Own Your Boss-Ness

Own Your Boss-Ness

“You must expect failure as part of your journey of success, failure and success go hand in hand, you cannot have one without the other.” – Richard Parkes Cordock

Failure sucks. Thoroughly, painfully sucks. No one wants to fail – we all want to succeed. And we talk about success all the time – about how it’s not really failure, it’s just a pivot. “I’ve never failed, I’ve just pivoted.” That’s cute – pivoting is actually what we learn to do from failure.

It’s amazing how much we hear about success – but rarely hear about failure. We hear about how people made it but not the parts where they almost didn’t. It’s always so glamorous when someone writes a book about how to do it the right way – and then you wonder how they figured it out – and then wonder what’s wrong with you. It’s disheartening for struggling business owners and CEOs to think they’re the only one failing because “everyone else” is a “huge success.”

According to the Small Business Association (SBA), 30% of new businesses fail during the first two years of being open, 50% during the first five years and 66% during the first 10. So, let’s hear THOSE stories. Then we won’t feel like we’re failing alone.

I’ve made it WAY past my own definition of failure – QUITTING – mostly because, for me, there is no Plan B. This business doesn’t look anything like it did when I started. I’ve quit parts of it, failed at other parts, and succeeded more than I ever expected. All of that led me to pivot hard and do something much more in line with who I am as a human. (read: Give me 1 hour, I’ll give you 9 years)

When I asked my Crew what they wanted to get out of our first real company retreat, every one of them said “defined vision & defined roles for every person.” Even ME! I want to know where we’re going and what everyone is doing to help us get there. I don’t have an exact plan myself since it’s been evolving so much. I want to make sure I have a Crew that will help me define where WE want to go. They will help me put the pieces together but at the end of the day, I’m still the Boss Lady.

Speaking of Boss Lady, it’s almost been 10 years of being her. Being the boss comes with SO many ups & downs and typically ends up being quite lonely. I’ve failed SO miserably and succeeded in ways I never thought I could. I’ve had lots of cash in the bank, while other times I’ve had to pray for it. I’ve always made payroll but not always for myself. I’ve made bad hiring decisions AND really amazing ones. I thought I knew where we were going and then realized I had no idea. I quit my business twice – and still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do next.

When you start your business in your 20’s, you look back and wonder how anyone thought you were smart enough to do any of this. I never wanted to be the “boss,” but over time I’ve realized I ACTUALLY never want to be a manager. I fully believe everyone should do their job, make their paycheck, and keep growing. I hustle my face off, so why wouldn’t everyone else? Oh yeah, because if I don’t show them how to, give them the opportunity to do so, and give them an incentive to do it, why would they bother?

We all have to show up for ourselves. Whether we’re the boss, the assistant, the manager, or the helping hand. We’re all human – no one is BETTER than another and no one person is MORE IMPORANT than another. We all have to do our jobs in order for the whole business to work. We all have to put in the time & effort and keep growing. As the boss, we set the example for everyone else. When we set a bad example, it’s up to us to own it and grow from it so our teams can follow along with us.

This week we host our 4th SPEAK With Confidence – an event I never planned on creating, a methodology I never planned to write, and a course I never wanted to create. It was never in my plans, yet it’s been the most rewarding business venture we’ve ever taken on. It fits my skillset and my team does an amazing job of supporting me in it – even those who come in from other businesses to share their own expertise.

Now that I own the fact that we’re doing this, I’m starting to see the holes in my planning. I’m starting to see that as much as the event is the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done, it drains every bit of my energy and adds way more stress beforehand than anything else. And there’s a reason.

A goal is just a wish without a plan.

– Antoine de Saint-Exupery

When I asked my entrepreneur mom for feedback for our corporate retreat, she said: “At the end of the day, Melanie is the boss. And she needs to be respected as the boss, referred to as the boss & regarded as the boss.” Now I want that on a t-shirt.

The biggest reason I have never been “the boss” is because I made a decision 10 years ago that I never wanted to be a “boss.” I didn’t want to be the quintessential horror reigning over everyone with an iron fist. The best bosses I ever had never acted like the “boss,” but I never knew if they regarded themselves as the boss either. So, I never owned my own boss-ness. 

