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8 Questions to Guide Your Physical Journey to Leadership
By Elaine Simon

Everyone has their own definition of what it means to be fit to lead, often encompassing problem-solving skills, communication and emotional intelligence. Veronica Torres Hazley takes the concept even further by including self-care and its effects on a person’s life into the mix.

Hazley—who is the CEO of Torres Hazley Enterprise, a collective that brings community and well-being to life—became convinced of the importance of the physical aspect of leadership after having a stroke at age 30.

She shared her story and how what she has learned can impact leaders of today during Red Roof’s recent SHE Leads Forum. The event was held in September at the Fairmont Dallas and was designed to provide the more than 200 attendees with insightful information and tools to support, help and elevate themselves for future success.

TAKING STOCK

At 30, Hazley worked for Visit Dallas, helping with diversity, equity and inclusion efforts then moving on to digital marketing and branding and eventually to director of experience.

“I was traveling three or four times a week, staying in hotels, flying around the country and I was drinking, having fun and I wasn't taking care of myself,” she said. “I had a stroke and I just realized that I couldn't take my life for granted. I was one of those people that could eat anything and not gain a pound and then all of a sudden my body started to change and give out on me and I thought, ‘I cannot run like this anymore; I cannot be unhealthy,’ and so my reckoning was, ‘What am I going to do about it?’”

Yoga was the first step in Hazley’s self-care journey and she learned that meditating—"learning the culture of what it meant to sit still”—changed the trajectory of her career. It led her to earn her certification to teach yoga and then to open her own yoga studio. She started out by teaching yoga at night while still working at Visit Dallas during the day.

“But all of a sudden, I realized I was going into the office and everyone was crazy and frantic running from meeting to meeting. I was the calm one walking in,” she said. “[I realized] people are not spending time on themselves. They're just kind of running crazy and trying to stay afloat and that's what started the self-care movement for me.”

This new focus, coupled with the fact that Hazley lost her job during the pandemic, led her to create the self-care brand Healthy Latina Lifestyle and Hey Chica! By Healthy Latina Lifestyle, a Latina Leadership Collective, and take her yoga career full-time.

“Women now are opening up businesses, we’re opening hotels. But what does that mean to our personal well-being?” she said. “COVID had to sort of pull the rug out from under us and say, ‘What are we going to do now? Are we going to continue to operate at the same frequency and the crazy chaotic way that we have and still pour into our business without pouring into ourselves?’”

The answer, according to Hazley, is “the no-mean-girl movement.” And that includes women not being “mean girls” to themselves.

“[Pampering is self-care, but] what else is it is self-care? My mental health? Absolutely. Is it my physical well-being? Absolutely. Is it the way I talk to myself in my head and I show up in the morning? Absolutely. It's all of that,” Hazley said. “Going back to the no-mean-girl movement. Are you going to be a mean girl to yourself by ignoring that self-care is necessary for you to lead at the level that you’re leading and neglecting your well-being? And then leadership—are we fit to lead? Are we being mean to our future because we're not investing in ourselves?”

ASKING THE TOUGH QUESTIONS

Developing and establishing a self-care plan, Hazley told the SHE Forum audience, will help women take their business to the next level.

 

“Be present, scale your business, feel good about yourself walking into the room and owning it, and then also turn around and bring another sister with you. That's really what this boils down to,” she said. “It's about leaving a legacy for yourself, both internally and for our children who are watching.”

It requires having an internal conversation with yourself and asking yourself the truth about how you feel, where you’re at in your journey and what’s next.

  • Where do you want to go?

  • What do you want to achieve?

  • How do you want to manage your energy?

  • How do you want to share your energy?

  • How do you want to wake up in the morning and feel, look and present?

  • Can you keep operating the way you’re operating now and grow your business?

  • Are you resilient enough to grow your business?

  • Are you resilient enough to grow your relationships with yourself and your family and friends?

“These are the questions that we need to ask ourselves to figure out a pathway to get to where we want to go. I use the word ‘movement’ all the time because it applies to so many different aspects of our lives,” Hazley said “How do you create your own movement and how are you going to pursue that and achieve it if you're not thinking about mental, physical and spiritual connection to yourself?”

Visit she-leads.com for more on SHE, inspired by Red Roof as well as articles and profiles that highlight how to Support, Help and Elevate women.

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