9am. Dog asleep in blue couch across from me. A quiet moment.
What to talk about next?
I guess the next thing to catch up on is this: I started another business this year.
What’s that been like? How did it go?
It’s been a worthwhile and a wonderful way to spend a year.
But first, a quick reminder why I decided to build a doTERRA business:
- I wanted an extra income stream that was residual, recurring and mostly passive
- I realised it was a really great way to fund philanthropic organisations as well
- I knew it would be an awesome business model for so many people, and I was excited to help them reach their goals
- I had a huge profound love of the oils after having experienced such a big shift in my health from using them, and I believed every home should have them.
Being the very goals-orientated soul I am, I set some really clear goals before I went in. I wanted to build to a 7 figure income stream annually within 12 months to make it worth my time. And I wanted to help 6 people build to 6 figures within 12 months, and help many more be on the path to getting there.
It’s my 11 month anniversary of starting, and I’m right on track with reaching those goals.
I’m one of the fastest people in history to build so fast. I reckon that record will be broken though, and I hope it’s one of you who do it!
How have I managed to get to my goals?
- After years of using the workbooks, I know if I set a goal + follow through, it can come true. It’s a simple science.
- I knew to leverage my strengths. I didn’t want to do the traditional MLM model of doing 1:1 training. I decided to create training videos and a full resource library for all my people who were building doTERRA businesses.
- I did the same with webinars about essential oils – created on-demand training so people can learn as they were ready.
There’s been some extra lovely side-effects of those goals as well… and these are the things that really matter.
Remember how last year at Christmas we made a miracle happen together and built a well for Suluhisho Children’s Village in Kenya? This year, I committed to donating $20,000 of my doterra cheque annually to sponsoring the orphans who call Suluhisho home. It makes my heart very happy. And I also feel like there is more work to be done… I know my dear friend Jacinta who runs Suluhisho wants to extend it further to be able to take in more children who have no where else to go. I think doTERRA is a bloody great way to fund it.
I’ve loved learning about a new business model. It expands my brain in the very best of ways. I think it’s important to keep learning and growing and getting uncomfortable. It helps get stasis out of the system, and encourages you to look at existing businesses in a new way as well.
I’ve also had a bloody lovely time connecting and having fun with the beautiful souls I work with as my doTERRA team. It’s such an inter-connected business, and it’s brought me so much joy to see them reaching their goals.
Case in point: an hour ago, I got a teary voicemail message from one of them who has just quit her nursing job because doTERRA has now replaced her income. She said: “I’m so glad I just listened to that little nudge that told me this was worth doing… my dreams were worth having… and I pulled my head out of my ass and just did it.”
This is the graphic I created to remind myself of why my goal was important… the goal of becoming a doTerra Presidential Diamond:
So in terms of whether it’s been a good investment of time?
Damn straight. Delighted that I’ve done it.
A Short List Of Excuses
I feel like I’ve also gotten a master’s degree in people’s mindset this year. I think because doTERRA is a proven business model with replicable steps to success, it’s really easy to spot where excuses come up.
Often what happens in the face of pushing for our goals, we come up against so many parts of ourselves – our fears, our inertia, our subconcious beliefs. And when it comes to actually DOING the work and getting the results, we run to excuses as a way to make ourselves powerless again.
I think sometimes it can feel scary for people to realise they are 100% responsible for themselves and what they are creating… it can be easier (and I think it’s more socially normal) for people to just blame outside circumstances so they can stay firmly outside of their power.
But there’s great beauty and transformation that comes when we choose to step up and do the thing anyway: even when it’s hard, or scary, or we don’t know what to do.
For shits and giggles, here’s my list of the most common Totally Unique + Valid Reasons doTERRA Won’t Work As A Business Model For Them (aka Just kidding, they really are just bullshit excuses):
- “That’s nice for LEONIE… but she has a huge following! It doesn’t work for normal people.”
Fascinating excuse there, but how do you explain my friend Em who has built to half a million dollars a year in 2 years without a following? Or that 4 out of my 6 leaders (i.e. in 6 figure positions after less than a year) didn’t have a following either? Or that the vast, vast majority of successful doTERRA leaders have no online following either? It’s a system designed for normal people to succeed.
- “It won’t work in my town because it is too remote/lower socio-economic/religious/small/large/nobody likes MLMs here.”
