Sometimes when I pull into my driveway and push the button on my garage door opener, I giggle. In that moment it doesn’t feel real — that I am an adult, with a garage door opener, that opens my two car garage, that is attached to my house. Nevermind the fact that I have two school aged kids.
Alas, it’s true. I am an adult (now one year older), with a house and two school aged kids, even though I still get carded at the liquor store.
I am also a woman, a founder and a CEO of two companies and a badass.
As I was preparing to write this blog post, I started to go through my many, many journals — I’ve kept a journal since I was in elementary school. In the early years I wrote about boys (of course) but I also wrote deep, dark poems — and I wrote about how I wanted to be the one to change the world. Unfortunately, I didn’t write about how I planned on doing that, just that I wanted to.
I’m so grateful that I’ve had a narrative for my life inside those journals. It’s been insightful to go back and read them — and the recurring themes that continue to plague and inspire me.
What follows are some of the ‘life lessons’ I’ve experienced over the past years. Some lessons are pretty personal and deep and others are random things I found in my journals. With everything I create, I hope you find this helpful. Take what resonates and let the rest fall away.
The lessons are in random order:
When you sing out loud the voices in your head stop — there were days that I spent walking and singing because to be ‘in reality’ was too painful. So music and movement helped me to change my state so I could breathe and function.
I’m sorry | Please forgive me | Thank you | I love you | – Ho’oponopono Healing Prayer. It took me about 3 weeks of repeated practice to be able to say the words out loud instead of just in my head. Try it… and thank me later.
Diva and Run The World (Girls) by Beyoncé are my ‘spirit animal’ songs.
Being a ‘go-giver’ and over-delivering without any expectation of a return creates a feeling like no other — if you’ve never read the book ‘The Go-Giver’, by Bob Burg go and read it now. Then ask the question — how can I delight and surprise people? Make that a habit. It’s a game-changer in business and also in life, especially when you’re all up in your head.
Narcissism is a real thing. I’ve coined a new phrase… stop narcissisting all over me. Feel free to use it 🙂
Dance walking should be something everyone does on the daily without regard of ever looking like an idiot.
Thank you — This (or a version of it) has become my go-to response to: “you’re so busy all of the time”, “you’re too sensitive”, “you’re a baller”, “you’re so ambitious”, “you work too much”, “you’re high maintenance”, “you’re so lucky”, “must be nice”… and any of the other passive-aggressive, judgmental comments people feel the need to share with me.
When I was in kindergarten, my teacher told my parents that I display ‘leadership qualities’ AKA I was bossy. The label BOSSY (and bitch) stuck with me, and not in a good way. I made myself small and held my tongue so I wouldn’t come off as bossy.
Now when someone calls me or my daughter bossy our response is, “I know. Thank you. Isn’t that awesome”.
The voices in my head aren’t TRUTH. I read the Untethered Soul by Michael Singer it felt like one billion pounds was lifted from me. I am a person who is always in my head. The running thoughts — ideas, narratives, analyzations — never stop.
“There is nothing more important to true growth than realizing that you are not the voice of the mind – you are the one who hears it. Only you can take inner freedom away from yourself, or give it to yourself. Nobody else can.” – Michael Singer.
Is This True? Has become one of my favorite questions to ask. I found this question scribbled on a page in my journal circled over and over again. The journal entry preceding the question was all about my problems and limitations. I was stuck and unhappy. I felt sorry for myself. I was making assumptions about what was possible, or rather not, possible.
Is this true — do I have proof of this?
It’s a good question. When my students and coaching clients make assumptive statements like “If I email more than once a week I’ll annoy people” — my response is, “is that actually true, how do you know that?”
Or more personally, “I am not worthy of _______________”. Is this true? I doubt it.
Most of the time the statement isn’t true — there’s no proof of its validity but rather an internal limiting belief.
Netflix is a gift that keeps on giving (thank you to the creators of Sex & The City, Grey’s Anatomy, Grace & Frankie, Suits and House of Cards for putting all of these shows on Netflix).
“I’m Sorry” is a common phrase for me. I decided to become very conscious of how and when I say, “I’m sorry”. I say it too many times a day and am quite appalled at myself.
I use “I’m sorry” or “sorry” when what I really mean is “excuse me”.
To me, ‘I’m sorry’ holds the same weight as saying ‘I love you’. They are sacred words only to be used with full intention — not when I’m blocking someone from reaching for the cream at Starbucks.
One should NOT eat a burger with loads of condiments that spill out onto the plate on a first date. ‘Nough said.
Boredom. I long to be bored and to be able to actually enjoy it. So far, no luck. That 4 day trip I took to the Bahamas by myself in December of 2016 reminded me of who I am.
I am not someone who can sit around and do nothing all day.
I need to be actively bored — I’m making that a thing. Actively bored.
Things you should NOT say to a woman/mom who is divorced: Are you sure? Did you think to stay together for the kids? Are you dating anyone? Do you want more kids? I’m so sorry (Tom Selleck head nod in Friends). Is it hard to be away from them (in reference to the kids)? Do you want to get married again?
Did you try therapy?… Um, F#&K YOU!
Things you SHOULD say or offer to a woman/mom who is divorced: Are you alone tonight — come over for dinner and stay as long as you want. I can see how hard it is for you — you’re doing a really good job.
10:10, 11:11, 12:12 almost on the daily. Thank you G-D for the not so subtle reminders that I am not Alone.
Ah, shit. Therapy works. This is a direct quote from my journal, “I put the phone down and smiled. I sat on the ground and checked in. Nothing. No movement in my stomach. No tight feeling in my chest. No tears. No need or desire to call back or defend my position. I can leave this as it is. Ah, shiiiit. It’s working.”
