I’d like to say it came upon me gently, like a light breeze brushing up against my shoulder, blowing a few strands of my hair into the open air, tickling my cheek.
But it didn’t.
It hit me like a freight train.
There are some realizations so big they crack your vision of the world in half and no matter how much you try to claw your way back to the cozy dream you were existing in, you’ll never, ever get it back.
And so it was with the incident that caused me to go into a deep identity shift in my purpose and my business about a year and a half ago.
The day it happened I was standing in my apartment in Panama, waiting for the air repair guy to finish fixing my air conditioner, which had decided to go kaput in the middle of the hottest day of the month.
I looked down at his boots. His muddy, ripped up work boots.
I inhaled his scent–the slightly musky-earthy-humid scent. Not quite BO yet, but the sweat of a man who has been working in tropical heat all day, sweating in the crisp clothes his wife washed and ironed for him the night before. Hoping that the scent of unnatural chemical flowers from his laundry detergent masked the fact that he is a working man. Not a man who sits in air conditioning in a suit all day.
As I watched him crane his neck to check out the rest of my apartment, a beautiful apartment sitting right on the Pacific ocean. With 24/7 air conditioning going…
I looked down at the total juxtaposition of his muddy, torn boots on my pristine carpet and I was suddenly hit so hard with the contrast of the two completely different worlds colliding.
This man would leave my apartment in a few minutes and I would continue my privileged life (which I will admit I worked damn hard for–it was not handed to me) in air conditioning. I’d have a few coaching calls, write a blog post, then sit down with an organic meal to watch my favorite Netflix shows, have a bubble bath and lay my head down on soft cotton sheets on a memory foam bed.
Meanwhile, he would run to a few more house calls in his half-broken down car with no air conditioning and a rosary hanging from his mirror, while crackling salsa music warbled out of his damaged radio.
He’d sit in 4 hours of traffic just to get outside of the city to his country house that is the only house he can actually afford to live in, with dirt floors and windows made out of cement construction blocks. He’d sit with his wife in the hot kitchen at the metal table eating a big plate of rice and beans, because they’re cheap and they fill you up, flicking away the flies.
I could feel the longing he had for my life, radiating off of him. And the hopelessness he felt over how hard he’d have to work to get an apartment like mine one day. And the very possible reality that he probably never would, based on how elitist Panamanian society can be.
And I suddenly saw myself in his eyes, like some kind of total alien. I thought “I must look like some totally privileged rich bitch who never had to work a day in her life”. I knew that wasn’t true, I’ve worked damn hard for everything I have and nothing has been handed to me. But still, he didn’t know that.
And I could see his perspective. And the contrast between our two lives was very real.
Something happened to me in that moment. All day long, I kept thinking of those boots on my carpet. The stark contrast of our two very different lives. And it felt like I was suddenly seeing things more sharply. That is the only way I can describe it.
I went to sleep that night thinking about those boots.
The next morning I woke up, did my normal morning routine and sat down to work.
I logged in to Facebook first and my eyes were instantly flooded with posts in my feed…
“Check out the latest branding for my new program!”
Perfectly laid out images airbrushed to perfection, with perfectly styled outfits, blinged out jewelry, upbeat, cute fonts. Empty inspirational quotes written by some copywriter, expertly created to position you in a certain way, to complete the illusion you are selling. Sitting on a luxury couch in a fancy hotel lobby, laughing with mouth wide open in the middle of a busy street, depicting a life only available in magazines.
An ad promising multiple six figures in just six months–hey you can be just like me if you buy my program! Instagram feeds filled with perfectly curated photos, with books stacked neatly on a pristine white coffee table. More ads promising six figures, more clients, how to become the next celebrity coach, how to triple your income, triple your list, triple your influence…
I read through several posts of young business owners stressing out about their branding not being “high end enough”. Some posts from other business owners bragging about celebrity entrepreneurs they had met. I could feel the sense of importance and worth it gave them to say out loud to the world of Facebook that they were now friends with “insert celebrity coach name here.”
