dating // relationships // connection

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F*ck Closure: How To Cope After You’ve Been Ghosted


It was that lump in your throat moment that many of us are all too familiar with.  I’d been having the best time dating this guy. The connection was electric. Our conversations were this delicious blend of playful, flirty banter mixed with deeper moments of honesty and openness. The attraction was wildly distracting and took me to a place I’d been longing to feel for a while. And then… he just disappeared.  He ghosted me.

I’d forgotten how much it hurt— all of it. Missing his touch, the way his funny texts put the biggest smile on my face, the lovely anticipation of our incredible dates, knowing how much I turned him on and the intoxicating feeling of being turned on too.

In that moment and in the days that followed, I felt this horrible mix of embarrassment, sadness, and loss. It’s easy to blame yourself and beat yourself up when someone you’re dating rejects you, especially when it happens without a conversation or closure.

After a few days of escaping into cheesy Hallmark movies and cookie dough ice cream, I did what I always do when I don’t know what to do— I turned to my mentors. Over the following weeks, I got my hands on every dating, attraction, and relationship podcast and YouTube video that I could find. Suddenly, something very weird happened. I began to feel grateful. Grateful for the magical moments that we shared and the intense emotions that he brought out in me, that I hadn’t felt in ages. And maybe even more importantly, grateful for the opportunity to discover more about myself, about men, and about relationships that I hadn’t until now.

Below are some of my favorite lessons from Matthew Hussey and Mat Boggs with links to the videos that got me there. If you’re currently dealing with a breakup or if you’re wondering how to cope after you’ve been ghosted, I hope this helps you to appreciate everything the relationship gave you and extract all the valuable lessons that resulted from it ending.


Fuck Closure
Your time is the treasure of your life— the most valuable thing you’ll ever have. Don’t waste it on seeking closure from a person who, by his actions, has shown you he’s not worthy of it.

matthew hussey gif dating advice


Reflect, Learn & Grow
Don’t blame yourself or beat yourself up. Instead, consider what you could do differently or better with your next guy. Do you have negative behaviors that are a pattern in your relationships? Responding by improving and growing is always the answer, even in situations where it isn’t necessarily your fault.

For example, there were definitely a few mistakes I made with The Ghoster. I fell for his potential, an idealized version of him, rather than the real man in front of me. I sold myself on him far too soon, before he had a chance to prove himself to me. I believed his words, not his actions. Someone’s words show you who they aspire to be— their actions tell you who they are. People are always showing you who they are. If their actions don’t match their words, judge their actions first.

More importantly, I invested in him and the idea of us based on the incredible connection I felt. You should never invest in a man or a relationship based on the attraction you feel. Instead, invest based on how much he invests in you.

matt hussey gif getting ghosted


Change Your Story
All events are neutral— it’s the meaning we ascribe to them that makes us feel a certain way. You can re-frame any experience. In the case of a breakup, that can mean shifting from believing, “I got rejected” or “I’m not good enough” to, “I just learned an incredible lesson that will make me better in my future relationships.”

mat boggs dating advice gif


Be Grateful
Gratitude is one of the most powerful emotions and life hacks out there. What did this relationship or breakup teach you that you can be grateful for? Maybe it’s the memories of incredible moments together. Maybe it’s the fact that it happened now (instead of a year from now) so that you’re free to move on and be with someone even better — one who’s actually ready for a relationship. Maybe it’s the lessons it’s taught you about yourself and men. Whatever it is, gratitude has a unique power to move you from a negative state (self-pity, anger, or sadness) and prepare you to…

matthew boggs dating advice gif


Make New Moments
When you’re ready to move on, don’t focus on finding love- it’s too big, too overwhelming. Instead, simply seek out amazing moments. Open yourself up to an unexpected conversation with a stranger. Flirt with a guy you’re attracted to. Compliment a random person on the street. Or do an unexpected favor for someone.

matt hussey get the guy gif

If you found this helpful, I’d love for you to share it with someone who might benefit. And if you’re going to try out one of the video tips above, tweet your action step or ah-ha moment to @MatthewHussey@MathewBoggs or me,  @LeapCast.

