Bold Women: Jacinta McDonell

Bold Women: Jacinta McDonell

Bold, determined, and with a clear vision, Jacinta McDonell, founder and mastermind of Brave Spaces and Anytime Fitness Australia, shares her inspiring insights into making bold moves and redefining success. In an interview with Ella Baché, she opens up about her journey, challenges faced, and the philosophy that propels her forward.

In collaboration with Ella Baché, this month Jacinta and Brave Spaces are giving away a ‘New Year, Thriving You’ prize pack. Enter here.

Jacinta McDonell founder and mastermind of Brave Spaces, how did you go from launching Anytime fitness in Australia to creating a platform that empowers others to navigate life intentionally?

I have always been fascinated by how we lead, how we can lead with purpose and how we can - with intention choose the life we truly want. This interest has been further stemmed by my involvement with The Hunger Project. Brave Spaces came about 2 years after I first met by business partner Andrew Leitch. He was facilitating and empowering individuals and organisations in away I hadn’t experienced before. We decided together to launch Brave Spaces so that we can empower more people and more organisations to live with more intention, fulfillment and purpose

Hard work and determination where no doubt a contributor to your success, how did you manage the exponential growth at Anytime Fitness, were there any setbacks?

Those who know me know that I am tenacious (pretty stubborn) so this tends to works in my favor when it comes to handling set backs or challenges. Once I have decided to do something significant nothing seems to be too big to overcome. I think we accept that setbacks and challenges are to be expected and s a normal part of the journey – it makes it easier when they show up. Often a set back or a challenge simply forces us to find a different way to achieve the thing we set out to achieve.

In order to overcome those setbacks, you would have had to make bold decisions/ moves personally and professionally – how did you manage this?

Being able to prioritise is essential. Not all things require our energy or attention at any given time. Knowing where to focus is essential.

I believe we are all born with natural gifts and talents that we need to express into the world. Each of us are different so we need to learn that our path will never look like someone else’s so we need to find the courage to step into the unknown. I live like this and when setbacks happen, I simply look at what is my next one step. This enables me to focus and move forward – even in the face of fear.

Stepping into our own innate power takes courage and its something I personally believe we need to do in our lifetime.

You have now launched Brave Spaces, where did you get the idea? Did Anytime Fitness have an impact on launching this new venture?

Anytime Fitness has definitely impacted my life in many ways. My experience growing this brand impacted how we decided to launch Brave Spaces. We know that to empower more people we will need to train facilitators to deliver our programs. Whilst we are not a franchise, we know that to truly have the impact we desire we need to build a community of engaged and committed facilitators and then we can build a community for intention and purpose filled humans.

In order to build yourself up successfully you would have had to create a supportive tribe around you, how did you go about that?

Seeking others that are where you are or ideally where you want to be is essential. As we grow and evolve so does our tribe. Seeking out these connections is essential. It can be uncomfortable to seek new connections and most of mine have been found when I have put myself in a new community committed to growing and evolving. I have found some of my most deep and purposeful relationships have come from my continued commitment to The Hunger Project. Finding people with aligned values is essential. People who view the world and possibility as you do ensures you can continue to step into our potential.

What are your three key habits to maintain success?

My daily focus is on clarity an connection. I use my daily meditation, along with a regular yoga practice as tools for achieving clarity and connection to self and prioritise my connection with others who share your values and goals. I also journal most days as a way to stay closely aligned to my purpose.

Everybody is working at 100 miles per hour these days, do you ever get the feeling that you have bitten off more than you can chew?

We all do sometimes.

When this happens I simply look at what is the one priority right now that moves the dial on everything else. This usually opens up space and makes it easier to move forward.

How do overcome this feeling?

Start with observing a bigger picture. You’ll see what’s required of you v’s getting caught in the endless mind chatter. This is why my personal meditation practice is a daily non-negotiable.

What would your key pieces of advice be to women wanting to step up and make a bold move?

Seek clarity. Know what is aligned to you and your highest version of self. I believe that if we move from here we find the strength required.

Don’t let others that have not done it before, or are not and have not been “in the arena” to tell you that you cant do it. Seek out (read, listen, engage with ) to those that have made bold moves and where possible seek their feedback instead.

With bold moves top of mind, do you think it is important to share your losses as much as your wins?

I think it’s important to recognise your learnings. I think we can get caught in harsh negative self talk if we dwell here too long. Instead I think we can see them as learnings and move forward with more knowledge of ourself and of the situation we found ourself in. Self compassion is essential as we all make mistakes. It’s how we learn.

In the beginning, you had a vision and a story – what gave you the courage to own your story to the level you needed to?

I believed in the vision 100%. I knew in my heart and soul that this was what I was meant to do. This didn’t mean that I knew anything would be successful, but I knew 100% I was meant to do this. Our intuition is a such a critical guide. We just need to better learn to identify it when it appears. We are always being guided (subtly) to our highest version of self. We just need to be quiet and open enough to listen and see the opportunities that are always around us.

How do you pivot your mindset to form creative collaborations with businesses around you?

I enjoy and always have enjoyed partnering with others. I first seek clarity of the opportunity or what I feel drawn to pursue and then I usually find people who share this same vision. I love working with people who have aligned views and are driven by a higher purpose. This makes the journey more enjoyable and in my opinion more likely to succeed.

What’s next for Jacinta McDonell?

Continued growth and evolution of how I live, parent and lead.

I believe we must constantly seek new ways to view the world and our place in it. This requires a commitment to self and to do the work required to realise our potential.

I am a solo mum of 3 so that’s always my north star. And there’s both Brave Spaces enhancing our impact on the world and The Hunger Project a non for profit looking to break the cycle of hunger and poverty globally that I have been committed to since 2014.

What would be once piece of advice you could give to someone that wants to live their life boldly and authentically?

Seek out and surround yourself with people who want you to succeed and want more for you not more from you.

Find and use your unique gifts, don’t get caught in comparison. Move towards what lights you up.
Find stillness each day, read, learn, listen.

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