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Tracy Higgs Takes on Professional Wrestling

February 3, 2023

Friday Vibes, Women in Sports, Motivation for Women

I couldn’t imagine how I was ever going to try wrestling as a 58-year-old woman, one slightly past her prime wrestling starter age, but I was pleasantly surprised when a 27-year-old co-worker of my husband, who started professional wrestling a year ago, offered to “show me the ropes.”  

Admitting that I was a bit unsure of myself, I walked into the Institute of Professional Wrestling doors, wearing blue, not my traditional pink, to blend in with the dudes I’d be with. I was greeted by my friend Mark, his coach and four other guys there for the evening’s workout. I started by sharing my sports background to show them I wasn’t there as a joke but rather as someone truly interested in learning their sport and trying it out.

Immediately we began warming up with footwork, running in and out of ladders on the ground, in different ways. “Footwork is most essential in wrestling,” our coach Isys Ephex, a long time wrestler and coach stated. A good twenty-minute running of the ladders got the heart rate up. Next, the men went into the ring practicing different moves as I watched and asked questions. Before I knew it, I was in the ring to learn some necessary beginner moves involving multiple rolls crisscrossing the four corners of the ring. I hadn’t done somersaults in forty years but it came back to me sort of,  if not as gracefully as  wished.

Coach Isys showing me how it is done.

Then the guys got into doing more individual work while I watched and talked to each man waiting for their turn in the ring to learn why they do pro wrestling. Soon enough,  it was my time to get in the ring to learn specific ways to run into the corner of the ring, throw your body up and then feet out, propel yourself off, and then do it again in the opposite corner. There are ways to use, not only your body but the apparatus, to your advantage in doing this.   

Next it was time to watch the guys spar, or wrestle, each other performing specific choreographed moves with sounds and “acting” – thus theatrical athletics. You just don’t go into a ring to compete with someone without knowing what you are doing, if you are the “good” or “bad” guy and how your choreography sells the crowd. Sometimes there are hits and punches that land, but good wrestlers know how to move so it looks and sounds like it authentically, thus the practice.

One last call into the ring for me so I could learn the most basic technique of “locking up,” a technique when a pro wrestler has their first contact with their opponent. It is usually a collar and elbow tie-up where each wrestler grabs their opponent behind the neck. Oh, I was ready for this one.  As Coach Isys and I did a number of lock-ups, I told him it felt like waltzing with him, which created a chuckle, but that is what it felt like at least for this beginner. Movements back and forth, following his lead, around the ring and into the final corner. I liked it!

Thanks to Mark aka @markuszeal on Instagram (follow him) for inviting me to the ring

After two and half hours which, went by quickly, we all gathered in the ring for a photo. I told them about the name contest for my WWE name – the Savage Suffragette – to which they all said, “that’s too long!” so they asked my full name and they all said, “Your name is Tracy Higgs!”  So there you have it, my official WWE name if I ever go into pro wrestling officially.

What I learned from these awesome guys and the sport, is it is way harder than you think it is so the professionals on television or in the rings have put in tons of training. It is very athletic so you need muscles, strength and also a good memory for choreography, along with some vocal prompts and noises to sell what you are doing. I can easily say, I had fun and learned a lot as well as having some aches and pains now as I type, which I expected, and hold in great honor for my attempt.

You can find out more about the Institute of Professional Wrestling on their Facebook page. Go try it out one night and you might like me, wish you could go back.

Pro Wrestling in Syracuse NY at its Finest
Tracy Higgs and her guys!

Note: Professional wrestling is a dramatic enactment of wrestling as a spectator sport. “Promotions” are the way wrestling federations create events featuring pro wrestlers. In the United States currently there are four professional wrestling promotions: WWE, Impact Wrestling, Ring of Honor, and All Elite Wrestling (AEW). In 2015, WWE revamped its women’s divisions by hiring mainly independent wrestlers opposed to models.

