Tuesday, June 14, 2016

WOW Big day!

WOW Big day! 

Not only is my 5 day challenge with Christine Gallagher pushing me to help define my audience and my message more clearly, but really helping me push through some big blocks that have been keeping me stuck and frankly frustrated and a little unhappy for quite some time.

Even opened a conversation with my husband and his intense problem solving nature really helped me get extreme clarity on a path and a real plan. 

It's amazing how one decision can open up the floodgates of your mind, your creativity.

I've been stuck on this road to decide between what I feel currently skilled and capable enough to do as a business and what I really feel mind blowingly passionate about. The thing is that I have this dream, this really big HUGE dream that I'm almost afraid to talk about (as if someone else will steal my idea and do it before me). **we'll come back to that* It is huge and there is a lot I don't know about. It would be a non-profit with lots of moving pieces and lots of things I need to figure out and learn about and most importantly, I feel like I need to have an alternate income source to support me while I make it a reality. 
My amazing husband talked me through chunking it down and setting goals to learn about these things and figure out some of the pieces one at a time so I can put together a business plan and take it to investors.
AND he talked me through the idea of creating a real business and running it as a real business not a "hobby business" or "home business" or "side project" as I have with my past direct sales endeavors.
Today's challenge got me to thinking about "my tribe" and looking back at myself and how I've evolved as I've journeyed down this path. 

 So... I see some re-branding once again in my immediate future and some cool new products, programs and services on the horizon.

It's good to get excited again! 

Monday, June 13, 2016

What are you really good at?

I've been a lot of things in my life. I know I will be a lot more things in my life. 
I find myself still, or once again, in a search. 

A search for what comes next for me. 
A search for what I'm meant for. 
A search to find what makes me special and unique in the world that is of value to others.
A search for how I can best serve the world.
A search for what it is about me that was put here to make an IMPACT.
A search for how all of that can support me financially.

I'm scared. I hate looking inside ME. I find it sooooooo easy to see inside others. Like it's nothing. Like it's obvious. Like what I see is as visible and clear as the clothes the person is wearing. (*side note: I know that is part of where my "brilliance" lies - just not sure there's any way to earn income from that)

Maybe part of it is that people find it easy to be vulnerable around me. For a LONG time now, complete strangers will share the more personal, painful, intimate details of their lives with me with no prompting whatsover. I used to get a little freaked out by it but I've learned to embrace it.

I know what I want as far as my life and lifestyle is concerned. I just can't quite figure out exactly what that will look like as far as a business model that brings in income. 

I feel like I get more clear on the vehicle (sort of) but not clear on my real value.

I'm working with some trainers and mentors and keep being posed the questions:

What are you really good at? 
What do you love doing that comes naturally to you?
What would you happily do, all day long?
What gives you lots of energy? (instead of draining you)
When it comes to being of service, what brings you the most joy? 

When I sit with these questions I find myself coming up empty. I can't come up with the answers. I feel pressure and I feel inadequate. 

So I came up with another way to evaluate this for myself and thought I'd share in case there are others out there that find themselves in the same frustration.

When I'm talking with people about my eclectic skill set and explaining why I know x or where I learned y I find myself sharing my past work or project experiences. This led me to a process where I go take inventory and drill down from there. 

Step 1: List my past positions / jobs
Step 2: Drill down to some skills I associate with that position
Step 3: Highlight particular achievements, or areas where I really enjoyed that position or learned a lot
Step 4: Identify patterns, especially in progression through particular positions

For example:

Pre-school teacher

  • explaining / presenting / teaching the same thing in different ways for different people
  • deducing the best information delivery method for people
  • Creativity --- I took photos of my entire class. Each kid had a completely different picture in a different setting that fit their personality.  
  • Patience --- Cameron 

    He was in my 3 year old class who had stopped talking after his mother died suddenly. Other teachers thought he was too much trouble. I worked with him slowly and found ways to reach him (when his face would light up) and will NEVER forget the first word he said to me, or the look on his grandmother's face when he spoke to her for the first time when she came to pick him up one day. He was difficult to understand for a long time but it was one of my proudest moments in life.

***Disclaimer - these photos are 26+ years old. The kids pictured here are adults now.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Journey Continues...

Last week, I had an uncomfortable conversation with my husband. He asked me about my interest level with my business where it is right now. He has supported me on my journey over the past 10 years as I've experienced the roller coaster of success and engagement with my entrepreneurial endeavors. He is a smart guy, and while he's willing to call me on the carpet, he is aware of the response he's likely to get. He notices me pulling back and not putting in the time and effort that is typical for me when I'm fully engaged and sees that as a sign that I'm "giving up". 

Not surprisingly, I reacted completely defensively and shut the conversation down. When I had cooled off and thought more rationally, I re-opened the conversation. Where I am at currently, I'm desperately trying to figure out what is next for me. I'm working through an amazing course with Live Your Legend and the introspective work is really hard for me. 

