I woke up with a start. Drenched in sweat, breathing heavily. One glance at my phone and I saw it was that time again.
4:44am. The time for my usual, nightly panic attack.
Who am I? What am I doing?
Everything is falling apart and I can’t do anything to stop it.
Everything is failing. I can’t figure it out. I can’t see.
I feel like I’m floating out in a vast sea of darkness and there is nothing to grab onto.
I would sit there in the dark of my room, listening to the fan whir. The wind outside. The bugs making their alien insect sounds without a care for the fragile state of my nervous system. And it felt like the world had sat down directly on my chest.
And no matter what I did, what personal development tool I implemented, it would not go away.
I felt like I had entered a distant planet covered in thick, dark clouds with no map or guidance and no idea when this all might end.
That was almost every single night of this year.
It started shortly after my dog passed away in my arms, leaving my heart shattered.
It wasn’t a surprise. She was 18. Her kidneys had been failing for months.
I had become her full time nurse. But just because you see death coming, it doesn’t mean you’re not shocked when she finally arrives with her sickly sweet gardenia scent to surgically remove a piece of your heart, without even caring to gauge your level of readiness.
But I guess that is how all profound transformation starts, with a profound loss, a losing of the self. A plunge into a darkness that leaves you reeling and doubting you ever had a name.
And that is how the epic year of failure began.
It was a year of complete and utter surrender.
A year when everything that had always gone right went wrong.
A year where my ego was beaten, bruised and eventually stripped away from me completely.
Many, many people I have been working with, talking to and guiding this year have had the exact type of year. They tell me it has also been one of the hardest years of their lives.
A year where it seemed like everything was taken away. A year of plunging into deep questioning of the person who we thought we were here to be. A year where no matter how hard we tried, nothing that had traditionally worked, actually seemed to work anymore.
For me it was the year where I got to fall on my ass over and over and over again.
A year where I failed. Hardcore. A lot. Spectacularly. Embarrassingly. Cringingly.
And as it comes to a close, I am finally beginning to see that it was a year that was absolutely necessary.
There were some profound, vastly important lessons I learned from the hot shame of my failures. Lessons that woke me up and helped me understand on a profound level what it is to truly live a life that is aligned with the soul. The life we were born to live. Not the one everyone tells us is the “successful one”.
Lessons that taught me that many of the things I thought about how to achieve success and happiness were not always right.
But I’ll also remember it as the year that my creativity came back to me.
The year where I finally created the space to honor my soul at its new level of evolution.
The year where everything was taken away from me so that I could be reborn, like the phoenix, rising from the ashes.
And as always, I’m constantly going through the same things that you, my soul tribe, are going through. We always teach what we need to learn. We’re always on the same soul journey that we guide others on. I would have no business standing up here and talking about the things I talk about if I didn’t.
So here are the 9 most important lessons I learned from a year of epic failure.
I hope they assist you, soul traveler, in your own journey to living a life that is aligned with the truth of who you are called to be, so that you can make the impact you have always desired.
1. Know the difference between the goals of your soul and the goals of your ego
I started off 2015 with a goal to make $500,000 in my business.
I remember the day I proudly sat down with some fellow entrepreneur friends at a restaurant and came up with the entire plan. Each program, neatly laid out with its monetary goals perfectly planned out.
This is going to be a cinch!
And none of it happened. I met none of the goals on that sheet I had proudly prepared at the restaurant and proclaimed to the women at the table.
Oh it wasn’t for lack of trying. I busted my ass and spent thousands of dollars I didn’t have and went into debt trying to achieve those goals. But after failing at yet another launch and feeling the lowest I had felt all year, I realized something.
WHY did I want to make $500,000 dollars?
I was completely surprised to find that the only answer I had was “well because at this point in my business, I should be making $500,000 dollars. Isn’t that what women at my level of business are supposed to do?”
Wrong answer, ego.
The truth is, on a totally subtle level that I was not even aware of, I was comparing myself to so many women in my circle, thinking that if I didn’t hit $500k by the end of the year, I would be an embarrassment.
