[00:00:00.300] – Brett Dupree
Hello, Heather, and welcome to my podcast. Good morning.
[00:00:03.790] – Heather Breedlove
Good morning. So excited to be here.
[00:00:06.570] – Brett Dupree
Can you please give the listeners a brief introduction to who you are?
[00:00:10.230] – Heather Breedlove
Absolutely. So my name is Heather Breedlove and I founded really a movement named Shine Your Bright. And a little bit about where that came from and who I am is I grew up small-town America, white picket fences, really had all of my goals and dreams set up for my life and started going. I left. It was Pelham, Georgia, left there when I was 18, landed at the University of Georgia, graduated, went on to a corporate career, really started working my checklist, the marriage, the job.
[00:00:47.040] – Heather Breedlove
And as I checked that off, I started turning around and saying, well, a couple of things happened. It was taking a lot of effort to keep it all together. And I didn’t necessarily really be present and true with who I wanted to be. I was living that checklist that we all thought we wanted. Growing up. And then second, when something didn’t happen on that checklist, how did I navigate and still be happy with life knowing it wasn’t going to be what I wanted?
[00:01:17.820] – Heather Breedlove
I can expand a little and just hop into some of that. Like, for instance, also like, for instance, marriage.
[00:01:26.280] – Heather Breedlove
Love my husband so dearly. He’s my life. Love and partner met him at 19. We got married at twenty-five. But I didn’t realize marriage could be hard. We went through a lot of ups and downs. I thought marriage was really just a mirror of the marriage. My parents had and he thought the same and clearly, they didn’t have the same marriages. So we were going through life really with two different perceptions. And until we started learning about ourselves and how to have our own marriage, it was kind of surface level.
[00:01:59.880] – Heather Breedlove
Fortunately, we doubled down on learning about ourselves. He did some major life changes. I had to learn to grow with him and we found our own way. You couple that when it turned out right after we got married. My dad was diagnosed with melanoma. We got married in June. Great wedding. He was gone by Thanksgiving and we had no idea he was even sick when we got married. So we had to navigate that and then knowing that he wouldn’t be around for most of my married life.
[00:02:30.720] – Heather Breedlove
Second, we found out kids weren’t really an option for us. So that fits very much in the happily ever after when you’re growing up. But now, today, we found a life that we love and are flourishing. Without children, that’s an adjustment. Right. And that’s a little bit of a shift to double back down on who you are and how to be happy.
[00:02:50.760] – Brett Dupree
How was it like learning that you couldn’t have kids
[00:02:54.250] – Heather Breedlove
a little about to me no, failures are not an option. I typically will just go in and manhandle the situation to make it happen. What I ended up doing is it got to the point of trying to force children in our lives was really causing a lot of internal conflict with both Tom and I. And what I was able to kind of let it go and say, OK, this is where I am.
[00:03:21.870] – Heather Breedlove
What does the universe has planned for me? I started realizing I should ask myself why I wanted children and I was sitting. We’ve got this little lake cabin, which has just been a joy to have, especially right now they’re in quarantine. But we had this little lake cabin. I was sitting out there one morning and really started asking, well, why do I want children? And I remember it like it was yesterday. I saw just some bubbles blowing across the air with a kid next door.
[00:03:52.440] – Heather Breedlove
And it was really the joy of the play and having and keeping that inner child for myself and not necessarily the raising of a child. I wanted that laugh out loud laughter in that joy of finding new experiences. And you see that. And that’s easy to see in children. And so what I was able to do then is I took that little experience and shifted it into learning about myself. And that’s how Shine Your Bright was born in that scene, that little bit of extraordinary and just an ordinary bottle of bubbles. I developed a journal about ordinary things. Finding the magic in them and being able to journal around them.
[00:04:40.030] – Brett Dupree
Were you always somebody who was in the self-inquiry?
[00:04:43.220] – Heather Breedlove
No. And I think that was a lot of my story are we and I are going to add a little about my husband here because we’ve walked this path together where I grew up with white picket fences. He wasn’t necessarily in the same environment. His was a little more volatile and what we didn’t understand is why we’re trying to keep this life together and keep climbing that corporate ladder. Why it’s so difficult. And he went and started learning about himself. That’s when it opens a whole new door.
[00:05:16.500] – Heather Breedlove
And I don’t know how much any of the listeners participate that. But when you start really getting to know yourself again or even for the first time, it can be scary. And it’s incredible just to start admitting to yourself that you’re not happy, you’re just putting on a face for everyone. So when he doubled down and started learning about himself, that opened to hold the door for me. And that’s when I probably started myself. Inquiry, too.
