There Is No Plan B

There Is No Plan B


 


HUSTLE HARDER. STOP EFFING AROUND.


 


TAKE MORE VACATION. STOP WORKING SO HARD.


 


FOCUS ON YOUR ONE THING. STOP DOING EVERYTHING. 


 


BE MORE. BE BETTER. BE THE BEST. BE WHAT YOU WERE MADE TO BE.


 


TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. FOCUS ON YOU. 


 


DO LESS! DO MORE!


 


Everyone has an opinion. And you know what they say about opinions. 


 


They either tell you to work harder or they tell you to take more time for yourself. And everyone has their own formula for doing it – thinking that it will be one-size-fits-all when it’s not and it CAN’T be. We’re all unique snowflakes (I know, I know – but it’s true!). We all need our own balance/integration/way-of-doing-life. As much as personality tests try to stick us in categories to tell us how to do things, we still have to figure it out for ourselves.


 


I saw a facebook ad that literally said (and I quote): "FACT If you are not madly in love with every area of your life, overflowing in every area of your life which matters to you… (continue reading)” with a physically fit bearded hipster guy sitting on a rock looking out over rocky terrain & a link for his program to upgrade your life.


 


I couldn’t even "continue reading" because first, it isn't well-written – and second, I wanted to hit him the face for putting that kind of shit on other people. Those words are out there making people feel like shit because he OBVIOUSLY does this himself. *insert eye roll*


 


Let me be REALLY clear: NO ONE IS MADLY IN LOVE WITH EVERY AREA OF THEIR LIFE. NO ONE IS OVERFLOWING IN EVERY AREA. NO ONE. ABSOLUTELY BLEEPING NO ONE. The gurus, the monks, the coaches, the trainers, the experts, the spiritual leaders, the ninjas – no one has all of their shit together. WE ARE ALL HUMAN! We’re not meant to have everything together. We’re meant to keep learning & growing. The reason some of us teach others is because we’ve figured out how to authentically be ourselves and our purpose is to help others figure out how to do the same.


 


So many are REALLY good at hiding their shit – and it ends up eating them alive. If you ever hear a “guru" say that they have all of their shit together & that they’ve found the fountain of _fillintheblank_ and you look at their life, their Instagram feed, and see that they live a spotless life – RUN! Don’t buy that program. Don’t read their blog posts. Don’t listen to their podcasts. Don’t fill your brain with that shit. Don’t feel bad about your life. 


 



 


Phew – now that THAT is over.


 


Over the last two years, I’ve been building a program that is SO far outside of my comfort zone. This program allows humans to show up authentically on stages sharing their stories. It didn’t happen over night. And it has NOT be easy. I hosted it three times – training over 30 people – before I even admitted I was doing it. I denied that I was training speakers – when in reality, I’d been doing it for years. I’m a brand strategist so it’s been my job for the last 10 years to help companies tell their stories. I’d even written talks and created slide-decks for people and companies – and stayed fully focused on the fact that I’m “just” a brand strategist. 


 


Every time we hosted an event, I would always say it was the last. Every time we had to get butts in seats, I said I’d never do it again. Every time we finished the event, I’d be SUCH a Proud Mom – telling every one of my speakers' stories – and how hard they worked to get on that stage. And yet, I WAS NOT GOING TO DO THIS AGAIN. 


 


Then I moved across the country, built the online course, and wrote a 140-page workbook – and, what did I do? I did it again. WHAT IS MY PROBLEM?! I’m NOT a speaker coach. I help people tell their stories, I don't teach people how to rock stages – AND this is REALLY HARD! Why am I doing this?!


 


This was until my Helpful Human, Gisell, looked at my ragged, weary, and proud face after our third event as everyone was hugging each other to head back home and said, “If you could hear what everyone says about you and this experience, you’d never doubt that you have to keep doing this.” So, we did it again. We posted a whole new event for October – added more days, made it all-inclusive, got a few signups, worked our tails off – and found that EVERYONE wanted to do the next one. 


 


“I’m totally in for the workshop in April,” said the 53rd person.


 


Hearing this over and over, I took a weekend to decide if a handful of signups was worth moving forward with or if I should just wait until April. I asked my team to think on it, pray on it, and see what they thought. One of my trainers came back to me after the weekend and said, “I asked God for a word and although I wanted to play it safe and wait until April, He told me that you should listen to what He first told you.” So, we forged ahead with a new fervor. 


 


Until I hit another wall. 


