Get What You Want by Living A More Balanced, Beauty-Filled Life with Lisa Lindahl
“That which nourishes and creates authentic beauty will help balance our world.” -Lisa Lindahl
In this Episode, Shirley talks to the inventor of the “jogbra”, the first ever sports bra that changed the world for women forever. Shirley and Lisa talk about beauty. There is no single definition. It varies from person, place, culture, age, and time period. We often see it defined as outward aesthetics. But beauty is much more than keeping up with the selfies on Instagram. Today's episode is about finding your inner beauty, which is needed more than ever during this COVID-19 pandemic. Tune in and discover how to live a more balanced, beauty-filled life!
01:49 Feel Authentically Beautiful
06:52 How Sports Bra Changed The World
11:31 The Challenges That Women Face
18:35 The Path of Eternal Beauty
22:54 How To Nourish Beauty In The World
26:44 Beauty And Humor
28:56 Be Kinder To Yourself
29:55 The Measure Of Beauty
03:50 “That which nourishes and creates authentic beauty will help balance our world.” -Lisa Lindahl
04:05 “Authentic Beauty is… not what it looks like, but how that makes you feel.” -Lisa Lindahl
12:46 “Women's stories need to be told by the women that lived it.” -Lisa Lindahl
23:57 “It's easy for women to care for others and to have compassion for others but it can be difficult for them to have self-compassion.” -Lisa Lindahl
25:08 “There is no such thing as a destination. It is all about the journey.” -Lisa Lindahl
29:37 “A huge problem focused on women is that we don't take care of ourselves. We're so hard on ourselves and we are trying to be everything possible that we think that we should be. And a lot of times we lose focus on who we actually really are.” -Shirley Owens
Connect With Lisa:
Lisa Lindahl is the author of Unleash the Girls and Beauty as Action. She's an entrepreneur, inventor, women's health advocate, and an artist. Lisa changed women athletics forever when she invented the jog bra, the very first sports bra in 1977. She also patented a medical garment for breast cancer survivors in 2000. Lisa has served on numerous other boards and community organizations from educational organizations to land trusts and received multiple awards and distinctions for her work, including the National Inventors Hall of Fame inductee, Congressional Commendation from the 106th US Congress by Sen. James Jefford, Boss of the Year nominee by Sporting Goods Manufacturers’ Association, Entrepreneur of the Year nominee by Inc. Magazine, and Hall of Fame inductee to the Epilepsy Foundation of Vermont.
Shirley Owens: My guest today is Lisa Lindahl. Lisa is the author of Unleash the Girls and Beauty as Action. She's an entrepreneur, inventor, women's health advocate and an artist. Lisa changed women athletics forever when she invented the jog bra, the very first sports bra in 1977. She also patented a medical garment for breast cancer survivors in 2000. Lisa has served on numerous other boards and community organizations from educational organizations to land trusts and received multiple awards and distinctions for her work, including the National Inventors Hall of Fame inductee, Congressional Commendation from the 106th US Congress by Sen. James Jefford, Boss of the Year nominee by Sporting Goods Manufacturers’ Association, Entrepreneur of the Year nominee by Inc. Magazine, and Hall of Fame inductee to the Epilepsy Foundation of Vermont. So Lisa, you are pretty much just an inspiration to women everywhere. Thanks so much for coming on my show. I'm super excited for our conversation today.
Lisa Lindahl: Well, thank you Shirley for having me. I'm really happy to be here. It's a pleasure.
Shirley Owens: Oh, good. I'm so glad. This is like a crazy time right now. One of the things that I feel excited to interview about you today is your Beauty as Action book. I love the idea that you invented the Jogbra, and I really want to get to that too. But right now, me, as a woman, I'm here locked in my house doing my shows and it's weird and hard to realize that we have this beauty thing, and we want to get our nails done, or we want to get lashes, or hair color, all these things that we're so used to getting to do in the world. And right now we're not getting to do any of it. And I really feel it's taking a toll on some women who don't feel that they can do what they need to do to feel beautiful and I feel like you can speak on that as far as us really working hard to find our beauty within. And I'm really hoping that it makes an impact on the world for this.
Lisa Lindahl: Well, Shirley, you really hit on it when you said finding the beauty within, because Beauty as Action, the rest of that title is The Way of True Beauty and How Its Practice Can Change Our World, because what it is focusing on is exactly that. The beauty within it is, I laugh and say it's about cosmology, not cosmetology.
