How to step into the shoes of the woman you want to be.
A lot of our lives are spent chasing goals. We chase a dream that will launch us into the life we were meant to live. Almost as often, we fall short and wonder why we can’t reach that new level.
The truth is that a next-level goal requires a next-level you. While the “you” of today is equipped to overcome the challenges you currently face, you will need a new version of the magic you already are to reach higher and grab the bigger reward.
This isn’t a revolutionary idea. Even as children, each year of your schooling is partly designed to prepare you for the next. Without learning the skills and opening your mind to a wider way of thinking, you would not be able to understand the concepts and develop the skills of the year to follow.
Similarly, I invite you to take a minute and look to the future. Think about the life you envision for yourself – the life you dream of. Where are you? In your office on top of a skyscraper? With your family, sailing across the seas? What do you see around you? A team of people; perhaps you notice a heightened sense of luxury?
Look at yourself. Notice what you’re wearing, your hairstyle, your demeanor and how you interact with those around you. Do you see a familiar you or do you see the woman you want to become?
My guess is that almost every part of you is a little more “next-level.” Everything about you is slightly nicer or liberated. The people around you are captivated, and in this vision, you are where you most want to be.
The common belief is that when we achieve our goals, this person will emerge from the cocoon of our former selves. That if we work hard and keep going we will become this next-level woman. This, however, is not quite the case. In fact, the opposite is true: It is when we embrace our next-level self and live as if we are already there, that our dreams move closer to us.
I am not saying that you should go buy a Ferrari before you can afford it. It is not about portraying a false sense of achievement. It is about cultivating a feeling of success, determination and everything else that embodies your next-level self.
Here are 4 questions to help you get closer to your next-level self:
What can you let go of?
What would this next-level you no longer tolerate? Do an audit of your life. Look at the physical and emotional space and do your best to let go of the things, people, activities, obligations, and expectations that no longer serve you. Clear through it all, only keeping the things that will be joining you on this next-level journey.
How can you get more of that feeling?
When you look at your next-level self in your vision, notice how she feels, how she conducts herself. What are these traits and attitudes and how can you bring more of that into your world? You might notice a sense of confidence you don’t have right now. While it can be scary at first, I invite you to practice expressing this confidence in your everyday life. No need to jump in head first, start in the smallest, safest way and grow from there. ** So, you don’t need to buy a Ferrari, but if its available to you, go for a test drive and feel it.**
Are you living your next-level life right now?:
Setting reminders that help you stay in the mode of your next-level self can be very powerful. It’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day of it all and simply being reminded that you are a badass bitch just after lunch, can jumpstart your afternoon. So place a memento on your desk, create a vision board, set affirmation reminders and deck out computer and phone wallpapers with anything that gives you a boost and feels true to your next-level self.
What are you feeding your mind?
Develop a practice of gaining knowledge and inspiration from women that your next-level self would see as mentors (or even as peers). Expand your reading list, follow groups and maybe subscribe to a podcast.
Become unapologetic about becoming your next-level self:
This is not an easy exercise. It will take determination to break through to your next level. You will need to do things differently, respond differently to situations and maybe even cut certain people and activities from your life. Become fearless and unapologetic in taking charge of your life.
Define your next-level self and develop practices to live as if. Allow yourself to practice being the best version of yourself and before you know it, you will fully step into the woman you know you can be.
Moving through life as your next-level self (with her attitude, perspective, and poise) will reframe your life. Everyday situations, will present new opportunities and previously mundane tasks are now outsourced or completely removed as you make space for the items that matter and move you forward.
You are living as if you have your dream life. Operating now as you must when you achieve your vision. It is by being consistent in this practice that you will become and achieve your next level.
Lean into your journey without the pressure of comparing yourself to others.
To end off the month of “Owning your space,” I’d like to talk about comparison. Comparison is a sneaky and very dangerous ego trick that makes us feel less than, confused about our path and generally not far enough along. Kind of difficult to “own your space” if you’re feeling this disconnected from it.
