Thank you 8th grade me. Thank you for your innocence, your insecurities, your imperfections. Thank you for being an awesomely awkward and angsty teen. And thank you for having the wisdom, from an early age, to also be willing to grow and learn, to question things. Thank you for paving the way for this weird ass path I’ve been on. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I forgive you. And I love you.
The deeper I dive into personal development, the more I’m struck by the fact that some of the most profound and life altering transformations come from the simplest of shifts. One slight change in perspective, or way of doing things, can fundamentally alter your life.
In service of that truth, here are six super simple things you can to do in your daily life that could completely change how you experience your life and how people experience you.
1. Answer the question “how are you?” honestly
Ditch the default answers like “fine” or “busy”. Instead, pause for a moment, check in with yourself, and then speak your truth. No need to tell a whole story. Just tell them how you really feel in that moment. They may shrug it off and be on their way. Or, you may be pleasantly surprised to find you’ve created an opening for a real, genuine connection.
2. Receive compliments gracefully
If you get awkward when someone compliments you, this one’s for you. Instead of denying the compliment (which robs the complimenter of the pleasure of acknowledging you), just thank them sincerely. Don’t automatically return the compliment (which can belittle theirs) or deflect it by changing the subject either. Just take a deep breathe and receive. It can be very vulnerable for people to give genuine praise, so when they do, honor them by savoring the moment, letting it land, and appreciating the feedback.
3. Make good eye contact
It’s amazing how much connection you can create with another human being (or animal, for that matter) simply by looking them in the eye. Don’t stare in a creepy way, obviously, just pause and look for the feeling of their energy coming into contact with yours. It’s such a beautiful and simple thing that I’m afraid many of us are too busy and distracted to take advantage of. Look, connect, and smile. You might make someone’s day. Or your own.
4. Pause and breathe more often
Simply pausing long enough to take a long conscious inhale has SO many benefits, not just for you, but the people around you too. Imagine what kind of world we’d be living in if more people slowed down, breathed deeply, and felt more grounded? Set a timer to ding every hour if you need to, or train yourself to associate mindful breathing with something you do a bunch anyway (like drinking water or pulling out your phone).
5. Do things differently
We are such creatures of habit, and it’s healthy for our brains to switch things up. Here are a some examples to get you started: Brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand. Take a different route to work. Read a real book instead of your Kindle. Talk less, and listen more. Wear something unconventional (for you) to work. Get creative. Question how you do everything. Each moment is an opportunity to challenge your habits and grow yourself.
6. Stand tall
Our physiology has a huge impact on how we feel. Practice being more aware of your posture when you sit, walk, and especially when you interact with other people. Not only will you come across as more confident, but you’ll feel more confident, and be in a better place to own who you are, speak your mind, and be true to what’s important to you. Plus, it looks much sexier than poor posture 😉
These are all incredibly simple and straight forward ideas. But, any one of them could absolutely change your life, how you feel, and how you impact the world around you, if you really committed to it. I say pick one and give it a go.
Indecision. Analysis paralysis. Perfectionism. Procrastination. Fear. And the list goes on. There will always be excuses for not getting started on the thing. I’m pretty sure I’ve used all of them myself, multiple times.
Today is just a short one to remind you (and myself) that you don’t need to have the whole thing figured out before you start. You don’t need to know exactly how you’re going to get where you want to go.
Stop waiting, just start. Put on your shoes, walk out the door, and start down the path. The next steps will reveal themselves once you get moving.
While dreaming and planning and finding killer strategies is great, don’t stay in the thinking space for too long. That can lead to spending a ton of energy in your head wrestling with things, when just taking some action will give you more clarity much faster. Imperfect action is generally always better than perfect inaction, as they say.
So, here’s to getting started. Have a dream, make a plan, take a breath, and dive on in. Take the first step, climb that first hill, and then suddenly you’ll have a new perspective and new information with which to determine where to go from there.
“To achieve greatness, start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.”