Thursday Thoughts: Women in Sports

February 2, 2023

Inspiration and Motivation for Women, Female Athletes

Under the clearest blue sky you would ever find in Syracuse in the middle of winter, gathered three women who never met before. The brisk 20-degree air temperature didn’t stop us from getting together to cross country ski, network, talk about our companies, and share our love of sports.

We were inspired to gather because it was the 37th Annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD), as earmarked by the Women’s Sports Foundation founded by Billie Jean King.  The Foundation was created to unlock the possibilities in every girl and woman through the power of sport. Their NGWSD is held every year on February 1 and inspires women and girls to gather around the love of sport.

As a child of ski shop owners and ski instructors, gliding on snow in downhill or cross country skis were easy for me, and for one other woman, Jennifer, who cross country skis a lot, but for one woman,  Janet, with brand new skis, it was a first time attempt on slightly ice and cold conditions.

The three of us began together but soon decided Jennifer should take off on the 3-mile lake loop while I stayed with our Janet and help her if she needed it. I was able to use my parent’s teaching tools and 50- years of experience to “glide” her along, giving her pointers on movement, how to go up slight hills with slipping backwards, and even how to get up when you fall – as evident by my own tumble – which made us both laugh! Hey, even old-time skiers fall sometimes.

As the two of us slid gently, up and down, the path weaving in and out of tall pine trees, I said to my new friend, “even the tallest trees have to start somewhere” trying to make her feel better as she started off. She smiled, continued skiing, and once-in-awhile on my suggestion looked up to see what glorious woodlands she was playing in today. As we ended our shorter path, I gave her applause and a high five for trying this sport for the first time in her life at the age of 61. “Not all of us are born to parents who ski,” I reminded her.

As Jennifer joined us in the lodge, we sat in beautiful wooden rocking chairs getting to know each other’s businesses better and sharing our areas of expertise. As you suspect, the conversation centered on health, wellness, sports, holistic practices, and eating well. Thyroid function, stem cells, alopecia, and living a gluten-free life arose in our talks.  Jennifer gave us a X-39 patch which is used for light therapy since she is a 25-year practitioner of acupuncture and light therapy. Janet shared her new written works and aspirations for a published book one day. No matter what woman I meet, there is always something positive to glean from the meeting.

On the way out of the lodge, we hugged, promised to stay in touch and get to know each other better. Both of them want to try some other sports with me – one parasailing, and one the biathlon. I promised to keep in touch and tell them when I had those sports booked to try. If it wasn’t for this special once-a-year recognition of women and girls in sports, we wouldn’t have gathered and shared the morning together.

The next time you are lonely, call up a girlfriend, another woman in your community, or a woman with an interest in sports, and get together to enjoy the day, learning, stoking your energy, and taking in a bit of nature along the way. Office work can wait sometimes, especially on a sunny, cold day in February.   

Wednesday Wisdom: Reset, Restart, Move On

February 1, 2023

Wednesday Wisdom, Hump Day, Inspiration for Women Entrepreneurs, Female Business Owners, Women

One month ago on January 1st, a new year began. In tradition, we jotted down resolutions, habits we would change, list places we want to go, and thought of everything from small to large goals to achieve. One month later, we can take a short look back at that list and see what we have done or failed to do already. Our gluten-free diets might be off track, or we haven’t run a mile yet or we already spent money on things we didn’t budget for, right?

Well, I have a much better way for you to look at the past month and to use going forward. Starting today, create a “success journal” – it can be a spiral notebook, online document, colorful journal, or erase board in your office. You are going to take a few minutes to remember January and list anything you have done good – those small successes – and jot them down to view.

Every month you will do that same thing so that instead of concentrating on what you aren’t doing, or doing poorly, you are filling yourself up with good news, small steps, and maybe even big, bold steps to empower yourself. Why look at our glasses half empty, when we have the option to look at them half full? It is simply our mindset and what we choose to observe that counts.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t scold yourself once in a while for falling off your path since we have to keep ourselves regulated somehow, but it doesn’t mean the end of the world either or the end of a positive resolution year yet, if we goof up. Who is 100% right on, all the time? Do you know someone who is? Please share their name. Most likely that person doesn’t exist, and that side of us doesn’t exist.

