Over the past two weeks, I’ve interviewed past travelers on PACK Retreats.
Today, I spoke with Matt Maxwell (who inspired the title of this email!).
Last week, I talked with Neil Takemoto.
I run these retreats with my colleague Catherine Wood, and we are sharing these interviews to show how FRICKIN’ AWESOME our travelers are.
Our vision is that PACK Retreats give people a powerful experience during the trip… but also once they get home. We are building a global community of inspired, heart-driven creators. By highlighting the incredible people who have joined us this far, we know we will inspire other movers-and-shakers to join us in the future.
Are you awesome? Do you love people? Do you love living a happy life?
Embrace the Adventure,
In honor of International Women’s Day, I want to feature a few ladies who have made a big difference for me this year, as well as offer a free, three-hour coaching intensive to a woman who is making a difference for those around her.
Who is this gorgeous babe, you ask? Why, it’s Leah Beilhart! Photographer, videographer, and community leader extraordinaire! Leah makes a massive contribution through her community Behold.Her in Washington DC and does beautiful work for her clients — all while being kind, gracious, and quirky in the best way. She is to thank for our beautiful video of the Dominican retreat.
It’s not often your AirBnB host becomes a friend. Darys is an amazing woman and fate brought us together in the Dominican Republic. Darys lived in New York for many years and worked on Wall Street before moving back to the DR to become the first female CEO of the Dominican Stock Exchange. She came from modest beginnings and recently released a book about her path to success. She is in the midst of launching her international speaking career (just last week she spoke at three events in Colombia), and it’s been a blast to work side by side with her from her apartment. She is honest, kind, and all-around badass.
In 2017, Dance Adventures collaborated with Mickela — the Emmy-Award-Winning host of the television show Bare Feet — to run our dance trip to Argentina. Mickela’s tenacity is inspiring. Initially, she struggled to find support for her show because she didn’t look like a typical television host. She stayed with it and now has three Emmys under her belt. She is an amazing example of what happens when a brilliant woman applies herself to a project she adores.
Make sure to follow these three ladies so you receive updates on the amazing things they’re creating!
Embrace the adventure,
Three weeks ago, I got a wake-up call.
While eating with a friend, he said something that left me speechless.
Up until this time, I thought I was handling my transition to the DR beautifully. Despite numerous challenges (unreliable internet, terrible traffic, my cost of business tripling, etc…), I felt I was adjusting well.
What I didn’t realize is that I was complaining… a lot.
That night, as I ate with my friend, I was caught in that pattern. And, after listening to the story about my difficult day, he dropped a truth bomb:
He put down his fork, looked me right in the eyes, and said “You complain and get angry too much.”
Me: (Stunned silence, wide-eyed, embarrassed)
Him: It’s true. And you can’t find a solution when you get upset like that.
Me: I guess that’s true. There are just so many challenges about living here…
Him: You’re in a big transition, but you have to learn to stay calm. Just look at my mom. She lost her job three months ago, my family is losing money, and we all still laugh every day. You need to relax. There is always a solution, but you won’t be able to see it if you are angry. Relax and be happy.
I didn’t know what to say, but I knew what I felt: Shame. Guilt. Humiliation.
…Until I realized that was more of the drama I’d been creating. And it was time to cut that sh*t out.
My friend was was so right. When we get angry or upset, our creativity dies. We are no longer able to creatively and intelligently face challenges. By hopping on the emotional roller coaster, we give up all of our power.
Rather than repeat the same old thing, I decided it was time to step it up as a badass boss babe and powerful creator I am. That night, I:
- Put myself on a complaint diet, and empowered a morning gratitude practice
- Resolved to make decisions more quickly (rather than hemming, hawing, and creating decision fatigue)
- Asked my friend for help with an issue only a local could solve (and put a date on our calendars to address it)
- Identified three solid ways to improve my self-care (since complaining is a sign that we have needs that need to be met!)
