It’s raining here in the rainforest. Frogs a-croaking all around. And me? I’m in labour pains. I’m birthing a big new miracle that landed on my lap a few days ago. For me, this kind of birth isn’t that much unlike birthing a babe. It’s messy and emotional and not always easy, and sometimes you want to give up. But deep inside you there is a love of what’s on the other side. So you close your eyes, and you carry on. Deep into the tunnel of birthing what is needed in the world.
But I’m off track.
Mostly, I wanted to ask you a personal question.
What are you going to do to make 2013 incredible for you, for your business?
Here’s what I wish for you, so deeply and fondly in my heart.
Today, I saw a flock of ducks.
And they stilled me. I was sure they were going to bring me a message. I held my breath waiting to see if they would form a V shape. But they didn’t. There was messiness and no discernable pattern, until they formed the shape of a wolf howling. And then, just like that, they lined up as a single line and washed across the sky like a wave. And it brought tears to my eyes. It brought to me the vision of you and me – all of us wild, passionate, spirited women creating new lives, new businesses and changing the world as we did it. We were dancing across the sky with light, changing it as we went.
I feel so happy in my heart knowing this is true. Whether you believe it deeply yet or only just starting to glimpse the truth, this world is changing for good. And we are the ones who are doing it. Full of heart, spirit, love and joy.
This is such a sacred time of year for us to bring our actions in alignment with our intentions.
Do you have the support, guidance + inspiration you need to do it?
And if you’re wanting a truly amazing 2013, become a Goddess Circle member. You’ll get monthly e-courses and programs to help you transform every area of your life from business to health, home, happiness, soul, meditation and creativity. You’ll also get access to an incredibly positive, encouraging circle of women who call forth the best in each other. It’s one of the most generous, useful, powerful clubs available in the world.
I offer these to you because I pour everything I have into them to help you live your most gorgeous, happy, abundant life and business. I want to see you shine. I offer these at amazingly affordable prices so they are as easy as possible for you to afford. I stand behind them, whole of heart. After 4 years of running these programs online, they come whole-heartedly recommended from the transformed goddesses who have said yes to them.
I’m wishing for you the most wonderful 2013. May all your dreams come true, dearest. The whole world wants them to.
With all that I am, and with so much love in my heart,
P.S. I’m asking you these questions – about whether you have the support, inspiration + guidance to help you create your best year yet in life and in business – not because I want to be pushy, but because I believe it’s a really important question to answer.
It doesn’t matter whether you choose support from me or elsewhere – what matters is you choose it. You give it to yourself. Because you, and your beautiful life and your dreams and your business are truly worth investing in.
Today’s guest post is by the gorgeous Andreea Ayers. Andreea is a serial entrepreneur who has started and sold two businesses. She currently blogs at www.LaunchGrowJoy.com about Pinterest, getting your products in stores and getting publicity for your brand. She is a proud mama of three who loves yoga and hiking in the beautiful mountains of Boulder, CO.
As you know, I very rarely accept guest posts, but each year I like to invite some gorgeous, passionate, inspiring women to share their new year dreams, goals + miracles.
The more we hear of women dreaming big dreams and making them happen, the more it will become the “new normal” and fuel us to do just the same.
Take it away Andreea lovely!
For many, the New Year signifies a fresh start, dreaming big and setting goals to achieve those dreams. If you’re anything like me, you probably have set goals for your life and business – maybe you even wrote them down – but most likely you told them to someone else or kept those goals in your head.
This year I wanted to do be very specific and intentional about my goals and dreams, so I began searching online for a business planner. As fate would have it, I came across the Create Your Incredible Year Workbook and Planner and I fell in love with it instantly! Not only did I love the design, but the inspirational messages and prompts were exactly what I was looking for. I ordered both the life and biz planners right away and I’ve already seen a difference in my business from using them.
I started with the biz planner first and spent hours planning an amazing 2013 for my business, Launch Grow Joy. In my business, I work with entrepreneurs who have a product line and I help them to dream big and then give them the tools they need to reach those dreams.
I’ve been using the planners for less than two weeks and I am already seeing results! One of the goals that I wrote down is that I would love more paid writing and speaking opportunities in 2013. What’s incredible is that the day after I wrote this down in my planner, I received the following email:
This is exactly the opportunity I wanted to manifest more of in 2013 and it happened right away! Other things that I wrote down were that I wanted to have a $100,000 launch with my new course, 20,000 entrepreneurs on my email list by the end of 2013 and a feature in Entrepreneur magazine.
(Note from Leonie – I LOVE when women talk about specific numbers. There’s absolutely nothing to be afraid of in sharing numbers – in brings clarity and power in!)
What I love about the biz planner is that I am able to not only write these specific goals down, but I can schedule them in my biz calendar and I can start taking action to achieve these goals by the end of 2013.
