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Ep. 23 Thriving after your divine storm with Alyson Charles

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Alyson Charles is our magical guest for this episode. This conscious lifestyle expert had a divine moment that led her from being a National champion athlete and television host to becoming a shaman and fully-embodied spiritual leader. We learn so much from this gracious human as she discusses the steps to gently guiding yourself from recovery to thriving in this episode. What an incredible journey. We hope you enjoy! Check her out Instagram @iamalysoncharles or her website alysoncharles.com

Check out the show on Itunes, Google Play, Soundcloud, or Stitcher! (click on each word to take you to that platform). 

 

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That bold move: How to take it & smash it!

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That bold move: How to take it & smash it!

So you know last time I we talked I was stroking your fire to make a bold move? Yeah, the reason being is that I know that it’s in you. There’s something that you want. Something you want badly in your life.

Maybe it’s a whisper right now.

Maybe it’s LoudAF

But it’s there.

We all have it.

I can only speak from my experience but my passion lies in empowering people with the tools they need to access their power for themselves. That takes place in spirituality and business (more specifically, the law). It’s my greatest gift, being a spiritual advisor and attorney.

Now, I can’t say that I have ALWAYS felt so bold and powerful in owning the spiritual side of my work. It would always seep out because it’s in everything I do and who I am.

However, after building a successful business ONLY identifying myself as a lawyer and coach, making the transition publicly has been a process. Mainly, because this is the most sacred part of my being.

I knew I had to make a bold move or live in the shadows of who I truly am for the rest of my life. Or go down kicking and screaming...to rise up again into this anyway. I figured I’d save myself some time and cut out the breakdown and go straight to the breakthrough. HA!

Best move I’ve ever made. Ever.

IF you don’t embrace your true calling the voice will just get louder and louder until you can no longer hear anything else. Your spirit wants to be happy and it can’t be fully until we follow our bliss. That’s the choice.

So I chose. It was scary. It was vulnerable. It was human (not the superwoman I’ve always identified with. #wakandaforever).

However, it was also warrior. It was also embodied. It was also sacred. It also made me fall in love with myself and help people in the way that truly aligned with the joy in my soul with deeper, bigger, faster results.

It took courage. It still does every day. Every new move I make in this direction I have an AHHHHH!!!! Freak out moment inside.

I tell you this story because there’s no way of getting around it. You have to do this if you want to be happy and fulfilled. The bold move is necessary. It will lead you to your truth.

The joy is waiting for you. The abundance is waiting for you. Who you REALLY are is waiting for you.

Everything you want is on the other side of that bold move. Ever heard the saying, “Your dreams are on the other side of your fear”?

Well, it’s true.

I know it can be scary, so here are some tips on making the bold move AND smashing it (with grace of course)!

  1. Ask yourself, “What’s the whisper?” - Let me be clear, you already know the answer to this. However, asking yourself and waiting for the answer is what’s going to ground you in this process. Ask yourself, “What do I truly want?” Don’t try and answer this in your brain. Just wait for the calm, settled feeling and listen for your soul’s answer.
  2. Resolve to make the bold move - Once you hear the answer, then it’s time to resolve in yourself that you’re ready and committed to making your bold move. You’re committed to your happiness. You’re committed to having your own back. You’re going to make the bold move, done and done. Write it down if you need to. Place it in a sacred place.
  3. Call on support from your spiritual team - After you commit, now it’s time to make the move and ask for support. This is a big step and you can’t do it alone. You can ask for support in the form of an intention or prayer of support while you make the bold move. Call on who you feel connected to (angels, ancestors, Buddha, Universe, God, etc.) whomever your spirit feels guided to call on for you at this moment.
  4. Take action from the bold place - Any actions that you feel inspired, excited or even expansively nervous to take, take those. These are not the anxious actions you take because you’re internally freaking out. These are the actions that feel damn right. The “Hell yeah. This is scary but, I’m going to do it anyway!” actions. Or “This feels oh so right! Yum.” Those. Do those actions.
  5. Support your contraction - After there’s a large expansion like a bold move there is a huge contraction. You may feel depressed, anxious, exhausted or try to fill your calendar up with other things so you’re too busy to do the things in #4. That’s common. We expand so wide then we crash. However, the crash doesn’t have to be so hard. Take immense care of yourself. Go celebrate your bold move. Do some sexy, fun self-care activities. Call a friend or family member and ask them to hold space while you freak out (caveat: do NOT talk to anyone who’s not supportive of your bold move. This is a very unstable time and you don’t need anyone else’s “neck rolling” and judgment on your dreams).

Now, this is just the starting point. However, your dreams are worth this bold move. You’re worth it. I’d love to hear how this goes for you. Reply below and let me know how it goes when you make your bold move. You’ve got this and I’ve got you.

With Fierce Love,

Jo-Ná 

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All of you is welcome here

I was thinking about Solange’s album title, “A Seat at the Table” and the work that I am doing with my current clients and one thing that constantly holds people back is the fact that we not only judge parts of ourselves, we also shut them down now allowing them to have space in our lives.

