COVER STORY Success Your Way: how Jennifer Ettinger created Pink Dreams from her own personal darkness
Have you ever met someone and felt truly inspired by what they’ve created for their life? The energy, light, and love they carry through themselves and their business are contagious. That’s how I feel every time I speak with Jennifer Ettinger, an author, CEO, red carpet correspondent, certified personal trainer and health coach.
This woman created a life that pushes past the societal norms we’ve been trained to believe are the truth for all women. It’s time to retrain our minds to accept that it’s perfectly normal to have success your way. This is exactly how Jennifer built the foundation for her businesses, Fit Your Style and Pink Dreams Inc.
It all started when Jennifer was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia.
“I was working my ‘dream job’ in the corporate world, which turned out to be a living nightmare – due not to the workload but to the internal misogyny I felt,” she recalls. “I was surrounded by ultimate luxury and beauty, yet confined to an unhealthy and toxic workplace. I started gagging about 60 times a day. I would run into the hallway and then return to work. Finally, I listened to my body and resigned from this role. Shortly afterward, I was diagnosed with CFS. The stress caught up with me. I can either stay in this and let the illness brand me, or I can push through it,” she recalls.
Ultimately, she was bedridden for one year. It was during this time that she turned to research. She delved into holistic modalities of meditation, positive affirmations, journaling, and vitamin therapy. In addition, she watched fitness guru Billy Blanks on Oprah.
“That episode forever changed my life,” she says. “Not only was he in peak physical shape, but his spirit and light of wanting to inspire others touched my heart. It inspired me so much that I began working out, if only for a few minutes at a time.”
After one year, she was out of bed and burning 600-800 calories an hour with his program, Tae Bo.
“My experience in darkness led me to become a certified personal trainer. I merged my holistic studies into an integrated program of fitness, wellness, and healthy body image – this included what I had learned from my days in fashion.”
Building on this newfound momentum, she created Fit Your Style Inc., a fitness and holistic lifestyle company. Fit Your Style is designed to help people embrace their individuality and find strength in that through their wellness journey.
“The journey of holistic principles was the core of my change,” she says. “Yes, my body transformed but that happened only after the mind changed first.”
By choosing to care for herself, Jennifer changed her life. She built a business and a brand that led her to travel the world, host two regional TV shows, and do Social Media Correspondence at red carpet events including the Oscars, Grammys, Billboards, and Golden Globes.
For Jennifer, this transition flowed naturally from her experience working on red carpets and building her brand to creating her next business, Pink Dreams Inc., a social media PR agency. Since starting in 2016, this agency has helped scale large clients in Hollywood, start-up entrepreneurs, apps, nonprofits, and much more. The diversity and individual challenges of each of her clients have helped create a unique and holistic business perspective that has helped many find success their way
“If we’re not feeling aligned to the best of our ability, how are we able to go out as entrepreneurs, or as women, and be able to manage everything else that we need to take care of,” she says.
Let’s hear from Jennifer on her story and the foundation of her business.
On my life’s work to date and the meaning of success in my life:
One key is serendipity. It is challenging. However, I think if you lead your life with Holistic principles, the doors open. What do I mean by Holistic? The integration of holistic health and well-being and the attributes of connecting with others at a “higher purpose.” The desire to enhance the lives of others both in our personal and professional lives. It is energy. It is light.
I created the phrase #PinkDreams in 2013, well before the start of my Social PR Agency of the same name. Pink Dreams is so much more than a hashtag and the love of the colour. It is the way I approach my life – an acronym:
P– Pink is the sister colour of love and the psychological colour for women and weight loss. It has been the colour of my brand, Fit Your Style, since 2003 and also is the colour of my agency, Pink Dreams inc.
I – Integrity. I strive to lead with the utmost integrity in all that I do. At the end of the day, when I put my head on the pillow, I check in with myself on how I was of service for the day. Now, I am only human and make mistakes.
Mistakes are valuable learning lessons, and I thank them for their insight. Lesson: You can’t please all people all the time! Some people will challenge you on your level of integrity.
I have been told I have “none” and am “full of false promises.” So to those naysayers, I send love and light and wish them well. But unfortunately, we often cannot fix things with dialogue. So I do my best to forgive and release in love.
N– Newsworthy – Keeping oneself in the public eye is an attribute of your goals if being in service. A way of doing this authentically is to develop relationships and understand the power of community engagement.
K – Kindness. Karma goes hand in hand. We all have been given the opportunity in our lives to lead in kindness with a smile, a gesture, or helping another in need. This can be done quietly. I believe this affects our karma when we lead with our hearts. My favourite quote is, “The more you receive, the more you give. The more you give, the more you receive.
D – Determination. I like to stay in my lane, with my head down, allowing for complete focus on the goals at hand. Determination and success take discipline. It is so easy to get distracted by the “noise” of social media. Tune it out and get tuned in. How do you tune out the noise? Get off social, change your notification settings and get to work!
R – Reputation. This is your currency. Do your best to honour your worth, your time, and how you treat others. Get involved in communities, whether in your local area or online.
E – Excellence. Define how you perceive excellence, not someone else’s. See it so clearly that it serves as your daily benchmark.
A – Athletic Mindset. The journey is not always “rainbows, lollipops, and unicorns.” No matter how challenging people or the world can be at times, do your best to cross your finish line. Don’t give up. Crawl if you have to, but complete the task-lesson.
M – Mantras. Surround yourself with mantras: what we think about, we bring about! Two of my favourites are:
I love myself and that’s what counts.
I am enough. I have enough. I do enough.
These are great starts.
S – Success. When you put all of these philosophies into action, it equates to Pink Dream Success! Do what Fits Your Style. Stay in your lane and watch the magic unfold!
Jennifer’s story is a true inspiration for finding success your way. You can have the dream, the business, the family. You can have it all. It takes belief in yourself.
Will it come easy? No.
“So you have this abundance of life-changing experiences but on the other side comes both light and dark,” she says.
“At the end of every horrible, challenging thing I’ve had in my life — both personally and professionally – I’ve been able to take that darkness, understand that darkness, and process that darkness. From every storm comes a rainbow if we allow ourselves to be self-aware during our challenging times. No matter how difficult the challenge, there’s always a lesson to be learned.”
On your success journey, there will always be obstacles and challenges, including both the naysayers who aren’t going to be happy for you and people you love “trying to keep you safe.”
When you are courageous and find your version of success, don’t let the haters bring you down. It will take a big push for you to step through, but the growth and happiness that come from stepping into your truth will change your life, just as it did for Jennifer Ettinger.
Finally, here are some words of wisdom from Jennifer.
What does success mean to you?
What does “success your way” mean?
“It means to be grounded in self-awareness and to be clear about both your weak spots and your strengths, your ego and your triggers.This means that if you stay open and remain aware of your faults and your skills, and continue to learn, then the doors will open for you and you’ll be able to have success your way.”
She sums up.
“Your way is going to be your way and my way is going to be my way. They’re both beautiful.”
What advice would you give someone who is looking to build success their way?
“Be aware but don’t compare. Shut out the noise. Eliminate the shortcuts. Don’t do yourself a disservice by making a ‘quick fix.’ Stick to doing things your way and building your community. It will grow into success your way.”
LET’S GET SOCIAL:
If you enjoyed this story, check out Jennifer Ettinger – A JEN OF ALL TRADES and Lyzabeth Lopez: a journey to success.
Photo credit: Hilliary Photography