We Can Do Hard Things… Right?

We Can Do Hard Things… Right?

We Might Need A New Tool

You know those movie bar scenes where one guy says something about another guy under his breath and it ends in someone passed out and bloody on the floor? Yeah, you’ve seen them. They can be set in saloons in the old west with the Marlboro Man or in Boston at a bar run by Ben Affleck. Let’s dissect them for a moment.

There’s a guy with his hands wrapped around his drink sitting at the bar quietly seething.
There’s another guy walking by with chip on his shoulder waiting for a fight.
There are a bunch of other guys sitting at tables playing cards or chatting about the game on TV.
There’s a bartender wiping out a glass with a dirty rag taking stock of everyone in the bar.

The guy walking by bumps the guy sitting quietly.
A fight breaks out.
Chairs get thrown.
Guys get punched.
The bartender ducks.
Everything gets broken.
Everyone is bloody.
They finish.
Nothing is resolved.
End scene.

THAT is what we think of when we think of anger. You get mad, someone pushes the wrong button, and you explode. Everyone gets hurt. Nothing good happens.

What if it didn’t have to be that way?

I learned very early on that if you’re not the angriest person in the argument, you’re not allowed to be angry. If you can’t stand toe-to-toe with someone filled with rage, you’ll just start crying. If you aren’t going to follow through with violence, you must walk away.

I cried a lot as a kid. But I tried… I REALLY tried. I tried to get just as mad. And I always failed. I got blamed. I got in trouble. I wasn’t up to snuff on the rage thing. So, I developed the ability to hold it in. Hold it in until it finally came out as tears. Or more.

I’m not sure if you know what happens when a person holds their feelings inside for a long time.

Yeah… they tend to explode in ways that aren’t so pretty.

There was a day recently where I felt EVERYTHING. Something had happened that felt like the world crashed down on me. It dropped me to my knees and punched me over and over again. I felt like an utter failure.

Every 15 minutes, I’d cry. The littlest things triggered me. A line from a movie. A cute TikTok. A memory.

I felt it all. Deeply. I was feeling broken open. It was painful enough that I just kept crying.

As I was spinning out, I kept thinking about what had happened. I blamed myself. I blamed them. I blamed everything I could think of blaming. Until I took another look.

I got on a call with my coach to talk through the situation. When we dug a little deeper, I realized that the situation was just a trigger. In reality, I wasn’t just sad. I was angry. Angry at myself for letting my old ways step in and run the show. I was angry at how my little self acted from a place of fear. And it was coming out in tears. Like it always did.

She told me to take a moment and let it out. I knew what that meant.

So, I got off the phone, peeked into my husband’s office & said “This isn’t about you.” Then proceeded to scare my dog by stuffing my face into a pillow and screaming until I couldn’t scream anymore. I slammed the pillows into the bed over and over. I threw myself on the bed and proceeded to have a full-on temper tantrum. Legs and arms flying. Angry noises coming out of me.

When I calmed down, I called her back. Now that it was out, we could look at what was REALLY going on. I was actually sad about other things. I was in mourning. I was mourning the loss of who I was. I was stepping into who I am really meant to be. I was experiencing the next step in my journey of personal growth. I was letting go of old patterns. I was releasing.

This idea of release has been on my mind a LOT lately. It’s scientifically proven that when we see or think of something, it tends to show up in our view more frequently. It’s called the Frequency Illusion, or the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon.

So, of course, I was watching “The Great” on Hulu. It’s a comedic, partially true story of Catherine The Great, the Empress of Russia. In this particular episode, there’s a scene where she and her husband’s older cousin go to the front lines of the war to pass out macarons to the troops. Catherine is distraught about what she finds and feels like a totally ridiculous princess giving out sweets to men who had been badly wounded while wearing her tall hair and beautiful dress.

As they head back to the palace, Catherine is processing the whole experience with a sad and scared look on her face while also wondering silently how her cousin is holding it together. Suddenly, the cousin asks the footmen to stop the carriage. She gets out and walks into the woods only to unleash a scream while kicking at leaves and throwing her arms around wildly. She finishes, walks back to the carriage and sits down. “There. That’s better. Would you like a go at it?”