[00:05:42.880] – Brett Dupree
Well, that’s so cool. I’ve heard that go both ways. Go to the other person taking on that self-responsibility of looking themselves or just breaking up the marriage entirely.
[00:05:53.130] – Heather Breedlove
Well, we have this joke in our marriage that it’s actually pretty serious. We kind of joke around that. We’ve been married and divorced five times. We just keep marrying each other. I think the reason we’ve been so successful about that is that we do know that we want to grow and we want to be all that we can be and we want to touch as many lives as possible. It can be hard in that growth is really that tension that you’re blossoming out of. Some people, you get to the point where you just can’t find your way back.
[00:06:25.530] – Brett Dupree
So what’s it like growing with a partner in this situation?
[00:06:29.340] – Heather Breedlove
Oh, well, at first it was super. And I think we’re about probably seven or eight years on this path before we really started shifting. We have conversations. I also like to say we don’t say no to each other. So if he has a hope and a dream, I’d say no. Like to put it out there. Sometimes he walked away from a corporate job. He was a shareholder of super large accounting firm in the Southeast.
[00:06:54.540] – Heather Breedlove
Well, he walked away. Called me on Valentine’s Day. One day I was driving to my office and he goes, today’s the day I’m going to leave. Well, I guess for a minute, because his salary was double mine. And we’re just going to walk away from it so he can go pursue his hopes and his dreams. Well, that could be scary, because then you’ve got your mortgage, you’ve got your car payments, and you’ve got to really shift.
[00:07:18.360] – Heather Breedlove
I had to shift my life to help him go live life which now I know he was meant to live. I would say it’s certainly scary to do. And then once we take that leap, we talk our way through it. We started understanding. He’ll make a decision instantaneously. I will take 24 hours and think about it and really feel good about my decision. And once we started learning how the other would navigate, we’re just able to grow.
[00:07:46.770] – Heather Breedlove
And as we keep taking those leaps of faith and doing it together, the bond gets stronger and stronger and stronger.
[00:07:54.120] – Brett Dupree
That’s really cool. It’s I think it’s something special being able to grow with another person, having that type of relationship. So it’s always nice to hear about that.
[00:08:02.100] – Heather Breedlove
[00:08:03.510] – Brett Dupree
And you got into self-inquiry and wanting to change your life. How was that process?
[00:08:11.280] – Heather Breedlove
So for me, I would say I didn’t even realize that I wanted to get into self-inquiry. And one of our big pivot points when it was about to just all blow open and we were at that point where we were going to leave, go start separate lives. Fortunately, Tommy went to a place in Tennessee called On-Site, and it was a living centered program where he spent seven days really learning about himself and tools to learn about yourself. It was such an experience for him, I went.
[00:08:43.920] – Heather Breedlove
All of a sudden he had this huge spark of self-growth and it left me kind of floundering in trying to figure out I mean, it yanks the rug out from under you. So I went and I remember driving up there and I was like, I could go to the beach and he would never know. I didn’t show up. But I ended up going and they had this one afternoon, they did horse therapy. It was really interesting to watch how different people interacted with their horses.
[00:09:11.970] – Heather Breedlove
Some people would get angry and yell at the horse, which the horse shuts down and there’s no forward movement there. Some people were very timid. In which case, like your horse can clearly be an alpha. What happened for me in that afternoon was somehow that horse and I connected and we were in a partnership. Tommy and I had not necessarily been on a stable partnership level really up until that point in our marriage. But what I felt was when I realized it was an equally balanced relationship, even if it was with the horse, I had this glow inside of me that just started shining and like bursting and growing.
[00:09:53.970] – Heather Breedlove
And it was happiness. But I had not felt that happiness in so long. It was almost overwhelming. That was the first time in granted I didn’t go all in and start learning about myself and really just open up. But what happened is I felt it. I knew what it was like. And I knew if I didn’t get back to that happy, there would always be a piece of me missing.
[00:10:19.600] – Brett Dupree
What got you into wanting to take this experience and actually write a book. Share it with others.
[00:10:25.510] – Heather Breedlove
As Tommy was growing, I was growing. It just came to me one day. And I was I love seeing people happy. And that goes right back to the story about the children, the joy in living your best life, not having people holding you back. The pressure of going through that checklist. What I wanted to do was tell people it’s OK to abandon your checklist. It’s OK to live your hopes and your dreams.
[00:10:52.030] – Heather Breedlove
And it doesn’t have to be all about your career and all about your marriage and all about your children. And those are pieces of it. But who are you? And it was hard for me to start learning who I was again. And that’s why I put the journal together because it takes small steps. I mean, some of us that have been closed up, you might not even know what your favorite food is at a restaurant because you haven’t thought through that.
