2015: A Year of Linked Recoveries, Death, Rebirth, and Healing


In 2014, I wrote my first ‘year in review’ as a business owner and it was a wild experiment in radical vulnerability

. I expressed the true ups and downs of how I function in the world, and it was quite lengthy. I remember the moment I hit publish, I blushed something fierce. I was scared to really lift the curtain. 

This year is no exception. 2015 makes 2014 look like child’s play – by a long shot.  

I’ve done an overarching of what went well and what could have been better in a couple categories, then a chronological play by play, and I ranked how I was feeling in a few categories. My review is long, but it gives a VERY clear picture of my year, which – to say the least – was… ahem.., effing challenging. 

Business

Then, Now, Future?

What Went Well in 2015

Doing things MY way and my New Brand
I spent hundreds of hours on a new brand this year. I was ruthlessly meticulous. I let go of a traditional list in favor of a new model. I have a new website that is AMAZING. I took a part-time job as a way to find more clients and ski more. To say I love what I’ve built this year is an understatement.

Digital Nomad-Hood
I loved it! The flexibility! The fun! And now I am totally 100% over it. Nomad-hood will be making a pseudo-comeback in 2016 for me – just with more roots and fewer car miles.

Saying ‘No’ A Lot
I spent most of 2015 saying ‘no’. No to clients who were a ‘meh’ fit. No to attending events that didn’t resonate. The No’s that I said expanded my personal yeses and gave me S P A C E to process the amount of grieving I had to do during the course of 2015.
The Intention Generation Kickstart Campaign
The truth? I’m not exactly the most disciplined person ever. I’m a fly by the seat of my pants and listen to my intuition type of gal. I know this. I knew if I wanted to write a book, I’d better hire an expert to help me, so I launched a Kickstart campaign to help fund the cost of working with a book coach, an editor, a marketing team, etc. I raised the funds (almost ALL OF THEM) in just under two weeks. 

Joining The Author Incubator has been worth EVERY penny I paid. And my relationships with my editor and my coach keep me going even when the shit hits the fan. 

What Could Have Been Better

Consistent Income/Managing Cashflow better

A couple of good months is NOT a reason to start hemorrhaging moola to pay all sorts of people. My lesson: Be deliberate. Make deliberate decisions, and make sure you really, really research before you start spending hundreds of dollars on coaches. Some of my investments were worth EVERY penny (I researched them carefully), some weren’t. Hindsight is 20/20, and the lessons I learned were invaluable.

Less time in front of the computer
Need I say more? I spent farrrrr too much time on a phone or computer. 

What the Future Holds

My 2016 goal is sustainability, which I already have in so many ways. My current one-on-one practice will bring in DOUBLE the revenue of 2015 – and I haven’t even done any launches yet. That feels wildly good. I’ll have ONE big launch this year, and a few mini-retreats. When you read December’s email, you’ll see that 2016 will have some epic shifts for me in terms of locale.
And my word for the coming year? Presence. I am leaving the temple of self-help this year. No coaches and no ‘make myself better’ programs. I’m focusing on spiritual growth and joy. And doing things that feel fun. Income goals? $200k from multiple streams of income.
 

Life & Health
Then, Now Future?


What Went Well in 2015?

Not Much
This year was a bear. It was a year of grieving A FUCK TON of losses. Read the detailed account if you want to know more. But I did move some, and I did take a skiing job to MAKE SURE I moved more. And I learned how to eat well on the road, even if I didn’t do it all the time.  🙂

I did move some. I did ski a fair amount. And I did have a TON of fun, despite the grieving.

But it was a year of curve balls, many of which I couldn’t juggle simultaneously. 

What Could Have Been Better

Almost Everything

No, but seriously. I had a GREAT time traveling, playing, etc. But every day was a reminder how difficult things were, until I embraced ease in August

What the Future Holds

Presence is my word here, too. Listen, listen, listen. Read. Take time to be quiet. Listen to your body. Listen to your soul.

My core desired feelings these days are; presence, ease, stillness, thrive, and joy. I hope to feed these feelings daily, and really dig deep into ways of being rather than stringent goal setting. 


NOW!  For the BIG Kahuna Break Down, or What 2015 Actually Looked Like  (Warning…This is long….)



