One year ago today I hit the publish button on this little slice of my life called Isla Pearl.  I know I am pressing the repeat button on this part of the story but when I started I had no idea what I was doing.  I still don’t in many ways.  But with determination, perseverance and a passion for what I do – I figure it along the way (I basically consider google my personal assistant).

For those of you who are new the story goes a little something like this:

Once upon a time I was sitting at the hairdresser reading what a 1995 issue of Cosmopolitan.  In it was an article about women having full blown identity crisis’ in their mid-late 30’s.   The gist of it is that women find themselves at a stage in life after skipping through all of the necessary (and required 😉 ) steps in life that involve:  education, career, marriage, career, dog, career, kids, career, kids, career, kids (wait – um, shouldn’t you only have 2?) – you get the drift.  Suddenly you wake up one day and ask yourself is THIS (whatever “this” is for you) what I want out of life for the rest of my life until I retire at the age of 65 (because that’s when you retire, 65 – another rule to check off one day).

Fast forward a few months while I collected my thoughts (otherwise known as full blown panic mode as I tried to figure out how to rectify my identity crisis) when I decided to take an Eternity Leave from a 20+ year career that was no longer fuelling my soul and instead decided to use all of my “business-like” (I tend to break conventional business rules like NOT wearing a suit in a boardroom – GASP!  NO!) skills and pair them up with all things that I love about life, thus the creation of (ta da!).

One of my biggest flaws (oh, and there are lots) is that I am not very good at “owning” or taking credit for the things that I do – and Isla Pearl is another example of that.  So instead of talking about about how great I think it is, I will casually veer your attention to the things I have grown to understand this year (channelling my inner Oprah):

When you believe in yourself, others will too.  Do you know how many times I had to fake it until I became it this year?  Did I have the skills, commitment and vision for it all – um yes – but I was a new industry and one I needed to navigate through and figure out (think Deer in headlights).  When you are the new kid and town with like zero followers in a world that lives and breathes influence and engagement – you better believe in yourself like you have never before and sell it like you have never sold it before.  I did, and “they” bought it.

When you create and do something from an authentic place people cannot help but be drawn to it.  You know those people you are just naturally drawn to that you can’t explain.  It’s because they are authentic – and the universe cannot help but be drawn to authenticity.  Whatever it is that you do, do it from a place of “realness” – no scripts, no ulterior motives, no whatever.  Fake is overrated and people see right through it.

Never underestimate the power of your words.  Make sure they always come from a place of good.  The words you say will impact somebody’s day – and maybe even their life.  From telling someone that they look beautiful to that they are deserving of more.  Use your words in a positive way because they have power.

Say yes to the things that you fear the most.   What’s the worst that can happen, you’ll learn something – that’s what!  From the moment I started saying “yes” to things is the exact moment that opportunities started to slap me in the face.  It’s basically like telling the universe that you are “ready”.

Stop doing things that you don’t love and start doing things that you do love.  It’s just that simple.  Start saying “no” to the things that you don’t love doing and start saying “yes” to the things that you do.  It’s seriously just that simple.

Stop caring so much about what others think – you’re not living their life.  Easier said than done.  So consider this one a “work in progress” approach.  Every time you are bothered by something someone says or does, ask yourself why…..and keep digging until you find the “real” reason (not the superficial one), own it and then move on.

Less self judgement, more self love.  Seriously, it’s time.  We spend so much time focusing on what we aren’t or what we didn’t do, or whatever lame story you keep hitting the repeat button on.  Start focusing on all of the things that you are and all of the things that you have accomplished superstar.

Live with intention.  When you root your thoughts, actions and life with intention it will unfold in ways that you never expected.  It also makes all of those feelings that you want to feel accessible NOW instead of convincing yourself that you are working towards them.  Happy is now my friends.

Take the first step, whatever it is.  You don’t need a well crafted plan with broken down bullet point steps – you just need to make a move.  And then make another one.  And then another one (you get the drift).  If I had stuck with “the plan” I made a year ago I would NOT be where I am today.  In fact, I couldn’t have planned out where I am any better than how it has turned out.

Thank you to everyone who has read, shared, liked, followed, emailed, talked about and have done to make Isla Pearl everything that it is.  I suppose Chapter 2 begins now, but the story and intention is still the same.  Don’t expect a huge plot twist, but instead a commitment to meaning, purpose, inspiration, intention and more clarity than ever before.