Julie Chenell Sitting at a desk writing in a notebook

How To Know When You’re Teaching Too Much In A Webinar Or Challenge…And What To Do About It

Challenges and webinars are two of the most effective ways to build buzz and anticipation in a launch.

But before you put in all the hard work to build one, let’s look at the number one problem marketers face when creating this type of content.

They teach too much.

The issue of course is fueled by an over reaction to a trend to NOT TEACH AT ALL, which was commonplace a few years ago (and you can find lots of pockets of people still bloating their content with a lot of nonsense and fluff).

So in an attempt to not be that way, we’ve seen a rise of INCREDIBLY chalked- full-with-juicy-goodness webinars and challenges that give away all kinds of knowledge and strategy and tactics, and leave the participant feeling like they don’t need the program at all.

Where’s the middle ground? You want your lead to be impressed, happy they came and attended, and most importantly, you want them to buy your offer.

Finding the right balance isn’t easy, and if you’re hearing things like:

  • Omg this was amazing and I can’t wait to implement it all
  • This was as good as a paid course…
  • I don’t even need your [program name] because of how much I learned!

These are signs you’re teaching too much in your free content, and not positioning your lead to buy.

Let’s take a look at a typical 5 day challenge setup.

For the purposes of this example, we’re going to pretend we are a book coach. We teach people how to write books, launch them, sell them, etc.

Our product is a $2000 program that takes a student through the book writing process in 60 days, and includes help with the outline and the writing process.

Before you build a challenge that leads into this offer, the creator must ask themselves an important question:

“What problem must my student feel deeply in order to be motivated to buy my offer?”

In this example, my student might buy my program if:

  • They have a ton of ideas and no idea where to start or which one to go with
  • They have a half written draft they hate and are ready to throw away
  • They’ve gotten an outline done but are masters at procrastination and haven’t written anything yet

In each of these scenarios, I can see the 2 main problems clearly…the problem of lack of clarity and lack of direction. 

The more foggy and directionless they feel, the more pain they are in during the writing process, the more effort and resources they will spend to get themselves out of that spot.

But it doesn’t stop there, because in order to alleviate the pain, they could simply…quit.

So what other problem must they be acutely aware of in order to take action?

The consequences of NOT writing a book at all.

Sometimes it’s difficult to feel a consequence like this because it requires the person to understand opportunity cost.

Opportunity cost is about the loss of potential gain from OTHER alternatives when one alternative is being chosen. In this case, the choice to quit writing removes them from feeling the gain of what sticking it out and publishing would produce.

Let’s ideate for a minute. What are the benefits to writing a book?

  • You get asked on more podcasts and stages leading to a bigger audience
  • You get instant credibility leading to more opportunities
  • You get new leads from people who’ve found and read your book leading to more sales
  • You get new sales & revenue from selling the book which gives you more revenue
  • You make more connections with experts you might have interviewed for the book and that can lead to potential collaborations
  • You get increased confidence in yourself as an expert in your field, which leads to taking bigger risks

After this exercise, we’ve got three primary problems our student MUST feel urgently and deeply in order to take action.

  1. Lack of clarity (what to write)
  2. Lack of direction (how to write it and get it done)
  3. The consequence of giving up (many pain points there)

You could keep going with this and identify more and more problems if you wish. It’s never a bad exercise to really get intimately acquainted with the pain of your customer.

Now it’s time to build a challenge for the aspiring writer. If we pause here for a moment and pretend we didn’t do this problem exercise, a creator might put together a challenge like the following:

  • Day 1: How to pick your best book idea
  • Day 2: Creating your outline
  • Day 3: Getting in the habit of writing
  • Day 4: What to do when you get stuck
  • Day 5: Pitch (Inside our Writing Your Book in 60 Days Program)

The creator would probably struggle a bit trying to figure out what to teach for free and what to keep “secret” for the course.

The creator might settle on a big picture overview and outline and leave out a bunch of details.

Or the creator might teach snippets from the course and try to “over-deliver” in order to get the potential student excited to see more.

Does this sound familiar? It’s so incredibly common. Don’t feel bad if this has happened to you.