I also, forgot that the model I had had the previous year to make multiple six figures had nearly burned me out completely. Yet here I was with a plan to make even more than the year before...with almost the exact same business model that had nearly drained the life out of me.
Because all I could think about was the number. $500k. That’s just what I’m supposed to be making this year. Period.
I was building a plan for what I now teach to many of the people I work with as “disembodied income”–income goals generated completely from the ego, without once checking in with what the soul actually wants.
And unknowingly, that is exactly what I had done. And after the sixth month of going into the negative or breaking even with a launch, what I realized when I checked in with my soul is that She didn’t give a shit about $500,000.
What she wanted was space to write my book, rest and find her creativity again.
She only cared about making “enough to cover the basic expenses” this year.
When you’re creating your goals–are they coming from your SOUL or are they coming from your ego that needs validation, approval, or to be “seen” a certain way by others?
I’m telling you from experience, that even totally well meaning people who DO take the time to honor their souls (hello–me!), can get caught up in disembodied goals. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement the ego feels for reaching certain numbers and forget to check in with your soul.
Your happiness is way more important than some number you can brag about in a Facebook ad, wave about as proof of your expertise or proclaim proudly to your circle of friends.
2. Above all, make the space to hear your soul.
During the darkest of times, when my 4am anxiety was at its worst and I was questioning everything, feeling like my entire world was falling apart and afraid that I would lose all my money and would somehow end up on the street with nothing…
I heard a voice in my soul say one thing to me: travel.
This made no sense. Especially because I was so worried about money. Isn’t that expensive? But I know by now, when you hear those little voices, you listen.
So I did.
I booked trips to Bali, Iceland, Panama and Italy. The places my soul told me to go.
I was invited on a trip to Alaska, and my soul said yes, so I went without questioning.
I managed to come up with the money to go on all the trips (where there is a will there is always a way).
And it was through travel that I found myself again. Travel created a vast space for me to HEAR my soul.
One thing I find is that as creative, high achieving women (and men), we tend to get so busy with all the stuff we want to create and are creating, that our minds begin to mimic our schedules and before we know it, we’ve unknowingly disconnected from the part of us that guides us in making the best decisions of our lives.
Without this guidance from my Soul, I was being led into creating a life that was beginning to look nothing like what I was actually called here to do. I was disconnecting from the valuable internal guidance that my soul holds and instead needing more and more outside advice on what decisions to make in my life and business.
Losing myself in new landscapes cleared me out, showed me new perspectives. Other ways in which people lived their lives, fully nourished and happy, and not necessarily like the sometimes burned out American dream dictated it should look like.
Then, I was truly free to make decisions from my soul and formulate a plan that didn’t include me working my ass off with no time for other things in my life, like love & lots of space to write my book.
Writing has always been one of my biggest gifts and I got so caught up in the immense work it is to build an empire that I lost all the time I had to operate in my Zone of Genius (writing) and instead spent all of my time in my Zone of Excellence (building the business, running it, etc…). Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m super badass at my Zone of Excellence and I like it. But we always need to make sure to create things that support us being in our Zone of Genius, our most aligned state of flow, more time than we are in the other zones
Otherwise, we start to feel unhappy and drained.
Gay Hendricks has an amazing book, where he explains all of the zones we can operate in. I highly recommend reading it. You can learn more by clicking here.
I’ll be writing much more in depth posts about the effect my travels had on me, because it was seriously profound. In fact, I’d say it was the #1 thing that brought me back to myself and more fully connected to my soul than ever before.
Stay tuned for more of that in early January (when I will be announcing new ways to go on Soul Adventures™ with me around the world).
photo of me in Iceland by Kym Pham
3. If you’re committed to living a life aligned with your purpose, you’re going to have to get really cozy with your old friend Trust.
Following the path of who you are called to be and committing yourself to nothing less than that, is going to, at times, plunge you into some deep, dark unknowns that freak. your. ego. out.
That’s just the way transformation and evolution work.
