Our books have made it across the US, into the hands of the wonderful team at RevGo mailing house, who have been a total dream to work with, and are going to have ALL backordered books shipped TODAY.
I can’t thank Aaron + Stacie our workbook liberators enough for going truly above and beyond to get these workbooks sent out to you before anyone else could (and in crazy weather conditions).
Thank you also to Grant from animasweb.com for going above and beyond for us. That man is solid gold. And to Erin, Joyce and Amber, our wonderful, compassionate, crazy-enthusiastic support angels who have been working around the clock to tend to all your emails.
These are the people who’ve turned a really terrible situation around. Amazing how much one bad mailing house can royally fuck so many things up. I get really teary when I think about how much my team of angels has been so devoted. They all believe in these workbooks and how much they can help women and they genuinely give a shit about trying to make things as good for you as possible.
It’s a tremendous relief to know (at last) these books are being sent out quickly and efficiently to you all without error.
We are going to be making the whole of January a workbook planning month, planning lots of free events for all our workbook users so we can all do our workbook planning together. And we’re also scheming up even more ways to make it up to you.
I’m so bloody sorry this workbook delivery period has not been joyful and easy for you all, our treasured workbook fans + devotees. This has sucked royally.
I’m really confident in saying that all the shitty holdups are behind us, and everything is firing on all cylinders.
A hundred million thank yous to the angels who have gone above and beyond for this workbook… and to you all for believing in it… knowing that it works… and wanting it so dearly in your own hands. It’s happening.
I surround myself with a bunch of positive, kind, achieving chicks. Some of them are further ahead in their business journeys than me, some are at the same place, some are a bit behind.
We get as bloody honest + vulnerable as we can with each other.
We share resources + rants.
And as always: whatever you put into masterminds is what you get out.
If you’re not contributing to the culture, you’re sucking from it.
Lesson: Surround yourself with success and souls that choose to shine.
2. I hired full time.
After years of having part-time independent contractors/VAs, I was ready to make the big legit leap of hiring full time peeps to work only in my business.
The difference it makes is incredible.
It just feels energetically 100% more awesome + powerful.
Lesson: Hiring full time increases your people’s single-minded devotion to creating an incredible company.
3. I fired when it wasn’t working.
You can’t put a square peg in a round hole.
It is never, ever, ever easy to fire.
But at the end of the day, a company owner’s loyalty must lie with the company itself.
Lesson: If you know someone is impacting the company negatively, you need to let them go so they can find their right place in the world.
And you need to find someone who has what the company needs to help it move forward.
4. We created a kickass Standard Operating Procedures wiki
We used Google Sites to create a private wiki that is accessible by all members of our team (these sites are free by the way).
We used to have our Standard Operating Procedures (i.e. our instructions on how to perform every task within the company) as separate Word documents that were wafting about, but it was unwieldy, hard to update and not all in one place. A wiki is a hundred million gazillion times better.
I’ve asked my team to create full lists of every task they complete, and each task has to be hyperlinked to where the instructions are to complete that task. That way at any point in time if I need to get someone else to step in, it’s easy as pie for someone else to pick up where they left off.
Lesson: Nothing in businesses should only live in your or your staff member’s heads. SOP IT!
5. We found a tops tech team
We were using a few people for projects (a coder/infrastructure, an Infusionsoft expert + a custom order form builder) and the whole process was unwieldy.
We simplified and use one company with a bunch of staff and skills with a built-in tech project manager.
Most importantly, they’re a bloody wonderful bunch of blokes who’ve gone above and beyond for us to help us with our projects. Even though they aren’t officially a part of our company, they are totally on our team.
Lesson: Don’t accept mediocrity. Steamline where possible. Send copious thank you cookies when you strike gold.
6. Embracing the scary moments + fuck-ups
There have been plenty of difficult moments in business this year.
All digital workbooks are NOT affected by any issues – you should get your download immediately. If you have any issues, please email email@example.com
Aus + UK (+ surrounding countries) are NOT affected by any issues with sending out printed workbooks and have been going great guns. If you’ve placed an order in these countries + haven’t received it, please fill out this form so we can check on your order for you.
US (+ Canada + South America) were delayed with Customs holding up our package. We then ran into a HUGE amount of issues with our mailing house not delivering on their service promises on many levels. We are considering legal action. I hate that their inefficiency has affected YOU and your experience of the books.