I wanted to build a company and I felt like everyone I hired would just own their shit & do their job. Why would they need a boss?! We did everything we were “supposed to do” like create job descriptions, set up processes & systems, and make sure everyone knew what to do. I made all the big decisions and owned all of the failures while being grateful to my team for all of the successes, but I missed the biggest piece of all. I guess I kept waiting for the real boss to show up and take over. 

Which left me sitting here wondering how I’ve had a company this long without being the boss. It was actually really easy – I WORKED MY ASS OFF. Hustled my face off. And learned how to live in a constant state of stress. I built myself a perpetual job instead of building a sustainable company that was focused & set up so that everyone was able to succeed. Including me.

Guess who’s owning their boss-ness now?! *raises both hands** YES! Me!

Maybe it took my mom saying something – or even my team mentioning it (over and over and over) for me to realize they would follow me wherever I went – as long as I finally took the reigns and got us somewhere.

 

So, what does it mean to own my boss-ness?

Being the boss is however we want to define it. There is no ONE way to be the boss. As long as we own being the boss. It really comes from who you are as a human – and I have a big idea of what I’ve been missing this whole time. So, I’m going to write it down and own it – and you can all hold me accountable to it. (You can write yours down too – I am more than happy to help you own it!) 

Ready?

MELANIE IS THE BOSS LADY

In order for Melanie to be the boss lady, she has to:

1. Slow down. 

– Be willing to put herself first.
– Block time on the calendar just for what she wants to do.
– Make time for creativity.
– Learn to be proactive, not reactive.

2. Create real, tangible goals for herself.

– Understand what her perfect life looks like.
– Set deadlines for each goal.
– Set up regular calls with her mentor.
– Create accountability for herself.

3. Create real goals for her company.

– Work with her Crew to create tangible, big plans.
– Set up processes & systems for all aspects of the business with her Crew.
– Write job descriptions for every person on the team (even the future ones.)
– Create accountability structures for everyone, including herself.

4. Keep growing.

– Learn something new.
– Read the books on her bookshelf.
– Write the damn book. (Gisell, look!)
– Take a walk & enjoy time away from the internet.

5. Inspire her Crew.

– Make sure everyone is in the right place.
– Create team goals for growth.
– Set weekly/monthly meetings for check-ins.
– Schedule fun trips throughout the year for brainstorming & relaxing.

Success & failure go hand-in-hand, sure. Yet, when you have the right team and the team is inspired because the boss is inspired, success is inevitable. Which means I have to own up to being the boss & give my Crew the success they deserve.

 

Hi, I’m Melanie Spring and I’m the Boss Lady.

 

Now, what are YOU going to do to own your boss-ness?

 

xoxo

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

Just Be Yourself (but better)

Just Be Yourself (but better)

“Some people won’t like you

& you’re going to have to be OK with that.” 

 


Who's ready to jump into Chapter 2 of the SPEAK With Confidence podcast series?! Did you already finish Chapter 1: Brainstorming Like a Boss? (Go listen if you haven't before you jump in here.)

 


For week 2, let's find out who you REALLY are.


CRAFT YOUR TALK: Just Be Yourself (but better)


THIS EPISODE SIMPLIFIED: Everyone has a personal brand. It shows up before you even walk into the room. It’s the way you speak, what you wear, how your hair looks, and just who you are.



Now that we have that out of the way, let’s jump into Chapter 2: Just Be Yourself (but better). The first step to being yourself is learning about your brand. In this episode, I go through everything in the SPEAK With Confidence workbook about branding. I'll cover why you even need a brand as a public speaker (or even just as a human), how to find it, and – once you find it – how to define it.



I’ll even take you through my personal brand journey and how I became an Approachable Badass. Listen to the podcast here:





As we cover chapter 2 of the SPEAK With Confidence course and workbook: Just Be Yourself (but better), think about what you want your personal brand to be and how you best show up as yourself. Then let us know more about your personal brand in the Kickass Humans Club.

 




 


SPEAK With Confidence: Stop wishing you were on that stage & write the dang talk: ispeakwithconfidence.com I'll even send you the fancy-schmancy workbook you're hearing about.