When I was training for the Boston Marathon, I had to log in so many hours of running per week. Once in a while, work or weather, or being sick stopped my plans. I acknowledged it, gave myself permission to let it be, and caught up with my goal as soon as I could. It is okay to pause, really, as long as we get back to our goals at some point, so we don’t get disappointed in ourselves. Life and business are like a roller coaster ride, up and down, ascending, descending, and if we don’t enjoy the ride, we miss the point.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is to remind you that February 1st is a good restart day. Restart what you committed to on January 1st, or readjust your goals or plans based on what you’ve learned already, or slow down and extend your goal’s end or just rest and think about what you really want to accomplish and put a big star next to it, so you focus on that one thing this month. Don’t move fast over your accomplishments because all of them matter so make a list of them and keep them close.

Maybe we should really make resolutions at the start of every single month, instead of the start of 365 days, so we have better control, and flexibility, on what we can do based on where we are and what situations have come our way. Here’s to a new month of possibilities! Let’s go for it our way and at our own time.

Monday Motivation: Make it More than Lunch

January 30, 2023

Monday Morning, Monday Motivation, Inspiration for Women in Business, Female Entrepreneurs, Small Business Owners

Beaver Lake Nature Center – By Tracy Chamberlain Higginbotham

Gliding through the towering pine, oak, and maple trees that grew in a nearby forest, I felt like I must have been in Northern California in the redwood forest, minus the redwoods. Silently listening without music in my iPods, I heard birds chirp, branches move, snow crunch, and my breathing increase as the trail got longer. Other people observing what I was by walking in their boots or on snowshoes, but I loved speed of any kind, even slow cross country skiing which is much different than down-hill skiing but as refreshing.

Never taking a lunch hour, but only an exercise hour, for most of my business career, meant adapting my sport to the season or elements. When I was five months pregnant working for a local college, I took my lunch hour in the Nautilus Room, trying to keep my 27-year-old body in some kind of shape before having my first baby. I changed afterward, not too sweaty, and returned to my desk fulfilled.

As a woman entrepreneur, I’ve enjoyed, not eating in my kitchen during lunch, but rather training for the Boston Marathon, riding my bike 10 miles, cross country skiing in the forest on a 3-mile lake loop, all which took me away from my desk for an hour. I might nibble on snacks before and after but my lunch hours has always included some sporting activity, always coming back not tired, but renewed to begin the second part of my work day.

I don’t exercise at lunch to lose weight, I’ve learned that isn’t the primary reason, although it helps my middle-aged, post- menopause body, I do it because I brings me a joyful spirit, health, and a clear mind to return to work. It feels good to exercise at lunch if you can do it. Later in the day, I’m never as motivated, but mid-day finds me blissful and full of enough sitting-still energy to get me going.

Tracy Chamberlain Higginbotham – Women’s Athletic Network

So if you want to give the “exercise at lunch time” a try, join me this Wednesday, February 1st for a Cross Country Ski hour to acknowledge “National Women & Girls in Sports Day” or on Wednesday, March 8th to run the “Secret 3K” to bring attention and funds to organizations that support women running freely anywhere in the world – especially the places they are not allowed to run in fear of attacks or prison,

If you start taking lunch hours the way I have for years, I bet you find the Monday – Friday work week is now something to look forward to, not dread, because you add sports, nature, and a healthy lifestyle to your professional and personal life.  

Wednesday Wisdom: Love is in the Air Every Day

January 25, 2023

Wednesday Wisdom, Inspiration, Motivation for Women Entrepreneurs, Female Business Owners

“Love is in the air, everywhere I look around, Love is in the air, every sight and every sound,” are the opening lyrics to John Paul Young’s 1977 Disco song. And no readers, this Wednesday Wisdom is not about discos, but rather love, even though Valentine’s Day is three weeks away. Call me high from my son’s wedding still, or the happiness from going to mass this morning, or my undying love for all of you, I just feel love everywhere.

