Ginny MacColl is full of wisdom from her wide range of life experiences. She performed on Broadway and acted in dozens of commercials before moving out to the woods of the Pocono Mountains with her daughter, Jessie Graff, and son Darren. Ginny explains why women are strong and how important it is to be strong-minded and self-sufficient.
Olivia Vivian has been competing as an Australian Ninja Warrior athlete since 2017. With only two years of experience in ninja thus far, her vast accomplishments speak loudly of her determined and passionate heart. This podcast interview took place at the 2018 National Ninja League Finals, after Olivia competed as the only woman on the Stage 2 course, earning a first-place NNL World Title. Olivia boldly attacks each ninja course, giving off the impression that she has trained ninja her whole life. However, we know that’s not the case. In this episode, Olivia shares her secret to ninja success: self-belief.
Ninjababes defines self-belief as confidently encompassing the inner truth that you are in control of the direction of your thoughts and actions to reach what you define as your goals, passions, dreams, and purpose. Self-belief has been Olivia’s greatest obstacle in ninja; an obstacle every athlete encounters at some point in their athletic career. Her past struggle with self-belief may seem ironic being that Olivia competes amazingly well now, but her athletic journey is a testament to how self-belief has transformed her into the incredible athlete she is today.
We all know self-belief isn’t black and white. If it were as simple as saying, “I can do this”, then everyone would already be accomplishing what they set out to achieve. Self-belief is deeper than that. The core of self-belief is the unwavering belief that you will succeed in your passions or what you have set out to do. You must have hope in the goal, dream, or mission first. This is essential because it is easy to believe in yourself when others are believing in you or when everything is going just how you want it. Self-belief is easy when the circumstances are, but self-belief is not dependent on circumstances. It can’t be, not if you want to succeed. Hard days are even necessary to build perseverance and endurance, which are crucial to self-belief. Sometimes self-belief simply means showing up and knowing that your confidence in your dreams outweighs your emotions of the day.
Olivia had to decide that her dreams were worth pursuing. She had to intentionally choose that her dreams were bigger than a current injury, a setback, or defeating comments. Because of this mindset, when she heard destructive remarks about her ability, her self-belief helped her voice and actions respond with, “Watch me.”
Since believing in yourself is key to walking towards your dreams, you may ask yourself, ‘How do I foster self-belief when I honestly don’t have it? I truly believe in what I am doing, but believing in myself is another story.’ My feet are no strangers to this lonely road. I have been buried by burnout, injuries, and painful insults. But, they brought me to a place that made me redefine what I wanted, my purpose, and the reasons for why I was doing what I was doing. This led me to a crisis of belief in which I realized I needed a major change in my life to pursue happiness. In order to make this change, I needed to say ‘yes’ to a new opportunity that I didn’t know the definite outcome to.
Self-belief can be born out of the opportunity to say ‘yes’ to something daring and out of our comfort zone. This is exactly what Olivia did. She said ‘yes’ to trying out ninja, to the extraordinary, to different, to change. Olivia declared that she would show up. She told herself that she didn’t have to like it, but she would give herself the opportunity to see if she did. Olivia intentionally chose to respond by saying ‘yes’ to a new opportunity, instead of conforming to a perceived perception of what she thought the experience could be, which we often fall into. I feel that when I am faced with new opportunity my own brain is quick to jump to thinking: ‘I won’t like this’ or ‘I won’t like them.’ I jump to this conclusion because it’s safe. It saves me from the vulnerability that is necessary to grow. If you find yourself opting out instead of diving in, you may have believed the lie that joy lies in comfort of ‘no’, instead of the beautiful mystery of saying ‘yes’ to both your dreams and yourself.
Olivia’s story is a perfect example of why Ninjababes is the way it is. We know the power of self-belief and we have seen it transform lives. Ninjababes was started because Cara Poalillo believed in a vision for positively supporting women. Her self-belief encouraged her to take this step forward to making a dream become reality. As the Ninjababes community, we are passionate about building your self-belief up so that you can build your dreams too.
