On cooking shows, mystery ingredients, transformation and Amy Palko

Cooking shows are one of my guilty pleasures. Specifically the kind that challenge the chefs with mystery ingredients.

Ooh…what will they do with that processed cheese and shredded coconut? Those morels and doughnuts?

Because, of course, the real question is, what would I do with the processed cheese and doughnuts.

The rub, of course, is that the judges expect the chefs to transform the ingredient into something symphonic…but not so very much that the essence is compromised.

This is where it gets tricky.

It’s easy to hide processed cheese in a mélange of emmental and kirsch to make a cheese fondue. Quite another to transform it in such a way that the, umm, ‘integrity’ and essence of the processed cheese not only remains in tact, but is in fact, highlighted. The star of the dish.

Tricky to be sure.

Stepping into your starring role, and frankly ALL transformative journeys, can feel like a high-stakes version of this sort of cooking show.

I THINK I want to step into my starring role, but what happens when I go deep? Will I discover something that will compromise the essence of who I am?

Ah. Here it is. The essence of the soul cannot be transmuted.

And Step into Your Starring Role is about getting to the essence of who you are. The role you were born to play…THAT role is YOU.

Got that? Your starring role is YOU.

As the luminous luminary Amy Palko discovered. And thank sweet merciful heavens she did.

In her words.

Before Step into Your Starring Role, I was really in a place of confusion which was circling around feelings of invalidation. I was casting around for guidance on what the next step for me on my journey was, and I was coming up with nothing. I couldn’t see even a fragment of a “big dream” that felt authentic to me. And so I was investing time and energy, albeit reluctantly, into dreams that I felt were “sanctioned” – dreams that I thought it was ok, even natural, to aim for. But they were a wrong fit. And so I ended up treading water, while in my heart of hearts, what I knew I really wanted was permission. Permission to want what I want.

The new reality is that my dreams are not someone else’s dreams. And that my dreams and their dreams can coexist without cancelling one another out. That we can all want what we want, and that’s a beautiful thing. I now see that my search for permission was leading me back to me, because I am the only one who can give it.

Amy-Palko-option-1I can write poetry. I can do goddess readings. I can tell stories. I can commune with the sacred feminine. I can generate real and resonant connections just through sharing my truth, through sharing my heart. And that this can be enough. That I am a juicy creatrix, and that I can either deny that part of myself, or I can let it free… and life feels so much better when I let it free.

And if that were all not enough, I have also aligned with my values in a way I never knew possible. I have learned ways to deal with my critics, both inner and outer. I have found out that making the ask makes everything so much easier… and that ease is not a dirty word.

I have learned that my starring role is to be Amy Palko. And that I don’t need external validation to step into that role. I just need to give myself permission to live it. And I do.

SIYSR has made it possible for me to stop pushing and start allowing. This looks like welcoming interns to help me hold the energy of my Goddess Guidance group. This looks like travelling to San Francisco to co-host a workshop on women’s desire. (TG note:: if you’re in San Francisco…you MUST check out Liberating Lilith…sublime. If it weren’t the same weekend as my daughter’s birthday, I would be there in a heartbeat.)

This looks like curating a new poetry collection. This looks like feeling out the edges of a larger writing project that is sitting on the cusp of articulation. All while continuing to deliver in my business. In fact, knowing that my business benefits exponentially when I take care of my number one resource – me.

Can you feel the deep sense of ahhhhhh in that? The essence of Amy Palko remains in tact, in integrity. The results? Deliciously symphonic.

So…getting ready to Step into Your Starring Role? Doors open March 17th. Get on the list for early bonuses.

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What’s the axle around which your work revolves?

erin-giles-option-1

My daughter is learning about simple machines in school right now. You know…inclines, wedges, screws, levers, pulleys, wheels and axles…that kinda thing. She’s been arguing the case that without the axle, pulleys and wheels don’t function properly, and as such, they’re the most important. (Axles for the win, said very few people, ever.)

So, naturally, I’m thinking about axles. And how it relates to the core of what each of us does. How freeing it is to see and know the axle around which all of our work revolves. And how the work we do REQUIRES that axle for revolution. Circular. And stable. And guess what loathes stability? Yup. The Impostor Complex.

