Making Friends in Oregon

Preparing to live a location independent lifestyle means a LOT of preparation. Sometimes that’s in the form of researching RV’s, selling “stuff” we won’t take with us, focusing on selling our house and planning a timeline. Sometimes it means making new friends.

Last week I headed up to Oregon to the first ever Hello Sessions, a blogging conference for women who want to connect and support each other to help change the world in our own way.

I drove thru Oregon last summer as part of a six week road trip but I never made it to the Portland area so I was super excited to check out another area we might want to spend time in when we hit the road.

Portland did not disappoint, but more than that what surprised me was the unbelievable community of women that had gathered there.

I’ve been to small business, art and networking conferences before but this one was different. It felt like a three-day affair even though the Hello Sessions is a one-day affair. 

We just couldn’t stop hanging out with each other and introducing our new friends to our other new friends. We were connecting people with those that could mentor them, fill a business need they had or just share in their journey because they are on similar paths.

Some stayed on for a few days and on Saturday evening we headed out of Portland to McMinnville, OR for a special gathering and amazing dinner called  Love Where You Live organized by Maggie Batista of Eat Boutique and Chelsey Nichol of Type A Press with out of this world food by Let Um Eat.

It was so much more than I ever expected it might be. We were welcomed into a beautiful community that celebrates their small businesses, their friends and where they live. I will definitely be back to McMinnville!

I didn’t know that part of the preparing for this life changing adventure would mean making friends from all parts of the U.S. that I will definitely meet up with when we are in the area.

I expected to meet people along the way. I didn’t realize that once I started sharing our project of life on the road I would see the same level of enthusiasm back from those listening before we’ve even left.

This has shown me a few things.

It’s shown me that people will help lift each other up and cheer each other on when they feel a connection to you and what you’re putting out in the world. I’ve learned about so many others living this way that my new friends are willing to connect me with to share stories and get advice.

It’s shown me that different is good, and although not everyone will understand the choices we are making those that see the light in our eyes when we talk about it will not only understand but they will support us. Putting yourself out there and telling your story is the best starting point for any journey.

I want to thank Joy and Melissa the founders of the Hello Sessions for putting out a clear message about their conference. It helped them attract like-minded women who want to learn from, share with and support each other.

I look forward to visiting my new friends when we hit the road. I definitely see some collaboration in our future. 

All magical photos in this post courtesy of Linnea Paulina Photography.

The Me I Want to Be

You know those activities you do where you feel like a completely different version of yourself than you do in your “regular” life? Maybe it’s something you do alone, or with a friend. Maybe it’s something you haven’t done in years, but the thought of trying it again gets you so excited.

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one out there who feels deeper connections to my passions than my must do / regular life. These feelings are the things we should pay attention to.

In my 35 years, I have seen myself be a very different person based on the experience and atmosphere I have been in. I’ve worked in corporate retail wearing black all the time and strategizing how to sell more cosmetics to women. I have helped my Dad train his golden retrievers for hunt test competitions; out in muddy fields throwing dead ducks into the air and training them to retrieve them on cue. I have put on stilettos and a tiny little dress to go out clubbing in Vegas. I have worked three part time jobs, working seven days a week to get my business off the ground and pay my bills. I have taken scuba lessons and conquered my fear of claustrophobia. I checked myself in for rehab in my early twenties, and I have lived in a big city with no car and taken the bus to get to work. I have not showered for days as I backpacked over 36 miles.

The point I’m trying to make is that I think we can all become very different people in the moment when circumstances call for it. Every year as we get older I hear so many people talk about how they would never do this and they could never do that. I don’t believe it.

We can change, we can learn new things and we can transform our lives in unbelievable ways if we just take that first step. Say you are willing to be scared and willing to be uncomfortable to change things.

Maybe that change means starting to live more days doing one of those activities that makes you feel like the “you” you like more than the “you” you’re used to in your daily life.

I was prompted to write this because we just returned from our backpacking trip / multi California town road trip to entertaining three wonderful travelers in Los Angeles. (One of who is our gracious and beautiful niece.) The stark contrast on activities we have gone thru in the last two weeks really got me thinking about our ability to adapt and make changes in our life.

