After building a business in my community and online, teaching and facillitating women’s groups for 4.5 years, helping women entrepreneurs market and grow their own businesses, doing a network marketing business, traveling to seminars and workshops, getting flown all over the world teaching and training, and seeing behind the scenes of what it takes to build and grow 6 and 7 figure businesses in the personal growth industry… I thought I had my life pretty much figured out.
After I burnt myself out as a solo-preneur, broke up with the man I thought I would marry, and entered a psuedo sex cult, my life and my soul collapsed. And I went on a deep inner journey to untangle myself.
This is what I see. This is what I have to say. I’m gonna be real, raw and honest. You may like some of what I say and you may hate it. Thats a good thing.
This is my story.
Welcome to The dirty secrets of self help land.
Learning to clearly see the person behind the website, the stage, and the brand
I am not above you. I am not below you.
I am not better than you. I am not less than you.
I am less different from you than you might think.
In fact I am probably just like you. I AM just like you.
I am not some untouchable guru person that can only interact with you as your teacher or superior. (and I used to operate this way a lil bit)
I am a person. A real human. A woman. And I have challenges and stuff just like you do.
I have been through experiences and challenges that maybe you are in process of right now.
Younger or Older, you have been through experiences and challenges that maybe I have never been through.
I have skills and knowledge that maybe you don’t have yet.
Younger or Older, you have skills and knowledge that maybe I don’t have.
I got an email from someone who told me how wrong my last post about blame was, and after I responded and she understood more of where I was coming from, she said to me “I didn’t expect you to respond, you must have a million people asking you for advice”.
Now, I know she was exaggerating, but it made me smile. It made me laugh out loud actually.
I wonder how many other people think that. How many of you think I’m just constantly being bombarded by questions and emails. How many people are equating someone they see as *successful* with busy-ness. How many of you put me on a pedestal above you?
If she only knew I thought, what was really behind my website or my emails.
I’m actually not getting bombarded with tons of emails or questions at the moment FYI. I have been getting a lot more people reaching out since I’ve been back at writing and right now, I’m enjoying them.
That being said, having been on both sides of this industry, I know how it feels looking at people who have “made it” in some way and how easy it is to compare, to insert our own story of how much more awesome their lives are than our own and to see what they are talking about on facebook and think they have it all together, that they must be happier than us and that they don’t have problems.
Let’s go deeper.
A look behind the scenes of my breakup with self help land
When I started to get burned out in my business two years ago, doing EVERYTHING myself, I started to really look at who I was following and what their lives looked like behind the scenes of their business.
And I realized that a lot of people in spiritual entrepreneur-land and the coaching industry were trying SO HARD to build these 6 and 7 figure businesses, doing all these masterminds, and going to tons of business trainings but when I looked at them, when I met them in person and started seeing how their lives looked and how their humans looked, I saw the same exhaustion, sadness, and repressed anger that I was holding on to.
Now, I may have been looking for a perfect hero a bit, but there was something more that was setting off my bullshit meter spidey sense.
I remember being at Susanne Evan’s Be the Change event in April 2013 where there were over 1000 people trying to figure out how to build 6 figure businesses. These people were there to be inspired, get information they wouldn’t get otherwise and get their asses kicked into action by Susanne. Susanne Evans is a masterful woman and she is fantastic at what she does, so this has nothing to do with her or her event, but when I was there all I wanted to do was vomit.
I felt so deeply in my bones that there was something off, that there was another way.
For one, I was so sick of the way events are put on in the personal growth/entrepreneurial industry , so tired of the booths, the speeches, the sales pitches, the go to the back of the room and get your free audio, the fake networking, the people clamoring to meet new people to partner with, the talking about your business all the fucking time….
Ugh. As I said a few posts ago, Fuck THAT Shit.
It all felt so damn contrived and gross. And to me, mostly everyone there was like a kid on crack with stars in their eyes; staring at the stage with googly eyes like the people on it are better than them.
I was sitting there, a 26 year old, and I should’ve felt like I had the keys to the kingdom.
