When LaEisha Howard’s daughter went off to college, she began sending her notes and affirmations to help her daughter navigate life on her own and manage the anxiety that ensued. What resulted was a book Fill Your Tank: 100 Daily Affirmations of Inspiration and Reflection, which fit in perfectly with the rest of Howard’s work as a coach, non-profit co-founder and mental health and wellness advocate. Howard is motivated to help others on a journey of self-reflection that ultimately leads towards self-realization. Today the Newcastle, Washington-based entrepreneur is passionate about working with people and helping them get to where they want to be.
Howard’s story, as told to The Story Exchange 1,000+ Stories Project:
My reason for starting up was to provide an opportunity for people to reflect and go within and find out what they are truly passionate about. The work I do between my writing, speaking and coaching is centered in self-work, self-love and reflection.
I have always had a passion for helping others dig deep, to find out what fuels them, to challenge the narrative they’ve had for years that is no longer working for them, to push themselves to believe that more is always possible. I am a dreamer by nature. I don’t see limits. I see possibilities. Sure, I get plagued by negative thoughts, by self-doubt, and by fear (among a host of other things), but I always come back to that old proverb, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again.” I literally don’t know how to give up! A skill I learned from grandmother and have never forgotten. My childhood memories of her tenacity and strength remind me of my own and this keeps me going even on my darkest of days.
I see the very drive that I possess in almost everyone I have the opportunity to meet, and I want others to see that drive within themselves. #FillYourTank came about for that very reason – to motivate, inspire, and incite reflection. It started with messages I would send to my daughter during her first months away at college. Little notes I would send her to keep her focused, to help her calm her mind, to manage her anxiety, and to set healthy boundaries for herself. I then began posting these messages on social media and the responses I received made it clear to me that these messages need to reach a much wider audience. I compiled all of those messages and was serendipitously led to my greatest success thus far – self-publishing my first book, #Fill Your Tank – 100 Daily Affirmations of Inspiration and Reflection. That was two years ago, and I still get feedback about how much my words are helping others.
I have been told I am an inspirational and visionary leader and I have tried to leverage that to build the #FillYourTank brand and to push the #FillYourTank movement further out into the world. I have developed #FillYourTank workshops to give others a chance to focus on themselves in a different way and delve into what they want, what’s getting in the way, and how to break through those barriers. There are other plans in the works for #FillYourTank as well and I can’t wait to watch them unfold.
My definition of success is following your dreams no matter how hard it is to achieve them. When you work towards what you truly enjoy, that to me is success. Success should not be measured by the number of times you do something but by the positive impact you have and the outcome you attain. Self publishing my first book has been my biggest success to date. Self-publishing is not as easy as many may think. This took a lot of research and self promotion of my book. Without the backing of a publisher and still bringing visibility to my book and personal brand, I would absolutely say that was a successful and worthwhile experience.
I have an entrepreneurial spirit. I love blazing my own path and #FillYourTank is one steppingstone along that path. My creativity is forever driving me to cultivate my ideas into action. While this fills my soul, I recognize this often makes it difficult for me to maintain a work-life balance. Sometimes, I have to force myself to take a digital detox, to slow down, and to just breath. Being present in all that I do is particularly important to me and slowing down is the only way for me to achieve it.
My grandmother is my most important role model. She has been one of my biggest supporters. When I was a little girl I marveled at her strength and tenacity. She has overcome and faced many challenges in life and still remains humble with a heart full of gratitude everyday. That is inspiring to me.