When one of her friends approached Eliza Butler and told her about The Grrrls Connection from Willsey Connections, she had no idea what to expect. As soon as she met Pam Willsey, however, she knew she’d found something special. Eliza became a mentor in The Grrrls Connection while she was in high school, appreciating and enjoying the opportunity to be a mentor to girls going through experiences just like the ones she’d had, as well as the opportunity to participate in and contribute to many important conversations about school, friendship, and life as a teenager.
Fast forward to today, and Eliza has an even deeper appreciation for the one-of-a-kind environment created and nurtured in The Grrrls Connection. She is also featured in Willsey Connections’ newest project, Packing For Success, a guide for young women as they navigate life transitions. Eliza’s chapter is called “The Little Black Dress,” which she understands as bringing yourself back to your values. She explains how she lost sight of her values in college when she ended her journey playing hockey, saying, “My identity was stripped from me in a matter of minutes.” Feeling lost and depressed, she overcompensated by partying and avoiding the values she’d previously created. Now, Eliza truly knows the importance of staying grounded to your values. What does Eliza have to say to girls feeling disconnected from their own identities? “Forget FOMO. Trust your instincts so you don’t lose yourself in seeking the validation of others.” She also emphasizes, “Be gentle on yourself. Identify your inner critic and meet it with understanding. Our inner critic is a crucial and important part of who we are, and we shouldn’t aim to fix or change it, but it’s more about how we address that voice that will ultimately create our identity and drive our actions. Focus on your inner self before your outer self, because that will come naturally.”
Her newest ventures are bringing her right back to those core values, as she’s helping others find theirs. Eliza fell in love with mindfulness far before she knew what she wanted to do as a career. While pursuing a Master’s degree in integrative health, she was introduced to mindfulness, self-compassion, and stress management, all while being the youngest person in the program. Being around more experienced women practicing the techniques she learned about in class showed Eliza how she needed to balance what she was learning with her actions in and out of the classroom and as a twenty-three year-old woman. She began to wonder why her friends struggled so much to be in touch with their inner selves, and she ultimately realized it all comes back to a constant need for external validation in the age of social media. She shares, “People are afraid to dive into their deepest passions and strengths because they are afraid of not being accepted. Self-esteem is a social comparison, while self-compassion is internal. It pushes us to accept self-compassion as the ultimate weapon to negative self-talk.”
Eliza found coaching by doing exactly what she’s helping others to do: listening to your gut. Googling options for life after college brought her to learn about coaching, and it all transpired from there. “It wasn’t an ‘aha’ moment for me,” she explains, “it happened more organically.” As a group facilitator, Eliza has founded Eliza Jane Wellness, combining coaching, fitness, and blogging into one wellness platform. As a dedicated journaller, Eliza saw blogging as a seamless addition to EJW as a way to share her own story. “It’s cathartic to get your inner thoughts out into the world, and there’s something really powerful in that,” Eliza says. She views blogging as a great way to talk about her journey where she can feel safe and others can still relate. The blog proudly wears the title, “Live Where Your Feet Are.” Eliza started using this phrase while in college, as she found herself feeling unable to be present in the moment. To Eliza, living where your feet are means being present, feeling grounded in yourself, and listening to your body, and this is what she strives to spread with Eliza Jane Wellness.
Eliza beautifully embodies how strength and passion can guide us through life transitions, even when we feel that we’re off track. Viewing transitions in two categories, Eliza stresses the importance of knowing whether a transition means moving forward or running away. She shares, “Once you’re grounded, you can feel yourself growing and continuing toward something. If you’re not sure what it means to be grounded, then have a little bit of self-compassion and know that that’s part of the journey, too.” Eliza believes in the importance of allowing ourselves the space to mourn and honor what we leave behind so we can be even more present in our new ventures. She explains, “If we can be in our bodies and be aware of and acknowledge our full spectrum of emotions, then we can make our transitions easier.”
For more information on Eliza and Eliza Jane Wellness, visit elizajanewellness.com and @livewhereyourfeetare on social media!