My year of daring greatly

This time last year I was a strung out mess. I was coming off the toughest year(s) of my life.

This time this year I’m celebrating possibly the best year of my life to date.

Thanks 2013. You’ve been amazing. I am thankful. I am grateful for all the new, wonderful people I’ve had the opportunity to meet, work with and invite into my life this year. I’m grateful for the people who have been by my side through ups and downs, and are there to hold my hand, wipe away my tears, squeal with joy with me and just be in this life with me.

As I look back, I am truly blown away by all the things I’ve done. I don’t know if I will always have years this big, so I’m celebrating this one especially. I encourage you to do this exercise too – stop and reflect on the year that was. Note your wins, and your not yet wons. Note what worked. Note when you worked to your strengths, and note what happened. Note what needs to change in 2014. Start making notes about how that could happen. Plant the seed. Cultivate the thought. Grow into action.

Things that helped get me through:

:: Having a safe place to fall – for this daring greatly year, I was blessed to have a loving, supportive beau who told me and showed me he had my back. #lucky #grateful #blessed

:: Exercising – teaching Preggibellies, weekly yoga, running when the weather was good.

:: Sleep – while working for myself I’ve ended up working many late nights, but I’ve countered this by also taking daytime naps. And my Saturday afternoon nanna nap is highly prioritised. I love the flexibility of my new life to manage my energy (mostly ) on my terms.

:: Structuring times for breaks – taking an extra week off outside the school holidays in September was crucial for our family. I also try to plan recovery days after intense periods of work.

:: Using a paper diary – yes, a hand written, old school diary. I love BookBinders Design for their weekly vertical layout. I also use a wall calendar and a shared digital calendar with my beau. I don’t say yes to anything, without first consulting my diary (which I’ve hacked with washi tape. Fun.)

:: Reading – I research a lot online, and I read non fiction. I also run a book club for other mums, and get to read books I normally wouldn’t, which is great.

:: Inspiration – when I was considering leaving my job, I kept going back to my ‘Wisely’ Pinterest board to help me through the fear, and build my courage.

:: Working to my strengths – this year I completed to the character strengths survey again (the last time I did this was 3 years ago). Two of my top five had changed. The three that hadn’t were love of learning, capacity to love and be loved, and an appreciation of beauty and excellence. I truly think I’ve worked to all of these strengths this year to move closer to the type of want to live and the type of people I want to live it with.

:: Travel – travel feeds my soul, and plays to my strengths.

:: Approaching life as service to others – when I offered my help, my knowledge and my compassion to others, we all won.

:: Doing ‘the work’ – the personal, the reflective, the uncomfortable, the confronting, the scary, the little steps and big leaps, the fear, the unknown, the risky. Deliberately cultivating a mindset of self kindness, courage, resilience, gratitude, mindfulness and positivity.

:: Finding my mantra – “Choose Courage”. This year I chose to be seen, and to get in the arena. Thanks Ms Brown.

Choose Courage

Here’s how it went…

– Took all of January off from my full time job and fitness teaching commitments.
– Drove to Adelaide with the family (first big road trip together) and spent a week with my gorgeous aunt and uncle.
– Had the kids looked after by their grandparents for a week, while my beau and I went to Tasmania together for the first time.
– In Tasmania I ticked off two wishes – to hike to and swim in Wineglass Bay, and to go to MONA.
– Played stylist with a a friend and helped my sister inlaw prepare her house for sale.
– Meet with our bank manager. Hatched a plan.

– Returned to work, on a part time basis
– Cleaned out the spare room upstairs at Mum’s shop and set up my own studio space.
– Freelanced in Sydney, live blogging for Life Instyle for 3 days.
– Resumed fitness instructing.
– Got involved with a CookBook Club.
– Applied to volunteer at 99u’s annual conference in New York City. GOT ACCEPTED.

– Resigned from my job. Felt sick and anxious about it for 3 weeks. Woke up EVERY morning asking myself repeatedly ‘What the hell have I done?’
– Approached the incredible Clare Bowditch about being involved in Big Hearted Business and she amazingly asked me to speak on the social media panel for the event. MIND BLOWING. #GRATEFULBEYONDWORDS
– Worked at The Growth Faculty 2013 Growth Summit in Sydney, where I heard some of the world’s leading business thinkers, and met some of the world’s leading content marketers.
– Talked to a friend of a friend at a kid’s party, which would later lead to my first freelance gig under my own business name.
– Started fortnightly Life Strategy meetings with my beau.
– Saw Red Bull Flying Bach.

