Tell yourself the truth. You know if you’re not taking care of yourself. You know if you’re drinking too much, overeating sugar or fast food. You know if you’re not exercising. Your truth will set you free.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Crystal Andrus Morissette. Crystal is an International best-selling author, Emotional Age and communication expert, and women’s advocate. She is the founder of the S.W.A.T. Institute (Simply Woman Accredited Trainer), an empowerment coach certification exclusively for women that is in over 45 countries that she created with fellow female visionaries such as Louise Hay, Marianne Williamson, and Dr. Christiane Northrup. Crystal is the author of several best-selling books, including “The Emotional Edge.” She is also certified in nutrition and sports medicine. Learn more at www.CrystalAndrusMorissette.com and www.SWATInstitute.com.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
Gosh, my backstory is so heavy and hard to hear that I never want it to define me and who I am today because I am so much more than what I went through. So, here goes the “CliffsNotes” version:
When I was 12, my parents separated and began a turbulent and destructive divorce that has gone on now for over 35 years. I know that’s hard to imagine, but the anger my mother had at my father when they split caused her to implode; she never forgave him or forgave us for “having his blood.” (Sadly, mom lives an hour away and hasn’t seen any of her three children or seven grandchildren in the past 10+ years, and before that, it was years upon years of fighting, vengeance, and toxicity from her.)
Within a short time after dad left, Mom moved her 24-year-old boyfriend in, and that’s when sexual improprieties began with both my younger sister and me. At 14, I was stranger-raped at my first high school party by a 19-year-old guy I’d just met moments earlier, who pulled me outside, alone, and forced himself on me. It changed me in such a deep, personal way; it was devastating. I felt like damaged goods. Shocked. Broken. Lost. Alone. It was not how I was supposed to lose my virginity.
Not long after, my mother decided she no longer wanted custody of us kids, and I was sent to live with her boyfriend’s cousin and his young family for me to essentially become a ‘nanny’ to their small children. He began raping me nightly, and after a few months, I ran away. I was homeless off and on for the next three years. In that time, I found out I had the early stage of cervical cancer and the HPV virus. It would take close to three years to stop the cells of my cervix from turning against me. I was in a fog, desperate to be loved, cared for, or just to know someone out there was wondering whether I was dead or alive.
At 21, I had a traumatic head injury where I fractured my skull, ocular, sinuses, cheekbone, and damaged all the nerves on the right side of my face. By the time I was 25, I’d had two little girls and had gained a ton of weight, and that’s when I decided to take control of my life, my future, and my happiness.
Can you share the interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
When I began training Kate Beckinsale during her film “Serendipity,” I went from meeting with her 3–4 times a week as her fitness trainer to her asking me to be with her all day on set to help coach, guide, and support her almost as a personal assistant. It was then that I realized I was so much more than “just” a fitness person. I taught Kate how to meditate, practice yoga, eat like an athlete, and — most importantly — how to stay calm, relaxed, grounded, and confident while juggling so many balls: parenting, memorizing scripts, and looking like a drop-dead gorgeous movie star! I made the decision then; I wanted to be an Empowerment Coach rather than “just” a personal trainer or nutritionist.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Oh boy! This story is only funny looking back because, at the time, I thought my career was over. I was giving a motivational talk headlined by Dr. Phil. I was supposed to open the event; five minutes before I went on stage, the producer told me my hour-long speech had just been changed to 30 minutes because Dr. Phil was flying out to meet Robin in Paris and he needed to leave earlier than originally planned. I had never given a 30-minute talk and had not prepared. I went on stage and bombed. When I went backstage, I saw everyone’s faces, and they weren’t smiling. I went home and cried off and on for a month. Literally. I thought my career was over. I’ve since learned you do get more than one chance to make your mark. And if you mess up, you apologize (if needed), you pick yourself up, shake yourself off, and get back at it. Quitting isn’t an option.
Are you working on any new or exciting projects now?
After being an Empowerment Coach for many years (including coining the term), and watching my clients make massive transformations in their lives, I decided I wanted to share this process with the world. And so, ten years ago, I founded the S.W.A.T. Institute (Simply Woman Accredited Trainer) — an empowerment coach certification exclusively for women with guest faculty members like Louise Hay (R.I.P.), Marianne Williamson, and Dr. Christiane Northrup. Today, we are in over 45 countries and ranked #1 on Google globally.
To celebrate our tenth anniversary, I’m so excited to announce that our team has completely revamped our curriculum for our Master Empowerment Coach Certification. We’ve made it more cutting-edge and more relevant to what’s happening in the current culture for women, specifically the #MeToo and #TimesUp Movement. We can’t wait to share it!
