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.

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.

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.