~ Arthur Ashe
And on that note, I will sign off here today, so that I can go and take the first few scary steps of a project that I’ve been dreaming about (but hesitating on) for months because I thought I didn’t have it all figured out. And I don’t. Which is exactly why I need to start.
“Keep going. Keep going. Keep going.”
The trainer who repeated those words over and over during a boxing class I was in several years ago probably has no idea how much he helped me that day. He helped me not just get through a grueling workout, but planted the seeds that would start blossoming into the increasingly unshakeable sense of perseverance I have today.
If you care deeply enough about something to want to get good at it, to succeed, and to have an impact, you’ve GOT to keep showing up. Over and over again. Even when it gets hard, or boring, or terrifying, or uncomfortable.
Sidenote: Just to be clear, this only applies to things that are important to you! Please don’t continue to tolerate something that is harmful or makes you miserable just for the sake of being persistent!
As far as I’m concerned, your ability to persevere in the pursuit of your dreams far outweighs all other factors when it comes to creating an extraordinary life you love. The good news is that it can be learned, so if you haven’t already, make it a priority to get better! Here are some tips to get you started.
Be clear on the purpose
Be honest about why you’re pursuing something in the first place. Is it because you think you should or because you genuinely want to? Go for the plans and projects that are rooted in your values and light you up. It’s much easier to stay committed to something if you have a strong WHY to come back to when it gets hard.
Decide that this is important enough to put in the work. It will be hard. You will fail. Accept that from the get go as part of the process and commit to seeing it through. Make it non-negotiable. Declare your commitment to yourself, the universe, and your people (preferably the supportive ones who will cheer you on.)
Confront your fears
Fear is a great indication that there is something important in front of you. It’s also a ridiculous source of energy. Feel the fear, then take action, even though you’re scared. Tap into the physical energy coursing through your body and channel it into the bravery you need to take that first step. If you let it, fear might even become your greatest ally, instead of your worst enemy.
Keep showing up
Get out there. Some days you’ll be excited, progress will happen quickly, and you’ll feel unstoppable! Other days will seriously suck. Just keep showing up. Day after day. It may feel awkward, uncomfortable, or embarrassing. You might want to give up. Don’t. Just come back. Over and over again. Remember it takes consistency to see results.
Know that failure is simply part of the process. Don’t beat yourself up. It’s SO not helpful. Instead, pause and lick your wounds for a bit if you need to. Then take a deep breath, pick your ass up off the ground, dust yourself off, and climb back on the damn horse. It’s all about learning. Or as a yoga teacher of mine once said, “when you fall out of a pose, that just means you’re learning how not to fall out of that pose.”
Fall down seven times. Stand up eight. ~ Japanese proverb
One of my favorite frameworks to use when it comes to learning new skills is the conscious competence ladder, which this article explains in more detail. The middle phases are bumpy and that’s okay. You’re allowed to suck before you rock.
Like the stick figures helping each other in the diagram above, remember that getting support is part of the process too. It could be in the form of a coach or mentor, a mastermind group, a sports club, family, or just a workout buddy. Lean into your people and give them the great honor of letting them lift you up. We all need help sometimes.
Don’t waste your precious time and energy comparing yourself to others. Cheer them on, celebrate their wins, and then go back to honing your craft. Your journey will likely look unlike anyone else’s, so honor your own timing and process.
Savor your progress
While the destination (let’s say mastering a certain trick on a skateboard or reaching a milestone in your business) may be an amazing reward in and of itself, undoubtedly the greatest reward is who you are becoming in the process. Acknowledge the small wins and how you are expanding as a person along the way.
Last night I started writing this post in the notes app on my iPhone, while laying awkwardly on my side in bed. It was almost midnight and I should’ve been sleeping because I was getting up early today to work out. But, instead I had been furiously typing away on my phone, attempting to capture the ideas flying out of my brain at warp speed.
Here’s the thing. I can’t stop thinking about you. I can’t stop thinking about how I want to have a bigger impact, reach more people, help more of you feel better and live amazing lives. To accomplish these goals, I know I need to step into a bigger arena.
