Today Robyn Hussa is sharing with us about perseverance. I first connected with Robyn when I was interested in getting involved with the blog, We Are The Real Deal, where she is the editor. I’m a huge supporter of the work that they do and had to share my story on their site. We Are The Real Deal has built an amazing community of contributors, bloggers, and readers who have their heart and soul into being positive about their body image. Check them out after you finish reading the post. Thank you, Robyn, for sharing your story with us! I admire your accomplishments.
Robyn Hussa, MFA, E-RYT is a producer, writer, director and actress who has been entrenched for six years in schools and universities from all communities, treatment centers, hospitals, educational and medical conferences, working with families, patients, educators and medical professionals first-hand to educate about the myriad of complex issues surrounding our nation’s epidemic of eating disorders. She is a nationally recognized leader in the field of eating disorders and frequent Keynote presenter as Founder and President of the NORMAL In Schools nonprofit, and co-Founder and Founding Executive Director of the Drama Desk and Obie award-winning New York theatre company Transport Group. For her efforts creating the NIS program, she won the 2010 Champion in Women’s Health award by Wisconsin’s First Lady, Ms. Sue Ann Thompson. She is the author of the books: Healthy Selfitude (www.selfitude.com) and Meditation and Mindfulness Guidebook for Eating Disorder Recovery Yoga (both available on Amazon.com) and is the Editor of the We Are The Real Deal blog universe (www.wearetherealdeal.com). Hussa also runs a production company (White Elephant Enterprises) in New York City with her fiance, Tim Farrell. Together, they have created educational films and documentaries ranging from health to alternative medicine (www.whiteelephantenterprises.com). She holds an MFA from the University of Virginia, is an E-RYT with Yoga Alliance, and is a member of the professional acting unions (AEA, AFTRA, SAG) as well as the professional organizations for eating disorders (AED and IAEDP). Read Robyn’s interview below!
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? Who did you receive it from?
When I was little, my grandma once told me (when I complained that I had a pimple on my face that “flaws help remind us we are human…. we are supposed to have flaws”) — We have so few reminders that we aren’t supposed to be perfect — so that one was really important to me.
How important is mentorship in terms of your success?
I just wrote a book called “Healthy Selfitude” in which I talk about the many mentors who I have been privileged to know and study under. They were all absolutely crucial to my development personally and professionally.
What has been the best moment in your life so far?
Experiencing true inner peace when I moved to Milwaukee to start the NORMAL nonprofit organization, I had the privilege of sitting on Lake Michigan on a weekly basis, where I could just watch the birds and water (as I raised a new puppy). This was possibly the first time I had begun to experience real inner peace and self-love and — to me — that was the best moment.
What tips would you have for living a healthy life?
Take time for yourself every single day. At least for one hour each day, do something “kind” to yourself — whatever that means for you. This kind of self-care is crucial to every human being (guys or girls).
How do you motivate yourself to persist despite setbacks?
I do yoga and during the meditation, I ask the Universe to guide me. I let the Universe know that I am willing to be open, to grow, and to learn and I listen to what comes back. The messages we receive that help guide us are everywhere; we just have to sit quietly and listen.
What has been your biggest setback? How did you deal with it? What did you learn from it?
I have had many, many setbacks. Almost all of them were because I was “getting in my own way” — often my fear or drive for perfection or ambition got in the way of listening, letting go, and simply enjoying the ride (and those who were around me). My greatest setback came when I did not speak assertively and clearly to a business partner. I “assumed” that he knew what my needs were, and he did not. When he didn’t automatically “know” my needs, I became angry. Therefore, by not speaking out clearly from the get-go, I suffered incredible consequences that eventually led to my parting from a business (and friendship) that I truly adored. My lesson in that example, is that it is always best to “bring your true heart” to the table and express your needs clearly. If you do not, others will have no way of knowing how to help you achieve your goals. Never be afraid to express your true voice. Never.
How do you deal with critics?
When I was in my 20′s and 30′s, I really took outside criticism to heart. I was a professional actress so – literally – critics were folks who shaped my career. But as I blossomed into a more self-assured human being, I tried to listen to the wisdom of one of my mentors. He always told me that I needed to “put the blinders on” and filter out what everyone else thinks. My interpretation of that now is that I have to continuously listen to my “inner voice” and “inner truth” and in order to do that, I have to find a peaceful moment for myself each day in order to actually “hear” that truth. This is the only “critic” I now know. My true self. She is not a critic anymore, but a trusted guide.
How important is social support in overcoming obstacles?
Surrounding yourself with friends and loved ones who can truly support you is crucial. As human beings, we are social creatures, so we thrive in community settings. The trick is to be sure you are surrounding yourself with healthy and like-spirited individuals.
What advice would you give others about goal setting?
Goals are important to success – there’s no question about it. Equally important is setting out a strategic plan or map that you can follow in order to achieve those goals. I have found that writing down my dreams, goals, or ambitions is the first step to achieving them. “You have to name it in order to claim it” … as they say.
What life lesson have you learned that you would like to pass along to others?
The most important part of life is the present moment. When you are in the present moment you are clear, centered, and you feel connected to everything in the world. This is the place where we should be living — this is the place from where we should make our biggest decisions and choices — this is the place from where we should fall in love, say goodbye, etc. This is so very, very simple, yet so very hard to achieve in a world that is keeping us OUT of the present moment. When we are working on the computer or texting — we are NOT in the present moment (but I find it increasingly challenging to step away from those devices!!), when we are in a conversation with someone and we aren’t actually focusing on them … we are NOT in the present moment. The present moment means being there — FULLY — when your friends or relatives are talking to you. The present moment means driving your car and ONLY thinking about the driving that is right in front of you (not your grocery list or to-do-list or anything else). Life’s greatest rewards exist in that present moment space. If you can find it — you will uncover the riches of life.
Thank you, Robyn, for sharing your thoughts with us! So glad I connected with you. Keep up the amazing work!