 


I got up on stage in front of 300 women to keynote the Women in Business Network event. I’ve never felt more on fire than that morning in Dayton, Ohio. I shared the shit, I shared the awesome, and I gave them permission to take ONE step. Just one. To show up for themselves so they could show up for others. I told them “You are right where you’re supposed to be.” I made 300 new friends that day. 


 


And the whole time I chatted & inspired, I was doubting my decision to make the October Accelerator happen – again. I was excited to be there and suffering inside trying to piece everything together.


 


A woman walked up to me & said, “I’m so glad I found you. I don’t know if this is weird or not, but while you were speaking earlier, God told me to tell you ‘There is no Plan B.’” 


 


Talk about all of the air rushing out of my body. KEEP GOING! We jumped on it with even more excitement and decided that the people who were supposed to be there would be there. And guess what? THEY ARE! The Rockstars who have signed up for October are 100% right where they’re supposed to be. (Weird that I talk about this.) And this Accelerator would help me streamline every single one of the future ones – hosting more people and going even bigger. Because I was FINALLY COMMITTED! No more wavering. No more Plan B.


 


YOUR SUFFERING ISN’T FOR YOU TO KEEP.


 


Entrepreneur life is NOT glamorous. Anyone who talks about the hustle being sexy is lying.


 


Running a business is HARD. Building a team, managing your life, and making money is HARD. Especially when you AND your team depend on you for a paycheck. It’s not for the faint of heart. We can surround ourselves with incredible humans and still hit bottom over and over. We can be fully supported with a sound business structure and perfect marketing plan – and still miss the mark. 


 


“It’s lonely at the top” is true AND false. It’s hard – there is NO doubt. And all of us have major decision fatigue on a daily basis. But it’s only lonely if we don’t reach out.


 


The problem is – when we reach out, people say shit like “everything will be ok” and “it’ll all work out.” We share where we are and it ends up being brushed it off as character-building. Which ends up reminding us to NOT reach out. Which reminds us that we’re lonely. 


 


Encouraging words are all fine & good but most of the time we really need to hear “I’m with you” or “I’ve been there” or “I get it & I’m sorry it sucks.” 


 


If you know me at all, I’m a HUGE encourager. I love helping people through rough times and reminding them to wear their awesome. If you need a hug, I GOT YOU! AND I’m also the first person to say “ugh, I feel that. I’ve been there. And I’m standing with you in it.” Because when shit gets hard, we really don’t want to hear that it’s going to be fine. We want to be validated in our feelings and know we’re not alone.


 


Sure, when we look back on the hard stuff, we may laugh at how silly it was. We may add it to a talk on a big stage or share it over coffee with a friend. Or we may just be glad we went through it because of all we learned. But when we’re in it, PLEASE knock off the “just smile & everything will be better” shit. It doesn’t help. A hug does. A listening ear does. An understanding note does. A word for the Big Guy upstairs does. Because it feels like no one really hears you when they say that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. 


 


Screw the tunnel. Screw the light. Screw the great story this will make. Screw the character-building. Screw you for saying I’ll laugh about it. I’m just going to light that bitch on fire and we’ll talk about where the light and the tunnel meet. 


 



 


Because what other choice is there?! Trudging?! Pretending?! Lying to myself and everyone else? THERE IS NO PLAN B.


 


I’ve been hustling my face off for 3 straight weeks without downtime, without sleeping well, and without feeling like I have all my marbles. I’m building an INCREDIBLE program that takes up almost all of my waking hours – and I know it’ll be worth it. It always is. And I’m tired. 


 


I just turned off my wifi for two hours in a mountain town, put my noise-canceling headphones on, and pretended my business didn’t exist in order to write this post. I have a to-do list that’s bigger than it's ever been and I’ve delegated everything I can possibly delegate. I have zero phone calls on my calendar today and have been asked a total of 86 questions today alone. I’ve only responded to one email. And I finally got a note from my bookkeeper that said the sky wasn’t falling anymore. I am blessed – I get it. I REALLY do. And yet…


 


It’s been almost 10 years since I started my business. It’s been hard – and SO rewarding. I’ve transitioned, I’ve changed everything, I’ve revamped my life, I’ve moved multiple times, I’ve been through almost everything an entrepreneur can possibly go through. And yet, I’m still here. I’m still standing. I’m still hustling. I get it. It sucks and it’s so awesome – all at the same time. 


 


If you’re in the shit right now, I feel you. I feel every particle of your being. I DEFINITELY don’t have all my shit together and right now, as much as I love celebrating all of the wins (and boy, there are some INCREDIBLE things happening), I’m also living in the shit. I need sleep. I need to delete my inbox. I want to go play. I sometimes wonder what it would look like to have a 9-to-5. And then I remember the impact of what I’m doing. The impact, the purpose, the stories, and the authenticity. I LOVE being me. I LOVE my life. I LOVE this shit. THERE IS NO PLAN B.


