We’ve Got To Get Ourselves Back To The Forest (School)

When did we stop doing this?

That’s what I find myself thinking the moment I enter Forest School.

I watch as children bubble over rocks, squish in mud, slide down riverbanks, shimmer in the water.

When did we stop going outside, stop letting our children experience the miracle of this: untamed wilderness, ripe with play and discovery and joy.

When did we sanitise our outside play so much?

My daughters find rope and a sturdy branch and drag each other down the mud bank, faces splattered with gladness and soil.

I watch as boys tumble, wrest that holy, radiating energy of theirs into adventure and feats of physicality. In a world where they don’t fit, here they are home.

When did we stop doing this?

Surely it wasn’t that long ago.

My childhood was full of this. Those boys, brimming with muscle and sinew, remind me of my brothers. My sisters and I followed them barefoot through snake-infested long grass down the hill to the river with eels and that rope swing. When we were bored, we would hide out in the sugar cane and gnaw on their stems. One rainy summer, I spent months crawling on all fours in the paddock with wild horses, hoping they would accept me as one of their own.

My husband’s childhood was full of this too. He, an army brat with hundreds of acres to explore. He would follow the resident, ever-changing crew of army kids over rivers frozen with ice, up mountains mostly bouldered. He only returned home at sunset or the bleeding was too much to stem.

Why did we stop doing this?

I don’t know. All I know is it didn’t fit right. And I wanted my children to grow up wild, for them to know that this divine earth is home, that knowing and loving Mother Earth will sustain them for the rest of their lives. And I wrestled and I angsted and tried to give up that dream, but I couldn’t give it up. And so we decided to leap again to a place that felt like it would nurture and support that connection for them. Some people don’t have to leave, but we did.

And now we are here. In this place with beauty so verdant and bright, so brimming with colour and nature and light that it hits my eyes and fills me up and wants to come out of me as art. And now we are here, this place filled with homeschooling co-ops and classes like Forest School, and everything is falling into place like a puzzle aligned.

“We are stardust. We are golden. And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.”

– Joni Mitchell

Have a look around for a Forest School or a bush kindergarten. I highly, highly recommend it. Or you know, just go wild. Let our kids be wild too. Go bush, as we Australians would say. I don’t know why we stopped, but it’s something we deeply missed without even knowing.

With a big leafy heart,

On Overwhelm

Okay, so here’s the thing.

This afternoon, I am totally overwhelmed.

It came as a wave rushing down. My brain stopped functioning. All I feel is a red alarm going off, telling me:

TOO MUCH TO DO TOO MUCH TO DO TOOOOO MUUUUUCH TO DOOOOOOOOOO

My inbox is doom. My Facebook messages are a wasteland of unresponded to messages from dear friends. My office space has tipped into that point of fun messy into disastrous. I’m a few weeks behind on a couple key rituals I do to keep myself sane. I don’t know what I’ve got on tomorrow – writing that on my to do list to find out now.

Also, and perhaps I should have said this first, because it is the one that is most overwhelm-inducing to me:

I just found out I’ve got 6 weeks to get my 2020 workbooks ready for print. And I still have the 2019 ones to promo and sell too.

That’s probably the funny thing about producing yearly books – you’re always working on two years at once.

So. Six weeks. FUCK ME.

There’s so much I want to do with them. Not least they are being reformatted to be a slightly more manageable size, thicker with a couple new sections.

When I think about everything that needs to be done on top of all the normal stuff that needs to be done: mothering, homeschooling, other businesses, wife-ing, having a life-ing… my vision kaleidoscopes in on itself.

It’s not my first time at the rodeo of overwhelm though.

I’m going to write a list of Things That Will Help. Lists always help me.

  • Tidy my office. It always makes me feel clearer.
  • Write long to do lists. It always makes me feel better.
  • Get really clear about what’s needed and what’s not. Only do the essential.
  • Get 9 hours of sleep a night. Don’t think that more hours will result in more productivity. It just means that I will suck at productivity the next day.
  • Get food delivery service during this time.
  • Create a homeschool roster/curriculum plan that makes things easier.
  • Consider more homeschool co-op time if I need it.
  • Ditch non-essential shit left right and centre. Hope my friends still love me when I disappear down the writer rabbithole once again.