Whatever your excuse, I can show you examples of people succeeding in that exact circumstance.
- “MLM IS EVIL! ARGH!”
Sure, you’re welcome to have that belief. I totally did as well prior to researching it. You’re most welcome to read about my judgments and how they stacked up against reality here. It might also be useful to think about your judgments and ask: “Are these my lived experience, or second- or third-hand opinions of others?” When I started looking at the business model, I realised how much of my preconceptions didn’t belong to me at all. Of course, you’re most welcome to keep having those beliefs and judgments as well. Whatever works for you!
- “Can’t! I have a baby/small children!”
Again – so many examples of people making it work in your exact situation. One of my top business builders started with a 3 week old baby in her arms! You can listen to her story here.
I think it’s been really interesting to witness how mistakes and excuses can trip up so many people… and it’s good to just cut through it with real talk.
It’s helped me understand how people are in ALL businesses, not just doterra, and how much getting rid of excuses + cultivating a great mindset is pivotal to success.
Am I going to quit any of my businesses?
Nope: I’m happy with my current stable of three (Academy, workbooks, doterra). I’ve got ideas for a fourth, but that will come in time. I think 2018 will be the year of growing and blooming my current three. I’ve got ideas to make them all more delicious. I know three may seem like a lot, but they all interweave so beautifully together.
Oh holy fuck, I just had a big lightning bolt of awareness:
The one thing that all of my three offerings have in common is this:
I help people reach their goals.
Well, fuck. I think I need to go for a walk and sit with that. It feels like the thread of my work has just shown up.
Will you ever shut up talking about essential oils?
No idea. Probably not at this point. It’s going to get folded into that mix of everything I talk about: business, life, parenting, soul. I tend to talk about whatever I am passionate about, and whatever hobbies and interests get thrown into the mix.
After experiencing the huge healing I had with essential oils, I felt (and continue to feel) called to remind people of the power of plant medicine, and be a voice for the plant devas. There’s so much healing to behold there, bringing us back to an ancient way of being. So yeah, I’m going to have to talk about ’em coz it’s too sacred not to.
It’s always fascinating to me how people react to change. I remember 5 years ago when I decided I wanted to start talking about business and money as well, and how some people were so resistant to that change. They just wanted me to keep on writing about “only spiritual” things.
Which reminds me of this drawing that my mastermind buddy David Cohen from DoodleJoy did of me back then as I was going through that transformation.
If the oils stuff doesn’t resonate with you, you can either cheerfully ignore, or unsubscribe. Totally fine either way.
I can only hope that if you resonate enough with the soul of my work, you’ll extend me the grace to speak about every subject I’m passionate about. Talking about a MLM business isn’t that different from traditional business – and I believe there are great personal + business lessons to learn from it as well.
Completing one goal feels good… and it’s just the beginning for my doTerra team as everyone continues to grow their businesses and returning these divine oils to their rightful place in every home. You can read about some of my team’s success stories here.
And I’m ready and looking for the next 6 people who want to go 6 figures in 12 months.
Is it you?
I’ll bring the training, coaching and an incredible mastermind of women who are doing it together. You bring your big, ready heart and willingness to work.
If you want to be one of the next cohort to hit 6 figures next year, all you need to do is follow the instructions here to enrol. I can’t wait to connect + start now on making 2018 an abundant, life-changing year with you.
It’s been a delicious year.
I’m excited for what’s next and who I can help reach their goals over the next year!
Okay, time for me to go for a walk in the mountains. It has been a wet, stormy Spring and the world now seems overflowing with lurid blue and iridescent green.
I’ve got 45 minutes before our Thai dinner gets delivered. OMNOMNOM.
What to write about today?
I thought maybe I’d share what it was like to take 6 months off creating in the public arena.
For me, it felt like an eternity and deeply unusual: I’ve been blogging since 2004 and have published a blog weekly for years. On top of that, I’ve been slopping about on social media daily.
It’s been such a joy in so many ways. After all, creating is one of my favourite things in the world. It’s where I feel most at home.
So what led me to decide to take a break?
It was the culmination of a few things:
I was bloody tired after the ginormous clusterfuck that was 2016.
I felt exhausted by being “out there” publicly. I was tired by trolls, tired by the toxic culture of social media, tired by another offensive comment. I wrote more about this here.
