Embracing Your Infinite Value

WITH

Ahna Fulmer

The Limitless Podcast

Embracing Your Infinite Value

with Ahna Fulmer

0:00
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Growing up, many of us have been told to cover up our imperfections and hide our flaws, and only reveal the parts of ourselves that conform to society’s standards of beauty and personality. We were taught by society that in order to be worthy, we have to look a certain way and act a certain way. In order to be happy, we have to live a perfect life.

What you need to know:

Our value is infinite. No matter our imperfection, no matter our situation. For years, we’ve associated our worth with external circumstances instead of embracing our infinite value.

We beat ourselves up when things don’t work out the way we want them to and begin to question our worth. If we can instead, shift our focus towards being consistent, give ourselves grace for making mistakes and strive to do better every day, we will not only feel better, but we will see improvements and progress in every area of our lives.

This week’s episode of The Limitless podcast features Ahna Fulmer, the author and owner of leading DIY healthy lifestyle blog, Hammers N Hugs. She tells us how we can reclaim healthy hearts and happy homes by redeveloping our mental, emotional, physical, spiritual and social health.

"Don't try and do too much at one time. Start slow and be consistent."

- Ahna Fulmer
@LimitlessShow @franklyco_

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IN THIS EPISODE YOU WILL LEARN

  • How to love your imperfections and embrace your infinite value.

  • How to not let messy situations define your worth.

  • How to be consistent and to stop making excuses that keep you from growing.

  • How to drop the “all or nothing” mindset, and work on yourself slowly but surely.

LINKS FROM THIS EPISODE

Johanna Buchweitz:
How would you feel if time and money were no objects, or if you always knew that the answers you thought were at your fingertips or that the creative spark you would need for the next project just always going to be there? You would feel limitless. I’m Johanna Buchweitz, and it is my honor to welcome all of you to Limitless, the show where we have open, honest and direct communication with extraordinary women in business. To provide you with actionable next steps for super growth based on their proven success tactics. Joining me on today’s episode is Ahna Fulmer, author and owner of Leading Do It Yourself Lifestyle Blog Hammers and Hugs, where she inspires women to reclaim their hearts and homes with Do It Yourself tutorials, renovation ideas, healthy living, and creative family fun as a dual certified nurse practitioner with specialties in adult critical care and family medicine.
Ahna is passionate about teaching research based strategies to prevent disease and promote healthy transformation through her visual fitness, virtual fitness and nutrition program. Ahna, welcome to Limitless.

Ahna Fulmer:
Hi. It’s great to be here.

Johanna Buchweitz:
I’m so excited to have you here with us.

Ahna Fulmer:
Thanks! We finally worked out our technical issues on my end, I’m making things difficult.

Johanna Buchweitz:
Ahna, I believe that all driven female entrepreneurs are modern day superheroes. So as the superhero you are, what is your superpower?

Ahna Fulmer:
My superpower is imperfection. My whole brand, my whole message is really centered around the concept that imperfection is not something that should be covered up. And in fact, the sooner that we can embrace imperfection in our lives, the sooner that we can reclaim the life that we want. Success, confidence, joy – because that’s an inherent aspect of our lives, especially as humans. And the sooner we can embrace it, the sooner we can truly live the life that we want to live.

Johanna Buchweitz:
I love that message, and I feel like it’s so important especially for female entrepreneurs, because I think a lot of us are getting to that state where we’re almost paralyzed to take that next step or to even start something because we want it to be perfect. I know myself. I used to be so guilty of it because you always want it to be as good as possible. But I like what you said, because when you embrace imperfection, it also takes away that fear and that excuse from getting started. So you can kind of just take that next step and move forward and learn as you continue to go.

Ahna Fulmer:
Yeah, absolutely. It’s a strength. Our imperfection is part of our unique story and yeah, it needs to be told.

Johanna Buchweitz:
100% agree. So you started Hammers and Hugs while working as an emergency nurse practitioner and the assistant medical director for the stroke program. What inspired you to start your blog? Sounds like you had pretty full hands at the time.