Okay. A storm is brewing outside. Time to disconnect.

+

The Next Afternoon.

Once I disconnected last night, we curled up on the couch together and watched the storm unfold. Counting the seconds between lightning and thunder like I used to when I was a kid, but this time I’m the adult who isn’t scared anymore.

Then we ate toasted tortillas and read picture books together. And as the girls were going to bed, my eldest asked me:

What did you want to be when you grew up, Mummy?

An artist and a writer.

But even when you were really little? When you were like 4?

Always. I always wanted to be an artist and a writer.

And that’s what you are now, right? 

I am.

And my eyes filled up with gladness and that four year old inside me was dancing.

I am what I always wanted to be.

And even when there’s deadlines and juggling and overwhelm, may I always remember that.

Also, we went to the park this morning so the kids could get all sweaty and covered with tan bark, and me and Mr D just sat and looked at the water and watched birds and talked. That helped too.

With a big, glad heart,

On Trying Something New.

I’m trying new things lately.

Example:

In the evenings, after we’ve eaten dinner, our routine of late has been:

My husband and kids watch 30 minutes of TV together.

Usually something like The Zoo or Tanked.

And usually, I would sit on the couch and just mindlessly scroll through my phone as they did it, waiting for their bedtime and our long reads in bed together.

But now, instead of the mindless scroll, I excuse myself.

I run to my bedroom.

And I make instead.

I create. And draw. And write.

Making space for whatever wants to come next.

Making room to listen.

I’m listening, Oh Big Spirit.

I’m ready to be a vessel for you again.

Where I’ve Been, What I’ve Done…

Hi treasures,

First things first: Just 3 days left before I retire my life’s work. Grab the closing down sale before it is gone!

Second things second:

So I started writing you a blog post a few days ago about my business journey.

Which then turned into 10,000 words of the start of a memoir.

So there’s that.

I have never considered writing a memoir before… but it poured out of me the first chance it could get, as soon as I had a couple of hours to write.

And it’s still got so much more to go, and I don’t know if it’s the right format for a blog post, and HOLY SHIT IT IS LONG.

So I won’t share it today. Instead, I’m going to dot point the fuck out of the situation.

What I intended to do was give you a brief-ish overview of how my business started and grew.

Some of you have been along for the ride for a long ass time. Some of you are newer.

I thought it would be fun to share how I got here and what’s happened along the way.

My Journey To Here

When I was growing up, I knew in my heart of hearts what I was destined to be. When someone would ask me at age four what I wanted to be when I grew up, I recited: Artist, poet, writer.

2016-09-16_1547

By the time I was a teenager, I still wanted to be all those things… but I also wanted to be someone who changed the world. It just seemed like the most obvious, true and right thing.

There wasn’t much career guidance available for someone who wanted to change the world though. And even with my definable dream jobs, I heard the same old story that most people do – that artists starved, that being a writer was hard, that it was all just a little bit impossible. I decided I wasn’t going to listen. I decided that I would find a way. That it might take some time – but that I could do it.

When I finished school, I worked in numerous office jobs – as a finance assistant, a receptionist, a database entry clerk, a personal assistant and a public servant.

2016-09-16_1549

As I worked, I studied at university as well. I studied fifteen subjects at three different universities, each one getting closer and closer to my dreams. I had so many passions – I was just trying to find one that really, really sung to me. I studied psychology, journalism, anthropology, sociology, philosophy, Australian Aboriginal studies + even economic history after I had a brief fantasy of becoming the Prime Minister of Australia.

I kept exploring, knowing I would find the How of making it happen. My path would present itself to me – all I needed to do was keep following the trail of my passions.

I landed a job working as an editor of www.business.gov.au – the Australian Government’s website for people starting and growing their businesses. It was so much fun that I ended up working there for seven years.