When we compare ourselves to others and their journey, we automatically disconnect from our own. We step out of our space and into theirs. While their space might be great for them, we don’t belong there, and immediately feel out of the loop. As if there’s an inside joke that we don’t get or a puzzle we can’t solve.
At this point, we attempt to fix this feeling by desperately trying to be more like the person we are comparing ourselves against. We throw out the work we’ve done and follow their strategy, buy clothes they would wear, maybe even adopt their mannerisms and sometimes make massive life decisions trying to compete in their world. The really sad part is that even with all of this effort, we don’t feel any better and we’re no closer to our goals and it’s because of one simple truth:
This is their space, their path, their journey, not yours and the longer you stay, the more you lose yourself.
We are not meant to compare and gauge our “success” against others because it’s not a competition. It actually cannot be a competition because there is no true metric for “success.” Think about it. How would we know who is winning when we all view success as a unique combination of wealth, material gains, relationships, experiences, love etc? Instead, we should take all that energy and invest in our own space and dedicate it to our own journeys.
But how do we do let go of constant comparison?
- Stop chasing the success party
Many of us subscribe to the idea that life is a race. That we need to be chasing professional and personal success. The truth is there is no race because there is no finish line. There is no success party that you get invited to when you “make it.” So, relax, take the pressure off. If you notice someone who is closer to a shared goal, remember that they don’t get points for being there first and you don’t lose anything for being second (or even tenth.)
If you do see someone reaching a shared goal before you, don’t feel jealous or upset. Rather, take a moment to see this as proof that your goal can be achieved. This is fantastic news. Be grateful for the sign, happy for their good fortune and excited about your journey. #letthatshitgo
- Stay focused on what you are doing
You know that moment when your friend with the amazing bone structure gets bangs and you start thinking, “Wow, she looks incredible. Maybe I should get bangs?” Almost instantly your current hairstyle looks boring, outdated and in serious need of some bangs. You also somehow forget about the last time you went down this road and how much bangs did not work for you. Hopefully, at this point, another friend stops you and reminds you that bangs are not for everyone and that your hair looks fabulous already.
Similarly, when you compare your life to that of someone else, you tend to notice the things you don’t have in yours. For example, your friend has a baby and you start thinking about names for your own imaginary children. Another goes on a trip overseas and you long for freedom. At times, these can be prompts that reveal a deeper desire, but mostly they distract you from your own goals and what you are working towards.
You get sucked into another person’s world and look back at yours to see empty spaces. Suddenly, you lose sight of all you’ve achieved, the goals you’re working towards and what you’re left with is a hollow feeling of lack.
The good news is that the cure is simple: shift your focus. Bring your attention inward, to your own path and the vision you hold for your life. Next time, you get triggered by a peer getting promoted, achieving a massive milestone you are both working towards or Sharon’s new pixie cut, try this to stay connected to your space:
Do you really want this thing? Will it serve you towards achieving your vision? You might easily be able to say, “Hell no! I’m good,” and move forward. Other times it won’t be so clear. You want it, but not right now or not quite like this. If that’s the case, I invite you to trust in your journey. Remember your goals, your vision and bring your focus inward. Should this thing be right for you, you will find a way to include it.
Owning your space fully and confidently means knowing your space. Knowing and trusting in your guidance and the choices you make towards your vision. Share in the joy and success of others, while keeping your focus on your own path. Let go of what everyone else is doing, let go of the pressure and the fear and trust your inner guidance to lead you towards your biggest dreams.
The biggest reason we become overwhelmed and burnt out by our business, our health goals, and other life expectations, is that we place too much focus on the future. Rather than doing what needs to be done today, we worry about the list for tomorrow, which results in little or no progress at all; and spirals into limiting or unkind thoughts about ourselves and what we’re capable of.
Here are a few tools to help you avoid the future trap and step into your NOW:
First: Break down your Year
Perhaps you have a goal or outcome set for the year? You’ve listed the steps required to reach this goal, but about a week (or a month) into the year, things get fuzzy. You start feeling anxious about your ability to achieve this goal, feel unsure of what step to do first and start seeing everything as “urgent!” If this sounds like you and you’re ready for less overwhelm, why not try this:
- Write down the full list of steps to achieve your goal or to reach your outcome.
