What Is Your Greatest Fear ?

With Emily Hart

Introduce yourself! Who are you?
Hi! I’m Emily! I’m a math teacher and instructional coach (just starting my 10th year!), a solo traveler, a National Parks explorer (41 so far in the US and 5 in Canada!), a certified yoga teacher, an oil painter, and a writer.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
The best advice is some I’ve received countless times from countless people — and I’m sure you have to. It’s that you have to take care of yourself first. So often — as women especially — we feel like we need to take care of everyone and everything else first. We wear ourselves down and burn out from taking on the weight of our friends, our families, and even just acquaintances. We end up feeling guilty for the time we spend on ourselves, as if that time is wasted or that we are being selfish.
The truth is that in order to take care of anyone else, or love anyone else, or be a friend to anyone else — you first have to be all of those things to yourself. It’s not selfish to take time for yourself. Self care is an act of preservation, and we all should make it a priority.

What would you say to 16 year old you?
Stop looking in the mirror! Your imperfections are the things that make you unique. The things that make you stand out. The things you will come to love one day. Trust me.

What is your greatest fear?
I used to be afraid to fail, but now I’m afraid of stagnation. I never want to look back on years or even months or weeks or days and find that I’m in the exact place I was when I started. I want to be constantly improving, constantly creating, and constantly moving. I want to try and fail at new things on a daily basis. Failure is how we learn. How we improve. How we innovate. So I hope to fail consistently and regularly for the rest of my life.

What message do you think every woman should hear?
You already are. All of the things you are striving for are already in you. You have everything you need and you are enough.

What is your favorite thing about where you live?
I just moved to a new apartment in the foothills of the rocky mountains! I love EVERYTHING about it! I’m writing this from my garden patio that is next to a park on one side and the mountains on the other. For so long I’ve lived in apartment complexes that I was never really happy with. This move has truly changed everything. I can walk to everything I could ever want. I see the beautiful mountains up close every day. I can hike some of my favorite trails without getting into a car.
I’ve always been such a big believer in the importance of a physical space. I’ve always tried to make my interior spaces reflect the calm that I want to feel — but the truth is until the spaces were located in a neighborhood of a town that I am truly in love with it didn’t come together. I am happy to wake up here each day. Happy to come home from work. Happy all the time. 🙂

What do you love most about yourself?
I really love everything about myself, honestly. But if I had to pick one thing I’d say I love my independence. I feel so lucky to be able to do all of the things that I do without needing or being dependent on anyone else. And rather than this causing separation or loneliness, I think my relationships are strengthened through my own strong identity. Not needing anything from anyone has allowed me to accept the things that I choose, which is empowering and rewarding.

What is the biggest thing you’ve learned along the way?
That I am capable and stronger than I think. Every time I try something new, or go to a new place, or come up against an obstacle, I have the same fears and anxieties as anyone. I have learned that I have to do it anyway — just keep going in spite of fear. My moniker “emilyventures” is a testament to that — to venture is to do something that is audacious or may be dangerous, risky, or unpleasant. But the key is that you do it anyway. To venture is to go scared. And through those experiences I have built up my strength. I feel more capable every time I accomplish something I was afraid of.

Why do you love to travel?
I like to see things. It’s really that simple. I want to see and experience everything that the world has to offer. It goes back to my fear of stagnation — I never want to be in the same place or doing the same things. Travel opens up the world, quite literally. No two days are the same when you are spending them in different places, with different people, and new experiences. Even if you are in the same physical space, travel opens up your mind in a way that changes your days.

What motivates you most?
In my personal life I am very inner-motivated. My desire to see and experience new things keeps me motivated. I wake up each day with a desire to do things. To see things. To make my life happen rather than waiting around. In my work life I am motivated by others. By students and coworkers who depend on me.

How do you manage your work-life balance?
As a teacher this can be really hard. You are never really “done” with work, so it’s hard for many teachers to maintain a healthy balance. I realized very early on in my career that if I was burnt out I was an ineffective teacher, so I made the commitment to always leave work at work. And I have. I get to work about an hour early to get things done, but then I leave as soon as I can after. I don’t take work home, I try not to think about work, and I don’t volunteer for things that I really don’t want to do. The essential part for me is making the choice and commitment to myself. The commitment to value myself and care for myself enough to put work into its place.

What is your favorite meal?
Wine and cheese. That’s a meal right? 🙂

What do you do on a daily basis to grow and move forward?
Every morning I follow a pretty strict routine. I give myself quiet time, read things that are enriching, eat well, and spend time writing. Throughout my day I take similar steps and carve out time for self-care practices. I listen to my favorite podcasts on the way to work. I sit outside and drink a glass of wine with a book almost nightly. I go to yoga classes regularly. The list goes on and on. And while none of these things are actively “moving me forward” they are the ways in which I am able to grow — and growth is what allows me to move forward.

What is one thing people would be surprised to hear about you?
I love trashy TV. Whenever I have a rare spare minute, my go to is always a Bravo reality show. No shame 🙂

If you weren’t doing the job you have now, what would you be doing?
I’d be a park ranger at Grand Teton National Park. Or one of the boat tour guides on Jenny Lake.

What is something on your bucket list?
Visit all of the US National Parks solo! I have 18 more to go as of today. After that, who knows. All I know is that I’ll start a new bucket list. A new quest.

Where do you find inspiration?
Everywhere! I love color and texture and patterns. I find inspiration everywhere I go, especially in the outdoors.

What are your biggest passions?
I am passionate about creating in all areas of my life. Through teaching, exploring, yoga, my relationships, and my art — I want to create new and beautiful things.

More About Emily

Emily Hart is a math teacher and instructional coach (just starting her 10th year!), a solo traveler, a National Parks explorer (41 so far in the US and 5 in Canada!), a certified yoga teacher, an oil painter, and a writer.

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