The Thing I Hate The Most (Two Things, Actually)

“I hate that I’m at the forefront of my business,” I shared with my mentor the other day. We were talking about the importance of branding yourself as a thought leader when you want to speak and teach and write.

“Really?” He asked, tilting his head with a bit of uncertainty.

“Hate it.”

I also hate signing my own book.

My guy is such a sweetheart, always sharing it with his friends and family and clients. Always pushing it out into the world, to people who need it. And always asking me to sign it for the people he’s gifting it to.

But the truth is, I hate signing my own book.
I usually won’t unless I’m pushed to.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my book.

I’m so very proud of the work that went into creating it. Over three years of writing tips boiled down into a year’s worth of our favorites. Working with my amazing team to get it ready to be published. Growing the following and seeing people order it from all over the world, thanking me for the words inside of it.

And I love my business.

I love writing and sharing and teaching and coaching. I love growing my brand and my audience, impacting more and more people as we go. I love this big body of work I’ve carefully crafted over the last five years. My business is a huge piece of me. It’s my legacy. I’ve poured all of me into it.

I just hate being at the forefront.
Having to sign the book.
Being in the spotlight.

This is something that many service based entrepreneurs struggle with, which is why I’m being honest with you right now. We just want to serve. We want to contribute and create and change the world in our own special way. We want to watch as our work touches the lives of others, as they grow and change and create what they desire. We want to watch it permeate the globe, reaching as far and wide as it’s needed. We love the creation and birthing process.

But the public part? That’s not easy.
And sometimes it even feels hard and yucky.

I get it. I totally do.

And yet here I am in front of you today telling this story.

Here I am, five years in, standing up in front of more and more people. Pushing myself and my little business further and further into the public eye. Building up my name and my brand. Taking on more of the spotlight.

Why?

Because that’s what the work requires of us.

Especially now when the world is starved for connection and transparency and genuine expression.

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There was a point a couple years ago where I fell to my knees and offered myself up to something greater than me. The Universe, God, Spirit, Source. “Use me up and spit me out,” I said. All I’ve ever wanted is to be of service… to contribute and create and help others do the same. To leave the world, and the people I’m blessed to cross paths with, a little better than I found them.

And the direction I’m headed requires me to stand up, with as much presence as I can, and speak my truth. Share my words. Release the things that move through me. Get the word out. Help as many people as I can. Rally as many more as I can.

The work I feel called to do in the coming years is big. It’s not going to be easy, and it’s going to be met with a lot of resistance and obstacles along the way.

It requires me to stand firmly at the forefront.
Loud and proud and there for the whole world to see.

I don’t like it one bit. But it’s part of the work, and so I do it.
And I’m grateful, despite my discomfort, for every opportunity to show up.

Whatever your work is in the world, big or small, it’s going to require you to step out into the world and say, “hey, I’m here and I’m doing this thing.” It requires you to show up as fully as possible. To connect with truth and transparency. To share yourself and your story, to whatever degree feels good.

So shine that beautiful light bright my friend.
The world needs you, whether you want them looking or not.

What Would You Have Me Say?

“What would you have me say,” I whisper with intention and a bit of frustration (inspired by A Course in Miracles). I’m watching the cursor blink on the stark white page of my writing software. It’s painfully empty, taunting me with all its space. Tormenting me with its desire to be filled with words I don’t have.

I close my eyes, taking a deep breath to settle into the stillness. “Tell me,” I query to the empty space within, “what would you have me say?”

People often tell me I’m a very prolific writer. Which sounds super fancy with such a pretty word – prolific – but really it just means I write a lot. And I do, I write an outrageous amount of words each and every year. On this blog. In my journal. For products and programs and clients. In emails to my friends and family.

New words. New ideas. New posts. New products.
Never seeming to run out of things to share.

The truth is: I produce a lot of words, but I don’t consider myself a prolific writer.

I’m simply an open, devout, intentional receiver.

I show up, consistently, and let the words flow through me.

Lots of people ask me how I write so much. Usually they’re looking for some kind of tool or trick or technique. Some formula they can follow to hit so many words each day, with goals of driving traffic to their website or creating programs.

When I started this blog five years ago, that was my focus too. I wanted readers and subscribers and eventual clients. So I brainstormed a lot. I wrote compelling headlines that would hopefully make people open my emails. I crafted posts that supported the headline and had a clear call to action. I modeled what marketers were doing or recommending. I was strategic in everything I did.

I forced the words to come through.
I pushed and crafted and willed them into being.

And you know what?
They were perfectly fine words.

They helped people. They grew my email list. They brought me my first clients and opportunities online. They laid the foundation for an enormous body of work that I’m proud to have crafted over the years.