Ahna Fulmer:
Yeah, yeah. In addition to three children and everything else, right. Yeah. The short version of a longer story is by education. I am a nurse practitioner. I have two masters, and I worked in the E.R. for a decade. But on the other hand, my husband and I, when we graduated from our first master’s program at Johns Hopkins University over ten years ago, we came back to our hometown in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. We were energy rich, but cash poor because we had just finished grad school so we decided to invest in a fixer upper for our first home. And neither of us did it full time. It was a side hustle. He’s a computer programming teacher and football coach. So, you know, both of us kind of had our own professions. But the first one went so well that we thought, well, I guess we should do this again. So we bought a second fixer upper. And for anyone who has worked in medicine or knows somebody working in medicine, it is a very stressful job, especially in the emergency department. So even before COVID, believe it or not, we were stressed and one day in our second fixer upper, I was moaning about something with my job and he jokingly said, Well, you should make your millions blogging And I was like, First of all, what’s a blog?
I had no idea what a blog was even at that time. This was only what, three and a half years ago now. And the bottom line is I started this whole exploration journey with this idea that I could digitally scrapbook, which is really what blogging is, it’s digital scrapbooking, what I was already doing anyway, basically digitally scrapbooking my life and could potentially make an income doing it.
So I started it just on the side. I forced myself to get up early in the morning because I had three young kids, and it was the only time of the day that I had, as you mentioned, I was doing all these other things as well. And anyway, the bottom line was I fell in love with it. It took off, kind of morphed into this whole thing.
And then because I now had an online presence, including social media, which I had never had before, and I still wouldn’t have, by the way, if I wasn’t making money on it, I was able to do what I’m really passionate about, which is Coach Free Virtual Fitness and Nutrition Program as the assistant medical director of the two stroke programs that I helped to start up, one of my roles became community education and speaking, and I would speak on disease prevention how to prevent strokes, cardiovascular disease. And it’s really what I fell in love with. I had no time for that in the E.R. The goal is just to stabilize and just position them somewhere. There was no time really for diving. And you don’t need another blood pressure medicine. You need to do X, Y, Z with your fitness and nutrition. And now I’m able to do what I truly love and help people prevent disease through virtual fitness and nutrition coaching. So my blog is a little bit of a lot, but it’s really all about how to live well and not only have a happy home, but a healthy home. And how those two correlate by looking at wellness from every aspect.

Johanna Buchweitz:
I love that.

Ahna Fulmer:
That’s where we’re at.

Johanna Buchweitz:
That’s really like.

Ahna Fulmer:
Not an easy answer.

Johanna Buchweitz:
No, it’s not. I think it’s a remarkable journey how you kind of started everything and come to this point. And I love what you said about that, like holistic wellness and taking that full approach. And I think it’s such an important message and prevention is so crucial and a lot of us like forget to make time for for the important things, especially, you know, when you’re a busy mom, you’re busy working, you’re running your own company, and to be able to like incorporate that into just the overall healthy lifestyle is really, really crucial just to your overall well being.
And also I feel like I figured the success of your business and that, like you said, the happiness in your life and in your home so I want to know, like how did you get all those visitors to start coming to your blog when you started writing? Like, can you walk us all through a little bit of the journey and the progression to the level of monetization that you were able to have?

Ahna Fulmer:
Yeah, and to be clear, I am by no means making millions blogging, although it is definitely possible, but I’m kind of at the place where so I stepped away from bedside medicine in the E.R. and I’m now a full time blogger for about a little over a year. So from what I understand in the business world, any time that you are sort of transitioning a side hustle to full time, the idea is you would expect anywhere from like two to three years before you are really able to start paying yourself significantly. From what I understand, I always tell people I’m really not a businesswoman by education. Again, nurse practitioner here like so it’s been a really, really fun journey because I knew nothing. I really knew nothing. I mean, please, I didn’t even know what a blog was. So when we talk about entrepreneurs, we are talking about somebody who has no business education, who truly has no marketing knowledge. Talk about sales like you know, there’s been such a learning curve and it’s really, really been awesome. So if I can do it, you can do it if you’re listening but one of the things is the fact that I was able to start it and discipline myself to even just write one or two posts a week while I was doing my other job is step number one. You know, for anyone who wants to start us, I can’t speak any more about coffee as a side hustle. You need to get it started now. You just have to do it. And it doesn’t have to be all or nothing that whole, like embracing imperfection. There’s a massive learning curve, but whatever it is that you would ultimately like to grow, you have to start now and figure out how to incorporate it into your life on top of what you may already be doing in terms of growing a blog.
The very first step was just consistency, writing one to two blog posts a week and continuing to show up. I just think at the end of the day, the people who end up making it are the ones who outlast everybody else, and you just have to keep doing it. You know? And that was really my starting point and I enjoyed it.
So that certainly helped. But there’s so many strategies to growing a blog and then figuring out what niche you’re in, what different revenue streams you want to focus on. But that was really step number one. Just do it and then keep showing up consistently. Don’t try to do too much at one time. Just start slow, but be consistent with it.

Johanna Buchweitz:
I like that and I think that’s really good because you’re almost beating the burnout that way and you’re alleviating a bit of pressure to have to do everything all at once. Like you said, like not having to do it perfectly today, but just by showing up consistently, you’re also showing anyone who’s like listening or anyone who’s watching anyone who’s reading that you’re there and you’re going to keep being there and they also get to come along with you on that journey and see you improve and get better with each thing that you do.
And I think it’s really exciting for audiences too, especially the ones who follow you from the start too, to see that progression. Yeah, and the fact that you had no traditional business experience is not zero.

Ahna Fulmer:
Show less than zero.

Johanna Buchweitz:
Because that’s not just inspiring. I feel like that just helps anyone who is listening, who is maybe doubting their own capabilities, who’s thinking, Oh, I have to be smarter, I have to work harder, I have to know more information. Like I have to go get a master’s degree in business. It’s like, no, you don’t. Like you said you just started.
So when you didn’t know anything, right? When you didn’t have the answers, like, what did you do? How did you find the answers? Because you talk about this learning curve, which obviously had to be super steep just coming from that background that you did. So how did you learn?