SPEAK With Confidence CLUSTER: Listen to this Cluster of Awesomeness here



Get more podcast fun: brandventurespodcast.com  

Subscribe on SoundCloud: soundcloud.com/brandventures 

Subscribe on iTunes: bit.ly/brandventures

Join the Kickass Humans Club: kickasshumansclub.com

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.



 

I wanna see you be brave.

I wanna see you be brave.

“Life is tough, my darling, but so are you.”

– Stephanie Bennett-Henry



It’s 6am. I’m doing something I’ve never done before. And I’m noticing a pattern.


Sitting in my house waiting for the sun to come up – and for this day to be over. I’m miserable. My face is swollen from crying all night. I blink away more tears as I stare at my laptop screen. A spreadsheet featuring a colossal mistake. It shows me every reason NOT to do this. It explains why this will never work. I’ve heard these whispers before – those little a$holes in my head – the ones telling me this is going to be too much and not enough all at the same time. Because I’m too much and not enough…


It’s day one of filming my first professionally-created online course. I’m a wreck.


I am going to be on camera with a professional videographer sharing how to show up in their own confidence while doing something terrifying for most people – speaking on a stage. 


I have my outfits ready. My team is setting up the scenes for me. I have every detail outlined in order with all of the specifics so I don’t forget anything. I have been working on this for a year. AN ENTIRE YEAR! And I had NO problem doing this in person – no problem helping people through my methodology and doing the thing that scares most people as much as death – getting on stage. But the idea of doing the same thing in front of a camera is making me break down. It’s not comfortable. It’s totally new and not at all what I want to do. If I just cry hard enough, they can’t film me.


The whispers are coming at me from all angles and I’m listening to them. They’re winning.


All the whispers tell me:


  •     You need to do more research.
  •     No one will sign up for this.
  •     You won’t price it correctly.
  •     You won’t be good on camera.
  •     Too many people will sign up for this & it’ll get out of control.
  •     You won’t find the right software to make it work.
  •     You don’t have enough prepared.
  •     You’ll find out how many haters you actually have.
  •     You won’t deliver it correctly.
  •     You’ll miss too many pieces.
  •     Someone will say you’re competing with them.
  •     Someone will critique you.
  •     Someone will hate you.
  •     You will suck.
  •     You already suck.


I KNOW the whispers mean I’m on the right track. I know this is a HUGE project and it will make a ginormous impact. I know that when something big is about to happen, EVERYTHING will try to prevent it.


Both times we’ve hosted Rock Your Talk, the precursor for this online course, something has come up for almost every speaker the week of the event. A dying family member, a friend going through a rough patch, business getting overwhelming –  they start doubting themselves – those negative whispers get louder- and it’s because they’re on the right track. If they overcome it and get on the stage, they show up even more brilliantly.




(Shala W. Graham rocking the stage at Rock Your Talk – credit: Mary Gardella)


During the week of filming SPEAK With Confidence (launching in Q1 2018),  every bit of negativity I was holding in my body surfaced. The same thing happened to me when I started the podcast. And it’s even showing up doing something I know I’m good at doing – WRITING THIS POST! EVERYTHING has prevented me from starting AND finishing this. Excuses ranging from not being interesting enough for someone to read – to not being able to breathe or focus at altitude. SERIOUSLY?! MELANIE! WTF?!


But guess what? I know exactly what I’m terrified of… and it’s kept me from the success I really want in my life AND my business – and it’s getting ridiculous.


I’m afraid of being… SUCCESSFUL.


And I’m sabotaging the shit out of myself.



Whenever I share my fear of success, someone always says “Oh, wow. I definitely don’t have that. I’m afraid of failure.” I mean, it makes sense. The only fears we’re born with are falling on our faces and loud noises, so a fear of failure is basically innate. If you want to look at it figuratively, failure is a bit like falling on your face. But what I’ve found is the craziest? We actually can’t fall on our faces when we’re standing in our own way.


I am a 6’ tall powerhouse of a woman – and I’m standing in my very own way. I am strong – so dang strong. I know this well because I will fight myself every step of the way to something amazing – with excuse after excuse on why I can’t do it. Anytime someone hears that I’ve had a tough time creating something or doing something, they’re blown away. “You make it looks so easy.” I’m SO glad it looks easy because it was anything but.