Take Erin Giles. She is a wildly brilliant new mama of two. She has a heart the size of all the Southern States (and a sweet accent to show for it). She is powerful and innovative and loves fiercely. My kind of woman.

Two years ago, she invited me to be a part of her End Sex Trafficking Day campaign. I was honoured and of course, keen.

She’s a woman up to incredible things. AND a former Step into Your Starring Role participant.

In her words.

Before SIYSR I considered myself a business owner, a coach a consultant even…but not a leader or a teacher. Tanya helped me see no matter what title I used or how good I felt about the work I did I wasn’t fully stepping into my role because I didn’t see myself as a leader. I felt like an imposter and it wasn’t until my work with her that I realized just how important it was for me to claim my role as a leader.

So Erin’s axle is that of leader.

And when she started to recognize that she’s a leader, when she got it, REALLY GOT IT, it’s made all the difference. And it informs all that she does.

Within months of claiming the role as a leader and teacher, I’ve been invited to speak at two engagements that last year I wouldn’t have dreamed I would be stepping up on stage at.

I’m not saying I’m not intimidated still, I’m nervous as can be but I said YES. I’m stepping up and recognizing that the work I bring needs to be heard. 

AND ohmygoodness it needs to be heard. Seriously. She’s inspiring entrepreneurs everywhere to take a good look at their own give-back style that sets them on track to creating social impact (and her free week Mission: Movement Maker starts soon…sign up here).

Her goals for this year

To welcome speaking engagements, offerings and products that I know I need to say yes to and to be confident in doing so. What I’m really happy about is knowing that it’s ok, normal even to be nervous stepping into my role, but doing it 110% in spite of.

As I type these words, Erin is hours of taking the stage at a conference. And she’s going to rock it. As she did on the TEDx stage last year.

So…what’s the axle around which all of your work revolves? Are you claiming it? Owning it? ‘Cause once you do, doors open. Promise.

PS – Speaking of doors, the Step into Your Starring Role doors open March 17th. Get on the list for early bonuses.

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How do you want to feel?

Oh, that Danielle. How do you want to feel, she asks.

Like a heat + clarity-seeking truth missile, how do you want to feel locates the core  of it all…and detonates with the light of a thousand suns.

When I first got my hands on the Desire Map, I devoured it and allowed the juices to run down my chin and arms. Delicious fruit can be eaten no other way.

And then, in February, 2013, I was invited by Team D to share my core desired feelings with the Desire Mapper community. I was honoured, touched and a little shy. Naming desires can feel, so, public. Even selfish? Ooooh yeah…THAT. Maybe I’ll be judged for the flimsiness of my desires. Maybe my desires aren’t enough.

You read that correctly. “Maybe my desires aren’t enough.” Given that this is the work that I do, THAT feels hard to admit. Because here’s what I know to be true…at the very foundation of it all, this life, this VERY life is short. And deeply precious. Your purpose is rooted in what you desire. And living a life of purpose, to me, is what it’s all about. Circular sweetness.

It’s called evolution.

In celebration of Danielle’s new site, and my desire for YOU to name your desires, I wanted to revisit my responses from February to see what has changed in the past 11 months. Much has, but not my core desired feelings.

Q+A with Team Danielle (February 2013)

1. What are your core desired feelings? Or even tell us just one.

Joy, joy and more joy.

“Don’t postpone joy” was my Mama’s mantra and it has informed how I’ve lived (and loved) for the last couple of years of my life…which, not surprisingly, have been the most joyful. (Mm hmm.)

And for me to feel my personal brand of joy, I must feel prosperous, gorgeous, generous, in connection and grateful (ever grateful).

2. What have you stopped doing so that you could create one/all of these core desired feelings?

I’ve given up the empty calories of regret. Not postponing joy has required me to stop living in the past. Bemoaning twists and turns, zigs and zags has always left me feeling insufficient, ugly, stingy, disconnected and selfish. Unhooking myself from coulda woulda shoulda’s feels infinitely lighter…more me.