Another way creators build challenges is to focus on the stuff the student needs to do BEFORE writing. So a challenge might look like this:

  • Day 1: What are you an expert in?
  • Day 2: The book idea incubator
  • Day 3: Testing your book idea
  • Day 4: Building the outline
  • Day 5: Pitch (Inside our Writing Your Book in 60 Days Program)

In this example, it’s a bit easier (and more effective) because even if you “give away the farm” you will have solved one problem…in this case the idea of what to write, but you will not have solved AT ALL the idea of how to write it.

But is this really the best we’ve got for our challenge?

Let’s go back to the problems we unearthed in our exercise above. Most creators undervalue their diagnostic skills.

If you have a pain in your stomach and you go straight to a surgeon, that surgeon will open you up and look around, try to figure out the problem, and then fix it? No! Of course not.

Instead, you will be diagnosed with a specific problem – in this example – appendicitis. That piece of information is CRITICAL to both you and the surgeon.

The same goes for our student.

When we are able to accurately diagnose their problem, and help them SEE the problem accurately, then we don’t have to hardly sell at all, because they will be convinced themselves.

Diagnostic teaching uses a lot of stories, tangible before/after examples, assessments and reflections.

Let’s build a challenge that’s more diagnostic than prescriptive. We can do this by building a challenge AROUND the problems. Assign a problem to each day.

  • Day 1: I want the student to FEEL and understand the consequence of not writing a book.
  • Day 2: I want the student to FEEL and understand they are lacking clarity
  • Day 3: I want the student to FEEL and understand they are lacking direction

Starting with Day 1, we could do a story based teaching about the benefits of writing a book. We could talk about the scarcity of time, about resistance to doing hard things, about imposter syndrome and fear.

As a tangible activity, you could have them write their fears and overcome them, write out their goals and vision, create an accountability plan, etc.

On Day 2, we want them to walk away realizing that clarity makes EVERYTHING easier. Use an example of an author who was unclear vs. one who was clear. Showcase the two outlines side by side. Examples and stories create more aha! moments than bullet points. They should be able to quickly see how one outline makes SO MUCH more sense than the other.

As a tangible activity, give a clarity assessment worksheet to help them rank how clear or unclear they are on their topic. The goal is for them to recognize where they are lacking that clarity and have an aha! that this is why they haven’t taken action yet.

On Day 3, it’s time to help them feel the pain of lack of direction. Set up the challenge about the tale of three authors. Maybe one hasn’t started at all, one is halfway through and blocked, and one is finished and hates it and it’s collecting dust in Google drive. In this way, they can start to identify who they are in this story.

You could show what happens to books that don’t have direction vs. ones that do. Compare and contrast units sold on directionless books vs. bestsellers.

As a tangible activity, do a “how I will know my book has direction” reflection. Ask them what their expectations are around the book writing process.

Now you still have two days left. You could go back to the problem exercise and find another one, or you could start to identify the path forward (which leads right into the sale).

You could make Days 4 + 5 both more sales pitch days as you use the course program as the roadmap or guide to solving these pressing issues.

The final challenge outline might look like this:

  • Day 1: Your Book Publishing Dream
  • Day 2: Getting Crystal Clear On Your Perfect Book Idea
  • Day 3: Three Roadblocks Every Author Faces
  • Day 4: Setting Your Writing Process Up For Success
    (this will start to introduce the program)
  • Day 5: Get Your Book Done In 60 Days
    (Inside our Writing Your Book in 60 Days Program- full pitch)

We’ve now done this process with a challenge, but it works exactly the same for a webinar. The steps are simple to say, but take a bit more work to do.

  1. Identify the problems your potential customer faces
  2. Identify what they need to FEEL in order to take action
  3. Teach from a diagnostic perspective vs. prescriptive (save that for your paid program)

You can use this framework for other types of content too. Emails, social media content, presentations, podcasts, and more.

Try it out next time and resist the fear that diagnosing a problem isn’t enough “teaching”.

Ask the guy who got the appendicitis diagnosis before surgery. He’d agree.

xx Julie

P.S. I do these challenge/webinar hotseats with all my 1:1 clients. If you’re making $100k or more a year and would like to work with me personally, you can apply at digitalinsidersmastermind.com

Julie Chenell sitting outside smiling

A Statement Regarding My Past, My Father, + The Events of 2011

I am going to preface this statement by saying that I do not owe anyone an explanation for my past. Every single human on planet Earth has things they are not proud of. The first person who wants to cry sinless, go ahead and pick up a stone.

