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Newlywed Chronicles: Needing a Man

I found this song by Meghan Trainor yesterday and really love it. It's about loving someone like there's no tomorrow. It made me think of how I feel about my husband. Every day I have with him is precious.

 

I woke up around 4 am this morning, unable to sleep. Chris was lying on his back, so I didn't want to disturb him. I laid there wanting to put my arms around him and feel his body next to mine. As I lay there in the stillness, I realized how much I need this man. He is such an incredible comfort to me.

He eventually turned over on his side, and I snuggled up behind him, putting my arm around his waist. I could feel him lean into me and everything was right in my world again.

I haven't allowed myself to need a man in decades. But I do need this man -- his kindness, his warmth, his touch, his love, his provision, his wisdom.

chris-marnie-dancing-weddingWhen I first told one of my friends that I had decided to divorce my first husband, she said, "I could see that coming." I was surprised because I'd never complained about him to her. I'd never said I was unhappy in my marriage.

She said, "Sometimes it's what you don't say that says the most." She continued, "You know how your friends are so important to you? That was an indicator to me that your core relationship was missing something important."

For my entire adult life I've been a people collector. I love people. I love their diversity, their viewpoints, their wisdom. But it never occurred to me that I was really searching for something I was missing in my core marital relationship.

I love my friends and always will. I have needed them and still do. But with this man, I don't feel that insatiable need to roam the world collecting people to fill a void. Some would say I shouldn't need anyone. I should be okay being alone. I can be alone. But, I am at the core a connector, a collaborator, a co-creator. I was born to be part of something synergistic.

While this marriage is beautiful, and exactly what I've longed for, it's also a bit frightening because I realize nothing, in this life, lasts forever. So I will continue to love him each and every moment as if it is our last.

Who Are You and What Brings You Joy?

Newlywed Chronicles: Entrepreneurial Burnout

Have you ever had a talent that grew until it defined you? For example: a doctor, a lawyer, a therapist, a concert pianist. I never defined myself as any one career role because I’ve done so many things throughout 26 years in business.

Yet, there is one role that has defined me — an Entrepreneur — someone with a talent for making money by her wits.

Lately, I’ve gone through so many major life changes that keeping up with all the hats required of an entrepreneur has left me overwhelmed and burnt out.

Because I’m tired of it all, my “energetic stance is off” (as my mentor Carolyn Cooper would say). I need to make money. But I am exhausted with all the processes involved.  Unless an entrepreneur is well established and has delegated thoroughly, she rarely gets to focus only on the things she loves or does best.

I’ll be honest, my energetic stance is self-sabotaging to say the least.  On one end my bank accounts demand filling and on the other side I’m ready to go on strike. As James 1:8 says, “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” That comes across to people whether you want it to or not.

As a result, I’ve seriously considered taking a long sabbatical and letting my information products sell what they sell. Perhaps I need a radical change. Thus, I’ve been applying for jobs where I can either do something completely different or focus entirely on one area of expertise. It could be quite liberating to pack all those hats away in a box.

Even considering such a move is an emotional process. There’s the loss of dreams and plans for the future. There’s also the legitimate concern that if I step out of this fast-paced world for even 6 months, my skills will become obsolete.

Sitting Down with Yoda

Over breakfast Saturday morning my wise husband (whom I lovingly refer to as Yoda) said, “So what if you never make six figures again? Will that make you less of a person?”

I found myself answering, “Yes!”

He gave me an incredulous look, and I explained, “It would mean I gave up; I quit; I let my fears keep me from using my talents to their fullest. I’d be an ‘unprofitable servant’ even in God’s eyes, because I wouldn’t be all I could be with my talents.”

Chris lifted a single eyebrow, “You honestly believe the amount of money you make defines your value?”

I shrugged.

“I didn’t marry you for your ability to make money. You have intrinsic value no matter what you do or don’t do for a living,” he said.

Holding Oneself By a Higher Standard

I know he spoke the truth. After a bit of thought I realized that I do NOT value or define others by their job, salary or ability to make money. I’m the only one I hold to that impractical standard.

I’ve seen my ability to make money as a major talent like a concert pianist’s ability to tickle the ivories. I’ve done it so long that it defines me. Yet, lately I’ve lost my Midas Touch and can’t seem to regain it.

“We usually don’t realize the thing that is defining our identity until that thing is taken away.” – Tim Hiller, Strive: Life is Short, Pursue What Matters

Saturday, with Yoda’s help, I identified an underlying belief that’s running the show. I believed that if I don’t somehow adapt and figure this money thing out, I’ve somehow failed as a human being.

But if the pianist had a brain tumor that eliminated his ability to play, would he hold less value as a person? Certainly not! He would most definitely mourn the loss though!

I began to think of other talents I have. These several abilities are every bit as important as my ability to earn money. More so, really, in the grand scheme of things

It’s as if entrepreneurship has gobbled up my identity. Without it I feel worthless, even hopeless. So many dreams have been tied to it that without it, would I lose my future along with everything else I’ve lost?  An infinite number of possibilities would die. Yet as an entrepreneur, I’ve been frustrated, burnt out, and feeling more worthless by the day.

