Valentine's Day has been a REALLY hard day for me for the last 14 years. And I have a good reason why. But this year, it's changing. And it's because of something a woman said to me and my guy at a tea shop in DC when we first got together. It made me realize I had a decision to make – and that decision was not something based on anyone else. It was 100% my decision and no one else could change my mind.
Whether you love Valentine's Day or think it's just another Hallmark holiday, this episode is all about loving your life, yourself and everyone around you. It's your choice. Listen in to get inspired (or don't listen and have a crappy Valentine's Day.)
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.
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!
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…
"There’s something to be said about starting and committing – Let’s finish this first."
– Kacy Paide
Have you ever met someone who lives their brand so well that no matter when you catch up with them, you feel like you jumped in right where you left off and everything is just as wonderful as it's always been? That's how I feel with Kacy.
Kacy is the master organizer who focuses on all things paper – and she runs The Inspired Office. She’s been organizing since she was a kid but started a business instead of getting a job in 2001. She knows that organizing can change lives (truly) and bring calm in ways you wouldn’t expect – she's even done it for me.
In this week’s podcast episode, Kacy Paide let us in on her affinity for dusty hands, being covered in someone else's cat hair and why clients take photos of her while she's organizing their lives. Even though things have changed in her industry, she's really focused on the people she's helping and how to help them best.
Think you’re the only one who hasn’t gone digital with with your documents? Kacy has seen it all and has proof that humans of all ages and sizes collect paper – even in this digital age. We shouldn't have shame around our things – and there's a big loneliness of being trapped by our stuff. Kacy is ready to let you off the hook whenever you're ready to let go – without all the guilt that comes along with it.
“Organizing is choose your own adventure.” – Kacy Paide
Want to know how to start getting organized?
Kacy has the answer:
I've known Kacy's love for Evernote for years and FINALLY got a chance to ask her how I can use it better – now that I have her captive on the podcast. Want Kacy's ten-minute organization method to determine how hectic your life really is? Press that play button and get inspired to pull your paper together!
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!”
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.
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.
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.
KiKi L’Italien is a powerhouse. If you couldn’t tell by her amazing presence and bold lipstick, then you’d definitely understand who she is when she calls herself the “Oprah of the Association industry” and the curator of the curious. KiKi is CEO of the digital marketing agency, Amplified Growth, and founder/owner of Association Chat, which is a community for association members.
This week, we discuss how she turned her hobby into a business, why weird is better, and reframing what generosity means. We also talk about the tactics KiKi used to exercise her curiosity and you get to hear her seriously gush about her daughter, Margot, at the end.
What makes YOU curious? Watch to find out KiKi's answer.
We even find KiKi’s personal brand during this episode – and in case you didn’t already know: KiKi is larger than life. She loves music, is a runner, likes to cook, is curious, generous, and a very thoughtful human.
To finish things off, here’s Margaux featured on her YouTube channel Gøgøs cørner_/goals. Here she is giving tips on interview for YouTubers. I can totally see why KiKi gushed!