I believe it’s time to start spending more time doing the activities that make us feel whole, challenged and alive in the most exhilarating way. We need to stop telling ourselves we are this, or we are that. With all the ways in which the world is so connected and learning new things is so available to us, it’s time to open the book, the door, to open our eyes to all the possibility that surrounds us. We can become something new – if you’re willing.

I’m writing this for myself as much as you today. I’m letting my mind dare to dream and wondering what life might be like if I spent my time doing only the things that are most resonant with me right now.

What would people say, how would they look at me if I gave up all the things we are supposed to want, and that look good from the outside. Do their thoughts matter? Of course there are people in your life whose thoughts do matter. But we have to remember that those close family and friends want us to be happy, because our happiness means that we will be a better friend, a better spouse, or a better sibling to them.

If you are your best, your relationships will be their best too.

So get out there, experiment, explore, re-connect with experiences that put your head in a good space. Things that teach you how strong you can be, how inventive you are, and showcase your best self will always be things worth investing your time in. After all if you don’t utilize your most precious resource, time, in the best way possible who will?

I am making a commitment to invest my time in the things the push the “me” I want to be forward. Will you join me?

 

Contractors and Camping Gear

When it’s 100 outside the little things seem to weigh me down. Phew, breathe and turn that air on baby! I won’t miss the summer heat of this place one bit.

It is happening, we have been meeting with contractors for the last 3 weeks and we have narrowed it down to two. The first set of numbers we’ve seen for the needed renovations fit into our budget perfectly so that is really fucking exciting!

It feels strange to have lived in this house for over eight years and to be doing renovations for someone else to enjoy when we sell it. Doing the work means that hopefully our house will fetch a much higher price, and after paying off the work and existing loan we will have more money in the bank to begin our new adventure.

Some days I realize how much I want this change and I can barely contain my excitement! When you begin to follow the dreams in your heart even the little monotonous tasks become a bit easier.

Moving forward on a path of your own choosing can strengthen you more than you know. It is really helping me to find the resolve to move a bit closer everyday to the day we hand over the keys to this place, my husband quits his job, and we begin our new adventure out of Los Angeles together.

Next week on our road trip up to Lassen National Park, this is our last getaway before our house becomes a construction zone. We are both itching to get outdoors and try out our new camping gear. We bought a new ultra light tent, sleeping bags, and inflatable mats to sleep on. I can’t wait to try them out.  A little nervous about how comfortable my sleeping mat will be, but I’ll soon find out.

It will be the first time we have to carry a bear canister for all our food too, so lots of new exciting things to experience in a park we have never visited before.

When you go on trips like this, to new places it really pays to have a partner you can count on. You need someone who has got your back, is good at problem solving and teamwork. We seem to work really well together on adventures.  For us it helps to make lists and prepare for as much as we can ahead of time, because there will always be surprises.

We will start in Lassen and then probably head over to the coast, hit up some Redwoods and maybe do a little wine tasting before we come home. It should be about a ten-day trip, so we will see where we end up before resigning to drive back to L.A. It will be so good to get away and relax together.

It’s been a bit exhausting lately thinking about all the newness that lies before us. I know my husband is counting the days until he can quit his job, but it must be scary too. He has had the same steady well paying job for over twelve years. He is stepping into a life he hasn’t ever lived before.

The last five years have already been a little unpredictable for me. I left my full time job a few years back to start pursuing my passion, and it has been a roller coast to say the least. There are a lot of ups and downs, and back and forths when you’re trying to make a living doing as an entrepreneur and an artist.

When we hit the road hopefully early next year, we will both be working on that lifestyle together, with no back up fall back jobs for security. We will have our savings and some money from selling our house and that is what will allow us to head off into the unknown for a while.

I’m looking forward to running my business from the road; I will definitely be sharing my successes and stumbles with you along the way. I want to show you that you can make big leaps, change your life in big ways (if you plan for it) and live your dream. After all, life is crazy short, and we never know what is coming our way next. It only makes sense to live life on your own terms and create work that supports the lifestyle you want.