Remember, relationships are about potential— don’t give up on yours because your all wasn’t good enough for the wrong guy. The right person is always the person who chooses you. So if you’re dealing with heartache, take time reflect on how you can bring an even better version of yourself to your next relationship, re-frame the experience into a positive event, shift into gratitude, and move on to having spectacular new moments.

There truly are amazing people out there waiting to meet you right now.


Leah leads strategic partnerships and new business development for a Chicago-based marketing company.  In her spare time, you’ll find her dancing, boxing, or on her yoga mat.  Leah draws much of her inspiration  from her favorite podcasts: The School of GreatnessImpact Theory, and The Model Health Show.  Her heroes include Cory Booker, Jennifer Lawrence, and… Beyonce.  You can connect with Leah on LinkedIn or Twitter.


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Why You Should Start Living Life Like an Avatar

tomb_raider_underworld_5-wallpaper-960x600This weekend I’ve been thinking a lot about a concept that relationship expert Matthew Hussey calls “adopting a video game mindset.”  Hussey describes the origin of the idea in his Fast Track program: it was 2am and he was in a cozy coffee shop in London chatting deep into the night with a writer buddy of his.  All of a sudden, his friend said, “So, I’ve been thinking a lot about  video games lately- they’ve never been bigger.  Why?  Because they allow us to constantly enter new worlds and they provide endless excitement.”  The friend paused then asked, “What if we thought of our lives as video games, where we were the avatars and every single experience was created just for us- for our enjoyment and pleasure.  The tantalizing smells from the kitchen, our soft beds after a long day, the morning sunlight beaming down on our faces, the snowcapped mountains and towering skyscrapers, every exquisite sunset, every concert, new book, museum, sporting event, play, movie, birth, soft kiss, glance, and touch- all just for us.  And the people in our lives were there just for us too- to teach us, inspire us, and shape our paths.  If we got bored with the game, we could switch things up- go to a new city, change jobs, pick up a new passion, and connect with new people.  If we saw someone we were attracted to, we wouldn’t hesitate to approach them because it was all just part of the game.  If we viewed our lives like this, we wouldn’t be able to go to bed late enough or wake up early enough.”  But the truth is… this is life!  This exists for us now- we could live like this, but instead we avoid the people we’re attracted to, avoid the situations that scare us, and every day we lead the same lives- we do the same stuff.  We do the same things over and over again because it’s comfortable.  

In his Fast Track program, Hussey challenges us to adopt a video game mindset, starting with picking an avatar to represent how we’re going to show up in a specific scenario.  This made me think of 3 people I admire deeply as possible avatars: 

1. Jennifer Lawrence for her authenticity, playfulness, appetite for risk, and ability to connect with and powerfully express emotion

2. Malala for her courage, resilience, and conviction

3. Cory Booker for his bravery, tireless work ethic, vision, and impact as a storyteller

Hussey encourages, if you’re a woman that normally crushes it in work but holds back in dating, pick an avatar for the evening inspired by a person who always gets the man (I’m thinking Angelina Jolie 🙂 ) and then hit the town.  If normally the idea of karaoke scares the shit out of you, embody a killer artist (I’m definitely thinking Christina Aguilera 🙂 ) and sing your heart out.

I love this video game concept for two reasons.  Number one, it catapults your gratitude practice to new heights.  If you’re walking down the street and believe every flower, tree, path, building, park, restaurant, landscape, and experience is there just for you, it’s impossible not to be flooded with gratitude.  Second, it removes any excuse you have not to show up as your best, most courageous, sensational self.  This is YOUR game, start playing to win.

If you dig this, share it with a friend who might benefit.  And if you want more, check out Hussey’s YouTube video channel and weekly Love Life podcast– both are favorites.



