Anna Maria Locke

What's on the other side of fear?

2017Anna Locke

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”

Do you ever feel like it would be soooo easy to achieve all your goals and create the life and business of your dreams … if you could just get out of your own way? 

I've been coaching smart, talented, and creative women for the past three years as a health and fitness (and now life!) coach, and whenever I ask a new client what holds her back, 95% of the time the answer is either:

(A) Some variation of “myself”

(B) “Not enough time" ...which is the same as “myself” since time management >> priorities >> our relationship with ourselves.

Yup, it's official. We are WAY too hard on ourselves.

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you could stop being your own worst enemy and start being your own best friend and advocate? If you could stop letting your inner critic or fear block you from taking action, making a life pivot, or simply being happy and fulfilled?

Maybe you'd set harder boundaries.

Maybe you'd say "no" more often.

Maybe you'd spend less time around the people who leave you feeling exhausted/insecure/pissed off.

Maybe you would spend less time hustling and more time working on passion projects that may or may not be income-producing.

Maybe you'd leave the job, the relationship, move out of the city that's draining your energy.

Maybe... you'd figure out who you actually are??

We live in a world that’s constantly telling us to do more, be more, achieve more, and earn more, NOT TO MENTION the load of work, volunteering, family, friends, self care that we already have on our plates, so it’s easy to start believing that we aren’t good enough, which is a complete LIE that's keeping women trapped under our own glass ceilings.

I believe that learning how to face our fears with patience and compassion is the most radical and powerful action we can take if we really want to work towards female empowerment.

Ultimately, it's about taking ownership of our inner confidence, happiness, and the direction of our lives instead of living on autopilot or in reaction mode.

Choosing to decide that we are enough, just as we are, no matter what the world or media or our inner critic might say.

Over the past three years I’ve been on a quest of self discovery, absorbing all the personal development I can get my hands on so I can "find my potential," create my dream life/career, and overcome my self doubt and anxieties.

  • I’ve worked with life coaches and energy healers.
  • Taught myself how to meditate.
  • Cut caffeine.
  • Quit the birth control pill to heal my hormones.
  • Made regular workouts and eating healthy my default lifestyle.
  • Started going to yoga.
  • I journal everyday.

And you know what?

That last part is the key.

Because through a regular journaling habit where I literally just brain dump stream-of-conscious crap that’s in my head, I’m able to dig deeper into what is really going on.

And I’m also able to go back and see where I was at and what I was struggling with years ago.

I recently noticed that even though I’m literally building my DREAM life all around me and am working through all my self doubts, insecurities, and “issues," I still stress out about the exact same things I always have.

Fear of failure.
Fear of rejection.
Fear of success.
Fear of nobody liking me or wanting to work with me.
Fear of being misunderstood.
Money stress.
Overwhelm because I want to do ALLTHETHINGS and I'm a perfectionist.

Every day anxieties that all revolve around the fear of not being good enough.

I can meditate the stress away, diffuse oils, clear my chakras, numb out with wine, psychoanalyze myself and understand exactly why I still struggle with this stuff, but at the end of the day these are fundamental human fears and they aren't ever going away.


WAYS THAT FEAR MANIFESTS IN YOUR LIFE AND BUSINESS

  • Imposter syndrome or feeling like a fraud
  • Overthinking
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Overwhelm
  • Perfectionism
  • Procrastination
  • Comparisonitis
  • FOMO
  • Never feeling good enough
  • Never feeling like you’re quite there yet…
  • Burn out
  • Working too much
  • Emotional eating
  • Sabotaging yourself when you start to see success
  • Being self critical
  • Judging yourself or other women
  • “Mommy guilt”
  • Guilt even if you don’t have kids
  • Social media addiction
  • Chronic fatigue or exhaustion
  • Over exercising
  • Body image hang-ups
  • Obsession with planning, but failure to execute or follow through
  • Need for control
  • Feeling like a failure if you miss a goal
  • Inability to earn money from your business
  • “Procrastistudying” -- signing up for alllll the courses and webinars
  • Scarcity mindset -- feeling like there’s not enough money/clients
  • Not being able to relax or have downtime

The list is endless!

