Dating Yourself

On Friday, I made my first date with my business. In the morning and afternoon, I scheduled uninterrupted time to focus on my business. No scrambling around reacting to emails, no phone calls, just me and my darling business.

Talk about productive brainstorming time! I got more done in those hours and felt less frazzled than I had in weeks.

And this was real working on my business work. New projects, new packages, new ways of creating amazing experiences for my clients.

So I began to wonder, what if I made dates with all the other parts of myself, not just Brandi the Entrepreneur?

I started dating myself.

On Saturday, I had a date with the writer in me. We wrote poetry, some of it incredibly bad. But really, it just felt so good to be writing again.

There was time with the archer on Sunday. Granted, I was snowed in, but we worked on some simple things together: release, mental game. (Archer really feels like it’s 90% mental game, 10% process and skill.)

In three days, I felt more like myself than I had in months.

Dedicating specific time to all the things I love about my life and who I am is creating a deeper connection to me.

I lost myself a little bit in my last relationship. Brandi the Flirt? Totally locked away because my ex was a bit insecure (by no fault of his own). Brandi the Writer? No time for her. Brandi the Art Lover? There just wasn’t much there for her. Brandi the F-it-I’m-Going-to-Read-All-Day? She never had time on the schedule.

All these parts of me I had locked away. I’m done with it.

I say it’s time to break that door down and start really spending time with myself again.

I think it’ll be a love affair that lasts my whole lifetime.

Dreaming Big

When I first started my business, I saw two great advantages in my new endeavor: (1) Escaping the cube that I had been chained to at my non-profit job, and (2) traveling.

I had no business plan.

I hoped clients would find me. I had thought maybe I’d make about as much as I had in the job I was leaving. I really hadn’t given much thought to what I was doing.

Last week, I attended Click, an event hosted by Christine Kane and her team down in Asheville, North Carolina. During my time there, working on my business and speaking with other entrepreneurs, I realized how small I’d been dreaming, both in my business and in my life.

I’d been staying small because I was afraid of the consequences of playing big.

Playing big means taking big risks. It means envisioning a future for my business beyond self-employment — a future in which I find myself creating an organization and, eventually, an empire. It requires skill and sense and levels of savvy I have to grow into.

And it means making some people uncomfortable, especially myself.

I felt really bad about this. I knew it was hard for my ex-boyfriend that we were in such different places financially. He wanted to be the provider, but I was in an easier position financially. I never minded or complained, but I know it stressed our relationship silently. And yes, it was definitely uncomfortable at times.

I have to live in a place of discomfort because I’m growing in that place.

The moments of uncertainty (where I just wish someone would tell me what to do) are moments that lead to my expansion. I’m learning. Every new experience bends me and teaches me.

At first, I was really uncomfortable talking about money, even dealing with money. I charged so little in the beginning that I failed to make rent one month. I hated asking people for money because I thought it made me sound greedy. Learning to value myself and my skills took time.

There were also the moments that I broke the “don’t talk about what you make” taboo around people. (My mother was particularly squeamish in these situations, a feeling I had inherited and was trying to break.) I admitted where I had been, where I was, and where I was going, because in all honesty, I was done with the old ways of doing things. I want to have real conversations about life. I wanted to open myself and share my failures and my success.

If we’re going to help others be successful, we need to model that success.

That means talking about money and business and life without bragging, without flinching, without flagellating ourselves because we’ve been successful where others haven’t. It means discussing what has been challenging, when we’ve wanted to give up, how we overcame the demons lurking in our shadows.

Andt means dreaming big and playing big, to show others how possible it is to turn a whisper in our hearts into a force of nature in this world.

It doesn’t happen all at once.

We are called by life to be happy, in every way. Now, that sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? But it never feels that easy.

Along the path, we self-sabotage. The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks talks precisely about this. We’re not used to success and happiness and abundance.

Learning how to be comfortable with abundance is a process.

