I’m immersed in my closing ceremony reflections for my 2019 goals workbooks, so I thought I’d share a yearly review with you.
The good, the hard, the big decisions + the results.
From depression to moving to homeschooling to signing a publishing deal and closing down a business.
I’m going to share with you a life + business review.
My goals this year were pretty simple: find the place to move to and be near the beach. When I look at my 2018 workbooks, the word beach is written frequently. Spend my birthday at the beach, have family adventures on the beach, go for walks on the beach.
We’ve done plenty of moving over the last 8 years. We were in Canberra for nearly 3 years and most of that time was spent wondering where the fuck we should go. I adored being around my oldest, dearest friends again, but living in the suburbs of an alpine city just wasn’t cutting it for us lifestyle wise. It was the hardest moving decision we’d ever made for so many reasons.
I had a painful fall into depression, but emerged out the other side with so much clarity. Living all over the country has been a grand adventure and has taught me what I really need to thrive: warm weather and the ocean. And so we leapt!
It’s a real relief to get to the end of the year and to have finally gathered the momentum and clarity to have moved. We live two minutes from the beach, and feel like we’re part of nature again, and are so glad we don’t have to struggle through 8 months of winter again.
High fives, past Leonie. I know it was hard yakka, but you got there. I honour your patience and persistence and faith!
I wrote all about our journey to moving in some epically long blog posts.
Because life is the most important thing before all else.
My daughters and love are where my world begins and ends.
I don’t share my husband and children online as much as I used to. It used to feel really comfortable and groovy for us, but now it doesn’t, so I don’t. They are still the thing I revolve around however.
My girls are 4 and 8 now, long limbed and sweet-natured. I found pregnancy and parenting babies (and toddlers) way, way, WAY harder than I do this age. I’d take 6 of these kids over one baby! (I won’t be having any more kids however… I’m spayed! I think history has proven that my body is prettttty fucking craaaaap
We’ve been homeschooling since April 2017. It has been SO awesome to be living in a place with a thriving, active homeschool community. We’ve made so many friends and been apart of some amazing co-ops. Some beautiful, beautiful times have been had. Even if we don’t always homeschool in the future, I will always be SO grateful for these magic memories we have together.
Our road trip across the country. Ginger Factory. Big Pineapple. Sea Life. Noosa Spit. Hastings St. Noosa Botanic Garden. The Wonder Dome (a magical homeschool co-op in the forest). The beach. All the beaches. The beach beach beach. This is a pretty magical place.
My favourite meme of the year:
Eerily, this even LOOKS like my soccer mum van. HOW DID THEY KNOW IT’S A TRAVELLING TRASH CAN?
I became a gamer
Well, a very specific kind of gamer.
I got obsessed with Star Stables which is basically a quest game on horseback.
My kids originally started playing it, but then I fell in love so hard that I joined too.
If it was on anything but horses I would not be interested. But HORSES? SIGN ME DA FUQ UP STAT.
I read 500 books
I bought myself this phone case at the start of the year to remind myself to get off the fucking phone already.
If you’ve been around for a while, you’ll know my hair meanders around all over the place, from Full Mermaid to Super Pixie and back again.
From Peak Mermaid to Peak Pixie.
I went full power chop a few weeks back. I needed some extra personal power, courage and lightness in my life, and this gives me just that. Plus, Pixie is perfect for tropical life.
One of my goals is to nourish myself with self care.
This year, I gave myself LOTS of solo mama retreats in bed.
Almost every weekend, I would take an afternoon to head to bed to BE. I read, art journal, do e-courses, listen to audiobooks, write. Anything I want to do… I do! It’s very intentional filling of my own cup.
I don’t care what my kids do during that time… they can watch a movie or play Star Stables or whatever.
As long as I get my solo mama retreat time… my weeks are sweet.
I turned 36 this year, and the losses… they keep racking up.
That’s the thing: we can have all the goals under the sun, but it doesn’t save us from loss or being human. I can only hope to honour their lives with grace and gratitude. And to stay soft, open.
Best Day Of The Year
This year’s best day was the most magical experience. It fulfilled one of my oldest goals and dreams… to go for a long horse ride with my daughter. My eldest took horse riding lessons for quite a while, and then one sweet, serendipitous summer day we went on a long sunset trail ride through the alpine mountains.
I was SO proud of her for managing through such difficult mountainous terrain, and she did it with such joy and grace. It made my heart so happy to be out bush, on a horse’s back, sharing the miracle with one of my kids. And then we ate dinner on the floor of an old shed, and drove home long after it was dark, sore and smelling and smiling.