- Next, to that, note how much time you will need for each task.
- Now, rank your tasks in the order they need to be completed.
- Finally, add your tasks to your calendar in order and with enough time to complete.
Let each task have its own space. In this way, you can fully dedicate your time to each step, with the comfort of knowing that everything else will get done in due course.
Second: Prioritize the excess
No matter how hard we try, sometimes we just don’t tick everything off our to-do list and it rolls over to the next day or next week. This causes lists that are way too long and far too cluttered, but before you scrap your list and attempt to start again, go through each item and ask:
- Has “not doing” this item held me back from moving towards my goal?
- What would happen if I simply removed this item from the list?
Your answers reveal the importance of each task on your list. If the item is critical in moving you closer to your goal, commit to a deadline and get it done. If, however, the task carries little or no tangible impact on your success, perhaps you can remove it altogether? Declutter your to-do list to make space for the important, forward-moving tasks.
Remember that busy work distracts you from getting ahead. Doing more is not the same as moving forward.
Third: Give yourself enough time
While close to 90% of “overnight successes” say that they achieved their goals with slow, systematic progress, we continue to rush outcomes, strive for instant results and add unnecessary pressure with unrealistic deadlines. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be ambitious or dream big. I’m simply suggesting that you create the space to truly dedicate yourself to your goals and that you do so without hurting yourself in the process.
Giving yourself enough time doesn’t take away from the achievement. You do not need to get there today or this year. Take your time and make sure you keep moving forward, without burning out and losing more time as a result.
The formula is simple: create enough space for everything and then commit to focusing on the next right step. Trust that you have it under control and that each bit of progress is an achievement in and of itself. Stop chasing and transform your schedule from a race into a calm, yet exciting plan-of-action that is perfectly crafted to get you to your goal.
The other day I watched a webinar hosted by one of my heroines. I adore everything she does, from her books to her emails, to her courses. (I am such a fan.) I signed up the second I saw the ad for her free Master Class and stayed up to attend the live event late that night.
I knew this call would include an offer at the end, but I was fine with that, as I had actually purchased her entry-level manifesting course a little more than a year ago and loved it. In fact, I have planned to revisit the course later this month.
As expected, she didn’t disappoint. I immediately felt the same admiration, joy, and eagerness to grow. The content was life-affirming. In fact, her three solutions for a “breakthrough year,” were almost identical to my top three goals (not kidding!)
Hers: Back to basics
Mine: Keep it simple and focused
Hers: Know thy self
Mine: Grow within my spiritual practice and get closer to my truth
Hers: Find your tribe
Mine: Grow my tribe of spiritually curious, “personal development junkie,” entrepreneurial ladies.
Weird right? I was definitely feeling inspired. As she continued her class, all the concepts and proposed outcomes aligned beautifully to the course-on-offer, and since I was in the same mental space, I instinctively felt this would be an incredible opportunity for me. A chance to be a part of a great community, peel back a few more of my layers and learn some new tools.
Then she mentioned a payment plan and I became really excited, as I knew I could make it work financially. It was hitting all of the boxes, but then… (Yes, there’s a “but.”) I noticed a couple of sneaky fear feelings perk up. “Will you have the time?” being the primary culprit.
At first, I fought this feeling: “Just go for it,” I told myself, “Make the leap and you’ll find a way to make it work!” I probably could find time somewhere, give up something else and dedicate the next few weeks to this course.
But when I thought a little further, mentally searching for a small crack of time I could exploit, I realized how much I have going on: I currently have a job, freelance here and there, and run Bloom. My professional life is pretty full, very focused and it bleeds into most of my time.
As she started fielding some Q&A’s, I reflected back on an earlier portion of the webinar where she spoke about the mistakes that she, and many women in her community, had made the previous year. Some of these included, “taking on too many projects,” “becoming distracted,” “over-extending yourself” and “losing focus.” This wasn’t unfamiliar to me. I tend to suffer quite severely from “Shiny Object Syndrome 😜,” and while I love to plan and make lists, I sometimes struggle to execute and follow through.