Imagine if you were like Dana Emmings, a woman with an existing business, who decided to add a new dating app to bring life partners together by matching them with energetic elements that made each of them unique in the world? You would agree love is definitely a part of that business.

Envision Michelle Arbore, the longtime owner of Savvy Social Media, with a deep love for helping entrepreneurs achieve the social media presence they crave and need in order to give their best impression to the world. You’d agree women who run businesses for a long time have both love for their craft and staying power.

And finally take a look at someone like Laurie DiProspero, who roasts, pours, and hosts coffee and special events for Women TIES in her beautiful cafe. You feel Union Place Coffee Roasters love in every cup and staff member.

If you look at yourself right now and could shout out loud what you love about your day, work, business, career, or life, what would you say? I am sure you wouldn’t say, “I don’t have anything I love, or I don’t have any passion in my life,” because everyone does in small and large doses. Sometimes the amount of love we feel varies but there is some level of it, we just have to remember to do a daily check on it, embrace what we own, and do something positive with it.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is to remind you that you don’t need Valentine’s Day to tell you about the “love” in your life. You live it every day if you run a business. If you don’t see that ‘love is everywhere’ in your career goals or personal life, what can you do to recharge it, find it, restore it, or change course so you can find it again? John Paul Young isn’t the only guru in this area so are we.

Now go out there and find something to love about today! And if by chance you can’t find it, give me a call or come out and see me, Dana and Michelle on February 14th in Rochester for a sister entrepreneurs Valentine’s Day Business event.

You Are A Unique Square in Someone’s Quilt

January 19, 2023

Thursday Thoughts, Inspiration, Friendship for Women Entrepreneurs, Females

Can you envision a unique quilt knowing that a quilt is a bed cover made by sewing layers of cloth together, usually with different colors or patterns to make a design? My favorite quilt, until this past weekend, was a soft red patterned one my maternal grandmother used to let me sleep under when we visited her for long weekends. It had a distinctive smell, touch, and was always kept in a special closet where I could find it. Upon her passing, I took the quilt to remind me of her and my memories.

This past Sunday a group of friends gathered to reminisce about a dear friend. Some of us knew each other and others didn’t but we were all drawn to the unique, positive personality, a dynamo of sorts, in our friend Teresa. In an earlier post I wrote about the experience, but what kept arising in my mind and eyesight, was a quilt pattern one of the women brought to share with us as she creates a special quilt in Teresa’s memory.

We could choose any pattern that spoke to us. I took a piece that had a rose in it since I used to share roses with Teresa from events and bought her two dozen pink ones for her 60th birthday party. Also, upon Teresa’s passing my son and his fiancée bought me a rose bush to put outside my kitchen door to remind me of Teresa. It was given to me in August and it bloomed until late November, a miracle in our Syracuse climate. So the rose pattern had to be the one I kept.

Looking at the photo at the top, taken of the women who attended this gathering, you see we are all wearing different colors; some of us stand taller than others, with different colored eyes and hair too. The picture symbolizes a living quilt of Teresa’s friendships and how we were “sewn together” at this special gathering to remember her. Each of us slices of Teresa’s memories, kinships, and experiences gathered together in one place.

There are so many other people who could be added to this personal quilt for Teresa – more friends, family members, student leaders she taught, neighbors, advisors, healers, doctors, and even animals and nature she loved.  If woven all together, a fuller, more colorful quilt of Teresa’s life and loves would stand the test of time and touch, much like my Grandmother’s ever-soft red quilt.

We are all unique patches in each other’s lives, adding our own unique colorful symbol to each other and in the end making the most wonderful blanket of love. Don’t forget the people who will make up your beautiful quilt one day, and how you will add to theirs. 

Wednesday Wisdom: Beginning Again or Beginning Anew?

January 18, 2023

Wednesday Wisdom, Inspiration, Motivation for Women Entrepreneurs, Female Business Owners, Small Businesses

The theme ‘beginning again’ kept arising in my week’s communication with women from my past and present. Beginning again is different than beginning anew. Some define beginning anew as changing one’s mind or heart or to transform any ignorance that brought wrong actions to your body or mind. Whereas beginning anew refers to breathing life into something, to exhilarate or reaffirm a behavior or action at the start, middle or even end of a goal.

