Well-Being Series: Harper Spero

WELL-BEING
[Well, adj., In good health  |  Being, n., The nature or essence of a person]

The Well-Being Series is all about spotlighting people who are really nailing the whole health + wellness thing.  Each of these incredible humans is giving us a peek behind the curtains at why and how they lead a high-vibe, holistic life. There’s no one-size-fits-all way to be well, and they’re here to prove it.  Life’s one big experiment, so feel free to try their nuggets o’ wisdom, rituals, and tips on for size and see what fits.  

Now it’s time to meet this week’s Well-Being legend, Harper Spero.

Meet Harper:

Harper is a New York City-based business and career transition coach who has found a way to integrate passion with purpose. From music and beauty to social good and well-being, she uses her own journey through health scares, career transitions and self-discovery to inspire, motivate and drive people in the direction of their dreams.

Harper loves helping aspiring or current entrepreneurs break free from toxic environments, create tactical plans for growth, and navigate their careers to bring balance, fulfillment and structure to their lives. Using a mix of customized tools and hands-on techniques, Harper coaches clients to get out of their comfort zones and cushy jobs to do things that totally light them up, creating freedom and flexibility. Her clients become risk takers unafraid to make a mark in entrepreneurship.

And these are the reasons I call her a magical get-shit-done-in-business unicorn. 🦄

How do you define well-being?

Well-being is a combination of health and happiness. Maintaining the balance of a healthy lifestyle and being happy. We can be the best version of ourselves when those two things are aligned.  

What’s your big “WHY” in life? Why do you do what you do?

I’ve never been one to settle — when something isn’t working for me, I observe the situation, determine what steps need to be taken and go ahead and make change. Life is too short for things to be mediocre.

My goal as a business and career transition coach is to help as many people as possible recognize that they have the ability to live a life they are obsessed with. I help people create goal-oriented strategies and create shifts in order to bring new balance, fulfillment and structure into their lives. I want to see people be the best version of themselves — instead of dwell in their misery, fear, sadness and stress.

I love helping to create more entrepreneurs (and more specifically solopreneurs) in the world — allowing them to live, work and earn on their own terms. Witnessing people make changes in their lives that allow them to be excited to wake up in the morning is exhilarating and reminds me why I do what I do.  

Two truths and a lie. Ready… go!  (Lie revealed at the end of the post.)

  • After being at La Boqueria Market in Barcelona and seeing the meat hanging at each vendor — I decided to become a vegetarian and never looked back.
  • I was diagnosed with an immune deficiency when I was born. 
  • I learned how to meditate after hearing Lena Dunham speak [at an event I was producing] about how it changed her life.

When and why did leading a holistic lifestyle become important to you?  Was there something specific that sparked your journey?

In late 2011, I was feeling a major shortness in breath after walking very short distances. As a New Yorker, this is extremely terrifying. After three months of being diagnosed with bronchitis and pneumonia, given many antibiotics and inhalers that didn’t work, my doctor found a cyst the size of a golf ball in my right lung. I had ¼ of my right lung removed in March 2012 and was on medical leave from my high-stress job for two months.

After an intense recovery period, I knew that I could no longer return to my “normal” life and needed to redefine my version of living a healthy lifestyle. I hadn’t made my health a priority…well, ever, and this was a true wake-up call for me. Shortly after this time — I quit drinking, took up a daily meditation practice, began practicing yoga regularly, slowed down, ate healthier and overall became more mindful. It’s been a game changer.

For people who are just dipping their toes into the health + wellness pond – what’s the first simple thing they can do to get started?

Listen to your gut. You know your body best and it will provide you with the signs for what’s needed. With that being said, observing what you’re eating and how it makes you feel and beginning a simple meditation practice are two really life-changing steps you can take towards living a healthier lifestyle.

What are your daily self-care rituals?

In the morning, my alarm goes off on my phone in the living room which requires me to jump out of bed to turn it off and not snooze. I then get comfy in my wingback chair and practice Transcendental Meditation for 20 minutes.

I haven’t been eating a healthy breakfast as much as I’d like but sometimes oatmeal, sometimes a muffin. Throughout the day, I try to be as mindful as possible to not live the life I used to of rushing through everything and being unaware of the things going on around me. I then practice Transcendental Meditation around 3-4pm which is a time that I typically crash and this practice rejuvenates me.

I aim to take a yoga class at Sacred Sounds Yoga three times a week. As I get into bed at night, I add lavender to my diffuser. I typically fall asleep in the middle of doing the 4-7-8 breathing technique.

Are there components of your self-care that can be easy to skip/let slip? Do you have any tricks to get yourself back on track?

When I am really busy or stressed, I tend to eat more carbs and dairy and they without fail, make me feel worse. I’ve always loved the instant gratification but typically regret it moments after when I start feeling crappy. I try hard to remind myself in real time how these foods make me feel and try to choose something healthier instead. I also know that if I don’t meditate in the afternoon, it’s guaranteed that I will not have a good night’s sleep. It’s crucial for my overall well-being.

What’s something people would be surprised to learn about you?

I’m a very selective (vegetarian) eater. It mostly has to do with texture. I refuse to eat avocados, mushrooms, black beans and olives. I recently became obsessed with INDAY’s Avo Cocoa which has avocado in it but it’s so delicious and the avocado isn’t visible so I regularly eat it. It’s like sneaking veggies into meals for kids — except I’m in my 30s.

Every time I go to Israel, I come back liking (or maybe tolerating?) a food I previously hated. Last trip it was beets, the trip before was lentils. I’m going in a few weeks — we’ll see what I come back loving.

What makes you feel on top of your game?

I feel on top of my game when I have 8+ hours of sleep, two meditations per day, healthy and delicious food and remember to take care of me. Family, friends, a sense of community and support are vital in keeping me going and ensure I’m living life to the fullest. Seeing live music also revives me.

They say laughter is the best medicine – what makes you laugh the hardest?

I’m going to pretend this says “who” makes you laugh the hardest. Steve Martin and Martin Short in Father of the Bride. Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, always. My dad because parts of him remind me of each of those actors/comedians. My best friends when we’re being silly and ridiculous. My mom when we are overtired in the late afternoon and can’t help but laugh about nothing. Little kids, because they’re just amazing to witness and engage with.

What do you love to do or create at home to make you feel great?  Could you share a favorite recipe/DIY/exercise/meditation?

My Bubba (mom’s mom) was an incredible cook and baker. She never followed recipes and created her own concoctions. Over the past few years as I’ve taken better care of my health, I love making my own concoctions in my kitchen and feel that I’ve really taken after her in that way. I am known for my chopped salads with 10+ assorted colorful, flavorful veggie ingredients with delicious (often ginger-filled) dressings.

What do you want to be remembered for?

I want to be remembered for being a supportive, inspiring, authentic, quirky and unique person who helped make the lives of other people more vibrant and happy. I want people to remember that I helped motivate them to create drastic change in their lives in order to be excited to wake up in the morning.

BONUS:

Grab a free copy of the e-book Harper and I created together “6 Tips to Securing the Job of Your Dreams While Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle” – click here to get your paws on your copy!

Connect with Harper: 

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*Two truths + a lie – The lie = Harper wasn’t diagnosed with an immune deficiency when she was born. She was diagnosed when she was 11 after her mom spent the first ten years of Harper’s life taking her to every doctor, specialist, healer and practitioner to figure out what was going on with her health.)*

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