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Louise Hay (R.I.P.). Louise gave me my first book deal at Hay House Publishing, along with two more in the years after. When we met, Louise explained to me that everything is timing. And that my job was to “build it, believe in it, and to keep at it” and then, when everything aligned, the stars would shine on me — but I had to do my part and show up every day.
Can you share your top three “lifestyle tweaks” that will help people feel great?
1. Tell yourself the truth. You know if you’re not taking care of yourself. You know if you’re drinking too much, overeating sugar or fast food. You know if you’re not exercising. Your truth will set you free.
2. Don’t use shame or guilt to motivate. If shaming ourselves (or anyone for that matter) worked, every person who beats themselves up would be wildly successful. It doesn’t work.
3. Become your best friend. Decide that your love, your care, your health, your happiness, success, joy, peace of mind, and so on matters so very much. It is the answer to all life’s struggles. Once you realize you can create a life you love, you will never accept poor treatment again — not even from yourself.
Is there a particular book that made an impact on you? Can you share a story?
“The Dark Side of the Light Chasers” by Debbie Ford was the most personally transformative book I’ve ever read; to learn from “my shadow” and to discover how to integrate the most wounded parts of me back into the wholeness of who I am was a gamechanger for me. What’s most incredible is that after reading that book, I decided I wanted to meet Debbie Ford. Less than a year later, I was doing an interview and who walks in just as I’m finishing? Debbie Ford! I knew this might be my one chance to tell her how much I loved her and her book, and she immediately hugged me and asked me what I was doing after the interview. I stuck around, and we went for lunch afterward and eventually became really good friends. For years later, her radio show played directly after mine on Hay House Radio / Sirius Satellite.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I’ve actually recently started a movement with one of the world’s first food addiction counselors, Sandra Elia. We are #ChangingTheConversation for obesity (even the word ‘obesity’ is heavily loaded). People who struggle with their weight aren’t lazy, weak, unmotivated, or undisciplined. It’s time for a new narrative. The old adage of “calories in versus calories out” doesn’t work for everyone. This simplistic view of a complex, chronic disease stigmatizes people living with obesity. “Why can’t you just eat less and move more? It’s simple.” This approach disregards mounting evidence that obesity affects the brain. It’s time we treat people with dignity and respect, and begin offering effective and practical choices. This movement is set out to advocate for people struggling with obesity, while educating, inspiring, and empowering others to join us in impactful ways.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
A big part of our mission at the S.W.A.T. Institute is providing Empowerment Coaching to those who need it, and we know that not everyone can afford it. So we created our Mentorship Empowerment Coaching Program. It allows for any woman worldwide to receive Empowerment Coaching, completely free of charge! Through this initiative, we’ve helped thousands of women become more empowered in their own lives, and many of them have gone onto becoming certified Empowerment Coaches, themselves. Mentorship Coaching is “our baby” here at the S.W.A.T. Institute. Watching women heal and step into their “Woman Energy” is such a special thing. Apart from that, I offer free Empowerment Coaching every Friday during my podcast, Chat with Crystal, where anyone can call in anonymously and receive coaching at no charge.
We also have our online Simply Woman Magazine and Simply Woman Publishing House that helps women who want to share their stories, advice, and inspiration to advance the confidence, empowerment, and ambitions of women from all around the world. It’s always been my goal to empower, enrich, and enlighten women to create their greatest lives through personal discovery, wellness, prosperity, and passion. Bam!
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why.
1. Focus first on your strategy. What do you want to accomplish? Who do you want to serve? And why?
2. Next, build your structure: How are you going to get your message to those people? What moving parts need to be there? What must you ensure happens for your prospective clients to find and hire you?
3. Create as many simple but clear processes so that as you grow, your company and team can grow with you.
4. Make sure you have the right people on your side and have the courage to choose appropriately. Don’t hire someone just because you think you can save a little money here or there. In the end, you’ll spend more doing it the cheap way. And you’ll waste precious time, frustrated with your team rather than realizing you made the wrong choices from the get-go.
5. Look at your numbers and be willing to uncover any flaws in your plan. “Figures never lie, and liars never figure,” as my husband always says.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”?
“It is what it is; now what are you going to do about it?”
Some of the biggest names in Business, V.C. funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the U.S. whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
Oprah Winfrey. I bet everyone says that! L.O.L. Obviously, Oprah doesn’t know it, but she raised me. As a struggling, homeless teen, I’ll never forget her first show; I was 16 years old watching her on a black & white TV with rabbit ears for the antenna. Oprah taught me how to be a woman. I watched her every day for 25 years. You could only imagine how thrilled I was when I got the phone call that my Emotional Age Quiz was being featured on Oprah.com. I felt like the “Oprah fairies” were sprinkling Oprah fairy dust all over me. Safe to say, I was over the moon. You can find out your Emotional Age here.
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Thank you for all of these great insights!