Bigger Impact. Bigger arenas.
So, I’ve been dreaming, scheming, and planning. In the back of my mind, most days, content is being organized, structured, and restructured. I’m simplifying and distilling down the best nuggets of wisdom and most impactful things I’ve learned over the last 10 years of intense personal development work I’ve done.
While expanding and building this business to be much bigger has always been part of the plan, it’s only recently that I’ve noticed how profoundly I’m feeling called to serve more people. Not just in a coaching and writing capacity, but also by moving into more of a teaching role. Facilitating, speaking, leading, and inspiring from the stage. In bigger arenas.
Sidenote: I’m using the term “arenas” in a metaphorical, very Brené Brown sense of the word, by the way. I’m not talking about stepping into actual arenas. Not quite yet, anyway. Then again sharing stages with Oprah and Tony Robbins are big goals of mine, and they speak in actual arenas, so hey! Hopefully one day soon!
Designing the mastermind
I want to help more people unleash their inner badass – to help them stop holding back, own who they are, and create extraordinary lives they love.
This means a lot of things for my business but, specifically, I’m excited to build and launch my first ever mastermind: a group program that will deliver valuable personal development content in a dynamic community setting with a high level of support and engagement.
As I contemplate how to design and deliver this program, I’ve been going back through my 7 years of teaching outdoor fitness classes, my 800+ hours of coaching individuals clients, and the couple hundred of hours of coaching and leadership training I did at CTI, where they are known for their experientially based, transformational learning, as well as all the programs and masterminds I’ve participated in as a student.
I plan to take the very best of everything I’ve learned, structure it in the most effective way I can, and infuse it with my own awesomely weird and unique brand of Possingness to be an experience in extreme personal development, leadership training, and conscious community. It’s going to be rad.
For the last 5 years, aside from the random speaking gig here and there, I’ve been mostly coaching people 1:1 which, as you know if you’re part of my tribe, I love. Deeply.
The risks in the arena
Now I’m wanting to step out from behind the safety of my (virtual) coaching office and into a bigger arena. A much bigger one. It’s a risky move. Way more vulnerable. More visible. I’ve gotten good at being unapologetically me in my current life, but now I need to challenge myself to go do it out in unknown places, with higher stakes, and a much less friendly audience. I hope that my doing so inspires you to do the same in your own way.
I know that if i use my voice and speak my truth I will inevitably ruffle feathers, trigger people, and invite in criticism. Some of the time it will suck. I will fail. Probably a lot. I will have haters. I will feel foolish at times, doubt every word I speak and action I take, and shed lots of tears in the process.
This excites me, because I love growth, but also terrifies the perfectionist / people pleaser / approval junkie / inner critic in me. Luckily she’s not running the show anymore. Phew.
These days, I am driven by my mission, my purpose, my calling. One that I couldn’t turn off even if I wanted to. So, I have to be ready to move forward in spite of all the risks.
My word of the year for 2017 was visibility. And I have indeed begun to dip my toes in that pond. But, to be honest, I’ve still played it relatively safe. Now, I want to practice diving in naked. Bring it on. Please consider this an invitation to call me out and hold me accountable if you see me playing small. (I’m probably going to regret saying that.)
What this means for my business is that while I will continue serving my private clients with passion and focus as before, I’m also starting to work on the mastermind I’ve been dreaming about creating for years. Stay tuned for more info on that in the coming months.
Using my voice
I’m also committing to putting myself out there and using my voice, quite literally, for speaking engagements, and to do more sharing, inspiring, and teaching on platforms like fb live. Mama needs to get back on the stage! Again, feel free to give me a talking to if you see me sitting on the sidelines. For reals. If you hear of an awesome event, please suggest me as a kick ass speaker! 🙂
I am seriously so lucky to have the most amazing tribe of friends, family, clients, former clients, fans, and all the passionate rebels in my Facebook group, Freedom + Badassery. (Not part of the group yet? Join us! It’s free.) Thank you all for your support, as I grow my sassy and difficult teenager of a business into the powerful young woman she is ready to become.
