I am a consumer. I am just like you. I struggled for years with skin issues and after countless visits to dermatologists and tons of money thrown into skincare products, I was left with minimal positive results. I realized I was just like millions of other women who had nowhere to turn. There were a lot of salespeople telling me; "This will REALLY work," and selling me a lot of products that, in the end, did nothing to help my severe acne and eczema.
It was then that I realized my results were in the ingredients of the products I was using vs. what was being marketed to me. While working on commercial and music video sets as a professional makeup artist, as well as for a top luxury brand, I enrolled in a post-graduate program at UCLA & received a certificate in Cosmetic Chemistry. From there, I learned the truth about what is truly best for the skin, and more importantly, what works and stays working. From this knowledge came SkinOwl, a skincare company that allowed women to feel as good as they looked.
It was from following this path I found that when I made the choice to care for myself on a small level, it opened the door to more impactful and authentic transformations.....and sacrifices. While most everyone I knew were in stable occupations and spending their hard earned money on vacations and certain "life upgrades," I was buying amber glass bottles and living the frugal life of the "self employed." I wasn't around for many of the birthday parties and couldn't attend my friend's weddings, due to the amount of work on my plate and money needing to be spent on the business. I quickly had to learn how to manage my money, my company's money and the many people who would eventually come to work with me. It was a different life than most everyone I knew, which at times felt lonely and out of touch with everyone else's reality. It was most certainly the less traveled path, the harder road, but worth it.
After five years of being an entrepreneur, despite the setbacks, the overdrawn accounts, and the countless lessons learned the hard way, I can honestly say I wouldn't have it any other way. Where there have been sacrifices, there have been gains - I've learned more about myself from growing a business than I would have if I had stayed an employee in my last job. I've met some of the most inspiring people, many of whom I never would have met if I wasn't in need of help and guidance along the way. I've learned the importance of saying no, creating boundaries and saving a little room for forgiving myself if I don't run my business "perfectly."
This is the greatest gift, one that has made me a more well rounded person and has given me a true appreciation for taking a risk and leaving a mark on your time on Earth.
From owning a business, I've realized that my personal life can often collide with my professional life. These are my "Top Five Tips" for igniting selfcare in a world that can easily feel chaotic:
1) Wake up the same time everyday - This creates consistency. From consistency, I am able to go to bed at a certain time and ensure that I'm ready to rock once my alarm goes off.
3) Say No - I've always thought NO was me being negative. Or me not being a team player. But that's only when "No" becomes about the people I'm saying no vs. how it effects me. Saying "No" has allowed me to take stock in my schedule and my bandwidth and see what is genuinely leftover for the people I love and want to share my life with. Without the power of "No," my world will be crowded, chaotic and exhausting.
4) Meditate - I used to hear this all of the time. "Meditate, Annie, it will change your life." I never listened until this year. And everyone was right. There is something about giving yourself 10-30 minutes of silence, mostly with how much information we receive daily. My brain shuts down. It's healthy to give my brain a real rest outside of sleep. It has changed my life.
5) Bring snacks everywhere - Gone are the days that I go 5 hours without eating. This made me tired, cranky, and not as sharp. Now I bring a little bag of snacks with me everywhere, i.e. nuts, dried fruit, dried snap peas, granola, etc. And I hard boil eggs, which makes it easy to grab something full of protein whenever I'm on the go.
Personally, I am over the top excited that we are on the cusp of turning the page on not only a new year but also on a new 10-year window of opportunities and possibilities!
You may be thinking, whoa…I am just embracing the fall season…yikes… it is tough to think about a new decade!
Yet it is this groundwork, this forward thought that you put in place TODAY that will propel you and lead you into greatness in 2020 and beyond. Designing a new decade rests in your ability to vision, in your willingness to be curious, in your awareness of where you are now and what you most want to curate. Essentially, curating what's next is about tapping into today with confidence, conviction, and decision. Leading YOU starts now. This is your new next. It is your choice.
Sometimes to get to that 'next', you need to take a step back to reflect. Please pardon my asking you to spend time in yesterday. Those who know me personally, know that I created and continue to grow my business based on enabling the present moment as a springboard for living your legacy. So, indulge me here! True, I am asking you to peek into the past, yet it is only in order for you to bring the essence of that past forward into this moment called NOW.
One of the best ways to tap into what's next is to clarify what drives you. To design a new decade, ask yourself this question about the past ten years:
What worked? What were my successes?
Make a list of your achievements big and small. Don't type them, but rather use ink and paper and sit with and savor them. Move your thoughts and your successes from your head, to your heart, to your pen, to the paper. Remember that on the flip side of goals not attained and New Year's resolutions abandoned, there was more than likely some traction and action that moved you forward, even if the end result was not what you expected. Once you have a full list of a decade's worth of personal and professional accomplishments, think about how this makes you feel. Do you remember celebrating all of them? My guess is no. So, celebrate them now. Give them new life by validating them. Circle the successes that resonate with you most right now. Where can you lean into those accomplishments as you power into the decade ahead?
Now comes a tougher question, one that I used myself in my own mid-life reinvention and a question I adore because in a moment's time it provides you with a quick reconnect to your unique inner voice.
If it were 10 years ago and nothing were standing in your way, no fear or excuses to contend with…what would you do?
Don't overthink it. The brilliance of this question is that it refocuses purpose. Whatever first came to mind when you answered this for yourself is at its core a powerful insight into defining and redefining the FUTURE decade. Bring your answer into the light of today and what small piece of it is actionable NOW? Where is this resonating and aligning with a 2019 version of yourself?
Then, based on your success list and your answer to the above question, what is your 2020 vision for your business and for the business of YOU?
Designing a new decade begins as a collection of 3,650 opportunities. 3,650 blank slates of new days ahead in which to pivot and propel yourself forward. Every single one of those days is a window into your legacy. An invitation to be, create, explore, and chip away at this thing we call life. One 24-hour segment at a time.
While you have a decade ahead to work on design improvements, you have the ability to begin manifesting this project of YOU Version 2020 right NOW. Based on exploring the exercises in this post, begin executing your vision. Ask questions. Be present. Let go of 2019 and the past 10 years so that you can embrace the next 10. Position acceptance and self-trust at the forefront of how you lead you. One choice at a time.
Don't get bogged down in the concept of the next 10 years. Instead position clarity and intention into each new day, starting today. Then chase every one of those intentions with an in-the-moment commitment and solution toward living a legendary life!