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My Ugly, Brown Spice Girls T-Shirt

I’m 11 years old, in sixth grade.

I’m starting to get my height, but haven’t hit puberty or the need for a bra quite yet.

That’ll all come next year.

But I’m at school, in line for the water fountain, and I’m SO PROUD to be wearing my new Spice Girls t-shirt to school that day.

It’s surprisingly simple… a muted brown color with a subtle “SPICE” written in small block letters at the top, with stars inside them.

And that’s when it happened.

A girl in my class asked me, with a smirk on her face, “Why are your wearing a Spice Girls t-shirt?”

Because last year Spice Girls were cool, but this year they weren’t.

We were one year away from being in middle school for goodness sake, and all the cool kids had parents who let them get away with Blink 182 t-shirts.

But I didn’t like Blink 182.

They were too “bad” and “dirty” for me.

They had a porn star on the cover of their CD, for goodness sake, and to an innocent 11-year-old girl, the mere thought of “sex” is terrifying.

Her question hurt.

I knew the instant she asked it that she wasn’t asking a matter-of-fact question, but that she was trying to shame me to make herself feel better.

My best friend had the exact same Spice Girls t-shirt, and because she was witness to the event, she didn’t ever wear it to school.

But I was just driving back from the laundromat, and Daya’s “Sit Still, Look Pretty” came on the radio.

And somehow, I imagined a bunch of little 11-year-old girls listening to this song and singing along—the kind of 11-year-old girl I was—and I wept.

Like literally guys, I wept along to a candy-coated pop song.

In case you’re unfamiliar, this is how it goes:

Could dress up to get love. But guess what? I’m never gonna be that girl who’s living in a Barbie world.

Could wake up in make up and play dumb pretending that I need a boy who’s gonna treat me like a toy.

And then…

Oh I don’t know what you’ve been told, but this girl right here’s gonna rule the world. Yeah, that’s where I’m gonna be because I wanna be. No, I don’t wanna sit still, look pretty.

And I think I cried because I still see a world where girls are being bred and conditioned that their looks are more important than who they are as a person. Even though I was one of the lucky ones with AMAZING role models and parents encouraging me to think and do for myself and no one else.

This song spoke so strongly to that 11-year old girl who ADORED The Spice Girls.

She didn’t adore them because they were beautiful and all the men in the world wanted to marry them.

No, she loved them for their power.

For their zero-shame in creating a movement all around “Girl Power” and self confidence.

She loved them because they were so visibly diverse… in their looks and their personalities. And she loved them because they were all best friends that actually embraced their diversity to make something awesome… music that young girls couldn’t stop singing along to.

Sure, she adored their fashion and wore ridiculous platform tennis shoes because of their influence. (But looking back, let’s just say that imitation is the best form of flatter… Because HOW are those shoes comfortable?!?)

But regardless of the uncomfortable shoes, she wanted to grow up to be just like The Spice Girls.

Probably not a singer, but definitely powerful. And definitely unafraid to be exactly who she was.

And while I’m pretty damn confident in myself these days, there’s still that lingering part of me that gets absolutely crushed every single time someone ever-so-smugly reminds me that I’m not “doing” what I should be doing for my “category.”

That nice white girls who wear Levi’s and scarves shouldn’t have a mouth like that.

That girls who are physically healthy and in their late 20s should be using their “blessed” body by now to bring new life into the world.

That I’m not old enough to make the kind of money I do… I have to “pay my dues” and struggle first.

That I grew up in a Christian home, so I should be in church listening to a preacher diss my gay friends every single Sunday and just accept it as “God’s will.”

But you know what all these things are?

Opinions.

Opinions of people afraid to think differently.

Opinions of people who are afraid that if they stray too far outside the status quo, society will reject them and they won’t be “safe” anymore.

Opinions of people who probably secretly wish they had your balls and audacity to unapologetically be who they are, but don’t have the courage or nerve to admit it to even themselves.

And depending on how much these people with these “opinions” love you, they may or may not feel like they’re voicing those opinions to protect you.

But it doesn’t really matter, does it?

Because even when it is done out of love, it still stings like hell.

And I don’t have a remedy for you to keep it from stinging.

Believe me, I wish I did.

But the best revenge is living well. So keep at it Sugar, because I believe in you… no matter how you’re different from me or the status quo.

And I know you can do this.

But when someone does say some comment like this to you… take a moment to talk yourself through it, will you?

Because I find that when I just let it go, it stews in the back of my mind and explodes on me in the most random moments.

Heck, that t-shirt memory’s been inside ready to bust out for 18 years now. You think it hasn’t done some damage to my self esteem over the years?

So do that, and together let’s keep creating a world where it’s okay for everyone to be exactly who they are.

Where 11-year-old girls don’t have to wear Blink 182 t-shirts to be cool if they don’t want to.

