Hey Soul Fam,
Um, it’s August??? Really??? Stop messing with our heads, 2020! OK, admittedly I’m feeling a little feisty because I was supposed to be in the UK this month for speaking gigs, book promotion events, and a coaching intensive at a castle on an island in the south of England. Oh, and then I was popping over to Lake Como, Italy, in September to facilitate a retreat designed around my book. A perfectly curated summer. Sigh…
It feels disappointing and yet I can’t help but wonder if the Universe has something even more fabulous up her cosmic sleeve. What if I simply trust and surrender to what is? What if I commit to showing up fully expressed every single day with curiosity and gratitude for the gifts that are present? What if I embrace the magic of life unscripted? What if we all do?
I’m dedicating this issue of Soul F.U.E.L. to what’s possible when we choose to just show up and stay open to possibility. Since the beginning of COVID, I’ve found it to be a wildly creative and liberating space in which to live. And love. And connect. And create. What I’m sharing here are only a few of the ideas and opportunities that have come my way since leaning in and letting go. Hoping they inspire you to do the same, my friends.
I mean, let’s be honest. Pre-pandemic I was a HELL NO to having my own podcast. I was questioning whether I could add any value to a very noisy space; doubting the power of my own voice. And now I’m so clear that the world needs to hear my message – and yours, too.
We got this, Soul Fam. It’s go time.
WHO OR WHAT IS INTRIGUING ME AT THE MOMENT
Everyone needs a little pick-me-up, surprise and delight moment about now, right? It’s been a long four months (and counting). And, let’s be honest, it just feels good to receive something that makes you, well, feel good. And seen. And loved. And maybe even laugh out loud. That’s proper soul fuel, my friends.
I surprise all of my clients with a welcome package as soon as they sign on with me. It’s always on brand – orange, thoughtful, and a little rebellious. But I’m also conscious that I want to create these unexpected moments more often, not only with clients but also with the people I love. I thought that might strike a chord with you guys as well. If so, here are some fascinating sites that will deliver in spades:
Knack – One of my clients recently surprised me with a gorgeous custom gift package from this company. It was a beautiful Zen collection including a journal, candle, loose-leaf tea, and a mug (pictured above). I had never heard of Knack and am now obsessed. The gifts are modern, contemporary, and stunningly packaged. And, that’s not even the best part. You can not only custom create your gift box, you can shop by ethos, e.g. female-owned, committed to sustainability, gives back, handmade, etc. And, for those of you in business, they do corporate gifts as well. Bookmark this site stat.
Meriwether– For those of you who’ve seen me sporting my signature bright orange “I’m a ray of fucking sunshine” coffee mug on zoom calls, you can thank the brilliant people at Meriwether. Their tagline is “Disappointing our parents since 1976” and that’s only the beginning. The sayings on their merch (everything from mugs to wine glasses to barware to stickers and journals) are snort-out-loud-and-maybe-even-pee-a-little funny. My current favorite is a wine glass that says, “I’m one glass away from bringing up a bunch of shit from three years ago.” I not only gift from this site, it’s my go-to when I’m having a rough day. A two-fer. You’re welcome.
Optimist Made – My dear friend and soul sister, Rochelle Webb, is the fabulous founder behind this online retailer supporting underdog designers around the world. Right now, I’m obsessing over the gorgeous, sustainable and reversible facemasks from designer YouMeeWee (aka Chantel). She is South African born, a London native, and has lived a life of inspiring make-it-work moments to bring you these masks and her full collection. A portion of the proceeds from the purchase of these masks will be donated to charities that support the advancement of black lives! (Note: Optimist Made is a black-owned business. Yet another reason to gift from here.) P.S. Be on the lookout for a future episode of the Rebel Souls podcast featuring a conversation with Rochelle. It’s soooo good.
WHAT’S GOT MY ORANGE HIGHLIGHTER IN OVERDRIVE
I’ve been thinking a lot about the power of Improvisation these days. Training at The Second City in my 20s was the best life training. EVER. I didn’t understand the profound lessons at the time – it was simply a fun, creative outlet back then – but, in the two-and-a-half decades since, I’ve come to realize that the principles of improvisation were the invisible force that empowered my creativity, risk-taking, flexibility, trust, and faith in what’s possible. All of which got me to where I am today. Living an extraordinary life, unscripted.
