2014 has been an incredible year both for me personally and for my business. Thank you for supporting and following me along on my ups, downs, and everything in-between. Here are ten things I learned in 2014:
1. Open Your Heart
My three words for 2014 were: Free, Alive, Expand.
And I got that in spades. I chose to live + love with an open heart (and it's not for the faint of heart). The good and thing about living + loving with an open heart is that you're open to receiving *everything.* You're open and raw and vulnerable. But here's the catch: you're not open and raw and vulnerable so that people around you have power. You're open and raw and vulnerable so that you can step into your own power.
One way that I access this is through heart openers. It's a yoga move (not a surgery). And they're pure magic. There's a certain kind of swirling that swoops through you when you open your heart. It slices your chest open to make decisions from a deep fuck yes place, tuned in and tapped on.
me in a heart opener. “Chakrasana” in Sanskrit.
You're turning yourself upside down + inside out. Contracting and expanding. Aligning and opening. You're breathing into the rich vast juiciness of your ecstasy. You're thriving in that sacred place where you can be whole + make space for the orgasmic range of being you. And…
2. The Universe LOVES it when you're you
From funny interactions with strangers, to cutting to the core, the Universe guided me to reveal a powerful voice that was quiet for most of my life. It taught me gratitude, how to break up with your former self, how to let go of attachments, and let synchronicity lead the way. The Universe taught the importance of appreciating the evolution of relationships, giving me the opportunity to embrace desires, allowing for freedom at the core.
But what does this have to do with marketing or humanity?
Marketing used to be creating a myth and telling it. Now it's about finding a Truth and sharing it.
3. It's all about Desire
I'm constantly finding my Truth, by re-discovering desires. Desires are what make you come alive. Desires are what guide you through transitions. Desires give you space to breathe into the Truth of your personal path. Desires sit softly with your silence – so that you can continue to create distinctive art.
The notion of the artist as a solitary genius and the way we think of creativity in general is decades out of date. And it's desire that will help us guide the process of reshaping what artists are: how they work, train, trade, collaborate, think of themselves and are thought of even what art is just as the solitary-genius model did two centuries ago.
Giving into desires helps you to unlock your true potential – so that you can live the full, inspired life that calls you.
4. Dissolve your boundaries
I constantly deconstruct the story of who I am. I listen to the deep call from within to break down many illusions. I shatter many beliefs about myself, the world and others that I had stubbornly clung onto as Truth for far too long.
I now have a much better understanding of my true strengths and gifts, and the grit that's needed to authentically show up in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else. I've learned to look in the mirror with unconditional love, while simultaneously appreciating the messy, beautiful parts of being human.
We live in a new paradigm: one with co-creation, connection, and love at the core. To get to this place, dissolving your own boundaries is necessary to show up in the world. Go through the pain (and often cringe-inducing awkwardness) to get out of your comfort zone. Break fully open, feel every ounce of pain, and take off your mask so that you can peel back the layers of who you are at your core.
It's this deep inner-work that's necessary to define your voice and strengthen your story.
5. Express yourself
Expressing yourself and honoring yourself as an ever-evolving human, helps you distinguish your calling from your ego. This generates intense creativity, radical change, higher knowing (and maybe some Madonna tunes if you're lucky).
This year my website surpassed 100,000 pageviews. I'm simply sharing this because I need to get brutally honest with myself. And ask myself if I am really:
- Making an impact in this world?
- Expressing the true me? (Or only what I want the world to see?)
- Living to my fullest potential?
For me, the act of expression produces a soulful way to exist in this world. It's about creating experiences that make an impact with human beings: emotional connections, enjoyment, laughter and respect. I enjoy diving headfirst into the unknown – and embracing vulnerability – because it's the only true way to live.
6. Embrace your paradoxes
In Western society, most everything is black/white. But I've never seen life or business this way. And I find that most of the magic exists in the in-between areas of life. The Buddhists have a word for this, called a “koan” – a paradox to be meditated upon.
This can force sudden intuitive enlightenment.
a text from one my friends.
Or in the case of one of my friends, humor poking fun at me.
I'm learning how to accept the opposites: good/evil, sacred/profane, yin/yang, light/shadow. I'm strong yet feminine. Powerful yet vulnerable. Knowing this adds intensity to life and encourages personal freedom and imagination.
7. Life is Magical
I think life is freaking magical. But I get that not everyone sees it this way (yet). Not everyone is ready to receive your Goodness (or weirdness). When people aren't ready (or just don't understand) they'll cast resentment, shame, or insecurities your way. Or they'll make excuses. And instead of being a receiver of “people's junk” and let it weigh you down, simply realize that people's negativity is not a direct reflection of you or your work in the world.
We're designed to be different. Just be you. And if people don't like it – well, that's too damn bad.
Everybody isn't going to love you. Most people don't even love themselves.
8. Reading Refines Your Mind
I'm a lifelong book nerd. And I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to read a ton of books this year to improve my craft. I plan on using what I learned in these books as a strong foundation to grow. Here are some of my favorite books that shaped how I think:
- The Art of Social Media by Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick
I collaborated with Guy and Peg on their book “The Art of Social Media” this year. The book explains how to perfect your blog posts, by integrating social media and blogging (or “pegging”) your posts to gain traction. It also discusses how to feed the content monster, rock a twitter chat, and optimize for individual platforms (among many other tips). I highly recommend this book if you'd like to gain a better understanding of social media.
- Outwitting the Devil by Napoleon Hill
This is one of THE most provocative books on human potential and desires. It was kept hidden since 1938. And it was just published recently. If you want to be seriously inspired, read this.
- #Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso
I saw Sophia speak at SXSW this past year. And I loved how candid and human she came across. Her wit and lack of ego make this a totally fun read. Plus I totally relate to her grit and “hustler spirit.”
Other favorites: The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth by Chris Brogan, This Is It by Alan Watts, The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron, Present Shock by Douglas Rushkoff, Human to Human by Bryan Kramer, and Love, Freedom, and Aloneness by Osho (among many others).
Currently reading: Everybody Writes by Ann Handley, On Writing by Stephen King, and Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek (I often read as many as 3 – 5 books at once!)
9. No one is worth going backwards for
Ahem: No one (no one!) is worth going backwards for.
This is obvious to me on so many levels. And even just typing it out makes me cringe because it's borderline cliche-worthy. But here it is: The past is the past. It's not your present.
I thought I learned this years ago. But this was a whole new level of sometimes painful self-discovery and realizations. As tempting as it is to revisit certain people or situations from your past, it's not worth the drama of revisiting the person you used to be. You got over that ish for a reason, remember?
Move past your past. Your future looks amazingly beautiful on you.
10. Marketing isn't what you do. It's who you are.
The concept of marketing has been flipped on its head. It's no longer what you do. It's who you are. It's what you create.
When you integrate your work and play, meaningful marketing becomes a whole lot more fun. You get inspired by everything. And you can use this energy to reconnect to your true nature, so that you can create beautiful works of art – so that you can communicate and live out your authentic uniqueness.
Here's to gently looking back to 2014 – its pain, beauty, inspiration, desires. Here's to growing and surprising yourself in the year to come. Laugh, cry, and continue to evolve. The world needs you to show up.