A caterpillar literally becomes BROWN GOO inside the chrysalis while it’s undergoing its transformation into a butterfly. The butterfly that emerges at the end of that journey is beautiful, a work of art. But it was brown goo right before it became the butterfly. And it had no idea when the brown goo phase would end, what it would become after that or if it would ever actually happen.
All it has is a fervent dream in its heart and the trust & faith that it will come to be.
There are going to be times when you are in your “brown goo phase” where you are going to feel like everything is ending. Your life as you know it is dying and you cannot see what is going to come next. I’m not going to sugarcoat it, babe.
There will be months where you’re lying in your bed, palms open, heart bleeding, begging the Universe to give you the answers you keep pleading for.
And you will be met with utter silence. Nothing.
This is when shit gets real. This is when you find out what you’re made of.
This is when you realize how committed you are to the path of being true to who you were called to be on this friggin’ planet.
It’s easy to have faith in your soul’s deepest calling when everything is clear and easy. It’s easy to move forward on the path when you’re certain. But when you’re in the brown goo phase, you’re going to be freaked. the. F. out. And this is when you find out if you are actually committed to your best life, or if you’d rather chicken out and go back to the mediocre.
You’re going to be asked to believe in yourself and your destiny, even when there is no evidence at all that it will happen or that it’s true.
Because that is literally what true faith is.
And no one on this earth is ever going to have the amount of faith in your heart’s calling that you do. So things like this happen to build your faith and make sure you’re really committed, even when shit gets rough.
I made certain decisions in honor of my soul this year. One of them was to cut a program that made me $200,000 in revenue every year. Another was to only take on clients who I felt were 100% aligned with the work I did and that felt really good intuitively to take on. And another was to stop marketing the way I had been taught and try to market in a more creative, soul aligned way–a way that most marketing gurus would roll their eyes at as “new age bs” and would warn me would ensure failure.
I turned away potential clients that no longer felt aligned with the work I REALLY wanted to be doing with my clients. I turned down opportunities to be exposed to large crowds of people, when the mission didn’t feel aligned. I began to change the way I marketed.
I trembled the entire time.
I started talking less about making six figures, being seen as an influencer and other more egoic goals. There’s nothing wrong with egoic goals. I’m not bashing the ego, the ego is an important part of our daily life. Without it we wouldn’t brush our teeth or get dressed in the morning. And wanting to make six figures and be “seen” in a certain light as an expert are also fine goals. But I realized, that’s not the way I do the work I do with my clients. That wasn’t in alignment for me anymore.
I help my clients align with their souls and do the internal, spiritual work that all those who are called to be high impact leaders must do, in order to not only sustain their impact, but to live truly nourished lives, aligned with their joy & their purpose. I help you build the epic life and know that it’s okay to dream that big.
But at some point along the way, I thought that people would only want to work with me unless I talked about things like multiple six figures and egoic goals. And at first, it felt fine and aligned. But then I started realizing that it was attracting some clients who didn’t want to surrender to their Soul’s voice and instead were so attached to the egoic goals, they didn’t want to do the internal work that I was so good at and that I so deeply loved.
So I stopped marketing that way if it didn’t feel aligned.
And at first, it was like crickets. I went into deep moments of terror that the money would completely stop, no one would want to work with me anymore and I’d be homeless.
But in the end, an amazing person would reach out to me and tell me they just “felt called” to work with me. Really badass clients trickled in out of nowhere. Really cool opportunities for me to teach classes on cutting edge leadership topics showed up. And while I may not have made as much money as I did in the previous year, I was okay.
And I finally surrendered to trusting that the answers would come. That I would know when it was time. And in September, more clarity came. I stepped out of the fog and into the clear day.
You can’t rush your creative process. You can’t rush your transformation.
There is a divine force that knows much more than you do, at what pace you need to be moving. And it’s a lot easier to just let go and trust that all is unfolding as it should.
Much less stress.