3. What are you doing THIS week to generate any of your core desired feelings?

I’ll be in NYC at the end of the month for the wrap-up day of The Golden Ticket (with Michelle Ward). I’m bringing my family and I just booked a pretty sweet hotel room (with plans to do it up right). That’s mighty aligned with how prosperous feels to me.

(Update:: it.was.a.blast.)

I’m gorgi-fying my work space this week. New paint, new furniture, framing the kid’s art. I’m also gorgi-fying my post-holiday self-care. Things got a little, erm, “festive” over the holidays (read: I apologize if I didn’t leave any brie and prosecco for you). But instead of berating myself with the coulda woulda shouldas, I’ve got a plan in motion that feels as gorgeous as I want to feel.

The desire to feel generous + grateful have led to daily inquiries: Who can I help today? What am I grateful for? Turns out, these are muscles that are quite loose and limber already, so I know there’s an opportunity for me to dive deeper and strengthen them.

As for connection, there’s a way that the first week of the year feels like it’s all ABOUT connecting: like the holidays have shone a light on the relationships that matter. So the work required for me won’t be this week: it will be in ensuring that I keep this light on throughout the year.

4. What are you listening to that gets your core desired feelings revved up?

All music that I can hear in my heart makes me feel grateful.

Iron + Wine’s Trapeze Swinger and Bon Iver’s Holocene are two mainlines for me to feel connected with my own fine self. A little kitchen dancing to Michael Franti brings my family’s heart back to centre.

Old-school Annie Lennox makes me feel gorgeous.

Music that makes me feel generous or prosperous? I’ll get back to you on that.

{Side note: children singing the national anthem and bagpipers in parades makes my heart melt from something that feels like joy, but that includes a confounding cocktail of sweet sadness, frisson, and inexplicably, silliness.)

So this morning, I checked in with the question:: How do I want to feel? And the answer:: As ever, generous, in connection and grateful (ever grateful), prosperous and gorgeous.

What I’m doing in 2014 to keep those lit up.

There’s always room for me to deepen into generosity. There is no doubt that this aspect of my realm wants some more attention. How can I offer more of my time, talents and attention in ways that are helpful, loving, and truthful…this is my continued enquiry. I’m gaining on it.

It’s the “in connection” piece that has been troubling me. Oh, my natural set-point as a 2 on the Enneagram and a Myers-Briggs ESFJ makes good ‘n sure that that I pay extra attention and offer exquisite care to my family, friends and clients. But my list, the lovely human beings who have offered me permission to contact them with my words…I’ve been wanting to find more meaningful ways to connect with them. And so, desire leads to action and I’m currently working on a Monthly Missive (so much more gorgeous than “newsletter”, non?). It will offer Backstage Access to what I’m working on, appreciating, sharing and will invite readers to go deeper in their own enquiry (as desired). And swag bags, yes yes yes…treats every month. (I’d get on the list if I were you. And you can thank Danielle later.)

How do YOU want to feel? Get out the Map.

Get out the map
And lay your finger anywhere down
We’ll leave the figurin’ to those
We pass on our way out of town
Don’t drink the water
There seems to be somethin’ ailin’ everyone
I’m gonna clear my head
I’m gonna drink that sun
I’m gonna love you good and strong
While our love is good and young.

 - Indigo Girls (Get out the Map)

Knowing the answer to how you want to feel WILL transform everything. How you relate, communicate, love, work, cook, sing, plan, parent, create. Everything. Danielle and the Desire Map suite of goodness will guide you through the elegant process of getting to the heart of (what) matters:: your desires.

So…how do YOU want to feel?
big-b

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Ampersands & Otherselves. (Or, Your Contradictions are Your Brilliance.)

This I know.

You, just like me, want to be liked, understood, seen and heard. Intellectually, you get that not EVERYONE will get you and you’re (mostly) fine with that, as long as YOUR PEOPLE get you. (Though, let’s face it: wouldn’t it be so much nicer if everyone just found you as delightful as you truly are?)

In that desire to be liked, understood, or to fit in, we are super intentional and hyper-aware of what we’re revealing to our world (and NOT revealing.) Which can have us shelving parts of ourselves that don’t follow the script we believe we’re supposed to follow…or that we believe others expect us to follow. Our OTHERselves get edited out, like the mess that’s cropped out of the picture.