I went to a Michael Leunig talk for my birthday, and he said words that reminded me so much of why I decided to take a break:
“People are so close to anger these days. But, when I look at their lives, I understand why. They live lives at a pace that is stressful. Even just starting your day driving to work through traffic is stressful! And so the last vestige of energy in them is anger, and they open their laptop lid and let it all out there. It’s the only thing left for them to feel.”
At the same time, I also wanted to step deeper into the nest of motherhood and be more present with my children instead of putting out the latest internet fire or wracking my brain of something witty/funny/insightful/beautiful to feed the endless content monster that is social media. Our journey into homeschooling started at the same time, and it was beautiful to swap one thing that no longer felt good to a task that felt worthy of my time and attention.
Mostly though, I just needed a good break. I hadn’t taken one for an age. I hope that one day I’ll get better at taking breaks pre-emptively, before I hit the wall + it all feels hard and painful.
I thought I’d just take a month off. But by the end of the month, it felt too good and sweet to end.
So I extended it without a deadline, and decided not to return until I was ready.
What was it like to not create publicly?
It was great and it sucked, all at once!
Firstly: the immense relief. The pressure cooker lid removed.
I no longer had to catalogue my life online. I no longer had to think of things to say. I no longer had to think of how to carefully craft words in a way that offended nobody (an impossible task).
I didn’t have to be important to anyone except my kids and my husband.
My life wasn’t fodder anymore for the Great Online Content Monster with its insatiable appetite and its fiery temper of judgment.
I could sit around a table with friends and laugh until my lungs hurt and know that I wasn’t going to be misunderstood, that I was safe and I was loved and I was known, really known, in a very base way, for all my foibles and oddnesses and human-magic. That their opinions of me, formed over years of skin-to-skin lived experience, was worth more than a hundred randoms furnishing an unthoughtful judgment online.
And I can sit around a table with them and laugh any old time, but in the quiet of no internet opinions, it felt all the more in contrast.
I’d like more of that, please.
More life. More quiet. More love that is real and true.
So it was glorious and healing and scrumptious.
And then after a time, it also started feeling constrictive and un-fun.
I felt like I was hiding away from the world. I felt handcuffed and cut off from my own source of power.
As I talked about in my Haemorrhaging Sack of Uterus letter, I started to pine for the one thing that has helped me heal + make sense of the world more than anything:
Would I prefer a quiet life away from the public’s eye, not creating and sharing? Safe, but not truly alive?
Or would I prefer to create and share, birthing the things I feel should be in the world, knowing that it can bring with it occasional fuckwittery in the comments section?
And the first one felt far too small for me. And dull. And not a very Leonie way to live at all.
There’s a quote a friend once read to me when the trolls were biting. And I thought it was by Thich Nhat Hanh, but I can’t find reference to it. So it might be just one of those pieces of wisdom that took seed and flourished into something else more meaningful to me.
“If I believe you when you say I’m an angel,
I would also have to believe you when you say I’m a demon.
And so I don’t believe you whatever you think of me.”
I think that’s the odd thing about the whole fame thing: you have to give no weight to anybody’s opinions, whether good or bad, except for the ones that truly matter.
And of course, I love that a monk can have his critics too. There really is no way of being in this world without pissing off somebody!
I should say here: I’m remarkably “lucky” with how few critics/trolls/haters I have had. I don’t think I’ve done anything particularly special to attract their attention anymore than crossing that magical threshold from unknown to some level of popularity. And of course, the 1 fucked up comment always has 1000 utterly lovely ones surrounding it.
The thing that is my gift: the paper-thin skin of sensitivity to the world, feeling it all so I can understand and create from there, is also my greatest challenge. Someone I worked with once wrote: “Leonie’s got a great big open heart. But throw a grenade in there, and the effects are devastating.”
So I need to work out a way to balance the sensitivity + the pain.
I think I need to recommit to stronger boundaries around potential contact with fuckwittery. And I also think I need to develop a stronger, more resilient kind of spirituality and self-worth.
As Hiro said to me: “Leonie, when you can experience these things and not immediately leap to doubting yourself, wondering what you’ve done wrong and how you need to fix yourself, then that will be progress.”
But mostly, returning to this is about my great love affair with creating. I love it more than I love hiding from the potential repercussions of it. Life started to not make sense anymore when it was all unwritten and tangled. The writing untangles it, weaves it into a tapestry of understanding. I can see the flecks of magic in life when I write it out.
