Personal Development

What’s it like in my business mastermind?

Hello, readers! First off, if you are looking for more general information about masterminds, this is not the blog entry for you. Click here instead. If you are interested to learn more about my business mastermind, you’re in the right place! I’ll share with you 1) a basic overview of what we’ve discussed in quarter 1 (Q1) of the program and 2) snippets of interviews with current mastermind members about their experience so far. An Overview of Quarter 1 in my Business Mastermind Program In Q1 of the program we covered the following topics: Group agreements and how/why to create agreements within groupsParticipants’ relationship to both giving and receiving supportHow to create effective accountability partnershipsCreating a clear vision for the future and measurable goalsVisibility + taking our visibility up a notch (…or 10)Money mindset (money and visibility typically go hand-in-hand) While I have a general outline I follow for my business mastermind, I tailor it based on the group dynamic and the group’s needs. I never hesitate to throw my plan out the window if there is a topic that would better benefit the participants. My clients review their experience of Q1 in my business mastermind Below are interviews with some of the current participants. Let me first first introduce you to them (p.s. they happen to all be ladies, but we do have a co-ed group)! Visit Eloah’s website here! Check out Lisa’s website here! Learn more about Carrie here! …and now on to their feedback… My favorite part about Q1 was… Eloah: The constant forward movement! I really appreciated the pace, and I made a huge progress sorting out my finances. Lisa: Creating my master plan for 2021. It’s helped me focus my energy. Carrie: Enjoying a community with other awesome creators. This mastermind structure is unique because… Eloah: There is so much support going through things that I would otherwise avoid. Lisa: I am able to build relationships with entrepreneurs who understand my struggles, fears, and uncertainty, as well as my vision, growth and bigness. Carrie: of the shared accountability and commitment. My biggest learning in Q1 was… Eloah: how to be unstoppable Lisa: that having a road map is important, even if you are not 100% sure where you are going; accountability and personal integrity are my biggest assets and tools; I am a badass, even when I might forget; I am a leader, even when I feel invisible and insignificant; and I offer tremendous value to my clients, even when things don’t go perfectly. Carrie: that I can trust my peers to hold my vision when I forget If you’re considering this structure, you should know… Eloah: that your life is about to change for the better and that it is never too late to give your life a new direction that feels right for you! Lisa: It is what you make it. Although Megan is an amazing leader and facilitator with an incredible arsenal of tools available for us, it really is up to each participant to be engage, aware, alert and vulnerable. The deeper I go with my own practices and learnings, the more my business will benefit. Carrie: you have value to both give and receive What I appreciated about Meg as a leader in Q1 was… Eloah: Geeez!! Everything? She is such a badass-take-no-shit-and-love-you-beyond-limits human being! She’s also great fun and a pleasure to have around! Lisa: her heart and her ability to hold each individual to their highest self and potential. Even when I think I am failing, I feel like celebrating because of Megan’s incredible outlook that does not see results as right/wrong or good/bad but as a metric to see what’s working and what I can tweak to improve. My business is bigger and has more direction as a result. Carrie: the special blend of playfulness, accountability, insight, and kindness that holds the group together. Click here to read more about my business mastermind program! What are you taking away from this blog post, reader? Share below in the comments!