To be received as wise, we shelve our goofiness. To be received as powerful, we shelve our vulnerability.

What if you didn’t?

What if you imagined, for just a little while, that not only could we handle your otherselves, but that it would actually offer us yet another place to lean in, appreciate and learn from you?

That your strands of apparent contractions add depth and gorgeous texture to the fabric of your being, designed by your soul?

That the fullness of your expression invites the same in us?

That what you are editing out is precisely what we need?

And moreoever, precisely what YOU need to honour your own intrinsic value of authenticity?

You are tender & fierce.

You are wise & a goofball.

You are warm & an unapologetic truth-teller.

You are deeply pragmatic & wildly creative.

You are this & that.

The two facets are not at odds; they are in complement.  They are the umami & the sweetness. The harmony & the melody. The orange & the purple. The masculine & the feminine.

You’ve been shelving your otherselves for so long that this may feel like a welcome relief or may knot you up even tighter. Just trust me. There is nothing but expansion available to you when you make room for your ampersands.

Witness:: Business magnate & enlightened social activist. NHL goalie & lawyer.  Cyber-punk & pastor. Silver screen star & inventor.

Bring in your ampersands & otherselves

Don’t shelve your otherselves in an attempt to make it easier for us to receive you. Not only can we take you as you are, but we are richer for your ampersands.

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I am a Force of Nature. Even when I feel anything but. You are too.

It’s been a bit of a doozy of a couple of months. Many, many highs, and many lows. Not a whole lot in the middle. But, y’know. I can take it. And all those highs are so, so gooooooooood. The lows are inconsequential, right? And besides, I’m tough and I’m softly malleable. I’m loved. I’m well-supported. I know what to ask for. I receive well. So, y’know, I’m good.

Except, I haven’t really felt good.

So when an “energy guy” came highly recommended by two friends I trust with all I have, I listened.

And so did he. Though before he could listen, he needed to clear some profound exhaustion that I didn’t know existed. Before he spoke to a profound sadness that I didn’t know existed.

Did you?

I’ll be honest that there’s is a part of me that wasn’t 100% convinced. I mean, we’re all carrying a little tired and a little sad, non? Part of the light and dark of life that makes it so, erm, rich, right? And then, I took a look at some pictures that were taken of me earlier in the day. There was a void in my eyes that I haven’t ever, EVER seen. And it scared the HELL out of me.

How long have I been sad? And then this:: What right do I have to be sad? I am so bloody fortunate and grateful and lucky and blessed and, and, and…

Sidebar:: Sometimes we get ourselves in a fair bit of hot water for not asking for what we need. But sometimes we don’t KNOW what we need.

Perhaps the reason for the long dispute over the source of the adage: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle” is due to the fact that it’s incomplete.

Perhaps it needs to be updated.

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle they might not even know they’re fighting.

Once I saw that I was IN a battle, I did what I do best, surrendered to the wisdom of some of my nearest and dearest and asked::

I could use your honest loving.
Have you been receiving me as sad lately?

Julie Daley spoke up first, within minutes.
yes. I will tell you. but I’d rather do it on skype, with you, not here.

As ever, she gave me a soft place to land. She gave me this question::
“what do you trust in when everything is pulled out from under you?”

Oh. My.

That my light is abundant, was my answer.

Julie Daley does deep, powerful and transformative work. She can hold your tears. She has no fear of snot (trust me on that one). She can hold your power. And her Becoming a Force of Nature program registration starts now. This is not an affiliate link. This is a you-need-to-know-her-power link. You can take it. You are a force of nature.

And so am I. Whether I’m sad or otherwise. Up or down. I am a force of nature. 

Related:: let’s be patient with one another, shall we? Some are fighting battles they didn’t even know they were fighting.

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Are you a fair weather friend to your desires?

It was pure delight to get to speak with Kate Northrup on Tuesday. Pure + unadulterated. Being with someone so present in their star power is like that.

You can watch the Step into Your Starring Role telejam here…TONS of good nuggets of wisdom to be had. About money, priorities, freedom, alignment, praise and criticism, being an understudy, feeling like a fraud. Amazing to think we tackled all that AND laughed our asses off.