I still don’t know how many things will turn out. But the “not knowing” no longer imprisons me in a cage of anxiety and terror to the point where I freeze and can’t do anything. To the point where it makes me miserable.
I feel a peace in my body now, that I never felt before while operating my soul aligned business. Things that go wrong just don’t stress me out as much as they used to. I’m able to remain calm when things fall apart and as a result, I’m a much more effective leader and problem solver.
A photo I took of a delightfully messy and imperfect house in the mountains of Panama, during the LEAD retreat.
4. Fuck Perfect.
I watched a movie recently–Burnt (with the gorgeous Bradley Cooper). It’s about a chef with 2 Michelin stars who is going for his third star (if you are a foodie, you know that getting 3 Michelin stars as a chef is like winning gold at the Olympics for athletes). The problem is that, what he had to do to get those first two stars caused him to betray key people in his life, descend deeply into drug & alcohol addiction and burned him and his career down to the ground.
The movie starts with him coming back to France, after 2 years of being sober and putting his life back together, to try and get his third star.
I cried my eyes out throughout this entire movie because it was such a mirror for the part of me that is a relentless perfectionist and judges myself so harshly when I am not “perfect” or being seen that way by others.
As you watch the immense amount of pressure this desired “accolade” puts on him… The level of perfection it requires for him to be in, in order to win this external marker of “excellence” in a field which is actually his greatest passion and lifelong purpose…
you watch him begin to crumble. You watch him lose the joy in what he does. Never feeling good enough, never feeling happy with what he has created. Ending with him having a complete breakdown in his biggest rival’s arms after trying to commit suicide.
Now, it never got that bad for me. But I wept watching that scene. Because I could see the part of me that wanted the validation and approval of making a certain amount of money, being invited on to Oprah, being SEEN, being reflected right back to me in its most extreme form.
Right there before me was the true cost of perfection. The true cost of validating one’s life purpose through external approval and accolades.
I began to ask myself down to the minutest of levels–what is truly driving me?
I began to realize how striving for perfection was not worth it. Not at all.
Because there is a difference between busting your ass because you LOVE it and because you want to make your life’s work the fullest expression of your soul, so that it can reflect back to others’ their own magnificence…and burning yourself out in the relentless pursuit of perfection, so that others will give you validation and approval. There is a difference.
And I realized this year, that even though I have big goals of impacting millions, having best-selling books and yes, being on Super Soul Sunday with Oprah….
I don’t give a shit about achieving any of those things if it means I have to destroy my life and my happiness to do it. I’d rather not win the accolade, not get my “third star” if it means it ruins my joy. That is a non-negotiable now.
Funnily enough, in the movie, the minute Bradley Cooper’s character gives up the dream of getting his third Michelin star and realizes he just wants to be happy regardless…he achieves it.
So fuck perfect, my love. Your joy is more important than killing yourself for outside recognition. And interestingly enough, when you give up the need for that outside recognition, you usually end up getting it.
5. You are not here to be liked.
At a certain point in the year, after getting some negative, jerk-y comments from a few internet trolls, I began to feel afraid that I was “too truthful” online.
That people were actually turned off by the way that I naturally felt called to express what was in my heart, to serve my tribe.
I began to look around when I was in my period of total uncertainty about who I was and I saw people doing things one way… and I was doing things very differently.
When I saw someone with a very standard message, becoming the darling of the online world, I suddenly felt like I was doing something wrong. My usual raw, vulnerable posts (like this one!), I told myself, were just not “like-able” enough. Maybe I should try to be more like them. I beat myself up about this constantly.
One month, I had to do about 20 affiliate calls with potential affiliates for my program, Impact™,and on a few of them I was dismissed and treated as “not big enough” or “too different” to promote.
I had to deal with some clients and internet commenters who said really mean, uncalled for things and who stole and appropriated my work and presented it as their own.
All of these incidents began to make me doubt myself and my natural form of expression. We all have an inner child that just wants people to like her (or him).