A World Without Measurements Can Be Scary

As I’ve entertained the idea of completely walking away from entrepreneurship, I’ve realized something else about myself. Entrepreneurship is a results-driven, measurable world. And I’m all about results. Making money has always been a sign that I’m doing it right. I’m reaching my market, I’m offering something people need and value, I’m being of service to others. What I’m doing matters….. I matter!

Yet, with my double-minded energetic stance, I’ve made less money. Then, I feel worthless.

Finally, I asked myself, “What really brings me joy? What if money was NOT an object?”

What Brings You Joy?

Here’s what brings me joy:

  • Being with those I love.
  • Receiving inspiration and sharing it with others.
  • Helping people feel safe, hopeful and able to move forward with their heart’s desires.

So I’m pondering these questions:

  • Do the things that bring me joy have to be tied to my career?
  • What if I set aside my talent to make money for a season like I’ve done at other times with piano talents? Or sketching? Or basketball?
  • What makes “making money” a talent that deserves to gobble up my joy and identity?
  • Who am I at the core — no matter what I’m doing or being?

The closest I’ve come to articulating my core is “A woman who loves people and offers a safe, nurturing and inspiring space for them to thrive.” I can do that whether I choose to be an entrepreneur or work for someone else or retire completely.

What about you? Who are you? Has your identity been tied to something you do well?

Disclaimer: This blog is what’s on my mind at the moment. They’re ideas I’m entertaining, but not necessarily plans I will follow through on. I’m just trying on things for size to get to the root of my identity as a person. So if you’re one of my clients, don’t wig out. I don’t plan on disappearing on you.

 

don't act out of fear, wait and listen instead.

Bouncing Back from Setbacks

karonthackston2In 2012, Google changes decimated my business overnight. At the time, the bulk of my multi-six-figure-revenue came from an article marketing directory I’d created back in 1998 (IdeaMarketers). Literally from one day to the next, my business was destroyed. But I wasn’t the only one. Other people were affected by this change. One of them was Karon Thackston of Marketing Words. The loss of article marketing, affected 50% of her business revenues.

As I interviewed Karon for my upcoming book on “Having It All,” I asked her how she handles bouncing back from setbacks — whether those setbacks are in your marriage or in your business.

I loved her perspective and wisdom. I think anyone who is dealing with a major setback would find her insights helpful.

You may listen to this segment of my interview with Karon here:

      KaronThackston-Pt8-BouncingBack

Recap

don't act out of fear, wait and listen instead.To summarize, here’s what Karon did:

  1. Got an assurance she was supposed to continue her business.
  2. Remained determined – “Failure was not an option,” she said.
  3. Consulted specialized experts to fill knowledge-gaps in her business.
  4. Trusted there is an answer and looked for opportunities to open.
  5. Pursued opportunities and relationships that would enhance her business.
  6. Made a plan to develop X number of new products in a year – going from inception to launch.
  7. Worked her plan.
  8. Delegated as her business started growing again.

“It always works better if I decide not to act out of fear but wait and listen.” – Karon Thackston

chris-marnie-hug

It’s All About the Hugs

I was browsing through our wedding photos and was particular drawn to one of me giving my husband a hug. So much of the bliss I experience in marriage comes from my husband's hugs. Whether it's lying in his arms at night or the hug he gives me when he leaves for work in the morning, there's something downright addicting about having his arms around me and being close to him.

As I thought about this, I realized that I love hugs ... period. A blissful life is one filled with hugs. Hugs from friends, from children, from grandbabies, from parents... almost every precious moment in my life is punctuated with a hug. So, just for fun, I put together this little montage video of some of my favorite hugs. Hug someone today!

 

Allyson and Jeremy Chavez, married 19 years

Intimacy Can Improve Your Business

One of the questions I'm asking all the entrepreneurial women I'm interviewing is about intimacy. What tips, suggestions or thoughts do you have about sex in marriage? For the men reading this, you might be asking, "How to get my wife to be more sexually active?" Or if you're a woman, you might be wondering, "how can I enjoy sex more with my husband?"

I thought Allyson Chavez had some interesting insights for women -- especially career women. Her suggestion, "Be intimate a lot. Successful women entrepreneurs are in a ton of masculine energy. Intimacy for us is very feminine. It's very vulnerable. We have to be open. We have to get into that feminine power. The feminine energy is just as powerful as the masculine energy."

Audio Version:

      AllysonChavez-Intimacy

Shortened Video Version:

Get the full interview with Allyson as well as 19 other entrepreneurial women sharing their happy marriage secrets here.

