I know what it’s like to have so many different paths that you could choose to go down.
So many interests. So many different ways you could contribute.
The truth is: there is only one of you, only so many hours in the day, and only so much you really can achieve with your time, money, energy, and resources.
When there are so many things calling to your heart, it’s achingly painful to make the choice.
When so many things seem to carry so much meaning for you – it can be excruciating to know which ones you have to let go.
I’ve been there. I’m currently there now.
So many ideas. So much frustration in deciding which ones to pursue, and which ones to lay aside.
But – I’ve learned something over the years that eases the growing pains.
[bctt tweet=”If it’s meaningful, it will always find its way back to you.”]
There are ideas I wrote down in notebooks over five years ago, that are still just as relevant (and ripe with potential) today.
The best ideas I’ve ever had have never taken it upon themselves to disappear, never to show up in my heart again.
It’s like they know. They know that the timing has to be right – the kind of timing that only the Universe can line up.
If it’s meaningful, it will come back to you.
If you don’t let it go, how will you know that it means something to you?
If it doesn’t mean what you thought it did, then its purpose was to stay with you for a season – to offer you an experience, a new perspective, a step-up in another direction.
If it turns out that it is, actually, incredibly meaningful – you can rest assured that those are the ones that never get away.
Concepts. Layouts. Thoughts. Offerings. Taglines. Business names. URLs. Blog post ideas. Tweets. Instas.
They all count.
The reality may be that there is only so much you can accomplish – but that doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice it all to get there.
Relax, and let it go.
Give it the space it needs to breathe.
If it means something, you’ll know.
Maybe not now, not tomorrow, not in the next year.
But you’ll know.
Ps. The best ones are worth waiting for.
Go big or go home.
Isn’t this the message we’re bombarded with?
That the only way to make an impact is to have a big list? To have a program that fills out? To write a bestseller?
Going big your thing? You’re awesome. Go for it. You’ve got this! Namaste 🙂
Having a little trouble with the whole ‘big’ thing? You know…you’re pretty awesome, too.
Allow me to share this little Rumi nugget with you.
“My heart is so small, it’s almost invisible. How can You place such big sorrows in it? “Look,” He answered, “your eyes are even smaller, yet they behold the world.””
One thing I’ve learned over and over during the time I’ve run this business is that the world doesn’t reveal itself to me in the big things – it unfolds itself in the small, and seemingly insignificant, things.
Every time I’ve focused my energy in the pursuit of ‘big’, I’ve only ever ended up feeling small.
Every time I’ve focused my energy in making the most out of the smaller things, I’ve only ever ended up feeling useful, and fulfilled.
What are the ‘smaller things’?
Sharing reflections spontaneously.
Opening up a conversation.
Sending an unexpected email.
Creating something – not part of a big master plan, but just because you’re being called to create it, right at that moment.
Don’t let the size of things determine what success means to you.
Bigness is awesome, but it comes with a cost. (Both emotionally, and literally).
Appreciate all of the smallness.
It’s the smallest of things that lead to the greatest impact.
[bctt tweet=”The smallest things lead to the greatest impact”]
Ps. Let’s celebrate small together. What small things can you be grateful for? Come and tell me here – I’ve created a special post on Facebook to connect with you 🙂
I have a lazy right eye.
I’ve always had my suspicions, but trying to take the obligatory, half-decent post-haircut selfie a couple of days ago confirmed it.
Thirty three attempts later, I managed to get a shot where Right Eye looked relatively normal.
A lazy eye.
Add it to the flabby stomach and double chin – and what have you got?
(Hint: The antithesis to Marie Forleo).
So…you can imagine my sheer horror when my right-hand woman, Erin, gave it to me straight yesterday:
“Yep, this new concept for the website looks GREAT. But…I can’t see YOU. How can you expect people to trust you, if you won’t let them see you?”.
I felt my back muscles tense.
Defense mode: engaged.
My mind had a canned response at the ready.
I don’t do photos of me because I’m an Alchemist. It adds to the mystery. Curiosity is part of my brand. And anyway – that’s the whole point of our work: honour who you truly are. I’m truly not a lifestyle-shot kinda person.
But my mouth had other ideas.
“Yup. I know”.
The admission stung.
