Just keep showing up

“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.

Commit
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.)

Skateboarder at skatepark about to go

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.

Skateboarder at skatepark

Embrace failure
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.

Gordon's conscious competence ladder

Get support
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 compare
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.

Skateboarder in the air

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.

 

Stepping into the arena

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.

people standing on cliff looking at the view

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.

colorful bird

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.

Crap.

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.)

surfer walking into the ocean

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.

Designing your unconventional life. On purpose.

Designing your life, intentionally, is more than possible. And yet, most people don’t do it.

Who designed your life (career, lifestyle, social circle, where you live…)? Was it you? Or did you sort of stumble into it?

So many of us charge forward, living by default. We do what our parents counsel us to do, copy our friends, and are heavily influenced by the borderline brainwashing of the media, TV shows, upbringing, religious communities, peer groups, or whatever our strongest influences were.

We rarely pause and ask ourselves who we really are. What we actually want. Or what we want our lives and lifestyles to look like.

So many of the people I work with actually have really “great” lives on paper. They checked all the boxes, did all the things, but deep down they are not fulfilled. Yes, they have created a proper, “successful” life, by society’s standards.

But what they’ve failed to do is to create a meaningful life. One that is an expression of their particular set of talents, gifts, and characteristics. A journey that allows them to spend their time on what they value most and what makes them come alive. A reflection of their unique perspective on the world.

That’s where I come in. I want you, yes YOU, to have not only a successful life (but by YOUR standards of success, not anyone else’s), but to also have a life that is meaningful, whatever that means to you.

Don’t waste anytime lamenting your past, or regretting past choices, because we can’t change them anyway. (Although if you do want to spend some time forgiving yourself, honoring, and letting go of your past, that’s a great use of time!)

Instead, start where you are today, and commit to designing your life from here on out. On purpose, instead of simply reacting to whatever life throws at you.

So, how the hell do you go about doing that? It’s not easy, but it can be simple. Here are 5 great strategies to get you started.

1) Cultivate self-awareness

The more you learn to be present to your own experience, the more power you have to shift it into what you want. We can’t change what we’re not aware of, so start training yourself to notice, in real time, where you’re at. Listen to how you’re talking to yourself in your head and notice how you’re feeling in your body. This will help you become the conscious creator of your life.

2) Get yourself some damn clarity

A lot of people aren’t chasing their dreams for the simple reason that they don’t actually know what they want. If you don’t know where you want to go, it’s gonna be pretty hard to get there! So start by asking yourself what you want. In every area of your life. If you’re extra disconnected from what you want, it may take time. Be patient. Be bold and dare to admit your truest desires. At the very least to yourself. And if you’re able to, share it with some people who believe in you and can support you in heading down that path.

3) Start taking action

Once you start figuring out what you want, you can start moving toward it. Don’t worry about having it all planned out first. Just start somewhere, because you can always course correct as you get more clear. If you already know what you want, but are too terrified to make any leaps (say quitting a job or leaving a relationship), start with  the tiniest baby step and go from there. Action creates energy and momentum. It gives you more clarity and confidence, and feels super satisfying to boot!

4) Get support

As you start designing your life more intentionally, you’ll need support. Most likely, you’ll have critics and people who doubt your dreams. (Maybe because they resent you for having the courage to pursue them, which highlights their own inability to do so themselves. Or because they simply have a different perspective.) Let them doubt and criticize you. That’s their story, not yours.

Instead, seek out support from people who are living the life you want (as mentors, coaches, teachers) or who believe in you and your dreams and will cheer you on no matter what (colleagues, peers, fans, friends.) Fear will come up. Failure will happen. Shit will inevitably hit the fan. So, have a support network in place that can catch you when you fall and affectionately slap you on the butt after you dust yourself off and get back on that big, unruly horse you’re attempting to ride.

5) Keep tweaking

Look for opportunities to take big leaps and inspired action, when appropriate, but more than anything, keep tweaking. Every day, every week, look for the small shifts you can make that will create just a little more alignment in your day to day experience. Make the helpful baby steps that inch you closer to your dream part of your regular routine; make them habits. Rituals. Infuse every moment of every day, every choice you make, and every thought you think with intention.

Live your life on purpose and be designing and redesigning a life that inspires you and fills you with joy and gratitude. 

Ok? You do NOT have to live your life by a bunch of tired, outdated, unspoken rules that are followed by most people, because they’re just living by default.

Break the rules. Break that mold.

You get to create an UNCONVENTIONAL, meaningful, amazing, and exhilarating life – one that is aligned with the absurd combination of traits that is you, and whatever it is that is most dear to you.

Do it. I believe in you. And I hope you do too. (If not, or if you need help with this, you know where to find me!)

 

What do you want to be when you grow up?

The dreaded question. Deer in headlights was about all I could muster in response throughout school and well into my twenties. How was one supposed to know?

