“I don’t have time to write.”

Do you watch TV?

Do you surf social media mindlessly?

Do you spend more than ten minutes a day in worry or stress fuelled inaction?

Do you drink? 

Do you say yes to doing things you don’t really want to do in order please other people?

If you answered yes to any of the above items then you have time to write, you are simply choosing to use it to do other things. 

I love you, and I believe in you and your message. That is why I am being a hard ass with you this week. We all occasionally need a loving kick in the ass to get ours in gear and take our lives to the next level. 

If you are reading this, it’s because you know that it’s possible for life to be different than it is right now. You are looking for ways to do what you WANT to do instead of what you HAVE to do. You are right Life can be amazing. Your every moment can be vibrant and fully alive. Happiness and peace arrive NOW. I am going to break your brain a bit when I say they are available to you RIGHT NOW in the very moment that you are reading this. 

I can hear what you’re thinking, “yeah right, nice sunshine and rainbows fantasy Steph, I happen to live in the real world.” That’s the thing. Fully alive and vibrant doesn’t always mean sunshine and rainbows. It doesn’t always mean happy. It doesn’t mean perfect. It does mean intentional. It does mean fully present. It does mean fully engaged. All in for all of it. 

Full. Alive. Present. 

Choosing what you do. Designing your life. Writing because you want to instead of vegging in front of Netflix because you always do. Journalling it out with pen and paper instead of numbing it out with wine in a glass. 

You can keep telling yourself you don’t have time to write, or you can get started. You can keep delaying or you can start creating. It’s a choice, and it’s a choice that you are making. 

You might be making it because it’s the choice you have always made, and that’s ok. That choice brought you here. Now you can choose something new, or you can choose more of the same. The point is IT’S UP TO YOU. 

If you are ready to get writing, come join the Write Now Facebook Community where I share tips, stories and encouragement to help you get down to the work of writing. 

Much love Writers, 

Xo, 

Steph

Social Media Makes Every One Of Us A Broadcaster

Gone are the days when you had to search for someone to give you access to a platform. 

All you need are a smart phone and a social media account. Pick your platform – Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, LinkedIN, Twitter, you name it. Pick more than one, heck, pick them all. Here is your platform. 

What is your message? 

Is there something burning inside of you that you are dying to get out? Here is your soapbox. Use it wisely. Use it frequently. 

The reason you are not broadcasting is now not because you lack the means, and certainly not because you lack the message. It’s now more because you lack the – ahem – “motivation”. 

Let’s just take apart why “motivation” is bullshit, shall we? 

To begin with, look at the definition; 

“The reason, or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way. “

“The general desire or willingness of someone to do something”

Motivation is a feeling or a thought. 

If your pattern to this point has been of inaction then you are most assuredly not going to “feel like” suddenly doing that thing that you have spent so long NOT doing. Chances are you also have a zillion thoughts about why you are not doing said thing. The endeavour of dissecting those thoughts and refuting them one at a time would take a great deal of time, and I am pretty sure you don’t “feel like” doing that either. 

The fact of the matter is that you are not going to “feel like” doing it until after you have started developing the habit of doing it and reaping the rewards. 

So, motivation comes after action. If you are waiting for motivation to take action, you will be waiting forever. 

Mel Robbins, one of my fave speakers, is the mastermind behind the 5 Second Rule. The fundamentals of this rule are that YOU ARE NEVER GOING TO FEEL LIKE IT. The trick is to do it anyway. 

Check out her TED talk.

I have used this principle to get my blog going, to write regularly, to start a podcast, to reach out to new people, to get active in my community, to overcome the fear of going somewhere new by myself, to make important phone calls I didn’t want to make….. the list goes on. 

You can be an influencer. You can be a gamechanger. You have everything at your disposal to become one. The one thing you lack is the moxie to suck it up and take action on your desires. 

 To get you off your ass and into action, I challenge you to come join the Write Now Facebook Community and participate in the 7 Day Write Now Challenge that starts July 2, 2018. Get visible, get accountable and start making the ripples you are called to make. 

CLICK HERE AND REQUEST TO JOIN.

The time has never been more NOW. 

Published is Better Than Perfect

Perfection paralysis is a thing. 

