Sunday, December 14

The Geminids | A Cautionary Tale

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Did anyone catch the Geminid meteor shower last night? In the US and UK there were beautiful crystal skies for the peak of the last meteor shower of the year and it was dazzling! We were driving home late across the state so we caught a few beautiful views away from the city lights! Between my husband and me, we saw more than 10 shooting stars! My favorite was a greenish colored fireball that streaked all the way across the sky. It was there for so long that you could actually focus your eyes on it and not wonder if you actually saw it or not. (Anyone else do that every time they see a shooting star?)

The Geminid shower is named because the shooting stars appear as if they are radiating out of the Gemini constellation but really we (the Earth) are passing through the dusty remains of an extinct comet called Phaeton. Phaeton's story is actually pretty insightful, so I thought I'd share it with you (in case anyone out there loves mythology as much as I do, or just likes stories in general).

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Phaeton, in Greek mythology, was the son of a mortal woman and the powerful sun god, Helios. (Helios, you may recall, was the god who drove a chariot pulling the sun across the sky every day. (So basically... he was kind of a big deal.) However, growing up, Phaeton didn't know about his father. Since Phaeton was raised by a single mother, he was teased by the other children and that teasing inspired in Phaeton a deep and zealous desire to prove himself, no matter what the consequences.

When he was old enough, his mother told him about his father and let him go on quest to meet him at his palace in the East. Phaeton was thrilled. He was so excited that his father was so powerful and influential. Helios was also so excited that he had a son that he agreed to grant his son any favor he wanted. Phaeton, feeling a deep desire to prove himself to all his bullies, asked his father to drive the chariot and pull the sun across the sky. And even though Helios sensed the misled intentions behind his son's request, he didn't want to take back his first promise to his son and agreed to let him do it.

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But as soon as Phaeton jumped into the chariot and grabbed the reins, the horses sensed that he was not a skilled driver and went out of control. They were too powerful for him and pulled the chariot haphazardly across the sky dipping too close to the earth and burning a large section of it (that we now know as the Saharan desert).

Zeus (the all mighty ruler of all the gods) saw what was happening and threw a lightning bolt at the chariot to strike it down and stop the dangerous situation. Phaeton was killed instantly and his body plummeted down to Earth where he was mourned by his sisters. The girls' grief was so intense that Zeus turned them into trees and their tears into amber. (We now know as these trees as Weeping Willows.)

The story (and the Gemenid shower) is a reminder to us to be careful with our wishes. Because our desires affect not only our life, but that of our friends and family (just like Phaeton's sisters who mourned him so strongly after his reckless decision) we must remember to weigh the consequences of our desires and choices before jumping in and grabbing the reins (so to speak).

The Geminids may have peaked last night but you might still be able to catch them through dawn on Wednesday morning!
stars I couldn't track down the original source for this incredible image. If you know it please let me know so I can credit the artist!

Saturday, December 13

GIRLBOSSING | An Introverts Guide To Social Media Marketing and Self Promotion

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Hey there introverts! I see you tucked away in your living rooms under piles of blankets browsing Pinterest photos of quiet mountain cabins as your business social media to do list overfloweth! I am hearing from some introverted girlbosses that they are nervous about sharing their stories online for fear of what others would think. I even heard someone recently tell me that they though they just didn't have what it takes to be effective online.

Let me tell you a secret. Introverts are crushing it online and you can too! All you have to do is recognize your special strengths and play on your powers of authenticity!

I, as luck would have it, have been introverted (and marketing businesses online as such) since before it was cool to be, so I've had a lot of first hand experience at navigating the seemingly treacherous waters of introversion and social media. Since self promotion is pivotal for girlbosses and artistpreneurs, even the quieter ones, I want to share with you my top five tips for self promotion and social media that I've learned through trail and error over the years...

1. FOCUS ON YOUR TRIBE
Not everyone is going to like you, or the things you have to say. And as a generally sensitive person and an introvert, that fact alone can be enough to stop you before you even get started. But once you realize that you don't need (or even want) everyone to like you and the things you have to say, you are free to really dig in and focus on your niche (aka the smaller group of people who are your ideal customers or clients or peers). Once you do, you'll start to feel a deep connection as the people who "get you" start to respond and in turn you can form real connections that feed your introvert soul and also your bottom line.

2. SCHEDULE BOLDNESS & BRAVERY
I found this term "scheduled bravery" online and loved it because it explains pretty much exactly what I do when I share vulnerable or raw or more transparent parts of my story and journey and process. It can be scary to reach out to people, to ask for feedback, to share something close to your heart... so what I like to do is schedule in my big moments of bravery. That might mean that I work on a post for a week or so but don't actually publish it till a day when I'm feeling especially brave. Or, in a moment of bravery and boldness I may pump out a bunch of great content. So I'll share some and save the rest for a future day when I'm not feeling as inspired. That way I'm not draining myself farther on days when I'm already socially spent.