And where it’s okay to like The Spice Girls.

And where it’s okay to be a girl or a woman in power.

We’ve got a lot of work to do, but I know we can do it.

Generations of successful women (and non-conforming men) are depending on us.

On that note… anyone know where I can get a Spice Girls t-shirt?

I’ve Yet to Accept Payment in Shits & Giggles, and I Never Will.

Subtitle: What Happened When I Discovered My “Why”

Find your why.

If ever there was a piece of feel-good advice I rolled my eyes at, it’s that one.

Actually, there’s a lot of feel-good advice I roll my eyes at, but that one was a doozy.

Because, like, come on people.

Yeah, it’s all good and fine and dandy to have a higher calling attached to what you do in exchange for money… but at the end of the day, I think we can all admit we’re after money.

No, money doesn’t solve all our problems. And no, it’s not the end-all-be-all of life.

But more of it sure as hell does make our lives easier, doesn’t it?

So the thing I couldn’t stand with the “find your why” advice shit was the complete disregard for the money.

That and the “love your job and you’ll never work a day in your life” BS.

Newsflash: I do love my job.

I love it so much I could never imagine myself doing anything else for a living.

But not every day is a dream come true.

And as much as I love doing it, I do it for the money. I’ve yet to ever accept payment in shits and giggles, and I don’t think I ever will.

Buuuutttttt

I couldn’t ever put that piece of advice away.

Usually, when someone says something that annoys me, I brush it off with some sassy comment and forget about it.

But when these hokey I-love-what-I-do-and-you-should-too life coach gurus kept talking about my “why” it’d stick to me no matter how hard I tried to brush it off.

Because…. were they REALLY that happy in their work that it felt so effortless that it just rolled off the end of their fingertips, through their computer, and out into the world????

And if they were that happy in their work…. WHY COULDN’T I BE TOO?!?!

So on Black Friday, I bought some business courses.

Really, I just thought they’d help me make more money (they will, and I’m so thrilled), but as a part of the Black Friday deal, I got Bryan Harris’s Rapid List Building Course for free.

It’s the version of the course that focuses on starting from scratch to your first 500 subscribers.

And while I’m not starting from scratch, I do want to grow my list… and I want to grow it terribly.

But before he started dishing out instructions on how to get your list to grow from 0 to 500, he had me sit down and write out WHY I wanted 10,000 subscribers and what I’d use that leverage for when I had it.

My first thought, of course, was “to make more money” via selling my services and my upcoming course.

But I felt like that was a little shallow, so I dug a little deeper.

And when I realized my deeper drive for money, money, money, I cried a little bit.

Now, every day at 7 am, I get a text message that says this:

“I want 10,000 subscribers to help myself and others retire early & live better, more meaningful lives.”

Because in all honesty, the reason I want to make butt loads of money right now is so I can funnel all of it towards buying a house so I no longer have to pay rent or a mortgage.

And the reason I don’t want to have to worry about paying those is because right now rent is my biggest expense, and not having to worry about making money to meet that bill every single month would seriously free me up to focus on things that I’m more passionate about.

Because honestly, it’s when you don’t need the money when your work counts the most.

And the earth right now needs that work.

We need it for the sake of the environment.

We need it for the sake of peace in humanity.

We need it for the sake of acceptance and tolerance.

And heaven knows we need it for the sake of politics.

We need more people who aren’t constantly worried about meeting their rent or mortgage payments so that our world and humanity can continue to advance.

And we need people who don’t have to wait until they’re 60 to do it.

Because while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being 60 and stepping into your passion, we could all benefit even more if you could step into it at 50 instead. Or 40. Or, dare I say, 30 or younger?

So when I preach about charging more and making more money, it’s not for the sake of greed and buying fancy, pretty things.

(Though, if fancy things are what makes you come alive, then by all means…)

It’s about making the world a better place.

About using my power and your power to see good things happen to our human brothers and sisters, and to proactively protect our mother earth and our animal friends that are dying off in droves.

Because seeing this beautiful earth and the species it created decay and die off absolutely breaks my heart.

And as much as I want to do something about it, right now my hands are tied to making sure I make enough money to make my own ends meet before I can really pursue that passion.

And I don’t know how I’ll do it on a deeper level once I own a house and don’t have to worry so much about bills.

Maybe I’ll just continue working but funnel the amount of my rent payment towards my favorite non-profits.

But even if that’s “all” I do, wouldn’t the world be SO MUCH better off because of it?

So, my dear friend, I’d like you to take a moment to think about what your “why” is for your business overall and what your theme can be for 2017.

Because now that I’ve figured out my “why,” even though I’m doing the exact same work as before, I feel so much more energized every time I sit down at my desk.

I actually enjoy working longer hours and become inspired more often.

So beyond making money, why do you care about growing your business?