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Do You Feel in Tune with Your Body?

dancer-liberatedIf you’d asked me this a year ago, I wouldn’t have known how to respond, or even what “being in tune with my body” felt like.  It wasn’t until my 31st birthday that everything changed.  I wanted to give myself a special birthday present, but I wasn’t looking to travel or to buy new things.  A friend of mind had just started working with a coach and was loving it so I figured, lightbulb moment, what better gift to give myself than coaching?

My Aha Moment

The coach I worked with was terrifically insightful and helped me to see that for years, I had tuned out from my body in order to achieve, accomplish, and succeed.  If I was tired, I’d drink coffee rather than taking a break or getting more sleep. If I was hungry, I’d reach for quick, easy junk food rather than taking the time to get food that would would fuel me.  If I noticed that I was tense and stiff and stressed, I’d ignore it and power through versus taking a break.  For years, I tried to white knuckle my way to becoming my best self.  I conditioned myself to tune out from my body in order to achieve and accomplish.  It didn’t work.  My coach helped me realize that an immensely powerful way to find balance and contentment was by turning off my mind and tuning back into my body.

My Turning Point
My coach suggested that I try a dance class as a starting point.  I was shocked that after a sweaty, heart-pounding hour of dance, I felt more energized than when I started.  Normally, I’d end my work day feeling depleted and exhausted.  Dancing completely reinvigorated me physically and helped me press the reset button on my day.  As I began to dance more, I became more aware of and curious about how the food I was eating was fueling me.  Slowly, I began to make small tweaks in my food choices- less dairy, less sugar, less processed foods.  As I ate healthier and continued to find new ways to connect with and appreciate my body, I became better at reading and honoring its signals.

Lessons from the Trenches
For anyone who can relate to my experience and is looking to make a change in 2015, here are my lessons learned:
1. Don’t Settle
Find an activity (dance, yoga, kick boxing, etc.) that completely ignites you.  You should crave it, fantasize about it, and feel off when you miss it.
2. Find the One
Find a teacher whose class makes you love life.  These teachers are rare gems- don’t settle!  Just like you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince, you’ll have to suffer through a lot of mediocre classes to find the right teacher.  It’s worth it.
3. Don’t Fret
Ditch the self-consciousness, judgment, and even shame about your body at the door.  Dancing can bring up a lot of fears, like “What if I look weird?” or “What if I’m unsexy?”  There’s nothing more liberating than being in a class where the teacher creates a safe space for you to be goofy just for the sake of being goofy.  I’ve found this ability to be playful has spilled over to other areas of my life in the best way.  I’m more playful in my romantic relationships, with my friends, with the little kids who brighten my life.  🙂  The practice of hearing the committee of critical voices in my head (judgment, perfectionism, self-consciousness, etc.) and choosing to ignore them and just have fun and be me has been incredibly powerful.
Inspired to Act?
If you’re looking to make connection to your body a priority in 2015, a wonderful way to start is LeapCast Dance Crew, a 6-week dance workout class led by my incredible dance and fitness mentor.  The format of the class is 20 minutes of high-energy dance workout, 20 minutes of learning new dance moves, and 20 minutes of learning dance choreography to a hip hop song.  Melissa, the teacher, is one of the most talented, fun, unique and inspiring instructors I’ve ever worked with.  Never danced before? No sweat- Dance Crew is for all levels.  More info hereFans of LeapCast will get 15% off registration now through Dec. 24th— that’s 6 one-hour classes for just $75.  Register here to claim your discount.  Dance Crew also makes a spectacular gift for a friend or family member for the holidays.  Bedazzled, glittery Dance Crew gift certificates are available upon request!  Remember, change happens in small shifts and small steps- like a long, winding hike that culminates with a stunning mountaintop view. Take that baby step today- you never know what magic will be unleashed.
Leah Marshall is the Director of Development for Chicago Ideas Week, an annual week-long ideas festival that brings hundreds of the world’s most inspiring speakers to Chicago for Talks and hands-on Labs designed to spark new thinking, collaboration, and innovation in our city.  Leah manages corporate sponsorships, media partnerships, and fundraising for CIW.  Prior to Chicago Ideas Week, Leah led Government Affairs and Corporate & Foundation Relations for Teach For America and spent a decade working in education reform at the classroom, charter management, and administrative levels.  Outside of work, is a Zumba and dance workout instructor at Lakeshore Sport & Fitness and is the founder of LeapCast: a catalytic community for passion-seeking women.  Current LeapCast offerings include the LeapCast Podcast, LeapCast Dance Crew, and Zumba For A Cause.