That said, I am going to explain my past in a way that hopefully puts all the Internet articles in context. And if you’re wondering why I’m explaining all this personal stuff that happened 11 years ago… it’s because people are using it against me, and I would like to put the issue to rest… permanently.

My childhood was good growing up, albeit complicated. I had a ghost of a biological father in the distance. I knew I had a “real” dad but didn’t know him, didn’t have a photo, didn’t know where he lived, if he had other children, nothing. 

This deeply impacted me as a little girl.

As an adult, when I finally connected with him in a meaningful way, I was unprepared for the emotions of adoptive reunions. I also had no idea what a narcissist was (it wasn’t trendy then). 

I am not interested in reliving the trauma for internet trolls and bullies who are dumpster diving for information to prove I’m unfit as a business owner. 

But we’ll leave it at this: This man psychologically and sexually abused me for 9 months. And now I have all kinds of words to describe what happened.

  • I trauma bonded (not in the cute IG reel sense, in the dark – I want to end my life kind of way). 
  • I developed some sort of Stockholm syndrome.
  • I had a fawn response.

Anyone who studies these kinds of situations understand the nuance of how an adult woman could convince herself she wanted her father to sexually abuse her and call it love. 

In 2011, I did what I do to try to survive it. I coped. I adapted. I researched. I tried to find any reason I could to explain why my father had done this. I wanted so desperately to know that he wasn’t a monster. I didn’t want to lose him again after just finding him. 

And I began to write. I wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote. And because of that, I gathered attention. Attention of the media. ABC News, Dr. Drew, adoption experts all over the world. I had camera crews at my house. I wrote a book. Sold thousands of copies. Traveled to other countries to speak about it.

All of it based on this idea of genetic sexual attraction. The idea is that in a healthy family system, the Westermarck effect keeps parents and children and siblings from being attracted to their kin. When two people are blood relatives and grow up without each other and then reconnect, that bond can become intense, confusing, and sexualized. Without the Westermarck effect, people can get themselves in difficult and compromising situations. 

I wanted this to be the answer. My father wanted it to be the answer. That way he wasn’t a vicious predator. And I wasn’t a victim. If I had to admit that what he was doing was abuse, I would have to cut him out of my life forever. 

For all of 2011 and 2012, I had my father in my ear, and this trauma bond response convincing myself and everyone that this was just an adoptive reunion gone awry. Anything you read or see from that time, please understand that is the context and backdrop. 

In 2013, I finally cut him out of my life forever. And I found this book called The Kiss by Kathryn Harrison. And I reached out to her to ask if she thought Genetic Sexual Attraction was the issue. She was very nice, and told me that I had been the victim of some very dark abuse, and eventually… I would realize this. 

Sure enough, she was right. 

Today, my understanding of what happened is very different than what I thought back in the middle of the crisis, with a father in my ear suggesting what I had to say in order to keep us together. 

So why am I telling you all this? Because some people have found my interviews and articles from 2011, in the heat of the crisis (again with my father in my ear), and they are using these videos and articles to prove that I am … I don’t know what exactly. Crazy? Psychotic? A liar? 

Much of what I said in those pieces I do not believe now. But when your father is waiting on the other side of an interview and you don’t want him to threaten suicide or some other psychological punishment, you do what you have to do.

Now these things are being used against me.

The funny thing is… I’ve spoken publicly about my father in several places. On stage at events, in my podcast, and in writing. I’ve never hidden the fact that this happened. 

I am deeply hurt that people are using my personal past with my father to somehow convince others I’m not fit as a business woman. 

As you can imagine, this event in my life has colored everything. 

It is one of the primary reasons my first marriage dissolved in 2014.

It is one of the primary reasons I chose a second relationship that wasn’t good for me.

It continues to be something I fight and contend with in a disorganized attachment style has me craving safety and yet at the same time, fearing truly being known, afraid of being left or told I’m not worth the work.

After all, when a father isn’t interested in you as a small helpless child, but heavily interested as an adult female… that messes with your sense of self-worth.

I’ve done more therapy than most people do in a lifetime. I consider myself a fast learner, and try to internalize what I learn quickly. I am self-aware and non-judgmental and just generally — a good person with a complicated relationship past.

My sister Nicole shared with me the other day the concept of the four burners. Every person has four burners – Health, Family, Work, and Friends. For many successful people, you’ll find one burner is off. For those who are INCREDIBLY successful, you might find even two burners off. The concept of being amazing at it all is one that is perpetuated everywhere because we all want it to be true. And maybe for a season it is.