What I’ll STOP doing in 2013
Another thing that really helped me were the prompts for all of the things that I wanted to STOP doing in 2013. These are all things that drain me energetically and include things like stop saying YES to every opportunity that comes my way (and instead pick only those opportunities that I enjoy and that serve me), stop thinking that quantity is more important than quality (which means that I’ll be writing fewer blog posts next year, but I will make each one a lot more valuable AND I’ll be pursuing opportunities with partners who have a more relevant audience to me rather than those who have a larger audience) and stop trying to do it all myself (I have a team of six people and I still end up doing a lot of the work myself, not because my team can’t do it, but simply because I’ve convinced myself that how I do it is better – this is all changing starting NOW!) Writing down all of the things that I will stop doing has already helped me make more space in my business to do those things that I enjoy.
But what has made the BIGGEST impact on my attitude and actions so far is this quote from the Biz planner –
“Your job is simple – step up. Shine. Be the biggest light you can.”
This sentence alone has shifted my mindset and has allowed me to see 2013 in a different light – a bright light where I can really make a difference to my clients and customers. It inspired me to step up, dream bigger and think more about how I can be of service rather than how I can reach seven figures. I know the money will come when I truly step it up.
Every single year for the last three years, I’ve had a planning party in the space between Christmas and New Year’s, and even into the month of January.
There is NOTHING that will change the route of your life and business more than sitting down, getting clear on your intentions and what you want to make happen, and writing it all down.
This shit is life-changing and miracle inducing. It will bring more joy, creativity, life and your dreams to you.
Right now, you are standing before a huge white canvas. The year that is ahead of you.
What picture do you want to emerge from it over the next year?
What unseen miracles inside you do you want to pull out and make seen and real and true?
This is the work of crafting, dreaming forth and calling to you the miracles, the life, the business that is awaiting you.
So… here’s a round up of all the planning parties I’ve had over the years!
Our little courtyard backyard after one dry December summer, when the only things that were blooming were our cacti.
Six month full moon pregnant belly. Hanging out with my favourite puppy.
This is what it was like planning with a pregnant belly.
I remember when I was writing that workbook how I felt.
We were going through some uncomfortable life stuff at the time (horrid tenants in our newly-purchased investment house).
And I knew that with the birth of my daughter, something big was about to happen. That I was going to undergo an immense initiation, and that it wouldn’t be easy.
So most of the things I wrote in there were love reminders to myself.
What to do when things got hard. How to give myself good self care.
Because, yes indeedy, my intuition was in tune. It was hard. A sensitive wee babe that needed a lot of my energy in order to feel right in the world. Moving across the countryside, quitting jobs. Family divorces and conflict. Post-natal depression and anxiety (or as I like to call it: a legitimate response to everything that was happening.) It was absolutely a dark night of the soul for me, one that held powerful medicine, lessons and wisdom for me and was also difficult to experience.
My 2010 workbook ended up being a touchstone over the next year, the thing I could turn to again and again to reorientate myself.
And much later in the year, when I felt like I’d lost my joy de vrie, I went back to my workbook. To remember what it was my soul wanted to call forth. To remember that I had a beautiful life once before and I could make it good and true and peaceful and beautiful again.
So that’s what was scribed into my 2010 book of dreams. The medicine and the love letters that would get me through. That would help me through the initiation and emerge out the other side even more of myself.
(Also: I’ve always put my workbooks into a two-ring binder.)
I like that these photos always have my love around or in the edges. I’m very grateful for the fact that he’s always been by my side. Through thick and thin. Through dark nights of the soul and so many dreams come true too.
We planted some seeds that day too. The perfect thing for a New Year.
One of my main 2010 wishes was to get through the next year, and to remember I was Leonie.
And that’s just what I did.
BAM! Look at that!
A year later, we had a baby!
And we’d moved across the countryside, and were living in my hometown in tropical paradise.
By this time, I was starting to slowly come back to myself, and I was pretty damn insistent that 2011 would be better, much much better.
I’d worked out by this stage that I needed to give myself a break, and stop beating myself up as a mama, and start accepting that I am a Creative Rainbow Mama. I was already underway on a massive healing journey to help me overcome the physical and emotional toll that a huge year that 2010 had been, with personal counselling, relationship counselling, eastern medicine (intuitive healing, naturopathy, bushflower essences) and western medicine.
I have to laugh at these photos. Because I know how it felt going through this time, and how it seems at odds with the joy in these photos.
And it isn’t. It’s not incongruency, and I wasn’t being fake when I smiled.
I was still a happy, laughing, optimistic Leonie even through my own personal dark night.
I adored my daughter beyond the world. I knew whole of heart she was the daughter I always knew I’d have. That I would sacrifice anything to have her. I knew I was blessed for an extraordinary range of reasons. My business brought me great joy. I knew I was living my soul’s purpose.