I know that I don't want to keep doing what I'm doing. I've known that for probably the last 8 years. I want to permanently walk away from my "day job" and "corporate America" once and for all, with a better solution. Like a lot of people on a similar journey, I question myself a lot. It's uncomfortable. Hell, it's downright terrifying. 

What if this is all there is for me?
What if I really am just like "everybody else"?
What if I don't have what it takes? 
What if I don't have anything truly remarkable to contribute to the world?
What if no one is ever willing to pay me to do what I'm genius at?
What if I'm not really genius at anything? 

I let the fear freeze me. I let it pause my forward momentum, my journey. I've spent a lot of time in the past month watching TV and playing computer video games and surfing social media. Hiding.  


My time is now. Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow never comes and never will.

Today I start a 21 day guided journey to find the answer to this question. Maybe not the absolute answer, but the answer for me right now.

The #1 regret of people on their deathbeds, as captured by Bronnie Ware, is: “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

As the lead character of one of my favorite TV shows says, "Life's hard when you don't know who you are. It's harder when you don't know what you are... I was lost for years, searching while hiding... I won't hide any more.  I will live the life I choose."

Friday, April 29, 2016

I was an Epic Failure at Direct Sales

I don't know if I've every actually acknowledged it, certainly don't think I ever said it out loud, but the truth is, I was an epic failure at direct sales. It was painful and humiliating and really hard to get through. The crazy thing, is that the only person who really saw it was my husband. 

Everyone around me saw me as a success. All in different ways, and for different reasons. And that made it all the more painful. 

I started my direct sales experience like a freaking rocket. I promoted to the first significant leadership level and earned the annual company incentive trip both in my first 3 months in the business. I was invited on stage for huge regional events to share my story. The big names in the company all heard my name and connected with me. And I connected with them. I saw myself in them SO much. From the first big meeting, I totally saw myself as those top level earners. I really got it, I did. AND I did the work. I did SO much work. My husband will tell you, I did some crazy stuff. My leader would tell me to knock on doors, and I would literally knock on doors. My leader would tell me to go to the mall and talk to strangers and I would do JUST that. She herself at one point said, "I'd NEVER do the things you've done."

But the bottom line is that I never got there. I earned an OK income and it definitely got our family through a tough financial time, but I never got there. I was never able to replace my full time income. I actually lost my leadership title and gained it back 3 separate times. The weirdest thing is that because I worked so hard, because I never gave up, more and more people saw me as successful. Cool amazing inspirational people who I looked up to and respected, they became friends. They learned my name. From the home office people, to the trainers, to the top earners, to industry trainers.

And when I left one direct sales company and joined another the same thing happened. 

But why couldn't I make it? I could never figure it out, and it broke my heart. It made me feel worthless. It made me feel like a failure. I could talk about the things outside of myself that contributed to the low points, but that's so not the point. I failed. I couldn't make it work for me. No matter how hard I tried.

It wasn't until I stepped back, and later had a conversation with a friend who made one of those innocuous comments that are so profound and deep that I saw it. 

*PLEASE TAKE NOTE* I love the industry. Anything I say about why I found it not a right fit for me is meant in no way to disparage the industry. I believe in the industry and its ability to change lives in a huge way.

I am insanely proud of the fact that I am unique. I don't follow pop culture, I reject it. I've never followed the clothing fads or the music trends. And if you hear me talk about that, I am really proud of it. I'm really glad that I'm different. I really kind of strive to be different. 

As I worked in the direct sales industry, I tried to create a brand and a business that was bigger than "just" the company I rep'd for. First it was Wine, Women & Wax and after I changed companies it became Whole Self Nourish. I felt bigger than the container I was in. Not in an arrogant or self indulgent way, but in a way that felt in-authentic to me. 

The thing that makes the direct sales industry awesome is its rinse and repeat model. It's a totally accessible way for people to reach the business ownership model and level with low investment and overhead and minimal training. 

It turns out, I'm not so much a rinse and repeat kind of girl. And you know what, that's totally OK. In fact, it's better than OK. It's kind of awesome.

So now, I'm carving my own path. I'm figuring out what comes next for me and how being me is going to change the world, and next I'll figure out how to get paid for it. 

Why Do (or Did) You Want Out?

There is a statistic that 80% of U.S. workers are unhappy in their job. 

Of those unhappy workers, only some will take action to find another job. 

Maybe just a different boss. 
Maybe a different position.
Maybe a different company.
Maybe a different city or state.

Of those unhappy workers who take action to find another job, a small number will make very definite decisions and take targeted specific actions to find a new direction in that next job. 

Maybe they will seek out specific workplace environments they want to be a part of.

Maybe they will seek out a culture that is more in line with their personality and their values.

Maybe they will seek out a company that is working towards a goal that is more in line with their personal goals and a purpose that is in line with things that they believe, or really want to align themselves with.

Of those that are making definite decisions and taking targeted actions, very few will decide another job is not the answer.