Sometimes I feel more like a detective than a coach. A master of curiosity. When I partner with a client, we work together looking for clues. Every clue provides us with more information, which then moves us closer to the next clue.
I’m not the expert on their lives. They are. And yet, most of the time they’ve lost trust in their own inner wisdom and don’t know where to look for the answers they’re seeking. My job is to help them find those answers.
One of the most effective ways I’ve learned to do that is to help them become curious again. WILDLY curious.
When you’re curious, you forget to be afraid.
When you’re curious, you’re less attached to your ego and getting things right.
When you’re curious, you’re open to new ideas and possibilities.
Are you ready to become the brilliant detective of your own life? Let’s do this. Here are a few tips to get you started down that path:
Replace judgment with curiosity
When you default to judging things, you contract. You shut yourself off to the limitless possibilities all around you. It may feel good temporarily, because it makes you feel superior, which feeds the ego. But, in the long run it just breeds negativity.
Tap into your innate curiosity
Choose to open your heart and your mind and cultivate an insatiable desire to learn more. Access the childlike wonder that is in there somewhere. When you catch yourself coming from a place of cynicism or fear, acknowledge it (without judging yourself!) and gently let those thoughts go. Then search for what it is that you genuinely want to know. Think of the obvious question(s) that your inner child (who isn’t worried about appearances or approval) would ask.
Adjust your language
Language is so powerful. Notice what you say, both out loud and silently to yourself. When you find yourself using judgmental words, pause and try again with more open and curious language. For example, sentences that start with:
“I’m curious about…”
Always be looking for clues
When you start shifting away from a mindset based in fear and judgment and toward one based in love and curiosity, the world will start to look very different! Every person, place, and event becomes a fascinating opportunity to learn something new. To discover something within yourself. Keep your eyes and ears open, and be present enough to really see and hear and experience whatever’s in front of you.
Many of the things that we tend to judge as good or bad are not necessarily inherently good or bad. It’s our thoughts about them that ascribe value to them. So, how you experience the world around you is a product of the meanings you are attaching to everything. That means you are creating your own reality at all times! So, as you walk through your life, find symbolism, find signs from the universe, find inspiration wherever you go. Why not?! It makes the day to day experience way more fun 🙂
Notice what you notice
Be curious about and notice how you respond to things. What kinds of people, places, and things get you excited? What makes you feel good? The more you pay attention, the more patterns will emerge. Every time you observe a preference – whether you like or dislike something – that information can move you closer to having more alignment in your life. To prioritizing what you love and what’s important to you and letting go of the things that don’t serve you and don’t interest you.
Be on the lookout for the things you want
As you become more and more attuned to this shift in perspective – to leading with curiosity – you’ll start to see that not only can you be constantly looking for and finding clues that help you create a life you love, but you’ll also realize that when you’re looking for specific things, you’re more likely to find them. So, keep what you want to find and create at the front of your mind, and then be open and ready to receiving the opportunities that show up.
Because what you focus on expands.
Be the detective. Look for clues. Choose curiosity over judgment, and watch your life transform into a daily adventure full of wonder and delight as you become both the conscious creator or your own reality, as well as the awestruck observer. It’s incredible.
As a freedom coach, part of my mission is to help people find and create more freedom in their lives, whatever that means to them. I’m especially interested in helping people feel more free, which I believe is something that most, if not all, of us want.
What does freedom even mean?
Freedom probably means something slightly different to each of us, depending on our perspective and life experience. Today, I’m going to look at the types of freedom that people I work with are most commonly seeking – financial freedom, location freedom, time freedom, and emotional freedom – and share a handful of tips and ideas you can use to start moving toward having more of each one in your life.
[Sidenote: This post is not about freedom in the sense of freedom from slavery, oppression, or discrimination. Those are obviously much differenent conversations (and also not my areas of expertise). I look to other inspiring and knowledgeable leaders and activists to guide us in those conversations.]