And at the same time,
I just knew that things could be better. That I wasn’t feeling as radiant as I could be. That I wasn’t as happy as I wanted to be.
It’s like holding heaviness in one hand, lightness in the other.
That something was out of wack.
And so I’d do the things that needed to be done to make it good again.
So we had a picnic in the backyard and I wrote about my 2011 dreams.
Filled it up with goodness. Inspiration and ideas of what we hoped and longed for.
Promised myself over and over that we’d make 2011 really, really good for us.
And so we did.
This time, I put my workbook in a binder I called “The Book of Leonie” – it was filled with not just the workbook, but emails and oracle card readings and foolscap paper. It became my mobile office!
I included pictures that made me feel supported and headed in the right direction. I took that book with me EVERYWHERE that year!
That’s the thing with the workbooks, and with having an incredible life. It’s not about everything being perfect. It’s not about ignoring the fact that sometimes, things happen. Things that cause us a great and deep amount of pain and grief. As they say – the moments that are AFGO (Another Fuc*ing Growth Opportunity).
I’m not about eradicating AFGO’s and difficult times, or ignoring their very existence. They happen to us to enable us to evolve, and learn deep medicine and lessons. We emerge out the other side even more of who we are, as long as we can stay faithful to our path and our spirits. It takes shitloads of work, effort, self-responsibility and dedication to growth, but it’s worth it.
So just like that, devoted to my healing path and to making 2011 good and fun and beautiful, that’s what we did.
I healed, and got back to inner balance again.
And it felt like all the times I’d risen to meet the challenge – I was met back with so much goodness and joy.
One of my big wishes in my 2011 workbook was to have a posse of women friends again.
I scribed it over and over in that book of mine…
Make more women friends
Connect with a women’s circle
Have more fun times with women
And they came rushing in… a posse of women who met with a cataclysmic bang of goodness, and who were inseparable.
I smile when I think of what is to come for this Leonie, sitting out in the garden with her baby and her love, writing down her earnest wishes.
Just wait and see, Leonie…
There’s this bunch of women who are smart and funny and creative and kind
and they’ll lift you up and you’ll spend impossible hours running in to each other at cafe’s,
holding spontaneous circles in the dirt, just glee-ing in the essence of happiness.
It was good. It was better than good.
They made 2011 shine like the shiniest of sparks.
And they emerged from my pen.
A year later, a baby grows into a long-limbed toddler.
And we sit in the garden, with plants we’d planted just starting to grow strong.
That day tropical storms brewed over us.
My hair was gone, my initiation complete.
I was light of heart.
At the beginning of 2012, my goals and dreams were really about solidifying a good, happy, wonderful life for me and my family. I had no idea what was ahead of us, but it didn’t matter.
I knew my dreams would come true.
And they did. I just had no idea that it would take two moves in order to emerge out the other side, into the house and life of our dreams. Sometimes, that’s just what dreams take.
(Can I tell you it’s worth it? How I look back at these photos and see how I’ve been changed by this year? And that it’s all been for good?)
It’s been a ridiculously momentous and glorious kind of year. One with so many dreams come true that I feel a little bit breathless and a big amount grateful.
My tiny little business is soaring into a half million dollar a year company that serves so many wonderful women around the world. My love and I have celebrated 11 years in love, and we have a stronger, happier, more intimate, soulmate relationship than ever before. My daughter is happy and really resonates with her Steiner playgroups (where she’ll eventually go to school). We all have a balanced, gentle, peaceful, joyful life together.
And every day, I become even more of myself.
I guess this is the thing. I am so grateful that every year I write down my dreams, what is inside me that wishes to be born.
It means I don’t forget myself.
That even when the waves grow big and threaten to crash overboard, I can still set my own course.
I don’t forget who I am. I remember what makes me happy. I remember what I need to do to be joyful and fulfilled. I make my blessed, beautiful dreams come true, and go out into the world to help the souls who need to be helped.
And it always works out. Always.
2013 will be the fourth workbook I’ve filled out, the fourth workbook I’ve created.
This year it feels different.
It feels like I’ve ended a cycle.
That cycle being:
2010: When Everything Ended + Needed To Be Healed (When Joy Escaped Me)
2011: When Healing Happened + Spring Blossoms Took Hold In My Life (When Joy Re-Entered)
2012: When I Made Big Changes To Give Us A Wonderful Life + Joy Became A Strong, Sturdy Tree In My Life Once More.
This next year is starting everything anew.
I’m so grateful for these workbooks
They’ve made my life and my business bigger, deeper, richer and more wonderful.
Even during the hard times. Even during the good times.
I’m so deeply grateful they flew down out of the sky one Christmas four years ago, and told me:
Pick up your pen, start writing and painting. Now. We’ll tell you what to write.
