Do you lie awake at night with all your ideas screaming through your head and feeling like you never have the time to pursue them? Do you just KNOW that you are capable of, and meant for, something bigger? Sometimes all we need to level up our lives is a traveling companion! I would love to be there for you and help you realize that which is meant for you.

The Level Up Your Life Podcast is a weekly show highlighting people and practices that really take it to the next level. We talk to fellow entrepreneurs that share their stories through success and failure, people with big goals and dreams who don't play small because of their excuses. We also bring insights, tips and other interesting content that can keep you motivated and inspired to keep at it (whatever IT is for you…).

Life and business coach, Terra Missildine, resides in western MA and loves to work with others and help them find their passions and level up, whatever that may be in: business, artistically, in relationships, or even in their personal life. She loves to inspire and motivate people to be the best that they can be. She loves creating these videos with her husband to inspire others. Enjoy!

Parent-Preneurs Unite!

So, Parent-preneurs you say?  Yup, its obvious who I mean right?  Entrepreneurs (or those with dreams of being so…) who are also parents.

Having a baby myself has given me an entirely new appreciation for what it takes to operate, no less grow, an entrepreneurial business in tandem with growing a family.  Either one is a definitive challenge, but put the two together and you have a recipe for late nights, early mornings and triple latte vs exhaustion on a grand scale.

 

There are actually some amazing advantages to being an entrepreneur when you welcome a baby into the world.

Calendar Control:  Usually you have a bit more ‘control’ over your calendar than the average person with a 9-5.  Granted, you DON’T usually get a real maternity leave, at least not a paid one.  But boy did it help that I could dial waaaaaaaaayyyyy back when Aria arrived!  Put a voicemail greeting on my phone that said I wasn’t going to be ‘timely’ about returning calls…etc.  But when we say ‘control’ over our calendars, as entrepreneurs we usually mean that we make sure we work MORE than 9-5…very rarely less.  Quandry.

You are not the Titanic.  As entrepreneurs, and now parent-preneurs, we are much more adaptable and accommodating when our interests, past-times and passions shift and change and we can often incorporate something larger, like a baby or two (lol) into our larger goals and mission.  For instance, in my entrepreneurial coaching, prior to the stork’s visit, I was pretty much solely attracted to working with straight up driven entrepreneurs.  Now that I’m a mom, my sights have shifted greatly to wanting to especially work with parent-preneurs!  Not only do I feel like we can tackle a lot of ‘stuff’ together, but I happen to be super interested and inspired by all the topics and challenges that these fellows face!

Unfortuantely, there are also some potential downsides…

The sun never sets…not anymore. What I mean is that if you were able to fill up your to do list ad infinitum BEFORE…you aint seen nuthin yet.  Adding a baby into your life, even when you have a ton of help and support, carries with it an entirely new set of to-do’s…and these aren’t ‘to-do someday’ type of things, these are ‘do RIGHT NOW, actually you already waited too long’ types of things.  Some people do silly things like ‘nap when the baby naps’.  As a parent-preneur…yeah…probably not.  You’re going to be trying to make those way overdue return phone calls and emails, and maybe even showering.

‘Arrive at 5? I’m already asleep…’ Yup, one of the major pre-baby routines that suffered for me after delivery was all my networking!  And as an entrepreneur, that stuff is kinda sorta important.  It’s where you stay top of mind and present and interactive with all those potential referral sources.  Missing several months worth of ‘touches’ with all these folks invites them to forget you…and your business.

One of the things that has kept me going is to keep reminding myself that Aria is growing soooooooo fast and all of this is so temporary.  As a matter of fact, every month that goes by, she grows into more of an amazing and entertaining and independent person of her own, and mommy gets better and better at mommy-ing — thank goddess.

It’s kind of cliche but honestly bears repeating that you cannot offer a drink to another from an empty cup…so whatever it needs to look like, we need to make self-care a priority as an entrepreneur.  Certain ‘bizness’ really can wait or at least make room temporarily.

What did you struggle most with when you became a parent and how did you overcome it?