Those very few will begin another path altogether, and start the journey of an entrepreneur, or a small business.

Many of you reading this are in that last group, even if you haven't left that unhappy job yet, you're on that path, that journey.

But it all has to start somewhere. You have to want out.

For me, it started years ago. (You've heard many versions of this story over the years, so I'll stick to the high points.) My husband had been laid off from a job that he had grown to despise that had driven him into depression. We had made the decision as a family to take another path, and to follow his passion and his childhood dream to become a professional pilot. This required a financial risk and commitment as well as a lot of lifestyle changes. I started a "side gig" with a direct sales company to help bridge the financial gap. 

That's when I saw the possibility of something different for my future. 

I grew up with a Mom that worked full time, for a job she didn't love, but it had good benefits (yadda yadda yadda), and a Dad in sales, which always seemed to be a cyclical success. We'd have good months and bad months, and it seemed that my Mom always wished he'd just "get a regular job".

But as I was exposed to more and more in the direct sales and later entrepreneurial worlds, I grew more and more hopeful that the 9-5 gig wasn't the answer for me.

But what was wrong with the 9-5 gig? What made me different? What moved me from the 80% that are just unhappy to the very few that start that other journey? 

It's all about the why you want out. 

What is it that makes you unhappy in that job? 
Is it the position? 
Is it the boss? 
Is it the company?
Is it the culture? 
Is it the environment (do you hate cube life)?

Or is it more... is it harder to describe? Does it feel more nebulous? Do you feel a little embarrassed to talk about it?

For me, it was (and still is) 2 major things. 

  1. My job doesn't matter. In the grand scheme of things, if no one was doing this job tomorrow, the world wouldn't be any worse off. It doesn't make the world a better place in any way. If the whole company went away, the world would barely notice.

  2. I want to enjoy my life, my husband, my time. NOW! I don't want to wait until we retire to really live our lives. I don't want to have to ration my enjoyment, I don't want to have to ask someone else's permission to go do the things I want to do with my husband, my family and my friends.

What about you? If you have left a "job" that you were unhappy in for something else, why did YOU want out?

I'd LOVE to hear your story! 

Friday, April 15, 2016

What Difference do you want to make?

People are bombarded every day with ugliness. The media focuses on it so much, that many people simply adopt the belief that that's really all the world is. Whether it's the violence and mistreatment of humanity pushed by the news, or the social sadness of the latest Hollywood breakup pushed by all the grocery store magazines at the checkout counter.

So people start to live their lives in quiet capitulation. They just accept that they are surrounded by ugliness, that the world is getting worse and that there is nothing they can do to change any of it.

They start to believe that they aren't supposed to be happy. That life isn't supposed to be good and exciting and amazing. They start to believe that those moments of happiness are only brief respites from the obligatory doldrums of life. They wait days for the brief happiness of the weekend. They wait weeks for the brief happiness of a vacation. They wait years for the hope for the promise of happiness of retirement. 

What difference do I want to make? 

I want to help people see that it's not only their right, but their obligation to the world to be happy every day. Not just on Saturdays. Not just on spring break. And retirement? The statistics are terrifying on just how many people make, how soon they die once they retire, and the quality of life they find once they "get there".

I want to change that belief. Life is not meant to be endured. Life is meant to be celebrated. Life is meant to be enjoyed. 

What about you? What difference do YOU want to make? I'd really love to hear about it. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

What makes you angry about the world?

In my blog challenge, I managed to miss the writing prompt on Day 2 so I'm making up for that one now...

Maybe it was kind of fate to allow me to miss this prompt because it's not something that resonates with me. 

I can't stay mad.


I can't tell you what the exact date was, the month, or even frankly the year, but I distinctly remember the details and the feeling of the day in my mid-twenties when I was driving in my car on a country road when I had an earth shattering revelation. 

My mom and I have had a challenging relationship most of my life, as many girls and their moms do, especially through those teen and early 20's years. 

That day, driving my car, it simply dawned on me that the only person I was hurting by staying angry was me

The person you're mad at often doesn't know, or care that you're angry or why. They often will never apologize for the thing that they did that hurt you or scared you or just plain pissed you off. They are off living their own joyful, or at least oblivious life (that part is NOT directed at my mom, just at people in the world in general - just to be clear). In the mean time, you're sitting there, feeling horrible and basically poisoning yourself with the bile you continue to manufacture. The only person you're hurting by staying angry is YOU.

I used to be that person, I used to stew on something after it happened and get 
more and more upset, more and more indignant, more and more furious. 

But that day, that moment, it all just melted away. I just let it go. 

I still get angry, sure! Hell, I have Irish and German blood in my veins (haha)
It just doesn't stay around. There are even times when I try to stay angry and I just can't. It feels yucky and I just don't like it.

So, I can't really answer the question, there are plenty of things that irritate me, drive me crazy, make me sad. I just guess I like myself a little too much to let anger poison me.