So many people that I talk to are waiting until they have enough time, energy, or inspiration before they start their passion project. I have heard this about books people want to write, hobbies people want to cultivate, fitness routines, meditation practice, eating better….. you name it. The list goes on. 

The real truth is IT”S A DELAY TACTIC. 

You mightn’t be conscious that you are delaying taking action but the effect is the same. 

Waiting for “perfection” of any sort before you act fundamentally delays your experience of whatever it is you are not taking action on. 

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Let’s say that you want to take up hobby painting. You have the easels, the canvasses, the paints, the paint brushes all gathered and day after day you gaze longingly at them but don’t pick them up. Your story is that your kids are too small, you don’t have time between dishes and work and kids. You promise yourself everyday that you will pick them up when you have time, but that time never seems to arrive. 

Instead of using your energy to create or allocate the time, to find a way to make it happen, you are using your energy to long after your dream. This delays the painting. You are longing instead. 

You WANT to paint, you have all the materials you NEED to paint, but you are not taking the action to do the actual painting. You are waiting for the perfect time. 

The perfect time will never arrive on it’s own, by default. 

It must be created by design. 

This is how it works. This is the only way it works. 

Instead of waiting, take ten minutes today and set up a canvas. Arrange your paints. Prepare your brushes. Then take ten minutes tomorrow and make a quick sketch of what you want to paint.  Then take ten minutes the next day and get started. 

Do you have ten minutes? Everyone has ten minutes. If you are taking ten minutes to read this blog then you have ten minutes. You could be painting. 

Perfection, magically having hours appear one day when you can immerse yourself in your craft may never organically arise. I can almost guarantee that it won’t. Consistent daily action creates the conditions for creativity to arise. 

If you take ten minutes a day, for five days this week, you have found an hour this week to nurture your passion project. That’s an hour more than you found last week. 

I have read that some of the greatest novels were written this way. 

I know that’s how this blog started. 

Ten minutes. 

What are you waiting for? 

Go. 

Write for Impact

In order to really make a difference with your writing, you have to use the right kinds of words.

I know you want to make a difference.

Here are three tips to make that happen.

1.) Avoid Safewords

Safewords are, well, “safe”. They protect you from pissing people off with your writing.

Let me tell you a secret – you WANT to piss people off with your writing. Your goal is impact, and pissing someone off is powerful.

To achieve this, avoid safe words. Commit to your message. Stay away from words like these;

– maybe

– sometimes

– sort of

– kind of

– perhaps

– somehow

– could

– should

These words soften your message and make you seem wimpy and unsure.

2.) Use Strong Words

Strong words are commitment to your message. After all, if you believe in your message, others will too.

There are lots of Strong Words. I will list some to give you an idea of what you’re aiming for, and I know you’ll be able to figure out the rest yourself.

– definitely

– certainly

– can

– want

– action

– commitment

– am

– will

– desire

You get the picture. Active language. When you sound sure, you build the “know – like – trust” of your audience, and build the strength of your platform.

I know you want that!

3.) Tell Stories!

Humans are wired for story. There is no way around this. Storytelling draws in your reader, gives them a window into your life, and makes them feel like they know you. This intimacy builds trust, and trust is incredibly important when you are working to position yourself as an expert.

Think about the people you see on social. Do you trust the ones who post lots of showy, sales-y stuff? Or do you prefer the ones who share their lives and their stories?

Ya, me too.

Go forth with these tips and Write Now my friends, and share with us when you’re done.

We can’t wait to see what you create.

Faith, Trust, & Pixie Dust 

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I bought a house this week. If you follow me on instagram, you already know this because, well, I couldn’t shut up about it. The papers are signed and the craziness has settled down, which is allowing me a chance to reflect on the whirlwind that was the last ten days 

The opportunity to buy this house came disguised as our landlords giving us notice that they would be selling and we had until July 20 to make alternate housing arrangements. This was shocking to be sure, as it was quite sudden. 

Past Steph would have freaked out, spent two days crying and then muddled her way through the process of packing and moving fuelled by self righteous rage that this was happening to her AGAIN. It would have been a real victim shit show, and it would have caused tons of damage.