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3 Questions That’ll Jumpstart Your Life

leah leaping mt bakerEvery year, I take a vacation to a national park to get away from the rush of life.  It’s the one week a year where I carve out time to reflect on my life, the direction I’m headed, and the changes I’ll need to make to get to where I want to go.  This month, I slipped away to stunning Mt. Baker, a pristine national forest filled with towering evergreens, rushing rapids, and panoramic mountaintop views.  One of the things I most look forward to on these trips is catching up on all podcasts I’ve been wanting to listen to and can’t seem to find time for.  There’s something so grounding for me about rhythmically walking along, surrounded by nature, soaking up the words and wisdom of the people I admire most.  Today, as I set out on the Pacific Crest Trail, I pressed “play” on a podcast interview with Paul C. Brunson, known for co-hosting Lovetown, USA on the OWN network with Oprah Winfrey.   Paul’s mainly recognized as being an acclaimed matchmaker, but I’ve been turning to him for his incisiveness as a life coach.  One of the exercises he shared during this interview stuck with me throughout my 8 mile trek and inspired me to reflect in the following way.  During the interview, Paul referenced a client who was struggling with an area of her life (romance) and he asked her to work through it by envisioning a pie with 8 slices (yum!)  Each slice, Paul said, was an aspect of her life: her health, her friends and family, her work, her finances, romantic life, etc.  The first provocative question Paul posed to her was, “What does it feel like to be optimal in each area of your life?”

Then he asked her, “Rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 5 on how you stack up in each area of your life.”  And finally, he asked, “What changes could you make this week that’d inch you closer to your optimal self?

This exercise struck a chord because it’s simple, revealing, and deliciously actionable. After some thought, I decided that the 8 areas that I want to focus on in the coming months are:

*Friends & Family
*Giving Back (Volunteering and Mentoring)
*Growing & Stretching Myself
*Health (My Vegan Journey)
*Physical Bliss (Dancing! Building Strength! Gettin’ Flexible! Better Balance!)
*Resting & Recharging
*Work & Career

I’m halfway through my vacation. Over the next 4 days, I plan to delve into Paul’s 3 questions and plot out one positive action step for each area that I can tackle this week.

What are the 8 areas of your life that deserve focus? How does each area stack up on a scale of 1 to 5?  What’s one baby step you could take in each area that’d inch you closer to your best, most blissful self?

Care to share?  Join the conversation on Twitter at @LeapCast or email me at leapcastlife@gmail.com.

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LeapCast Podcast Episode #8: Kanya Balakrishna (Co-founder and President, The Future Project)

kanyaFor the past 13 years, Kanya has been teaching, mentoring, and supporting young people to dare to dream in ways that others say are impossible.  Kanya is Co-founder & President of The Future Project, a nonprofit organization that seeks to transform schools into the most inspiring places on earth.  Curious how?  Tune in here to learn more!

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Zumba Fundraiser – Help Get Water to Those Who Need it the Most

surge_zumba_flyer_5.14_LR_flatI’m proud to be a part of this Zumba fundraiser to support Surge, a nonprofit that brings life-sustaining water to those most in need!

We’ll be dancing to a mix of Latin, pop, and hip hop music– with artists including Pitbull, Sean Paul, Flo Rida, Michael Jackson, Beyonce, David Guetta, Rihanna, and more.

No prior dance experience needed-  all dance and fitness levels welcome!  $12 in advance/$15 at the door.  Register here.