 

Another great workshop…

So, last night I was joined by a couple awesome folks at Forbes Library in downtown Northampton for one of my Archetypes at Work workshops.  Even though this workshop is usually geared toward entrepreneurs and how to use their dominant personality archetypes to attract more ideal clients, it seems that more and more people come for a different reason:

To figure out what they want since they are in some sort of major life transition.

I find this trend both inspiring and intriguing!  In the world of an entrepreneur, everything seems like it’s in transition…perpetually.  We are always going from one thing to another, like bees to flowers.  It seems like I always have this milestone looming, it approaches, it passes — all the while with me saying to myself, “oh boy! It’s almost done and then I can rest”.  Except then it comes, and do I rest? Well, no…because then its on to the next thing.

So, I say to all of those who are in transition; welcome to the world of entrepreneurship!

What kinds of transitions are you in? Share with the community, maybe someone can help!

Love,
Terra

2 ways you can have it ALL

I frequently wonder whether it’s actually possible to have everything.  Can I be an amazing mom, a crafter, a wife, a picture of health, a good friend, a successful entrepreneur…etc?  Sometimes, as I lie awake after my husband has long since fallen asleep — with all my to-do’s and my wishlists scrolling through my head– I think not.  But then I wake up again the next day and realize that my time is my own and every single choice, yes CHOICE, I make that day will have an impact on the answer to whether I can have it all.

So, I think, the answer is a qualitative ‘yes’.

I think we, especially us women and moms, can have it all.  Now, of course I’m not saying that we can have everything there is to be had. But we can have everything that matters to us.  We can be awesome moms.  We can be creative.  We can run successful businesses.  We can blow our husbands minds…

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David, Aria and I at Mike’s Maze in Sunderland…windiest day of the year!

What it boils down to for me are these two primary tips…

  1.  LEVERAGE EVERYTHING! And I mean everything.  When I make a meal, I like to make sure that it sets me up for several other easy meals later, to save me time and mostly to make it easier to make healthy choices rather than those of solely convenience later.  What can I do right now that satisfies as many of my priorities as possible, all with one choice?  For instance, can I decide to do something creative WITH David and Aria.  Or can we do something physical as a family and make memories while spending time in the fresh air, doing something active?  I try to never waste a choice…

  2.  BE SUPER CLEAR ON WHAT IT IS THAT YOU ACTUALLY WANT. It’s really hard to know if the decision before you could be more wisely decided if you don’t even know which option moves you closest to your goals and desires for your life.  For some people this comes pretty naturally.  For the real givers and nurturers among us, though, our personal desires are sometimes concealed under layers of ‘what is best for everyone around us’.  Take the time to DECIDE what you want for yourself and your life.  Being passionately content is nothing but a service to those who share your life.

Distressed furniture project – Cabinet

So, I love to make things new and lovable again.  I also hate to throw anything away.  As we cleared space in my home recently for my mom to stay the summer with us, we were both left with lots of leftover items that didn’t move from our multiple tag sales.  This somewhat ugly cabinet was one of them…

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It was no longer in perfect shape but it is solid wood, so I decided to offer it a new lease on life.

After taking off all the hardware, I gave it two generous coats of Valspar’s Super Flat Latex paint, which behaves very similarly to Chalk Paint at less than half the price…nice.  This paint dries incredibly fast and I was actually able to begin the second coat immediately after finishing the first one…also nice for someone with my amount of patience!

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I painted the cabinet inside and out and actually skipped filling any dings or holes since I knew I was going to be distressing it anyhow. Then I took to the sanding block and knocked off all the edges, corners and dings with 120 grit paper. I know they recommend 100 grit but I had 120 on hand, so there ya go. After sanding to my heart’s content, I rubbed the whole thing down with a coat of wax and buffed it a little.

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And all in all, I really like the way it came out!  I now has a warm, french grey color with some distressing and a worn softness to it.  And all told, took me about 3 hours.  I think it’s so important for us to have creative outlets, even if it is something as simple as making an unwanted thing wanted again.  What could you do today that will lift your spirits or simply take something distracting off your plate once and for all?

Love,

Terra

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What’s Your Productivity Ritual?