What a beautiful display of anger and frustration. A full-out scream in the woods. Letting out all of the feelings without hurting anyone. NOT bottling up the sadness or rage – but letting it all out in the open. Letting it go.

Later that same day as I was scrolling through Facebook and saw a friend post about how moms are overwhelmed. They’re trying to homeschool kids, keep them safe, make decisions about vaccinations, stay healthy themselves, and keep up on the latest school closing or outbreak. And they’re bottling it up. Yet one woman took it upon herself to gather a group of other moms for a scream circle at a school football stadium. They screamed together and released the tension. It was healing. (read here)

Most of us weren’t shown what anger looks like when it’s felt and released in a healthy way. I’m not going to compare the differences between how men and women are raised, but I will say that women don’t tend to have as many places as men to fully express their anger and rage. At least not safely.

It’s not just moms. We’re all feeling this way. (If someone says “variant” ONE MORE TIME!)

I’ve been learning this last year that things don’t have to be hard. I’ve been learning that I can have everything I’ve ever dreamed of AND do it with grace and ease. I’ve also learned that letting out my feelings – including my anger – in ways that are healthy leads to even MORE grace and ease.

Since I first heard the phrase “We can do hard things”, I’ve always added “…until they become easy.” That was nice, but I now have a better one.

We can do hard things with grace, ease, and the occasional scream.

So, what if you let it all out? You threw a full-on temper tantrum in your spare bedroom. Or outside on a hiking trail. Or deep in a canyon. Or even on the roof of your building.

What if you let it all out because you decided it wasn’t serving you anymore to get mad at your kids or your dog or your spouse or the deliver guy or that lady in line at the grocery store or that “dip shit” in traffic who doesn’t know what blinkers are?

What if you decided you wanted to do hard things with grace and ease instead of trudging?

You can. And you will. If you decide you really want to.

But first, you’re welcome to scream into a pillow. (I swear, it won’t bother anyone – although my poor anxious dog will disagree.)

You CAN do hard things. With grace, ease, and the occasional scream.
xoxo
Melanie

 

 

Step Into The Magic

Step Into The Magic

Deeper Work In The Magical Middle

They showed up. Every single one of them.

They showed up for themselves. They showed up for one another. They showed the heck up.

They weren’t even sure what they were really in for, but when they showed up that first night, I watched something shift.

I sat there around a bonfire with these incredible, strong, badass women and I watched them relax into who they really are. I watched their faces searching to see if they needed to fight for the right to be in that circle. I watched them sizing each other up. I watched them posture a little to stand out. Or hide. I watched them see if they fit in. I watched them settle. Something magical was happening.

This was my 8th time hosting this event, yet it was nothing like what I started five years ago. It used to be a place for people to craft and deliver their talks with confidence. To stop being scared of the stage. Now it was something deeper – something at a soul-level.

I knew from the beginning that I had to create this event for myself. I created it as if I was the one attending. I created and crafted it as if I was the only one who needed it. It was for humans on a journey to become who they were really meant to be.

I didn’t even market it. Zero sales page. Zero social media.

I called in the humans who needed to be there. And those incredible, world-changing humans showed up.

Some of them came for skills. Others came to test me. Still others showed up because they knew me and had a feeling this was what they needed. They all found out they were right.

As I sat there by that fire the first night asking them to believe in something bigger than themselves, I saw a softening. I saw self-proclaimed Alpha-women surrender to friendships with humans they had just met. I saw them put it all on display. I saw the real, raw human they didn’t let others know was inside them.

Three intimate days of training, deepening, meditating, connecting, working, resting, practicing, and integrating. Three days learning how to deliver the talk that was deep inside of us (yep, even me!) Each one of us came out the other side as more of the humans we were meant to be.

Looking through the photos and videos, I see how our faces changed. How our interactions shifted. How our movements became more fluid. How we all stepped more fully into ourselves. I could see it that first day around the fire, yet the full experience taught us everything we needed to take the next big step in our lives and careers.

After all of the goodbyes, my Crew and I sat down to understand what had happened. None of us could explain it. None of us had words.

We all went back to integrate what we learned – every human in the Collective and in the Crew.