Ahna Fulmer:
I love this question. So when I was a nurse practitioner in the air, I would often have nurse practitioner students that I would teach, and inevitably I always got the question, what is your tip for success? Because as a nurse practitioner, you usually collaborate with a physician. And there’s it’s really nerve wracking as a nurse to go from a bedside nurse to now a nurse practitioner where you are essentially now writing the orders as opposed to taking the orders.
And that independence is scary. And what I used to say to my students translates to maybe even better to my journey in this side of the business world. And success is not knowing the right answers. It’s knowing the right questions. And when I die, why’d my business really initially? Because I didn’t know. I didn’t have any resources, I didn’t know bloggers, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. So even the questions were hard because I just simply didn’t know. I Googled a lot. And obviously you have to be careful with that because as we all know, Wikipedia is not the answer to everything. But I really did. I Googled almost everything and it was still a good example of resourcing the question, meaning sometimes I didn’t even know the name of what I was trying to figure out.
And so I would type it in a gazillion different ways until I saw a tutorial that answered the question that I didn’t even know. I was asking if that makes sense. So Google was huge initially starting out, and then as I started to understand more, you know, like a widget on a blog, I had no idea what on earth a widget was. I thought it was something from a Star Wars movie, like so many things that I was like, I know what this is. What on earth is a widget still makes me laugh. And once you learn, then by sort of Googling everything, then you start to realize, OK, here’s an expert in this area. That I can resource. Here’s a course I can take on Pinterest, like, where’s the most bang for my buck going to be in terms of time and investment but step number one, know the right questions to ask.
Get really good at asking questions.

Johanna Buchweitz:
What can someone do to still try to improve their own health from a holistic perspective, even if they can’t remove themselves from an unhealthy home life at this exact moment?

Ahna Fulmer:
Owning the messy imperfection of our lives, recognizing that from the beginning, not trying to hide it in a happy home. And it’s because I would also argue that there are times that you can be messy. And I totally agree with your point, I understand what you’re saying, though. There are times where it’s messy and frankly miserable. Like it’s not happy either, but also recognizing you’re not alone and to not judge somebody as a happy family based on Instagram photos.
The reality is all of us have mass in our lives. It’s just part of the human experience and we need to be more open about that. So you’re not alone, first of all. And the sooner that you embrace that reality, embrace that it’s messy and you can be honest about it, the sooner you’re going to see transformation in your home, in your relationships.
Stop trying to hide it. We’re all messy and we need to own that more. We to stop filtering the mess, the lines, the wrinkles, the whatever. We need to start filtering it. But the other thing that I would say is mindset is key. More are not. I think the challenges that we face, whether we like to admit it or not, often comes back to my own sense of self and where I find my value and where I find my worth.
Too often we look for our value in our circumstances, in our situation, the truth is we’re going to have a messy situation. We’re going to have messy families. And that does not make you as a mom, you as a wife, you as a daughter. Any less valuable. So in my life, message number one is living out of your infinite value. And the reality is when we were in it together, our mothers wombs, I believe that we were infused with infinite worth at that very moment by a divine creator. And nothing that we can say or do, nothing that anyone else says or do can add to or detract from that value. You are infinitely valuable as you are. I’m all about the before and afters.
Anyone is on my blog. There’s a gazillion before and after. But I always tell my clients too, that you are just as valuable. £50 heavier, unable to sit in the airplane seat. You are just as valuable then as you are fit and ready for the cover of women. Your value is unchanged, you cannot be redefined. You’ve already been defined by the Divine Creator.
You can only be redeveloped on this side of heaven. It’s all about redevelopment, trying to fulfill your God given purpose with more joy, more energy, more confidence. But the sooner that we can embrace that reality, the sooner we can see transformation in our lives. Because you are able to rest in the confidence that your relationship with your kids being a hot mess doesn’t define you, your lack of success in your professional life doesn’t define you.
The venture that you went on that failed doesn’t define you. You’ve already been defined, and it’s learning to live out of that and see opportunities for development, but making sure you know your worth and has nothing to do with what you do or what anyone else does. You’ve already been infinitely valued and worthy. That’s step number one, I think.

Johanna Buchweitz:
Yeah, you said that so beautifully. I have goosebumps just listening to the way you were able to articulate that. And I hope that for everyone listening, that really resonated because what you said is so true and unfortunately far too common where we associate our worst with external circumstances rather than what’s already been given to us. And this is actually a recurring theme that I find keeps coming up on the show with every single amazing female entrepreneur that I talk to about their path to success and success, not just financially and in their business, but like in their happiness and their life all stemmed once they realized what you just said.
When we kind of stopped putting this emphasis on I will be happy when I lose that £20, I will be happy when I hit you know, $2 million in revenue in my business. I will, I will feel good about that and it’s like we can feel good right now. And when you take that perspective and you come into every single component of your life with that energy and with that mindset, things kind of just seem to work out a lot better.
And there are. And even when things don’t work out, we’re in this state of acceptance and like almost like this shell mode of like, OK, it didn’t work out. We’re on to the next thing as opposed to your entire worth and wellbeing crumbling down because something didn’t work out as you initially envisioned it. And what you just said is something that I think most of us would really benefit from practicing more on a daily basis.
So how did you learn to get into that mindset and what kind of practices can anyone who’s listening right now start to do to help them get into that zone and think through things differently as you had just described?

