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“Create a plan”, Laurie Bagley of ‘Strong Bodies Strong Individuals’ and Parveen Panwar, Mr. Activated

Create a plan. Start where you are and figure out where you want to go. This may be an area where you need guidance or direction, especially if this is new to you. Having a coach can be very helpful. Take small steps and know that change takes time, there will be setbacks so be […]

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Create a plan. Start where you are and figure out where you want to go. This may be an area where you need guidance or direction, especially if this is new to you. Having a coach can be very helpful. Take small steps and know that change takes time, there will be setbacks so be ready. Know what you will do when the storms hit. Make changes that fit you, fit your lifestyle and are changes you would want to have in place for the duration.


As a part of our series about “How Anyone Can Build Habits For Optimal Wellness, Performance, & Focus”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Laurie Bagley.

Laurie is not a world class climber, or a sponsored athlete. She just put in the time needed to accomplish her goals and take all the necessary steps. It is simple but not always easy. Laurie believes that we all have a unique set of skills, expertise and passion that serve us and are what we are meant to share to serve others.

Laurie has always been an athlete and competitor. She started in high school as a competitive track and cross country runner and moved on to a list of (for her inspiring) achievements in her adult life that include summiting mountains, guiding rivers and a variety of racing (triathlons, mountain bike racing and adventure racing).

As a girl Laurie was drawn to the outdoors and feel most at home moving her body in nature. Laurie believes that getting fit and using what mother nature offers can be a powerful way to change behavior patterns that do not serve us. After Everest I knew that my purpose was to assist others in achieving their personal goals in relation to health and fitness.

As an unlikely candidate to summit Everest Laurie knows that anything is possible if you are willing to take each step along the way if you are committed to change and want a different experience in relation to your health and fitness.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your backstory? What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.

When I was younger I was drawn to competitive sports-mostly individual sports like distance running, tri-athalons, adventure racing and mountain climbing. After years of endurance sports I had the chance to give Everest a shot. It was a scary and exhilarating consideration; one I had been waiting for.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?

You are completely correct regarding this. I had a team of people that helped me prepare physically for the climb (a small team) and a team of people that helped me raise money for the climb and the non-profit I was supporting (small team). I devote a chapter in my book to this idea as I am a firm believer that nothing big is accomplished on your own.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?

I have made lots of mistakes, some not so funny. On a mountain this can be deadly. I will say that between losing oxygen bottles, dead head lamp batteries, running out of oxygen before I could get to my spare and barely getting to safety before a storm hit it is amazing that I was given the gift of a summit.

The road to success is hard and requires tremendous dedication. This question is obviously a big one, but what advice would you give to a young person who aspires to follow in your footsteps and emulate your success?

Slow and steady. Just think about what is right in front of you, the very next step, no matter what your goal is. Persistence pays off.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

I read every climbing book I could get my hands on. Into Thin Air comes to mind. And I love business books, The Power of Habit, The Speed of Trust and The Power of Less.

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

“Keep Your Head Down and Climb!”. In other words, do not be distracted from your goal by what others say, think or do.

Stay focused and keep taking steps in the direction of what you want.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

I just re-released my book “Summit” One Women’s Everest Climb Guides you to Success. The new version has a chapter on my recent breast cancer mountain. I hope that my insights can be beneficial to others experiencing a big health/life challenge.

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. This will be intuitive to you but it will be helpful to spell this out directly. Can you help explain a few reasons why it is so important to create good habits? Can you share a story or give some examples?

Many people are experiencing health challenges related to diet, fitness and wellness. Changing behavior is not easy. Most people need support in figuring out how to make changes in their lives to support longevity, live fully and have access to the things that give them the most joy. Creating better habits in healthy eating, fitness and wellness support all the previously mentioned areas.

How have habits played a role in your success? Can you share some success habits that have helped you in your journey?

Yes, I have a dedicated fitness program that has helped me as a competitive athlete, helped get me to the top of mountains and most recently helped with my recovery from cancer treatment. Habits take time. Mine have been in place for many years.

Speaking in general, what is the best way to develop good habits? Conversely, how can one stop bad habits?

One of the best ways to stop a bad habit is to replace it with a good one. You never want to leave a hole so pick something you want to change and replace it with something else, start small, take baby steps.

In addition, habits take a good 24 weeks to become solid. Repetition is the key as is getting right back on track should you back slide (which we all do). My coaching approach is a step by step method that supports people in making and sustaining positive habits.

Let’s talk about creating good habits in three areas, Wellness, Performance, and Focus. Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum wellness. Please share a story or example for each.

One habit that will help with focus is meditation. As little as 5 minutes a day can make a difference. I started this practice in earnest to lesson my anxiety related to getting through cancer. Visualization is another powerful tool for performance. When I made a decision to climb Everest I did a meditation daily visualizing the route (I had never seen it for real but had in video’s) visualizing my progress, summitting and descending. This gave me confidence when the real time came. Another wellness practice I highly recommend and do on a regular basis is forest bathing (a Japanese term) or being in nature. Lately when I have felt out of balance, angry, alarmed (given all that has been happening) this has been something that has helped me regain balance.

Can you help explain some practices that can be used to develop those habits?

Yes, set small goals, schedule the activities into your day (same time of day can help), be consistent and build duration slowly.

Habits are built on repetition over a long period of time. Having someone to be accountable while you are developing habits is also extremely valuable.

Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimal performance at work or sport? Please share a story or example for each.

While I was a competitive athlete I found that balance was a crucial habit. More is not always better. I had a road map for training that took me from my current baseline to the place I wanted to arrive. Making sure I built in rest and time off was part of this. The same can be said of work goals-just a different focus. I also looked for areas that I was not as strong or as comfortable with so I could be better. An example was overcoming fear. While training for Everest or adventure racing if there was a rope/rappel element I took care to practice as jumping off cliffs on a line just does not feel right to me. It was however required on the climb and in most races, I was in.

Can you help explain some practices that can be used to develop those habits?

Yes, create a plan. Start where you are and figure out where you want to go. This may be an area where you need guidance or direction, especially if this is new to you. Having a coach can be very helpful. Take small steps and know that change takes time, there will be setbacks so be ready. Know what you will do when the storms hit. Make changes that fit you, fit your lifestyle and are changes you would want to have in place for the duration.

Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimal focus? Please share a story or example for each.

I use meditation, visualization and I choose things that I am passionate about. My meditation practice became much more important during my cancer journey. The daily 5–10 minutes helped calm the alarm and anxiety. It also helped with sleep. For my climbs and races I always spent time visualizing the outcomes I wanted-especially the end outcome. I have also found that when your passionate about what your wanting focus can be razor sharp and much easier to sustain. This is referred to as “Flow”. There are studies and books about this.

Can you help explain some practices that can be used to develop those habits?

As a leader, you likely experience times when you are in a state of Flow. Flow has been described as a pleasurable mental state that occurs when you do something that you are skilled at, that is challenging, and that is meaningful. Can you share some ideas from your experience about how we can achieve a state of Flow more often in our lives? Funny, I mentioned this before I heard/saw your question. I have found that in order to achieve a state of flow you need to “single task”, block out distractions, create an environment that is bullet proof so your brain does not get pulled in different directions.

Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

I would want to inspire a movement that got people moving outside, connecting with nature in a respectful way. Helping people get fit, feel centered and feel the earth in a way that would also encourage stewardship along with all the other benefits they would receive.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂

Easy, Oprah Winfrey or Michelle Obama.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

My web site is www.health-fitness-coaching.com and my FB link is https://www.facebook.com/LifeJourneys

Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.

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