3. BREADCRUMB YOUR STORY
All of us have incredibly intricate stories of who we are, how we got here, why we do what we do, and our vision for the future. But trying to communicate all of that all at once is overwhelming, emotionally draining, and let's be honest... a bit boring for our audience. No one wants to hop onto a blog to read an entire autobiography all at once, just like no one is on Instagram looking for an hour long discussion on your brand's backstory. So instead, do what I like to call "breadcrumbing". Give little bits at a time that lead your audience along with you.

4. SET BOUNDARIES
Transparency does not mean being an open book to total strangers. As introverts, we crave authentic connections, but we also feel wary of strangers who we don't already have a foundation of relationship with. The same is true online. If you feel protective over certain aspects of your life, that's fine, in fact, it's smart. Pick and chose where your boundaries for sharing will be and then stick with them. For example, I'm okay sharing bits and pieces about my son and his life but I'm very private about our families religious and political views as well as the ins and outs of our personal relationships. I think those things are to be protected and held close to our hearts. So I keep them to myself. But I am very open about my own journey and struggles as well as the day-to-day aspects of our family life. See the difference?

5. NOT EVERYTHING IS A CONVERSATION
Sometimes I don't have the emotional capacity to deal with feedback or negativity. And both those things are par for the course when it comes to putting yourself out there online. So I pick and choose the avenues I allow conversations to happen in online. Messages and comments are turned off on various of my channels. And if someone starts to get overly aggressive or venomous with me I instantly block them. There's no room for unnecessary hatefulness in my world. So while I love conversations on my facebook page and on most posts here on the blog, I turn off the option on my YouTube channel and on some especially sensitive blog posts.

Marketing yourself (cough, self promotion, cough) doesn't have to be icky. Social media is just a form of communication. And we introverts are actually quite good at communication! Introverts are fantastic at connecting on a deeper level. So instead of thinking that you can't be effective sharing about yourself or your business on social media, look for ways to utilize your introverted strengths like authenticity and depth! I can't wait to see what you do! xo.

Friday, December 12

Find Your Word For 2015!

FINDYOURWORD For years, I've been using this exersize of choosing a word for my year. And if doing so has taught me anything, it's that focusing your intetions into just 1 word (or phrase, or mantra... but especially just 1 single word) is powerful! I still make resulutions (sometimes) but I love to focus my mind, soul, and energy into a single word so that all my thoughts and intentions pass through its filter.

There's not magic to finding your word. Usually mine just come to me in a flood of light and color in my mind as I start to wrap up one year in my head and open up my heart to the one upcoming. Usually a few words float around my thoughts, then synonyms, and then one word just feels right. In 2009 my word was VISIBLE. Which was perfect for the evolution of my blossoming photography business. In 2010 my word was UP (or "RISE") and I envisioned all the aspects of my life floating up and up and up. A few rough years of stormy seas uprooted my system and I didn't start to get back on track till I noticed I'd been living the word CALM in 2013 without even realizing it. Last year I never picked a word. Looking back, I'd say it was probably BRAVE because I forced myself to be so that I could step into a new direction of my life.

As this year ends I'm feeling more like myself than I possibly ever have and the desire to pick a new word for 2015 came flooding back to me as I was creating my vision board for the upcoming year! How exciting to feel the joy of choosing a word again. I took a few nights to think on it. A few words came to me, with meanings all on the same track. They came to me in floods of colors like pinks and oranges and shades like the sunrise. Which is fitting since that aligns with their meanings. The newness of a day, so full of potential. Anything can happen. Anything will happen. If there's a will there's a way...

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At first I resisted POSSIBILITY. It seemed to simple. Too "on the nose". I like words. I wanted a word with more mystery. More poetry. But POSSIBILITY kept coming back to me. I found lots of supporting words that I also loved while reading about POSSIBILITY. Words like PROMISE, POTENTIAL, DEVELOP, BECOME. To me, 2015 holds the potential and possibility of so much change in our life all for the better. And I feel like all that's asked of me is to rise to the occasion and become the best version of myself that I can in the upcoming year. All of these words, these colors, these ideas of rising and developing, and unlimited potential. It all just feels right.

I want to tap into my latent ability, my promise, my capacity, my potential. I want to develop and become and help others do the same. I want a year of "if there's a will, there's a way" and daylight breaking on the past few years of struggle. I want the dawn of a new chapter, full of light and the potential and possibility for anything to happen.

The POSSIBILITY is limitless, and so am I.




What are your words (or word) for 2015? I'd love to know!

And if you need more help figuring it out, I made this quick video explaining more about how I discover my word (and my colors) for the year and what I do with them after! Enjoy.



Still need more help? One of my favorite bloggers, Susannah Conway, has put together a FREE 5 day email class to help you figure out your word. Register soon, it starts Monday!

Friday, December 5

No Artistpreneur Is An Island | A Tale of Team Building

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Today I want to talk about the power of building a team as a Beachbody coach! For me, I knew from the beginning that I wanted to build a team. I've always had a passion for helping other women to grow as creative business owners and to find their voice, their inner strength, and to build something they could feel proud of and empowered by! So when the business opportunity side of Beachbody was really shown to me, by people who had a heart for helping other people, I immediately felt drawn to it! For so long I'd been searching for ways to mentor and inspire and help other women to grow into successful and independent business owners (through blogging and photography and mentoring) but I had never felt like I had 100% found my groove for truly helping people change their lives.