So here is to the dreamers, the visionaries, and those that suffer from wanderlust. – let’s make this happen. (Also, here is to temperatures that never rise above 72 degrees, unless I’m on a tropical getaway with a beer in hand.) Fuck it’s HOT;)

The Lure of a Road Trip

What is it that is it about being on the open road, heading out for an adventure that is so sexy?

My husband and I are planning on a road trip for his next two-week hiatus from work. He works on the Jimmy Kimmel show and they always take a lot of time off in the summer. I love to get on outta So Cal in summer because it is way to freaking hot for me;)

I always get so excited for road trips! Last summer I drove all the way from Los Angeles to WI and back over the span of six weeks. It was just Sophie, my springer spaniel, and I the whole way. It was really an amazing trip, and I plan for it not to be the only time I do something like that.

We went through six states I had never seen before by choosing different routes each way. I got to experience the majesty of the Grand Tetons and the unbelievable quirky marvels of Yellowstone for the first time.

Being on the road alone I could sing at the top of my lungs to any music I chose. There was no one else setting the pace. I could stop whenever I wanted for a little break. I didn’t have to listen to any objections if I decided to linger in an area for a morning hike. There was also no guilt about subsisting on beef jerky, potato chips and iced tea all day. Well, maybe a little guilt from Sophie until I gave in and shared my jerky.

The point I’m making is I think being out on the road can throw you back into times gone by, before we all had so many responsibilities and making decisions could be totally based on a whim.

There are no should, there are no judging eyes, and you are free to witness nature in ways most of us don’t on a daily basis. It can give you time to think and wonder “What if?”

Open space and being outdoors has such a soul soothing effect on me I try to seek it out whenever I can. I chose to cook all my dinners while I was on the road, having brought along a tiny camping stove. It really allowed me to be in the moment and appreciate how fucking beautiful our world is, and how important it is to get out of your head and truly see new things for what they are.

The best things about road trips sometimes happen thru camaraderie. If you are lucky enough to have a partner or some great friends that love to explore as much as you treasure that, and take advantage of it. You can create some pretty special moments being on a minute-by-minute road trip with others.

 I am so fortunate to have James, who by nature of being a landscape photographer will jump at the chance to explore any time he can. With he and Soph by my side I’m set. I could never come home.

These are the things life should be about. Telling stories around a fire, hiking off into foreign hills, and sitting together in silence as you take in the grandeur of a breathtaking overlook, these moments are IT. Experiences like these remind us how the Earth was here so long before our blip on the timeline, and how connected we are to all of it if we take the time to see and respect our role.

So get out there, get out of your bubble and go travel my friends. Experience will enrich your lives so much.

 

Project Simplify: The beginning.

It’s warming up here in Southern California. Summer is officially in full swing. It is actually my least favorite season here. It’s just too damn hot for me. I’m not very effective at getting things done in the summer heat. My body says sit still, drink iced tea constantly and read a book. My brain says – you’ve got shit to do.

I’m working on striking a balance with that this year, because hopefully this will be our last summer living in So Cal. Yes I’m putting it out there – Woo hoo!

James and I have never moved anywhere together. We have been together nearly ten years now, and in the time that we’ve lived together (8 years) we have lived in the house that he owned when we met. I am so excited about choosing our next location and building a home together that fits exactly what we see for our future.

I have been reading a lot this spring and early summer, and there are several books that helping me to pause and think about how I want to prepare for our big move. The book that seems to be landing on everyone’s recommended list this year, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo was the first inspire me in the direction of simplifying now before our move is imminent. If you haven’t read it yet, see if you can borrow it from a friend who has already bought it (I guarantee at least one of your friends has got a copy).

It is not in fact a book about tidying. Well she talks a lot about tidying but what we learn is that tidying by definition is not something you should be aiming to do in your future. The point is to simplify your collection of belongings so much so that everything you possess has its very own home.

Once you wade thru years or decades of stuff that you have acquired because you “needed” it and keep only the things that truly bring you joy today in this moment, you will start to feel a sense of clarity and freedom. This is a super distilled description of the thesis of her book.

