Mieka Forte is an Elite+ Mompreneur member based out of Milton, Ontario, and is the CEO of Mieka Forte Inc. She uses a strength based approach to mental health, well being and success, including teaching others how to foster more happiness in their daily lives at work and home. Happiness is a strategy that can be used in multiple aspects of our lives as a success tool. It can be success in terms of career aspirations, healing and recovery, overcoming trauma and adversity as well as, as an additional tool to managing mental health issues. Mieka is the author of the book, The Many Sides of Happy. She also provides keynote presentations in corporate as well as educational settings including elementary and high schools, and teaches workshops in corporate and private group settings, as well as offering one on one coaching. We are thrilled to share Mieka’s Success Story!
What is your “WHY” behind your business/being an entrepreneur?
My why behind my business is to remind myself and others that we do not have to be a victim of our circumstances. A life filled with dreams come true, connection, love and happiness is possible even if life has thrown some really difficult situations your way. It takes hard work, commitment, intention and passion but happiness is possible even for those who have suffered trauma and adversity and who may be struggling with mental health issues. My why is about the reminder that there is always hope, when someone feels hopeless or that all may be lost, I want to be that tiny spark of light that allows them to know all is not lost and if they let it, that spark can ignite a massive fire and explosion within. There are few people in my life who have been that for me and I hope to offer the same for others. Life has not been the easiest for me and if I didn’t have a perspective that hope exists and happiness is still possible in spite of hard times my will continue on would be very limited. I love life and want to share with others that they can too, even when things are really tough.
What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
I was an entrepreneur at a very young age when I began teaching fitness classes and personal training. I had only worked part-time for other companies prior to getting into my fitness career so it almost felt like the only direction I would talk. I liked the flexibility and that if I worked more I made more money. For a few years I worked for another company and I did love it; however, after having my children I knew I wanted the flexibility and also felt I had a lot I wanted to share with the world and I didn’t want someone else telling me how I could do that. Truthfully, I am also too much of a rebel personality type to follow the rules of someone else’s schedule so it’s the entrepreneur life for me. Although, every so often I get challenged and will ask myself if I am sure that the life of an entrepreneur is the direction I want to take and the answer is yes every time.
What’s the best part about owning your own business?
The best part is the limitless opportunities and the flexibility. There really is no limit to who you can connect with, what you will learn (regardless if you want to learn or not), the different directions you may take, there is never a dull moment. I also like the constant evolution, it’s an adventure. I like adventure.
What impact did other people/experiences have on you, and how did they help you get to where you are in your business today?
I have to admit I get a little emotional thinking of the people and the experiences as I can not begin to express my gratitude to and for them all. There have been many, but if I had to pick a few, one would be my sister- her strength and perseverance is a force to be reckoned with, seeing that especially in a female role has been incredibly inspiring. My husband (gah tearing up as I write this) he has taught me that despite excruciating loss and pain, if we let it in, love still exists. He taught me to let down my guard and allow myself to see all the possibilities that life can offer. Ed also offers the most genuine, unwavering support and will call me out on my BS on a regular basis. Finally, going through cancer and seeing just how short life really can be, offered me clarity on how I want to show up in life. Through my business, I have the privilege of practicing the way I want to live my life both in career and with my family each and everyday.
What values do you believe in and live by, and how do they shine through when it comes to your role as a business owner?
I believe in possibility, not taking life for granted and in helping others. I also believe in constantly challenging myself and authentically showing up as the best version of myself I can everyday. I realize though, this may look like me lying on the couch all day or rocking out my to-do list. By best version, I mean honouring the most real version of who I am that day. And of course I believe in and live by the fact that living a happy life is possible. These values shine through by how I show up to others and myself on a day basis in terms of showing gratitude, creative a positive environment and operating from a place of integrity . My values also show up by me doing something that scares me or challenges me to grow on daily basis. They also show up by me prioritizing my family and ensuring that we share laughter, love, and conscious, deliberate connections everyday.
What are you most proud of when it comes to your business/being an entrepreneur?
This is an interesting question. Right now I am most proud of launching my book and following through even when things felt hopeless, pointless and some days too hard. I am also proud not losing sight of the message and the possibility when let’s face it we live in a pretty negative world and life can be tough. Finally, I am proud of the relationship I have with my kids and husband. I believe that being an entrepreneur has helped allow this to be possible.
What does the future look like for you and your business?
The future looks like more speaking engagements, the launch of #choosinghappy merchandise, with a portion of profits going to charity, group workshops, online coaching, graduating with my masters and getting registered as a psychotherapist. Creating a team and hopefully branching into more business opportunities.
Any tips for women thinking of starting a business?
Know thyself… meaning, ask for help in the areas where you struggle or your talent doesn’t exist. Takes breaks when you need them and push relentlessly towards your dreams. As someone who when she makes up her mind wants it done yesterday- I hate this tip but it’s so true, be consistent in the small daily tasks and accomplishments. They really DO add up. Finally, get out of your own way. We can be really mean to ourselves, don’t let your thoughts sabotage what you know to be true for what you need to do and where you are going.