Freedom, by definition, means to have the ability to think, do and speak without being stifled or held back in any way.
How can we get clear on what freedom really is? Thinking about the definition, it truly reflects all that we are able to do as a physical human, except sometimes the answers we offer for what freedom means, we include material things or even money. To truly feel free, we would be able to speak freely, act freely, think freely. There is quite a lot of responsibility wrapped up in that idea.
So what is required of us, as humans, before we can achieve freedom?
Here are my three thoughts on the Responsibilities (or laws) of Freedom.
We must take great care in the thoughts we think, the words we choose to use and the actions we take. Before we can do this, we must become aware, more compassionate people. Freedom, as suggested in the definition above, requires us to do no harm, even though it isn’t really suggested. In plain language, it is required of me to be the best version of myself, and that, my friends, is a constant and continuous work in progress.
You read. A lot. You find mentors who have come before you that have already taken the steps necessary to get to where you want to go. You absorb information and then regurgitate it. Colin has recently started what he is dubbing his Growth Journal. Why is this important? For one, I think it allows you to taste how the words feel coming out of your own mouth, or in Colin’s case, and mine right now, through our fingertips and onto our blog space. You begin to understand your own emotions and thoughts better when they’re staring back at you. Some of your best aha moments are in discussion with wise friends, and other times in discussion with your wise self.
Making progress means turning inward and reflecting on the ideas you had, and then interpreting other people’s ideas that are both the same and different from yours. When you have a bigger picture, or a more worldly, or more Universal view, you have a much better grasp of how everything you do affects everything around you. You say less, but you mean more. You soften. You’re more thoughtful. You seek more often than you speak. So when you do have something to say, it’s naturally more eloquent and kind.
I think of Freedom Of Speech, as you might have too, and I can think of numerous times where that ‘freedom’ is not always used for good. Freedom of speech shouldn’t be meant to harm others, if it does, you’re encroaching on the freedom of others, which is not living with the intention of being free. You can’t have something at the expense of someone or something else. That is exchange, not freedom. (An interesting thought….)
So, when you’re doing the work to becoming the best version of yourself, some pain will come up, some grieving will happen, some confusion will arise. Accept them all for what they are, write about them, and keep going. Meditate. Observe them rather than feel them. Go to a hot yoga class with the intention of understanding one of these areas better. Start a blog, or write a new post about a revelation you’ve had, like when I wrote about my coming to terms with the fact that I’d have to become estranged from my mother in order to live, Leave Your Suitcase At The Door.
Freedom does not come after a wish upon a shooting star or the blown seeds of a dandelion. To achieve freedom, there is work.
Recently, Colin and I sold everything we own, with the exception of our guitars, about two dozen books, our computers, a 96 bottle wine rack (that has got to go soon, we were going to buy a house and have a cellar, but that seems to be more like a 10 year plan instead of a 3 year plan now), our essential oils & diffusers and of course, our clothes. We literally created an abundance of space.
However, this space is both physical and emotional. Our things, these inanimate objects, had taken on value that had been weighing on us, mostly me. I’d given my couch set the value of my independence, ironically giving away my independence completely. Selling those couches stirred up emotions of inadequacy. Insecurity. Would I still be an independent woman without my couches?
Well the short answer, is OBVS! How ridiculous, right? Except, we all have done this. Something we have purchased at a time of significance can take on the responsibility of representing an emotion to you. I thought that my couches represented the truth that I was, indeed, an independent woman. What I had failed to do was the create space for understanding why, first, I needed to have proof that I was an independent woman, and second, why I needed to attach myself to that thought.
I needed to go back and do the work!
Next thing, was to understand that feeling successful and independent is important to me, so my new space would have to be created in order to allow me to express, seek and talk through my ideas about success. I began to talk openly about this on my social media pages, telling my story and receiving information back from other people who could put themselves in my shoes. My people were getting me. I was not alone.
So I kept creating space. Creating this space meant to be open to a discussion about anything and removing the emotion to become an observer. Talking about something with other people who can offer more information, a new narrative besides the one in your own head. Create space so that you have more of it to allow you the room to grow. Release what isn’t serving you anymore, which includes a bunch of couches you don’t need (we moved into a fully furnished beach house, if you’re just joining us here on our blog!).
In order to be free, to feel truly free, you have to remember to always be creating new space. Everyone’s space with be created differently!
The most important responsibility, is to keep doing, to continue to seek love and information. To keep learning, growing, expanding, purging, cleaning up, creating space, meditating, moving forward, sharing, being vulnerable, being of service.
Read. Not novels, those too, but I mean really read. Seek new information, other peoples’ opinions. Schedule ZOOM or Skype dates, or phone calls with people you’ve connected with that inspire you. We live in an age where anyone is accessible! Take advantage of that and ask a new person in your life what their take is on something you’re working on. Ask for advice. and then when you’re ready, remove what you don’t need and keep what you do to make it your own. Always take an inventory of your thoughts, your surroundings, your materials things, your vocabulary and your relationships. What is serving you? And what isn’t?
Being on the other side of worry, regret, and guilt from everything – truly understanding, or becoming to understand, what your reactions, thoughts, ideas, actions, words are all motivated by, creates an awareness that opens up an infinite space. I call this intuition. You learn to trust yourself in a way that gives you peace. You trust your first thought and go with it, because you’ve done the work in removing all self-doubt. You’ve created the space for intuitive thinking. You’re taking action that will move you forward without a second thought. This is freedom.
And when you can harness these three responsibilities, opportunities are absolutely everywhere, and you’ll recognize them, because you are aware of them at every turn. You see yourself differently, but you also see others and the world differently. You no longer blame, you only experience. You’ll fall down a few times here and there, we’re human. So, you start back at number one and get back to work.
