You know after any truly initiating experience that you are part of a much bigger whole. Life is not about you henceforward, but you are about life.
I spent all last week at a private villa in southwest Jamaica with eleven of the top leaders on my coaching team on an all-expenses paid adventure.
It was a surreal trip that felt like a dream, and now I'm back in gloomy cold Chicago, it's hard for me to wrap my mind and heart around everything that happened. It's going to take me a long time to process it all, but I wanted to share my experience and main takeaways just to show what's possible when you take a chance on your dreams and work hard :)
We spent the week laughing, crying, learning, supporting each other, adventuring, eating, drinking, and masterminding from sunrise until late into the night. Yes, we totally felt like we were on The Real World. It was kind of hilarious.
I feel completely changed and transformed on the inside, like the "old Anna" who made excuses and held back and over-analyzed everything and let her insecurities and anxiety get the best of her is completely gone and replaced with this "new Anna" who is super confident, capable, and ready to take on the year.
It's super weird.
Needless to say I learned a TON about my business, myself, and life in general.
Before I dive into the deep stuff, I'll start by sharing some pretty pictures, because it's January and we could all use a dose of sunshine!
We stayed at the Bluefields Villas in Bluefield Bay, which is on the south shore of the island opposite of Montego Bay described as a "5 Star Country Retreat on the Sea." I can't gush enough about our experience at the villa. We had our own private staff who treated us like royalty, and the villa itself was gorgeous, decorated like a colonial plantation house. Every meal was served on china and crystal with silver utensils, Downton Abbey style. SO CRAZY!
Prior to this trip, my only experience and knowledge of Jamaica consisted of what I learned by watching Cool Runnings (I know, I know), and I was surprised to find that the area we visited was basically rainforest. Lots of huge mountains, valleys, lush vegetation, and brightly colored concrete houses dotting the roads and hills. Other than that, Cool Runnings pretty much sums Jamaica up! Friendly people who welcome you like long lost relatives, so much positivity, national pride, and good vibes. It's easy to fall in love with the island, the people, and the cuture, especially since it's such a stark contrast to the anxiety-inducing busybusy rush and stress of life in Chicago.
How did I get to go on this dream vacay?
My team leaders and mentors Robb and Chelsea decided to gift this trip to the top 10 coaches on our team in 2015. I actually didn't officially qualify for the top 10 (see previous post on failing to reach goals...) so when they called to tell me I had a spot as a back-up and they wanted me to be there (insert screaming and crying on my end), I couldn't believe it...and to be honest it was kind of hard the first couple days to believe I actually deserved to be on this trip with coaches who are much more experienced and "successful" than me at running their own businesses and huge teams.
My whole life I've struggled a little with feelings of worthiness, insecurity, and comparing myself to others, and I'm still trying to get over placing my sense of self worth and value on external achievements. So when I first started coaching, I had a tendency to place leaders and more successful coaches on pedestals.
But I'm learning that's a silly and unnecessary thing to do, and that brings me to my Takeaway #1 from this trip.
WE ARE ALL THE SAME
We're all human, we all only have one chance at life, and we're all doing this life thing for the very first time. Everyone is on a journey and everyone's journey is unique, but fundamentally we're all the same.
Being successful on the outside says nothing about the quality of your spirit on the inside.
We had the incredible opportunity to visit a primary school of 3-5 year olds, and watching their limitless happiness and joy as they played in their schoolyard with old tires and broken jump ropes was a humbling wake-up call. We all have the capacity to feel gratitude and joy, no matter what our external circumstances look like.
So instead of putting people you admire on pedestals, raise your own pedestal so you can look across at them on the same level. When you view someone as they are, just another broken, flawed human being on a journey, you'll open yourself to the vulnerability of TRUE connection, and learn so much more about yourself in the process.
WE ARE LIMITLESS
Why do we play small and hold ourselves back from feeling happy, doing what we actually want, and chasing our dreams? Mainly fear. Fear of not being good enough. Of failure. Of judgement and "what people will think."
I'm slowly learning to believe in my dreams, and I'm gaining the courage to dream bigger and bigger.
One of the things I learned from spending time with some crazy successful coaches is that life is limitless.
Possibility is limitless.
We don't live in a box.
If we want more of anything from life, whether it's more love, money, impact, time to travel, time with family, friends, happiness...we can change, take action, and receive it.
It's ok to feel good.
It's ok to be happy and successful.
It's ok to shift our mindset from the constant struggle-bus to one of gratitude for the abundance that we already have.
