December 2019 Archives

Julie Chenell

A Decade Of Lessons

In just a few days, this decade will end and a new one will begin.

And because of that, this year in review feels extra weighty. The last time we turned over a decade, it was 2009/2010. I don’t actually remember it all that well… most likely because I was in the THROES of motherhood with three small children – ages 2, 4, and 6. This time… I want to remember it. I want a snapshot in my memory of me…sitting here, writing a note to all my friends, with a cup of tea in hand and my leopard kitty asleep next to me.

What did this decade teach me about life, love, and business? Pull up a chair – this is going to be a bit of a long one. 

I’m pretty sure there is no decade in my life that’s been as full of change as this past one. Like I said above, when the decade hit last time, I was married to my high school sweetheart, living in a 1000 square foot house with my three small children. I was a piano teacher at nights and on the weekends, trying to make at least $500 a month to pay for groceries. I was 28 about to turn 29, and even though I didn’t really know it at the time… I was extremely unhappy.

Motherhood was rough on my psyche. I’d endured a traumatic event with Eden nearly dying at birth, had three kids in 3 1/2 years, and was on a high dose of antidepressant and anti-anxiety medication. Money and kids were my two achilles’ heels. I worried about them and it… constantly. ​Underneath all the day to day chaos… I was a young girl who never managed to grow up, find my own way, and establish herself. I got married and had kids so fast, I didn’t have time to sort any of that stuff out. And like other people who rebel in their teenage years, I did the opposite. Obedient, studious, and doing everything that everyone expected of me. I had no career, no true identity, and no faith in myself and my own judgment.

Added to the kids and no money elixir was a strong Christian background that I am extremely grateful for, even though I think a lot of the dogma and theology (or should I say opinion wrapped in “God said so”), set me up for the real humdinger that was about to hit my world. I felt utterly trapped in my life, despite the love I had for my kids, my husband, and my community.

That is really all I can remember about 2010. I think the biggest lesson of that particular year is… if you don’t deal with the internal work under the surface… it WILL COME OUT – somehow, some way, and probably in a more messy way than if you would just sit down and get your butt in therapy or with a coach.

​2011 will go down in history as the year that altered me forever. I’ve hinted about this, talked about it in a few settings… but never actually said the truth of what happened. Everything that happened in the years that followed — 2012, 2013, and 2014 — were a direct result of the trauma in my 30th year of life.

Long story short… I reunited with my birth father. And as it turned out, this man was not the charming, caring, protective, helpful parent I thought he was for the first several months of our relationship. No, in fact… he was an incredibly dangerous man. Narcissism is a word used a lot these days (it’s almost trendy now)… but I can assure you… being in a relationship with a narcissist is anything but trendy. It’s terrorizing.

It was the perfect storm. I was lost and trying to find my identity, and waiting with open arms to give me a new one? Was my father. Our reunion was the stuff Hallmark movies are made of. He had an amazing wife and kids, a family, tons of extra money to spend on vacations and grandkids, and most intoxicating of all? A promise to me that he would make up for the 30 years we’d lost and be the best dad and granddad he could be.

I fell for it hook, line, and sinker. And I honestly think my father believed himself too. It wasn’t that he was trying to pull the wool over my eyes. He genuinely thought he was God’s gift to me and my family. My husband and I went from broke to being able to go on vacations, go skiing, go to a lake house, go to Hawaii, etc. I gained two half-brothers. I gained a whole new life really.

The truth is that I also felt an incredible amount of pressure to keep my father interested in me. Despite the fact that he had given me up for adoption, relinquished his parental rights, and never even sent so much as a Birthday card, I conveniently ignored those facts on the outside. On the inside I knew the stakes were high. I’d have to make sure to be the BEST daughter EVER so he wouldn’t fade out of my life again.

As it turns out, according to my father, the definition of best daughter ever? Is the daughter willing to let her father sexually and psychologically abuse her.

Until you are in a toxic relationship like this, it’s nearly impossible to explain the psychological hooks that are used to keep you in the relationship, and even trick you into believing that you’re okay with it. Have you ever seen a woman suffering at the hands of an abusive husband and ask yourself, why doesn’t she just leave?

It’s because of a whole host of things in play – gaslighting is one of the tools narcissists use. Or you can research Stockholm Syndrome to understand trauma bonding. It’s incredibly complex, and I won’t bore you with the details… but suffice to say – once I finally got out from under this kind of abuse, I spent the next three years simply trying to cope with the trauma.

  • I rationalized.
  • I went to therapy.
  • I did EMDR.
  • I talked to my father about it in an attempt to forgive him and myself and move past it.
  • I let my father whisper half-truths in my ear about what really happened so I would parrot it back to him and convince the people around me that he wasn’t an abuser.
  • I spoke at conferences about it.
  • I wrote books about it.
  • I got angry and enraged.
  • I contacted other experts on the subject of adoptive reunions, psychological abuse, etc.
  • I got depressed and suicidal.

And eventually… I got tired of trying to fix myself and justify and deal with what had happened. The perfect A student, good Christian girl who’d married her high school sweetheart.. had her whole life upended because she was too weak to battle against a narcissistic long lost parent that basically threatened suicide and abandonment if she didn’t comply with his desires. The shame I felt was so intense – I had no idea what to do with it all.

I walked out of 2011, 2012, and 2013 – traumatized, partially healed from the little work I was able to do, humbled, but with my whole life in pieces. My marriage ended. My faith shattered. I cut my father out of my life entirely and for good…including his entire family, my siblings, everyone.

I can already tell you what these years of lessons were – Trauma is terrible. It will haunt you for years and years. Also? It will create such an astounding level of growth and maturity in you if you do the work. 

Most of you probably met me sometime in the next few years – 2014-2015 were a season of rebuilding.

