036: Daring To Bare Your Deepest Insecurities with Jenny Gaither of Movemeant Foundation

We all have insecurities. Usually, it’s easier to hide behind them and pretend they don’t exist. But what if we decided to face them head on?

For years, this week’s guest struggled with unrealistic body standards. As a dancer in New York, Jenny Gaither felt extreme cultural pressure to look a certain way and weigh a certain number.

Over time, she found herself falling out of love with dance and movement, and into a battle with anorexia and bulimia.

It wasn’t until she found SoulCycle that her world began to shift. It was there in a dark room, with music pumping in the background, where she could move her body freely and sweat like no tomorrow. Inspired, she quickly found herself leaving the dance world behind to pursue a career as a SoulCycle instructor.

Yet, secretly, she still battled her deep insecurities around her body — mainly around what she now lovingly calls her “belly jelly.” How did she face her insecurities, build a national movement celebrating our bodies, start a nonprofit, and launch a body-positive curriculum for middle school students?

It all started with her deciding to take off her shirt 😉

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In This Episode Jenny shares:

  • Her personal struggles with body image and eating disorders
  • What led her to create a nationwide body-positive event “Dare to Bare”
  • The evolution of “Dare to Bare” to the Movemeant Foundation
  • How the Movemeant Foundation is helping young girls in middle school through it's body-positive curriculum
  • Struggling with self-acceptance and inspiring others to love themselves
  • Advice about starting a project and dealing with massive growth

Top 3 Takeaways:

  1. Own your insecurities. As a SoulCycle instructor, Jenny is all about helping her students love and rock out in their bodies. Yet, at the same time, she felt uncomfortable in her own skin. The moment she found the courage to own her insecurities was when her entire life changed. Before she knew it, an entire nation was behind her, supporting her mission to help every woman be confident. The big takeaway: Embrace your fears and weaknesses, because when you confront them head on, amazing things can happen. Whether regarding your body or anything else, just believe in yourself and what you’re doing. It makes it easier for others to believe in your message too!
  2. Listen to your gut. When you decide to start a business or nonprofit, a million people might tell you their ideas and opinions. Do what feels right to you, and surround yourself with people who you know, deep down, are just as committed as you. The best things you can do are listen to what you believe and trust people who have your best interests in mind.
  3. Sometimes, being patient is the best thing you can do. When you’re starting a company or nonprofit, you may feel pressure to constantly be doing something. You might think if you work harder or work constantly, things will magically happen overnight. But sometimes, this can do more harm than good. Stick to a specific plan, and give it time to work before changing it. Being patient is hard, but sometimes, waiting is the best thing you can do.

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Catch the #girlsquad of Aptos Middle School in Movement's 2016 Dare to Bare SF Event