That’s when the Messy Middle showed up.

When they started to share about their Messy Middles, I was in awe of what had shown up for each human.

Some got sick. Some quit what they were working on. Some found better clients or a better direction for their work. Others sat in their misery and went dark. One even found she could hold onto her powers for days after. None of it was “easy.” All of us were right where we were supposed to be – as is always how it works.

Except that most of us weren’t sure how to get that blissful feeling back – the one we had as we sat in that deep, intimate space.

In my last post,  I talked about how the Messy Middle was reframed for me as the Magical Middle. I described it as “the space where all sorts of amazing things can happen and we can manifest a new reality where it doesn’t have to be so hard. We can still do all the hard things, yet they can be easy.”

As I kept getting questions and responses to the post, I realized later that I didn’t fully explain this Magical Middle in its fullest middle-ness.

It’s juicy. It can be f*ing hard. Painful. A LOT. It can get gooey and messy and scary. It can show us things we don’t want to see about ourselves.

Calling it the Magical Middle doesn’t change what’s there. It only changes our perspective. Our perspective on the time we take to integrate what we’re learning.

The words we use tend to become our reality. Messy implies that it has to be hectic. Magical tells a different story.

We can see the magic in our mess. We can see what this time of integration is teaching us. And we can hold a different vibration for what’s to come if we look at it as a magical time.

I share about the Magical Middle specifically because 2022 has just begun. My phrase for this year is Boundless Illumination. This is truly the epitome of the Magical Middle. I am in the very center of this Magical Middle – on a nomadic journey without a home, growing my crew, launching a new business brand, and clearing out a lot of shadows as I make these big changes.

Boundless: To remove the boundaries and limits on my business and personal life so I can become fully the woman I am meant to be.
Illumination: To light the world by lighting up all of the shadows in myself and others so we can see together what needs to be shifted.

Part of me feels like this is asking God for patience and waiting to see what shitstorm He throws my way to test my patience. And yet, I know I am strong enough for whatever is coming. I know it will be like that first night next to the fire – a wondering where I fit only to find that I am among like-minded growing humans who need me just as much as I need them.

I am calling in an even higher level of magic this year.
The humans I desire to work with are at a new level of awareness.
The work we’ll be doing is deeper and more true than anything we’ve done before.
The light and the shadows are waiting for us in this work.
And the vibration is at an all-time high – pushing away those who aren’t ready and calling in those who are.

As we all step into this new year, I see the Messy Middle for some has become the Magical Middle for others. I see the reframe. The new perspective. I see the Knowingness showing up for each of us – the ones who are ready to step deeper into our own magic.

Are you ready to step into your own magic?
Are you feeling as if it’s your time?
Or are you still sitting in the Messy Middle waiting for your sign?

If you feel like I’ve been talking to YOU this whole time, send me a love note – or DM me on social media. I am working on something really big and you might be the person I’ve been looking for.

Or if you got triggered by this post at all (triggered meaning mad, angry, frustrated, or sad), send me a note and tell me. I’d love to hear what comes up for you.

I’m walking alongside you. I’m here for you. With boundless illumination following me everywhere I go in my Magical Middle that feels hard, lovely, scary, and beautiful.

You don’t have to do this alone.
xoxo
Melanie

PSST. Retreat photos captured by the magical Mary Gardella

 

The Magical Middle

The Magical Middle

What The Heck Is Integration?

I was chatting with a friend yesterday about the word integration. She was having a rough time understanding what it meant to be integrating the healing and work she’d been doing.

She had attended a retreat, found deep healing, and noticed a shift in her life. She didn’t want that to stop and knew it would take time to let it sink in, yet couldn’t understand what I meant by saying she was in a time of integration.

As we talked, she got really vulnerable and said, “I just don’t get it. Will you explain it to me?”

I could tell just by her asking me to explain this word that she was already doing the work.

The word integration simply means “to combine (one thing) with another so that they become a whole.” Yet even that definition gets complicated and confusing. So, here’s how I explained it.