Ahna Fulmer:
I love this question and in full transparency. I think every person’s journey is a little different. I mean, what I just said is so difficult to do. It is so difficult to not allow your external circumstances to affect how you value yourself. It’s easy to say it’s really really hard to do. And in full transparency, I was not able to do that until I personally established a relationship with Jesus Christ.
I mean, I needed a supernatural intervention for me to be able to truly, truly feel that that worth was outside of myself. So to be really clear, I needed divine intervention in my life to allow me to be able to really live out of that worth. However, I think there are then practical ways to set yourself up for success to live with what you just said.
That sense of gratitude and acceptance and what may seem messy and debilitating to somebody else for you becomes just a bump in the road. And one of those practices is establishing an early morning routine, getting up earlier, and whether it be meditating, reading religious texts of some sort, writing in a gratitude journal. We live in a day and age where there’s nonstop noise. Maybe it’s not even audio noise. But just on our phones alone, social media is so noisy, there’s images flashing everywhere. There’s messages being sent to you, some you agree with, many you don’t. And our brains never turn off. We are terrible at being still and quiet. And I think one of the best things that we can do is learn to have those quiet moments where everything else is turned off.
The media in our lives is turned off. It took me a long time to establish an early morning routine. I have a whole blog post and a podcast on it. I highly recommend somebody listen to it because it’s there’s seven steps that would take too long to go into now. But it was life changing for me because it took just this tiny little chunk of time in the busyness of my life and allowed me to be still and write down the things I’m grateful for.
To fill your mind with gratitude, taking that high level overview, being able to see all the things that truly I can be so grateful for, and then just spending that time in quiet. There’s a lot of stuff I can do in those moments, but establish an early morning routine where you practice the art of being still and filling your mind with truth and quieting the noise, turning stuff off, the cell phone, nothing else. Just still for this brief period of time in the morning is tip number one.

Johanna Buchweitz:
I like that and I started applying that to my own life a couple of years ago and it really is transformational and I like that I feel like from coming from you it’s also very relatable because a lot of us when we hear people say, oh, you should have a morning routine, oh you should journal, oh you should meditate.
While many people will say, yeah, that sounds great. A lot of people also find the resistance. They say, I don’t have time. I can’t. And but you know, for you who does all the things, who, who has like three young children who worked in medicine like you found the time. And I think that’s really important because when something is such transformational work, we can find ourselves resisting it at first. But when we step into it and we are determined to find the time for it and allow it to come in, that’s really when you see that huge shift in every single moment of your life like that. 15 minutes in the morning is the thing that could change the course of your day. And it usually does. And so it is really crucial to set up that time.
And I think when we talk about silencing the noise, a lot of people who are new to meditation will say, oh, I catch, you know, like I’m trying to sit still. But like, you know, my to do list is running off in my head. I know everything I have to get done. I’m daydreaming about every single thing and I’m everywhere but here. And I think what’s really important is to know that that’s OK and that you should do it anyway. And each time you find your mind wandering, just absolutely accept it. Be like, all right, it’s cool. I noticed that. How can I now just try to guide myself back to the moment, even if you have to do that 7000 times within 15 minutes, like, that’s OK.
It’s a practice. Your training, your brain, your brain is not used to silencing itself. I’ve gotten accustomed to listening to all the noise. So teaching your brain and training your brain to kind of sit still is important, but it’s also a learning process and it does take a bit of time. But as you have said in the beginning, how, how you did it with your blog, it’s all about showing up each day. And consistently doing it over and over again. And, and I think that that’s that’s so important and something that we all really really could benefit from doing in our lives.

Ahna Fulmer:
Yeah, absolutely. One imperfect day at a time. That’s the bottom line. That’s my motto.

Johanna Buchweitz:
Yes.

Ahna Fulmer:
One imperfect day at a time. You will see progress if you keep showing up. Yeah.

Johanna Buchweitz:
I love that. And I think one of the things you said about gratitude is really important and a lot of us struggle to kind of step into that gratitude because it’s so easy for us to see the things we don’t have as opposed to the things that we do have. And one of the things that I like to do or I like to recommend to people who are kind of like, you know, getting new to getting into the gratitude mindset is this little silly thing that for me, like you, I’m also once I became religious. That also kind of transformed my life. So I always say a little prayer before I eat. And one thing I like to do on top of that is I like to think about all the things that had to happen for that food to come to me. So it’s a really good way to get into that gratitude mindset. So if you’re going to eat an apple, think about it like someone had to plan a seed into the ground. A tree had to grow like an apple had to come from that tree, someone had to pick it. And, you know, I apologize to anyone who might be in that industry and I’m skipping like 7000 steps here. But, you know, someone had to take that apple and then you had to get it to the store, right?
Like I have.