I saw photos posted of networking parties with top influencers..because maybe, just maybe that would make others see them as important too…
It was all a reflection. I was looking in a mirror because a small part of me had gotten wrapped up in all of that too. And I had felt the same way and done some of those things too.
And it was now all staring me right in the face.
This was the world I had somehow gotten swept up into.
I thought of those boots on my carpet.
More real than any silly stressor I had over what color I should pick for my program banner.
I felt sick to my stomach.
I shut my laptop down.
Suddenly, the world I had been steeped in, the world of marketing tactics, branding obsession, spending thousands on websites to create images that will make your clients feel just bad enough that they will want your life and pay you thousands of dollars to become like you…
It just felt so empty. And petty. And meaningless.
And I realized, I had been feeling empty for months.
At this point, I was at the height of my business.
I had pulled in almost $300,000 dollars that year. I had wait lists of people who wanted to work with me. Sold out programs. So many interview requests I was turning them down.
And I was burned out, unfulfilled, had lost my creative spark & had to literally push myself to do the basic things for my business that I needed to do every day.
I was exhausted all the time. Everything about running my business felt so tiring. I just wanted someone to come in and take over my business so that I would no longer have to be responsible for any of it. I couldn’t figure out what was going on.
In the course of the next few weeks, those boots on my carpet stayed with me. And everything I thought I knew and that had been so “real” to me began to slowly crack and peel away, like cheap paint on a crumbling wall.
I was hit with how deeply out of alignment I had been with my own soul, and I hadn’t even realized it until I saw those dirty work boots on my carpet.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not like I had just seen the contrast between my hard earned privilege and the lives others lead, for the first time. Since I was a little girl, I’ve known my mission was not to think only about myself. I was always deeply concerned with social welfare and the underprivileged. I had started my business to serve people and
ultimately to shift the social paradigms that cause such inequality in our world. There had always been soul in my work. This is why my business had become so successful in the first place –my people could feel I cared about them and I had become known as the no BS, truth-telling coach.
But at some point a small part of me became swept up in the world of experts and strategy. I became obsessed with the latest marketing tactics and branding. The who’s who of coaches that I needed to work with. A small part of my brain, a tiny part of me making sure I was being seen with these people in photos. Curating the perfect affiliate relationships.
Strategy strategy strategy.
Chipping off little bits of my soul.
I spent so much money on strategy. Strategy to make sure I would be seen. On gurus who had the blueprints for success. And it had worked! I had everything I thought I had ever wanted.
But I was unhappy because at some point, I had stopped letting my soul call the shots and my ego had taken over. At first I wanted to be seen so that I could help more people…and then at some point being seen became some personal thing that validated my ego. That made me feel worthy enough. The amount of likes I had on a Facebook post suddenly was a measuring tape for my value as a human being. A predictor of whether or not people liked my work.
The entire paradigm of the entrepreneurial world I was building my business in was based on this.
Do this step by step process and then you will have success.
It worked for me! Try it!
And the subtext of all of it, which I could now see clear as day was:
You are broken. You need to be fixed. You are not worthy enough…
So that means your own creative impulses, your own soul voice…it’s broken too.
So don’t listen to your soul. Listen to me.
If you buy my program. If you get good enough branding. If you have quirky enough
quotes on your memes. If you hire the perfect copywriter. If you have your professional photos taken a certain way. If you work with this celebrity coach. If you hang out with this clique of people. If you join the right mastermind. If you spend thousands of dollars on these programs. If you’re dating this kind of person. If you make six figures. If you’re seen in a photo with so and so or get mentioned by someone who has millions of Twitter followers….
Then you will be good enough. Then you will have value. Then you will finally make
money. Then you will be worth something. This is the ONLY way to do it.
And I was seeing it all around me.
I remember having a sales conversation with a woman who was interested in working with me. When she found out I wasn’t best friends with a certain celebrity coach, she immediately stated that she was looking to work with someone who had the right connections and the type of “stature” she needed to be associated with. Seriously.
