Reganne O’Brien was used to being busy.
She’s a college student, founder of a nonprofit for people with gastrointestinal medical issues – Glamorous Gutless Girls – and has had significant GI-related surgeries thrown into the middle of it all.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the slowdown in her life was a significant jolt.
“I really felt, during the quarantine time, my mental health was deteriorating,” the Brookfield woman said. “It was an unusual experience just because I had overcome all the surgeries and everything, and I had a lot of time during the quarantine time where I had to be with myself for a while.”
At first, she missed the activity, much of which kept her from examining where she was in her young life. But, once she accepted that it was OK to do less, and to get some rest, it became a positive experience.
“I think when I was sitting with who I was, I realized there was a better way to be living,” O’Brien said. “I don’t have to live always stressed or feeling depressed or feeling anxiety or feeling all these certain ways. I truly can live my life happily.”
That realization gave her a sense of urgency to begin her next phase in life, even as she had yet to complete the previous one. Instead of waiting until she graduated from Gannon University in Erie, where she is studying business administration – she plans to finish her degree – O’Brien created a business, The Warrior In Her, a subscription-based service that aims to help people improve their lives, heal past traumas and work toward goals.
The self-help industry tends to revolve around books that are thick tomes, dense with information, and overwhelming for many readers.
“I’ve never seen a subscription (service) that was, like, working on a part of yourself every month,” O’Brien said. “I’ve seen so many personal development things out there, but I’ve never seen anything like what we’re trying to do, that breaks it down month-to-month and makes it a little bit more simplified. I think everyone wants to work on improvement and discovering themselves more, but we need to scale it down so it’s easier. That was my idea.”
She sank her life savings into the business, and set up shop at the eCenter@LindenPointe, a business incubator in Hermitage, which offers space, business amenities and startup assistance.
“Everyone’s telling me I should go to graduate school and I should just get back to my nonprofit work, but then I was, like, feeling this internal calling to do this,” O’Brien said. “I was like, there was a reason I feel so strongly about people needing this. People must need this kind of support right now, and to take a new approach on it, in a way where I will reach people and they’ll be more open to it. That’s why I wanted to make it a for-profit rather than a nonprofit. I wanted it to be something that was based off individual choice and decision. When you take something to a marketplace, and it’s based off freedom of decision, then people make the choice if they want to utilize it.”
O’Brien has started publishing monthly guides based on personal growth and development themes – the first theme is goals – that set out daily activities to explore mindset and motivation and achieving goals.
“You do it in less than five minutes a day,” she said. “It’s supposed to get people thinking about their happiness, their healing and the things that are gonna help them grow.”
O’Brien is developing videos and supplemental material, and has started podcasts that touch on the issues, but also show her dedication to promoting good within the community. She pledges to donate a portion of her profits to local organizations, such as Do. Good. Period., which provides hygiene products to women and girls who have trouble affording them.
“My whole vision for this is I, with my team, want to build the next generation of empowering women in our community to be leaders and to do what makes them happy and to find healing and to also, when they do find those things for themselves, to bring that back to the community.”
Subscriptions are available for $19.99 per month and are delivered in hard copy or electronic formats, or the guidebooks can be bought for $12 each. A website is at warriorinher.com, and there are Facebook and Instagram accounts.