My spinning journey

I never thought I would be one of those people.

You know, those spin class people. Those intense Type As who sport shiny lycra from head to toe and obsessively show up to workout on a bike that goes, well, nowhere.

And while I keep my lycra to a minimum, as of January 2019, I am one of those people.

I DISAPPEARED. HERE'S WHY.

It has been about 9 months since I last wrote a blog post. I kinda fell off the map. I pushed me coaching business aside and here is why.

In April of 2018 I accepted a freelance Art Director gig which involved a heavy commute and long hours. From the get go, I knew it would be insane. I was warned by people who knew the inside scoop. I also had that gut feeling that yup, this is gonna be a gong show.

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.

THE CHOPPING BOARD

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.

Deflated but in the game

Last week, On Tuesday, October 24th, I did an FB live with the title Why I Believe Fortune Favours the Brave. It was intended to let people know exactly why that saying is so important to me, and why it is the inspiration for my business.

Well, about five minutes after the video was posted, I wanted to take it down. I was overcome with complete certainty that a) it sucked and b) I didn’t really say anything of value and c) what was the point of doing any of this? I mean, no one was even watching it live! And top it off, I had what Brené Brown calls a ‘vulnerability hangover’ - though I am not sure why as I really didn’t reveal that much about myself, contrary to my original intention of the video.

LET THE CHIPS FALL WHERE THEY MAY

We hear many sayings or idioms over and over again, but ever had one of those moments when you hear one for the millionth time and they suddenly, you just get it? Like the words sink it to your pores and it resonates to your core?

That has happened to me twice in recent memory. In both cases, it almost felt like a cartoon lightning bolt striking my head, or the bop to the head like in those old V8 commercials.

Today I’m going to write about the time my friend Annie was trying to help me navigate a family situation I was wrapped up in. I was waist-deep in a scenario full of drama, stress and tough decisions.

I SEE YOU

This is somewhat of a follow-up to my FB live "My thoughts on Toastmasters" (September 21).

We are back to regularly scheduled programming! Because I was competing in a Toastmasters Humourous Speech contest, I had to skip a week of blogging. It was an intense ten days of writing and rehearsing and practicing. It was also a lot of me freaking out with thoughts like, "Oh fuck. How the heck am I going to get through this? I think I need to barf. Why am I doing this? UGG. I need wine. No, I need some chocolate. No, just everyone leave me alone, ok?!!" Good thing I have a VERY patient husband.

I was super nervous, unable to efficiently focus on work, and I felt super ungrounded. I also had a doozy of a headache for two days before the competition. I think my brain was literally fed up with my speech - it had heard it on a continuous loop for too long! It no longer thought it was funny. Lol.

CHARGE MORE

This past Sunday I got schooled in some business basics.

One of my ongoing freelance gigs is quite unusual - I design and create presentation boards for an Interior Designer, Annie, who designs for upscale retirement homes. The process looks like this: after Annie has selected all of the fabrics and materials she wants to use in a home (which can be dozens), I help her pitch the look and feel to the client by creating large boards that tell a visual story of the new home. I spend hours cutting fabric with pinking shears, gluing wallpaper samples, adding pieces of wood or laminate, layering them together, adding custom-designed labels, and mulling over how the materials should flow together so it is completely clear how everything will fit together visually. I have been designing these boards for over 20 years after my teenage boyfriend suggested his mom - Annie - hire me for one of her projects. Decades later, we still work together, and rather seamlessly, too.

GIVE YOURSELF GOLD STARS

Are you giving yourself gold stars?  

I hope you have. I have definitely not. 

What I mean is, I have not been acknowledging my small (sometimes teeny tiny) accomplishments and successes as I embark on launching a new coaching business.

For my entire life, I have been extremely uncomfortable with praise or celebrating 'wins'. If I get an award or simply positive feedback, I get very embarrassed and my mind immediately jumps to, "I'd rather not hear this because I don't really believe it." I want to go all 'ear muffs' from Wedding Crashers.