We’re always trying to escape or avoid our fear, stress, overwhelm, anxiety, (insert all negative emotions) and get to the other side.  

But what IS on the other side of fear?  

There’s a lot of hype these days around learning how to find alignment and flow, which seems to be the opposite of fear.

“Flow” is this mystical state of being where we can eliminate stress and hustle and turn our days into a smooth lazy river, trusting that everything we need and want is coming our way through law of attraction and that the universe has our back.

"Choose love over fear!" the experts proclaim.

Does this actually work? Maybe. At least we'll feel more calm.

But at the end of the day, fear will always pop back up, because it's part of our biological design. We can't ever completely overcome it!

What I’m discovering is that fear itself actually isn’t the problem. It’s how we perceive it.

And flow is actually not an absence of stress or fear, but simply allowing ourselves to experience and process ALL our emotions. Because if we try to numb or ignore the emotions we label as “bad,” we are also numbing ourselves to experiencing joy, abundance, love, and all the good ones too.

What would happen if we simply accepted our feelings, good and bad, without placing a judgement on ourselves?

If we stopped spending all our energy over-thinking, over-planning, trying to fix ourselves  … and just decided to show up as ourselves for who we are IN THIS MOMENT?

My hypothesis is that life, business, earning money, and simply being ourselves would all be a heck of a lot easier and more fun if we chose to accept that fear is just a part of being human, not something that's out to get us.

When we stop making a big deal out of our fear, it will fade into the background and become part of the kaleidoscope of emotions that we experience on a normal daily basis, and that's when we can find our flow.

So instead of “feel the fear and do it anyway,” how about just “feel the fear and do it?"

Let’s stop trying to get to the other side, and just live our lives!

This process is not something that’s theoretical or mindset-based. You can read my blog and nod your head, but at the end of the day this is something that has to be physically experienced.

SO!!! 

Wanna go there with me?

I’ve created a 3 day group program/mastermind/adventure called Fear & Flow, for courageous entrepreneurs or sensitive overachievers who are ready to dig deep and explore these topics with me!

I’m sharing some of my favorite journal prompts to get you digging deep, feeling your feels, and figuring out what “fear” and “flow” feel like to YOU, in your body.

We’ll also have a daily Facebook Live discussion and a group video call where we’ll come together and mastermind how to find the sweet spot or balance between fear/love, scarcity/abundance, hustle/flow in our own lives.

I want to bring together a small group of visionary women who are passionate about breaking out of our own self-imposed limitations and living a bolder, bigger, more passion driven life, because sometimes we just need someone to talk with about this crazy deep stuff! And I’ve discovered it’s so much fun to come together in community and mirror back each others’ light when we can’t see it ourselves.

If you want to join us, you can learn more here!

Registration closes Sunday night at midnight. I hope you’ll join me! 

xo Anna

Eating, drinking, and hiking our way through Galena, Illinois

2017Anna Locke

It's crazy that this summer marks the fifth year Ben and I have lived in Chicago!

I grew up in central Illinois and never thought I'd be a city girl, but I guess it's official now. I do love this town. It's where we were newlyweds, where I went through my crazy quarter life crisis, and where we've made some lifelong friends. 

But oh my gosh you guys, the energy of Chicago is intense. It's a scrappy, fast paced city of hustlers, movers, shakers, corruption, violence, extreme weather, more delicious restaurants than you could ever visit in a lifetime, and a patchwork of neighborhoods that are each as culturally and economically distinct as a small country. 

We live in a neighborhood that's as quiet as it gets, but there's still always a sense of urgency and go-go-go. I try my best to carve out a little oasis at home, but sometimes I just have to get out of town back into the "normal" part of Illinois to relax and breathe!