Yet, when we speak our truth, it’s inevitable that not everyone is going to like what we have to say. Sometimes, when we function as mirrors for others, people get triggered. And sometimes, when we are innocently trying to follow our joy, people will get pissed off because they don’t know how to take responsibility for their own lives & their own emotions.
At some point I let this stop me from showing up fully as me. I went into hiding.
Stopped writing as much. I became afraid.
And it made me miserable. I got sick. I began to question myself and feel like a bad human. I wondered if I was just an asshole and I didn’t see it. I actually started to go against my own soul’s voice so that I would be liked more. I let people make requests of me that I said yes to, only because I wanted to be liked. I betrayed myself in tiny ways in order to get approval and love from people I was trying to impress.
And after running myself into the ground trying to please all those people, I realized, eff this.
I am not here to be liked. This was something my friend Kalila Doughty had said to me a long time ago and this time, it finally clicked.
When you’ve got big important work to do, it’s a given that you are not going to be everybody’s cup of tea. There are a lot of people out there in the world and some of them are not happy and looking to be offended. That’s okay.
You’re not here to be liked. You’re here to serve the people you are here to serve. Period.
Not everyone is going to resonate with your work. Like the way you tell your stories.
Like that you write long posts (like this one). Like the way you dress, move, talk or do your hair.
That’s okay. YOU know what you’re here to do. So do it.
If you spend all that time bending into a pretzel, trying to please everyone, you’ll lose who you are, you’ll lose your uniqueness and you’ll never create anything of value. In fact you may not create anything at all.
Create what your heart wants to create. Dare to be you.
Serve your people and forget about the rest.
Photo by GeneticBoi
6. Your voice matters, even when it feels like nobody is listening.
Interestingly enough, as if by divine timing to deepen into my lessons, my Facebook reach plummeted. Historically, Facebook was the place I had built most of my online “fame”. It had brought me tons of clients and was one of my main places to communicate with my tribe and share my writing.
I was used to getting 45-100 likes on posts and lots of comments.
I could put up a post about some spots I had open for a program and instantly I would get 5 messages with interest. Facebook changed its algorithm and I watched my reach fall down to almost nothing. There were days when posts would get ZERO likes.
A “good” day became 20 people liking my post.
I had always used my Facebook reach as a way to gauge if my audience was interested or if I was serving them adequately. But now, I had no way of telling.
Because it seemed like people just stopped caring completely. Of course my ego went into freak out mode. I’m just not popular anymore. They’re off to the next “thing” and I’m old news now. You’re going to lose your whole audience. Nobody cares anymore.
This was actually one of the main things that came up when I was having my 4am panic attacks on the regular. It felt like I was putting my heart and soul into a black hole, never to know if anyone on the other side was receiving it.
Not only did this Facebook algorithm change force me to release any remaining ways in which I got validation from how many people liked or responded to my posts. But it taught me, once again, to do my work for the love of it and to have faith.
This experience taught me that we don’t stop putting our work out there and doing our soul’s calling when it seems like people aren’t responding. Because we can’t do our great work solely coming from the place of wanting to get a response from people.
Picasso didn’t paint his paintings so that millions of people could see them.
He painted them because it was what naturally sprung from him and he couldn’t NOT paint prolifically. NOT painting would probably kill him!
And so, I kept writing, kept putting my heart out there. Even when it seemed like not a soul in the world had read it or been impacted by it. A peculiar thing happened…
It brought back the joy in my art.
I started doing my work simply because it made my heart feel joyful to do so.
It strengthened my faith in my soul’s expression, because even though I had no visible evidence that it was making an impact, I chose to BELIEVE that there were silent people out there that it was impacting.
And interestingly enough, months later, I would run into someone and they would tell me how that one post changed their life. Or that the meditation they downloaded as the free gift for coming to my class produced a profound shift in them that was allowing more happiness into their life.
You never know who you’re impacting. Your voice matters.
Do it because you love it and trust that it’s landing with the people it needs to land with, because it is.
You may not see it at first, you may not see your ripple effect for a long time, but it IS resonating. It is reverberating. Keep going.
