Manifest That Shit

You have “eff you” rights.

You have “eff you” rights.

“At some point you just have to let go of what you thought should happen and live in what is happening.” – Anonymous

What a time to live in the moment. Here we all are wishing this pandemic away – wishing for less isolation & more “normal.” But remember back before this when we all wished we had less “busy” & more time. We wanted more time for the things we enjoy, the people we love, and the life we wanted to lead. We complained because we had too much on our plates. We said no to things we wanted to do because of things we HAD to do.

Before this, if I asked how you were doing, you might say “busy.” EVERYONE was “busy.” We all lived the life of busy looking longingly at our Instagram feeds watching friends who were traipsing around the world living life on vacation. I would be busy creating new slides on an airplane. I’d be taking all sorts of immune boosters while jet-setting to Wisconsin, Michigan, and Iowa landing in rainstorms or blizzards to get in late and wake up early to Keynote a conference. Then I’d turn around and head to the next thing. I was too busy to get prepared ahead of time. Client work, being high-touch with my Rockstars, and answering a million questions were my “busy.”

Last year at our 2020 company planning meeting, we came up with this grand list of things to accomplish this year only to cut most of it out as the year kicked off with a bang. I had so many speaking gigs lined up that everything that wasn’t required got moved to later in the year. My husband and I set plans to move to Western New York for the summer to write our books. Then the world shifted.

We plan. God laughs.
(Yiddish proverb)

I could sit here and complain. I could say, “but I had all these plans and all this income – all of that’s gone.” I could take up a new hobby or start cleaning out my house. I could sleep in. I could go to bed early. I could read more. I could pretend I’m retired and just wait it out.

Instead, I’m busy doing the things I WANT to do. I GET to be home doing these things. I GET to put my time into the content so many humans need from me. I GET to spend time making inspiring posts, courses, videos, and images. I GET to play piano more. I GET to inspire humans by sharing my vulnerable self – the good, the bad, and the grown-out puffy hair.

Normally, I feel required to do things – things that take up ALL of my time. Getting talks and slides and content together for people based on their timelines. Giving people feedback based on their deadlines. Giving everyone what they need – because they’re the clients and I want to make them happy. And yet, I know every moment I spend giving my all to everyone else is a moment I take away from giving what my soul tells me to give.

We all have choices about how we spend our time. Sure, we have kids, animals, significant others, friends, family, etc. We were told to work from home, parent from home, school from home, create from home, stay home – AND we have the “eff you” rights to do what we want while we’re home.

My husband has to remind me often that I have “eff you” rights. This means that as adults, we get to say no to anything. (Obviously, that doesn’t mean being an idiot and putting other people in danger, so please don’t fight me on this if you’re doing dumb shit.)

You can step out of the group you’ve been in for years because it doesn’t fit you anymore. You can leave the job that makes you hate Mondays. You can walk out of the relationship that doesn’t serve you anymore. You can stop speaking to people who don’t make you feel good – even those related to you (ok, especially those ones.) You can refuse a client because it doesn’t fit your bigger plan. You can stop reading a book if you’re bored with it. You can change your major in college because it wasn’t what you expected. You can stop doing ANYTHING you want – even if you were the one who chose to do it in the first place.

You always have "eff you" rights. I give you permission to apply them liberally.

I’m currently sitting in the middle of a day that NOTHING was other people planned for me. After 6 weeks of being busier than ever, I’m in full creation mode. The things I’ve been busy with outside of speaking webinars is creating my own stuff. I’ve been creating webinars like How To Not Be Weird On Zoom and online courses like Rock Your Videos and blog posts like this one that will turn into chapters of my book.

Today, my creation-mode looks like building out a collaborative course called Rock The Stage with Sandy Sponaugle and Michelle Arnold. Everything speakers need to get ready for the stage, do on stage, and then do after the stage – virtual or in-person. This was the HUGE project we put on hold for later in the year – and were given the time to do it now.

What’s even crazier is that this morning – THIS MORNING – I got a call from one of my Rockstars (now a super close friend), Dr. Becca Whittaker, asking what she should do next with her speaking. She was ready to take on the huge task of getting herself out there in front of the humans who need her. And I was in the middle of my weird full day of creation saying to myself, “Wait, I have nothing to do but create this course?! How is that possible? Let me distract myself with a billion other things.” Her call reminded me that I GET to create this thing. I GET to give this collaborative knowledge to the world through these incredible I’ve collected over the years. Because PEOPLE NEED THIS. 

