6 Simple Ways to Change Your Life

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.

Close up of young woman's face

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.

Cute dog staring into camera

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.

View of bridge from car driving on it

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.

The Possquivel Wedding Report

When my husband and I started planning our wedding, we decided we wanted to do things a little differently.

Everything about it was intended to be a reflection of who we are. We’re big on authenticity and adventure in our daily lives, and saw no reason for our wedding to be any different.

bride and dog after the wedding ceremony

This is the story of how we pulled it off.

First and foremost, we refused to subscribe to the silly notion that wedding planning has to be stressful, and decided to make it fun and laid back instead. It totally worked, AND the end result was even better than we had anticipated!

The most crucial agreement we made, by far, was to be intentional. We wanted the whole experience to be simple, meaningful, and fun.

Here is how we approached the planning.

Six months before the wedding, we started having weekly check-ins. Admittedly, many of these check-ins happened in the hot tub while drinking wine, which definitely set the tone for not taking ourselves too seriously.

Early on, we let go of things being perfect and embraced the idea of them being perfectly imperfect instead. We placed a higher value on our communication and connection than on getting all the details right.

Throughout the planning process, we stuck to our guns and didn’t do anything we didn’t want to do, were willing to break the rules, and made sure to stay true to ourselves and our relationship, regardless of what anyone else had to say.

I decided I would have the most fun if I showed up as a badass bride, which meant staying grounded and calm, being playing and unapologetically me, and seeing it as a creative and fun challenge.

Since community is important to us, we created a Facebook group for our guests, so that our family and friends could meet each other, we could introduce our vendors, and everyone could share their excitement for the upcoming event.

screenshot from wedding facebook group

Here are a few of the highlights from the weekend that stand out to me, either because they felt unique and a bit unconventional, and others were simply SO much fun.

At my bachelorette party, instead of wine tasting, a spa day, or hitting the bars, my sister rented us a house and we had a sleepover, which included a Fierce Goddess ceremony, facilitated by an incredible spiritual teacher. Also, one of my girls brought me a mermaid tail. A MERMAID TAIL! (In case you didn’t know, I am obsessed with mermaids.)

silhouette of bride in mermaid tail

Despite weeks of shitty forecasts practically guaranteeing rain, we insisted on hosting not one, but two outdoor events, much to both our mothers’ chagrin. Friday’s party was in a park by the water, and the ceremony on Saturday was in the backyard of my in-law’s house. Both days, the rain cleared just in time. Thank you, rain gods!

The welcome party on Friday was in lieu of a rehearsal dinner. We had a wood fire pizza oven food truck, beer, and lawn games. And customized beer koozies.

beer koozies at welcome party day before wedding

Here’s an aerial view of the last group of stragglers at the welcome party taken by our friend Conor’s drone (his first day playing with it – not bad!)

We each had five people in our wedding party. But one of my bridesmaids was actually my fabulous, gay bridesman, Graham! He came to the bachelorette sleepover too.

My mom walked me down the aisle. Since my father wasn’t there, but my two stepdads were, I wanted to both honor my father by not putting another man in his place, and also acknowledge my mom for her primary role in my upbringing. It felt so right.

We wrote our own vows for the ceremony, which was led by one of my favorite mentors, who talked about Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine energy, called in the spirit of those who couldn’t be there (including my dad in Sweden), and acknowledged our ancestors.

The only reading during the otherwise short and sweet ritual, was the first three verses of “Nothing Else Matters”. I have to assume most of our guests thought it was just a nice poem until the end when my bridesmaid Nikki, with her sweet British accent, revealed that it was a song by the (heavy metal) band Metallica.

When the DJ announced our arrival at Guaymas, the Mexican restaurant where we held our reception, we walked in to the theme song to Game of Thrones. Our DJ’s response when we asked if he could play it was “anything for the realm.”

The seating arrangements chart listed our guests’ names under tables that were named after countries we plan to visit. The tables themselves? They had only flags.

Given our upcoming travel adventure, we urged guests to please not bring any physical gifts and created a page on Zola, so that they could contribute to our travel adventure if they wished, instead.

Our first dance (which I don’t think anyone saw coming except maybe a few people who knew that I used to do be obsessed with Lindy Hop) was a playful swing dance routine to Benny Goodman’s “Sing, Sing, Sing”.