When you live in a freedom mindset, you can live anywhere and do anything you desire.
We do. You can, too.
Welcome to the first of what will be a long series of blogs from me. The intention behind this series will be for several reasons. First will be to treat this as a journal for myself and my thoughts. I’ve discovered the joys of blogging and found that in doing so I have begun to really understand the chaos that is in my head. Second is to hold myself accountable to continue to grow in all the ways that I know I need to. Third, is to hopefully inspire and help others who are looking to accomplish some of the same things.
I’ve been reading lately. I am not much of a reader. In fact, I think I may have read about a dozen books over the course of my life. Seriously! I’ve never really been interested in literature and if I do read I find my eyes becoming too heavy to read more than two pages in a row. To make matters worse, If I am able to make it a few pages in I often forget what I just read. My comprehension is crap!
I’m not entirely sure where it has come from but I’ve been feeling compelled to read lately. But not stories of fiction or history or the classics. I am reading self development books. Maybe its the muse inside me or my desire to find a mentor through the new phases of my life but whatever it is I am really enjoying it and want to keep the momentum going.
I am currently working through John C. Maxwell’s The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth. When I opened the book I began reading the introduction and on the very first page I read something that struck me. Mr.Maxwell began by discussing unfulfilled potential…
My friend Florence Littauer, a speaker and author, wrote a story in her book Silver Boxes about her father, who always wanted to be a singer but never was. She says he dies with the music still inside of him. That’s an apt description of unfulfilled potential. Not reaching your potential is like dying with the music still inside of you.
Maybe it’s the musician in me or maybe it’s just the time in my life, but I don’t want to die with the music inside of me.
The first chapter discusses being intentional about your growth. Perhaps this is another reason I chose to begin this series of blogs. If I was to understand the chaos in my head further and intentionally grow why not combat one of my weaknesses (accountability and consistency) with one of my strengths (blogging and using technology)
One of the exercises is to identify what he calls your ‘growth gaps’ There are 7 gaps that hold people back from making decisions necessary for growth. They are as follows:
*I am guilty of the ones highlighted
Now that I am aware of the gaps I am better equipped to deal with them when they come up. As an example, I’ve been saying for a long time that I wanted to begin a more movement based fitness routine. Similar to the teachings of Ido Portal or GMB Fintess. However I’ve been saying ‘After I’ve done a little more research on the movements then I’ll start it. Also I’ll be better equipped to start it when I move into the new house’ Right in that statement alone I was guilty of both the Knowledge Gap and the Timing Gap.
The next thing is to create a growth calendar. If you do not plan your growth how do you expect to grow. By doing this simple exercise I was able to identify that I have about 29 hrs per week of potential growth time (outside of my regular work). Imagine all the things you could do for yourself with an extra 29 hrs per week?!
There are 4 areas that I want to grow in:
Each one of these categories can be broken down into sub categories which I will get into more detail in later blogs. Now that I know the 4 areas that I want to improve upon I can easily cross reference my monthly work schedule. Below is how the month of October looks for me:
After spending an evening developing my schedule I printed it up and put it on the fridge! Now every morning I can double check exactly what I have to do for the day. It’s perfect!
I wear an activity tracker on my wrist that tells me how many hours per day I sit, stand, walk, and even lie down. Its very helpful and insightful and holds me accountable to my daily activities. The feature that I love the most is that it also acts as a pedometer. I’m really not sure why but I love understanding how many steps I take per day. I got’s to get my steps in!
Here is the read out of the last 2 days of my life…
What on earth would posses me to take 22,690 steps over the course of 2 days HALF of which are up or down stairs? So many stairs that both Tonia and I are practically limping around with sore calve muscles?
For the last 2 days Tonia and I have been in the depths of what could be the most important thing we have ever done in our life. We’re moving! I know what you’re thinking. ‘Whoopty Doo you’re moving!’
This move is more than just a change in homes. This move is everything that we have been working towards for the last 2 years. This is a new beginning to everything about us. On top of it all, it’s my 36th birthday.
This was the view that I was greeted to today…
If you’ve been following us over on Facebook then you will know some of our story and how we got here. If you haven’t then you better get your ass over there cause you’ve got some catching up to do!
Those 22,690 steps that I was talking about earlier are representative of all the hard work and dedication we’ve put into our life. Every step away from the old is a step towards the new. But here’s the thing, you have full control over which direction you move in.
I recognize that there are some people with certain health conditions or circumstances that may make things more challenging but lets assume for arguments sake that you are born in Canada or the US, have your health and a decent head on your shoulders. I would argue that you are in full control of your life. Having full control of your life means you are FULLY responsible for where you are, what you believe, who you hang out with, everything. Not your parents, not your friends, not your boss, not even your god. You chose the life you live. And every decision and step you take moves you closer, or in some cases further away from the things you want.
If you’re anything like me, when making a big decision in life there can be uncertainty or doubt. I’ve been spending some time exploring having faith in my decisions and the power that comes with it. I’ve begun to notice the more I trust myself and have faith that what I am doing is best for me, the better things are becoming. But the word faith has and to some degree still does have some weight to it that doesn’t feel quite right.
Successful people don’t make the right decisions, they make their decisions right – Elliot Hulse
I feel like the word faith can take on two meanings. One in a religious sense and another in more of a ‘everything will work out’ sense. Personally, I’ve struggled with this word on both sides of the coin.
I grew up religious, have gone through some of the sacraments in Catholicism and realized at a young age that this was not a world I wanted to be apart of. This is not intended to be a religious discussion but just so you understand my point of view I do not identify with religion at all. Nor do I believe that ‘God’ has a plan or has a say in how we live our lives. I do however believe that if there is a ‘God’ that his role is to put opportunities in front of you, but its your job to act upon them.