January


My wife, Evie, left the military in December 2014. Her last paycheck hit our bank account in January. We both looked on with shock and awe and knew that everything would change this year. We felt it in our guts.  

We celebrated the New Year in Columbia, MO at a local club – our first experience at a ‘club’ in years. We started to feel old… very old.

But there was some magic in the thumpa thumpa, and we met some amazing and solid people who would be PIVOTAL to our ability to manage what we faced during the year. 

I spent the month of January launching my first group experience and my first mastermind, the MB3 Laboratory & Mastermind from my grandmother’s house. She had internet installed so that I could spend the month with her, and still get my work done. Three weeks into the launch, it was a mostly flop. I only sold 5 spots in the Lab. The mastermind clients who did apply were not my ideal clients, and I said no to nearly 8 people, which curtailed my income dramatically. (For reference, that was nearly $77,000 of income!) 

It might not have been the smartest decision as the only bread-winner in the family, but it felt right.  And in hindsight, I am OH SO GLAD I said no. 

I interviewed over 30 website designers, and I thought I found my dream designer. We agreed to start working together in April or so. 

The third week of the month we left Columbia, MO and headed back home to Colorado. We left my Oma, promising we’d see her again in June to take her to her summer home in Wisconsin. She cried profusely. Little did I know, our summer plans wouldn’t come true. 


A week after we left for Colorado, my mother called me to say that Oma had checked into a nursing home. I panicked and wanted to fly back to Columbia, but I had a huge trip planned with Evie, including a photo shoot with the inimitable Catherine Just scheduled. So I breathed, and trusted the Universe that all would be well.

By the Numbers:
Health: 9
Movement: 10 We went to the gym!  We stretched!  We walked!
Business: 7 Solid but scary.
Life: 8.5 Lots of quality time with ze wife and Oma.  But adjusting to 24/7 life with Evie wasn’t easy.
Road Trip Car Miles: 1,500

Quick Lessons: Do whatever it takes to spend time with loved ones, and relish the time you have with them. Each minute is a possibility for joy. Don’t let it be anything else. Be grateful for the time you have to spend together, above all things.


 
February

February 2nd, my mother called to tell me that my Oma had stage four cancer. She let me know that things were going south fast. I collapsed into a puddle of tears and turmoil. 

I was desperate. It wasn’t likely that I’d get to see my Oma again unless I flew in. Right. THEN. 

Both of my parents said not to do it. They told me that my Oma was barely coherent and reminded me that I got to spend a month with her just a few weeks before. So I trusted the inevitable would happen: she would pass and it would be soon. I prayed that she’d wait for a few weeks. 

I flew to LA with my wife and met up with my sister in law, Clara. I flew her in to LA to be my hair stylist! (I felt super swank doing such things). The next morning, I met a soul sister, Catherine Just, the gorgeous soul behind my new brand photos.   

We spent nearly 5 hours playing, taking photos, dancing, drinking green juice and laughing. Within minutes, Catherine had me topless except for a kimono. I suppose we were comfortable with each other! That night, we celebrated.

Afterward our celebrations, I fell into a deep sleep and dreamed of my Oma telling me all was well. My Oma and I walked through forests in my dreams, barefoot, sharing secrets, and giggling like school girls. 

I woke up at 5:30 am to go to the bathroom. Something in me stirred. I got back to sleep, only to wake at 8 am to the news that she was gone. She’d passed at about 5:30am-ish Pacific time – the exact moment I woke to go to the bathroom. 

I didn’t cry, not even one tear. I smiled, and breathed and knew that all was well for my Oma.

I prayed that her soul rested easily, and I lit a candle for her. She was 87.  

We flew to Salt Lake City to see Sleater Kinney in concert (first of two concerts this year). We drove to Mystic Hot Springs for a deeply healing two days, and I got to meet Aubrey Ixchel. Aubrey took some magical photos of me – photos that I cherish deeply to this day. 

Suddenly, after nearly 20 years of camera shyness, I was joyous in front of the lens, thanks to Aubrey and Catherine. 

Then Evie and I hit Vegas for Rugby Sevens. Then we headed back home, and then we drove back to Columbia, Missouri for my Oma’s memorial service. It was a lot of driving!