Ahna Fulmer:
But we are appreciative of you. Whoever you are.

Johanna Buchweitz:
There’s all these different steps that have to happen before I even get to the store. And then I have to have the money to be able to buy that apple and take it home. And the ability for my body and digestive system to work so that I can eat it. Like, that’s so cool when you think about it. Like all the different things that had to happen for the food to actually come to your plate man. And when we start, like, thinking about these, like, tiny little details that we kind of overlook every single day, it really helps you start to get your brain into this gratitude mindset. Because again, like, if you’re not used to doing these things, you’re not used to thinking in this way.
It’s a product and it has to be built upon.

Ahna Fulmer:
Yeah. And I think the key is recognizing that that doesn’t mean there will be an absence of anxiety or an absence of overwhelm. The difference is it starts to shift the extremes. I think that attitude starts to then balance out the massive mountains and then the massive ravines. You know, it just kind of creates that emotional rollercoaster and turns it into just a little bit more of like rolling hills. And that’s where there’s so much benefit to living with that mindset is taking that high level overview and recognizing, OK, you know what, it’s just money. My children are alive, they’re healthy, they’re well, I have my arms and my legs. I have food. You know, like you just said, it’s taking that high level overview and thinking of all of the things to be grateful for it helps temper the highs and the lows.

Johanna Buchweitz:
100%. And I think that’s really important to remember that it’s not like the magic pill that takes away every single little problem that might come your way. It’s just the right tool to help navigate it and also to do so with a little bit less anxiety and stress. It’s not I mean, it would be nice, I think if we can remove it fully.
That sounds great. I’m sure maybe for some people it does like 90% of the work. But if we’re being more realistic and practical, I think it’s that like you said, it’s kind of just making it a little bit easier and smoother and I like exactly the analogy that you gave. I thought that that was a really great way to put it. Are those like some of the only tools that you suggest for managing stress if it isn’t really using these mindfulness practices or is there additional things that that you usually suggest?

Ahna Fulmer:
So many things, the list is long. And I mean, I have a lot of resources again on my website, there are so many elements to managing stress that go beyond just mindset. I do think mindset is key. Absolutely. I think that is such an essential element of managing stress. But there are certainly physical and physical things. So getting what I like to call a cardio endorphin blast, what that means is physiologically speaking, we’ve all heard of the runner’s high. But what we don’t fully understand is why it’s working and how it’s working. And the idea is that the body will release these endorphins when you are able to sustain a heart rate greater than approximately 130 beats per minute for 20 to 30 minutes. Now, depending on your level of fitness, that might require different degrees of exercise and movement. If somebody is really out of shape, and overweight, if you will, it might just be a speed walk that might get you there. For somebody who is more fit and has better cardiovascular endurance, it might be a hard 30 minute run to really be able to get that cardio endorphin blast.
But it is a legitimate physiological response that is similar to medications. And we forget that sometimes, you know, exercise is one of the best anti-anxiety pills that we can take, and it’s because of these physiological responses. So a cardio endorphin blast is a physiological way to do it. So again, wear one of those heart rate trackers, keep your heart rate greater than 130 beats per minute for ideally 30 minutes, but 20 to 30 minutes depending on your time.
And you will definitely feel the physical benefit of that in a natural way. Sleep actually is a huge one. Sleep is something that we don’t think about or talk about enough. But sleep is a huge, huge stress reliever. It is the body’s natural reset button and there’s a lot of ways to sleep better. I have resources on that too, but I’ll just offer this one.
One of the best ways to get a better night’s sleep is to have a consistent bedtime and wake up time Interestingly, research, when they looked at this group of participants, deep REM sleep was less related to how much time you slept and more related to the consistency of your bedtime and wake up time. Now it is still generally recommended.
You get seven to 8 hours of sleep but what is actually more important is a consistent bedtime and then a consistent wake up time. So that is one piece of advice for somebody who wants to sleep better. There’s many, many more. Certainly what you’re eating. Get rid of processed foods. We’ve all heard it, but it’s true. Yep. Try to stick to nature.
If it’s from the earth or it can give birth, it’s probably fair game. There’s a million versions of that slogan but that’s mine. Yeah. Stick to the perimeter of the grocery store is where the least amount of processed food is as opposed to the aisles. So many. I mean, we could talk for a whole hour about ways to help reduce stress and feel better and more energetic.
But there’s a couple.

Johanna Buchweitz:
I like that. And I like what you said about sleep. I actually find that that’s research super, super fascinating. And I like how we’re kind of centering around this theme here of consistency, like whether, you know, whether it comes to showing up consistently in your business and producing content consistency with your sleep schedule, consistency with your like any type of practice that you do. I think it’s really fascinating and interesting to see that because at the end of the day, like it all goes back to just doing something, even if it’s imperfect, just showing up consistently because over time it yields results. And I like what you had said earlier about you kind of just staying the course longer than other people. You know, when you’re really successful and you just keep pushing through. And so I like that message so much because a lot of us I think are a little bit guilty of forgetting that. And too much being hyper focused on specific things that I guess in hindsight don’t really matter as much. But we put so much emphasis on it, you know, whether it is like oh, I have to get this many hours of sleep a night.
Oh, I have to make sure that, like, my content that I’m putting on social media does like X, Y, and Z if it doesn’t. And like, I’m not even going to post you know? And I think it’s really important to remember that, right?

