Megan Valentine is a force of nature. A wife, mother of three, entrepreneur, the founder of Team Brave, and author of the Mama Mantra and the upcoming No Place Like Known, Megan is not a woman to be taken lightly. Even though this mamapreneur is as real-life and normal a mama as any, one thing is for sure: what she has to share with the world is anything but normal.
It’s an early morning on her side of the world as we sit down together, but she smiles anyway and takes a sip of her morning coffee.
Megan has agreed to share with me her story of how she gave up a life of safety and normality to become a businesswoman who guides thousands of women from all over the world into living lives straight from their dreams. Together with her husband, Dan Valentine, Megan has built a multimillion dollar health business, and the power couple travels, writes and speaks about how to love others and live life to the maximum.
Before all of this, though, Megan’s life was defined by three things: being a wife, a mother and a youth pastor.
I ask her about the transition from that world to the one she is living in now. She takes a sip of coffee.
“Four years ago, I had a great career,” she says. “I was doing all the things, but I never felt like I was winning at mom or work life. Even though it was pastoral ministry, I was a career woman in a fast-paced life. My kids and my marriage were on the back burner and I couldn’t figure out how to make it all happen, how to have it all, and find the time and financial freedom to do life on my terms. I was probably where many women are; feeling like I was in a lose-lose life instead of a win-win life.”
Megan’s turning point came the day her daughter turned ten. “I looked at myself and was like, do I want the next decade to look like the last decade? I’ve been a mom for a decade and I’m only going to have her in the house for eight more years. I thought, when she’s 20, if we continue on this path and look back, how am I going to feel? And just like that—regret flooded me. I asked myself, is this is the life that I would create for her and my other kids, were I to start over? And it wasn’t. So at that point, it was decision time.”
Immediately following this revelation, Megan resigned the job she loved. She had no idea what was going to happen next, but she loaded up their family and moved to Arizona, where she and her husband began to work from home together building a health business.
And then it was all rosy and uphill from there, I joke. Megan laughs and says that it was anything but that. “As soon as I made the decision to not just thrive in our business, but also to step out as a public figure and say, I’m going to put myself out there, shifting from church ministry to running a business, there were a lot of people who said, “You’re walking away from God and ministry. But we knew our business was our ministry. We were helping more people move forward in their lives than we ever had before. We were helping pastors around the nation get healthy, which had a massive ripple effect. But because what we were doing was different, there was a resistance in the form of people’s judgments. Some came in the form of comments and posts and some came in private messages and some we heard from other people, because they were talking about us behind our backs.”
But, Megan tells me, this resistance made her stronger.
“It just fueled me. What I’ve learned along the way is that the people who are out pursuing their dreams don’t have time or energy to bash other people who are doing that as well. And so why would I listen to the ones who are just spectators? They’re not out in the field. They’re not fighting for it, or they wouldn’t have time to judge. I respect the people who are out there going for it and vice versa.”
For most of her life, Megan had been a people-pleaser, but when her life transition caused people to disapprove and pass judgment, it ended up being a hidden gift in disguise. “I had loved and served people and I expected them to support and love me in return. But God used the absence of that to get me to a place where I became confident in who I was and in my purpose, so I don’t have to listen to their opinions. If they’re not out chasing their dreams or happy with where they’re at, how can I expect them to be happy with where I’m at?”
But the business, I say, surely you transitioned easily into business. Megan laughs again. “Honestly,” she says, “it was this really messy season of trying to step into a new world and build a business while all my character flaws, all of my insecurities, were rising to the surface.”
The interesting thing about changing jobs or lifestyles is that you still bring the old you with you. “In my previous job, I had blamed the fast pace for why I wasn’t the wife or mom I needed to be, but suddenly there was no fast pace. There was no busy job. There was no busy calendar but here I was, still the same person. So I had to do inner work and heart work.”
“The hard work and the heart work is the winning combination to create an emotionally and financially successful life.”Megan Valentine
During this time of inner healing and growth, Megan read books like Steven Pressfield’s War of Art and gleaned wisdom from powerful female thought leaders such as Rachel Hollis, Lisa TerKeurst, Ann Voskamp and Emily Freeman.
Megan sits quiet for a minute, as if thinking back to those early days of internal growth and the external growth that followed suit. “I started to notice that all I’d done was shift over to looking for the approval in building this business. If I was needed by coaches and clients or was being used to speak and train for our company, I felt like that gave me worth. So then I was like, Oh, no. I’m not going back to that.”
It’s easy to go from a career in the spotlight to a business looking for the validation of other people. “It’s what fed me,” says Megan. Through her journey of stepping out and building a business, Megan had to ask herself if she had what it takes and whether she truly believed she had something to offer the world. “I think there’s a lot of women in their twenties and thirties who are still striving and saying to themselves, if I could just be like her, if I could use these metrics or hire this company or be an Instagram influencer, then I could do these things.”