I’ve always felt like that cliche interview with the professional athlete thanking ‘God’ for his or her achievements is so insulting to the hard work that person put into their life. ‘God’ wasn’t responsible for that persons success, ‘God’ may have put the opportunity in front of him but in the end he chose to do something about it.
Second is the ‘everything will work out’ angle. I’ve always had a cloud of worry or what if hanging over me my entire life. I have an acquaintance who refers to this as the ‘Hag In The Attic‘ I’m not sure where that comes from but like I said before if I am responsible for every aspect of my life that would also including my beliefs, mindset and evicting the hag that lives in my attic.
There’s a great quote from Jim Rohn that states ‘We need to give thought, but we also need to take action. You need to dream without just being a dreamer‘ I like this because for years I was the dreamer that he spoke of. I sat in my home dreaming of all the great things in life that I didn’t have wondering why I didn’t have them. The answer was so simple…take action and have faith that it will all work out!
When I began living on purpose I struggled with ‘How do I know what I am doing is right?’ I think like most people I wanted reassurance and validation that my actions we’re moving me forward. The interesting thing about this was as I became more ‘aware’, or as the cool kids call it AWOKE, I began to understand that I was receiving reassurance and validation the whole time, but not in ways I was attuned to.
One of the laws of the world seems to be ‘When you do what you’re supposed to be doing life becomes more available to you‘ Have you ever wondered why some people seem to live so effortlessly? Life just seems to hold doors open for them, hand them some champagne and then slap them on the butt as they walk through!
For the last several years Tonia and I have struggled greatly, both personally and professionally. There were many signs being put in front of us daily that we stubbornly disregarded as something ‘we have to work through this before it will get better’ We were receiving daily signs such as stress in my body, unhappiness, confusion, frustration, more bad days than good days, the day job where promised work was not being followed through, a house that was cursed, everything! The world screaming at us that where we were was not where we were meant to be.
Fast forward to today
Now that I am thoughtful to every situation in life being a potential sign things are processed much differently. I continually ask myself ‘why did that happen?’ in any situation good or bad. The self awareness and discovery is amazing. Also, since we have moved into this new home some pretty spectacular things have been happening. All of which are IMMEDIATE!
Here’s a few things that happened on our first day here:
Some people might look at these things and think ‘That’s just a coincidence’ I completely disagree. This is life opening up with more easy because we are supposed to be doing what we are doing.
It should be this easy…
PS – I found the cover photo after I wrote this entire blog. It was the first image that I found when searching for images…there are always signs!
Show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future – Dan Pena
Unbeknownst to me I had begun this process years before I heard this statement. I had a circle of friends that I had hung out with since I was 16 years old. We did EVERYTHING together…which to be fair was mostly partying. As I got older and some unfortunate drama occurred in my life I was forced to question the relationships that I kept. It was hard for me to trust anyone and worst of all I was becoming a shell of the person I used to be. I was constantly approval seeking from them and I felt alone in their company. Worst of all it was taking a huge toll on my relationship with Tonia.
We often hear about the importance of cleaning up the food we eat or the products we use or maybe even the mindset that we have but I find it rare that you hear about cleaning up the relationships that you keep. Maybe its because its controversial or maybe its because sometimes, as in the case with Tonia, you have to say goodbye to family. It is however, in my opinion, the most important step to take if you are striving for more in life.
I want to be clear, I’m not suggesting that you go and tell all your friends and family to take a hike. If you are happy and content with your life then you’ve won as far as I am concerned. This message is for those that are unhappy with their circumstances and want to do something to move forward.
Here’s a quick tip: surround yourself with the people you want to be like. Its that easy!
For Tonia and I it was simple. We want to be business professionals and online marketers. We want to be influencers and mentors. We want to have extraordinary experiences and deep relationships.
The world is so well connected these days that meeting people has never been easier. You can connect with people on Facebook groups, forums, blogging communities (hello all my new friends!) its literally endless
For me I wanted a mentor! I wanted someone who would take me under their wing and help guide me through my shit. Problem was I didn’t actually know of anyone. Then one day I realized that there are so many people teaching online that I could just connect with them. There are also so many online influencers to follow and mentor myself with that I don’t even necessarily need to be friends with them for their thoughts to rub off on me. Ill give you an example:
Remember that quote at the beginning of this blog? That statement was made by Dan Pena. They call Dan the 50 Billion Dollar man because he has helped coach other businessmen into acquiring an estimated 50 Billion Dollars in wealth. Dan accredits a large part of his success to his no bullshit, militaristic style of coaching. He yells, swears, makes people cry, sometimes even slaps his mentees. Yup, he actually puts his hands on you if he thinks you need it.
Dan gives most if not all of his coaching away for free except for one specialized coaching program. The cost is upwards of $20,000 and he will fly you out to Guthrie Castle (Yes, Dan lives in a castle). The intention is to have you touch, see, smell and experience opulence at a level that you have never known before with the hopes that this will rub off on you. While this sort of lifestyle is not for everyone the methodology makes complete sense.
He is loud, super aggressive, very alpha male and something that I am not. I am quiet, shy, meek, not opinionated and well…a door mat. And its because of these traits that I had been taken advantage of my whole life. Its how I lost those friends that I spoke of earlier. I was betrayed and made a fool right in front of all of them but because I was so weak they knew they could do it to me. I needed to learn more assertiveness and have self respect in order to get closer to the life that I wanted. So, I started mentoring myself through Dan’s teachings and words!
I listened to every interview I could find of Dan’s. I read every book or blog of his that I could find. I immersed myself in all of his work for a good 8 months as to absorb the parts of his personality that I wanted for my own. Something pretty amazing began to happen…people started treating me with more respect.