On February 27th, I got a call telling me that my 11-month-old puppy was sick. My dear friend and dog sitter took her to the vet.  The vet royally fucked up and sent her home. My puppy died in my friend’s arms that night. Our precious Mabel was gone. 11035701_10155342260800393_307472122907639202_n

The next day, I had to speak at my grandmother’s memorial. I’d hit rock bottom on sadness and wondered how I’d ever recover.  Strangely enough, my business exploded.
By the Numbers:
Health: 6
Movement: 6 (mostly skiing)
Business: 6
Life:  -225 There were a lot of tears, lots of bargaining, and lots of anger.
Road Trip Car Miles: 2,300 or so
Planes: 4
Quick Lessons: Death is deeply painful. Losing a puppy is, in some ways, more devastating than losing a long loved friend/relative. Death is inevitable, swift, and often there is no light at the end. Death. Just. Is. And dying is just as necessary to the world as birth. 

March

I signed a half a dozen clients and had a five figure month. HORRAH! It was the first I’d ever had – at least I think so?! I got to buy a new computer, pay off some debt, and hire my first team members. 

My designer, who I thought was awesome, dropped off the face of the earth. I interviewed 20 more. No one was a good fit. I resigned myself to not getting a new website, at least not in the very near future. I continued to hope that maybe my dream designer would show up again. 

I flew to NYC to meet with one of the coaches I hired and to go on retreat. I got to spend nearly a week with Kate Marolt, one of my besties. I found myself wondering what the heck I was doing with my life and why the hell was I still coaching… Strange upper limit pondering after such a successful month.
By the Numbers:
Health: 3 I was often sick, emotionally exhausted, ignoring my grief, and drinking too much wine to numb the sad stuff.
Movement: 4 Mostly skiing
Business: 10
Life: 5
Road Trip Car Miles: Few hundred, back and forth between our house and ski mountains.
Planes: 3
Quick Lessons: I miss NYC.  Having friends is SO DEEPLY important.

April

My father read an article in Food & Wine magazine about the eight best new French bistros in NYC. He decided that we needed to go. We booked tickets and went. We ate at six of the restaurants. The experience caused me to become obsessed with French food again, which foreshadows December 2015 quite nicely.
We went to Columbia, MO for the last time. We got to witness ANOTHER Sleater-Kinney concert. We packed up my Oma’s house, sold her stuff, and got ready to sell her house. 

There was lots of sadness, frustration, and exhaustion in the experience. We debated keeping her house and using it as a rental property. We were reluctant to let go, as my Oma had built that house. She designed it; it oozed her. But we had to let it go.

We drove – one last time – from Columbia, MO, home. I drove for 10 hours straight, and spent a good portion of the drive reminiscing.
By the Numbers:
Health: 5
Movement: 1 (what movement?)
Business: 5 Mindset based. I felt sad about saying no to so many clients earlier in the year, but I was riding the high of a big month, and hiring people left and right. 
Life: 5
Road Trip Car Miles: 1,500
Planes: 2

Quick Lessons: French bistros are tasty, but 6 French bistros in 3 days is far too many. And French wine is delicious, but it does get old after a few days. Who knew!?


May

Business dried up. I panicked. All my new clients paid UPFRONT, and I had epically mismanaged my cash flow. 

I hosted my first retreat for my mastermind. We had a gorgeous time, but I spent a good portion of the time stressed by cash flow. It was NOT the best way to spend a retreat. But, the retreat was productive. The company was good. And we had a grand time in Steamboat. There are massages, adventures, and trips to hot springs.
We moved out of our house, and our dear friends moved in as our tenants. Before my Oma’s death, we had promised our house for the summer and fall to our dear friends who were newlyweds. We thought we’d be spending the summer caring for my Oma, so we needed house sitters! Her passing changed our need, but we didn’t want to back out of the deal we’d made with our dear friends, so we hit the road. I was terrified. 