So, I was inspired to re-read the classic book Improv Wisdom: Don’t Prepare, Just Show Up by Patricia Ryan Madson to refresh my memory and challenge myself to lean even more intentionally into the principles of improv as an entrepreneur. If you’re ready to liberate from the shackles of a scripted life, i.e. the “shoulds”, the rules, and the fear that stands in the way of magic, here’s a quick summary of the 13 lessons that Patricia shares in the book:
- Say Yes – stop blocking (yourself and others). Use “and” not “but.” Build upon someone else’s dreams by saying “Yes and…”
- Don’t prepare – let go of our ego’s involvement. Trust our experience. Redirect energy to the present moment. Be ready to receive unexpected gifts. Listen now vs. think ahead. Be ready for what may come vs. the outcome. Zen like attention vs. planning. Fear is a result of misplaced attention. Redirect it.
- Just show up. Magic happens. Move your body toward your dreams. Move in the direction of your purpose. The power of preparatory rituals.
- Start anywhere. Don’t waste time trying to find the beginning. Your first thought is a reasonable starting place. Honor it. Make that idea into a good one vs searching into a good idea. Don’t judge, just start.
- Be average. Stop trying so hard. Celebrate the obvious— because it may be obvious to you, not others. Think inside the box. Make sense vs. make jokes.
- Pay attention. What you see becomes your world.
- Face the facts. Accept things as they are; use what is given and build upon it. Can’t afford to waste time on what is not, including trying to change others. Work with what people bring to the table. Embrace the wobble – that’s where the strength is built.
- Stay on course. What’s my purpose right now? What would not get done if I were not here (with my unique talents/gifts)?
- Wake up to the gifts. There are gifts everywhere if we learn to see them. Other centric vs. ego centric. We need to recognize the gifts/contributions from others and accept our interdependence. Give thanks, credit and encouragement hourly. Train your mind to see what you are receiving — very specifically. Be concrete in your gratitude. Keep the gift moving forward. Write thank you notes every day.
- Make mistakes, please. If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not doing improv.
- Act now. Power of action as part of the discovery process. The doing is the teacher and the guide.
- Take care of each other. Share control. Attention to the needs of the moment. Play with kindness and generosity. Deep listening is kindness in action. Deliver more than you promise.
- Enjoy the ride.
I highly recommend reading the book!
And, if you want to hear me riff a little more on this topic, check out the “Rebelling FOR Possibility” solo episode of my new Rebel Souls podcast debuting tomorrow (August 3rd). I share my own lessons based on the belief that the language of improv is the language of possibility. It will change your life. Pinky swear.
WHO/WHAT/WHERE IS GIVING ME ROCKET FUEL
Baja, Mexico, here I come! No, it’s not a delayed spring break, but it will be my first post-COVID international travel. So, fingers crossed that curves will be flattening and planes will be flying across borders by the first week in November.
I’m heading to the world’s first midlife wisdom school. Yep, it’s a real thing. It’s called the Modern Elder Academy (MEA) and Chip Conley is the visionary behind it. Chip is the rebel iconic hotelier who founded the Joie de Vivre Boutique Hotel Group (and sold it to Hyatt 25 years later) and then went on to help turn Airbnb into the global hospitality brand that it is today. He disrupted the same industry twice and is now disrupting how we think about aging. His philosophy is best summed up in a quote from his latest TEDx Talk: “Life isn’t a one tank journey.”
Workshops at MEA range from the Making of a Modern Elder (core curriculum based on Chip’s book) to Mastery Weeks with other trailblazers like Blake Mycoskie, Founder of Toms Shoes, and Lynne Twist, activist and author of The Soul of Money (one of my all-time favorite books). All around topics that help us to navigate midlife with fresh perspective, helpful tools, and a supportive community. On miles of pristine oceanfront property no less. Check out the 2020-2021 season here.
Chip and I were introduced by a mutual friend earlier this year (during lockdown) and instantly realized that we’re kindred souls on a similar mission. He invited me to come experience MEA with an eye toward creating a Soulbbatical Workshop as part of the 2021-2022 curriculum (and beyond)! I’m beyond excited for what this collaboration might manifest – and to have some of you join us to experience it. Stay tuned.
