The Secret of Change

Six years ago, money was a big issue for me.

I couldn't look at my money because I was unconsciously acting on a story of lack: lack of love and respect for myself, lack of trust, lack of capacity to care for my resources because I felt that I didn't have any resources at a fundamental level.

Even as a CPA, I was deeply entrenched in this story, in reaction to this false sense of scarcity and "not-enoughness", I would "treat" myself to try and feel worthy or abundant which would amplify my state of fear and anxiety because I would overspend and end up in a true state of financial lack (despite plenty of income). Ironically, I lived in a constant stream of anxiety, even though I wasn't "thinking" about money. This was a huge trigger of stress and discord in my relationship with my husband - perhaps one of the only things we have ever really argued about. 

It sucked all the way around.

I desperately wanted to change this for myself and for the sake of my relationship. I wanted to operate from a place of wholeness and stewardship with all of my resources (at the time I would have just said money) and so the process of change began with an intention: to heal my relationship with money. I started first with the mental and emotional pieces - as a coach, that seemed right (and still allowed me to avoid dealing directly with money).

{Little did I know that I was embarking on a journey - and one I will be on the rest of my life. Money and resources are profound and ever-evolving teachers.}

Soon, I understood on a deep level that any change made in the mind or even on an emotional or energetic level doesn't do much good unless it translates into a change in how we show up in the world. My intention to heal my relationship with money grew into a commitment to be a woman in touch with cash flow (I started tracking my money). What that did for me in short order was pretty miraculous. I was able to pay off over $50,000 in debt in less than six months and the next level of my commitment became clear, which was to become a woman who invests. And so I have. This month, in fact, marks the beginning of fulfilling a vision I've had for my business: to invest 25% of the after-tax profits of the Wild Wealth Collective in the future I wish to create.

So transformation, over the course of six years has looked like this: 

  • Began healing my emotional and mental relationship with money, worth and work.
  • Started checking in with, and tracking my money, every darn day.
  • Paid off $50,000 in debt in five months, nearly five years ago and I've never looked back.
  • Became a woman who invests financially by learning how to save money consistently. 
  • The last two moves we've done (Colorado-Hawaii-Colorado/Africa) have been entirely cash based with money remaining in short-term savings to boot. (In other words, no debt moving)
  • Lastly, my business contributes not only to my household and to our financial commitments but I've incorporated social and environmental investing into my business model: to support the world I wish to live in, I made my first quarterly investment earlier this month for $1,200.00 to The Savory Institute.

None of this was a quick fix (which I know I always wanted and it's a standard desire with knotty issues) - but here, from the six year vantage point, this IS how transformation occurs - over time, with intentional action. 

I'm not special, nor am I perfect. 

I DO happen to have a life that challenges me to step up and meet change pretty consistently: from getting, and staying, sober for the last 14 years, to having my baby at home with a midwife, not to mention moving constantly and reinventing my life and my business with each move we make (nine moves over the last 13 years of marriage) as well as being a coach and a lifelong learner devoted to personal development - I've had ample opportunities to explore the messy and beautiful path of lasting change. 

Change is available to you if you have the courage to do the inner work and make the outer changes in how you take action. Here are a few not-so-secret secrets about making intentional changes.

The not-so-secret Secrets of Lasting Change

  1. Ease comes when you surrender to the commitment: Change is about showing up every day, there is no quick fix to anything you might want a quick fix for. Lasting change (aka: transformation) is largely about committing to make a practice part of your life 4-Ev-R. 
  2. Take the long view. As alluded to in the first not-so-secret, secret, patience is your best friend. Staying focused on the long-term gains, not the short-term losses, is invaluable when you fall short (which I hope you do, because failure is a vital part of making any kind of change).
  3. Slow Down. Meaning, one thing at a time, sister. Sometimes changing All The Things seems appealing but really, it's just another face of scarcity to decide that you have to change everything NOW. Honor that change takes time and that when you change one thing, many other surprising things will change right along with your one small change.
  4.  To make change yours: practice, practice, practice. We are always practicing something (consciously or unconsciously) - for instance, I barely even think about checking in with my money each day it's so ingrained in me to do so, but at the beginning, it was painful. To create lasting change, you must be willing to practice in ways that will help you embody the change you wish to experience.
  5. Support yourself in who you want to be. What kind of support do you need to be the kind of woman you wish to be with your resources? What kind of nurturance will most sustain your commitment to change? What will help keep your resolve strong as you train to be the woman you wish to be? 
  6. Take time weekly, monthly and yearly to acknowledge how far you've come. I know you've done this - all of a sudden you realize just how much you've changed when you look back. Do this often. Integrate and celebrate just how brilliant you are at creating change in your life.
  7. A bonus not-so-secret, secret, for love. Let it be messy. Let it be human. Enjoy the winding and gorgeous, non-linear process of being wholly yourself, choosing a different path, making lasting change in your life.

