E119: How Alopecia Helped McKenna Reitz Reframe Loss into a Growth Opportunity


What would you do if you woke up one morning and found that your hair was falling out in clumps? One would need to have the resilience and grit to turn that into a positive. Well, today’s guest, McKenna Reitz, did just that. McKenna is a TEDx speaker who empowers people to reframe life’s challenges into gifts and opportunities, so they can pursue their purpose with clarity and confidence.

After losing all of her hair due to alopecia, she uses her journey of having this autoimmune disease to help others overcome loss. This is such a powerful conversation you definitely don’t want to miss!

Here are some power takeaways from today’s conversation:

  • What is alopecia?
  • McKenna’s experience with alopecia
  • Having control over your attitude about the problem
  • Dealing with grief
  • How alopecia has given McKenna purpose
  • Ways to get yourself out of a funk

Episode Highlights:

[03:30] McKenna’s Story

McKenna noticed her hair shedding, and more so than it did after her first daughter was born. When she went to a dermatologist who told her she could lose all her hair, she was just devastated. By the end of November, all her hair was gone. She remembers sitting in the shower with her hands full of hair, and she was just in complete disbelief. It felt as though every strand of hair that was falling out of her head was her identity being erased from her.

For four years, McKenna would not go outside of her house without a wig or hat on. She still had a hat on even when she was just walking around her own house because she was so embarrassed and ashamed of what she looked like. Eventually, she looked in the mirror and saw her beauty. She was able to look in the mirror and say she’s enough and she’s worth it.

[05:39] The Problem is Your Attitude About the Problem

You can’t be so focused on a problem that you have no control over it. Instead, what you can control is your attitude about that problem.

[07:59] Dealing with Grief

Everyone experiences losses and challenges in their lives. While it’s visible for some, everyone else gets to walk through society with a smile on their face but in reality, they’re not. Everyone has a story and everyone is battling something. And so, it’s okay to be weak and it’s okay to grieve. When you are weak, that is when you’re the most strong. And once you understand why these things happen for you, and not to you, you begin to change your perspective on yourself. That being said, you can’t compare your journey or your grief to someone else’s.

[18:30] How to Get Yourself Out of a Rut 

Find out what works. If it’s not working, find something else. But the biggest thing is finding that support system. Take the time to say you’re not okay and know that it’s okay not to be okay. We have to remove that stigma. Focus on manifestation and taking care of yourself. And sometimes, all it takes is to just get out of bed.

Resources Mentioned:


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