Balancing it All

Where To Get Accurate Information About COVID-19 Coronavirus

I’m disgusted with BOTH the news media and our government’s attempt to educate the public about COVID-19. So instead of bitching about on social media, I’m going to do something about it by telling you where I’m getting my information. Take what you will!

I think most everyone will agree…

  • The news media has an agenda.
  • So does our president and the leaders who serve him.

It’s an election year and so both sides are quick to politicize this outbreak. Not only that, but our President has anchored his entire presidency to economic policy and the stock market, so delivering bad news will certainly continue to spook the markets. This is why we’re seeing these incredible press conferences filled with self-adulation, puffery, gaslighting, and very little ACTUAL information.

It would stand to reason that the only logical solution in this instance is to follow the advice of those who have expertise in infectious disease and public health crises like worldwide pandemics.

This means I’m following epidemiologists and other science backed accounts to read the facts and the analysis around the numbers.

If it’s a politician, a government official, or a major news media spokesperson, you can be sure there’s a spin somewhere.

And if you’re getting your information from conspiracy theorists or friends and family who might be falling down the rabbit hole of conspiracy theory, you might find yourself more panicked than you need to be… or too relaxed than you should be.

Today is Sunday March 1st, and in the United States, we’ve just recorded our first death.

Many epidemiologists are on record as saying that because of the lack of testing, many more deaths have probably been mislabeled as viral pneumonia or other flu-related deaths. We haven’t had the testing capability or the government’s permission to test until late last week.

That actually might feel a bit like a relief. After all, it means that the majority of people go on to be just fine. If the virus is here and the world hasn’t ended, then it’s not really a bit deal.

However, this isn’t just about an individual experience with a virus. This isn’t about how hard to panic (we shouldn’t by the way). It’s about our economic and health system bearing the weight of a brand new virus that will – if spread as far as they suspect – will cause enormous strain on our society.

What I’m going to do is curate a bit of information I’ve found — hopefully it will help you the way it did me!

>> Make sure you actually click on these tweets and read the whole thread. The author is tweeting replies to his/herself in order to give out more info! <<

This is a great (albeit) nerdy explanation as to why 1 death in Washington State actually suggests that we have hundreds of people infected that aren’t currently labeled as COVID-19.

If you’re wondering how to respond, how to track it, what level of awareness you should have, I loved these recommendations…

If you’re interested in understanding how scientists view this crisis, and why giving the system “slack” is so important, this was incredibly helpful!

In answer to the question, “Why is speed so important?”

Why this isn’t just about any one individual, but about doing our civic duty to stay informed and protect the frail around us…

Why the press and news relying on today’s numbers is so flawed…

If you have resources (scientifically backed – not government backed), would love you put them in the comments!

Ep. 69 When You Hate Your Customer + Other Uncomfortable Thoughts About Business

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Full Transcript:

Today I am doing a podcast to answer a specific sort of question, comment that one of my Digital Insiders brought up, and that was, “Why is nobody talking about what happens after your funnel works?”

I thought it was an interesting question because we spend a lot of time in marketing talking about how to get your funnel to work. And for a lot of people this seems to be the happily ever after. You know how in movies, like Disney movies when the end of the movie is they get married and it’s like, “Ah, there’s the ending.” Except that’s actually the beginning. That’s when life really starts. You’ll have to be married, you raise a family, all this kind of stuff, yet the movie ends there. I think that’s what happens a lot in marketing.

We talk about getting that funnel to work, when those ads finally convert, when your conversion rate is at a certain point and you’re just like, “Ahhh.” You know, and getting ready for your Two Comma Club award. But there’s so many things that happen once the funnel works, and a lot of people don’t talk about them.
So this morning I had a Voxer and she said, “I don’t know why, but all the sudden I’m feeling the weight of my funnel working and all the customers that it’s bringing and I can’t tell, is it me? Am I attracting the wrong customer? Is it just that my customers are needy because I haven’t set the right expectations? Or is that I’m just not used to it?”

And it was interesting because as I was thinking about it, I realized that for every single digital insider in my group who’s had a funnel that has eventually taken off, whether it takes off the first time around, or the third time around, or what have you, they all come to me with this same thing. I’ve had comments from insiders that say, “Oh my gosh, I think my funnel is attracting the wrong type of person, because I don’t really like this customer.” I’ve had this one, who this morning said, “I just feel so heavy with the responsibility of all these people.” And I’ve had others who’ve said, “Gosh, I think I’ve built the wrong business. I thought this was what I wanted, but I don’t.”

