To view this interview on Voyage Magazine’s Website click here.
Today we’d like to introduce you to Hayley McGee.
Hayley, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
When I was in junior high and high school, I always knew I was different than other kids. I tried to fit in and do the things all the popular kids did – dress in the brands they wore, cut my hair like them, speak like them, but no matter what I did I just never fully felt like I belonged in their “cool kid group.” It wasn’t until after college when I realized that I was born to stand out and that God had a plan for me. The journey to truly believe that wasn’t an easy one though.
It took losing majority of my friends that I grew up with, sinking into a depression, moving to a city where I didn’t know many people, and then dating a guy who was emotionally abusive for me to realize I am more precious than diamonds because I have a heavenly Father who has always loved me just the way I am. Once I realized this, my life seemed to flourish! My faith grew, I was able to be a happy single gal, and I even landed my dream job in the Houston Wedding Industry. What’s funny is, that was only four-five years ago.
Today, I am happily married to a wonderful man who treats me with respect and doesn’t speak down to me, my friends, or my family. I’ve gotten involved in non-profit work, changed my career path, and I have reached the goals I always said I would, but I don’t think I would have the confidence in who I am or have the courage to press forward had it not been for those hardships.
Each of those hardships, no matter how big or small, shaped me into who I am today, but also gave me the gut-wrenching feeling to start a blog to share my life with others. My blog is called Bold and Brave Life and I share just about everything – my struggles with depression and anxiety, my journey through an emotionally abusive relationship, what it’s like to have a brother in the Marines and how it affects our family, things I wish I could do differently while dating, what I’ve learned about marriage and being a wife, my favorite podcasts, books, and so much more! Basically, I want to be my reader’s big sister or best friend and spill all of my tips and tricks to make it through life, but not only just get through life, rather I want my readers to gain confidence in themselves, grow their faith, go for their dreams, and truly be able to say that they live a bold and brave life every single day!
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?
No, it definitely hasn’t been easy, and if it was, it probably wouldn’t be worth it nor would I be passionate about it. I’ve been made fun of for the things I write about, or post on social media, and questioned as to why I would share such things, but I believe the people that have negative comments are the ones that are hurting the most. Even if you take away negative comments from others, the hardest part is an internal struggle of staying true to yourself and being your own cheerleader despite what anyone else thinks of you.
At the end of the day, there will always be naysayers. The thing is, we only get one shot at life so we can either do our best to be loving and kind people who live intentionally with no regrets, or we can sit in the back row and let life pass us by. No matter what happens, we all make that choice for ourselves.
My passion and goal in life, along with the purpose of my blog, is to really help younger women be brave enough to be who they truly are despite what others think. I want to teach women of all ages how to live out their faith and dreams in such a bold way that it can’t be denied by others. Really, I just want them to believe in themselves, to stop thinking of themselves in a negative way, and for them to never question if they are “good enough.”
To the young women just starting out on their journey, whatever that might be, I’d say, “Never try to be someone else for another person’s benefit. If someone doesn’t like you or makes fun of you, it’s not because you did something wrong or have flaws, it’s because they can’t see your beauty so you have to show it to them by being kind and graceful in all situations. Your confidence may come and go throughout hardships, but that doesn’t mean you are worthless or don’t deserve to be treated with respect. Being strong, courageous, bold and brave doesn’t mean you won’t be nervous or scared, and it dang sure doesn’t mean you won’t face trials. It means that you’ve been given an opportunity to shine and speak up for not only yourself but for those who are too scared to speak up.”
Lastly, even if my words make no difference in your heart, I hope these words will – “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” Luke 6:27-28
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Bold and Brave Life – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Full time, I work as a Project Manager for Unified Resources. We specialize in channel marketing and help our clients put all the pieces of their business together when they are not able to internally do so. Depending on what the client’s needs are this could look like fulfillment services, help with creating incentive or promotion programs, creating a new website through our graphic design department, and so more.
I love the opportunity I have at the office to use some of my creative ideas while also being a part of an amazing company culture. The mentality at our office is “Get it, Want it, Do it”, which is why many people have worked here for ten+ years. The culture is what really drew me in as it is how I live my life outside of the office, as well.
Over the last two years of working for the company, I’ve really gained more insight as to what it means to make a difference in the world. The owners really encourage us to not only productive within the company, but also within the community. This mindset really gave me the push to start my blog (Bold and Brave Life) and to also volunteer in non-profit work.
Before I began Bold and Brave Life, I wanted to volunteer with an organization that provided young girls with resources to build their confidence, and that’s how I ended up finding “Girls on the Run.” This non-profit has many chapters all over the country but I am specifically involved in the Houston area. Girls on the Run provides the opportunity for young girls to meet twice a week and learn life skills. Part of those life skills is learned by training for a 5K! The purpose of training for and completing the race is for the girls to be able to set a tangible goal and reach it. This helps each girl to learn about lifelong health and fitness, while also building confidence through accomplishment. In addition, they are able to build social, psychological, and physical skills along the way. Needless to say, I am all for this non-profit!
Once I got involved with Girls on the Run, I realized I wanted to do more for the girls that are in college or post-college as those are very impressionable years, too. That’s when I created Bold and Brave Life and began sharing my thoughts and experiences about dating and relationship advice, depression, friendship, faith, emotional abuse, anxiety, being a military family, etc.
I love all of these things and at the end of the day, I just want to serve others. I always want to lead by example and provide encouragement for girls of all ages through my blog and volunteer work, and by doing so I feel like I am living a life that sets me apart from others as my mindset is “What can I do for you?” and NOT “What’s in it for me?.” Even if only a handful of people ever read the blog or only one young girl learns something from me it doesn’t matter because the pros far outweigh the cons in my eyes. I just hope that I can make a difference in helping someone see themselves for who they truly are – a wonderful, smart, talented, and loved young lady.
Are there any apps, books, podcasts or other resources that you’ve benefited from using?
I firmly believe in self-development and I think listening to podcasts and reading are great ways to become a better version of yourself. There are three podcasts I listen to almost religiously – Goal Digger, The MFCEO Project, and Rise Podcast. These specific podcasts might not be for everyone, but each of them brings so much to the table and I really think that no matter where you are in your life you can learn something from each of these.
I enjoy reading blogs, but it can be so easy to begin comparing your work to someone else’s so I don’t do this every day, rather I’ll pick up a book. There’s something so nice about reading a book from start to finish and it just gives me a sense of accomplishment. Some of my recent favorites have been Capital Gaines and Girl, Wash Your Face. I also implement a daily devotional into my day and the one I am currently reading is The One Year Book of Inspiration for Girlfriends: Juggling Not-So-Perfect, Often-Crazy, but Gloriously Real Lives. I highly recommend every person to have some sort of daily devotional and set aside a few minutes a day to reflect on it. I promise it will be a game changer!