I know for me, my family burner has struggled. Specifically the “love life” portion of family, though I know my kids probably carry scars of all of this as well. 

I’m not sure exactly what people are trying to prove by drudging up my past. I’m not perfect, never have been, never will be. 

I have struggled with love relationships. This is why I’m not going to be a marriage counselor or therapist. I don’t know what it has to do with anything I teach or train in marketing, money, productivity, or business.

And I will say this: If we’re going to crucify people for their issues, problems, addictions, and traumas… then every single one of us should fucking exit stage left right now. 

  • I am not a guru. 
  • I am not anyone’s messiah. 
  • I am not infallible. 

If you are uncomfortable working with me because of this, please just leave me the hell alone. I will not be blackmailed, threatened, or held hostage for being a messy human who does the best she can at any given moment. 

My past is no one’s business.

My present is no one’s business either.

I will probably struggle with this event for the rest of my life. Like anyone with any kind of scar, it’s just a thing they must deal with. 

None of this has ANY bearing on anyone I work with whatsoever. The only person that needs to know any of it… is the one I am with in a love relationship with. 

I really debated whether to even say anything. But I thought… on the off chance that me standing up and sharing what has happened to me gives someone else a feeling of relief that they don’t have to hide their skeletons.

Also… warning label to anyone who thinks vague-booking about someone else is a good idea. It is not. It causes people with mal-intent to simply dig and dig until they find something they can use as a weapon. 

I am quite angry if I’m honest. Mainly because I don’t know why I continue to run with a target on my back when I am largely staying in my lane. But underneath that anger, is just sadness. 

  • I wish people would have grace for each other.
  • I wish people would just ask me directly instead of spreading hate and misinformation.
  • I wish people would stop over dramatizing certain types of trauma vs. others.

I have another 40 years left on this Earth (God willing). I promise you. You will find more dirt because I’m going to continue to be an imperfect messy human just trying to find love, do her best, and live to her potential.

Julie Chenell sitting outside smiling

How To Stop Riding Life On The Default Setting

It might not be obvious to any of us on a day to day basis, but the world has radically shifted in the last 50 years.

We’re watching as understood norms and structures are collapsing right before our eyes – either through corruption or a mass awakening or both.

  1. Is college really the best way to get a higher education?
  2. Is the American dream of buying a home with two kids and a white picket fence really sustainable?
  3. Do the police actually protect us or are they a part of the problem we see today?
  4. Is Democracy stable against tyranny and uprising?
  5. Do we really need banks and intermediaries or can we democratize and digitize money?
  6. Why do we think staying in the same career for 30+ years is the right path for most of us?
  7. Is Capitalism destroying the planet?

Will we even be here in 100 to 200 years? If we are, it won’t look anything like what we’ve known as modern society in the last few decades.

What happens energetically in society as a whole trickles down into each individual person and depending on where you are in the structure of it all, you might be feeling this radical shift internally as well.

  1. Is everything I worked for what I actually want?
  2. Why did I believe that this was the best path for me? And is it still true?
  3. Do I feel like I’ve lived fully so far, and if not, do I need to make a change in order to make the next 30-40 years more fulfilling?
  4. Have I coasted on societal norms and expectations only to feel empty and lost?

You might read those questions and say, “Oh that’s just someone in a midlife crisis.” And that might be true.

But in this time of the world, I would argue that these questions are a necessary ask to every human being who doesn’t want to just ride through life on the default setting.

Especially now when our civilization is headed for collapse.

The scariest moment for all of us is when the answer to those questions requires a reinvention. And that is something I know a bit about. I’ve done it before, and in many ways… am doing it again.

Truth #1: The fundamental belief that “end” means failure… must die. 

In 2014, my first marriage ended. And with it, a lot of the traditions, routines, friends, and community that went along with that union.

In addition to the end of my marriage, I lost my church. My best friends. My home. My town. My entire community. If you could write a definition of burning it all to the ground, that was it.

It was a mess. And in that season, I learned another truth.

Julie Chenell

Truth #2: Mess isn’t bad.

Walk into a garden in October in the Northeast and you will see a mess. The flowers are dying. Weeds might have grown up. Bugs. Maybe even some disease on leaves after the hot and humid summer.