Lots changed for me this year as I continue to shift my businesses so they fit me and my life beautifully again. That’s the thing with businesses… as you grow and they grow, you need to prune so they are custom fit for you!
I closed down one business and shifted production models in another. In 2019, I’ll probably add another business into the mix as well.
After manyyyyy motherfucking years of hunting + searching + wishing + wanting, I signed a publishing deal with BenBella. BenBella will now be publishing the My Shining Year goals workbooks from now on (including this years!) It’s been a joy to work with them and I’m so excited to take them out into the world on an even bigger scale. And YES! BenBella WILL publish my diary/planner if this year’s workbooks sell out. So if you haven’t yet, order them now!
Since signing the publishing deal in June, it’s been a kind of mad rush.
First up me and Chris edited 2019 workbooks to get them off to print ASAP so we could do a quick release this year. Then a major revision of 2020 workbooks so my publishers can promo to local bookstores for next year’s release. After ten years of producing these books together, we are a bit of a well oiled machine. He does all the Indesign laying out and date updates, I rewrite + create illustrations, and we hodge podge it all together. He freaks out that we won’t get it done, and I gently remind him we will. I freak out that we won’t get it done, and he gently reminds me we will. We try to take it in turns to have our freakouts!
AND then on to promoting the 2019 workbooks now as well to help them get into as many hands as possible.
I was completely STUNNED when they hit #1 and #3 on Amazon AU for ALL FREAKING BOOKS.
And #1 in its category on the US Amazon site. HOLY MOLEY!
I haven’t talked much about it this year, but I still have my side project of a doTERRA business. Last year I broke the world record in building to their highest rank in the fastest time possible. This year has been about continuing to nurture it and enjoy the residual passive income. It’s been a joy to see my team achieving their own goals in it too.
I’m in my bedroom, locked away in my weekly retreat.
Each weekend, I seize some hours of my own. Escape to solitude while my kids and husband play Minecraft together.
Go build your animal-riddled contraptions, I encourage.
Mama needs herself.
I could outline all the educational benefits of Minecraft: how incredible it is for STEM and design and collaboration and coding.
But the main benefit is this:
Mama needs herself. She needs her solitude with herself to be okay with the world.
I lay in bed. I read books. I do e-courses. I art journal. I do whatever the fuck I want, without being needed.
My own sweet company is my greatest healer, the conduit to the divine.
My husband just gently knocked on the door.
I’m ordering some things on Amazon, he tells me. I noticed you’ve got things in the cart already. Did you want me to order them for you now?
Yes, thank you my love. Thank you for thinking of me.
Then I close my door and lock it again.
This morning, in our tiny library that really should be a bedroom but we couldn’t bear to be without great piles of books.
He looks at me and says:
What are you most afraid of?
The emptiness, I say.
Empty boxes? Empty holes in the ground?
For a man with a phobia of hole-riddled objects, his mind jumps to the physical.
No. No. The emptiness… in me.
I find it hard to answer him. The feeling comes up, and my throat swells, and tears spill hot.
You know. If I stop doing everything, and just… sit. Then I might see there’s nothing in me. I’m terrified of the emptiness in me.
Oh, that emptiness, he says. We all have that.
Really? I thought it was just me.
No honey. It’s all of us. It’s called being human.
While we are here, I might as well go all in.
I feel like I’m getting more human as the years progress.
How do you mean?
I feel like I used to be close to the divine when I was younger. I could hear the wisdom clearer. I could remember why I am here. I feel like I’m losing it as I age. Like a spiritual glaucoma.
He looks at me, blue eyes bright.
Me too. I thought it was just me. I used to feel so intuitive, and it’s not as loud anymore.
And amongst the clammer of our children wrestling on the floor between us, we look into each other’s eyes, truly look, in the way we can forget to. The past and the future flash together into the here.
Looking into his eyes for the first time, the shock of recognition, two magnets turning toward each other.
Looking into his eyes as we wed, that translucent day when nothing else mattered but he and me and our tiny daughter.
And the moments that I didn’t see, or have yet to come.
Looking into his eyes as we age, grey and softly timbered.
Seeing his eyes when he was a teenager, bright and alive with knowing.
Love spreads across the timelines in all directions.
When I look truly, I see what I’ve always known:
That we see ourselves in each other. That our base core, we are the same. And that we adore each other, intensely.
I love him when I see him.
And here’s the thing: sometimes I don’t see him. I often don’t see him. Even when he is sitting right in front of me, I am looking inside only my own head. This being that I have loved throughout time is the same one I am regularly pissed off with. Who I misunderstand, and give the finger to behind his back.
That’s the thing: 17 years of love and life. Of children wrestling on the floor between us. Of endless discussions about what we need to do, what groceries we need next, what we will do with ageing parents, the pets and the mortgage and the cars that need servicing. The endless and of life, keeping us from the long looks and the simmering love.