Ahna Fulmer:
Right! I have to look stunning or else I’m not even going to post.

Johanna Buchweitz:
Exactly. It’s like one hair is out of place nope. All right. I’m going to skip posting today.
And just not show up.

Ahna Fulmer:
Don’t do it. Don’t do it. Just press publish.

Johanna Buchweitz:
Yes, exactly. And it’s like the responses aren’t always going to be great, but I think it’s important to just do it anyways. You know, I’d just like to show up for yourself and for the people who are listening and who are following you, because that authenticity is also really there, too. And it’s important to just be there to show up and to try every day.

Ahna Fulmer:
Yeah. And I think the key piece to all of this is when we talk about consistency, it’s so easy to get into this mindset that, well, you’re doing it right every day. Consistency, kind of like what you alluded to, Johanna, is not necessarily doing it perfectly every day, but it’s this idea of trying to fight the all or nothing mentality and live with disciplined moderation. This is a phrase that people hear me say a lot, and it’s this idea that the all or nothing mentality does not promote sustainability or consistency. You will burn out no matter what area we’re talking about in life. And so fighting that and recognizing that consistency and discipline does not mean perfection. It means giving yourself grace for the mistakes you will inevitably make, but then making no excuses. The next day I will do it better the next day, not perfect. I’ll do it better. And you keep showing up every day with that mentality and you will move forward. You will. You might take a step back, but you will eventually be taking two steps forward. So that’s the mindset, it’s not perfection. Just one imperfect day at a time.

Johanna Buchweitz:
Yeah, and I think that mindset and message is probably one of the most important things for anyone who’s like myself. And I know so many amazing female entrepreneurs, also many who are listening right now who are that type A personality who think they have to do it all and do it all perfectly. And knowing that and accepting that and getting comfortable, even though you’re definitely still uncomfortable when you hear it and do it. But just to do it anyways is the thing that is going to push you forward. It’s not going to hold you back even though I know so many people listening will be like, no, that’s definitely going to pull me backwards ten steps. It’s like, no, it’s going to push you forward. And like you said, even if you take a step backwards, you’re still going to be able to climb up that mountain maybe even faster than you would have otherwise.
And also, when you do, like, make that mistake along the way, besides just giving yourself grace, it’s also like what you can learn from it. Every single thing that’s given to you can be an amazing learning opportunity and being able to also go into everything you do with that mindset, knowing that if it doesn’t work out, I get to learn from it and I’m probably going to learn a ton at like and you do you learn so much from, you know, your quote unquote failures, the things that don’t work out. And that’s such a beautiful thing. And like I said earlier, like, you know, when you learn faster and you learn smarter, you’re able to apply it super quickly and you’re better for it. Your business is better for it and your life is better for it because you’re also happier and who doesn’t want to be happier?

Ahna Fulmer:
Absolutely. Yes, absolutely.

Johanna Buchweitz:
100%. I saw a quote that you had said that “the secret to success is embracing imperfection”. And I just love that message and I think it’s so true. And I love that you live it and you share it. But how hard was it for you to actually embrace imperfection? It’s like whether, you know, when you were first starting out, like as a nurse practitioner or when you first started your blog or as you continue to grow your business.