That’s when I had my “aha moment”: My concern was not because of a money block or Fear peaking its ugly head. This was my inner guide saying, “Hey lady, you’re on a pretty focused path here, do you really need this extra work?” This nurturing source of knowledge was trying to show me that I had a good thing going and that the resources to achieve my goals were already in place. Check it out:
Goal 1: Keep it simple and focused:
I simplified my business model and planned my year out in advance. I am busy executing my to-do list and taking action – so, it’s working. Plus, revisiting my Manifesting course would help me declutter further and stay focused.
Goal 2: Grow within my spiritual practice and get closer to my truth:
While I had been a little less disciplined with my practice these last few weeks, I am getting back into it. My first meditation of 2018 felt like reconnecting with an old friend. I’m also returning to my beloved yoga practice after the holiday season. All this strengthens my resolve, lifts my energy and allows me to push further.
Goal 3: Grow my tribe of spiritually curious, personal development junkie, entrepreneurial ladies:
Working online, it can’t be much of a surprise that I am a member of 3 or more incredible Facebook groups filled with entrepreneurs, spiritual teachers and students. They are all very responsive, supportive and energizing and all I need to do is get more involved to find a massive network of badass ladies who are taking over the world!
The Universe never fails either. As soon as I decided to “grow my tribe” I started meeting new people and connecting more deeply with people I previously only engaged in small-talk with.
Still not quite convinced that I shouldn’t do the course, I kept pondering as I lay in bed, wide awake. Was it fear trying to hold me back or intuition trying to protect me? In that moment I realized something pretty powerful: I was already on my way towards a Break Through Year! I am 100% happy with where I am and confident that my strategy is taking me to where I want to go. #nodoubt
To be clear, I believe the course I’m passing up on is indeed a phenomenal opportunity and it is not my intention to suggest anything to the contrary. I’m sure that my mindset would grow to new levels if I took it on. In fact, if you are searching for a way to achieve some big goals this year and you are looking for a real, practical and inspirational teacher I recommend Denise Duffield-Thomas and the Money Breakthrough course combo with all my heart. It is just that, right now, I am enjoying the slow and gradual climb in these early stages of my business. I am learning a lot as I grow into my role at my own pace, and I simply don’t have room for more at this time.
When you are presented with an opportunity for your business, a course you’d love to do or a vacation you’ve always dreamed of, allow this post to take the pressure off. If you’re not ready, there is no need to jump and saying no, doesn’t always mean you are giving in to fear. Sometimes saying no, keeps you focused, clear-headed and poised to take on the next opportunity for even greater gains.
If you are sitting with a “should I, shouldn’t I” situation…
Ask yourself the following questions to help you make the right choice for your journey:
- What is the proposed outcome of this offer/ opportunity/ course?
- What do you already have or do that is similar or has the same intention as this new opportunity?
- Will this opportunity add (amplify or focus) or distract (give you more of the same or push you away from your path)?
- Do you have space for this in your life right now?
- What would you potentially need to give up to make space for this new opportunity?
- Is it worth it?
If you should do it, your answers will reveal how to make the most of the opportunity. You’ll know you shouldn’t do it if the opportunity seems to conflict with or distract from what you already have going on. If nothing else, you’ll realize how much you already have at your fingertips.
So, do the course, take the risk and don’t not do something because you’re afraid. Just remember that new is not always better and that you can say no (even to possibly wonderful opportunities) in order protect your journey. Trust in your own knowing of what is right for you.
A new year comes with a lot of excitement, resolutions and hype. I love this part of the year and every year I embrace this next chapter with that new year’s glow. But a week or two into the new year, excitement turns to overwhelm and anxiety; and rather than feeling ready for all the things I’m going to do, I feel defeated, not knowing where to start.
Sound familiar? This used to be my story. Every year, the pattern would repeat and I would feel powerless to follow through on the goals I’d set. This year, however, I feel different. It’s well into January and I still feel ready and I am busy executing my plan. I am actually following through. BOOYA!