Its amazing how things change when you become more self respectful and assertive. I think I confused assertiveness with aggression. Being assertive raises the bar for yourself and the things you want out of life. Aggression is throwing a temper tantrum when you don’t get those things or are met with challenges along the way. As an example: one of the ‘rules’ that I have set forth for myself and others is that I do not disrespect someones time and I also expect that in return. If I have a phone call scheduled or a meeting scheduled for 10 am then that meeting or phone call begins promptly at 10 am. Not 9:59 and not 10:01. Another great quote (I can’t even remember where I heard it from) is ‘you are either on time, or you are late!’
I’ve actually cancelled meetings with people because they were 5 minutes late. Yea, I could have brushed it off and just sat down with them anyways but by allowing that sort of behaviour to be acceptable you are setting a standard. The funny thing is once I made it clear I do not accept tardiness people started showing up on time. Assertive…not aggressive! This is just one of the MANY lessons that I have learned through my online self mentoring. I wont show up for meetings late, so you best not either!
More on this topic later…
Earlier this week I read a blog, Little Green Fingers: top 10 children’s gardening accessories, which really struck me. All of a sudden I was having these nostalgic feelings and memories of my Great Grandpa Dee came flooding back to me. So today, I want to share with all of you a look into a relationship, probably the most important one I’ve ever had in my life, that has continued to teach me the most valuable lessons even 22 years after his death.
Almost everything I needed to know was taught to me in Chase, BC by a man I have admired more than anyone in all of my 33 years of life. He instilled values in me that are fiercely strong. No one else has ever moved me as much as my Great Grandpa Dee has moved me. I’ve never been more proud of a human, than of him.
Let’s back up.
My Great Grandpa Dee was born in 1900, which I always thought was the most amazing thing in the world as a child. I still do. He came to Canada as Pol Polson, where authorities changed his name to Paul Paulson. He was Dutch. He was so handsome. He was my Great Grandpa Dee. GG Dee was a part (until I can clarify with family in what capacity, this will have to do for now) in WWI and I remember every year we’d tie ribbons around our tree in the front yard to show our thanks in support of his service to our country and fellow men. I never knew exactly what he did in the war, but I was just so proud of him.
I could always tell how fiercely my dad loved and looked up to this man, even though I was very young. I felt the same way. I was so impressed that he kept in the shape he did for as old as he was. At 91 he couldn’t hear a word anyone said, but that summer, he taught his adoring great granddaughter how to do a cartwheel in his front yard. I remember staring at him in awe while he stood on his front step cheering me on to try. He’d come down to the grass to show me again. My 91 year old Great Grandfather. Doing cartwheels. How in the world do you grow up without the lesson of resilience with this role model in your life? This snap shot is ingrained in my memory, thankfully having a photographic memory. I can even remember how I felt in this moment; an unconditional love. Respect.
One of my fondest memories was when I was quite young, my brother Daniel was a year old so I would have been 8 that summer. We were out in the backyard where my Great Grandpa Dee had his own vegetable garden that he still grew, still, in his 90’s! This must have been the year after he’d taught me to do a cartwheel, but I assure you he wasn’t finished with his lifelong lessons for me quite yet. He had at least two more to show me before he could go home to his wife in heaven (more on that in a minute).
It was time to pick vegetables for dinner, and boy did I hate vegetables (can anyone guess the lesson here since Colin and I are vegetarian?!). We were having potatoes and *gulp* CARROTS for dinner! “No, Grandpa!” I begged him. I begged him some more as he ushered me out the back door and down into the garden. I begged some more and finally he tapped me on the shoulder and he said, “Shhh! I’m going to tell you a little secret. You have to eat the vegetables you pick, that’s my rule in my garden. (In real life right now I felt the sudden urge to sob, so I’m totally bawling. Sometimes even I can’t believe the bond I had with this man, that I carry with me to today.)
My 92 year old Great Grandpa Dee reached down without breaking our eye contact. He swiftly pulled up a giant carrot from the ground. I was in agony looking at that carrot, because back then, and today, I hated carrots. If those were the size of the carrots, I for sure was doomed! Obviously seeing the terror in my eyes, GG Dee said, “Now, Tonia, do you see how big this carrot is? Look at the leaves. Are those leaves big like the carrot?”
Yes! They were!
“Can you see leaves the size of the carrot you would like to eat?”
I scanned that whole garden, and announced that I could not! But Great Grandpa Dee told me to look some more. Suddenly, he brushed away some big leaves and one teeny tiny leaf stuck out from the ground. I smirked and looked up at my grandpa and he was smiling so big. I pulled the leaf and out popped the tiniest carrot I have ever seen.
Great Grandpa Dee loudly announced, “Tonia’s picked her carrot for dinner! You have to eat that whole thing. What you pick, you eat!”.
I was no fool, I knew exactly what he had done for me that day. He winked.
On my plate at dinner time was the tiniest carrot that took me only two bites to eat, and while I gagged it down, those were some of the best bites of carrot I’ll ever have. While it wasn’t apparent until the last few years of my life, Great Grandpa Dee taught me to appreciate nature, to understand what nourishment, in food and relationships, your yard has to offer you and just how delicious raspberries from his raspberries bushes were. The only raspberries I’ve ever liked! He taught me to appreciate working hard for my food and for what I want, but also to understand that it is ok to compromise. I’ve longed for a big backyard with a garden my whole life, like a part of me has been missing ever since he passed away. This is something I am most looking forward to having once Colin and I find our property.
And I will plant carrots.