We headed to California for two weeks of off-grid fun at Camp Grounded.: me as a counselor, Evie as a volunteer. I met some of my favorite people in the world there and had a beautiful and deeply challenging experience. 11146625_10153307998506399_8771717564510586295_o

I decided to write The Intention Generation, and realized that our current way of operating in the world is deeply flawed – even in sso-called”intentional communities”. I started writing.
By the Numbers:
Health: 5
Movement: 3 Except for some stretching, I was not moving
Business: -3 In terms of profit (I took out my first business loans). 8 In terms of joy it was bringing me
Life: 1-10 Depending on the day
Road Trip Car Miles: 1,630

Quick Lessons: I love to lead retreats, but they can be hard. Holding space for that many people effectively is difficult. I am getting better at it all the time


June

A few weeks in California did us good. We felt like California could be home for a time. We traveled all around Northern California, visiting friends from Davis to Oakland to Weaverville. 

After nearly three months of waiting for a job to come through for the reserves, Evie received a part-time Air Force Reserve job, with the stipulation that we needed to live within a certain distance from the base, outside of Davis, California. We researched the Bay Area, Sacramento, and finally settled on Lake Tahoe on a whim. 

I had long let go of my ‘dream web designer’, but then I received an email that said she could start in October. I couldn’t wait that long, so I went back to the drawing board. Then I found Alyssa Burtt from Brave Narrative

We drove home to Colorado to move some more stuff out of our house and give our tenants some breathing room. Then we headed to Canada to film for Natalie MacNeil’s Conquer Camp.

While we were in Canada, the US women’s soccer team won the quarter-final game, so we bought tickets to the semi-final game in Montreal and drove all the way across Canada to see it. We stoped to visit friends in Toronto, then headed to Montreal. We watched Canada beat Germany and then we drove to Door County.
By the Numbers:
Health: 8 Except for being sedentary, I was eating well on the road and enjoying life to the fullest
Movement: 0 All driving, all the time.
Business: 2. Stagnant and low on cash flow, but trying to pay people left and right
Life: 8
Road Trip Car Miles: 4,346

Quick Lessons: Road trips are fun, but having a place to hang my hat feels really fucking good sometimes. I don’t like sleeping on couches. And I learned that having kind and generous friends is important to my well-being.

July

Health: 4 Emotionally overwrought.
Movement: 5 Some standup paddleboard action
Business: 2 Stagnant and low on cash flow
Life: Varied by day
Road Trip Car Miles: 2,532
Quick Lessons: Family never dies. Ever. They just pass into a new ether, and they are always with you.  Business, on the other hand, DIES A SLOW DEATH IF YOU DON’T FEED IT. You have to feed it via marketing.  If you don’t, you starve your business.
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August

In less than TWO WEEKS, we remodeled our house and the Bliss Bus. We saddled up the pups, the bus, and the Subaru with my parents and moved to California. 

I got to spend less than 24 hours with Evie before heading back on the road to NYC for training with one of my coaches.
After nearly a week in NYC, I learned that the process my coach used wasn’t for me. The training blew me open, but created big fences in all the wrong places. I released my mentor and thanked her deeply for the work she’d done, but also let her know that our time together was complete. It felt right in all the right ways.

I got to spend a week with my dear friend, Matthew, and I met HeatherAsh. We started an email friendship and hit it off right away. I found a soul sister.

I flew BACK to Colorado for a Sacred Living retreat. I released a lot of my grief during this retreat, and set intentions for my future in a BIG way.
I met up with my bestie, Bucket, and we headed to San Diego for an epic road trip of silly proportions. We stayed in a Jetsons futuristic hotel, played on the beach, and enjoyed many margaritas. 

My friends took a plane home, and I met up with Elizabeth Dialto for a deeply transformational weekend where I completely shifted the way in which I exist in the world. 

The Untame Yourself weekend blew me open emotionally. I revamped my core desired feelings. I found space and ease and realized that things ARE easy – the problems I faced during the year were simply a part of life: unavoidable, inevitable, and deeply scarring, BUT not the end of the world! I would, indeed, be A-OK.
By the Numbers:
Health: 7.5 and on the up and up
Movement: 6 I started dancing regularly again
Business: 8 Suddenly cash flow opened up again
Life: A general uprooted feeling
Road Trip Car Miles: 2,624
Planes: 6

Quick Lessons: Investing in your well-being is just as important as investing in your business. Take time to heal, take time to process, and then take time to integrate. Oh, and I want a freaking baby in 2016!