In just one hour you can drive out into cornfields and big skies, and take a giant exhale.

Ben and I love to explore new places together and take mini getaways, since there are so many cool towns within a half day's drive of us in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

Last week he had some time off work between the end of the school year and the beginning of summer school, so we decided to visit Galena, IL. It was my first time there and I fell in love because it's SO ADORABLE!

It's on the northwestern most edge of Illinois, only 20 minutes or so from the borders of Iowa and Wisconsin. In the 1800's it was one of the biggest steamboat ports, and the very first mining "boomtown" before the silver and gold rushes in California. (Lead deposits = the name Galena).

The topography and history of the area is also unique and fascinating, especially to a geography nerd like me.

It's situated in a patch of land stretching into southern Wisconsin called the Driftless area, untouched by the glaciers that scraped the rest of the Midwest flat, leaving glacial "drift" (fertile, mineral rich soil) behind. 

There are rolling hills, rare species of plants, archeological remains, deposits of minerals, and unique microclimates as a result of the un-glaciated terrain, which gives you the feeling of being in a completely different country.

On top of the landscape, the actual town of Galena hasn't really been touched since the glory days of lead and zinc mining, and it's been revitalized into a trendy tourist destination full of boutiques and restaurants. 

Since Ben is a history teacher, we also wanted to visit because Ulysses S. Grant had a home in Galena and there's a lot of Civil War era history there, including an unexpectedly awesome small history museum!

Because we're cheap, we stayed at a Ramada on the edge of town but next time I definitely want to check out one of the cute bed and breakfasts or inns. 

In 36 hours, we packed as much into our trip as we could!

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The town was very quiet since it was the middle of the week right after Memorial Day, and the weather was perfect so we started our adventures at the Casper Bluff reserve, where there are ancient burial mounds that are part of the larger Effigy Mound culture that existed between A.D. 700 and A.D. 1000 in Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois. We honestly couldn't figure out what was a mound versus a hill, and the bugs were driving Ben cray, but we met some adorable cows!

Oh, don't mind us. We're just the cliche city folk who are gonna take a selfie with your cows...

Oh, don't mind us. We're just the cliche city folk who are gonna take a selfie with your cows...

After our hike, we drove over to Galena Cellars vineyard, a gorgeous little winery, for a tour and wine tasting. After living in Oregon, I've turned into a bit of a wine snob, but I was really impressed with this place. It was super homey and friendly, and they had dozens of wines to try! We'll definitely be back. There are also lots of fun events there and hellooooo wedding venue if you are looking for a unique event space.

For just $10 you can get a tour of the facility and a wine tasting with 6 pours. The wine tasting ladies were very nice, friendly, and enthusiastic about the wines and gave us a couple extra tastes too. We ended our visit by grabbing a couple of (CHEAP AND HUGE) glasses of our favorite wines, some cheese and crackers, and sat on the front porch looking out over the countryside.

HAPPY PLACE!

That night we had dinner at Vinny Vanucchis, an adorable Italian restaurant with a great patio. 

The next day we started off at the Galena Historical Society and U.S. Grant Museum which was very impressive and full of things to learn about the geographic, cultural, and political history of the area (must visit if you are a Civil War buff). In a really cool twist of fate, the building is situated literally on top of one of the original mining shafts, which you can peek down into! The museum also houses the original Peace in Union painting by Thomas Nast, depicting the surrender of Lee to Grant at Appomattox.

It was still fairly early by the time we made it out of the museum, so we grabbed coffee and wandered around the park and downtown shops. 

We wanted to check out the brewery for lunch, but it was unfortunately closed on Wednesdays so we went to a tavern called Gobbie's with the most AMAZING unhealthy appetizer I've ever eaten in my entire life. They're called beer nuggets and I still don't know what that means, but they appear to be deep fried herbed dough bites dusted with Parmesan and served with a delicious chunky marinara sauce. NOM. 