Ahna Fulmer:
Yeah. I mean, again, I think I would also refer back to truly that sense of knowing your worth makes such a big difference, knowing what makes you valuable. And again, for me, that was supernatural and I didn’t have it all together and then relationship with Jesus. But from a human standpoint, ongoing, there’s so much freedom in recognizing I don’t, And it’s a journey for sure. Especially depending on the home that you’ve grown up in and some of the subconscious messages that you’ve been getting potentially from parents or family you know, we’ve been talking about religion. Let’s talk about the church. You know, depending on what church you’re talking about, there’s certainly you know, harmful attitudes that happen, you know, in religious settings that leave people feeling very scared and getting hypocritical messages is sort of saying one thing, but then ultimately being told another.
So I think for many of us, it is a fight because it is not the message that we’re getting from society. And unfortunately, we all perpetuate it. And I think women perpetuate it more than anyone. And I’m going to be a little harsh on our sex for a second here. But the reality is we are constantly trying to cover up our imperfection and this isn’t me moralizing it.
This isn’t right or wrong. But, you know, Botox is laying out our wrinkles and invasively changing our bodies in a way that is artificial and creating this standard that isn’t natural or frankly even sustainable a lot of times. And it’s almost like we are setting ourselves back. It’s like we’re pushing ourselves down from just embracing this natural story in our lives. The messiness and the imperfection that makes us unique. And I think for me, when I was truly able to get to a place where I recognize I’m not perfect and trying to see the beauty in it, and wrinkles are just it’s the most superficial thing in the world. But I think it’s also so applicable because we are constantly being told that there’s a certain standard of what’s beautiful. And unless we are willing to fight it and stand up for our natural beauty, we will never reset that, that standard. And I get concerned for my daughter because I don’t want her to feel like there’s this crazy, unsustainable unrealistic standard of beauty that she has to meet. And so for myself, this is not a judgment on other women, but for me, like I was never more conscious of my wrinkles in my life because everyone filtered everyone’s. And so I have to fight it. But this is a practical example to myself, especially once I started blogging. And in this world where now I am my personal brand, my face is literally the brand of my business to the point where I actually had a brand strategist tell me, you need to have a photo shoot done and you need to be more present.
And I’m like, the answer to your question where I am, there’s times that I feel like as I age, I will become less relevant in the marketplace because I’m not considered as pretty. Because at some point we start villainizing aging. I don’t know why in our community and in our culture we have done that. It’s devastating because there’s so much beauty and grace to be had in the wisdom that comes with age, and yet we just focus on our skin, which is crazy. But I have to fight it. And so I have to look at myself in the mirror and say, You know what? The smiles along my mouth tell of years and years of laughter. The wrinkles around my eyes are mostly from laughter, but there’s been years of really, really difficult times and tears. But you know what? Those moments are what made me who I am today, less the laughter and more those really difficult times.
And my face tells that story. My body tells that story. And so for me, it’s switching the narrative and saying, you know what? I am not going to bow to a standard of beauty that my culture has told me I should adhere to. I am worthy, I am valuable, and I have to fight it for myself by not going to get Botox. I use lotions. I have a skincare routine. But for me, that’s one of the ways that I am actively fighting the concept of wanting to appear perfect and filtering things out and furthering my message. And it is something that I am currently doing. And for me it is the way that I think my message will be sharpest, especially when it concerns my daughters.
But it’s a fight, it’s a fight. I implore other women in the virtual space to join me because unless we link arm in arm, we’re never going to reset that standard again and give freedom to all of us to be naturally beautiful and to age and be valuable.

Johanna Buchweitz:
I appreciate your vulnerability and like you being so open and honest with all of us and sharing like, you know, what it is you’re currently working through. And I, I really admire, you know, you and other women who do talk about that because I think a lot of us also like, you know, we see people who are on the magazine cover. You know, you said you’re the face of the brand, right? We see that face of the brand. Like we see these successful women and we think they have it all together. Like if only we could be like them or think like them. And I think for me, at least one of the most eye opening things was I don’t know if you’re familiar with Gabby Bernstein, and I don’t know, like, you know, for those who are listening right now, but she’s she is a pretty big author and public speaker and talks a lot about spirituality and trauma, healing and in one of her latest books, Happy Days, she talks about like she’s helped in, I think,
like millions of people with her messages and with her prior books and her speaking events. And in Happy Days, she gets super vulnerable and she talks about how there were times where she was suffering from such debilitating anxiety and this postpartum depression as well. But even after like before and after the postpartum depression, she just had sometimes like she would get on stage and she would almost have a panic attack. And I think I know for myself and I’m sure many other people who read that it was so refreshing to hear the honesty of not being perfect or like, you know, you can still be super successful and, you know, you don’t have to be perfect. Like, not everything in your life is always going to be sunshine and rainbows even.
That would be marvelous if it could be and to understand that, like, no matter who it is, no matter how famous, no matter how wealthy, no matter how successful, no matter how impactful or whoever it is that you admire, they are also working through other things because we as humans are constantly learning and unlearning. And when back to your message is when we embrace that, that is truly succeeding and evolving and and growing and doing so in a happier and peaceful and kinder state. And I think it’s a beautiful message. And I really appreciate you sharing your message with us and just all the work that you are doing to spread that because I think it’s so important and far too many of us forget it.

Ahna Fulmer:
Yeah. Thank you for that. And you’re absolutely right. We all have a story. None of us is perfect. Everyone listening and watching your story matters. Your loved ones take a deep breath. You’re valuable as you are right now.

Johanna Buchweitz:
I love it. So I think a lot of us now understand, you know, your belief, too, what the secret of success is. Because as you said, it’s embracing imperfection. But what does success actually mean to you?

Ahna Fulmer:
That everyone –

Johanna Buchweitz:
In case you missed that it just to some up this whole whole episode today all about.
This is what we’re going with?

