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I had the pleasure of Byrdie from Byrdies Babes reach out to me after reading a post I did on Instagram about Mental Strength. She provided me with 6 interview questions surrounding this topic. At first glance the questions seemed quite straight forward until I began answering them and diving deep into my past and feeling these emotions resurface. It was my pleasure to do this interview, as it gave me a glimpse of my past and how far I have come all thanks to my Mental Strength. For those of you who are interested in better understanding what it is and how you can use it to become your best self – read below. Enjoy xx

BYRDIE: Can you tell us a little about who you are and how you got into the wellness industry?

LISA: My name is Lisa Manzo and I am a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (R.H.N), a Personal Trainer, author of the book Healthy is Sexy and the founder of PurEnergy Wellness Lofts in Toronto. Apart from my business titles, I am a wife and mother. I am motivated and passionate about everything I do; helping others to live a healthy and happy life is my life mission.   My drive is to motivate and inspire others to gain a deep connection and excitement about life and the positive changes that can come when we focus on nutrition, wellness (both spiritual and physical) and fitness. My eyes sparkle when I can walk this journey with other people and know that they will benefit from all of this.

I began my wellness journey at the age of 18 (17 years ago yikes!) when I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. Being told that the solution would be thyroid ablation (meaning the thyroid is knocked out finally and forever) I instantly began researching more holistic ways in which I could control the levels. Although I was active from a young age, played soccer at a competitive level and ate mainly a Mediterranean diet this was just not merely enough. I began as a Fitness Instructor which lead to being a Personal Training and then finally a Registered Holistic Nutritionist. Wellness back then was simply a tool to help rid this condition. However over time I have come to the understanding that there are no coincidences in life. I was led to wellness because it is my divine purpose. Also at the age of 18 is when I began my struggles with self esteem, self worth, self love, where exactly I belonged in the world, my deep rooted anger, my drive for perfection which constantly led to my desire and need to escape. Wellness saved me and I am forever grateful to be able to share my knowledge and passion with others.

BYRDIE: What is mental strength? How does it differ from mental health?

LISA: Psychology often discusses mental health which is a state of well-being. However what is not often discussed is a clear definition of mental strength. Mental strength can sometimes be confused as mental toughness. Where an athlete would need to use mental toughness when pushing through an injury or the last few minutes of an already long training session. Mentally strong is not about acting or being tough. It is not about surviving; it is about thriving. Mental strength involves more than an intense drive or willpower; it requires hard work, commitment and dedication to self-improvement. It is about being aware and regulating your emotions, managing your thoughts and learning from painful past experiences. Developing this skill is about finding the courage to live life according to your personal values and being bold enough to create your own definition of happy.

BYRDIE: How is this term significant in your life? Can you tell us what it means to you?

LISA: My younger self has had to learn mental strength as a means of thriving and achieving bigger and better goals. When I lacked mental strength, my self -doubt won consuming my mind with negative self- talk. The energy of this unhelpful advice would draw the wrong people and relationships into my life. I began to surround myself with others who lacked self value, self worth and self esteem. Their negative patterns became my negative patterns; their unhelpful criticism and bad advice drowned out my inner voice and as a result contributed to my unhappiness. Learning from these past experiences (some more traumatic than others) has made me truly understand the incredible importance of mental strength.

On those days, weeks or months that I feel discouraged, tired or lost mental strength is what keeps me motivated towards my desires. It allows me to stay true to my values and keeps me focused on making the best decisions for ME regardless of the advice others share. Self-improvement is key to learning and growing. We must own our sh!t (excuse my French lol) and humbly accept responsibility for our actions.  No one is perfect nor are we meant to be (that would be a very boring world); mistakes are what help us develop and emotionally mature. I made a commitment to myself a long time ago that I would not allow my fears to dictate how my life goes. We all face different fears and that is okay.  What is not okay is avoiding them. Mental strength allows you the courage to step out of your comfort zone and face them head on regardless of how frightened you are. This confidence will lead you to a more fulfilling and content life. With facing your fears comes the fear of failure.  We have been conditioned by society to think that failure is not an option. We immediately associate failure with negative thoughts: loser, stupid, useless, not enough, wrong, etc. This thought pattern causes most people to either give up or not even try to begin with. Once I changed my perspective and looked at failure as a positive opportunity, I used past failures as learning lessons for today’s successes. It wasn’t until achieving this last step, although it took many years of dedication, that I pleasantly realized that I have fully and whole-heartedly gained self-worth. Role modeling self-worth is my maternal obligation now that I have a daughter. If she manages to retain a strong sense of self in the face of future recess rejection, tween tumult, and size-zero celebrities I will be one proud mama bear!

