For this week’s Friday Feature, we’re excited to share Fred and Far sisterhood member Marta Spirk. With over twenty years of experience as a teacher, translator, and interpreter Spirk herself underwent a revolution of self love after having triplets.
Very few of us will ever be able to understand the full experience of having triplets, but many of us can relate to Spirk’s pilgrimage through the isolating forces of new motherhood. We first enter as an independent, powerful professional with much of our identity wrapped in our outward ability to perform. And then suddenly, with virtually no ability to emotionally prepare, we are wholly and passionately anchored to a 24/7 dependent soul that doesn’t desire our ability to hit KPIs, but instead our whole selves.
It was this journey, from motherhood back to herself, that led Spirk to passionately champion female business owners through her Empowered Woman School. Marta helps budding entrepreneurs shape their business strategies by first coaching them on the importance of self love and self care—two things we at Fred and Far are big fans of!
We had the privilege of sitting down with Spirk recently to gain a better understanding of the crucial role self love plays in entrepreneurship.
What inspired you to coach women entrepreneurs, and how did you get to this point in your career?
I always joke and say I didn't start coaching out of the goodness of my heart—it was because I NEEDED IT. I started sharing more about my realizations post-partum with triplets and lots of women resonated with my feelings. I realized sharing it helped me and helped them. And that's how it all began.
Can you give us a story that exemplifies why you get fulfillment out of the work you do?
Encouraging others to keep going encourages me too, period. One of the tools that I use a lot in my coaching (and because it helped me move forward in my own personal growth journey) is the Enneagram. Through this personality framework, I've been able to understand myself better and realize I tend to seek validation outside of myself. When I help a client succeed, though, I experience validation in its truest form because their success is my success. For so long I sought for compliments and recognition to fill my cup and now I see knowing someone else has been able to transform and improve their situation because of me is all the recognition I could ever ask for or need. Some of the greatest testimonials I've received involve ladies beginning to trust themselves more and take action, using their gifts to impact the world. They tell me I've given them permission to make mistakes, be themselves, and know that what they have now is more than enough to help someone else.
Is there a roadblock you had to overcome to get where you are today? How did you do it?
I think the biggest roadblock has been seeking approval from others to keep going—especially from family. With time, I've been able to move forward without anyone else's permission but my own. If I don't pursue my dreams and vision, no one can do it for me.
You say that women tell you frequently that they feel overwhelmed, exhausted, and unfulfilled with their business. Why do you think this is?
Because similarly to me, they try to find validation and love in their work as opposed to within. When you try too hard to be loved, you can only snap out of it once you realize you have all the love you need within. And business will become extremely exhausting if you try to find love and validation from your audience or clients. It's a bottomless pit, it's never enough—and creates a self-serving business as opposed to a serving business. If you're out there looking to be appreciated instead of being of service, you'll get depleted real quick!
What advice do you have for female entrepreneurs that want to thrive instead of just survive?
Spend time investigating and revisiting your "why". Totally cliché, but it is what gives you that extra ounce of strength when discouragement hits. And digging into your why has to start with you understanding how you show up in the world, how you operate, why you do the things you do. Then it becomes easier to connect with your audience and give them what they want and need from you. When you know your why and remind yourself of it, you're willing to listen to your audience instead of pushing your agenda down their throats. Relationships flow more easily when you know your boundaries and what you can and want to give.
Through your coaching, you aim to help women get visible, trusted, and paid! Speak to us about that.
A lot of us think we just need more eyes on our business and all our problems will be solved. But most have run ads and spent money on visibility strategies that just don't pan out. What I help women do is stop looking for reasons and answers to why they're not growing their business in all the wrong places and instead, look within. What's keeping them invisible usually isn't the algorithm, it's their own lack of confidence and clarity on what makes them unique—not better than the competition, but DIFFERENT from it. If you're not getting business, people either don't know you have a business or it's not clear to them what you offer and why they need it. And this lack of clarity for them means it's not yet clear for YOU. So we unpack all of that through self-awareness, so you can find your vulnerability and convey that in your content. Vulnerability breeds trust—and people only invest when they trust. So, visibility isn't just about reaching more people, it's about reaching the RIGHT people and all of that starts with you being more sure of yourself, which helps you show up more authentically, and, therefore, attract dream clients—not nightmare ones, that's usually what happens, again, when we lack confidence and will take anyone!
But more specifically, I teach a 5-step process that helps women gain clarity on their message and offer confidence to share it and improve closing rates.
You have 5-year-old triplets. What tips do you have for working moms?
Have a schedule. Be present when you're with family and be present when you're working. It doesn't come naturally and is a constant juggling act, but it's practice. The more you do it, the less hard it gets. But also be realistic—some seasons are for more rest and others for more focus on work, and that's ok. Guilt is a choice. Don't allow others to shame you, because that means you're shaming yourself first.
In your experience, how crucial is self love to a thriving career/business?
It's the foundation of it all. If you don't pour into yourself, it's hard to serve others. And what happens (much like any other relationship like marriage, motherhood, etc), you start getting resentful and bitter when you don't get what you want out of the deal. So, don't expect love to come from a new client or a new like/follow, give it to yourself first. Your business will not satisfy you if you're depending on it to feel happy. Nothing will.