Thai food has arrived. Pad Thai awaits.
In love and art,
In the spirit of flexing my creative fingers and getting into the habit of pressing Publish again, this:
Earlier this year, we had a dear friend staying with us.
She’s one of those good types in the world. Here is how we fell in friend-love, because I love love stories, including those about not just bonking-type-love:
She’d known my work for years, and thought: Yeah, I dig this Leonie chick. So she came along to an open meet up I ran in a rainforest village, and I plonked myself down at the middle of the table, just across from her.
And I looked at her wide blue eyes and those kind faces where you know you are safe and I thought: Oh cool, we’re mates. I just didn’t know it yet. Instant friends.
We ended up working together in one business for a few years, then started working together in another one. And we rub together well that way in business, but at its core it is vividly personal.
But this isn’t a story about that.
She was staying with us.
We’ve fallen into a familiar pattern now: drink tea, engage in vast quantities of talk, take her on trips to visit questionable tourist attractions (i.e. the highly memorable “Turd In The Grass” sculpture). She listens enraptured to my children’s stories and fetches them repeat glasses of water and snacks in a way that only other mamas get.
She soon realised that my youngest daughter, Beth, WAS in fact endlessly hungry. Beth would pause mid-meal to tell us she was hungry: I hungry! She would finish meals to announce she was hungry: I hungry! She needed food like dolphins need to resurface for air: a strict limit of 15 minutes or less: I hungry!
Parenting Beth was mostly just feeding her. At night, after the very hungry caterpillar + her elder sister were put to bed, exhausted after endless snack-providing, my friend + I would bookend our long red couch, top to toe sharing a weighted blanket, and I educate her on how to binge watch television.
But this isn’t a story about that.
“Leonie, I’m going to tell you the best parenting secret I know.
When my first kid was a toddler, a wise mama friend told me:
Take care of them like you would a friend who is high + is totally tripping balls.
I took that advice to heart, and everything changed for me. I realised that for them, with their brain development stages, it really WAS like they were tripping!
And when they did really fucking weird things that made no sense whatsoever, I knew it was just because they were high as kites on brain development. And it just becomes funny instead of exasperating, and I could be more kind and compassionate in all that trippiness.
Toddlers really ARE just little trippers!”
But this isn’t a story about that.
We were at the table, engaged in long + loud discussion about something that I’m sure was very important at the time.
And little Beth rolled up, and we braced ourselves for the familiar refrain:
But this time, this one blessed moment in history, she was not hungry.
But she had another request.
PAT PAT PAT
My friend leaned in closer.
“What is it you need sweetheart?”
PAT PAT PAT
was the insistent response.
My mate looked at me, questioning eyes, wondering if I could Mama-translate.
I shrugged my shoulders:
I only know what I HUNGRY means.
She looks at Beth again.
“Can you show me what you need?”
And Beth, exasperated with our stupidity, picks up my mate’s hand, places it on her own head and said insistently:
PAT PAT PAT.
“OH!” we both say in unison. “YOU WANT YOUR… HEAD PATTED?”
Triumphant, Beth smiled and nodded.
So dutifully, my friend comfortingly pats my daughter’s head, while cooing “Awwwww! Awwwww! Head pats! Awwwwwww!”
Satiated, Beth nodded and strolled off, happy.
We looked at each other and laughed:
Sometimes, you really do need a head pat.
What strikes me is how much this resonates with the science of comforting.
Dr Kristin Neff teaches that in order to feel comforted, we can set off our mammalian care-giving system of endorphins with warm touch or strokes (either given to yourself or provided by others).
And my mate double-dosed the care chemicals without even realising it by saying the comfort word that most mammals + every human, despite their culture + language use:
Head pats + comforting noises. A 3 year old boldly declaring what she needs, and receiving it.
Now it’s become a kind of secret handshake between us, a code, a metaphor.
Even across the ethers of text, there is the exchange of head pats.
When things are hard,
PAT PAT PAT PAT.
When days are painful.
PAT PAT PAT.
When we’re feeling overwhelmed.
PAT PAT PAT.
And on and on.
Offering pats to each other, and ourselves, when we need it most.
Because all the science + books under the sun might be out there and we’ve read our body weight in them, but at the end of the day, we learned about empathy from a (hungry) 3 year old.
And that’s what this story is about.
P.S. I just texted my mate this piece of writing.