How to recover from rejection

I want to tell you a story how I recovered from rejection. On its surface, the story seems to be about failure. Upon closer inspection, however, it is about intuition, energetic alignment and one of my favorite phrases: This or something better. Here’s a belief I live by: rejection is not bad or final. Rejection is a useful navigation tool and a way that the universe challenges us to step into the highest and best version of ourselves. We are playing an infinite game, and rejection is a normal, natural part of the journey The story I will share is about my own recovery from rejection, although I believe you will recognize your own experience in the story, too. Back in October, I sent off my application for the Fulbright – a prestigious grant from the US government. It was a badass proposal. My editor at Northwestern University said I had one of the best personal statements he’d seen that year. Plus, it was an awesome topic. I planned to study the intersections between flamenco and personal development. About a month after I clicked “submit,” however, I got a gut feeling: I wasn’t going to get the award. Something wasn’t right. It wasn’t meant for me. <<Ok, readers, check-in no. 1 – can you relate to this story yet? Is there a time when you felt in your bones that something was not right for you, even if you didn’t know quite why?>> Last week, a rejection letter confirmed my hunch. And, while my stomach still dropped when I read it (I’m human, after all), I knew this was the right outcome. This is when I turned to my mantra: This or something better. Something better, I trusted, would be on the way. <<Check in no. 2! Can you relate to trusting something better is on its way to you?>> Although this was the outcome I expected, and I had made peace with it, I wanted to think more deeply about why this happened. I’m a coach, after all. Thinking deeply about shit is what I do. After some introspection, reading and journaling, I realized the Fulbright wasn’t an energetic match for me. Here’s why: This proposal was meant to teach me a lesson, but the fellowship was not my next step: The universe doesn’t just present opportunities when our success is inevitable. Need some examples? That guy you dated briefly wasn’t meant to be your future husband, but to teach you some important lessons that facilitated your next level of growthYour first job out of college seemed awesome… but in the end, it taught you how to stand up for yourself with a cranky bossThe program you created was a flop, but you certainly learned a thing or two about launching… The universe gave me the Fulbright to have me think more deeply about the intersections between two things I love: movement and personal development. And, gosh darn it, it worked. I foresee many future retreats around this topic… <<check in no. 3. Has the universe ever given you an opportunity that was meant to teach you something?>> My purpose is to challenge the status quo: We’re all born with desires, goals and needs that are the perfect fit for the impact we are meant to make. I have very often been rejected by large institutions. I have also often been rejected by people who thought my ideas were downright crazy. In the end, I still did the thing – created a six-figure business, got an amazing master’s degree that had nothing to do with my previous studies, led dance trips around the world, etc…, but a lot of people out there were betting against me. Given all this, it’s no surprise that a governmental agency with an academic bent wouldn’t be altogether psyched about my proposal that talked about spiral dynamics, self-esteem, personal empowerment and self-help storytelling. Thanks for the reminder, rejection. I’m meant to take a path that’s outside the box so that I learn lessons to teach others and can model this lifestyle for kindred spirits. Now, make no mistake, I’ll still pursue this project… and I’ll do it in the visionary way I do many things. People may not “get it,” but that won’t stop me from writing a best-selling book, creating a mind-blowing retreat, or doing something else that’s awesome. <<Check in no. 4 – are you an out-of-the-box creator? Do you ever feel like people don’t get you? Remember: You were perfectly created to do what you are meant to do!>> The work was misaligned with my money mindset: I’ve done quite a bit of money mindset work this year, and I am no longer available to earn less than a $30k/month. The project (in the Fulbright form) would have asked a lot of me for little compensation – we’re talking about $1,000 a month for part-time work. Of course the universe would close that door! Perhaps I was available for this type of exchange right after college, or even throughout my early years as a professional. Now, though? We can go bigger than that… There must be better partners available: While Fulbright is a fantastic partner for many people, it clearly wasn’t the best partner for me. If someone does not get our genius (or simply aren’t properly equipped to support us), we don’t need to argue. Our job is to own our vision and show up consistently. This way, you will find the partners who are an optimal fit.  When you shout your desires from the rooftop, after all, you’re hard to miss. I’ll say it once more… Rejection is a useful navigation tool and a way the universe challenges us to step into the highest and best version of ourselves. While it may initially make us disappointed, sad, or angry, it is always in our best interest. So, repeat after me: Thank you, rejection, for closing doors so that I can navigate toward ideal opportunities. Thank you, rejection, for reminding …

How to recover from rejection Read More »