You're part of the Fred and Far movement. How did you discover us, and why did you want to join?
Someone on my feed who is just a "virtual acquaintance" posted a picture of the book and tagged @fredandfar on IG. I started snooping around and fell in love. The words, the concept, the colors, it all drew me in and felt like home. I love the simplicity of it all and also that it has nothing to do with putting men or others down—it's an individual journey into self-worth and worthiness that should be encouraged throughout life, not only when we hit rock bottom and realize we suck at loving ourselves. It should be taught in schools!
How has your Self Love Pinky Ring empowered you to love yourself and embrace/honor your authentic self? What impact has it had on your life?
I grew up with a very "vain" mom. Always dressed up, big earrings, red lips—and a pinky ring. The idea of combining so much into a little ring is just brilliant: a reminder from myself to myself that I am worth it, a commitment that I will remind myself of it often and plus it's the cutest thing! I haven't taken it off since I got it over a year ago and plan on adding to my collection!
What does choosing yourself mean to you?
It means accepting my faults and loving myself anyway. Love is unconditional. We forget that when it comes to ourselves. We forgive others and can easily choose to look the other way when we want them around—but it's not the same with ourselves. I'm still learning not to beat myself up so much, not to expect so much of myself and instead, treat myself like I do one of my children.
When was the last time you had to be super brave?
When I chose to cut family off social media because they didn't support my vision. It was a very bold move for me, but once done felt so liberating and changed everything. Boundaries matter, but you don't really understand how much until you enforce it.
What made you happiest as a child?
Performing and seeing the effects of my talent in someone else's eyes. Being in front of people to bring them joy—whether it be singing, speaking, or interpreting—gives me purpose and reminds me of my value.
What brings you joy?
My kids. They remind me of my challenges, but also my achievements. They are my biggest test and my biggest reward. They make me proud of myself and also remind me that as long as I'm alive I can continue to strive to be better, for myself, for them, and everyone around.
How do you practice self love and care on a daily/weekly basis?
I find ways to remind myself I'm valuable in spite of my accomplishments. I've tried different practices and ultimately what has stuck the most is keeping a physical and/or mental "brag book"—which is a way of using my own love language on myself (words of affirmation). As for self care, I love staying active physically, it helps me clear my head and get ready for the day. Intentional rest and break from my business and housework has been super important as well—especially as I notice workaholic tendencies!
What is your advice to your 10, 18, 25, 30, 35, and 40-year-old self (pick three, as applicable)?
I believe at all ages it would have been helpful to be reminded that there was nothing ever wrong with me—I was and have been unique. That's always the disconnect. Trying to hard to be impressive will not only be exhausting but will drive you farther and farther from being who you really are.
- At 10: you don't need to be impressive. Just be you.
- At 18: you don't need to be impressive. Just be you—take time to understand who that is, find tools to help and surround yourself with people that will encourage you to be you and help you figure that out.
- At 40 (in a few years for me): remember how tough it was to be ok in your own skin, don't lose sight of that and get even more comfortable in your own skin, choose to, using what you already know and steering clear from people and situations that tell you otherwise (that you need to become someone else to be impressive, or that you need to be impressive and ON all the time).
What do you love most about yourself?
My persistence. And that is something my husband worked into his vows even. I am very proud of my innate ability not to give up. Yes, there are downsides to stubbornness, but the beauty of it is that it will get you where you want to go because if you don't ever stop moving, you will eventually get to the destination you're meant to achieve.
What is something you're willing to be vulnerable about with us?
How challenging triplet motherhood has been. 5 years into it and I'm still unpacking all the feelings and changes I went through in just a few months. It has been a grieving process—I now understand my performer self felt lost and left out with the overwhelm of caring for three at once. I've been speaking out on it more with time and it is something that most support me on, but that some in my family still fail to understand. It is not my mission to make them understand, but the recovering people-pleaser in me struggles at times with the idea that no one could possibly understand my reality unless they literally became me.
What is your message for our community?
A quote I hold dear to me by British poet Della Hicks-Wilson: "See your beauty without a compliment, without a mirror." Until you do, no compliment or mirror (external validation) will ever do the job. It has to start with you. It's your daily choice to see it, tell yourself about it, remind yourself about it.
What are you working on that you want our community to know about?
I have a membership for women entrepreneurs where we hit all of this: understanding your worth, conveying it in your content, growing your business for impact first and income will follow. It's called the Empowered Woman School, we meet three times per month on Zoom for coaching and accountability and I am so proud of the community we are building together. Women that truly support each other because they're learning to support themselves first—which creates a beautiful environment of collaboration over competition.
Through her school, Spirk shares strategies for entrepreneurs who struggle to show up confidently and engage their audiences with their undeniable uniqueness. She teaches them to not only discover and love—but trust their unparalleled qualities, skills, and methods that set them apart in remarkable ways.To learn more about Marta Spirk and Empowered Woman School click here and follow her on social at www.instagram.com/martaspirk/.