The result? My quality of life skyrocketed, I resolved several challenges, I became more resilient in the face of setbacks, and I created more time to spend on my hobbies and building friendships.
There is so much wisdom in this interaction, so I am thrilled to share it with you all.
Wisdom bomb 1: Be open to reflections from people you love and trust, even if they are upsetting at first. There is value in knowing how people see you show up in the world. If you’re willing to look at their reflection objectively, you may identify an opportunity to make your life or relationships better.
Wisdom bomb 2: Keep things in perspective. I was worked up about a challenge in my business when someone else was worried about making ends meet. When we focus on what we have (resilience, income, resources, opportunity, community, love), we are more creative and strategic. We are able to experience joy and play in the face of challenge.
Wisdom bomb 3: Have compassion for yourself, and don’t forget that self-care is core to your resilience, courage, and ability to be with transition. Self-care is the first place I look when I notice I feel “off.”
What did you get from this story, readers? What other wisdom bombs do you see? I would love to know.
Wishing you all a beautiful, creative, and powerful week!
Embrace the Adventure,
Magic, magic, magic!
Our Dominican Republic Reset Retreat was absolutely incredible!
We enjoyed coaching workshops, authentic relating games, ziplining, ATV touring, swimming in waterfalls, bike rides to the beach, and more.
This retreat gave people the space to powerfully plan 2018, create new friendships, and completely unplug from their day-to-day.
Do NOT miss the chance to come with us next year! If you’re interested, reply to this post and you will be the first to know our dates for 2019!
More updates to come (including my hilarious left shark moment in a salsa performance here in the DR!), so stay tuned!
Embrace the adventure,
How we INTERPRET what happens to us makes all the difference.
Our interpretations can make us miserable, delighted, frustrated, inspired and everything in between. They can also turn a seemingly negative situation into a powerful learning opportunity,
My first week in the Dominican is the perfect example.
After my Facebook Live on January 1, I hopped onto my plane to the DR feeling great. Creativity was surging through me as I flew down the East Coast and over the ocean.
“This will be my most inspired week of business!” I declared.
Upon my arrival, I had two insane days of productivity: I created new tools, listened to podcasts by my favorite thought-leaders, served my clients, and settled in beautifully.
“I am doing it!” I declared. “I am amazing and everything is going as planned!”
…and then came the evil death flu of 2018, including fever, chills, weakness, vomiting, and all the other dreaded symptoms.
This flu threw my plan off course, and I felt frustrated and scared. In my mind, I equated working hard to being safe in my new environment. If I couldn’t work hard…then what would happen?
Then I remembered this: When I see everything as perfect, I can turn the most challenging situations into opportunities. So I asked myself:
“How is this perfect? What is the divine lesson for me?”
The answer was crystal clear.
The flu forced me to slow down and actually be with my transition to this new country. While running full speed ahead is my default and a way I know to protect myself, it would have left me isolated and homesick during this huge new transition.
Instead, the flu forced me to seek support. It felt uncomfortable to ask my friends here to make me food, get me medicine, and help me with basic day-to-day things. That is a level of support I never would have sought without the flu.
Yet allowing myself to receive so much support was a huge gift. It reminded me that I’m not alone and that a new type of community is a huge part of why I am trying life here.
The support created a foundation for the relationships I am building.
Practicing gratitude and seeing everything as perfect allowed me to:
1) stay in the moment, rather than worrying about the future
2) feel inspired, even in the face of my illness
3) Be more open and authentic with those around me
I want to share this gift with you, readers. If you’re game, try out the following questions:
1. What are you currently looking at as a curse?
2. How is this actually perfect (if the answer doesn’t immediately come to mind, i suggest you free write about it for 10 minutes).
I hope you find this practice as rewarding as I did.
Embrace the Adventure,
Hello Lovely Readers,
A quick request before my story:
If you enjoy my updates, but ALSO want 1) tips on business 2) guidance on becoming a stronger leader 3) tools to create more authentic and connected relationships and 4) special offers for my courses and products, sign up for my business email list here.