Walk into that garden in February and you will see death. Nothing is alive or moving. The ground is frozen.

Walk into that garden in May and everything will look right. Bright green foliage, new flowers, life. Even still… it’s planted in dirt.

When things come crashing down in your world, it will be messy. You’ll feel conflicting emotions. You’ll doubt yourself. It doesn’t mean it was the wrong thing for you.

What happened for me is much like what you see in the mystical Phoenix. With everything dead and burned, I was able to resurrect the parts of me that I wanted to carry forward, and the parts of me I needed to let die.

My life today looks nothing like back then, but I still hold many of the same beliefs I did then. They just are expressed differently.

My potential would not have been unlocked if not for that mess and failure and end.

It doesn’t feel good to watch the deck get shuffled. But that cliche saying about failure is true.

Truth #3: We learn more in failure than in success. Failure is our greatest teacher.

We need to redefine failure because it is the only true catalyst for change in the human heart. Yet, most of us go to extraordinary lengths to avoid it. And by doing so, we avoid learning deep truths about ourselves that can change the way we impact the people around us.

That reinvention in 2014 taught me so much about myself and the world around me.

And silly me, I thought that was the only one I would need.

Why do we believe that a human being (average lifespan 75 years old), wouldn’t need to go through several cycles of reinvention in order to reach their highest potential?

Show me something in nature that doesn’t cycle naturally through seasons. I’ll wait.

And in all of those life cycles, death is a part of it. What’s true in one area, is true in another. For us as humans, our physical life cycle might have one natural death, but emotionally/intellectually, it’s absurd to think we wouldn’t go through several of those cycles in our lifetime.

Truth #4: If you’re committed to reaching your potential, be prepared to leave behind old patterns that don’t work anymore.

In my decision to end my current marriage, I had to wrestle with the societal norm that says divorce is only for people who can’t stick it out in relationships.

No one was going to come and reassure me on that. Despite the fact that I would be more accepted societally if I had slept around with 10-15 guys and married none, vs. staying loyal and true in two longterm serious marital relationships that ended.

It sounds absurd right? Why would I have more scorn from the world than that other scenario where I would be unable to commit to anyone in a real meaningful way?

Truth #5: Question what you believe and why you believe it. You might discover cognitive dissonance at work.

It’s scary when you uncover beliefs that don’t make logical sense. And, as a faith based person, I don’t worship logic as the highest form of thinking. I’m perfectly comfortable believing things that require faith to hold.

However, doing that with the awareness that they are based on faith is where you have to square up with yourself.

Pretending your beliefs are logic based when they are clearly not creates a pattern where you’re not willing to question yourself and your beliefs regularly.

As I’ve been walking through this divorce process over the past months, I have a new awareness of how much the body does keep the score. My physical body is the key to what’s happening emotionally for me, and this is one of the first times I’ve really understood what’s happening.

I’ve learned to notice the sensations in my body – a queasy stomach, tightness in my chest, numbness in my hands, racing heart, shaky jaw… and then even more subtle sensations… a feeling of fullness in my throat, small vibrations in my stomach… it’s all communicating to me important truths about the emotions running through me.

I didn’t realize how much I try to push certain emotions down until I started paying attention. Most of my anxiety is fueled by the desire to avoid feeling pain and sadness. And this is where I got stuck back in 2014.

I learned so much but didn’t understand this. And I do now.

Truth #6: We’re designed to feel our emotions, and if we don’t, we get stuck. They will entrap us. The way out is through. Simply feeling an emotion in the body and letting it wash over us like a wave is how we process emotion.

All this talk of hard things does have a positive flip side.

The potential for love is deeper.

The ability to tap into true empathy means you will be able to reach more people.

The feeling of true happiness and contentment is more accessible.

The body keeps the score in both positive and negative ways. Living in stress, avoidance, fear, anxiety, frustration will take its toll on you physically as much as emotionally.

The brain controls everything, including the hormone response to stress. And those stress hormones in large quantities over a long period of time will manifest in your life.

How about we use this incredible power of the mind body connection towards the positive?

None of this is easy, but it’s 100% worth it. I’ve been through some of the deepest pain and sadness in both seasons of reinvention, and it’s tough – but in each of them, I have held onto my commitment to doing what is best for me, regardless of how it feels in the moment.

I know that the more responsibility I take for myself and my potential, the more impact I will be able to have on those around me.