I don’t HAVE to do anything I don’t want to do. I don’t have to do what I am doing right now – I GET to do it. FINALLY. I can say no to anything else that doesn’t feel good – even if that means turning down money I really need. I have “eff you” rights. YOU have “eff you” rights. I give you permission to apply them LIBERALLY.

It’s been almost 2 months since someone called this pandemic situation our #newnormal (I’d like to punch that guy.) But for me, it’s been over 20 years of me deciding what I want to do. Whether I want to do what others tell me to do OR do what I want. Which means nothing has changed during this crazy time – except my perspective. I GET to do this – or I GET to say “eff you.”


  • Look at the LIFE you’re leading now and ask yourself:
    Are these my decisions or did someone else make them for me?
  • Look at your CALENDAR and ask yourself:
    Did I create this schedule or are others dictating it?
  • Look at the PEOPLE around you and ask yourself:
    Did I choose these people or did they just happen to be here?
  • Look at YOURSELF and ask:
    Am I who I want to be or do I need to change something?

This is your life. Your choice. As Mark Batterson says, “you’re just one decision away from a totally different life.”

Use your “eff you” rights.
Start over.
Do something different.
Shake it up.
Choose a different path.
This is your life.
You only have one.
Do it your way.



What if you COULD have the life you dreamed of?

What if you COULD have the life you dreamed of?

She is free in her wildness, she is a wanderess, a drop of free water. She belongs to no man and to no city. She knows nothing of borders and invents her own rules and customs. ‘Time’ for her isn’t something to fight against. Her life flows clean, with passion, like fresh water.” – Roman Payne

I received the bolded part of this quote in a text from a deeply connected goddess friend, Georgette Star (one of those people who I know talks to God on the daily.) I was sitting next to the pool and rice fields in Bali soaking in the sunshine and warmth in March 2017. Jennifer Moore hosted an incredible holistic retreat – and the person who found herself there surrounded by women she didn’t know in a country 24 hours away was newly single and ready for whatever was next. She had NO idea what was in store – but man, she was realizing how open she was to it.

With this quote, she sent, “This made me think of you.” It made me laugh because of something that happened in our yoga class that morning. Our retreat guide asked us to say ‘I am’ and fill in the blank with what others have put on us. Something that isn’t true. Like ‘I am hard to love’ or ‘I am not good enough’ – whatever we want to let go of. We did our yoga flow and at the end of class, she asked us to fill in the ‘I am’ with something we wanted to believe. My mind immediately went to “I am wild & free.” Of COURSE it did.

The next day, on my way to the tattoo parlor (on the back of a little scooter taxi), I saw a sign that said “All good things are wild & free” in huge letters on the side of a building. It made me laugh out loud. I was already planning to get ‘Wild & Free’ tattooed on my arm, but that went deeper. Deeper – like Roman Payne’s words.

I had spent my two weeks in Bali reflecting on everything – and had such little direction in my life and my business after years of meticulously planning all of it. Although I was old enough to know better, I was also able to change my mind and go a different direction than the one I planned. I WAS (and still am) wild & free.

While I was in Bali, I started working on my Life Vision. I picked a date 10 years in the future and wrote down what I wanted.

[MY 10-YEAR VISION (2027)]

[ [ [ I closed my eyes and pictured myself in a cozy sanctuary in the mountains. I am 46 and full of joy sitting in a chair under a warm blanket with coffee next to my sleeping dog as the snow fell outside. My husband is in the kitchen playing with our child and it makes me smile listening to them laugh. Our chef is making us breakfast before prepping our lunch & dinner so we can enjoy the day alone. I am writing an article for a big magazine and enjoying putting pen to paper.

I am on a 6-month sabbatical from my business to get a renewed perspective and set us up for even more success. My business is making $25M in revenue with 35 incredible employees and we are doing what feeds our souls. I am giving back through my company and personally to local refugee families in our area. And I am thinking about the vacation to Bali we were taking with our little human and how much fun it would be to get surf lessons as a family. My word is cozy – and I am living it thoroughly. ] ] ]

This vision makes me smile reading it still. And guess what? A lot of that happened within 2 years of writing it down. TWO YEARS. I moved to Denver at the end of that year because I met the love of my life and we live near the mountains – close enough to see them from our living room. I sit in a cozy home looking out huge windows with my dog sitting next to me – and my life is cozy. I’ve written articles for big magazines and my husband is the best chef I’ve ever met. I’m still working on the rest of the business stuff, but heading there with a big plan and lots of energy. Best of all, I’m SO excited to have an incredible team walking alongside me as we manifest all of our plans.