She really helps explain why one big paring down of your belongings to things that truly bring you joy can have such a profound impact on your life. Gotta read it!

Within a week of following Mari’s plan to simplify and de-clutter the house James noticed what I was up to and got super inspired to start mapping out our plan for the next nine months. Now I am by no means done working thru the whole house, but I have to say it feels so good to be on the simplifying path that it crops up in my mind to keep plugging away at it daily.

This idea of simplifying our lives in general is something James and I talk about all the time. It’s a big part of changes we will make in choosing where we live (location wise) and how we live in the future.

We are planning on massively downsizing our home size and living on a much smaller budget, and least for a while. We want our lives to focus around being outdoors as much as possible, travelling, crafting a rich home life where friends and family will love to come and unplug.  Our choice of work will also be tailored to our new life, but more about that another day.

I want to make on more book recommendation for wrapping your brain around the path of simplification: Essentialism, by Greg McKeown. This one book is all about the philosophy “Less but Better.” Greg talks about the mind set shift that needs to happen so you can choose where to focus your energies more effectively. Great tips for applying these principles to your life and your business. It’s absolutely one of my favorite reads this year and I can’t wait to dive into a second read of it.

I will share so much more about Project Simplify as we move along, so stay tuned. I hope you use some warm summery days to get outside and enjoy time with family and friends at the beach, or around a campfire (one of my all time favorite things to do).  It’s also a great time to spend a sweltering afternoon with a good book (like those above if they resonate) and a refreshing drink (booze optional;)

Thanks for being here,  and sharing in my life’s journey!

What if all I had to do was WRITE?

What if all I had to do everyday was write? Read interesting things, travel to interesting places and write? How would that work? How would I make money?

Do I have that much to say? Yes I think I probably do.

I could start by writing about my life, my story and what brought me to all of this. Sure I could throw in some creative projects along the way if I wanted. What if everything else was gone? No more jewelry, no more selling of physical things that we don’t really need. Less but better.

What if it was just my computer, or my journal and I everyday when I sat down to work? Would it get old? Would I find my voice? What would my voice end up being? Maybe that’s what I’m afraid of. This does feel like a scary proposition. These are a lot of questions that I have no idea how to answer.

What would my family think? Would they read it, and if they did would they be honest with their feedback. Would I get embarrassed about my own viewpoints? They would probably change a bit the more I write.

I remember when I was a kid I used to dream about writing a novel. I mapped out the characters, a bit of the plot. It was to be a large list of characters, a dramatic story with lots of twists and turns. I’m not sure I could write fiction these days. I would want to write my truth.

Is the big work that I have to do to be a writer?  I tend to doubt myself a lot. That is probably not a great quality in someone who needs to create content. Or is it? Maybe it will make my work more thoughtful, insightful, or easier to relate to. I won’t know unless I try. To write that is, just try to write everyday. I could probably make it happen. I’ve written almost one thousand words already today.

I could make a book. It could be a written art inspiration book. Who knows it could be cool. I could sell them to fund a bigger project. What do I want to write about? Relationships? Consumerism? Living smaller / simpler? Less but better?

I'll continue to mull this one over, and try to let go of the doubts and the resistance. 

What are dreaming about? Is there something you think you might like to try your hand at? Share it with me, I'd love to know.

So Much and So Little - The Vision Shifts

These days it feels like there is so much going on in my life and at the same time so very little. Confusing I know, it’s confusing to me as well some days.

I have to pause on the way I have been spending my days for the last few years (working on my jewelry business.) I hit pause and then restart and pause all over again – so the cycle has been going for the last few months.

I keep bumping up against something that is telling me to stop, at least for right now. I have to say that is so scary. It’s scary because my husband and I have been working towards this bigger goal for both of us.

For the past five years I have worked a myriad of part time jobs that fit in and around creating and trying to grow my jewelry business while my husband has been supporting our lifestyle.

We have a vision for our future that includes him quitting his editing job to focus on his photography work, selling our house, and moving out of Los Angeles. The hope was that my business would be up and running enough so that I could at least pull my own weight financially to help facilitate these changes.