– After 18 months of trying to find the time, I finally managed to buy my first pair of Dejour jeans – made in Melbourne, custom fitted on the spot for 50 bucks. Genius.
– Went to New York for 10 days with my mum and step aunt. Yes, NYC. Here is it in Instagrams.
– Met the wonderful Jen Kidd, digital strategist for TEDxMelbourne sitting on the plane next to me on the way to NYC!
– MET (a.k.a. ran after and chased down) BRENE BROWN at the conference. WAS HUGGED BY BRENE BROWN. CRIED INFRONT OF BRENE BROWN. SHOWED UP AND WAS REALLY ‘SEEN’ BY BRENE BROWN. Life was altered.
– Met Tony Schwartz from The Energy Project – he was tall!
– Shook hands with Google Fellow, Sebastian Thrun (among other things he headed up the team responsible for Google’s self drive car, Google glass and Udacity)
– Lunched with the power house that is Kate Kendall in SoHo.
– Walked the Brooklyn Bridge, had dinner at The Ace Hotel, had cocktails and danced in MoMA after-hours, bought the best clogs ever, ate the best beef brisket sandwich ever at Smorgasburg.

– Attended TEDxMelbourne.
– Painted my studio with my cousin.
– Had a week of lunches with dear friends to celebrate my birthday.

– Danced until 2am with my beau and other parents from my kids school.
– Worked at The Happiness and Its Causes Conference. Made new friends, heard incredible speakers, produced this stream.
– Was approached by an amazing lady to help her produce a book. My heart jumped with joy.
– Was referred by a dear friend to coach one of her friend’s, who needed some helped getting structure and clarity with her growing business, Relish Mama. My heart jumped with joy.
– Started working the every inspiring Lyndall Mitchell on building a brand and a website to launch her new life coaching business. My heart jumped with joy.
– Finally had a catch up with the wonderful Tess McCabe of Creative Women’s Circle. We shared ideas, insights and contacts. My heart jumped with joy.

– Met with people who came out of the blue about potential business opportunities. Was flattered and my ego glowed in the attention, but the timing was a little off. And I was trying to listening to my inner wisdom rather than my ego. Learned to say no.
– Said yes to a friend who hired me to run the Twitter stream throughout the day for a conference she was running. My heart jumped with joy!
– 11 July Launched this website, and in doing so, my business! (NYC photos came in very handy!)
– Volunteered for the first ever Conscious Club event in Melbourne. Was an honour to be involved. Everything they do it great.
– Did a Level 1 Wellness Coaching course.
– Participated in a full weekend fitness training summit.
– Started drinking green smoothies.
– Finally went to the dentist for the first time in 5 years!
– Took a long weekend and went to a friend’s house down the coast.
– Held my first content strategy and planning session with a gorgeous client in Sydney
– Attended the Wired for Wonder conference in Sydney as a guest of a new and very dear friend. Met Jono from WakeUp Project, met Berry Lieberman from Dumbo Feather, met Shawn Achor! HAD LUNCH WITH BRENE BROWN, and got completely star struck and tongue tied.

– Co-presented on a Social Media Experts Panel for Life Instyle in Melbourne. Yay!
– Started contracting to a digital agency 2 days a month. Yay!
– Started work on writing a book with a colleague. Yay!
– Ran a wedding planning workshop in my studio for a dear friend. Yay! Yay!
– Constructed my first set of workshop tools and methodologies for content marketing and social media for retailers. Yay! Yay! Yay!

– Took the family to Palm Cove for a week of nothing but warm air, swimming, sleeping and eating.
– Celebrated my son turning 10 with a great weekend of fun for him and his friends, and an equally great afternoon with family and friends who helped us in this first decade of our parenting journey.
– Started Life Coaching with Lyndall. LIFE. CHANGING.

– Co-hosted the first ever Kinfolk Dinner in Melbourne with my super inspiring friend, Jaclyn Carlson of Blog Society. My heart jumped with joy.
– Co-hosted my first ever creative event again with Jaclyn – a Paper & Tea Playdate with Laura Blythman at Frankie & Swiss. My heart jumped with joy.
– Started blogging for Reed Gift Fairs. Woo hoo!
– My beau moved his business out of our lounge room and into an office.
– Started the Brene Brown & Oprah Gifts of Imperfection eCourse.
– Stared Level 2 Wellness Coaching course.
– Renewed my Preggibellies fitness certification over a 3 day workshop.

– Held my first public Content Marketing and Social Media workshop (at the amazing workshop space in Koskela) with my dear, long time friend and colleague, Belinda Lang of The Inkling Effect.
– Worked at Tim Ferriss event for The Growth Faculty.
– Worked at the Conscious Club second Melbourne event.
– Saw Jill Scott in concert. She reminded me to do this.
– Put the Christmas tree up early! Bring on those twinkle lights.

– Got really focused about getting the book written by using a daily routine of running, writing, napping, writing, sleeping and trying to keep away from distractions.
– Saw Alicia Keys and John Legend in concert.
– Looking forward to celebrating my family and friends in the coming weeks.

I wonder how 2014 is going to turn out? Stay tuned!