I loooooooove me some coffee.  It’s actually a bit of a joke, with anyone who knows me, that the way to my heart is through a Starbuck’s straw. Well, there’s more than one way to my heart but that is a pretty good one.  If I’m having a down day, I know a coffee is a sure-fire pick-me-up.  Even better than that…If I’m procrastinating or dreading doing some work, taking a moment to make (or get) a coffee specifically as a reward for my willingness to work, is often all I need to sit down and bang out some goodness!

French Press and To do list

On that note…Today I want to talk about productivity rituals.

A productivity ritual can be anything really, the key is that it needs to be a choice you can take that will consistently propel you into action.  For some it may be as simple as doing 5 minutes of focused meditation on their future self.  Others may rely on to-do lists or a favorite office chair or a special station on Pandora… like I said, it can really be anything.

“I DO LOVE THE IDEA OF RITUAL.”

SARAH SILVERMAN

 

The Power of Ritual

According to Wikipedia, a ritual “is a sequence of activities involving gestures, words, and objects, performed in a sequestered place, and performed according to set sequence.”  Ritual has been an important part of the human experience since the beginning of time.  Found in every culture, demographic, religion, etc.  We rely on certain rituals to celebrate and punish, prove ourselves and test others, show our affection or resentment, you name it.  Why not also realize the power we can harness when we use the idea of ritual in our own productivity.  I love that Wikipedia also backs me up with the following…

There are hardly any limits to the kind of actions that may be incorporated into a ritual.

So when I start a pot to boil, knowing that in approximately 6 minutes I will be pouring that hot water over a deliciously aromatic french roast and 5 minutes after that, I will be pouring that nectar into a cup and taking it with me into my office, I can choose to be very intentional with those 11 minutes.  I begin to think about how lucky I am to be given the gift of so many wonderful  senses –my taste, smell, feel, even the sound of the water starting to bubble.

And I think of how grateful I am for everything the world gives me.

This inevitably motivates me to think of what I am then meant to give back to the world.

Of course this isn’t’ always as profound as this, but it can be when I need it to be.

How to discover your ritual…

Do you already have a ritual that motivates you to productive action?  If not, consider the following exercise.

Think back to the last time you had an UH-MAAAZINGLY productive day (or even hour, if that’s more how you roll…).  Think really carefully about what you did just before you got rolling.  Did you bake?  Did you watch an episode of Shark Tank?  Did you have a great phone conversation with a positive friend?  Did you walk your dog?  Try really hard to remember…

Ok, now remember that action and next time you repeat it, see if it holds similar effect.  If it does, you may already have your ritual and didn’t know it!

For those less patient, you can certainly do some personal meditation to come up with a list of energizing activities or mantras that you could test out to see if they could lead you to your productivity ritual.

If you’d like to talk with me about this, let me know…this stuff really gets me fired up and I’d love to help you find ways to be more productive in bringing your gift to the world.

If you already have a bonafide productivity ritual, let us know what it is in the comments! Share the wealth and wisdom.

And for the rest of you, if all else fails…  Treat yourself (and me…) to a coffee.

Love,

Terra

3 Tips to Overcome Creative Distractions

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Just yesterday, I had a little “constructive confrontation” with my dear, sweet, husband (said in the most genuine tone…really.)  Our discussion was about my tendency to distract myself from what is really important to me by convincing myself that something else is crucial or time sensitive when it is really not either.

“SOMETIMES, I THINK IF YOU GET AWAY FROM WHAT YOU’RE CALLED TO DO, IT’S MORE OF A DISTRACTION.”

JOEL OSTEEN

For the last several days, I’ve been working myself up to vend at a flea market today.  This flea market is about 20 minutes from my house and runs from 6am and I was planning to stay until 2pm.  I was convinced I needed to do it so that I could get rid of some packed boxes of items that have been sitting around/simplify my living space to make more room for creativity and better work/make some extra cash…you name it, I had dozens of good reasons that I should do this flea market.

Don’t get me wrong, I will do the flea market…someday.

I really enjoy refinishing furniture and making new things out of the old.  It’s a wonderful creative outlet for me to make something beautiful or useful again.  I’m sure I’ll post some of these projects soon…tomorrow perhaps :) And I am also of the opinion that it’s crucial for creative people like us to take that time to exercise our creativity or everything starts to feel heavier around us.