 


So, all that to say – I see you. My twitchy eye sees yours. My tight shoulders are wrapped around yours. I have a tissue box ready for you any time you need to just let it all out. And I will encourage you to LET IT ALL OUT. No matter who you are or where you’re from or what you’re going through, I’ll stand with you. Because that’s what we humans need – to know we’re not alone.


 


xoxo


Melanie Spring

A yes always requires a no.

A yes always requires a no.

 


Have you ever started something you really wanted to create & found it later unfinished? A blog post? A love letter? An art project? A room of your home? A relationship? A business? Maybe you start it, get part-way through it and say you'll come back to it only to come back to it to see it's incomplete.



We've all done it. We get hyped about something we want to make a reality and leave it when something shinier comes along. And that something shinier doesn't always do us a favor – it can distract us from what we really need to do.



As an entrepreneur, my brain is going 100 miles an hour all the time. (Side note: you don't have to be an entrepreneur to have a busy brain.) When I wake up, I'm staring at the ceiling thinking about work. All day, I work on work. After work, I'm talking about work. Entrepreneur life is not the most conducive to thinking about stuff outside of work. Balance or integration is not easy but it's necessary for a healthy focus. Which is NOT something I've ever been good at – until recently.



When I get bored or run out of things to do, I create more work for myself and my Crew. I start new companies, pivot old ones, build new products, put together new services, create more content – and get way off track. This helps no one – not my clients, my Crew or myself. The business waters get muddied and no one really knows what to do.


I did this exact thing again recently. And it almost wrecked me.


Let me back up for a moment. I started Sisarina, a web marketing agency, in 2009. I NEVER wanted to be the face of the company. I was called “Boss Lady” because I wasn't really much of a boss. I was the leader but I would even use that term loosely. I did EVERYTHING wrong and managed to still come out on top. I had very little focus – we did all sorts of stuff. Websites, marketing, social media, branding, content, brand strategy – lots. I had a hard enough time to getting my own work done while growing a team of incredible professionals. Until I realized how much I hated checking my email wondering who was mad at me and what fire I had to put out.

 




 



A year ago, my Crew convinced me it was time to do what I wanted to do instead of what I felt like I “should” do. I decided to focus on the two things I loved the most – speaking & workshops. I was ready to focus – and it was time to become the face – a personal brand, a public figure.



At first, I tried to hide behind the name Branded Confidence. It was ok to have my face on it but it was a company – right? I didn't have to be “the thing” I sold. Then I decided speaking and workshops weren't enough so I thought “let's start another company to focus on corporate work!” WHAT?! WHY DO I KEEP DOING THIS!? I kept overwhelming myself because [you'll get a kick out of this] – I was afraid of success. <READ I wanna see you be brave>



I wasn't doing it on purpose but I realized that if I kept myself busy and kept doing more, I'd keep from being successful at any one thing. [WHY!? What's the point of that?! Oh yeah, MOST of us do this… It's not just a Melanie thing. Jane of all trades, Mistress of none.] I kept looking around and finding that I was even confusing myself with what I did.



I'm a brand strategist who helps companies tell their brand stories. That's what I'm trained to do. And I'm really good at it – but it doesn't bring me the joy speaking & workshops bring. All I wanted to do was write a book about how to rock your life and teach people how to share their stories. I wanted to share their stories from big stages so others could learn to tell their own stories. But, what do you call THAT? There's no college degree for this. There's no official title for it. The closest I could think was “motivational speaker” but really? #lame



Then, my right-hand-gal (Gisell!) held a mirror in front of me & asked me what I saw if I got to just speak & host workshops. JOY! She told me she'd follow me whichever direction I wanted to go, but we had to focus on one direction – not two.



BAM. So simple, yet so profound. My personal brand + kickass workshops + big stages to share the love = win/win/win.



And I don't have to sit behind a computer all day – I can be with the humans who need what I have to share. YES! Which brings me to this moment right here.



When I started writing this post, I was incredibly UN-focused. I sent notes out to my speakers about getting testimonial videos, started editing an email, got into conversations with my booking manager, checked and posted on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and even called my mom to celebrate a big win. I started a different blog post altogether but after watching my lack of focus, I knew I had to write about focusing. 


 


After finishing the first draft, I took a walk and listened to The RobCast with Rob Bell sharing his Brief Guide to the Undernet – the underside of the internet. He was talking about how we have to choose what we want to do, post, share. And then he said exactly what I needed to hear to focus this post. 