2016-09-16_1550

Left: A painting I made for myself when I was 22.
Right: One of my first commissioned artworks.

At night + on weekends, I made art, I took photographs. I shared them online – first on my favourite message board (Planet SARK), then on my own blog (which I started using Blogger).

People contacted me to buy my art, and to commission pieces from me. I was happier than a piggy in mud.

2016-09-16_155122

I quit studying at university as it was eating into my non-working hours + my potential art-making hours.
I started believing I could do even more. I self published a book using Lulu.com. I designed t-shirts + journals using Cafepress.com.

2016-09-16_1552

I blogged my little heart out – and have been doing it ever since 2004!

I tried out selling at art markets. For me, I didn’t find them as successful or fun as selling online, so I kept selling through my website and through Etsy.com. I signed with a licensing agent. I held my first solo art exhibition at 23.

2016-09-16_1551

I decided I wanted to start doing spiritual work as well. For a few years I had been a part of a women’s circle. The leader of the circle moved away and I really wanted and needed to have a circle in my life, so I decided the only thing to do was for me to start running one myself.

So that’s what I did. I started out doing them for free. It was an incredible growing time. I learned so many lessons along the way. I found that I needed to start running circles as paid courses so that I could continue running them. I needed to make them sustainable for me + my energy levels. I also found that women were more committed to going to circles if they had paid for them. This was one of my first lessons in sacred commerce!

When I was 24, I felt the calling to create a three-day women’s retreat – even though I’d never even attended one myself. So that’s what I did.

2016-09-16_1553444

I just trusted that I would know how to teach and hold the space. It was hard work, and I was incredibly grateful for just how magically it turned out. Immense, powerful things happened along the way.

Then I followed my next passion + started photographing women as goddesses, weddings + pregnancies.

And all at the same time, I drew, journalled, kept growing in love with my love, travelled in India for a month, went to Uluru on a spiritual retreat, had adventures + a ridunkulous amount of fun.

2016-09-16_1556

I followed wherever my creative + spiritual heart led me. I chanted at the top of mountains at midnight while a storm blew around. I sung in teepees. I walked labyrinths in moonlight. I painted with my whole body. It was a time that was totally wonderful + nourishing in my life. And FUN – oh my goddess – the FUN! And I kept working at my public service job and had fun there too.

After a while, I started working part-time in my office job so I could spend more time creating. I want to say something about my dear office job: I have never believed in the philosophy of breaking out of cubicle jail. Instead, I found a place to work that would give me an income while I played with my passions until I had a totally sustainable business.

2016-09-16_1603

As I explored my passions and dreams, I realised I wanted to do more than just have a gorgeous creative hobby that made me a little bit of money. I was making a little bit of money doing the things I loved – but nowhere near enough to do it full time. I remember going for a walk through the streets and fields in our city suburb one day, I decided to make a goal. I decided I was going to make $30 000 in the next year.

I went home, took out a piece of paper, and worked out how much I would have to sell in order to make $30 000 a year. As I played with the numbers, I just couldn’t make them add up.

I was frustrated – I wondered how on earth other people were able to manage it. It dawned on me that I had no idea about business.

2016-09-16_1605

I realised I’d been spending so much energy developing my creative and spiritual gifts, and no time at all developing my business ones. My creative and spiritual muscles were well developed and pretty buff-looking, but I didn’t have any business muscles and knowledge to support them. I decided that I needed to spend energy developing my business muscles. I needed to build a business vehicle – or a vessel – that was big enough to contain all my dreams, and strong enough to support me. So that’s what I did.

I began pouring over business and marketing books, studying, using business coaches and training. In the space of 18 months I went from earning around $3000 a year from my passions to being on track to earning $50 000 a year. A year later, I doubled again to do over six figures.

2016-09-16_16035
By 2014, it became a million dollar a year company. A year later, it had doubled to $2m a year.

And it kept on growing and expanding in all kinds of glorious ways.

I became a finalist for Ausmumpreneur of the Year and Australian Business Woman of the Year.

I ran a 2 day conference in Canberra with close to 200 attendees from around the world.