This leads to deeper issues of resentment (of ourselves and others) or even self-hatred.

It causes us to hold back out of fear that we won’t be loved, accepted or appreciated. Oftentimes, we aren’t doing that for ourselves so how can we expect it from anyone else?

This also holds us back from taking the leaps we should take, saying NO when we know we should and ultimately leads us down a path of darkness when our soul truly wants to live in the light.

When I went down that path myself, of full appreciation and acceptance, the world opened up to me...not just in opportunity, but within myself. I felt the flow with the Universe. This sense of trust flows through me now that I’ve never consciously felt before.

I trust that I am being connected to the right people, in the right places at the right time for what I desire in my life and how I want to live out my gifts and expression to help others.

Ultimately, radical acceptance and appreciation for all I am and bring that into my work.

Now, you may be thinking, “That’s awesome Jo-Ná for you, but how the heck do I do it?”

I totally feel you and here’s the answer….

It’s a moment to moment process.

It’s a daily practice.

There’s no magic guru, exercise, book or pill that can bring you there (Even though many of those things can be helpful).

It’s making a decision that all of you deserves to be loved and expressed.

It’s conditioning yourself when you WANT to shut down a part of you, instead, saying no and bringing that part to the forefront for more love.

It’s allowing the little kid inside of you to come along for the ride, but NOT be in the driver’s seat.  

It’s a daily surrender and commitment to loving yourself. No matter what while still acknowledging your mis-steps and making amends for them.

It’s in those moments when someone shuts you down or attacks you that you don’t respond by joining in on the “beat up on you” party and instead respond to yourself with love.

It’s being aware of those thoughts that lower your vibration and actively shifting them.

It’s hearing your mother or father’s critical voice in your head and responding to that voice with radical kindness for yourself.

It’s an ever-unfolding journey that takes time but it’s so worth it.

Ultimately, it affects the type of business owner you are, the type of person you are and the joy your life develops (or not).  

I recall watching RuPaul on Supersoul Sunday and Oprah asked him, “What is the meaning of life?”

His response, “To live in joy.”

*Mic Drop*

That’s it.

This is what Joseph Campbell said in his famous quote, “Follow your bliss.”

When we do this, we are better, life is better and we are better to each other.

Then internal suffering we have and what we inflict on others as a result of that conditioning would subside. Hot damn.

While we ALL may not have perfect circumstances that allow us to access joy easier than others, you don’t have to. Joy is a state of mind.

It’s what Nelson Mandela said allowed him to get through is horrific imprisonment. The state of joy and peace in his mind.

And we can’t access it if we are in a constant state of self-blame, self-criticism, disapproval and a general malaise about our lives. If we don’t allow all parts of who we are have a seat at the table in our lives and businesses.

This isn’t just about being profitable or being “seen.” It’s about truly living and loving without suffering. Thriving in life, living in joy.

You can’t suffer your way to happiness. So how about we start now with a little appreciation of the miracle that is you and let it snowball into a full out “wholeness” fest?

Now, I’d love to hear from you. In the comments, let me know which part of yourself deserves a little approval and appreciation right now and how you’re going to do that today.

And if you know anyone else who may need this, please send it to them. We all need a little reminder to be a little kinder to ourselves and each other.

With Fierce Love,

Jo-Ná

P.S. If you missed my workshop this month, so sorry. More to come in the future, stay tuned. And if you’re interested in knowing more about my work you can find that here. Lots of love.

 

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The REAL issue with getting paid for your creativity.

Now more than any other time in history, we have been able to get paid for our creativity. It’s amazing.

When I first started my work as a coach 6 years ago (before Instagram and before the YouTube blow up) I felt like I was standing on a stage yelling into an empty forest with a bullhorn, “ARTISTS SHOULD BE COMPENSATED FOR THEIR WORK!” and no one was listening.

It felt like it was a constant battle to get creatives to see their worth, the importance of advocating on their own behalf and to get them to care about business. Even worse it was definitely an uphill struggle to get organizations and companies to invest in creative capital.

Now? Things have gotten so much better in a lot of ways. With the constant barrage of stars like Issa Rae and Franchesca Ramsey going from YouTube to creating shows on major networks like HBO or writing for ShondaLand, or artists being plucked from obscurity and hoisted onto main stages to open for Beyoncé because of their Instagram following, and signing deals with companies like L’Oreal, creatives are understanding that to be an artist is to have value and that value can lead to opportunities that were once just stuck within the throws of their wildest dreams.

Those dreams are really coming true in some instances.

It’s exciting to watch and quite honestly, gives my heart some relief because now I see creative people taking the business of their art seriously. It’s refreshing.

However, it also creates a new problem.

Now that access is available to technology, the playing field is more level and the gatekeepers are no longer present. To get around them all you have to do is buy a camera and flip a switch and you’re reaching your audience. That being said a new paralysis has developed.

Now the problem is, “Well if “so and so” can do it, why haven’t I yet? What’s wrong with me?” Then stories of“No one likes me.” I’m not good enough” ensue.

Maybe it’s the same problem we’ve always had, but it’s just dressed differently; the need to be loved, accepted and feel like we are enough.