The truth is – I used to blame the fact that I had nothing worthy to contribute to others – amongst other things – on my not-so-baby weight (she’s four now, so I’m not entirely sure I can legitimately use that excuse).
But now? Now, I have so much belief in my work that I’m anxious that my less-than-polished appearance will do it an injustice.
So, Erin suggesting that I need to face my demons and actually start allowing people to SEE me, understandably made my eye twitch. (Let’s imagine my left eye, just for visual effect).
But Erin hadn’t finished.
“It’s also about not wanting to. It’s a mini temper tantrum”.
“It’s not that I don’t want to be seen. Just so long as people don’t look at me”.
(I was hoping here that my dry sense of British humour would be enough to shift the discomfort. It was an epic fail).
“I can’t sit and talk you out of any of that. It’s your journey and really, there’s nothing to do but take the journey. You’re going to have to start living what you teach”.
This really got me.
Living what I teach.
If there is anything I consider to be virtuous about myself, it’s my integrity.
I pride myself on my willingness to be vulnerable. On being an open book.
When someone suggests that I’m not walking my talk, it hits hard. That’s exactly what I teach, and believe without question: branding can be the most beautiful journey to self-acceptance…but if you want to be seen, you have to get naked.
But what happens when you’re covered in scales…and you’re just not ready for the world to see them?
What happens when…no number of YouTube videos can actually make your curling wand do what it’s supposed to do?
What happens when…you just don’t translate well on camera?
What happens when…you know your work has immense potential, but you’re not sure that you can do it justice?
What happens when you have a lazy right eye?
Well-meaning cheerleaders may tell you to get over yourself.
That it doesn’t matter what you look like. That beauty isn’t skin-deep. That you’re never too old. That you’re perfect, just as you are. That all you need to do is tap into your brilliance, and hit the meditation cushion.
On the surface, this all sounds…delightful.
But it’s not much comfort when you come across yet another website of a solopreneur who seriously has it going ON…and you can’t help but wonder whether you even stand a chance.
I don’t have the answer.
(I’m still comforting myself with rice cakes over my gravity-defying right eye).
I could tell you that you are so needed, just as you are.
That what you have to offer deserves more than comparison and self-doubt.
And whilst all of that is true…I know that if I said that, it would have to be my truth, too.
My gift may be the ability to see true archetypal beauty in my clients, and translate it into a brand identity that reflects every facet of their irresistible personality…but I’m being honest when I say it’s a whole lot easier to work magic on others than it is on yourself.
So…it isn’t my truth. Not just yet.
But I’m working on it.
Can you relate? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment here on the blog.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the small things.
I’m thinking less about growing my list…and more about appreciating my readers.
I’m trying to make a bigger impact…with a smaller to-do list.
I’m letting go of the need to ‘go big’…and being content with finding fulfillment in the small things in my day.
Today is St David’s Day here in Wales, so I thought that today is the PERFECT day to share these thoughts with you. One of St David’s most celebrated quotes was this:
[bctt tweet=”Do the little things”]
(I actually had no idea until recently that St David came up with this mantra before I did).
I’ve noticed a trend over the last couple of years in my business: I seem to make the most significant progress when I get down and dirty in the smallest of things.
When I focus on the big things (the big list, the increased revenue, more outreach, the grandiose plans and strategies)…the less impact I seem to make.
Most of the significant breakthroughs I’ve experienced have been as a result of doing something small.
Publishing a blog post that I intuitively felt the urge to share…that led me to an idea for a new offering.
Creating a mini course that had only had passion – and no plan – behind it…(unexpectedly) helped me pay off my tax bill.
Tidying my office (especially after a certain four-year old has broken in and invaded my stamp collection)…unearthed a book I had forgotten about, that inspired me to keep moving forward.
Reaching out to a client to let them know I’m thinking about them…reminded them that they needed to hire me to design something for them.
Changing a graphic on my website…led to an unanticipated increase of people taking my Primary Test.
Whilst I fully believe in the spirit behind the message of ‘go big, or go home’ – I wonder whether we sometimes get caught up in the logistics of ‘big’ so much that we forget that greatness can be found in the littlest of things.
One of my favourite quotes (and, funnily enough, from another saint) is from St Thérèse de Lisieux:
“The splendour of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not rob the little violet of it’s scent nor the daisy of its simple charm. If every tiny flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness.”