Our DJ was ridiculous. You can read my Yelp review for him here for the full breakdown of the musical journey he took us on. One of the highlights of the night was when Chris and his dad, Carlos, had a dance off to Silento’s “Watch me” (or “Whip the Nae Nae” as Carlos calls it). Enough said.

Obviously I’m biased, but I seriously think it may have been the most EPIC wedding weekend of all time.

I hope this story inspires you. While it could be read as just a recap of a fun party weekend and the planning leading up to it, it’s really about something much deeper.

It’s about the power of intention. It’s about our ability to stay grounded and aligned with what we value most. And it’s about the importance of clear communication and deep human connection, rather than attachment to details and perfectionism.

Do You Have a Powerful Morning Ritual?

Do you have a morning ritual? I’m betting you do. But do you do your morning ritual on purpose or by default? Most of us tend to get into at least some kind of a routine and do more or less the same things every morning. Are you conscious or on autopilot?

The goal is to become conscious of what you currently do, so that you can decide if it’s working for you or not. Once you have the self-awareness, then you can make a powerful choice about whether to keep that ritual or design something that works better.

What’s the point of a morning ritual anyway?

A ritual is special – it adds meaning to your day. Whereas a routine is something you do regularly, a ritual is something you do regularly that has a point. It’s intentional, not just the default. 

I love the word ritual, because it implies a certain ceremony or sacredness. It’s an opportunity to show respect. To honor not only yourself but the life you are creating.

Let’s say you’re now aware of what your default morning routine is and you want to create something more POWERFUL – a meaningful ritual as opposed to a default routine. How do you create one?

There is no right way to do a morning ritual. The idea is to design something that is both effective and meaningful for YOU.

For one person, it might be 5 minutes of meditation, 20 pushups, a cold shower and then boom, they’re done. For someone else, it may be an elaborate 2 hour ceremony including prayer, journaling, yoga, candles, setting intentions for the day, and a gratitude practice. Or maybe it’s just a great cup of coffee while you read the newspaper.

It doesn’t matter what’s included in your ritual, as long as it sets the tone for your day. So ask yourself this – what state of mind do you want to be in when you start your work day?What kind of energy would support your work and lifestyle? Consider how much time you can and want to devote to your morning ritual and what would be an effective and powerful use of that time.

Here are some suggestions for different components you might include:

Movement
An intense bootcamp class, a brisk walk, yoga, or even a dance party in your living room. Find what works for you and gives you the kind of energy you need.

Journaling
Putting pen to paper is so powerful. Especially since we live in an increasingly digital world. Try journaling as a way to clear your mind and connect with your inner wisdom.

Nature
Seriously, mother nature wants to hook you up. Do what you can to tap into that. Exercise outdoors, walk barefoot on the beach, or just breathe some fresh air. Life giving.

Stillness
We’re bombarded with information all day. Our minds need peace and quiet to balance it out. Find stillness in prayer, meditation, or simply breathing mindfully for a few minutes.

Mindfulness
Create a gratitude practice, set an intention for the day, say affirmations, or review your goals. Start the day in a conscious way, connecting to what’s most important to you.

Strategy
Instead of going through your day in reaction mode, have a strategy. You’ll be more effective and focused if you know what you plan to do and why.

Read
As in, read something helpful. Not facebook. Not the news. Read a book on business or a blog that inspires you. Whatever is meaningful and helpful to you.

Creativity
What inspires you? Incorporate music, candles, incense, or whatever elements make it fun and magical. Call on ancestors, spirit guides, or pull a goddess card if that works for you!

Whatever you come up with, I recommend keeping it simple, at least in the beginning. Remember, you’re going to try to do it every day. Don’t be afraid to experiment and mix it up until you find what truly energizes you.

 

Top 10 Reasons to Become a Lifestyle Entrepreneur

Before I go into the top 10, let me clarify what I mean by lifestyle entrepreneur, for those of you who might not be familiar with the term. As far as labels go, it’s one that I strongly identify with, and as soon as I heard the term, I claimed it. Hell ya, I am a lifestyle entrepreneur, albeit just a freshman compared to the seniors on campus like Tim Ferris and Chris Guillebeau, who blazed the trail for the rest of us years ago.

What is a lifestyle entrepreneur?
Lifestyle entrepreneurs are simply entrepreneurs who prioritize lifestyle before profit. Are we still interested in profit? Absolutely! Most of us are incredibly money motivated. It’s just that we value freedom and independence more than anything else. We’re crystal clear on our desired lifestyle and build our businesses around those ideals, not just to allow for what’s most important to us, but to support it.