Spreadsheets are my everything.
I am NOT afraid of my Power. Guilt, shame, fear and embarrassment. All the not-so-good feelings I’ve felt about my own Power and Awesomeness. I spent way too many years believing and being afraid that I’m too much for people and/or that I’m intimidating.
What I never understood before was that it is specifically those two things — my Bigness and my Power that make me fascinating.
6-4-8-2. Four numbers that validated my M.O. If you’ve never taken the Kolbe test do it now. It’s the best $50 you’ll ever spend.
Lentils. Thank you Tim Ferriss (my fantasy business boyfriend) for the slow carb diet. ½ cup of lentils with lunch and dinner changed everything for me.
Crying IS MY TRUTH and an energetic release. When I heard Abraham Hicks say this I thought, YES!. I am a crier. I cry when I’m happy. I cry when I’m sad. I cry when I hear and feel TRUTH (according to me).
There are plenty of times during calls with clients where I’ll say something and then immediately start to tear up. I used to hide it. Now I just let it flow. Crying = TRUTH.
When I cry over something I know I’m onto something — whether it’s a TRUTH or a block of some kind. Crying is my way of knowing that I need to pay attention to whatever it is that triggered the tears.
“You let time pass. That’s the cure. You survive the days. You float like a rabid ghost through the weeks. You cry and wallow and lament and scratch your way back up through the months. And then one day you find yourself alone on a bench in the sun and you close your eyes and lean your head back and you realize you’re okay.” Cheryl Strayed — Brave Enough.
I am beautiful. Stand stark naked in front of the mirror (no undies). Look yourself dead in the eyes, hold your gaze and repeatedly say — I am beautiful. If you’re like me, the first (couple) of times you do it you either can’t get the words out, look away or burst into tears. Continue with the practice. It will transform you.
Everything in life has a season. Read the book Seasons of Life by Jim Rohn.
My marriage and my divorce are BOTH the best things that ever happened to me. Even in the darkest moments, of which there were (and still are) many. We chose each other for a reason — and many lessons were learned during that ‘season’.
Now we are in a new season and there are new lessons — although I’m happy to take a break from all of the lessons for a bit.
Do everything you can to always hang around with people who knowingly or unknowingly give you permission to be wholly and completely yourself.
I AM AN INTUITIVE EMPATH. Good news… I don’t have social anxiety disorder. What a load off when I figured that one out. But I’m still socially awkward in certain situations.
Aside from my children — being an intuitive empath is the thing I’m most grateful for in this world.
I used to think I was nuts — like bat shit crazy. What I didn’t realize is that I can literally feel people — I feel what they’re feeling. I intuitive it and can communicate it, even when they can’t.
The not so good part of this is sometimes (most of the time) they aren’t aware of their feelings or ready to deal with them, which, can get me into a bit of a pickle. Luckily for me, I’ve had some incredible teachers gift me with strategies so I can hone and use my Gift appropriately.
I can’t do everything myself and I don’t want to. I’ve actually come to terms with wanting to outsource every possible thing I can and only do the handful of things that really light me up in both business and in life.
Someone said to me once, ‘you’re so high maintenance’. I’m not sure when it became a badge of honour for us ladies (mothers) to have to do all of it. I want to do none of it. And I feel really good about that.
By doing none of the things I don’t like to do, am not good at or can’t do (of which there are many) and hiring people to do those things for me, helps them to feed their families and work in their zone of genius and gives me back the only non-renewable resource we have — TIME.
Maybe if I didn’t use that time wisely then I would feel like a spoiled princess but that is not the case. And who’s to say that feeling like a spoiled princess some of the time is a bad thing anyways?
Wine, popcorn and chocolate. Enough said.
Be careful who you share your dreams with. This was one of the first pieces of advice I got from my first business mentor. He said, be careful who you share your dreams with because most people just settle in life — they complain and settle. When they see you working hard to change your life, it will feel threatening to them and they will lash out. So be careful.
While I’ve been extremely fortunate to have supportive friends and family in my life — I’ve heeded his advice and only really share my ambitions and big wins with friends who totally get it.
Balance is bullshit. When I made the decision that I was no longer striving to find balance between being a mom and work and life etc. and instead would prioritize my time based on what was needed, it was like a whole new world opened up for me.
It’s the idea that I’m somehow out of balance if I don’t do XYZ… it’s the whole social norm thing and it drives me nuts. As if there’s only one perfect way to live and if you’re not living that way you’re out of balance. It’s bullshit.
No one should ever have to just “suck it up”.
Find your ‘people’ (specifically women friends) who genuinely encourage and support you.
Up until I went to University I mostly hung out with the boys. I had some girlfriends in highschool but I never really felt like I fit in. As I’ve travelled down this entrepreneurship journey, navigated my divorce and reclaimed my Self and my Identity, I’ve come to realize just how fortunate and grateful I am to have the relationships I have — especially with the women in my life.
A ‘Hanes’ work t-shirt and dirty fingernails are not acceptable on a first date.
Always act in Integrity, especially when you don’t want to. I am not perfect. Far from it. I make mistakes, sometimes big ones. Because I am human. Yet I think about my feelings and behaviors (probably too much sometimes) and always question… am I acting in Integrity.
Would my future Self be proud of how I’m handling this? Stephanie Joanne, I will always be forever grateful to you for this one.
It’s not easy, it takes discernment and restraint, especially when there are hurt feelings involved. But at the end of the day, I have to look at myself in the mirror and love who I see. I choose to (mostly) act in Integrity even when I don’t want to instead of feel shame or embarrassment because I didn’t.
BONUS: Underwear is always optional.