Having said that, 90% of all US (+ Canada + South America) orders HAVE been shipped (and are in the mail to you if you haven’t received already.) If you haven’t received your book, please fill out this form so we can check your double-triple-check that your order has gone through.
ALL printed book orderers have been gifted digital workbooks as a thank you for putting up with these growing pains.
Here’s where we are at today:
One of our incredible team – Aaron and his wife – have done the most heroic, thoughtful thing in the world, and volunteered to drive across the US (from East Coast to West, basically) from their home on the east coast to rescue our books from Crappy Mailing House in Colorado and delivering them to a new, larger mailing house in Las Vegas that comes highly recommended + can promise faster delivery.
They are doing this because they can do it faster than any transport company we could hire so we could get books being sent out to you as fast as possible.
This morning they did Rescue The Books From The No Good Very Bad Mailing House. To say it was a nail-biting experience would be fair. No Good Very Bad Mailing House held our books for ransom (I’M NOT EVEN KIDDING) and were 100% bloody awful to deal with. Anyways, I paid the ransom, and considered it a worthy investment to get these babies out of their crappy hands and into hands of a mailing house who gets (like we do) that your orders are sacred acts of trust, one that we are committed to and want to make as beautiful an experience as possible.
Anyways: Books are RESCUED + OUTTA THERE anyway! I think my whole team shrieked with joy outloud when the news broke. Needless to say, we won’t ever be using them again. EVER. Next year, this process is going to go SO MUCH EASIER + BETTER + FASTER!!!!
And here’s the next hilariously infuriating challenge:
They have to get the books from Colorado to Las Vegas now. Anddddd here comes the next hilarious challenge to overcome — there is severe snowstorms between Colorado to Las Vegas making that transit line difficult!
Photo above is the view from today in front of the books.
The Book Rescue Mission Truck is now headed down through New Mexico to try and get into better weather.
Map is planned route for tomorrow once the sun rises.
We are hoping, hoping, hoping that snowstorms stay out of the way to get these babies delivered into Las Vegas. Please cross your fingers for us! What a bloody epic journey hey!
We are hoping our wonderful, new, does-what-it-says-its-going-to-do mailing house will be sending out your workbooks by Thursday 1 January at the latest.
“This is like Santa Watch 2014! But with Workbooks!”
Again I have to say: I am so bloody sorry to all our US/Canada/South America customers for the tremendous upheaval + delays. We are doing everything we can to get these workbooks to you as quickly as possible.
Please know that the vast majority of US books HAVE been sent out.
If you ordered before December 16, your book should be with you, or still in transit. All orders after then will be shipped by wonderful new shipping house once books have arrived.
Please also know that my team are responding to all your emails and messages as quickly as we can.
We usually have a 24 hour turnaround on emails Mon-Fri US time, but it could be up to 72 hours. We have extra staff on, and we’re doing everything we can to respond to you as quickly and lovingly as we can.
Thank you very much to Joyce, Erin, Amber, Grant and Aaron for being the most amazing, supportive team ever during this. They’ve truly gone above and beyond.
I wish this process had been a million times easier and faster.
This is DEFINITELY the growing pains of creating our own publishing company so we could deliver a better product to you. I know whole-of-heart that next year this will be a much better process. Actually… from 1 January it will be once the books are rehomed at Brilliant Mailing House.
Thank you for bearing with us.
We’re doing absolutely everything we can to get these books to you as fast as we can. The lovely, lovely emails we’ve been getting from people who are getting the turquoise miracles appearing in their mailboxes is that they are worth the wait.
Love, Leonie (and Chris, and the rest of Team Dawson)
(Also: I had a dream about TayTay three nights ago, and I was walking up a mountain, and she was walking beside me, and she was hilarious + crude (even naughtier than me which I adore) + super smart, and we basically became best friends. Somehow, I feel like things have intangibly changed between us. Does she feel the deep dream bond too? I like to think so. I think she’d call me Lolabear in her head.)
ANYWAYS, here’s how it went down (in non-dreamland):
A lovely chick I know who lives an hour away let me know she was hosting a 2015 workbook party for her friends and peeps she knew who all do the workbooks.
I immediately told her I would be gatecrashing it.
I was going to do it as a big secret, but I only lasted two weeks and then I burst out with it because I am incapable of keeping a secret.
Here’s how this one was organised:
Bel selected a day, date and time.