You’re like a robot. As your parts get older, they start wearing out and you find yourself in need of new parts. Your engineer takes off an arm and replaces it with a new upgraded arm. As the new arm gets attached to your body, you can feel the new power of it but not fully understand how to use it. Your wires are all hooked up, but the computer in your head hasn’t learned what it can do and how powerful it can be. Over time and practice, you see your new arm as a tool that can allow you to do more than you’ve ever been able to do before. As your other parts start wearing down, your engineer replaces them and you get faster and faster at learning how to use these new parts because you took the time to learn how to use your arm.

You are the engineer and the robot. Your mind is a powerful tool that allows you to pick up new skills and learn them quickly, yet taking the time to learn the first one allows you to get faster at learning the next ones. Every time you sit with the new information you’ve learned, the healing you’ve found, or even practicing the new skills you’ve acquired, you create new patterns in your brain that allow you to speed up the process in the future.

Integration is really just allowing a new learning to sink in and become a part of you.

When you don’t take time to integrate these things, you step into avoidance or bypassing. I see this a lot in communities of humans who like to peacock. They know they want to be better, but aren’t interested in doing the hard work. Looking good in front of others is more important. You hear them say they’re doing the work, yet you see them stay the same.

Bypassing can look like reading 100 business books in a year and being able to write your top 10 takeaways, yet your business is still facing the same financial, operational, or client issues it did the year before.

Bypassing can look like attending all the personal development workshops, yet still spending time with the same friends where you complain about not finding a significant other or the job that allows you to be the best you can be.

Bypassing can look like hiring a financial planner and budgeting to buy a house, yet deciding on a whim to buy that car you’ve always wanted instead.

On the other hand, when you take time for integration, your life and business can be a part of the learning process.

Integration can look like attending a transformational retreat and taking time afterward to go for long walks, journal, and meditate to put into practice what you learned.

Integration can look like reading a book slowly with a pen underlining your favorite parts and stopping often to write down your takeaways.

Integration can look like deciding you want to wake up early and start a new routine, then setting your alarm for 6am and doing it one day at a time.

The best part of integrating what you learn is understanding that it doesn’t have to be perfect.

Have you ever heard of “the messy middle”? The space between when we decide to do something and then finally see the outcome? The space where everything gets hard and frustrating, yet we know if we keep going it’ll be worth it?

It was reframed for me recently as “the magical middle.” The space where all sorts of amazing things can happen and we can manifest a new reality where it doesn’t have to be so hard. We can still do all the hard things, yet they can be easy.

If you are currently (or find yourself) in a space of transformation, new learning, or even skill-building, here are 4 steps you can take to allow yourself to find the magical middle of your integration process:

  1. Schedule time. Maybe a week, a day, 30 minutes a day – whatever it is, be sure to add some time to your calendar so you don’t skip it.
  2. Create a routine. It can be a daily routine or a one-off post-event routine. Some ideas are meditation, journaling, walking without tech, a conversation with a friend, sleeping/napping, or even getting a massage.
  3. Note the integration. Once you’ve fully understood what has happened, take time to note what shifted. Your new “arm” is in place and it’s working, so be clear that you notice it and the effects of it.
  4. Celebrate. You did it! You made it through and you’re making magic. How are you celebrating this beautiful outcome?

Integration can feel scary, yet it’s an important part of the growing process. Healing doesn’t happen over night or without thought. As long as we notice that it’s happening and take the time to let it sink in, that’s where the messy middle becomes the magical middle.

To integrating all you are learning, healing your suffering, and finding peace in the magical middle.
I’m walking alongside you, Kickass Humans!
xoxo
Melanie

 

 

Your Words Are Your Life

Your Words Are Your Life

I was on a call with my wellness coach & he asked how I had been doing. I shared my week and how I was feeling in all of it. I had a lot going on – all good things.

When he reflected my own words back to me, I noticed he said “busy” and “have to” a few times. I stopped him and asked if I had really said those things. Yep.

I had NO memory of saying them, yet they were right there popping out of my mouth. Words I’ve been working to remove from my vocabulary.

What’s funny is that a few days later, my husband would tell me how amazed he was at how spot-on my memory of conversations can be – sometimes word-for-word.

Years ago, I was hanging out with high-level entrepreneurs at a Maverick event. Dr. Steve, a fascinating healer, asked me about my speaking retreat. I shared about how I loved holding the space for my Rockstars to show up, yet when I was done, my energy was spent. It felt wonderful to be able to do this for them, I just wished I was stronger.