It’s about freedom
Some of us are location independent digital nomads, running businesses we can run from anywhere in the world. Many of us are obsessed with travel and strive to create a freedom lifestyle, where we can live, work, and play while globetrotting freely. For others, it’s about something completely different. Ultimately, though, it’s always about freedom – whatever that means to you.

It’s not easy
Of course, being a lifestyle entrepreneur has its challenges, just like being any kind of entrepreneur. It’s a wild ride that’s probably not for everyone. Most of us take huge risks, fail often, and frequently get the crap kicked out of us. Some people give it a great effort, but eventually walk away because it’s hard and uncomfortable. The ones who end up crushing it usually have some serious grit (unless they just got really lucky).

Here are some of my favorite reasons, for those of you flirting with the idea, to become a lifestyle entrepreneur.

1. Vision + Purpose + Passion
As a lifestyle entrepreneur, you lead with vision, purpose and passion. You’re often called “heart centered” and can’t imagine doing work you don’t love. You step out of your comfort zone frequently and do whatever it takes to build a business, because it lights you up and fills your life with meaning. It’s the work you can’t not do.

2. Authenticity
You get to fly your freak flag. In this type of work, the more authentic you are, the more successful you are. You get to create a business that is an expression, or extension, of who you are. There are no masks to put on or facades to uphold. You just get to be you – the quirky, super weird, real YOU.

3. Freedom
Regardless of what your definition of freedom is, being a lifestyle entrepreneur is all about supporting that. Whether it’s being able to spend time outdoors during the day and working at night, having time to care for elderly parents, spending more time with your kids, or traveling 9 months of the year, YOU get to decide. (And only YOU are responsible for creating it.)

4. Flexibility
A big part of the freedom lifestyle is flexibility. Set your own hours, work when and how you want. If sitting at a desk for 8 hours doesn’t work, maybe you work in 20 minute spurts. Or only on weekends. Or when you feel like it. Or when your golf schedule allows for it. Obviously it depends on what your line of work is, when your clients are available etc., but it’s up to you to set it up in a way that works for you.

5. Location independence
Another big part of the freedom lifestyle is being location independent. If you want to stay home, you can work from home. If you want to be social, you can find a co-working space or coffeeshop. As long as you have wifi, you can work with clients 1:1 over the phone or skype, lead group calls or video conferences, host webinars, and so much more with people anywhere in the world, from anywhere in the world. You also start to really appreciate good wifi.

6. Personal growth
Whether your business is actually about personal growth, like mine is, or is focused on something else entirely (SEO, let’s say), because you are not just doing whatever your line of work is but also figuring out all the different parts of starting and growing a business, you will constantly grow and develop as a human. You’ll fail, learn, grow, rinse, and repeat.

7. Financial independence
While it can be crazy stressful, risky, and humbling in the beginning when you’re dealing with aspects of entrepreneurship like paying for your own health insurance or not having a predictable monthly income, the possibilities are limitless. As a lifestyle entrepreneur, maybe you become an expert at leverage, offering not just 1:1 services, but group programs, information products, and more. Maybe you create multiple streams of passive income.

8. Building a team
In the beginning, most likely you start out by doing everything yourself. Maybe you stay a one person shop, which can work beautifully, or maybe you start outsourcing parts of the business to experts who can do a much better job at whatever it is you’re not great at or don’t enjoy doing, which frees up your time to focus on your favorite parts of the work. With an efficient team, you can leverage yourself even more.

9. Creativity
Most lifestyle entrepreneurs lead unconventional lives. If you are a bit of a rebel, rule breaker, or non-conformist, having creative freedom is incredibly important to you. It’s where you come alive and do your best work. Being your own boss, running your own company, and being a creator out in the world gives you the freedom to be in your zone of genius, and tap into your creative in whichever way you’d like.

10. Impact
You want – no need! – to have an impact, leave a mark, and make the world a better place or help the people in it, in your own unique and brilliant way. It doesn’t matter how big or small the impact is, as a lifestyle entrepreneur it’s an important part of what drives you. Doing work that has no impact not only doesn’t appeal to you, it probably repels you.

In short, being a lifestyle entrepreneur is a challenging, emotional rollercoaster of an adventure that is worth every single second. I’ve only been on the path for a few years, and have a long way to go and many more challenges to get through I’m sure, but I can’t imagine doing anything else now.