Making space

Some people like to clean when they are feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Others reorganize their sock drawer. I purge. I start tossing stuff out, left, right and centre. 

Recently, with the relaunch of my business and coaching, a freelance design project, a corporate contract, and trying to facilitate moving my mom into a retirement home, things have felt really hectic, stressful and just "too much". In addition, for the last seven years, I have been working my way through my dad's estate which includes about ten galleries worth of artwork (he was an artists as well as a contractor), and a sea of other treasures not even yet accounted for. While it is a labour of love, it has been draining at times.

It was time to make things lighter.

A lesson in patience

feel like I have been saying this for-ev-ah, but my new ebook, Million Dollar Brands: 6 Secrets to Building Your Empire, is almost here. July 31st is the official launch date! 

This ebook began last fall when I knew entrepreneurs needed a clear, easy-to-understand guide to branding. I wanted to create my own version of a Branding 101 book, distilled down to a quick but super valuable read. I know it will help so many biz owners power up their branding game. So why the delay??

Time for me to get brave

Hello, Mavens!

It has been a while... I'm excited to connect with you all again.

2017 started off with a bang, but not the good kind. More on that another time, but I can say with relief and joy that my doggie Dolly is healing (yes, miracles do happen) and I'm getting back on track with my business. I kinda got hit with a tornado, but I'm alive and well and things are GOOD.

My big announcement I want to share is that…

HELLO, BOUNDARIES

Post is inspired by this interview with Brené Brown:
http://www.theworkofthepeople.com/boundaries

Boundaries.

As soon as I hear that word, I mutter a not so silent ‘fuck!’ to myself. Fuuuuuuuuck.

I don’t have the best track record of setting healthy boundaries - with personal relationships and especially with work.I know logically and rationally they are necessary, but for most of my life, I have always justified going above and beyond for anyone and everyone. I love to be generous (my husband calls it my ‘Italian generosity’), help people 24/7, and I am hard-wired to solve problems. I am Little Miss FixIt. The positive side to this is that, at least in part, these qualities allow me to be an awesome business consultant. This I can say with sincere confidence.

MILLION DOLLAR BRANDS

I have been writing, writing, and writing! And it is longer than expected!

Ever wonder what it takes to make your brand look like a million bucks? And generate millions of bucks? Then this content is for you.

This new ebook training book will help you achieve CLARITY with your brand, along with super simple practical tips you can actually execute. It is part of my MARKABEE MAP 1:1 coaching program that launches in January!

CHOOSE A BUSINESS NAME YOU LOVE :: PART 2 OF 2

2017 UPDATE! I have since decided to change my company name to my actual name, Alana Ruoso. Oh, the irony! But read on to see how I worked through this process. And check out this blog post here where I announced the name change officially.

In PART 1 we looked at what happens when a client is stuck coming up with a name for their business that they LOVE.

Today in PART 2 I’m going to tackle the second most common obstacle I see with clients and the company name game - they can’t stand their existing name and they don’t know what to do.

CHOOSE A BUSINESS NAME YOU LOVE :: PART 1 OF 2

2017 UPDATE! I have since decided to change my company name to my actual name, Alana Ruoso. Oh, the irony! But read on to see how I worked through this process. And check out this blog post here where I announced the name change officially.

When it comes to choosing a name for your business, here are the two obstacles I see most often:

1.  The client can’t come up with a name they love.
2. The client feels stuck with an existing company name that they detest.

MA'AM, STEP AWAY FROM THE SUFFERING

Got your own business?

Then networking and getting out there is a non-negotiable part of your agenda. Knowing this, a few years ago I set out to a women’s entrepreneur event – super casual at a pub in midtown Toronto. I was all excited to get inspired. “I’m gonna put myself out there and it’s gonna be awesome!” I told myself. I didn’t know anybody in the group, just the one woman who invited me. I figured sometimes that is when you actually have the best time at an event - no expectations, no preconceived notions, just a willingness to connect with others.

At the time, I went to this event I really didn’t know what to do with my design business.