My husband and I divorced, I was now in a crisis of career and finances, and also managed to get pregnant while on birth control… with a very handsome new boyfriend named Alex. It was a whirlwind romance, and just six weeks into dating, I had a positive pregnancy test in a public grocery store bathroom – with Eden waiting for me outside the door. I’ll never forget it as long as I live. I went white. This was the last thing I needed while trying to figure out how to be a single person after being with my first husband since the age of 16.

Living the story was a lot harder than telling it back. In a matter of two years – I dismantled my old life, had a 4th baby, worked to turn my freelance writing business into a full-blown agency, married Alex, started a new life, home, everything.

Business and life lessons here? You can do ANYTHING you put your mind to. There will always be a bad time to start something new. Not enough money, too many kids, too many complications. But they are all excuses, because when your back is up against the wall, you will be amazed at what you can do.

​2016 rolled along and after grinding hard for two years – I started to see significant momentum in my career. 

  • I launched my first course and made $10k, then $30k, then another $30k.
  • I launched my first funnel and hit $90k in monthly sales right at the end of 2016. 
  • Create Your Laptop Life was born.
  • My agency grew fast.

Guess what else happened in 2016? Alex and I started to struggle in our marriage. The honeymoon period of relationships had worn off, and left in its path was still a scared and hurting Julie, plus a husband trying to adapt to becoming a father, plus a step parent – in a country that is not his own. Our communication style was rocky. I was stuck in a cycle of people pleasing. Alex had a lot of his own stuff to work through.

This marriage struggle would continue for the next several years… getting more intense with each passing year.

So what did 2016 teach me? Very rarely will you see someone’s growth happen while everything else remains balanced. Don’t feel bad if your life feels wonky tonky when you’re growing something new. ​It’s somewhat normal, and temporary, but see lesson #1 – whatever gets off-kilter will always surface somewhere, some way. My ability to grieve my divorce and fully heal from the past…went dormant.

2017 marked a significant year from a financial perspective. I hit $1,000,000 in gross revenue, bought my dream house, and had my own six figure launch of my signature product – The Digital Gangsta. Despite all this success, I was still carrying a fear that maybe I wasn’t good enough. I needed external validation to remind me I was worth fighting for.

As business continued to explode, new opportunities opened up everywhere. This was the year I finally met Russell Brunson, and was hired at ClickFunnels.

I made the decision to work full-time and run my own business simultaneously. I don’t regret this decision as I learned so much — but it did come with consequences. Consequences I wouldn’t fully feel and realize until late into 2018/2019.

The big lesson of 2017 was that reaching all the financial goals you have – the things that you think will make you feel happy, safe, okay, loved, worthy – won’t make you feel that way if you’re not going to dig deep into why you do what you do. I felt tremendous accomplishment yes, but I still feared rejection, abandonment, and financial ruin.

It’s really hard to remember 2018. Which is funny because it was just two years ago. I think it’s because it was a total blur.

I spent more time in an airplane than at home. I managed my business and worked full-time at ClickFunnels. On the homefront, Alex and I had our hardest year yet – as two of my kids became teenagers, there was a ton of new parenting decisions to make that we weren’t prepared for. We had enormous struggles at home – some of you may remember my posts about my daughter Ellie struggling with depression and suicidal ideation. The cyclone of work and travel were somewhat of an escape from displaced grief, pain of the past, and fear that Alex and I wouldn’t make it.

By the end of 2018, I had the biggest financial success to date – with over $2M in gross revenue and $1M in profit. But it did come at a cost. I was exhausted and facing burnout, even while staring at the biggest opportunity offered to me in my whole life…

Would I (or should I) become a partner at ClickFunnels?

This would mean closing up shop with my own business, taking equity in CF, and becoming a full partner.

What most people don’t know is that this decision loomed over me for a solid four months – right in the thick of traveling back and forth to the Children’s Hospital to visit Ellie. I was definitely in a state of crisis as a mom, and even though I thought I could compartmentalize work and home – the fact is that my personal world was a huge part of my decision making.

I loved the people at ClickFunnels. I loved the mission and the movement. It was such a huge opportunity, and I knew there would be steady financial security as well. It seemed like a no brainer yes. I could finally stop running a business AND doing ClickFunnels, have plenty of $$, and create the stability I wanted to try to get my personal life back on track.

Here comes the lesson for 2018 – Even though I have NO regrets about any of my decisions, I realize now that my decision to partner at ClickFunnels was partially because I still didn’t believe in myself. Despite all the success and accolades and financial means…I still feared I wasn’t good enough to stand on my own two feet. That I couldn’t really be the shining leader I wanted to be – that I was better suited to joining a team. Mitigate risk, keep things safe and secure, and let someone else lead. Success rarely creates the internal strength you need for growth. It’s what happens in darkness and failure that produces strength.

​And now we come to this year. 2019. 

I really see the year in two halves. 

The first half felt very much like a spillover from 2018. A lot of the same whirlwind and stress. However underneath it all… a still small voice – God – was speaking to my heart. 

I started to feel emotions I hadn’t felt in a long time. Emotions I’d pushed down but now were demanding to be dealt with.

  • Grief.
  • Pain.
  • Unforgiveness.
  • Remorse.
  • Regret.

It was as if finally – after so many years of running – I realized “Hey look. It’s safe now. There’s no more crisis. You can actually stop and grieve.” And I did. I got an incredible therapist – if any of you would like his name or need a referral, just hit me up. 

I started talking to God again. 

I began focusing on my personal development, my kids, and my marriage. 

I faced the pain head on. I stopped running. 

And as the second half of the year hit – I made some big moves. 

  • I left ClickFunnels.
  • I realigned my priorities. 
  • I found my faith again.
  • I forgave myself.
  • I re-committed myself to my husband and my children.
  • I decided to take a risk and bet on me. I’m enough. 

​It also turned out to be an incredibly successful year in business as well. Funnel Gorgeous took OFF and blew up, my Digital Insiders mastermind grew from 30 people to 75, and best of all – it’s all happened in the midst of me working less, playing more, and letting my quirky self show up more and more.

