A 1/2 Way Year in Review: 2017

I know.

I know. It has been a long while. I have been rocking my writing over on our Rock Your Bliss blog and sharing new content!

However. Here I am. 

I recently prompted in my monthly Goals Alive Newsletter to take the time to celebrate the 1/2 way mark that is July. As a goal setter, goal coach and well, goals everything, I find that I can often get caught up in the future, the next steps and forget to take the time to look back, celebrate and learn. 

So, here is my 1/2 way review from 2017, I invite you to do the same!

1) Celebrate your three greatest accomplishments this year. 

1) My daughter Evi now picks out a book and crawls in my lap to read. It is my favorite part of every single day.

2) I was honored beyond measure to create a 2 day people development retreat for Patagonia HQ in California. A company I have long followed and loved, I was honored to create content and deliver power goals work to their team in a badass house we rented called the Whale House (literally in the shape of a WHALE!). 

3) Our Rock Your Bliss retreats have fully sold out this year in under 2 weeks. So excited to be co-creating a movement of bliss with Mary Beth LaRue and connecting to a community of women that make my heart beat (online and offline)!

BONUS: We have friends in Colorado that we love!

2) Anything you want to change or work on for the back half of 2017, consider your core values, your intentions for the year that you sent in January or take a peek at your goals? 

As I write this, my right eye keeps having a weird little twitch. I am curious if this is connected to my screen time or the way that I am handling (or not handling) stress. After having our daughter, Evergreen, I have been meeting so many new parts of myself (fine, insert a minor identity crisis really as I took on the title, 'Mama). I would like to change my relationship with my phone and focus on boundaries. How: I have turned off all notifications (from text, Instagram, all of them) so I am not bombarded. I will batch my emails and not peek at the hidden folder!

3) Are there any new intentions to set or recalibrate? 

Creativity feels like the intention I choose for the rest of 2017. I am committing now to a new sweat regimen for my body that has evolved and changed after birth (to be determined if that is running, yoga, or something I don't even know yet). I want to commit to my writing. It matters. And as I sit here, I realize this year that I am open to new ways of being, as in ways I show up and it has to do with softening. Way more softening. 

And, I would like to continue my relationship with my sleep health (hello 7.5 hours for the win every night...when Evi allows it). 

4) And finally, what is one major accomplishment you would like to complete by December 31, 2017?

Chris and I have a deep seated goal of being homeowners in Colorado in the mountains. It feels big, emotional, daunting, and a dynamic goal we have to set aside our egos for and commit all in.

__

Okay, your turn.

Celebrate your 2017 year thus far and recalibrate for the rest. Always rooting for you and your goals alive!

Love,
Jacki 

A Year in Review: 2016

I walked in the snow to my local coffee shop to sit, write, reflect and concentrate. It was the 5th of January and 8 degrees outside, my phone froze on the way there. It was magic.

I wanted to take time to honor, learn and appreciate all that was 2016. Celebrate all the amazing that happened and get clear on some of the not so amazing that I can learn from today, now, in this moment. 

Upon sitting down at the community table with my Americano and one huge water, I opened my gold computer. Yes, it is totally new and I love it, yet I immediately closed it. I reached into my bag pulled out a turquoise notebook and a pen.

I began to write.

I began to feel. 

On the LEFT side of my page I wrote the word 'JOY' and on the RIGHT side of my page, I wrote the word 'LEARN' and above it was 2016 in large print and a note in the top L-hand that read 'A Year in Review'. I began to write on either side, flipping back and forth as my mind scrolled through the month of the past year. I caught myself in a public space on the brink of tears, as I often do as a fairly emotional human-Mama-being.

Here are a few of my reflections: 

JOY:

+ Falling in love with my body (perhaps for the first time, ever) while pregnant. Realizing the celebration, the acceptance, the immense power and magic was ... well, it was magic. 

+ The birth of our daughter, Evergreen Marie. My life and how I love is forever changed. I am Mama. 

+ How alignment with intuition matters in all domains of my life. Especially in love, in celebrating my marriage every single moment. 

+ My inaugural Novel Grapes Book Club Camp, a retreat to Grand Lake. We hiked, we wine'd, we book club'd, we face mask'd. It was magic and I led the entire retreat with Evi there (with support of her Grandpa and my husband, of course)!

+ So grateful for a family who flies in to support and spoil Evi so that I can share my gifts with the World.

+ Launching our first Rock Your Bliss 7 Weeks to Bliss online offering with Mary Beth LaRue. And then offering it twice more in one year. A whole new chapter to RYB, the community is real.

+ My college best friend, Alex and her husband moved to Colorado. Alex held my hand at my home when I went into labor and was one of the very first people to meet Evi Earthside. Special.

+ The actual monumental feat of labor + delivery with Chris. The teamwork, the listening and the deep seated love we share, I cry typing this. I promised to listen to Chris in our wedding vows and I listened like I have never before when he coached me breath by breath to meet our daughter. 

+ Seeing my best friend, Matt Hoglund stand up on a stage and produce and rock his one-man-show in support of his trip to Africa with Imagine1Day. My heart on fire as my family flew to LA to surprise and support him!

+ On a microphone in front of a group of people is my bliss. I am a public speaker and I love the work that goes into it, all the jitters and the major connection it creates. This is me on purpose. 

LEARN:

+ Dear Jacki, learn again and again to keep in the practice of listening to your whole body and slow way, way, way down. Or, the Universe will make you.

+ Healing takes time. Enter patience. This is grace. 

+ There is no such thing as over communication.

+ On a beach with Mary Beth in February, our friendship transformed and do I and of course, so di our business. Real talk for the win. Every single time.

+ Asking for help and realizing that I really cannot do it alone. And, I don't want to. 

+ Learning that my natural state is abundance and releasing inherited legacies that do not make all those amazing images on my vision board even feel close/real. Patterns run deep. 

+ Everything in my calendar, I said 'yes' to. Make sure to say YES to your values and all of you (beyond career and money)!

+ If you feel something, say something. 

+ Making friends in your 30s is still...so interesting. 

+ Sleep IS important. 

+ My writing is salve to my soul. And there are some days where I receive an email from someone that read my words and relates and perhaps we get to heal and laugh, together. That is why I write. 

.
.

 Grounded in my celebrations and my learnings, 2017 I am ready. Now. 

Love, Jacki 

Photo X CJ Conrad

Photo X CJ Conrad

A Monthly Review: December + January Intentions

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Each month I have a ritual of clearing out the bullshit that might have been my previous month, celebrating all the good stuff (a must) and then I create a space for the new month with three new words and goals to set my sails on a conscious course (inspired by the amazing Nicole Antoinette).  I find it to be an intentional practice that creates a checks & balances type system, hello accountability and personal responsibility.

So, here we go, January 1...I mean, January 5 wake up, get up...

The two things I’m most celebrating from December are:

1) I completed my igolu Level 2 Practicum calls with five groups of incredible humans! For my Level 2 certification that I had embarked in for most of the duration of 2016, I practiced with brave souls who graciously allowed me to 'practice on them'. Celebrating and awaiting my certificate to start offering it monthly!

2) I made a commitment to myself to read over the holidays and truly relax. This took asking my husband and his family for support to watch Evi or turn on the fireplace so I could snuggle next to it with my holiday read of Rob Lowe's Autobiography. And I am happy to say, I did just that!

The two things I’m most grateful for from December are:

1) Grateful for family, my own and my Hynes family. Creating new traditions and sharing the love during my favorite season. 

2) So grateful for all the love Evi received on her first Christmas season! 

Anything to release or let go of from December, speak now: Honestly, I have felt some money drama creeping into my mind and wellbeing. Choosing to release it right .... now. 

The lesson I learned and am carrying forward with me from December is: Being open to the magic of change allows life to run much more smoothly. 

My intention word(s) for January is/are: RELAX

One thing I aim to do every day in January is: trust my gut. 

Because I am brave, here are two new/scary things I will do in January:

1) Get on a plane with Evi as we travel to California to host the Rock Your Bliss Ojai retreat! Honestly, every month on a plane ride is different, we shall see what this one brings. Reminder to self: I am Strong as a Mother. 

2) I will sign up for a Beginners' Knitting Class!

The one book I definitely want to read in December is ... 'The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World' by the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu with Douglas Abrams. We are reading this for my Novel Grapes online book club. Goal to read in 2017, you are invited! Join in here. 

Just for fun, I will… go snowshoeing in Rocky!

As an act of intentional kindness, I will… do that wonderful thing where you buy someone's coffee in the drive thru or in line. I will do this five times this month!

Your turn, explore your monthly review and get intentional with your month of January. No time like the present to get intentional and maybe press that RESTART button (or hell, even press START).

Happy 2017. A Year in Review to follow. 

Love, Jacki

A Monthly Review: November + December Intentions

Each month I have a ritual of clearing out the bullshit that might have been my previous month, celebrating all the good stuff (a must) and then I create a space for the new month with three new words and goals to set my sails on a conscious course (inspired by the amazing Nicole Antoinette).  I find it to be an intentional practice that creates a checks & balances type system, hello accountability and personal responsibility.

So, here we go, December 1 wake up, get up...

The two things I’m most celebrating from November are:

1) Totally celebrating Chris and I for roadtripping to my hometown of Houston, Texas for Thanksgiving, with a jaunt in Austin for the weekend of fun before! We had great conversation as the open road always calls for that, Evi baby was an absolute dream roadtripper and we enjoyed family love and delicious turkey!

2) I am celebrating my best friend Matt Hoglund for absolutely rocking his goal of delivering one sweet one-man show in California to support his Imagine1day fundraiser. We flew out to surprise him and bare witness to the magic and he brought the house down via voice, killed it in the style department in a merlot suit, and met his goal of raising over 10K for his March trip to deliver igolu and build a school in Ethiopia! WOW!

The two things I’m most grateful for from November are:

1) A lot of my favorite humans were born in November. My Mama, my littlest sister, my best friend Alex, my husband...(to name a few!). Honestly grateful they were born. Period. 

2) My middle little sister moved to Colorado! She is taking up residence in our guest room and we have sipped red wine watching holiday films, she is loving up Evi bear while I travel in December and she cooks! We have a very special sister bond and it is a joy to see her every morning, truly. We used to share a trundle bed growing up, how fun to be roommates again! Now all the Carr sisters live in CO, so I will sing WE ARE FAMILY, I GOT ALL MY SISTERS WITH ME!

Anything to release or let go of from November, speak now: Whoa nelly. I packed my plate too full this month of November. I release the imbalance in my calendar (and mind) and have decided to take a TAKE 2 with my scheduling for December. 

The lesson I learned and am carrying forward with me from November is: I keep learning this lesson and it bares repeating: Alignment does not happen just once, it happens always and in all ways. Communication is clutch, keep it up. 

My intention word(s) for December is/are: MINDFUL. 

One thing I aim to do every day in December is: Move this body. Run, yoga, dance, bootcamp and pilates, I am back and it feels so good to be exploring this postpartum bod with self love, grace and all the gentle cheerleading.

Because I am brave, here are two new/scary things I will do in December:

1) Make the time to take myself for a massage. Mary Beth and I gifted each other one to celebrate all the Rock Your Bliss love of 2016 and I keep saying I will book it and I don't put it on the calendar. On it. 