On our way out of town we stopped at Blaum Bros Distilling Co. because heck, the theme of this trip was eating and drinking everything possible. It followed the theme of every other place: unexpectedly amaaaaazing! Ben sampled a few of the liquors and I had a delicious bourbon cocktail.

We worked off the buzz with a visit to Horseshoe Mound, which seems to be the highest point in the area with gorgeous views and a painfully steep little hiking loop. I mean, can you believe this is Illinois, only 3 hours from Chicago?

When people call the Midwest a "flyover zone," I say hey. Watch yo'self and come see and eat and drink your way through MY Midwest. (Also see: Bayfield, WI).

What to do in Galena

Galena Historical Society & Grant Museum
Wander up and down the boutiques and shops -- eat all the samples in the kitchen and canned good stores!
Hike or picnic at a nature preserve
Galena Cellars Vineyard (there's also a tasting room downtown)
Blaum Bros. Distilling Co.

On our list for next time:

The Grant Home
Belvedere Mansion and Gardens

Where to eat in Galena

Gobbie's -- Lunch or dinner, great outdoor space. EAT THE BEER NUGGETS (they come as a side with pretty much everything). The pizza looked good too.
Vinny Vannucchis -- Family style Italian restaurant with lots of pasta. Great outdoor patio and Negroni cocktails.
The Market House Restaurant -- Basic Midwest comfort food with lots of gluten free options. Good for cheap lunch!

On our list for next time (lots of places are closed Tuesday and Wednesdays):

Victory Cafe
Otto's Place
Fried Green Tomatoes
Fritz and Frites
Galena Brewing Company

SO MUCH TO EAT!

Where to stay in Galena

We stayed at the Ramada Inn because we wanted to spend all our money on food and drinks, lol! It was a very nice and clean motel, but skip the continental breakfast. If you want more of a special experience, there are a bajillion adorable bed and breakfasts and quaint inns downtown.

Where is your favorite place to go for a weekend getaway?

xo Anna

Field notes from the entrepreneur rollercoaster (buckle up!)

Anna Locke

Hello my friends!

Can you believe we're already at Memorial Day? In typical Chicago fashion, the weather has been boomerang-ing between 40’s and rainy and 70’s and humid. But the peonies are starting to bud so there’s hope!

The weather is kind of a metaphor for my life right now. Sunny/cloudy. Hot/cold. Energizing/depressing.

I’ve spent the last few months participating in a wonderful and inspiring mastermind group of other life and business coaches who are also passionate about building successful coaching businesses grounded in authenticity and spirituality. A fusion of biz and woo, if you will. It’s been a blast and also an extremely intense comfort-zone blasting experience (I'm such a sucker for those!).

This week my coach Lexi helped me realize that I need to share more behind the scenes of what I’m going through in this season of life.

So here I am! 

For the past several months I’ve been dealing with a lot of writer’s block around blogging because to be completely honest, I feel like a hot mess on the inside and don’t even know what I could or should be writing about. I have so many thoughts and ideas swirling in my head but as soon as I get a bit of clarity, I move on to the next breakthrough and I’m afraid if I try to put what I’m going through into words, I will make absolute zero sense. 

Insert: perfectionism paralysis

But I also know that it’s ok to not make sense. I’m living this life for me, and I want to write for me. I want to document this messy season of becoming and be-ing because I’m starting to understand that life will always feel messy and it’s not my job to make sense of it all. It’s my job to strap into the rollercoaster and go along for the ride!

I think it was Liz Gilbert who wrote that she bargains with God, saying "I'll show up and focus on the quantity (of work), if you take care of the quality," and I'm trying to adopt that mindset of faith.

It’s not about the outcome or whether my (or your) writing is good or bad. Who’s the judge, anyway? It’s about the process and the discipline of sitting down and letting creative energy flow through me. Letting myself find my voice. Letting my message and thoughts be heard. The more I bottle up creative energy, the more anxious and stressed and out of alignment I feel.

