Welcome back to Impact Profiles, our new series celebrating our community. We’re talking to non-profit founders, executive directors, and donors alike about what they care about most and their unique missions.
I recently spoke to Adele Jackson Gibson, a fitness coach and writer based in Brooklyn, NY. Adele has been an athlete and a storyteller since childhood. She now uses those gifts to connect with her community, empowering people with tools for their health, healing, and curiosity.
Tell us a little bit about your background and interests and how/if it informs the work you do now!
I grew up as an athlete who loved drawing a writing stories about animals … the drawing animals part ended in high school, but maybe I get to return to that one day.
A lot of my work right now is centered on empowering womxn through the stories I tell about female athletes around the world.
I aim to do the same with my clients in the gym. How this happened? After I decided I wasn’t going to be a pro soccer player anymore, I decided to turn my passion for storytelling into a career and became a journalist. My first job was at a startup that was focused on women’s sports media. And coaching happened because I fell in love with CrossFit and wanted to be in the gym all of the time. I’ve got the best of both worlds now!
Everyone has a unique impact. What does giving back mean to you?
Hmm. I’m gonna be that person and say I don’t love the phrase, “giving back” because of what it implies nowadays, but I understand the sentiment.
“Giving back”, as most people talk about it, sounds like a one-way street… You’re dumping your money and resources into some cause for someone else’s life or something else’s existence. We think it’s just for the other. We also tend to believe that “giving back” means a dip in our own resources, and it sometimes becomes a sacrifice because we owe something to the communities that lift us up.
“Giving back”, “give it back”. There’s a sense of loss there for me. I don’t know what phrase I would use, but “giving back” to me means realizing that every time that I give of anything (time, talents, money), that same energy comes back to me so long as I’m in the mode to receive it.
I give my time, I get more time. I give more money, I receive wealth (in whatever form). I help someone else, I receive help from others.
This is the belief I’m now stepping into anyway as I’m recognizing that everything is energy, that everything works in a cyclical manner and that our main function as human beings is love.
My mentor once shared this affirmation with me, “All the money that I use returns to me multiplied in a never ending cycle of increase and enjoyment.” It’s awesome.
Of course really living this affirmation requires me to release my old fears about money and what money really is. But one thing I do now if I feel like I’m ever in any money trouble, I make sure I have extra change/cash laying around to give to people who ask for money on the street.
I also have automatic donations set up with organizations I support and I volunteer at my spiritual center.
We believe giving is a lifestyle. Can you make a connection between where you give and what you do in your free time?
Well I give to my spiritual center, and that’s where some of closest friends are. They are awesome.
Who’s someone whose work you really admire?
Right now, I’m looking forward to reading my friend’s book “Choose Wonder Over Worry” (Amber Rae). I just listened to her talk at a conference about how to handle tough emotions and move into a space of power. In terms of how that relates to giving … I think when we give to charities, we often feel bad for people and are not often visualizing the best outcome for that person. So instead of giving out of worry we can give in a space of wonder. Think about the miraculous “what ifs”.
DonorUP creates a meaningful relationships between donors and nonprofits, so you can really track your impact over months (or years). Look ahead 5 years. What kind of impact do you hope to see/be a part of?
I hope to help end gender discrimination in all industries. And to help people realize their own power in their healing journeys.
Do you want to give a shoutout to some of your favorite organizations?
Shout out to the Equality League for leading the charge in creating safety and equal opportunities for athletes everywhere.
And shout out to Celebration Spiritual Center for showing people the power of their thoughts in their own healing.