I got flown to this event and I knew in my head what it took to build a 6 figure business, I had the means to do so and the support, I knew how to market my message, how to build a sales funnel, how to make my own videos, how to give speeches, how to deliver offers from stage, and how to make money. I was being given an opportunity to work more closely with my mentor in her company, I was being flown to trainings around the world, to seminars and courses, and I had all the knowledge and tools right in front of me.
But I was disgusted and I wanted out. I didn’t know exactly why at the time because I had spent so much time and money building business skills, mastering what I taught, and crafting a brand behind my name.
I didn’t want out because I was scared I couldn’t do it like a lot of people are scared they can’t do it.
No. I could do it alright, and I could beast mode the shit out it like a rockstar. I spent my life overachieving, straight A student, salutatorian, Cum laude graduate. My ability to do, get past my fears, put myself out there, and create was not in question.
I wanted out because I was scared that if I went any further I would find myself even more unfulfilled and in a deeper pile of lies than I was already in.
I was scared because I had no clue really what I wanted, but I knew in that moment that what I wanted wasn’t going to be found once I finally created a 6 figure business. I knew in that moment that the people in that room were driving a train towards something that would lead me further away from where I wanted to go. I didn’t know exactly where that was, but I knew it wasn’t killing myself to build a business.
No one ever stopped to ask me if building a 6 figure business was really what I wanted. No one ever asked me why I wanted that. So I had to ask myself.
The only reason I wanted to build a 6 figure business is because I felt that somehow that would mean I “made it”, that my life would be easier because I would have income, and so I wouldn’t have to worry about money anymore and I could have the freedom to do whatever I wanted.
People who have figured out how to *make it* in self help/spiritual entrepreneur land are just that, people who have figured that out. They’ve figured out a system, an industry, they have put in the time, money and energy to build something. They’ve tapped into the value of their unique gift and learned how to use it in a way that makes people want to give them money.
And let me say before you go getting all upset at me, learning and accomplishing all of that is not easy and it’s a great achievement.
My realization is this: anyone can learn to create what they want in life. Anyone can learn to cultivate a lot of presence and charisma. Anyone can learn the formula to money making.
Who are these people really? What are their personal relationships like? Where is their internal compass pointed? What really drives and motivates them?
Are they actually happy inside? Are they honest with themselves? Do they crumble in the face of conflict and challenge? How do they handle their emotions?
And even if they are happy, if they seem to know who they are on the deepest level, is the way they are running their business and their life the way YOU want to run it?
For a few short months after the Suzanne Evans event, I was on this train where I believed I could create a challengeless life. And I started to get these ideas from a number of different sources that I won’t name, because I didn’t really understand how to listen to my own internal compass rather than someone else’s.
I knew how to listen in deeply in a few segments of my life, like when I was teaching or speaking, but in my interpersonal relationships, on my spiritual path and business interactions, I listened to EVERYONE else before myself because I didn’t really understand how to hold my own intention strongly enough.
And I didn’t know how to do that because I didn’t really know who I was at a core and connected level yet, but I thought I did. I thought I was further along than I was. Way further. I thought because I was 27 and I had built all this business stuff, read all these books, listened to a bunch of audios, and learned from some good teachers that I knew how the world worked. I knew how to manifest stuff…. 🙂
But mostly, I knew how self help land worked, and self help land and the real world don’t exist in the same place.
Self help land has this way of making you believe that it’s this infinite well of possibility, when really, it has an edge, and it has limits, and when you meet that edge, you’re walking into a place where all the rules totally change and everything you built inside that bubble might have to burst for you to become whole again.
That’s where I was two years ago. And it was terrifying.
My being wanted to be back on solid ground again, my being was asking me to be fully here and fully embodied. In order to do that, I would have to touch reality again and I would have to pop the really icky ego bubble that I was carrying and face all of the parts of myself that I never let anyone see. The parts that are allowed in self help land, but actually aren’t because no one can handle them.
What I didn’t see then was that the idea of a challenge-less life is not only complete bullshit, it’s not really that fun, and the people we see who seem to float past challenge with a smile on their face aren’t avoiding challenges, they just know how to make challenge their bitch. And that takes some skill and practice.