(If you’re interested in exploring a spiritual path that revolves around the little things, I highly recommend St Thérèse’s autobiography – The Story of a Soul).
If you’ve been feeling less-than lately, or simply not enough…I hope that this email serves as a reminder that it’s safe to let go of the things that overwhelm you. They simply are not necessary.
Don’t want to blog? Find other ways to reach out to others who need you.
Tired of list-building? Focus on the small things you can do to grow your list organically.
Don’t feel like you have a ‘big message’? Celebrate the breathing space that comes with simplicity.
Haven’t got round to those lifestyle shots? Instagram it up, and rejoice in your real-worldliness.
Can’t write that sales page? Write a short love letter instead.
Most importantly…look for the small things to be grateful for. Those little talents of yours – those quirks that you tend to overlook – they’re the ingredients that make up your own unique recipe of success. When you accept and acknowledge the gifts you have been graced with, you naturally exude a quiet confidence that doesn’t need big, loud packaging.
Or as Thérèse puts it so eloquently:
“If a little flower could speak, it seems to me that it would tell us quite simply all that God has done for it, without hiding any of its gifts. It would not, under the pretext of humility, say that it was not pretty, or that it had not a sweet scent, that the sun had withered its petals,or the storm bruised its stem, if it knew that such were not the case.”
If this post has left you feeling a little more inspired, let me know in the comments below. I’d LOVE to hear what small things YOU are going to celebrate this week. I adore reading your comments, and I reply to every one.
Have a great week, and sant hapus dydd David!
(Happy St David’s Day!)
One of the questions I get asked aaaallll the time is this:
“Where did you find Erin???”
If you’ve interacted in some way with my work, chances are you’ve met Erin.
Erin is my Chief Joyologist. And she’s SO good at it.
Our relationship started two years ago, around this time of year.
It all started with this photo of her fridge.
At the beginning of 2013, when I was relaunching my business, I knew I needed help.
(Probably in all senses of the word).
I didn’t know what I needed. I didn’t even know if I could afford it.
But I had a suspicion that I just couldn’t do this alone.
I asked the Universe to hook me up with the PERFECT assistant. An assistant who would not only answer emails, but who I could consider to be my support network.
A tall order, I know.
Undeterred, I posted an ad on eLance, and I had some pretty insane applications.
But one caught my eye.
It featured a photo of the applicant’s fridge.
Maybe it was the way the beverages were all lined up on the top shelf. Or, maybe it was the plastic containers, stacked neatly at the bottom.
This girl was on top of her game.
Of course, I hired her without even reading the rest of her resume (only kidding. Or am I…?).
I remember telling Erin that I could only afford her for a couple of weeks. There was no guarantee of ongoing work.
That was two years ago, and our working relationship has never been better.
The truth is, I didn’t hire an assistant. I hired my support soulmate.
Although this post isn’t intended to be a gush-fest (although it quite easily could be), I still can’t believe how lucky I am to have someone like Erin by my side as I try to figure out this thing called solopreneurialism. It makes everything so much easier when you’re not so…solo.
Not only does Erin take care of making sure everyone is happy, answering emails, and keeping me organised…she also supports me emotionally, keeps me motivated, and encourages me during my low times of anxiety and depression.
Not only does Erin take care of our private design clients, she makes THE most amazing, fun videos for our courses. Like this one for the Initiation Kit.
I didn’t go into hiring a VA looking for someone with great social media skills. Or a friendly demeanour. Or even a particular hourly rate.
I knew I needed help, but I was TOTALLY open to the outcome.
I resisted the urge to have any expectations.
I was completely trusting that if I kept an open heart and an open mind, that this would become a mutually-wonderful relationship.
And that’s exactly what happened.
[bctt tweet=”The best things happen when you surrender your expectations”]
I know this might sound so simplistic, but I really do believe that hiring the perfect VA has everything to do with intention, and very little to do with credentials.
(Not that Erin didn’t have the credentials. She had plenty).
Don’t go into looking for help with the intention of hiring someone to just answer your emails.
Set an intention to hire the PERFECT assistant…for you.
Even if you’re not sure what their responsibilities will be – or how much work you’ll be able to offer them – be upfront and honest about it. Let them know you’re looking for a collaboration, and give them the space to explore their role within your business.