But David had a point.  He asked me, When you have so many other important things you’ve been wanting to accomplish, why on earth are you doing a flea market?  And of course, I had all those reasons I mentioned earlier.  So he gently kept asking. And every time I kept trying to justify it, the reasons felt weaker and weaker until the best decision really seemed to forego it for now altogether. After it was decided that I would not go, this thing that I had been kind of obsessively looking forward to became a burden that I was relieved had dissipated.  Since hindsight is always 20/20 as they say, I find it so funny how even someone as Type A, driven, ambitious, busy –you name it– can still fall vicim so easily to the trap of distraction.  And the annoying thing is that these distractions can so easily masquerade as productive goals for people like us!

One of my favorite podcasters, John Dumas of Entrepreneur on Fire, uses the acronym FOCUS as Follow One Course Until Successful.  I love it.  It’s so easy for entrepreneurs and creatives, like you and me, to get caught up on how many spinning plates there are surrounding us.  I’ve never met a creative entrepreneur that has less than 7 grand, arching, passionate projects either active or just anxiously waiting in the wings for some activity to call them forth into being.  But we are also such easily distracted creatures.

So here are 3 tips that you can use to help tame or placate that distraction beast.

 

Make Sure it is Actually a DISTRACTION.

After all, as creative entrepreneurs, sometimes we actually want something, and we want it now.  And guess what?! Sometimes we should trust our guts and just do it!  We get so many ideas and moments of inspiration and not all of them should be delayed or ignored.  So take a moment and put the alleged distraction through a qualifying filter (if you’ve done a holistic goal, this will actually be much easier!).  Does this project/task/idea move you forward in any of your other priorities.  Does it serve another need for you right now? For instance, are you feeling incredibly burnt out and baking these cookies or refinishing this chair or adding to your mixology repertoire would be regenerative for you so you CAN get back to the more important stuff?  If so…HONESTLY SO…do it.  You’ll be better off for it, and so will everyone who counts on you to be you.

You Will Get To It, Just Not Right Now.

This one always works best for me.  I make a silent promise that if this thing continues to be a sparkly object for me, meaning it comes up in the back of my mind, or I long to do it, or it continues to pop up as what I would prefer to be doing…than I promise myself that I will do it.  Sometimes it helps to just make that promise, other times I need to put a date on the calendar or have some other measurable light at the end of the tunnel for it to work.  Example…I have promised myself that I WILL do the flea market before the end of August…which actually gives me more motivation to get my important stuff accomplished a bit more thoroughly.

Do a 5 minute Priorities Refresh.

Sometimes when my distraction clearly fails the first test, and promising myself that I will get to it eventually doesn’t work, I have to take more drastic measures.  So I head into my studio and look at my projects and goals board.  For me this is a huge whiteboard behind my desk where I jot down all the ideas and goals that I have, as well as some project ideas that have been hovering — or looming– and even little tasks and reminders.  I take just a couple minutes to review them all and sometimes just looking at what I consider to be important will trigger a refresh for me and I suddenly feel motivated to work on one of my priorities or goals.  Other times, I need to be more intentional and actually grade the goals on a sheet of paper.  I label at least my top 3 goals and then I figure out why those are important to me.  What will accomplishing those goals add to my life?  Then at the bottom of the paper, write down the project that is distracting you, and see how IT measures up… you might be surprised that it doesn’t hold a lot of allure in direct comparison with your life’s work above it.

Since we all face these kinds of things, take a minute in the comments to let us know what you do to counteract distraction!

Love,

Terra

Free Workshop to Help Entrepreneurs Tune In to Their Personality Type

Terra Missildine, the owner of Beloved Earth, a cleaning company dedicated to eco products and practices, will offer “Taking It to the Next Level: Leveraging Your Personality Type in Business” (level-upyourlife.com) on Wednesday, July 30 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Forbes Library, 20 West St., in the Watson Room.

The workshop will focus on discussing archetypes like the hero, warrior, lover and magician to help entrepreneurs and business owners learn about branding and attracting ideal clients. It will feature a talk about how using the authentic and universal imagery of archetypes helps to put confidence behind a business’s message as well as filter its audience to make it almost irresistible to your perfect clients.