While all of us can relate, my female readers (and especially those of you who are mothers) best understand the difficulty of releasing the perfection mentality that pervades society’s ideas of womanhood and motherhood today. It isn’t made any easier by the onslaught of social media figures constantly promoting positivity without the impetus of authenticity or healing. For Megan, the truth of what she shares with her tribe, Team Brave, is the same truth that sets her free everyday.
“I had a bit of a martyr mentality. You know, the one that says choose joy! So whatever I was feeling or dealing with, I was just gonna choose joy. Fake it till you make it, ’cause I’m a strong mama. But as I grew, I realized something massive: I don’t have to choose joy. Instead, there are things I can do to produce joy in my life. Things like buying myself flowers and going hiking by myself or, you know, meeting up with certain friends who refuel me, and really focusing on self-care instead of choosing joy.” When she did that, joy would overflow.
I ask Megan about the most common problem mompreneurs are facing and she doesn’t hesitate. “Limiting and self-deprecating beliefs. I tell them all the time: in my life, the biggest enemy is me.”
Megan has chosen to be overtly authentic with her following because she doesn’t want to be put on a pedestal. She wants women to know that they can be imperfect and still attain their dreams. “Sometimes I yell at my kids and husband, but I can still make a difference, you know? Most women think they have to arrive first, but you’re never gonna arrive. There’s never going to be the perfect time. You’re never going to be the perfect person to get out there and do it.”
“When you’re doing the hard work that’s required to achieve the dream, that’s how you become the person that you need to be in order to handle the dream.”Megan Valentine
We talk about moms and their biggest motivation: their kids. Megan has an interesting perspective. “I work with moms all the time and I ask them, why are you doing this? What is your biggest motivation? They say, my kids, I want a new life for my kids. A couple of weeks later, I ask them if they’ve moved forward at all. They say no, and I say, why not? They say my kids, again!”
“Your kids are either going to be your why or they’re going to be your excuse. If you’re in a job you hate, or not there for their birthdays, or if you live the next decade exactly like the last, no one’s responsible for that but you.”
This woman doesn’t mince words.
Megan and her husband, Dan, built their health-coaching business in, what Megan calls, “the little bits of white space,” while pastoring and raising three children. It was messy and even chaotic at times, but they knew that eventually, the season of crazy would transform into a season of time and financial freedom.
“And you know what?” Megan laughs. “The kids probably watched too much TV and didn’t have the two of us together at one time very often, but they don’t even remember our messy season!”
Megan speaks to the heart of every mother, every woman. There is no reason to not pursue your why right now. Get a sitter, she insists. Figure it out. Learn time management. Go to Starbucks. Rearrange your priorities. Start saying no to things. Get up earlier. Stay up later. Say goodbye to Netflix. Get a support system. Find a mentor. Do whatever it takes for you to build your dream.
“You can chase your dreams and your kids. You can do both. It doesn’t have to be one or the other.”
The conversation turns towards Megan’s health, which has been a battle for her during the past four years, including three failed dental surgeries and spinal traumas.
“I battle physical pain every day, but I’m not going to let this stop me and you shouldn’t either. I only get one life, so I’m not going to spend it on pain meds and laying in my bed. For me, it was really clear which path I was going to take, no matter how hard it was. I don’t do it for me; I do it for the people coming behind me because I know that bravery is contagious. So no, I don’t feel like doing it today, but I’m going to do it anyway. ”
I ask Megan the question I’ve been dying to ask our entire conversation. Would you say that now, after all the struggle, you are finally living your dream life?
She nods yes, slowly at first, then emphatically.
“I’m present for my children and the things that matter most to me, and I’m living life on my terms. I have time and financial freedom. It’s hard to even begin to describe it, I guess, but after 17 years, my marriage is at the best place it’s ever been. Each one of my kids are set up to thrive. We have the ability to support them as they each chase their dreams. I get to be sitting in the front row watching them. I’m telling them to do what they want to do, to go for it, to be brave. But at the same time, their dad and I are showing the way by doing the same thing.”
The Valentines have achieved a success that enables them to give back on a large scale, such as contributing the profits of No Place Like Known to Zoe, a ministry in Thailand that fights sex trafficking, and financing the building of orphanages.
As Megan leads herself and shares her journey with the world, women who resonate with her are coming to her tribe in droves. “I’m getting multiple messages a day of women saying, I don’t feel like doing it either, but I’m going to do it, too. We’re doing it together, you know?”
“I fully believe that if I just do my thing, stay in my lane, and rock my one life, I will inspire women to say yes to the dreams deep in their hearts, too. I envision more kids being fostered, more missionaries going on the field, more marriages being saved and more women becoming brave. They’ll fight, when before they would have just sat down.”
I ask Megan if that’s what keeps her going and she gets a little softer in her expression. “I have to keep going,” she says, “not just for me, but for all of the people coming behind me, including my son and my daughters. All moms tell their kids they can do anything. Chase your dreams and be a world changer. But it’s a completely different ball game when you’re raising them and they’re watching you do exactly that.”
Mic drop. I can’t imagine a better note to end on.