So this is the conversation that happens once the funnel works. And I’m going to throw a little shade here for a second. I think another reason why we don’t talk about it is there’s a pretty large population of internet marketers that don’t really care what happens after the sale.

Everything about their business and their energy is about making the sale, and then once the sale is made they’re kind of “Meh.” I don’t know. It’s not quite as exciting, definitely not as thrilling. So you find very little content on managing this. So I want to address this fact, and for those of you guys who have done a launch or you’ve got a funnel running and you started to get more customers, I guess what I wanted to say first is, you’re normal.

It is very normal to wake up with a whole boat load of new customers and think that you hate your customer. I’m going to argue that most of you probably don’t actually hate your customer, you just have mismanaged expectation. So we’ll talk about that first, so you hate your customer.

The second thing that happens to a lot of people is they just feel the emotional weight. Especially if you’re in a field or a market where you’re trying to help people grow businesses, lose weight, build relationships. These are like big problems, big solutions and they impact people’s lives in a really dramatic way. So that emotional responsibility is actually quite normal because if you care about people and you care about giving them a solution and it doesn’t work as intended, that can feel really draining.

And then the third is, you’re normal if one day you wake up and you feel kind of like you want to burn everything to the ground and start over. So let’s try and tackle each one of those moments or milestones because I think they’re really important.

The first one is when you wake up and you hate your customer. Now, for a small sub-section of people, you might actually be in a position where you marketed to the wrong person, and that does happen, and it’s painful and you have to figure out, do you shut your business down, do you transition out, what do you do? But for a lot of people, that’s the easy answer. “Oh I must hate my customer.” When often times before you’re successful in a funnel you’re doing everything in your business. Once your funnel works and you start having to be your own customer service person, pretty much everyone is going to hate their customer. Because customers in general, the bulk of them are awesome, and then there’s a sub-section of them that are kind of whiny or high maintenance or needy.

And this is just normal, I’m not trying to be negative about customers. But just in general. You’re always going to have customers who are, there’s going to be some that are awesome and amazing, and then there are going to be some that are squeaky. And I guarantee you the squeaky ones are going to be in your inbox before the awesome ones. Because if they’re super awesome they’re going to tell you, and it’s amazing. But if they’re just awesome in taking your product and using it, that’s like no news is good news. Except when you’re the owner of it, you don’t realize how much you want that encouragement, and then you end up with an inbox full of the squeaky ones.

So it’s kind of like, how shall I say it? It’s kind of like it’s not representative of what’s actually going on. So unless 30% of your customer base is pissing on you in your inbox, maybe you have 3 or 4% of people that aren’t happy, that’s normal. It’s just you happen to be hearing from them. So getting out of your inbox and out of your customer service as soon as humanly possible is important.

Think about a beloved company like Apple. I mean, obviously it’s huge and you know, the person who is actually designing the new whatever, iPhone or Macbook isn’t on the front lines of customer service, but I guarantee you there are thousands and thousands and thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of people who absolutely hate Apple. You know, and maybe they actually bought the product and they’re the squeaky wheels in the customer service.

So get out of your inbox, that is the problem. Is that you are still in your inbox and that’s very, very typical for people who have early success in a funnel and they’re excited and they want to respond to all their customers. But also remind yourself that the majority of your customers are awesome people who are having success with whatever it is that you’ve sold, or they’re enjoying it, or what have you. And you’re only hearing a small sub-section of those who are unhappy, so try not to do the whole extreme, pull 3 or 4 negative messages and be like, “Uh, all my people, they’re just annoying. I don’t like them.” Okay? So that’s the first one.

The second one is, if you feel the weight of responsibility. And I’ve had a lot of people ask me about this because I feel like in the internet marketing space, I carry a level of emotional responsibility that a lot of people aren’t willing to carry, or don’t know how to carry. I have thousands of followers, I have thousands of students, and I have about 80 high end, high ticket clients who I work with one on one. So on any given day when I open up my Voxer, I’ll have between 40 and 60 messages every single morning. And it’s pretty reasonable that I would say 10 to 12 of those messages, are heavy messages. People are either in tears, they’re tired, they have a problem, because I mean, that’s what business is.

Business is literally just ascending different levels of clearing problems. It’s like a Mario game. I’ve used this analogy many times. You beat the boss in level one, then you beat the boss in level two. And business is literally just beating bosses, killing gumbas, you know, all this kind of stuff.

