Do something today your future self will thank you for!

Cupid’s day has come and gone and this seemed like the perfect moment to say a few words (although in my case it’s never just a few!) about one of the most important relationships you’ll ever realize: passion and success.

No, this isn’t a “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life,” reminder, although there’s a lot of truth to that…

No this is about painting every corner, nook, niche and crany of your life with passion.

Let me explain.

Have you ever gone in an old historic home, mansion or even palace?

I’m sure you have at least once and will visualize exactly what I am saying when I mention that our ancestors loved to compartmentalize. They built rooms about rooms of tiny, or grand, but always separated space. The kitchen had four walls and was separate to the dining room, which also had four walls and was separate to the foyer, which also had four walls and was separate from the parlor, and on and on it goes depending on the grandeur of the space.

Watch a home renovation show on TV and what’s the number one thing folks complain about when looking at a new home today? Space!

“It feels so dark and closed off,” says one couple on Fixer Upper.

“I told you I was looking for an open floor plan,” admonishes another woman on Property Brothers.

Today, you like to have an open living space for your home. A space where your kitchen and love of cooking can look out into your family room and love of your children; a place where your guests can sit in your dining room and still talk to you in the kitchen; a place with high ceilings, lots of light and all that beautiful, wonderful combining and swirling of space and energy.

So if you want that in your home, why wouldn’t you want that in your life?

Compartmentalizing our business, from our spirit, from our emotions, and from our bodies is a mistake and frankly, doesn’t work.

If you think you have to invest in a business class to see results segmented to business, good luck. If you think a painting class couldn’t possibly benefit your emotional well being, you’re probably wrong.

The truth is, when you pursue your passions in business and out of your business, your whole life gets better. It’s like open floor plan living for your soul.

The skills, discipline and relationships you’re creating in business will effect your emotions and your home life. Your personal hobbies and passions will greatly benefit and impact your career. The health and wellness of you mind and body will always make your career and emotions better off.

Your life can’t be segmented and compartmentalized.

So this is my advice: let passion paint your success.

In 1815, Giovanni Belzoni and his wife Sarah were down on their luck circus performers (he was a strongman, she allegedly a tight-rope walker) nearly broke as their finances ran dry in the English rain. The 6’6” Belzoni decided to follow lead to Turkey, where rumor had it circus performances were making a killing. En route he and Sarah had a scheduled stop in Cairo and she wanted to see the Great Pyramids. After exploring about, the giant Belzoni got impossibly stuck in a passageway and had to be excavated out of the tunnel by some locals, who helped to clear enough space to dislodge the giant man.

The story quickly spread (how embarrassing!) and an invention was extended to the Belzoni couple from a curious Turkish man in Cairo who wanted to see what the fuss (translation: the size!) over this man was all about. One thing led to another, as introductions often do, and Belzoni soon found himself in the company of a British consul general named Henry Salt.

 

Impressed by Belzoni’s size and Sarah’s wit and both of their work ethic, Salt asked this couple if they might be interested in helping him recover a large Egyptian artifact from one of the dig sites outside of Cairo. Salt was sure with Belzoni’s size and the right team, the artifact could surely be moved and brought to Cairo. He was right. Sarah and Giovanni managed a team and retrieved the artifact after months of perilous work.

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Salt was so impressed he funded the Belozonis and sent them out exploring to try to recover more artifacts for Britain. The Belzoni’s adventures throughout the Nile River Valley over the next eight years would produce of the most imposing treasures from Egypt, which still stand in the British Museum today, over two hundred years later.

In fact it was only after Belzoni that people started recognizing the value of ancient Egyptian artifacts for posterity and started extracting and preserving them for all the world (not just antiquities dealers for private homes), leading the way for the formal profession of Archeology as we know it today.

You never know where a sense of adventure, your natural abilities and your passion for performance might take you. Who knows? Perhaps your current job will take you to a new opportunity or an embarrassing mishap may lead to an introduction that will change your life.