There are so many lessons from this year – but I think one of the most profound things I take away from 2019? The simplest truths are the hardest to do, and yet we must do them. For me it was learning to let my head, my heart, and my actions stay in alignment. 

  • That means no more people pleasing.
  • No more saying yes just to make someone happy.
  • No more NOT saying the hard thing that needs to be said.
  • No more bending my boundaries.

I’m incredibly grateful for all the things I’ve learned in this past decade. Despite how hard it’s been for several seasons, I can also see the change and growth that’s happened as a result… empowering me to be a better leader, teacher, wife, and mom.

What will the next decade bring?

That’s the best part of all of this… life is one big giant surprise. 

Today might be hard. Tomorrow might be incredible. You just don’t know what’s coming around the bend, and it’s not your job to know. Just simply do the next right thing. The best you can do today.

I’ve been working on my goals and plans for 2020, and am doing a free workshop with Cathy tomorrow called – Reflections: Looking Back and Looking Ahead. Don’t worry.. .it’s not nearly as long as this email! LOL

If you’ve made it down to the bottom of this email, a few thoughts for you to take with you…

Our tendency is to brush off failure, rush past it, not look at it, shove it away, explain it away, justify it, avoid it, etc.  And be kind to yourself if you’re currently doing that. Sometimes life is so nuts there’s no space to go to the dark place to find your lessons.

But if you feel emotion bubbling up – anger, sadness, remorse, humiliation, regret – any of those emotions…

Let them come up to the surface. Write. Cry. Pray. Talk to a therapist or a coach. In fact, (side note) – it would have been impossible for me to heal alone… but I digress…NOTHING is wasted in this life if you take the time to see the lessons. No failure is a waste. Not one.

And also? God loves you. 🙂

Happy New Year Everyone!

xx Julie

Julie Chenell

Accidentally Plant Based – My 30 Day Experiment

Yesterday I wrote a post on Facebook about my accidental lifestyle change surrounding plant based food.

The thread blew up, and within minutes I realized… I think I need to write a post about food on my marketing blog (lol).

So here it is, my 30 day journey into plant based cooking. But first… a MAJOR disclaimer I need to get out of the way.

I am not a certified nutritionist. I am not a health coach. I do NOT diet. In fact, I could probably run for President on my anti-diet platform because I think there has been so much damage done to our society through fad diets. It’s really destroyed so many peoples’ confidence, created extreme eating patterns that wreck metabolism, and has contributed to a rising sense of “not good enough” because we all don’t fit a particular body shape or ideal.

If you were to come to my house, sit down for a cup of tea, and tell me you want to lose weight, I would instead tell you to read books about loving your body, breaking free from emotional eating, and giving up dieting… FOR GOOD.

My stance on dieting hasn’t changed one bit since falling down the plant based rabbit hole, because all of this had nothing to do with losing weight. It all started with a curiosity about fixing digestive issues because of an intolerance to dairy (you can read my Facebook post here).

What I’m about to share is what I did PERSONALLY. That’s it. So no crazy haters or naysayers okay?

Step One: Make Sure You Understand What Plant Based ACTUALLY Is

It is not Keto. It is not Paleo. It is not South Beach or Whole 30 or any of that. Those are all fad diets. And the majority of fad diets demonize carbs. Plant based eating EMBRACES carbs. I knew that if I was going to make through the most American of holidays – Thanksgiving – without meat or dairy, there’s no way on God’s green Earth I was not going to eat carbs.

So plant based is basically as it sounds… based on plants.

Plants are things like vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, and yep… GRAINS. If you were to sit down and write out every veggie and fruit and nut and seed and grain out there, you’d probably realize that the variety of food you can actually eat is crazy. There are so many options it’s overwhelming. Eliminating meat and dairy means no butter, cheese, milk, yogurt, chicken, pork, steak, etc. etc. It’s like 10 things.

Now think about what Keto removes. It’s like 7,560 delicious foods that are incredibly healthy… like oranges, grapes, quinoa, etc. etc. Any eating regimen that excludes half of what was in the Garden of Eden gives me major side eye.

Step Two: Work WITH Human Nature, Not Against It

Most people start plant based eating to lose weight. I did not. Which is probably why I had so much success. I wasn’t trying to change the way I cooked AND restrict calories. I wasn’t basing my progress based on a number on a scale. I was basing my progress on how much fun I could have cooking with all this new stuff. How could I get my kids excited about the foods I was making? How satisfied did I feel at the end of the day? My advice is if you’re going to try it, don’t make it about weight.

Now if you start reading a bunch of Whole Food Plant Based blogs, you’ll see they eliminate flour, sugar, oils, etc. I haven’t done this. Not because I think it’s a bad idea, but because I’m interested in WORKING WITH my nature, rather than against it. I knew it’d be a big switch just to stop using butter and eggs and chicken, so I started with what I could do.

And that meant… making sure I had all kinds of yummy substitutions available to show myself, my family, my meat loving husband that our choices weren’t limited… and we could still enjoy all the social holiday type stuff we always had before.

So naturally…I started with dessert.

  • I found a Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe that is RIDICULOUS. I actually used Whole Wheat White Flour vs. the standard bleached flour to give the cookies more fiber and density, and the kids STILL eat them faster than I can make them.
  • I also picked up some organic fruit bar popsicle-thingys if I wasn’t in the mood to bake.
  • We even tried this mocha pudding cake thing that was incredible (inside the Oh She Glows cookbook).

Step Three: Redraw Your Food Pyramid

I found this food pyramid that really helped – it’s on the plantproof blog here.

I noticed that all of my meals needed some sort of grain base to it in order to feel full. Think of it like this… if all you do is start eating salads, the bulk of the veggies will fill you up and you’ll get full. But you still might be in a caloric deficit, which leads to cravings, etc. So every meal I cooked had a grain + veggie base. This meant I had to figure out what kinds of grains to use, where, and why.