How to overcome fear-based perfectionism

This week, there’s been a theme on many of my coaching calls: the struggle to overcome fear-based perfectionism.  Perfectionism is sometimes a wonderful skill to leverage (remember: very few human behaviors are inherently bad or good). Other times, when perfectionism is rooted in fear, it can block us from moving forward. In this blog, I will share: my philosophy on fear-based perfectionisma surprising practice for how to overcome fear-based perfectionismsome of my favorite mantras to move past the sometimes-crippling need to get things “just right” Let’s start with one very important truth: Your perfectionism has paid off over the years. Perhaps your attention to detail helped you get the grades to attend your dream grad program. Or you were rewarded for catching mistakes or discrepancies in your line of work. It’s also possible the rewards started earlier. Growing up, your allowance may have depended on how thoroughly you cleaned your room. Indeed, perfectionism is a tool …but it can’t be the only tool. Think about construction workers. They head out with jack hammers, drills, and a variety of other equipment. This way, they know they’ll be equipped to address a variety of challenges. You don’t really need to get rid of perfectionism all together. Will your doctors appointment get cancelled if you’re late? Be perfectly on time. Need to find a professional to help out with your taxes, will or other sensitive documents? By all means, use all your perfectionist tendencies to identity the right person for the job. So, if our goal isn’t to leave behind perfectionism, what is it? The goal is to learn to recognize the perfectionism as its happening (i.e. cultivate awareness) and then to make a choice. If the perfectionism feels helpful and empowering, go with it! If it seems to be holding you back, it’s time to try something else. Over the years (and over and over again in my conversations with clients this week), I’ve noticed how there is one particular flavor of perfectionism that seems universally debilitating. Perfectionism Rooted in Fear I typically see this in intelligent, successful people. Blind to the fear that’s actually running the show (or unclear that this is the real reason they can’t move forward), they often try to justify their behavior. They give well-thought-out reasons why they need to wait until conditions are just right, they know more, or they have enough time/money/etc… They argue for the perceived limitations, saying they’re not ready. Ask their closest friends and allies if that person is ready, however, and you will hear a resounding “YES!” Here are a few archetypes of past clients whose perfectionism was disguised as fear: A doctor who wanted to write her first children’s book and spent hundreds of hours editing and re-editing her work A top-performing, highly educated employee who wanted to start his own business, but thought she needed more credentialsA talented artist who almost turned down his first gallery show because he wasn’t 100% satisfied with all of his paintings If these people had let fear win, the world would have missed out on their beautiful contributions. The key to changing the behavior pattern We don’t change our behaviors by making them bad and wrong. This can just send us into a shame cycle. We also don’t change our behavior by trying the same thing over and over again. This results in a frustration cycle. Through my work with people around the world, I’ve discovered there are two key, initial steps we must take toward change: Finding a safe place to acknowledge and talk about the fear Cultivating more self-compassion As I mentioned above, fear-based perfectionism is a challenge faced by accomplished people, many of whom do not sit around talking about their fear. Now, please recall what I said at the beginning of this article: Any human behavior has both payoffs and challenges, and most behaviors are not inherently good or bad. While some people cringe when I mention the idea of sharing feelings, I’ve seen time and time again how learning to talk about fear with trusted confidantes can normalize the experience. “Sunlight is the best disinfectant,” one of my former clients loved to say. When we can name and discuss our fear, we give the fear less power and can build our sense of support and community. It can also — and this is extremely important — support you in cultivating more self-compassion. Compassion is essential to overcome fear-based perfectionism You may be great at offering compassion to your friends, pet, child or another beloved figure in your life… but not so practiced at offering it to yourself. You probably also know that sometimes compassion is the best way to get things done. You wouldn’t, for instance, yell at a toddler for not being potty trained. You’d show him compassion and then find a creative and loving way to support his progress (for my nephews, we use stickers). Many perfectionists even have a story that self-compassion will make them weak or slow them down. The vast majority of perfectionists I know are at 0 risk of this happening. Self-criticizing <—————————> Self-compassion On the spectrum above, they are so far over to the left, that a few notches toward self-compassion will only improve the quality of their life. Their old strategy of pushing themselves is no longer working, anyway! Do you want to go allllllll the way over to the right? Maybe sometimes. Odds are, however, that you’ll find a sweet spot in the middle that serves as a more sustainable and gentle road to success. By cultivating compassion for their fear, and hence themselves, a perfectionist can find a new strategy to success. Talking to your fear Oftentimes, it’s easier to be gentle with our fear if we can personify it. Just yesterday, a client and I named her fear Koko the Gorilla. A few months ago, another client personified his fear as a much younger version of himself. It felt easier for them to welcome and spend time with …

How to overcome fear-based perfectionism Read More »

How do I work through fear, insecurity and anxiety?