It's also ok for your life (or biz) to look like it's plateauing on the outside, because you're probably still changing and growing on the inside.
Feeling stuck, trapped, or overwhelmed is ALL IN YOUR MIND, a figment of your imagination.
When you start to expose yourself to people who are doing the things you long to do...don't be jealous. Be inspired, because you can do it too. There's no limit to the love, abundance, and success available to us in the world.
Get out there and chase your dreams!
Set some goals, then raise the bar 500%. We're all capable of so much more than we think.
IT'S SAFE TO GO OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE
OHHHHH man. Where do I even start with this one.
The entire trip was basically one giant leap out of my comfort zone after another. It was the first time I've ever traveled internationally by myself, without Ben.
1. The Luggage Debacle
One of my biggest fears is that I won't be adequately prepared for something. When I was planning our wedding, my nightmares revolved around me showing up at the church without my dress, or without having had the time to finish planning and making everything perfect.
So I landed in Jamaica, and my luggage didn't come out of the chute.
It turns out my bag got mis-routed and ended up in MEXICO. What the heck, luggage?? It's rum punch, not tequila time!
I didn't have my luggage for 2 full days in a strange country. It was a HUGE lesson in releasing control and having faith that things will work out, that I'm resilient enough to survive even if my biggest fears come true, and that we don't actually need STUFF to be happy and appreciate being in a new environment.
Luckily I was staying with 10 women who are all around my size and all overpacked, so it was also a lesson in being able to receive help!
2. Waterfall Chasing
We also made an excursion to YS Falls, which is basically a scene straight out of Avatar! Lush jungle, hanging vines, sunlight filtering through the greenery, and levels upon levels of gushing waterfalls. We were able to walk through the falls and jump off rope swings into the water!
3. The Lively Show Interview!
The most surreal day of the trip for me was Thursday, when I was featured on MY FAVORITE PODCAST OF ALL TIME, The Lively Show! I mean, as if this trip wasn't epic enough!
Jess reached out to me a few weeks ago to ask if I'd be willing to share my experience and takeaways with her e-course Live With Intention Online, which I've taken twice now.
I've been listening to The Lively Show for over two years, ever since I first started coaching and decided I wanted to quit my job, and listening to the inspiring stories of the successful creative entrepreneurs Jess interviews has given me so much encouragement along my own path. To be able to be on the other side, full circle, and share my OWN story meant everything.
The interview went live Thursday and we piped it through speakers on our little island in the middle of the Caribbean and listened in the sunshine. Being able to share this moment with my team who completely 100% understands me, gets where I've come from, and shares my obsession with personal development was incredible...I was literally shaking with so much emotion I haven't felt since our wedding day, ha!
Sharing my story and message with such a huge audience was the scariest but most LIBERATING thing I've ever done.
You can check out the episode HERE! Let me know what you think :)
4. Cliff Jumping (because I can't just live inside metaphors and Pinterest quotes...)
On Thursday afternoon, we decided to have an adventure and drive to Negril to check out some of the touristy bars.
Our main stop was Rick's Cafe, which apparently is legendary for its 35 foot cliff you can jump off.
It felt like the biggest day of my life...so I felt like I had no other option but to take the leap, right?
HOLY crap, that was super scary. And painful. Glad I did it, glad I never have to do it ever again! (And yeah I have what the locals call the "Rick's Cafe Trademark" on my butt to prove it happened).
DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY
Life is SO much better when you live by the code of doing what makes you happy and surround yourself with people who have a positive mindset and support you.
Have you ever taken a few minutes to envision and write down your "perfect day?" (I highly recommend!)
This trip was literally a series of my perfect day (minus Ben).
Wake up at sunrise to journal and read. Workout or go hike a mountain, get a little bit of work done, maybe go on an adventure, and relax with my favorite people. Eat a long leisurely wine soaked dinner outside and talk about deep subjects like visions and dreams under the stars until bedtime.
Rinse and repeat...throwing in a tropical location just amps up the experience!
I am overwhelmed with gratitude right now, and I promise to do my best to take this sunshine and pay it forward.
Time to get back to WERK! One of my main goals for 2016 is to help as many women as I can get out of their own way too and start turning dreams into reality and passion into paychecks.
If I can manifest experiences like this, you can too. If you don't know where to start, reach out! I'd love to hear from you :)
Peace, Love, Respect.
p.s. wondering how you can get involved with my coaching team and coach mentorships? Click here to shoot me a message!