“A yes always requires a no.” – Rob Bell


We're always choosing. One thing for another. And when we say yes to something that doesn't serve us, we're saying no to something that could help us get where we need to go. Am I willing to say no to those things that don't help me focus on my goals?


If I look at my list of projects, I have an overwhelming amount of things going on – unfinished. At least 15 other blog posts sitting in Evernote, Quip or Google Docs somewhere. My computer desktop has a folder called Desktop Stuff where I dump everything I had on my desktop so I can keep it clean – but it's sitting there disorganized anyway – another project. My iPhone photos are in a Dropbox folder unorganized and completely lacking in any search-ability – I even have a person who can organize it for me when I'm ready to pull the trigger – or next time I'm on an airplane without wifi it might get done – if I'm not exhausted. There's a canvas I left in DC that's still white with a sketch on it and paints ready to color it in but I never bothered to paint it. I have a closet full of stuff that needs to be sorted & organized since my move – but it can wait until tomorrow. I need to shave Griffin so he can have a summer cut – maybe after work. I have to write my content for my updated brand – and it's slated for this afternoon but it's been on my to do list for at least two months. My car needs a bath and the office needs to be painted. Sigh.



I've left a LOT of things undone but saying yes to the ones I need to do requires me to say no to the ones I don't need to do. Kacy Paide, my professional organizer friend, would tell me to throw out the stuff I'll never finish and finish the things I want to finish. <Read How to be organized enough> Right now, I'm focused on getting shit done that NEEDS to get done. Getting shit done that requires my attention and that fits my overall goals. FOCUSED on it.



I may not ever get the focus to clear out my to-do list and that's ok. I'm creating and continuing to create things that make me smile, laugh, and grin at random times. All of this gets my inner 7-year-old bouncing around. As Kacy would advise, I'm making a promise to myself to finish everything that gives me joy. And throw away anything that isn't helpful or useful. Because what's the point of this life? To find joy, live in gratitude, and take care of those around us.






So, now it's your turn.


What is unfinished, incomplete, or getting undeserved attention? What do you need to throw away? What are you doing that doesn't fit your goals? And what do you need to start doing so you can be the huge success you were meant to be? Say yes as long as you are willing to say no.



Go – you incredible human – and enjoy this life you're creating. No matter what it looks like. Focus on everything that brings you joy.



 

Glittering Beards & How to Network Without Being an A$$hole

Glittering Beards & How to Network Without Being an A$$hole

“I have too much to worry about to not be myself.” – Strother Gaines


Strother Gaines is full of glitter and wisdom.


He’s the head unicorn of But I’m a Unicorn, Dammit, LLC an entrepreneurial coaching company helping humans who want to build their next step. When I asked the Kickass Humans Club who should be on the podcast, Sarai Johnson, one of our recent Rock Your Talk-ers put her hand way up and suggested Strother saying “He’s AMAZING!” spoiler: she was right.


Strother is a Kentucky-born triple threat who is keeping busy as an entrepreneur, artistic director for TBD Immersive – a new theater company in DC, and the event director for Network Under Forty.


Oh – and one of his drag queen names is Joann Fabrics. (Like, the fabric store… Yeah, I love him.)


In this week’s podcast episode, Strother Gaines lets us in on the phone call from the IRS about his LLC’s name, But I’m a Unicorn, Dammit, LLC and how to network without being an asshole (this was fun). His bits about growing up in the rural south, coming into his own, and the glory of Southern Queens are what make Strother such a fabulous human being. He shares HIS story, which helps others share theirs. BRILLIANT!


“I get a lot of feedback on the beard.” – Strother Gaines





Looking to channel the magic in your career or business?

The next step is simple and the fabulous beard himself can let you in on the secret.

Watch here:



Ever wonder what the difference is between  jackhammer careers and hummingbird careers? Maybe you’ve wondered how a career trajectory of cross pollination led him from being segway tour guide to entrepreneurial coach? Well, you get all of that and more – right here on the podcast.


My favorite part? Strother brings Joann Fabrics to the podcast – including the family inspiration for her and how he gets himself into character. (HINT: It’s a very specific swear word with southern flair.)


Why aren’t you listening yet?! This man has GLITTER IN HIS BEARD! Stop reading, start listening


Listen to get the whole conversation here:



Watch his TED talk is here:



 



CONNECT WITH HIM: 


Join the Kickass Humans Club



In his words: Strother is creative, a unicorn, authentic, a storyteller and Beardo.