She hired a little venue space (a cute cottage!)
She created a Facebook event to advertise it
She invited all her friends + peeps she knew + let it be open invite
She asked everyone to contribute a few dollars towards venue hire + bring food to share
She’s already let everyone know there will be three-monthly check-in events to help each other along.
(If not everyone has printed books yet, you can work through digital versions together — they are available instantly! Bowchickybowbowinstantgratification)
Have a fiesta for dreams.
Make space in your lives because it’s damn important.
Here’s how I’ve organised one in the past:
I got together four friends.
We asked a massage place if we could have a massage/planning party.
They had two massage therapists who gave massages throughout the party.
We all brought food to share.
We split costs between us.
Here’s how to make it even better:
Organise in advance (AND STICK TO IT) that you all meet up AT LEAST every three months for a review.
Talk about your goals with each other. The more you tell each other your dreams, the more likely you are to stick with it. Also, the more likely people will help you with those dreams. People love to help!
I’ve said it a hundred frikkin million times, but I’ll say it again:
THE MORE YOU SURROUND YOURSELF WITH POSITIVE, LIKE MINDED, MOTIVATED SOULS WHO ARE GOING IN THE SAME DIRECTION AS YOU… THE HAPPIER, MORE SUCCESSFUL + MORE ABUNDANT YOU WILL BE. Hint. Hint. Hint.
Holy freaaaakin batman, do I need to spell it out any clearer?
The more you meet up, the faster your goals and dreams will come true.
Weekly? Monthly? It’s up to you. How much do you want your dreams?
YOU ARE THE ONE WHO CREATES IT. Don’t wait around for anyone else to organise shit. Set a date, tell people, get it happening. You might only get two people. Or one. That’s fine. That’s GREAT! That’s a start! Go with that for now!
At the very, very least, hook up with some online friends + have a Skype date for a few hours to go through it together.
Make sure you book a date with yourself + do this work, hey? It’s like tilling the soil ready for next year’s harvest.
On with the show!
I made a real-friends-only private Facebook account
I’ve been blogging for over ten years now.
I’ve been pretty vulnerable + a total open-book.
The lines of public persona and private Leonie were very blurred (if non existant).
I shared everything with everyone.
I was in the midst of it all.
It really worked for me for a long time.
And then it didn’t.
It became difficult because:
My real life friends found it hard to contact me because of the volume of messages my public profiles received.
I felt like I was censoring myself because I didn’t want to offend anyone (there’s always someone who is offended on the internet!) and I also didn’t want to receive unsolicited opinions (about my pregnancy, illness, kids, swearing, not swearing, what I should think, what I shouldn’t post about etc etc. It can get exhausting to hear so many voices telling you what you should do – especially when you aren’t actually requesting advice).
I felt like I was somehow regulating my social-media-sharing based on marketing principles (i.e. not posting too much off topic, not posting many outward bound links, not posting rapid fire over the space of a couple of minutes).
I was going through the final stages of my pregnancy with Beth, with nine months of hyperemesis gravidarum hell under my belt. I needed a safe place where I could bitch + moan, knowing I would be held by people I had close, real relationships with.
So I ended up creating a personal profile.
And I friended just a small group of friends that I actually know + trust in real life (LIKE ERMAGERD).
Ones that I talk to regularly. Ones that I audit often to make sure I feel safe sharing what I share with them.
And then I let all my balls hang out.
My sweaty, sweaty, human, vulnerable balls.
Dangling in the wind.
I swear. I complain. I get super bitchy. I do political rants. I give not one flying fuck whether anything I post is liked or not.
Zero strategy goes into it apart from:
It’s ended up becoming a little hangout.
Where my friends meet each other and we all talk shit.
And it’s very naughty and inappropriate.
And it’s also safe and kind and filled with familiar faces.
And in some ways it feels like the end of an era, because I used to just be balls out everywhere.
But now I’m not.
I think it’s a factor of age, and privacy concerns for my kids, and increasing public profile.
Having said that – I don’t see myself as hiding away anytime soon.
I like this – this act of creation – far too much.
I adore tapping words out into the screen. A love letter to the world.
It’s okay if it isn’t always loved back.
It feels good however, to have that little private treehouse filled with just the people I know personally.
My lil business is not just me. It’s a company. It’s growing up. It has its own mission in the world, its own energy.