So here’s where I’m at:

I’m learning that entrepreneurship is very much a spiritual journey, and building a business doesn’t fit a linear growth model.

Yup, it's a never ending rollercoaster shaped like a ball of spaghetti noodles.

My inner perfectionist and Type A left brain scientist is having fits.

My inner artist and right brained creative is having a field day.

When you’re trying to figure out your purpose, you’ll probably be faced with the questions “what did you like to do when you were a kid?” AKA what were your dreams and desires and passions back before the world started to get into your head?

And the truth is that I was always creative. I was easily inspired and loved making beautiful things out of nothing. My imagination was bigger than life. I lived inside of my daydreams, my magical invented worlds. I knew I was part of something bigger than I could see and feel with my eyes and body.

So I’m giving that little girl Anna some time in the sun again. This is who I’m meant to be and I'm discovering that through the past 15 years of education and jobs and pivots and crises I’ve simply been on a journey of coming home to myself.

I'm trying to get curious and listen to and ACT on my creative impulses instead of telling myself things like “I’m too busy to take a break and paint.”

I've been taking deep dives into self care, spirituality, and learning what it’s like to lean back and meet God/the universe halfway instead of trying to force and control my goals into existence. Trying to trust that what I’m seeking is also coming to me, and learning how to open myself up to receive instead of constantly striving.

Here’s what I’m learning about entrepreneurship:

There’s so much dogma about the hustle, the grind, working harder and smarter and making more money, but when does it all end?

It only ends when we decide that WE ARE ENOUGH. It’s ok to want to continue to grow, but when we work from a place of rest, peace, and knowledge that we already have everything we need … we’re able to go deeper and further.

I’ve been exploring my faith, establishing a personal relationship with God, and getting curious about the invisible stuff like feminine energy, astrology, cycles, deeper connection to the vast space of source energy that we’re all part of. 

I love learning how I work, how I’m wired, and discovering my strengths. To me, spirituality is a form of self discovery on a deeper level, beyond personality tests.

Where this is bringing me?

Into my soul’s purpose.

My mission as a life coach: to help my fellow perfectionists and creative entrepreneurs learn how to slow down, release the striving,  navigate the rollercoaster, connect with their purpose, put their soul and heart back into their biz, overcome “empty success syndrome” and create a thriving business that supports them and a life that lights them up. 

And I'm learning that I need to do the work on MYSELF first and always (because it never ends), and learn what it actually feels like to slow down, tune in, and light myself back up from the inside.

When we project thriving positive energy and a sense of abundance, we’ll attract the people and opportunities that we need to take ourselves to the next level of success.

It's also important to remember that external success doesn’t bring happiness. If you want to be successful, you have to be happy FIRST. The money and all the ego stuff will follow, but it shouldn't be the goal.

Welcome to the rollercoaster. Up and down and up again.

Sometimes I feel like I’m growing and evolving so quickly I can barely keep up.

Sometimes I feel stuck.

Sometimes I feel like I’m pouring all my heart and time and energy into something that isn’t going anywhere.

Sometimes I feel like I can't even contain the joy and happiness and gratitude that's exploding my heart. 

Sometimes I go through a few weeks where I’ll be busy being … not busy. Hanging out with my own thoughts and Hulu.

Sometimes I watch myself dip back into my old workaholic tendencies and forget to take care of myself. Then I start to feel burned out, frazzled, and desperate and try to remember what it was like when I was doing less.

But through it all I’m continuing to show up for myself, my business, and my life and I’m learning so many lessons along the way.

I’m turning my life into my work and even though it's scary, it's also so much fun.

And day by day I'm making it happen! And letting it happen.

And learning how to relax and ride the rollercoaster with my arms in the air.

xo Anna 

p.s. if you want to chat more about life coaching or your own rollercoaster, click here to book a free 30 minute discovery call! Aka virtual coffee date :)

photo by Artistrie Co