Shirley Owens: I love that. Yeah.
Lisa Lindahl: It's really not paying attention to appearances or what we look like whether you were male, or female, or anything. It's really saying that which nourishes and creates authentic beauty will help balance our world. And by that, people say, well, what do you mean by authentic beauty or true beauty? What I mean is a child's laughter. That's truly beautiful. When I go outside and look up at the sky and it strikes you as being beautiful, how that makes you feel, not what it looks like, but how that makes you feel.
“That which nourishes and creates authentic beauty will help balance our world.” -Lisa Lindahl
Shirley Owens: I love that. I talk a lot in my book and in my coaching about being and who we're being in the world and in our relationships. And I think that beauty comes from that. Who are we being, you can see people who maybe aren't aesthetically beautiful to the eye, but you get to know them and they're beautiful people, and then they become that. That you look at them and think, wow, that person is beautiful. And I feel like that's where we're all at right now, where we need to find that place where we can be beautiful as who we're being.
“Authentic Beauty is… not what it looks like, but how that makes you feel.” -Lisa Lindahl
Lisa Lindahl: Absolutely. And even what any culture deems as beautiful in appearance that shifts, what is the appearance of beauty in the human form? Changes from culture to culture. So it really is not eternal but authentic beauty. True beauty is something that is eternal. What we think of as beautiful in our 21st century, Western Culture, it's really glamour. And glamour is a trick, it's an illusion, it's a femoral. It's something that lasts for a minute. It pops up, it goes phew, it makes a big splash and then it's gone. It's like, Oh, yeah, I like that orchid purple color, and it's this week's color and then it's gone. Is that truly beautiful? No, that's glamour.
Shirley Owens: Ooh, I like that. And glamour changes over the years too, right? Over the decades, what was glamorous and beautiful in the 80's was not, well, it is actually coming back right now, but it's not what was beautiful and glamorous in the 90's.
Lisa Lindahl: Heck. Decades, it changes in a week.
Shirley Owens: So speaking of decades, you invented the jog bra, the first sports bra in the 70's.
Lisa Lindahl: I did.
Shirley Owens: I would love to hear that story. And what brought you doing that?
Lisa Lindahl: Well, I had started running and I was not an athletic girl or young woman at all, but I was getting out of shape and I was putting on weight, I thought that wasn't beautiful. And I knew that dieting alone wouldn't do it. And a friend told me: "Oh, just run a mile and a quarter three times a week. And that'll help you lose weight." And most importantly, it was the beginning back then of the fitness revolution. Up until that, it's probably hard for young people these days to understand, but up until then to make exercise part of your regular routine was not a thing. It wasn't a thing people did. So I started jogging and I really fell, I became friends with my body again. We didn't know about endorphins then and I became, once I was able to really run, my body got into shape and I was able to run. I was more creative, I had more energy, I became a different person, I became a stronger woman. And I'm not talking about body strength, I am talking about more self confident, more creative, more empowered really. And I was running about 30 miles a week, which is five or six miles a day, and I was never competitive, really, it was my first spiritual practice. But anyway, the only thing that wasn't great about my runs was my breasts were jogging uncomfortably up and down on my chest. I couldn't find anything that was comfortable. I was always pulling up straps or I was getting chafed by hard-wire. So to do something about it actually started as a joke because my sister called me and said, I just started, what do you do about your breast bouncing all around? Oh, my goodness. And I said, Oh, I don't have any idea and I don't know what to do. And she said, why isn't there a jockstrap for women? Same idea, different part of the anatomy. And we both laughed, we thought that was so funny. And I said, yeah, Jogbra, (laughed). When we hung up the phone, I thought that was not such a bad idea. And I sat down and I wrote all the things that needed to do. Straps would not fall, breasts wouldn't move, no hard-wire to dig in and chafe, I've never sewed, but I had a friend that's so very well. So between the two of us, we made the very first sports bra, which was, Shirley, I have to tell you it's true. The first working prototype was actually two jockstraps. We kind of parted and sewed back together, so the pouches, each pouch became a cup for breast, and the straps crossed in the back and it went over the head, and that was the first time a bra went over the head. True story.
Shirley Owens: That is so crazy. And here you are right here, and I know that most women in the world, America especially, we wear those all the time, right? It's so trendy and such a big deal, and I love that I'm speaking to the woman who started it and even funnier is that it started with two jockstraps. This is awesome.
