TAKE THE FIRST STEP

Just a few more days of 2017 left!

As we prepare for the New Year, I found myself gravitating to this quote from the Suitcase Entrepreneur. I keep a notebook with scribbles and quotes in it, and about every week - usually on a Sunday eve - I go through it to see what resonates. As someone who has really thought a lot about the word 'failure', I have decided that this is the best definition. 

We only fail if we don't take at least one step.

Even a teeny tiny step will move us forward. Cue Rocky theme song victory music.

No matter how far along you are in your business, there are always going to be first steps. And some will be scary as sh*t. It is not just at the beginning of our entrepreneurial journey that we have to take leaps of faith. Oh no, those leaps keep comin', baby! Every time there is a new section of our business to tackle - I like to call them 'segments' - we have to take a deep breath and jump.

Just today, as I was writing sales copy for my new Supermavens coaching program, I had to take that first step of really defining what my signature program is all about, and putting it online. I have talked about it for almost a year, and now I have to jump into the fire. This is a new first step for me. It has taken hundreds (thousands?) of steps before this to get to this point, and now a new set of fears kick in. But I'm SO okay with that. I'm excited, actually. I'm totally down with all of it - the good, the bad, and the ugly tears (should they come).

I'm giving myself a moment of pride today to celebrate how far I have come, and more importantly, I am excited about what I can offer to my clients. Because the world needs more Supermavens.

What fears are you tackling in 2018? Are you ready to take some big steps? Tiny steps? Or just one important step that you know you need to take but are avoiding?

Whatever you need to do, do it now.

Don't let the next year go by without at least one epic moment of fear being replaced with an epic moment of 'YES, I did it'.

To your brave success,

Alana

HELLO, GOAL SETTING. I DON'T HATE YOU ANYMORE. OR MY LIFE.

As we come to the end of 2017, many of us are planning our 2018 and wondering how we can make it an awesome year.

While I do not obsess over New Year's resolutions, I do indeed set goals at the beginning of each year. I write down a list of realistic but challenging, attainable goals.

And this year, while it had some serious challenges (our rescue dog endured a health crisis that rocked me and my husband to the core, and my mom is now officially with a form of dementia), I am definitely TEAM 2017.

Why?

Because it is the year I fell in love again with goal setting.

And let me tell you, I did not think I would ever be writing that.

Around 2010, after the loss of my father to cancer, it is pretty safe to say that I fell into a downward spiral of depression and anxiety. It has literally taken me years to build myself up again, and as part of my 'restoration', I have had to rediscover the value of achievement, something that was once so easy for me to appreciate before I lost my father. I guess you can say I fell into that dark headspace where I became completely indifferent and apathetic ie: what is the point of anything???? Screw it.

While it has still been very easy for me to get stuff done and be productive (I can go all Type A when need be), it has been next to impossible for me to really challenge myself and put myself out there in a meaningful way. I have definitely not been brave for the last 7 years. Until this year.

I can see now that the beginning of this positive shift actually happened in 2012. I remember watching a Robin Sharma video about reflecting on the year just past (it was the end of December), and he recommended sitting down and writing down every single personal accomplishment achieved, month by month. No matter how big, small or teeny tiny, Robin said to write it down and you will be amazed by what you have actually done over the year. You will be pleasantly surprised.

So I did this. I sat down. I wrote. I reflected. I gasped.

No, I was not amazed at all of my accomplishments. I was horrified.

Because I had done fuck all. I had accomplished nothing. Nada. Zero.

Yes, I had worked a full-time job at a busy design studio - a job I absolutely hated but paid well - but that was about all I did. For the ENTIRE year. I worked at this job and ummm, I guess I walked my dog twice a day??? but that was it. It was a very depressing time for me and when I saw it written in black and white, I freaked the eff out. 

It was a horrible feeling. I felt I had failed. I was so mad at myself and I felt embarrassed.

Maybe some people could be happy just doing a day job and calling it a day, but I knew deep down that I was not that person. I needed more. I wanted more. I had given up on so many levels and I remember crying with both frustration and sadness. I clearly remember thinking that the driven, supermaven part of me was gone forever and I was never going to get her back. I felt doomed.

But, as it turns out, if you are committed to changing things for the better, there is a light at the tunnel. It just may take more time than you think and it is a process (ya ya ya, I know you have heard that before, but maybe today that will finally resonate with you).

Finally, in 2017, I was able to set some specific goals - mostly business oriented - and achieve them.

This year I:

- Attained my RGD (Registered Graphic Design) designation
- Attained a coaching certification
- Officially launched a coaching business
- Wrote an ebook and sold units online
- Joined Toastmasters and completed my Icebreaker speech

I finally had the energy and drive to get shit done that was important. This feels good. Suddenly, I remember the amazing feeling of working hard, focusing on a goal, and actually DOING IT - not just talking about it or thinking about it. Big difference, Mavens!

I could not have achieved any of these goals without:

- Major personal development work and mindset work
- Hiring a coach (actually, I hired multiple coaches over the course of the last two years)
- Deciding to be scared shitless at least 3x a week

My goal in sharing this with you, brave one, is that you will be reminded that we all have burdens and we all have heavy crap to deal with. But we can still keep moving forward - slowly, if need be. I believe we are all supermavens at heart. My goal for 2018 is to help more people step into their greatness and shine as bright as an iridescent unicorn under the Northern Lights.