  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Quinoa (technically a seed I think but acts like a grain)
  • Bulgur
  • Cornmeal
  • Potatoes/Sweet Potatoes (technically not a grain but starchy enough to be a base)
  • Lentils (technically a seed I think but acts like a grain)
  • Brown Rice
  • Whole Wheat Flour (for breads and such)
  • Rolled Oats

Those are the ones I’ve tried so far. I know there are tons more but these are the staple grains we’ve used.

SO EVERY MEAL… I’m asking myself, “What grain and veggie do I mix now?”

Let’s take one of our FAVORITE meals here… Tacos. 

Well you can buy organic corn taco shells, plus tomatoes, lettuce, beans, and then what do you do for the meat? If you watch my IG stories, I RAVE about my Quinoa taco meat. It’s so good. So I made quinoa taco meat. If you absolutely need a dairy-esque topping (like cheese or sour cream) you can get a dairy substitute like tofutti.

Another meal we eat all the time (as do most Americans lol)? Meat and potatoes. It’s about American as it gets. 

And here’s where I think I stray from most folks who are sold on plant based… I still served my kids a meat if they want it. I’m not going to force my children to eat the way I do. My personal choice. So a classic meat and potatoes dinner shifted in this way….

I picked up a Rotisserie Chicken at the grocery store for kids that will die without meat. But instead of having a LOT of meat available for every person, I had just a small amount as a side.

I whipped up mashed potatoes using some almond milk and cashew butter, made a veggie (broccoli) and then offered a Veggie burger patty over greens to those who weren’t eating the chicken. Sunshine Organics makes a good veggie burger that has ingredients you can read on the back.

Another meal that we eat a lot? Pasta.

And even though pasta with tomato sauce is awesome, sometimes you just want a creamy pasta. Enter Avocado pasta. OMG. It was so good. Serve with a salad and some whole grain garlic bread. That recipe is in the Oh She Glows cookbook, although I found an alternate online one here.

Also? SOUPS for the win!

So many soups. Bean chili. African sweet potato/peanut stew. Minestrone. Soups are so easy and so delicious. Serve with bread crumbs or bread on top.

So my point here is, start thinking about what veggie and grain are going to form the base of your meal. Then work from there.

Step Four: Make Life Easier With Pantry Shopping

Here’s an argument for buying a cookbook. If you just use online recipes (which many are awesome), you end up having to buy 8,000,000 ingredients. But if you start with ONE cookbook and a few supplemental recipes, you’ll notice the author oftentimes uses the same things again and again. I started with the Oh She Glows cookbook and just committed to opening up that book and building my pantry from there.

I made a spreadsheet actually. You can have it if you want! It’s simply an inventory and there are three tabs… one for “We Need (the red x)”, one for “We Have (the green O)”, and one for “We Don’t Have but Don’t Need (the gray N)”. That one is for things that we might use but for whatever reason they aren’t in season or not what we’re into.

I keep it updated in real time and me and Alex and my house manager share access to it.

The idea is to fill your pantry with all the staples and just do your produce shopping every week.

  • We purchased those sealed containers to hold nuts and seeds and grains. Helps tremendously!
  • We outfitted our spice cabinet.
  • We made more room for fresh produce.
  • We looked for plant based snacks that, while not oil free, are at least a better choice than other processed things.

Once the kitchen was outfitted, cooking became so much easier. Tools we use a ton….

  • Food processor
  • Blender
  • Juicer
  • Lemon Squeezer
  • Instant Pot
  • Cookie Sheets
  • Cheesecloth
  • Shallow bowls (these make your meals look SO amazing and fun – power bowls I think they’re called)

Speaking of bowls, I went out and bought these.

And presentation is everything. So last night for example, I made a kale/quinoa salad. Put that on 1/3 of the bowl. Then I added a bunch of butternut squash, then a bunch of black beans, then topped it with Avocado cream and toasted pumpkin seeds. If I were a food blogger, it would’ve been IG worthy. But alas, I just ate it instead. So good (here’s the recipe).

Step Five: Create a Fun New Habit

For us? It was juicing. I know there are like crazy pro-juicers and then the people that are anti-juicing, and I’m just not going to fall down either rabbit hole right now. But I will say that making fresh juice every morning is something ALL of our kids got behind. Even William. Even when it’s green.

We’ve been experimenting with all different kinds of recipes, but this the produce we keep on hand:

  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Pears

(these are the sweet fruits that help sweeten a drink that might be bitter)

For green juice, keep on hand:

  • Celery
  • Kale or Spinach
  • Cucumber

For red juice, keep on hand:

  • Pomegranate
  • Beets
  • Strawberries/Raspberries

And then, don’t forget a splash of:

  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Grapefruit

We’ve started serving these half juice/half seltzer and I’ll tell you what.. it puts soda to SHAME.

Get some fun glasses, pour over ice, and enjoy. Last night’s concoction was like some decadent beachside cocktail (minus the alcohol) and it was SO good.

I was NOT excited about another kitchen appliance, and I admit – I resisted Alex’s insistence on the juicer. Not anymore. I’m sold.

Step Six: Fall In Love With Beans

I admit, beans by themselves don’t thrill me. Although now that my palette has changed, I feel differently. BUT… beans can do some pretty cool stuff! Here are two things our kids said YES to…

Falafel (we bake ours rather than fry)

Shove it all in the food processor, form into patty’s, and then freeze them. Pull out when you need. We love them over salads or inside whole wheat tortillas with veggies and tahini dressing.

Chickpea Chicken Salad

It’s not really that, but if you like the flavor and texture of a chicken salad on a piece of sourdough bread, this recipe from the Oh She Glows cookbook was one of our first winners. It legit tastes like you’re eating chicken salad on a sandwich.