He looked at my directly and said “Your words have meaning. What if you CREATED the space for them and allowed them to HOLD the space for themselves? It might not be so tiring.”

That one conversation showed me how much power I have in my words and the meaning I give them. By changing “hold” to “create” and truly doing that work to also change my actions with it, I’d be able to gift my Rockstars something special.

It’s been years since Dr. Steve shared this with me and I’ve learned how to be much more intentional with my words – and I’ve also learned that changing our way of thinking and speaking takes time. (Oh, and I’m human so I can be awfully stubborn when it comes to keeping some of my learned behaviors.)

Back to my original conversation.

When I realized I had said “I have to” and that I was busy, I found myself looking at my calendar. I remembered heading into my Monday with a sense of dread. It had been a weekend where everything I had been doing the last few weeks (being VERY busy) came to a crashing halt.

I started that Monday off with a full day of meetings and even looked to see if any of them could be moved. I determined that it wasn’t possible. They were ALL essential meetings. I HAD to do them. Until half of them rescheduled. Hrm…

I then looked at the other days and wondered how I could have done them differently. Could I have rescheduled or moved some meetings around? Could I have given myself some more time to prepare in between? Could I have consolidated some of them? Yes – all of that. Yet…

The answer was VERY different than I thought.

A few months ago, I hired another kind of coach. A business coach who focuses on mindset.

I hired her because she terrifies me.

When she called me last August and asked me how I was making ends meet during the pandemic as a speaker, I was honest – not well. She also asked me if I was making any money. I didn’t love the question, but that’s because I wasn’t. Her impeccable timing was right in the middle of realizing that my business income was not coming back – no matter what I tried.

When 2021 started, it felt like a fresh new year. And yet, I still had no idea how I was going to make this business work. I did what I do every year – I pulled on my big girl panties and worked my hiney off. Because that’s how entrepreneurs do it best – they hustle.

When she called me again in January and asked me if I was interested in some help, I was all ears. I was tired and couldn’t find the answer on my own. So I started working with her.

Within just a few weeks, I was able to retool my whole business model and focus on my ONE THING. I was loving the work and thrilled to finally be focusing on what I really wanted to do.

The only problem was that I was still in a solid place of overwhelm, busy and “have to.” Yes, I was clearing things out, but that also meant I was adding more to my plate.

We’ve all heard people say “work smart, not hard.” Yet few can give us specific tools for doing that. And most people don’t go deep enough into why we’re working so hard in the first place.

As I got on my call with her to go through my next steps, I shared my overwhelm. My “busy.” And instead of diving into a new task list, she helped me pinpoint exactly why this was happening.

My internal words have deeper meaning than even the words I had been speaking. And my internal voice was being a mean girl.

My internal mean girl was saying things like:
“You’ll never succeed, so what’s the point?”
“Work harder!”
“Stop being a slacker!”
“Why can’t you do things the right way?!”
“You’re going to get in trouble for this.”
“No one likes you anyway.”

You see, I’m a perfectionist. It doesn’t matter which personality test or astrological sign or even the numbers assigned to my life, it focuses on the fact that I love order and for everything to stay in order. And my internal mean girl is WAY more of a perfectionist than I am.

The part that always gets me the most: I am WAY harder on myself than anyone else. I expect much much more from Melanie than she realizes.

What’s even better? I have been a brand strategist my entire career – and this perfectionism has helped me excel at my job. Until my internal mean girl shows up and reminds me that I’ll never be good enough.

Words hold meaning – deep-rooted meaning. I’ve believed my whole life that this is just how I am. I’m a perfectionist and I expect that everything has to be done perfectly or I’ll get in trouble.

Sure, nature vs. nurture and all that – yet WE GET TO CHOOSE WHO WE ARE.

Me saying I’m a perfectionist and then being validated in every possible way was causing me to hold that as the truth.

The question my business coach asked that day was: “What if you didn’t have to make yourself wrong anymore?”

Which also translates to: What if I let go of having to be perfect?