On Sunday, when it came time to re-engage with familiar faces and share memories about a mutual friend who passed away in August, we reaffirmed what our friend taught us and why we were bonded through friendship. When it comes to planning more events and goals for the New Year, including getting those New Year’s resolutions in line, beginning again is what is usually needed.

Sometimes the two actions go together – beginning again and beginning anew. During moments of our lives and businesses we need a combination of both of them to proceed forward. You already know nothing stays the same or successfully working for too long, there are always revisions to be made. You also understand sometimes moving forward again means renewing a commitment to change in order to take action that benefits us.

I hope you consider both definitions and choose the best one for you or combine them like I am doing. January is always when I plan events and programs for women in business and in sports, but it is also a time to listen to my own heart and head about what will make me happy as a woman entrepreneur. I can’t start planning anything before I “renew” or “recommit” to a year of work, no matter how big or small the work will be.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is meant to have you examine which start you are making in 2023 – are you beginning again or beginning anew? Do you need help to do either successfully – like advice, a therapist, a counselor, staff, partner or just yourself? Should you just follow your intuition or do some research to guarantee your decisions? If you are someone who needs assistance, don’t be afraid to ask it from the appropriate people and to be willing to pay for it.

As I work on my own decisions personally and entrepreneurially, I promise to keep you posted and you do the same. 

Monday Motivation: The Beauty of Butterfly Friendships

January 16, 2023

Monday Motivation, Inspiration for Women, Females in Business, Women Friendships

One by one we entered the exquisite house of our hostess, brought together to celebrate a mutual friend who left us in August. Some of the beautiful faces of the twelve women who gathered were familiar, and some were not. The ones I knew hugged me, happy to be together again since the sad, hot August memorial services. The unfamiliar women smiled as joyfully as our mutual friend indicating they were sisters in friendship immediately. Drawn together by a glowing heart and energetic spirit, we gathered around a table for lunch and stories of our dear Teresa, wearing matching butterfly pins, given to us from our hostess since Teresa loved butterflies.

Touching elbows with women on both sides of me felt perfectly natural as we shared a meal, drinks, and laughs on a chilly January day in the warmth of our memories. At the conclusion of lunch, we were led into a gorgeous, vaulted living room with floor to ceiling windows looking out on the river as geese flew in formation above it. We were like the geese being led together into a two-hour sharing circle as we each exchanged personal awakenings gifted to us by our friend.  All emotions spilled out – not sad ones for her loss – but happy ones for knowing her.

Friends come in different times of our lives; some are with us from almost birth to death, others during school or careers, and others from mutual friends who draw us together. This gathering of friends came from the third way but bonded so deeply we felt we had known each other forever. “Friends are the family we choose, or sometimes they choose us; two people who have connected with a bond of faith and trust” a meaning shared with us from our gracious hostess Emily.  ”We are family and Teresa is always with us when we gather or when we are alone.”

My friendship with Teresa started in 2009 and little did I know then, her and I would share a health journey together ten years later, talking through our issues, empowering each other, and making sure our “perceived illness” did not define who we were or how we lived our lives. In fact, our health diagnosis inspired us to do more sports together, to travel, to attend joyous musical events on the spur of a moment and gather poolside in a whim to talk the hours away. Light, breezy, and not as serious as you might think our conversations would be, because we were determined to define our own positive way of living with our difficult health issues.

So it wasn’t a surprise to me that within the month Teresa passed away, and after being totally bald for four years due to alopecia, my hair started to grow. I know she must have bee-lined or fluttered her wings to heaven and pleaded for my condition to leave and my hair to grow again. I know most people believe in Fairy Godmothers, I believe in Hairy Godmothers – aka my friend Teresa – doing her angel thing energetically and happily. Five months since her death my head has hair and I believe so strongly it has something to do with her above.