Instagram: @Stronicorn


Twitter: @UnicornDammit


Facebook: Strother Gaines


LinkedIn: Strother Gaines


Website: www.unicorndammit.com & www.tbdimmersive.com




Find out more: http://brandventurespodcast.com  

Subscribe on SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/brandventures

Subscribe on iTunes: http://bit.ly/brandventures

Kickass Humans Club: http://bit.ly/KHCgroup

The secret to manifesting: there is no secret.

The secret to manifesting: there is no secret.

Are you ready to manifest that shit?


I love words. Lately, my favorite word is “manifest.” It’s one of those weird little misunderstood words so many of us think is “woo-woo.” All the life coaches and energy healers use it so it gets put in the category of mystical. This word gets entangled with The Secret and positive thinking – when, by definition, manifesting goes way deeper. Most people think that manifesting is just another way of getting what you want. The faith-focused humans liken it to praying. Some call it “the laws of attraction” and still others don’t believe in manifesting at all. But it’s a thing. A real, concrete, fact-based thing. (read on for a free downloadable workbook)


My friend Amy got married a few weeks ago and I was the wedding officiant. Being the wedding officiant wasn’t just about running the ceremony, it also meant I was behind-the-scenes helping her get to that day with the least amount of carnage. The day before her wedding, Amy realized the dress she ordered for the rehearsal dinner didn’t fit. (Insert massive freak-out moment) I didn’t worry about it, I knew we’d find just what she needed. She couldn’t figure out how I wasn’t worried – I told her that I would manifest one for her. And it worked. We walked into the local mall, into the first dress shop, and the first dress we picked up – the first she tried on – was exactly the dress that made her feel like a million bucks. And her groom was blown away by her stunning look that evening. Much to her surprise, we hit the manifesting lotto. It wasn’t just because we wanted it, it was because we had a clear picture of what we wanted, made a plan, and did the work to find it. (isn't she gorgeous?!)


 


 


“Focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses.” – David Rendall


6 months ago, I quit my business. I had just been in the magic land of Bali and realized how out-of-balance my life was between my purpose and running my business. For years, I had wondered if there was something bigger, but worried way more about what would happen since I had a team that relied on me. I kept standing in my way by hiring more people, taking on clients when they weren’t the right fit, and doing work I never intended to do. I couldn’t say no – everyone around me kept telling me that the only way to scale a business was by hiring more people and getting more clients. I told everyone around me to follow their dreams and do the hard things to make them a reality – but I was sitting in silence hoping it would show up instead.



As soon as I made the decision and released it to the world, I started a journey of manifestation. That journey led me to more success in 6 months than I had in the 8 years previous. I had a very clear picture of what I wanted – I knew what success would look like for me. I made a plan and worked the plan. I got rid of everything I didn’t want to do anymore (and yes, I’m still learning how to say no) and started doing the things that lit me up. I noticed how all of my limiting beliefs about success and business were slowly disappearing and being replaced by abundance. I worked on it every single day.


When I called my mentor to share my accomplishments, he reminded me that everything I was doing right now was exactly what I said I wanted to do 6 months ago. My bookkeeper even told me that we were at 27% higher gross income over last year and net profit increased by 657%. HOW?! Because I manifested that shit. I made the decision, put in the work, and made it a reality.


“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn


I recently decided it was time to finally find my tribe. I’d felt for awhile as if I was on an island – working hard without much support. Supporting so many people without getting the support I needed to keep my cup overflowing. I had done the work on how I wanted to show up in the world and my business and it was time for me to find more people like me. I wrote down the qualities of the humans I wanted to surround myself with. Incredible humans who lifted me up as much as I lifted them up. Hardcore entrepreneurs doing big things in the world – not just for themselves but for others. And I found them! I knew them as soon as I saw them because I showed up fully as myself and they loved me just as I was.





As a group, we went to Vermont to do more personal and business development – only to find ourselves spelunking, rappelling, and running a mini Spartan race – while tied to other people. We also learned how to make shelter, build a fire, and survive a zombie apocalypse. By the end, I was able to visualize more of what I wanted for myself and even how we can help disabled kids stay more active and disenfranchised kids stay out of trouble. I know it all might sound random but it was the best leadership training I’ve ever attended. Because that’s the kind of tribe that fits me. We’re crazy, but we want nothing more than to be our best selves and give back to the world we live in.





(Maverick pics by Alex Kane)


And in that tribe, I found my person. Someone I didn't believe existed until a friend (who happens to be a dating coach) told me that I would have to come down to earth because the man I wanted was harder to find than winning the lotto. Guess what?! The best way to get me to do something is to tell me it can't be done. 