Beans are so versatile, so filling, so good for digestion, I’m working on incorporating them into both lunch and dinner every day (I haven’t figured out breakfast yet). And if you’re short on time, just get the cans of beans. Don’t be a hero and soak them unless you’re on a mad budget and need the bulk pricing.

Step Seven: Fast Breakfast For The Win

If you’re like me, morning time is frantic. Kids have to be out the door by 7:30am. So our go to speedy breakfasts include:

  • Smoothies
  • Peanut Butter + Banana Toast
  • Avocado Toast
  • Baked Oatmeal (prepare the night before and keep in fridge for 3 days) – this by the way also can be a dessert

The Nutri-bullet is amazing. We taught the kids how to make smoothies… The idea is…

  • Coconut Milk or Almond Milk
  • Frozen Fruit (we keep a ton on hand)
  • Some type of seed (flax or chia)
  • Bonus points if you throw in some kale/spinach
  • Bonus points if you throw in some spices

If you’re in a MAD rush, just make the smoothie and put it in a to-go container. And if it feels too much like you’re drinking breakfast, make the smoothie a bit thicker, put it in a bowl, and top with granola, unsweetened coconut, and little pieces of dark chocolate. It’s like a mock acai bowl.

Step Eight: Don’t Ignore Your Body

If it’s hungry, eat.

Then eat again.

Then just keep eating.

For anyone who’s been on yo-yo diets, your body will naturally start to stop the feast/famine cycle when you’ve adequately convinced it that ABUNDANCE is here. Now I keep roasted veggies, grains/rice, and beans in my fridge so I can whip up a power bowl in minutes.

We always have some dairy free dessert on hand.

We drink juice and smoothies and spritzers in wine glasses.

Step Nine: Understand the New Weird Stuff You Will Cook With

  • Nutritional yeast for example. It’s in regular grocery stores, but it took me a bit to find it. It adds that cheesy flavor, plus it’s got all kinds of good stuff in it.
  • Coconut oil (which isn’t weird really anymore but if you’re used to regular canola oil, it takes some getting used to).
  • Tahini is like the consistency of peanut butter, and it’s made from sesame seeds. We use it all the time.
  • Get a garlic masher because there’s a lotta garlic going on in our house now.
  • A cheesecloth will help you drain the water when you’re soaking stuff like quinoa.

My point in all of this is that if you set yourself up right, it’s NOT harder to cook this way. It’s actually easier. Things can be served at room temp. Food spoiling and sanitizing spaces where raw meat was is gone. You can make all kinds of substitutions in recipes with whatever veggies or beans you have on hand. You actually eat MORE variety with less work.

Step Ten: Holidays, Travel, and More…

We’re going to Disney World tomorrow so I’ll report back on how it goes. Disney has over 400 plant based options on property so I’m sure we’ll be fine. And we’ve gone out several times in 30 days and here’s what we do…

Tell the server you have a dairy allergy. That way they’ll be sure to not cook with milk, butter, eggs, cheese, etc.

Then just order the vegetarian option on the menu.

  • We went to hibachi and had the noodles, the rice (without the egg), the veggies, the soup, and salad. We were STUFFED.
  • We went to Sushi and had veggie rolls, edamame, and miso soup.
  • We did Thanksgiving and filled out plates with veggie based stuffing, potatoes, cranberry sauce, more veggies, bread, and then had a lentil/kale salad as the whole grain.
  • We had company over and did a Taco bar and offered ground meat and quinoa meat so people could choose.

At this point almost every restaurant and party has a vegetarian option, so choose that and explain you’re dairy free and you’re good to go!

So What’s Happened In 30 Days?

Here are the things that have changed in our house since starting this…

  1. My teenagers regularly make fun of me because I’ve gone “hippie vegan”. They sometimes participate, sometimes don’t.
  2. William is drinking fresh juice every morning and getting a massive hit of vitamins that we wasn’t otherwise getting in his very picky diet.
  3. Alex and I are cooking together.
  4. We waste less.
  5. Insomnia GONE.
  6. Digestive issues GONE.
  7. Energy levels WAY up.
  8. Mood levels UP.
  9. Palette changed
  10. Sugar cravings gone (YES we’re still eating sugar and yet the night snacking is gone- I can’t explain it).
  11. Weight lost (I’m not tracking but I can tell by my pant size). I know Alex has tracked and lost somewhere between 10-12 lbs in 30 days.

So there you have it. 3000 words letter and not one affiliate link, it’s my gift to you! Merry Christmas!

By the way, a couple of books I read that cemented my belief around this way of eating?

I want to end with this. My family still eats processed food. We have diet coke and cookies in our cupboards. This is not about extremes. I personally feel better than I EVER have and have no desire for meat or dairy. So I’m going to keep going. But I’m also not the kind of person who’s going to control everything about what my entire family eats, because I’m a big believer in just leading by example, by what you feel in your heart you should do, without any judgment or shame about what other people choose to do instead.

So yea… maybe they ate a veggie burger with a Diet Coke and some potato chips.

Maybe they eat beans. Maybe they don’t.

All I know is that I accidentally fell into plant based eating, and me, my palette, my body, and my stomach… are happier than they’ve ever been.

Ep. 64 The Simple Business Truth I Learned From Disney

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I actually sent out an email this morning and I would like to do a whole podcast episode on it. So if you are on my email list you saw the email, but I’m going to expand upon it a little bit more here today. And it’s called the business lesson that I learned from watching Frozen 2.

So yesterday I took my 2 teenage girls to watch Frozen for the 2nd time in 2 weeks. And we saw it during opening weekend and we loved it, memorized all the songs, promptly went back. And I think that Frozen 2 is a more complicated storyline than the first one, but Disney did a great job. And I think that the second movie is a lot better than the first. I expected to laugh, and I expected to cry, but what I didn’t expect was to have this very profound and simple business lesson, that if you actually did what the movie preached you’d watch your life transform before your eyes.

