My new “code of conduct” for writing, working + navigating the world. (psst. it’s powered by yoga.)

 
 

I live by a code of my own creation. That code is never perfect, but always progressing. (Kinda like me.)

The latest iteration = the 10 yamas + niyamas of yoga, applied to my writing + work.

A set of 10 guidelines for treating myself + others. A manifesto, of sorts.

(Like my code? Take it + use it. Better yet … find your own.)

 

. . .

 

Ahimsa (“non-harming”)

 
Remember that every word you send out into the universe eventually finds its way to a living human being.

Be respectful and humane — even if you have something difficult to say.

 

Satya (“refraining from dishonesty”)

 
If you don’t want to go, simply say “I’m honored, but no, thank you” — not “I’m too busy” or “I can’t afford it” or “Maybe next year.”

Still too hard? Add: “I trust + respect you enough to be honest.”

 

Asteya (“non-stealing”)

 
If you said “I’ll be there,” be there. If you said “5 o’clock,” show up. If you said “I want to hire you,” pay up.

Time is a non-renewable resource. Don’t waste it.

 

Brahmacharya (“wise use of sexual energy”)

 
Sexual energy is primal creativity.

Focus your power. Constraint is sexy.

 

Aparigraha (“non-possessiveness”)

 
Don’t hoard your ideas — or build a stone fortress to “protect” what you know.

Be generous. Be helpful. Let it be that simple.

 

Saucha (“purity”)

 
Keep your mind, spirit + calendar clear. Undercommit + overdeliver.

Be available for spontaneity + surprises.

 

Santosha (“contentment”)

 
Strive to be + do better. But …

Be proud of what you’ve created + content with what you’ve got. It’s all enough.

 

Tapas (“self-discipline”)

 
Devotion is everything.

Keep marching. Keep marching. Keep marching.

 

Svadhyaya” (“self-study”)

 
Question why you do the things you do. Out of habit? Or genuine desire?

Be curious.

 

Ishvara pranidhana (“surrender to a higher source”)

 
Aim to leave everything — apartments, national parks, people’s hearts — in better condition than you found them.

And ultimately?

Surrender to the mystery of it all.

You are in control. Except when you’re not.

 

xo.

 

P.S. For all you beautiful yogis … did I mention I’m speaking at CurveCamp this year? It’s a body-positive yoga conference for women of all ages + sizes in Nashville, Tennessee.

Come stretch your body + mind — and write your heart out, with me. Grab your mat + head over here to learn more. Not your thing? Plenty of other ways to work, write + play with me = right over here.

 
 

Got one blog reader (your mom?) Or ten? Or fifty? Here’s why you are a BIG DEAL, no matter what your audience size may be.

 
 

Imagine this:

You’re telling a true story at an intimate dinner party — say, you + six other people.

Everybody at the table is listening to you … nodding, smiling, completely entranced by your words.

You wrap up your story to a round of appreciative laughter.

You feel pretty amazing, right?

You’ll remember this moment, fondly.

You might think to yourself, “That was fun!”

You might even think, “I can’t wait to do that again!”

And you would.

 

But now, imagine this:

You’re telling that exact same story — but this time, you’re telling it on your blog.

And instead of six people listening — sitting in the same room as you — this time, you’ve got six readers sitting at their desks in six different rooms.

This time, instead of thinking to yourself, “I’m amazing!”

You might think: “I’m nobody.”

And yet … it’s still six people.

Heck, it could be the exact same six people.

But somehow, projected into the online space, those “numbers” feel different.

Less meaningful. Less important. Easier to dismiss.

Don’t.

That kind of attitude serves no one.

Not you. And certainly not the people reading (or listening) to you.

 

It’s time for an EPIC reframe.

From now on …

Try THIS.

 

Instead of saying:

“Only my mom reads my blog.”

Try saying:

“The woman who gave LIFE to me is reading my blog! What an honor!”

 

Instead of saying:

“Only six people read my blog.”

Try saying:

“Every time I write a blog post, I’m helping / inspiring / entertaining an intimate DINNER PARTY!”

 

Instead of saying:

“Only fifty people read my blog.”