I found him. A man who is building a business in order to heal the world. A man who thinks bigger than himself – who does as much personal development as I do. A man who runs at my energy level and who envisions a life bigger than either of us can dream up. Because I finally figured out that I was attracting the wrong kind of humans – and I grew within myself to start attracting the right ones. I didn’t fix anything because I wasn’t broken. I did the work and he showed up.



He was obviously created just for me to the point that this past weekend, we sat down at a gorgeous little tea shop in DC (go try Calabash – it smells delightful and has the best chai ever made) to write out our life goals. We started by writing out the vision we have for our lives separately – and then read each other’s. After which we wrote out a list of our life goals, long and short term goals, and next steps to making them happen – while holding each other accountable. Can I even explain to you how long I’ve waited to find someone who would do this with me?! And he showed up up, not just out of nowhere, but because I knew what I wanted, made a plan, and showed up for myself.


“Every single one of your desires is attainable.” – Mama Gena


Mama Gena of the School of Womanly Arts (seriously, if you don’t know about her – fix that now) talks a lot about manifesting the life and love you deserve. Manifesting is deeply ingrained in who we are as humans. We are powerful beings and have the ability to bring to life whatever we desire. We can ask for what we want – and get it. We can call things to us. We can do the work and watch it show up. It’s really up to what we want and how we show up in this world.


But manifestation isn’t all about us. Just as our purpose on this planet isn’t a selfish one. We’re given the ability to make something from nothing – and as much as it feeds us, it also must feed those around us. When we are full, we can spill out on others. When we get the things we want (especially when they aren’t selfish), we are able to be a bigger presence on this planet – and make a bigger impact. It’s cyclical.



Let me put it simply – when we show up for ourselves, we show up for others.


And THAT is the key to manifestation. It’s not about sitting on the couch and thinking positive thoughts. It’s not about waiting for Prince Charming or that business idea to pop into our heads. It’s about knowing what we want, making a plan, showing up for ourselves, and doing the work to get it. That’s what I mean when I say “manifest that shit!”




 


MANIFEST THAT SHIT WORKBOOK


[download here]


The word manifest is an adjective AND a verb. Let’s get super clear on what it means and put it into action so you can manifest the life/business/person you desire. Grab a coffee (or your drink of choice), download & print the workbook, grab your favorite pen – let’s do this thing!


1. GET CLEAR ON WHAT YOU WANT


Before it’s an action, manifest first means “clear or obvious to the eye or mind.” This means manifesting is not a secret. Amazingly enough, the antonym (opposite) of manifest is “secret” – which means it’s in front of our noses. And sometimes we can’t see what’s right in front of our noses. From little things like getting a parking spot every time you go to the gym so you’ll be less likely to stay home to big things like the business you want to start or meeting the man/woman of your dreams, I want you to get super clear on everything you want for your life. You already know what you want, but sometimes we just need a little clarity.


Grab page 4 and:


  • In the first column, write a list of what you think you want.
  • In the second column, write down the reasons you want them.
  • In the third column, write down how they will make your life or others lives better.
  • Circle three things from the first column items you want to work on manifesting.



2. WRITE DOWN WHAT YOU WANT


To manifest also means “be evidence of; prove.” That means you have to create a place to show evidence – proof – that you want it.  If you want something, you have to write it down. Put it on the wall, on your mirror, in a journal, or as a status on Facebook. Write it somewhere – pronounce it as the thing you want and then make it your mantra. Once you put words to it, you’ll continue the process of manifesting.


Grab page 5 and:


  • Label each of the columns with the three things you want to manifest.
  • Under each, write out a list of why these things are important to your life or others lives.
  • Then ask yourself why they matter.
  • Ask yourself why again.
  • Ok, one more time.
  • Check the sheet and make sure you are positively sure you have the right three. If so, move onto the next step. If not, fix it.


 


3. MAKE A PLAN TO GET WHAT YOU WANT


A manifest is “a document giving comprehensive details of a ship and its cargo and other contents, passengers, and crew for the use of customs officers.” A manifest is a detailed list of everything that’s included in a ship. Think of this as the detailed list of everything you need to get what you want. Writing all the little details down will help you hone in on the things you want. It will help you get super clear about the path it will take to get there. Without this plan, you’re just hoping. With this plan, you’ll start manifesting.


Grab page 6 and answer the following questions for each of the 3 items you want to manifest and create the plan for how these will manifest.


  • What am I manifesting?
  • What do I have in my life already that will help?
  • What do I need in my life to help?
  • Who is in my life already to help manifest this?
  • Who do I need to meet in order to manifest this?
  • Where do I need to go?
  • What do I need to learn?
  • Who will hold me accountable?
  • What are my daily action items?
  • What are my next steps?