Lisa Lindahl: Well, and it turned out to be the right product at the right time because I thought I was just doing something to solve my own problem, and maybe it would be, I never set out going to business, I thought it'd be a nice little business on the side while I finished school or something. And Oh, my goodness, it just took off and has gone on to become really an iconic product. It's in the Smithsonian before American history. It's also in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Collection as a revolutionary piece of women's underwear.
Shirley Owens: Wow.
Lisa Lindahl: And also the sports bra is touted as a feminist icon.
Shirley Owens: It definitely is. So that's exciting. And your book Unleash the Girls, is that what this is about?
Lisa Lindahl: Well, yes and no. Unleash the Girls: The Untold Story of the Invention of the Sports Bra and How It Changed the World (And Me) is the story of inventing the sports bra and building the business. But really it is much more than that, it's the relationships around those events, about relationships between women and the difficulties that I face, but really that we all face, the challenges that we have to overcome in order to make something happen. I mean, this business went from zero to millions and millions of dollars in revenue and profits. And neither of us, my business partner, Nora, I had any business experience when we began, and we really had to push at the edges of our respective comfort zones. And it wasn't easy, we did not get along either. It was a blind date that turned into a marriage in quotes, it was a business. And I believe very strongly that women's stories need to be told by the women that lived it, and that's what Unleash the Girls does, and it speaks to everybody having something they've got to work through. No one has an easy peasy, and the way just laid open for them. So Unleash the Girls speaks a great deal to some of the ways to approach those difficulties, and what worked and didn't work, and through the vehicle of this product, and that business. And that journey, the journey of the sports bra was really what led me to a spiritual practice and life that led to writing Beauty as Action. The thing to say about the book Beauty as Action is that it's got 16 practices in it, actually practicing how to live a more balanced beauty filled life.
“Women's stories need to be told by the women that lived it.” -Lisa Lindahl
Shirley Owens: Wow, that's exciting. I know that in the 70's, a woman running a multi-million dollar company was not the thing. It was not trendy, and although now, women are taking more power learning how to run these relationships that they're in and that type of thing. There's still a long way to go. And I think that tapping into someone like you from the air when there wasn't so much help, and there wasn't so much support even like you said you didn't even have business experience, so here you are no business experience, a woman in the 70's who invented this amazing product that was going to revolutionize women. It's going to really help women to excel in a lot of things, not only in power, like you say that the exercise part of it really does, it does empower you to be something different in everyday, but it also helps them to be able to last longer, succeed in all the different things. I think that we take for granted when we put on a sports bra. So yeah, you are definitely a piece of our history and an inspiration to women.
Lisa Lindahl: Well thank you. Thank you for saying that. I appreciate it. I do feel that being athletic is, well, but being physically exercising is important for everyone. It helps to balance us. And I didn't realize that at the time when I invented the sports bra, I had no idea how it affected me. That inventing the sports bra was going to help so many other women and girls to be able to also experience that empowerment to get over their self consciousness and their discomfort, the same self-consciousness and discomfort that I was feeling, but it did. And that's why the sports bra wasn't just a flash in the pan, it really served a purpose and a higher purpose. And that's what Unleash the Girls dresses among other things. And when you talk about the business that we were in at that time, sporting goods was a male dominated industry, we were the only women owned business in the industry at the time that we entered it. And we had no idea. I mean, you just put one foot in front of the other and do what you need to do. And we didn't even understand all the barriers we're breaking at the time that we're breaking them, the first that we were doing. We really didn't have any idea, except when you go home at night and wonder why you are so exhausted.
Shirley Owens: Oh, yeah.
Lisa Lindahl: But people are really good. People are wonderful. We would ask questions of everyone and people were so willing to help us and give us answers.
Shirley Owens: So tell me who Lisa is today. I mean, it's been, what? 30 years?
Lisa Lindahl: A long time.
Shirley Owens: No, 50 years. It's been a long time. Yeah, it's been awhile. So tell me who you are today. I know that you have bachelor's degrees, you have master's degrees, you also are shaman. And I love that. I really love when my guests can blend like the business world with kind of the woo woo world of spirituality, or medicine, and all of this kind of stuff. So tell me about you today, and how you are bringing those two things together and bridging that gap.
