Today we’d like to introduce you to Iona Holloway.
Hi Iona, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
Sure! I’m the founder of Brave Thing, a best-selling author, a breathwork teacher, and a speaker. With Brave Thing, I help strong women do the inner work to find the blind spots holding them back from burning brighter and braver and being more themselves in their lives, work, and relationships.
In short, I help women turn the stone in their chest back into a beating heart.
I don’t love a lot of the wellness and self-development world, so I’ve carved out my own little corner and called it inner work. I teach inner work with all the heart and guts I’ve got because it wasn’t fun being me for a long time, and all that changed once I got well-acquainted with what was going on “inside” me.
I struggled with an eating disorder, perfectionism, depression, and crushing self-criticism for 20 years. The cruel joke was my struggle was invisible, or positively-validated! I was so strong and competent that everyone thought I was fine. Not just fine, perfect. I mean, why would an All-American field hockey player with straight As who got recruited by Google out of college, could squat nearly 300#, had abs that popped, was in a long-term relationship, and slayed her career as a creative director have shit to cry about? I was so good at hiding in plain sight I fooled myself sometimes.
But like all muscles, even the strongest wills break. And in my late 20s, I broke into what felt like a million pieces. When I was scrambling around in the dark looking for help, I was met by a wall of labels, diagnoses, -isms, “just do it” culture, and pastel pink wellness. Whatever kind of woman I was, I didn’t seem to fit anywhere. But I was determined to get myself together. And after a lot of rough investments in some of the wrong (and some of the right!) teachers, I emerged from the pits of hell really liking myself, understanding that the unconscious mind and emotional body are where it’s at for deep healing, transformation and change, and clutching a diamond of a life I was thrilled to live. Not bad for a former nihilist.
When I founded Brave Thing, I channeled all my energy into creating the experiences, support, and books I wished existed when I needed them most. Brave Thing is where you can get the truth and tools you need to reclaim your body, worth, and gifts in kind, blunt, and creative ways. The Brave Thing membership launched in November and has over 60 members from all over the world. I also work with private clients and my newest group coaching program, Creative Creatures, which helps women start creating and getting their work and businesses out in the world kicks off in January!
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Anyone who says starting a business is a smooth road is lying. As a new business owner you’ve got to get really good at failing well, and being really kind to yourself when you do!
Perhaps the hardest part about running a business like Brave Thing is finding ways to talk about inner work because an internal transformation is technically an invisible process! I’ve found it much easier to focus on the transformation (what you get from doing inner work), and luckily my clients make that part really easy for me. They’re all blooming!
I’m a very pragmatic person and I hate floaty esoteric language so I’ve had to find ways to make inner work feel concrete, real, valuable, and attractive for strong women. It has been a fun and creative problem to solve over and over again.
I also started Brave Thing on the side while working full-time as a Creative Director. Letting go of a stable income and a set career trajectory came with a lot of fear. But it’s been worth it a hundred times over.
Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I help strong women get kind and aware without losing their razor-sharp edge. And I do that with zero fluff and a big heart. I work with my community by combining traditional talk-based coaching with breathwork and visualizations and using creativity as a practice in learning, failure, and kindness. I care about helping women change their lives in the real world and giving them tools to last a lifetime. I’m known for being pretty real and grounded in my approach. You won’t find me floating around using big “spiritual” words. I definitely swear a lot!
I’m proud to have built a brand that attracts strong women because it can be hard for women who are used to going it alone to lean on someone for support. I’d say over 50% of the women in my membership are recovering lone wolves! I’m honoured to have so many remarkable women choose to change their inner reality with me.
What were you like growing up?
I’m from Scotland originally. I moved to the US in 2009 to play Division 1 field hockey at Syracuse University without ever visiting or submitting video footage… and that pretty much sums me up: independent, sporty, a wee bit sarcastic, cheeky and black sheep-esque, opportunistic, and laced with the underdog spirit! Growing up, I was a tomboy. I loved playing sports with my brother, especially because I often beat him. I loved drawing, colouring, and reading. All that said, I write a lot about growing up as a very self-sufficient child in my best-selling book, Ghost – Why Perfect Women Shrink. Being a strong and independent child with very high standards has its light and shadow.
- Brave Thing Membership: $97/month
- Creative Creatures: From $299
- Ghost – Why Perfect Women Shrink: $16
- Private Coaching: From $997
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: https://www.bravething.co/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ionaholloway/
- Other: https://geni.us/IonaHollowayGhost
Photography Credit: Gabby Riggieri