Whether you consider yourself an artist, creative, entrepreneur, or some combination of these, in this day and age, you want to and/or expect to be compensated for your creative output. Good for you.

But what happens when you don’t?

Is your self-worth wrapped in whether people buy your work, spread your message or pay you?

Would you create anyway even if no one liked it?

Is your value wrapped in how many “likes” you received on your Instagram post today?

Would you go down the hole of self-hatred if no one came to your show, purchased your latest product or if your launch didn’t receive the numbers you wanted?

Here’s the thing, we can’t source our value from the outside. People are fickle. They want creativity, entertainment, magic all in less than 10 seconds.

Seriously. Think about that. Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram stories are 10 seconds max.

Not to mention, just as much information that is flying at you in a day, it’s doing the same for other people.

If you create only to GET something from the world verses GIVE something to the world, you’re always going to be miserable…and you’ll end up resenting your creative expression to boot.

IF we are to truly thrive as people in this wild, magical but incredible FAST world, our self-worth and our creativity can’t be wrapped up in what attention we receive from others.

We can create because we NEED to as creative beings.

We can create because we need to release our divine expression and put our art in the world because we want to give and share something with the world AND we can also expect to be paid for it. These things are not mutually exclusive.

However, if we are not paid for it, we can’t take that to mean there’s something wrong with us as people. That we are unworthy, unlikable and not enough.

This goes back to releasing the outcome of what happens the MOMENT after you create that thing.

You have no control over what the world thinks or how they feel about your work, whatever it is.

You do have control over how you feel about yourself in every moment.

Be an artist.

Do your great work in this world.

Let the Universe work out where it lands. Whether an offer, customer or big studio comes your way or not,  

You are needed. You are worthy. You are enough.

Now, get to creating.

With Fierce Love,

Jo-Ná

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Feeling triggered? Here's a simple solution.

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“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” - Wayne Dyer

Yes it’s easy to have a sexy mindset when the bills are paid, you look hot, you’re killing it in your chosen career and your love life is on an upswing.

But what about when it’s not all going right?

What happens when life hits you and knocks you on your butt?

What happens when he hasn’t called, you get fired, you have a crushing financial blow or discover you have an incurable or maybe even fatal illness?

What then?

This quote is so simple but sometimes it feels so hard to do right? Especially when the proverbial ISH hits the fan.

For example, I’ve been seeing so much discussion about the #metoo campaign. If you’re unaware it’s a social media hashtag people are using to share their stories of survival from various forms of harassment, abuse and assault.

As a result of this campaign many people are feeling a sense of relief, solidarity and increased desire for discussions and activism.

However, other people are feeling sad, triggered, shame, anger and various levels of depression.

Not to mention,  there’s natural (or unnatural depending on who you ask) disasters, terrorist attacks, various -isms and phobias, violence and a host of other challenges right now. Fear is present and wild right now mixed with many people feeling a malaise about their lives in general. Especially given everything that’s happening all over the world.

How do you deal?

It’s important for our own survival to be alchemists. We have to be able to transform all this energy into something that can truly serve us all. However, most people can’t go from 0 to 100 overnight.

This month, I’m working with my Mastermind clients around strengthening their mental resiliency. How you snapback to a positive mindset (which is a form of activism and self-care) all while taking care of yourself, creating and supporting the causes that you feel aligned with.

IF you are having a challenging time reaching higher, I get it. You need the space to feel all of this. However, at some point in the words of Meryl Streep, “you have to take your broken heart make it into art.”

Art can be who you are, how you show up and the ways in which you serve humanity with your gifts.

We have a choice. We can choose to let the momentum of the bad thoughts keep us out of our life or we can choose again and allow this darkness to take us higher.

While it may take time here’s a quick formula that can help you gently raise your vibration and increase your own mental resiliency in these very active times:

 

  1. Feel it - Give your feelings space. Allow yourself to feel the heartbreak, sadness, rage. Whatever is happening within you needs space to come out. It’s necessary because those dark feelings are a part of you. No judging. Approve of them by giving them space for expression. Be aware of your feelings and express them. I recommend doing it in ways that will move it through your body. Yoga is a great way or turning off the lights and playing dark music and dancing to feel it all is a great start. Cry, scream, whatever. Just give it space to be expressed. The latter is a variation on a technique I learned from Regina Thomashauer (aka “Mama Gena”) called swamping.
  2.  Choose it - Once you’ve got the emotion out, It’s time to take back your power. Recognize YOU are in control of your life and how you want to feel inside it. This can be as simple as saying to yourself, “I am in control of my life. I choose again” or “I choose to see this differently.” You’d be surprised how this simple statement creates some internal shifts if you are in space of WILLINGNESS to let the feelings go. I did it the other day and it totally shifted my perspective about how my day was going.
  3. Raise it - Now here’s where you step into a higher state. Start focusing on what’s good in your life or good about the situation in general. Now with the latter, you may not be ready to see the gift of the situation. That’s ok. You can however see what’s good in your life overall. Reach for something that feels just a little better. Something you can believe. Usually, you can’t go from “I feel like shit” to “I feel amazing” in one swoop and that’s ok. No judgment there.