I did a podcast episode the other day and I was asked the question, “What legacy do you want to leave on this Earth?” and it took me a minute, but it was clear as day.

I want people to look at my life and think, “If she did it, so can I.”

Julie Chenell

xx

Julie Chenell sitting outside smiling

16 Lessons On Money

I’m thinking a lot about money these days. In some ways I feel totally unprepared for what’s happening. In other ways, I feel totally at peace and realize… that there is a lot of work I’ve done to get to this point, and if I can help anyone with a shortcut, I will. So here are 16 quick Saturday morning lessons on money. I hope they speak to you.

xx

1. No matter how hard or gnarly something seems today, it will be harder tomorrow – I promise. Procrastinating on money stuff, whether it’s debt reduction, investments, wrangling a money goal… so many of us don’t like to do it because it feels too hard or messy in the moment. And without fail, every time, I realize days, weeks, months down the road — it never gets EASIER. Today is the best day.  So now when I know I need to do something, I stop what I’m doing and do it today, knowing that tomorrow it’s not going to magically be easier.

2. Many money things (like purchasing life insurance for example), feel a bit like overkill. I remember when I elected to file as an S Corp into 2016. Felt like overkill because I wasn’t making much yet. It feels weird to do something BEFORE you need it. It feels like overkill. It scares you because you’re like, “But what if this is the best it’s going to be?” and then you over prepared. When it comes to money, no matter how it plays out, even if it feels like overkill, do it.

3. Know your numbers. Even if they are hella ugly and depressing and you think not knowing them is somehow going to make things better, it’s not. Face the numbers. I speak from experience on this one.

4. As you start to make more, the management of money will take up more and more of your time. That’s why there are entire fields of expertise around wealth management. If you want to turn your full time job into managing cash and investments, go for it. Otherwise, find an expert who doesn’t have a bias towards one type of investment and then take their advice!

5. You might think that debt is the scariest problem in the world of money… but it’s actually less scary than you think. When you realize how much companies and hell even the government use debt, you start to realize that we carry so much shame around something that much of wealthiest people in the world leverage to keep cash flow moving. There is debt you want to avoid sure, but it’s not the scary monster Dave Ramsey wants to make us all believe.

6. Your greatest financial investment is in your longterm emotional, spiritual, physical, and intellectual health. I used to think that earmarking money for therapy or coaching or development was a luxury or an “exception” to the rule. Now I see that the #1 way I like to spend money is on the development of myself and my kids. Whatever they need and whatever it looks like, it comes back in spades.

7. It always feels too hard until it isn’t. There are some money decisions in my life that feel absolutely crippling. And the anticipation of it is worse than the walking it out. So when you start to want to worry about money in the future, remind yourself that it is far more painful – the act of worry – than the walking out of whatever it is you have to do.

8. Hang around people who see money as a tool, not as the end destination.

9. Figure out your *enough* numbers. The amount you need to live the life you want. The real amount. The amount you need to retire. Stop chasing a destination when you haven’t yet plotted the coordinates (because of fear, lack of know how, etc.).

10. You can ALWAYS start over when you focus on skills, mindset, and connections. Those are your three pillars. What skills you can continue to market. What mindsets you need to stop thinking you have no choices and you’re stuck. What connections matter and give you life and energy and which ones you need to let go of.

11. Money will be a part of any major identity shift you make in life. If you’re scared of it, you might not make the transformation you’re supposed to make because you don’t want to face the financial reality. It’ll always be the excuse you fall back on.

12. It’s so cliche… for a reason. More money is not going to make you happy. However, not letting money become a source of pain and suffering, deciding you will get back in the drivers seat instead of sticking your head in the sand, and seeing the money conversation as simply unlocking a new “level” in the video game of life… will give you more peace.

13. Parkinson’s Law states work will expand to fill the time allotted for its completion. If you have two hours or two weeks, you’ll use that whole time even if it you could have done it in 30 minutes. Money works on the same principle. It’s going to be spent, whether it’s $1.00 or $1000. So might as well create some intentions around where it goes.

14. As you sit here today and think about a financial goal of the future, understand that the person you will become to be able to manage that goal will adapt and transform. So when you arrive, don’t be surprised if it didn’t feel like you expected it would.