This was not what happened, as you know because you have read the previous two posts on the topic. I hung up the phone, took a deep breath, and asked myself (and the universe)”How is this an amazing opportunity for us?”. 

I didn’t immediately have an answer to that questions, and I was ok with that. In the last few years I have learned that it’s not up to me to have all the answers. It IS up to me to ask the best questions I can, and then be patient and wait for the answer to present itself. 

The last ten days have been a whirlwind that we navigated by taking one step forward at a time, and waiting for the next step to appear. There was no clear path through. It was a one step at a time situation. 

Through the whole process I found the words “Faith and trust” going through my head on loop. 

Because I am a mom, and I have a daughter, those words were followed by “…and Pixie Dust”. I would chuckle when it would chime in and let it pass, but the more times it would show up, the more I realized that it was reminding me of the magic that was taking place right in front of me. 

One step forward, with caution and curiosity, not doubt and fear. Another step forward, and another. Each step appearing after the previous step had been taken successfully, one at a time until we were through. 

What if I had gone in to doubt? What if I had let my fear get the  better of me? What if I had taken a completely different first step because I started with anger instead of curiosity? 

What if? 

Faith that things will work out perfectly, and trust that my high quality question was attracting the best possible answers created magic. That magic drew my family and I, as well as our landlords through this whirlwind to the best possible outcome for all of us. 

Some will say that grown up’s ought not believe in magic. 

To them I say, expect miracles. 

I believe in magic.

How to Survive Buying a House.

Buying a house involves a lot of running around, paperwork, meetings, texts, calls, questions,legalities and other bullshit. Doing it for the first time is something like going on a trip with a destination but no map, where you have to rely upon people you meet along the way to direct you towards where you want to go.

It’s stressful, but stress isn’t necessarily bad. It’s how we grow, as I have said.

However, doing all these things with your spouse can be recipe for arguments, conflict and other unnecessary drama. These are avoidable.

Here’s some little tips I have gathered along the way so far how to not go completely bonkers.

1.) Breathe

2.) Laugh when things get ridiculous

3.) Ask questions

4.) Take time off work

5.) Nausea = growth

6.) Stay hydrated

7.) Don’t panic

8.) Laugh when you realize you’re panicking

9.) Stress can feel like anger. Do cardio instead of yelling at your kids. Everyone will thank you.

10.) Text your girlfriends, like, A LOT.

11.) Remember to eat.

12.) Turn your phone on vibrate so you don’t throw it against the wall.

13.) Celebrate each little step.

14.) See the opportunities, rather than looking for the problems. There are tons of opportunities.

15.) Ask for help

16.) Write stuff down – the biggest lie you tell yourself is “I don’t have to write that down, I’ll remember.” You won’t. WRITE IT DOWN.

17.) Scotiabank is right – you’re richer than you think.

18.) Tea. Lots of tea.

19.) Sleep

20.) Laugh some more.

What My Landlord Taught Me About Letting Go.

Hello, my name is Stephanie and I am a recovering control freak. 

My head brain likes to know all the variables so it can predict the outcome of any and every situation. When it encounters a surprise situation, like say, our landlords wanting to sell our home, it kicks into overdrive. It starts with all the worst case scenarios, like how we are going to end up living in a card board box on the street because rent in our city is currently insanely high. It follows this up with every possible negative thought about how I have been irresponsible and could have been more prepared for this.  This continues until, at some point, it starts working on solutions. 

This last step could take days or weeks to arrive at. 

And we only have five days. 

My wonderful brain is doing it’s best to do its job as it sees it, trying to keep me alive and safe.  Trouble is, safe is boring. Safe is stagnant. Safe isn’t growth.  

Growth is inherently dangerous, because it is partly destructive. A seed can’t become a tree without destroying all of its former self, right? It kicks off its casing, and digests it’s own insides to manifest its potential.  Caterpillars are the same.  They literally liquify in order to become butterflies. 

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Well, someone is selling my cocoon. 

In all fairness, we had intentions of making the move to buy our place within the next year. Somehow, the universe has offered us the opportunity NOW, and the opportunity is time sensitive. As in, you have five days to get your shit together. 

Yikes. 