Many of these suggestions may seem obvious. But that doesn’t mean that they’re easy to actually act on. They may take courage, a willingness to get uncomfortable, or the persistence to keep going when shit hits the fan and things get hard. Look for the tips that speak to you and that whisper in your heart and do those. Even the tiniest baby steps can make a difference.
Okay, so financial freedom obviously means wildly different things to different people, but for the sake of simplicity let’s say it probably entails increasing your income, lowering your expenses, or generally having more access to better resources and more opportunities in your life. Let’s assume it’s mostly about having a choice. Having options.
For me, for example, the kind of financial freedom that I’m fiercely determined to create for myself includes being completely debt free and having predictable, sustainable income that far surpasses my family’s needs, enables me to contribute (both time and money) to causes I care about, and to have a kickass positive impact on the world.
While I don’t care much about material belongings right now, I cherish relationships, experiences, and travel, so financial freedom means being able to prioritize those in my life. It also means having a healthy and helpful relationship with money, and cultivating an abundance mindset that feels aligned with my beliefs and values.
What does financial freedom mean to you? And would could you do to move toward it? Here are some ideas you can steal:
- Ask for a raise at your current job
- Apply for jobs with a higher salary
- Learn new skills that will qualify you for a higher paying job
- Start your own business where you are in control of your own income
- Take on a side gig(s) like driving for Lyft or teaching on Udemy or Skillshare
- Rent out a spare room on Airbnb
- SPEND LESS. Everywhere possible. Obviously 😉
- Come up with a plan to pay off your debt more aggressively
- Don’t spend money you don’t have on crap you don’t need
- Move to a cheaper part of town, cheaper country, or cheaper apartment
- Eat (and drink!) out less, cook at home more, grow your own food if possible
- Take money you normally put toward escape and entertainment and invest it, save it, or invest it in your personal or professional development (best ROI!) instead
- Believe in yourself and your self worth. Know that money is not inherently good or bad; it’s the value and meanings that we assign to it that determines that
- Be curious about your relationship with money, and start shifting your negative limiting beliefs to more empowering, helpful ones
I’m not a financial expert, but I have come across a ton of great resources over the years. If you want recommendations, I’m happy to share some of my favorites with you.
You don’t need to be a digital nomad like me to have location freedom. Location freedom can mean that your employer allows you to work remotely part-time so that you feel less tied to your desk. Or being your own boss so that you can work from home and wear yoga pants. Or simply having a shorter commute. Think about what environments you thrive in, and which you don’t. What kind of setup will help you be productive and happy?
For me, for example, location freedom absolutely means being my own boss, setting my own hours, and being able to work from home, a coffeeshop, or whatever hotel or Airbnb I happen to be staying in. But it also means the freedom to create a space that’s conducive to feeling grounded and peaceful and inspired to do my work, by having a sunny and open room, inspiring music in the background, and to be dressed comfortably.
What does it mean to you? How could you move even just one step closer to creating that for yourself? Here are some ideas:
- Ask your employer for the option to work remotely one day a week to start and go up from there
- Find a job that allows you to work remotely. There are tons of companies that offer remote jobs. Here’s another list. And another. Ok, just one more.
- Start your own location independent business
- Move. If your commute is making you miserable, move closer to it (or leave the job)
- Check out companies like Remote Year, Unsettled, or Hacker Paradise that help you work like a digital nomad, but minus all the DIY headaches, and plus a built in community. Or Roam for coliving and coworking spaces.
If you want to know more about living and working as a digital nomad, this is one of my areas of expertise, so I’m happy to answer any questions you have or send you resources that might help.
Ah, wouldn’t we all love more time? Yes, of course. But instead of just whining about not having enough, why not take responsibility and do what you can to create more time. I believe it’s a matter of optimizing where we can, and then prioritizing where we put our energy based on what’s actually most important.
For me, time freedom means being in charge of when and how much I work. And making sure I have the time and space for what’s most important to me, like family, friends, exercise, travel, adventure, reading, and endless personal growth.