After our conversation, I stepped into a higher sense of being and my next meetings became more ME – less perfect, less hard – more loving, more exactly what they were supposed to be. And I found great reward in those calls. Clients were saying YES!

Instead of being busy, I was feeling abundant.
Instead of “have to,” I GET to.
Instead of being a perfectionist, I get to do what feels good.

Now I sit here not hustling, but finding spaciousness. I’ve been off social media for almost a week and it’s amazing how much extra time I have – to think, to breathe, to walk, to read, to learn, to just be. I’ve “had to” post almost daily for years, yet not wondering what to post is actually allowing me to find more words to say.

I’m sure I’ll write more on my social media hiatus later, but for now – I want you to notice the words you’re saying this week.

The words you might not even know you’re saying.
The words you’re thinking about what you’re doing.
The words you say consistently to others.
The words you say consistently to yourself.
The words you believe about yourself.

Your words are your life. What kind of life are you building?

I’m on this journey with you, Kickass Human.
xoxo

 

 

 

Make A Decision & Burn It Down

Make A Decision & Burn It Down

Back in February, I wrote an email about setting your life on fire.

“Mindset has been my focus of the last 2 weeks. Rough days, anxiety, and frustration giving way to new routines, sunsets on the beach, and feeling more alive than ever. All it took was a decision to have a different mindset.

Many of us wait to start things. We wait for our next job, our next client, our next step, someone to propose, a parent to pass away, our next vacation, our next kid, a kid to graduate, our retirement, a cancer scare, a near-death experience, or the death of a loved on. We wait for external forces to shift before we do something. But what if we just keep waiting… what happens then?

Making a decision – just one decision – can set us on a new path. And it all starts with mindset. When we come from a place of DECIDING, we take the power away from “when this happens” and light a fire in the present.

With this new mindset, I’ve been setting little fires & walking away from people & things that don’t make my life & work better. If you don’t add, I subtract. I want to live a life of beauty – and it’s my decision whether you fit or not.

When we set fire to our lives, it can hurt a little (or a lot) – but in the long run, we DECIDE that this one beautiful life is more important than hurt feelings or waiting to finally start living.

What fires do YOU need to set?”

That email was like wildfire. I got a lot of responses, but one stood out the most.

“This resonated today! I need to grow the balls to leave my dead-end agency job and make my little part-time private practice my full-time gig. I’m so scared I won’t be able to cut it and have the growth and income I need to support my family. How do I set fire (metaphorically, of course) to a job that drains and destroys me, but provides stability and a consistent income?”

My response was to share my own story:
You make a decision. One step. Start bringing on side-hustle clients and phase out your main job. Find ways to replace the income. 12 years ago, my boss said “what would you do if I couldn’t pay you anymore?” I said: “I’d work for myself.” He said: “Great. You have 30 days.” Don’t keep it on the side or someone else will make the decision for you. I’m glad he said that or I’d still be working there HOPING I’d make enough in my side-hustle to quit. SET A GOAL AND GO!”

I didn’t hear from her for a month until one day I got this:
“Just wanted to say thank you for this last month. I honestly didn’t even expect a personal reply but what you wrote back resonated so much and it’s sat in my inbox ever since so I could go back and re-read it when needed. I put in my notice at my agency job yesterday and am making the leap!

THAT is the kind of fire I’m talking about. Burn, baby – BURN!

I’ve been having a lot of these conversations lately – humans who have big dreams, yet can’t see the next step. They decided what they wanted, wrote it down – and then left it in a notebook. No next steps, no plans – just a hand-written dream they look at every year. And slowly – over time – they lose hope. Hope that it will ever happen. Hope that it will ever come true.

They keep slogging away at their corporate job or even the business they built themselves thinking that’s the only way. Their dream sits on a shelf while they find more and more ways to be busy. Watching their children grow up. Getting their next promotion. Wishing they were doing the thing they dreamed about. Worrying about how they’ll be able to support their family. Scared to take the leap.

But why?

That corporate job – the one you want to get out of so you can pursue your dream – could say at any moment “You’re not longer necessary.” Then what?

That business you built – the one you don’t love anymore – could stop bringing in revenue at any moment. Then what?