They don’t mind the challenges because they are clear about where they want to go and where they want to go isn’t seeking themselves, they’ve already come full center with their own soul, so when they go out into the world and create, they aren’t looking for home, they know where home is.
So when they go out to do their thing, they are just riding the wave, not hopeing the wave will save them or give them all the answers to life.
Anyone who is living at their edge will have challenges. Challenge just comes up. People go through shit. But there’s a big difference between someone who knows they are having a difficult time, but is in a way, enjoying it because they know who they are and they know where they are going vs someone who is lying to themselves about how “happy” and “excited” they are.
Here is the real deal about what’s behind my website these days:
* Most days I sleep till 10am and still take a long nap in the afternoon. I’m starting to have to wake up a bit earlier as I get naturally more busy with calls and my sleep schedule changes.
* For the last 6 months, at least once a month my bank account has rolled back through zero. I usually end up spending my last $20 at a coffee shop and somehow, money always shows up again right when it is supposed to.
* I don’t have any regular practices that I do. I don’t meditate everyday on purpose, I don’t do yoga, I don’t journal every morning or have any kind of morning routine.
* I forget to brush my teeth before I go to sleep at least 3 times a week.
* When I wake up, I walk a few blocks to my favorite coffee shop and have some coffee. From there on, I usually see where the day takes me. I don’t make plans very much.
* I do have clients and phone calls on my schedule here and there.
* When I’m really stuck with something, Paul and I will go for a drive up the mountains and rant, spar, and refine our ideas and what’s happening with our own businesses and ideas.
* I feel like I live a lot more in a state of silent meditation and stillness these days.
* I won’t glorify being busy. Busy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Especially when it’s something you created yourself because our culture seems to be obsessed with doing things.
* I have 781 people on my email list. Of which about 10-20% consistently open my emails.
* 989 people are subscribed to my you tube channel and last month my you tube videos were watched about 3300 times for a total of 11000 hours. Outside of the lastest video about what Paul, Kelly, and I are offering together, I havn’t posted a new you tube video in months.
* I am not that great at things in my business like finances, accounting, and organization. In fact, I can’t even say what my best profit month was ever, I know I saw it once, but I forget.
* I do have two online courses that I sell on my website. But I don’t have them in a funnel, I don’t have them SEOd, I don’t do much to try to sell them. I sell about 1 a month.
* Most of my traffic, new client requests, and people who *find* me, find me on you tube and then go to my website.
* I am an only child.. And that has had more impact on my ability to relate to other humans than anything else.
* I have a very small inner circle of people who I trust deeply and are kinda like my lil soul family.
* I’m 28. Recently I spoke to Jeff Brown (www.soulshaping.com) and he called me ‘Just a puppy’. And it’s true. I’m a very wise and adept puppy. With a lot of fire to breath a powerful voice, and an even more powerful presence.
* A lot of people who meet me at first are intimidated or say I’m hard to get to know. A smaller number of people never experience this and we just seem to connect easily and effortlessly. I no longer change how I am to make myself less intimidating or easier to connect to. I try not to be pretend nice to people.
* I’ve started to experiment with psychedelics and other substances and it has been one of the most healing (scary) and eye opening things of my life.
* This morning, sunday July 6 (the day I’m finishing up this post) , I was woken up by my boyfriend at 8am saying get up we need you to drive us to longmont so we can all jump out of a plane. So I got up and had my first skydive in a spontaneous surprise.
Anyone can learn things and look nice on the outside…
We need to start becoming much more picky about who we choose to follow and learn from. And especially for who we choose as a mentor and who we choose to work for and spend a lot of time with.
In this industry of very well meaning and well intentioned people full of coaches, experts, speakers, healers and spiritual teachers, a lot of people make themselves out to be more than they are, sometimes without realizing it.
And in turn, a lot of aspiring entrepreneurial and spiritual types project all sorts of awesomeness onto those same well intentioned people.
ANYONE can make a website and start a blog in about two seconds.
