17 Influential People & Resources to Help Make 2017 Your Best Year Yet!

By now you've had time to think over your last year, set some goals for this year, pick out your word of the year - but now what?

It's important to educate yourself about your goals, to break them down into manageable, bite-sized next steps. I've compiled a list of some of my favorite people and resources that have helped me tremendously over the last few years in giving me knowledge and a new perspective as well as accomplishing my own goals.

Even if you focus on just ONE of the areas below - I know 2017 has the potential to be your best year yet! Check out these industry leaders and let me know how they help!

17 Influential People & Resources to Help Make 2017 Your Best Year Yet -- The Classy Hippie


1. Alisa Vitti

This one is for the ladies. If you want to experience living and eating in a way that was designed specifically for your body - Alisa is your girl. She's extensively studied the female body, most notably our 28 day cycle, and found what kinds of foods, lifestyle habits and more are needed at the different phases in our cycle in order to give our bodies exactly what they need based off of what our hormones are doing. She's an holistic health coach and she's a genius!

2. Darlene Kvist

Darlene is a registered and licensed nutritionist. She founded Nutritional Weight & Wellness as well as the Dishing Up Nutrition podcast. She's an expert in how to heal your body with real food. I've learned SO much about how to prevent or even reverse diabetes [a disease that runs in my family that I'm determined not to get] as well as heaps of other overall wellness habits. She's essentially found the formula for how to eat for overall wellness. I've been eating her way more or less for a year now and it's incredible how amazing I feel when I stick to eating the Weight & Wellness way!

3. Dr. Mark Hyman

Dr. Hyman is another health and nutrition expert. He talks about the importance of eating healthy fat with meals and how it is necessary to slow the process of carbs turning into sugar. The low-fat, high carb diet of the average American has led to the rise in Diabetes as well as a myriad of other diseases and conditions that can be prevented or sometimes even reversed simply by changing your diet. He's also coined the term "Pegan", which combines the popular Paleo & Vegan diets, bringing you the benefits of both.


4. Dave Ramsey

If you've been reading my blog for any amount of time, you've seen me reference Dave Ramsey. He is the leading expert in helping people get out of debt, stay out of debt and live a life of financial peace. Doesn't that sound like exactly what you want?! It does for me!

We've got quite a bit of debt after five years of out-of-state architecture school, so it's going to take some time, but in just three and a half years of following his plan we've paid off around $65,000, cash-flowed our wedding [no debt!], were able to write checks for major car repairs and hospital bills when they happened due to saving an emergency fund, give substantial amounts [for us] to three of our church's end of year expansion offerings and have been spreading his powerful message.

"Live like no one else now, so later you can live and give like no one else!"


5. Michael Hyatt

I'm relatively new to Michael Hyatt. I've heard of him before, because many of the people on this list follow him, have interviewed him or read his books, but I had not personally looked into him until November of last year. He's known for taking control of your life and making sure each area is where you want it to be. I took his LifeScore test and then signed up for his 7 Steps for Taking Control of 2017 webinar and it was phenomenal! Because of his webinar, I now have a detailed and specific plan & strategy for 2017 that isn't overwhelming and still has margin and breathing room. I can't wait to read some of his books and get even better at staying on track!

6. David Allen

David Allen - another productivity king! I can't remember how I came across him but I'm glad I did! I listened to his "Getting Things Done" book on audible twice and have watched some of his Youtube videos several times. His ability to help you practically clear your mind and put the necessary systems in place that you need in order to achieve your goals is outstanding! I highly recommend reading his book and doing a 'mental dump' for yourself - it's great!


7. Donald Miller

Donald Miller is a man of many talents. He's written books, movies and has his own Brand & Marketing firm called StoryBrand. His calm, simple and clear cut strategies have helped SO many people get clear about their message, which in turn has helped them double or even quadruple their sales. He's also just Good People - I really enjoy listening to his podcast and learning from him and his guests. I've learned a lot and am really excited about this year as a result. One day, I hope to take his workshop to take The Classy Hippie to the next level. 

8. Gary Vaynerchuck

And now the polar opposite of Donald Miller - haha. Gary is a force to be reckoned with. He is the king of hustle and tough love. He's pretty INTENSE but he's a super genius when it comes to social media, giving away what you know for free, and providing as much value as possible to your audience. When you need practical tips or a swift kick in the butt to keep you going - Gary is your guy! He and Dave were two of the first people that got me thinking and were the catalysts to me changing so much of my life!

9. Hilary Rushford

My friend Monica introduced me to Hilary because of her Instagram class. At the time she had given up blogging and every other platform [she's now on snapchat and periscope while her business is on Facebook] to push hard in to Instagram and man did she learn a lot! She knows everything there is to know about Instagram - and it's a lot to take in for someone who isn't naturally bent towards marketing and social media [cough cough] - but it is SUPER helpful!

She encourages investing and engaging in and with your audience, to be real and not sketchy and to not let your business overwhelm you. She and I are kindred spirits when it comes to health over hustle and she's simply the loveliest person. [She's also a personal stylist that travels a lot, so don't get confused, the links below are all for the same person.]


10. Steven Furtick

No one on this list has had a greater impact on my life than my Pastor, Steven Furtick. When I first came to Elevation Church in 2013 I was blown away by how welcoming everyone was, how ALIVE and full of joy everyone was, and how REAL, relatable and practical Pastor's messages were and continue to be. Because of my learner tendencies, I went back to the very beginning of the church's history [2006] and listened to every. single. sermon. [seven years worth at the time.]