2) I will celebrate Christmas with my husband's family this year. This is very new for me as every year I have celebrated at my Grandmas' respective houses with my own family in Indiana. Tradition run deep for me. And I know that marriage is splitting time with our families that we love and I am ready to go all in and experience the Hynes Holidays. And yes, I am scared that I will have FOMO and be emotional and miss my Gram. And yes, yes, I know I will be totally fine and it will be so special to explore new traditions. #grownup

The one book I definitely want to read in December is ... 'The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom' by don Miguel Ruiz. We are reading this for my Novel Grapes online book club, you are invited, join in here. 

Just for fun, I will… host an ugly sweater Christmas soiree!

As an act of intentional kindness, I will… create a free online workshop in December, details TBD!

Your turn, explore your monthly review and get intentional with your month of December. No time like the present to get intentional and maybe press that RESTART button (or hell, even press START).

Happy December and HAPPIEST HOLIDAYS TO YOU and YOURS!

Love, Jacki

My fave holiday pic from life in Venice Beach, CA! Photo Cred: Armin Razmy

My fave holiday pic from life in Venice Beach, CA! Photo Cred: Armin Razmy

A Monthly Review: October & November Intentions

Each month I have a ritual of clearing out the bullshit that might have been my previous month, celebrating all the good stuff (a must) and then I create a space for the new month with three new words and goals to set my sails on a conscious course (inspired by the amazing Nicole Antoinette).  I find it to be an intentional practice that creates a checks & balances type system, hello accountability and personal responsibility.

So, here we go, November 1 wake up, get up...

The two things I’m most celebrating from October are:

1) I celebrate my parents. This past month I got to SEE and experience their vision come to life as I visited their home in Florida. My parents spoke for years about retiring in Florida, walking the beach on the sand and all the happy hour. And they did it, they really did it! The house is bought, decorated and so damn sweet. Retirement in sight and my heart really expands in size witnessing them as grandparents. 

2) Three words. LUSH BATH BOMBS. (Note: This is not a sponsored post. However, I would be really happy if it was...did you hear that LUSH?)

The three things I’m most grateful for from October are:

1) Our Fall Edition of our Rock Your Bliss online program, 7 Weeks to Bliss came to its final week this October. I am so grateful for the participation, the connection, the tribe, the growth I experience every time in leading and living this work. I literally have a countdown ready for the next launch!

2) If you are a friend of mine, you know I bask in the glow of quality time. Erin Thomas, my best friend from IU college days, thank you for the quality time in Indianapolis this past month. So grateful you spent time with the little lady, Evi so I could speak at the conference, so grateful we ordered that second beer and busted out the core value cards in the bar, grateful truly walking the mall with you, and so grateful you keep me around. Thankful for you. 

3) I am so grateful for talented friends in my life who share their gifts so radiantly. Like my wedding photographer turned dear friend, Tayler Carlisle, who I love hiking with, sitting with, drinking butter coffee with. We went on a hike this past month in Evergreen, Colorado and styled some fun snaps with brands I love to show love. Evi slept on a plaid blanket while I got to feel like a freaking supermodel in the trees. It was so empowering for me to see pictures of just me. I have been pregnant and holding sweet Evi for the last 16 months. And you know I love it so much. And, I do want you to know, seeing these images, I felt beautiful, I felt powerful, I felt so me in these pictures. That other part of my identity. Thankful for friends who let me see and feel ALL the parts of me.  

Anything to release or let go of from October, speak now: Truth be told, I hit the panic button this past month. Deep in the depths of how my life, my bank account, my mother-ing skills and my career life SHOULD look, I lost my way for a hot minute (okay, way longer than a minute). I choose to let go of the tight grip of an old belief system. Letting. that. shit. go. 

The lesson I learned and am carrying forward with me from October is: Again and again I learn that communication is key. Whether it is learning to ask for help, sharing when it gets dark in here, and crying in front of my husband, expression is where it is at. 

My intention word(s) for November is/are: Trust the timing. 

One thing I aim to do every day in November is: Write myself a love note every morning. 

Because I am brave, here are two new/scary things I will do in November:

1) I will do a full day digital detox. A say no to screens day. It is so necessary.

2) Cook a three course meal for my husband! (HELP ME!)

The one book I definitely want to read in November is 'Lots of Candle, Plenty of Cake: A Memoir of a Woman's Life' by Anna Quindlen. We are reading this for my Novel Grapes online book club, you are invited, join in here. 

Just for fun, I will… sake bomb with my family over Thanksgiving holiday!

As an act of intentional kindness, I will… leave these love notes all over Denver, Houston and Idaho!

Your turn, explore your monthly review and get intentional with your month of November. No time like the present to get intentional and maybe press that RESTART button (or hell, even press START).

Happy November and dare I say it, HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Love, Jacki

Me in the trees.  Photo Cred: @taylercarlislephotography

Me in the trees.  Photo Cred: @taylercarlislephotography

How to Look in the Mirror

Dear Evi,

I have many dreams for you. As your Mama, it is what we do. We dream dreams for you. Every single day. 

Lately, I have been having a recurring dream. It is a day dream, so that is a dream that happens in the days as I am wide awake. In these days at your wise age of 5.75 months old, our moments are filled with reading books, playing on the floor and looking in the mirror. Yes, we look in the mirror about 18 times a day because you love it so much. 

Let me tell you about you and the mirror. 

Evi, when you look in the mirror, at first you are in wonder. Your brain seems to be capturing the image in front of you, you in my arms, your eyes, your face, my face. And you contemplate for a moment. 

Then, you smile. You smile the biggest smile at yourself. As if you have never seen someone so wonderful, so beautiful, so full of life and growing every day. 

Then you pause again. To think it through, from what I can see.

And following that thought you smile again and make a loud noise. And then you get a little bashful and retreat into my shoulder and then pop back up again to make sure you are still there. And you are. You are still there, alive and growing and beaming and cooing. 

And I kiss your face. And you reach for the mirror. You reach for your reflection. You reach for yourself in that moment, as if to give yourself a high five or that ET Phone Home moment with your index finger. 

These moments in the mirror, I learn from you.

Or moreover, I unlearn. 

Because it has been a long, long, long time since Mama looked at herself this way. Since I can even remember. When I look in the mirror I am looking for problems. I lean in and seek the blemish, I lean in and see the eyebrow growth or ever recurring mustache. I lean in closer to see if my eyes look tired or inquire if my bangs will EVER grow out again or if my boobs will ever match again. I lean in to criticize my reflection.

But not anymore. 

You have taught me to see myself and smile. You have taught me to look at the whole picture, contemplate and laugh. You have taught me to see myself growing and being oh so human and alive. Now, I reach for myself in that reflection, instead of the approval of others.

I dream for you that you always look at yourself this way in the mirror today and every day to come. Always. I dream for you that you smile and see you growing into the person you choose to be. I dream for you that you laugh out loud at yourself and that you continue to reach for yourself, high five yourself or ET phone home with your index finger and recognize that you are home within your own body when you choose that fierce, bold, courageous love of your own reflection. 

I dream this for you.

I dream this for me.

I dream this for all women when they looks themselves in the mirror that they smile, and laugh, and high five and so boldly love all that we are becoming.  

Thank you for teaching me, Evi. I promise to keep (un)learning.

Love, your student, your Mama

A Monthly Review: September and October Intentions

Each month I have a ritual of clearing out the bullshit that might have been my previous month, celebrating all the good stuff (a must) and then I create a space for the new month with three new words and goals to set my sails on a conscious course (inspired by the amazing Nicole Antoinette).  I find it to be an intentional practice that creates a checks & balances type system, hello accountability and personal responsibility.

So, here we go, October 1, wake up, get up...

The two things I’m most celebrating from September are:

1) My inaugural Novel Grapes Book Club Retreat in Grand Lake, Colorado was a goal come to life and much, much more than I could have ever imagined. The attendees were incredible, the book club conversations went deep and the Fall leaves changed on cue, the mountain weather was immaculate, my Dad was there as my 'manny (you know, male-nanny)' to watch Evi, and a sisterhood was created in 4 days that left an imprint on my heart and nourished my soul to the absolute brim. I celebrate the courage I had to put it out there and create from my heartspace.

2) And I am celebrating my dynamic life this month, as I travelled for work to LA and Des Moines to Rock the Bliss with Mary Beth LaRue for five full days away from Evi and I only had a major breakdown three times (all at the airports). I am a Mother AND and an entrepreneur, living my 'and' with purpose. 

The two things I’m most grateful for from September are:

1) I am so, so, so, so grateful for family. My Dad flew in from Texas to watch Evi so I could lead book camp (and he could steal Grandpa time, my Mom is so jealous!). My husband drove up to book camp and upon arrival he immediately washed dishes, made fires and told me I was doing a great job. And my Mother-in-Law flew in to watch Evi for the five days I was flying around making bliss happen. Thankful for the village.

2) My little sister texted me this past month asking to come 'home' and hang with Chris, Evi and me. A dose of family goes a long way when feeling a bit of homesick your first weeks in college (she is an hour away at University of Northern Colorado, Go Bears!). I am grateful we have the relationship where she can call me and be honest about what she is feeling, it really makes me feel loved and the big sister role never, ever, ever gets old (even when she is all grown up).

Anything to release or let go of from September, speak now: I am releasing the pressure to make a round peg fit into a square hole. If whatever project I am working on does not organically flow, I have choice to start over, reach out for help, let it go and move on and last but not least, the all too often forgotten action of breathing. 

The lesson I learned and am carrying forward with me from September is: Dear Self, you are so capable of more than you know. Take it one day at a time, one meeting at a time, one coffee cup at a time. 

My intention word(s) for October is/are: JOY. 

One thing I aim to do every day in October is: Write. I have joined a writer's workshop this month to continue to learn about my authentic voice. I will be committing to the space in my schedule to continue to create that portal for myself and others where I share my truth, express my thoughts and heal. 

Because I am brave, here are two new/scary things I will do in October:

1) I will go on vacation. For some people this seems easy or luxurious, yet for me and my work ethic, this feels scary. I am off to Florida with my family this month and I do have some hours on the sand and red wine to sip with my family that feels essential to my soul. 

2) I will create a LIVE online workshop for CORE VALUES and send each attendee their own core values deck that I had made!

Pssst, I totally (finally) wore the lingerie from my last month's intention blog. Nailed it. 

The one book I definitely want to read in October is: 'Love Warrior' by Glennon Doyle Melton. We are reading this for my Novel Grapes online book club, you are invited, join in here. 

Just for fun, I will… make a pact with my husband that every time the song 'My Boo' plays we absolutely have to stop what we are doing and do the Running Man Challenge dance. Public places, shower, bedroom, at the park...it is on. 

As an act of intentional kindness, I will… send 6 snail mail postcards out to bring some love to your old school mailbox. Stamps purchased!

Your turn, explore your monthly review and get intentional with your month of October. No time like the present to get intentional and maybe press that RESTART button (or hell, even press START).

Happy October to you and you and you! I LOVE FALL!

Love, Jacki

That one time at the Novel Grapes Book Camp when I planned us a guided boat tour and when we arrived to our pontoon boat, they handed ME the keys and I was the tour guide. Happened. Photo Cred: Tayler Carlisle Photography

That one time at the Novel Grapes Book Camp when I planned us a guided boat tour and when we arrived to our pontoon boat, they handed ME the keys and I was the tour guide. Happened.