 


4. WORK TOWARD WHAT YOU WANT


To manifest means to “display or show (a quality or feeling) by one's acts or appearance; demonstrate.” This means you have to DO the work. You have to show up and put some skin in the game. You have to MAKE a plan then WORK the plan. Mark Patterson, my pastor, likes to say “Work like it depends on you. Pray like it depends on God.” Swap out the words however you need, but DO THE WORK. Sitting on the couch will never get you what you want.


Get out your to do list, calendar, planner, whatever you use to keep track of everything you’re doing on the regular. Do one or all of the things on the following list and get working on the plan.


  • Break down the plan into small action items.
  • Add your daily items so you can check them off. (Set reminders)
  • Add weekly items so you can check them off. (Set reminders)
  • Schedule meetings with people who can help you.
  • Schedule time to send someone a love note (filling up other people’s buckets will only help your cause.)
  • Schedule time to help others.
  • Sign up for that networking event you keep putting off.
  • Say yes to the friend who invites you out.
  • Write sticky notes and put them on your mirror.
  • Smile at yourself & say “hi sexy” before you leave the house.
  • Be ready for anything. Because anything can happen.


 


“Success is something you attract by the person you become.” – Jim Rohn


Now, let me be clear. Just because you want something doesn’t mean you’re going to get it. God, Spirit, The Universe, whatever you believe is out there giving you what you want – it might not be what they want for you. These things might not be the best thing – and you have to be ok with the fact that something better may show up – better, different, not-quite-exactly-as-you-planned. And that’s the fun of manifesting – we typically don’t know what we want because we can’t dream that big. Or we just aren’t dreaming big enough for the things we really deserve. But those will show up and we celebrate all of the loveliness that is manifested. And if bad things manifest – well, that’s a whole different blog post.


Get clear about what you want and then do the work to get what you want. Download the Manifest That Shit workbook and start manifesting that shit.


Want more?



 


 


—————-

I killed your scared.

I killed your scared.


“I killed your scared!” 


Yes, yes you did, Ricky. You killed my scared.


 


I LOVE the beach. Going to the beach is my escape from regular life. I’ve always gone in the winter with my pups because it’s the quietest, most relaxing place I know. I like to sit on the beach to stare into the distance and think. I like to run on it as the sun rises in its brilliance. I like to watch the gloriousness as the sun sets. I like to grab a tan in warm seasons while reading my favorite book. It’s peaceful there. A loud, yet quiet peaceful. 


 



 


Having lived on both US coasts, I still can't fathom how people live in the middle. (Seriously,  middle dwellers, explain it to me.) I have to live on the coast close enough to reach the beach in a few hours max. Landlocked places make me antsy. I need to know the waves are still rushing. I need to see them for myself. I need to know that life is really still moving and not because we’re moving it. I need that taste of the power of God. I need to see the ocean but I never EVER wanted to go in. Never. 


 


My whole life I’ve been terrified of the water. I liked being next to the water. To watch the waves, to enjoy the splashing, to see what the ocean brings to the sand. I didn't grow up with an ocean nearby. I know how to float and paddle around in a pool or a lake, but my labored breath quickly takes over & I freak out if I have to go too far. Knowing how quickly the ocean could kill me, that something inside it could eat me, or hearing of people who were swept out to sea and lived on little boats drinking their own pee? Yeah, not for me.


 


Until one day…


 


My California uncle told me ocean kayaking wasn't that much different from river kayaking. He took me to a little beach near Pismo, California with what looked like a giant Tupperware container and sent me out in a life jacket to jump in it. His only warning – "don't put the kayak between the wave and you." He pushes me out. Wave one. Smash, tip over. I’m under water. Coming up fighting for air. Wave two. Smash, can't get back in. The life jacket is holding me down in the water. I keep trying because everyone on the beach is watching. 


 


Shaking, I dragged that oversized bathtub boat back to shore. Goosebumps and deep breaths. He laughed. "What's wrong? Are you cold? Go on, try it again." No thanks. That was terrifying. He had no idea that I had never been in the ocean before. Profuse apologies and hugs ensued. He felt awful but had never thought to ask. How could anyone not have been in the ocean in their mid-30’s?! We found a spot on the beach with no waves and like a child, he pushed me into the quiet water. Beautiful ocean kayaking without the terror of the waves. I loved it. He now asks everyone "Have you been in the ocean?" before taking them out.


