The Impactful Women series is a reminder that you don’t have to be on the Time Magazine Top 100 list or have millions of followers to be making a difference in this world. The women in the spotlight here are those who have lived interesting lives, learned valuable lessons along the way, and are making our world a better place.
Meet Monika Bock.
Monika is someone you might pass on the street in Munich (wait, what, who’s walking the streets in Munich?) and not think anything more than, “that is a beautiful tall woman”. But there is so much more to her story.
Give us a quick rundown of your background and what you’re up to these days.
I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area in California as a second generation American (my parents immigrated from Germany to the USA in the 60’s). We spent weekends in the mountain playground of Truckee, near Lake Tahoe. I graduated from UC Davis–the first college graduate in my family–and then I spent six months working and traveling abroad in Australia. When I got back to California, I moved to Truckee to start my teaching career.
After living and working in the mountains for 10+ years, I was curious about city life. Fast forward 12 years, and I have been living and working in Munich, Germany, since 2011. I started my personalized nutrition business in 2016 and have yet to look back. It isn’t an easy path but making a difference in my clients’ lives has been very rewarding.
I have found that I do best one-on-one with friends when we can have a meaningful and sometimes (not always) deeper conversation. Those are the times when I feel the best connections. Even though I can speak to a crowd of 60-100 people without any issues I don’t do well in big crowds with a lot of small talk.
Recently, I went to an event and met with a friend before for a drink. We got to catch up and share what has been happening in our lives, and when we got to the event, I could sit and listen to others and share when I wanted to instead of feeling the NEED to share something because I already had.
What do you feel like were your biggest struggles in your 20’s?
This is a tough one and one I think I could easily write a book on. My sister passed away after battling Hodgkin’s Disease for three years when I was 20, and it ripped up the “plan” I had in my head for what my life would be like.
Grief is hard. Especially in our 20’s. I was careful, probably more than I should have been. There are some people who would say they might get more reckless when something of that magnitude happens to shake up their life; I got more careful and didn’t risk a lot. I followed the rules and didn’t want to rock the boat anymore since we’d all experienced a capsize. When we are in our 20s, we like to live in the now, and I spent a lot of my 20s living in the past–when my sister was still around. We were close, and I missed having her around—I still do every day. I was angry at the unfairness of the life that I got dealt. I don’t want to say that time stopped, but I sure didn’t embrace all that life could’ve offered me if I had stayed open. My close friends were my lifeline through those years; I couldn’t have made it through by 20s without them.
How have those changes as you move through life?
Through all that I have become more open and grateful when facing adversity.
What have you made a part of your daily routine that helps you feel confident and healthy?
- I start with some coffee or tea and some quiet time.
- Movement is important, so I get outside even if just to walk the stairs on busy days.
- With my focus on nutrition, vegetables are my favorite part of meals and I find seasonal veggies taste the best – endless opportunities for each meal.
- Give myself space – it’s ok to pause and return to something later.
Remember this about habits and routines: If you drop your phone, you simply pick it up. You don’t look at it on the ground and say, “Well, there goes that,” and stomp on it until it’s ground to dust. The same goes with habit formation and any change you want to see.
Habits are hard to build, hard to maintain, and easy to give up on. Just because you did it for 1 month, 10 days, or 2 weeks and then stopped doesn’t mean you can’t pick it up again where you left off and give it another try, it doesn’t mean you failed.
Because shouldn’t life be a connection of learning experiences that you can base your next adventure on?
What are some things you wish you had been told or were told but wish you had embraced in your 20’s?
- Things can change in an instant. Life may not look like the version you had in your “plan,” but that’s ok.
- Look at any mistakes as learning experiences.
- Take a road trip with your best friend across the country. Car dancing is optional but recommended.
- Travel to a place where you don’t know how to speak the local language. .
- Don’t be afraid to go against what you think you “should” be doing.
- Notice the positives in life (gratitude).
- Ask questions and be curious. If you don’t know what to ask, then say, “I’m not sure what to ask, but if you could tell me more about…” I could have saved myself some serious trouble and headaches if I had asked questions. I could’ve gotten my master’s earlier, a double major at University easier, and not have had to spend $300 extra dollars on retaking a test, had I just taken 1 more class, to name just a few.