Photo Cred: Tayler Carlisle Photography

That Mom Life, Though: A Product Review

Okay Mamas, it is about time I put together some of the products that are rocking my Mom Life game. I know every baby is different and I also know we are all doing the best we can with what we have got. And hell, I might have something you don't got that you are going to want to get got!

Here we go:

1) California Baby | We put this Newborn gift set on our registry and are still using it! We love the products and the French Lavender lotion is perfect after bath and helps calm her to sleep (you will see, I am a fan of anything and everything to support sleep). 

2) This Petal doTerra Diffuser | My doTerra heartbeat and founder of Inspired Wellness, Audra gifted us this diffuser before Evi was born. We use it every. single. day. I even had it in my labor & delivery room. We fill it up with Lavender, On Guard, Breathe, or Lemon (to name a few) and sleep like bricks (yes, Evi, too). 

3)  Baby Merlin's Magic Sleepsuit | Evi literally looks like Ralphie's little bro (Randy) from A Christmas Story when he can't put his arms down in all that winter gear. And she sleeps like a dream, so thank you to the wizard makers.

4) These Baba Bandz | It was really important for Chris to feed Evi to feel that connection. Took me a month and a half to get that pump life going and when I did, I needed a note on the bottles in the fridge to know which was which and what was still fresh! These rubber bands are a dream to add the dates/times to each bottle!

5) My Strong as a Mother Club tank top. | Because it says Strong as a Mother. Period.

6) Bla Bla Dolls | These soft and sweet dolls are so ugly they are cute. Evi was gifted Legend the Unicorn by her Auntie Allyson and she wraps her arms around it and my heart expands just a little bit more. 

7) bebebyme Baby Headphones | We took Evi to her first concert to see Ray Lamontagne and she rocked these mint green headphones like a baby champion!

8) Moccasins, All the baby moccasins! | We love minimocs (yep, in neon hot pink) and moc happens from Itzy Ritzy (we have the little fox pair!). Great gifts to give and so fun to see on chubby baby legs!  

9) Ergo Baby | I went a little crazy trying all the baby wearing carries. And we love the Ergo. We are hikers and on-the-go, so this was a MUST. 

10) BOB Revolution Flex Stroller | We love this heavy duty stroller, I am still exploring my jogging legs and this stroller makes me feel pretty badass. 

11) A Pak N Play | Get one. We have this Graco one in navy blue and love it!

Moms, what are your favorites? We can add to the list, these are a few of my favorites thus far!

Love, Mama Jacki (and Evi)

A visit to Rocky Mountain National Park. 

A visit to Rocky Mountain National Park. 

A Monthly Review: August and September Intentions

Each month I have a ritual of clearing out the bullshit that might have been my previous month, celebrating all the good stuff (a must) and then I create a space for the new month with three new words and goals to set my sails on a conscious course (inspired by the amazing Nicole Antoinette).  I find it to be an intentional practice that creates a checks & balances type system, hello accountability and personal responsibility.

So, here we go, September 1 (okay, its the 2nd), wake up, get up...

The two things I’m most celebrating from August are:

1) I am celebrating the word 'and'. I am a Mama AND I am an entrepreneur. This past month I added work travel to my calendar and felt like a powerhouse she-woman, to be real. I also learned how to ask for help, wrangle a breast pump and feel the radiance JOMO (joy of missing out) when living your values. 

2) Chris and I travelled to LA to see our framily (friend+family) and had an incredible time introducing Evi to our favorite humans and the wise, old Pacific Ocean. Celebrating the deep connection of friends that love you and you love them right back.

The two things I’m most grateful for from August are:

1) I am grateful for an angel child that sleeps through the night (at the moment). I am not meaning to brag over here, but the girl can sleep! We use this lite pink puffy thing called Merlin's Magic Sleep Suit and you guys, it is magic. 

2) My best friend, Alex Christensen, with whom I share so many big life memories (we have known each other since college, travelled Australia, moved to LA together and now are neighbors in Denver), took part in my igolu Level 1 August series. Sharing my coaching with my best friends is really powerful and I am grateful she came open and willing to learn new tools with me at the helm.

Anything to release or let go of from August, speak now:  I am releasing my tight grip on how my family life and my communication with my husband 'should' look and sound and I am open to how we create it as our own family unit our way.

The lesson I learned and am carrying forward with me from August is: The truth will always, always, always set you free. 

My intention word(s) for September is/are: Let it be. 

One thing I aim to do every day in September is: Find quiet and meditate. I did this so much while I was pregnant and I am feeling a pull to have this practice in my life.  I just ordered a new gold meditation pillow from Samaya. Yes, material things help me commit, like new running shoes. My goal is to build a meditation space on my back porch and meditate in the crisp Fallish weather. 

Because I am brave, here are two new/scary things I will do in September:

1) I will have the best inaugural Novel Grapes Book Club Retreat because I am passionate about offering a space to hammock, read, hike and sip wine. Grand lake, here we come! 

2) I will wear lingerie! I said it and I meant it. (I guess I didn't mean it because I failed this last month, keeping it because I keep my promises).

The one book I definitely want to read in September is: 'The Girls with the Lower Back Tattoo' by Amy Schumer. We are reading this for my Novel Grapes online book club I lead on Facebook, join in here.

Just for fun, I will… dance at Red Rocks Theater under the stars to Ray Lamontagne LIVE with my husband!

As an act of intentional kindness, I will… host an amazing donation-based vision board party in Ft. Collins with Our Goddess Movement to support my best friend, Matt Hoglund's service trip to Ethiopia with imagine1day!

Your turn, explore your monthly review and get intentional with your month of August. No time like the present to get intentional and maybe press that RESTART button (or hell, even press START).

Happy September to you and you and you! I LOVE FALL!

Love, Jacki

West Coast FRAMILY. 

West Coast FRAMILY. 

A Monthly Review: July Review and August Intentions

Each month I have a ritual of clearing out the bullshit that might have been my previous month, celebrating all the good stuff (a must) and then I create a space for the new month with three new words and goals to set my sails on a conscious course (inspired by the amazing Nicole Antoinette).  I find it to be an intentional practice that creates a checks & balances type system, hello accountability and personal responsibility.

So, here we go, August 1, wake up, get up...

The two things I’m most celebrating from July are:

1) The hustle and the heart. I found myself more patient this month in regards to balancing time with full time work, mama life and wife life. I checked in to what felt exciting, what felt forced and what I want to create space for. 

2)  I am back in my running shoes! My training launched for my upcoming 1/2 marathon in October and I have been creating the time in my calendar to log the miles. Though I feel like walkers are passing me, I am out there creating my new stride. NOTE: I was talking to another Mama today and our egos would like shirts or tanks that read something like badass mom getting her stride post-baby. Something catchy, let us know...

The two things I’m most grateful for from July are:

1) My husband's relationship with our daughter. Their special before-bed-book is Dr. Seuss' 'The Lorax' and it is so much a heart melter to see him read to her and love her. My heart, making more room.

2) I have a new mantra on repeat when I am washing my face at night. It goes like this: "thank you body, thank you for supporting me". I get really grateful for my body that houses my brain to do big work. My body that carried our child and then delivered her safely earth side. My body that gets out to run. My body that is going to take all the time it needs to continue to restore and recover. Thank you, body.

Anything to release or let go of from July, speak now:  I don't always have to be available. Put your phone down and allow the email inbox to be batched. 

The lesson I learned and am carrying forward with me from July is: Eye contact is soul medicine. Be it your barista, your three month old daughter, your beloved, your best friend or a stranger at a stop light, look into the eyes. This is the magic. 

My intention word(s) for August is/are: Connect & Create.

One thing I aim to do every day in August is: In bed and asleep by 10:30pm (starting tomorrow...). 

Because I am brave, here are two new/scary things I will do in August:

1) I will travel for work. The airfare is booked, the breast milk is pumped and the agendas are written. Time to see how it feels to get back in the airplane saddle as a Mama! LA and Wisconsin, see you this month!

2) I will wear lingerie! I said it and I meant it. (You are welcome, honey!).

The one book I definitely want to read in August is: 'The Alchemist: A Fable about Following  Your Dreams' by Paulo Coelho. We are reading this for my Novel Grapes online book club I lead on Facebook, join in here.

Just for fun, I will… get my hair cut and styled. It is way, way, way past due.

As an act of intentional kindness, I will… sign up to run the Pajama 5K in Denver, all proceeds to directly to buying sleeping bags for the homeless!

Your turn, explore your monthly review and get intentional with your month of August. No time like the present to get intentional and maybe press that RESTART button (or hell, even press START).

Happy August to you and you and you! Get outside!

Love, Jacki

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6 Days Postpartum

I had been told that my sweet daughter would teach me many things in my lifetime, I would be her true student. This, of course, shared by other Mamas and very specifically shared in a Vedic reading and a crystal grid chart.

Cue hippie shit, yep, I love it. All of it.

I guess what I didn't realize is how fast the learnings would come as soon as Evergreen entered Earth side. As you know from my birth story, my heart basically exploded the day she was born (along with my lady parts, truth). It was the most incredible and gnarly experience of my life and to be honest, a smooth and healthy labor and delivery. 

The day they dismissed me from the hospital and removed the security tag off my sweet babe, they wheeled me out with Evi into the sweet fresh air to our JEEP. Through the Mom haze, I could not believe they were letting us just take her home. And it was eerie getting in that car that just two days before I was having contractions and yelling at Chris to slow the eff down over the bumps but go faster all at the same time. 

Having a baby is absolutely surreal.

So we get home and we are settling in. My parents and one of my sisters arrive to help. Mom takes over in the kitchen filling up the freezer and requesting to hold her first grandbaby every second possible. My Dad had to sneak in snuggles. Hell, Chris and I had to sneak in snuggles.

I slept here and there but to be honest, not near enough. I did not take well to the whole you sleep while the baby sleeps thing. My family was here and it was all too exciting to watch (and so emotional). I remember experiencing and truly beholding the moments that my family held Evi in her first days. I would have to escape downstairs to breathe and capture the moments in my heart through ragged breath and tears. So much love, I didn't know where to put it all. I still don't.

So we are getting in a groove. My boobs are seeing the light of day more than any time in their life and they must be loving it because they are ginormous.

On day six, my dear pregnant friend and talented photographer, Anne Talhelm Bailey had offered to come over and take pictures of me and my family. I thought it would be so special to get pictures of my parents with Evi. And it really was.

I decided to be bold and put on some of my tight maternity jeans for the photo shoot. My friend Anne's eyeballs popped out and she told me I looked great. My ego puffed up and I thanked her as I secretly wanted to be one of those Mom's that just bounces back to her pre-baby weight (note: I am not one of those moms).

About 40 minutes into the photo shoot, something is not right with me. I excuse myself from the living room love session behind a camera lens and run downstairs. 

Now, some of you may know this and some of you may not, so I will tell you. After you have a baby, you as Mama get to wear a diaper, too. When you think about it, it makes sense. You just pushed a watermelon out of your vagina. Chaos ensues after as you begin to heal. It is science people. Well, upon running downstairs to "check my own diaper", I see that I am bleeding quite heavily. I breathe, change up all the wrapping and come back upstairs.

Still bleeding. I go to the upstairs bathroom near all the family to call my doctor. They give me some advice and I figure I might be fine...sort of. In a matter of 20ish minutes, I call in my Mom to the bathroom. I am hemorrhaging blood and have filled the toilet bowl. It is beyond clear that I have to go to the Emergency Room.