I liked a lot of things. Too many things. In fact, the endless possibilities and “you can be whatever you want to be” urgings of my generation’s supporters felt like an unbearable burden most of the time. Being a positive thinker and dreamer, I appreciated the sentiment, but my own inability to narrow it down to even a small list of options left me paralyzed.

Fast forward to the start of my decade in San Francisco when I was about 26 years old.

“Adventure travel host,” I wrote in my journal. Underneath the title of yet another far fetched career idea, I scribbled down my thoughts about why this job appealed to me and what the obvious stumbling blocks were (“How the hell would I get my foot in the door of that industry??”)

Next up was “Performer/Entertainer” followed by wistful dreams of acting, dancing, singing, painting, doing voice over work… followed by the inevitable insecurities (“What if I don’t make it in Hollywood? Do I really want to be a starving artist?”)

“Should I just suck it up and get a normal job? Something more professional? Am I wasting precious time exploring this other stuff that I should really be spending in a corporate setting getting real life experience?”

These are just a few of the thoughts that were swimming around in my head, back in 2007, near the end of my short-lived 2-year career in financial planning. I had taken some improv classes, was doing a lot of writing for a music tech startup, had started bartending, and was enthusiastically exploring other interests, but ultimately I was basically still completely lost.

I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. 

Two years later, in 2009, I still didn’t know. I had stumbled into fitness, which was closer than any of my previous jobs. But I still found myself agonizing over that brutal mix of uncertainty and indecision, coupled with a sense of unfulfilled potential and a refusal to settle.

A typical week often looked like this:
Monday: convinced that I needed to spend a year abroad traveling while I was still young
Tuesday: excited about the prospect of being an entrepreneur and ready to figure out how
Wednesday: researching grad school, especially INSEAD, 100% sure I wanted to apply
Thursday: still dreaming of being an artist and looking for auditions on craigslist
Friday: exhausted, discouraged, and confused, crying in frustration
Saturday: convinced my dreams were silly, ready to give up and get a corporate job
Sunday: pissed and ready to do whatever it took to find a meaningful path

That year I made a commitment to myself. I was going to make “figuring out what I want to be when I grow up” my biggest priority. I didn’t care how long it was going to take, I just knew I couldn’t take any more of the back and forth.

Figuring out my purpose became my purpose.

I started reading countless books, blogs, and articles. I saw a hypnotherapist who was also an EFT practitioner. I attended workshops, seminars, and retreats. I hired coaches. I interviewed anyone who seemed like they liked their job. I talked to anyone who would listen. I journaled, and journaled, and journaled.

And the beautiful thing is, it totally worked. It was a messy, clumsy, disjointed process, but I found my way. Had I known half of what I know now, I would do things very differently. But looking back, I’m not ashamed of any of it. Instead, it all seems somehow delightfully earnest. It was my perfectly imperfect journey and it got me to where I am today. For that I will be eternally grateful.

Years of people pleasing, approval seeking, and caring way too much what other people think of me pushed me to a breaking point where my own lack of direction became so exasperating and exhausting that something had to change.

And it did. Once I stopped looked outside of myself for validation and got quiet enough to hear the wisdom in my heart (that had, of course, been there all along) it was obvious. All those years of voraciously reading self-help books and devouring anything and everything motivational, inspiration, and chicken soup for the soul-y suddenly made sense…

finally started being honest enough with myself to admit that I wanted to be a life coach.

Even though the words made me cringe at the time, I had to face the truth. It had actually been there all along – the rather radical calling. But it was expressed only as a gentle whisper underneath the loud, obnoxious voices of my inner critics, so I couldn’t hear it for so long.

Luckily, I ultimately made that powerful choice and started to listen to what my heart was trying to say. Given my hesitant nature, it actually took me several years to really go there. Even once I had broken the seal and headed down the path, I still only dipped in a toe or two at a time. I played it safe and dabbled carefully, but I DID move forward.

Of course, at the time, I had NO idea what I was getting into. I didn’t realize that becoming a life coach also meant becoming an entrepreneur. And that holy crap, that shit is hard! Or how profoundly life changing and fulfilling it would be.

I had no idea that I was embarking on my very own journey to personal freedom. 

That’s the journey that I’m on now. Everything I do is about freedom. Freedom to live a life by my own design, to be consciously creating my own reality, and to take full responsibility for every damn part of it. It’s also about freedom from my own self-imposed limitations and the old stories that used to hold me back.

This is what I’m about and it’s what my business is all about too. The cool thing about my story is that I had to slog my way through all that self-doubt, indecision, and fear in order to get here. So I get it. And now that I have the distinct honor of helping other people build their own paths to freedom and start to unleash their own beauty and brilliance out in the world, my tears of frustration have been replaced by tears of joy and gratitude.

Interestingly, and perhaps not surprisingly, many of the elements of those things that I thought I wanted (i.e. going to business school, traveling the world, performing and entertaining), even though they weren’t pointing me in any particular career direction at the time, were clues to values and passions that were alive and well in me already back then.

