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Transformation Tales: Starla's Story

Starla Rich interviewed by Rori Knudston


(Originally Published by the Early To Rise Organization - February 22, 2013) Shared with 47,000 men & women worldwide during ETR's global Transformation Contest.

Hometown: Mobile, Alabama, United States

Current: Mobile, Alabama, United States

Passion: writing, motivational speaking, teaching

Starla just heard about Early to Rise at the first of the year. She had no knowledge of it prior to the Transformation Contest. Her friend from college who is also her accountability partner, and who she calls her "sparring partner," told her about the contest. They have been encouraging each other in goals, relationships, health challenges and more for over two years. They both decided that this was the year to push through rather than muddle through. Starla was ready to pursue excellence with total abandon. She thought she had made a great deal of progress until she joined the contest, but in just six weeks, she has grown by leaps and bounds


Can you elaborate on your goals during the Transformation Contest? My main goal is my writing. I have been working on a book and I also maintain a blog. I was just really at a point where I wanted to take it to the next level. My other goals were to pay off some credit debt and acquire residual income to help my family, and then finally to find a regimen in diet and lifestyle that would help me better manage issues from Fibromyalgia which I was diagnosed with about 12 years ago. These are really secondary goals as writing is really my passion.

As for my book in progress, it is a self reflection book that deals with some of my life “story” and with self esteem issues that I dealt with as a result of my past. My intention for the book is to tell my story and bring my readers along with me on my journey by sharing it in such a way that they will be able to reflect on similar areas in their own lives. 

My hope is that through my transparency in times of self-reflection that my words will be like a mirror to my readers’ hearts and lives so they too can also find the courage to look at those areas in their own lives that still may be hidden deep within.  I hope through my own experiences to provide to my readers the necessary tools that I have discovered to cope, and to spark courage to move forward from things that may still be deep within holding them back as my hidden conflict was holding me back.The catalyst for writing this book began when I started working through areas of my past in an abusive relationship.  I simply began writing what I was passionate about, what I was afraid of, and what I was determined to overcome.  It really does take courage to share the truth and it is a two-edged sword at times.  Not only does it whittle down the walls of those who read what is written, but it has a way of whittling down the walls of one’s own heart.  This is what happened to me. 

I knew at some point that if I could overcome my adversities, then I simply had to share all I could to help others overcome theirs.  So many people go through life buried underneath the weight of hurt and disappointment from their past and never truly feel good about themselves due to circumstances from their past and treatment from others in their lives.

What has hindered you in the past from devoting yourself to making your goals come to fruition? I think I was not staying true to myself. If one spends so much time trying to make another person happy, you are never truly following your heart. I was insecure. I was living outside of myself constantly looking for affirmation. When I would get to a point to where that affirmation was coming in, my goals would go by the wayside. I had to get to a place to where I knew I was worth it and that I had to keep my own goals intact.

I am a caretaker and a nurturer and tend to pour so much into other people that I neglect to pour back into myself. If you can't be complete in yourself you end up depleting yourself. I ended up depleting myself with not just the romantic relationship, but also with family and friends.

Does the community in the Transformation Contest help motivate you or is it internal? It is definitely a combination. Based on what I have gone through, I tend to internalize things. With this competition, I can't wait everyday to see what people are saying and to share what I am experiencing with total transparency!  It has become so liberating. A few of the contestants and I have started writing off the record personally to one another and encouraging each other which has been phenomenal. It is so exciting.

There are about 30 to 40 of us in the community that are just really finding our own little microcosm. It is so nice to have a few friends within this little group you can reach out to throughout the day because you don't have to log in all day long. I consider the people I am connecting with now family. I know that sounds crazy but it's true.

We have the same fears and drives and it helps to know you have others there. Also, the accountability to stay on task that Craig keeps alluding to in the contest has been really fantastic to help me stay on target.

Are there other daily tactics you have put in place to make sure you reach your goal? Craig says this all the time and I think it is true wisdom - we need to simplify. Sometimes people take on too much to the point to where they can't really be good at anything because they are doing too much. That was also a major obstacle for me. Once people know you will say “yes” people expect this.

Accountability is imperative for me. I push myself to stay accountable to someone each day –mostly my friend Laura, another friend of mine Billie, my family and of course my fellow TC contestants.

Another technique is that I journal every day. This way I get a visual of where I started, the progress I’ve made, the areas that I need to improve on, and the next level I desire to reach. And finally, I try to find quiet time each day both morning and evening to meditate, empty my mind of the clutter and take time to listen. I pray, read and sometimes just do as I tell others "nothing." I think these times are paramount to success. As I’ve told some of my fellow transformers, it is “the being that energizes the doing.”

Otherwise we burnout fast and fall short of our goals.

Do you have anyone supporting you to keep at this? Yes I do. My family is very supportive – my parents of course and mostly my son Josh and my ninety year old grandmother. She is the most amazing person I’ve ever known. Also, my friend Laura, my close friend Clint, and a few other friends support me, as does my boss where I work, and mostly because I am a person of faith, I find support and strength in quiet time with God. Like many others that I’ve heard comment in this contest, I also had to rid myself of negative people. People who are unhappy will unconsciously do everything they can to make others unhappy or at the very least suck out the positive energy for themselves without pouring anything back in.

Do you have any advice for readers? That is rather simple. NEVER GIVE UP! If you have a dream in your heart, goals in your mind and desire in the deepest part of your being, hold on to them, let them lead you forward, listen to that “whisper of your heart”. And only listen to voices around you who echo what you already sense inside.

Finally, whatever you choose to do, do not do it for anyone else. Do it because you know it is the right thing to do for YOU. Because it isn’t until we find peace within that we are able to express peace in our world. We should be filled to overflowing, not flowing out to depletion.

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