While the workshop is free, seats are limited, so participants are encouraged to contact me to reserve a spot.

There’s a difference between love and settling…

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So, I’m actually talking about self-love here.  How we feel about our selves

I certainly have not always loved myself, in fact there was a large window of time in which I felt almost a hatred…or at the very least a sort of shame.  I’ve learned that there is a big difference between truly loving oneself and just learning to settle.  As with finding a mate or partner, there’s the person that makes your breath catch in your throat when you think about them (in my case, even after 9 years of marriage!) and there’s the person who is “eh, they’ll do”.

I’ve seen so many admirable articles on the interwebs over the years about loving yourself despite your perceived flaws.  I’ve seen others about loving yourself because of them.  But I often find myself wondering about the difference between developing a true and unconditional love for ourselves (our bodies, our personalities…whatever) and just learning to tolerate ‘what is’.  I don’t think a passive toleration is actually enough…at least not for me, or you, if what you want is to truly level up your life.

Just like with a passionate and loving relationship, developing that kind of passionate love for yourself takes effort.  I hesitate to say it takes “work” and I do so intentionally.  A relationship based on true and reciprocating love takes effort and dedication, but just like a passionate hobby or career, it doesn’t feel like “work”.  So I will stick with effort, and intention.

To have self-love, does it mean that we just need to learn to love what is, or better… do we learn to love what IS IN PROGRESS, during every beautiful and transformative breath??

“Loving Yourself and Complacency are not the same thing…You CAN choose to love yourself enough to change.”

As an example, I’ve been overweight most of my life.  By the world’s standards, even when I was the ‘smallest’ and the most fit I’ve ever been, I was still far from our projection of perfection.  And yes, in the more formative years of my past, this left me feeling so sub-standard, embarrassed, confused and isolated.  But it’s funny how time and experience can change our perception of reality.  In my teens and early 20′s I dated men that reinforced that incredibly low opinion of myself, with comparison’s and judgements they helped ME shape my opinion of myself.  Then I met a man that thought I was totally the bees knees.  And yes, he fell in love with my personality but NEVER made me feel like he loved me despite my body. This was certainly new territory for me as I had chosen, prior, to identify almost exclusively with my intelligence, my talents, humor and ambition, and NOT with my appearance.  I would tell myself over and over that my appearance didn’t matter because I had all those other things I could be proud of.

So I was wholly unfamiliar with the way this man (my now husband) said he felt about me.  He loved EVERYTHING about me, including my body, which at the time I viewed as so flawed.  So I learned to tolerate my body.  After all, this man that I adored, adored it…so I figured, what could it hurt to try to believe him?

Fast forward 10 years and now I truly do LOVE my body.  Does it look perfect?  Nope.  Does it even look better than it did? Double Nope.  But guess what… in the last year this body has blown every expectation of it out of the water.  This body has housed, formed, nourished and nurtured another human being.  My gorgeous daughter, Aria was born in February and I still stand in awe of the whole process.  It was such an empowering experience, but it certainly doesn’t take pregnancy and childbirth to come to an appreciation of what our miraculous bodies do for us.

That being said, I still have a question to bring us back to my point.  Just because we can learn to love and appreciate our bodies in their varying states of perceived imperfection, does that mean it’s somehow wrong or unloving to want to improve upon that which we already love??  I mean, sure there’s ways to do so that are healthy, like choosing nourishing and healthy nutrition, regular exercise etc…and I think that THIS IS a component of self love.  Not just tolerating our bodies the way they are but giving ourselves the gift of becoming even more amazing and beautiful if we choose to.

To be clear, I don’t think that this desire should be imposed upon anyone.  But I for one take a lot of pride in accomplishment and self-development.   But because I spent so much of my life identifying myself as everything apart from my body, it’s still hard to make my physical health a priority.  I do know, though, that I want to be as healthy and capable as I can be to promote a healthy self-love, not only for myself but as an example for my daughter.  I don’t want her to have to spend 30 years of her life trying to ‘come back’ to herself…

So what has been your experience with self-love?  Whether you’ve had weight issues or struggled with anything else that made you feel ‘less than’…tell me about it in the comments below.  I may not even know you, but I can tell you…I think you are truly awesome.

Love,

Terra