Happy New Year, Soul Fam!
I’m sending this a week later than usual because I gifted myself the luxury of no work, all play, and loads of sleep and sunshine from Christmas through the first days of January. The time away felt fabulous and oh-so-necessary to kick off this epic year from a place of strength. I’m hopeful that you all took some soul time as well. (And that you forgive me for being a little late to the party!)
Before I blast past that lesson, let’s pause for a minute. Doesn’t it feel magical when you finally make a decision to just LET GO? To fully commit that you’re not going to worry or ruminate, that that thing is not going to get done, that you’re not going to show up at that event (or write that newsletter) regardless of what anyone else says you should do? Of course it does. Because it allows us to stop wasting insane amounts of energy stressing about what we already know we aren’t going to do or don’t want to do. Keeping the door open is a drain. So, let’s liberate ourselves from indecision and worry and incessant should-ing this year. I’m celebrating the fact that I gave myself permission to be a week late so I could serve you even more powerfully. Where can you do the same in your life?
What a perfect segue to the themes of this year: Liberation and Love. (And not just because I love me some awesome alliteration.) Liberation refers to liberating ourselves from, well, ourselves and, like we just talked about, those things that suck our souls dry. It also refers to my mission in the world – to liberate a billion souls. That’s a big effing number, I know. Not something I can achieve on my own. My hope is that the book – and this passionate and growing community – will be catalysts that spark the movement. I’m feeling really energized about what we can accomplish together.
As for Love, it’s my guiding force this year. You’ll read a whole lot more on that in a minute.
Ready to cannonball into the deep end with me? 1…..2……3……
WHO OR WHAT IS INTRIGUING ME AT THE MOMENT
Just over a year ago, in December 2018, I met with the publishing team at Simon & Schuster (Tiller Press) about Soulbbatical. I remember exiting the building three hours later having agreed with the publisher that we wanted to make this book happen. I stood on 6th Avenue, in front of the iconic NYC publishing house, in a spell of freezing rain, pinching myself and taking a photograph to document what felt like a historic moment. Just in case it all turned out to be a dream.
Here we are, 13 months later, and my book baby is two days from being introduced to the world! It turns out it was a dream – the kind I’m fortunate enough to live and breathe in this lifetime. I’m incredibly humbled by the opportunity and by the feedback I’ve been receiving from advance readers, including a few members of the press who’ve recently interviewed me. It makes the vulnerability, tenderness, and courage of sharing my story feel worthwhile.
Learning the art and science of the publishing industry, especially around book launches, has been fascinating. Pre-orders matter (big time). Reviews matter (big time). Press matters (big time). All of these things factor into which books make the bestseller lists (NY Times here I come!), book clubs (I’m looking at you, Oprah!), and so much more. I’m also learning that I can’t do any of this on my own. What a beautiful masterclass in life, right? Of course we need to ask for help. That’s the code of a Chief Soul Officer.
The painful truth is that I’m fighting the urge to not ask for any help. It feels hard, and like pandering. But I believe in my message and I know support from this powerful community is what it’ll take to start down the path toward liberating a billion souls. Anything any of you can do/are willing to do to introduce my book baby (and our collective mission) into the world is greatly appreciated. Read the book first and then share your experience in the form of reviews, word of mouth, whatever feels right to you. I want this to be organic and inspiring and from the soul. Thank you from the top, bottom, and gooey center of my cracked-wide-open heart.
For those of you who have already read the book, thank you for diving in and reflecting your experience back to me. It would be such a gift if you could share your kind words with the world on Amazon and GoodReads. Reviews are the virtual equivalent of having your book displayed front and center on the new releases table at Barnes & Noble, Chapters, or your local indie shop. Seriously.
You can review on Goodreads today. Amazon reviews will be “turned on” on launch day (January 14th). I’m so grateful to anyone who can submit a review ASAP. For everyone who has yet to receive and read the book, just file this away in the recesses of your brain or make a note on your To Do list. Please know that I’m grateful for anything you can contribute. We are planting the seeds of the future together.
WHAT’S GOT MY ORANGE HIGHLIGHTER IN OVERDRIVE
One of the many gifts I received from time spent with Brené Brown last September was a profound book called All About Love: A New Vision by bell hooks. It was originally published in 2000, but it’s truly timeless and arguably more important than ever in today’s climate of divisiveness and hatred.
What I’m most moved by is that it challenges our traditional views on love. It seeks to redefine them. And it gives me so much hope for humanity – and my own life. The definition of love that bell hooks uses at the center of her manifesto is from psychiatrist M. Scott Peck (The Road Less Traveled). The richness of it knocked me off my feet: “Love is the will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth. Love is…both an intention and an action. We choose to love.”
Boom. Let that gem sink into your soul. Love is an action. Love is a choice. Love is connection. It’s so much more than familial love or romantic love or sexual desire – it’s an ethic of love by which we can live. Starting with ourselves. And it’s grounded in a responsibility for growth which feels so incredibly empowering. (If the word “spiritual” feels too woo-woo or religious, change it to “soul growth” or whatever works for you. Nothing to get your undies in a bundle about. Remember, choice.)
Living by a love ethic means we see ourselves as intimately connected to others in the world and “we learn to value loyalty and a commitment to sustained bonds over material advancement. While careers and making money remain important agendas, they never take precedence over valuing and nurturing human life and well-being.” And recognizing that the work we choose to do – and the humans we choose to be with – have a significant impact on our ability to be self-loving. Self-love is at the core of our loving practice. As hooks says, “do not expect to receive the love from someone else you do not give to yourself.” (Guilty as charged.)