What does time freedom mean to you? And how can you create more in your life? Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Stop saying yes when you mean no. Notice where you give of your time too freely and end up feeling resentful. Practice setting boundaries. It’s best for everyone.
- Plan ahead and intend to stick to your plan as much as possible (knowing that you can always adjust as needed). Instead of just reacting to whatever comes your way, treat your most important projects and priorities as non-negotiable appointments. Put them on the calendar. And show up.
- Put like with like. The best way I know to clean, simplify, and organize is to start by grouping like with like. Do the same with your tasks like email, phone calls, errands, etc. so you do them all while you’re in that mode, before switching gears.
- Conventional wisdom, and most productivity gurus, tell us to do the most important (and sometimes most unpleasant) tasks first. You’ll feel accomplished, relieved, and can then relax and do the little easy stuff later. This can be really powerful.
- And, I’ll be honest, for me sometimes doing the exact opposite works even better. I usually do all the easy, little stuff and then when I feel like my brain is clear, I am more ready for the big, hard stuff. Choose whatever works for you.
- OPTIMIZE! Look for ways to automate (like using an online scheduler instead of lots of emailing back and forth), outsource tasks that you don’t need or want to do (e.g. hire a cleaner or a Task Rabbit), or find sneaky ways to be productive during downtime (like taking public transportation instead of driving to work, so you can read, work, or even do a little mobile morning ritual during that time instead.)
This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are SO MANY brilliant time management and productivity hacks out there. I geek out on this stuff, so hit me up if you want more tips.
This is by far my favorite one. Emotional freedom is a highly personal one, because it depends largely on our background, upbringing, conditioning, fears, etc. It may be more about want freedom from something (e.g. self-doubt or fear) or craving the freedom to something (e.g. do work you love, be yourself etc.) I love helping people with the practical ones, but working toward emotional freedom is what I’ve found to be most impactful, because it’s so foundational. It’s our personal development.
It’s where we get in our own way, self-sabotage, and settle for lives that are not ones we love. Nothing gives me more joy than watching another human untangle themselves from what’s been holding back them, start to cultivate a deeper sense of inner peace and inner power, and then go out and intentionally design and build a new reality based on who they really are.
For me, personally, emotional freedom is mostly a feeling – that sense of lightness that I get when I’m giving myself permission to be and own who I am, express myself openly and unapologetically, and when I let go of worrying about what other people think. I feel incredibly alive and awake when my external life is an expression with who I am on the inside. It’s unleashing my inner badass, and being the powerful creator that I am. That we all are, when we get out of our own damn way.
What does emotional freedom mean to you? And how can you move in that direction? Here are some of my favorite tips:
- Constantly ask yourself what you want and how you want to feel. Learn to be more and more honest with yourself. Then use those answers as your guide.
- Read and watch less negative stuff; instead, consume more empowering, uplifting stuff. Like this blog 🙂 Or the many amazing books, articles, and podcasts out there.
- Seek out supportive communities. Distance yourself from the people who drag you down. You don’t need to cut them out of your life completely, just make sure you also have some supporters that want the best for you and will cheer you on. Don’t know where to find one? Join my online community Freedom + Badassery!
- STOP TAKING EVERYTHING SO PERSONALLY. This has been my biggest struggle, and the more I let go of it, the more free, light, and expansive I feel.
- Listen less to what others and society think you should do. Listen more to what your heart wants and what gets you excited and makes you happy.
- Take radical responsibility for your life. All of it. Your thoughts, your actions, your impact. Don’t give your power away to anyone or anything outside of yourself. Create your own reality, because you always have a choice. If nothing else, you can choose how you respond to what life throws at you. And it makes a huge difference.
Feeling inspired to take more responsibility for designing your life? You can go a little deeper with my online training: How to Create an Extraordinary Life You Love. And of course, if you want to seriously uplevel your life and create more freedom, especially emotional freedom in your life, ask me about coaching.