Have you watched our Spring video yet? Aren’t I annoying, bothering you about it every second? Well, this time it’s for a reason – the reason being that I stole a fantabulous New Year’s exercise right from my Spring collaborator, Jess LC. Jess went into detail in that very Spring video (did ya watch it yet? Did ya? Did ya?) to talk about a letter that she writes to herself every New Year’s Day from a coffee shop, & she even time travels while doing it. Nope, she doesn’t have a DeLorean (it’s 2010 – where are all of our DeLorians?), but she pretends she does. She dates the letter a year from that day & writes all of the things that happened that year – how she looks, what she’s accomplished, where she’s living, yada yada yada. I was intrigued. THEN she said that 83% of the statements she made in the letter were true when she opened the letter on the actual day it was dated. Did your head just explode? Because mine did. Read her post about it & watch the video (did ya watch it yet?) because I can’t explain it any better & I’m getting too excited about my letter to explain any more.
I so loved this idea (so, so loved!) that writing the letter to Future Michelle on 1/1/11 from Present Michelle on 1/1/10 was the only thing I put on my calendar on New Year’s Day. Yup, I took time out of my movie marathon to write it. And write it I did, for an hour or so, & I cried during most of it. It was just super emotional & encouraging & really real, if that makes sense. I was going to keep it to myself, tucked away in my Google Docs until 1/1/11, but instead I figured I’d put my money where my mouth is & post it for all of you. I hope it inspires you to take the time & do the same – to not only allow yourself to Dream Big & visualize your dreams made real, but to feel them too.
I do admit, there were names & numbers that I was uncomfortable in disclosing, so Idid a bit of rewriting. I also left out 1 little paragraph that was so personal it scared me even writing it! But honestly, I don’t think it took away anything from this letter. So, let’s just say I revised the letter to protect the innocent.
OK, this is scary! Can you tell I’m stalling? Eek! OK, here we go:
Dear Future Michelle,
Isn’t it amazing what 2010 brought? I knew going in that it was going to be exciting & scary & new, but I never imagined how much I’d grow in such a short amount of time.
I’m so proud of Luke & I, making our new home a sanctuary with our own 4 hands & help from our family. I really feel like I belong here, on the 12th floor overlooking Manhattan by day or in lights. I know our time here is limited, & while we still have another 4 years here I feel like I might have to leave kicking & screaming. Clinton Hill is just the perfect little neighborhood for me right now- the perfect mix of urban & quaint (I feel like I don’t want any mix of “suburban” or “rural!”). I love having the run of the neighborhood during the weekday, working at the indy coffee shop (no Starbucks here – yay hooray!) & running in the park & taking yoga just a few blocks down. I feel like it’s a real community, & the fact that most of my neighbors are old-timers, artistic students or young couples like us make me feel right at home. I love my work nook, even though it’s just a tiny desk next to the picture window in the living room. I keep my Right Brain Business Plan always close at hand, & add to it however I want (by writing, drawing, doodling – whatever!) regularly so I always have my new ideas fresh in my mind. I love giving myself time to dream of where my business is going to go, & maintaining Me Time each & every day. Every day! Isn’t that crazy? This is coming from me, who a year & a half ago wouldn’t allow myself even 30 minutes of Me Time a week! But now I know it’s an essential part of my day, to ensure that I take care of myself, recharge my batteries & keep on going for the sometimes 15-hour days I put into When I Grow Up. That number wasn’t very scary at all! I knew I could do it.
And did I mention how awesome When I Grow Up is? I’m literally crying just thinking about it. The closer I got to leaving my desk job, the more time I spent smiling, full of optimism & energy, but was also filled with some worry & anxiety, crunching the numbers & seeing how long Luke & I could go on the money I had saved up. But once I broke it down & saw how many sessions I needed to do each week to meet my goal, it made me breathe a bit easier.
Thankfully, I didn’t have to stress about that at all! The year was such a whirlwind, & I still can’t believe I’m actually pulling this off (although I knew I would all along. How did I trust that? I glad I learned that skill along the way). This year I conducted 10 group sessions (& got 4 people/session each & every time without a problem!), 5 teleseminars, 2 in-person workshops, & coached 50 people one-on-one, either by phone or email. I grew my blog readership to a solid 250 views/day, & increased my newsletter subscribers by 300! I even started working on my e-book & expect to have it done by my birthday this year. Ain’t that nuts? I wrote a book, essentially! I’m so glad I asked for help with the design layout, which made such a difference & really makes my e-book like like a book! I can’t wait to have a real live product to sell. Eek! What a great birthday present to myself.