Grandpa Dee had the same house he’d always lived in and hadn’t changed a thing since his wife, Helen passed away, something a little less than 50ish years before him, if I remember correctly. One day, in his old man burgundy slip on slippers, which I loved to wear when he wasn’t, he turned on his very old fashioned radio (which I was amazed by!) and he told me a story about Helen. He loved her so much, and I’d never really heard a love story before like theirs. Her silk robe still hung behind his bathroom door and her hair brush still sat on the bathroom counter beside the sink. It was as if she had still lived there all of those years, yet she’d not been home for more than 45.
I don’t remember much about what he told me of her, except that he never stopped loving her and that he thought of her every single day. At some point, as I watched him talk about her, I asked him if he missed her. I can’t remember exactly what he said, but something like, “Oh yes, but I’ll see her again soon!”.
I asked him, “Do you think she’s waiting for you at the top of the stairway to heaven, Grandpa Dee?” and his eyes twinkled. Before he could answer, I said, “Actually, by then Grandpa, I hope for you she’s waiting at the top of the escalator because that’s a lot of stairs! Do they have an escalator to heaven?”
What man, after all these years, loved his wife enough to be the most content in his life, even without her, after her death, because of how sure he was of their bond. Of their love. He never wavered. He built an amazing life even after her, but honoured her every second of the day until he died. This was a lesson I only this last year figured out. He heavily instilled this incredible value of love and loyalty into me, listening to his stories. He taught me not to settle for anything less than the kind of marriage he and Helen had. My marriage would be the most important thing in my life, too. And it is!
Colin has asked me where this value came from and it was just suddenly that I put the connection together. These three lessons have shaped the woman I am today and I bawled my damn eyes out writing this blog. I relived moments today I haven’t thought of with this much clarity in many, many years. Pol Polson taught me unconditional love, resilience, kindness, humour, compromise and he did it with grace.
He phoned me just before he died to say goodbye. That was more than 22 years ago now. I hope he knows these words and he feels this deep and overwhelming love I poured into this blog for him today. I have lost a lot of people in my life, including best friends, room mates, my brother with whom I was extremely close… and I have been asked, at different stages of my life, if I could talk to anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
I’ve never hesitated.
I would talk to my Great Grandpa Dee, so I can ask him if Helen was waiting at the top of the escalator.
And more importantly, to let him know I will plant carrots.
With purpose, and a thousand tears,
Creating a Life On Purpose can mean many things to many people. Some chose to pursue financial freedom, some choose to travel, some choose to spend more time with their families. There is no right or wrong, what matters is having a clear reason for why you do the things you do…and then just do them
For me, Colin, my WHY is quite simple. I choose to do what I am doing so I can be a musician.
I know what you are thinking already…
‘Why don’t you just go be a musician then?‘ – inner dialogue
For those of you who might not fully appreciate the trails and tribulations a musician goes through let me see if I can help explain.
Long gone are the days of musicians actually having a fighting chance at a decent living. Creating a life as a full-time musician might be one of the most challenging ways to make money and leaves you with literally not enough hours in a day and not enough money to live off of. Music is at its best when performed live so of course that is the first place that most people want to pursue a living in. Its a ton of fun, stress relieving, social, and well, just the best!
However, when you first start out as a group most musicians succumb to the ‘play for exposure’ scenario. Now to be fair, musicians should NEVER agree to do this as it diminished the value of your work and also sets a precedent that your product or service carries little to no value. But it is what happens and for some reason we all do it.
People are not willing to spend $5 to come see your show or buy your album or some merchandise but will gladly spend twice the amount on a Chocolate Mocha Orange Alpuccino. Its incredibly infuriating to see just how little people are willing to give back to musicians yet depend on it so heavily in their day to day lives. Albums, merchandise and digital downloads are the tangible things that the consumer gets to take home and incorporate into their own lives. Its stuff that people want, use and need but for some reason expect should just be available at no cost.
Live shows are the one thing that helps to support musicians but when you’re collecting gas money it really becomes a challenge making a living wage. For a short period of time I played with a 19 piece Big Band. The music was challenging, the people were supportive and the work was fun. The problem was that I was spending about 25 HRS per week studying to only have the opportunity to gig once, maybe twice a month for a $100 paycheck. Lets say it was a good month and we played 2 shows, that would mean that my income from that stream was $200/100 HRS of study time. That would mean my time was worth $2 per hour. No one would ever accept a day job, no matter how much they loved the work for $2 HR. Its impossible to sustain a living.
Teaching is the ‘day job’ of the average musician. There are many ways that this can be done but typically its done in one-on-one sessions with an instructor educating and directing a student through their own musical journey. Now this is all fine and dandy but the challenges within this is that teaching, as much as some might think, doesn’t really pay that well. I’ve worked for schools that pay $30 HR which sounds great on paper but you might only have 3-4 students at half hour sessions per day. And all too often those students wouldn’t be scheduled back to back, they would be spread out over 5 hours. When I was teaching some days I was literally driving across town to make $30-60 for 5-6 hrs of my time.
Others have figured out that you need to be online. Now don’t get me wrong, there are a few guys and gals out there doing an incredible job of making a living as an online musician. They offer online courses, eBooks, education, gear reviews, Skype lessons and do it at a level that is astounding. But for the average musician who doesn’t have the financial backing or the technical ability to develop a website, create education material for a niche, market and advertise and develop a reputation online this just doesn’t make sense. It takes years to grow in this way and just isn’t attainable for most
Session work is another way to create an income as a musician. Now unless you live in cities like L.A, New York, or Nashville you’re not really going to have a ton of opportunity to knock on doors to ask if someone needs a session player. Luckily, this can be solved with the advent of some incredible technology. Musicians can set up home studios and record just about anything with better results than ever before. The challenge here is that studio gear is INSANELY expensive and even more complicated to figure out.