On a related note, I was honored to be the special guest on The Happy Hour Show with Chip Conley and David Stewart last week. These guys know how to throw a par-tay – about 200 people showed up for the virtual soiree! It was one of my favorite conversations so far this year, not the least of which because 1) we were cocktailing, 2) the energy of the group was soul-filling (as were their questions), and 3) near the end of the hour, as I was on one of my many passionate riffs, Chip said to the group, “Does anyone else think we’re listening to the next Brené Brown right now?” OMFG. You all know how I feel about Sister Brené! Rocket fuel indeed.
If any of this is piquing your curiosity about my soul brother Chip, then his episode of my new Rebel Souls podcast is a must watch/listen. His journey is a fascinating one. More on the podcast (and where to find it) next in “Listening.”
PODCAST EPISODES, VIDEOS, OR WORDS OF WISDOM
FROM MY TRIBE
H-O-L-Y S-H-I-T. Tomorrow I officially get to add Podcast Host to my resume! The first ten episodes of Rebel Souls will drop on Monday, August 3rd. Here’s a link to the new podcast page on my website where you can subscribe to the show on your favorite pod platform. Maybe one day I’ll be as badass as Michelle Obama and get an exclusive (and lucrative) deal with Spotify but, until then, pick a channel and binge your heart out, baby. Oh, and please rate, review, and spread the good word to all fellow rebel souls! I’m so grateful for your support.
BTW, I’m recording the podcast as audio AND video so you can also watch each episode on YouTube (starting Monday).
ICYMI, here’s how I’m introducing Rebel Souls to the world: Ready to flip the middle finger to the status quo in life and business? Welcome home. Rebel Souls explores what it means to rebel FOR who you are, what you want, and the impact you want to have in the world. Join Shelley Paxton – Lifelong Rebel, Liberator of Souls, and Author of Soulbbatical: A Corporate Rebel’s Guide to Finding Your Best Life – as she hosts conversations with movement makers, culture creators, and game-changers who are breaking the rules and rewriting the script of success. Buckle up for some serious badassery – and a whole lot of inspiration. New episodes every Monday.
And, because some of you are brand spanking new to this growing community (WELCOME!), here’s a recap of the initial line-up of badass guests. Their experience blows my mind – it ranges from playing professional basketball to producing The Oprah Winfrey Show to fighting disease at The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to disrupting the hospitality industry at Joie de Vivre Hotels and AirBNB to breaking through race and gender barriers in multiple industries to influencing user experience at Facebook. The one thing they have in common is that they’re all now on a mission – rebelling FOR something bigger than themselves:
Jessica Zweig – Rebelling FOR Authenticity
Cornell Thomas – Rebelling FOR Mindset
Cheryle Jackson – Rebelling FOR Grace and Justice
Chip Conley – Rebelling FOR Aspirational Aging
Sally Lou Loveman – Rebelling FOR Stories and Connection
Christina Glickman – Rebelling FOR Unapologetic Confidence
Dr. Erin Baker – Rebelling FOR the Power and Paradox of “AND”
Rochelle Webb – Rebelling FOR the Underdog Entrepreneur
Melody Miles – Rebelling FOR Freedom
And so many more to come.
In between some of those episodes, you’ll get a little rebel dose of yours truly riffing on juicy topics in what I’m calling my SOULisodes. Shorter, punchier conversations about things I’m passionate about like liberating souls, fulfillment, bigness, and possibility. If there’s a specific topic or question you want to hear my perspective on, email me!
I’ve also been a guest on quite a few podcasts lately so, when you finish bingeing Rebel Souls, here are some other soul supplements that might strike your fancy:
I’m here for each and every one of you. Shoot me an email and let me know what lit your soul on fire, what shifted your perspective for the weeks or months ahead, or how I can support you in any way.
And don’t be shy. If you love what you’re reading, share it with friends, family, clients, and colleagues who need a little more Soul Fuel in their lives. I mean, in this day and age, don’t we all?
Stay safe and soul-full my friends. And please do whatever you can to make a difference in whatever part of the country or world you’re in. Lots of love.