I don’t know why I so easily forget: how much we adore each other. How everything is right here. But I do.
I am human. As is he.
Stumbling our way back to each other just as we stumble toward the divine.
I don’t know what to do with the ever growing space between me and the divine, us and the divine.
Life got intensely hectic lately, with homeschooling and moving and all the rest.
I wonder if the connection will ever come back.
Does it need quiet and solitude? Creativity and music?
I’m not one for sex, drugs and rock’n’roll as a combo, but I could do sex and folk music. Would that work?
Or is it a timing thing? Caught in the grasp of hands-on parenting, will it return with spaciousness as they get older?
It’s that time of year… my yearly book review post!
This has been an annual tradition for the last 7 years… to share the books that I’ve read for the last year that have deeply affected me. It started as a fun way for me to document and give gratitude for the book friends I’d made that year. And then I started hearing from readers who would order books based on my recommendations, and would adore them too! So it’s officially a Thing now!
As always, this is not a list of the best books published for the year – just the books I read in that year. As they say in High Fidelity, the records are organised autobiographically.
This year I have read more books than ever… close to 500 (!!!!!!)
So this will be the best of those 500!
HOW I READ THAT MANY
About 100 of those were my own books, and the remaining 400-ish were books that I read to my kids (I kept tallies – about 200 of them were picture books, 200 were chapter books. They are at an age where they can sit still to listen for an hour or more, and they absolutely adore it. We read every night in bed for at least half an hour, and have spent hours curled up on the couch together during the day to pour through library books together. It’s been part of the joy of homeschooling that we’ve had this amount of time to love books up.
I used to have a pretty flimsy readaloud voice – it would hurt my throat pretty quickly. I’ve consciously practiced becoming a belly speaker instead of speaking from my throat. It’s worked really well and I’ve built up much more longevity.
To make myself devote more time to reading, I bought a phone cover to remind me to read books instead of a screen. I also kept a reading list on Goodreads to keep an exact number of how many books I was reading, and that was super helpful.
About 60% of those books were borrowed from the library, and the remaining were bought. After I read my own books, I give them to friends. With my kids’ books, we keep and add to our home library.
WHAT FORMAT I CONSUMED BOOKS IN
90% of the books I read were paperbacks 5% were Audible audiobooks 5% were Kindle books
My brief obsession with Kindle-only reading has officially died up the ass, reflecting global trends. We all go nuts for digital books, then swing back towards physical books.
I like having audiobooks to listen to while cooking dinner or doing art.
And I only read Kindle when books weren’t available in other formats, or I just wanted to read it straight away.
Holy moley, this is an incredible book. The true story of a woman who decides to walk the English coastline with her husband after they become homeless and he is diagnosed with a terminal illness. Raw, profound, deeply loving. My husband bought it after reading its stellar Goodreads reviews, and then I snaffled it because I liked the cover. I couldn’t heart this book more.
This is officially a Young Adult novel… but it ripped me open profoundly. It’s the story of an Aspie teen (Grace) navigating her life in all her Aspie-ness. I remember reading it, slack jawed on our red couch. I felt so vulnerable and seen and understood in a way I hadn’t before. Here was a character, finally, that was one hundred percent me… not just what neurotypicals are like! I messaged Rachael (the author): Maaaate. How did you do it? You wrote the inside of my head. It’s actually quite startling to see my innermost thoughts on paper. I feel less alone now.
If you’re an Asp, or have loved ones who are… this book. THIS BOOK. My gosh.
Thank you Rachael, for writing our stories. We need more characters we can see our neurodiversities in.
This book is like sitting with a friend and hearing them pour out the pain of what it is truly like to live in a black body in America. I could feel my heart hurting and opening as I read it. She teaches so poignantly about her experiences and how we can do (so much) better.
This is a non-traditional book (it is a free ebook) but I felt it was important to include here. This workbook is a deeply transformative educational experience to help you unravel and identify where you have internalised white supremacy beliefs. Spoiler alert: if you’ve grown up in a predominantly white culture (and even non white), you will have them. Especially if you don’t believe you do. It’s like breathing air… we didn’t consciously choose to take them in, but it is there nonetheless. And we have to consciously choose to unravel and unwind it out of us so we don’t cause further harm.
Another graphic-ish book… stunningly designed and perfectly distilled.
Note: I know these books are US-centric books (with one UK book thrown in). Racism is not just in the US – it’s a worldwide issue. I definitely need to learn more about Australian-centric racism as well, so my Christmas present this year is a big stack of them for next year’s reading.