Personally, I spent about 5 years of my life actively pursuing any and all of these areas to barely be able to make rent payments. Its a struggle and not one that I wanted to live anymore.
There was however a solution this entire problem right in front of me….
During my time with the Big Band I got to know some of the guys quite well. They we’re all retired or semi retired guys in their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. One gentleman, the drummer of the band stood out the most to me. I actually taught at his school so I got to get to know him well. He was tall, quirky, kind of awkward but also hilarious, foul mouthed and just an all around cool guy. He wore suits, drove a Mercedes AMG, lived in a gorgeous house in an upscale neighborhood and just walked around with a nonchalant attitude towards most things. It was as if he was never stressed about anything and seemed to know something the rest of us didn’t
One night after playing a wedding reception at a very nice Italian restaurant, we both sat down at a table and split a bottle of Limoncello. I’m actually suddenly realizing that this might be where my love for Limoncello came from. While we drank and shared stories of our love for Jazz and all things music I interrupted the conversation with a question. I wanted to know how it was that he was able to make so much money with music and how I could do the same?
He laughed at me and said ‘I’m not rich because I made a living as a musician, I’m rich because I made all my money outside of music’
He continued to explain that a very young age he was in Real Estate. One home turned into two homes which turned into a fourplex and on and on. Eventually he was able to purchase the Heritage Building that his very school was taught from. He had about 6 other tenants that rented from him in that building and he kept his school tucked away in the basement. He literally played the real life version of Monopoly.
He told me ‘No one makes this kind of money as a musician unless you’re Beyonce or something like that. I chose early on to build an empire outside of the music industry so I could spend the rest of my life playing music on my terms. I study what I want, I play what I want, I socialize with who I want, I do what I want. And because I don’t have the stress of collecting a paycheck I get to enjoy it more’
It was in that conversation that I realized that I had this whole thing backwards. My mindset was that I needed to work my way up a ladder in an industry that had about 20 rungs missing in the middle. How was I, or anyone for that matter able to get to the next rung?
One of my current favorite VLOGS is from Bob Reynolds who plays sax for Snarky Puppy. He talks about the importance of having a cushion for yourself when you choose to be a musician. Its the most strategic and best way to really give yourself a fighting chance out there. The world changed, and that’s fine. So I decided that instead of fighting the fact that being a musician didn’t look like it did in the 60’s and 70’s I was going to need a cushion…but what was my cushion going to be?
There are many reasons why Tonia and I chose Network Marketing. Yes, we want to be financially independent, who doesn’t? Yes, we want to buy land and build our dream home. Yes, we want to travel to where ever we want whenever we want.
Mostly, we chose our company because their belief system is exactly in line with ours. We use the products religiously, believe in the organization and can therefore speak authentically to people about why we chose to align ourselves with them. We also chose this company because they give back to the world through their philanthropy work in ways that a company should when they have huge success.
For me there is one more layer to why I chose this industry. Its because it actually gives people like myself a fighting chance! And just like the advice given to me over that bottle of Limoncello, It let’s me make money outside of the music industry so I can do whatever I want inside of the industry without the stresses associated with it.
THIS is my cushion….and it could be yours too!!
Oh the lessons we’ve been learning!
There have been some very big ‘Ah Ha!’ moments in the McArthur household this last month. Both Tonia and I are stubborn human beings, its just who we are at our core. This stubbornness has its advantages as it allows us to be resilient in times of crisis and gives us the strength to stand up to the world when it pushes back.
However, being stubborn does have its faults as it blinds us from the fact that some of the things we are doing are not right for us. If something isn’t going as planned Tonia and I often think ‘We need to keep pushing until it does’
I think we do this partially because you often hear successful people say things like ‘You need to push through the hard times‘ or ‘If I gave up early on then I wouldn’t be here today‘
While this message has good intentions and is intended to help people to persevere through hard times it can also be confusing and not entirely true, at least for us. Yes, you will need to be persistent in your endeavours and yes you will need to work hard to accomplish any goals but there is another layer to this recipe not included in the above statements. You need to have the awareness of ‘Am I swimming against the current?‘
What does that mean?
If you see a straight line in this world that’s because man made it, there are no straight lines in nature – Tony Robbins
Here is an example:
The moment we arrived in Kelowna we knew it wasn’t right for us. We had a gut feeling. The more time went on the more this was solidified in small messages such as the building being under construction the entire time we were here, the constant break ins, our strata not taking any responsibility for issues around the complex, the fact that we were having a hard time making friends (were likable people!) and much more. Shit, it took us 4 months to get our name put on the buzzer of the building and we couldn’t even get our mail delivered here. The universe was screaming at us so loudly telling us that we don’t belong here that it wouldn’t even let us have our mail and we were ignoring all the signs!! We stubbornly thought to ourselves, ‘No! We have to push through all of this and earn our way into this new life!’
This went on for 15 months. Tonia and I reached new levels of stress and anxiety about our living conditions. We fought, we cried, we were genuinely dissatisfied and didn’t know what we should do.
Then without warning, the loudest message of all was delivered. Our landlord called us and told us that he was selling the unit and that we basically were being evicted from our home. We spent so much time not listening that eventually the universe stepped in and now in 2-3 months we wouldn’t have a home.
We were devastated. For a small minute, we wanted to pack it all in and quit (seriously). I was out of town at the time and I remember lying on my back on the air mattress in my tent just staring at the roof feeling numb. At one point in the evening I got into a confrontation with of my coworkers grabbed a beer and went for a long walk. I found a bridge over a little river, sat underneath it and like a troll drank my beer and cried one of the hardest cries of my life. I was at my boiling point. Tonia and I spoke later on that evening and we just sat in silence on the phone for minutes at a time. The constant rotation of ‘what are we doing with our lives?’ rolled through our minds. It was a very hard time for us….
