I LOVE this time of year.  The holiday vibes and time with family are still fresh in the mind, but there’s an energy of excitement as I start to plan the year.  It’s like anything is possible in a brand new year.  I love taking the time to reflect on the year, fill in worksheets or booklets to see how my business has gone in the previous year (total nerd, I’ll admit it) and I love reading everyone else’s reflections too.  I just finished reading my friend, Susana Frioni‘s recap and it inspired me to share what I learned too and most importantly, what I’m going to do differently in 2018.

I also love using Leonie Dawson’s books to reflect on the year.  It’s totally worth ordering the hard copies of these – having 3 years worth that I can flick through to see how life and my business has grown and changed over the years is POWERFUL.  I’m pretty sure they’re printed on recycled paper and are print-on-demand so order everything else on your kindle if you like but get this in hard-copy!

Looking back over the past 2 years of these books has proved to me that whatever we can dream up can come to life.  We don’t have to shout it from the rooftops (some dreams are precious and should be nurtured) but writing them down does something.


Some things to try in 2018.


      Can you re-arrange a room in your place or move somewhere totally different? 

      We bought a one-bedroom unit and LOVE it.  If you had said to me a year ago that we would be living in the city and be happy about it I would have thought you were bonkers.  But I really do love it.  I love that I can’t remember the last time I put petrol in the car.  I love that I can walk along the river to get all my organic veggies at the markets with my little old lady trolley.  I love that I can stroll to about 5 different yoga studios if I want to.  I love having a gym and pool and that I don’t have to look after them!  I love collecting my food scraps and walking them up to the community veggie garden and composting them there.  I love grabbing fresh herbs out of the unit complex’s resident herb garden.  I love the feeling of community after being on a couple of acres for the last couple of years.  I dare-say we’ll end up back in the trees but for now, I’m making the most of city life!  It’s a very different type of ‘simple living’ but it feels even more simple…less resources, less land, less travel, etc.


      I got an office.  Continuing on from the above point, a one-bedroom unit isn’t really sustainable for a couple who both work from home!  So I’m now part of a co-working community at the end of my street with a small group of cool creatives.  It’s done wonders for my productivity and head-space to have clear work and home boundaries.


      I really stepped this up in 2017 – I travelled to Melbourne for a mastermind with someone I admire a great deal in the youth space, Josh Shipp who was visiting from the US.  I went to Sydney for a weekend facilitator training with Jane Bennett to learn how to run A Celebration Day for Girls workshops for tweens and their parents all about celebrating menarche and embracing our cycles.  So cool.  Imagine learning about how to work with and even CELEBRATE getting your period as a young girl?  I also invested in some great coaching sessions with a business coach and strategist, Megan Della-Camina.


      I stepped up my finances and had a great financial advice session with my accountant, and got Quickbooks – finally getting all my money affairs and tax in order!  Hooray! You might even like to look into your super fund too – I moved everything over to Cruelty Free Super a couple of years ago so if ensuring your money is invested positively is important to you, look into it.


      I travelled all over the country to run training days for my youth mentors and realised that I don’t love travelling like that so much anymore.  Not as often as I travelled this year anyway.  I also ran a weekend training retreat for them in a beach house on the Sunshine Coast and LOVED it, so deep-dive retreats every now and then are on the cards moving forward rather than quick trips all over the place.  I found that I get so exhausted from the smaller trips, even thought I loved meeting everyone, so I’d prefer less of them, but juicier!


      I went to my favourite ashram in Taiwan twice this in 2017.  The first one was in May for about 5 days on my own and that was magical.  The second was with my partner, Davey and we went for a total of 3 weeks in October – also magical – but a lot of organising and planning to go for that long.  So I think fun breaks for smaller periods will be happening in 2018!  PLUS I don’t think we could leave our beautiful fur baby for another overseas trip together, so little trips on my own to recharge are going to be important for me.  Does that sound like a contradiction to the above point?  Oh well… haha.  I think play trips are different to work trips somehow… 


      I got bitten by a dog in Thailand and had to stay off my feet for 6 weeks while it healed.  It really rattled me and the pain was excruciating.  It reminded me that shit happens so we have to make the most of the good, and take it easy on ourselves.  We’re doing the best we can.  Also made me think that I seem to have issues with this – I literally get forced to put my feet up sometimes (first with cancer in 2009 and now this)…still figuring out what i need to do to stop this from happening!  