However, you may be able to reach for something slightly better like, “I am grateful that I have the ability to feel my emotions” or “Even though the faucet has a leak, I’m grateful that my landlord is responsive.” Either set of emotions (positive or negative) will gain momentum. It’s where you choose to focus. So from there, just keep choosing slightly better feeling thoughts until you feel better.

I want you to try this. I know that sometimes it feels like something even this simple doesn’t feel like it will work. However, what do you have to lose by trying it other than those icky feelings?

Once you do, let me know how it went for you by leaving a comment. I want to hear from you.

It’s time for us to decide how we want to live this life and move towards it. It starts with how we choose to see it. Let’s shift our perspective and maybe just maybe, what we see will change too.

With Fierce Love,

Jo-Ná

 

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What Solange taught me about creation, recovery & strength

“And I don’t know where to go, No I don’t know where to stay. Where do we go from here? Do you know?” - “Where do we go,” A Seat At The Table, Solange

I love this line so much because it feels like something that we all go through at some time or MANY times over the course of our lifetime.

When I took my break early 2016, I had a moment where everything felt like this.

I had a seemingly perfect plan for my business that crumbled right before my eyes and caused a financial crisis.

I had a relationship that was on the rocks, (the “PC” way of saying it was shitty).

I had “friends” that I thought would always be there for me (as I had been for them) who went completely ghost.

I had new people in my life who were losing faith in my ability to get it together who I seemed to keep letting down.

I was feeling uber desperate and panicky.

There was still a small piece of me that had hope, but it was DAMN small.

Now I totally brought all of this on myself...I 100% own that. There’s absolutely no way I could portray an image of a successful, powerful person that could help others also empower themselves when I was hanging onto my sanity with a thread.

Basically, I’d built up a successful empire and career that I wanted to burn to the ground.

It’s not because I didn’t love my work or love you. To the contrary. My old identity no longer fit.

And since I can’t live inauthentically, I got quiet until I could step powerfully again. Pain has a way of either shutting you up or making you want to holler! I did both.

"Where do we go from here?” I was looking around. I had no idea.  

So when I saw, Solange speak of the fact that she’d been in so much pain, struggling with depression and trying to make sense of the darkest time in her life, I could definitely relate.

When artists suffer, it’s expected...and even applauded when they can turn their pain into the most beautiful art, as she did. For other professions, not so much. Everyone else doesn’t have the luxury or freedom to fall apart and have it be justified or forgiven and it’s killing people. Not to mention society romanticizes that pain for artists and it’s REAL for all of us. So real.

It was then that I started to see other entrepreneurs that I knew who were “keeping it together” on the outside because they felt their “Livelihood” depended on it completely fall apart...behind the veil.

Coaches who were headed for eviction.

Specialists who had to go live back home with their parents.

Big time Marketers who needed references for Bankruptcy Court.

It was brutal. But you know what? They all got through it. Some on their knees. Some standing, but they did and they turned their pain into their art. You can too.

I had to get quiet so I could get feel myself. So I could evolve. So I could share and reflect on  the journey with myself and with you.

Here’s the thing, leaders all have a journey. We all have gone through the burning sands one way or another so we can get to the other side and throw you a rope.

My dear friend and spiritual teacher said to me, “You’re going through all this because you’re going to teach others how to REALLY stand in their power. Fully.”

At the time, I didn’t understand her. I do now. And I know this work is never done.

I have made a shit-ton of mistakes. You will too.

I am still cleaning things up. You will have to as well.

I am still growing and I hope to always be. I hope you do too.

I will fall again and I will get up again. So will you. Stronger. Deeper. Happier.

The most important and most PIVOTAL thing you can do to step back onto your path of power is listening to what the Universe is saying to you. Whether it’s to get still or start moving.

There’s inevitably going to be a time when you need to do one or the other.

Being able to turn your pain into your art requires a deep level of catharsis and to listen fully to what that voice is telling you. Your art is your life and anything that means anything to you.

For Solange, she got really quiet, went into the woods and for 4 years worked on her most poignant music to-date. A Seat at The Table cemented her as one of the most dynamic and powerful performance artists of her generation and our time.

For Oprah, when her network (“OWN”) was failing, she got still. People asked her what was she going to do? How was she going to save her sinking ship? She was depressed and she didn’t know. She got still for a year, listened for the answer, followed her heart and now OWN is thriving.

For me, I knew myself and my work would morph into what was meant as my greatest service to myself and to you. I got still and heard the answer that had been in my heart and muted for a long time. You will see how it all emerges soon. 

However, I will say that crossing over the burning sands was the best thing I’ve ever done in my life. Yes, I was bloody and in pain, but I want you to remember something:  

It all heals. You get stronger than you ever thought possible. Your life, your family, friends and work take on new meaning. You TRULY fall in love with yourself and know that your heart and commitment are more powerful than anything you go through in this life. You start to TRULY live and love from a place of power in your life, not victimhood.