Okay! Now to the main event…
In September, I had the opportunity to take a safari in South Africa.* And, while the experience inspired me, it wasn’t for the reason you might expect.
The safari was an (often morbid) reminder of the harsh parts and fragility of life. While we saw many beautiful things, we also saw predators hunt prey and wounded animals get left behind by their families. As we approached some of the fiercest animals in the world, we were reminded how to stay safe. Those recommendations were supported by tragic stories about people who did not heed the advice.
As all of this unfolded, my coach brain was going a mile a minute. Witnessing life in the African bush led me to many insights…but here’s the one I was most inspired to share:
Humans are frickin’ magical
The fact that early humans survived in this environment completely blows my mind (and, yes, I know many communities still call the African bush home — that’s amazing too!).
Our ancestors faced the threats of lions, leopards, scorpions, snakes, drought and more, and STILL grew a population big enough to span the globe.
To me, this means a few important things:
1) We are endowed with incredible intuition
We are programmed to sense even the most minute details and changes in our environment. In the early days, intuition helped us stay safe from predators, find resources (food, water, medicinal plants), and survive challenging situations. Every one of us is endowed with this same, largely subconscious, capacity today. It’s why sometimes we “just know” that something is about to happen.
Sometimes we ignore or deny our intuition, and that’s too bad. By tapping into our intuition, we can generate great ideas and find the “inspired action” that allows us make the biggest impact.
Even if you feel disconnected from your intuition, you can trust it’s still there. It’s innate to us like our other survival instincts. Sometimes, we need to remember to listen and have the courage to follow our intuition (especially in the face of fear). This is part of the work I do with clients, and I love watching how it propels them forward!
2) We are programmed for community
To stay alive in such a challenging environment, our ancestors used the power of community. They often traveled in groups and organized their villages to protect themselves and their animals (for instance, the Maasai people of East Africa create fences of acacia thorns around their compounds).
It’s no surprise, then, that humans thrive through close relationships (check out this study by Harvard), and creating these bonds is a human tradition and basic survival strategy.
This is part of why I’m so passionate about my work as an Authentic Relating Games facilitator, as well as the relationship coaching I do. When we remove the resistance we have to closeness, support, and learning from others, we are more likely to live a fulfilled life AND reach our goals.
3) We are instilled with a remarkable resilience and courage
The next time you feel fear getting in the way of your goals, remember the courage of your ancestors who beat the odds in the African bush. Resilience, creativity and brilliance are in your DNA.
I hope this email reminds you of how awesome you are, readers. You have everything you need to create a life you love — it’s all about tapping into the genius that’s already within you and the community that’s already around you!
With gratitude and respect,
*Special thanks to the South African Tourism Board for the prize, and to my parents for joining me!
One of our guides with my dad’s favorite souvenir — an elephant made of pink beads
The protea is the national flower of South Africa and they have gorgeous bouquets with proteas EVERYWHERE.
From the time I was young, I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I wanted to find a way to work for myself and make a big impact on the world.
And yet, I was too scared to take the leap until I hired my first coach.
Now in my third year of entrepreneurship, I believe that I would have given up a long time ago without coaching.
This last Wednesday in Buenos Aires is the perfect example of why.
I was on a high when I left my hotel Wednesday morning. Here in Argentina, it’s autumn (my favorite season), our tango trip here was half-way through and going fabulously and I was on my way to a cool co-working space to work with my amazing coaching clients who are up to big things.
As I walked, I messaged a friend back home. I was literally laughing out loud about his witty reply to me when I was hit from behind by a motorcycle. I screamed and felt my phone get ripped out of my hand.
The motorcyclist then zipped off the side walk and into the street. He was gone within seconds.
What the hell am I doing running this dance trip company?
It is totally crazy to be traveling the world and balancing two businesses!
