6 Inspiring Life Lessons I Learned From Chatting With a Reality Star

What we see on the small screen can sometimes give us a completely different impression of someone than how they are IRL.

While much of what's on camera (especially when it comes to reality TV) is catty and dramatic, it was a breath of fresh air to attend an intimate luncheon with Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star, Teddi Mellencamp, who spoke candidly about her totally relatable life struggles, and how she plowed through them to get to the solid place she's at today.

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@teddimellencamp + me at the #secondactbrunch, where she was the empowering guest speaker

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The TV personality spoke at Pearl's Rooftop in West Hollywood, California, to promote the Blu-ray DVD launch of Second Act, a Jennifer Lopez-starring film that focuses on female empowerment in the workplace. There were many takeaways from Teddi's chat. Below are six life lessons I learned from chatting with this inspiring reality star.

1. Success Requires Putting Yourself Out There

Teddi's been open from the get-go about her years-long struggle with her weight and self-confidence. Now, she's a successful accountability coach, who guides others to making healthy life choices. But her credibility certainly wasn't secured overnight. She had to take risks and be open in sometimes uncomfortable occurrences in order to build a brand and end up where she is today.

"For a year straight I blogged about my journey, I tried every [fitness] class in Los Angeles, I had no idea what I was doing," Teddi told guests at the luncheon. "I started being vulnerable instead of living in this bubble. Different companies started reaching out to me, my followers were growing … then I started changing my food and documenting my transformation."


2. Require Yourself to Complete at Least One Gratifying Thing Each Day

Everyone's different, but each person should have something (non-materialistic) just for themself that truly fulfills them or can jumpstart their day. These are mostly simple things. I, for example, am in my clearest headspace right after I get out of the shower in the morning, throw on a towel and have a hot cup of joe in hand. From there, I feel oddly zen just sitting stationary, scrolling through emails and taking in the crisp morning air coming in through my window. I need those brief moments before I can positively start my day.

As for Teddi, she tells herself each morning, "Get out of bed before your kids wake up and just walk," because, "For me that's a non-negotiable. I need to be feeling good if I'm going to help other people. Even though I'm on Housewives, I'm a no-drama business. It's making sure the morale is good within the company. If you hide your struggles, you can't do anything else. If something's bothering me, I talk about it. I share it with the people in my life … If I'm having a sensitive day, I'll tell my husband about it."

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3. If You Don't Like Something About Yourself, Change It

When Teddi opened up about what kicked off her huge lifestyle change, I found her sentiments all too relatable. She was at L.A.'s Griffith Park with other parents and everyone was taking photos with their kids, when she realized she had a problem.

"If anybody posts this picture, I'll die," Teddi remembered thinking when she took a look at an image. Before she knew it, she was FaceTune-ing the heck out of the photo and suddenly seeing a distorted image of her daughter. She knew that no amount of editing was going to change how Teddi really looked—or, more importantly, how she felt.

I've lamented one too many times over how unphotogenic I am. Some people shush me and insist it's all in my head. Truthfully, most photos of me are straight-up bad, but even if it were all in my head, it's still up to me to do something to ensure I no longer feel that way. Much like Teddi, seeing so many terrible photos was a wake-up call telling I needed to workout more and eat healthier. Whether it comes down to physical traits or otherwise, when we aren't pleased with a recurring outcome or status, it's time to buckle down and make changes.

"If you don't take action to do things for yourself [you're never going to be happy]," Teddi said. "This is the first time in my life I've ever maintained anything. I didn't hold myself accountable and I was scared to share. But I never felt like I was living by having that extra piece of cake." 


4. Success Doesn't Happen Until You Truly Believe in Yourself

Well, this one's a no-brainer—or at least it should be. We hear this all the time, yet somehow we fail to listen. Why do we expect others to support our dreams or want the best for us when we aren't even sure of ourselves?

"I use pressure from other people to drive me," Teddi explained. "If people say something is a really bad idea, that means I'm on to something. If you really believe in what you're doing and you're being authentic to who you are, [good things will come]. Your focus can't be about making it. It has to be about what's right for you. It doesn't matter what other people think as long as you're being authentic. That's why I won't curate my Instagram. I'm not doing it. That's not who I am. Some days I'm gonna be glam and some days I'm gonna be a hot mess."

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5. Getting Older Isn't Something to Fear

I feel like I've had the same conversation with every mopey friend who's had a birthday in the last year: Every time I celebrate another age, I look back on the year prior and feel much more self-aware and confident. Have I achieved everything I want in life? Not even close. But do I look back wishing I were 23 again? Oh my gosh, no.

"I'm not afraid of aging," Teddi said. "Aging is growth. Your life isn't going to be figured out [regardless of age]. I'm gonna find this guy and do this and that. At the end, you're still going to have to work at it. That fairytale you see on Instagram doesn't exist."


6. Moderation Is Key

I tend to do things at such extreme levels. I'm either all in or all out; obsessed or completely disconnected. Balance isn't one of my strong suits, but it's something I'm working on. Teddi's learned to apply moderation to her food and exercise habits, and her outlook makes a lot of sense.

"Everyone thinks when they start working out they have to do so much," she said. "Start your goals small and start making habits. People are always looking to be motivated. My whole thing is about sustainable lifestyle. I'm not having people count calories … now I'm making edits. There's no way I'll be eating a bunch of rolls off the table. I'll order chicken paillard that comes with arugula."

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If you're on the hunt for more motivational guidance, check out my interview with relationship expert Tracy McMillan HERE!