Oh maaaaaaate. I read this one in one sitting in the bath. It’s Lisa’s story of struggling with and eventually shutting down her magazine business to pivot in a new direction. Having made lots of changes in the past in my businesses where things weren’t working or driving me crazy, it was SUCH A RELIEF to read another entrepreneur going through the same thing. We need to talk about failures and fuckups and disappointments more… they are such a normal part of life and business!
This got re-released through Hay House this year, and I’ve recommended it to so many peeps over the years. It’s an exceptional book, and DDT is a top quality chick. We’ve been mates for years, and she truly walks her talk.
It’s funny – when I posted about reading this book on Instagram, it became one of my most popular posts of the year. Basically, it’s a book about being a messy motherfucker and being the antithesis of Marie Kondo. It favours humanity and creativity and rest instead of having a tidy house. I am fully behind this as a fellow mess-lover. I love my clutter! And yes, I WILL read this book and make art instead of cleaning shit up!
There’s a big freaking difference between living in a unhygienic hovel and just having a messy, normal house. I honestly reckon we’ve all gotten waaaay over the top house/cleanliness expectations thanks to renovating shows and perfect Instagram styling. I MUCH prefer when I walk into a friend’s house and they have to clear a little space on the table for us to have a cup of tea because the rest is covered with life detritus. It’s intensely homely. GO MAKE ART! GO REST! JUST FUCK ALL THIS CLEAN NONSENSE!
Useful and fascinating. Tim, a teacher dude from the US, goes to teach in Finland to understand why it has the best educational results in the world. The reasons are often surprising, but common sense: less is more. Less homework, more holidays. More outside time, more individual projects. It correlates quite well with homeschooling possibilities too.
Gosh, this one I just ATE UP. It was stunningly good and beautifully written and heart breaking and ALL THE THINGS.
I like to use graphic memoirs to understand other humans better. There’s something about that visual storytelling that leaves a big impression on my heart. I think graphic novels have helped me become more compassionate and with a better understanding of what life can be like for other people experiencing physical and mental illnesses, racism and homophobia. Plus all the other human condition stuff: families, childhoods, travel, natural disasters, grief. I actively buy graphic memoirs on all the topics I can to educate me and open me.
This is so beautiful and tender. The story of a young girl who is deaf, and her experiences at school and making friends. I’ve since seen it is in a lot of recommended reads for kids around 10+, so a good one for them too!
These are 11 stories of Darryl’s time working as a psychiatric nurse. Chapters cover dementia, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, suicide, antisocial disorder and more. Holy moley, it was eye-opening and just BRILLIANT.
This one was another one in the running for my best book of the year because of how much it affected me. It’s not my usual favourite style of graphic memoir – instead it’s more like a university read on queer history and theory that just happens to be illustrated. I had to work harder to understand everything, but mate, it blew my head off. It totally transformed how I look at gender and the binary, and how I see myself. Highly recommend!
Roz’s Can’t We Talk About Something Pleasant? was the book that got me hooked on graphic memoirs two years ago. It was pretty much perfection on a stick, and she opened a whole delicious book genre up to me, so I will always feel a glorious weeping soft spot for her. This is her notes on what it’s like to live/visit New York, and I just thought it was the bomb diggity.
I found this in a fantastic second hand book store in Eumundi. It tells the stories of five different people who lived in New Orleans for the hurricane. The stories are catastrophic and gave me a whole new understanding and compassion. Well worth a read.
Need to be honest with you: I read this back in Jan. I marked it as five stars, so it must have been good. I just can’t remember shit about it, apart from it being beautiful and about cancer. So… there you go.
I continued to whore my way through as many Victorian/Regency romance novels as I could. They really are the best brain candy ever… I try to read one each weekend. I read stacks this year, but the one author who is just unfailingly brilliant is Tessa Dare. If you want to start somewhere, start with her.
So many recommendations on this front that I’ll highlight a few + just link the rest!
My eldest daughter eats up vast quantities of audiobooks on top of the reading we do each day. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that her ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE audiobook series is by Jen Storer… who, by a delicious twist of fate, is a fan of my workbooks! Not just that: but she uses the workbooks to plan out the Truly Tan series! HA!
Here’s her workbook page planning one out:
But anyways: back to Truly Tan! Starry tells me they are funny and adventurous and smart and always make her want to keep going!
Waaaaay back in 2019, pregnant with my first baby, I decided to give myself the gift of making a wee book for myself to help me plan out my goals for the coming year. And I didn’t want it to be all grey and masculine and black and white and BLERGH… I wanted RAINBOWS! UNICORNS! COLOUR! GLORIOUS GLORIOUS LIFE! As an afterthought, I offered the PDF online, thinking maybe 10 other peeps might like to make goal setting fun and magical too.