And on the other side, It’s a much sweeter ride (with sour patches here and there) and you’ll have the tools to handle it all. Trust.

I send you all my love today and always. Check me out on the IGTwitter or Facebook. I am releasing some pretty awesome social media treats soon. Come join so you don’t miss all the fun.

Love you Fiercely,

Jo-Ná

P.S. Here’s a Video Solange recording the album. Just watching others create can be just as healing and inspiring as the finished product. Enjoy.

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Does the "Net" always appear? A message about "leaping" for entrepreneurs.

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Does the "Net" always appear? A message about "leaping" for entrepreneurs.

     If you’re “playing it safe, you’re playing small”     If you don’t jump you don’t have faith     Leap and the net will appear    Don’t have a plan B because it distracts from plan A   I use to be a devout follower of the “Jump the Cliff” Crew. I happily followed all the entrepreneur rhetoric about leaping and not worrying about falling on my ass or to my death and while I do still have that kind of faith in myself and what I am doing, something was missing for me.  When I didn’t leap, I felt like I was being judged (by other entrepreneurs, myself or those pesky books written by the experts!).  When I heard that inner knowing telling me to go slower, smell the roses and maybe jump at a later date, I promptly said to that knowing,  “Shut the hell up. I have some diving to do!”    If I didn’t jump...I didn’t want to face the judging of myself that would come with it soooo yep I jumped and jumped and jumped to the chagrin of my coach who was a BIG fan of jumping.  I didn’t care whether there was a net. I didn’t care whether I leaped to my death because I figured,  “Hey it’s better to get in ring and risk death than to sit on the sidelines.”    In many cases I think that’s true. In most cases. Ok, all cases.  However, sometimes, you shouldn’t jump so fast. Sometimes it’s sexy to have a parachute on your back instead of leaping and blindly hoping a net will appear.  These days, I am more of a fan of the strategic leap.  When you listen to that inner guide saying,  “Patience grasshopper. All things in due timing.”    This leap feels even more exciting because it’s a leap with positive expectation, not hope.  It’s a leap of planning and action, not flying by the seat of your pants.  It’s a quality leap.  A leap where you test, you ask, you refine, you set yourself up for success.  Entrepreneurs don’t talk about this leap...but many of them do it. Behind the scenes.  Yes it’s what I teach.  And it’s what I live now.  And you know what? There’s space in my life. There’s pleasure. There’s joy. There’s the excitement of launching something big but KNOWING I will be ok no matter the outcome. There’s a release of attachment. There’s expansiveness.  It’s what we all strive for...but did anyone tell you that you don’t have to strive?  When you take the strategic leap yes it’s scary. However, it’s less painful.  The strategic leap may not give you the adrenaline rush of Cortisol…  But you will get a hefty dose of endorphins.  One of my clients recently launched her debut music single. We created the plan for the release, I supported her during it and the entire time I kept whispering (and sometimes yelling at her)  “Do what feels good. Celebrate along the way. Acknowledge your small wins instead of racing to the finish line. I know that “so and so” suggested this but do you actually WANT do that?”    So she took a leap. A big one.  She was strategic and planned for pleasure.  She had fun while putting the project together and took care of herself along the way.   Result? - 15,000 views in 24 hours.   No she didn’t have a huge list, thousands of followers or a big affiliate marketing push.  In fact, she never asked anyone to share it at that time.   But they did….over 250 times in that 24 hour period.  That’s THOUSANDS of new people that listened to her music, through friend recommendations. The best kind.  Oh and that huge release party everyone said she should have (but me)…She had a cookout at her house instead that to the turn of 75 people.  No expensive venue or large marketing push to get people to come.  No door minimums to contend with or nasty club owners.  Just love, fun, pleasure and a ton of support. Even MORE than she would’ve had at a club. She has been all over the radio now and she’s getting some international press, managers and industry folk are paying attention.  All because of the strategic leap. Yes she took the jump...a quality one, in divine timing.  And now all else will be left to the Universe to figure out AND that’s how it should be.  Whether you’re thinking of a big move, leaving your job, releasing a product or just going to the next evolution of who you are, I would suggest you take a minute and commit to the leap...but do it strategically. Plan out the steps, course correct and most importantly...follow what feels good.  It’s the path that will lead you to what you want and the true connection you’re looking for. I do it. She did it. You can too.  Now don’t get me wrong, If blind faith is your jam, I say go for it. However for me right now, cliffs are way more fun to jump when you know you have a string to pull and let out a parachute. ;-)  The net will appear whether you strap on a parachute or go flying without one. Just remember, you can’t control the WHEN or the HOW of either.   Either way you choose, just JUMP.   You will only regret it if you don’t when you know you should.  If you know someone who’s thinking of taking a leap or could use this, please share it with them.  Also, connect with me on social media  (IG  or  Facebook ) or comment below and let me know if you’re thinking of taking a leap I’d love to hear about it.  Love you Fiercely,  Jo-Ná   

 

If you’re “playing it safe, you’re playing small”

If you don’t jump you don’t have faith

Leap and the net will appear

Don’t have a plan B because it distracts from plan A

I use to be a devout follower of the “Jump the Cliff” Crew. I happily followed all the entrepreneur rhetoric about leaping and not worrying about falling on my ass or to my death and while I do still have that kind of faith in myself and what I am doing, something was missing for me.