What will that money or that platform mean to you?

I’d love to know, so tell me in the comments or shoot me an email. 

All my peace and energy to you this fine new year,

XOXOXOXOXOXO

-Chelsea

On Cursing My 2017 New Year’s Resolutions Before I Even Set Them

Three things happened yesterday.

First, I pulled a card out of a deck at random.

A virtual deck, but still. Same idea.

And this is what the card said: “It’s safe for me to take big income leaps.”

And though I know this statement is true in my head and my heart, I couldn’t stop this overwhelming attitude of “Pffft, yeah right” from taking over me.

But for some reason, I don’t quite know what, I caught myself.

It’s the sort of situation where we usually let ourselves go, finding that kind of response permissible because of ALL the evidence of past ideals and big dreams that didn’t quite go our way.

It’s logical, right?

Sensible, even, isn’t it? To write someone off when they tell us that we can be rich, powerful, and happy beyond our wildest dreams.

Second, my boyfriend found a fortune cookie at work and told me he was opening it on my behalf.

When he opened it, this is what it said: “You create your own stage and your audience is waiting.”

Um, hello. Spot-on, much?

It felt insanely empowering, and we both knew it was true in regards to the business I’ve built and am continuing to build.

Third, I read an email from Laura Jane Williams’s Ask the Question.

And in it, she got so real it was uncomfortable.

She spoke about how she’d been so burnt out and depressed in the last year, and how all she wanted to do moving forward was to protect herself to make sure that didn’t happen again.

Can you blame her?

But she also talked about how three different people in her life called her out for not living up to her potential… even though she’d published a fucking book this year, for goodness sakes.

And as I read it, I got a sinking feeling.

I’ve done a lot this year and have had a ton of what I’d consider major successes.

But I just know deep in my bones that I’m destined for more.

And I know that that attitude of “Yeah right, fuck off” towards the card about making big income leaps is a fear that’s there just trying to protect my fragile emotions. But at the same time, I can’t help think of Elizabeth Gilbert‘s attitude towards fear, which is basically, DO NOT let that motherfucker in the driver’s seat of your life.

So here’s how these 3 things came together to make me realize I was cursing my 2017 goals before I set them:

1. I didn’t take a promise of greatness seriously

2. I was told I was destined for greatness anyway

3. I got a strong kick in the ass to stop being such a lazy bitch about making things happen

And to be honest, when I came to this realization, I felt a little sick.

I mean, am I not the one who’s always preaching that anything is possible, telling everyone how powerful we all are, and what bad asses we can be if we just buck up, make a to-do list, and do the work?

I didn’t know exactly how to break myself out of that pattern in that moment, but I did do this:

Instead of going to the 1 hour vinyasa flow class I planned on attending that night, I went to the 1.5 hour warm vinyasa flow class that was longer and I knew involved so much sweat it’d drip down off my fingertips.

I didn’t want to, because yesterday was a gloomy day and I felt tired.

But there was no real reason why I couldn’t do the harder class. And honestly, the only reason I was considering the easier class was because I was rationalizing illegitimate excuses for my own laziness under the guise of “protecting” my own energy supply.

But actually, as I found out in that yoga class… and as I feel like I’ll find out in 2017… it’s not about protecting your limited energy.

Instead, it’s about unleashing it in a strong way to create domino effect in your own favor.

Because when I finished that harder yoga class, I felt so much better than I would have if I’d opted to sweat less.

(Side note: I think this fear/protection mindset was what led to that burnout I had last month.)

Right now, I feel like the idiot treading water in the middle of the diving pool.

It takes less energy than swimming, and she can maintain it easily, so that’s what she’s doing.

But if she’d just reach her arms out and push some of that deep water behind her, she’d get to the edge of the pool rather quickly. Then she could take a shower, put on some dry clothes, and go home to some true rest.

And you know what? I really want to stop being that idiot.

Because she is just so senseless.

Let’s swim our asses off in 2017. Will you join me?

15 Nerdgasm-Worthy Power Quotes from Internet Summit 2015

I spent Wednesday & Thursday of last week at the Internet Summit in Raleigh, and I’ve got to say, there were some wonderful keynotes (Rand Fishkin, Russell Simmons and Chris Brogan, anyone??) and speakers spitting out some pure copy + marketing + business genius during their talks.

Here’s the best of the best of what I heard. The stuff that made me snatch up my pen and scribble down their words as fast as I possibly could. Some are direct quotes, but others are paraphrased ideas because really, who has a hand that can write 145 words per minute?

 

“A great content strategy looks like empowered, loyal people… They want to tell everybody that they’re a badass, and that they’re a badass because of you.”

-Cliff Seal, Salesforce

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“Personas are kind of bullshit.”

(Try emotion-invoking phrase discovery instead.)

-Andrew Dumont, Bitly Read more