If you’re only motivated to express your soul and put your work out there when people are actively responding to you, then you’re not going to last very long. And you’re going to be miserable, only being able to express your soul’s art when people are watching, having to go silent when they are not.
The thing you’re here to do, is here to be expressed, whether or not people are watching. It has a life of its own, having nothing to do with other people. Stoke its flame, let it breathe and dance to the beat of its drum. The rest is just “extra”.
7. Know when it’s time to kill hope & make adult decisions
One of the most important qualities you can possess on the path to making your big visions a reality and doing your soul’s work in the world is the relentless drive that hope gives you.
Unfortunately, holding on so stubbornly to hope that you don’t know when to shift gears can really land you in a ton of hot water.
And that’s exactly what I learned when I hired a huge, fancy team to run my entire business for me in March. I invested $25,000 of credit in this team and in a big launch of a new product I was putting out there. It broke even. We made no money, but hey at least I covered my expenses.
Having had some kind of traumatic experiences with former members of my team, I was enchanted with the level of professionalism of the team I hired. I loved the team so much that I stubbornly wanted to hold on to them even when I couldn’t afford them.
I ended up racking up a ton of debt just to keep them on, instead of putting my big girl panties on and hiring a team of my own, that would cost me less money. I was holding on so tightly to the dream of having this awesome team, that I forgot to make decisions like the adult CEO of my business.
Eventually, I realized, it was time to put that dream on pause for the moment, and turn this ship around before it sunk to the bottom under a pile of debt. I kept one member from the dream team and hired the rest on my own.
I now have one of the best teams I have ever had, for ⅓ of the money.
Sometimes, you have to know when to kill hope and get real about what’s needed. it doesn’t mean you’re giving up on the dream. I have a lot of clients who quit their jobs and expect their businesses to rise to six figures in 3 months. They begin to panic when their savings are dwindling and they’re still hustling to get clients. I tell them, their is NO shame in getting a part time job so that you’re not freaking out all the time about money. Freaking out about money is going to keep you so contracted, you’re not going to be able to produce anything creative anyway. So make the choices that help you feel like you’re in expansion, instead of adding more stress to your already full plate.
Building your dream takes time. And yes it takes holding on to hope.
But making small sacrifices that will hold up the long term vision is part of the process and it doesn’t mean you’re giving up on it entirely.
Sometimes we need to take some detours on the way and kill the “hope” that could be driving the dream into the ground in the long term.
Feelin’ myself in front of a waterfall in Panama
8. It’s okay for you to love what you love.
Not everyone is here to be a teacher and impart information. Not everyone is here to stand up in front of a white board and pass on knowledge the way that most do, with a powerpoint presentation and a laser pointer.
Some of us possess gifts that go beyond the masculine world of the tangible and measurable. Not all transformations can be measured with six figure end of year results or 30 pounds lost. Some transformations are much deeper than any scale can ever measure or any end of year financial report can show.
Some of us guide our tribes by acting as mirrors. Some of us through dancing.
Some through shamanic trance work. Some through energy work. Some through simple, total silence. Some of us teach by putting out bleeding hearts on display.
Some of us are here to teach nothing, instead, we are here to hold space.
For the longest time, I have known that holding space is my zone of genius.
One time, a coach of mine asked me how I get such powerful results with my clients, and I said to her, I don’t know how to describe it, but I just sit in silence and “see” them. And while I “see” straight down to their core truth, I send a beam of energy from my stomach into the room that shakes shit up. And I let the truth of who they are be reflected in my eyes back to them and the shifts just happen. Huge shifts. Shit breaks up in their body and they can finally see themselves as the amazing beings they are. Suddenly they know it’s okay to be who they are and dream the big dreams they’ve been afraid to dream. Suddenly they know who they truly were called here to be.
But, I thought, I cannot say that is what I do because NO ONE is going to understand that or want to buy it.
For years, I have led retreats that women describe as absolutely, jaw droppingly transformational and “otherworldly”. But I couldn’t figure out why I always felt wiped out after every single retreat.