Evolutionarily, we’re hard-wired to expect the lurking predator; we stay small to stay “safe”. But the world has changed.

I don’t expect myself to make a quantum leap in my happiness levels. Right now, I’m focusing on my business, my health, and my friendships. At some point, I’ll think about dating again as well. But I’m not pushing myself to have it all right away.

There’s something beautiful in the process of becoming and I’m just enjoying the journey.

Where are you playing small? Where are you dreaming big? And how has being in uncomfortable places helped you? Tell me your story.

Shaping A Year — and Believing

The time around my birthday and the winter solstice has always been a special time for me — an opportunity to reflect, a chance plan, a dawning. Often in the past I’ve made lists of things I wanted to do in my new year, goals I wanted to accomplish.

But there wasn’t a list in me this year. As I sat there starting at the blank sheet of paper, all I felt was a strong desire for transformation.

The resolutions and goals I had written in the past, things like “lose 15 pounds,” had no weight for me anymore. I realized I didn’t want my life to be a list any longer.

So rather than set goals for 2015, I set an intention: to believe.

I believe my cat is going to be okay, that he’s going to fight cancer and win. I believe that I can let go of old patterns and ways of being that did not serve me. I believe I can transform my business and myself. I believe that I am connected to other people, to the Universe. I believe that I’m part of a bigger picture, and that I’ll fully step into my role helping others this year.

This is the year I believe in all of my magic.

What’s your intention or word for this year?

(And check out this resource from Christine Kane if you need help figuring that out.)

Looking For Your Singularity

There are many different theories about the origin of the universe, but the most popular among physicists is that the universe burst forth from a singularity.

I like to think we each contain such a singularity, the place where all of our genius and creativity bursts forth from. It’s always there, but discovering what unlocks it, what causes it to really open and swell can sometimes be a challenge.

I’m in the throes of looking for my key right now, of discovering what my big picture is and where I can help in a perfectly unique way.

I’ve been struggling and frustrated. I’m in the middle of a business e-course with over 200 other women who all seemingly have it figured out and I still don’t.

There may be some others out there who know this feeling, so I’ve put together this list of ways to cope. For me. For you.

1. Don’t push.

No matter how much you really freakin’ wish the Universe would finally send you a telegram and clue you in to what the BIG thing you’re supposed to do is, relax. Sit with it. Be where you are. This moment is your purpose and it will take you to your next moment and your next purpose. Over time, it will build.

2. Meditate.

Be in the space in between. Focus on your breath. Sometimes, when you relax your mind and stop searching, the answer comes.

3. Explore everything you love.

Include things you think you might love to do there too. You never know when a hobby may become a calling.

4. Write.

Write your story. We are so often meant to help people with the same challenges we have had in life.

Write in the mornings, when you’re still half asleep and not censoring yourself. Things emerge in those early hours.

5. Set out on an adventure.

Shaking yourself out of your normal routine can help remind you of all the other things you’re good at, besides what you may be doing for work at the moment. For me, traveling in particular has a way of peeling back the layers of who I am to show me all that’s hidden beneath.

6. Ask your friends what you’re good at.

Good friends always see things we don’t. Open up to them, share with them what you love most about them and discover what they love about you. Your genius may be shining incredibly brightly in their eyes.

7. Move.

Hike, run, bike, dance… Put your body in motion, put the intention in your mind, and see what rises up. Like meditation, moving frees the mind up and gets you out of the cobwebs you might feel stuck in.

I want to hear from you: If you’re still searching or if you know that familiar feeling from the past, what do you do? What have you done? When did the realization hit you?

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Jane Reaction

(logo and original branding) is a graphic design and art director who works with with small businesses and creative entrepreneurs, creating cohesive and interesting brands and websites.

Carrie Coleman

(photography) is a wedding photographer, whose goal is to capture the visual expression of a couple's love through timeless, organic images. She is based in Charlottesville, Virginia.