If this post stirs something in your heart, don’t ignore it! Honor the whisper in your ear, treat it as a clue, get wildly curious, and explore the possibilities. I dare you.

Fearlessly Authentic

Who would you be if you weren’t afraid of being judged? I love that question. It points to what is a very real struggle for many of us who, over the years, have developed different parts of ourselves to fit into different parts of our lives.

Recently I was listening to a call where a coach I don’t know was talking about her deep desire to integrate her two identities. Her one identity is the professional coach who helps Silicon Valley execs grow their teams and develop their leadership skills. Her other identity is a highly creative free-spirited woman who runs around at Burning Man in a corset and tutu, pole dances, and gives talks on the law of attraction.

She was struggling with her fears about people from either world finding out about her other identity and judging her for it. The business world wouldn’t take her seriously if they knew what she does in her free time. And her alternative friends would think she was crazy for working in Silicon Valley.

[Side note: some of you who are familiar with bay area culture are probably wondering what the problem is there, because you know there are actually a ton of people from Silicon Valley who go to Burning Man. And just as many Burning Man regulars who have “normal” corporate jobs. But that’s not the point, of course. Regardless of what the reality of any situation is, the stories we create in our minds are the powerful ones that can really hold us back. THOSE stories are the ones I want to encourage all of us to move past.]

How many identities do you have? Do you hide parts of yourself for fear of being judged? Have you created elaborate facades that you put up while interacting with certain groups? We all do it to an extent I think. While I’d love it if we could all be 100% ourselves all the time, I believe that sometimes it IS actually helpful to be able to tone things up or down, given the situation.

At the end of the day, I’m not arguing that being a slightly different version of yourself in certain situations is inherently bad or good. Things are rarely inherently good or bad. They just.. are. We are the ones who assign a value to them in our minds, usually due to our conditioning and deeply ingrained beliefs.

Really, the question is whether it’s helpful, effective, or healthy in any given circumstance. Should that coach show up to work at a big corporate gig wearing her Burning Man gear? Probably not. But should she have to hide either or both of her identities and live in fear of judgment? I say no.

I think it’s more a matter of learning how to honor the different, beautiful, unique parts of ourselves fully, to mindfully choose how to show up when, and to take full responsibility for our impact every time.

I often wonder who the fullest expression of me is. She’s constantly evolving of course, but as of right now, here is who I am when I’m completely owning my true self, and not worried what anyone will think:
– I dare to speak up, have strong opinions, and stand my ground
– I am brave, vulnerable, and courageously show all of my real raw self to the people I trust
– I don’t ask for or seek permission from others, I simply trust my own judgment
– I freely show my quirky, goofy side, laugh easily, hug everyone, and smile often
– I approach strangers easily, embrace awkwardness, and create warm connections
– I embrace my woo woo spiritual side in my business just as much as my practical side

What about you? Who would you be if you were fearlessly authentic? If you were sure you would not be judged, OR were sure you wouldn’t care? What is the fullest expression of you?

I Have a Dream

I believe with all my heart in the incredible power of dreams. Compelling dreams give us hope, inspire action, unite people, and empower generations. They give way to new technologies and innovation. They give us something to aim for, something to focus our attention and intention on as we stumble down the path of life, trying to figure out who we are and why we’re here.

I want to tell you about my dream. And I want to hear about yours. (If you don’t know what yours is, maybe I can help.)

My dream evolves as I grow and change. It takes on new and unexpected shapes and colors as the next steps of my journey reveal themselves. I don’t know if my life in the future will look anything like what my dream looks like now, but I know for damn sure that it motivates me to move in that direction.

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined." - Thoreau

Here are some things to think about while capturing your dream in case you’re inspired to do yours too.

1. Practice gratitude. Before (and during and after) envisioning what you hope to create,  remember to be grateful for what you have, right here, right now.

2. Be present. While being inspired by your vision and letting it pull you forward, remember to live your life in the present, conscious and connected to the world around you.

3. Invest in the process, let go of the outcome. While going confidently in the direction of your dreams, remain open to new information and opportunities. Course correct as the next steps of your journey reveal themselves to you. Let go of having things show up looking a certain way. Be more interested in the essence of what you want and the journey toward it.

4. Think outside the box. Let go of any limited ideas of what’s possible and dare to let your imagination run free. You might be surprised what you come up with.