September

Evie and I headed to the Pacific Northwest for a three week EPIC road trip to visit her side of the family (and now their mine too.  🙂 ). The space to explore and expand was magic for my creativity. We got to spend time with every member of her family that lives in Washington.  12004008_10156158352090393_5113561699334453131_n

We went kayaking! Swimming! Standup paddleboarding! We cooked! We chatted! We camped! We watched our nephew play soccer! We met new babies! We got time with family! It. Was. Glorious. 

I realized that I didn’t want to be in California, and we found out we didn’t HAVE to be there. So we made plans to move back home to Colorado.

I cooked for 17 women for four days for the I AM Sisterhood retreat, just outside of Seattle. I spent the days in the kitchen, cooking nourishing foods for this gorgeous group. I found joy in the service and the simplicity, and I was reminded (for the fifth time this year) that food is a huge part of my life. 

I was given a new spiritual name, which I embraced with deep joy. I sobbed hysterically into the Salt Bowl, during a manifesting ritual of the Sacred Living Movement. I got to meet my future kiddo in the bowl, and I released a lot of bullshit into the bowl. I was spurned on to the spiritual path of the Priestess, and I sought out a spiritual mentor. I started meditating more regularly.

Most of my clients’ contracts ended, and I launched the 100 Sessions In 100 Days Project. Over the course of the rest of the year, I met with 100 women for a 45-minute FREE no pitch session, each.  

I hired the Author Incubator to make sure my book happens. I launched the Intention Generation Kickstart and had another 5-figure month. Nearly ALL the moola went to the incubator, but it was oh so worth it.
At the end of the road trip, I decided not to attend a retreat I’d already paid for. I needed space and had zero interest in engaging. 

I found that saying NO opens me to possibilities. Just like magic, I rediscovered boundaries and released FOMO. #magic

Evie dropped me off at the Amtrak in Bellingham, and I headed to Canada for my first professional speaking gig at Shine Live! – Chantelle Adams‘ big event. It was a HUGE deal for me, and I had the time of my life. I found a client or two, and a friend or two, too! In my humble opinion, made the experience a win! 12065723_10100239328540540_5874508303390975716_n  

We moved back to Colorado. I felt tension release. 

By the Numbers:
Health: 8
Movement: 2
Business: 7 Things were on the up and up
Life: 8
Road Trip Car Miles: 3,601
Planes: 4 (and a few ferries and trains too)
Quick Lessons: Speak every chance you can. Tell your story liberally. Say no equally as liberally. Events are hard for introverts – spend the evenings recovering.



October


We were home for a few weeks before we were BACK on the road to California. Business flatlined again. Clearly my people were maxed out from the kickstart for the Intention Generation. I continued with the 100 Sessions challenge. It was wildly draining and soul feeding, simultaneously. I landed two new clients and BAZINGA! Cash flow expanded. 

I headed to Soul Camp West. I spent five days at the summer camp I went to as a CHILD. It was magic. I met friends and mentors left and right. I healed a lot of the hurt that came from earlier in the summer. I sealed the final wounds in my healing journey.
By the Numbers:
Health: 8 I felt really good this month. Time off from crappy food and time at Soul Camp fed me wildly. 
Movement: 5 Resisting it. Still. 
Business: 7 Feeling MUCH better – like I can do this again. 
Life: 8
Road Trip Car Miles: 1,400
Planes: 2
Quick Lessons: Tell people you admire them. Try new things. Business has its ups and downs. Do things you love.


November

Settling in. I swore off travel. I realized I wouldn’t be on a plane or going on a road trip for MONTHS. The realization made me squeal with delight! 

We got to tailgate in the Bliss Bus for a few days, and then we dropped it off to get some wiring repaired.
I hosted my FIRST one-on-one intensive for Karen Hutton. I found my zone of genius and got WICKED excited for the three intensives that I have scheduled for 2016. I realized I thrive when doing intensives.

At some point during this month, we found out that our mountain cabin is being WILDLY encroached upon because of zoning issues and lot line issues. A new house was being built just a few feet from ours. Our sanctuary felt ruined, and we debated about selling the house (the decision is still on the table).
The day before Thanksgiving, my new site launched. I was fucking elated. The next day, I had a really interesting phone call with a Real Estate agent in France regarding a fascinating little house in Provençe. I spent 48 hours looking for investors, producers, and the like. I found them all.
By the Numbers:
Health: 8
Movement: 5
Business: 7
Life: 8
Road Trip Car Miles: ZERO (well my wife drove 740, but not me!)
Planes: 2
Quick Lessons: When something speaks to your soul, figure out how to make it happen. Don’t rest and think about it. Act. And act some more. Find your sweet spot.