Full disclosure, I had a 2-week break and only started my business year on the 10th of January. I had no computer and went completely offline for the entire trip. (I can already hear the gasps.) I know, it’s a little crazy for a blogger, but guess what, I had zero stress. I planned for it, made arrangements and scheduled what I needed to. I arrived back, relaxed and energized for the next part: taking my business and my life to the next level in my journey.
On our trip, we visited Spain and I snowboarded for the first time in my life! This was something I honestly, never thought I’d do. I just thought it was way too badass for someone like me, but nevertheless, I did it, and it kicked off my new year with a capital K!
I’ll be honest, I fell a lot. I mean, A LOT! I fell forward, on my back, on my butt, I tumbled and I struggled to stand up on the board. Every time I fell I half expected myself to get fed up and quit, but instead, I became kind of excited. I thought, “Oooh, that hurt. So, don’t do that.” Then I got up and tried again. Falling hard on the ice, makes you realise that you’re not going to break, making the entire concept of falling a lot less scary. I didn’t see it as embarrassing or sore, but almost like a badge of honour. Like, “Hells YEAH, one fall closer to a clear run.”
I just believed that I would be able to do it and eventually I could. I didn’t quite get my perfect run, but I don’t care. I can snow board, and I have the bruises to prove it. The most surprising thing was discovering how much fun I had and now hubby and I planning to make it an annual holiday.
Quite a jump, right? I had no idea I could do this, and now it’s a sport I want to include into my regular life. I’m thinking about future holidays with friends, picturing myself getting better and gliding down the slopes with a little more grace each year. Imagine I hadn’t tried, that I had given into fear and frustration. I would never have known how much joy this new activity could bring into my life.
The experience was more than fun. The intense physical activity of learning a new skill set my mindset for a powerful year. I’ll break it down into three steps:
1. Decide what you are going to do:
Make a plan and commit to it. Towards the end of last year, I had planned to get my new year organized before going on my trip. I kept pushing it out to meet deadlines and before I knew it, I only had a week before my trip, with zero plan for 2018. It was anxiety-city over here, until found a 4-hour workshop to plan my entire year! It was incredible. I blocked off my time, and got it done in those 4 hours. Resulting in a completely automated business during my trip and a calendar that lives right next to my desk, telling me exactly what I need to today, so that I keep moving forward.
Business aside, what is the thing you want to do for yourself this year? Why not choose the biggest, craziest goal? How can you surprise yourself? How do you want to grow this year? Go on, pick a challenge and decide with every fiber that you will do it, no matter what it takes.
2. Do it. Every single step, just as you planned:
Nothing happens without follow through. If you make a plan, you have to follow the steps. You’ve made your list, you know what you need to do, so do it. If you make a mistake, that’s okay. Remember you’re simply learning another way it’s not going to work, allowing you to move on to the next step or to find an alternative route.
The trick is to get up, dust off and try again as fast as possible. Remember that you committed to this goal. Refuse to give in to frustration and excuses and you will get it done!
3. Believe and repeat:
Now, I know a year is a long time and it’s hard to stay 100% into it 100% of the time. When you hit a low moment, honour that feeling. Give yourself a little time off and then get back up. You must keep going, keep believing and trust that you will get where you’re going.
If you get way-low and you’re struggling to get up remember that you are attracting what you feel. Do something that makes you feel good, and you’ll start feeling ready for more. For a crash course in upping your happy-levels, do this free Happy Habits Audio Workshop. As soon as you feel great in you’re here-and-now, you will get closer to even more of what you love and what feeds your joy.
You got this lady! Remember that when trying something new or pushing for a new level, you will fall, a lot! But you won’t break. You are stronger and more resilient than you know. The more you try, the more confidence will grow from within and before you know it, you will feel invincible. You will be able to push with everything you have, towards your best year yet.