Then our stubbornness kicked in and after a day or two of being sad. We picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off and started looking for a new home. Tonia took a day off of work and looked for a new home for us outside of Kelowna. She sent me link after link of homes and I told her to contact everyone, I didn’t even care. There was however one place that kept coming up, even before we moved here but we never fully considered it because it wasn’t where we thought we wanted to be. Trying to be more thoughtful of the signs around us we decided to go take a look at it.
And guess what happened?
Literally one week after getting the phone call from our landlords, we solidified what I would call our Dream Home. We had been asking for lakefront property for years and suddenly it was delivered to us. With a move in date of exactly when we need to be out of our current home, fully furnished, pet friendly, amazing community of people (we’ve already made friends there), live music down the road, everything we’ve always wanted. And it was given to us so easily.
Then it dawned on us. This is why we were receiving those messages all along. Almost as if the universe was like ‘I was trying to give you this the whole time you stubborn idiots!’ This isn’t the first time something like this has happened to us either
This exact same thing happened with our wedding. We spent a year and a half planning a wedding that was such a challenge to put together and after taking some time to really think about what we wanted we adjusted and within 5 days completely re-planned our wedding. 5 days it was done what we were pushing against for a year and a half! Sound familiar?
Like him or lump him, I once heard Tony Robbins use an analogy that I feel is appropriate for this lesson. He said ‘Life is not a straight line. If you see a straight line in this world that’s because man made it, there are no straight lines in nature. The way things grow in reality is they move up in a circular pattern and then they come back a little bit and up and around. They wind their way up! Nobody goes straight up and keeps going up it doesn’t look that way‘
This made me think of the swimming against the current analogy I used earlier. Life is like a river. It takes you around corners sometimes fast, sometimes slow, sometimes you can see what’s off in the distance, and sometimes you cant. Sometimes it actually takes you back a few steps too, but that’s what its supposed to do in order to get you where you are going and its your job not to resist and to let it take you there.
Listen to those messages, let the current take you, don’t swim upstream and if you can remember, try to enjoy it!
Source – Tonia and Colin Entrepreneurs Facebook Page
Building the life of your dreams is going to be a total piece of cake, right?
Well, a total piece of cake comes from an entire cake, which starts from putting together a few ingredients that someone bought from a store, drove home, measured and prepared before mixing altogether and baking in a pan they bought from another store. While that’s baking in the oven, the icing is being made and then each layer is placed on top of one another with icing in between each layer before more icing is spread over the whole finished cake. Sprinkles, too.
And then voila! Piece of cake.
Building a dream life, or rather, putting a plan together and executing that plan, can sometimes mean doing things you don’t want to do. This week, and next, Colin is away so that we can continue to push our business in the right direction. We don’t often spend very much time apart, and truth be told, until we moved to Kelowna, we hadn’t spent more than a few nights apart since moving in together 5.5 years ago. I’m not going to lie, these trips out of town are really hard on both of us, although necessary to keep us moving. And then the incredible feeling of knowing your husband will do absolutely anything that he can to support his family makes my heart swell.
A little insight.
For my entire life I have suffered from Insomnia, which off and on has been eradicated with balancing my body using our amazing essential oils plus a healthy dose of yoga and meditation. We also have this lovely little device that scans the body and emits frequencies to detect if any biomarkers are unbalanced. It then makes suggestions based on this analysis on what to use to help put the body back into balance. If we use this device on a regular basis, guess what happens? Yup, our bodies and minds feel much more balanced and relaxed, which in turn will, of course, help us sleep.
This was a really neat thing, since we weren’t really using anything to ‘treat’ my insomnia. One day I just realized that I’d slept through the night and then again and again. As I dive deeper into my healing journey (more on this later), I realize that as my focus shifts to releasing old emotional trauma (from nooks and crannies in my body) I am better able to rest and relax. When this happens, of course, restful sleep also happens.
So, Colin is away and my poor heart aches when he’s gone, but for the last two nights I have slept like a baby, which is not usually the case when he’s away. Last night while we talked on the phone I teased him about this! I said maybe he snores or something, which has been waking me up all this time (of course it’s probably a little bit true, but since I’ve never been a good sleeper, it can’t all be his fault. Surely?). Anyways, I wake up this morning and AGAIN I have slept through the night! Three miraculous nights in a freaking row! Totally amazing.
Then I realized, I actually dreamt last night for the first time in a long time.
And my heart sank. I dreamt about my husband, which, almost never happens. My dream was that he had come home early, snuck back into bed to wrap his arms around me and then whispered, “Guess what! I’m staying home! So it’s pancake day!”
I guess I must really miss him this time, huh?
With 12 or so more days to go, I’ll save this cute little dream in my memory as a sweet little reminder of how much this man means to me – and how much our future means to both of us. It always comes back to making a better life and pushing towards having that freedom so he never has to leave again. Sounds a little bit like that piece of cake, doesn’t it?
Right now it sounds an awful lot like we’re picking up all of those ingredients on the list. Pretty soon though, we’ll be done measuring, we’ll have that cake in the oven and we’ll be licking some delicious icing off of the whisks and spoons.
It has been years since we started manifesting our dream home and it took us most of those years to figure out so many of the details. Was it modern? Log cabin with an A frame? Where was it even located? High up overlooking the lake or right on the water?
We know all of the details now, with exception of exactly where the land is, though we know the area where we will live. The time spent doing this has been what propels us forward on days where we just don’t feel like it. It being the work it takes to build our business, which helps not only us to achieve our dreams, but those of our team members’ as well. In our business, everything I do helps my people. And everything my people do helps their people.
