I debated writing this. I’ve seen so many year-in-review posts that I was unsure if I’d do one myself. So much has happened this year and as much as I’m very open about various aspects of my life, I find that privacy has become a luxury in so many ways. But because year in reviews can be quite cathartic, I decided to do it anyway.
But here’s the thing: Unlike many people in the health industry who will likely focus on the “health” aspects of 2018 (no judgement on that by the way), I’ve decided to take a different approach #SurpriseSurprise. This post is about business, health and other personal lessons that have come up and I’ve decided to purge it all despite my inner critic’s squeamish judgement rants that I still hear in the recesses of my mind.
So in classic Melissa fashion, “Let’s do this.”
Just like any year, 2018 began with so much hope but what a lot of you don’t realize is that a good portion of it felt like I was pushing a boulder up a hill. I restructured my hormone membership program, Sexy Lady Balls, which soon became more work than the original creation of it. With the intention to make it the best hormone membership online came a lot of process and systems that needed implementing so members received the guidance they needed.
Doing this meant I had to focus and say, “no” to a lot of other work. I pulled away from being on television and stopped pitching ideas. I stopped writing my book proposal because I realized if the book was going to be based off of the membership, I needed to finish one thing (the restructure) before I started another project (the book).
You see, at some point of every business owner’s career, you stop for a moment to breathe and assess everything. After years of hustling and creating, parts of your room (i.e. the business) will get messy which is why my goal of 2018 was: clean ma’ damn room and make sure I’m able to find a pair of socks that match.
In other words I decided I needed to get organized, implement more systems, hire people and let go of certain people to up level my game.
And while my inner artist/squirrel brain would scream through the monotony, the business is now a well-oiled, sparkly machine. And the membership side note if absolutely fucking incredible.
But understand that none of that came without testing or months where we lost money. Everything had to be deconstructed and picked a part which required patience.
This is where I’m so grateful that I’m good at managing money. If you haven’t read Profit First by Michael Michalowicz, buy it now. It’s partly the reason why I was able to buy two investment properties in under a year.
And now after all that hard work, I can write my book and feel I’ve done the strategic (and very unsexy) work to make it happen.
Throughout the year, I came across people in business who questioned my decisions, wondered why things were taking so long, had opinions on how I should be doing things and challenged me on why I wasn’t doing more.
I’d be lying to you if I told you I didn’t doubt myself or feel extremely pressured. As a woman of immigrant parents, you’re raised to feel like hard work is a badge of honour. So when you’re faced with people who question why you’re not doing more, it can be highly triggering.
But here is what I learned: Every person who did come at me with judgements were those who didn’t even have their shit together. In short: it was a total projection on their part and an opportunity for me to trust myself and expand into a whole new level of self-compassion.
I also realized that I often get too emotionally invested in people and I can’t expect people to operate from the same set of values. So just like any year, the lesson of boundaries popped up like a game of whack a mole.
But I’ll be honest, cutting off ties was not easy and a big part began at the end of 2017 when I cut off all paid sponsorship that amounted to over $10k worth of revenue a month. I had to trust myself to take the leap and that short-term pain would result in long-term gain – and it did because we recouped that money (and then some).
The hard decision to cut ties allowed me to build my own business rather than concentrate on building someone else’s. I stopped having to prove my worth to marketing directors who had no idea about how online marketing works and who expected that on top of promoting their brands that I would teach them how it all worked.
By making these hard decisions in 2018 I realized just how much I was worth.
But with cutting ties came strengthening others in ways I didn’t expect. I formed a solid handful of ride-or-die girlfriends and with every one of them I’ve had tough-to-have conversations. We forced one another to level up. Relationships you see, requires work just like any other. I trusted my intuition hard this year around certain people and kept my distance while investing in others.
And one of my greatest investments is my relationship with my husband.
He was remarkably patient with my healing process. More importantly he trusted my ability as a practitioner that I would gain the strength and capacity to energetically make more room for him.