But they didn’t connect with people the way I connect today. They didn’t move people as deeply as my words do today. They didn’t tell a story. They didn’t touch on the heart of the matter in a way that people could exhale into, in a way that made others feel less alone.

And that’s the point, isn’t it?
For all of us to feel a little less alone?

We think we’re buying solutions to specific external problems. Our finances. Our businesses. Our relationships. But we’re really after a feeling or an experience… and usually those feelings and experiences boil down to simple desires we all share: to belong, to connect, to contribute, and to live a life we’re proud of and inspired by. That’s really it.

More importantly, we’re all intrinsically connected. Which is why we value depth and truth and connection, especially from the people we give money to help us create what we desire.

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So my advice to you if you want to write or create or share more prolifically and write with more impact, touching the hearts of those who come across your message, it’s not about churning out… it’s about tuning in, opening wide, and receiving.

Which is what I do when I tune in and ask, “what would you have me say?” I don’t force. I don’t strategize. I don’t will the words into being. I create the space for them to flow from a place that is far wiser, more inspiring, and more on point than I could ever be alone.

It’s called channeling. It’s not woo woo… It’s simply tuning in and allowing that wiser part of you – that wiser energy in this world – to say what needs to be said.

Sometimes it takes several minutes.
Sometimes it takes an hour.
Sometimes it takes days.
But the words eventually come.

Lastly, here’s a truth I need to be reminded of from time to time that may also serve you well in these moments: I’m not in charge of the message.

I let it flow and I set it free (with some proofing and spellchecking), and trust that it will land exactly as and where it needs to. It always does. :)

Permission to Be Unreasonable

“I don’t know when to trust myself and how to know if I’m being unreasonable,” she wrote to me. “On being ‘unreasonable,’” I replied, “who cares?”

I remember when I was in a relationship that wasn’t making me happy several years back. It just always felt like something was missing, and no matter how I tried to broach the conversation, I was met with a response that felt like I was being told, “this is just the way relationships are.” I shouldn’t be upset, because he was a good guy. He didn’t hit me. He didn’t cheat on me.

For crying out loud, what more could I possibly want?

Well… a lot actually.

I craved depth of connection, someone who was willing to dive deep into our hearts, souls, hopes, and fears. Who wasn’t afraid of my passion and intensity, someone who wouldn’t make me feel like “too much.” I craved passion and spark and overwhelming love. Someone who made me feel things in my heart I’d never felt before. I craved real presence, someone who would really show up for me and us and our life together. Someone who let me know I was adored, who would care for me and keep me safe, emotionally and physically.

For a long while, I allowed others to make me feel wrong for what I desired. I let myself believe what I wanted was only possible in movies and books, because they “weren’t real.” I tried to convince myself that I was just being ridiculous and asking for things that didn’t exist. I tried to settle in and accept that what I had was “good enough.” I practiced insane levels of gratitude and presence… but it just never took. I could never settle in fully. I could never feel true happiness.

Finally, one day, I got pissed off.

I remember during another one of our spats, finally saying, “I don’t care if it’s not possible in this life, I would rather end up a spinster cat lady than to settle for less than I desire and deserve. I would rather end up alone. And I don’t need to be in a relationship just to be in one.”

Needless to say, we didn’t last.

I can tell you absolute certainty that the only way I was able to find and attract my amazing man, a true partner who meets me on all levels, has everything to do with me being totally “unreasonable” when it came to love. It has everything to do with the fact that I refused to settle in the ways many others choose to. In life, love, friendships, my work. I refused to settle for less than I desire and deserve.

Sometimes that made me feel like I was being a selfish jerk, because honestly, I wasn’t used to taking a stand for what I wanted. I was used to others telling me how things should be, and trying to bend and fold and fit myself to what they wanted to make them happy. Mostly, that made other people frustrated, because they didn’t understand, or because I triggered them around where they had chosen to settle for something or someone that’s less than they desired and deserved.

When it comes to what we “deserve,” that word can be triggering in and of itself. It comes with a sense of entitlement that can stir up a lot of our “who do I think I am to…” fear and self-doubt.

First, I don’t care who you are or what your story is, you deserve nothing less than what your heart and soul desire. You deserve love and joy and passion. You deserve to be fulfilled in every area of your life. To be nurtured and cared for and deeply supported. No one is more or less deserving than anyone else.

Second, no one has the right to tell you that you’re being unreasonable. While a lot of people are doing things to improve their lives – saving money, working out, eating healthy, and maybe even doing some spiritual or personal development and growth work – very few people have the tenacity to really, truly do the work and go after what they desire and deserve. Especially when it’s unclear if what they want is even possible. These people love to cut your dreams and desires down into more “manageable pieces,” because they don’t want to face the fact that they’re settling in their own life, and it’s easier to bring you down than to rise up themselves.