 

The year is 1930, not a great time to be graduating from Penn State and looking for work as an architect. Yet that’s the uncertain future that faced the young Tatiana Proskouriakoff. She decided to return to graduate school at University of Pennsylvania to further her education during the height of the Great Depression. She was a particularly skilled watercolorist and enjoyed painting. So when a volunteer position popped up at the University Museum illustrating archeological renderings, Tatiana thought it would be a perfect chance to utilize her degree in architecture and her passion for painting.

She couldn’t have been more right!

Through her volunteer work, she was eventually called on to join an expedition in 1936 to the Mayan site of Piedras Negras in Guatemala. The researchers needed help with imagining architectural renderings of the ruins so they might be properly excavated and understood. Proskouriakoff began to put her skills to work and quickly started to understand and learn aspects about the Mayan culture and language from all her sketches and illustrations.

acropolis-piedras-negras

Her illustrations garnered her attention — the public and scholars alike were fascinated by her ability to lay out the detail of these (heretofore) imagined Mayan landscapes from the overgrown ruins in the Guatemalan jungle. Soon she was funded by the Carnegie Institution in D.C. to return to the jungles and complete more sketches, year after year, until eventually that exposure to the Mayan culture took root in Tatiana and she began to study their language.

Though not a linguist, nor formally trained in Mayan studies, she quickly began to make insights and advances into the language no one had made previously. Analyzing the pattern of dates and hieroglyphs, she was able to correlate a sequence of seven rulers who ruled over a span of two hundred years. This flash of decoding into the context of the inscriptions by Tatiana provided Maya epigraphers the cipher they needed to finally begin understanding the hieroglyphs.

A passion for painting could end up changing your life, and lending a hand to an entire scientific community.

 

What do you love to do in business and in your spare time that you haven’t been pursuing?

List a few things and then take action this week to sign-up for a class, seminar, buy a book, watch a tutorial, get started now with some passion pursuit just for the sake of feeling good.

You never know how a personal passion might set a new course in your life.

Let me know in the comments below what you plan to do, just for the passion of it!

Serenity: Your Success’s Saving Grace?

se·ren·i·ty

səˈrenədē/

noun

  1. the state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled.

 

Recently, I came across the serenity prayer hanging on a wall. This isn’t entirely uncommon — it is, after all, a well-known and commonly displayed prayer.

Seeing this prayer, or poem, struck me.

There are many truths and questions that seem universal and one thing each one of us seeks is happiness.

The pursuit of happiness is something that all men and women have sought since the dawn of time.

And a sure way to remain happy, especially during times of change, growth, downturn or ambiguity, is to remain calm.

Calmness, or stillness is what the stoics sought.

“True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing. The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach.” – Seneca

It’s why the Buddhists meditate.

“Your worst enemy can not harm you as much as your own thoughts, unguarded. But once mastered, no one can help you as much.” – Buddha

Why the Dervishes whirl.

“Until you’ve found the fire within yourself, you won’t reach the spring of life.” – Rumi

What the serenity poem is all about.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.

There’s a lot of power packed into that little poem.

 

Serenity Origins

The serenity poem’s first recorded written appearance was throughout newspaper articles in the early 1930s as a recording of sermons being given by Reinhold Niebuhr and his student mentee, Winnifred Crane Wygal. Wygal included a version of the prayer in her 1940 book, We Plan Our Own Worship Services, and credited her mentor with its existence. Many now associate the poem with either Christian households or AA, as it is a key tenant of the program.

Let’s take a deeper dive to see how it may just be a perfect motto or mantra for today’s hectic world.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.

 

The Power of Neutrality

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.

The ability to stand in a neutral position gives you unheard of power. In tennis, players are coached to literally remain “on their toes,” as this position provides athletes with the greatest chance of springing into action in any direction that their opponent might lob the ball over the net.

Are you ready to move in any direction with what life is serving over the net to you?

“Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.” – Jillian Michaels

When you stand flat-footed, stationary, immobile, you are at your most vulnerable. That position in tennis would make you a pretty terrible player of the game, and in life, that mindset will get you about the same results.

Your mental elasticity is crucial to your success.

