I Never Imagined I’d Write This Post

This is a blog post I never thought I’d be writing. When I started my business in NYC at the ripe age of 26 with a tiny bit of money in my savings account and a whole lot of passion, I never could have imagined that one day I’d be sitting in a little coffee shop in San Francisco writing you this email.

In the beginning, it was all about making my ideas work. Could this thing be successful? Could I turn the ideas in my brain into a real business? Could I really help people in a way I cared about and support myself?

That was the focus.

I spent tens of thousands of dollars to learn about marketing, branding and how to become a better coach, but nobody ever talked to me about all of the complicated feelings I may feel toward my business as I kept growing.

No one ever told me that it’s normal to have a brilliant idea that you feel whole-heartedly passionate about, but that down the road, you may notice your passions drifting.

No one ever mentioned that while you’re pouring your heart and soul into building your business, you’re simultaneously rapidly growing and evolving as a person, and that you may grapple with how to keep your business in alignment with your personal growth.

No one ever taught me how to let things change and evolve, and how that often means letting things “die” – parts of your identity, ways of living, parts of your business or life.

So today, I am going to talk about these things.

I’m going to share with you my behind-the-scenes journey that I’ve been experiencing in the past couple of years, grappling with these exact thoughts and feelings.

It’s taken me time to realize that what I’ve been experiencing is normal and expected, and I know I’m not alone in what I’ve gone through. I hope that by sharing this, it helps you navigate whatever changes you may be feeling deep in your soul, too.

This is a LONG one, so grab a cup of coffee, and settle in, friends. Here is everything I’ve been wanting to tell you, for quite some time now…

When I started my business, in my little tiny studio, almost 7 years ago, I was elated. I literally felt like I was on Cloud Nine.  I had struggled so much with my relationship with food, my body and myself, and when I realized that so many other women were struggling with the same issues, I knew I needed to quit my full-time finance job and help other women around the world (I had already gotten certified as a Holistic Health Coach on the side while I was working).

I had NO idea what I was doing, but I had a ton of confidence in my ability to figure things out.

And I did.

I built a successful business out of inspired ideas in my head, my own story and experience, my intuition, and my longing to help other women get out of the mess that diet culture has caused so many of us to be in.

Thankfully, I saw success relatively quickly, first with my 21 Day Intuitive Eating Challenge, and then in private coaching, slowly working my way up to longer coaching programs and higher demand.

I remember those days vividly. They were some of the most exhilarating and happiest days of my life. I was doing what I loved: Flying by the seat of my pants, and following my intuition.

And I was SO IN IT.

Because I had so recently experienced everything my clients were going through, I could literally FEEL in my body everything they were feeling as it related to food, body image, their self-esteem, and everything in between.

It was exactly what I was meant to be doing, and everyone could feel my passion and dedication.

If there’s one lesson I’ve learned in business, it’s that people can FEEL if a certain offering feels exciting and in alignment for you. When your business is in alignment with your soul, that’s when you see success on the outside. 

After a few years of coaching women around these same issues, I started to feel like I was ready to talk about new things. Intuitive Eating was, at that point, so second-nature to me, and while I wholeheartedly lived and breathed it, I rarely thought about the same issues that my clients were coming to me with.

This was my first encounter with what I can best describe as “dissonance” – a feeling that would come up for me again and again over the years. It’s a feeling that there is a large gap between what I am teaching about and what I am personally going through and interested in.

Everyone deals with this concept differently. If you consider therapists for instance, they aren’t necessarily experiencing the same issues that their patients are coming to them with, but they don’t need to. For me, on the other hand, it started to feel very challenging to passionately run a business based on certain concepts when I was focused on other things in my personal life.

As someone who always prided herself on being an open book in my blog and business, I started to feel like I was leading two lives and as a result, unintentionally distancing myself from my audience.

I was no longer struggling with food, but I was diving deep into my issues around self-esteem in my romantic relationships, among other areas of my life. As someone who did not grow up with a solid sense of confidence and love for myself, I was spending much of my personal time learning about strengthening the relationship I have with myself. I was at a point in my life where this was coming to a head and I was serious about addressing it.

But I didn’t know what to do. I had built this thriving business around intuitive eating and body image, and there was clearly a HUGE market of women who still needed this help, yet my heart was focused on new areas of growth. I still believed in every single thing I had been teaching, but I was interested in learning and teaching about new things.

Through many conversations with Jennifer Racioppi, my business coach at the time, I decided to pivot my business to “Self-Care”, and the Master Your Life brand. I launched my signature group program called Master Your Life, diving deep into all forms of Self-Care for women—mental, emotional, physical, and soulful.