Since then… over 350,000 incredible souls worldwide have used the goals workbooks with HUGE results. It brings me to grateful tears that they work so well for so many. This year, they hit #1 and #3 simultaneously on Amazon AU for ALL FREAKING BOOKS WTF!
For me personally, my workbooks have helped me birth so many miracles in the world: we’ve been able to live our dreams of quitting our jobs to raise our children and travel around Australia for the last 8 years. I’ve been more creative and productive than ever, won business awards, broken a world record, built serial 7 figure companies, deepened my marriage and continued growing into the biggest, brightest version of myself. That’s the power of goals. Know what you want and you too can create miracles.
They’ve been the powerhouse behind creating multi-million dollar companies, why I still do it while working part-time, why I’ve been a finalist for myBusiness Australian Business Woman of the Year and Ausmumpreneur of the Year.
And I’m not a ding dang anomaly here guys…
Not just me and Dicky B… but the stats back us up too.
16% of them have goals, but they don’t write them down
Only 3% actually have written goals, but they don’t review them regularly
Only 1% has written goals and they review them regularly, and these are among the highest achievers in the US
Or for those of who you read in images like moi:
or in pie charts:
OK, so whether you’re in the US or anywhere else in the whole wide world, if you’re one of that 1% that’s writing down your goals and reviewing them, HOLY FORKING SHIRT! You’ve just raced to the front of the line, haven’t you?!?
And, I mean, for what? For making a doodly little list!!!
That’s part of the reason why the My Shining Year workbooks have been such a huge best-seller… because they guide you through that exact process… creating gorgeous, inspiring goals for every part of your life (and business if you have one!) There’s a reason why over 350,000 peeps have used these workbooks – simply because once a person uses them… they see HUGE results in their lives, and they will use them every single year… AND they’ll tell other people about them as well because they want to share the joy along! It’s been so magical to witness… and to hear their stories of success and dreams come true. All from such a simple, powerful thing.
3 STEP SOLUTION TO YOUR DREAMS COMING TRUE!
So if you really want your dreams to come true… here’s your three step formula to success. Around here I’d make some fancy dance reference, but I am really fucking uncoordinated and can only dance The Running Man and The Leonie Crazy Dance. But pretend I’ve made a punny dance reference, and we can both pretend to be cultured normals, okly dokly? HIGH FIVES!
“Content has become more bite-sized, more consumable, and less nuanced. In a world of decreasing attention spans, brevity is seen as the only way to compete. Importance is placed on the quantity of output rather than quality. Many ‘social media gurus’ teach that success is frequency of contact. Publish or perish. Either you constantly remind the world that you exist, or you will be forgotten.
I’ve spoken with a lot of artists on the Internet who feel burned out by this dynamic. They feel stifled by the treadmill of daily content. It can be impossible to reconcile the demands of social media with the demands of art.
Social media tells you to go quickly. Art tells you to go deep. Social media tells you to replicate what works. Art tells you to experiment. Social media tells you to always be visible. Art tells you to disappear, figure something out, and come back with a discovery worth sharing.
It’s not an easy puzzle for artists to solve.”
This morning I woke up at the butt crack of dawn in my daughter’s bed after a night of musical beds.
It was stifling hot already. I was tired, and I grabbed my phone to have some “me time” in bed.
My daughter came in for a cuddle. I’ve noticed lately I’ve been spending more time on the phone. It has not made me happier, more content or a better mother. So I put the phone down, and I leaned into her, and I leaned into the moment.
And then the dog appeared, wanting breakfast. I fed her, and noticed how much my body wanted to be outside. So I just sat on the verandah, watching ants on the wood, letting the salty, humid air wash over me. My daughter came to sit on my lap, and we watched the ants together. She noticed she had my full attention, and spent long moments telling me everything on her mind.
There’s nowhere else I need to be. Just right here, right now. Here is where life is.
And those few moments filled my heart more than hours on a fucking phone.
I want to create. Deeply and truly.
I want to do it on my own terms.
I want it to be good. Not the equivalent of fast food creativity. I want it to be slow and luxurious, like sex on a Sunday afternoon. Decadent.
And fuck me, I want it to be honest. Searing and human and bountiful.
Quality not quantity.
I just want to share with you the honest and the true.
And I really need to start actually promoting them and getting them into the world.
But I’ve been swamped with thinking about the 2020 rewrite, and I find it hard to balance two priorities at the same time. I like to do deep dives into things.
Anyways, I’m really happy with how these workbooks have turned out. And it’s a joy to have them at a publishing house. Go buy them, PLEASE!! That way the publishers will take on more of my books… including the Shining Year diary/planners!