That dream you have – the one sitting on the shelf collecting dust – could be picked up & developed by someone else at any moment. (Have you read Big Magic yet?) Then what?

12 years ago on April 1, 2009 – in the middle of the market crashing – I started my branding agency. 8 years later, I would walk away to rebuild my brand into being full-time keynote speaker. 3 years later, a pandemic would take away everything I had built.

The pattern? Something lights the fire or I have to do it myself – either way, it’s burning down.

This year, I’ve been focusing on mindset – changing my routines, establishing better habits, and creating space for the life I really want to live. With every shift in my mindset, I’ve seen more growth and awareness.

I’m noticing how much of what I built this past year came from a place of lack when the pandemic swept all of my revenue away. I’m seeing how much speaking on Zoom isn’t my favorite thing, but traveling was never the fun part of speaking anyway. I’m thoroughly enjoying being home most of the time. I’m also seeing just how much being in-person with my clients is my happy place. I’m spending time noticing instead of wishing it away.

As I celebrate 12 years and step into this next year of my business with intentionality, I’ve made a decision to take some time off.

For the month of April, I’m taking a social media sabbatical. For some people, that’s no big deal. Except that I don’t use social media to share the normal everyday. My business has been driven by building your brand via social media – so the daily habit of posting, commenting, and sharing is ingrained in me.

A month off. No posting or checking feeds. No daily creation of content. I’ve even found a guest leader for the Kickass Humans Club! Which means – more creativity, more writing (yes, my book), more real connections with real humans, and more play-time (I do live at the beach). I’m making a decision and seeing what comes up while I enjoy the quiet. The quiet that exists when I don’t have an app to check every 15 minutes.

Like I said in that original post in February: “Making a decision – just one decision – can set us on a new path. And it all starts with mindset. When we come from a place of DECIDING, we take the power away from “when this happens” and light a fire in the present.”

“You are one decision away from an entirely different life.” – Mark Batterson

Take the power away from whatever could happen & light that fire.

So, my obvious next question is: what’s YOUR one decision?

 

Your Story Is Your Power

Your Story Is Your Power

“That story with all the highs and lows – what seems so ordinary – what seems like nothing to you – that’s your power.” – Michelle Obama

My husband was watching Michelle Obama’s documentary Becoming last night. I walked in the bedroom after my massage and he said, “I know you’re the one who gets weepy during movies, but I keep tearing up. This is so good!”

He rewound it to a part he wanted me to watch. Girls from a high school were chosen to have a discussion with Michelle. Many of them had asked “why me?”. One girl said she didn’t have high SAT scores and wasn’t in all the clubs like the other senior girls. She was happy to just get to school and go to one club after school before she went to work.

When Michelle asked her why she had to work, she shared how her dad was in an accident and it would make him happy to know she was helping. This senior was helping support her three little brothers because her family needed food on the table.

Michelle’s response: “And she wonders why she’s here. That story with all the highs and lows – what seems so ordinary – what seems like nothing to you – that’s your power.”

Your story is your power

Isn’t it interesting how we judge our own stories when others are captivated by them?

This morning I got up at 5:15am because something was rattling around in my brain asking for me to let it out. (Spoiler alert: it was this blog post.) So, I walked into the kitchen and started the water for coffee. My husband and I have had every coffee maker humans could have since we got together. French press, Keurig, Nespresso, Breville, and now pour-over coffee. We still own most of them but they’ve either been shipped back to the wrong place or are in storage.

This newest way of making coffee has become a meditation each morning. It’s not a bleary-eyed ‘plug in and start’ kind of deal. I have to be intentional. I grind the beans, fill the kettle with filtered water, then slowly pour the hot water over the coffee grounds so it drips into the glass carafe. Although I wish it was quick and easy, it’s a soothing way to start the day.

As I started pouring today, I downloaded TikTok. It’s official – I have shared my first one (username: melaniespringspeaker)! Sure, it took me 30 minutes to make the coffee and the video, but I did it. And even went back into the archives of my brain to come up with TLC’s Diggin’ On You for the tune. (Oh, those high school vibes.)

This little video reel is part of my everyday story. It’s a little glimpse into my morning routine. And it’s not going to change anyone’s life. If I really look at it, there’s honestly no real reason to share it. It just felt so peaceful to me to pour the water over the coffee.