I couldn’t figure out why I felt like all the life had drained out of me whenever I would hop on the phone with someone who was interested in working with me for an initial session, and they would ask me to tell them what what wrong with them or tell them what I “saw”.
It felt icky to me because it felt like I was being used like an ATM machine for their information addiction. And my soul’s work was not about teaching people MORE information.
Precisely the reason they were coming to me was because they had too much information and couldn’t hear their soul’s guidance anymore, and therefore were not living or running a business in alignment with their souls.
It took the darkness of this year to make me realize…well, everything has pretty much failed…I have nothing left to lose, so why not just come out fully with what I ACTUALLY do and see what happens?
Having to keep up a facade that they would get some more “information” or having to keep up the pressure of “my content is totally new content that has never been heard before” in order to entice people became exhausting.
So I began to tell people flat out that that is not what they were going to get from me.
This year when I led my retreat in Panama, the first thing I told the women when I was in front of them was, I’m not here to teach you anything. I don’t know any more than you know. I’m simply here to hold the space for you to listen to your soul. Because THAT is the guidance you need most. I don’t have any “information” to give you”.
I showed up to teleclasses and talks I was asked to give with NOTHING prepared.
I simply held the space and sent the transmission needed.
The result is my best work to date and the best feedback I have ever received in my almost 6 years of business.
You might like making dubsmash videos, burning sage, collecting crystals…
you might be a priestess instead of a teacher…
you might be an adventuress instead of a workshop leader…
you might be a writer instead of a coach…
I want to tell you that it’s okay to love what you love. In fact, what you love IS the thing that makes you unique, special & amazing at what you do.
When I started allowing myself to love what I love in my work, my creativity returned to me, my burnout began to fade and I began to feel much happier.
And doing my great work began to feel like a joy, instead of one more thing on my to do list.
Some of the fabulous gals I went to Italy with Nanda Akkerman, Kym Pham, Kimmy Simi & Yishyene
9. You absolutely, 100% cannot do it alone. No matter how much you try to convince yourself otherwise.
Earlier this year, during my soul searching, I went to a workshop at a massive online marketing conference. The workshop was called “What It Takes To Scale A Business To 8 Figures”.
Hmm. I definitely want to go see what this is all about, I thought to myself.
When I walked into the room and sat down, I fully expected an hour long presentation about the numbers in your business and the proper systems that needed to be in place.
Instead, the presenter, the owner of a very successful 8 figure business, spoke for an entire hour about the importance of your TEAM.
He said something that to this day, still impacts me.
He said, if there is a member of your team that is amazing at what they do, but they have a poor or difficult attitude, fire them immediately. Even if they are amazing at what they do. Fire them. Because their attitude will be like a disease that infects your entire team and it will eventually destroy your vision and your entire company.
A few weeks later, I went home and fired one of the most valuable members of my team.
The minute I fired them, I was stunned to feel what felt like 100 pounds lift from my shoulders. I realized that even though this team member was amazing at what they did, their poor attitude had kept me tap dancing for years. I was so afraid of their outbursts or their reactions, that I couldn’t step into the leadership role the company was needing, because I was afraid it would trigger this team member.
And as a result, the art I was meant to bring to this world was being held back.
So I couldn’t move my company forward into the great vision I had for it. And it had infected my other team members as well. I had a great deal of trouble hiring the right people for the job, because I was hiring people based on whether or not this team member would be pissed off about it or not.
I needed a team of people who were passionate about what we were doing, because to get the company to where I wanted it to go, to get it to that level of impact and service I would need a TEAM of individuals who cared as much about the mission of the company as I did. Who saw when I was feeling burned out and told me to go home and rest while they took over. Who strove and fought like I did for this dream to be out there in the world.
In order for the mission to reach more people, I had to let go and let a team of capable individuals have my back.
And then I started to think about my “heart team”– the friends and individuals in my life that I was surrounding myself with. Were they the “team” I needed to take the work of my soul into the next level to which it wanted to grow, to build the beautiful, epic life I had always dreamed of?