So yesterday we really sat down and wrote out our goals and I am reminded that our dream home isn’t so far away. It’s like that saying, “You’ve got what it takes, but it’s going to take everything you’ve got!”. No kidding. When you’re first starting out towards a huge goal, it’s daunting, terrifying and seemingly impossible. This is probably why so many people throw their hands up and say, “I quit!”. Haven’t you thought to quit?
Steve Jobs once said:
“I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.”
Staying the course. You can choose the vehicle you take but you don’t get to choose how long the route is. It’s the unknown variable – and it’s the unknown that scares the living bejesus out of us. Do you know who wins? Not the rabbit, we all know this story. You have to be determined to stay the course no matter the length and no matter the weather. Why? The time is going to pass anyways, so why not?!
And then sometimes you have to think about it from the angle of that dream home and the land you want to buy in Naramata. The way to get there is to work as hard as you can for as long as it takes to get there. The trick, though, is that you have to be committed to learning the skills required along the way. There needs to be progress or else you’re simply spinning your tires, wearing yourself out. That will happen sometimes, so reassess, pick a new skill you need and go out and read about it. With this age of the internet being what it is, any length of education in any spectrum of subject is widely available! This is your time!
Time is not a fair measurement of success. When you consider time as a part of success (how little of it it took you to reach your goals), all you end up doing is comparing yourself to people who did it better, faster – which is not only insane, but also impossible since you weren’t born by their parents, with their DNA, into their heritage, go to their school and obtain their grades or have their friends and connections or hardships that propelled them into …. you get my point.
You do you.
We have been planning our lives on purpose now for almost two years, thoughtfully. We have fallen flat on our faces multiple times, wanted to rip our hair out, we’ve cried, fought, yelled, laughed, celebrated, sighed with relief and high fived.
And through it all, we’ve come halfway to our larger-than-life goal. When we made this goal we were renting a condo in McKenzie Towne, Calgary, AB, Canada. For years we had talked about moving to Kelowna/Okanagan and made excuses year after year. And then, after spinning our wheels for too long, we started our business – stopped making excuses – and executed a plan that had us moving to the Okanagan within six months of starting our business and only seven months after getting married.
Hey – this is simple but it’s not easy. But here we are after a yoga class outside of an Okanagan Winery enjoying a glass of Pinot Gris and amazed at the life we’re slowly affording ourselves – just for sticking to it! We’re not extraordinary. We just know what we want and we’re not going to settle for anything less.
Carry on with us! Ask us how to join our team and build your goals with support from our incredible community.
What an adorable way to keep your little ones healthy with minimal ingredient and completely toxin free products. You know that is our absolute favourite topic to talk about and so for all of you moms or moms to be out there, we have some really awesome products we want to review for you!
The seedlings line is completely free of all synthetic and toxic ingredients. All of their products are formulated without alcohol, parabens, phthalates, petrochemicals, animal derived ingredients, synthetic preservatives, synthetic fragrances or synthetic dyes.
This gentle, non-greasy moisturizer is completely, 100% plant based and formulated without any synthetic or toxic ingredients. All new or soon to be moms want the best possible products to keep their babies safe from harm, and this Seedlings line does not disappoint.
Wholesale pricing: $19.75 USD
This oil is formulated with all plant based ingredients and specifically made without the use of mineral oils. All dilutions are made with your baby’s delicate skin in mind and the Seedling’s baby oil is also vegan friendly. This oil is meant to help soothe and calm your little one before bed time to help promote a restful sleep. It’s soft, gentle, nourishing, dermatologist tested and hypoallergenic.
Wholesale Pricing: $24.25 USD
You’ll never have to worry about what’s in your baby shampoo and body wash ever again, is tear free and only very lightly scented with pure essential oils, properly diluted and formulated for your baby’s delicate skin. Of course, derived from only 100% plant based ingredients & vegan friendly, the Seedlings Baby Wash is sulphate-free, rinses clean without over-drying and makes those tangles very easy to come through!
Wholesale pricing: $20.75 USD
These baby wipes are so gentle and can absolutely double as a gentle make up remover, ladies. They are truly soft, thick and versatile. The perfect formulation to ensure that your baby’s skin is moisturized with each use while providing and thorough cleansing. Only the most gentle and beneficial botanicals were used in these Seedlings Baby Wipes and of course, they are formulated only with 100% plant derived ingredients, making them vegan friendly and absolutely safe for your baby’s delicate skin.
Wholesale pricing: $11.75 USD
This is a product that moms really want to be sure is safe, gentle and completely non-toxic for their baby’s bottoms. Diaper rash is a common concern and why we are especially happy to be referring a product from this Seedlings line that offers worry free protection from all plant based ingredients and is dermatologist tested and hypoallergenic. This cream helps to relieve and prevent diaper rash and also reduces the severity of the rash when applied at the first sign of redness on your little one’s bum. The Seedlings diaper rash cream acts as a barrier to irritants, which is how it helps to prevent the diaper rash from happening in the first place. Poor babies bottoms!
Wholesale pricing: $27.25 USD
The seedlings line offers something all moms are looking for when it comes to their wee ones. Knowing that all products are completely free of toxic and synthetic free chemicals is enough to feel confident in this line, in addition to the completely plant based and vegan friendly ingredients. There is an amazing amount of confidence we will always have referring moms to these products and even purchasing any of the Seedlings products for gifts to our mom friends!
For years we have been talking about the importance of removing toxic chemicals from your products. Your baby’s skin is even more absorbent and sensitive than ours is, and it’s up to us to choose the best quality products to keep our babies healthy! This includes personal care products that we use on our baby’s skin.
This is truly wonderful news! To order your Seedlings Line, connect with us or the person who invited you to our Wellness Purpose Abundance Online class!
Tonia & Colin