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The ones who choose to do the work… the ones who refuse to accept the “standard” or “expected” or “good enough” in any aspect of their life… the ones who refuse to ignore the tiny whispers of their soul, crying out for more or better or deeper or truer… they end up with nothing short of extraordinary. In life. In partnership. In work and finances. In living life to the fullest.

My life isn’t perfect. My man and I are far from graceful inside our love. My business has a lot of room to grow and align. I have so much to learn. So many more mistakes and missteps to make. But am I happier and more in love and more fulfilled than I’ve ever been. Than I’ve ever known others around me to be. And no matter what, I will continue to be outrageously unreasonable and unwavering in what I demand from this life and the people who share it with me.

Because we deserve it.

And the last thing any of us want to do is leave this life with regret or wonder that if we had just trusted ourselves a little more, ignored the naysayers, and followed our hearts… Could life have been unbelievably magical and fulfilling?

Building Trust Through Transparency

“I love your transparency,” she said as she laughed along with me at the absurdity of the technical glitches I’d encountered trying to run my first group Acupressure session. It was pretty funny actually… considering that at one point, I was carefully sliding my hand off camera to grab my purse and fish out my credit card as I watched the “your trial meeting is about to end” timer count down.

I have to admit, I played it super cool. Like, no one had any idea that we were 34 seconds away from being completely disconnected before I was able to get the website to finally register my payment, all while I was leading people through some deeply focused energy work. High fives all around, right?

While I may have played it super cool during the whole ridiculousness, I didn’t act like nothing happened. I also didn’t lose my cool and flip out on the service provider. I laughed, a bunch. Ate some ice cream. Then told everyone about it so they could laugh with me. Because, seriously, how does that happen?

I’m nothing if not real with my clients.

Because it’s important everyone remembers I’m human.

Which means, I’m going to let you down. I’m going to mess up, spectacularly at times. I’m going to fall short or miss the mark completely every now and then. I’m going to forget. I’m going to get taken out at the knees by life and knocked around a bit. And, apparently, I’m also going to miss whatever ridiculously small print informed me that my account was a trial account, and I’m going to nearly get dropped in the middle of a live group session as I fumble around for my credit card.

I’m human, which by definition means I’m imperfect.

To be clear, I don’t say this to give myself a pass for letting people down. I strive to always deliver on time and above expectations. I strive to have my programs run seamlessly and without hiccups. I believe in keeping my word and giving my best. But I’ll still mess up, and I’m not afraid to admit that to the people who pay me money to tell them how to run a successful business.

Because, guess what?
Turns out they’re human too.

And acting like I have everything together 100% of the time is only going to stress me out, and set an impossible standard for them… one they’re never going to be able to reach. Because it’s not possible to be perfect all the time.

I’ve worked behind the scenes with hundreds of clients over the years. Big name clients with flashy websites and enormous mailing lists. I’ve built their membership sites and sales pages and walked through their launches with them.

I’m sorry to say that about 90% of those people straight up lost their shit over the tiniest, most insignificant details being out of place. When the technology failed, as it does, they turned into these awful launchzillas with nary a kind word in sight… only to go and put on a happy, shiny, “everything is so amazingly wonderful all the time in my world” front to their audience.

No, no, no.
I refuse to do that.

When I first started out, I bought into the idea that I was supposed to be perfect all the time. It was stressful, and I felt like I couldn’t really show up fully as myself. I couldn’t teach certain things until I was far through or beyond them, because god forbid my list know that sometimes I struggle too.

I’m sure that some people don’t hire me because of this… and that’s okay. They’re not ready to admit that perfection isn’t attainable, and that it’s okay to be human, inside and out of our businesses.

But the ones who do?

They love it, and they tell me all the time. They appreciate that I’m real and transparent. They stood by my side when my whole world flipped upside down after grief broke me clean in two. When I couldn’t be anything close to perfect, because I was too deeply shattered to function how I did before.

Mostly, they’re relieved to know they’re not alone.

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Being imperfect doesn’t mean you don’t know your stuff. I’m damn good at what I do, despite the missteps and spectacular failures. I deliver results, despite the tech glitches and absurd hiccups along the way. And most importantly, I always do my absolute best in any given moment. That’s all that matters.

Stop striving for perfection… whether it’s in your relationships, your business, or some other area of your life. Embrace the imperfections and the quirks. Laugh at the failures as they explode brilliantly around you. Shed a tear if you must, but keep breathing through the disappointments and frustrations. And if you really want to be of service to others… be honest and transparent about what it really means to do the work you do, have the life you have, and be in the amazing relationship you’re in. I promise you’ll build a stronger audience that trusts you deeply.