To your brave (and shiny!) success,
Alana

 

SAY SOMETHING

When I began this blog about a year ago, I made the very deliberate decision to disable comments on the posts. I had listened to a podcast interview with Danielle Laporte - a formidable, warm tiger of a leader - and she boldly spoke about refusing others to comment on her blog because it was getting too intense. I am not sure if she still disables comments, but I remember hearing that and alarm bells went off in my head and thoughts like "OH M G I better also disable comments because I do NOT need that negativity in my life". Shutting them down.

If there is one thing that freaks me out these days it is cyberbullying. This fear was recently heightened when I discovered a former co-worker of mine - who I adored and was a dear friend - turned out to be a part-time aggressive cyberbully (not to me, but other mutual friends). That person may defend themselves as a comedian, but after choking back some tears after reading one of their vicious comments, I will wholeheartedly disagree. It made me super sad. It still does.

So when it came time to launch my blog I was definitely in the 'no comments' zone and felt it was the best thing to do. I was envisioning comments like 'You sound like a whiny loser' or 'You have no right to post such airy-fairy bullshit'. You know, those kind of kind of optimistic helpful comments we all know and love.

What I didn't think about was the fact that I was indeed letting fear run the show - and my online business.

What makes more sense is for me to TRY allowing comments and see where it goes. The fact is currently I have just a handful of readers - I am not Danielle Laporte obviously - and I may actually cultivate a nice little community here and be pleasantly surprised. And if it does go a little south I can always course correct. That sounds much more rational and allows me to be open to positive engagement with others.

And most importantly, what is right for Danielle Laporte is not necessarily right for me. 

By disabling comments it was just another way for me to keep people at arm's length and protect myself. But if I want to be brave and garner thousands of readers - which I do - then I have to be more open to online conversations.

Today, if you want to become a digital maven you really do need to let others engage on your blog AND engage with others on their blogs. It is imperative, necessary and hopefully an uplifting experience.

So Mavens, feel free to comment below and of course share this post! I am so excited to have you here.

To your brave success,
Alana

Here is a little story about awareness, and yet another moment when I realized it was ok to let go of struggle, no matter how tiny or insignificant.

I was doing some cooking on Sunday and had to chop two onions. I took out my handcrafted Canadian-made chopping board and started chopping away. I was making one of my faves, a simple Harvest Vegetable Stew from a Chatelaine Quickies cookbook - just in case you are a foodie and care lol. 

I was almost through the process when it dawned on me.

I hate my chopping board.

Now, this came as a shock to me. The board is gorgeous. I bought it at the One of a Kind Show a couple years ago and it is smooth and dark, with a rich walnut colour and quirky stripe, and a nice little hole in it so it hangs easily. I remember falling in love with it when I bought it.

I also remember that there was a board I loved even MORE. It was more interesting with a checkerboard pattern, a thicker wood, and most importantly, larger. It was probably twice the size. It was a chopping oasis.

I really wanted the bigger board. But I decided to compromise and settle for the smaller board which was still a teeny - but not insignificant - investment of $100. The larger board was $150. I hummed and hahhed and decided that I could live with the cheaper of the two. I made my purchase confidently. Well, maybe not confidently. Because I do remember feeling guilty about shopping for myself when I was at a craft show aimed at gifts for loved ones, and worrying that maybe a new chopping board wasn't a necessity (even though I cook often and passionately believe in supporting local artists and small businesses).

For some reason, I remember distinctly deciding I should settle. I can still FEEL the decision to choose small, compromise and be 'responsible'. Like saving $50 was being 'responsible'? WTF. A warped moment in judgment, y'all. Oh, the issues we humans have!

That tiny decision to buy the less expensive board means that EVERY time I cook I get annoyed. Like really annoyed. And trust me, my annoyed self is not very pretty - or polite.

I don't have enough room to chop veggies efficiently. I struggle to keep the food on the board. I twist and turn myself into weird angles to accommodate my limiting surface. The bottom line is, I find myself in a state of struggle. This crappy state of struggle only adds negative energy to my life. No bueno.

I know it seems like such a small thing, and there are some of you that want to scream 'Suck it up, buttercup! You have a nice chopping board!" And I get that. But I challenge you to look at some of the tiny things that annoy you in your life, or cause you frustration, and ask yourself:

Could I have avoided this?
If the answer is yes, ask yourself why you decided not to avoid the pitfall. Why did you embrace the struggle? Do you do this often?

Chances are you are choosing small ways to PROVE to yourself that you are not worthy of amazingness 24/7. That was the case for me. I definitely know that now.

A few months ago I wrote about my big purge of stuff which was inspired by the Marie Kondo book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. The main takeaway from the book is to only keep things that spark joy. Another way to look at this is to release things that create struggle. In some ways, I think this is an easier perspective. Maybe because we recognize pain easier than joy? Not sure. But what I do know is that in every area of our lives we must make a habit of letting go of shit that weighs us down. Ditch the struggle. Toss the pain.

Oh - and buy the bigger chopping board. I plan on doing that at the upcoming One of Kind Show. The time has come and I know it will be a beauty that brings me joy for years to come.

To your brave success,
Alana