When I didn’t leap, I felt like I was being judged (by other entrepreneurs, myself or those pesky books written by the experts!).

When I heard that inner knowing telling me to go slower, smell the roses and maybe jump at a later date, I promptly said to that knowing, “Shut the hell up. I have some diving to do!”

If I didn’t jump...I didn’t want to face the judging of myself that would come with it soooo yep I jumped and jumped and jumped to the chagrin of my coach who was a BIG fan of jumping.

I didn’t care whether there was a net. I didn’t care whether I leaped to my death because I figured, “Hey it’s better to get in ring and risk death than to sit on the sidelines.”

In many cases I think that’s true. In most cases. Ok, all cases.

However, sometimes, you shouldn’t jump so fast. Sometimes it’s sexy to have a parachute on your back instead of leaping and blindly hoping a net will appear.

These days, I am more of a fan of the strategic leap.

When you listen to that inner guide saying, “Patience grasshopper. All things in due timing.”

This leap feels even more exciting because it’s a leap with positive expectation, not hope.

It’s a leap of planning and action, not flying by the seat of your pants.

It’s a quality leap.

A leap where you test, you ask, you refine, you set yourself up for success.

Entrepreneurs don’t talk about this leap...but many of them do it. Behind the scenes.

Yes it’s what I teach.

And it’s what I live now.

And you know what? There’s space in my life. There’s pleasure. There’s joy. There’s the excitement of launching something big but KNOWING I will be ok no matter the outcome. There’s a release of attachment. There’s expansiveness.

It’s what we all strive for...but did anyone tell you that you don’t have to strive?

When you take the strategic leap yes it’s scary. However, it’s less painful.

The strategic leap may not give you the adrenaline rush of Cortisol…

But you will get a hefty dose of endorphins.

One of my clients recently launched her debut music single. We created the plan for the release, I supported her during it and the entire time I kept whispering (and sometimes yelling at her) “Do what feels good. Celebrate along the way. Acknowledge your small wins instead of racing to the finish line. I know that “so and so” suggested this but do you actually WANT do that?”

So she took a leap. A big one.

She was strategic and planned for pleasure.

She had fun while putting the project together and took care of herself along the way.

Result? - 15,000 views in 24 hours.

No she didn’t have a huge list, thousands of followers or a big affiliate marketing push.

In fact, she never asked anyone to share it at that time.

But they did….over 250 times in that 24 hour period. That’s THOUSANDS of new people that listened to her music, through friend recommendations. The best kind.

Oh and that huge release party everyone said she should have (but me)…She had a cookout at her house instead that to the turn of 75 people.

No expensive venue or large marketing push to get people to come.

No door minimums to contend with or nasty club owners.

Just love, fun, pleasure and a ton of support. Even MORE than she would’ve had at a club. She has been all over the radio now and she’s getting some international press, managers and industry folk are paying attention.

All because of the strategic leap. Yes she took the jump...a quality one, in divine timing.

And now all else will be left to the Universe to figure out AND that’s how it should be.

Whether you’re thinking of a big move, leaving your job, releasing a product or just going to the next evolution of who you are, I would suggest you take a minute and commit to the leap...but do it strategically. Plan out the steps, course correct and most importantly...follow what feels good.

It’s the path that will lead you to what you want and the true connection you’re looking for. I do it. She did it. You can too.

Now don’t get me wrong, If blind faith is your jam, I say go for it. However for me right now, cliffs are way more fun to jump when you know you have a string to pull and let out a parachute. ;-)

The net will appear whether you strap on a parachute or go flying without one. Just remember, you can’t control the WHEN or the HOW of either.

Either way you choose, just JUMP.

You will only regret it if you don’t when you know you should.

If you know someone who’s thinking of taking a leap or could use this, please share it with them.

Also, connect with me on social media (IG or Facebook) or comment below and let me know if you’re thinking of taking a leap I’d love to hear about it.

Love you Fiercely,

Jo-Ná

 

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What Dave Chappelle can teach us all about success.

Ever since I was a child, I’ve been a major comedy fan. I started watching stand up comedy when I was 6 year old and while I didn’t understand everything Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor were talking about I was completely enthralled in the experience of watching them on stage. I would watch their stand up specials over and over.

As an adult, comedy is a part of my life weekly. It’s pretty common to catch me at a comedy show on a Friday night in New York City or hear me playing a stand up special on Netflix in the background as I do my work. Laughter is joy and comedy is such an incredible art.

So when I heard that one of my absolute favorite comedians and creative business owner, Dave Chappelle is releasing 3 comedy specials on Netflix I almost broke my nails doing Google searches to find out the date and the backstory.

To my surprise and delight, I found out that two of the specials were ones that he’d filmed while on tour (from his vault and Netflix purchased them) and he will also record one specifically for them this year. The contract was for 60 million dollars. I was DANCING (literally) when I saw this and I’m so incredibly happy for him. What this did for him and what it is teaching the world is such a powerful example of TRUE success. 