Photo shoot. Over.

My sweet husband is at work, so I call him to meet me at the ER with tears filling my eyes and fear in every cell of my postpartum body. My family shuffles around to get Evi ready in her car seat, my Dad pulls the car to the front and I have my sister pack me a change of pants. 

Chris is waiting for us at the ER and I am wheeled in and the nurses hook me up to IV's in both arms and begin to examine what is going on. I pass a few plum size blood clots and start feeling sick. They order an ultrasound to figure out what is going on.

Now, here is the kicker. I am wheeled down the hall to the exam room to get an ultrasound. These are so fun when you are pregnant, so NOT fun when you are not pregnant. The tech needs me to empty my bladder to be able to see. I get up to go to the bathroom with Chris by my side, I sit down on the toilet and I look at my sweet husband straight in the eyes and I say, "Chris, I'm going, I'm going". And my eyes begin to roll and everything starts to get really blurry.

He begs me to stay with him and I hold on as long as possible. And then I completely pass out. Chris tells me that he caught me off of the toilet as he was pulling the emergency chord and carried me back to the bed. 

I wake up to all these chords being placed on my chest and what seemed like 22 doctors and nurses surrounding me. I search for Chris and I speak and sound so drunk. I have actually never passed out before in my life. 

So as you can imagine, I am beyond freaked out. My body is shaking. My mind is racing and I'm thinking about my brand new baby daughter, my family, my future. I go to dark places and then shake them off as the sweet nurses remind me I am okay.

I get back to the original room and this sweet Canadian nurse is there to take care of me. God bless the nurses and Canada, for that matter. She is checking signs, pumping me with the goods to feel better and hydrate my body. Blood loss is no joke.

So to make a long and scary ass story a bit shorter, I pass a few more clots. Okay, more like 12ish and my doc finally calls it that we are going in for surgery, what is called a D&C. At this point, they are not super clear on what is causing the bleeding and it is time to go in and find out.

It is about 10pm at this point. My daughter is with my family and they say she is being amazing, of course she is. She has had to be fed formula as I am in no shape to breastfeed. Which you should know, I am so upset about. In that moment, I felt so helpless and like a terrible mother that I could not provide for my child. I cried about this often. Thank you Chris for reminding me that I had to take care of me first so that I can take care of Evi. A reminder I lean on again and again and again.

Planning for surgery, we are signing the paperwork. You know the documents that read about all the scary stuff when you have to take anesthesia and if you have to have a blood transfusion. Your life on a dotted line. I think to myself how ironic it was to have a drug-free labor and delivery and six days later I am being pumped with all of them.

Before they wheel me out, I get a wave. I get a wave of strength and human she power I have never felt before. I text my favorite people and I request prayers. I take Chris' hand and I look him in those big blue eyes and I tell him that I am going to be fine. And at this point, I know I will be. Even after my doctor had stated that they would wake me up if we need to talk further procedures, like a hysterectomy. I know in all of my being I am going to be okay. 

I cannot say Chris knew, at that point. I cannot even imagine what it must have been like to be him next to my bedside as I passed so many clots, passed out into his arms, and the docs have no real reason to tell him or for him to believe that I will be fine. Can you even imagine?  I can't and I was living it. He is my rock, my all time favorite rock.

So I am wheeled into this all white surgery room with this ginormous light over the bed. It is like alien status light, one that seems it could just suck me right out of this planet. As you know, and as I shared, I wasn't going anywhere.

My doc was a champ and performed the D&C quickly. They found a blood clot in my uterus the size of an orange. Say what? I know, an orange. Basically, from what I can tell you in my non-doctor speak is that my body was thinking I was still pregnant due to the clot. It was sending blood to a placenta that no longer existed and the clot got so big I could not pass it. Hence, the hemorrhage and ER run. I have to think that it was those damn tight maternity jeans that made it happen when it did, the ego trying to prove and live into some dramatic expectation of a body that bounces back like a unicorn. Life lessons, damn.  

At the end of the evening, my family came in to see me. They brought me my sweet Evi girl and within minutes I had her to my breast to nourish her and nourish me. It was like soul salve when she latched on and I stepped back into the Mother role in that very moment and my whole being sighed. 

I had lost 1 LITER of blood. My doc told my Mother that I was operating on about 2/3 of blood that a normal human should be and we would see how I did overnight before considering a transfusion (more paperwork). 

I was fucking exhausted. Physically, emotionally and spiritually.  

I barely slept that night as every two hours the nurses came to check on all the vital signs. And you know, nightmares of thinking what might have happened. The next morning I woke up and was told that if I could walk to the bathroom by myself, I could go home. My blood levels were low and yet if I could walk, I could probably handle the number I was at. 

Well, I tried and failed. Twice. 

The first time I stood up and took three steps and felt the pass out coming on. When I am about to faint, I hear a train coming. And there I was telling the nurses, "Oh no, I hear the train". Kicked it in reverse and back to bed.

Tried the second time but only made it about 7 steps.

Shit. 

The nurses told Chris to leave me for two hours so that I could sleep. He and Evi could roam the halls or explore the family room and watch some TV there. Mama had to get some rest to try to walk it out. 

Here is the deal, people. There comes a point in one's life where will power can kick in. This point in my life was at about 2:00pm that day when I literally had to go to the bathroom so bad I could not take it any more. So the will power to make it to the bathroom as to not have to shit in a bowl in my hospital bed was STRONG. 

I got up. I breathed deep and I talked to myself with all the encouragement I could muster. 

And damn, you know I made it to the bathroom that time. 

VICTORY.

My docs decided I did not have to have the blood transfusion while also sharing that the month of May was going to be one slow month of recovery. Very, very, very slow, said a sweet larger nurse in a Southern accent whom I adored. 

I nodded in agreement that I would take it slow (realizing I had no idea what that even meant).

So I prove that I can walk again an hour later and I even take a shower. 

We return back home and my family kicks it into overdrive with support. The flights are extended, my Dad is to fly back that next week to support. Chris' parents will be in the day my Dad departs and we will get through this. Together. 

So just as that sweet and large-and-in-charge nurse had said in her Southern accent, May was slow going. The morning I woke up the next day, I begin walking upstairs with Chris by my side. By the fourth step, I start to hear the train a-coming. I lay down on the stairs, feet up the wall and I breathe with Chris until I feel stable. He carries me the rest of the way.

I could not walk up my own stairs for a week. My iron levels were so low and my strength was gone. A not so subtle reminder that I am human, that I will recover in time and that I have to slow the eff down even more. 

And I did.

I slowed it way down and I sat on the couch for what seemed like an eternity. I let go of all the expectations I had for myself and my postpartum life. Expectations that included hikes with the family, pushing a stroller around the park, and losing the baby weight in 18 seconds. I learned a lot about meeting myself where I am at, accepting the present moment, saying thank you, leaning on my family and friends for support, slowing down and taking it day by day, maxi pad by maxi pad. 

And here I am in July. I can climb the stairs by myself. I have hiked with Evi in a backpack. I take the stroller for walks in the park. And I have created a Facebook group for accountability for anyone training for a race in October, as I am signed up for the Blue Mountain 1/2 Marathon in Florida and I know I need help to get my training runs on these legs. To be clear, I have not bounced back to my pre-baby weight and I feel amazing. Softer, yet amazing. 

Speaking of feeling, I feel different. My body looks different. My mind feels different. My being is different. And I am exploring what that means, ever so slowly, slowly, slowly. 

___

Gratitude to my family for stepping up and carrying Chris, Evi and I to the finish line of recovery and showing us love like that, my heart aches in the best way thinking of you and the month of May. Thank you to my friends who prayed for me and sent love in all forms. Thank you to God, Universe and all the higher powers for teaching me lessons and keeping me honest. I will keep learning and if you want, you can turn it down a notch, just saying. 

Love,
Jacki

 

Me in my Mother role, my favorite life role. Photo Cred: Tayler Carlisle

Me in my Mother role, my favorite life role. Photo Cred: Tayler Carlisle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Monthly Review: June Review and July Intentions

Each month I have a ritual of clearing out the bullshit that might have been my previous month, celebrating all the good stuff (a must) and then I create a space for the new month with three new words and goals to set my sails on a conscious course (inspired by the amazing Nicole Antoinette).  I find it to be an intentional practice that creates a checks & balances type system, hello accountability and personal responsibility.

So, here we go, day 5 of July, wake up, get up...

The two things I’m most celebrating from June are:

1) I went back to work in June. I am celebrating the messiness that is the navigation of entrepreneur, wife life and Motherhood. The communication with my husband is being elevated to new levels and the inner listening to the shifts in my identity, career and purpose is a practice in which I must must must slow down to hear.  

2)  I taught at Wanderlust Festival Aspen-Snowmass this past weekend, closing June and entering July. I am celebrating a vision I had come to life of leading hikes in the Rockies and exploring vision and goals in nature. More of this to come, most definitely. 

The two things I’m most grateful for from June are:

1)  So grateful to lululemon athletica Cherry Creek for submitting me to teach at Wanderlust and lead work I believe in here in my own Colorado backyard. Grateful for the experience and continued support. 

2) I am thankful for my sweet friend Alex Smith Davis, a healer and grounded human being. In June she treated me to acupuncture in my own home to clear my sinuses, open up my body channels and take a moment for self care. Thankful beyond for talented friends who share their gifts. 

Anything to release or let go of from June, speak now:  Pressure to be my old self in all realms, my body, my style, my career....

The lesson I learned and am carrying forward with me from June is: There is no such thing as over-communication. 

My intention word(s) for July is/are: Get quiet. Listen in. 

One thing I aim to do every day in July is: Hydrate, committing here and now to 8+ glasses per day. 

Because I am brave, here are two new/scary things I will do in July:

1) Launch my September Novel Grapes retreat in Grand Lake, Colorado. I failed last month, something is blocking me. Fear of failure or doubt, I am getting brave and pressing publish this month. 

2)  Meditate. I have been nervous to quiet down and truly listen deeper, more so because I believe I 'should' be in action, on my email or creating. Time to stop should-ing all over myself and get clear and quiet. 

The one book I definitely want to read in July is: 'The Girl with the All the Gifts' by M. R. Carey. We are reading this for my Novel Grapes online book club I lead on Facebook, join in here.

Just for fun, I will… sell my Vespa and buy a pop-up camper!

As an act of intentional kindness, I will… do a park clean up with Chris and Evi. I made a deal with the Earth that I would pick up trash in exchange for allowing me to use disposable diapers!

Your turn, explore your monthly review and get intentional with your month of July. No time like the present to get intentional and maybe press that RESTART button (or hell, even press START).

Happy July to you and you and you!

Love, Jacki

Leading 'Goals on the Rocks' hike at Wanderlust Festival Aspen-Snowmass!

Leading 'Goals on the Rocks' hike at Wanderlust Festival Aspen-Snowmass!

My Birth Story

It has been two months since the birth of our child, Evergreen Marie. Almost down to the minute as I am writing this, I sit in the same spot on my couch where I breathed through early morning contractions watching Game of Thrones. Hours later, Chris would be getting our hospital bag packed in the car and I would sob in my office chair (the only space I could feel comfortable) due to the pain and the immense emotions that was that moment in time when my child was letting us know she was almost ready. 

Feels right to share today, here and now. 

___

I went into early labor around midnight on the morning of April 26. I had decided that yester-afternoon, three days past my due date, to have my membranes swept. Seemed it was working, I was having contractions far apart but enough to keep Chris and I awake through the night. I had not had any types of Braxton Hicks, so Chris and I were hesitant to declare this to be the real thing. 

Chris went to work that morning and I start the contraction clock timer and birth breathing I had read all about, the waves were seemingly routine at about 7 - 10 minutes apart all morning. I give a ring to my best friend, Alex to come over and help me go for a walk. I was in great fear my water would break should I make any type of movements, so I awaited her arrival.

She shows up just as Chris walks in the backdoor. As I have told you many blogs before, Chris is an intuitive man. He knew it was go time and took the rest of the day off work to come home to be with me. 

Around noon, the contractions were pretty steady at 5 minutes apart and well, walking was out of the question for me with little desire to move from the swivel chair I was stationed at in my office. So I sat with Alex for a bit. I cried. And breathed. And got scared. And watched Chris hustle to prep the house, pups and baggage. 

Alex left to leave Chris and I for alone time during this special time. We both cried and readied ourselves as much as you can ready yourself in these situations you have never ever been in before. We called the doulas to let them know today was the day and told them we were going to try to labor a bit longer at home before heading in. 

Probably seven minutes later we called our docs to see if we should head in and they said we could come on over. And we were out the door.

My sweet husband, so excited behind the wheel of our Jeep Cherokee and speeding through our alley over all its cracks, crevices and bumps. I immediately rage at him that the bumping around isn't really working for me and to slow the f*ck down. He apologizes profusely and tells me he had gotten excited. Looking back, I find it endearing. In the moment, I cried and almost punched his arm (and face). 

We arrive at the hospital just as my doula, Skylar walks up. I immediately have a contraction in the parking lot and start crying while she catches me in her arms and we breathe through it. Doulas, they are amazing. Highly recommended. 

At the front desk they put me in a wheelchair and get me to my room.  My evening hospital residence was at the end of the hall in a humongous room, like corner office style. I imagine they heard I wanted to go all natural and put this baby in a corner as to not scare everyone else.

A smart move. 

I get all hooked up to a fetal monitor and they get me an IV (hospital policy, just in case...). I am at 2 and 1/2 cm dilated and they say they will check me in an hour to see if I should stay or go back home to labor longer and get further along. I had been going since midnight with all these contractions, I had only progressed a 1/2 cm since my last doc appointment yesterday. To say my confidence was a bit shot is an understatement.

I take to the bathtub.

And when I say I take to the tub, I am talking my labor playlist is on from my JAMBOX, the doTerra diffuser I was gifted as a baby gift is blasting the lavender and eucalyptus, and my husband and doula are reminding me to breathe while wiping my face and neck with washcloths. 

Best advice from my doula in this moment: Talk to your daughter, include her in the process and tell her what you are both doing and meant to be doing. Teamwork, make it happen.

After an hour in the tub, mentally and softly convincing (cough...begging) my child to get moving, I get back to bed to get checked. I am at 3cm (almost). 

Oh no.

That's it? 

For real?

We have the option to go home but they say since we are here let's stay and we will check again in an hour. I remember all the books and videos saying that the longer you are in the hospital, the more apt you are to lean into any type of drugs. YET, the idea of packing up and getting back in that Jeep on those bumpy roads with the hospital bag barely opened sounded basically like hell on this Earth.

So we stay.

Now, let's get real. These contractions were coming fast and they were painful. Mid-contraction, I start to let Chris know that I don't think this au naturel thing is going to happen. I tell him it might be time to consider a conversation about the epidural (just as all the books and videos said!). My doula says we can talk it out once this contraction is over. A good call on her part.

It finally subsides and Chris reminds me of our birth intentions (language is powerful, we never had a birth plan, only intentions). We have short conversations about what drugs entail. And then another contractions surges.

I remember starting the begging. I remember the crying and the pleading. All the self doubt and the mental drama I created.

My amazing husband, he asks our doula to leave the room so we can have a minute alone. I don't remember everything he said but it was some good shit. I should make a note here that Chris was an amazing coach. Literally by my side, holding my hand, basically cheek to cheek and telling me I am an incredible human. He was a rock, my favorite rock of all time. 

Best advice from my husband in this moment: He said, "here is the deal, why don't we take it one contraction at a time. Just one by one, breath by breath, you and me".

I said okay.

And my doula came back and we were back in the game. Breathing. Crying. Some times yelling. I remember them asking about taking a walk or getting on the exercise ball and everything in my being said no way, no no no. I labored mostly on my left side and barely moved. 

Nurse arrives an hour later to check in (literally in).

My team said her eyeballs nearly pop out of her head as I am at about 7 cm dilated. Sweet progress! I think to myself, this is it and there was never a question of drugs again because giddy up, she is on her way (so I thought).

Cue 30 minutes later, more crying, yelling, even somehow sleeping between contractions (like three times maybe, Chris said I even snored, I have no recollection of that), and I am 10cm dilated and fully effaced.

In my mind, I think she will be here in minutes.

I tell my husband/doula/nurse/doc team that I feel like it is time to start pushing. I am feeling the urge to push and meet our baby girl.

They say do it, start the pushing. So I do. 

And I am giving it all I got, folks. I am turning red and really pushing. Over and over again. I am really going for it. And I feel like my sweet doc can tell because she looks at me and says, "You're doing a great job. And I want you to know that pushing can take sometimes up to two hours...".

Ummm. What? 

I don't remember reading that?

I tell myself and I tell my unborn child that we will not be taking that full two hours and with all the Mother voice I can muster, I make that real clear with her. (NOTE: this whole conversation is taking place in my own head).

I go on all fours to push. I go straight on my back. I got on my side holding one leg up. And we are making progress but it doesn't feel like much. Until....

Now, up until this point you should know that my water has not broken. I didn't have that movie scene at all. And I had seen photos where people deliver babies still in their amniotic sac. So I am thinking we might just do that. 

We didn't. I started pushing one time and like a freaking water balloon, my water breaks like one of those waterfalls that comes up from the ground. All over Chris and the nurse. Funny, my doctor had started to stand back a bit, she totally knew. Sneaky. 

A bit of sweet release and I am like this has to be it now. And the pushing continues. 

Finally, my sweet doula mentions a bar. They literally bust out  this gymnastic looking bar and tie a scarf to the middle. I place both feet on the sides of this bar and I pull up on that scarf thing and I start pushing and we kick it into high gear. So we stick to the bar.

Everyone is talking about how close I am and that I am doing a great job yet no one seems to be in the ready position to catch a baby. My delivery doc keeps roaming in and out checking on me, which makes me so sure this is not happening any time soon. 

And they promise I am doing great and I so do not believe them.

My doula and our nurse says that they can see the head but I am thinking they are just saying that. 

And then they ask if I want to see. Should we get the mirror?

All along I was like, no way. I am not going to want the mirror. Yet in that moment I was like, GET THE f*cking MIRROR OUT HERE.

I was so ready to call them on all their lies. 

So we unleash the mirror and I see nothing. Oh man, no time to complain because I have to push again, the urges are real. And I pull up on that scarf and steady my feet on the bar and I give a push and I can see the very top of her head, and all that hair she has on it. So close yet so, so, so far away.

You should know we are rounding like 90 minutes here. There was a huge clock on the opposing wall and I was totally tracking. I remember reading somewhere on some pregnant blog that you should probably cover the clocks in the room.  Well, I didn't.

So the most pain I felt was when I would push and I could see her head start to move a tiny bit down the birth canal and then after four pushes, all my tired body could handle in that moment, she would actually somehow suction back up. Like all the progress, GONE. And holy shit, that was painful. I would yell, like literally scream. Hello corner office delivery suite for the crazy lady going natural style.

Finally, at around you know, 4 minutes before 2 hours, the doc says it is about time. They remove the bar and start to do some type of prep. I am beyond ready. And in my head for the last few pushes I tell myself that this has to be it, I have got to give more. Dig deeper, I say to myself.

And I do.

I give so much more that I catch my doc off guard, as she tells me to wait wait wait so that she can finish putting on her gloves as the crowning is full on. Chris is in position, as we had made the request that he catch our sweet babe right out of the womb. 

I pause as much as I can hold off and then I push again twice and our baby girl enters the World beautifully, wonderfully, radically right into her Daddy's arms.

Chris places her on my chest and all I can say on repeat is "I love her, I love her so much, oh my God I love her". Over and over again I repeat these words.

And I look at her.

I look at Chris.

And I look back at her and breathe her into my being. And truly, the World, my heart, my body and my soul have not been the same since that moment. 

The moment I met Evi. "I love her, I love her so much..." on repeat. 

The moment I met Evi. "I love her, I love her so much..." on repeat. 

 

 

 

 

A Monthly Review: May and June Intentions

Each month I have a ritual of clearing out the bullshit that might have been my previous month, celebrating all the good stuff (a must) and then I create a space for the new month with three new words and goals to set my sails on a conscious course (inspired by the amazing Nicole Antoinette).  I find it to be an intentional practice that creates a checks & balances type system, hello accountability and personal responsibility.

So, here we go, day 8 of June, wake up, get up...

The two things I’m most celebrating from May are:

1) I will share my birth story and postpartum in another blog, however, I had quite the journey as the calendar turned to May and I found myself a week later after delivering Evi in the operating room under the bright lights. Ironically, in my May intentions blog, I created the space to be present and slow it way down by declaring I would not work. Holy wow did the Universe respond and make that happen. My recovery from surgery and the loss of over 1L of blood was needless to say VERY very slow. I am celebrating my strength mentally when physically my body was very weak. 

2) F-A-M-I-L-Y. You all know and for the new readers, family is my number one value deep in the depths of my soul truth. And hot damn, my family made it happen in May. My Mom extended her trips. My Dad flew back to Denver from Houston to take care of me. My in-laws came in and picked up right where my parents left off. My Father-in-law basically completed every house project that existed (and that we did not know existed). They cooked, they cleaned, they carried me through the recovery month. I celebrate the family, I truly do. 

The two things I’m most grateful for from May are:

1) My health and the ability to bounce back at my own pace. Period. 

2) So grateful for all the nurses in the World that have made a career out of caring for other human beings. What a beautiful example of living on purpose with purpose. Thank you for what you do and with the most insane hours, bless you.

Anything to release or let go of from May, speak now:  Expectations. All of them. 

The lesson I learned and am carrying forward with me from May is: The power of vision work. I was living in fear for the early part of May. So many fears of being a new Mama, my body healing, and are the doors locked? And I realized the lesson of choosing faith over fear and the power in giving myself something to believe in. I had to create a vision for the month of May. Where I find I usually create huge, large 10 year visions, I needed one for the now.

My intention word(s) for June is/are: TRUST. 

One thing I aim to do every day in June is: I just sang Olivia Newton John's 'Let's Get Physical' in my head. Albeit the physicality will look different that I am used to, I will absolutely do something physical every single day. A walk in the park, run when cleared by my doc, yoga in my living room, swim, lovemaking when cleared by my doc, hike, dance with the sweet babe in my arms...

Because I am brave, here are two new/scary things I will do in June:

1) Launch my Novel Grapes book club retreat set for September in Grand Lake, Colorado!

2) I will create an igolu Level 1 call Series for Mamas. This work has been instrumental and truly eye opening in the life transition and that is Mamahood. I will create this space for Mamas to share in creating their legacy, rocking their vision and living their goals. 

The one book I definitely want to read in June is: Anne Lamott's "Small Victories". We are reading this for my Novel Grapes online book club I lead on Facebook, join in here.

Just for fun, I will… join a local Moms group!

As an act of intentional kindness, I will… continue to soften my language towards my recovering body. I know this was my intention for May but I am going to continue it for June. Feel free to borrow if needed.  

Your turn, explore your monthly review and get intentional with your month of June, even if it is June 8 already. No time like the present to get intentional and maybe press that RESTART button (or hell, even press START).

Happy June to you and you and you!

Love, Jacki

GUEST SERIES: Confessions of an Introverted Entrepreneur | Part 4

Pitch, don’t kill my vibe.

 

A lot of health entrepreneurs and coaches hate the S-Word. Introverts definitely hate the S-Word. I spent thirteen years pursuing classical music just so I wouldn’t have to confront the S-Word.

Selling.

It’s slimy, it’s disgusting, it’s used-car salesmen turning odometers back on cars.

It’s fibs and lies and stretched truths.

This is how we hear the word ‘selling’ these days.

Caveman exchanged stone tools for furs all the time, I’m sure. So what causes the modern-day aversion to exchange?

For starters, we’re in the age of the informed customer. You wouldn’t give up your stone tools without first trolling the shit out of Etsy to see if someone else’s furs are cooler. (You’re probably also doing this research while uber-ing home from brunch before your Instacart order arrives. We’re in the flattest information landscape ever.)

One could also assert the rise of social media has caused a drop in actual human connection when having an in-person conversation. You often hear society complain that millennials are addicted to their phones, social media has become an obsession, and people don’t know how to relate in person.

At first I thought this assertion was hearsay. Then I read a study that email marketing has an ROI of 4,300%. 4,300%. Email marketing far outweighs all social media marketing, btw.

So clearly people crave connection and millennials crave connection, and now the difference is salespeople are successfully replicating the feeling of connection and validation through the written word. The market is changing and connection can be shared through crisp, clean penmanship and written vulnerability.

I’m not saying you can never talk to anyone again and build your side hustle into a new career. 

What I will say is the structure of in-person persuasion and written persuasion boils down to the same three-part skeleton.

I need a step-by-step of how to have a conversation if I’m going to survive the freelance life, and this formula has already helped me a ton. You’ll find that inviting people to let you help them is much easier than you thought. 

So here is a double-secret, quadruple-awesome formula to get anything you want in life through the power of conversation:

Relatedness + Opportunity + Request = Results.

Let’s dig in.

 

Relatedness 

First, people must relate to you. People often relate over a common affinity or scenario they find humorous, interesting, or enlightening.

This is why in my new opt-in video “The 5 Laws of Growth”, I begin with a fun quiz entitled, “Who said that – controversial yoga guru or professional wrestler?” It breaks the ice, it creates ease, it’s a silly spin in an otherwise-technical webinar.

This Fast Company article beautifully illustrates how NOT to establish relatedness. Businesses (and people, frankly) are spending way too much time attempting to engage. And social media is already such a minefield in terms of engagement.

(Footnote for the Goals Universe: “I am published in Fast Company on December 31st, 2016.”)

People are now immune to selling and shut off when they hear people sell, even when it’s a service or opportunity they really want. And it’s not their fault really – you’re exposed to 5,000 advertisements a day, compared to 500 a day in the 1970’s.

As a company, what do you do? Companies knew they were running out of real estate in people’s brains. So they began to explore a new way to get related to people: a muse. A muse is a fictitious person (or character) whom both you and your market find inspiring; this then gives the two of you a context of relatedness.

Sterling Brands calls the muse “the most dynamic and compelling archetype within a target audience. He or she is aspirational, not representative.” It’s important to note that muses are usually not real people. Muses are evergreen, which is great. The behavior of real people after having a taste of fame is not.

Subway played with fire in using an actual person as a muse when they brought Jared Fogle into the spotlight in 2000. Twelve years later reality surfaced with charges for child pornography, and J-Fog is now in a 13-year prison sentence.

It’s fascinating that companies now know they need to relate in order to even get the ear of people. This applies to everyday life, too – to cut through the noise and bombardment of our day-to-day, you must first build relatedness, or else people simply won’t hear anything you say.

Now you’re related – that’s great. Time to put your vulnerability pants on. The ones with extra built-in diapers.

 

Opportunity

Share yourself. Why are you up to what you’re up to? What will get you there? (If you’re struggling with that question, talk to a friend or hire someone to tease the awesomeness out of you.)

Paint a picture of a future that otherwise wouldn’t have existed – and why that’s important to you and the planet.

Note: this is not a long speech where people fall asleep. After you share, you check in – what do they hear for themselves?

Here’s an example:

I lost 100 pounds. I knew I didn’t know how to care of myself because when I looked in the mirror I started crying. I went for a walk one day for the first time in a long time, and that action was transformational. Even though I didn’t know what to do to lose weight, I had action on my side, and through action everything falls into place.

When you read that, what comes up for you as a stuck point? What’s the next action? You can tell me. 

Relatedness and opportunity are two-way streets; you must ask them what they hear as possible for themselves. Otherwise this formula doesn’t work.

__

Truthbomb comin’ in hot: Questions are more transformational than answers. The author Peter Block makes that statement in many of his works, and every time I go back to his work or books I become present to that.

Is your day full of questions or full of answers? Mine had become full of the latter, which is why I quit my job.

If you answered answers, don’t worry; you don’t need to resign, you just need a coach to put questions (aka transformations) back in the picture. If you can’t afford a coach, still get one – get a money coach or career coach first. Lead through action.

 

Request

Now you make a request. The request is an invitation to act on the opportunity they now hear as available.

“We want a more love-filled life; let’s get a dog.”

“You could train with me 1-on-1 and start getting those results now.”

“Come on this vacation with me, the memories will last a lifetime!”

You ask them for an action. They’re clear how the action allows them to act on the opportunity they’ve seen for themselves. They act.

When the opportunity is in front of someone and they are truly in your world, their world shifts and moves – obstacles disappear. If it’s a sale or a request for someone’s time and commitment, and people truly see the opportunity, they find the necessary resources to make it happen. Period. 

Some of you feel people won’t make time for you or pay for you to help overcome their vices. If that’s the case, you need a confidence boost, so you should read about this lamp that doesn’t turn on unless you turn off your phone, and how people want to buy it just TO HELP THEM TURN THEIR PHONE OFF. Case closed. People will pay and make time for anything that occurs them as an opportunity to improve their quality of life.

 

The one part everyone fucks up

 

People sometimes accidentally sell through guilt, which establishes their selling from below the line. It can be effective – but only because shame is viciously effective. (Here are 40 ways NOT to invite action.)

The success-minded seller may resort to shame selling. But not us. So here’s the rule of thumb: When you make a request, the listener should feel they have power and authority to make a choice. They make the choice. They are then satisfied and confident with the choice they have made. You acknowledge their choice wholeheartedly and you both feel complete about the conversation.

If they’re left feeling ashamed or guilty with their choice, there’s cleanup to do. This causes buyer’s remorse and can strain relationships; you want requests and subsequent actions to feel good on both sides.

Try this formula out and tell me how it goes.

___ 

This series is entitled “Confessions of an Introverted Entrepreneur”, and here is one final confession: I truly believe introverts have caught up to extroverts in the entrepreneurial landscape through the levers of technology, vulnerability, and vision. There are many, many ways to elevate your brand, connect with people powerfully, and impact the world in our information age. 

Never hesitate to reach out. That’s an action too.

That’s all for now. I appreciate you.

Nick

GUEST SERIES: Confessions of an Introverted Entrepreneur | Part 3

UserOfReality Photography

UserOfReality Photography

Balance is for Sissies. 

__________________________________________

“Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true.” 

Leon J. Suenes

__________________________________________

 

I just quit my job. 

I still nearly shit my pants each time I say or write that sentence.

16-year-old Nick is chastising me right now. I’m in Texas, oil takes a nosedive, I have a great job, and I go and resign?

This was the working-remotely yoga business strategist dream job I had invented, and loved inventing. What does the next chapter hold? I’ve tried to describe the feeling several times, and feel it’s now left best in its undefined, visceral state, somewhere between my spleen and my pancreas.

I’d been pulling different levers and pressing different buttons to find that sweet spot of creativity and purpose, and it wasn’t happening. My song was still stuck inside of me. My fame monster began bubbling up.

I’ve never pressed the quit-your-job button because it’s bright red, covered in caution tape, and says “don’t you dare fucking touch this.” That’s how I’ve made my life work. So I never truly knew all the options. It was a blind spot.

It’s my year of yes, so in accordance with that I pressed the button. Oh God.

Now I’m using my free time to learn how to cook, kick caffeine, and read every book I can get my hands on (send me suggestions please).

The other day I came across this punch-in-the-face heading from Winning Without Losing:

 

Now, as a yoga instructor, I’m supposed to tell you tree pose will teach you life balance, your heart should always be open to sunshine, and green juice will make all your problems go away.

I’m definitely not supposed to tell you balance is weak and tension is strong. (Technically Jason Cohen said that, but I’m passing it along.)

I’m not supposed to tell you a sprinkle of stress probably means you’re up to something.

And I’m definitely not supposed to tell you perfect balance is futile. I could say resistance is futile, but let’s be real, resistance is locked, loaded, happy, healthy, thin, rich, and very effective at getting in your way. Damn. Balance is not for sissies; you had better bring your A-game if you’re taking it on. 

Busyness, on the other hand, is for sissies. People confuse tension and busyness. You impress yourself and others with how busy you are – or how busy you think you are. It’s a modern indicator of social status. You get nothing done, you’re a martyr for not getting it done, you selfie yourself in martyrdom. And so on.

 Let’s stop obsessing over impossible and unfulfilling balance standards and start obsessing over our roots. When the tree roots deep, unshakeable balance becomes a byproduct.

Here are three ways to stop being a sissy and get your life balanced as fuck.

 

1.     Plan your work.

I don’t mean buy a planner. Stop hoarding cute planners, please.

Cultivate the practice of doing 100% of the things you say you’ll do, when you say you’ll do them. To do that, plan it out. ALL of it. The time, the resources – all of it. 

(This includes discovering and cleaning up that bastard filtered messages folder on Facebook – follow the directions here and start mopping up those messes.)

 Here’s another mic drop from Jason: “Never say ‘no’, but rarely say ‘yes’.” A “say no to everything” mentality results in time, perhaps, but not passion or results or true impact. 

Integrity is a phenomenon. Most people think they’re at 100%, when really they’re operating somewhere lower than that – almost doing the whole workout, almost eating clean, almost returning the messages – let’s say 90%.

And then, after a number of weeks or months or years, 90% feels like 100%. We actually begin to believe if we do 90%, we’ve gotten the job done.

Our M.O. is to operate at 90%. So then we start operating at 90% of 90%, which is 81%. Fuck. And then over time 81% becomes the new definition of complete. You can see where this is headed.

This is why we look at the President or Beyonce or that perfect-life next-door neighbor and say “WTF, how do they even DO all of that?” I was doing that. Then I realized I was operating at something like 4%. Making a turkey sandwich was “just too much”. Um, what? I needed an integrity intervention .

You’re capable. The push back to your full potential goes one step at a time.

Do 100% of today. Test it out, see what you need to tweak, know yourself and your bandwidth.

 

2.     Work your plan.

I googled this phrase “Plan your work and work your plan” for research. If I read the statement “make a timeline” one more time I’m going to scream. How many fucking timelines have you made, and how many times have they not worked? There’s something under your skin that makes you deviate from your plan.

Here’s a truthbomb: If you’re overwhelmed, you’re out of integrity. Period.

I hate this truthbomb.

For some of us, we haven’t planned our work – the nitty-gritty details or what we need to do and when to make it happen.

For most of us, however, we’re not working our plan because of some sort of mental block or procrastination.

I get it. The work-your-plan part trips me up a lot. Any schmuck can make a to-do list. It takes flexibility and finesse to recommit and move your dreams forward when shit hits the fan.

Go for 100% integrity with 50% skill, not 50% integrity with the sickest instagram filters. Even if it looks bad and wrong, you’re growing because you’re learning what it feels like to get the job 100% done – and how often you need to throw the agenda out and create from nothing to make that happen.

 

3.     Get a coach.

 Did you know results increase 900% when you have an accountability buddy (Boice, 2000)? University faculty were paired with accountability buddies for a year and produced a 9:1 return on pages of viable academic writing.

There was another fascinating statistic from that study: The faculty self-reported themselves as working 60 hours a week. When they kept a diligent time journal for a week, they discovered they actually worked, on average, 31 hours a week. Conclusion: bullshit distorts your life by 100%. Get that coach, yo.

I know a coach is a splurge, and I don’t care – do it anyway. Health coach, money coach, relationship coach, pet rock coach, whatever. You’re not going to accidentally improve by 900%. A coach gets you there. And I really can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t want 900% improvement in some area of their life.

OF COURSE you don’t know what your coach will give you – they expose blind spots that you would never discover for yourself. That’s their JOB. Stop deciding what your coach will and won’t provide you; you don’t know what you don’t know.

*

You’re busy. But the notion of sitting around and doing nothing is boring. You’re a leader and you’re out to make a difference. So it’s time for you to own your grind. Not to impress people. Own it for you. Own how to make your grind work. Own your grind and all is coming.

Nick

 PS – I’m working on a special project this summer. If you’re a trainer, instructor, shaman, astronaut or expert of any kind that sells health-based services, I want to speak with you one-on-one. Get in touch here.

 

GUEST SERIES: Confessions of an Introverted Entrepreneur | Part 2

Don’t be glitter, be this instead.

Guest Series Blogger : Nick Wolny

___

Don’t be glitter.

Glitter is the thief of security deposits and the bane of domestic existence.

There’s glitter in my shoe from a birthday party eight years ago. There’s glitter embedded into the yoga studio floor from opening day. And I swear to God there’s this piece of glitter on my nose that has been there since age thirteen. Even this guy who made glitter a fucking business gave in because he couldn’t deal with the agony of supply chain handling.

I recently thought of glitter while trolling social media. I usually block social media – I use this thingamabob for blocking Facebook’s news feed on my laptop – but it’s not blocked on my phone and I was at a Texas DMV, which means hours of waiting with no end in sight. Commence marathon feed of news. 

I read lots of somewhat-sparkly stuff that flirted with self-destruction. I see this person’s vacation and that person’s new house and engagement after engagement after engagement – some of them recorded with a selfie stick. Three engagements in one day.

Jealous rage alert. I immediately conclude that the evening should be a whiskey-on-a-Wednesday kind of night, which consists of feeling inadequate, trolling OKCupid, binge-watching Strangers with Candy, and using all the gerunds I can get my hands on, though not necessarily in that order. I selectively forget that Facebook is a sugar-soaked highlight reel, and that the real world is more still and savory than #lifelove implies.

I read lots of complaints. I know these people actually care about their complaints; Susanne has coached me on that before. Their motivation isn’t clear. Are they pissed about traffic because they care about their time? Why is that? Or are they posting about gridlock to court sympathy? Or is it connection? Hear the complaints, listen for the commitments, I recall.

There were also some diamonds in the rough. I re-read some phenomenal posts from my yoga challenge’s private group from the beginning of the year and feel inspired. I read several cross-posted articles on all kinds of subjects that provoked ideas and thrilled me – this one, this one, this one, and this one. I bookmark four new quotes in cute fonts. 

Now my brain is conflicted. Has consumption of my news feed left me depressed or inspired? Can it be both? Does anyone else experience this?*

 I realize the glitter will never go away, and I’m the one that needs the behavior change. Even when it’s for sale, Nick, don’t buy it. Even when it’s FREE – don’t scoop it up.

 It’s just so damn tempting. One handful, and another, and another. And then out of nowhere we realize we have spread glitter.

Or maybe we don’t realize it. Here are some examples:

- If you’re spitting out unqualified instructors from teacher trainings without a continuing education plan in place, you are glitter.

- If you are forcing your employees to post persuaded Glassdoor reviews en masse that are full of questionable cons and clearly inauthentic, you are glitter.

- If you’re going to events, giving out those goddamn luxe business cards and being a network jerk instead of adding value like we discussed last week, you are definitely Mariah Carey-grade glitter.

It happens. Maybe you thought you liked glitter. You probably have that mixed up with the word “sparkle”. I’m cool with you doing as much of the latter as you want – and in fact you need to do that to create true connection, wild business success, and the relationship of your dreams. No pressure.

Here are three ways to sparkle in business and life without ruining people’s houses and wardrobes. 

1. All action steps toward your 1-year goals that actually take less than 10 minutes to complete should be done now. Right now.

 You say ‘tomorrow’. And then tomorrow becomes your life.

You want to go to Thailand? Buy the flights now. You’re saving up for a car down payment? Set up a monthly auto draft from your account now. You want your employees to be powerful self-starters? Give them the keys, the training, and the space to be entrepreneurs. Today.

This is painful, of course. We’re human and procrastination is the go-to. If you’re not actively in action, the procrastination grows back anyway, just like a weed.

I have a question for you: When you declare that shit will happen, do you believe yourself? Tell me – I’m all ears. 

 2. Slow down to speed up.

 It’s convenient to tell the world you’re drinking a smoothie and get validation. It’s less convenient to share an insight so impactful it inspires someone to do epic shit in the years to come. (The latter also tastes way better.)

 Whether you’re building the foundation of your business or the foundation of (your name), Inc., invest in quality now to scrape the sky and reach for the stars. Your future self will thank you. 

We are cognitive misers by design. This means our high-quality thinking and feeling is often in short supply. Not every hour of hustle is created equal – figure out which hours and moments are your sweet spots, and then position your most important creations to be hustled on during those times. Stop impressing yourself with how hard you work and how tired you feel.

 - You’re an owner who wants their life back? Use your sweet spots to create kickass, self-starter careers for your team.

- You’re an instructor who wants a financial breakthrough? Pitch your skills to your peers and add value (part 4 of this series will show you how).

 - Not sure where to start? Read blogs, Listen to podcasts, get that good shit in your ear. It starts with inspiration. 

3. Stop the fame game. Start an empowerment movement.

Don’t tell yourself you’re going to start a movement. That’s the fame monster creeping in.

Focus on sharing with your whole heart. If your heart pounds when you get ready to share, you’re on the right track. Bring vulnerability to the surface and you’ll discover there’s an entire tribe of like-minded people who were waiting for you. They longed for someone to speak up so they could have permission to be their best selves. That person is you and that time is now.

How do you share with vulnerability and with purpose in a way that brings a community together? I’m reminded of this Howard Thurman quote:

Here’s my suggested approach in a nutshell:

Step 1: Light yourself on fire. Go to step 2.

Step 2: Give to others without expectation. Offer help, offer value, offer more help, and offer more value. Go to step 3.

Step 3: Repeat steps 1-2. Bake at 350 degrees until everything is fluffy and light and fucking delicious.

Ta-dah - now you have an empire of empowered, self-starting people impacting the world. 

Do these things, and your glitter forecast will be minimized. (The glitter I would have mailed you, that is.) The good news is that the body-mind industry has never been bigger; now is exactly the right time to create and build sparkly businesses and shiny content and shimmering careers. Together.

 NW

 

 

GUEST SERIES: Confessions of an Introverted Entrepreneur | Part 1

How to be remarkable at networking when you’re awkward as f*ck. 

Guest Series Bloggger : Nick Wolny

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“I’ll have an Old-Fashioned, please.” 

There are name tags everywhere. And hands with pocket-sized cards in them. And desperate faces attached to those arms and hands.

This particular networking event feels like a high school dance mixed with the Hunger Games. It’s an awkward mingling of desperate strangers beneath a fog of strategy and death. 

I meet Martin. He goes to every networking event he can find. He dishes out business cards by the dozen, promotes his side hustle, and has a vicegrip handshake that I’m pretty sure sprained my thumb. 

Martin hustles, but I can tell he’s tired. His hustle isn’t taking him anywhere and he can’t quite figure out why. 

Martin is “me-centric”. He’s networking to grow his Facebook likes and Instagram likes and build his Rolodex until it looks like something from an episode of Hoarders. It’s all about him.

We chat fitness for a bit and I give him a referral – my friend Marissa. She wouldn’t be caught dead at a networking event, yet her business is bursting at the seams because she creates massive value each time she works with someone. Marissa knows how to get in and deliver badass results after she connects with someone, and as a result she has remarkable professional relationships that cement her career.

Marissa is “you-centric”. She’s all about you. “What do you want”, “What do you need”, “What do you want that you didn’t know you wanted?” She then gives that to you with a kick to the face and a cherry on top. She’s an introvert and she charges a premium. Societal norms indicate she should have bombed out long ago, but instead she’s flourishes.

Let’s dig in and figure out why.

————

What kind of networking is actually fun and produces results?

Just like whiskey, not all networking is equally delicious or effective. In this post I will focus on three introvert-charged approaches to connection that are both vulnerable and effective.

The common theme is each approach will get your listener excited to connect with you, hire you, recommend you, buy you a drink, or all of the above. You don’t need to be a social butterfly to be remarkable and establish career-making relationships. You do need to capitalize on one interaction and make it memorable. Let’s begin. 

—————

1.     Share your story. But make it about them.

In a social media-saturated world, everyone checks in everywhere and talks about everything. People crave vulnerability and connection. People also have a lower attention span than ever, and trente sweetened iced coffees aren’t helping. To capture people’s hearts and minds you must strike a delicate balance.

I want you to try on this formula: “I -> We -> You”. (Not ‘U+Me=Us’. That’s the song of my childhood by fake boy band 2Gether.)

Your sharing begins with yourself. It pivots to being a “we” conversation that feels inclusive. And then finishes with an anecdote.

Say hello, get related, crack open their hearts with a memorable anecdote, and then GTFO.

“But how do I win hearts at the drop of a hat?!”

 Keep three to five personal anecdotes in your back pocket. When you get to the ‘about me’ small talk, make it about them. 

I do this because, as an introvert and a former classical musician, I confess I practice everything. (Once I was so nervous during a speech high school that when I opened my mouth to start I threw up. So I feel it’s in everyone’s best interest that I have these icebreakers down.)

