10 Lessons I have learned from running a meet-up group in Toronto

Today I woke up to many messages on LinkedIn congratulating me on our 1 year anniversary with Spark Your Life Sisterhood ( YOU CAN JOIN OUR GROUP ON THE LEFT). Wow, I am blown away it is been a year.
Last February Danika and I were drinking coffee and were just dreaming about creating the sisterhood and acknowledging this as something that is missing in our city. Today we are celebrating our first Anniversary!

And I wanted to share 10 lessons I have personally learned from this experience:

  1. Do what you love

    I can’t even stress enough how important it is to keep looking and digging at what it is that lights you up and makes you alive. How can you do even 10 minutes of it every day. Maybe you have a job and you need to pay the bills, but you have this longing to do something completely different. Find a way to read about it. Hang out with people who are already doing it. Educate yourself. Make a commitment to do it. Find the time. We all have 24 hours, kids, laundry, bills, partners, parents. So, stop listening to the saboteur’s voice that is telling you it is different for other people and you can’t do it. Yes, you can. Find it. Commit to it. Just f… do it. End of story

  2. It is gonna suck at first

    It is like learning to walk for the first time. You are gonna fall and fail. You are gonna get hurt. But if you stick around and practice- you will get good at it. We spent so much time creating this amazing content and worksheets. We booked a venue. We brought snacks for 15 people and only two showed up. It made me cry. Really it did. You will cry many times but if you really want to do it you will continue and if you drop out you didn’t really wanna do it in a first place. So, that’s ok. Don’t blame yourself. There is something else out there for you

  3. Don’t do it for the money

    You are not gonna make money short term. At least the first little while. So you gotta be really passionate about the actual work you will put it. For the first six months we were paying everything out of our own pocket. And I remember my partner kept telling me it doesn’t make any sense. You are hiring a nanny. You are not home at night. You spend so much time prepping and delivering these workshops. And you are loosing money. Are you nuts? But, there was a cause greater than the financial gain. Of course it will help you to organically build your business. But it is a long shot. It will take time to build trusting relationships, visibility and expertise as well as create clients and referrals, but it is a long term commitment and really there are easier ways to do it. Don’t do it for the money – do it because you love it

  4. Sometimes it won’t make sense to everybody around you- but you will know deeply in your heart that it matters to you

    Back to the 1st point- it made me feel alive and connected. It made me feel like I belong to this city. I saw women coming every week and every second week and leaving our events changed and inspired in some ways. I could see them making friends and connections and I knew how important it was for them but also for me to feel fulfilled and knowing my work matters and has an impact on some many lives in different ways. I wanted to give this sense of belonging to all the women who came, but I got so much more out of personally that I did’t expect

  5. Nobody knows what they are doing. Stat

    At some point we all start doing something we don’t know how to do. And if you are not- you are playing too small. Sorry comfort won’t make you feel alive. It actually makes you feel dead. I have never led workshops in front of people. I have never designed workshops. I was a certified coach and I worked with people one on one but I have never led a group of people. I was afraid. I was paranoid. My voice was shaking for the first 2,3 maybe 5 times as more and more women started showing up. But I guess they actually liked the rawness of it. I was vulnerable and I have given them permission to be vulnerable. Start somewhere. You don’t have to know. You will figure it out.

  6. Everybody is scared all the f… time

    You look at some women and you think they were born to do it. They were born to publish books. They were born to be on a TV. They were born to raise fantastic kids. They were born to be wealthy, happy, skinny. Whatever it is you are saying to yourself. And I have personally seen it over and over how the most successful people ( at least in my eyes) do something completely out of their comfort zone. Something they have never done and they are scared. But choose to still just go for it. They jump of that cliff trusting they will survive cause they have done it many times before. Everybody is scared and it is ok. Do what you love.