Lisa Lindahl: Well, one of the things that happened after I started out life as a contemplative and reflective little girl, and I can remember sitting in front of an old typewriter when I was about nine years old and saying I want to write, I want to be an author when I grow up. And I have always been a visual artist. But then all of a sudden, life took me into the business world, the sporting goods business world. So I've always been an artist of one sort or another. But the journey, the long trek difficulties of running drugs, breast sports bras and having epilepsy, Oh, by the way, which is a chronic medical condition where you have seizures.
Shirley Owens: Oh, yeah.
Lisa Lindahl: I'm on medication all the time, these teach you life lessons. And after I sold my business, I thought, okay, what really matters? What really matters? And that's when the surprising answer came up for me, which was eternal beauty. What is eternal? Is this experience of beauty? And I had no idea what that meant was the answer I got, but I didn't know what it meant. So that's when I started, I went back to graduate school, I was like in my 50's in a dorm. And I started pursuing that question of what really matters. And that took me into the world of philosophy and spiritual questions, and studying a lot of different paths. And one of them was the way of what's called core shamanism, which kind of shamanism that looks at all the different ways of shamanism around the globe.So I studied that for, well, for many years, but I did a three year course and learned a great deal, and that helped center, and balance, and prioritize how I live my current life. And I feel very blessed. I mean, I am so grateful and really blessed, I have to say.
Shirley Owens: I love that, so my podcast is get what you want with Shirley obviously. And one of the things that I really feel you could give to my listeners, especially right now, how do we tap into that? In theory, we all know, right? We hear that there's so much inspirational quotes on Instagram and a lot of things going on in the world right now that tell us that we need to have inner beauty, but how do we really, I can say, Oh, I just need to have inner beauty, and I have all these talents, or skills, or I'm beautiful regardless of what I look like. But I mean, in all reality, who actually feels that way? And how do we get to that place? What is one thing that you could leave our listeners today that would help them feel sense, do something towards moving towards that wanting of understanding and knowing their inner beauty, and actually allowing that to, I really believe that our inner beauty just comes out our pores and changes our appearance. So what is it that you could leave with us today that would inspire and help someone to move towards that space of actually believing all of these quotes, and using this theory and applying it to what we're going through right now? How do I feel pretty today?
Lisa Lindahl: Well, first of all, I have a hard time thinking of it in terms of how I feel pretty today. I think I would feel more comfortable putting it in terms of how I nourish beauty in the world today.
Shirley Owens: Perfect.
Lisa Lindahl: So what are the ways in which we can nourish beauty in the world? First of all, you hear the word compassion bantered around quite a bit, and it's worth spending a little time with it and not just letting it roll off like, Oh, yeah, I need to feel for other people, or feel their pain. But really thinking about that also in terms of ourselves, self-compassion, and I find this is especially important for women because it's easy for women to care for others and to have compassion for others, but it can be difficult for them to have self compassion. And unless our vessel is clean and clear, it can be difficult to create beauty and to nourish beauty in the world. So it's the old adage, some of those old tried and true adages are old and trite because they are so true, which is charity begins at home. So you have to take care at home first before you can reach out.
“It's easy for women to care for others and to have compassion for others but it can be difficult for them to have self-compassion.” -Lisa Lindahl
Shirley Owens: Yeah. Put on your oxygen mask before you help someone else with theirs.
Lisa Lindahl: Yeah. So whatever that looks like for you, and the other very important bit is in our Western culture, we seem to always be about the destination and there is no such thing. There is no such thing as a destination, it is all about the journey.
“There is no such thing as a destination. It is all about the journey.” -Lisa Lindahl
Shirley Owens: So true.
Lisa Lindahl: It's all about what you're doing, feeling, having, going, being now it's the journey. And part of that, one of the 16 practices for instance, practice operating in the both and universe rather than the either or universe.
Shirley Owens: Yes.
Lisa Lindahl: And part of that is being able to have, not in the owning sense but in the allowing to be both sides of an argument, a chocolate ice cream and vanilla ice cream. I am fond of saying well, and to family members that might have different viewpoints than I, you don't need to agree with me in order to understand.
Shirley Owens: Well, of course, this is something that I focus on a lot. So I totally understand that self care is super important. And realizing that being present, I think right now is a perfect time for all of us to practice being present today and being on this journey together because none of us that are on the planet right now have ever gone through something like this. So it's a really good way to understand that we don't know what the destination is.