It felt right, and it was an outlet for me to teach about all of the lessons that were on my heart at the current time.

The first time I launched MYL it was a HIT. I had over 50 women sign up for a $1200 program. It blew any prediction out of the water, and it’s because, once again, my heart was 100% into it.

The material I was teaching was once again in alignment with who I was. I had allowed my business to catch up to where I was personally, and people could feel it.

Running MYL the first time in 2015 was awesome. I cared deeply about what I was teaching, and the new format felt fresh and challenging. It allowed me to grow personally and as a CEO, and I knew that what I was putting out there was impactful.

In 2016 and 2017, I ran MYL again each Fall. I kept upgrading the material to infuse new learnings as an attempt to keep it interesting for me and for everyone else, but I couldn’t help but sense that something didn’t feel quite as right as it did the first time around.

I tried to shove these feelings down.

Jamie, stop being so short-sighted and impulsive. Suck it up. People run their programs year after year after year. You can too.

 Why do you always have to feel 100% “passionate” about what you’re doing? If you keep going at that pace, you’re never going to settle into a rhythm in your business.

I could go on and on about my inner critic thoughts. I felt immature and impulsive, and was frustrated with the part of me that needed to feel 100% excited and aligned with whatever I was producing. I kept looking at other entrepreneurs around me who operated differently, and would shame myself around my own instincts.

But, again, if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that if I am not fully lit up by something I put out there, it doesn’t work as well. Although I still loved MYL and every single lesson in it, MYL was harder to sell the 2nd and 3rd times around, and I have a feeling it’s because of how I felt about it.

At the same time, my intuition was telling me that I needed a break from private coaching. However, my inner critic inundated me with reasons why that was a horrible idea. So I kept at it.

Throughout this time, I kept asking myself questions about what I DID want to be doing. I was constantly searching for that spark inside of me – that same spark that I had when I first started my business and first launched MYL.

It was through this questioning that I started to venture into running retreats, which had always been a far out dream of mine. I pushed myself to go for it, running three 4-day retreats in the course of a year—two in California for Entrepreneurs and my MYL Self-Care Retreat in NYC. They were a BLAST and lit me up in a way that I’d been seeking, yet I effectively broke even on all three and wasn’t sure how they could fit into my overall financial goals.

I’ll never forget one day sitting in my little studio apartment with Jenn, my business coach, and going over potential business models for me to grow into over the next year or two. We drafted a dozen different business models that I could run with, yet none of them felt exciting. I just felt “blah” about all options, and when she left, I felt so defeated and stuck, like I had nowhere to turn.

My instinct is to always think something is wrong with ME. I’m not disciplined enough. I’m too erratic. I’m too this or that. I would later realize that there is nothing wrong with me, but that I had to be patient and look deeper to figure out what it is I wanted to be doing.

And then, as I was marinating on all of these challenging feelings, my whole personal life suddenly changed.

Ryan and I started dating and I knew very quickly that he was my “one.”

Since we had been close friends before dating, our love grew quickly and intensely. We both knew that this was not another fling, but that our lives were about to completely change.

And change they did. Little did I know that a few months later, we’d be making a decision to move to San Francisco, that I would be leaving everything I knew in NYC and would be charged with the task of creating a new life for myself across the country.

I don’t know the words to describe how all of this felt, because I am still in the thick of it, but I’ll try. In most other cases in my life, the changes I’ve gone through have felt more gradual, or have occurred in one part of my life. I moved several times as a kid, I quit my job to start my business, lots of relationships have started and ended, etc. It has never felt comfortable or easy, but I’ve always been able to make sense of it and find my footing over time.

In the past year and a half, it’s felt different. I fell in love with my future husband, which, in and of itself, is a massive change; I moved out of my comfort zone and plopped myself down in a city where I hardly knew anyone; I am for the first time in my life far away from family and friends; and I am thinking about a future life (family, career, marriage, friends, all of it) in a place that still feels foreign to me.

With all of this rapid change, my mind and heart have been focused on a million new things.

I’ve been focused on creating the most loving, intentional and healthy relationship with Ryan. There are lessons in this daily.

I’ve been focused on navigating a change in community—how do I maintain important long-distance connections and also work toward a sense of community in a new place? I can’t even describe how much I miss feeling that strong sense of connection I had in New York.

I’ve been focusing on thinking about my future—as a wife, a mom, and a business owner—in this new city and new phase. What do I want my life to look like?

I’ve been in school for an advanced nutrition degree because it’s something I’ve become increasingly interested in and I’m loving it.

I feel so different than the 26-year-old, passion-filled, very single, very excited New Yorker in her little studio apartment who started this whole business.

But I just didn’t know what to do about that.