“Sometimes surrender means giving up trying to understand and being comfortable not knowing.” Eckhart Tolle

You cannot control, nor can you change all of life’s conditions. There are simply too many musical notes in this beautiful symphony of life to be able to control all the instruments and their players. What you can do, however, is adjust your hearing and interpretation. A jazz piece and a waltz sound completely different. You may prefer one style of music over another, but they’re both music. You can choose at any time to tune-in and appreciate the artistry in any kind of song.

To me, this serenity poem is surrendering to a higher power in one’s self.

It is tapping your own innate wisdom and intuition and acknowledging that there are things in your life that are simply outside your control. That’s normal and more importantly, it’s perfectly okay. You don’t have to be in control and know everything in this moment. Your ability to get comfortable with unknown outcomes in your life, in your relationships and your business or career, is okay.

And that flexible, optimistic attitude is crucial to your life’s happiness and your ongoing success.

“We see things not as they are, but as we are.” – H.M. Tomlinson

 

Developing Courage: Trusting Yourself

The courage to change the things I can.

Courage is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it becomes. I think there is a big misconception today that courage is only for the brave and for the big moments in life. In my humble experience, courage is rarely so dramatic and grand. Courage is the muscle I continue to develop daily where I listen to myself and believe in my own inner guidance, intuition and choices. despite how nuts they may sounds to those around me.

There are opportunities everyday for you to be courageous.

“Success if not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

To stand up for a co-worker who is being gossiped about. To walk away from a damaging conversation about a friend. To support a colleague you know has a better idea, at the expense of your own ego. To admit when you were mistaken in the way you treated your partner and make it right. To be comfortable with voicing, or acting out, your strange beliefs or rituals despite what other may think.

These are the tiny daily moment of courage that begin to accumulate and make you strong. This courageous muscle you choose to flex repeatedly suddenly makes the bigger moments that much easier to conquer.“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.” – Mary Anne Radmacher

There are opportunities every day for you to practice this character trait. See them as opportunities and seize the small ones. One great place to start is to practice saying no to someone today instead of a canned “yes” response when you don’t mean it. Or vice versa. Get a little courageous today with your yes’s and no’s and only provide the response you truly mean. It’s more challenging than you might think! “Can you stay late today?” asks your boss. If the answer is truly no, find a way to say it. “Want to go to a movie with me this weekend?” asks a friend. If you haven’t the time, money or interest, honor that truth and say no. No doesn’t have to be final, e.g. you can always suggest compromises that DO work for you, but don’t say yes or no out of obligation. It’s the simplest starting point and often the hardest.

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.” -Nelson Mandela

 

Serenity At Its Core

And the wisdom to know the difference.

To me, serenity is ultimately wisdom. Being calm allows you to have the discernment and openness to the right answers for your own life. As you develop this calm inner presence, you are able to make decisions not out of panic, or fear, or judgment or what you ‘should’ do, but out of the inner stillness that knows and has learned to to trust your own wisdom.

“Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all of your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.” – Golda Meir

You do know what’s best.

You know what’s best for your life, your relationships, your career, your business and what is best for you today.

You are the inner voice and higher power that the serenity poem is calling upon.

And as you develop this inner peacefulness, you start to see your life, every aspect of it from love to money, transform and improve.

You become the wisdom that knows the difference.

 

free press workshop announcement

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly — 2015 in Review

With so much information in our lives today, I have to be really selective about what I allow into my life. I used to subscribe to oodles of newsletters, magazines, e-zines, you name it… but in 2015 I found all the stuff to be information overload. I don’t need to know everything, just the right things.

After the great purge, there are only a handful of influencers I still get emails from, mainly because what’s left are ones packed with value, insights and information that make my life better on some level.

James Clear is one of those few people I still read and listen to. If you can’t heard of him, check him out, I think you’ll like what he offers (science-backed motivation and goal-keeping).

Anyway, back to the point of this message.

For the past few years, James has always sent out a “Year in Review” email where he openly lays out his year’s trials and triumphs answering these three questions:

  1. What went well this year?
  2. What didn’t go so well this year?
  3. What am I working toward?

It’s the same format each year and I’ve come to really enjoy reading his recap. It’s honest and also inspiring to know that along with all his successes, there are places he (and I, and all of us) still fall short of the mark sometimes.

