While 2016 was a tough year in many ways–from the death of Bowie to the election of Trump–it was also an invaluable year of learning.
Below are a few of my takeaways from our last trip around the sun.
Too Much Support? Nah…
I have at least one check in with a fellow entrepreneur every day to stay accountable, get support on my projects and feel connected to my community. I talk to my support network about my business, finances, well being, relationships (including my sex life), and anything else that needs to be addressed for me to show up powerfully in my work. Thanks to this support, my business has grown by more than 25% this year (and been a whole lot more fun).
What I Resist Often Has Value
From creating a daily mindset practice to organizing my desk space, many things in 2016 initially struck me as annoying, useless or weird. Yet, when I finally did them, they made a HUGE difference for me and my business. Our sub-conscious is committed to preserving the status quo and keeping us comfortable–and yet possibility lives outside the comfort zone. Now, when I feel the urge to write something off, I take a closer look.
If I’m Uncomfortable, I’m On The Right Track
To that point, I’ve learned to see my discomfort as positive: it means I’m creating something new. Most of the results I want–hitting six figures in my coaching business, empowering a long-term romantic relationship, booking out all of my Dance Adventures, etc…–are new. That’s the point! If I wasn’t uncomfortable, I’d probably be on track to create the same old results.
Clarity Creates Win-Wins
For many years, I hid what I wanted or needed–afraid that it might make someone upset or that I wouldn’t be able to have my desired outcome. My commitment to clarity was off the charts in 2016 and allowed me to co-create many cool things: an off-the-grid vacation during which my coaching colleagues helped cover my responsibilities at home, a month in Boston to teach dance and DJ that included a visit from my wonderful boyfriend, a retreat in the Dominican Republic with my colleague Cat. These opportunities became win-wins with me and my community that left everyone better.
Tying Up Loose Ends Is a Game Changer
As a multi-passionate person, it’s easy for me to hop from task to task. This year, I practiced intentionally closing the door on one major project before moving onto the next. This allowed me to focus, dive in deeply, and get the most out of the opportunity in front of me.
Success Begins With Self-Care
My definition of self-care is multidimensional and includes experiencing awe, spending time in nature, exercising, eating well and feeding my spirit through dance, art, and music. When I am fueling my body and spirit, I show up to work invigorated and create better results. This often means that my work day includes self-care, and I’ve learned to see my dance breaks, meditation moments, and walks around the block as necessary and powerful parts of running my business.
Thanks for being a part of my year, and I would love to hear what you learned in 2016. You can comment below or post on my Facebook group.
Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!
“You’ve never known true hope until you’ve looked into the eyes of a dog waiting for cheese.”
When I heard this, I laughed…and then I realized it was brilliant.
Last weekend, I visited my boyfriend’s family in North Georgia. This included the family dog–a miniature Australian Shepherd named Nico. (While I don’t have a picture of Nico, here is another Aussie with a similar cuteness factor–and likely a similar commitment to cheese.)
Every time someone would enter the kitchen, Nico would put on his Aussie smile and be as charming as possible. He did this again and again–whether or not he got what he wanted.
It sounds simple, but here’s the crux: He was SO hopeful and SO committed that suddenly you found yourself WANTING to reward him.
“Maybe I will give this dog more cheese…” I thought more than once.
Nico’s unwavering state of being made an impact on the people around him. Because of how he showed up, he was much more likely to get what he wanted.
The way that we show up plays a critical role in our success. When we choose hope and persistence each moment of each day, we take more action and people notice. It also builds our own and others’ trust in our character and abilities.
Steve Jobs put it another way:
“The ones who are crazy enough to THINK that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
Or–in this metaphor–the dog that’s crazy enough to think he’ll get more cheese is the dog who does.
What mindset empowers your goals, readers? What mindset will you choose today?
With lots of love and happy feet,
“It’s comforting when others aren’t meeting their goals.”
When my client said this, I thought about the close relationship between our community and our success.
Motivational Speaker Tim Rohn said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. I believe it. If you invest your time with a group of people who chase ardently after their goals, odds are you’ll chase harder after yours. If you’re in a group that never seems to achieve what they set out to do, you may find yourself stuck. When it’s normal not to succeed, people often give up when the going gets tough.
Reaching our goals is often an uncomfortable (or–let’s be serious–terrifying) proposition. And, most often, we don’t go after our big goals all by ourselves. We reach out to the people who know and love us.
For this reason, our community plays a critical role in whether we meet or miss our mark.
Here, we will look at two roles communities play: colluding or standing. While most communities represent a mix of these two extremes, it’s important to understand the difference.
The Community That Colludes
The community that colludes is interested in staying comfortable, rather than achieving new and unpredictable things. On some level, they cling to the notion that something is NOT possible. And, as Gay Hendrix says,
“…if I cling to the notion that something’s not possible, I’m arguing in favor of limitation. And if I argue for my limitations, I get to keep them.”