We have talked about opening a gallery together, creating an artists’ retreat in our new location out of the city, and a few other ideas a long the way. The time is here.  The time is now. We are starting to meet contractors to get the work done on our house so that we can sell and he can quit his job hopefully within the next nine months.

It feels like I’m throwing a wrench in things, and that also feels scary and might I add selfish. The thing is I know I’m meant to do more than run a jewelry company. I am meant to do so much more. My heart knows it. My gut knows it, and my fucking nerves know it.

When I talk to my fellow creative about this they say, “but that’s so exciting, right?”  Yes it is, but I’m still in the discovery phase and for me like a lot of what the hell am I doing mixed with twinkling moments of excitement and vision.

The vision is out there, it’s hovering just beyond my grasp. Some days I’m able to pull a few nuggets out of the air and plant them into a rough outline of what is to come.

So there is fear of adding to my plate and changing direction, fear of the unknown, fear of failure. I know I’ll be ok along the way, but all these fears crop up. It’s going to take time for this new vision to manifest itself, and as someone who likes to plow ahead and get everything done now, and everything done right this stage is killing me. It feels like three steps forward and two steps back. That step I’m gaining most days is trust. Trust in myself my vision and my strength.

My husband, James, and I are at such a great point with so many explorations and avenues for growth ahead. I am often overwhelmed by the joy I can feel these changes are going to bring us. I will continue to trust in myself and trust in the process each day of our journey thru these BIG changes.

Thank you for being here. Thank you for sharing in this story with me. I look forward to sharing the evolution of my vision with all of you.

The Noise We Create in Our Lives

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the noise we create in our lives. There are so many pulls on our attention these days that it can create this immobilizing overwhelm. There are so many things that we allow eat up on our precious time. Are they really important, or are they really necessary?

Do you ever feel that way? I know I certainly do. Living in Los Angeles comes with it’s own level of constant stimuli. I remember the first time my uncle visited me here, he and his wife were struck by the number of people here, always going somewhere, doing something, and always on the roads. I could relate to what he noticed right away. You can’t miss the long stretches of cars containing often only the driver filling up the roads and always in a hurry.

For a while I had a job that required me to be in my car diving all over the city. I was visiting boutique accounts for another jewelry designer. It’s funny to me that I didn’t find it stressful. I was able to relax and find peace even when it might take me 20 minutes to move half a mile. The reason is that I was getting paid for all that time and I could listen to music, or podcasts that I chose. It felt like a luxury.

I can usually find the grace to move through this society with an open heart and patience. Then there are times when I notice all of the competition and stress and constant pushing forward really gets on top of me.

Sometimes I think all this rushing and frustration I see is because we feel so full of “shoulds”. I have been hearing this a lot lately. Fuck the “shoulds” do the ‘wants’. It’s all about changing your mind set. It is not about ignoring responsibilities and living with disregard for others.

I think focusing on the wants is where I’ve been getting stuck lately. I am beginning to realize that maybe the things I have been “wanting” to create in my life come from deep-rooted expectations that I believe other people have of me. When in fact I’ve been creating these shoulds to follow a path I dreamt up long ago. It’s time to craft the new wants.

We change all the time. Every new experience we have, every book we read, or struggle we go thru all have the power to allow us to change. We can come out the other side with new perspective, new information, or new resolve. Don’t listen if someone says people don’t change. I wholeheartedly believe we do.

I also have to believe that it is possible to start making conscious changes in the way we structure our lives, the choices we make and the dreams we dream that will allow us to cut back on the noise in our lives. It is possible to live with deeper intention and love.

This is the path I’m on, and I hope you’ll join me.  Think about the things you’ve been chasing in life. Do you know why you are on the path you are? Do these reasons still resonate with you? Are you chasing the dream you truly want, or are you checking off everyone else’s shoulds?

I’d love to here what you have to say in the comments, or feel free to shoot me an email.

The very Unsexy Things I'm Excited About

I have been spending my time in very unsexy ways...do tell you say...

Sometimes I get in crazy organizational mode. It's usually in the first part of a new year. this year started by gutting my studio, painting the walls new soothing and relaxed calm space kind of colors. Then I loaded in all the tools and goods in (what I hope will stay a that way) a more organized fashion.