And that week of the boots on my carpet, I had gotten off the phone with a client who had almost bankrupted herself trying to keep up with all of the things that she needed to “make it”. All of the things the experts had told her she needed to do. I could see her throwing money at everything she could think of that would help her “make it big”, a growing list of certifications, signing up for all the popular programs….
hoping it would make her be seen as one of the “it coaches” you’d want to work with.
She thought that was what would bring in income & the life she wanted to create for herself. Not that you are clear on who you are and what you do, not that your work is brilliant and really helps your clients. But instead, that you are seen as famous enough to get people to want to work with you.
I knew that wounding well. I could feel the part of me that was just like my client.
What was really going on was that she had a deep wound around not being seen. Around needing to be the best. So she was busting her butt creating something that was not even what her soul wanted, because she was being driven by the ego wound of needing to be “good enough”. And the environment of our entrepreneurial world had become the perfect place for her ego to play the “I’m not good enough until I’m famous” game.
Another client had come to me after already spending $30,000 signing up for all the “right” coaching programs with the celebrity coaches and she was still unable to move out of her parents house and pay for her own basic living expenses with her business. She was disillusioned and simultaneously obsessed with the cliques in her industry that she couldn’t seem to get into. Her branding had changed five times and she had gone through 7 different titles to describe her work by the time she had come to me. The issue was not her branding. The issue was that she had gotten obsessed with external validation and had forgotten to ask her soul what kind of business she actually wanted to create.
I could write ten pages with these kinds of stories.
And a similar story was running like a movie in a small part of my brain.
With all of my clients, I had to coach them through this, reminding them of WHY they had gotten into this in the first place. It wasn’t to be famous, or to be seen, or to make six figures…it was because their souls had called them to do this. All of the others stuff was just ego bullshit.
And as I sat with my own burnout….
With the fact that the magic was gone in my business and it had become a dead albatross tied down to my neck, weighing heavily upon me…with the fact that something didn’t feel “right” anymore.
With the fact that I had been suppressing a lot of my burgeoning soul gifts for months now and felt trapped in my “brand” when there were so many things I longed to write and speak about.
With the fact that I was terrified to truly do what my soul was calling me to do, speak and write about, afraid of branding myself the way my soul was asking me to…because what my soul was asking me to do went against what all the industry “experts” told me I needed to do in order to be a “somebody” and make money…and what if that meant I lost all my clients, my money and my business??
With the fact that I felt foggy and confused about what I was REALLY called here to do because my ego was speaking so loudly I couldn’t hear the voice of my soul…
As I sat with all of those things and all of the clients coming to me, suffering from the same exact problem and the loudness of the “game” all around me whenever I opened up my email or social media to see the latest offerings and posturings of my entrepreneurial world….
I realized that I was at a point where, if I didn’t start listening to my soul’s voice,
I would begin losing money anyway.
And that apart from money, building my business in this way had come at a great cost to my soul.
Because that which is not in alignment with your soul can never be long term sustainable.
So I listened to my soul.
And my soul told me to let it all go.
I cut the largest revenue producing program in my business.
I stopped taking 1:1 clients that didn’t feel aligned.
I became super internal and stopped communicating with a lot of people.
And yes, for a while I did make a lot less money.
All along my ego was freaking out.
A few times, my ego told me to go against my soul in order to make sure I was making enough money. Mysteriously, hardly anyone signed up for those offerings.
And I continued to step into the void, the unknown.
And I waited.
And slowly my soul began to speak.
Over the course of many months, she began to guide me. Show me, little by little what I was truly here to do. What a truly soul-aligned business would look like.
And I watched as my energy came back. I watched my creative spark return. I started to feel rested, nourished & fulfilled by my work again.
And here I am standing in the most aligned place I have ever been in my business. Feeling much better than I have in a long time. And I honor my process. I could care less what everyone else is doing. Or whether my brand is likeable enough. Or famous enough.
I’m over the hell it is to be wrapped up in that rat race.
All it does is pull you away from what you’re really here to do.
All it does is fill you brain with petty concerns when what’s truly real is the disparity between those ripped up construction boots on my pristine, expensive carpet.