Launching Bloom has been an incredible learning experience as I am exploring the true expression of my purpose and how that relates to service. The truth is that launching was only the beginning of the journey and only opened the door to more questions around purpose and my place in the world. While wrestling with this disconnect, I reconnected with guidance and found the answer: Bloom as a Personal Branding website was a deviation from the original idea and I knew I had to correct course in order to stay true and on purpose.
Well, as you might imagine, this was not well received by yours truly and I resisted. I felt completely disillusioned as this meant a change in position. All my design and branding training said this is a dangerous move and one that can show uncertainty and devalue a brand if not handled well. Enter anxiety! But, once I moved past the seeming disappointment and looked to teachers like Gabrielle Bernstein and Marie Forleo I began to see the path in front of me. I listened to Marie Forleo’s “How to get anything you want” audio workshop. Somewhere towards the end, she shares a mantra she leans on, “Clarity comes from engagement, not from thought.”
I accepted this mantra fully and developed the idea that we are all in a permanent state of discovery. Not an original idea, I know, but for the first time, I really understood what it meant. It is the truly liberating feeling that everything is an experience; not a series of successes or failures, but simply learning. When you truly accept this truth you feel the weight of all your “mistakes” float away and you invite the freedom to explore even more. With this I changed the meaning of the following concepts:
- New and change have lost their scare factor and no longer represent the anxiety of the unknown, but opportunity and excitement.
- Failure and success are now learning results that guide my next steps.
- Character flaws are no longer shameful thoughts but useful tools that guide me towards becoming more self-aware, a better friend, partner, student and teacher.
These reframed concepts helped me realise changing my position was not the drastic rip I had made it out to be, but a natural change that I was growing in to as I placed absolute trust in inner guidance. Your truth/ purpose/ path reveals itself as you work it. It does not show up like a sign with a bow on it! I felt the weight of it lift and through a few more sessions of connection, my next steps became clearer and clearer.
The trend I noticed that sparked the original idea for Bloom:
I and many women form a slightly forgotten group or generation. We’re not quite as free thinking as our millennial cousins, and not quite as security-driven as Generation X. We want security and freedom! We want the white picket fence and the freedom of travel. We want to be the boss and also feel taken care of. We want to be free and independent and have a family. We want it all, and it feels so damn confusing and frustrating.
It’s not that we don’t like where we are, we love our lives. It’s that we crave more, we crave new and different. We love our partners, have beautiful kids, but yearn for purpose and independence outside of that space. We have our career and a flourishing business, but no time to travel or to tend to our personal dreams. We wonder whether we’ve missed the boat and whether life is how we’ve already chosen it. Did I mess it up already? Am I stuck here? Is there a formula, a special sequence of events that allow some of us to “have it all?” Do we even want it all?
Therefore the questions are, “How can we have more without adding stress and overwhelm? How can we transition to include more of the life of our dreams without totally disrupting the life we have?”
Remembering this driving thought and connecting to these questions showed me that Personal Branding was only the beginning. Truly embracing your personal purpose bleeds into your whole life and while business is often the vehicle that gets us to our goals, it is the connection to our truth that allows us to design and live our vision. Without fully connecting to our core desires, we will continue feeling disillusioned with what we already have and never quite feel like we’ve arrived.
The true purpose for Bloom:
In the coming weeks, BloomHabits.com will become a place to find empowering habits to design your life intentionally and with purpose. Whether it’s a small adjustment to bring more joy into your every day or radical shifts that invite big change, BloomHabits is about being true to that feeling and helping you find the shift you need through love and authenticity.
Collaborating with an inspired group of teachers and experts we will cover topics around lifestyle, meditation and yoga practices to find guidance in your intuition. We will also look at purpose in business and at home and how change can invite new intentions that push us to grow into new roles with grace and ease.
So watch this space as we vlog, blog and share knowledge about how all of us can design our lives with intention and realise what we truly want.
If you have been following since the start, thank you. It is my hope that as Bloom grows, you join me on this crazy ride, embracing the speed bumps and moments of doubt as part of the journey. Each obstacle only gives me more to learn, allowing me to grow and get Bloom even closer to my ultimate vision. I know we will get there as long as I stay connected, stay on purpose and trust that I am right where I need to be.