#BadassLadyGang, Let's Say It Forward

You know those days when you just feel alone?

Like you're giving everything you have but don't seem to be making any headway?

Like no one appreciates just how much of yourself you're giving to a goal, your job, or your family and relationships? 

Being a woman can feel like a thankless job. We're expected to do it all and make it all seem effortless! And THAT RIGHT THERE is why the #BadassLadyGang is so important. Because on the days when you've locked yourself in the bathroom, desperate for just 5 minutes of peace and quiet so that you can cry or scream or just close your eyes, you know that even though you feel like you can't hold it together, there's an army of women behind you who get your struggle and still want to see you kick ass and take names. 

Meet Say It Forward.

In 2014, I was a receptionist at the parent company of The Knot, XO Group Inc., when a tornado of friendly energy came barreling into our office. As a receptionist, I was used to being talked at or having the guests of higher-ups waltz in and expect me to bend over backward to make them feel as special and important as they thought they were. 

But this woman didn't just talk to me like a human, she genuinely wanted to hear me. 

At the time, my sister was the social media manager at XO Group and we spent most of our days chatting back and forth about what was going on at the company, who was mean to me, where the free food was in the office, and what we could do to build my blog.

The interaction I was having with this new woman was so out of the ordinary, that I immediately ping-ed my sister to tell her that a woman named Stacy Stahl was in the lobby and she was actually being nice to me.

Next thing I know, Samantha is in the lobby giving Stacy a big, giant bear hug.

"This is my sister Kelly!" Samantha proclaimed, releasing Stacy from a twenty-year long hug. 

"Oh my gosh! I didn't know your sister worked at XO!" 

And that right there was how I met one of the most inspiring and driven members of my #BadassLadyGang, Stacy Stahl.

In 2011, Stacy Stahl launched How He Asked, a blog that featured user-submitted engagement stories. Five years after creating How He Asked, the engagement platform was acquired by XO Group. So to say that Stacy is a bit of a badass is an understatement. She's a smart, driven, and savvy businesswoman who works hard and believes in building the women around her up as well.

Every few weeks, Stacy would reach out to check on me, help me brainstorm, or talk about the highs and lows of working for yourself and building a brand. Being able to talk about my missteps, fears and insecurities with someone who had been through what I was going through was invaluable. And while her insight was incredibly helpful while I built both Run, Selfie, Repeat and then She Can & She Did, it was when she told me that she believed in me that meant the most. 

Our words have the power to inspire and motivate others to believe in themselves or think out of the box when they want to call it quits. Just one simple note can be the difference between a mental breakdown and a mental breakthrough. Things like:

"I know you're going through a rough time and I just want you to know how grateful I am for our friendship."

Or,

"I know how much you do for your family and our work family and I just want to say thank you for helping me get to where I am today." 

Or,

"Thank you for reaching out last week and saying that you believe in me. I know I'm not great at asking for help but hearing you say that meant a lot. I'm so grateful for our friendship. And our dance parties." 

Or,

"Watching you train for your half marathon made me think that I too might be capable of accomplishing something seemingly impossible as well. I can't wait to see you cross that finish line and I can't wait to follow in your footsteps. Thanks for being such a badass!" 

Taking the time to say the things we think to ourselves to the people we care about is a game changer. That's why I'm over the moon excited about Stacy's latest project, Say It Forward.

What's Say It Forward? They say it better than I ever could so I'll let them tell you---

We believe in spilling our guts, in telling someone how deeply they’ve impacted our lives, in reminding loved ones that they mean the world to us. We also believe that kindness inspires kindness – so to make that happen, we send your note “anonymously”! Then, to unlock the name behind your oh-so-sweet card, your friend can “Say It Forward” or donate to a charity of their choice. Say It Forward is a conga line of kindness and here’s how to hop on:

When Stacy launched Say It Forward, I immediately thought about what we could do to use this platform to empower the #BadassLadyGang. First, I reached out to one of the most talented ladies I know, illustrator and runner Lori Richmond to see if we could make the partnership extra special. Lori and I met, ironically enough, at XO Group while I was a receptionist and Lori was busy creating on The Bump.

Lori and I stayed in touch post XO and I, along with hundreds of other runners, have become OBSESSED with Lori's #ViewFromMyRun series on her Instagram

I asked Lori if she'd be interested in creating a special #BadassLadyGang card for Say It Forward and to my complete delight, she said yes and gave us three INCREDIBLE illustrations.

SO, fierce and strong women of the #BadassLadyGang, I challenge you SAY IT FORWARD.

CLICK HERE and send a special #BadassLadyGang note to someone who inspires you and let them know why they're an important and valuable member of your #BadassLadyGang. Maybe it's your mom, sister, or grandmother. Maybe it's a co-worker or mentor. Maybe it's a neighbor or acquaintance. Or maybe it's someone you've connected with virtually and inspires you to lace up in pursuit of your strongest self. 

Once you Say It Forward, the person you send your card to will be able to read your note but won't be able to know who sent it until they either say it forward or donate to a charity. It's like our own personal celebration party!!!! 

SO, #BadassLadyGang, let's spread the love and say it forward!  

For more information on Lori and to follow her #ViewFromMyRun series, you can find her HERE or follow her on Instagram.

For more information about Stacy and How He Asked, check out her episode on the She Can & She Did podcast or follow her Instagram.