If I can do it, you can. For reals.

I invite you to decide today. What is one place in your life you would like to see change? Commit to the change you want to see in your life and choose a small, daily practice that will set you on the path to change and show up again and again. Fail, get up, start again. Love the winding, beautiful and oh-so-human path of making lasting change. 

You've got this sister. 



Reaching for Light

Light is everything in personal development. 

I'm taking photography lessons from the incomparable Mary Lynn Ashley - a long time professional photographer and neighbor (she even took Clara's baby photos... awww!). Yesterday, we set off for a hike, and a lesson in light. 

As Mary Lynn shared her perspective on light and photography, I was struck by the truth of what she said - when a subject is in full sun, it's flat - it looks one dimensional. However, once you find a position where there are shadows, you can see the texture and the depth of the subject - it's a more interesting image. 

In the personal development arena, there is a heavy focus on positivity, on being inspired, and taking action toward creating the life you want. I couldn't agree more: these elements of choosing the light are so vital.

However, what seems to happen a fair amount is that when life is challenging or difficult emotions come up, or a need to simply retreat and rest, there is a bent toward shame or, even worse, trying to force the positivity, the light, the upbeat energy. Because... I SHOULDN'T FEEL THIS WAY!! I'm a coach, I'm enlightened, I'm whatever.

Reaching for the light becomes a pathology. 

When we believe that we should be perfectly positive all the time, we lose out on an important source of our power: the truth of our nature. The truth is, we are children of the stars and the earth. Just like our host, we have seasons of light and darkness, expansion and contraction. This includes the full range of our emotions (grief, anger and fear being the big three that fall on the more challenging end of the scale that have SO much to teach), the receptive stillness, as well as permission to rest deeply. These are the very elements that feed and nourish creativity, inspired action and lasting change. 

Light is most evocative in relationship to shadow. 

My experience is that when there is a belief in "all light all the time" then there is a profound feeling of being broken, which is so not the case, sister. You are not broken. Your full, whole, rich, textured and evocative self is alive and well - you simply need to allow your natural cycles to work their powerful magic daily, weekly, monthly and yearly.

As a woman building and growing a business, this can seem counterintuitive - after all, capitalism is based on the very masculine, linear idea that constant growth, constant movement is GOOD and everything else is bad. However, for you, as a woman (and even for men who choose to honor cycles) there are myriad ways to support yourself and your business in honoring and utilizing the powerful rhythms that are innately yours.   

Life AND your business are not only more sustainable but more evocative, more compelling and more textured when you can cultivate and revel in these natural cycles of light and dark, action and rest, growth and death. 

Here is a visual representation of the nature of these cycles: 


Access your innate wealth of resources. 

This cycle, innate to you, is powerful. Cultivating these rhythms, trusting them in your life is truth in action. It prevents burnout, connects you to your vast inner resources and supports the creation of a sustainable business and a healthy relationship to your external resources - including your money. 

As you look at this diagram, are there places where you resist? Are there places that you constantly find yourself? Are there ways you could consider moving in rhythm with these cycles instead of against?

Tell me everything.

Let's Be Unstoppable

The ever-wise Julie Daley led a group I was part of through an exercise to determine our essence. I was struggling to get to the bottom of it for myself and Julie took me a little deeper, a little deeper, until I landed on unstoppable. 

When I am in a state of integrity with myself and my truth, I am unstoppable. 

Over the six years my business has been operating, I've been through three distinct evolutions in my business: business and yoga (the business yogini, you may remember), Get Right with Money, and now, a step beyond money into the territory of supporting women in being investors and recognizing true wealth and abundance which is vast and rich territory - so much larger than money. In my opinion, so much more compelling (and sustainable) than simply focusing on money. 

