We're bringing #WomenWhoLead close to home and close to heart this week and introducing Petra Thompson as our most recent #LoveYourBody interview. Petra is a longtime colleague and more importantly, longtime friend whose brilliance shines like no other. She's a community loving connector who eats, sleeps and breathes the PNW, and someone who elevates everyone she comes into contact with.
Her story in life and leadership is around finding her voice. Always encouraged by those around her, it was in accessing her ability to speak her truth and trusting what she knew that she thrived and began to see the impact of her work and contribution. It's her strength of character and desire to positively impact the people and communities around her that has landed her in a role where she is creating a movement around fitness and health in the Pacific Northwest.
Join us in celebrating this woman's legacy. She is a force to be reckoned with. We know you will love her as much as we do!
Where did your drive to contribute to your work originate from?
My parents. They are brilliant, dynamic and always ahead of their time. They understand the power of intentional collaboration on a deep level. They deliver best in class, truly remarkable results, and I am constantly inspired by their work. Specifically, how they work together and with others.
When did you know you were stepping into a calling, or your purpose?
When I lost my voice, and then found it.
I spent a year doubting my leadership abilities and wasted precious time feeling hesitant and fearful. I missed important opportunities to contribute. I was shaky at best, and in moments I lost my voice completely. As the stakes got higher, silence was no longer an option. I began to feel like I had nothing to lose because I had already lost my most valuable asset, my voice. So I started speaking up, being bold, talking to the elephant in the room. I realized that bringing voice to instincts is a true skill, and it is extremely powerful. I also realized that people were counting on me for it; not sharing was a disservice to more than just myself. I am clear that it’s not about being right, it’s about being heard. Using my voice powerfully and coaching others to do the same is a piece of my purpose.
What’s been a moment of understanding or realization that your work has created an impact on others?
A group of leaders that I love, respect and worked with for years came together and surprised me with an acknowledgement circle. One by one, they shared something about me that made a difference in their life and their leadership. We laughed (a lot), we cried (a lot) and I experienced true acknowledgement in a profound way. It was magical to have this impact radiated back at me. I am so honored by that moment. This experience continues to serve as an important reminder to pay it forward; acknowledging another individual in a clear and authentic way is one of the most generous gifts you can give. Think of someone who has made a real difference for in your life – and go tell them!
We are focusing on loving your body this month, why did you choose to focus on your shoulders and legs? What’s the story?
I have always been tall. By 7th grade, I was standing at 6 feet, much taller than anyone else in my class. Early on I realized that I had to make an important decision – to stand tall with pride or minimize my height (slouch, hunch, etc.) in an attempt to “fit in.” I am beyond grateful that my family, friends and coaches have always celebrated my height as strength and beauty. This affirmation has supported my internal commitment to embrace my height as something that I sincerely love.
My shoulders are a constant reminder of this choice. I pay attention to how I carry myself and it starts here. My shoulders are an outward reflection of my internal state. If they roll forward and I begin to hunch, energetically I disappear. With a simple correction—rolling them back, blades together—I come to life. I am conscious of my posture, specifically my shoulders, because they impact the way that I feel and how others experience me.
My legs are my foundation and they are so damn strong. I have never had thin, thigh gap legs, and I don’t care. My legs are my roots, an incredible source of stability and power. Because of this, I’ll take occasional chafing over a greater denim selection any day!
What do you want women to know about their bodies?
Be kind, speak to yourself with love, and practice patience.
Be grateful and celebrate what you appreciate about your body.
Remember that where attention goes, energy flows. If you focus on something negative, you will get more of what you don’t want.
Health goals rooted in negativity are certain to fail and will likely create more of what you are attempting to overcome.
What have you learned?
I have learned that I create my legacy, now, today and in every moment. This helps keep me present and brings me back to my values.
What’s your take on living and leading with soul?
Leading with soul is liberating, and it’s the best (and only) way to lead.
Who are some women leaders that inspire you?
Susanne Conrad, founder of igolu, is one of my leadership mentors and she exemplifies the ability to lead with soul. One of the igolu principles is: Align All Ways. For me, this means a connection to my source, my body and my roots. This connection allows for unlimited strength, vulnerability, trust and creativity to thrive.
Petra, a PNW girl at heart and soul, embodies community in every ounce of her being. She is passionate about building great brands, developing incredible leaders and spreading health + wellness to her community (and beyond!). She has been fortunate enough to work with great organizations that share these values: previously lululemon athletica and currently fitmob - a fitness technology company that allows users to take their favorite classes at the best studios and gyms all over their city.