(Oh…and don’t forget to ask them for a photo of their fridge. If they have mouldy salad in the crisper, you’ll know they’re not the one for you).
Have your own VA story to tell? I’d love to hear it in the comments below! 🙂
During 2013 – my first year being self-employed – I was clear on my purpose.
When I initially quit my job, my intention was to earn a living being a brand identity designer.
Design and branding are all I have ever known. From my pre-school years, to the work experience I had for a branding firm in Manchester when I was 15 (they even offered me a job, and asked me to contact them when I was a grown-up), to working as a promotional merchandise consultant (where I would advise clients on how to get the most out of their visual identity).
My purpose was to help solopreneurs communicate themselves visually, in a way that was truly authentic, charismatic…yet simple.
By the end of 2013, however…I was exhausted, depressed, and felt that my purpose had been shattered. I had no idea what I was even trying to achieve.
My first year in business was, by most people’s standards, a roaring success. I was part of some truly wonderful collaborations, had a client base that many designers would give anything for, and on the surface it all seemed so…perfect.
But it wasn’t perfect. I felt scattered. Confused. Disconnected from my business…as if it wasn’t even mine, somehow. And…although I was delivering great work, I knew that many of my clients weren’t ready for the brand identity development process. I was giving them what they wanted, not what I believed they truly needed – clarity, and self-acceptance.
As someone who prides themselves on acting with integrity, I found it challenging to work on these particular projects. On the one hand – my clients were delighted. But on the other hand – I knew that some of my clients were aching with self-doubt, and using a logo and colour palette to skim over the fact that they didn’t feel ‘enough’.
This really bothered me.
It bothered me so much, that one year into the business, I knew I had to take a break from designing to figure out some way of helping my clients set the foundations for their brand – on a deep, soulful level – before the word ‘logo’ was even mentioned.
At the time, I felt confused. I had been so clear that my ‘strength’ was design. Not just a strength, but a skill I have spent hundreds and hundreds of hours of my life dedicated to mastering.
So why was I being pulled in a new direction…where I had little experience, and absolutely no clarity on where I was headed?
As you can probably guess, I decided to follow the thread. Despite the fear and complete terror of the prospect of not being able to make ends meet, this was something I just couldn’t get out of my head.
[bctt tweet=”Sometimes, you just gotta follow the thread”]
I launched ‘The Brand Alchemist’ (later to become Cerries Mooney) at the beginning of 2013 with no plan, no savings, and no clue how I was going to earn a living if I wasn’t designing.
But it was something I knew I had to do.
From that point – until very recently – I have only worked on a very few design projects (mostly with clients I’ve been working with since 2012). I have made my income from creating online courses, like this one, and brand mentorship.
During that time, I have received hundreds of requests about whether or not I’m accepting new design clients.
Fear – and the little voice that says ‘stick with what you know’ – has thrown all it has at me to try to get me to waiver from the work I knew I had to do.
[bctt tweet=”Familiarity promises relief, not fulfillment”]
Time after time, I turned down business because I knew my heart was somewhere else. I knew that there was something else – my ‘right now’ purpose wasn’t designing brand identities, and I had enough faith to trust in my instinct.
Now – three years later – I’m back to where I started. Designing brand identities and websites for soulful solopreneurs.
And I’m LOVING it.
Not only has my archetypal work earned me a living during the last three years, it has taught me how to be a better designer.
It has provided me with an archetypal system for preparing my clients for the process – making it smooth, fun and almost effortless.
The Archetypal Blend Board my clients complete before starting the design process means I can complete projects within two weeks – with next to no revisions.
It means I am more efficient, more fulfilled by my work, and my clients are utterly delighted not only with the end result – but with the whole experience of working with me.
(A couple of years back, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to say that).
If you’re feeling the pull to explore something – a new angle, a different technique, or an entirely different thing altogether – don’t question it. It’s ok to make a decision that seems like it’s ‘off purpose’. If you feel it, it means something. The meaning may not be clear, but it is ALL leading you somewhere. Even the irrational bits that seem to be leading you away from where you thought you were going.
For now, I’m thoroughly enjoying myself.
I’m at peace with the fact that I will probably only focus on design for a while, and then feel called to create a new program (I have an AMAZING one in the wings, that’s currently brewing in my mind).
I may have come full circle, but the truth is this:
[bctt tweet=”The delight is in the diversion”]