 

IF you don’t know, he walked away from a $50 million dollar multi-season contract in 2005 for his VERY popular, Comedy Central show, “Chappelle Show.”  Many people called him crazy and said he was a fool or on drugs. People were disappointed; they judged him and Dave disappeared from the limelight for a few years.  

I had the same initial reaction as most people, “WTF?” However, having seen contracts that were less than favorable to artists and spent most of my life around famous people, I knew there was more to the story than meets the eye, so I applauded his decision.

To hear him speak of it now, he says that the price was “too high” for him and he felt like his audience couldn’t “SEE” him anymore and he was losing the connection and love for what he truly adored, comedy itself. The sacrifice was too great and he wasn’t willing to compromise his integrity for the money. I honor that.

As an entrepreneur you’re often faced with your spouse, parents, employers or children having no idea why you are making a certain choice because they feel differently. “What you have is so “Right” or “You’re on Top of the World or secure. Why would you give that up?”

Every level of your journey you’re going to be faced with high-stake choices that illuminate who you are and what’s in your life. Your audience and loved ones won’t know the backstory, so they are left to their own ideas and assertions.

As I thought of my own decisions in my business, I realized that they led me to an even true version of everything. I learned who my true friends were. I learned who my true supporters were. I learned of my talent, my love, my desires, my worth. I learned of the deep shame that I cared and the limiting beliefs that had plagued my existence and how to eradicate some of them. I learned of the pressure I put on myself to be what everyone wanted and how I had to live my life for me first. I learned of my personal creative power. I learned vulnerability takes an unbelievable amount of strength and courage, but it’s so freeing and beautiful.

I learned of my pure joy and awesomeness that comes from me just being who I am.

I also learned the greatest lesson of them all, I’m human and that does not strip away my divinity, my ability or identity, but adds to it.

I imagine Dave may have learned some of those same lessons.

Here’s a brief list of some of the lessons I think all creative business owners can learn from Dave Chappelle’s amazing example:

  1. Courage - We are all going to be faced with difficult situations. We are going to be faced with challenges that leave us flat on the ground. However, courage is the thing that will allow us to practice everything else in our lives successfully. Without it we can’t go on.
  2. Trust yourself above all else  - Your intuition is the wisest and best guide. While it may not make sense to anyone else or you may get a slew of other opinions (even from your own head) your inner guide will always lead you to the truth that will bring you the most peace.
  3. Honor your virtues & be true to yourself first - You have to wake up with you. You have to go to bed with you. Your character is your greatest asset so no matter what, if you honor yourself first, all else will come in the right timing and people will respect and understand that.
  4. If the price is too high it’s ok to walk away - If you’re not feeling it, whatever it is, even though it may SEEM good, even if everything is at risk, if it doesn’t feel right, you always have the choice to walk away and you should.
  5. Everything you lost will be returned to you 10-fold through pleasure - Dave may have lost 50 million dollars but what he DID was returned to what he loved, became more grounded in his sense of self and came back stronger than ever with even MORE than he bargained for AND with less work. I mean you can’t beat making 60 million for something that’s so easy for you that you did anyway because you loved it.

To me, this is true success. You have what you desire without compromising who you are. 

I’d love to know what lessons you’ve learned on your entrepreneurial journey or what you've learned that I didn't mention. Hit me up on InstagramFacebook, or Twitter and leave a comment. Let’s keep the conversation going.

And if you know someone who could benefit from this, please share it with them. Helping others is the greatest gift.

Love you Fiercely,

Jo-Ná

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Is it necessary to give up stability for success? A message for creative people & artists in 2017.

valerie june.jpg

There’s a myth in artist world that it in order to be successful and see your dreams come true as you have to let go of your stability.

It’s more like a hero’s story or a rite of passage that has become readily acceptable.

In order to truly prove that you’re worthy of the success you receive that you must have gone through the trials, tribulations, eat beans and sleep on floors all in the interest of “making it.”

You’ve heard the story. Even the new mega folk star, Valerie June was recently in a Rolling Stone article talking about being a struggling artist in Memphis most of her career and leaving to chase her dreams in the Big Apple playing her music in dive bars at night and doing odd jobs during the day to have money to eat.

Now, at 35 she’s a “Star.” She’s made it and she “earned her stripes.” I think this story is amazing. However, I think it’s equally amazing a story like Lin-Manuel Miranda (Creator and Director of the Smash hit Musical, “Hamilton”) who had a pretty stable life as a playwright with a wife and children who’s stability allowed him to take time off and create this play that now has a successful run on Broadway and has won every award under the sun.

What if you not only want to be a successful creative but you also want to go on vacations a few times a year, have stable income and a great relationship?

What happens when you’re willing to “Wait” for the right opportunity, say “No” to the shitty paying club, build a business that is outside the realm of your artistry or stay at your job a few more years WHILE you pursue your artistic endeavors at night?

In this world, you’re labeled a sell-out or entitled.