With that in mind, I’d like to offer my year in review.

2015 was an incredible year for me, but I also failed on several fronts. The good stuff is in Part I, the ugly stuff is in Part II, and the future is Part III. I hope you find it useful and interesting.

Part I: The Good

Royally Awesome and NASA

I’ve tinkered in freelance work the last several years, off and on, side hustle and in between other opportunities, but 2015 saw my first true step out of the corporate rat race and into my own business — Royally Awesome. I’ve learned a lot in the first ten months of operating my own company full-time, and not all of it has been pretty. I’m proud to say though that I’ve had a fun, fascinating variety of really wonderful clients — ranging from entrepreneurs to non-profits to Universities and more. Some have been long-term with me month-over-month, others have been on a per-project basis, but all have contributed to my dream of running my own marketing and communications business and I’m grateful for each one of them.

On that same note, a huge opportunity came up in 2015 that I simply couldn’t refuse. I was offered a research grant from NASA in conjunction with my Master Degree in Unmanned Operating Systems (that’s drones, to you). As a total aviation nerd, I was over the moon (pun intended, NASA, get it?). The research grant has meant some BIG changes, however. I moved across the country from Los Angeles to Virginia, to be on center at NASA, while continuing to grow and run my business. This has meant some REALLY long days this fall, but days filled with wonder and passion and I’m grateful for this opportunity. As I write this, I’ve been asked to extend my research at NASA until May, and so I remain on the east coast, growing and running my business while completing my Masters Degree and NASA research — life has certainly been exciting in 2015!

Dreams home image

Writing and Publishing

While writing has been in some fronts a weak point, it’s also been a strong suit on other fronts. I’ve been able to start my own column at Entrepreneur (you can see that here) about marketing and writing — a huge triumph for me personally as I love Entrepreneur. Furthermore, I was able to get some of my clients into national sites and publications like Inc., Huffington Post and Entrepreneur, while getting other clients into regional publications like Alaska Business Monthly. Furthermore, I’ve had numerous academic papers circulated on my small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) research. If you have any interest in drones, feel free to read them at my site DroningOnandOn. There are some very exiting things happening on the domestic front with drones right now.

Speaking/Workshops

A big goal of mine in 2015 was to start delivering my writing and PR-related workshops in person. I’m proud to say that I had the opportunity to do so in both Alaska and Los Angeles on multiple occasions. If you’re interested in learning how to create your own free press for your business, I’m teaching a workshop for the Alaska Small Business Development Center on February 4th in Anchorage, but if you’re not in Alaska, not to worry, I’m branching out to workshops via webinar this year — stay tuned! Or email me if you’re interested in a webinar or attending a local workshop in your area, I just may be in town — Jill@Royallyawesome.com

Love and Passion

This is getting a bit personal, but hey, my personal life is a huge part of my whole life, just like yours I’d imagine, so I’m sharing. IMG_9723Last year I wrote a letter to myself on New Years Eve that pretty much summed up my attitude for 2015.

 

I’m sharing this because it’s that old adage that when you let go of something, it finally seems to happen. I’ve been through the ringer in my three relationships over the last 15 years, including a divorce at 26. I’m not expert in love. Every year I’d set a goal for the man of my dreams, the engagement ring, the babies, the whole nine-yards. This year, as you can see, I decided I’ve had enough of hoping and wishing. In 2015 I just wanted to focus on being really happy. Sounds corny, but I worked my ass off (and spent a small fortune) on being happy — including the most important accomplishment of my life to date, obtaining my pilot’s license in July!

Yep, that’s me with my flight instructor and my FAA Examiner (who coincidently was Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s examiner! That’s Los Angeles for you!).11401238_10153954410053219_1831846313722829506_n

When I got the call from NASA a few days after earning my license, I took the challenge and moved to Virginia a month later. Five days after arriving here, I met the man of my dreams. I couldn’t make this up — you would never believe it, it’s so cliché and corny, but it’s true. After the first date, I knew he was going to call me for a second. The next day he called and the day after that we went on our second date. And we haven’t left each other’s side since. Now don’t get me wrong, if you’ve read this far, you already know the hours I’m working and he’s a nuclear engineer, so he’s a little busy too! We are apart because we have lives and are normal, functioning human beings, but we come home to each other every night and it’s bliss.

