When I try to force things like naming a book or coming up with content for a virtual training I find myself stressed out and actually getting less done. However, when I practice slowing down, having good conversations with people who believe in my dreams and scheduling self-care on a daily basis the ideas seem to come from a place of unrushed, egoless wisdom. Deadlines are great but, remember to trust in where you’re going and why the occasional slowdown might make sense.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Gina Bell, the grounded go-getter and founder of MoonRoot Spirit. Gina, doesn’t let excuses hold her or her clients back from living the creative lives their hearts secretly dream for. No pie in the sky theory here, Gina creates practical and creative solutions to help bring the fun, excitement, passion, love, happiness, and joy back into her client lives. A busy mom of 6, Gina knows first-hand how the power of living her MoonRoot Spirit™ life helps minimize the drama and maximize all that you really want out of life.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I joke around all the time that on a Saturday morning several years ago I “woke up twice”. On that morning I created what I like to call a “black bark tree”. This tree “woke me up” like nothing ever had before! I threw my “To Do” list out the window and began to sketch like a wild woman. The tree I drew had roots that represented the vibrant color I was born with. The black bark up the center represented my struggles. The color within the branches at the top was the same as the color at the base but, it was what happened when I realized my potential to grow through my struggles and connect with my wisdom. In the center of the trunk was a brightly colored heart that reminded me to be open to the changes that were coming. I knew in that moment that I needed to create trees with as many women in the world as possible, so that they too could reconnect with their earliest color and grow out into the world within the chaos of their everyday lives.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
About a year before MoonRoot Spirit was launched out into the world, I created a vision board for my future dreams. I hung it on the wall in my closet and thought I forgot all about it. After launching, I crouched down to look at the messages I had carefully written or pasted on the board and realized that most everything there had either happened, was happening, or was in my future business plans. I became and continue to be part of the cable television show, Fix My Brand with Ali Craig. I wanted a friend and mentor who would connect with me in a way that would help me bring my most vibrant color and ideas out into the world. I found that with the show’s creator, Ali Craig. The messages on the board said things like “Meet more people like me who get my vision” and “publish a book, and “have more of an online presence” and “love my amazing new website” and “have professional pics taken” etc. It was amazing to see dreams I wasn’t even completely clear on come true in ways I couldn’t have even imagined at the time. Somewhere in my heart I knew where I was going even if it was unclear at the time the board was created.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
When I first started out working for local non-profits I showed up to work wearing one exercise shoe and one fancy dress shoe. I went around the whole day feeling so self-conscious that I pointed it out to everyone I saw while loudly exclaiming just how foolish and ridiculous I was. YES! I AM WEARING TWO DIFFERENT SHOES! HA! HA! What I didn’t realize at the time was that most of the people I came across were so busy that they probably would have never noticed. It also didn’t change how much I helped people or my ability to do my job well. I even found out later in my career that other people I knew had actually done the exact same thing! So nowadays I find myself remembering that shoe story if I’m speaking on stage or working with a client. The chances of them catching any missed steps I may make will probably only happen if I declare them in a moment of insecurity. So, I take a deep breath and learn to continue moving forward — even if I feel silly for forgetting my regular routine. Sometimes, the change in the ordinary can lead me down new and exciting roads- no matter what shoes I’m wearing!
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
MoonRoot Spirit with Gina Bell is different because we focus on reconnecting people with their creative imagination in ways that awaken the lost dreamer that lives within all of us. When someone takes the time to get to know that earlier part of themself again, it can be absolutely life changing. At a recent workshop someone looked up at me with wide eyes and said, “I learned more here in twenty minutes than I have in the past twenty years”. Clients don’t just reconnect with their creativity and dance into the sunset so let’s get real for a second. They reconnect during the hustle, bustle, and messy chaos of life and in doing so realize they are capable of so much more than they ever knew possible.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
I am excited to be launching a non-profit called Unicorn River. Unicorn River will help women to rediscover their perfectly imperfect magical existence within the chaos of everyday life. Unicorn River was created when I cried a river of insecurity and doubt before looking inward to see that my own magical reflection was looking back at me from within the sadness and fear. I could be magical and real. I could be magical and messy. I could be magical even if everyone didn’t “get” me. Unicorn River will help other women to really “see” their reflections while opening to self-love, acceptance, and inner beauty.
What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?
One of my biggest lessons has been learning to make space for new ideas and organic content. When I try to force things like naming a book or coming up with content for a virtual training I find myself stressed out and actually getting less done. However, when I practice slowing down, having good conversations with people who believe in my dreams and scheduling self-care on a daily basis the ideas seem to come from a place of unrushed, egoless wisdom. Deadlines are great but, remember to trust in where you’re going and why the occasional slowdown might make sense.