It’s only a matter of time until this all fails and I go back and find a day job.
(Funny thoughts, since both of my businesses are growing and have been since I launched them!)
In those moments after the robbery, I wanted to quit.
That’s right: I wanted to quit running my two profitable dream companies and go back to working a desk job — any desk job would do!
And, before coaching, I would have.
Here are some of the big lessons I’ve learned from coaching that helped me get back on track:
We All Have a Predictable Response to Triggers
At Accomplishment Coaching, I learned that people fall into one of three categories when DEEPLY confronted: They attack (lash out), suffer, or quit. I’m a quitter. In other words, my default is to run away from a situation when I get scared or angry. When I got robbed, my desire to quit was totally predictable. Through coaching, I’ve learned to empower my COMMITMENT (to be an entrepreneur who changes lives), rather than fleeting circumstances or emotions.
Drama is Optional
I could have made it mean a lot of things that I got robbed. I could have taken it as a “sign” that my businesses would not work or related to myself as a victim. I could have beaten myself up about having my phone out, made myself feel awful, or hyper-focused on how much replacing my phone would cost. Instead, I had a good cry, journaled and got plenty of hugs from my business partner. I then ordered a new phone with a great payment plan. I looked at the facts (not any dramatic interpretation of what happened) and allowed the situation to be a reminder to practice better safety and mindfulness when traveling.
AND Honoring Our Emotions Is An Important Part of The Process
I spoke extensively about this in my last email, and it’s worth sharing again: When we step over our emotions, we don’t allow ourselves the ability to heal and to learn lessons that are there for us. As I sat with my emotions this time, I noticed shame. I knew better than to have my phone out while walking around. This was a great opportunity to practice self-compassion and forgiveness.
Expect And Welcome Obstacles
When we are up to big things, we come up against big obstacles. That’s ok because there are lessons to be learned and BREAKTHROUGHS we can have. Rather than seeing this robbery as “that thing that ruined my trip,” I saw it as a normal consequence of running an international travel company and being a digital nomad. After processing what happened, I saw an opportunity to be a better leader and to act with more wisdom, presence, compassion, and care for myself and my travelers. In that way, facing this obstacle helped me further my commitment to who I want to be for myself and my clients.
I wish you each grace with the obstacles you are facing and send you all love from Buenos Aires.
A few weeks ago, my dear friend and business partner Melaina Spitzer attended the funeral of a woman who changed her life. This woman’s name was Sobonfu Some.
Sobonfu was a spiritual leader who grew up in Burkina Faso, West Africa. Her mission was to teach rituals from her home to the people of the West to help them connect more deeply with community and Spirit. Among the powerful rituals she shared were grief rituals.
Sobonfu supported countless people in being with and moving through their grief by creating a space where they could honor their emotions and their process. Her rituals were a critical part of these people’s healing and learning.
Like Sobonfu, I believe that being with our emotions and processing how we feel in a healthy way is critically important. When we push down our emotions, we create internal blocks. When we block our emotional energy, we also block our creative energy, the energy we have available for connection (to others, nature, ourselves), and more.
We cannot block off our hearts and expect every other part of our lives to flow as normal.
And yet being with our emotions is often comfortable.
We want to get over it. We want to fix what’s making us upset. We want things to get “back to normal.”
I GET IT because this is how I acted with my emotions for most of my life.
Until a few years ago, I hated crying. In fact, I avoided most emotions other than happiness – anger, frustration and sadness were all in my no-go zone.
I did not let myself express these emotions because I fundamentally (and subconsciously) adhered to certain limiting beliefs:
1) If I were anything other than happy, I was an imposition
2) My “negative” emotions would detract from or ruin others’ experiences
3) My value as a person was my ability to be optimistic, joyful and happy
4) It was selfish to ask for “too much” of others’ support.