It was the conversation about priorities that I’ve been sitting with. How we say we want more money, to be more present, to have more intimacy, to have more grace, to be more organized, to write more, to take better care of our relationships, to eat better, to learn how to tie a scarf like a Parisian woman (oh, maybe that’s just me), to play a bigger game, to let in more love, to step into our starring role…

And then? (You can see where I’m going here.)

Yup.

We don’t take action.

The morning of the telejam, I had a tough conversation with our daughter about what it means to be a good friend and what it means to be a fair weather friend.

Someone who’s only there when THEY need you. And then who abandons you when they don’t.

(It’s the same conversation I had with my mother when I was nine. I’m still learning.)

In her fabulously delightful and practical book Money: A Love Story, Kate counsels readers to consider their own Money Story. So I did. And in doing so realized that I have spent much of my life in that kind of fair weather relationship with money. Attentive and concerned when I’ve needed it, ambivalent and blithe when I haven’t. And then shocked when my money situation needed my attention and concern once again.

Seriously, if you were money, would YOU want to stick around for that kind of friend? Me neither.

Kate asked::

Are your actions lining up to what you (say you) really want? (Tweet this)

Good one. What are you making more important than what you say you want? 

Try this.

Step one:: Declare what you want. (Understanding WHY you want it is imperative.)
Step two:: Love that desire in being. Take action. Tend to it. Nurture it. Be faithful to it.  (In short, make it happen).
Step three:: Keep doing step two.

What kind of a friend does your faith, money, art, starring role need you to be for it to stick around?

You know how to be a good friend. Fair weather just isn’t your style.

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PS – DO NOT MISS my upcoming Step into Your Starring Role telejam with Danielle LaPorte, the Doyenne of Desires.

PPS – Registration closes for the 12-Week Step into Your Starring Role program on September 20th. Curtain opens September 23rd.  Coming? Questions?

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just-spending-time (or: how to change your entire life)

There are very few women who could convince me to join them on the other side of the continent for a weekend in one well-crafted email. But Ronna Detrick is that woman. Powerful, brilliant, persuasive and an Empress. I love her. And I have since traversed the continent again, beguiled by the crook of her finger and the assurance of good conversation and the sisterhood of phenomenal women that she manages to summon. (The first weekend on Whidbey Island, I got to play and pontificate with Tara Sophia Mohr, Julie Daley, Lianne Raymond and Andrea Olson. The next time, we hit Seattle and I got to swim in wonder and wisdom with Tara Gentile, Amy Oscar, Callahan McDonough, Andrea Mee Maurer and Andrea Olson again). There will be many more such weekends. Oh yes indeed.

It was during this second visit that she gifted me with “Extravagant”, an exquisite piece conceived in collaboration with Callahan. They are creating and curating a collection of 30 unique paintings inspired by Ronna’s writings about women in Scripture. It all started (as it would) with Eve. Ronna authors the narrative, Callahan interprets and paints the accompanying diptych. Artful, meaningful synergy.

The pieces are just sublime, to be certain. And the beauty of the art and the words continues to still me.

Extravagant

ExtravagantText-750x1024

 

When they presented each of us with our respective diptychs that morning in Seattle, they both spoke to their work, their art, but what struck me was the reverence they held for each other’s genius. The delight they took in each others’ brilliance. THAT’s what I’m talking about.  Witnessing these two powerful women co-create in such a magical way thrills me to no end.

Sisters, I believe that we must collaborate together. Not just for funsies…but for healing. For our deep work to commence in a meaningful way.

“You put women together, they make peace. Women are the leaders of the future.” – The Dalai Lama via Danielle LaPorte

And I’ve invited Ronna to share more about her work with Callahan, why collaboration matters and the power of being with. Because she KNOWS.

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just-spending-time (or: how to change your entire life)

There is a way in which to garner more creativity, more support, and more love than you could possibly imagine; a way to change your entire life. And yet, most of us struggle and strain nearly all the time. Want the answer? The secret? The three-step plan?

It’s way simpler than three steps and there is no secret. But here’s the answer: just-spending-time (with women).