ANYONE can write a book and put it on kindle themselves and start selling it.
ANYONE can learn the psychology of marketing and copy writing or pay someone to do that for them.
The tools needed to start a coaching business and to start making yourself known as a person with a message are minimal these days. Doing it with integrity, clarity, intention and any real sense of grounded wisdom is dependent upon the person creating it and how far they’ve gone into their own truth.
What this means to you is not to make building any kind of business in the industry less of an accomplishment, but to just get real, see beyond pretty websites, photo shoots and marketing copy. See beyond how much money someone is making and how big their list is. See beyond their facebook postings and their instagram photos.
What I want to do as I start to write more on “The Dirty Secrets of Self Help Land” is not necessarily to bash anyone or the industry so much as it is because I want to help you to SEE CLEARLY.
I want to help you actually find what you are looking for while you seek around in self help land, because there are a lot of places in there to get tangled and lost.
I want to help you see some of the “mistakes” I made and the lessons I learned so that you don’t have to go through all the crap I did, so you can make smart AND resonant decisions that are guided by your own internal compass and not someone else’s agenda.
I have 18-25 year olds emailing me all the time asking for advice and where to go. There are SO MANY AWARE YOUNG PEOPLE out there and if you are on the path of truth, you will get sucked into self help land at some point, and I want to help you navigate that with your head on straight and the tools to find home base again.
It’s not easy to be a talented, capable, driven, excited to live, attractive, smart young woman who is easily impressionable and wants desperately to be liked, seen and heard. Sera Beak, author of Red, Hot, and Holy said something similar in her compelling speech at last years evolving women event.
I can’t save you from the work it takes to learn to understand your emotions and the roots of your childhood wounds and ultimately to your own truth, but I can help you make that process less confusing and less torturous.
Start Poking around more: Becoming a more Critical and Outspoken Consumer Community
Most of what’s in self help land is information based and service based products. This makes quantifying results and the truth different than straight products.
The truth is, we are consumers of an industry. And that industry is bred by what we will accept and allow. We have the power as the consumers, the readers, and the listeners of what we choose to follow to influence the integrity and the direction of the industry as a whole.
We have the power to choose who we want to lead us, not the other way around.
The questions we should be asking about the people who are making themselves experts and leaders should change from is this person making a lot of money, following their bliss, and having mind blowing sex and orgasms.
Cause if you don’t know who you are yet, follow your bliss, follow the money, and follow the sex are the surest pathways to disassociation from reality, massive depression, and getting the rug pulled out from under you that I know.
As consumers in the personal development industry, we need to become a harder crowd to please. We need to be more critical and ask difficult questions of the people we want to follow, because it doesn’t serve us or them to put them on a pedestal and just take everything they say for face value.
Here are some questions that I think are more important than money, income, relationship status, or orgasm capabilities:
Is this person actually impacting real and positive change in other people’s lives?
What does real and positive change actually mean to me?
Does this person have a clear sense of who they are?
Can they handle challenge and criticism without turning into a small child or retracting?
Are they really standing behind what they say they are? Really? Are they? ARE THEY? How can I really tell if they are or not? What does a person look and feel like when they really are?
In a place where judgement is given such a bad rep, I’m saying we need it. We need to judge the people that are giving us the information that we allow to influence our mindsets and our life paths. We need to learn to use discernment and judgement in tandem with each other.
The message as a whole in the personal growth industry is definitely changing as we change, but there’s still so much out there, so much information, and so many places to lose yourself seeking outside yourself.
Challenge what you hear. Challenge what people say. Because if it’s true, then poking at it isn’t going to make it go away.
Demand teachers without agendas. Demand people who can be a guide and not continue to cripple you in the disguise of truth.
Stop putting the teachers and experts you see on the web, on the stage, and anywhere else on a pedestal that is better or less than you.
Meet them as equals. See them for who they are and learn from their wisdom if that feels right.
YOU hold the compass to your life in your heart and only YOU can tap into that.
Don’t ever let some teacher, coach, or guru guide you away from your own heart. Not even me.