Try saying:

“Every time I write a blog post, I’m helping / inspiring / entertaining a packed COFFEE SHOP!”

 

Instead of saying:

“Only one hundred people read my blog.”

Try saying:

“Every time I write a blog post, I’m helping / inspiring / entertaining a sold-out MUSIC VENUE!”

 

Instead of saying:

“Only three hundred people read my blog.”

Try saying:

“Every time I write a blog post, I’m helping / inspiring / entertaining an entire AIRLINE JET!”

 

Instead of saying:

“Only five hundred people read my blog.”

Try saying:

“Every time I write a blog post, I’m helping / inspiring / entertaining a bustling FARMERS MARKET!”

 

Instead of saying:

“Only one thousand people read my blog.”

Try saying:

“Every time I write a blog post, I’m helping / inspiring / entertaining a HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL STADIUM”

 

Instead of saying:

“Only two thousand people read my blog.”

Try saying:

“Every time I write a blog post, I’m helping / inspiring / entertaining a PACKED AUDIENCE at Shakespeare’s GLOBE THEATER, with a LINE AROUND THE BLOCK!”

 

Readers are readers.

Listeners are listeners.

Friends are friends.

Humans are humans.

Honor them. Respect them. Write your _____ off for them.

Do it with grace — whether they’re standing directly in front of you, or seated halfway across the world.

Because you never know whose life YOUR words are going to touch, transform or even heal.

Because, you? Yeah.

You’re kind of a big deal.

xo.

P.S. Today’s post was inspired by a highly-caffeinated + passionate conversation with my friend Rebecca Rapple. She’s a good egg to know. You should watch her show.

 

Your mantra for today:

If I help, inspire or entertain ONE person today, I’ve done great work. And I’ll do it again, tomorrow.

 
 

How I “tricked” myself into moving across the country, quitting my job, starting a business + making other ballsy moves.

 
 

Throughout my life, upon hearing tales of my various adventures + decisions, people have said to me, “Oh, you’re so brave!”

To which I reply: “Nope, not brave. Just really good at ‘tricking’ myself into behaving bravely.”

 

My #1 mind-trick?

I call it: “I’ll give it a year.”

This trick works wonders, because wrapping a specific time constraint around a big, scary endeavor makes it feel … so much more sane + humane. Even playful. Like a game.

 

It’s not a death march — it’s a one-year adventure!

It’s not a total disaster — it’s a one-year sabbatical!

It’s not an idiotic move — it’s a one-year experiment!

 

Here are some excellent tricks I’ve played on myself, over the years:
 

I’m moving across the country to pursue my dream of working at an award-winning radio station (they haven’t officially hired me yet, but hopefully, soon, they will)! I’ll give it a year and I’ll give it my all. If it sucks, or I fail, I can move on to something new.

 

I’m quitting my job to start my own business! I’ll give it a year and I’ll give it my all. If it sucks, or I fail, at least I’ll be able to say, “Yeah. I went for it.” (And besides, I can always get another j-o-b.)

 

I’m launching a series of writing workshops — with dates in 10 cities around the world! I’ll give it a year and I’ll give it my all. If it sucks, or I fail, I don’t ever have to do it again!*

*It didn’t suck. I didn’t fail. And I’m totally doing it again.

 

Now, I’m not advocating taking “inappropriate risks.” Draining your savings + not being able to feed yourself? Not recommended.

But for me, in each scenario, it came down to this:

This dream, this move, this choice — whatever it is — is so important that it’s worth investing a full year of my time + attention in it, and giving it a damn good shot, even if it doesn’t work out.

 

After all: what’s one year?

Nothing.

Or maybe everything.

xo.

Your turn:

“I’m ________________-ing!

I’ll give it a year and I’ll give it my all.

If it sucks, or I fail, I don’t ever have to do it again.

And besides, I can always ________________.”

 
 

10 sexy, dorky + adorable ways to show your LOVE this Valentine’s Day.

 
 


Concrete stars. Photo by … me.

 
 

Let’s keep it quick.

Because you’ve got champagne to quaff + people to kiss.