What in the world makes you think that you don’t have to be a starving artist?

Why do you think that YOU deserve to see success when others have tried and failed or given up their dreams altogether BECAUSE they wanted those things too?

I ask you, why does it have to be one way or the other?

In our world we’re told that you have two paths as a creative: Stability at the expense of your dreams or dreams at the expense of your stability.

In both of these scenarios, everyone loses.

Listen, there’s no need to feel shame because you want to slay like Beyonce AND have a 401(k). It doesn’t mean you’re less hungry than the next artist (Unless you mean literally. Then yes you are less hungry).

And it IS only impossible to have both if you say it is.

Entrepreneurship is the path to having both. Quite honestly, I believe it’s the best way.

Since I’ve been coaching creative people, this is what I’ve worked with them to create or expand. Their businesses and in turn their lives. This is what we work on in the Mastermind.

The business provides the stability that opens up your creativity and allows you to not only live your dreams but also be happy, stable, define and achieve your own level of success.

Yes it may take some figuring out. Yes you MAY move a little slower, but the joy on the other side is so worth it.

All the artists that you admire (the happier ones) are business owners.

In our history, yep, Mozart, Frida Kahlo, Michaelangelo….all entrepreneurs.

Beyonce has businesses. There’s a machine running underneath her. She’s not just making money on album sales and concerts (those are add ons).

Yes ok maybe they do 2 films a year instead of 4.

Maybe these artists go on tour every other year instead of every year.

Maybe they release books and films a couple years at a time and then take time off.

But is that really a sacrifice if they can also have a life they enjoy and be present ? I don’t think so.

Listen, you need to ask yourself what you’re really chasing here. A good life? All that money and fame will not be fulfilling when you’re tired, drained and creatively feeling bankrupt and emotionally spent.

And if you think that suffering for success is the only path, I suggest you get on my newsletter list because I have a thing or two to talk to you about.

You CAN have a life.

You CAN have stability.

And yes you CAN live your dreams too.

It’s up to you to make that decision and move accordingly and hey, if suffering is your jam, I don’t judge you. I’m just here to tell you...there’s another way.

All I ask is that whatever you choose, that you commit.

Make a decision of the type of life you want and decide to yourself the path you want to take to it.

Then, get yourself some support. The right mentor and right community to support you through it because one thing’s for sure...you can’t do it alone either way.

My prayer is that no matter which way you choose...I hope you achieve your level of success.

Send you ALL my love.

Jo-Na

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Legally protecting your name. A cautionary tale, "by Chloe."

One of the most popular restaurants in New York City is "by Chloe." It’s a fast growing vegan food chain spearhead by the incredible vegan chef, Chloe Coscarelli. She’s was the only vegan chef to ever win on the Food Network’s show, Cupcake Wars and has built an incredible brand as a result. She also has a host of vegan cookbooks and her own "sweet treat" line that I personally love (Sweets by Chloe)!

 

by Chloe opened its first restaurant in 2015 in New York’s, West Village neighborhood and has very quickly opened up restaurants all over the New York, Rhode Island, Los Angeles and Boston.

Every time I walked through the city I saw another sign saying “Coming Soon” with the by Chloe cheeky black & white brand of vegan burgers and fries. As a vegan, I was thrilled to see vegan food being embraced by the mainstream. However, as a lawyer, I was suspicious.

 

I kept thinking, “I know she probably has investors, but they are growing way too fast, something must be up.” 11 Locations in 2 years for a creative business owner is a lot. So I just kept watching.

Turns out, her Investors/business partners recently decided to open up restaurants that contain animal products. Yes with the name and brand of a VEGAN chef.

Chef Chloe protested and filed a lawsuit. She didn’t want her name associated with serving animal products and felt it would damage her brand.

The Investors won and fired her. Yep you heard it, from her OWN BRAND!

I can’t imagine the heartache and pain that Chloe must be feeling right now. To have worked so hard to build a name, a business, a movement around yourself doing what you love and have it stolen from underneath you, is a nightmare. Unfortunately it can be a harsh legal reality if you’re not set up right.

This was WHY I became a lawyer working on Intellectual property and business while coaching creative business owners. To be an advocate for people like Chloe...and you.

My work is centered around helping you create a business that has a solid foundation, profitable and aligned with your creative soul. A hugely important part of that foundation is legal...as Chloe has just learned in the most horrible way.

That being said, here’s an article that I wrote for Entrepreneur Magazine on the ways that you can protect your name and brand that go beyond trademarking. I hope that it helps you know what you need to do.

I will continue to write about this. I will continue to consult, advocate and create tools and courses to help you navigate these tumultuous entrepreneurial waters, but my only request is that you PLEASE TAKE the legal part of your business SERIOUSLY. It could be the difference between a wildly successful, lucrative empire or a disaster that leaves you wondering why.

Hit me up after you read the article and let me know what you learned. I can be reached at @jwilliamsesq on Facebook, IG and everywhere on social media AND PLEASE share Chloe’s story. I am boycotting this chain and I hope that you do too.

Love you Fiercely,

Jo-Ná

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