 

allyson chavezAllyson Chavez is a miracles and transformation mentor and energy practitioner, specializing in teaching others how to make miracles and transform their life. Using the SimplyHealed TM method of energy work, Allyson quickly locates the false, limiting beliefs that are holding people back and keeping them playing small in their life. By removing these blocks and then reprogramming the mindset from mediocrity to miracles, clients can much more quickly and easily hold the vibrations that lead to transformation, and ultimately create miracle after miracle after miracle. And by educating her clients about the correct way to use immutable universal laws of creation, they are empowered to live life on their terms. Visit Allyson at www.AllysonChavez.com

elmer fudd what's opera doc?

NewlyWed Chronicles: Curiosity & Play

magic helmetI think one of the funnest things about being a newlywed is being curious about my husband… how he thinks, how he responds to life challenges, his fun aspects, talents, opinions and quirks. As I approach this relationship with curiosity, I find so much joy in getting to know the man I’ve married on a deeper, more playful level. He’s simply delightful.

Curiosity Helps You Stay Objective

This is something I hope to continue throughout our married life. Approaching him with that curiosity helps me stay objective.

I’ve learned over the years that curious objectivity keeps me from taking things so personally. Many times in marriage we make too much about ourselves. Events unfold, people react or pro-act. How they decide to do that is largely about them, their life experiences, their perspectives. It’s rarely about me. I don’t need to take it personally.

Curiosity Keeps Playfulness Alive

Most of all, being curious helps keep the playfulness in our marriage. This photo of my husband was taken a couple weeks ago while we were out shopping for Halloween costumes.

We both love Bugs Bunny’s “What’s Opera, Doc?” episode … you remember that one? Where Elmer Fudd plays a viking? Check it out below…

Hopefully we’ll always keep that playfulness alive. Then again, I think it would be impossible not to. Chris is a hoot!

 

boundaries-courtneybeardall

Boundaries & Rules in Family Life

One of the questions I’m asking the successful women entrepreneurs I’m interviewing for the summit and book is, “Do you have rules or boundaries in your marriage and family?”

A few days ago, I interviewed Courtney Beardall and asked her this question. You can listen to Courtney’s 2-minute reply here:

      Courtney+Beardall+on+Boundaries

I loved her delightful list of “family rules.”

  1. Be thankful.
  2. Pay with hugs and kisses
  3. Do your best.
  4. Try new things.
  5. Be happy.
  6. Use kind words.
  7. Laugh all the time.
  8. Share.
  9. Listen to your parents.
  10. Say please and thank you.
  11. Trust God.
  12. Remember to always pray
  13. Love each other.

boundaries-courtneybeardall

What rules or boundaries do you set in your marriage and family?

courtney beardallCourtney Beardall lives with her family in Northern Wyoming. If you don’t find her in her healing room, you will find her on a mountain top with her kids or exploring something new. Learning is a life long process and she is always looking for new and better ways to incorporate science, biology and spiritual laws.

She is the creator of Investigating health, an energy modality that incorporates all aspects of the human body, including hormones, chemicals, structure, physiology and behavioral disorders. She teaches online courses in energy healing. Visit her at www.CourtneyBeardall.com.

Jennifer and Patrick Youngblood

When Two Strong Willed Entrepreneurs Are Married

Jennifer YoungbloodMy friends Jennifer and Patrick Youngblood are one of the three couples who modeled to me what a great marriage looks like. These two are both very opinionated and strong-willed. They’re also both successful entrepreneurs in their own right. Jennifer is a bestselling author and Patrick is one of the most brilliant branding/packaging/marketing minds I know.

While interviewing Jennifer today for the summit and book, I got a good laugh out of her answer to my question about communication tips. At one point she said,

“My husband is the most persuasive man on the planet. If we have a disagreement and we start discussing it, I tell him, ‘Look, I don’t care how right you sound, I know I’m right.’ He can convince anyone of anything, so I’m like, ‘I don’t care! I know you sound right, but I’m right.'”

Want to hear Jennifer talk about communication? Listen below:

      JenniferYoungblood-Pt7-Communication

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made and liked recipes

Newlywed Chronicles: It’s All About the Menu

I've been single for the last 2 years and before that my first husband and I were more like roommates who did our own thing. Being married again for a whopping 6 weeks is a bit of an adjustment. It's a happy adjustment, but still an adjustment.

The main thing is meals. It seems like my entire day revolves around what I'm going to make for dinner tonight. This isn't anything my husband or new step-daughter expect or demand. Those two have been eating out almost every day for who knows how long. So they are grateful for anything I give them.

It's their gratitude for a home cooked meal that makes mealtime so fun. That, and sitting around talking about our day and listening to Chris spin yarns about his colorful past or present.

Combine these two, and I can't resist making new recipes. Pinterest is a treasure trove. My daughter Jillian started collecting and making recipes before she left for college. When she made something we liked, she'd add it to her "Made and Liked" board. After she left, I kept up the habit ... making more of the recipes she'd found, finding some of my own, and then adding the winners to the "Made and Liked" board.

The downside is I've put on some pounds! They talk about the "Freshman Fifteen."  Jillian hasn't accumulated them, but I have! Ouch! Time to hit the gym harder, find lower calorie meals, and not make so many desserts!