And unlike December of 2017 where I experienced two Hashimoto’s attacks that left me bedridden, in 2018, I got my life back and our relationship evolved yet again.
And as always, my husband was there along the ride – including his own.
This year he ate multiple pieces of humble pie as he was faced with numerous challenges to his ego physically and emotionally. He asked for freedom and was shown all the ways he was being held captive and had to make some pretty tough decisions – of which he did. And just like myself, he has a history of addiction (side note: today marks 481 days of my sobriety!), so to see him evolve over the years into who he is today not only strengthens my love for him but inspires me daily. Simply put: he is one of the strongest people I know.
Together we’ve had some pretty crazy ideas for our future (all of which were highly unconventional). But we set a date for when we’re going to pack all of our possessions and ship it to interior BC (where we plan to eventually move to). We also plan to buy a car and an RV and travel to the southwestern part of the US. Ya, we plan to live in an RV with our dog for an undisclosed amount of time.
Crazy? Maybe. But neither one of us have ever lived according to anyone else’s rules. So fuck it, we plan to do it anyway.
But in doing so, it means that we have to simplify. We realized just how much “stuff” we have and had to really assess what actually matters.
I won’t disclose the date of our move (for various reasons) but I will say that every decision I make in 2019 is to simplify and become incredibly efficient to make shit happen.
It’s why I decided to remove the following apps off of my phone: Facebook, Facebook messenger, Facebook business manager, YouTube, Pinterest, Etsy and Amazon. Literally anything that was eating my time is now gone. Social media reduces serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain. And as someone who genetically excretes 77% more dopamine than the average person (dopamine is the neurotransmitter that signals the rewards pathways of the brain), I found that those apps had to go. I’d feel depressed as I was glued to my device. I wasn’t present for those I loved and I felt overwhelmed.
Now I have only Instagram on my phone and I only check emails about twice a week (I have a team who flags me if something is urgent). I previously trained people to think I was accessible 24/7 and I had to put a stop to it.
This year I hired highly skilled practitioners who would take on consults in my programs (previously I did all of them myself which with creating everything else, burned me out). I created a weekly practitioner mastermind meeting where we’d discuss cases and improve our skills and talk about the latest in research. I can confidently say that I have the strongest online clinic there is offering a multitude of testing so people get answers.
To do all of this, I had to part with my inner control freak so that I could serve people in a much larger way. But I could only do this by working ON my business rather than IN it.
This doesn’t mean I don’t take on private 1:1 consultations anymore, because I do. It’s just limited to 10 people annually that will soon be offered in six or 12 months with full testing included (stay tuned for that).
And lastly, I have to talk about strength.
My God my idea of strength has radically changed.
I used to think that the only way to attain it meant to go through pain. Now I realize that being strong also means being dependable, courageous and vulnerable. And that to be strong meant I had to sometimes rest first. That I couldn’t hustle or always logic myself through situations. That I had to tap into how I felt, soften and practice compassion with who I was – especially with my body. And that in the end, I’m only as good as how I feel.
That means surrounding myself with people who matter…
…practicing a greater level of discernment…
…and never hiding aspects of who I am and being apologetically me…even if it makes others uncomfortable.
It also means to TRUST MYSELF.
And lastly, to love every part of the process even when it’s hard so I can realize that none of this is a race.
So here’s to 2019 and to exploring the world once again (like I will be to Bali for 5 weeks in June and Ecuador for a week in November).
Here’s to simplifying and valuing what actually fucking matters.
Here’s to writing the book that has been in me for years that I’ve been terrified to write.
Here’s to doing it my way as I always have and sticking to my guns.
Here’s to emerging from the depths of the mud that was 2018 and walking lighter.
And here’s to all of us being brave enough to do the work on ourselves so that we can contribute to healing the collective and loving bigger.
Happy New Year everyone.