Welcome. This personal post is from a few years back. I believe it’s crucial as entrepreneurs and business-owners to show all parts of ourselves, and honor who we are at each and every stage.
As you’ll read, I was in a time of transition and deep reflection and I had some thoughts to share.
Along with my new site and new brand, I want to continue to share these thoughts in the hopes that they will comfort, console, and inspire others.
So here we go. Natalie circa 2017…
I know it’s been a little while since you’ve heard from me, and I want to explain why.
Lately, I’ve been in a cocoon of sorts. I’ve felt a little lost in the woods, and that’s the best way I can describe the feeling. When a feeling like this comes up, whether I’m experiencing sadness or grief or even a really intense joy, I play with these strong emotions as part of the experience of moving through it. This time around, in feeling lost, I’ve had to disconnect and unplug from everything so that I could be in this space of nothingness and allow myself to dive deep and play with these emotions.
Once I do that as part of my process, I plug back into the world with my relationships, my work, my mission – and at that point everything feels renewed. I feel recalibrated and realigned, and ready to dive back in. So that’s the process I’ve been in for the past month.
I feel like there’s something new coming through for me that I need to dance with and bring into being right now. Experience has taught me that you have to play with this Muse when she shows up and wants to dance.
But before I get into what I feel is next, I want to reflect a bit on 2017 and share with you some of the beautiful lessons and gifts it gave me.
2017 was a monumental year for me and my business. At a foundational level, a lot of the elements of my move from Canada that spanned a few years are just wrapping up. This is creating space for me, space I feel I haven’t had in a very long time while I moved through that transition.
Last year broke my heart wide open. I needed that in order to free myself to move into the next step. Having my heart broken softened me, unfurled me, and it allowed me to get to know parts of myself that I was not really connected to before.
Through this process I moved much more into my feminine essence, into my feminine power, and that feels really good. It feels like home. I’m finally in a place where I can be grateful for that heartbreak, and it took awhile to get to that place as I’m sure you can resonate with because we’ve all had our hearts broken at some point.
I spent quite a bit of time in Japan last year, teaching the next generation of leaders. There’s a tradition in Japan to glue broken things back together again and fill the cracks with gold. They see brokenness as beauty. That’s how my heart feels. The cracks have been filled with gold.
I’ve also learned a lot about community, openness, connection and relationships. In Los Angeles, I’ve created a chosen family of friends, and I also assembled a Mastermind group of some of the most badass women I know, and they have held me and supported me throughout the ups and downs of the past year. I’ve opened up and been vulnerable in a way that I’ve never done before.
For so long I prided myself on being able to do everything on my own, on not needing anyone. But in 2017 I knew I couldn’t operate like that anymore, and my tender heart needed to be plugged into a loving community. This amazing group of people I’ve been around have allowed me to step into a softer way of being, and there is a strength in softness.
Last year brought the world some pretty immense challenges, both politically and socially. I’ve thought a lot about how I can be of highest service to my audience, my communities, and humanity as a whole. What felt like my truth was getting involved in my community and working with people in person rather than just talking about it online. I realize that using our voices and platforms are ways to take action, and I also see there can be a complacency in that. Like, “well I tweeted about that issue so I’ve done my part.”
I want to be connected to people and to the issues. I’ve gotten out there this year and had a lot of deep conversations. One of the most profound was with a homeless man who shattered me with his story, and shifted how I see the world as we stared into each others’ teary eyes and hugged.
While obviously social media allows us to spread information and hear experiences, at the same time it’s so important to tune into your community, to go offline and really connect. More of that please.
2017 was also a year of natural disasters, and those hit closer to home than other natural disasters have for me. The California wildfires decimated hundreds of acres of natural life and took families homes and business, including the site of our Conquer Live Retreat. Hurricane Irma devastated the British Virgin Islands just before I was set to head to Richard Branson’s Island with the mastermind group I host. My heart goes out to everyone effected by these tragedies. I know that the ways in which the tragedies impacted my business is nothing compared to how they effected the hundreds of thousands of people who literally lost everything they had. These disasters had me think deeper about the impermanence of things, and how much we need to honor humanity.
I’ve also learned to show up for new experiences and signs from the universe in a bigger way. I’ve received some pretty amazing signs, for example, on one of the darker days of my year I called an uber and the license plate was FEAR LSS. How cool is that? It put me at easy and shifted my energy.
I’ve tried so many new things in the past year. And for the first time I can remember in the last several years, I’m really living, and not just going through the motions. I feel an aliveness I’ve never felt!
I’ve been taking tango lessons as one of the new things I’m trying on, to tap into a more sensual place and counterbalance the warrior energy that I channel to push things forward. In these classes I’ve been the follower, and with the instructor as well as my partner I’ve learned to flow with their energy and be led into the next step. In tango, you just focus on the next step, not where you’ll be 10 steps from now, and you surrender control and trust your partner to lead you. That’s been big for me. More surrender. Less control.
Alright, all of that brings us to now. I know you’re ready to hear about it, so let’s chat about what’s next.
I started She Takes on the World in 2008 with a pretty small vision for it. I didn’t think it would become a full-time thing. Now, 10 years later, I’m thinking a lot about the next 10 years and how I can serve in an expanded capacity.
I’m moving towards more organic sharing when I feel called to share, not when the maintenance of the brand requires it. There won’t be a strict schedule like I’ve followed in the past. I once batched a year and a half of content in a week, and taught you how to do that too. That no longer feels aligned and true for me as I want to share what’s happening as it’s happening.
I invite you to follow me on Instagram where I’ll be doing more Lives and Stories. I’m @nataliemacneil. I also started a podcast called She [Out]Takes the World where I gives you the outtakes of my life, and the stuff that doesn’t make it onto social media (until now) or into the posts and videos I do. I record in-the-moment snippets, let you in on my team meetings, and share what’s happening in my world and what I’m working on. I think you’ll love it! You can follow me on Anchor for that at anchor.fm/nataliemacneil or on iTunes She [Out]Takes the World on iTunes.
With more meaningful sharing will come more value.
The new direction will contain a lot more behind the scenes, a lot more of me and a lot less of me compartmentalizing different parts of my life. I want to bring all of my dimensions into this brand.
So that’s where I’ve been, and I’ve never been more joyful about what’s coming next.
What about this post spoke to you most, or sparked something you can take into your own life and business? I would love for you to leave a comment and let me know. I will be asking you more questions moving forward and asking you to reply so I can deepen my connection to this community.
Here’s to a brilliant 2018! Let’s do this.