15. Get outside perspective. Seriously. Stop thinking you’re weird or abnormal. You’re not. We’re all on this spinning blue ball doing the best we can and I assure you – you are not alone. All the money in the world that we could ever need, is already there. We just need to change how we relate to money to start to access it.

16. I’ve had no money and lots of debt. I’ve had some money and a little debt. I’ve had a lot of money and no debt. I’ve had money that I thought was forever that I have to lose. If I could give people anything from my journey, it’s that money is an inside job. A job of the heart and of the mind…and a little bit of the hands.

If you’ve not been a part of the Future Fund community, I invite you to do so. The course is open all the time, but Aryeh and I will be holding a complimentary office hours and Q&A session for all students this Wednesday, April 27th at 2pm EST. All current students are invited.

In this world of rapid inflation, volatile markets, emerging crypto and blockchain technology, a crazy housing market, and a quickly changing digital landscape, this is your chance to come and ask questions. Hope to see you there!

Julie Chenell

About Divorce

The grief took me by surprise. The depth of my tears seemed to come from the innermost parts of me and sometimes I felt like they would never run out. I felt very much like death had come to my door, and I had no choice but to ride out the tsunami of grief it brought

  • Death to surviving.
  • Death to over functioning.
  • Death to loose boundaries.
  • Death to bending because I’m scared of losing love.
  • Death to trying to make a happy ending.

Today, I find myself struggling sometimes to hold onto these new set of shoes I’m wearing. I want to kick them off and go get my old comfy sneakers that take me to places of desperation, neediness, over adaptation, codependency. But then I say no… I put bandages on the blisters forming where my new shoes are causing discomfort, and I keep walking. 

I realize it’s normal to one minute want to run right back into the past. To soothe the pain of separation and loss and pretend that everything is okay.

But then the next minute feel the incredible rush of relief that comes with finally learning to honor oneself.

One minute you want to beg to someone, anyone, to tell you you’re worth loving, even when you’re not useful or accommodating to them.

The next minute.. standing in that feeling of alone-ness, in the middle of the night when your body and brain can’t fall asleep, and your souls whisper… “you’re doing it.” 

One minute you can’t hardly bear the idea of being alone forever.

The next minute you cannot imagine how you went so long without a sacred space that is just for you.

Though the world sees me as incredibly competent and reliable, I’ve spent the majority of my adult life thinking I cannot be left to my own devices. I need someone to rescue me, take care of me, give me feedback because I can’t give it to myself. And it turns out this was the biggest lie of all. A belief system that dictated the entirety of my adult life is crashing down.

It’s only been a short while, but it feels like a lifetime.

There are still many hills to climb, many of which seemed huge and insurmountable before I made the decision to be alone. I wish I believed it when people told me those hills would not seem so huge once I trusted my instincts.

I spent so long being afraid of them, and here they are – and the grace and strength is there for me, in abundance.

Even still, grief is so messy and unpredictable. Sometimes I watch myself flail around trying to find a stabilizing force. I try not to fall into shame and judgement because no one ever said it wouldn’t be messy trying to break out of a cocoon to become a butterfly. Those caterpillars have to turn to goo first to even get their wings.

When I think about having a partner again, I feel so many things. 

  • Guilt. Should I not want this?
  • Anticipation. Will someone actually be able to walk alongside me in this life?
  • Despair. I don’t know that there is any man able to reach the standard I’ve now set for access to my heart and mind. 
  • Joy. I know that I’m an entirely different woman now and won’t choose out of need.

I feel God is close to me in this moment. I know He is near to the brokenhearted.

I see Him in the eyes of my children who are closely watching how I choose them as my first priority.

I see Him in the mentors who are right there to send love and advice and reassurance just when I need it.

I see Him in the face of my parents who show me unconditional love and acceptance no matter how messy my life gets. 

I see Him in the arms of friends who are walking this with me.

And I know, when He sends me a partner who will be strong enough, smart enough, capable enough to just walk alongside me in this life – I will see God in his eyes too.

In the meantime, I will keep going. I will keep finding joy. I will wake up every day grateful I get another morning to get up and see the goodness of God in this life. I will celebrate life and love in all its forms. I will take risks. I will be gentle with my mess ups. I will find compassion for everyone, even those who don’t know how to care for my heart. I will choose forgiveness. 

I will not be ashamed that my life doesn’t look like the fairy tale endings we were all spoon fed as children.

I will choose love.

For myself as much for anyone else. 

xx

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