    1. REACH OUT.
      I was reminded that you have to take charge of keeping in touch with your friends and family and put in the effort.  I think for the past few years I’ve been so focussed on my business, which I LOVE, that I’ve been a shit friend, daughter and sister at times.  This past month I did more to keep in touch and put in some effort to make delicious dinner and buy beautiful gifts for the people I love.


      I watched a great news story the other day about the Giving Pledge.  It was on Noteworthy News, a 100% positive news program with stories from all over the world on Supreme Master TV, a free online TV channel that broadcasts live through Youtube 24 hours a day.  I highly recommend checking it out.  It’s all volunteer based and I’ve been helping out quite a bit behind-the-scenes with the Australian TV hosts – I’ve hosted an episode and have helped with hair, make up and styling for some of the other Australian hosts.  It’s a beautiful cause – spreading positivity and good news stories.  Anyhoo, the Giving Pledge is a commitment to philanthropy from the world’s wealthiest people.  173 billionaires have pledged to give away the majority of their wealth, at least 50%, each year.  It was started by Bill and Melinda Gates and the idea is to inspire a shift in the social norm to give more, give sooner and give smarter.  It’s really stuck with me and I think that no matter how much money we make, we can make a commitment to give a certain percentage of our earnings away to those who need.  And when that can’t be money, then perhaps time.  This year I spent many Monday’s volunteering at the McIntyre Centre, which provides horse riding to disabled children.  It’s amazing to see how equine therapy helps the students – they become physically more capable, they learn how to set boundaries and speak up with the horses, they learn how to connect with others through the horses and a host of other amazing benefits.  It was such a privilege to be a part of their week.  The Giving Pledge has really stuck with me though so as part of my growth plan for 2018, I’ve written down exactly how much money I want to donate and who I’ll give it to.  For the last few years I”ve said to myself, “I’ll donate more money this year” but without the clarity of how much and where I would donate it, it never really happened.  But if you ask yourself, “what would you do if you earned all the money you wanted?” the first thing that might come to mind for you is that you would donate some.  If that’s the case, write down how much you want to donate and work backwards from there.  It was my accountant that said this actually – you don’t just book an airfare and decide on the destination later.  You decide where you’re going first, and then book.  Money is just the airfare…you need to know where you’re going so you can then decide how you’ll get there.


    1. JUST BE YOU.
      I’ve learned that just being there for people, for your clients, students or the people in your life is all you need to do.  Behind all the fancy gimmicks, strategies, etc I’ve really learned this year that if I just commit to serving the people around me then that’s all I need to do.


    I’ve also really realised the value of a mastermind group.  For years I’ve been chatting fortnightly with Nicola Newman and for the past year or so we’ve had Naomi Arnold join us as well.  Setting that time aside to celebrate, brainstorm, vent or whatever it is we needed at that time has been instrumental in my business growth (it’s grown enormously in the last 3 years) and my personal headspace.  So we’re opening up our little space to anyone else who wants to join us in 2018.   We’ll be running a low-cost, 10-month, Gentle Business Mastermind.  Each month will have a theme and some guidance to get your business working well in all areas, as well as some extra beautiful mentors joining us for live calls each month.  Mostly though, it will be a supportive, nurturing space to keep accountable and put some great processes in place for your own business to grow sustainably and gently.  We’ve mapped out the whole year and I can’t wait to share these girls and this space with you.  You can register your interest for this here.


Moving forward, this year feels PLAYFUL.  I think the city has brought that out for me – trying aerial yoga for example – so fun!!  You just don’t have stuff like that when you live out in the sticks.  

How’s 2018 feeling for you?  Is there anything you’re trying to do differently this year?  Any nuggets of wisdom that you learned last year?

Amanda x