Inspired by Makaia Carr, Founder of Motivate Me
Written by Chia blogger, Anna Watson.
For Makaia, Motivate Me New Zealand (MMNZ) is not just her business but a “thriving community”; an online hub where women can find support and motivation to achieve their goals, whatever those might be.
The story behind Motivate Me is pretty special in itself. Makaia’s life took an unexpected turn at age 17 when she became pregnant to her now-husband Jason. During this “milestone” stage of her life, Makaia had a tough battle against PSTD and depression. Makaia grew into her own at age 30 when she discovered clean eating, worked out and then shared her story on Facebook in early 2012.
From there, four years’ dedication and hard work grew Motivate Me into a community that provides Kiwi women with “that necessary feeling and desire of belonging”. That sense of community never shone through so strongly as two months ago, when Makaia shared a candid post on Facebook to announce she was taking a break to “figure out some new coping mechanisms” to deal with her ongoing struggle with depression. The public’s reaction was overwhelming; the post drew more than 5,000 ‘likes’ from supporters and over 500 comments, many from people wanting to also share their story of an often stigmatised challenge.
We find out more about the woman who motivates thousands of people daily to live a healthy, active, balanced lifestyle.
Creating a community
When Makaia first launched MMNZ on Facebook, she was creating a revolution in the way we see communities coming together. “Because of my background and life experience I found that so many women from across NZ could relate to me in one way or another.” Before MMNZ, there were very few online support networks in Aotearoa.
Makaia had to spend a large amount of time just explaining to media, companies and potential members what it was she was doing. “For two years I slogged my guts out, burning the candle at both ends building and creating a tight community that believed in Motivate Me.”
“Believe, belong, become”; the MMNZ mantra
Through Makaia’s own (sometimes incredibly tough) life journey, she recognised that she wasn’t the only one going through the struggle of reaching a goal while ignoring the self-doubt that so often tends to creep in along the way. “MMNZ is about embracing everyone and helping them realise that firstly, they are not alone and secondly, everyone has the ups and downs and quite frankly more downs. It’s how we deal with the downs.”
By posting about their journey, the women within the MMNZ network hold each other accountable, normalise feelings of doubt and provide inspiration to help one another deal to those ‘downs’ along the way.
An online whanau for women across New Zealand
MMNZ ticks all the social media boxes; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, its own website. They each add to the sense of community, as shown by the success of MMNZ growing to over 2,400 women across New Zealand today.
So how to keep on top of this hugely time-consuming sway of social media outlets? Makaia confesses that there is no such thing as a “typical day” for her. But, in an ideal world, she would jump online early in the morning (probably while still in bed), check in again at lunch time then maybe once more in the evening. Makaia also has 12 Regional Managers and many long serving members on board who help her maintain strong relationships with all of her MMNZ members.
Coming up for Makaia and MMNZ
Makaia recently made the call to take some time out, but she still has some epic goals in sight. These include making a start on a book, looking at a few new business opportunities and possibly taking on a second boxing match (to follow up on her success at a charity boxing event for Breaking Bread last year) depending on how a recent ruptured ACL injury goes for her post surgery.
Makaia is also keen to continue speaking at events and sharing her story with people up and down the country. “I really really love doing this and connecting so closely with people.” Perhaps one of the reasons why Makaia’s online community has been such a success is due to her genuine passion how other people view the world. “I love to have my conversations challenged and be taught from others to see things from other perspectives.”
Undoubtedly an inspiring lady for many people across New Zealand. And perhaps the coolest thing though is that Makaia gets out as much as gives to MMNZ: “Our ladies’ struggles are my struggles and I love to see our members beat them daily! Sometimes I think they really don’t know how much they all motivate me.”