Ahna Fulmer:
Reiteration is really important. You know, sometimes. You have to say it a few times in a few different ways. Before it sticks. It’s all about receiving the message but that’s really how do you define success within itself at this point in your life with everything that you’re doing?
Yeah, that’s a good question. I think there’s there’s multiple areas of success I would like to see. You know, we all set our goals. I’m all about goals. I like challenges but I think if we were going to just be that, again, that high level overview I think it means I think true success is living I mean, again, the message is pretty consistent, but I think being able to fulfill your God given purpose with confidence, energy, joy and freedom. And again, I think the key to that is understanding your value and what we haven’t talked about. But I think a huge piece of that is recognizing that it’s not about me. And it sounds super counterintuitive, but the fact is when you find something that takes you out of that me centered mindset and as much as we want to invest in ourselves, the goal in investing in ourselves, in my opinion, is to then pour out to others, because that is when we truly live a life fulfilled.
And I think when we experience success in our lives, it is also what is going to enable you to get up an hour earlier than you normally do. And I talk about this concept in my podcast and I give seven tips to establish an early morning routine. One of the things I talk about is there’s this quote out there that passion fuels purpose, but in my opinion, purpose more effectively fuels passion. And when that purpose is centered on other people, you will be invigorated in a way that you’ve never understood. You will be happier, you will live a more ultimately successful life, because now it’s no longer about you. So it’s this weird juxtaposition a little bit where you need to know where your value is, to fill that God given purpose in the service.
But the goal of understanding your value is so that you can more effectively service others and you will truly experience freedom and joy in a way that you have never understood. And that’s where, for me, this whole business journey has been worth it because I have been able to more effectively serve other people. Then I feel that I was able to do it in the ER.
Nobody else has my story. Many other people had my medical skills. So that’s to me that yeah, long, long answer to a very simple question that you asked.

Johanna Buchweitz:
No, but it’s good because of it, because the journey there has been complex and a lot of learning. And I think what you said really resonates. And again, it ends up becoming a common theme here on Limitless, because a lot of women who have a similar definition to success as you do when they found their purpose, not only did they feel happier, they found that their their business and just all these different components of their life just started to glide.
Everything just started to be smoother. And even when they had those hiccups, they felt better. Like it wasn’t as stressful as when they weren’t living on purpose or when they weren’t doing work that was like, you know, where they felt fulfilled. And I think it’s really a beautiful thing and something that, you know, as a whole I think a lot of us now are getting more comfortable with taking this less traditional career route.
And identifying something that’s super unique to us by using, like you said, your gifts and once you know your worth and being able to use it for, you know, sharing it with other people and adding that value. So I think that’s amazing. I know you have this blog. You talked about your podcast. So I know there’s all these amazing resources and places to find you and we will include all that in the show notes.
But I would love for you to just kind of like direct our listeners if they want more honor. And I think we all want more of it. Now, after listening to you, where is the best place for us to find you.

Ahna Fulmer:
Well, my website is definitely the sort of central point to all of the different things going on over here. But HammersandHugs.com. Hammers and Hugs, doc is there and my podcast links are all there my fitness and nutrition business, it’s a virtual it’s a six week program. I coach for a parent company, which is another story, but a classmate of mine from college started it.
It’s a great, great program. And it’s fun coaching for her program. And then the journal that you mentioned, it’s called The Imperfectly Empowered Journal. We’re really consistent here, as you can tell. The theme is very consistent. So my blog is Hammers and Hugs, but my podcast is called Imperfectly Empowered and the Journal is free. It is a bi monthly publication on my blog and there are contributors.
So it’s primarily now written by contributors. So if anyone listening wants to contribute, you can visit there and check out the information in the journal on how to contribute. But it’s awesome. It’s there’s so many different things. We have everything from health and wellness experts to home decor experts to female entrepreneurs speaking to women who are working from home and what life looks like. So I would love for you to read it. I would love for you to contribute to it.
HammersandHugs.com. There you go.

Johanna Buchweitz:
Thank you, Ahna, for everything you shared with all of us today. And I know you’ve shared so many words of wisdom, but I am going to ask you for one more if you can leave us with words of wisdom that fit out a tweet. And I have a really strong feeling. I know where this is going

Ahna Fulmer:
Oh man. Who I don’t know how wise my words have been but see if I can add something else sort of in consistency with some of the things that we have talked about. This is another thing that I say a lot. The truth is rarely found in the extremes, usually somewhere in the middle. The truth is rarely found in the extremes, usually somewhere in the middle.
Fight hard for that middle ground. And the reason that I say that is when we live in extremes more often, what suffers is relationships. And we’ve seen that a lot in our society. So fight for the middle ground because then you will be able to maintain healthy relationships with the people around you. You will also fight the all or nothing might be.
So anyways, try to fight for that middle ground.

Johanna Buchweitz:
Thank you so much, Ahna

Ahna Fulmer:
Those are my last words. I have no more.

Johanna Buchweitz:
Thank you all so much for everything and for sharing everything with all of us today. I really appreciate you all.

Ahna Fulmer:
That’s all I got.

Johanna Buchweitz:
Well, you got a lot, so I like it. I think we all were sitting here taking notes.

Ahna Fulmer:
Thanks, Johanna, Thank you. Well, thank you so much for the podcast for all that you are doing and the opportunity for all of us to share. Sharing our stories it’s an honor.

Johanna Buchweitz:
We hope you enjoyed hearing from the incredible honor. Former. And if you did, please leave us a review on Apple, Spotify or wherever you tune in to listen. Please share this episode with anyone who you think might enjoy it. Thank you so much for tuning in to this week’s episode of Limitless. See you next week for a new episode.

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