By the end of that retreat in Bali, I was blissed out. The picture below is from my last day there – right before I went home to blow up the business I created and follow the purpose I was given. Right before I went to Camp Maverick and met Dan Russell – my now-husband. Right before I took big risks and found myself right where I was supposed to be. Because I figured out what I wanted, I wrote it down, I made a plan and worked on it every single day.

Two months after Dan & I started seeing each other, we sat in a tea shop and wrote out our own life visions separately and compared them. They were spot on. It was meant to be. (But that’s a MUCH longer story.)

Now you know MY big vision. It’s your turn.

Manifest That Shit

A quick refresher on manifesting. Manifesting is NOT woo-woo. It’s a concrete, very real thing that has specific steps. Manifesting what you want is not about SITTING on your butt binge-watching Netflix waiting for someone to bring you your Amazon Prime packages and takeout food. (I mean, that DOES sound lovely every once in awhile though.) Manifesting isn’t about THINKING of something and expecting it to appear. Manifesting is hard effing work.

Manifest that shit in 4 steps: 

  1. Figure out what you want.
  2. Write that shit down.
  3. Create a plan.
  4. Work on it every single day.

Simple, right? No. IT’S HARD WORK! The hardest part is step 1. 

Manifest That Shit - a sticker

Create The Life You Want

In order to create the life you want, you have to KNOW what you want. Recently, my new friend Heidi (AKA Spitfiregirl) told me that the My Life Vision workbook was helpful to review, but she was stuck. I told her to come over to my house and I’d walk her through it. When she was here, I watched her realize she was playing too small – underestimating what she could do 10 years from now. She envisioned her kids at ages 10 years from now, where she’d be living, and how much money she was making in her business – along with how much time and money she was giving to others.

Once she had the practical stuff together, we sat next to each other and closed our eyes. I hit record and walked her through a 12-minute visualization exercise. As soon as we finished, she sighed and said, “I’ve got it!” As she started sharing, I could smell her vision and see it in full color. It was exciting to her and got me excited watching her write it.

Yep, this photo below is of the two of us finishing up her plan in my cozy house with my dog & the view of the mountains (just past the buildings) and let me tell you – if her Instagram is any indication of how hard she’s working, I’m going to say there’s a big fire burning under her to get the life she wants. (I can smell the garden now.) 

Two ladies sit with a dog in a living room with a My Life Vision workbook

While we were doing this, I created this meditation for you. And yes, that’s Heidi in the background breathing – doing it with me. (note: It’s an iPhone recording – you can deal with the less than perfect sound quality. Please don’t send me notes about how it could be better. I have awesome equipment and maybe someday I’ll fix it. But it’s done now and in your hands. You’re welcome.)

So, be like Heidi and DO THE WORK! Get started on the visualization – then download the workbook and get working on what you want.

Start here by finding a cozy place to sit & listen to this visualization: (no opt-in required)

Then download the Workbook here: (free download with opt-in)

My Life Vision Workbook preview

Print out copies for you & your significant other, business partner, team members, or friends. Have a party and do this as a fun exercise. Each of you will do it separately and then share what you came up with. Create a safe space for each other, push each other to go bigger, and then help each other take the next step. If you don’t have humans to do this with, jump into the Kickass Humans Club and make friends.

When you’re done, SEND ME WHAT YOU ENVISIONED HERE! I want to read what you came up with. Send photos, write-ups, ideas, questions, next steps, whatever you want. I want to know how this helped you.

Now get to it! Go get your My Life Vision workbook & visualization here and MANIFEST THAT SHIT!

Dear Melanie, you’ll be WAY cooler.

Dear Melanie, you’ll be WAY cooler.

You’re not getting older, you’re getting cooler. 


All I’m seeing right now are decade reviews and humans saying “resolutions are dumb.” It’s a LOT of judgment on others, without even realizing it. It’s also a lot of highlight reels or “this was the worst year.” It’s just a lot.

Do you really remember where you were 10 years ago today without looking at your Facebook memories? Do you remember how you were feeling? What you were addicted to? WHO you were addicted to? The shit you said to yourself when you looked in the mirror? The belief system that drove you? The loneliness you felt, even in your relationship? The guilt you felt for that thing you hate about yourself? The friends you had? The friends you left?