Lisa Lindahl: And there isn't one. And I have to add another one, Shirley, which is humor. Looking for the funny which is humor, because humor is really about perspective.
Shirley Owens: For sure.
Lisa Lindahl: So humor is right in there in the beauty practices, and we are seeing that people are being able to, we're sending around funny means in front of YouTube, and I think that's great.
Shirley Owens: I do too. I love it. Even though 95% of them are about toilet paper, it's awesome. One of our children the other day was being his silly self, and I don't know, it could have been like a discipline moment or just a moment to make him feel bad, and I decided to turn it into something funny. So I was kind of mocking him but in a funny way. And he's 10, and he laughed so hard that he cried and he said: "What is this? I've never had this happen to me before." And I was like: "What? We need to do that more in our house." And honestly, when you have a good laugh until you cry or until you pee your pants, one of those, there's like this exhaustion, and this euphoria, and this peace, and calm that just there when everyone's done. There is something about it. To me, that is just better than any, not that I've ever taken drugs, but in my mind, I pictured this being a drug, laughter is such an amazing, beautiful thing for your soul, and it's cleansing, and yeah, we had a really good laugh over the fact that he had never laughed until he cried. And I just think that that is so true and so important. So thank you for that bit of advice. I wanted to also ask you, is there anything, looking back, you've had a lot of years of some really amazing accomplishments, is there anything looking back that you would do a different way that you regret, or is there something that you think about that you would want to change?
Lisa Lindahl: I wish that I had been kinder to myself earlier on.
Shirley Owens: Well, it's funny. I think that I get two answers every time I ask that question, and one of them is I don't think I would change anything because it's brought me to who I am. And the other one is I would have been kinder to myself. So I feel like there's something in that that's super important.
Lisa Lindahl: Yeah, I think that we, well, do you get that answer from women primarily?
Shirley Owens: Mostly women, yes. Every once in a while there's a man who wishes he would have been kind of to himself, but yeah, I think it is a huge problem focused on women that we just don't take care of ourselves, we're so hard on ourselves, and we are trying to be everything possible that we think that we should be. And I think a lot of times we lose focus on who we actually really are.
“A huge problem focused on women is that we don't take care of ourselves. We're so hard on ourselves and we are trying to be everything possible that we think that we should be. And a lot of times we lose focus on who we actually really are.” -Shirley Owens
Lisa Lindahl: Well, yeah, and I think it's this idea of perfectionism, or I could do it better which is also tied into this idea of a destination of, you know, when I get there I will have arrived, when I'm this skinny, or have this house, or when I can speak this well, or whatever it is. It's some sort of measurement and that's really what the beauty is. Action thing is about saying let's change how we measure. Let's swap out the yardstick and make it more about how much all beauty is this harmony, things go together well and bring this sense. And how do we make choices? What is our yardstick?
Shirley Owens: Yeah. Thank you so much for being here today, and I think this is so good information for everyone out there, not just women, I know men are hard on themselves too. But specifically this episode, I wanted to focus a little bit on women, and I'm just super grateful that you were willing to be on and to talk about these things. I know they're a sensitive subject and I think that it's so important that women right now understand that they can create an amazing beauty within themselves that is going to be better than lashes, and nails, and hair, and tans, and bodies. And I think it's super important to take care of our mind. So can you tell us where we can find your books, Unleash the Girls and Beauty as Action. And if someone wants to read more about you, or get to know you more, or have you speak, just give me them.
Lisa Lindahl: Yes, absolutely. You can find me on my website, which is www, my name Lisa Lindahl, which is Lisa with an S, L-I-S-A, Lindahl, L-I-N-D, as in David, A-H-L, that sneaky H .com. And my book Unleash the Girls: The Untold Story of the Invention of the Sports Bra and How It Changed the World (And Me) is available on Amazon and every other online retailer, and you can ask your local bookstore when we're able to do that again. As well as Beauty as Action: The Way of True Beauty and How Its Practice Can Change Our World is also available on online retailers. But again, at www.lisalindahl.com, you can also find my books there and more than you'd ever want to know about me.
Shirley Owens: Awesome. Thank you so much. This has just been such a pleasure, I'm so grateful for you. And I will definitely be reading these books, so thanks again for being here.
Lisa Lindahl: Thank you so much, Shirley. I really appreciate it. Thank you very much.