I say it every year, but I don’t know how I’d pull off this yearly workbook project without Mr Dawsy.
HOT AF AND HANDY TO BOOT!
It’s been 5 months since we moved (!)
It feels like a lifetime and last week. It’s still a joy to be here.
The tropical beach life is something I don’t think I can ever part with again. The greens and the blues just make my eyes light up.
We will probably end up buying an acreage here soon enough… still in this area, just with some more land around us. We love acreage living too much to give the dream up!
My kids are happy, delicious souls.
It’s been 18 months since we started homeschooling, and it’s been chock full of beautiful moments. I am so glad we took the leap!
AND I am also totally happy if we decide to do a return to school as well. I don’t want to prescribe to a cult of thought that there is only one right way to do anything.
It’s been a funny thing – I’ve shared so much about my kids online in the early years. But over the last couple of years, I’ve really felt the need to shift and be much more private.
I remember Dooce wrote a blog post yearrrrrrrs ago about this feeling. She talked about how openly she wanted to talk in the early years of parenting, because we’re basically just talking about universal baby and toddler features of tantrums and poop that everyone goes through. But as her eldest daughter grew up, and developed her own personality quirks, Heather didn’t feel like she could share about her as openly without impinging on her daughter’s privacy.
It’s stuck in my head, and has been the same for me. My kids are 4 and 8 now. It’s less about developmental stages and more about individuality now. And they get to keep that and share that with the ones they love.
Just because their Mama signed up to be a somewhat public figure, doesn’t mean they did.
I’d like to clarify by saying: If you have a different view of sharing your kids online, that’s rad. I’m tired enough by parenting to worry about how anybody else wants to parent. Ha!
How do I feel about closing down my Academy?
Groovy! Gentle and luxurious.
I’m still producing courses and doing coaching calls for it right up until September next year.
But it feels good to have created the space for something new to come through.
She talks about her decision to close down the Dear Sugars podcast even though it was so popular so she could create new things. It’s why I closed my Academy down… saying goodbye to a good love. It was a hard decision to make because it was so good… but as a creator I needed to make space for what was next. Even though I’m not sure what that is next.
Because yesterday, I went to the worst business conference I’ve ever attended.
It was the stuff of nightmares, of horror convention folklore.
I’d heard about such events before, but couldn’t comprehend it until I was actually there.
Fuck all content or wisdom to speak of, much less illustrate. Just hardcore sales pitches.
But first, if you don’t know who I am:
I am a self-made multi-millionaire. Not in theory. In cash.
I’m a #1 best-selling author. Over the weekend my latest books were #1 and #3 in Australia.
I am a serial entrepreneur of 7 figure companies.
And I want to shout from the top of my fucking lungs:
“These conventions are a waste of your time and money and energy. This is NOT how you get rich. This is BULLSHIT.”
I feel seriously enraged at the shitshow of sleazy hardcore sales techniques. It was marketing at its absolute shittiest.
And I feel protective over all the people who were there, the thousands of people who thought they were paying for a useful business conference and instead got trapped in a 9 hour infomercial.
So I’m writing this to hopefully stop other people from wasting their precious time and money on these piss poor excuses for a business conference. Not to mention getting sucked in by those sleazy sales people and ending up tens of thousands of dollars in debt on shoddy get rich quick programs.
So, why the fuck I was there?
I saw an ad for a Gary Vaynerchuk conference.
I read one of his books a few years ago. It was mostly fluff, but some interesting points.
From his videos he seemed like an engaging speaker. He appears to have a lot of business success.
So I thought it might be interesting to learn from him.
Here’s the kind of marketing material I saw:
There was a mention of a guest speaker, but it was far down the page and said yet to be announced.
There is now more information on their sales page, but as of a couple of weeks ago, that was not the case.
They sold most tickets before announcing guest speaker(s).
Call me a naive motherfucker, but guess who I thought would be actually teaching for a decent chunk of the event?
The dude that they had on all their promo material and ads.
Investing a day in something isn’t a choice I make lightly.
I homeschool my kids. Everyday is full and delicious and important.
I have two books to write and illustrate in six weeks to deliver to my publishers.
But I figure someone like Gary V would respect the sanctity of my time and make it worth my while.
So I front up the day of the conference. It’s a 2 hour drive, so I left the house before my kids were awake.
It starts, and the American emcee is completely off key.
He starts pulling out the most tired NLP bullshit out of the bag.
He wants everyone standing up, high fiving each other, repeating words he says, yelling affirmations about how ready we are.
It does not feel good, or exciting, or authentic.
It feels like I’ve suddenly fallen into a Tony Robbins commercial and I can’t get out.
