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Meet Trailblazer Cece Nealon-Shapiro

Today we’d like to introduce you to Cece Nealon-Shapiro.

Cece, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
At first I had only a private Instagram page, but as a social media, especially Instagram, enthusiast, and as someone who has a combined passionate in health and wellness, I wanted something more. A place where I felt I could post more regularly and particularly one where I could focus on this combined interest of mine, rather than more private life experiences, which felt somewhat filtered (as in, I posted only things that felt out of the ordinary and not daily experiences). I also wanted a place where I could learn from, connect with, and reach a like-minded community.

So, I created my public Instagram page, @lifecommacandid, originally called @dailygrind_c2. @dailygrind_c2 was a page committed to health and fitness—and some wellness to complement. I would post about work outs I did, new gyms I tried and loved, healthy foods and snacks I enjoyed and corresponding health benefits. After a few months, I realized that this was more of a lifestyle page because this was, in fact, my lifestyle, my life. I also noticed that I wasn’t just blindly focusing on fitness and health but was maintaining this lifestyle with a strong sense of mindfulness and with a goal of general wellbeing.

Thus, my Instagram evolved into one that encompasses all of this as a lifestyle and is now a lifestyle page. I changed the name to @lifecommacandid and created the corresponding mindful lifestyle blog www.lifecommacandid.com. I strive to lead a life of health, mindfulness, and wellbeing (within these categories falls wellness and fitness, I believe) and I feel that with the awareness that life is a candid phenomenon, we can live well.

My website/blog tells in detail about the name “lifecommacandid” (https://www.lifecommacandid.com/about/), but in short, it is the idea that life itself is candid. There are good experiences and bad ones, but life doesn’t plan according to how each of us as individuals are doing at any given time; things just happen. What we can do is do our best to be mindful and aware through it all. The word “comma” in the name is written out because commas often get overlooked and forgotten; it is a metaphor for how we as individuals sometimes also get overlooked in a similar way, but that, like the written version of a comma, we don’t have to and shouldn’t be; we should stand out, be who we are, and be proud of that.

I post almost daily on @lifecommacandid with content that depicts ways in which I am maintaining a life of health and wellness on a daily basis. I write blog posts for www.lifecommacandid.com in real time on topics as they come up in my life, as I think of them, and as requested by others. It is my hope that with my blog and Instagram I can reach, inspire, connect with, and learn from individuals interested in leading or learning about a lifestyle similar to the one I lead.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The road has been pretty up and down, and I have not yet reached a final destination with lifecommacandid; in fact, I do not think I will ever arrive at a final destination because I do not know what to expect out of life’s adventures, including this one.

My Instagram and blog have only a small audience at this time (compared to those bigger influencers out there) and my following fluctuates. I often wonder how to keep a consistent following but I think the key to maintaining a consistent following is to be consistent yourself. Stay in your lane as much as possible; avoid posting content that seems to be unrelated to the focus of your blog or Instagram because this can confuse your followers and deter them, especially if they are expecting a certain well of insight from you. That said, feel free to still be creative! Just don’t post irrelevant content.

It can be frustrating when I lose followers without knowing why. But my advice is to not get discouraged and keep at it! If you are passionate and work hard, you will be seen and heard by someone. While numbers matter to some extent, it is also about reaching people in a meaningful and accessible way. I am glad to be reaching and connecting with even a small group of people, but I do hope to continue to grow my following.

If you are just starting out, reach out to existing bloggers and Instagrammers, especially those in your area of interest, for advice and insight. We can learn a lot from others and shouldn’t be afraid to ask for support. More often than not, people are happy to help. Keep on keeping on!

We’d love to hear more about lifecommacandid.
lifecommacandid is a mindful lifestyle blog that focuses on the everyday and being mindful through it all–the good, the bad, and the neutral. I speak from personal experience but intend to translate what I write into relatable anecdotes that anyone can read and in which they can see themselves. I think my content is unique because it can range from a plain comment about the food I’m eating (i.e., “oatmeal for lunch!”) to one that creates a metaphor out of a yoga pose (i.e., life is like dancer’s pose…find *your* limits…it’s about doing what you can”). What I mean by this is that I don’t think all posts have to be exceptionally long or intellectual; it’s just being aware of how you spend your life and finding the meaning in it–even in the little things–when it means something to you…you don’t have to create a forced meaning out of everything, because it’s not always there, but sometimes it is, and when you see it, you recognize it. That’s all.

So much of the media coverage is focused on the challenges facing women today, but what about the opportunities? Do you feel there are any opportunities that women are particularly well positioned for?
The media does tend to focus on the challenges women face today. And, yes, in these challenges lie opportunity. But there is also opportunity outside of these challenges. In fact, there is opportunity wherever you desire. If you have a dream, work for it. If you have a passion, pursue it. If you have a wish, reach for it.

You don’t have to wait for a challenge and subsequent opportunity to arise to do something that means a lot to you. You can find meaning in anything, because *it’s all relative* (that’s one of the phrases I live by). There isn’t any one thing in the world in which everyone finds meaning, and there isn’t any one thing that everyone finds meaningless; we all find meaning in different things.

If education for all is meaningful to you, fundraise for education where it is missing, build a school where one is needed. You don’t have to wait for a school to be destroyed in order to rebuild and erect one; you can pursue this whenever you want.

With regards women in particular, women don’t have to be deemed inferior to rise up. Rise up, regardless. Become the leader of a book group that reads literature written by female authors. But maybe instead of it being an all-women’s group, make it a mixed-gender group so we can all be educated and empowered.

There is opportunity all around. Don’t wait around for it to be needed in an urgent sense. Do the things that give meaning to your life–whenever you want to.

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Image Credit:

Iryna Labay, Ella McMahan, Nikki Yatsenick, Cameron Frize

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