AND YET – there’s always someone who reaches out later and reminds me that the little glimpses into my humanity are what make them feel connected to me. My morning hair. My coffee mug. My face sans makeup. Where I’m sitting. What I’m working on. The mundane. The everyday.

As I sit here drinking this everyday delicious coffee, I thank my stars that I can wake up and make my coffee and decide how my day will go. I decide because I work for myself. And have been for more than half my career now.

You see, 12 years ago my boss asked me what I would do if he couldn’t pay me anymore. “I’d work for myself” was my answer. He gave me 30 days and on April 1, 2009, I started this entrepreneurial adventure. The adventure that would become a branding agency, land me in Entrepreneur Magazine, and then on stages around the world.

That’s my everyday entrepreneurial story – a simple question and answer that changed the course of my life and my career. I’ve had to learn more about myself as a person, as a leader, as a boss, and as a woman because of this journey (oof, SO much learning & growing.) I could easily go back and start judging myself for all of it (and I have before), yet I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Let me say that again a different way – MY STORY IS MY POWER!

If I didn’t share my ups and downs with you in my posts, on social media, and in my talks, you wouldn’t feel connected to me. If I only shared the highlight reel – the best parts – you would look at my life and think “wow, she’s got her shit together – why would I bother sharing my story with her?”

It’s in MY story that you might find yours.

My family moved 17 times before I was 11 (and no, we’re not military.) I went to 3 colleges in 4 years to get my degree by 21. I got married at 23 & divorced by 24, bought a house at 25 and lost it when the market crashed when I was 28, lost my job and started my business when I was 28, quit my branding agency when I was 36 to start a full-time speaking career while accidentally starting a speaker training program, then manifested meeting my husband just before 37 living in 4 different states in under 4 years of being together.

That’s the SUPER quick and dirty – but you get my point.

My story is not epic. There’s lots of interesting things that have happened along the way, but I’m a healthy human being with all my limbs who has had my fair share of ups and downs. That’s it. I’ve been through really rough patches and am still standing here to tell you about them. I consider that a win.

My story is my power. The everyday mundane parts of it are more powerful than any epic stuff that could have happened. Because that’s where we connect as humans.

Over the last 4 years, I’ve hosted a retreat called SPEAK With Confidence. It’s an event where humans get together and learn how to give a talk on a stage. It’s a safe space to share their stories without judgment. To get feedback and support as they become more confident with sharing themselves with others.

The biggest challenge I’ve seen my Rockstars (that’s what we call our speakers) face is their own self-judgment. The judgment of their stories or how they tell them. The judgment of their ticks – how they move their hands, what they say, how they fill pauses when they can’t think of what to say. The judgment of how they are not enough or their stories aren’t epic enough.

We worry that others will judge us, yet we’re the most judge-y of ourselves.

In May of 2021, I’m hosting our very last SPEAK With Confidence Retreat. (Yes, this is the official announcement – so if you’ve ever wanted to attend, this is your sign.)

Since starting this retreat, I’ve heard stories that range from the most epic to the most mundane. I’ve seen powerful people crumble when they talk about their pain. I’ve seen the quietest people become the loudest. I’ve watched people lie to themselves on stage – and then find their own deeper truth. I’ve witnessed healing and many, many tears. I’ve had people go home and blow up their whole lives. I’ve seen self-doubt and judgment leave because of the support of other humans. And I’ve seen some of the deepest bonds created between strangers.

My biggest takeaway from all of it? The everyday stories are the most powerful. They are what connect us.

My story is my power.
Your story is YOUR power.

Sure, we worry what others will think of us when we are sharing. Or what happens if we trip walking up on stage. Or what we’ll do if we forget what we practiced. Yet we can go back to remembering that our story is our power and someone needs to hear what we have to say.

YOU are the biggest reason you’re not sharing your story.
YOU are the most judgmental of yourself and your story.
YOU are the only thing holding you back from making an impact.

You don’t have to have an epic story to change the world. Your everyday story is your power.

Don’t wait for the question that could change everything. Choose to share your everyday.

xoxo