It’s not just me anymore.
And both me + ze company needed to separate our boundaries a little bit more.
And I needed to have more of a strictly non-biz part to my life.
Otherwise it would overtake everything and then burnout.
I recommend the experience.
In this age of social media-ing… I just want you to know you can still have your “just for you to talk shit and have fun with your mates without worrying about other people” zones.
I Got A Pilates Private Instructor
After Beth was born, I knew I needed something to help get my body back on track after nine months of total depletion.
I was weak as a kitten after being bedridden for so long, and so nutritionally depleted.
I was also still suffering from hypermobility (loose, dislocating joints/jaw/back/hips) from pregnancy + breastfeeding hormones.
So yus, needed to do something. Something exercise-y. Something to build strength again, without doing damage.
I was recommended pilates (because it specifically can help with hypermobility + my busted up core strength).
I started looking at pilates classes, and trying to work out how it would fit into our life.
I knew that with our current life, I’d make it to one – maybe two – pilates classes before everything falling in a heap.
So I decided to set myself up for success.
I’d learned from two successful women – Ali Brown and Barbara Corcoran – that the only way they fit exercise in was having a private instructor come to their house.
I asked the pilates teacher if she could come to our house for a private session, to teach me and Chris (while Starry and Beth hung out on the verandah with us).
It felt completely bloody scary to do it, to be honest.
I thought – who am I to deserve this? Only super rich people are allowed to do this.
(It’s so interesting what our inner money thoughts can be!)
It ended up being not that much more expensive than class tickets for both me and Chris, and definitely cheaper than if we’d gone together and hired a babysitter.
Plus, this way it ended up actually HAPPENING.
Which is worth a whole lot in terms of productivity, health + mental clarity.
So yes, it’s ended up being wonderful.
Plus, I got to meet some wonderful teachers/new friends along the way.
One day, after a particularly stressful work week, I plopped down on the pilates mat, and just told our instructor to life coach me. And she did. (Luckily, she’s also a life coach + a seasoned entrepreneur).
I’ll definitely continue on this path of having a private pilates instructor weekly.
Thus far, it’s the only way I can really commit to exercise.
Plus, pilates is the bomb dot com!
More strength-building than yoga. Less damaging then weights training. Plus, I kind of hate cardio stuff.
I hired a house + office cleaner
Honestly, I didn’t know how much time I spent cleaning until I hired someone.
I didn’t realise that I was spending my weekends literally RACING to try and get through mountains of laundry and clean the house.
When Beth was born + our mountains of laundry transformed into unscalable Himalayan peaks, I knew I was headed into extreme physical burnout.
Running a company, having a newborn baby and a four year old, and trying to DO ALL THE THINGS (including cleaning) felt insane. It felt like I was trying to do the jobs of three or four people. And I was, really.
So we hired a cleaner – one that does all the cleaning stuff as well as washing, drying, folding, putting away. AMAZING!
Everytime she leaves, me and Chris run around like giddy aunts:
Look at how clean the shower is!
Look how she folded these towels!
Look how the oven shines!
It feels incredibly lovely to live in a clean house.
One that you don’t have to do yourself.
It feels decadent + endlessly supportive.
I gots me a babysitter!
Basically, this has been the year of hiring life support.
Of realising that I no longer needed to do it all on my own (or that me and my love needed to do it all on our own together).
I have been thinking of getting a nanny for oh… close to five years now? Since Ostara was born and I felt so much incredible pressure trying to Do All Things at once and Be All Things To All People?
It was September this year when I finally broke.
I’d been wondering why my health, work routines, sanity + relationships were suffering.
And then I realised it wasn’t me and it wasn’t us – it was just the culmination of school holiday stress.
Apparently having WEEKS at a time without a break of even ten minutes – or the capacity to hold a conversation with your husband about the screamy din of kidliwinks – can really fuck with everything.
After that, I resolved that we needed more support than just the two of us. I found someone online (HOORAY!) and she’s been working with us ever since. It’s basically BLISS ON A STICK.
Ostara loves her. Beth is cool with her.
She is like a second fun-mum to them. She does craft! Cooking! Endless games! Mountains of books to read! Playing outside in the sandpit! Going for walks!
It’s the greatest thing ever.
Me and Chris no longer look so ashen-faced and exhausted. While she’s here, we use the time to have quiet, important conversations (about, oh, moving to Tasmania and stuff), work in our offices and get everything done that needs to be done.