Knowing This, What Will You Choose?

This life is short.

You know that already, because it’s one of those cliche sentiments people like to express from time to time. Without much thought. Without much presence. Without much connection to the truth and the weight of those four simple words.

This life is short. So. Very. Short.

I’ve always lived with a hyper awareness of death. I don’t know why… maybe being suicidal as a teen opened my eyes to something most of my friends thought nothing about. They were focused on boys and clothes and who went with who to the mall that weekend. Not me. Okay, so I thought about boys too (they were cute and fun to kiss after all). But mostly I thought a lot about death.

I wondered what the point of it all was. Why we worried so much about things that don’t really matter. Why no one stopped to ask things like why they perfectly manicured their yards to look like everyone else’s.

I mean, seriously though… who decided these things mattered so much?

If there’s anything at the core of feeling like you don’t belong, I would venture to guess it has a lot to do with not understanding why most people do and think and act like they do. Feeling like an alien in this world, watching others and feeling completely dumbfounded by all of it, while also feeling immense pressure to “fit in” alongside it.

After I decided I would never be dying at my own hand, I started trying to figure out the whole life thing out. I went to college and graduated at the top of my class. I got an amazing job, with amazing benefits and pay. I bought a house with my high school sweetheart. I owned my own car.

But as the story goes… I was miserable, and once I’d achieved everything I set out to achieve without feeling love or joy or passion or fulfillment, I took a sledgehammer to every aspect, trying desperately to find happiness.

I remember when I was home visiting family in New Mexico one fall. I was in the midst of tearing my perfect little life to pieces, and my dad was big on “the world ending in 2012” chatter. Talking about the Mayans and the calendar and a bunch of other stuff I don’t remember. I do remember what stuck with me though… death. The end of the world. Life as we know it suddenly ending.

And while I didn’t believe in the end of the world happening on a random December day in 2012, I was reminded what used to drive me at my core. The hyper awareness that life really is short, it’s not just a thing we say randomly to others in passing. With no real resonance in our souls.

This life is short.

You can read that and you can think, “uh huh, I know, right?” and then carry on with your day and to do list and the things that don’t light you up.

That’s what most people do… because sitting with the weight of the truth behind those four simple words can be so deeply unsettling.

It forces you to stop and think about where you’re at and what you’re doing. It would force you to face who you’re doing these things with. How you’re spending your time. Your one short, precious life. And for most people, unfortunately, what’s uncovered is more than uncomfortable.

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Facing these truths for myself was some of the hardest work I’ve ever done.

Untangling myself from the wrong relationships, time and time again… facing the patterns that brought me into them in the first place… and working through the deep seeded beliefs that were tearing me up inside is the only reason I was able to meet the love of my life. The only reason I’m in a true partnership with a phenomenal soul that pushes me to grow. That loves me for exactly who I am.

Facing down my greatest fears and walking into the most uncomfortable situations that stretched my soul… leaping head first into that which was terrifying, but that I was intuitively guided to… and picking myself up after each misstep and spectacular failure, over and over again, is the only reason that I’ve actually made significant changes in my life and business. That I’ve stepped deeply into the truth of who I am and who I’m here to be, doing my soul’s work.

Getting really uncomfortable and taking massive risks… enduring the many hard months where I was stretched so thin I didn’t think I would ever sleep again… and devoting myself, no matter what, to the people and things and opportunities that most resonated in my heart is the only reason that I experience the freedom and fulfillment and passion I have in every aspect of my life. Even when it’s hard and challenging. Even when things fall apart, time and time again (because, such is life).

Being willing to face the truth of where I’m not happy or not showing up fully… being able to face the truth of those four simple words—this life is short—with total presence and understanding and terror, is the only way I’ve been able to create a life and relationship and business that truly the lights me up. There’s no other way.

“Life is short” isn’t permission to just run amuck and do whatever you want… but it is an opportunity to check in and get honest about what’s working and what’s not. Because before you know it you’ll be older than you are today. You’ll never be as young and inspired as you are in this moment again. Knowing that, what will you choose to do today? How will you work to ensure you’re creating a life that’s truly aligned? That’s filled with joy and passion and depth and love?

It’s changed my life. It made me became clear on where I am heading with my career and now it’s all falling into place. I can see it going just the way I dreamed of. I’m full of ideas and creativity now and I can put those ideas into practice. I’ve got my fire back. I’m excited, happy and full of energy. Thank you.

— Charlie Oswin