Then I started coaching, and like I said before, I started with the vision of building a team, a sisterhood, of self-motivated and tender hearted and fiery women who want to affect positive change in their lives and in the world! Since I first started I've been on the lookout for these women and over the last year my team has grown! We are now close to being ranked in the Top 100 teams in all the company! But that's just stats. The great thing about building a team as a coach is that it opens all kinds of new doors for you in your own business.
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this chart shows the real numbers of my last 11 months in my 1st business center


In coaching we can make money in two general ways: commissions and team volume. (There are other random bonuses but let's keep things simple right now) Commission is how new coaches earn the bulk of their income. It's instant gratification and it's wonderful because you can earn as much as you like, you're in full control! A lot of people are happy to stay right that, and that's great. But the limitation with an income based solely on commissions is that you are limited to yourself! You are only 1 person and even on your best of the best months you are limited to the restraints of life and time and the fact that you can only be in 1 place at 1 time.

With team volume (or Team Bonus, like my fancy little chart above says) you are able to see exponential growth as your team grows and as the coaches you train grow and have their own successes. For me, this was my goal. Because this is a DIRECT INDICATOR of the success I am helping OTHER PEOPLE have. My income based off my team grows as the individuals on my team succeed on their own. And for me, that is my heart! I want these women to have major successes. To build something they can be proud of. To feel like they are contributing to the world and their lives and their families. To live by design and get un-stuck from the financial limitations on their lives that they start out in. So to me, the measure of MY success as a coach (outside of helping my challengers to have incredible results, which I LOVE) is the success of my team.

The chart above shows my income growth over the last 11 months. As you can see from the line cutting through the middle of the chart, my income from commissions, even on my best months, stays relatively the same. That's because I am just 1 person! But my income from my team, which started so tiny compared to my commissions has busted through the level that my commission income gets stuck in and is growing by leaps and bounds! There's not limit, no ceiling! That's the beauty of teamwork, of investing in other people and helping them succeed in this business!
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So if you're a new coach, and you're wondering if it's worth it to pour yourself into others, to help them learn how to be successful, to spend time on something that right now might not be paying off in big ways, the answer is YES! If you have a heart for seeing other people's dreams come true, seeing them come alive and step up as leaders themselves, to see them take off and break through their own circumstances to surprise even themselves, then take heart! The investment of time that you are putting into you team will pay off in the long run! And when it does, it will pay off in more ways than you can imagine!

And if you want to learn more about what it would mean to join our team, be personally mentored by me, and start your own business coaching and helping other people, fill out this quick application! We are gearing up for the busiest time of year and I'd love to help you get started in time to take advantage of the momentum that's coming with the new year!

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Disclaimer: Beachbody does not guarantee any level of success or income from the Team Beachbody Coach Opportunity. Each Coach’s income depends on his or her own efforts, diligence and skill. See our Statement of Independent Coach Earnings, located on the Coaches Corner of TeamBeachbody.com for the most recent information on our Coaches’ actual incomes. Please feel free to review our Statement of Independent Coach Earnings as well. 

Thursday, December 4

My December #LifeByDesign List

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One of the biggest reasons I decided to seriously pursue coaching and make a business out of it was because I wanted to be able to create the freedom to live my life by design. And not just for me, but for my family! As artists our income, historically, has been so up and down. It's so dependent on our ability to physically be somewhere and perform and it's limited to me and my husband since it's our skill and vision that brings home the bacon.

But when you have a child your capacity to be gone for 16 hours at a time starts to become more and more limited. You can't just drop everything to travel 2 hours for a shoot or book back-to-back gigs on your weekends to make a little more money because now you've got another human to consider. Not to mention that you just want to hang out with him more and more!

So coaching, to me, has always been a way for me to build something that would help our family live by design. Something that would give us the freedom financially to have more time as a family and to be able to do the things we want to do as a family without worrying about having to squeeze in more work or having to put our family last to prioritize our client's last minute needs.

This year we've been able to add a full time income into our family budget because of coaching and with that the freedom to live a little bit more intentionally and by our own rules! To honor that new freedom, I wanted to make sure not to let this, MY FAVORITE TIME OF YEAR, slip by without me enjoying every last sparkling moment! So I made a list of fun "by design" things I want to do this holiday season! May this be the first of many LIFE BY DESIGN seasons to come!

My DECEMBER BY DESIGN list... 
➳ Visting Downtown Disney
Picking out a Christmas tree as a family
Decorating the house
The nightly snowfall in Celebration
Baking and decorating our Secret Family Recipe Sugar Cookies
➳ The Tree Lighting + Luminescence Show at the Gaylord Palms
The Elf on the Shelf shenanigans each night
➳ Traditional Cuban "La Noche Buena" dinner
➳ Throwing a New Years Eve Shindig

Want to join me in living with more intention this holiday season and living by design? Make a list of the fun holiday things you want to do this season and take pictures of each like a fun, living by design photo journal! Post them on Instagram with the hashtag #DecemberByDesign so we can all follow along with each other's adventures!

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