Remember all those survival behaviours I was talking about earlier? Ya, we have no time for those now. What I need in order to create the best possible outcome for all concerned is a clear head, a calm body and a definiteness of purpose. 

I also need to surrender. Let go. Trust the process. 

This is scary AF, and also amazingly empowering. 

See, surrender is a practice. It’s a muscle, and like any other muscle it can be trained and strengthened. This goes for all habits, by the way. They are just muscles, and they get stronger the more often you use them. 

I intentionally practice using these muscles everyday in my morning routine. I meditate, which is a practice in letting go, over and over again. I have probably meditated for over 10,000 minutes over the years, likely more, and those 10,000 minutes have been spent letting go. Over and over. Noticing where I am holding on, and letting go. I practice it with my kids, letting go of controlling them and opting instead to control myself. Surrendering to what I can’t control and attending instead to what I can. Letting go of the nasty woman at the store, letting go of the annoying neighbour, letting go of my angst over politics, letting go of that client who is being difficult. Just letting go. Over and over again, each time the muscle getting that much stronger. 

And now it’s go time. 

I know I have made improvements because I am not freaking out. I am curious about the feelings I am experiencing and I am harnessing the calm I have cultivated to have through this with self control and optimism. I can’t control the outcome, but I can control who I am through the process. I can control what I believe, and what I think, and how I respond. I can control my alignment with the best outcome. 

And I can trust. 

I will let you know how it goes. xoxo Steph 

Tech Support

We all need support.

In this case, I needed tech support. I tried to figure it out on my own, oh how I tried, but in the end I had to ask for help. My website had been down for a week, and ignoring the problem had not made it go away. Surprise surprise.

I didn’t want to ask for help. I wanted to be clever and figure it out for myself like a big girl. It can’t be that hard, right? Ha. Was I wrong.

So I had to bite it and contact tech support.

I had spent a couple of hours this past week tinkering around in the back end of my blog trying to figure out what took the wonderful tech person on the other end of the chat less than five minutes to fix.

Do you see what I’m getting at here?

In trying to be clever and do it all myself I wasted a weeks worth of blog traffic and gave myself a few more grey hairs when I could have asked for help a week ago and saved myself the trouble.

The moral of this story is ASK FOR HELP. You’ll save yourself so much time.

It’s ok to need help. Ask for it, let others shine, and then you get the chance to be grateful, and possibly witness what looks like a miracle to your not-tech-savvy eyes.

All this to say you can now find my blog at stephanierenaud.ca as I am now a blogging big girl and have removed the ads and the “.wordpress” from my web address 🙂

Movin’ on up.

Xo Steph

How to Get Shit Done (even when you don’t Feel Like It)

Regular blogging is critical to growing, maintaining and engaging your audience. Full stop. If you don’t blog consistently, your audience won’t stay with you. 

One of the biggest mistakes new writers make is to wait until they inspired to write. 

This is a recipe of sporadic publication, stress, pressure and a disengaged audience. 

So, how do you write even when you don’t have anything to write about? 

Easy. 

You schedule it in. 

I know what you’re thinking, “But Steph, I don’t have time! I have kids, dogs, husbands, parents who need to be taken care of, a house to clean, a job to work, a bake sale to prepare for, sports and activities to chauffeur to…. Etc etc etc.” You get the picture. 

I respect that you are busy. You are a biz owner, a parent and generally an adult whose life is full of adulting all day every day. 

Let me ask you this; Do you watch Netflix? Spend 15 minutes or more a day scrolling mindlessly on Facebook, instagram, twitter, snapchat, reddit or etc? 

Then you have time. You are just choosing to use it in a different way. 

You have what a teacher of mine calls an “energy leak”. 

The easiest way to deal with that is to make a plan. 

I use a Passion Planner, but you can use any calendar you like to make a plan and get your shit together. 

What you are looking to do is build a habit, which means scheduling writing time in regularly. I recommend everyday if you can manage it. I don’t know a single person who can’t manage 15 minutes a day at their keyboard. If you would prefer to handwrite it, that’s awesome too. And if you really do have no time to sit down, dictate your ideas into your phone and schedule one day a week to get that shit down into text. 