Without realizing it, I’m not asking myself “What if I fail?”, I’m really asking “What happens if I make it?” and “What if my excuses don’t work and I end up getting everything I’ve ever wanted?” And my favorite: “What if I don’t have to struggle anymore?”


WHAT?! yeah. Fear of success.


I’ve done this in my career, my business, my relationships, my family – really asking myself “WHAT IF IT IS AMAZING?!”


Ah, but there lies the problem: the struggle is SO GOOD!


Humans thrive for the struggle, the conflict – the certainty AND uncertainty. Tony Robbins talks about the top four Needs of the Personality: certainty, uncertainty, significance, and connection.


Certainty is getting the safety and stability – the comfort we need.

Uncertainty is where we love surprises – the need to shake things up.


When we have too much stability, we crave the variety. When things are unstable for too long, we crave certainty. (Are you feeling it?!)


When I travel too much, I want to be home.

When I’m home too long, I can’t wait to travel.

When I work too much, I want peace.

When I have too much quiet, I crave the busy schedule.

When I am lonely, I crave humans.

When I have too much of the humans, I crave solitude.


The struggle is REAL! And once we accept it, we can finally move on to do the thing we’re meant to do.


Remember, I’m a powerhouse of a woman standing in my own way! This fear of success? It’s WAY harder to get through than the fear of failure. Failure is inevitable. Failure is how we figure out success. Failure isn’t an option. (I know, I know… you’ve heard all of the inspirational quotes.) But it takes bravery – bravery to stand up to your fears and do what is inside of you to be successful – which, in turn, creates impact.


If you’ve been waiting for it, this is your sign.


It’s time to be BRAVE!



The last month of 2017, I had to find my brave. I moved my DC life 2000 miles away to another DC – Denver, Colorado. I did this while recording an entire online course, closing out the end of the year, taking care of clients, rocking a few workshops, speaking in different states, training a new employee, packing boxes and bags, and driving in a MINI with all of the things I’ll need for half a year – including my boyfriend and my dog. No big deal. (Insert wide-eyed emoji)


Rewind to the beginning of that month when I had kickass habits – running, meeting my trainer twice a week, homemade meals, not drinking booze, reading books, meditating, getting to work early, writing at 5am, etc. Everything was simple – I was rocking my business and my life. Until every bit of certainty I had was ready for a big surprise.


I had decided to move from DC to Denver after 11 years – and 11 hours later, I had manifested that shit. With almost zero effort to rent my house and find a furnished house to rent in Colorado – No joke. I know it was a God thing, but I also know that when you’re ready for something, you name it and put in the work, it manifests. I was ready for uncertainty, but I didn’t realize how much I was in for – but then, I’ve always loved the struggle.


Right after making that decision, I was told to slow down.

In a SUPER painful way.


With WAY too much on my mind, I went for a run. It’s the only way I know to clear my mind. Within 3 minutes of starting, I tripped and fell – skinning both knees and both hands – OUCH! I limped home and shook it off. Three days later, I went for a run again to clear my head. At the end of 5 miles, I tripped and fell on the same spots – ripping off all of my scabs. (shudder) I cried. I bawled. I sobbed the half mile home with blood dripping down my knees and hands. I screamed in the shower. I felt like a huge failure. I couldn’t wear pants for weeks. I was a mess. (Don't worry, I won't share the photos.) And it took me some time to realize that I had too much on my mind to go for a run… Even if that’s what helps me clear my head. Then… my habit disappeared. As quickly as I fell.


For the next few weeks, it took every bit of effort to talk myself into getting out of bed each morning. To workout. To meditate. To not lay on the floor of my bedroom scrolling through my social media feeds trying not to think about everything else I have to do. To not just pour myself a glass of wine. To not just go pick up something to eat. To not find another distraction. And I found them all. My habits broke down quicker than I ever imagined they could. Because I let them.


BECAUSE I LET THEM.


I had all of these certain habits that helped me be successful and as soon as uncertainty showed up, I broke down. Without my routine, the feelings of utter failure showed up in my chest every time I was a little behind. The anxiety wells up and I start shutting down. Without my routines and habits, I lose sight of what really needs to happen in my life and my eyes glaze over – literally and figuratively – giving me every excuse not to do what I KNOW I’m meant to do.