The community that colludes has predictable limitations. It encourages its members to take the path that is safe and known, which reaps the same old results. This community protects its members from anything that makes them uncomfortable, rather than lovingly encouraging people to face the natural discomfort that comes from trying new things and chasing big dreams.
The Community That Stands
The community that stands is most interested in its members’ possibility. It stands for community members to achieve whatever they say is possible. The community that stands is more interested in supporting peoples’ dreams than being liked.
As a coach, I am immersed in a community that stands. And here’s the truth: It’s not always rainbows and roses. Often, when I set a big goal, I go through moments (days, weeks, months…) when I’m afraid I can’t do it, I have no idea how to do it, and I want to give up. My community does not buy into my fear. While they are deeply compassionate, they also challenge me to bring my creativity and brilliance to the task at hand. They hold my dreams as completely and utterly possible. They call me forth.
Having a community that stands can be frustrating because quitting often feels really good in the short term. When you quit, you can go back to feeling comfortable.
Yet I’m wildly grateful to have a group of people who stand for me and don’t buy into the moments when If eel like I’m not good enough, smart enough or creative enough to achieve the things I say are possible. While I may experience discomfort in the short-term, I continue to actively create a life that is more aligned with my values and goals.
What sort of communities are you creating in your life? Are the people closest to you colluding with or standing for you? What’s the impact your community has on your big goals and dreams?
If you’re interested in cultivating a community that stands, here’s what I recommend:
1) Create a MeetUp, LeaderLab, or another recurring event where you’ll be able to connect with other movers and shakers.
2) Join a pre-established, power-packed community with others who are dedicated to personal growth. For communities specific to your area, you can check out Meetup groups interested in personal development.
3) Be intentional about the media you consume: You can hone your skills as a friend, leader and accountability partner by educating yourself through a wealth of wonderful resources. This past week, for instance, I’ve been LOVING the podcasts from Entrepreneur on Fire. They connect me with how much possibility there is in the world.
Here’s to you creating a network that supports you in your wildest dreams!
With lots of love and happy feet,
A year ago, I was in a sticky spot:
My client’s contracts ended, and I hadn’t been marketing my coaching services consistently. I had no hot prospects and my money would soon run out. As I looked at my bank account, I felt a terrible sinking feeling.
And then the overwhelm hit.
How would I get hired in time to pay my rent? Where would I find these new clients with such limited time?
And then it REALLY hit:
Would I end up on the street? Would I be a failure? Should I just give up on my dreams and go back to a day job?
In a panic, I reached out to my coaching colleagues Queirra Fenderson and Catherine Wood (P.S. early bird pricing for my trip to the Dominican Republic with Catherine ends September 1!). As I shared my situation with them, I discovered this fact: Overwhelm is a choice.
My overwhelm was a natural reaction to my situation, but it wasn’t serving me. In fact, it was really getting in my way! I was spending most of my day stressing out and talking about my stress, rather than taking action to find my next clients. It was a cycle that left me more and more overwhelmed as time went on.
So, I created this mantra: Overwhelm is a choice. And I practiced choosing other things when overwhelm showed up. I chose self-care, I chose partnership, I chose courage, I chose faith, I chose action.
Through this process, I rebuilt my client practice without the deep agonizing that I had always assumed was part of life and business.
Now, when overwhelm hits, I remind myself that I can make other choices that will better serve me.
Many months after this experience, my coaching partner Peter Will Benjamin shared another gem about overwhelm: “Overwhelm is learned helplessness.”
In other words, it’s a way that we attract attention (from ourselves or others) when we feel out of control. We may use it to give ourselves permission to self-numb (through over-eating, binge watching television, or escaping in another way), quit, or push our responsibility onto someone else.
And here’s the truth: You’re not helpless. You can create exactly what you need without overwhelm running the show.
You can take a deep breathe when you feel overwhelm coming on and ask yourself “What do I really need?” Give yourself the gift of whatever that thing is.
So, the next time you feel overwhelmed, remember my mantra–“Overwhelm is a choice”–and practice choosing something else.
Be gentle and kind with yourselves, dear readers. It makes the creation process so much more fun and peaceful!
With lots of love and happy feet,
As a coach, I often hear these phrases:
“I don’t want want to start until I feel confident” or “I need to feel confident before I can…”
Do these sound familiar? Is feeling like an impostor, a newbie or like you “don’t know how” getting in between you and your goal?
Well, I have a secret: Success is not about confidence, it’s about courage.
Courage is the willingness to try something, to take a leap of faith, and to get messy in service of the new thing you desire in your life (a new business, a new relationship, more vulnerability, more intimacy, more creativity, etc…). Courage is acting in the face of fear.
Without courage, we miss the opportunity to take the first step and–eventually–build confidence.
Here’s an example:
As a participant in the dance scene for the last 10 years, I watched several people rise to prominence–from being good local dancers to being popular teachers on the international circuit. What made them different from others?
They had courage.
These people competed, performed, and taught before they were the best. They did it when they felt nervous, scared or uncomfortable because they had the big picture in mind. They knew they needed to put themselves out there again and again in service of becoming the type of dancer they wanted to be.
