Each week we like to shine a spotlight on people doing amazing work — both with Charity Miles and without. This week we’re featuring Heide Lindgren, a world-renowned model, awesome advocate for the ASPCA and all-around do-gooder. Here’s what she had to say:
What is your greatest accomplishment as of late?
My greatest accomplishment as of late would have to be my work with Models 4 Water. I don’t think I have been so intimidated by the thought of doing something in my entire life. In the end, through our team of models and other wonderful people’s help, we were able to raise enough money for The Water Project (one of the most amazing organizations I have ever seen!) to build two new clean water wells in Burkina Faso (West Africa) and rehabilitate two broken ones as well as establish sanitation and hygiene programs to help the Burkinabe in countless areas of need.
How did you achieve it?
I was able to do this work only with the help of so many amazing people! We had a lot of wonderful models step up to be a part of the program as well as amazing individuals that helped with the behind the scenes aspects of fundraising and everything that comes with it. Mostly, at the end of the day, we could not have done anything if The Water Project didn’t exist. They are the ones doing the real work and we were just honored to be able to help. We have since closed our doors but The Water Project is continuing to do amazing things all OVER the world! You can check them out at thewaterproject.org.
What motivates you to make the world a better place?
I feel so blessed it really just leaves me in awe sometimes. I am constantly wondering, “Why me?” There really is no way for me to comprehend a world in which it is okay for us to not pay our blessings forward and help other people (or animals!). I very much believe that we all need to work hard for ourselves, yes, but if we are not here to help each other as well, what is our purpose? In my mind, a life where one does not make every attempt to increase the goodness in this world is a very sad one, indeed.
What do you do to stay healthy and fit?
I think one of the best methods that I use to stay healthy and fit is actually to approach health and fitness with a sense of moderation. I believe that to deprive oneself of things that you love or to go overboard with things that are good for you can actually be counterproductive. It’s a constant balance and is one that I don’t believe is ever perfected, but enjoying my red wine because it makes me happy or going to an art show with a friend instead of the run that I had planned on is something that keeps me from getting “angry” and health and fitness. It allows me to love it!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
The best piece of advice I’ve received in life is still one that I struggle with. “Don’t be so hard on yourself!” Man, if I had a dollar for every time I heard that phrase come my direction…I’d be floating in money! I discovered really only recently how my desire for perfection very often prevents me from even TRYING something! For example, if I was afraid I wouldn’t have enough time to get an hour workout in, I wouldn’t do anything at all! It’s taken me a long, long time to see just how crazy that mode of thinking is. A 15-minute run is a 15-minute run and it burns a lot more calories than 15 minutes of worrying!! Plus, it makes me feel better! And the sense of accomplishment that comes from doing SOMETHING allows me to tackle the problem much easier the next time I have to face it.
What’s your favorite aspect of using Charity Miles?
Charity Miles is such a unique and wonderful idea! My favorite aspect of it is that it is killing two birds with one stone. All of the charities you guys work with do such amazing things for people in need while the RUNNING (or walking or biking) aspect does wonders for those of who have too much (as in too much food!!). The ability to tackle two humongous problems that are in fact so opposite of each other is so great! Even better: it is so EASY to use!!
Who do you exercise for, and why?
I exercise for myself and for my family. That’s it. For myself, yes there is a certain level of vanity involved because I like to feel good about myself and I don’t see anything wrong with anyone feeling that way. But for my current family (and future kids!) I want to be able to be around with them as long as possible (my family is my whole life!) as well as try to be a good role model for the youngsters or for other family members with a desire to be healthy and fit.