BYRDIE: Do you practice mental strength daily? Can you share some ways you do this and tips for others wanting to begin this journey?

LISA: Developing mental strength requires conscious effort, dedication and daily practice. Much like strength training, you must train your mental muscles. The journey of self discovery will lead to acquiring mental strength. Do not be afraid to confront foreign feelings, in fact bringing them to the surface will allow you to acknowledge them in a positive manner and bring you closer to managing these emotions effectively. Here are 3 tips to help you begin the journey of mental strength:

    1. Positive Self Talk: We live 90% in our heads which means you must be mindful of the words you are speaking to yourself. All day, everyday our mind is flooded with thoughts that direct us to leading the lives that we live. How we speak to ourselves determines our journey, our success and also our failures. Albert Einstein says it best, “You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” 
    2. Your vibe attracts your tribe: This saying has stuck with me over the years. The only way to attract your tribe is to be yourself. If you are pretending to be someone that you’re not, you’re going to attract a tribe that has nothing in common with the real you. Therefore keeping you small. Find a tribe that cheers you on when you succeed and gives you the extra pep talk (you are also giving this to yourself) when you hit a hurdle. Your tribe should accept you for who you are and be your support system, your cheering squad and provide you with a sense of community.
    3. Get Grounded Daily: Clear your mind, recharge your energy, strengthen your instincts, regain your center and calm your emotions. To me, being grounded is being fully present in my body. Staying rooted in our physical bodies eliminates getting distracted easily, feeling spaced out, over thinking, engaging in personal drama and experiencing anxiety and perpetual worrying. These are all clear cut signs of someone who is ungrounded. Being ungrounded is a worldwide epidemic. Grounding techniques redistribute the energy from your head or mind into your body having an instant calming effect and feeling in control. Grounding techniques can include long deep breaths, earthing, mindful walks, meditation, restorative yoga, or journaling.

BYRDIE: Do you believe practicing mental strength is vital to a holistic lifestyle?

LISA: Absolutely! Most individuals think that practising a lifestyle of holistic wellness only includes eating right and working out. Your body, mind and soul are not completely separate entities that need different things to keep them well. Anything that benefits one will benefit the rest. It is important to indulge in an array of healthy delights and activities so that every part of you can thrive.  Learning mental strength skills will allow you to develop courage and confidence to live a life of power, purpose and passion!

BYRDIE: If you could share an inspiring message with our BABES, what would it be?

LISA: Don’t ever compare your journey with some else’s. Your journey is YOUR journey not a competition. Just like Jon Acuff quotes “Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle”. Your journey will be filled with emotional highs and lows. It is imperative to learn emotional maturity and help regulate these emotions. Adopting this skill will allow you to stay grounded and focused on your true desires so that your rollercoaster of emotions do not cloud your judgement or lead you in a different direction to what you truly desire. Life will throw you some interesting curve balls but, with mental strength, it’s nothing you can’t handle with confidence.

I love Woman Crush Wednesdays because I have the ability to feature incredible women from all industries.  I cannot express how grateful I am to meet such strong, motivating and inspiring women making a difference in this world, loving what they do and being happy! It inspires me to continue along my path, to keep growing and to support other kick-ass female entrepreneurs because that’s what strong women do – we pull each other up in life and remind one another how amazing we are!

It is my pleasure to introduce this incredibly talented young woman Lauren Fernandez.  Lauren is the owner of Raw Beauty Bar located at Kipling and Bloor (3830 Bloor St W) in Etobicoke just 3 minutes from my wellness studio!  Yes this is super convenient for me! Those of you who know me well, know that I often have my nails painted (ahhh my love affair for nail polish is lifelong) so you can imagine how excited I was to find out about Raw Beauty Bar.