I’m happy to be able to say that now, in my business and in my life, I get to do some degree of all those things that make me feel alive. My wish for anyone who is reading this and feeling similarly lost is that you start listening to all the clues, the whispers, and the dreams that are already there, if you get quiet and calm enough to access them.

The Possing Manifesto

I present to you: The Possing Manifesto.

You always have a choice.

Take radical responsibility for every part of your life.

Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Respect their journey and live yours.

Be present. Be grateful. See the beauty all around you.

Don’t fear your emotions, feel them.

You are a feisty beast. Run wild and be free.

Every day is an adventure. Play hard.

There is nothing more badass than being who you are. Own it.

Stand tall, make good eye contact, and speak up. Your voice matters.

Be courageous. Fail gloriously. Let go of looking good and getting it right.

Clarity and self-awareness are key. Know who you are and what you want.

Prioritize self-care. Put your own oxygen mask on first.

Live on purpose. Seek aliveness.

Create more than you consume.

Invest in the process. Let go of the outcome.

Say what you mean. Mean what you say. Speak your truth.

Ask for help when you need it.

Replace judgment with curiosity. Replace jealousy with inspiration.

Respond intentionally, instead of reacting defensively.

Take bold action. Action creates energy. You can course correct later.

Never assume. Just ask. Keep it simple.

Come from a place of love, compassion, and respect. Always.

Be authentic, vulnerable, and real. Connect genuinely.

Do meaningful work. Work hard but hack life and be smart.

Be a resource. Be helpful. Be kind. Be generous.

You CAN change the world. Go do it.

I wrote this manifesto for The Twenty-One Day Momentum Challenge

How I Learned to Ask for Help

This is a story of how I learned to ask for help.

I knew they were coming. A lot of them. But I never imagined there would be THAT many of them. They came in the door crying, laughing, embracing one another, and clearly ready to party.

I was alone – the only bartender on duty at a local dive bar that had been chosen as the gathering place after a funeral for the unexpected and tragic death of a guy my age. He had been a regular at the bar and it was a shock to realize he was gone.

Sundays were usually pretty busy and I was confident in my both my bartending skills and my ability to handle a large crowd by myself. But it soon became clear that this was going to be a shift like none I had faced before.

Within an hour the entire bar was full of grieving young people celebrating their friend’s life and mourning his death. I did my best to pump out their drink orders at warp speed, while greeting their moist eyes with sympathetic smiles and not letting anyone disrupt my rhythm as I poured beers, mixed cocktails, cleaned up, swiped credit cards, and handled cash. Luckily, several of the regulars were there. I didn’t even have to ask them to help out. They cleared glasses, changed kegs, and retrieved bottles for me so I never had to leave the bar.

The next 5 hours were a blur. All I know is that when I finally left, I was more mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted than I had been in my life. Not to mention completely covered in beer. But I felt this deep sense of pride at having handled it. Holy shit, did I really manage that massive crowd for a whole afternoon all by myself? I felt invincible. I am so fast! I am a whiz at doing math in my head on the fly! How did I keep so many drink orders in my head at one time?

The next day I walked into my happy hour shift standing a little taller. Maybe even sporting a touch of arrogance. Psh. Happy hour. This is going to be so easy…

Then it happened. The manager showed up. I threw my shoulders back and prepared to receive his praise. But as soon as I saw the look on his face I realized that was not what was coming. He was livid. He kept asking why I didn’t call someone and ask for help.

I didn’t understand. “But I didn’t need any help. I was fine…” I kept saying. It made no sense. I made us SO much money. Everyone had a great time and honored our lost friend.

He finally looked me in the eye and said “I know YOU were fine. But that’s not the point. If you had called for backup, we could have served twice as many people, made twice as much money for the bar, provided an even better experience for the customers, and done an even better job honoring our lost friend.”

Oh.

It hit me like a ton of bricks. It wasn’t about me. It wasn’t about my ego. It wasn’t about what I could handle. It was about everything else. That was when I learned to ask for help.

Just because I can do it by myself doesn’t mean I should.

This can be a hard truth to accept if you have any amount of ego or pride dwelling inside you. Which I suspect most of us do. As a woman who has always felt strongly about being independent and able to take care of herself, it took me a long time to really understand this – to understand that by recruiting help or support I could potentially be more effective, more impactful and more powerful than I could ever be on my own.

I no longer see accepting help, not to mention asking for it, as a sign of weakness or incompetence. That came from a place of wanting to be seen a certain way, not from seeing myself as I am.

I now view accepting help, and especially asking for it, as smart. When I know myself, including my strengths and weaknesses, I can better see where I could benefit from reinforcement, advice, feedback, or an extra hand (or mind.)

I know now that while I may do and create great things on my own, I can do and create even greater things with a little help from my friends.