What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?
My best advice would be to find a healthy balance between structure and F-U-N!
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Fix My Brand with Ali Craig’s team has helped me to grow my dreams in the most fantastic way! All the while making space for my imagination, heart and passion to be cultivated in a way that is growing the most beautiful garden of wildflowers from within my soul. Sound corny? I get it, but, it’s so so true. Surround yourself with people who not only see your path but who also show up with tools to help you find your way with integrity, courage, structure, and kindness. I also couldn’t have grown the way I have without my children, husband, parents, brother, family, and friends supporting me through the ups and the downs of building a business.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I have created a club on Facebook called the Write Back at Ya Challenge that encourages people to write and send greeting cards back to themselves as a way to promote inner healing and self-love. It’s a fantastic group that is showing up and learning how to think outside of the box when it comes to learning new ways to practice self-care.
What are your “5 Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Experience” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
A. SLOW DOWN-It’s ok to grow slow and take much needed breaks from everyday stressors. I grew up in a town called Chicago Heights and lived about forty minutes from downtown Chicago. It wasn’t always easy to see the stars and the constellations because of all the lights and pollution. Everything seemed busier and super fast paced. However, it was a completely different story every time I visited my family in a tiny town called Point Marion up in the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania. The air was always so clean and the stars were so much more visible than they ever were at home. Everything always seemed to slow down and I could think clearer there. I think life is a lot like the stars in the night sky. We have all these opportunities to see the way our lives have the potential to connect the dots to make beautiful and meaningful constellations but, sometimes we are so caught up in the busyness and pollution of everyday life that we have trouble seeing the brilliance of this light.
B. FIND JOY IN THE PRESENT-Take a cue from John Lennon and remember that “Life happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”. In other words, remember to find things to be thankful for within your journey to whatever is around the next corner. Years ago as a single mom, I worried so much about whether or not I was being a good mom. One night, my mom sat down and had a parenting heart to heart with me as I was cleaning up the kids toys. She said, cleaning up after kids was like shoveling your drive while it’s still snowing. She told me how important it was to enjoy the memories that were being created within the chaos of everyday life.
C. HAVE FUN-It’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday responsibilities and forget to have fun! Start meetings by getting to know the attendees better. Ask ice breaker questions like what everyone wanted to be when they grew up. These type of questions are so important even if you know the people you’re meeting with fairly well already.
D. GET HELP-I think this looks different for everyone but, my top six ways to center as I go out into the world with my color are: find a good therapist, daily meditation, reading books that help me understand clean eating, Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages, finding my tribe of other amazing women, and regular exercise like yoga. A while back I found myself completely freaked out about some crazy cool things that were happening in my life. I stopped doing most of the items I’ve listed above and after several months of eating vegan ice cream for breakfast I realized I had everything inside of me to take care of myself in a way that honored the incredible woman I am. More importantly though is remembering that we all get lost sometimes and being kind and loving through the process is as important as healthy daily habits.
F. REALLY LISTEN-For many of us we are already calculating what we will say next before a person is even finished speaking to us. I think this takes away from having real conversations where we truly get to know someone without our own agendas getting in the way. Real listening takes practice. Sometimes, we don’t even realize we are planning out what to say next so far in advance that we become lost as to what the person is really trying to tell us. What? You climbed mountains in your twenties? No way! I have family who lives in the mountains. What? You once opened a cupcake bakery? No way! I once made homemade cupcakes. What? You have a gluten-free diet? No way! My aunt’s cousin’s best friend’s dog is gluten-free too! What? You love yoga? I once knew a guy that painted pictures of flamingos doing yoga! Once I realize I’m following my own mind’s storyline I can make a conscious decision to be more present.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
MY LANTURN IS YOUR LANTURN-I would love to have one day out of the year where every woman hangs a lan”turn” outside of her home and under the same moon as her sisters. The lan”turn” would represent the power of her own inner light. Choosing to make time for her “turn” in the world without waiting to be picked or approved of by anyone or anything else but herself. It would also act as an invitation for her own lan”turn” to provide light to help a neighbor or friend to shine theirs. Each light illuminating the way for another woman to find their way in the dark. I can just see it now….
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Vincent Van Gogh once said, “If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.” I love this quote because it’s all about moving through feelings of self-doubt and going for your dreams from within that space. I can’t tell you the amount of times I have had to remind myself to just keep painting!!
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them :-)
Oprah Winfrey and I share a birthday! I have always wanted to meet her and teach her to draw a black bark tree! May I bring my crayons to lunch??