[00:11:16.300] – Heather Breedlove
The journal and the self-help piece is really a platform to start to learn who you are again. And we call it a reintroduction to yourself. And it’s been such a great experience that we’re even doing a conference in September just for people that want to get out and start to learn about themselves again and want that little push. I have no idea where to start building your confidence.
[00:11:40.810] – Brett Dupree
When it comes to writing your book. What are some of the trials and tribulations in writing it?
[00:11:46.750] – Heather Breedlove
The consistent movement forward and stepping out of my comfort zone to just go do it? Because what you are is you’re putting yourself out there really to be judged? Or what if it’s not a success? What if its people don’t like it? I think that was my biggest thing to overcome because you just don’t know it’s being vulnerable to a whole world of people.
[00:12:10.870] – Brett Dupree
As someone who wrote a book, I know how vulnerable that can be.
[00:12:15.030] – Heather Breedlove
I was going to ask you about that because it’s a piece of your soul that you put out to the universe. But there is this commonality, right? We’re all connected in some way. And we all have our problems. We all have our fears. We all have excitement. And if we could just all support each other through that, the world is so much more meaningful than trying to compete. I remember I was sitting at dinner with a couple of my friends one night.
[00:12:38.940] – Heather Breedlove
I mean, I treasure these two women as probably my best friends in life. And one of them just broke down. And she said, How are you guys keeping your marriages together? Everybody. So they look like. Their marriages are great. Mine’s falling apart. I don’t think we’re gonna make it. And it hit me in that instance. I’m like, how sad is it that my best friend has been struggling with her marriage for years? And she hits this breaking point before she ever tells me about it.
[00:13:07.480] – Heather Breedlove
And that just goes to how many of our relationships are surface level and not talking about the real things going on in our lives.
[00:13:15.280] – Brett Dupree
Yeah, that can lead to an isolation feeling. I think one of the best parts of my own personal growth is learning that none of my pain, that none of my trauma, nothing I’ve ever experienced is special. There’s a lot of people out there who experience the same thing and learning from other people, hearing other people’s story has been very helpful for me to grow in that situation.
[00:13:36.100] – Heather Breedlove
Well, and just knowing that you’re not alone. I even say I kind of throw this out there because women can be they can be tough growing up and there can be a big jealousy component. What I’ve found, though, is so many of us are so good at different things with some of us are nurturers. Some of us go out and find new experiences. Some of us are really into beauty. And I’ve found that rather than being jealous or in being what someone is good at is I’ve surrounded myself with a circle of friends that if I want to go travel and go to a great new place, I know which friends are going to say, hey, this is what I want to do. I know if I need to be just on a couch and being taken care of, I know which friends going to call me over and make me hot cocoa and surrounding yourself and finding your inner community for that. It’s such a strong support group.
[00:14:30.700] – Brett Dupree
Tell our listeners about your book. What exactly is it about?
[00:14:35.380] – Heather Breedlove
It’s got a journal. I’ve got my story upfront. Just sharing my path, how I got to where I was, and what I shifted to do this book. And really, it’s got open white space for you to write. So on every page is an ordinary, everyday picture. And like, for instance, I’ve got a clock on one page. And then I’ve got some prompts around anticipation schedules, tick-tock. And then some questions you can think through.
[00:15:03.370] – Heather Breedlove
Like, how do you take time for yourself when this time slows down for you or if you had time, what would you do? People that have used it just taking time, flipping through, finding a page to write with, and have that in a reflection whether they start their day with. Whether they end their day with it. I’ve heard a lot about sitting in the carpool lines at school, even though that’s not happening these days. But really just that self-reflection of that book. And it’s taking ordinary and hopefully finding some extraordinary with who you are and how you relate to those images.
[00:15:37.280] – Brett Dupree
What’s been the coolest part about writing your book?
[00:15:40.540] – Heather Breedlove
The creativity and the self-expression and seeing one when the impact it makes in people’s lives and getting the emails and the text messages saying, hey, I was going through this transition in life. The one I just heard from last week was from college into a career and super intimidated by that shift and taking the shine your bright journal and working through it and giving her self a little bit of confidence each and every day and knowing who she is and really establishing those core values so that as we make choices in the future, we know which values to ask ourselves, is this in alignment with who I am and who I want to be? So I think it’s the people’s impact that’s been hands down. The coolest experience.
[00:16:26.710] – Brett Dupree
There’s something special about impacting people. So what are some of the impacts that you have received?