Check out this free downloadable mantra to help you get your mind in that positive, self-believing headspace! Click on the About page > Mantra
The Aussie ninja warrior athletes are on the rise after Australian Ninja Warrior made its debut in 2017. Ninja Warrior’s impact is clearly stretching across the globe, connecting nations through ninja athletes that share a love for defeating obstacles in the sport, and creating a community that can safely share the obstacles they have faced in their own lives. Among this growing Aussie ninja group is ninja athlete Jolene Kelly, who started training for the show as soon as Aussie ANW announced its first year. Jolene said she treasured every minute competing on the first season of Aussie ANW, where the “course was lit up like a Christmas tree.” As a high level qualified ballet dancer and a pet snake owner, Jolene is a living proof that grace and grit can exist simultaneously.
There’s an inner fire within Jolene’s soul, and it is definitely spreading around the globe. This fire, so to speak, is Jolene’s internal drive that propels her towards her goals. It’s her motivation, dedication, and the reason she persists through each day, even the ones that feel less than fiery. Jolene has risen above the ashes of expectation and doubt and is using them to fuel her current fire. By digging up past hurts and defining our unconditional worth, we can overcome the challenges that attempt to quench the fire in our own lives too. “Some women fear the fire, and some women become the fire.” Jolene has undoubtedly embraced her flames, and her story is an encouragement for us to do the same.
However, Jolene’s story didn’t start this way. When she was unhappy with her body image, she discovered that she wasn’t living up to her full potential. Through a 44-pound (20kg) weight loss journey, her body became the source of her empowerment, instead of the vessel of her struggle, all due to a mindset shift. Jolene changed her focus from what her body looked like, to what her body could do, and that’s what made all the difference in her life. When she started focusing on fitness activities that she genuinely enjoyed, her goals became about achieving higher levels of fitness. Taking the focus off of her body image freed her body to do more than she could ever imagine because she was training with this new, uplifting purpose.
With this being said, Jolene is working hard to eliminate the negative voices that threaten the strong and loving foundation she is rebuilding. As someone who has fought many of the same battles in my own life, I have struggled with the negative effects of social media on my own self image. While social media can be a voice of inspiration, I often find myself scrolling and scrolling, only to come out of that time feeling unhappy and thinking more negatively about myself. Jolene says, “If I’m not using social media to inspire or be inspired, then what am I using it for?” This has been challenging me to make adjustments to my social media accounts so that they reflect the positivity I am determined to seek out and the positivity I strive to give back. Following only people and pages that I feel genuinely close to, passionate about, or that inspire me has allowed me to make more space for what brings me happiness. The reality is that life is truly too short to intentionally cloud your mind with anything that does not make you happy or make you live better.
While social media can speak volumes into life either positively or negatively, the most powerful negative voice Jolene is learning to quiet is her own. When fears start to seep in, she reminds herself of her internal foundation: I love my body. I love myself. I am proud of myself. Fear can’t be your barrier if these truths are your foundation. Owning these foundational truths have allowed her to create stronger dreams, simply because they have created a stronger dreamer.
By the end of Jolene’s podcast, I forgot she was an athlete on the other side of the world. Her fears, doubts, hopes, and dreams mirrored my own. Jolene may be countries away, but our hearts are closer to the same. I believe this must be true for all athletes and people wherever we are in the world. My feelings on this can be summed up in a beautiful quote I read from the novel Kisses from Katie: “In all nations of the earth, people long to live lives filled with purpose and love. They want to be able to give back. They want to feel important, be beautiful, and be needed. We are all the same. We do not live in different worlds; we live in the same world.”
Written by Janelle Kopa
I am inspired by people who believe that dreaming is an artform, and that dreams themselves, are platforms. I am inspired by people who recognize the child within themselves; the one that’s still in there dreaming, even when work calls. These admirable people have left me chasing harder after my own purpose, because I’ve felt the impact from them working hard at theirs. American Ninja Warrior athlete (season 8, 9, 10), Barclay Stockett, has made my inspiration list, not just for how she moves as a ninja, but for how she admirably lives.