All it does is silence the voice of your soul and make you lose the “why” of why you started on this path in the first place.
All the while, I noticed that in the last two years, almost every client I have worked with has mirrored my journey. All of my clients began to come to me with the same exact issue.
They had placed strategy above soul.
And they were paying for it.
What I know now, after plunging deeply into this work with myself and my clients, is that the more in alignment we are with our souls, the more aligned our communities of the people that we serve will be.
And what’s funny is we spend all of this time worrying that by being true to ourselves, and letting the truth of who we really are radiate out in our work…that we will somehow lose all of the clients, money and business we worked so hard to build.
But what I have found along this journey to be true for me and the people I’ve guided through the soul-alignment process, is that the more in alignment you are, the more you begin to attract TRUE prosperity.
I mean true soul prosperity. Aligned prosperity doesn’t look like a strong attachment to seven figures. Aligned prosperity looks like having all your needs met, trusting that the Universe will provide in exchange for the beautiful work you are doing. And knowing how much you TRULY need, money-wise, to be happy.
Sometimes that looks like seven figures. Sometimes that looks like less.
It’s all according to what YOUR soul wants.
Not some random income number some expert told you to get to in order to be “worthy enough”.
Prosperity includes financial abundance, yes.
Don’t worry I’m not telling you you have to go broke.
What I mean is that prosperity means that you are thriving in every area of your life and in alignment with your soul financially AND you are truly fulfilled by your business.
It enhances your life and the growth of your soul.
And you don’t give a crap about keeping up with the joneses.
Or what everyone else is doing.
Because the only strategy you need comes directly from your Soul.
I truly believe this is the new paradigm our world is shifting into.
For too long we have suppressed the soul voice in favor of the scarcity fears and the woundings of the ego. For too long we have believed in the story that we are broken.
We get wrapped up in all of that chaos and suddenly we’re confused, don’t know who we are, why we’re here, or why we started our businesses in the first place.
We see income dwindle and wonder why.
Or maybe our income is doing great but we feel exhausted and burned out by what we’ve created and don’t know why we want to quit it all and move to a tiny, simple cabin in the middle of nowhere.
I’m not saying that branding, marketing & hiring coaches that happen to be celebrities is all ego-based. But let’s make sure that we access your soul voice
FIRST, so that the branding, marketing & coach-hiring you’re doing actually is aligned with your true purpose.
Otherwise all you will do is build something that looks great on the outside but will make you feel miserable in the long run. In the end it will fall apart because it is out of alignment.
It ALL, ALL comes down to soul alignment.
It has become such a huge resounding need in our community.
Regularly, not only do I support clients in this very problem, but colleagues have come to me in the same existential crisis. It became very clear to me that this is what I’m meant to assist in. Soul-Alignment. Because it is key to your happiness and to fulfilling your soul’s calling in this lifetime.
And it’s clear that a new perspective on living your calling in the world is needed.
So this is my sacred invitation to you, love.
I’m announcing today that I have created a new, completely free two part coaching series for purpose driven business owners.
It’s called: Soul Aligned Business: Placing Soul Over Strategy.
If you’re of the growing tribe of business owners who are ready for your business to be the work of art that expresses your soul’s calling and creates powerful, true transformation in the world around you. If you’re like us and you’re finally ready to feel truly nourished and fulfilled by what you do and invite deep, soul-aligned prosperity into your life. If you’re over all the bullshit your ego tells you that you have to be in order to be worthy of living your true calling.
Then this is for you.
I want to open myself up to be of the most service I can be, to those who are ready to seek a new way of creating prosperity. To those who want to get back to the soul, back to the basics of why we are actually here.
So, beyond creating this free coaching series for purpose-driven business owners, I’m opening up applications for three spots for live, free coaching from me on both calls when you join the free coaching series.
Will you join me?
I’m still thinking about those boots on my carpet. How I can lessen that gap, that contrast. And I’m so grateful to that man for giving me the perspective shift I needed that day.
I’m seeing clearly now.
And it may not always be the pretty illusion I want it to be.
But it feels damn good.
It feels soul-aligned.