 


This is where I was at 6am the first day of the filming. I hadn’t run in 3 weeks. I hadn’t been eating super healthy. I hadn’t been sleeping well. My calendar kept getting moved around. I had more on my plate than I could handle. I woke up every day with mounting anxiety. Everyone forgave me for canceling because they knew what was going on. Yes, I had people to help – but my mind was set that I couldn’t possibly succeed at everything.


So, that morning I decided I wasn’t willing to do the filming. I was ready to call everyone and tell them I was canceling the shoot and we’d have to wait until later in the year. Until Gisell, my Helpful Human, walked into my bedroom to find me crying and asked my puffy face the question that changed everything.


“What are you really afraid of?”


The word walked out of my mouth as if I had known it all along: Mediocrity.


I was standing in my own way with my hands on my hips worrying about being MEDIOCRE. Mediocre is something I don’t understand. I’ve never done anything mediocre in my life. It’s against everything in my nature to do anything half-assed or crap.


I was making more work for myself because I was worried that I wouldn’t do my best. I wasted hours and hours worrying instead of doing – when I had ALL of the information already inside of me. I was deciding NOT to do ANYTHING because I was worried it wouldn’t be perfect – or enough… those negative voices had ended up making me believe I wasn’t enough. So, I sat there crying and deciding nothing was better than something.


Wasn’t I the one who says “Do epic shit” and “Manifest that shit” and “Wear your awesome” when people are having a tough time? And I was the one sitting on my bed crying about doing a video shoot!? WHO AM I?!


  


Oh yeah, I’m the woman going through a laundry list of the most stressful situations ALL AT THE SAME TIME. I needed encouragement – the same kind I send to so many. The same kind people reach out to me to give them. And I had NO idea how to ask. So I posted a note on my FB wall saying that I was struggling. I got a TON of incredible response to motivate me as I got in front of the camera, but one sweet woman sent this to me offline:


“There are so many perfectly boring, uncreative, uninspired people who make changes, are affiliated with good products, etc.  It's almost embarrassing how much mediocrity succeeds in our society. YOU ARE NOT MEDIOCRE.  You are exceptional, you have a vision, energy and intelligence to do what want to do.  And you have a thoughtfulness and intention . . . so don't waste your damn time on self doubt.


Think of all the crap out there —  even if you don't complete something to your vision of excellence — you know it is going to be 10 times better than all the mediocrity.  And remember, we learn by upgrading our models — so put your stuff out there, test it, upgrade it and move forward.  Don't doubt — it's a waste of time.  Just talk to yourself as if you were talking to a client.”



Every time you doubt yourself, read that.


After that teary-eyed morning, I filmed the course. And guess what?! It was all inside of me. EVERY SINGLE BIT OF IT! All I had to do was show up and start. I haven’t even seen the videos yet, but I know it’s going to be amazing – because I’ve already done the hardest part – I had to stop sabotaging myself. And I could have done that WAY quicker had I kept up my good habits – my routine. It was there to support me and I abandoned it along with myself. Until I was forced to show up.



I don’t want to think of what would have happened if I hadn’t walked downstairs and made it happen – because I did it. And I’m already successful, even if the course doesn’t go the way I expect. Even if it’s not perfect. Even if I need to upgrade it later. It’s perfectly imperfect just as it is. And SO many people will be able to benefit from my own bravery.


That pattern I was talking about – the one where I stand in my way – this is me admitting I have a pattern and it’s time to break it. By publishing this post, I’m breaking it. I almost threw it out but realized that meant I was doing something that would be impactful by sharing. I almost quit the filming but I know it’s the first step of many to give others a way to share their story. 


But this post isn’t about me. This is about you. I’m only sharing my shit so you can see how f*ing hard this is for me. The behind-the-scenes is never easy. And the smoother something looks, the harder it was. You’re reading it because you needed to hear this – so you could stop standing in your own way. Step aside, you have big things to do!


I want you to know that you are already successful – just because you showed up for yourself. I am proud of you for being ready for what’s next. It’s up to you to make shit happen. So…


What does your brave look like?


And when are you going to #manifestthatshit?


 




 



DO THE THING:


  1. Download the Manifest That Shit worksheet.
  2. Jump into the Kickass Humans Club and let’s do it together.
  3. Make sure you’re on the list to find out when SPEAK With Confidence launches