So it is normal that my Voxer would have about 10% of the comments and questions, really hard things to deal with . So the emotional responsibility that you feel, especially if you’re solving big problems, is totally normal. It’s actually a good sign. It’s a sign that you’re a human that has empathy, so give yourself a gold star for that. I think it’s always really good practice to learn how to own your stuff, and let other people own their stuff.

And you know, I think about this in parenting all the time. If William is having a complete meltdown because something happened that was really, actually legitimately disappointing. So for example, let’s say I told him that we were going to go to the playground, and then he gets sick and he can’t go. He’s going to be sad about that. So I can be sad for him and stay with him in it without being like, “It’s okay. I’ll get you a movie and I’ll get you a Mario, and I’ll get you some lollypops, and try to make up for it. Because is that really helping him or is that helping me feel better?

And the reason why we do that to ourselves is because we’re trying to make ourselves feel better because we don’t like feeling the pain of somebody else. But that’s just part of the human experience.

So as your customer base grows, as you start to solve these problems and you have problems that are ending up in your lap that really aren’t ultimately yours to solve, learn how to practice a little meditative detachment is going to be incredibly critical, especially as you grow in scale. Because one any given day, I still need to be Julie, the mom, Julie the wife, Julie the business owner. And I need to be able to hold space for people who have problems and be with them in it, but not let it take me down at the same time.

So that’s also normal as well. It’s a lot. Especially when people don’t anticipate this, because all they’ve done is think about what’s it going to be like when my funnel actually works? So the third one is about feeling like you want to burn it all to the ground. Believe it or not, this one is also entirely normal. It’s very normal if you’ve actually had success very quickly.

The reason why quick success can cause that, more than slow success, slow success allows you to sort of adapt and get used to the level as it grows. Whereas quick success usually means your revenue has taken off, your customer base has taken off, but your systems haven’t necessarily caught up with that, and you know, hat tip to James Friell, he says, “Systems are people, process, and tools.” right. So we oftentimes don’t have enough people, employees, contractors, we don’t have enough standard operating procedures and processes in the business. And maybe the tools that we’re using aren’t going to work for what we’re trying to accomplish.

So rapid growth creates rapid problems, that are big problems. And the stakes are high. And I’ve actually watched this, even in my time working for Clickfunnels, and watching Russell, I mean, Clickfunnels grew so frickin fast. And the burden of responsibility on Russell who is the CEO was just intense. And sometimes I could just see, his eyes were kind of wishing for the days when life was simpler. When there wasn’t so much at stake, when the pressure wasn’t so high.

So if you have rapid growth, which in one sense we all want, but in another sense I would say the slow and steady growth is maybe not as sexy, but certainly a little easier. It’s going to feel very normal and natural to want to burn it to the ground at some point because it’s going to feel way messier than you anticipated. Because your anticipation was just thinking about what’s it going to feel like when I hit a million dollars? Or what’s it going to feel like when I hit 5 million dollars? But you didn’t actually think about the ramifications of what that was going to mean from an expense and system standpoint. You know?

The other thing is that entrepreneurial personality types, and it would be really helpful to know what your personality type is, and what your tendencies are, because in that sense there are certain personalities that are designed to always be go, go, go. What’s the next thing, what’s the next thing, what’s the next thing? For those personalities, maintaining a structure that grows quickly is one of the most exhausting things for their personality, and they would much rather be in that early planning, exciting, unpredictable start up phase.

So be careful when your growth hits and you feel that way. Because first of all you should never make a decision when you actually feel that way, you should wait until your more stable. But secondly you may burn something to the ground that you don’t want to burn to the ground, you just don’t want to be the person who has to manage it. So that’s an important thing that you can work out with a coach or a mentor.

So if you have thought that maybe you hated your customer, if you have ever felt the emotional responsibility of getting your clients results, or if you’ve ever felt like you wanted to burn your business to the ground, I’m here to tell you that all three of those feelings are entirely normal and not talked about enough. So I hope this was helpful and I appreciate you guys, and I’ll talk to you soon.

Julie Chenell

7 Truths 38 Taught Me

Today is the first day of the last year in my 30’s, and I did not expect yesterday’s birthday to be as emotional as it was.

Even without the big spiritual aha! moment that came whipping into my house yesterday morning (more on that another time), just the sheer number of birthday wishes and kind words on social media was enough to crumble the toughest of criers. I spent a large part of the day in tears. I felt so much gratitude, I felt unworthy of it all, I felt overwhelmed, I felt like I hoped I am “good enough” could continue to serve the people who follow me in a way that makes their world bigger and brighter.