And so I did.
They’ve gone on to help so many beautiful souls to navigate difficult paths in their life, and also to navigate their easy paths too, to make their lives and businesses rejoice with dreams come true.
They’ve helped me remain true to my spirit and my soul and my biggest, deepest, dearest vision.
And sitting here, in this land that feels like one big glorious dream come true, I can’t tell you how good it feels. What a difference it has made.
I’m not sure what it is I need to say, and yet I know I must say it.
Sitting here, Christmas afternoon.
By way of a tiny little Christmas miracle, I managed to help Ostara to take a nap (her first one in MONTHS) by reading the same book over and over again, slowly and quietly, until I think I bored her into sleepland. My love naps beside me, the dogs beside him. Outside the cicadas are singing together, the windchimes are belling in the breeze. It is hot and feels like rain. A true tropical Christmas.
And I want to say:
I hope you are having a merry Christmas filled with love and kindness and laughter
but I also want to say:
It’s okay if you’re not. Truly, it’s okay.
It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be good. Whatever it needs to be, it is.
I think for a long time I hunted and yearned and grieved over Christmasses being imperfect. How in some way, how good one single day was would be the measurement of my life.
But it’s not. It’s truly not.
The measurement of my life is the ordinary days. The little moments adding up with each other to culminate in a life well loved.
I want to say it’s okay if things aren’t perfect. If you don’t have everyone together. If you don’t have a big, happy, functional extended family (or any kind of family at all). If everyone isn’t happy. If the kids are whiny or you are whiny or there are no kids and instead of noise there is silence.
It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay.
You’re not broken, you are whole.
Christmas wasn’t meant to be anything but what it is:
Whatever appears for you. Whatever your day is composed of right now.
Sometimes it can be so hard to actually just genuinely relax and have fun and enjoy when there’s so much external pressure for Christmas to be HAPPY! FULL OF FAMILY! PERFECTLY COMPOSED! NO PROBLEMS EVER!
And the pressure builds up until we inevitably feel overwhelmed, crabby and heartsick at why our life doesn’t look like the way we think others’ lives are.
(Extra resources: I like what Sarah Wilson said yesterday about Christmasses: that without fail, she cries at each one just from the build up of energy. The ever lovely Ask Moxie also shares a free guide for parents going through a divorce this Christmas.)
If nothing more, Christmas serves as a time for us to pause in the stillness before another year begins. To look back and see what just happened. The blessings and the shit and the hard stuff and the miracles, all tied together in a bundle of a year. Who you were a year ago. Who you are now. You might be feeling a little more war-torn but I can bet a hundred bucks you are wiser, deeper and lovelier than you could ever know.
That’s all my darlings.
Wherever you are:
in the midst of the BEST DAY EVER or the Shittiest Crapfest of the Century or something I like to call a Festival of Awkward, or something in between:
I want you to know you’re okay. You’re whole. Everything is going to be okay. It’s okay for things to be how they are today.
Your whole life is waiting for you. All the ordinary days to come.
SO much so it deserves a whole blog post devoted to bringing your attention to it.
Evidence That 2012 Actually IS The Best Year Ever!
Never has there been less hunger, less disease or more prosperity.
Most developing countries are charging ahead, and people are being lifted out of poverty at the fastest rate ever recorded
Global inequality is at its lowest in modern times.
Extreme poverty was halved seven years ahead of schedule
The world’s not just getting richer, but fairer too.
Fossil fuel consumption… fell by 4 per cent. This remarkable (and, again, unreported) achievement has nothing to do with green taxes or wind farms. It is down to consumer demand for more efficient cars and factories.
Advances in medicine and technology mean that people across the world are living longer.
The average life expectancy in Africa has increased by FIVE YEARS in the last decade.
The number of people dying from AIDS has been in decline for the last eight years.
Deaths from malaria have fallen by a fifth in half a decade.
Nature can still wreak havoc, but as countries grow richer, they can better guard against devastation.
There have been fewer war deaths in the last decade than any time in the last century.
The way the article finishes too brought full on goosebumps to me:
Fifty years ago, the world was breathing a sigh of relief after the Cuban missile crisis. Young couples would discuss whether it was responsible to have children when the future seemed so dark. But now, as we celebrate the arrival of Light into the world, it’s worth remembering that, in spite of all our problems, the forces of peace, progress and prosperity are prevailing.
Yes, there is still work to be done.
Yes, there are things to be changed.
But never, ever doubt that your efforts aren’t making a difference.
A whole world of them.
As more and more women step up to create incredible lives and incredible businesses, I whole-heartedly believe and know that this will significantly impact the wellbeing, joy and prosperity of not just ourselves and our families but the rest of the world too.
I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it again and again: the work we are doing here is huge. It is powerful. And it has effects more far reaching than we could possibly know.