Today, Fun-Mum #2 is taking down the Christmas Tree and decorations as a fun game with them. HOORAY!
It feels SO MUCH LESS CRAZY.
SO much more spacious.
This kind of support and time is priceless.
It might have taken us five years to get it.
But we’ll never be without it again.
Go Slower. Do Less. Treat Yoself.
So, this has been the major motto/goal of 2014 for me.
Do I need to say why?
I feel like it’s obvious.
Okay, I’m going to say it anyway.
I’m a leeeeeeeeeeettttle bit hyperactive.
I LOVE DOING SHIT! I LOVE ALL THE THINGS! I WANT TO DO MORE! ACHIEVE MORE! SEE MORE! CREATE MORE! GO FASTER! LET’S WRITE A BOOK! IN A WEEK!
My sweet husband laughs and calls me “The Energiser Bunny”.
But that crazy happy enthusiastic creative spirit energy of mine (which I adore!) doesn’t always work well with the constraints of living in a physical world. It leaves my poor body exhausted, over-taxed and anxious from riding on adrenaline.
Plus, I’m pretty shithouse on self care. I come from a long line of people who work really hard and don’t have an off switch and don’t look after themselves properly. I’m really cognisant of that and have been healing that old story for a long time now. Layer by layer, it heals.
This year, I wanted to try going slower.
When I’d find myself walking anywhere, I’d check in:
Am I walking fast? Am I feeling rushed?
Can I go SLOWER?
The answer was always:
YES. YES. YES.
So I would go just a little bit slower.
Remind myself of what my dear spiritual mentor Deb would always lovingly remind me:
There is nowhere else you need to be. There is nothing else you need to be doing.
Which can be really hard for mums. Because we ALWAYS feel like this. ALWAYS.
But the reality is that we physically can’t.
And that spiritually we can’t either.
We need to be in our body doing that thing we are doing right at that moment.
Was I 100% successful in achieving it all the time?
But holy guacamole it was a helpful reminder. I think I might carry it with me into 2015. It felt nutritious.
I never really buy stuff. I’m not into shoes or clothes or expensive jewellery.
I skimp out on stuff for myself all the time, wear undies until they are falling off me, have shirts (that I wear in public) that are so old they are threadbare and stained with paint and ink.
Again: totally relates to my history of not giving myself what I want and not supporting myself.
This year, I made a concerted effort to invest in things that would support me and nourish me.
Here’s some notable examples that felt really good:
massages + spa afternoons
feeling zero guilt about buying lunch everyday instead of making it (green smoothies + sushi from the markets = WOOP! WOOP!)
a rainbow handbag(when my old one got mouldy)
a really biiiiiig smokey quartz crystal (Chris said “HOLY SHIT! HOW MUCH WAS THAT!” I said “Less than a diamond ring!” He said “Yeah cool!”)
a pair of sparkly thongs(I call them my “glam shoes”. I wore them at the Cairns Business Women’s Club luncheon that I was the keynote speaker for. My regular plastic thongs wouldn’t have cut it!) (I feel like I have to say here for my American readers – “thongs” are “flip flops” here in Australia!)
new glasses before I needed them (they are really funky and TURQUOISE!)
booking in with a hairdresser and getting big chunky turquoise + electric blue streaks put in my hair (after not having had my hair cut for 18 months) (I realised afterwards too that I was fulfilling something on my Bucket List! Hooray!)
a big stack of new Bonds undies to replace the ones that are barely hanging on.
colourful rugs for our offices + home (instead of just the cheapest shit I can find at Bunnings).
I upgraded our flights for when we move to Tasmania to Business Class so we have room to move + don’t dread the whole day in transit.
I haven’t replaced my beloved holy holey t-shirt stash yet. I will once we move I think.
This year has really, really been about giving myself as much support in my life as I can.
That I don’t have to do it all on my own.
That life is easier, more joyful and more abundant when I have that support.
I have to remind myself (often, over and over again) that everytime I invest in myself and my life like this, it always pays me back. When I have more energy freed up, I can create more, help more, think more clearly + strategically, and do bigger work in the world.
Plus, ya know… I only get one life.
I gotta make it a good one.
I hope your 2014 has been filled with wonderful lessons.
I pray that you’ve emerged from it stronger, wiser + more divine than ever before.