174: Inside the Planner of an Instagram Influencer and Wellness Coach

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I just loved chatting with a brilliant Mompreneur I met this year through Instagram, Leesha Chamberlain. Leesha is a wife, a mom to one adorable little girl, and a wellness coach. She blogs at Living Contently where she helps women take better care of themselves and their families.

Press the play button below or read on to hear our conversation about self-image, how to create a beautiful Instagram feed, and how she uses her planner to maintain a healthy balance between work and home.

Listen Now 1:10 - So Tell Me Really, What IS a Wellness Coach?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been seeing a lot about wellness coaches these days! It seems like there are a ton of different ways wellness coaches run their businesses and I haven’t really taken the time to figure out what a wellness coach actually does! Thankfully, Leesha shared her own journey and gave me some clarification.

She’s been coaching people, especially moms, to health and wellness for about 18 months now. Leesha was drawn to wellness coaching due to her own childhood history of weight struggles, and a battle with disordered eating in high school. Leesha was able to conquer those battles...but only temporarily. When she was pregnant, those same issues came flooding back.

Knowing she had a little girl on the way helped Leesha realize enough was enough.She knew she had to do something better for herself and her daughter. She knew she had to learn healthy eating habits along with a healthy lifestyle.

This life-changing decision prompted Leesha to start looking at different options. But with her history of disordered eating, plus her new role as a nursing mom, Leesha knew she needed to be careful.

She read a blog post that described a program the author used to lose weight after having her baby, plus preserve her breastfeeding relationship and adopt long-term healthy habits. (Win! Win! Win!) The author was a wellness coach and her program was successful for Leesha too! She found the accountability and support to be invaluable and lost 40+ pounds - that was all her baby weight and then some!

You can imagine with these kinds of dynamic results, Leesha was eager to share with others, which started her own journey to becoming a wellness coach.

To be trained as a wellness coach means understanding nutrition and fitness in a healthy, balanced way. Leesha learned that health isn’t restricting intake, but giving your body exactly what it needs.

4:55 - Helping Women Get Healthy

Women often feel pigeonholed into maintaining one focus with health and fitness, like losing weight, and nothing else. As a coach, Leesha works with women at all different stages of their journey. She looks at the goals, backgrounds, and lifestyles of her clients, then together they create a plan with tools and resources that work.

Leesha is especially passionate about unlocking these wellness journeys for moms! It’s hard for moms to take care of themselves. But with Leesha’s programs, her moms create healthy lifestyles for themselves and the whole family!

5:51 - When Being Vulnerable Makes You Stronger

I can totally relate to pregnancy bringing up all sorts of body image issues. I gained 62 pounds when I was pregnant with Levi. He’s 6 months old now, and I’ve since lost almost all of it. But I still worry if I’ll ever feel like myself again!

This is the same type of fear Leesha stuffed deep down inside. But once she started talking, the power of those fears left. Who would have known that actually airing these worries would make them go away?

Women, we need to talk to other women and encourage one another!

7:30 - Curating an Intentional Instagram Feed

I actually met Leesha through her beautiful Instagram feed. I’m always on the lookout for brilliant business moms doing fabulous things, and not only are Leesha’s photos gorgeous, but her posts are so well done!

All her content is centered around getting healthy and living intentionally, and I just love how seamless she’s made her feed.

Of course, you don’t curate a beautiful feed by accident. Leesha says her two goals with Instagram are to tell her story and connect with others.

After all, her business model requires quite a bit from her customers. She needs women to feel comfortable about approaching her with their concerns about weight and self-image. So she has to make a strong first impression on her potential clients!

Leesha is really intentional with the content she curates for her feed. Each post touches on one of 5 main themes. (Isn’t this a great tip!?)

Leesha suggests choosing those 5-6 things that are really a part of who you are as a person, and curating only posts that fit one of those themes.

Leesha goes beyond just talking about her business and helps people to connect with her on a personal level too.

