Finding my determined heart

I’ll let you in on a little secret.

Way back when we were discussing finally bringing the Mantra Series to life, I threw out Strength as our first message for purely practical purposes. You see, I love the Determined Heart design and I knew it wasn’t going to make the cut for Holiday 2022. So, my thought was, if we started with Strength, we could bring back Determined Heart AND it would coincide with Valentine’s Day. Win-win for everyone! That was it. No other real deep-seeded meaning behind suggesting Strength first. 

But like so much that happens in life, my purely practical choice had something more to show me. 

As our company has been growing and evolving into Her Whole Story, I too have been learning about new parts of my story. Over the last few years, I’ve become a full-time business owner who now works solely from home after years of going to an office; I became an empty-nester after 25 years of kids on the daily; and I’m solidly in my 50s, with all that brings. Life was smacking me around a bit and I was feeling it — particularly physically. 

Warrior spirit ... mmmm, nope! And a determined heart felt more aspirational than reality. 

My age, working alone inside my home, everyday life stress ... all of it was taking its toll on me. I just wasn’t bouncing back as quickly, sleep was elusive and my energy was in the gutter. So in looking for answers I started doing my research and reading a lot. One particular suggestion really struck me: Get strong, lift heavy. I was intrigued.

But where to begin?

On one particularly rough day, without really thinking, I finally just clicked send on an email that had been sitting in my drafts for far too long. It was to a whole health training, nutrition and complete wellness program for women run by women. It must have been meant to be because I quickly heard back. After a conversation that felt like someone finally got me and really understood all the struggles I was having, I committed. I signed up with KML Movement, and WOW has it been really hard and so worth it.

Not only have I been actually lifting heavy, but I’ve learned about truly fueling myself to thrive not just survive, and most importantly, I’ve worked a ton on mindset. I had so many years of unlearning to do.

What I’ve discovered in the process is that the stronger I become physically, the more I am stepping into my life — all of it. I’ve lived through some stuff in my 54 years. It’s made me who I am and it’s about time I own every part of that story. No more hiding. 

Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been a perfectly straight line from there to here. It’s been hard and it’s required me to really make a commitment to myself and to ask for help. I have to show up, most days on wobbly legs, because this has all been new and none of it has come naturally.

Stepping outside my comfort zone and pushing myself to try something new and see what I’m capable of has given me a new kind of confidence. The stronger I become physically, I see myself becoming more willing to speak up and use my voice. And most importantly, I’m working hard to let love lead — first, fiercely, unapologetically — in all ways, in all spaces. And damn if it hasn’t changed me far more than it’s changed anything else. Funny how that happens.

I still have a way to go and I do wonder what else is waiting for me to uncover. But I think maybe that’s the truth of our stories ... they’re still being written each time we try something new or push ourselves out of our comfort zone. Each time we fall down and get back up. Each time we ask for help instead of always going it alone. Each time we make a tough choice. Each time we do the damn thing — whatever that may be for you.

Sometimes I look back and can’t believe that what started as a desperate email to get healthy and sleep better has actually helped me figure out what it means to be strong and to really live with a determined heart. My wish for you: Send the email. Make the call. Take the first step. Find what’s waiting for you. 

Here’s to your determined heart and defining strong on your terms!


Jen Patterson is the chief business and operations officer of Her Whole Story.

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