We had the good fortune of connecting with Stephanie Spence and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Stephanie, how do you think about risk?
Risk taking has been extremely positive in my life. It’s important to define just what that is first. Risk behaviors fall along a spectrum: On one end of the spectrum are negative risks, which are generally antisocial or dangerous. Positive risk-taking is about learning new things and exploring unfamiliar territory. The risk is positive because, while it still evokes a feeling of uncertainty or fear, you develop a new skill or there’s a possibility of a positive outcome. Personally, I’ve learned the most in life from challenges (meeting and moving through them), pain (physical, emotional, and spiritual), and taking risks (in business and in my personal life). By far the greatest risk I have taken is learning how to use my voice – personally and in my writing. As a former CEO of my own magazine publishing business, I impacted many people by providing uplifting and inspiring editorial. The demands of my career and hiding behind a mask eventually took it’s toll on me though and I crashed hard. Suffering from burnout, I was treated for all forms of abuse and PTSD. As a survivor, I then made a clear choice to reclaim and redefine my life in a way that felt limitless. A huge part of that process involved me making a dedicated effort at learning how to lean into my fears and move though and past them. This was risky business for me at the time. What I discovered, though, was that it was the most powerful tool in my ever-expanding toolbox. This life-enhancing tool placed me in a growth mode within a safe space of my making. What did this look like? Speaking my truth. I had discovered during my life re-calibration that I had been writing under a censor my whole life. Fearful of what others would think or fear of hurting someone somehow by sharing my truth this had kept me small. Once I stepped into my unique voice I felt free. Limitless. I was no longer the passenger in my car of life. I was clearly the driver. As an artist I realized I had allowed an ugly, unhealthy censor to keep me from writing from a place of authenticity, vulnerability, and truth. Once I found this, though, there was no turning back.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’ve been in communications my whole life. In my early 20’s I worked for ABC TV in Houston, Texas. From there I learned that I could tell a story in a compelling way. I made a choice, though, that I would not be sharing fear-based content and/or shock-driven communication because I had seen the ugly side of how the media could manipulate a story. I have since worked in radio, TV, and films in addition to creating and building my own successful publishing business. One of my publications would morph into what is now active.com and I’m proud of the inspiring, educational, and uplifting impact my work has had on people and my community. I’ve worked and served on numerous charitable boards which has been very rewarding. I’m happiest while helping others. I attended UCLA and learned the craft of screenwriting and have since written almost a dozen screenplays. Before social media was a “thing” I created a blog focusing on the intersection of yoga and happiness which eventually was part of the inspiration for a 4,000 road trip up the west coast of the United States into Canada interviewing hundreds of yoga teachers. As a lifelong yoga practitioner this life-changing trip became my book, “Yoga Wisdom: Warrior Tales Inspiring You On And Off Your Mat” (multiple award-winner). Due to the current pandemic I’ve busied myself by creating an art studio in my garage where I’m learning how to paint. I’m awful at it, but I love it. What I’m most proud of, though, is that I continue to try and educate and inspire others to live a life of limitless potential in any way I can whether that be public speaking, activism, volunteering, and/or teaching from a place of love. I’ve learned that life can be challenging at times, but that we are stronger than we know. I recently trekked to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro while on an around-the-world trip. I know that we are all the same – all over the world – and that we may call ourselves humankind but we have yet to figure out how we can all be kind humans. I see myself as a lifelong student of yoga and am currently getting my Master’s Degree in Yoga Studies from Loyola Marymount University. I’m most proud of the fact that I am open, willing, and fearless. Having crashed hard and reclaimed my life has brought me great peace and happiness. I’ve learned you can hold grief, sadness, and pain alongside life’s simple joys. I’m happy in nature walking my dog daily at sunset on the most beautiful stretch of beach here in Coronado, my home. I’ve come to know that my dharma is to educate and inspire and I hope to continue to be a positive change agent in the world. I am love in action.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
We live in the greatest city in America. There are countless outdoor and cultural things to do here. I never miss a chance to take someone snorkeling or diving if they come. My life-partner, Michael, and I are both sailing captains so we love taking newbies sailing when they visit. I especially appreciate Balboa Park with the huge selection of museums, which we frequent as often as possible. I love taking people to our amazing symphony concerts on the bay outside at night (or indoors) and have yet to find anyone who doesn’t love our rooftop view of all five 4th of July fireworks displays. I love Coronado’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony and taking people to see the boat light parade in the month of December as well. There are endless restaurants, parks, shopping destinations, and beaches to keep us happy and healthy by experiencing all that this great city (and it’s people) share. We’re grateful to live here.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d love to recognize Elizabeth Gilbert, Author of “Eat, Pray, Love.” I met Liz during a low point in my life and shared with her my idea for my book. She was incredibly supportive and I took her kind words and support to heart and embarked on my amazing journey of becoming a published writer. I also want to thank Mark Nepo, Poet and Author of “The Book of Awakening” because he also encouraged me to write my book when I had the great honor of attending one of his writing workshops. I’ve had the great pleasure of handing my heroes a copy of my award-winning book and seeing the look of joy in their eyes at the recognition of touching another soul in a way that filled them with inspiration. We all want the same things: to be seen, heard, loved – and have a sense of safety and purpose. I can’t tell you how much it means to your favorite authors if you take the time to reach out to them and tell them how their words impacted you. There is no greater gift for a writer.
Other: TikTok: @stephanieyogini