5) There was a quota around how much sadness, anger or frustration I could have at any given time
6) I would be unlovable if people thought I was too emotional
As I write these beliefs now, I feel a weight on my chest and a deep sense of sadness. I have so much compassion for the person who believed those things and I am grateful to have re-created my relationship to my emotions.
Why I Now Love My Anger and Sadness
I Have More Intimacy, Honesty and Support Than Ever Before
I previously believed that sharing my emotions would alienate others. Instead, I’ve found the opposite: When I open up, people are more than willing to be with me, hear me, and answer my requests for support. In fact, they often express their appreciation at seeing this new, vulnerable side of me and that THEY now feel more open to sharing their emotions. By opening up to these emotions, I’ve created more intimacy, honesty and support for both myself and the other people in my life.
I Support Others More Deeply Than Before
What we withhold from ourselves, we withhold from others. In allowing myself to be with my emotions, my ability to be with others’ emotions skyrocketed. I have more compassion, love and openness toward myself and others in my life.
I Establish Better Boundaries
When we set boundaries and stand up for our needs, we may make other people frustrated, angry, or sad. Learning to be with others’ emotions can therefore help us stick to the boundaries we set. Furthermore, the act of expressing anger and sadness (in a healthy way) can help people better understand our boundaries and what we need. In this way, the act of expressing our emotions is one of the most basic forms of boundary setting.
I Learn Important Lessons
When I notice intense emotions arise, I can zoom out and see what it means about what I need and my values. For instance, the other day I felt frustrated when I sat down at my computer in my office. I sat with this feeling and realized I wasn’t honoring my value of freedom by working at home five days a week. I packed up my computer, headed out to a cafe, and happily did work all morning from a different location. I was much more productive and happy there than I would have been at home.
I Feel More Energy, Freedom and Humanity
Because I give myself space to process my emotions, they don’t interrupt my life the way they used to. I used to spend a lot of energy holding back or hiding my emotions. It took more energy to hide these emotions than for to address them in a healthy way! I also previously believe that it was wrong or bad to experience intense sadness and intense joy in the same day (let alone the same hour – would people think I was crazy?!). By not making my emotions wrong and allowing them to be, I get to live more authentically and with more space to have creativity, joy, sadness, anger, play and more in my day-to-day.
Readers, do you struggle to be with your emotions? Which ones do you find most challenging? What is the cost of avoiding them or pushing them down?
I would love to hear your responses on my Facebook page.
Happy Friday, and enjoy this beautiful weekend.
With love and happy feet,
On the final night of our trip to the Dominican Republic, we headed off through the rainforest for our closing ceremony. Serenaded by frogs and under twinkly lights in a thatched-roof yoga hut, we brought the incredible experience to an end.
While sharing takeaways from our trip, people spoke about:
-Remembering how much fun it was to be themselves
-Getting back in touch with their beauty
-Reconnecting to their passions and sense of possibility
-The insane amount of laughter each day
-Having clear action steps for their goals
-Discovering a deep sense of community with fellow travelers
-Learning to trust themselves and their intuition
-The value they got out of facing their fears (of taking time for themselves, dancing, being in a foreign country, ziplining, and more)
And so many other things!
Learning to create experiences like this is one of the top reasons I chose to be trained as a coach. It was an honor to be the guide and partner to the people who attended. They came ready for a life-changing experience, and we created it together.
Catherine Wood (my co-leader) and I are already looking forward to next year and I will make sure to update you all once the details are ready. For additional updates, support, and inspiration, you can also join my Facebook group.
In the meantime, I am delighted to unveil photos of the experience (and will unveil more in the coming weeks). These shots were all taken by the amazing Rachel Hegarty of Rachel E.H. Photography.
Enjoy, and happy Friday!
Photo by Rachel Hegarty
Photo by Rachel Hegarty
Photo by Rachel Hegarty
Photo by Rachel Hegarty
Photo by Rachel Hegarty
Photo by Rachel Hegarty
Photo by Rachel Hegarty