Genuine love is not about instant gratification. It’s a long-term investment in transformation if we’re willing to be with the emotion, sit with the pain, and make the choice to do the work it demands of us. As hooks declares, “love empowers us to live fully and die well.” I’m a Hell Yes to all of that.
There’s so much more goodness in this book that feels very aligned to Soulbbatical and its evolution. The question I’ve been pondering is this – what does it look like to create 2020 (and the foundation for the next decade) inspired by a love ethic in my personal life, relationships, business, projects, writing, travel, etc.? Scroll down to “Experiencing” for my initial thoughts and then take some time to reflect on the question yourself. What would need to shift or change in your life in order for you to love and live more fully according to hooks’ definition?
Next up I’m shifting from love to hope. Mark Manson’s latest, Everything is F*cked: A Book About Hope,is at the top of my reading pile. Mark is author of the bestselling book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck which I thought had some real gems in it. If you like his style, he recently started a weekly email called “Motherf*cking Monday” that, of course, drops every Monday. It’s a hilarious and super insightful kickstart to your week. Check it out.
WHO/WHAT/WHERE IS GIVING ME ROCKET FUEL
The inspiration from bell hooks (above) guided me to declare 2020 as my YEAR OF LOVE. And I mean that in the most expansive way possible – really pushing myself to new edges in order to nurture the spiritual/soul growth of myself and others. It’s going to be the lens through which I think about how I invest (precious) energy, time, and money.
It will be the year of actively choosing to live by an ethic of love. Starting with donating 10% of the proceeds of my book sales to the Life is Priceless Foundation; speaking out for Mental Health awareness; formalizing a loving community of Chief Soul Officers; creating new and edgy experiences for my clients; getting international travel and retreats back on the agenda; and continuing to make my own well-being a top priority.
Book writing last year was hard AF, but also incredibly cathartic. More so than I could have ever imagined. It not only helped me crystallize the concept and lessons of Soulbbatical, it took me on an extraordinary healing journey. I’ve emerged so clear on my mission and with a heart that, for the first time in over a decade, isn’t armored up. It’s wide open. And I’m finally ready to be in a loving relationship again – with someone who shares this love ethic and focus on transformational growth. Individually and together. Maybe I’ll even write Soulbbatical: A Corporate Rebel’s Guide to Love detailing this journey one day. Who knows. Anything is possible.
The ethic of love is also inspiring me to (finally) take steps toward creating the formal community I’ve been promising. I envision calling it the Soul Circle – a sanctuary for inspired souls. A place where you can come for soul fuel, inspiration, connection, and coaching. It’ll be hosted as a private members-only community on Facebook with monthly live group coaching sessions/masterclasses, ongoing inspiration and challenges, dialogue, and more. I’m working out the details but it’s likely to be between US$400-500/year to participate which is less than the cost of a cup of coffee per day – and far more impactful! It’s also significantly cheaper than hiring me as your full-time coach. (Of course, my coaching clients will be enrolled for free as part of their work with me!) If this sounds interesting to you, shoot me a note saying “I’m IN” or “Tell me more.” I’m wide open to input and ideas at this stage as well. Can’t wait to get this love train rolling soon.
PODCAST EPISODES, VIDEOS, OR WORDS OF WISDOM
FROM MY TRIBE
I’m a huge fan of Moxiecast, my friend Mandy Lehto’s life lift-off podcast, and I finally got the chance to be on it! Listen here for our hot-off-the-presses episode where I talk about the Ten Commandments of being a Chief Soul Officer. These are simple choices that have the potential to transform your life immediately. (Notice I said simple, not easy. More on that in the book.)
Mandy is one of the most insightful and inquisitive minds around so check out other episodes of Moxiecast — Hazel Gale (a former fighter turned hypnotherapist) and Dr. Erin Baker (a social psychologist, coach, and former exec at Microsoft and Facebook) are two of my faves. If (like me) you enjoy a little motivational nugget in your inbox every morning, then subscribe to Mandy’s Daily Moxie. A daily dose of kick-in-the-pants wisdom delivered with a wink and a smile. It’s one of the few emails I open religiously.
I’m also honored to be featured this month on Conversations with Remarkable Women with Danielle Macleod (a fabulous friend and fellow coach). This episode was recorded over the summer while I was still deep in the throes of writing the book. It’s a unique perspective on what I was working through at the time and how some of the themes of the book were crystallizing. You can find all audio and video formats of the podcast here.
Danielle is a co-founder of Remarkable Women, a heart-centered membership community that helps women unleash their full potential in the world. She’s also a fellow author. Her book Remarkably Easy: How to Get Out of Your Own Way and Unleash Your Brilliance is one of my favorite recommendations. I loved it so much my endorsement appears on the cover!
Later this month I’ll be chatting with two more of my favorite ladies on Twenty Minutes with Bronwyn and The SimplyBe. Podcast with Jessica Zweig. These ladies are both forces of nature and forces for soulful change in the world. Check them out – and stay tuned for more!
As always, I would love for this newsletter to be the start of a deeper conversation with like-minded souls. I’m working on the community platform but, for now, feel free to shoot me an email or jump into the conversation on @soulbbatical (Instagram) or Soulbbatical Coaching (Facebook). Let me know what lit your soul on fire, what shifted your perspective for the week or month or year 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?
For those of you who’ve pre-ordered my book, it’ll be showing up this week! Enjoy the read and reflection. I’m so grateful for your support. For the rest of you, it’s not too late to pre-order. Click here!