On the heels of Burundi

This shift happened in earnest for me when my husband got the call: next assignment, Burundi. {Uh, where the hell is Burundi?? I didn't know either. Sub-Saharan Africa, nestled in the great lakes region, between Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo}

I started taking note. Reading up. And then the president decided to run for a third term in office. Some people said it was legal, others said it wasn't. Chaos ensued. What also happened was protests. People standing up to a powerful, well-armed government with a scary youth militia that works in the dead of night.

People fled the country (refugee count near 200,000, many of them unaccompanied children). Citizens disappeared, were killed or jailed for disagreeing with the government. 

Keep in mind, this is one of the poorest countries in the world. Between 65 - 70% of the country lives in poverty. Infant and maternal mortality rates are some of the worst in the world. 53% of children are malnourished. (Source: Unicef

And still, they had the courage to stand up and speak

I thought of my own apathy. How things that I find untenable in my own country, in the world, overwhelm me and I say to myself, "I'm too busy focusing on my business." "When I have x number of dollars in the bank, then it will be different, then I will do something." 

Burundi woke me to an internal dissonance with that line of thinking. With the wealth of resources available to me: community support, infrastructure, education, clients, business, love, happiness, health, free time and personal authority that I have, just by being a citizen of the United States, my conditions for being the change no longer felt true. 

This went to work in my heart, even though I kept ignoring it. 

Coal Train

Months later, Clara and I were stopped by a coal train. Waiting ("Forever" as Clara said) at the intersection, she asked what was on the train. I said, "Oh, it's a coal train. That's where our energy comes from." She started naming alternative energy sources, asking me why Colorado wasn't adopting alternative energy more quickly. I had no answer for her. And she said, "We are destroying our environment and there is nothing we can do."

How many times have I thought this very same thing? Too many to count. How many times have I felt the life drain out of me with that thought? Also too many to count. Even as a coach. Even as a woman who deals in holding the vision for possibility and promise, I know this feeling intimately. I know how utterly destructive and disempowering this overwhelm is. 

What do you want to be remembered for? 

I have the capacity to do more and I want to. I want my daughter to remember me as a woman who was unstoppable on behalf of the abundance-drenched planet we live on. I want my daughter to remember me as someone who dreamed a new dream for myself, our family, our human and non-human brothers and sisters and the planet. Not only dreaming a new dream, but also being a woman who consciously invests in the future I want to create.  

As Danielle LaPorte says, "Both of these things are true: You are the center of the Universe. You aren't that important." Damn, that is SO true. I completely agree that it is always an option to step away, to discern what you want in your book of life. 

I'm choosing to be the woman I want me to be. 

The woman I sense my daughter needs me to be. Too big for my britches. Maybe biting off more than I can chew. Generous. Intentionally abundant. Scrappy. Truthful. Eyes lifted to the horizon, holding the vision for a new world, knowing that no matter how much or how little money there is, I can be a powerful agent of change.

What feels utterly delicious to me is making this a core part of my business: I am on fire to consciously invest 50% of the after-tax profits of my 2016 program, Women Empowered 365, in projects and organizations that align with and support the world I believe we can can create together. I will share the whole process with the Women Empowered 365 crew over the course of the year. 

I want to live, teach and model that we have the personal authority to be agents of our own destiny. No matter what the circumstances of our lives. 

My deepest hope is that you will come along for the ride.  That you will want to go beyond the conversation about money (which we will still have, because it's vital to take care of your resources and money is an important one.) and talk about the true nature of power, of wealth, and of investing in the future you wish to create - not only for yourself, but for the greater good. 

You? You are unstoppable, too. 

I believe that women owned businesses are an unstoppable force of nature. I believe that we as individuals and as a collective are, and will continue to, facilitate deep and lasting change that honors the sacred nature of all life. The feminine voice is rising. Now is our time, sisters to be the change, to hold the vision for change and to take action and invest in the future we believe in.

My wish for you.

If you are still here with me, wonderful. I hope you will stick around. If you want to focus exclusively on making 6-figures in your business or if you don't want to hold a vision and take action that is larger than your personal concerns, I honor your choices and it might be time for you to unsubscribe. 

I want you to be profitable - wildly so. I want you to be a woman who invests in the future you most want to exist within. I want you to know in your bones the nature of wealth. I want you to feel connected to your own authority and the power of nature that exists in you and all around you, because that is the source of ALL wealth. 

If you are staying, I'm so glad we are here, together. Let's be unstoppable.