 



 


6 months later, I was at the beach enjoying the sun only to realize there was no bathroom at the beach. Yikes. My friend told me to go stand in the waves. “Nah, I can hold it." He rolled his eyes and took my hand. We walked into the ocean, chatted for a bit and I felt relieved – in more ways than one. Something that small had been scary enough to make me want to wait. Why was I so scared?


 



 


6 months after that, I went to Hawaii. The waves – oh, the waves. I loved sitting on the beach watching the blue water but wasn't interested in body surfing or boogyboarding – terrifying. What if the current took me under? Learning how the waves worked and watching how I could anticipate them, I felt a tiny bit more comfortable. Until we got to the snorkling reef. I was just going to sit on the beach. Zero desire to swim with the fishes.


 


Except that they had these full face mask things (a friend said they look like jockstraps for your face) that allowed you to breathe regularly through your mouth and nose. So, out we went. The first time was terrifying and beautiful. I was breathing too fast. So I tried again. And wow. All of the wonder below the water's surface. All the fish, the coral, the critters. So incredible. I was hooked. 


 



 


And then I went to Bali on Escape to Bali with Jennifer Moore. Bali is a magical place. It tricks you into thinking you can do anything. With a bronze tan, loads of yoga and exercise, and all the vegan food a girl can consume, I felt a wee bit less than certain that I could conquer this insane fear of the ocean. The lovely human leading us took us to the ocean for surf lessons – each of us with individual instructors. I was assigned to a tall skinny Balinese college student, Ricky, who looked like he had grown up in the ocean. After learning all of the techniques and processes to stand on a board, my ankle was strapped to a board and I was dragged out into the waves fighting the undercurrent. Ricky seemed to walk on water as if there was nothing holding him back. I struggled. Hard. Waves, fear, heavy breathing, worry of death. Ugh.


 



 


Waves hitting me over and over, we finally reached what he thought was a good spot and he turned the board and told me to lay on it. "Do your best." And sent me on my way. I started to stand up, got to my knees and road a wave to the beach. A little thrill. Walking the board back out, he put me on it again. Wobble, balance lost, splash. All the salt up my nose. Cough. Sputter. I hate this.


 


Heading back out, we got to a new spot. On the board, wave hits, pushup, left foot back, front foot on, wham. Fell off. As I wipe my face sputtering swear words under my breath, I look back and see Ricky with his arms up and a big smile. I got up! Wait, I did. I got up. Let's do it again.


 



 


The next time I went out, I asked Ricky to say "I believe in you" when he pushed me. Hearing those words was just what I needed to get up & rock it. Over the next 90min, I got up fully seven times and rode to the beach three of those. What a rush! First time out and I'm hooked. Yes! Apparently, I have great balance. I even figured out how to steer the board. Yes! Let's do this again! Salt in my sinuses, be damned.


 


Only after we were done did I find out how rough the ocean had been. The instructors were proud of all of us for rocking our beginner lessons in that surf. Ummm, yeah. Had I known this, I would have opted out. My fear had been monumental – something I never thought I would overcome – but as I grabbed a selfie with Ricky before I left, he said, "Melanie, I killed your scared." Oh man, he did. He killed my scared. 


 



 


My entire life I’ve been worried about the big bad ocean while also being soothed by its power. There’s obviously a metaphor in there somewhere – but if I take this at just face value, I see how much this one fear has affected so many other things for me.


 


I recently got a long train-of-thought email from one of the speakers for Rock Your Talk. It was the type of email you don't want to read or you'll edit – so she just hit send. And boy, was it powerful. It reminded me of my own scary first few years in business. She shared about how she had been learning and growing over the years – sinking tons of money into learning about her business – only to realize that she was avoiding actually doing the things she was learning. She was the one holding herself back and she was ready to break the pattern by getting on stage and sharing her story with the world. She was ready to face her fears of success. She was ready to be successful. But SHE had to make that decision and take the steps to get there. She needed to kill her scared.


 


We place limits on ourselves – and sometimes we don’t even realize how limiting they are. My surfing lesson wasn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things – I doubt I’ll ever become a professional. BUT it showed me that I was hiding from things that were limiting me. “Life without limits” is my mantra. And I’m the only one putting limits on myself. My fears are standing in the way of the things I want to do – nothing else. It’s up to me to step over them – through them – and find the joy on the other side.


What’s in YOUR way?

What’s your ocean?


Start with little steps. Find out how the seawater tastes. Float for a bit. Jump in a kayak. Go snorkeling. And then stand up on that surfboard. When you finally release the fear, you realize how small it really was in the first place.


 


I’m standing in the ocean with you. Let's kill your scared!