December


I accepted a part-time job as a ski instructor at Beaver Creek, Colorado to expand my range and get me OUT OF THE FREAKING HOUSE. I spent two full weeks training and realized it was the best decision I have ever made. 

My accounts got hacked. I had to put my book on hold until the March publication date (instead of January) because I was drowning with lawyers (for the house with the encroachment), paperwork (for everything), and the holidays. I rejoiced because it was easy and cost a few bucks, but it was nothing to freak out about.  

The Bliss Bus is FINALLY – after a year of disrepair – WORKING FLAWLESSLY! We schemed about how we will play with it next year. 

I booked two more clients, putting me at 75% booked for one-on-one coaching. I had nearly 100 beta testers for my new group program.
Our offer on the house in Provence was accepted (the house was owned by none other than Julia Child). I started scheming.

I got accepted into my PhD program, the one I have been DREAMING OF for a decade. Seriously. A whole decade.

The Right Now, By the Numbers: 
Health: 7 I’m eating out waaaaay too much. Ski culture comes with happy hour too often, but I am learning to say no happily.
Movement: 10 I ski 50% of what I skied last year in THREE WEEKS. I dance. I stretch. I hang out in pools. It’s amazing.
Business: 10 I am almost booked out. I am loving my clients. I have balance and joy – and a whole new brand. I can’t complain.  At all.
Life:  9 This is what good feels like and it is magic.  It has taken ALL YEAR for life to not feel sucky.

TOTALS

Total Road Trip Miles: 21,433
Total Miles on the Car in One Year: ~ 35,000
Total Planes: 21
Miles Traveled? Right about 100,000 (if mileage earned in coupons and driven is accurate)


Biggest Lessons Learned?

Fuck the Status Quo
I’ve been asked a few times about why I am buying a house in Provence as a retreat center. I’m doing it because it is a huge opportunity, and, for me to be a visionary coach, I think I should work on my own visions while helping other visionaries. Also, I’m a big believer in doing things that light you up – this lights me up.
Invest Smart
Do your research. Ask for personal referrals from people you want to work with. Talk to REAL PEOPLE who have had wild successes. Don’t do things blindly. 

My best investments of the year? Working with Natalie MacNeil, Maggie Patterson, I AM. CreativeAlyssa Burtt, Angela Lauria, Alejandra Ortega, Catherine Just and Elizabeth Dialto. Each played a VERY important role in this year’s successes, and I seriously would have been lost without each one of them.

The rest? Fine investments, but not earth shattering. And yes, running your own business can be mighty expensive once you start hiring people, BUT it is oh so worth it!  
Do things in person (even if you’re an introvert).
Getting off my computer and into the real world in as many ways as possible has been magical for me. Hugely so. I have a much greater sense of self and I care less about nonsense when I am not nose deep in Facebook/Instagram/etc. I learned that at Camp Grounded, and I continue to learn it now.
Make and Keep Stellar Friends, Your Tribe is EVERYTHING!
My friends are deeply important to my well-being. Having a tribe is so important for your sanity – wicked important to be precise. And remember, your friends don’t have to be local, but having a few local folks is SUPER helpful and joy inducing.
If It’s Not A ‘Hell Yes’ It Is A ‘No’
Don’t do anything that feels ‘off’. If you don’t want to do it, Don’t. Fucking. Do. It. But remember that some things are non-negotiable. If you don’t have leads, you have to market more. If you can’t close leads, you have to learn to sell better. But everything else? There are no rules. And that is a DAMN GOOD THING to know.
Life Can Throw You Curve Balls. It Happens. Deal With It
Be kind to yourself. Don’t panic. Breathe. Heal. Lather, rinse, repeat. You don’t have to look for the silver lining, either. There is no silver lining sometimes, and sometimes G*d isn’t trying to tell you something.  Sometimes it just sucks. And that is ok. It all turns around again in the long run.

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