The first speaker comes out. And I’m disappointed it’s not Gary, but I figure he needs a warm up act.
The dude is Tony Nash, founder of Booktopia, and he is excellent.
Humble, thoughtful, good pieces of wisdom from his business journal.
Tony is a good sort, and I’m impressed.
I think: well, if I just get to hear from great, seasoned entrepreneurs like this, this will be a good use of time.
Spoiler alert: I won’t, and it isn’t.
The next speaker comes out. It’s not Gary. This will continue being the theme for the rest of the day.
This time however, it’s a different kind of speaker.
It’s not lovely, thoughtful Tony sharing his gold ingots of hard earned wisdom without wanting anything back.
This guy is a smooth talking “_____ expert”.
First you think he’s a funny, good bloke here to help you with good information.. But then as the moments progress it slowly dawns on you that he still hasn’t told you anything useful, and in fact, he’s actually just doing a sales pitch with long testimonials and screenshots of how much YOU TOO COULD EARN SELLING ON ______… if only you sign up for his program today for the low, low, low price of $3500.
This goes on for over an hour.
The overly produced videos. Getting all his apparent clients in the room to stand up. Trying to incite a stampede of orders to the tables at the sides.
It feels increasingly uncomfortable. Increasingly hard core sales techniques. The worst of the worst in action. Exactly the kind of people and tactics that give marketing and business a terrible name.
The worst part is, I hear from people who’ve fallen for the slick sales pitch.
How the $3500 isn’t enough to learn what you need to know.
How you then have to pay $30,000 for private coaching.
How there is always another inner circle you need to pay more to get access to the information you need to succeed.
It does not improve from there.
After that guy there is the stocks guy. Then the property guy.
All with their hour+ long sales pitch.
I hear more stories from people who’ve invested in them. And the horrific, underhanded dealings and behaviour that happen from them.
Oh and all those people rushing to the orders table to buy now? Half of them are paid employees. Gotta get that social proof in somehow, right?
Want to know how these (shithouse) business models work?
These “experts” have usually PAID to be on stage. That, or they have a joint venture where the conference organisers take a cut of their day’s sales.
You’ve paid to be there. But it’s not enough.
Not enough to give you actual content.
Not enough to teach you anything useful.
Not enough to respect your time or money.
I feel trapped in a room full of hungry people with lies being sold to them.
I storm out often, fuming and shaking at just how much I’ve been duped. But I feel like I can’t leave completely. Always on tenterhooks waiting for when the rare GaryV will finally arrive.
Gary Vaynerchuk is the worm, the bait.
We are all here to see him. We took the bait, and now we are hooked on a day-long infomercial of the worst kind of bullshit conpreneurs on the planet.
The event starts at 8:30am.
It is after 4 fucking o’clock in the afternoon that the bait makes his way onto the stage.
He speaks for barely 40 minutes.
Meandering, nonsensical. Completely opposing statements said one after the other.
Here’s some treats for you:
“You aren’t sharing on social media because you’re afraid of being judged. You need to go home right now and have a hard conversation with someone in your life. Your mother or father. Or your siblings or friends. So then you can start using your voice.”
“The only reason any of you have problems with any of your families is your own ego, pure and simple. If you didn’t have an ego, you wouldn’t have a problem. That’s why I don’t have a problem. I would never have a problem.”
“I am 100% about empathy. That’s what I am really teaching everyone here.”
and then his parting words?
“Just remember, everyone go home and PUNCH YOUR MOTHER IN THE MOUTH.”
Why on earth would I ever illustrate this shitstream?
Here’s another treat for you:
“You need to be creating 100 pieces of quality content on social media every day. I am trying to create 1000 pieces of content on social media every day. I judge myself that I’m being a slack fuck if I’m not doing that. So if you’re not even creating 100 pieces of content every single day, imagine what I think of you!”
I think to myself:
I have built million dollar companies that are more than enough to sustain me and my family and I do NOT need to create 100 pieces of content a day.
If I created 100 pieces of content a day, my children would not see my face without a motherfucking phone in front of it. That is NOT a life worthy of replicating.
1000 pieces of content a day. Does this guy understand fucking MATH or how time works? If you sleep for 7 hours a day, that means you need to release more than 1 piece of “quality content” per minute every minute for every hour of the rest of the day from the moment you wake up to the moment you fall asleep again.
This is not a burnout-proof way of living. This is not a heartful way to live, or thrive.
I think to myself:
Does he know this is the kind of event he signed up for? Surely not! Why would he EVER put his name and personal brand behind something so horrific, so dehumanising, so obviously rotten!