As the event ended yesterday, it felt like we didn’t want our time together to end so we hugged, promised each other to stay in touch, and left full of memories of our dear friend and mementos from our experience – a butterfly pin, marigold seeds, poems, magical drawings and above all else, full hearts of gratitude and kinship that only occur when you gather together in the name of someone you all love. She was there. She will always be there.

Today and tomorrow, may your life be full of unexpected friendships that bloom into beauty and meaning.

Wednesday Wisdom: Pausing Long Enough to Notice

January 11, 2023

Wednesday Morning, Wednesday Wisdom, Inspiration for Women Entrepreneurs, Female Business Owners

One of my favorite intuitive teachers used to say, “Pause long enough to notice.” She was simply brilliant at stopping in nature, life, and business to pause and take in a bit of contemplation in order to gain wisdom to move forward. It didn’t matter if the quiet was to examine something beautiful, to dance within some type of joy, or to gain clarity and perspective. All I know is she was so good at it even in the height of problems, difficulties, and even nature’s storms.

The New Year is only eleven days old, still fresh in its unraveling, so you might not feel like you have to pause yet because everything anew has just begun. But I find that while my soul and mind are still quiet, I crave more of it, whether I find it in daily mass sitting in church, having coffee next to a large window where our birds gather thankful for the seeds we leave them or in a recorded meditation by Deepak Chopra on my cozy brown desk chair.

I could blame the need to have more quietness in the New Year because I’m getting older and so is my company, but I don’t. I recognize that pausing, as frequently as needed, is a wise and inspirational one. Whether it is a 15-minute time span or an hour of spiritual renewal or even the quietness of a two-hour bike ride in nature, replenishment is immediate and recognizable.

As much as entrepreneurs want to act faster, play harder, climb higher to accomplish personal and business goals, we must remind ourselves to also pause long enough to notice our internal wishes and visions for ourselves and companies and slow down enough to register our thoughts. Keeping a new journal of ideas for personal and business life in 2023 is also a perfect tool because thoughts can be fleeting in those quiet moments.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is to remind you that as my dear friend once said, “pausing long enough to notice,” is a smart woman’s tool to success and pleasure. We always have the ability to rev up our energy and work levels when the time arrives, but once we do, we mustn’t forget we can also cool down during parts of the day or week to breathe, think, and contemplate again.

In 2023, I wish you more quietness in your days to understand what is most important to you as the year progresses and then take action, after the silence, to make those visions happen. It is only in listening to our desires that we can truly move forward in the right direction. 

The Right Path to Making New Year’s Resolutions Work

January 5, 2023

Thursday Thoughts, Inspiration for Women Entrepreneurs, Women in Business, Women in Sports

As the morning’s sunlight created a golden pathway under the rusty green bridge above my favorite bike trail, my heart burst with excitement. My favorite trail was free of snow and ice so I could finally bike on it again. The path wove around the inlets and coves of the lake as the sunrise made the sky colored layered in powder blue, peach, pink, and golden hues. I had to stop to take a photo, it was too breath taking.

The temperature was 39 degrees, perfect for this all-weather, all-temperature outside enthusiast. My internal temperature gauge has turned down since two full years of biking around the clock in every season. I don’t care what the temperature is if I can dress for it and feel the breeze on my face, blood pumping in my veins, and happiness radiate from my toes to the new hair at the top of my alopecia head.

Every new year, people force themselves to change habits as part of their resolutions. It seems painful giving up sweets and carbohydrates for celery and spinach. I used to feel that way too until I adopted mentally a new way of living within the true spirit of health by biking every day of the year, eating foods that nurture, not harm, my body, and slowly realizing this “new habit” was the way I enjoyed life.

It takes time, diligence, and passion to adopt a healthy way of living, not just a random promise at midnight on January 1st. You have to really want it. You must make it a priority that becomes an addiction of living because you can’t live without feeling good. Once this change happens in you, there is no turning back, because you feel so good. You want more and more.

In 2023, instead of promising yourself something that is subtracted from your life, give yourself a gift of adding something to your life like good habits, ways of thinking and living positively, a new attitude, and time to start loving the adjustments. Soon like me, you will discover this new way of being as something you can’t live without. 

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