I mean it. Not at networking events (though those are great). Not in coaching circles (though those are invaluable). Not at your kids’ playgroup (though thank goodness such exist). Not on Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest (though these are amazing and lovely). In each other’s homes. The living room. The kitchen. Across the table. Coffee brewed. Or wine poured.

just-spending-time

In the press to build our business, write brilliant prose, create incredible online offerings, and oh yes, make money, it is beyond-easy to swirl in a world of work, or at least effort. And it deceives us…even slightly…because so much of it has us connected to an entire world of (online) women.

But what we need – desperately and definitely – is in-person, up-close laughter and honest conversation and sometimes confession and even tears. What we need is each other. And the best (if not only) way to make that happen is by just-spending-time.

More valuable than any strategy, any professional development, any coaching or counseling, even any hard-work to generate revenue, it has been the gift of just-spending-time with women I love (and who love me back) that has merited the most profound and significant results in my life.

I’ve spent hours and hours (and hours and hours) at my friend Andrea’s house or her at mine. We could not count (without some level of shame) the bottles of wine we have consumed. And we have talked of everything – kids, parents, work, relationships, life, money, and yes – online business development, product creation, social media strategy. In the process of just-spending-time I have become clearer and clearer on my brand; but more, clearer and clearer on my priorities, my purpose, my sense of well-being and strength and value.

I’ve spent two weekends now with Tanya. (I can barely keep tears from falling as I type those words; so grateful for her friendship and love.) No agenda. No content. No purpose – other than just-spending-time drinking good wine, eating good food (she makes some mean Kale chips), and yes laughing – crying – dreaming – sighing – hoping – loving. And every time I picture her face and imagine her hugs, I feel more loved, more capable, more possible than ever before and over and over again.

I’ve begun a beautiful and extravagant art project with Callahan McDonough. She lives on the other side of the country. We found each other through Facebook. I tell stories. She paints them. Eve. Elizabeth. Extravagant (of which Tanya spoke above and of which I’ve written). All-in-all, a 30-piece collection of Sacred Art. But so much more, a friendship between two women. I’ve flown to Atlanta to meet her, to be in her home, to be in her presence. She’s flown to Seattle to be with me, to picture the space in which I work-and write-and live. We love each other. We talk of everything. And in the midst, I am changed-strengthened-empowered by just-spending-time.

In a world that presses on us to do more, be more, spend more, make more, more, more, more, just-spending-time can be difficult, if not (seemingly) impossible. It requires that we slow down, that we craft relationships just for the sake of them, and that we have faith that above/beyond all the things that need to be done-created-built-sold that just-spending-time with other women is what will sustain, last, and ultimately matter most when all else falls away.

We deeply and desperately need to be just-spending-time with other women. It’s what changes us, our relationships with others, our work, and our world.

And it requires something of you: your willingness to ask – and then trust. Trust that the time is more important than the outcome. Trust that the relationship itself is more valuable than anything that might come of it. Trust that you – across the table from another woman – is what will change you, transform you, and invite you to more than you could have ever imagined.  Trust that if you ask you will actually receive a “yes.”

How could I have known that hours of just-spending-time with Andrea would merit some of the best posts I’ve written and products I’ve created? How could I have known just-spending-time with Tanya would compel me through veritable walls of self-doubt toward the writing of a Book that she’s convinced the world is waiting for? How could I have known that just-spending-time with Callahan would walk me through a season of grief and sadness with perspective and strength previously unknown – not to mention the creation of such extravagant beauty in business and art? And how could I have known that just-spending-time in the pages of the stories I love could have invited me into a world of women who have companioned me, supported me, loved me, changed me?

This is collaboration at its best and most brilliant. This is all yours for the taking, yours for the knowing, and undoubtedly, yours for the giving – lavishly, profoundly, and without restraint. This is the simplest of things: just-spending-time And all you have to do is ask – and then trust.

What are you waiting for? Your whole life is about to change! And, if that weren’t enough, you are about to change the whole life of those who have the privilege of just-spending-time with you. Even more, when our lives are changed as women – because of women – we are the ones who change the world. That’s worth just-spending-time on, yes?

