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Doing the Hard Things First

This morning I lit the off-white candle on the left side of my desk. Beside it, I placed my Yeti mug, filled with piping hot matcha and coconut milk. 

I sat down, flicked on my mouse, and slid my noise-canceling headphones over my wet hair. 

As I looked out the long window behind my computer to the blue sky, I felt a tight chord of anxiety pulsating from the center of my throat down to my solar plexus. 

I was about to do something that’s so important to me. And also something that (nearly) every part of me resists. 

The deeper part of me won. I kept my phone on airplane mode, set the timer, and started typing. 

At the start of this year, I added a new practice to my mornings. Actually, it’s an old practice that I wanted to resuscitate: book writing. 

I shared a couple of weeks ago that I’m creating a new life for myself here in California; and, one of the reasons behind this move was to live in greater integrity with my soul (and its longing to live in a softer, more feminine environment near the ocean). 

As I got honest with myself, I also saw another area of my life where I wasn’t living true to my depths. Aside from regularly scribbling pages in my journal, I wasn’t writing. 

Sure, I’ve been writing plenty of emails, blog posts, web pages for new courses. But I haven’t been writing in the way that I know I was born for. To help orient one towards her callings, coaches often ask: What did you use to love doing when you were 7 or 8? For me, one of those things was creative writing.   

So, starting on January 2, I’ve been sitting down at my desk and spending at least an hour every day working on my new book. 

Making time for writing isn’t easy, especially when I’ve gotten out of the habit of it. Plus, writing isn’t the only hard thing I’m doing first thing in the morning. First, there’s meditation, then there’s yoga or working out. 

Through all of this, there’s fighting the temptation to succumb to social media, text messages, the news, or the minutiae of the day that threatens to reach into my sacred space and derail me. 

Those who’ve achieved an admirable level of success and fulfillment often report the same thing: doing the hard things first is what will ultimately bring you the most satisfaction in life. 

Sadly, it seems that doing the hard things is getting even harder right now. We idolize those who carry their phones around all day– accruing new likes and followers by recording their every move (and meal). 

When we live this way, there’s no room for deep thinking. Our only option is to conform to the shallowness of the masses. No thank you. 

Yet, as last week’s passing of the great poet Mary Oliver reminds us: to truly LIVE, we can’t always be swimming in the shallow waters of constant engagement.

It’s to regularly take quiet moments. To be present to the natural world around us. To listen. And to cultivate and bring forth the gifts that God gave us. 

This is what I’m recommitting to in an even bigger way this year. And this is what I’m supporting a small circle of women to also commit to in this year’s SHE Leadership Circle. 

A space for doing the hard work of going deep into something that really matters to you, this circle is a space to receive accountability, the magical reflection of the group mind, and a refreshing re-frame of priorities. 

There’s no set curriculum– we flow through our six months together intuitively and organically. 

We’re not about following the latest trends or trying to win a popularity contest. We’re about listening to and bringing forth who we truly are and what we’re here to do. Not next year. Not ten years from now. Right now.   

If this is something you value too, and you don’t want to let another year slip by without bringing forth your gifts in a truer way– I invite you to apply for this year’s SHE Leadership Circle. 

We’re just getting started and have a couple of spots left. (Here’s a photo from our mastermind gathering last week!) 

Here’s where to fill out your application.  

Once you submit it, we’ll send you an email to set up a time to speak with me personally about it. Even if this circle ends up not being a good fit, you’ll leave our conversation with more clarity about your next steps. If you feel an inkling of a “yes,” I encourage you to just go for it and apply here! 

Here’s what one member from last year’s SHE Leadership Circle emailed me the other day: 

“I also just wanted to say that our work together really propelled me – and my business – into new heights last year.  When I first applied to work with you, I had about 100 page views per day on [my] website. Now, I have around 1,000 per day.  I have 44 employers who offer [my program] as a benefit, with many more in the works. I was also just offered the opportunity to take over [a podcast].  It was so gratifying to sit at the end of the year and reflect on the quantum leaps I made; and give thanks to you for helping me make it possible.” 

Here’s to reaping the rewards of investing in the woman you want to be and the life you want to live this year! 

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