  7. Be real.

    Oh, this is my favorite one. Just be real with people. This was very important to us. We wanted to talk about real life shit that matters. We didn’t want to create another space where women will put on their masks and pretend that their life is perfect. We wanted them to get real with each other and it required us to get real. We talked about ourselves in full transparency. So many times my partner would challenge me with a questions about my personal life and there was a part that shrinked. As a professional I still had the belief let’s not make it about me. Let’s make it about them. But they wanted to know who I was and why should they trust me with their personal stories. That was very challenging. But I learned to be ok being vulnerable. It was no longer a professional setting – we were real women talking about real life. And I am so grateful for all the support I have personally received in this very difficult time of my life. When you feel you need the support- give it to others. I got to show up authentically and learned about myself. And I got to see the beauty of so many other women who showed up so powerfully over the year with their vulnerability. They were ready to jump in and get naked with us (not literally, but it might still happen:) and we just created the space for it to happen.

  8. Be of service.

    Really. Wake up every day and think of one person you can help today. Maybe it is an advice you might have for them. Maybe it is a connection you will share. Maybe it is a compliment. Make this your morning ritual. Think of 1 person you can really help. And no, it is not about karma. And no, maybe it will not come back 10 folds. Do it because you are kind and it will make you feel so happy. I feel in full integrity saying that. I have done so many lunches and shared my knowledge, connections and my wisdom with the girls. They were not my clients, but I wanted to share myself with them.

  9. Practice gratitude

    I am running out of lessons here but I wanted to share 10.LOL It is not even lessons it is my heart being filled with gratitude for this experience and this journey that is just starting. The gratitude that we have over 300 women in our group and those are not ghosts- we have met most of them at least once. The gratitude for being able to experience some very deep connections. The gratitude for showing up. The gratitude for all the connections that this experience has brought into my life. And I still don’t know how it will unfold. The gratitude for making friends. The gratitude for having some very difficult conversations with my co-founder and wanting to drop out, but staying because we love it. The gratitude….

  10. Create what doesn’t exists

    Create it. If there is something that is missing for you. If you have found it but it is not exactly what you want. If you have this amazing idea in your mind. Just go and create it. Don’t let it die within you. The world needs you. The world wants to hear from you. You are this magnificent creature and nobody sees or thinks the way you do. It is unethical not to express your gifts and talents. It is unethical not to share yourself. It is unethical not to be happy. It is unethical to settle for life you are not happy with. It is unethical not to love what you do and still do it. It is unethical to stop looking for what will make you happy.

  11. Bonus. Practice courage

    Just practice it. Be conscious of procrastination. Feel the fear. Accept that you are feeling scared to do something you have never done and still go for it. Make a choice to practice courage.

Am I happy? Yes, most days. And it is a practice. Just like working out at the gym – you practice courage. You practice self-love. You practice gratitude. You make it a priority. There are always so many more things I want to accomplish and achieve and just like you I struggle with feeling not enough some days. And just like you (if you have done personal development work) I know it is not serving me and I am working hard to find that compassion within and to stop blaming myself for blaming myself. But here is what I have learned.

You can NOT stop searching for what makes you heart sing and what makes you alive

You just can’t.
We only run our meet-ups once a month now due to the complexity of life. But I know that even that one night makes me so happy and I want more. I am always hungry for more experiences, adventures, people, connections, books, movies, new places, new foods. And this is why I feel alive and my life purpose has become to ignite that aliveness and passion in you. I want you to feel alive. Keep looking. Keep searching. Just don’t give up on yourself. You’ve only got you cheering you on at the end of the day. Make this life count. And the final lesson I am still learning is:

YES, YOU CAN DO WHAT YOU LOVE AND MAKE MONEY. LIFE DOESN’T HAVE TO BE A STRUGGLE

even if it does feel like that today.

If you are at a place where you know something is missing and you are determined to change your life. You are committed to make it better and feel happy. Schedule your free sample session with me. I would be so honored to help you find what really matters. To help you see what’s not working. To choose differently. To get to know yourself and let go of all the shoulds and musts and finally take that leap of faith and start designing a life on your terms.

anya

Hi! I’m Anya, Certified Life Badassery Coach, Passion Provocateur & Self-Love Igniter!

Are you ready to crack open that can of courage, get down ‘n’ dirty with your false assumptions, bare your beautiful soul to the world, kick all that fear and compromise bullshit to the curb (they’re banned from the places we’re going)…and maybe even get a little silly and rowdy in the process?

Then I’m your wild woman! Go to my website and book a free sample session today!