All of this inquiry led to me making a big investment in myself. In February, I got on a plane and traveled to Boston to meet with a mentor of mine, Sarah Jenks, for a private one-on-one retreat at her home.

Sarah is someone I’ve looked up to for almost a decade; I remember sitting in my office at my finance job reading her blog and identifying with every word. More recently, I’ve watched her go through so many things that I’ve been going through, and knew she was someone who could help me.

The big questions we were examining were: Who am I at this point in my life? What is my essence? What is in alignment for me as a whole woman right now?

We went deep. We talked to trees, created and sat at an altar, talked for hours and hours and hours, dug into my finances and business, did meditations and visualizations… everything it took for me to go deeper.

What I realized during those few days was that my current business was really out of alignment with who I am today.

Yet, I was holding on. I have been so afraid of letting things go and allowing myself to grow into a new version of my life and career.

We hold on for so many reasons: We don’t want to disappoint people as we change; we don’t like the unknown and not being clear about our path forward; we feel guilty for letting go of things that once worked for us; we feel fear about the new and different, etc.

I feel all of this, but what I do know is that the current business I have needs to take a rest, so I can create mental and physical space for whatever is next.

I am letting go of my old “identity” and finding what feels right today.

Maybe I am not meant to continue running a big online business. Maybe I’m not meant to show up on social media every day. Maybe I am meant to run retreats all over the world. Maybe I am meant to go work at a company.

Who. Knows!?

All I know is that I’m on a quest to find alignment again, and I’m trying to be courageously open to whatever that may look like.

So here’s what’s going to be happening with my current business:

  1. As of the beginning of April, I put an end to my private coaching practice. I had my last clients the first week of April, and told everyone months in advance that my coaching will end as of that particular date. I’ve known for a while that I needed to step away, and I am so proud of myself for holding to it. I will still be offering one-off single session coaching calls, but will not be taking on any long-term coaching commitments.
  2. Master Your Life is retired, for now. I may revive it in a new form in future years, but all MYL Alum have been notified that it’s being retired.
  3. The 21 Day Intuitive Eating Challenge is being retired. Everyone in the program has been notified as well. I am encouraging women who are struggling with food to seek out other resources and can provide recommendations for people who need them (just email me).
  4. I am going to be simplifying my website and my back-end, moving my email system over to a much simpler, more intuitive platform that I love. You’ll notice a streamlined website evolving over the next few months.

Here is what WILL be going on:

I’m going to continue to write and blog, and am going to work on finding my voice again.

I’m going to use my blog as a way to explore myself and what I like to talk about. As of now, I’m planning on giving myself time and space to experiment, in hopes of launching new aspects of my business next year.

I’m open.

I’m excited to explore and find my voice again.

I’m searching for what passion looks like to me at age 32.

I’m also scared of the unknown, and working through that every day.

You can expect stumbling from me, but you can also expect honesty. You can expect me playing around with different topics and ideas, and figuring out what inspires me. You’ll see me navigating how and when I want to show up and share, and rediscovering what feels good.

More than anything, I want to show you the reality of not having it all figured out, and the journey it takes to fight for soulful alignment in your life and work. For a while now I’ve been going through all of this feeling like it wasn’t something I could share; it’s hard to show up and talk about the moments when we don’t have it all figured out, but I’ve come to realize how important it is to expose this side of life.

To end, there are a few lessons I want to pass along to you:

First and foremost, I want you to know that I believe in and stand by every single lesson and teaching I have ever put out there. In fact, all of my work up until this point feels more true now than ever. I’ve taught you guys for years about listening to your intuition and that part of “mastering your life” is doing what lights up your soul and letting go of what doesn’t. For me, this is the most real and true embodiment of all that I’ve taught you.

I want you to know that it’s okay to CHANGE. To not be the person you were yesterday or two months ago or three years ago. In fact, if you’re someone who likes to read my writing, you’re likely someone who evolves very quickly. Let yourself change. Realign. Find who you are today. Become someone new.

I also want you to know that it’s okay to be confused about your next steps. It’s taken me WAY longer than I wanted to find a fragment of clarity. The journey to clarity takes a lot of stumbling around, and happens as it’s meant to happen.

And lastly, I want to remind you to honor your intuition and your soul, and respect your way of doing things. Don’t try to fit yourself into a box just because it’s what everyone else is doing. Fight to create your own box—one that makes your own soul dance.

Thank you for being by my side, some of you for so many years. I hope that by sharing my journey these past few years, that you feel more permission to change and let go in your life. I’m excited to see what’s next and can’t wait to share more from my heart.

Lots of love,

Jamie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share with your friends
FacebookTwitterGoogle+Pinterest