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Meet Moka Best: Triathlete & Health Advocate

Moka Best is one of my favorite people on the planet and I’m so thrilled to be sharing her today!!! She is a boss, mom, marketer, and loves her people so well. I will never forget meeting her at work and having her tell me about her four children and how much she’s conquered in her life.

I know you’ll learn so much from her!

Tell us a little about yourself and your career

I was a professional triathlete. Once I had achieved that level of competition and status, I believed that I had found, and reached my life calling. I was empowering women, fighting for equal pay, and felt like I was making an impact in the world all while “playing” outside in the pool, riding my bike, and running in the mountains.

All my life I have suffered from minor unexplainable health problems but what was once minor became major pretty quickly, and I took a hard, fast downhill turn. I was a medical mystery, I was sidelined from racing and eventually became immobile.

After years of searching for help and answers, in June 2018, I was tested and diagnosed with a homozygous MTHFR genetic mutation. It’s not slang for a swear word, I promise, even though it is a great way to describe it. It’s short for methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase. Being a homozygous MTHFR carrier means that both of my MTHFR genes have a mutation and I’ve lost up to 70% of my body’s ability to repair DNA, regulate hormones, instruct neurotransmitter production, detoxify, and support immune function. It’s wreaked havoc on my short and long term health.

It was through that process that I learned how many women were fighting a similar battle with unexplainable health problems and invisible illnesses, that I decided to launch my own website to create awareness and a community that I had been hoping to find. My goal is to create a supportive, educational, and empowering space to help other women struggling with their health to be able to live their life to their fullest potential as well as fight for medical advancement and research.

How does your community of women you surround yourself with, support you?

I think it’s crucial first to mention that we all get to choose our community of women to surround ourselves with and if your community or tribe isn’t empowering you, challenging you or uplifting you then you need to find a new tribe of ladies.

It can be hard to connect with women who will truly celebrate your success with you. I’m fortunate to have figured it out. I have found some of the strongest women who are so motivated and passionate. Everything they do is filled with positive intention. The fire in their bellies burns so brightly that it’s infectious. They show up for me; push me physically and intellectually to be my best self no matter the challenges I’m facing in my life.

You are great at staying active, recognizing your strength and taking care of yourself. Why is that message important for you to share for other women?

Generally speaking, women will give until they’ve got nothing else to offer, and they become burned out. I think it’s important to share my beliefs about self-care and self-love because only we have the power to know what our bodies, minds, and souls really need. You have to love yourself before anyone else can truly love you; you’ll only receive the amount of respect that you feel you deserve. So, if you aren’t willing to give yourself the respect you deserve then why would other people give it to you?

For example, I’m married with four kids. Besides my website, I also work a very fast-paced full-time job. So, if everyone is sitting on the couch watching tv after eating the dinner that I made, and I’m cleaning up dinner, making lunches, putting backpacks and lacrosse gear away, doing laundry in between picking up and dropping off kids from work or extracurricular activities, for me, that builds resentment towards my husband and kids. But, if I turn off the tv and ask everyone to help me out before sitting down, I’m asking for the respect I deserve, the job will get done quicker, I don’t feel resentment, and everyone will get the best version of me, and lastly, I’ll have time to practice self-care.

Now, maybe you don’t mind doing all of that for your family, and you might enjoy it. That’s okay, but for me, I don’t enjoy it. Self-care looks different for everyone. I’m an athlete through and through. I’m not in the best shape of my life, and I will never achieve the same level of fitness as I once had. I’ve accepted that. But, my self-care comes in the form of fitness. Somedays are more intense than others. Sometimes I can enjoy a hard HIIT workout or long trail run. Other days my body, mind, and soul need something to help me relax and recenter myself like yoga or time in the sauna.

One of the biggest things that my health crisis has taught me is that we really have no idea what lies ahead of us. I never would’ve thought I would’ve gone from a professional athlete to my husband having to cut my food and wash my hair. Sometimes I don’t want to go for a jog, but there could be a tomorrow that I don’t have the option and can’t go for a jog. I try to live each day to the fullest and the “fullest” for me, doesn’t always look the same. Sometimes it’s everything and anything I want to do and other times it’s hard to even get myself ready for the day. Finding balance by practicing self-care means more healthy days with an able body than not. It means that I can give more to the people who matter the most to me without experiencing burn out.

What do you wish you could go back and tell your younger self re: your career aspirations?

If I could go back in time and have the older, wiser version of myself, tell my younger, naive, and invincible self career advice, it’d be to make measurable and actionable goals. Show up for yourself, fight like hell for what you want, and don’t bail on yourself when things aren’t going the way you’d like. I’d also tell myself that it’s okay to reinvent yourself over and over again. Don’t compare yourself to other people; their path, opportunities, and goals are different than yours. There are so many variables that will affect your journey, and sometimes you just have to roll with the punches, trust that everything happens for a reason and there is a bigger picture that you may not immediately understand. Don’t give up, just keep adapting.

What is your career-related mantra?

Where you are a year from now is a reflection of the choices you choose to make right now.

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