I got bored at the end of 2016 so I decided to add a third stream to my businesses – I started teaching how to use doTERRA oils + build a doTERRA business. I ended up breaking the world record to reach their highest rank in the fastest time possible.

18 months ago, I started homeschooling my kids which has been the best time of my life.

Philanthropy is built into my biz model, with a portion of money that comes in going to causes and organisations around the world that resonate with me.

  • My staff get to choose where their portion of the donation goes, too.
  • I love that we’re in the top 1% of Kiva lenders.
  • I love that me and some of my favourite business friends teamed up to pool our cash and build a six-room school in Ghana, West Africa.
  • I love that we built a library in Vietnam through Room to Read.
  • I love that we’ve donated 100,000+ copies of digital licence and physical workbooks to around 2500 charities around the world.
  • I love going back to my old high schools to speak, and giving the girls workbooks so that they can learn how to set goals and live happy lives, believe in themselves and achieve their dreams. It is so hugely important to learn this as early as possible!
  • We are currently the major sponsor for Suluhisho Children’s Village in Kenya

We’ve been lucky enough to live in some of the most beautiful and interesting places in Australia:

Whitsundays, Cairns, Kuranda, Hobart, Canberra + now the Sunshine Coast.

My husband has not had to work since we’ve had kids – instead we get to just build businesses together and be with our family.

I’ve ALWAYS steadfastly kept part-time hours… usually around 10 hours per week for all my projects combined.

I’ve grown my mailing list and social media to a reach of over 300,000.

It’s been a fast growth company and a hugely wild ride.

All up, I’ve brought in over $7 million dollars.

Not bad for an artist hippy who used to be pretty shit at business and marketing! Ha!

I’m so bloody grateful for all of this. Not only have we created a financially secure future for our family… not only have we been able to live in some beautiful places and centre our lives around our kids… we’ve been able to do some really precious philanthropy too.

I’m delighted + honoured to share everything I know to help you do exactly the same.

It’s a huge end of an era to be closing down my Shining Biz + Life Academy and retiring over 100 of my courses, ebooks and meditations.

If you’d like to learn from that wealth of knowledge, make sure you jump in and grab them before they go.

To your shining abundance + miraculous adventures,

P.S. I wanted to add as well! If you have been trying to buy + have had issues ordering, make sure you email us -support@leoniedawson.com. We are here to help! Most peeps are having no problems, but with the volume of orders we are getting there are of course some odd errors that can appear. If you’re one of them, email us + we will get tech on it! WE WILL GET YOU SORTED! WOOP WOOP!

Just *3* days left before it is all gone!

Giveaway #20: How To Double Your Biz With Testimonials

Hi treasures,

Just 4 days left!

As you know I’ve decided to close down the Academy + am holding a big bundle sale to release my life’s work.

I wanted to give the Academy a good goodbye, and make it a win-win-win situation for everybody involved.

And so I decided to do a Month of Magic, and give away goodies from the Academy each day.

Here’s the wins for you:

Here’s the giveaways so far incase you missed them!

The 20th giveaway: How To Double Your Biz With Testimonials

 

I remember speaking to a well-known copywriter and author. I asked her what she thought were the most important parts of a sales page were.

She replied:

Three things.

Testimonials.

Testimonials.

Testimonials.

We laughed. It was true. I’d experienced the same thing in building my own multi-million dollar businesses.

Testimonials are an incredibly powerful way to grow your business.

This short ebook from a webinar I gave gives some of the tools + techniques I’ve used to grow my business with testimonials.

It is small but mighty. If you do the tips in this book, you WILL see results.

Click to download

Let’s make miracles happen!

Please feel free to share along.

Want the companion webinar to this ebook?

Just *4* days left to grab 100+ more of my courses, resources, meditations + goodies at a ridiculously good price before they are retired. I won’t be extending the sale after that, so if you want my life’s work at a wildly generous price, get in now.

May this resource transform your day, week, month… life.

With love and abundant blessings,



Just  4 days left to grab these courses

before they go away forevs!