I have the pleasure of knowing some amazing people. People who have done extraordinary things with their ‘ordinary’ lives. Thea Baker is one of them.
They have inspired me to think beyond the ‘normal’ as to what’s possible for my life – and I hope that by getting them to tell their stories here, they might just inspire a few others of you too.
Thea Baker – Wellness Warrior
Tell us a little about yourself…
I am a lifestyle counsellor and movement coach – a career born out of lived experiences as a daughter, wife, mother, widow, business woman and partner – above all a wellness warrior for all things woman!
How do you know Nicki?
Oh, the delights of the universe flinging together women in a space and waiting to see what magic would occur!
I met Nicki in cyberspace – and in fact have still never met in person (!) – thanks to another amazing coach and entrepreneur, Nikki Armitage-Foy from Electric Woman where we journeyed together for an amazing 9 weeks of soul-searching and creating.
Tell us a little about the life that you have created – and what you most love about it?
I can truly say that now (at age 42) my life really is something that I have actively chosen. From the people who I surround myself with, the work that I do, to the place that I live…they are all there because I have chosen it to be thus.
I live with my partner, Andrew, two children, Martha & Sebastian and three step-children, Ruby, Oscar and Imogen. Our family home (affectionately known as Brady Bunch Towers) in Melbourne, Australia, fluctuates between a space of quiet creation, housing two grown-ups, through to a noisy and extremely busy place of seven.
I have created a business where I determine the days and hours of my work, which includes hands-on time with my movement clients in my studio through to coaching and counselling – either from my practice at home, or utilising the wonders of technology reaching and connecting with women in the UK, China and New Zealand.
My big passion is around providing women with practical wisdom around their physical health, enabling them to be the most incredible steward of their body, whilst at the same time supporting their journey towards optimal mental, emotional and spiritual health.
I am one of life’s eternal students and currently that involves a Masters of Counselling at Monash University.
I present internationally around all sorts of female-orientated health and wellbeing issues, and this year will be addressing the inclusivity and intersectionality of the health and fitness industry – a subject dear to my heart.
I love to swim, ideally outside, either in a pool or the ocean, and whenever possible I am outside getting grounded and connecting with the amazing natural world that is all around me.
What are the defining moments in having created this life you love?
Couldn’t agree with Steve Jobs more – about connecting the dots backwards. Where I am now is in large part the direct product of the journey that I have been one…I simply would not be here in Australia right now, doing what I am doing were it not a for a few significant milestones.
An all-girls boarding school at the age of 10 certainly assisted my independence, but it also provided a rich insight into sisterhood.
My lack of clarity around “what to do with the rest of my life” after excelling at my BA (Hons) History (because what on earth do people do with a degree in history?) saw me working within corporate HR for my pre-children years – an experience that laid the foundations for the deeply person-centered work that I do now.
Becoming a mother changed everything about me. It made me evaluate my choices and my desires. I got so lost and through exercise and movement found not only my body but also my calling – to help other women figure out how to find connection with their head, body and soul. Firstly, retraining as a specialist pregnancy and postnatal personal trainer, and then more recently coaching around epigenetic health and a broader focus on personalized health and lifestyle counselling.
However, it was through marriage, divorce, another marriage and sudden widowhood at 38 that I learned that you really do have a choice in how to respond to change.
Sometimes it’s something that you can create or curate for yourself, it is something that you have worked hard for and are prepared for the outcome. Other times it’s the kind of change that knocks the wind out of you and turns your whole world upside down. But even in that space you can choose how the ending is written.
The work I am doing now came directly from that time, it is the phoenix rising from the ashes that was my life.
Who are your key supporters along this journey – and what have they given you?
My children. They are my inspiration, my biggest fans and the two people guaranteed to call me on my authenticity.
I have had a number of amazing mentors who have taught me very different life lessons – all of them women!
My parents who have watched me pick myself up and start from scratch more times than I can count. Whilst I am sure I have caused them many sleepless nights they don’t ever seem to doubt in my ability to survive and indeed, thrive.
Lastly, my partner Andrew. He came into my life after my hardest and darkest days and he has believed in me unwaveringly. Whilst he’d be the first to admit that the work I do takes him far outside of his own comfort-zone, he can see the enormous value in the work that I do and the impact it has on the women’s lives that I am blessed to work with.
How do you now ‘pay-it-forwards’? What support and inspiration do you provide to others to enable them to create a life they love?
I support and mentor other women in the health and fitness space – I believe that we all have our unique pixel of the rainbow to add to this world and if we aren’t encouraged to shine and live that out in a very real sense, then the whole world will miss out on that special something that we were put on this earth to do.
Instead of working from a protective space of scarcity, when we lift our eyes to look beyond and help others, we all benefit.
What’s your current favourite book recommendation?
Vagina by Naomi Wolf. Every woman should read it.
(Buy the book from Amazon here.)
What’s the best piece of advice that you’ve been given?
Don’t believe everything you think.
(Sometimes your thoughts can be your own worst enemy and you need to step outside your head and listen to your gut…)
What’s next for you on your journey?
I am about to open my very own studio, called space.inc, which will be an inclusive safe space for people to come and explore their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.
Collectively we will offer a range of personalised sessions and group workshops, classes and training. It feels like a huge leap and natural next step all at the same time!!
Website coming VERY soon!
And in the mean time, for inspiration & a great deal of raw honesty & humour, you can connect with Thea here: