You can’t do it alone

To get ahead in business and life, you can’t do it alone. Sorry to crush your dreams of doing it all by yourself, but you need your tribe to succeed.

I started my business a few years ago and I thought I was doing it alone, but over time I’ve realized that I’ve gathered this amazing network of support and encouragement and advice around me and that any success I’ve achieved in entrepreneurship is because of that.

tribe

So let me introduce you to my tribe.

My family. Of course I include my family in this amazing group of people! I’m 39 years old but I know that the support and love of my parents nurtures the confidence I need to go out there and get shit done. My husband and children, who sacrifice time with me so I can go to conferences and events and meetings. My brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews love me and take the time to send encouraging emails and texts.

My friends on the East Coast and West Coast. As a military spouse who has moved many times since getting married, I know the importance of gathering a local support system once I land in a new city. The awesome thing is that I get to keep these wonderful people in my life even after I move away! My group of friends in Nova Scotia bombarded my Facebook feed with love and supportive messages before a big event yesterday and my girls here on Vancouver Island sent texts and one special gal (whose picture isn’t in the collage) even dropped off flowers the other night. When you have dozens of amazing and strong women sending you positive vibes even from thousands of miles away, how can you fail?

My best friend. This lady is one special BAMF in my eyes. She’s a fellow fitpreneur and mom and all round fantastic person! She saw in me what I wasn’t sure I saw in myself and has helped my business grow. We support each other as we navigate the intricacies of entrepreneurship and motherhood and she has taught me that when strong women work together, magic happens. Kathy Johnston-Isenor and Fitness Junkies will change the world.

My business coach. I’ve known her since high school and I always knew she would create something big and important and she’s done just that. Her expertise in helping female entrepreneurs step into their power and take control of their futures is undeniable. It was Eleanor Beaton’s wisdom that pointed me towards focusing on fitness and wellness and it was a pivotal moment in my career and life.

The Spiritual Athlete. Anyone who has met Jill Payne knows how infectious her energy is. She has taught me that my mood and energy level are within my control and that is a great source of power in anyone’s life!

Inspirational Authors. Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happiness Project” awoke in me the need to set intentions in the pursuit of happiness. Just searching blindly can get you lost. Mel Robbins’ “The 5 Second Rule” has allowed me to do some scary things and experience some real growth. Leon Logothetis is a kindness warrior and his personal kindness to me (he sent me some books recently) allowed me to feel the love of a complete stranger and renewed my commitment to spreading that same love on a daily basis.

Inspirational Instagram Accounts. Angie Bee Hotz and her kickass decks of motivational affirmation cards provide me with the mantras I use to motivate me through each day. Loving Myself Loudly is devoted to body acceptance and self love and her posts can be the reminder you need to stop beating yourself up.

My tribe is growing everyday. Everytime I read a great book it grows. Everytime I hear an engaging speaker it grows. The bigger is grows, the bigger my goals become. You can’t do it alone, and why would you want to when there are so many amazing people out there just waiting to help you along?

Fearless or Fear Less?

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*You can watch the video of my presentation now, thanks to the One Woman video team!

Be yourself. Sounds simple enough but it’s enough of a challenge that if you google it you can find how-to articles on it. I’m turning 40 in a month and so I’ve been reading self-help books, and taking courses and workshops and exploring different philosophies and methods and ideas and I feel like I’m just now tuning into who I really am.

I’m a mother and a wife. I’m a daughter, sister, aunt, and friend. I’m an entrepreneur and a teacher. Those words don’t encompass all that I am, though. They’re labels and roles that I fill but it’s not all of what makes me me. I’m a reader and a huge Tudor history fan. I like coffee and I love Yoga with Adriene. I’m working on improving my patience and I value loyalty. I’m still not sure if that’s enough to describe who I am, though. I’m also a big fan of words, and I know you’ve all heard the word “authentic”. Follow your dreamsGurus like to tell us to be our authentic selves, but what does that even mean? We could say it means being true to yourself, but what does “true” mean? I love “from the heart” and I feel like that’s getting closer to what it means to be  yourself.

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Maybe we are ourselves when we act from the heart, but how do we know? I reflected on my past and there was one regret that sticks out: one time I denied acting from my heart: not auditioning for the honour choir. Thirty years later this still nags at me because I loved singing and the choir director pretty much assured me that I’d pass the audition, yet I still said no. I had let one word, one 4 letter word, stop me from pursuing something I loved. FEAR. I was too afraid to stand up all alone and sing ONCE and that prevented me from standing together with others and doing what made me happy for years. I chose to go to my senior prom with a guy friend instead of asking the person I really wanted to go with because I was too afraid he’d say no (or that he’d actually say yes!)

When I look back at the things fear held be back from, I feel a little sad for my past self. I could have toured Europe with that choir. I could have gone to my high school prom with my first love. I’ve decided though to view those missed opportunities as lessons and I choose to let them open my eyes to what’s truly important to me as I work towards learning who I really am. I’m choosing to embrace the word  FEARLESS instead of FEAR.

Here comes the teacher in me—let’s look at the word FEARLESS It means “without fear”. Like my shirt says, I see this as two words: FEAR and LESS. I don’t feel brave enough most days to be completely fearless but I know I’m capable of fearing less a little bit each day. Think about that. How could, how would your life change if you feared a little less!

I looked to my past again and instead looked at those times I feared less enough to try something new. I can remember the first time I went dancing at a club—seems silly, but I was nervous to be judged but it ended up being liberating! A good night out dancing is still so much fun! I feared less and transferred universities and programs halfway through a degree. I sought therapy for a depression that was taking over my life. And did it again. I started dating a father of 3 kids (I married him.) I had my daughter and then healed a broken heart after a miscarriage. I embraced the uncertainty of another pregnancy and was blessed with my son. I signed up for a boxing fitness class. I started my own business. I became a runner. I started a splits training class. All of these intimidating experiences have become my greatest sources of strength and happiness.

Another thing about me is that I love documentaries and I recently watched one on yoga and one of the featured yogis said “It’s difficult to find yourself”. So, if a yogi who is a master of the body. mind, and spirit says it difficult how do we do it? How do we figure out who we genuinely, truly are?

#1 PAY ATTENTION

What activities made you happy when you were younger? What experiences have made you feel energized and alive? What ideas and thoughts keep popping into your head?

Pay attention to these! Write them down if you have to.

I loved running around playing as a kid but I hated gym class in school. This love of moving my body and the science behind it brought me from a degree in psychology to a degree in human kinetics. This desire to move but a discomfort with team sports brought me to running. The idea of starting my own business ran through my mind for years before I took the first step of registering my business’ name. I get jazzed up by being part of events like this one today.

Pay attention to what may seem like coincidences. I had 3 speakers deliver a similar message to me before I finally realized it was time to listen. Or, like when I was in the middle of a book recently and had to put it own because it felt like it had been written for me to read at that very moment.  Pay attention! I’ve started to tune into these moments more and I’m learning that I have acted so much out of fear in the past and I don’t want live like that anymore.

#2 Don’t apologize

You are a unique person who deserves happiness as much as anyone else. Don’t be sorry for pursuing what makes you happy. If you want to climb a mountain but your partner doesn’t, do it anyway! My husband only runs when he has to, but I choose to sign up for races.  I read Tudor biographies for fun. I took a lapdance workshop because it looked fun and interesting (and it was so much harder than I expected!) He told me a few months ago that it’s not my job to make him happy. It’s my job to support him in him making himself happy. I have since stopped apologizing for hitting the road for 15km a week and for attending fitness conferences every year. They make me happy.

#3 Create a supportive environment

I say create it because it’s an active and intentional process. Find those people who are fun to be around and who bring out the best in you. (slide of my tribe)Finding yourself is difficult and we all need encouragement, so find those cheerleaders. They can be family members or friends or they might even be people who haven’t ever met in person. My tribe includes my fitness bestie, a spiritual athlete, my business coach, an author devoted to spreading kindness, Instagram accounts dedicated to promoting self love and body acceptance, motivational speakers, and especially my kids. I want them to be their best selves and I need to set a positive example for them.

I choose to read books that support me. I listen to songs that motivate me. I repeat affirmations and mantras that help me push through that fear.

#4 FEAR LESS

Don’t worry about being fearless all the time. Choose to focus on fearing a little less right now.

What have you always wanted to do but haven’t? Sign up for that yoga class today! Seriously, during the break use Mel Robbin’s #5SecondRule and use your smartphone to register before you stop yourself! That’s how I ended up here in front of you right now. I saw the Facebook post looking for speakers and thought why the heck not?!? It’s a little scary to be standing here but it’s also exhilarating!

Your journey is uniquely yours so it won’t look or feel the same as mine or that of the person sitting next to you. It’s up to you to choose to fear less.  Pay attention to what gives you energy and purpose. Don’t apologize for pursuing what makes you happy. Gather that tribe of supporters around you and just be yourself, fear lessly.

 

 

BeWhoYouAreFearlessly fearlessShannon