Leesha’s 5-6 things are:

  1. Fitness
  2. Faith
  3. Family
  4. Motherhood
  5. Self-love
  6. Health

Take a minute and think through the qualities and passions that will define your own Instagram feed!

11:30 - Capturing Gorgeous Instagram Photos

We’ve talked about big-picture content, let’s get down to the pretty images. Leesha has some fabulous tips for creating beautiful Instagram images.

I hope it’s encouraging for you to know that Leesha has no professional photography experience. Really!

You don’t have to be a super pro to have a professional-looking feed. What you do need, and what Leesha practices, is a desire to make constant improvements. Leesha is constantly gleaning as much information as she can to be better at her craft - both as a coach and a social media influencer.

Leesha was kind enough to share several of those tips with me.

  1. Pick 3-4 backgrounds to use consistently. You can use either a natural background in your house or something you’ve purchased like a piece of fabric or poster board. A consistent background will do a lot to make your feed more cohesive.
  2. Lighting! Lighting! Lighting! Again, to encourage those of us who are beginners, Leesha doesn’t have any fancy photography equipment! All her photos are iPhone photos. Lighting will be your game changer. And my favorite rule for lighting is the more natural light the better. This means Leesha often takes her images right beside a window in her house or using a big presentation poster board as a backdrop. So the light coming in from the window will reflect off of the white surface of the poster board.
  3. Edit, just a little. Since Leesha’s photo-taking is all smart-phone based, she relies on apps for editing. To crop or adjust lighting, her two favorite apps are Snapseed and Aviary. And of course there are tons of other photo editing apps that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Pick one and play around with it until you get something that you find attractive. (And go ahead and test more than one option!)
  4. Choose one filter for all of your images. Whether it’s a filter within Instagram or a third-party editing app, picking just one to use will help you achieve a cohesive, professional look. Leesha uses a particular filter on Aviary for each of her photos.

Instagram is a scrolling environment--where thumbs are whizzing past pictures every day! You want your images to stand out so that people say, “OH! That’s my favorite business owner’s post. I’ll take time to read what she said.”

And Leesha’s feed is truly beautiful! It’s so light and bright. She sprinkles other photos in with her standard backgrounds, but that white background is the glue that holds everything together!

The final effect is really professional.

18:10 - Picture-Perfect Doesn’t Have to Take Forever!

Figuring out the perfect filter or the perfect app can be tough. In so many aspects of her business, Leesha spends a lot of time at the front end to do research, play around with options, then figure out exactly what she wants before putting her plan into action. It’s worth the time you spend initially to get the results you’re after.

You might be wondering, how much time does it take to get that picture-perfect result?

Well, it varies and Leesha admits she’s a bit of a perfectionist. How much time she’ll spend on a photo really depends on the quality of the original image and how much editing she needs to do. If she can stage the photo on her specific background and have good natural lighting, it might take 10-15 mins to do her simple photos and edits.

Another way Leesha streamlines her process is to try to use the same edits each time.

But here’s the great news... the more you practice, the faster you get!

20:50 - It Won’t Always be this Hard

When you’re first learning something new, it can feel overwhelming.

It’s easy to think that a certain task or skill will always be super challenging and time consuming.

“Posting on Instagram will always be hard.”

“Filing my business taxes will always be hard.”

And sure, at first your images might take an hour to create from start to finish, but it won’t always be that way.

Cheer up, mama! Things WILL get easier! Keep learning and practicing. You can do this!

21:28 - More than Just a Planner...

It’s been clear talking to Leesha that she’s a total go-getter Mamaprenuer. It shouldn’t come as no surprise that she’s always been a planner nerd. (I totally get it!! You’re my person, Leesha!) I was blushing at the lovely compliments Leesha had for the Brilliant Life Planner.

Like so many of you, she wanted a planner that worked for her business and personal life. Leesha knew ahead of time that two separate planners would be less efficient for her.