That's where I learned about Dave Ramsey in the Freakonomics sermon series, which lead me to listening to Dave's podcast, which lead me to Gary Vaynerchuck when he was a guest on Dave's show and so on and so on. 

I gave my life to Christ on August 11th 2013, got baptized on September 1st 2013 and have been living the most Jesus centered life that I know how to live since, and it was and continues to be the BEST decision I have ever made in my entire life. I LOVE living this imperfect, challenging, humbling, immeasurably more than I could ask or imagine Christian life! I LOVE being a part of this church and I LOVE witnessing the total and complete life change that happens there each and every week!

We're starting a new series this week called 'Work your Window' and I couldn't be more excited - tune in to The Elevation Network to watch it Live or visit one of our many locations to see what God can do through you!


11. The Minimalists

While on the journey of paying off debt, living on purpose, cultivating a healthy lifestyle, etc. I stumbled upon Minimalism and then, The Minimalists. I always thought Minimalism was an aesthetic and that it meant living in a white box, wearing black and being pretentious. I was wrong.

Minimalism is a lifestyle focused on living a meaningful life. Once I realized that I was already on that path, I jumped in and became a Minimalist. The Minimalists [Josh & Ryan] have taught me a lot about life, behaviors, perspectives, etc. It truly is a freeing lifestyle and the good news is - it looks different for everyone! 

If you want to live a meaningful life with less, check them out, it's beautiful.

12. Brooke McAlary

Brooke is the host, with her husband Ben, of The Slow Home podcast. She basically introduced me to the idea of simple living & slow living. She and her husband Ben started the Jack Rabbit FM podcast network and between them and Gimlet Media, it's a tie for my favorite Podcast Networks! She also hosts Let it Be with Kelly Exeter. I absolutely LOVE listening to all of the helpful, inspiring, thought-provoking episodes that come out of Jack Rabbit FM.

If you want to live a slower, simpler life - Brooke is your Go-To woman!

13. Bea Johnson

Say hello to the Mother of Zero-Waste! After hearing her interviewed on The Lively Show and The Slow Home podcast [Brooke's from above] I was hooked to learning and practicing the Zero-Waste lifestyle. Last year, after reading her book, I started our Zero-Waste journey. I'm nowhere near Bea's level [she and her family of four fit a year's worth of their trash in one mason jar!] but I've taken steps to refuse the things I don't need or want, reduce the things I need, reuse the items I have, recycle what I cannot refuse, reduce or reuse and rot [compost] the rest.

She opened my eyes on how to combine Minimalism and Environmentalism and reawakened my inner tree-hugging Hippie. This lifestyle is better for your mental health, physical health, financial health and better for our planet - an all in all win!

Read my Zero Waste Escapades here & here!

14. Colin Beavan

Colin Beavan is The No Impact Man. I read his book last October and was blown away by his project of creating no environmental impact while living in NYC with his wife and baby daughter for one year. They created no trash, bought only local food, went without electricity, used their own transportation [bike and scooter], took part in their community and more.

His project inspired our one month without lights experiment and his book opened my eyes to a lot of unnecessary, wasteful and thoughtless practices happening in our society. From the book came his documentary and his one week experiment to bring others into the lifestyle. He's very inspiring and a great resource for reducing your own environmental impact!


15. Tina Roth-Eisenberg

Tina is a total Joy-Booster! Her empathy for others and total belief that everyone is creative and everyone is welcome is infectious! I discovered her, and CreativeMornings, from The Good Life Project podcast a few years ago and have been following her ever since. She's given numerous interviews and talks on creativity, leadership and work and is one of the most inspiring people of our time!

She's also a firm believer in labors of love and has founded two co-working spaces, a global community of creatives // speaking series, a simple and beautiful To-Do app and a designer temporary tattoo company that gives one of the largest percentages in commission to the artist in the industry. I had the great pleasure of meeting her just last week at our most recent CM CLT event on Mystery.

16. Jonathan Fields

Jonathan is a former lawyer turned yoga instructor turned thought leader of our generation. He founded The Good Life Project, a podcast and video series that brings on the most influential and inspiring people alive today to talk about, you guessed it, how to live a good life.

His podcast has lead me to SO many other people like Tina [above], Simon [below], Brene Brown, Liz Gilbert and so many others. It's impossible to walk away from one of his episodes without learning something that will help you become the best version of yourself.

I recently had the privilege to hear him in person at our Charlotte CreativeMornings event and to briefly meet him to thank him for his work. His talk will be up on our website soon - so check back!

17. Simon Sinek

Simon is famous for popularizing the concept of starting with WHY. I'm sure you've heard this before, and though I'm pretty sure he didn't come up with it - he's done extensive research and given numerous talks as well as written books on the topic.

Every time I hear him speak, I feel so hopeful for the future. He's incredibly gifted and smart when it comes to human behavior and the human mind. He talks about purpose, psychology, behavior, making the workplace better, becoming a better human // leader and so much more.

This has to be my most helpful blog post yet! Over the last few years people have emailed me and messaged me asking for resources I use and I'm sorry it has taken me so long to put something like this together - but now that I have, I know it will be of tremendous help to so many!

I plan on making this list, as well as adding to it, a permanent home on my website during the year to make it more easily accessible. Do you have any helpful resources? Who are some of your favorite inspirational people? I'd love to hear them and even add them to the list! Please share below and don't forget to come back and let me know if any of these people // resources were helpful for you! I want to do my very best to provide the most value as possible!

Alright - you've got the tools and the know how - now go make 2017 your best year yet!

Love & Blessings,