And I said all this in my email when I sent it out. I am currently in the process of simplifying my life. And I think that all of us, when we get to a certain point in life, we are married maybe, we have kids maybe, we have a business maybe, we have customers. We create, we collect stuff along the way. We collect stuff, we collect people, we collect programs that we’ve launched that now have like a whole life of their own. And things often feel messier as you get older. We don’t see things in black and white as much, we see it in shades of gray. So I’m in the process of simplifying my life.

And if you’ve been following me, I started that simplification process in June, when I resigned from being a partner over at Clickfunnels. My life, my marriage, all these things were really exhausted beyond belief. I have 4 children, 3 of them are teenagers, and I looked at my life and said, “Oh my gosh, I don’t even know where to begin? Because there’s so many needs and so much going on, what can I start with?” And that really began sort of this season of my life of simplification.

And when we say, “Oh, we’re simplifying things.” It sounds cliché, it sounds trendy, it sounds like we’re getting a condo, it sounds like Eat, Pray, Love, but it is messy. It is hella messy, hard, complicated, not black and white, lots of shades of gray, and if you are trying to simplify your business or your life, and you have collected people and things along the way, this can feel like an unbelievable task.

So you end up having to turn over things that you figure, yeah, you’d just rather leave those things be. And I have felt that way in sort of undoing and looking at the stuff that I’ve built, looking at the stuff that I’ve done, relationships, the programs, the ideas, all of it and just saying, “Okay, where am I really making an impact? Where am I really making a difference? What is working, and what are things that are not serving me anymore?” And it’s not just selfish, serving me, but meaning also serving my customers or my kids, or my husband, or whatever it happens to be.

So for me, I’ve had to square up to the fact that I have this really bad habit of people pleasing. It is not a fun thing to have. And often times when I walk into a situation, I’m a very intuitive person, for those of you guys who do Meyers Briggs, I’m an INFJ, so the N and the F, I read a room, I read what people need, I know what they want, I can see. And it sets me up often times to say, “Oh, well if I give them that, they’re going to really like me.” So I can kind of morph to become what they want, or what they need in that moment to serve them.

But like anything that’s people pleasing, I eventually get tired of that because it’s not really me. So then I end up in a situation where I have two choices. I can either show up as the real me and risk rejection, or I can get really resentful. So I’ve had to work on this, and in my active simplifying my life and my business, I don’t know where to begin. It doesn’t feel simple.

So here’s where, and maybe you can relate to that, so here’s where Frozen 2 comes in. So Anna is in a cave, spoiler alert, she’s destroyed by the apparent death of her sister, plus the loss of her fiancé, her sidekick Olaff, she’s like, just her world is turned upside down. And she begins a song called the Next Right Thing. And there’s a line that says, “It’s all that I can do, the next right thing. I won’t look too far ahead, it’s too much for me to take, but break it down to this next step, this next choice, this next breath, is one that I can make.”

And it was so profound, and I just burst into tears in the theatre because I was like, it’s just the next right thing. We all know what the next right thing is. It’s a small, easy decision right in front of you, right now. And a lot of times we don’t take it because we’re too busy playing chess with all the moves and consequences ten steps ahead. We worry about a year from now, two years from now. We over think, we analyze, we talk ourselves in circles. But there is a business decision, or a life one, a small or big that’s sitting in front of you right now, as you’re listening to this, and your procrastination is most certainly a sign that you’re forecasting way beyond the next right thing. It’s making it very hard to do the next right thing right in front of you.

And it sounds so simple. Our temptation is to sort of just turn up our noses and be like, this is so simple. Because we expect the things to make the impact in life to be elaborate or complicated, but really just try it. Look at your to-do list today, look at your business, whatever it is that’s sort of plaguing you, and ask yourself, “What is the next right thing for me to do.” And if you’re like, ‘I don’t know, Julie. I honestly don’t know.” Then break down the decision even smaller. What is the next right thing that you can do to help you make the decision? Try that.

So I hope that helps. I hope that gives you an aha. For me, it gave me a big aha because I have decisions and every decision seems to have rabbit trails and side trails and just all kinds of stuff that makes me nervous, “Well, what if I make this wrong decision, then it has ramifications.” And that can really just totally throw you off, so instead you just say, “You know what, I’m just going to do what’s right in front of me.”

And the next right thing, honestly and most often, shows up as showing up, showing up in your world, in your relationships, in your business. Speaking the truth, the truth is always on your side, even when it feels like the truth will get you in trouble, the truth is on your side. Trusting your instincts, ignoring fear, fear is not a good predictor of success or making great decisions. Upholding your values, the things that important to you, moving towards your dreams, shaking off what is over complicated, trusting the process, even if the process feels uncomfortable, and most importantly, betting on yourself.

So I encourage you to go today, go and do the next right thing. I appreciate you all, talk to you soon.

Ep. 63 What Chicken Teaches Us About Course Creation

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I would love to talk to you about understanding what your unique selling proposition is. What’s my thing? And I want to make sure that people understand that I’m not talking about how to come up with a course idea, because that is the episode prior to this.

What I’m talking about is what is the unique thing in your course that helps your course stand out from the competition, so it’s sort of that stickiness factor, the idea that it sticks out among the sea of competition.

So I use the example of chicken to explain this concept to my Digital Insiders and people I’m teaching. Because let’s say you come up with an idea and you’re like, “I have a course on Facebook ads.” “I have a course on whatever, gardening, writing, style, photography, etc, etc.” So you have that idea, but now you need the thing, the USP, the unique selling prop that helps it stand out.

So it’s like chicken. Chicken is chicken, lots of people sell chicken. Every market is crowded. I can’t stand it when people say, “The market is saturated.” I’m like, “What market isn’t saturated? We’re like 7 billion strong, everything is crowded.” So just like selling chicken, we just need to figure out a way to spin what you’re doing differently than others are doing.