Most of us have a hard time remembering how we felt 6 months ago. We look at our 2019 in review and think about only the darkest and brightest moments. It’s a survival mechanism that allows us to keep moving – or that holds us back. We forget about the stuff that doesn’t matter. Except that the stuff we forget is a lot of the stuff that matters. The FEELINGS are what we forget.

10 years ago today, I was only 8 months into my business after losing my job. I had just paid off my student loans and my car, had just opened my first office in Bethesda, Maryland and felt lonely, isolated, unfocused, and unhealthy. My best friend was about to die unexpectedly and my other two best friends would walk away from my life two weeks later. I wouldn’t go deep with anyone for a very long time. I would be an emotional wreck without a support system while looking like I had TONS of friends.

10 years ago today, I had just started running races and realized how much they were a respite for me in entrepreneurship. I was only at the beginning of feeling healthy in my body, except I was a mess emotionally. I was still going back and forth in a relationship that was emotionally abusive and taxing on my system. I ended up hiring my pastor’s wife as my first employee (who thought I was a nut-job for staying with him until she found out years later why I felt I had to). I was even told by my then boyfriend that I only went to networking events to meet men (when in reality, I was going because they served free food & I was broke.) I hated him, yet was addicted to how I felt when I was with him. Ashamed, yet wanted. Mostly.

photo by Mary Gardella

5 years later, the picture above was taken on my first real photoshoot with Mary Gardella. She took me to a warehouse freight elevator near her studio in Baltimore and made me feel like a model. I had just finished the Live Your Brand Tour, still wasn’t talking to my mom, and was doing everything I could to keep my business and team intact. We were making over half a million in revenue and my inbox was a daily dumpster fire. I wanted out, yet had NO idea what that would look like.

Until this photo was taken, I’d had people I didn’t even know tell me that my chin was too big for profile shots, my body was shaped weirdly, my height was a distraction, my crooked nose didn’t fit my face, and my tattoos would make me look manly. Except they were all wrong – and I had to realize that their comments had NOTHING to do with me.

This photo captures me feeling damn sexy. Simple, yet damn sexy. White t-shirt, jeans, and chucks – standing in a dirty elevator being ONLY my badass self. I felt like an effing model. Mary Gardella is one of the few humans who has ONE incredible purpose and she’s MASTERED it. She makes you feel like yourself – amplified.

It wouldn’t be until 5 years later – right about now – that I would realize my sole purpose – to amplify humans. To make sure humans become their full selves in whatever way that means for them – without judgment. Even my Crew of badass ladies boldly told me that it was my gift to put incredible humans into the same room and allow them the safe space to be who they were meant to be. I accept this fully.

Right now, we amplify humans through my keynote speaking, sharing free workbooks & courses & our in-person trainings. I’m sure 10 years from now, it’ll look TOTALLY different, but for right now, I have a 2020 mission – to amplify 7320 humans. 

Will you help me reach 7320 humans this year? Create your Life Vision & then share the free workbook. Come to a speaker training retreat in Denver this year. Learn to write a stage-worthy talk in under 45 minutes & share it with your friends. Get your company to bring us in for a corporate training. Learn more about your business brand & start sharing yourself with the world. I can’t do this all on my own – and we can’t do it without you.

I turn 40 in 2020. 9 months from now, I’ll officially be in my 40’s. I think that’s about the time everyone stops telling me “you’re still a kid” and I realize that I’ve finally become old enough to know better. (Is there a point that people tell you you’re old enough!? I digress.) Now, as I’m about to hit the end of another decade of my own life, I’ve decided that I’m not getting older, I’m getting COOLER.

If I could go back to tell my 29-year-old Melanie anything, I’d let her know that everything will be WAY better than she ever imagined. She’d have her dream husband, dream apartment, her dog wouldn’t be a dick (thanks to Prozac), her business would be helping humans become Rockstars, and she’d get to go on her dream vacations.

I’d also let her know that she would still be stressed out about money, would still wish her body was more fit, would still want to get rid of her forehead wrinkles, would still have a hard time sleeping, and would still wish she had a few friends to go see girly movies with. And yet, everyone else has similar wishes, stressors, and issues. Because while Facebook and Instagram are filtered and highlight reels, EVERYONE – and I repeat, EVERYONE – has issues.

So, let’s all work together on being less frustrated with ourselves, more hopeful about the human race, and more focused on how we can better ourselves so we can better the world. Because we’re not getting older, we’re getting cooler. Together.

To being grown-ass humans who love and accept ourselves in 2020.