believe, you do have a unique strength inside of you that will help carry you through whatever comes your way. And not if, but when you find it, don’t just share it, shout it!