Wise Women Wednesday: Holli Ilderton

Holli Ilderton

Holli Ilderton

It's Wise Women Wednesday, each week I interview a woman that I believe is inspiring, living abundantly and following her passions.  These are all women who live a life of abundance and bring creativity into the world.    

Holli lives bravely and courageously.  I've seen her overcome a few gigantic challenges in the past few years and she does it with a grace that not many posses. Her passion to live her truth is contagious.  When you see someone live truthfully and creatively it can't help but inspire you to do the same too.  

Q. Who are you? 
A. Holli Ilderton (yup, gonna stick with that one from here on out...no more 'Keeler')

Q. How do we know each other?
A. We met about 3 1/2 years ago through yoga. I'd just started working for lululemon...we were in the beginning stages of opening a showroom, which is a small, community-based retail space that serves as the grass roots precursor to one of our larger retail locations. You owned Greensboro Downtown Yoga and I'd heard that you're one bad-ass yoga instructor and inspiring individual. The moment I met you, I knew I'd heard right! I also knew (hoped!) we'd be friends and from that point on, we have been!

Q. What is your work?
A. Store Manager at lululemon Greensboro

Q. What is one project you are excited to be working on right now?
A. One project I am insanely passionate about right now is this community experience we're putting on at LeBauer Park in downtown Greensboro as part of a company-wide campaign called UnitedSTATE. We're setting up a gigantic canvas in the park (seriously, this thing is MASSIVE) and inviting our community out to express what living in a 'unitedSTATE' means to them, via paint, collage, pen + ink, etc. The idea behind UnitedSTATE is that we come together to collectively celebrate our uniqueness and our diversity, that we understand and LOVE that everyone is different, with a unique past, a separate set of experiences that make them exactly who they are and that is an amazing thing to celebrate instead of get divided by, and that honestly, we all need each other...we are all interconnected. 

What I love about this project, is that all over the United States, we're gathering on October 25th. These 'assemblies' as we've chosen to call them, look different in each community but they are all happening on the same day. By their very essence, we're creating a UnitedSTATE...different in each community and bound by similar purpose. This experience is also why I love working for lululemon...this company thinks BIG and very differently. It's incredibly inspiring to work for such a decentralized company because we create and execute community based experiences that speak specifically to our community and we run our businesses this way too.

Holli Ilderton in half Pigeon

Holli Ilderton in half Pigeon

Q. What is one thing you've done recently that's scared you and took courage, but you're glad you did?
A. Well, I'me going to go very personal here. I hope that's OK! A little over a year ago, I left an unhappy marriage. Making that decision, actually taking action to move forward with the decision to leave was hands down the most difficult thing I've ever done in my life. I knew in my heart that it was exactly what needed to happen, but actually having that conversation (not to mention the months that followed) forced me to access a place of courage inside of myself that I honestly doubted was there. It didn't help that I knew I was hurting someone that I cared for, a person who didn't deserve to be hurt at all. The thing is, I got to the point where I knew I was actually being dishonest with myself and with anyone else who knew me at all...I knew how unhappy I was, and how unhappy I think he was also and no one else knew. I felt like I was constantly living inauthentically, even to my close friends. The connection and intimacy that I was sacrificing became intolerable. 

The beautiful thing is that even when leaving and being afraid of being alone was just as intolerable, somewhere deep down I knew that living honestly and 'full-on' was the only route, my only option, and I trusted that it would take me where I was meant to go. I still doubted, but I trusted also. The year that has followed that decision has been one hell of a ride, full of ups and downs that I could not have imagined on that September day. And now, well, right now as I type this, I have everything I've always wanted. I am so, so grateful for the whole ride.

Q. What is the work you most want to be doing and are you doing it?  If not why not what's stopping you?
A. I think I'm doing the work I most want to be doing right now. I've asked myself this question a lot lately and the conclusion I come to, over and over again, is that I can't really say there's anything else I'd rather be doing currently. The job I have feeds me in so many ways; I get to be creative, challenged, equal parts inspired and inspiring (I hope!) and I have so much fun at work! It's certainly not perfect, and I have days where I questions what I'm doing but they are few and far between. It took me a long time and a lot of careers to get here! So right now, I'm enjoying this. 

Q. What would you tell your high school or college self?
A. So many things! Seriously, so many things...the common thread would be to have confidence in your voice and in exactly who you are because I didn't have that when I was younger. I would also tell myself to relax and enjoy the ride, to stay as kind and empathetic as you are but to also not take it all so seriously! This life we live can be extraordinarily beautiful, and fun and rewarding if we allow it to be. It won't turn out like you expect it to...it will be so much better.

Q. What's one piece of advice or moto you love and use in your daily life that you would like to share with my sweet readers?
A. Every so often I take time to re-define my core values. I find that while some of these remain constant, some of them change every 6 months or so. I take time to re-discover them when I feel uninspired or in a rut. Right now, they are:

connection, adventure, simplicity, beauty, courage

Also, find your daily 'practice'...something you know you can do when you feel out of touch with yourself. Mine is listening to music. I do it every sing day. And anyone who knows me knows how much I like to see a live show! In those moments, I feel uniquely myself and connected to everything at the same time. 

Holli Ilderton with a few also inspiring Lululemon Ambassadors 

Holli Ilderton with a few also inspiring Lululemon Ambassadors 

Q. What keeps you creating when you don't feel like it?
A. Knowing that I have no idea what's right around the corner! The constant adventure of what is to come keeps me always searching, seeking and in creation mode. I can't wait to know more, learn more, see more and create more. Yoga has taught me that the practice is where the beauty lies. One thing always leads to another and I always want to know what might be next!

Q. Anything else you'd like to share?
A. Taking the time to write this has been so grounding and inspiring. Thank you Alisha, for providing me space to explore and share myself with others!

Q.What's your favorite yoga pose? 
A. Hmmm, coming out of surgery a few months ago has left me unable to practice (except for meditation) for a while! I'd say my favorite yoga pose is savasana...completely free and relaxed. 

Q. How do you live a life of abundance?
A. Even while I am seeking the next project, adventure, conversation, etc. I am grateful for exactly 'what is'. When I am able to truly be present in each moment, I feel alive and that's when I know everything I need it right here. 

Holli Ilderson and Kelley Yokely 

Holli Ilderson and Kelley Yokely