 

1. Use the Date Duration Calculator to figure out EXACTLY how many days you and your sweetheart get to spend together, if you both live to be 100.

 

2. Bury a time capsule filled with letters about how you both feel, right now. Include a few “secret” letters that you don’t get to read … until you dig it up, in a year.

 

3. Send a surprisingly not-awful e-card. (It’s cute + it’s free.)

 

4. Use 8Tracks.com to build an online mixtape. Or go old-school and burn a CD. You can start with the 100 best love songs of all time. Though I always say, you can never go wrong with a little country

 

5. Take turns reading the very first texts + emails you ever exchanged, waaay back in the day. Out loud. Switch roles, for extra amusement.

 

6. Instead of buying flowers for each other, pool your cash + send big bouquets to all of your parents. On the cards? “Thank you for creating + raising the person I love. You did such a GREAT job.”

 

7. Five words: heart shaped eggs and toast.

 

8. Go to a bustling restaurant. Don’t try to get a table. Instead, secretly pay for the meal of … the most elderly couple in the room. Then go home + have a picnic on the floor.

 

9. Re-enact scenes from the most romantic movie of ALL time. (“It wasn’t over. It still isn’t over!”)

 

10. Oh, go on … and just send a ridiculously sexy text, already.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

xo.

P.S. If writing love letters is kinda your “thing,” I made something for you …

 
 


 

I ❤ YOU SO HARD is a collection of 10 fill-in-the-blank notes to make saying “I love you” a little bit easier.

(What kinds of “fill-in-the-blank notes,” you ask? You can see 3 of them — for free — right over here.)

It’s a digital booklet. Delivery = instant, straight to your inbox. All for $5.

Inside, you’ll find scripts to help you write delightful emails + hand-written letters to …

: Your partner.
: Your colleague.
: Your best friend.
: Your favorite teacher.
: Your super-cool boss.
: Somebody you have a crush on.
: A total stranger who totally inspires you.
: Your hairdresser, barista, or anyone in your community.
: Somebody who’s had a rough year and really needs a lift.
: Somebody you’re madly in love with (who doesn’t know it yet).

Use them over + over, forever + ever. Love x infinity and beyond.

 

GET THE WEE-BOOK

 
 
 


 
 
 

“Underpromise. Overdeliver.” A two-word commitment that makes everything … better.

 
 

I honestly don’t remember who gave me the magic words.

Maybe it was the first woman who believed in my writing talents — before I had a halfway-decent body of work.

Maybe it was a friend. Or a coach. Or a quote in the pages of Real Simple magazine.

I don’t know, and I wish I did, so I could honor them properly.

But the words ring in my head, daily:

 

Underpromise. Overdeliver.

 

It’s a two-word commitment that I made with myself, years ago — and try, every day, to uphold.

It’s also a two-word answer to just about every business / career / productivity / creativity / marketing question, ever.

 

What’s the secret to cultivating throngs of grateful clients + fans?

Underpromise. Overdeliver.

 

What’s the secret to establishing a reputation as somebody who’s generous, helpful, one in a million?

Underpromise. Overdeliver.

 

What’s the secret to scoring glowing testimonials + unbelievable opportunities?

Underpromise. Overdeliver.

 

You get the picture.

But recently, I’ve realized that there’s another layer to the commitment.

A way to turn the wisdom … inward.

 

You can underpromise + overdeliver … when it comes to the promises you make to yourself.

Not just the promises you make to others.

 

You can set sane, sequential goals.

You can make it (much) simpler.

You can start with one room.

And just keep marching.

 

You can promise yourself you’ll write one poem, and then astonish yourself by writing five.

You can promise yourself you’ll exercise for ten minutes, and then astonish yourself by sweating for thirty.

You can promise yourself you’ll lead one free workshop this year, and then astonish yourself by leading three. And charging money.

 

When you underpromise + overdeliver, you strategically lower the bar — and then amaze yourself by bounding right over it.

 

It feels good.

It’s so humane.

So, drop those goals down low …

… and enjoy going higher than you thought you could go.

xo.

 
 

P.S. How could YOU “lower the bar” for yourself — in a sane, humane, self-respecting way?

 
 

Read More Uncategorized