Put it on the list. Make it non negotiable. Write because it’s time, not because you are inspired. As you do this, your brain will become used to producing ideas at this rate and will begin to cooperate with you more regularly. I am not saying it will cooperate all the time, this is still creative work we are doing here, but it will get EASIER. 

Getting it done requires DOING it. You have to take action. That is where the magic is. It’s scary, and there is a very good chance you will overthink, over analyze and generally resist hitting publish, but there it is. Feel the resistance, get the ideas out, and hit publish. 

That’s how it’s done. 

Any chatter you have going on in your head right now is what we call “resistance”. It’s normal, it’s human, but it’s not a reason to not take action. 

This is one of my fave talks from Mel Robbins because she unpacks why this happens and how we can overcome it using a simple but powerful tool. I use it often, which is why I get so much more shit done now than I ever did before. 

 

Love this? Have you used this technique before? Did it work for you? Need some more support? Come and join the WRITE NOW Facebook writing community for connection, accountability and awesome tips to grow your writing.

CRAZY in a World Gone Mad

CRAZY.

**image credit – Richard Bebbington**

Let’s unpack this word, shall we? 

We are gonna get really cozy with crazy between the pages of this book, you and I, and so starting at the beginning with some definitions is in order. That way you know and I know what I mean when I use the word crazy. 

The word “crazy” was born in the English language in the late 16th century, and has no roots in any other language. It means “full of cracks”. The use of the word has increased slowly over time up to the present day, where it is now at the highest rate of use. 

Let that sink in. We modern people use the word crazy more than at any other time in it’s history. 

Let’s pivot a bit. I will return to this idea later. 

Crazy means cracked. 

What is the implication of that? Cracked means broken, imperfect, wounded, unstable, fragile. In calling someone crazy, we are implying in a very fundamental way that they are less than, and therefore dismissible. 

It is understandable, from this perspective, that one would want to reduce the likelihood of being seen as any of these things. No one wants to be weak, imperfect, UNSTABLE. This would imply more deeply that you are then unreliable, unworthy, even unemployable and therefore a drain on society. 

Yes, I WENT THERE. 

I went there because, let’s be honest, a lot of people either live there, or live in fear of living there. Maybe that’s you. I know it has been me. It’s not a pleasant place to live. It’s isolating and scary. It’s deeply, profoundly lonely. It’s disempowered. It’s no way to fucking live. 

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This isn’t the only way to see it, and trust me sisters, this shift is POWERFUL.

From an esoteric perspective, being cracked is not these unsavoury, undesirable things. The cracks are where the light gets in. We create holes in our homes for light and air, necessary elements of the sustaining of life. Without these holes, or cracks, life could not exist within our homes. Our spirits are the same. 

As we work to create the impenetrable edifice of our outer selves, our soul starts to suffocate and shrivel, unable to breathe, to grow, and to thrive. This is why living our lives to please other people makes us feel so dead inside. 

We need the cracks. The cracks are what helps our soul to breathe. Without the cracks, we would have no lessons, no sense of what we can endure and survive, no sense of our own strength, our own power, our own unbelievable fucking resilience. We would have no tenderness, no compassion, no empathy for others. It is to the extent that we have suffered that we can hold space for another who is suffering. It is to the extent that I know pain that I can be with someone else in pain. 

My own pain is what cracked me open. 

AND

Without pain, there can be no joy. 

We cannot know the breadth of joy without knowing intimately the depths of pain. On a dualistic plain, one needs the other in order to be known. Up needs down, light needs dark, cold needs hot, heavy needs light and joy needs pain. 

In pushing away crazy, shunning it, we are pushing away our own pain, our own imperfection, our own capacity to know joy. 

This book is an invitation to flip this on it’s head. It’s an imitation to embrace your crazy, to see your crazy as part of being human, a symptom of the precarious position humanity finds itself in at this time. It’s an invitation to see your crazy as, dare I say it, AN ASSET. 

Consider this your permission slip to be imperfect, fragile, unstable, BROKEN. 

This is your invitation to embrace your crazy. 

Consider yourself called

** This is an excerpt from my work in progress, shared with you. Any feedback, reactions, comments or commentary is welcome and encouraged. I write for me, yes, but I write for you too. Please let me know what you think. xo. Steph **