I carved out a great little office area with the intent of being more organized with my bookkeeping.  - Then we moved our wifi router and I lost connectivity in my new cute little office, so I'm writing this from our kitchen table. (I'll sort it out, eventually.)

I have been immersed if unsexy works for about a week now and it's been so exciting. 

I started a new cloud based bookkeeping system called Xero and loaded in all my info for 2015. Whew big job! It is such an intuitive program. I'm loving it so far! (I tried QB Online and this works so much better for me!)

It feels so good to take control of my finances and bookkeeping! #knowyournumbers

Then I have to tell you about my other unsexy obsession - Omni Focus Productivity and Organizational software. Super sexy name right;) 

As a creative I always have way too many thoughts floating around in my melon, and I'm constantly feeling overwhelm. I love Omni because it just allows me to o a brain dump and then organize my thought and business projects in a variety of ways based on the type of project.

I've been using it for over a month. The key work is USING it, like every day, all day. Because this kind of program is no good if you don't use it - duh!

So now that I'm realigned, organized, reconciled, painted and INSPIRED it's time to get back to work. Off to the studio - check ya later. Yup I said that;)

Coming Out of the Fog

Things are coming into focus. What I am looking for is connection. Being part of something bigger than myself. I want to be part of a movement.

That means changes are coming. Changes to my business and changes to they way I run my life.

This is exciting. Rewriting the rules or throwing them out of the window is really exciting.

I’m going to start small. Baby steps. Tipping the scale in the forward direction and grabbing hold of the side rails as I jump onto the conveyor belt.

Tweaks will be made through love and positivity, not FEAR.

It’s time to stop paying attention to the annoyances and negativity in the world and seek out the light. The light serves us all. Inspire hope and a brighter future.

Wallowing be gone – you are not serving any of us.

Changes start now, today, and will continue tomorrow.

I think it’s time to start putting this message out into the realm of others. 

Here goes something...

Values and Wants - Putting it out there.

Digging thru the muck can be really hard work. Thinking about it can paralyze you. Writing it out can help point you in the right direction.

What we create matters. I believe that. We can make things better. We can live simpler, and live richly.

I am creative.  I am searching for something bigger than myself. What I do next has to make an impact.

I can write.  I am strong. Even when I’m lost, I am strong. It’s in there deep down.  I might be laying the foundation for what comes next, or I might just be journaling.

Why do we always have to know what’s next. What is around the bend, what is over the horizon. Where is the romance in that? Where is the spontaneity?  I want to stop overthinking.

I want to do little things that make a big difference.  I want to live more simply.  I want to help make lives better.

It is time for something more. It is time to use the skills I have to make a difference. It is time to start now.

I want to wake up happy, unstressed, and secure with my financial position.  I want to feel needed and valued.  I want to make a difference to people and the health of our planet.

Does the shit we have matter? Why are we so obsessed with things. I want to try and not take or use more than I need.

I want to be a part of something.  I can’t work for a company that doesn’t address the state of the world. I can’t look a customer in the eye and tell them they should buy something if it doesn’t make this world better.

I need to believe in what I’m doing to succeed. I need to believe that my values are being followed to continue.

What I value:

Health, Love, Generosity, Honor, Integrity, Selflessness, Human connection, Freedom, Exploration, Knowledge, Beauty, Nature, Animals, Artisan skill, Honesty, Travel, Communication

I want to be the person you come to for local made, socially responsible brands, products that give back, gifts that help people to live better.

I want to provide the story and the heart. I want to deliver the why. I want to help people get involved.

Who Wrote These Goals Anyhow?

As a creative entrepreneur, strike that, as an artistic person self doubt is pretty much part of the daily routine.

Come up with an idea, second guess it, try it anyway – and wow you love it! Take a look at it the next day and you can’t even believe it was something you did. Daily struggle, daily second-guessing, and daily disappointment.

If you’re lucky, it’s usually only about small things. Unfortunately I’m having those feelings about some pretty large aspects of my business – my goals.