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I would never have met him if I hadn’t committed to being the most kick-ass me I could be, that included a pilot’s license I always wanted and a dream of working on some research at NASA. If I hadn’t followed my dreams, I never would’ve met my dream man. Life is pretty incredible that way.

 

 

Part II. The Ugly

Nomadic Realities

I mentioned the move across the country. Currently the majority of my belongings, like 95% of them, are in storage in Los Angeles and Anchorage, Alaska, while the other 5% remains here in my house with my nuclear engineer.

Here is an illustration of my “Jill droppings” locations across the country.

Jill Droppings

My stuff couldn’t be much more spread out than that. Maybe if I was in Florida instead of Virginia. Anyway, the reality is that I miss my books and most of my wardrobe and at any given time, I’m never quite sure where all my stuff is — which makes getting organized a challenge sometimes, especially as an OCD riddle perfectionist.

Workout shortcomings

I have always been active. I run, I ride (horses that is) and I usually throw some kind of Pilates or dance in there. With my east coast work schedule and my schmoopy, workouts in Q4 have been downright scarce. Good thing most of my wardrobe isn’t here, because I don’t know if I would fit in it right now. I hope to really alter that in 2016 and get back to my active self. I don’t work out so much for my physical looks, although that’s a nice side-effect. It’s for my sanity. I’m neurotic and running or working out helps me keep my brain together and my mind organized. I have to work out for my mental health.

Consistency challenges

With so many balls in the air, keeping consistent has been a test. There is a lot of room for improvement but my clients always come first and so there were times in 2015 when my clients needs trumped my own personal writing, business development, and yes, even workouts. No good thing can be achieved without consistency, so in 2016, I think staying consistent is going to be my biggest ambition. That’s one of the reasons I enjoy James Clear’s work so much — fact based tips for staying on track.

Part III. The Future

Consistency

The year ahead needs consistent input from me. For my business, for my writing, for my body and for my mind. My goal is to publish an original piece across my three platforms each week (Droning On and On, The Duchess Guide and my column for Entrepreneur). It’s pretty pathetic when you’re offered an opportunity to write for one of the biggest outlets in the country, and yet you can’t find the time to write a weekly column for Entrepreneur. Expect that to change! Furthermore, I’m committed to some video this year! Time to talk to you all in person, or at least via video and webinar, versus just written. I can be entertaining, I promise.

Intuition and Insights

In business, I have focused so hard on doing in 2015, but I’ve always been equally committed to my spirit. I’m a big Marie Forleo and Gabby Bernstein fan, as well as an Abraham Hicks devoted listener, and so this year, I have been working on developing my insights and personal intuition to deeper connect with my own messages and guidance. It’s paid off big time and I am committed to exploring this side of my life even deeper in 2016. I’ll share my discoveries along the way, but our spirit is so often a neglected bystander in our busy business lives, I learned the hard way in 2014 that when you don’t take care of your spirit, your whole life can crash and burn. I’ve been working with a hypnotherapist and coach for over a year now and I can honestly say she helped change my life. I mean, I am responsible for changing my life, but she has been a catalyst for the change.

Homestead

castle home imageRemember earlier comment on nomadic lifestyle? I’m ready for a more permanent homestead. Maybe that will be with my nuclear man, maybe it won’t, certainly it will include my Labrador, but I am committed to 2016 being the year I settle into a single location and gather my belongings from the edges of the Bermuda triangle of my storage facilities.

Writing

I love helping my clients get their writing published. I love getting interviews and write-ups for my clients. But this year, I’m also committed to getting back on track with pitching and getting my writing published as well. I’m looking to expand into new arenas, revered sites, magazines and publications I love like the LA Times, Vanity Fair and Huffington Post. I’d love to be published in more of the places I love to read and gather content.

Well, that’s my year in review. I’d love to hear from you in the comments below the good and the ugly of 2015, as well as the future for you in 2016.

Now I’ll leave you with a quote…

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” — Peter Drucker

Go be awesome today.