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Join an incredible group of women for my 12-Week Step into Your Starring Role program. We begin September 23rd. Championing, sisterhood, support and transformation ahoy!

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Tell us about the vanilla beans

Over the weekend, our daughter decided to set-up a lemonade stand. And, as is her tradition, she wanted to donate the money she made to a charity. Previously, she’s raised money for a cat rescue. This year, she had her sights set on charity: water, an organization bringing clean, safe drinking water to people in developing nations. I heard the founder Scott Harrison speak last year at WDS and brought his story home to my family. My daughter was inspired.

So, we baked chocolate chip cookies and made lemonade, set up the stand and away she went…committed to raising enough money to provide clean water for at least 3 people ($60).

Our strat plan looked a little like this:

Hot day + cute kid + good cause + quality offering = buckets o’ dough

The weather was spotty, so we didn’t see as much foot traffic as we would have liked, but she is pretty damned adorable, and it is an exceptionally good cause so she did manage to raise $70.75. She was pleased.

It was that “quality offering” variable that got my husband thinking later that evening.

Him: I wonder, if we underpriced and undersold the lemonade.
Me: How do you mean?
Him:  I think for $0.50 people are expecting lemonade from frozen concentrate…not hand squeezed lemons sweetened with a simple syrup infused with vanilla beans and sprinkled with garden-fresh mint, y’know?
Me: But that’s just how I do it. That’s just how I make lemonade.
Him: How would anyone who hasn’t met you know that about you, T?
Me: Ah, crap.

Check out the sign.

Lollys lemonade

He’s right. How would anyone know exactly what care, time, attention and, yeah, I’ll say it…LOVE that went into our pitchers of lemonade, that very symbol of summer’s ease?

Indeed.

Time and time again, we undervalue that which we don’t recognize as special. And the clue often lies in our “just”s. Listen for them, then look into them.

What are you downplaying? I’m willing to bet it’s the very thing that people are often thanking you for…like the care, time, attention and love I put into most of my pursuits…lemonade and beyond (though clearly not the aforementioned sign).

I suspect that buried in that dismissive 4-letter word is a linchpin to the wheel of your very essence. All that is wholly, uniquely and wondrously you. Love it up, Love.

My dear friend and the woman I turn to before every product launch (with lemonade being the notable exception) Tara Gentile has this to say::

“Give yourself credit for what differentiates you (or your product) and why that’s important to you. Then consider why what differentiates you is important to others and communicate that value clearly. It doesn’t help to fixate on features or process (or degrees, credentials, portfolio pieces, etc…) but it does pay to know what makes you stand out and why that’s important to the people you seek to be in service of.”

Yeah. In business and in life, tell us about the vanilla beans. Tell us how you do what you do. And why. That’s precisely what makes you and your offerings so entirely delicious to us.

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If you’re not already subscribed to this blog, now’s a good time to do so. You’ll receive my Joy Pages, a heart-full read while you enjoy YOUR kind of lemonade, weekly-ish posts and will find out soonest about a June summer coaching special I’ve got going on. Subscribe here.

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The Self Love Revolution: Prep School

Full confession:: up until very recently, I had very (VERY) little patience for “self love”. Now before you call the ICF and have them revoke my hard-earned coaching certification status, hear me out.

“Self love” has always conjured images of shushed tones, whale music, wheat germ, and insipid teas. For ME. I’m not entirely sure where that came from, but I knew there was nothing here that was overtly appealing. Except for how virtuous I imagined I’d feel after spending a day eating wheat germ, drinking tea, listening to whale music and zoning out. That is, if I managed to not stab myself in the eyeballs before the day was through.

I totally, completely, respectfully GOT that those may well be practices that nurtured and supported others, but they were unequivocally NOT. FOR. ME.

So, I set out to understand the principle that I could inherently wrap my head around:: the kinder you are with yourself, the kinder you are with the world around you. And then I got all investigative reporter-like about self love means, FOR ME.

Because I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:: we all need to find our own way into this.

And  I started to dig in deeply to understand my values.
And then I started to ask myself what I needed, then wanted.
And then I started to listen to the answer.
And then I started to respond with intention and commitment.