Goals are funny things. People tell you to have clear goals, break them down and create short term and long-term goals.  You’re supposed to check in with your goals, give yourself updates and tweak your goals slightly along the way.

I’ve been doing this over and over through the last several years and I’ve come to some new realizations. My goals don’t need tweaking; they need a massive overhaul because:

·      My goals have been at the same time not clear and focused enough and too focused.

·      My goals look really good on paper, they have been laid to fit the so-called map of success – covering every aspect required: creative, sales, marketing, personal time, skills, etc.

·      My goals have been too numerous, making it very difficult to actually accomplish much.

·      My goals don’t reflect me.

·      My goals don’t excite me. Well at least not all of them.

·      My goals feel like what I’m supposed to say I want.

·      My goals have not helped me manage and grow my time, money, or energy. My resources are dwindling.

I’m disappointed. I’m disappointed that I have been creating goals that I am not truly passionate about. How could I have ever expected to reach these goals when doing so won’t fill my soul with happiness and excitement?

I’d say it’s time for the goal setting process to change here in my world.  When did I become that person that followed everyone else’s path???

I think it’s time to put more focus on how I want to feel and what I want for others.

It’s time to listen to my body when I say something that makes it feel uncomfortable and then I have to start letting my body make the new statements about desires and goals.

This is going to be all about intuition and the bigger picture. I’m going to stop pigeon holing myself and making it tougher on myself to succeed.  I need to make things as easy for myself as possible, because no one else is going to.

Alright, goals, you better be on the lookout. Goals – you’re getting a massive overhaul, and I think a lot of you are getting thrown under the bus soon, because I don’t need you anymore.

I Don't Know What I'm Doing

Yup, that’s right, that’s what I said – I don’t know what I’m doing.

I have a business. A business that I have been working on for over 5 years.  I’m going to tell you a secret.  It isn’t working. Wow that feels big to say.

Through the years of trying to grow and redefine my business I have created rules for it.  Lately I’ve noticed these rules aren’t working for me.

Now that’s silly isn’t it? I created these parameters to operate my business within.  A list of should, can’ts, do nots, onlys, whens, nevers, etc.  I’ve “ruled” myself right into hating my business.

Ok, well maybe hating is too strong a word.  But, I have definitely been feeling limited, trapped, silenced, wrapped in a box… ok, maybe hate isn’t too strong a word to use.

I didn’t realize what was happening to me.  There would be small successes and big stumbles and I would just keep charging ahead as though things were working – as though my business was serving my life. Hint – It wasn’t.

These are big and scary things to bring to light. Especially when you're not sure what you want o do about them.

Now there is an exciting thing to point out. This is MY business. (I know what you're thinking - simple concept, she should have realized that a while ago.) But it’s so easy to get caught up in the URGENT day to day stuff that you forget to check in and make sure that your business is still on a path that serves you.

Oh yeah back to the exciting point because I’m the one who made all these oppressive rules for my business, I can unmake them!

Only one catch, I have to know what I want before I can make any changes.

Easier said than done my friend. I have to decide what I truly want my life to look like. Not what I think I should want it to look like, and not what everyone else thinks it should look like. I have to dig down and find that inner voice that already knows, and I have to listen to her. That's the hard part!

That’s why I’m giving myself some space; some time to explore (on a schedule, and on a budget, mind you). I need to have some creative fun, or I’ll lose why I do this in the first place.  I need to follow my whims, play and embrace the discovery.  Believe me, this isn’t easy.  I have to remind myself every morning that this is part of the journey.

It’s like I’m sending myself on a holiday to creativity land, where I get to work everyday at 9am (I like to sleep in) where my job is to listen to that voice and let her run around in the fields for a while.

This year is all about GROWTH for me. Who knows, I might just grow myself into something new. Stick around to see what happens.

Angry Colons and 5 a.m. Truth Bombs

Sometimes my angry colon wakes me up early or even in the middle of the night. It needs to let me know how upset it is with me for something I ate, that glass or two of red wine I had so late, but most often it rails against me for the undo stress I'm putting on myself.