Fear. Insecurity. Anxiety. It’s not very festive…. but it’s REAL.  And, while most of my friends, family and clients have been expressing ample gratitude for what they have, MOST are experiencing at least one of the feelings I listed above.  I’ve been a part of discussions about this in my virtual coworking community, business mastermind and plenty of other places. Inspired by them, here are some of my top suggestions for alleviating fear, insecurity and anxiety as they arise.  Give yourself space to feel your feelings: Rather than operate on top of negative emotions, pause and see what’s there. I sometimes think about my emotions as children. When they’re upset, I don’t ignore them. I kneel down and ask “What’s wrong, love?” Then, I listen. Often, I write down everything I hear (a sort of journaling exercise). Emotions, like children, often get louder when they’re ignored. Set very achievable goals: On days when you’re not feeling great, choose one or two tasks you can complete and then celebrate the hell out of doing them. Our success is more about consistent action than about achieving off-the-chart results each day. If you can keep moving and positively reinforce that progress, rather than beat yourself up for not having peak productivity, you’re much better off.Ritual: Is there a way to infuse your core values into a ritual? For example, some of my core values are creativity, freedom and connection. I’ve created a morning ritual where I go for a quick walk around the block while listening to grounding music on Spotify and sipping my morning Rasa. It helps quell my anxiety (an ongoing challenge) and gets me ready to start my day. Make sure you feel aligned with what you’re offering through your business: Do you believe in all your services or products? If not, trying to sell them likely increases anxiety or stress. If something feels off, chat with a coach, colleague or friend about your concerns.Do a calendar inventory: Do you really need all those meetings on your calendar? Are there some you have out of habit vs. from a real need? Are there any you can cut down by 10 – 30 minutes if you and the other parties came prepared to dive in? Community: Cultivate your social support (read tips from the Mayo Clinic here). During the pandemic, fight the urge to just stay home. Create explicit agreements with your friends about meeting up and then go have a great time. Even an hour or two can lift your spirits. Go for a walk, go snowshoeing or have a bonfire. If Zoom is the way you stay in touch with friends or family far away, find creative ways to have those calls: set up game nights, read each other stories or make the same dinner at the same time.Give yourself something to look forward to: Can’t travel or visit friends/family right now? Do some research and plan a REALLY FUN trip that you can take in the future. So far during this pandemic, I’ve planned amazing trips to Italy and Japan. If you REALLY need variety/adventure to feel like yourself, consider some of the new virtual AirBnB experiences. You can meditate with monks in Bali, take a tour of street art in Japan or do yoga with an Olympic athlete.Eat well: Check out this resource from UCLA that highlights stress-reducing foods.Take a wonder walk: Head outside and practice taking in everything around you with wide-eyed wonder. The more over the top you go with this, the more fun/relaxing it is. Wonder walks are also great (and often hilarious) to do with friends.Workout (hot tip: “exercise snacks”): Make these non-negotiable even if it’s just 15 minutes of jogging in place each morning. You can also try “exercise snacks,” and do sets of squats, pushups or other types of exercise throughout the day. Exercise is proven to make you happier and offers many other benefits, too. Turn off technology: Give yourself permission to not look at your phone or your computer until a certain time in the morning. In the evening, do the same. If you’re noticing that this is difficult, you may need to find a stress-reducing hobby or ritual to replace the screen. This could be reading fantasy books, playing the guitar, journaling before bed, listening to a pre-downloaded podcast or music (with your phone on airplane mode), creating art or taking long walks with a friend or family member. Remember: You need time to just BE in order to balance the time you spend working or giving to others. How do you reduce stress, anxiety and fear? Let me know below.