One of the biggest ways to spin something is to simply name it something new. Okay so, Russell Brunson did this when he called out Funnel Hacking. What is funnel hacking? It’s market research. So when Kathy and I launched Funnel Gorgeous, we had this concept of story blocking, which is really just copy design, and layout design. But we created a new name.

So one of the fastest ways to create a unique selling proposition is to just name your thing something new. So don’t overcomplicate your unique spin, just name it something and then here’s what you can do. There are 8 things that you can change about your information that makes you stand out a little bit.

So number one, you can change the order, which is the sequence of the information, so the order of things.

Number two, you can the container, which is sort of like the delivery mechanism. So how you actually deliver it, based on you know, what your information is looking like, what order it’s coming in. So let’s say if everyone is used to getting shoes at the store, and then all the sudden you are delivery shoes in a subscription service, you’ve changed the container, the delivery mechanism.

Number three is the combination. This is the mash up. So if people teach on design and teach on marketing, and then we mash up marketing design, you have Funnel Gorgeous. Okay, so there’s the combination, the mash up of info.

Number four is the speed. So that’s the time it takes to consume. So you know, if the average diet is a 30 day diet, and yours is a 10 day diet, now your unique selling proposition has to go on speed.

Number five, the curation, which is like how curated the information together. The expansive of it. Are you adding things that other people don’t typically cover? Is there a way in which your covering that other people don’t cover?

Number six, the experience, how much high touch is involved? So that’s another thing that can be a part of your unique selling prop.

The price, which is the most common unique selling prop that people use, it’s the laziest.

And then the last is the quality. So how do you become the best?

So a lot of you are like, “What does this have to do with chicken, Julie?” Great question, so think about it this way. Think of how many ways there are to stand out in the land of chicken. So we changed the order, the sequence of it. Imagine if you were hosting a progressive dinner and chicken was the main meal. So now sort of the order of how things are laid out is difference. Like a progressive dinner is completely random, as compared to just like going to the store and buying a chicken. So that would be an example of changing it up a little bit.

Changing the container of chicken would be like Hello Fresh. Again, you’re used to going to the store, but now Hello Fresh delivers Chicken Cordon Bleu meal in a subscription service to you. That would be changing the container, the delivery mechanism.

Number three, the combination, right, the combination of information. So in chicken maybe you’ve got new homemade chicken pot pie, or maybe you’re like, “You know what, I’m going to put chicken in ice cream.” Oh, that’s disgusting, but you create a new combination of a new mash up that hasn’t been done before.

Number four, the speed, the time that it takes to consume the information. Well, if you were doing this with chicken, Uber Eats delivers chicken to your door in minutes, or Door Dash, or any of those places.

Number five, the curation, so it’s sort of like how you lay it out, the expansiveness of it. And Kentucky Fried Chicken, is really a curation of all the best possible fried chicken. Fried chicken wings, fried chicken drumsticks, fried chicken thighs, fried chicken breasts. Whereas if you go to McDonalds you can get a chicken cutlet, but you’re not going to get that whole buffet. So curation is a way to stand out.

Number six, experience right, we talked about the high touch. Well, what if you went to a five star restaurant with the most delicious chicken you’ve ever tasted by candle light? Now it’s not coming in a box, it’s not being delivered to your door, it’s not fried up in a buffet, but now you’re sitting in a very nice restaurant, everything is beautiful, and you’ve got candles, and maybe you’re paying $700 for this chicken, but it’s a different way to experience it.

Number seven is the price, this is the lazy one, the cheapest way. So McDonalds chicken on the dollar menu, or stop and shop, which is our local grocery store discounting on their rotisserie chickens to a ridiculous price just to get you in the door.

And number eight is the quality, you want something that’s the best. In this case, you’d go buy the chicken alive at the farmers market, and then chop it’s head off when you got home and throw it in a stew.

My point is, most things that sound new are not. They are simply curated new, named new. OR there’s a new way of looking at it. So I want to give you one last example. I was, I click on all ads all the time because I love looking at them and looking at how they are positioned, and I found an ad today for, it’s in the diet industry. And very interestingly, most ads in the dieting industry are very not, I just, I usually don’t pay any attention to them because they’re pretty lame, and it’s all the same old, same old, same old.

But this particular fitness, nutrition person had a different USP, and in his it was, so we know what the problem is right, everyone wants to lose weight, and the solution is basically, what’s your mechanism? So the Keto people are like, “I have Keto.” And the Atkins people are like, “I have Atkins.” And Weight Watchers is, “I have Weight Watchers.” What he did was different, he went after the science of your weights set point, which is this idea that your body wants to be at a certain weight.

And he said, “Listen, the reason you can’t lose weight and keep it off, is because of your set point. Your set point is set to your weight, so even if you diet, you’re going to always go back to your set point because your hunger queues and everything is going to kick in.” and I was like, “Yeah, that does actually make sense.” because I read a lot of anti dieting material, and there’s a lot of discussion about weight set point and how most diets don’t work because it fights against this natural process.

And so his whole thing is like, the issue is the weight set point. And if you can change your weight set point, there’s a specific way to change it. So he wasn’t try to stand out in a new way to count calories, or a new type of food, or carbs are evil, or anything like that. He was trying to stand out with this idea that you need to change your weight set point, and that will make losing weight permanent. So in his way, he literally just did the chicken arrangement but he changed the curation and he created his unique selling prop, which was way, way, way more convincing than any of the other ads I had seen.

So when you, once you have your course idea, and if you don’t have a course idea, go to the previous podcast where I talk about ten ways to spark your next course idea, and then this is the second step, which is you really need to come up with a unique selling prop, a mechanism that you use that’s different than other people, for your actual program.
And that my friends, are two of the biggest secrets of course creation in the online space today. So I hope you have a great week, appreci
ate you all, talk soon.