[00:16:34.330] – Heather Breedlove
I’ve had let’s see. We’ve had someone who had a child. She was not it was a big adjustment having the child. And she told me she was able to take the journal and it would just give her a piece of her day back to herself to kind of start to work through that process. One of the other cool things is I had a mom and daughter both with their journals, and they would do it together and sit and talk about what page they picked and what they had written on that day at dinner that night. Just some really super cool stories and sharing around that.
[00:17:10.670] – Brett Dupree
You seem to tour with your book and dor book signings. How has that been for you?
[00:17:15.670] – Heather Breedlove
You know, it’s been wonderful to meet people. One of the things that I absolutely love doing is traveling, experiencing. And it’s easy for me. We kind of a joke in our marriage. Tommy is definitely the people person and I can be quieter. But what’s this is done is really helped to me make connections and really intimate connections with people
[00:17:39.870] – Brett Dupree
Looking you over your website seems like you have your own conference, the Shine Your Bright Conference.
[00:17:43.360] – Heather Breedlove
I do. It’s been super exciting to plan to go back. I mean, I grew gosh from an early age. I’d say back when I was twenty-five, I started doing an annual trip with all the women in my family and planning it and making sure that we would do something out of the ordinary every year. One year we did parasailing. One year we, oh gosh, to Wimoweh to go to a show. What happened is since we’ve been doing those for 17 years and seeing the energy and the happiness and laughter around doing things that we wouldn’t normally do, it was such an easy shift to take it from 13 women and my family to open it up to the Shine Your Bright community. And we’re doing a retreat in September at Stone Mountain and got some great which is just outside of Atlanta. It’s a beautiful, beautiful spot on a lake with a lot of outdoor trails and whatnot. Super excited to have this conference. The people that are involved that are gonna be bringing some of their content, even topics like how do you start to get out of your comfort zone? Another big thing we talk about is when you know you need to make a change and everyone around you is saying, it’s time, it’s time, it’s time.
[00:19:03.040] – Heather Breedlove
But what I call it is living in the gray, living in that gray area where, you know, you want to make a change, but you’re not quite there and saying it’s okay to live in that space. But really, what steps can I take to make baby steps to start to get out of it rather than just a mass? This is my new life. So, yeah, we’ve got some exciting topics and just a weekend full of fun.
[00:19:26.640] – Brett Dupree
This is your first conference you’re putting on, right?
[00:19:28.510] – Heather Breedlove
It is. It is. And of course, we had to reschedule given all of the COVID transitions in life. But I think it’s just going to work out. It’s a beautiful time of the year outside of Atlanta, Georgia, where you’re starting to get into fall and you can just feel it in the air. I’m just trusting that it’s working out the best way possible.
[00:19:47.600] – Brett Dupree
It even has a laser light show
[00:19:49.800] – Heather Breedlove
It. It does. They do. It’s this huge and it’s Stone Mountain, but it’s this huge mountain that’s completely made out of stone. They do a laser light show at night which talks about Shine Your Bright. I mean, just to see the light going through. And it’s so fun. And it’s one of just those staples that you do if you’re in Atlanta.
[00:20:12.850] – Brett Dupree
So we are coming to the end of our time together. One thing I like to ask my guests, do a one minute of motivation. You can imagine this as if you have a time machine and you going back to your eight-year-old self and you want to give it everything you need to know to live a happy, joyful life. But unfortunately, you have a minute into your pop, back into the future, or you can think of it as condensing your entire life’s mission into a minute. So are you ready?
[00:20:34.620] – Heather Breedlove
Oh, let’s do it.
[00:20:35.760] – Brett Dupree
Awesome. Let’s go.
[00:20:37.000] – Heather Breedlove
Let’s go. You are a special person. You shine. You have everything you need in life to have the life that you dream of. You can take little steps. You can take big steps. Just keep going. And we’re here to support, you know, your dreams and your life are going to be everything you want. I know I don’t get to a minute, but I’ll tell you, my dog liked that because his tails wagging right now.
[00:21:00.850] – Heather Breedlove
Yes. Thank you so much. This has been incredible.
[00:21:05.410] – Brett Dupree
Thank you so much for being on my podcast. I very much enjoyed listening to your journey about how you got started trying to live a life of societal checklists. I mean, that house. I need a car. I need some children. I knew that white picket fence and recognizing the fact that maybe that just isn’t for you. And then there’s something more. And to recognize the fact of what your partner was going through into self-inquiry and stepping into that light with him and shining out and recognizing the benefit of personal development and self-growth to not only do the self-inquiry work but also to help other people shine their life and live their best lives through this just very special. So thank you so much for everything that you do for this planet. And thank you for coming on my podcast.
[00:21:53.380] – Heather Breedlove
Thank you so very much. It was an absolute pleasure to be here today.
[00:21:57.610] – Brett Dupree
May your day be special.