The memory I have of listening to my first ever Ninjababes podcast, Barclay’s episode, is far too crystal clear in my mind for me not to share its lasting impression on my heart and on my life. Barclay’s words first echoed into my life when nerves were causing my foot to press harder on the gas pedal as I drove myself to Minneapolis course testing for Season 10 of American Ninja Warrior, which would be my first time ever one an ANW set. In this moment, Ninjababes met me where I was at. Barclay’s words were exactly what I needed to hear, and her wisdom became the reason I slowly let go of my fear.
I listened eagerly as Barclay described her childhood dreams and passions: circus performer, firefighter, archaeologist, architect, wrestling with her 5 siblings, climbing trees, gymnastics. Smiling, I began to reminisce on my own childhood dreams. I started to realize that these dreams are beautiful because they are limitless, free of expectations, based on inner passions, and they revolve around a desire to become someone greater than your current self. I believe that our purpose is built on these childhood dreams, for they were the start of our passionate hearts that have laid the foundation for where we are today, and for where we still hope to go.
“Follow peace.” These are Barclay’s words of wisdom about her life journey that speak to me each day. Through the pursuit of following peace, Barclay has discovered herself living a life even greater than her wildest dreams. Once she started opening her eyes and ears to her heart and the world around her, she began to notice newly opened doors of opportunity that aligned with her passions. For Barclay, this can be seen in transition from gymnastics to the sport of ninja, which she felt was the missing piece in her life after years of competing in gymnastics from age 12 through high school. The way Barclay follows peace is also seen in her journey from working as a head gymnastics coach to having a job teaching our U.S military obstacle course techniques through Alpha Warrior. Barclay learned that part of following peace meant that she needed to be honest about her passions, diving unapologetically into what makes her happy and the purpose she feels she has been called to through every different season of life.
As Barclay described what following peace looked like in her own life, I started looking at it in mine. I decided to challenge her internal questions for following peace against my own life. Was I overwhelmed? Anxious? Overworked? Did I have a balanced lifestyle? Was I happy with what I was doing and the direction my life was going?
Through an analysis of my own journey of ninja as I was driving to course testing, I realized that it’s possible to follow your dreams and not follow peace at the same time. Here I was, going to live out one of my childhood dreams, and yet, I felt unbelievably restless. The problem was that I had attached my dreams to people and expectations instead of my own heart. I learned that following peace meant I needed to give myself grace as I got honest with myself, redefining what my passions, values, and beliefs are for ninja.
As I redefined ninja as my passion, I erased the expectations I had held tightly that were only holding me back. That’s when I realized I was not only following peace, I was driving towards it. That’s when I found myself excelling on the American Ninja Warrior course achieving my childhood dream. Ironically enough, that’s also exactly when I met and became friends with Cara Poalillo, becoming a blog writer for the one and only, Ninjababes.
Maura Sherman, together with her boyfriend Henry Ferrarin, founded the nonprofit Ninja for a Cure. The new Ninja for a Cure 2.0 shirts are out! Make sure you pick up a new one and post your video! Ninja for a Cure donates $15 for every shirt sold and an additional $5 for each video posted!
In this episode you will learn more about how Ninja for a Cure got started and how the community has grown together and rallied around this great organization. You will also hear all about Maura’s experience on ANW season 8 and how the National Ninja League has been a great help in training her mental focus.
We challenge girls and women to not get stuck negatively comparing yourself to other people, or downplaying your own journey because you are jealous of somebody else’s.
Have you ever met one of those girls who is just crushing it at life? She is confident, strong, and doesn’t waste time with negativity. She is a ninjababe and she is you.
This episode shares all about what it means to be a Ninjababe and we hear from one awesome woman in particular, Jessica Ebert. Jessica is a mom of 3 and a crossfit junkie. She shares her ninja experience from ANW 9 in Cleveland, and her inspirations of how to prioritize your life and dominate everything you set your mind to.