Ep. 62 Ideas For Your Next Course!

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I want to give you an easy way to come up with up to ten course ideas. Probably not ten, okay maybe that’s a little bit of an exaggeration, but almost ten. Maybe five, either way, wouldn’t you just like one course idea. A lot of people feel like, “I wanna build a course. I wanna do some sort of info product. I wanna get in the game, but I just don’t know what to build a course on.”

So the problem isn’t that you can’t build a course, the problem is you probably don’t realize how many sellable skills you have. And it’s hard to see in ourselves super powers. We all have them, we all have talents, we have expertise somewhere it’s just difficult for us to see it. I want to preface this podcast by saying that it’s important that you don’t think that the point of this podcast is to teach you how to sell a course on anything, because I do want you to be an expert.

Over and above anything else, if you are actually an expert at something you can sell a course on it. It’s when people aren’t an expert on something that it becomes very difficult to sell. And you see a lot of copycat course creators out there where they say, “Oh this person is doing something on Facebook ads, well I can teach on Facebook ads.” And they teach basically a regurgitated version of something they just learned. That’s not being an expert.

So I know you might be like, “Oh crap. I’m not an expert in anything.” But you probably are an expert in something. Maybe you just haven’t thought of it as a passive income product that you can build. So these are the questions that I want people to answer when they’re trying to come up with an idea.

So question number one is, “I feel most alive when I am…” And I gave the example for me, I feel most alive when I’m writing, but I could have answered that a couple of different ways. I could also say, I feel most alive when I am teaching. Or when I am advocating for a social justice cause. I could have answered it multiple different ways. But when you feel most alive, that’s a sign that you are in your zone of genius.

And it doesn’t have to be something marketing related, or business related. You could just say for example, I feel most alive when I am gardening, when I am horseback riding, when I am at Disney World, when I am working on my car. There’s a million things you could put in that answer.

Number two, “people come to me when they need help with blank.” If you have people that come to you frequently for, I can think of a funny one, people come to me when they need help diagnosing what’s wrong with their kid. I know that sounds funny, most people go to a doctor, but I have this whole side thing where I know a lot about over the counter medications, and I know a lot about childhood illness, probably because I went through every single one. So I’m really good at spot treating what’s wrong with kids just by looking at rashes or understanding over the counter medication.

I don’t think I could probably make a course on that, because that would be sketch, but it is just a funny thing to say, “Yeah, I actually know a ton about over the counter medications and understanding them.” Could that be a free lead magnet for a health blog, sure it could. You know, just get creative. I know people come to me when they need help with course creation, funnels, marketing etc, etc. So ask yourself that question.

Number three, “Whenever blank comes my way, I’m over the moon excited to help or work on it.” So you want to think of a person with a problem to answer that question. So I would say for whenever someone who is really stuck and afraid in their business comes my way, I’m excited because I know how to help you. So whenever someone has a course that’s not selling, comes my way I’m super excited because I can help them.

So who is that person who would come to your door, knock on your door, and you’d be like, “Oh my gosh I’m so excited to help you.” There’s a chance that that person could be your future avatar.

Question number four, “Lots of people shake their head in disbelief when they see how I can…” make a carrot cake, how I can get so much done so fast, how I can lift 700 pounds without breaking a sweat, I don’t know. What do you do that people are like, “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe you do that.”? My son would be like, how I can beat every Nintendo game ever made on the planet of Earth.

Okay, question number five, “I remember when I took blank, and I remember having all kinds of ideas on how to make it better.” So was there a course where you took where you thought, “Oh my gosh, not only did I know all of this stuff already, but I thought of so many things that I could do to make that so much better.”? If that’s true, then chances are you’re probably an expert on that course material, and someone else has a course on it. So why couldn’t you make it beter?

Number six, “If I had to wake up every day and teach blank, I would do so happily for the rest of my life.” There’s a similar question that says, what could you get up onstage and talk for 90 minutes without needing any notes. That would be a sign that there’s subject matter that you know so well, that it literally comes out of you. That’s a sign that there’s something leverage-able there.

Number seven, “My biggest accomplishment to date is that I have blank…” Built a house with my own two hands, jumped out of an airplane 75 times….Okay, what have you done so far that you feel like is a major accomplishment in your life, that not a lot of people have done?

Number eight, “I went to school for….” You know, if you’ve spent 4, 6, 8 years getting a degree in something, chances are you have a lot of experience in that field to some degree. You know, maybe you’re not working in that profession but there might be some hints there. For example, I went to school for clinical psychology. It would make sense that I’m excited about marketing because there’s a lot of human behavioral psychology wrapped into marketing. So that’s sort of something that’s been leveraged.

Number nine, “I have 5+ work years experience in..what..” If you’ve worked at something for over 5 years, you probably can teach on it. So I taught piano for 10 years, I could teach a course on piano if I wanted to. I’ve done music, I’ve done teaching people how to teach, the art of teaching.

And number ten, “My friends know me as the blank fanatic.” I answered this as my friends know me as the Disney fanatic. I probably could put out a course on Disney planning and make some decent money. I don’t have time right now, but I keep that in my back pocket for another day.

My point is that if you answer those ten questions, it’s not as hard as you might think. There are probably things that you don’t even realize that you could offer, and just go through those questions, free write, journal, and then think, “Okay, what things am I an expert in.” because it’s going to be way easier to sell a course that you’re an expert in, so even if it’s something kind of random, and not something you’ve seen a lot. But if you’re an expert in it, it’s going to be way easier to sell it, than if you are trying to mimic somebody else where you don’t feel like an expert. Because you don’t need to be battling with imposter syndrome while you’re trying to build a course. It just takes a lot of time and energy.

So I hope that was helpful. I know that everybody who wants to get in the info product space, can get in the info product space, if they just sit down and think about their expertise for a few minutes. I hope you guys have a great week. Appreciate you all, talk to you soon.