This is not rehearsing all of your human interactions. (That’s called Reality TV.) Crispy small talk gets the ball rolling for deeper, more authentic sharing on both sides. 

 “I, We, You” has a simple flow and it’s subtle. Here are three anecdotes from my life that are actually about your life:

“I was 16, I weighed 270 pounds, and JC Penney didn’t have my waist size in pants anymore. Self-shaming alert! It was time for a change. I began going to the local high school track and walking laps. We can all agree that fat guys walking are way more inspirational than fat guys eating sandwiches. When you risk looking bad and putting yourself out there, you gain the courage to keep going and achieve your goal.” 

“I went to music school. Everyone loves music. I got into Juilliard and a top grad school. I then realized what I actually loved and spent my whole life cultivating was people telling me I was amazing and stroking my ego. My life felt really empty. People love being told they’re awesome, and that sometimes distracts us from our true goals (::cough:: social media ::cough::). It becomes addictive. You feel douche-y when you discover something inauthentic about yourself. You also get clear on what you really want, and seeing as how you’ll never be younger, it’s a great time to do that work and invest in you.”

“I knew I could be a leader, but teaching yoga in a maximum-security prison scared the fuck out of me. Will they think yoga is weird? Will they yell ‘fag’ at me?! Can I as a gay man cause community amongst super-macho inmates? Doubts creep into our mind when we’re up to something great. Two years later, one of the inmates who had been in that class was released, sought me out, came to class at the studio, and told me his life changed after that experience. Whoa. When you’re scared shitless, you’re probably on the right track. You take that experience into all the other areas of your life.”

Your turn – tell me about yourself. Go on, I read every comment and email.  

————— 

2.     Create Memorable Gifts.

Speaking of prison, let’s go back to the networking event.

After showing me NINE photos of her cats, a sloshed woman gives me her business card. She pushes it at me, really. “It’s foil-printed,” she slurs. “Also, I do lifestyle design, you should really talk to me.”

My fillings ache. I order another old-fashioned.

I want to grab this woman by the shoulders, shake her and scream “To start a remarkable relationship, never lead with your contact info - get theirs instead!” Did you just an order of 200 luxe square-shaped cards from moo.com? I don’t f*cking care. Always get their contact info. Now you can start the relationship off with a remarkable step.

Recently, a client introduced me to a reporter for the Houston Chronicle who wanted to do a small piece on “3 yoga poses to do at your desk”. We hit it off and arranged a phone call, and I did a simple 20-minute phone interview, explaining the poses and benefits.

 

I was disoriented as I tried to explain neck release over the phone and ensure she was getting all the lefts and rights correct. I mentioned photos would make this article pop. As the call finished I got her email address.

I could have ended there and gone on with my day. But I knew this was an opportunity to make a really strong first impression with someone in media. So in the spirit of getting up and moving around at the workplace, I sent her this:

I wish I could say sending someone a trampoline as an office gift was my original idea. I stole this from that Will and Grace episode where Harry Connick Jr. sends one to Debra Messing after the first date, choosing it over flowers because “they’re not as much fun to jump on”. I don’t remember what else happened in the episode. I do remember how Grace’s giddiness made me feel. I also remember really wanting Harry Connick Jr. to send ME a trampoline. And then sleep with me. Or just sleep with me period.

But enough about my teenage fantasies. The reporter was so tickled by this gift she asked if I could come in later that week and be the model for the poses in the article. 48 hours later I was demonstrating pigeon pose in a chair.

The article ran the following week, and I forever have this link to me being interviewed and pictured in a large publication. This greatly increased my credibility as a local yoga expert (and sitting expert) and cemented my relationship with the Chronicle as their go-to for future health and wellness articles. 

I will note that this gift wasn’t the only factor to getting the gig - I ensured I could pitch under pressure (which we’ll hit in part 4 of this series). I’ve received multiple leads and new clients since this article printed.

Here’s your homework: choose someone you have a relationship with for whom a thoughtful or strategic gift would blow their mind. Give them that. Then tell me how it goes. 

—————

 3.              Don’t be their biggest fan. Be their best fan.

“So, you coach people to make more money? Sounds like you’re an asshole.”

The bar talk is getting more colorful and we’ve made some new friends. Or maybe let’s say acquaintances. Now let’s blow their shit up.

On the surface, people want those Facebook and Instagram likes. Everyone loves instantaneous validation. But under the surface, what we really want to know is whether our efforts make a difference in people’s lives. And how. Very few people are doing this within their network, and therein lies the opportunity to be memorable.

Practice what your new friends are preaching. Then tell them about it.

Document your results along the way and then show them.

Or you can even respond to someone’s question or post with something that adds massive value. Let’s turn small talk into big talk.

Example: This response on Quora I did last year, which got a ton of buzz. I don’t get much out of social media commentary, but I do like reading comments for insight, which is why I enjoy Quora.

I found a question I could add value to. I sat down, and took the time to craft a thoughtful response that would add massive value. I myself was craving this, and clearly other people were craving it too.

My favorite thing to do is add massive value to others. This step is really fun.

Not all of your value adds will pan out into opportunities. Similar to a stock portfolio, you’ll have winners and dead-ends. 

What will happen is your value swords will get sharper, you’ll help more people, and you’ll make a bigger impact than ever before. Don’t set a goal to be viral; set a goal to be so remarkable and memorable that the difference you make cannot go unnoticed.

Your turn. Who can you help this week that qualifies you as a fantastic fanatic, rather than a f%$#-ing annoying fangirl? Help people. Report back.

—————

I’m Uber-ing home now, that’s enough face time (and whiskey) for one night.

Before I go, I have a free gift for you - my webinar “You Betta (Net)Work: 3 Methods To Nail Vulnerable-Yet-Effective Sharing” is all yours when you click here. Get a new approach to networking so bulletproof that not even four old-fashioneds can derail it. (I know because I’ve tested it in real time for you).

Let me know how it goes, I love hearing from you. 

About Nick:

Nick Wolny helps health hustlers and artists make bank using effective, inspirational marketing. He lost 110 pounds, drinks whiskey, and combines his classical music background with persuasion techniques to get offers from organizations such as the Juilliard School, Newsweek, Carnegie Hall and Wanderlust. Basically he talked his way to the top. Now he coaches others to do the same. Visit him at www.six-figurefitness.com.

 

 

A Monthly Review: April 2016

Each month I have a ritual of clearing out the bullshit that might have been my previous month, celebrating all the good stuff (a must) and then I create a space for the new month with three new words and goals to set my sails on a conscious course.  I find it to be an intentional practice that creates a checks & balances type system, hello accountability and personal responsibility.

So, here we go, first (cough, second) of the month, wake up, get up…

The two things I’m most celebrating from April are:

1) The birth of my daughter, sweet Evergreen Marie Hynes. Making her debut on April 26, 2016, this child is the most beautiful creation I have ever seen and I feel honored, proud and whoa, so tired. 

2) I must celebrate my husband, Chris. Going through (an all natural) labor & delivery was the most intense experience of my life and he was a true champion, a coach, my best friend and so strong. I literally held on to his neck for dear life as we brought a new life into this World, together. I am still in utter awe of the true mind-body-soul shock that is creating a human and the connection I felt and continue to feel with my ever-growing marriage. 

The two things I’m most grateful for from April are:

1) I lead igolu Level 1 groups monthly with amazing human beings, mostly women. We come together weekly to explore our legacy, vision, goals and powerful language in a 4 week course and we go deep, every single time. I am so grateful for the women that invest in themselves, commit to the journey and open up on each call connection. My April group was a beautiful mixture of women ready to rock, honored to lead the work.

2) I am grateful for my body and all the miracles it can manifest. I went past my delivery due date and my body held strong, creating a home and space for our little one. My mind, on the other hand, different story. So grateful for a body that stayed grounded and connected. 

Anything to release or let go of from April, speak now: I am letting of creating from a space of lack or scarcity. I find this to be a pattern and perhaps I will write it each month it rears its gnarly head. A great podcast if this seems to be a pattern you lean on is here from Brooke Castillo of The Life Coach School. 

The lesson I learned and am carrying forward with me from April is: Oh goodness me, patience patience patience. Everyone told me having a child would teach me patience. And yet, i had not even had her yet and she was was schooling me. From being past my due date, the love that is labor and pushing and watching her grow second by second, the patience is real and I feel so different exploring it. Like I am meeting a new version of myself for the first time, how cool. 

My intention word(s) for May is/are: PRESENT. And if I could switch it up from words to song, I will choose Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds". 

One thing I aim to do every day in May is: give myself permission to cry. I often try to hide my emotions, even from myself. In committing to being present, I cannot hide my feelings or block them. This month is about feeling all the feelings and being open about them.

Because I am brave, here are two new/scary things I will do in May: 

1) Not work. I know, that sounds weird. But I love to work and be productive. I have made a promise to take the month of May off and slow it way down, look into my daughter's eyes, spend time with visiting family and really create space for self care. It matters. 

2) Honestly, becoming a Mom is scary as shit. I have never used the flashlight button on my iPhone so many times in one night to check to see my daughter's face, is she breathing, is she happy? So I am bravely stepping into this Mamahood identity and being totally aware that every single day might look/feel/be different. 

The one book I definitely want to read in May is: Susan Cain's, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking. We are reading this for my Novel Grapes online book club I lead on Facebook, join in here.

Just for fun, I will… explore writing a creative short story. Start to finish. 

As an act of intentional kindness, I will… soften my language towards my recovering body. I will look in the mirror, remind myself that I created life, see the changes every day and celebrate the body again and again and again. Allowing myself to heal in my own time, not in comparison to others - this is intentional kindness ... to myself. 

Your turn, explore your monthly review and get intentional with your month of May.

Happy May to you and you and you!

Love, Jacki 

On Getting My Hopes Up.

I went to Africa last year in late April.

And I bought a blue dress.

I actually did not purchase much for myself from this trip until this blue dress in a small boutique shop with my friend Chantey. All the women wear these beautifully printed oversized t-shirt style dresses and they tuck the sides up in their underwear. Simple, maybe a little see-through and comfortable, I wanted every color.

I bought the dress with every intention to wear it when I was pregnant with our first child. It is roomy. Chris and I were actually to be married in one month from the date I landed back stateside and children were so much in our vision.

The dress, yes I would wear that dress when pregnant with my sweet babe.

And I have. I do.

And I smile.

I smile because it happened. I smile because it feels right to be a cause in the matter of my own life, my own choices, my own future. 

I so believe in manifesting. A trendy word right now and yet I like that a trend around manifestation is taking shape in our society, or I should say this self help society bubble I scroll on instagram and beyond.

I believe in getting my hopes up. I do. I have learned that you can look at this life one of two ways, as a circumstance or a gift. You choose. Get your hopes up, go all in. Again and again and again. 

Why yes, there is heartbreak there and missed expectations and let downs. And there is also so much love there, so much possibility and collaboration with God, the Universe, Buddha, Santa…all of the above. Getting my hopes up is being alive. Keeping my hopes down is for my comfort zone and living into my fears, no thanks.

And I so believe in my vision. I believe in my goals. I even still believe in the goals I have failed because they taught me something. They taught me something about me, my life and how I show up (or don’t show up). They most likely (most definitely) were part of a reason I chose to pivot, shift and make a new choice or new goal.

I say buy the dress.

See your goals alive.

Get your hopes up.

Photo Cred: Tayler Carlisle