What I found was a large number of “friends” who loved me to death when I was feeling doubtful of myself, but who became extremely threatened when I was confident and fired up with passion for what I knew I was here to do. Who were supportive when I was playing small, but the minute I began to shine, passive aggressive, competitive or undercutting comments would fly.
I also had quite a few friends that I was always there for, texting them late into the night when they had a crisis or needed some advice or connecting them with someone who I think would help them further their work. But who were mysteriously absent for days when I needed some advice myself.
I had honest conversations with each one of these friends.
I let them know how their comments or lack of presence made me feel. I expressed a desire for deeper, more authentic connection and I invited them into a space where we could both fully meet each other with the same amount of energy, love & respect.
Needless to say, I lost a lot of friends that couldn’t handle that.
But what remained was a core tribe of people who had my back through this entire year.
There is no way in hell I could have gotten through this year without them.
There were nights at 2am where my ego was dying and I felt like I would surely not make it. I don’t know how I would have made it without these friends gently whispering me back to myself, reminding me of the powerful woman that I am, telling me they believed in me and that it would turn out okay.
And there is no way that I could have pulled off everything I did in getting my soul’s work out there without the amazing friends who referred people to me when I had to fire poorly performing employees and the incredible team members I ended up hiring who now make up my company’s team.
Listen up, babe–and I want you to hear me well.
You are the mama (or the papa) to the vision that was born implanted into your soul.
You are the creator and protector of that bright dream that burns inside of you.
And that means that it is up to you to protect the eternal flame of that dream by curating a soul tribe of people who will protect it and fan that flame when you’re too tired to go on.
After years of being “the nice girl” I can safely say, that after this year, I hire quickly and I fire quickly, whether it be a member of my team or a new friend.
I’ve got shit to do, people to inspire & serve and big dreams to build.
If you can’t get on board with that, I send you love, but kindly step out of my way.
Photo of me in Iceland by Kym Pham
If there’s one last “lesson” I can leave you with, it’s this.
We are not here on this planet to make six figures, be the most popular person in the world or get fancy invites to exclusive events.
What I’ve learned from this year of failure, loss & deep initiation is that we are here to LIVE. To do the thing we were put here to do with absolute love, joy & passion. We are here to connect and serve with our greatest gifts and live the epic lives we dream of in our souls.
And what that requires is something no blueprint, template, exclusive invite, accolade, income goal, award or step by step proven success system can give you.
What that requires is a relentless dedication to, over and over again, giving yourself the space for you to hear your soul. What that requires is that you relentlessly honor your soul enough to make sure that what you are building always feels in true alignment.
Sometimes life strips everything away from us to remind us of who is truly wanting to be born. Sometimes everything burns to the ground so that you can rise into your true being like the Phoenix, all aflame in your glorious, unique truth.
Before a big expansion comes a big contraction.
That is what it is to live a soul aligned life. That is what it is to walk the path of authenticity, service and love. It’s not work for the mediocre or the faint of heart.
And I am grateful for all of it. All of the ego-crushing failures.
Because everything that was stripped from me this year, was truly no longer serving the person I was called here to be.
And what is emerging now is the most soul-connected work I have created in years.
I can finally breathe again. I have my full joy and energy back. I am sleeping like a baby. I am having dreams for the first time in years.
I am more deeply aware than ever of the power of what I am here to do.
And in the last few months I have been creating beautiful things behind the scenes that I can’t wait to share with you.
I’ll be announcing one of the new and powerful ways to work with me to step into YOUR soul aligned work & leadership, next week. So make sure you do NOT miss that email.
It’s something I never thought i would bring back, but it’s back and better than ever and there are a very, very limited amount of spots.
Until then, thank you for witnessing me. Thank you for having the courage to step into this container of truth and aligned love, week after week. Thank you for daring to dream the big dreams, even when it’s scary.
You are part of my soul tribe, too. And I love you.
Even when shit gets hard, the sun still shines on <3