Thanks to this consistent action, they made connections and improved their skills. Being courageous, they immersed themselves in dancing and were able to create or jump on opportunities as soon as they saw them.
Courage gave them a competitive advantage.
When we act from courage, we develop trust in ourselves, our mission and our ability to respond to unexpected twists and turns in our journey. Over time, thanks to this growing trust, we experience more confidence in our abilities.
What you want is on the other side of hesitation and fear. If you wait for confidence to find you, you may miss a beautiful opportunity.
So, dear readers, I leave you with this question:
What courageous act would move you closer to your goals this week? And are you willing to take it?
Respond with your thoughts to this email, or visit my Facebook page!
With lots of love and happy feet,
There I am! That’s me doing a cartwheel on top of Pedra Bonita in Rio de Janeiro. And — more importantly — that’s me fulfilling a dream I’d had for 8 years: leading a dance trip abroad to Brazil (not to mention several other countries!).
So what finally got me into action?
To start, I learned how to choose from courage, rather than confidence.
Here’s the thing about confidence:
We feel confident when we are well practiced in what we’re doing and are reasonably certain we will succeed. When we’re creating something big and new in our lives, however, this may not be the case! If we wait until we’re confident, we may never take action.
When we choose from courage, we take action from curiosity and faith. We know things might not turn out exactly like we envision, and we’re willing to take that chance because we have something worth failing for (and for the juicy lessons we will learn in the process).
Brazil wasn’t all cartwheels. I pushed myself in new ways, worked primarily outside my comfort zone, dealt with new challenges and even missed a night of sleep when I was making a big decision. In short, Brazil was better and harder than I imagined. Will I run this trip again? Absolutely. Will I continue to learn and get better? Certainly. And will my confidence grow as I choose from courage over and over and over again? YOU BET!
Below are a few more pictures from the trip. I hope you enjoy them!
Our group with Jaime Aroxa and dancers in his company. Jaime is considered one of the most influential samba dancers of all time.
Sunset from Urca mountain
Graffiti is legal in Rio, so you find amazing art everywhere.
My inspiration for the day comes from ABC talk show host Kelly Ripa–a woman who did not let circumstances get in the way of her goals.
Kelly dreamed of having this job, so she jumped at the chance to try out to be Regis Philbin’s co-host. She was up against some big competition–including Dolly Parton and Bernadette Peters–and no one knew who would receive the coveted position.
The day of Kelly’s try out with a live audience, a psychic was on the show and predicted that Kelly would have another child.
“Are you pregnant now?” The psychic asked.
“Yes–I haven’t told my boss,” Kelly replied with tears in her eyes.
Kelly could have made her pregnancy mean a lot of things–that she wouldn’t have enough time to do the show, that she shouldn’t even try out because the producers would never hire a pregnant woman, that she would be a bad mother if she tried to balance hosting with her family life, that the new baby would leave her exhausted and unable to perform, that her dream had to wait, or any number of other things.These very real circumstance could have stopped her.
Instead, Kelly decided she could have it all.
The surprise announcement about the baby endeared Kelly to viewers, Kelly got the job, and her children became regular guests on the show. Fifteen years later, Kelly is still going strong.
As we work toward our goals, there will always be circumstances that make us want to stop. We will create stories that obstacles are insurmountable and we will face a choice: believe these stories and stop or push forward anyway.
When we have the courage to continue despite circumstances, we recreate what is possible for our life. The old stories shift, and suddenly there is more available to us than ever before.
By embodying courage, commitment and action, we can absolutely have what we want.
What do you choose to embody?
With lots of love and happy feet,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am excited to present a sampling of my favorite Power Anthems From Around the World (complete with many oh-so-amazing music videos). These artists are dancing, they are singing, and they are living FULL OUT in service of what inspires them.
And that was something I was struggling to do!
In the weeks before I made this list, I’d felt a creative block. I was working so hard, but things just weren’t clicking in my business.
And then it hit me: I’d stopped relating to my work as fun. And I’d stopped making time to do the things that made me feel excited, joyful, and abundant.
My response? I danced as much as possible (in the shower, before I sat down to work, at venues in the evenings) and created this super fun “opt in” for my newsletter–which felt infinitely more engaging than the workbook I was slaving over.
My hope is that these power anthems bring you back to your natural state of joy and play. Where do you notice you’re taking things too seriously? Where would you like to inject more positive energy?
Listen! And enjoy!*
Power Anthems From Around The World
(Beats to get those creative juices flowing!)
Osmani Garcia (Cuba), Featuring Pit Bull (American, son of Cuban parents)
Kendji Girac (France)
Beyond Four Seas
Tattad Tattad (check out that music video!)
Ramji Ki Chaal (India)
Rodrigo Y Gabriela (Mexico)
Can’t Stop Dancing
Becky G (Belize)
Mundian To Bach Ke
Panjabi MC (India)
Enrique Iglesias (Spain) & Descemer Bueno (Cuba)
Yemi Alade (Nigeria)
*Have any power anthems you want to recommend? Send them my way!