I Married Myself (And It Was Insanely Awesome)

On November 8, 2020, some of my closest friends gathered for a very special occasion: my marriage to myself. It was uncomfortable to plan this event. Each step of the way forced me outside my comfort zone. What would people think if I married myself? Was it selfish to have an entire non-birthday celebration dedicated to just me? Could I get myself a ring (I REALLY wanted to)?Would people think I was compensating for not being married? Was it ok to spend this much money on myself? Would people take the ceremony seriously? Would my vows be meaningful to me or would they feel weird? Would I cry in front of everyone? (The answer: Several times). I also had to ask for help. I needed a ring bearer, a wedding officiant, a photographer, a musician/DJ, and… and… and… Now, I am OVER THE MOON that I went ahead with the event… read on to see more photos (make sure to read the captions!), check out my vows, hear about highlights from the day and learn about some of the quirky (and perfectly me) things that I did. My self-wedding invitations were via Paperless Post Laughter throughout the day was balanced by sweet and tender moments at a marriage to myself. The dress code for the event was whatever made people feel the most like themselves When the day came, I took it seriously… I spent the morning writing my vows, went and got my hair done and spent plenty of time dressing up and doing my makeup. Two of my best friends, Michael Gordon and Peter Will Benjamin, took care of me. Peter made me a delicious lunch so I didn’t forget to eat and Michael was the logistics master (and fixed the cake — making it look EVEN BETTER — after we experienced the Great Cake Disaster of 2020). My gift to MYSELF that day was this: I chose to LOVE every minute of the experience and release any expectation of how it would go. That decision was pivotal. It gave me permission to be totally present and laugh at or enjoy things that might have seemed “imperfect” before. My Vows From That Day: Megan, you are a beautiful, whimsical, intelligent, wild, and utterly magnificent creature. I am beyond thrilled that I get to spend my life with you. You bring joy to even mundane tasks, love sooooo deeply and can see the good in people and situations. I remember one of the first moments I fell in love with you and your lust for life. You were eight years old an on a trip into the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Looking in the rearview mirror, you noticed how clear and green your eyes were. I’m happy here, you thought. This might have been one of the first times you felt your intuition and were able to put what you felt into words. When dad stopped the car for a break, you wandered into the forest nearby and pretended you were on an expedition. It was thrilling and adventurous. You knew in that moment you wanted to be a photojournalist and live in the mountains. YOUR intentions are powerful. You went on to become a photojournalist and to spend time with many mountains. You’ve since listened to your intuition and followed it to great success, despite what others thought or said. My wish for us is to continue our journey of self-love and self-actualization, to go beyond people pleasing and create a life perfectly aligned with our values. Let’s stay wild. I promise I will continue to love you, CHOOSE to love you in the difficult moments and cultivate my relationship with you so that it becomes richer, deeper, more fun and more kind. In sickness and in health, for better or for worse, in every moment… we’re in this together. I’m grateful to have you as my partner on this wild ride called life. One of my best friends, Peter, walked me down the aisle to get married to myself Sara Ness led a beautiful ceremony during which she shared some of the things I love about myself. This included… my butt! I’m so grateful to Peter and the rest of my wedding guests that day. My vows made me cry several times. I ordered the mirror you see here especially for the event. It’s from NOVICA. The kiss! My lip marks are still on the mirror and I’m never cleaning it! My cake in all its glory… and a beautiful bonus unicorn cake provided by Geof Krum! I ordered a wedding cake from a local bakery. It was surrounded by spun sugar, and Michael added some beautiful floral accents. Each of my friends fed me wedding cake in whatever way they wanted! I was COVERED in cake by the end! It wouldn’t be a wedding without a ring, right? I looked around for a long time to find my ring. I ordered a bunch of rings from Amazon and other online jewelers, but nothing seemed quite right. In the end, it was my mom that found my ring — a diamond and white gold band from T.J. Maxx (50% off, baby!). She decided to give this ring to me as a gift, and shared with me that her mom had given her a ring, too. Every time she looked at it, she thought of her. It made both of us cry. Up until that time, I had wanted to find the ring MYSELF. Then I realized that self-love can sometimes mean letting others take care of you. I’ll end by dispelling a few myths about marrying yourself. Marrying yourself DOES NOT mean that: You’re selfish You’re singleYou’re recovering from heartbreakYou can’t celebrate in the same way you would a wedding to someone else (i.e. cake, invitations, vows, etc…)People will think you are over-the-top, ridiculous or unreasonable What marrying yourself DOES mean is: You’re ready for a new level of self-loveYou’ll get to see who among your friends is …

I Married Myself (And It Was Insanely Awesome) Read More »