One of her favorite components (and a favorite of many!) is the weekly reflection pages. Not only can you record memories and gratitude, you can also keep those goals you set at the beginning of the year at the forefront of your mind. It’s nice to have that weekly progress report, so you don’t lose steam by March!

Leesha says she always thought she’d be a scrapbooking type mom, but she’s not! The weekly reflection pages allow her to record the cute things her daughter did and said, so she can keep that record of what’s happening as her daughter grows, without spending the time that scrapbooking takes.

25:00 - Project Planner

Another page Leesha loves is the Project Planner! (And honestly, I don’t think this amazing resource gets enough press! I’m glad Leesha mentioned it.) On the Project Planning pages you can break down those big, whopping assignments of yours and list each specific step. It guides you through thinking about the budget, time frame, and what needs to happen to get that big project done!

27:15 - Getting Straight A’s in Planner School

Another benefit of the Brilliant Life Planner Leesha loved is a series I did in January: Planner School.

It’s a video-driven walkthrough of my goal setting process (with your Brilliant Life Planner, of course!) that initially took place in a lively, interactive Facebook group.

Leesha says she always wanted to be a woman with a pretty-to-look-at planner, but it’s not her style! It was so great for her to see all the colorful, stickered planner pages in the Planner School Facebook group. But the great thing about the Brilliant Life Planner? It’s pretty on its own - you don’t HAVE to do anything else!

28:28 - How Leesha Plans Her Days

It’s been so fun for me to see how different ladies use the Weekly Time Blocking pages. Leesha let me in on her process, and it’s just as unique and lovely as she is!

Like many of you (myself included) Leesha does not describe herself as a super strict schedule follower. Much like Julie Fuller, Leesha will use her time blocks to first plot out specific, time- sensitive activities like meetings and training.

Each morning, she’ll take time to write out her daily priorities to accomplish. And Leesha does mean priorities! She’ll list out her tasks in a numbered list, 1 through 10, by order of importance. So when Leesha gets a pocket of work time during the day, she knows exactly what needs to happen next.

Of course, some days go much more according to plan than others! This numbered priority list guides her. And what doesn’t get accomplished in one day just moves to the next.

With a new baby at home, that’s usually how my planner looks, too! In so many ways I’m actually an anti-planner! First and foremost, my planner is a tool to help me reach my goals and stay focused on what matters most. Life often means that my planner gets jumbled and things move around. And I wouldn’t have it any other way!

30:13 - Give Yourself Permission To Move Tasks

I thought Leesha’s simple practice of moving unfinished tasks to the next day was so refreshing! We aren’t getting graded by how much we can check off a list in a day! That’s not a fair assessment of what truly matters.

Of course, I want you to work hard at your business goals and craft that brilliant life of yours. But, at the end of the day, I want you to lay your head on your pillow and know that cuddling your kiddos or having a meaningful conversation with your husband were the most important things you could do.

And those tasks that didn’t get finished? Just move them on over. You always get an A+ at life in my book :)

32:40 - Leesha’s Biggest Struggle With Time Management

If we’re being honest, being a mom is often our biggest time management struggle!

Leesha says that she’s pretty task-oriented and enjoys that feeling of checking off her to-do list. But of course, you can’t always start and finish tidy tasks with kids at home!

What keeps Leesha grounded is maintaining her priorities that she is a mom first, and a business owner second.

When you design your life with snacks, diaper changes, and cuddles in mind...it all works out.

37:10 - Leesha’s Adorable Mom Moment

Little ones help us see so much of ourselves! Leesha loves seeing how her daughter Grace has adopted some of her habits.

For example, when Leesha grocery shops she always takes a detailed meal plan and shopping list. As items get added to the cart, she checks them off her list. Grace already (within her first year!) has had to have a notebook and pen with her when they go to the grocery store to keep track of her little items!

Isn’t that the cutest!?

I loved this conversation with Leesha, and hope you came away feeling as refreshed and validated in your planning as I did!

Connect with Leesha

Instagram: @leeshachamberlain

Site: Living-Contently.com

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