He says during his veering randomfest:
“I will outsell anyone here on this stage. Without the shitty sales techniques.”
And the whole crowd, mad with 8 hours of being NLPed and pressured and sales, bursts into wild applause.
But here’s the fucking kicker:
He KNOWS that he is the tempting worm that got us all here.
That held us all captive in a room through 8 hours of horrific infomercials wanting tens of thousands of dollars from us.
He’s been paid handsomely for it.
He knows. And he is profiting HUGELY from it.
He is gaslighting us.
He sold our day’s attention to the highest bidder.
And we are the ones paying for it.
I hear from others, who have been to GaryV events around Australia, in the US and UK.
EXACTLY THE SAME EXPERIENCE.
He is not the only one.
Tony Robbins. Robert Kiyosaki.
The worst of the worst high-pressure, manipulative marketing techniques.
This industry SUCKS.
Feel free to email me if you’ve been roped into these other horror pitchfests.
Out of a full day’s lineup, there was only ONE woman.
And no racial diversity, no BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour).
It’s 2018, motherfuckers.
The least you could do is let someone other than a white man try to sell me a horrifically overpriced bullshit fest. EQUAL OPPORTUNITY FOR SPAMMERS!
I would like to say that this is NOT the usual experience for business conferences.
Gary V, Success Resources Australia and Success Squared should be fucking ashamed of themselves for even pretending to be one.
Business conferences are where you go to be uplifted, inspired, taught. Given a bag full of practical tools to take home and start using. Inspiring, thoughtful talks from entrepreneurs who are humble, share their insights freely to raise everybody up.
It’s what I expected (+ got) when I saw Jim Collins, Verne Harnish + Liz Wiseman at the Growth Faculty. They were exceptional speakers that we got to learn from all day instead of 40 fucking minutes (gasp!) with actual useful content (OMG!) not just fake sales bullshit.
Not a fucking infuriating, belittling, daylong infomercial that degrades and takes and takes and takes.
Throughout the day, the speakers scammers kept asking everyone:
“WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE? YELL OUT YES I DO IF YOU DO!”
And so many people would. Seekers, wanting, open hearts.
And these people would go on to tell us the course we need to buy for $5,000 today ONLY to make that happen.
Now here’s the thing. I’m a multi-millionaire. And this kind of shit is not the way to get rich.
Yes, invest in your education.
But do your slow, thoughtful research on who is a good teacher. Who doesn’t put you tens of thousands of bucks in debt to learn from them. Who turns up and serves YOU first so you know who they really are. Who delivers on what they promise. Who don’t make you make you pay more and more to get closer to their inner circles of wisdom. Who respects your time and energy and sovereignty.
Not some shiny, pushy salesman who you’ve known for less than an hour while caged in a pitchfest room.
So skip these bullshit conferences. Find your own path. You can create your own abundance in YOUR own way and time. With teachers who are worthy of your time, and who treat yours as precious too.
I got home late last night, bleary eyed and exhausted and enraged.
And my children had already gone to bed.
And I missed seeing their eyes open today. I missed a precious day with my beautiful kids, one I won’t ever get back.
Had it been a day that filled up my well, that gave me tools to walk the path with, that inspired and uplifted me, that helped continue tend to and nurture my family and our finances, it would have been worth it.
Instead, Gary and Success Resources Australia lied to me, and to all of us.
They stole a day from 3,000 people.
They took our day, our joy, time with our families, one whole day of our glorious, fucking beautiful lives.
They filled it with indignity, shame, pressure, pain, lies.
For many, they took even more: credit card details.
And it’s not good enough.
It wasn’t ever good enough in the past either.
But it’s time for these pisspoor pitchfests to go get extinct.
To Gary and Success Resources:
So VERY much better.
This world needs it, desperately.
And you do too.
This life is too grand, and too tender, and too precious for anything but.
Workbooks are available for pre-order NOW. And here’s why a whole bunch of people are probably going to miss out on print workbooks in 2019.
So, this year, I signed a major publishing deal with BenBella in the US with plans for a major release for 2020 season. So consequently, they’ve only been able to do a super-fast super-small print run for this season.
How small? TEENSY TINY?
10,000 Life workbooks
5,000 Biz workbooks.
Considering last time I printed I made an order for 80,000 units… it’s freakin’ MINISCULE.
I well believe it will sell out pretty freaking quickly.
And a LOT of people aren’t going to be able to get them this year.
So if you want a print workbook this year… I highly, highly, highly recommend doing it NOW.
P.S. Loves – I mean it. Please don’t email me whining when the publishers run out of printed stock + there’s none left. Because it will happen! It’s out of my hands… I did warn. Pre-order NOW for Nov 6 release date if you want a print copy!