I’m also super smart & made sure to keep delegating whatever was taking my mojo away. I love utilizing Sarah as my VA & learned to trust her with more stuff, so besides the newsletter & the online articles she’s been helping me with, she’s been doing some data entry & light bookeeping, too. I love not having to do that myself! I registered my business & found an accountant that specializes in working with coaches, so I know I’m able to write off everything I possibly can while continuing to pre-pay my taxes quarterly. I also found an SEO specialist to help me bring my website up in Google searches, & that was worth it’s weight in gold. I’m actually getting people finding me on there now! Crazy! I put some money into marketing, too, as scary as it was. Putting my ad on high-traffic blogs that artists visit, as well as trade papers, GoogleAds & Facebook seems to have paid off! Of course, the free workshops that I gave in the city were also great for picking up paying clients. It looks like I’ll be able to conduct in-person coaching in 2011, which would be amazing! I’d love to rent out space one day a week & know that I’m conducting private sessions, workshops & group sessions there. How fun would that be? I’d have my own little out-of-the-apartment office & wouldn’t spend all my time on the phone. Sigh.
Oh, and Spring! I met the Spring ladies! It was so amazing, being all together in one place & knowing we had a whole weekend to spend together. Talk about finding your tribe! I hope this becomes the start of an annual tradition, my own Lovebomb group to connect & grow with. And Spring itself is just so ridiculously fulfilling. I learn something new (or ten new somethings!) from those geniuses every time we talk, & they’re constantly keeping my head spinning in a positive, motivating way. I really clicked with the right crowd. Not to mention all of the eyeballs we’re getting onto the site that’s coming over to When I Grow Up! It’s the best way to market myself ever.
I’m thinking back on this year & what to mention next, & all I’m left with is this feeling of being full. Yes, I worked my ass off this year & yes, it wasn’t easy by any means. Some days were downright scary & anxious & stressful! But this is the definition of “fulfillment” for me. Being in this ridiculously terrific relationship with Luke, loving my home & my neighborhood, & actually making a living doing not only what I love but what I feel like I’m meant to do – wow. It kind of blows my mind that I’m here. And I know all of the steps I took to get here & that it wasn’t overnight, but maybe that’s what makes it even more meaningful & exciting. I paid my dues, & I made it. I’m here & I’m happy. What’s sweeter than that? It’s scary & exciting at the same time, which is what I’ve learned I should always search for & follow through on. Those scary & exciting risks are the ones worth taking.
I’ve really stood by my word for 2010, “simplify”, & went to town with it. I purged everything in my closet that I don’t like or don’t feel great in, & continue to get rid of stuff that’s no longer serving us on a quarterly basis. I also have actually figured out my time management, & how to guard my work time from the friends & family that think I’m “free” all the time because I work for myself. Conversely though, I love meeting those friends & family during the day (so fun!) when I have the time – it’s just such a treat! I have my 2-4 coaching sessions a day, 6 days a week, & spend the rest of the time writing & exercising & connecting with the family & friends that add value to my life. Now that I’m home & shopping at the greenmarket & Trader Joe’s, Luke & I have actually expanded our What We Can Cook menu to more than a dozen dishes, & I’m eating so much healthier than ever before. Nothing makes me happier than a baked sweet potato with cinnamon for my mid-afternoon snack. It’s the little things 🙂
I just FEEL healthy & am at ease with my style, my wardrobe, my health & my home. Style Statement really helped me hone in on that! It’s amazing how much crap I brought into my life – tangible & otherwise – just because I didn’t know myself well enough. Now that I know my own two words I’m able to know immediately what I want to attract & how I want to present myself. Coming to terms with how making myself feel good when I step aside has just really boosted my self-confidence. I didn’t even need to spend a lot to do it!
Oh, and have I mentioned that my credit card debt is paid? PAID! I can hardly believe it. In celebration, I cut up all of my credit cards & promised Luke that I will never, ever, ever carry a balance on a non-0% interest credit card again. Ever. And I’m going to stick to it. I’ve also made great headway in really understanding finances more, in general. My business coach really helped with that, & I loved the biyearly meetings I had with my financial coach. It’s such a great check-in to know where I’m at & get a snapshot of my business every 6 months. I don’t know why, but it really calms me down.
Can you believe this year?! I knew when it started that it was one more full of potential than I could remember, but I can’t believe how far I came. OK, I can believe it, & I’m proud. I’m proud of me. I did it.
Have a fantabulous 2011, Michelle, & make sure you celebrate 2010 to the tilt. You deserve it.
Well, don’t leave me out here on my own! Write your own Present/Future Letter & share it in the comments, or if that’s too scary, just share your experience in general! Also, please be nice & give me a hurrah (or ten) for sharing. I deserve it.