My colon gets "angry" because I have ulcerative colitis. *If you're squeamish and care not to know what this is, skip down to the next paragraph now. The simplest way I can describe it is - my body is basically attacking itself and creates ulcers in the lower part of my colon. (Yea!, I so always dreamed of having an "incurable" disease that attacks my colon!)

I was diagnosed 3 years ago and the last 5 months have been my healthiest so far...until now that is. I have found that the clearest correlation between flare-ups and my life is when I am under large amounts of stress - It's then that my body decides to bless me with a flare up.

Enough about what woke me up, let's talk about what kept me up.

I have a business, and am working thru what the future of it will look like. It has been flailing around like a dog's ears when he hangs his head out of a car window - not a good sign.

I had some realizations last night that have been in the making. I took in bits from books, podcasts, and interviews that I've been listening to and I realized something. I haven't been doing my best.

My business is in "the dip" as Seth Godin talks about in his book surprisingly titled, The Dip. I have not been being the best in my microcosm or a market. Now I just have to figure out if I want to be. (That was scary, to put out into the universe.) What if I don't want to be?

There are many reasons, that my business has been struggling, but I'm beginning to see that a large part of that falls into two categories: the wrong focus, and lack of "whims".

I have been focusing on what's URGENT instead of what's Important. Explanation: (These are Marie Forleo's words, so for the best explanation watch this little video

I let myself get caught up in all the "busy" work of being a solopreneur. Social media rabbit hole, research and money spending no more. Email replies and immediate follow ups are getting pushed to the back burner. You are URGENT, but not Important. (At least not so important that you distract from what's important. Get it?) Watch the video - she's awesome, you'll love it.

It is time for carve out time to focus on what's important. What is pulling at my heart strings, what do I feel about life and my business? It's time to have a little fun.

Enter wise words from my favorite business coach, the Tiffany Han. I had a phone call with Tiffany on Monday and had some real break throughs.

Things are not working. I need to make some major shifts. I need to decide what I really want, and show up everyday to figure that out, and then to make it happen. I need carve out creative time, allow myself to follow my whims, and have some fun while doing it. The stress cycle is doing nothing for me.

I may need to get a part time job while I'm working through all this because believe me, there is a lot on the list. (Another thing to work on - making shorter, achievable to do lists.)

SO, Colitis, you'd better go back into hibernation, because I don't have time for you. (First order of business, heal my body.) Then I can get going taking one tiny step in front of the other, so I can figure out:

How to focus on the Important, not the Urgent. What do I want to be the BEST at? Which whim is going to lead me to my new business model?

(Side note, It felt like a "Truth Bomb" because I also just listened to a great interview with Danielle LaPorte on money. She loves her truth bombs, and I loved her point about how we learn how to manage money, but we are never taught the importance of money to freedom. Take a listen here.)

Roller Coaster in Hyperdrive

A roller coaster really is a good analogy for life. It just moves slower or faster depending on what is going on in your life.

About all that stuff, the stuff that "happens" to you, the stuff that you have "manifested" and all the other stuff - how does it really arrive at your doorstep? There is a quote I heard somewhere that goes something like this: 

"Success is when chance meets preparation."

I always liked that phrase, and I think it feels very relevant lately. Are we constantly preparing ourselves for something that might happen?

Well I have been doing a lot of "preparing" for the last few years. Sometimes it feels like spinning your wheels.

Most of the time for me it feels like a rushing roller coaster that is speeding up thru twists and turns and taking those huge drives over the apex without knowing whats below. Ultimately, I always seem to feel the jerky stop at the end of the ride. Instead of getting out, the ride starts again and I'm right back in it.

I think these days I'm looking a little bit more for the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. You get that initial forbidding feeling, you take that first plunge down the waterfall (that doesn't fall so far your heart leaps out of your chest, but generally you get a little wet) and then your in for a relatively stable ride.

Don't get me wrong it's still full of surprises. Twists and turns, gunshots and fire, some boozy celebrations and tomfoolery, but you feel generally at ease.

Maybe that's confidence, eternal optimism that despite the bumpy ride, you're on the right course. I'll keep hunting for it, but that damn dog might be holding my keys just out of reach...(if you know the ride, you'll know that reference).