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand." - Albert Einstein

5. Take bold inspired action. Once you get clear on your dream, don’t forget to get out there and do something about it. Action creates energy and puts the wheels into motion.

Here is my dream as it stands now. I’ve divided it into categories and written it in the form of affirmations (i.e. in present tense statements, as if they’re already true.)

Family
– My relationship is a badass partnership. We are committed to authenticity, kickass communication, and living our fun, crazy lives to the fullest.
– I am deeply connected to my family, despite geographical limitations. I travel to see them often and we embrace technology to keep us close when we’re apart.

Career
– I have a killer team of talented people who believe in my mission that help me run my global business (e.g. virtual assistant, accountant, coach, mentor, PR, web design etc.)
– My business is an expression and an extension of who I am at my core. It reflects my purpose, values, passions and what makes me unique.
– I inspire, empower, and challenge people. The value I create for them is lasting and transformational.
– I have clients who fly me across the globe to work with them.
– I have written a book (maybe several) that tells my story and shares my message in a clear and compelling way, inspiring those who need it most.
– I positively impact large numbers of people not just through my own writing, speaking, coaching, videos, workshops, and retreats, but also through appearances on radio, TV, and live events.
– I surround myself with movers and shakers who believe in their dreams, rule breakers who challenge the status quo, and change makers who are quite literally saving the planet.
– I spend a lot of time outside my comfort zone, embracing failure, stretching my limits, and doing things that scare and excite me.

Money
– I attract and create more wealth than I personally need and am able to donate time and money to supporting and empowering the people, organizations, and causes I believe in.
– I have reached my milestones of being a 6-figure, and ultimately a 7-figure business.
– I spend money mindfully, creating a fun and fulfilling – yet sustainable – lifestyle for myself, my family, and my friends.
– I have a great money team (accountant + financial advisor + money coach) who help me make smart decisions.

Mind-Body-Spirit
– I eat clean 80% of the time (leaving 20% of the time for enjoying the delicious “bad” stuff), drink a ton of water, and get lots of sleep.
– I love and accept my body as it is, celebrate its uniqueness, and playfully test its limits.
– I seek out physical activities and types of movement that make me feel alive.
– My skin is radiant, my hair is healthy, my body is strong, I am glowing with happiness.
– I shine brightly from the inside out. I feel grounded, confident, and at peace.
– I regularly engage in mindfulness practices (e.g. yoga, meditation, gratitude) that quiet my mind, center my spirit, and open my heart.
– I stay intellectually stimulated and pursue continued learning and experiences by reading voraciously and attending classes, workshops, conferences etc.

Lifestyle
– I spend most of my social time doing fun and interesting things with people I love, creating meaningful connections, laughing often, and loving fiercely.
– I host frequent dinner parties, cook delicious food, and consciously create community.
– I travel the world for work and play. I am a mobile world citizen, always seeking to broaden my horizons, become familiar with the unfamiliar, and spread joy wherever I go.
– I make time to honor my passions (e.g. dance, music, languages, culture etc.)
– I am solar powered + water inspired, so I spend plenty of time in the sun and water.
– My wardrobe is a reflection of who I am: simple, classy, fierce, and playful.
– Though I travel often, I have a home base somewhere beautiful, near water, that is warm and welcoming, where friends and family eagerly come to visit.

Our World
– Through our collective wisdom, new technologies, and social responsibility we are finally figuring out how to save the planet from our own ignorance and overconsumption.
– A new brand of leadership is emerging. People are stepping up, working together, and love is winning over hate.
– Discrimination based on gender, sexuality, race, religion, socioeconomic status, etc. is outdated and nearly obsolete. We are experiencing a shift in consciousness and evolving into a more heart-centered and open-minded people.
– Western and Eastern medicine are being integrated into a more holistic healthcare approach. Doctors are in partnership with their patients. Quality healthcare is available to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay.
– Common sense, respect for mother nature, and compassion keep us grounded as we develop new technologies and enter an exciting new era of rapid innovation.

This week on The Fierce Leadership Call we were talking about taking radical responsibility for ourselves and our world. Someone made a comment about random acts of kindness and I’ve been thinking about the invisible impact and the ripple effect of kindness. It reminded me of the “Kindness Boomerang” video below, which captures the essence of my dream for our world: love, respect, compassion.

If you take nothing else from my sharing my vision with you, take this: Be kind to each other. Protect each other. Help each other. Love each other.