Many of the well wishes were from people who entered my world a LONG time ago. Before all my huge wins or accolades, they were there. Which means for you… the people watching you RIGHT now, even if you think your following is small or your voice isn’t heard ringing loudly across social media, you’re making a difference right now. Somewhere, with someone. And honestly? When you become the kind of person that cares about people when it’s not glitzy or glamorous, you will immediately stand out because so many people turn over customers and followers like it’s nothing.

So what lessons did this last trip around the sun teach me?

1. Everything will eventually come back up and around, even if you don’t want it to. It’s SO hard to be honest, to do the right thing when it’s the hard thing, and no matter how much you try to stuff your red flags or your gut check intuition, eventually… it will find you. I am a classic second guesser. I have an instinct, and then I figure out how to make my instinct wrong so I don’t have to listen to it. 100% of the time it gets me in trouble, and I’m not cured yet. But I’m working on it.

2. The Six Hats are an amazing tool for your business. I discovered this in March of 2019, right before I kicked off and led the first ClickFunnels marketing retreat. I talked about it on my podcast, and how the six hats help teams brainstorm effectively.

3. Go to Disney World more. In the midst of some seriously stressful life crisis stuff, when people would ask me what I wanted out of life, the only thing I could come up with is… “I want to spend more time at Disney with my kids.” So I set that intention and fulfilled it. I visited Disney in April, July, September, and December. Since the start of 2020, I’ve been Disney two times with another trip coming up in about 6 weeks. You’ll never get what you really want if you don’t say it out loud and believe it’s possible.

4. Betting on yourself will continue to be the hardest thing you do, even though it’s EXACTLY what you need to be doing. At least if you’re the type of person who struggles with Imposter Syndrome or the disease of “not good enough”. I expected with more success it would get easier, but it doesn’t. The pressure just changes flavor. Learning how to bet on yourself starts right now, today. It starts when you don’t have a track record or testimonials or proof that you can do it. That’s when you learn to work that bet on yourself muscle. When I decided to do another affiliate contest with Pete Vargas’s Stage to Scale, when Cathy challenged us to hit our first $100k month in June with Webinar Gorgeous, when we had to push another $100k sale for Black Friday to try and hit the 2 Comma Club before this FHL, every time was just as terrifying as the first time.

5. Get ready because success brings 3D decisions. These are moments in life… decisions that have no wrong path, no moral compass, they are not driven by need, they are not driven by money, and every possible choice or path carries with it potential opportunity cost, unintended consequences, and soft and hard benefits and risks. I had more 3D decisions this year than I’ve ever had before… the most public one being my decision to step down as ClickFunnels partner to go back to my own business. There is so much about the life of someone successful that’s just total bullsh*t. There’s no destination. There’s no relief from pain or hard decisions. They just change shape.

6. It’s okay to change your mind. This is a hard one for me. The older I get, the more influence I have, the more careful I am about my decisions because I see how many people it affects. But then you get yourself in a mindset loop of feeling like you can’t change your mind because what will people think, what kind of fallout will there be, etc. I’ve tried to be really honest about this real fact of life and business because I’m trying to prove that you can change your mind. You are allowed to make mistakes. You’re allowed to make bad judgments. You will be okay.

7. Everything thinks their situation is unique… it’s not. That’s not meant to be a blow. It’s meant to be a relief. I’m now clocking well past the “10,000 hours to becoming an expert” with business coaching and marketing strategy. And it’s not with a small group of people. It’s with hundreds of people, plus thousands of students. As an example, if you went to the doctor for some strange disease and he said, “Oh well… thousands of people have this, here’s what you do…” you’d be relieved. Imagine if he said, “Oh man. This is some horribly rare disorder.” You’d be freaking out. Your problems are not unique. They are regular. They are normal. They are the things I’ve probably addressed hundreds of times in the last 5 years of coaching. That means that EVERYTHING you’re currently dealing with… is solvable.

It’s like you’re on Level 2 of Super Mario and you haven’t beat the level yet, but there are people who are on Level 5 and can tell you exactly how to beat the boss. I’ve got some HUMDINGER problems in my life right now. Not easy, not small, not fun. But I console myself with this truth, and go find the people who’ve beaten the higher level bosses rather than try to figure it out myself.

Like I said above, today is the first day of the last year in my 30’s… it’s hard to not see the symbolism that this next trip around the sun will be a big one. I’ve got my “teach me” glasses on because I want to leave this decade fully equipped to handle the next one to come.

And…I have a funny feeling I’m coming to a boss level and I’d rather advance than play the same game over and over.

xx Julie

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.

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