My self love practice is a daily inquiry:: What do I need today? What do I want today?

The Monday morning after I wrapped up the first cohort of my Step into Your Starring Role program, I was uncharacteristically tired, a little sad, wistful and scattered. The plan that I had mapped out on the previous Friday afternoon for the week ahead looked foreign, fraught with “shoulds” and completely uninspired.

What do I need today? What do I want today?

Sweat, prayer and play was the answer. And continued to be the answer for the balance of the week.

I switched some appointments around and spent the week at hot yoga, or immersed in my journal, or baking cakes or stuffing loot bags for my Kid’s birthday party. Joyfully and gratefully accepting the lavish and extravagant love that I was showing myself.

self love

And I must say, when I am loving up on myself, I am pretty awesome to be around.

The Self Love Revolution: Prep School

So that, in part, is how I devotionally show myself love. By committing to asking, listening and responding. That’s MY WAY.

Amy Smith + Andrew Owen are two powerhouse coaches devoted to helping you find YOUR WAY into self love. (This I know…I was in a Mastermind group with them a couple of years ago and I continue to benefit from their brand of no BS, love-fueled moxy). And I’m thrilled that they’ve invited me to participate in their love-child,  The Self Love Revolution: Prep School,  along with experts Susan Hyatt, Fabeku Fatunmise, Michelle Ward, Molly Mahar, Mara Glatzel, Isabel Foxen Duke, Jeanna Gabelinni, Lisa Steadman, and Amy Pearson. For two weeks, starting May 6th, you can get a short, content-packed video into your inbox every day. Practical tools, advice and tools to help you show YOU some love. Gorgeous.

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If you haven’t already, click here to sign yourself up. My video about finding your Brand of Joy will land in your inbox on May 14th. Hope you love it!

 

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The wonder of specificity

Be careful what you wish for…you may get EXACTLY what you’ve asked for. No more, no less.

A story:

As long as my husband and I have been together and talking about building a life and family as one, we were always going to have a little girl named Lauren. There was no other name for her. Lauren or bust. She would be funny. She would be compassionate. She would be creative. She would have great hair and an even greater heart. Oh sure, we’d probably have another one. But our nights were spent dreaming and whispering about our Lauren. Magical, sweet girl.

Another story:

It was 2004. I was nursing said magical, sweet girl and reading a parenting magazine. I came across an article about Jennifer Torres, the beautiful entrepreneur behind Salsa Babies. She was quoted as saying she built her business with the intention of making the same amount as she did on her maternity benefits (called EI here in Canada). No more, no less.

At that time, my husband and I had sucked in the belly fat that was our budget and were managing to get by just fine, thank you very much, on his income and my EI benefits. YES, YES, YES, I thought as I sniffed the head of my honeysuckle-scented child. That was EXACTLY what I wanted: not an empire, just a business that I can run from home with my babe-in-arms that will cover what I was currently making on benefits. And maybe enough to cover the “incidental thousand” as my friend Krista says. I declared it that night to my husband.

I am incredibly blessed. I will repeat that. I am incredibly blessed:
• I have my one dreamy Lauren.
• I hit the desired revenue amount in my business within a year and a half of putting out my shingle.

There is not a single day that the joy of my child and the joy of my business don’t make a cameo in my gratitude journal. No. That feels too glib. There is not a single day that I do not thank the deity I call God for the gift of my daughter, my business and my life. Better.

Powerful stuff, this intention-setting.

And:

• It’s likely that there will be no more sweet, magical children.
• It took me a very very long time thereafter to surpass the EI + $1000 revenue amount in my business.

Powerful stuff, this intention-setting.

See where I’m going here?

I was super specific about the order that I placed. I forgot to leave room for ordering dessert. Besides, isn’t it greedy to ask for more?

Nope.

Yeah, I know “more” is a four-letter word. But so is love, hope and cash. You’re allowed to ask for more. You always have been and you always will be.

As I shared months ago with my dear friend Rachel Cole:

The more I heap on, the more I share. And the more I send out, the more comes back to me.

Our needs scale. Our desires scale. Please make sure that your intentions scale too.

So, by all means, be specific with your dreams + wishes. Get granular AND leave space for more.

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