This beauty bar is a trendy and funky establishment with not only knowledgeable staff but really cool girls! You are made to feel welcome the moment you walk into their doors. The vibe here is great and will make any age group feel at home and pampered.

Lauren is a passionate woman who started off with an idea; a dream and has brought to life Raw Beauty Bar — a love she can now share with all of us.  Thank you Lauren! We all love it at Raw!

With time to spare while enjoying my manicure and pedicure, I created a list of questions for Lauren. Enjoy the read!

** For ALL of my amazing followers, use the code: RAWLISA10 to receive 10% off your first visit at Raw **

Q: What ignited the spark in you to start Raw Beauty Bar?

A: I’ve always been an entrepreneur. I used to knit these two-toned coloured ear warmers and at first, it was just for friends and myself. Then it became more than that. At the time it was during the holiday season so friends, friends of friends and even strangers that saw my facebook page started placing orders. I made over $1,000 in one month! Sales were just crazy! I even had my mom knitting at work so I could get all of the orders ready in time. The feeling of completing a project and having people love your product is so fulfilling. That feeling made me realize that I could not only create a successful product, but create a business in an industry that is so saturated in this world, and offer a one of a kind service just like my two-toned ear warmers. I know what you’re thinking, “One of a kind”? I say one of a kind because it’s not what you’re doing, it’s how you do it and the kind of service you’re providing. At Raw Beauty Bar, I’ve created a team that not only is certified in what they do but actually have that passion that some salons are lacking. When you get your nails or waxing done, you make physical contact with your esthetician. I really believe in positive energy and positive vibes and that’s what I like to promote here at Raw, not only to our clients but within our Raw Family as well. This has our clients leaving not only looking great but feeling amazing too! That idea, is what sparked Raw Beauty Bar.

Q: Tell us about Raw Beauty Bar

A: Raw Beauty Bar is an urban to suburban style nail salon that offers mani/ pedi’s, waxing, facials & massage. We encourage the natural growth of nails and we focus on retailing Canadian born retail products such as LoveFresh, Province Apothecary & Parkdale Butter.

Our staff, or as we call “The Raw Fam” are certified, passionate estheticians that love what they do. Right now, we have 9 estheticians who are super awesome and are different and creative in their own way. It’s funny, if you were to come into the shop, you would not expect us to all get along, but we do. Our different personalities are actually what makes us such an amazing team!

Q: What motivates you? 

What motivates me is the idea of being able to provide for my future beyond Raw Beauty Bar, such as buying my first home, my first car, my wedding or my children (God willing). What also motivates me is also the future for my girls at Raw, whether it’s to open their own salon one day, or to help me open other Raw locations. I just want the best for myself, my family, and my Raw family.

Q: How do you define success? 

A: To me, there are two different meanings of success. Feeling successful, and being successful. I definitely feel successful and blessed of what I’ve accomplished so far. But if you’re talking financial success, then I definitely still have a long way to go!

Q: Who has been your greatest inspiration?

A: My greatest inspirations would be my family. It’s hard to chose one inspiration because my mom, dad, sister have been my biggest support. My parents of course, raising me and inspiring me to be the best person I can be, and accomplish anything I want to do in life. My sister, for making me tough emotionally because I definitely think with my heart more than I do with my head. She’s helped me adjust in becoming the person I am today. I am definitely in my element, thanks to those three!

Q: What has been your most satisfying moment in business?

A: The most satisfying moment I’ve experienced in business, would be the positive feed back from clients. Nothing is more rewarding than hearing clients tell me how they love their nails and that they feel amazing, or that one of my girls did an amazing job and how lovely they are!

Q: What three pieces of advice would you give to anyone wanting to become an entrepreneur? 

A:

1. Love what you do.

2. Do not compete with others, but compete within yourself to be the best you can be.

3. Stay Humble.

Q: What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time? 

A: If we’re being honest, I do not have any hobbies right now, all I do is work. And when I’m not working, I am at home with my dog Louie, watching Netflix and eating pizza. I love pizza.

Q: What makes you happy? 

A: A lot of things make me happy. I could go on and on but if I could sum it all up into one thing, it would be where I am in my life right now.  As a young entrepreneur, doing what I am most passionate about, making people look good and feel good and making a difference in peoples lives, emotionally and physically.  Being selfless and making a difference.  That’s what makes me happy.