Archives for October 2013

Premonition or manifestation?

crystal ball manifestationHave you ever had an experience where you knew something was going to happen and then it did? My query is did it happen because you envisioned it or did you vision it because it was going to happen?

Here's a few situations from my life that make me go, hmmmm …

The first: I knew I was going to graduate first in my law school class.

I saw it happening as soon as I met my boss when I interned at the Attorney General's Office in College. She graduated first in her class at University of Florida.

Everyone thought she was just the smartest person they knew.

I wanted that. (I'm a 3 on the enneagram.)

Then, I saw myself graduating first in my law school class too. Saw it happening. Knew it would happen.

Then, it did.

(Oddly enough, once in school, I convinced myself I failed every test only to find out I had scored at the top. So, this was not your typical manifestation process. And, I managed to do it despite the fact that my economics paper — No More Free Milk: Why Women of a Certain Age Should Never Live With a Man Without Marriage — was wholly rejected by the male professors grading it.)

Did I make it happen or did I catch the vision of it because it was going to happen?

Next time it happened: I always knew I'd have two kids before I was 30.

It wasn't the same as the law school time where I could have made a decision that I wanted to graduate first when I saw how much everyone respected my boss. The kids thing was different.

I just knew I would.

And, I did.

Were the choices I made leading to that reality pre-destined? Or did I manifest it?

Most recent time: My bankruptcy.

There's some part of me that knew I was going to file for bankruptcy before I even knew it was possible to borrow money to invest in my business.

The first loan application I filled out, I was full of shame.

I couldn't figure out where it was coming from, but there it was and as a result, I asked for as little as possible. I would have asked for less, but my banker said I had to ask for at least $50,000.

So, I did.

A year later, I increased the line to $100,000, wishing I would have just asked for that to begin with so I didn't have to pay closing costs twice.

At that point, I was no longer thinking I'd ever file bankruptcy because I had parlayed the first $50,000 loan into a $750,000 a year law practice.

Now it was time to double down and go for a million.

I didn't think of the potential for bankruptcy again until 2007 when I was still running my million dollar law practice and created a second company, out of my spare bedroom, training lawyers on my new law business model systems.

I remember being up one night around 2am, kids asleep in the other room or staying at their dads, and I was writing the newsletter we sent out to our clients. I was exhausted. Running two businesses. Single mom. Finding myself as a woman.

I thought of Jack Canfield and how he had filed bankruptcy once before going on to write 27 books and become one of the most well-read authors in the world and a teacher to millions.

I had this sense that it would be my path too. Which seemed weird because at that point I had one million dollar business and another well on its way.

But it felt true.

Fast forward 5 years and I ended up filing bankruptcy. (The story of that bankruptcy, how it came to be, how I rebounded better than ever and how I have rebuilt what I gave up twice over is for another day.)

So, was it the case that I was destined to file bankruptcy? Or did my thoughts about it call it in?

One more time — maybe the weirdest: I'd become a Boulder midwife with dreadlocks

I remember back when I was fully Alexis Martin Neely, straight up lawyer, own law practice or perhaps still an associate at the biglaw firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson, I had a vision of being a midwife in Boulder and having dreadlocks in my hair.

It was weird because I was so far from that reality. But, it felt real.

Today, I live in Boulder. I don't have dreadlocks, but I do wear a lot of feathers in my hair. And, I'm not a traditional baby-catching midwife, but I do midwife women's next level emergence in business and life. And I midwife lawyer's into the law practices of their dreams. It's not far off.

Did I envision this because I was predetermined to move to Boulder and become a hippie no matter what I did? Or, did I manifest this reality as a result of the process of manifestation?

What's I wonder about is this: other than the law school graduation situation, I didn't feel as if I specifically called any of these things in. I clearly saw them happening though.

I do have several situations of what I would call pure manifestation in which I set my mind on something and then bam it happened. But these weren't quite like that. So I always wonder … premonition or manifestation?

What do you think? And do you have any similar situations you wonder about?

How Spending More on the Financial Management Of Your Business Makes You Happier

One of the benefits of visiting in LA is getting to hang with Corey Whitaker.  Corey started off as my personal assistant (gofer kinda dude) around 7 years ago. He was just a (very mature) teenager back then, recommended by his then girlfriend (now wife) Anna Whitaker, who had been my Mary Poppins for a couple of years.

Today, Anna and Corey are the founders of Evolved Finance and manage ALL of my company financials, my personal finances and the finances of several well known business owners in our online industry.

They've been through it all with me — making millions, giving it all up, filing bankruptcy and re-building it all from nothing back to WAY better than before.

Corey and I were just chatting about the impact that a great financial team makes on a business owner's life.

I didn't realize it back in 2006, 2007 and 2008 when I first started making serious money, I wanted to pay as little as possible for financial management and dealing with what I considered to be “legal technicalities and red tape.”

It was just something I had to do, but didn't see how it could actually help me in my life or business. It was an expense. I avoided it as much as I could. Tried to pay as little as possible and give it as little as possible of my time and energy.

That was a costly mistake.

Millions lost.  Conflicts, lawsuits and heartache that could have been avoided.

And the worst part is that I see it happening again and again and again behind the scenes of the businesses of the top marketers and sales trainers you know.

Yes, I said marketers and sales trainers.  (I thought about saying business owners, but the truth is it's the marketers and sales trainers who tend to have these problems right before they are about to uplevel to actual, real business owner or CEO.  I've been there myself, I was stuck in Business Level 2 – enterprising entrepreneur trying to leap to empire builder for years – so I can say this from experience, not just theory.)

Marketing and sales are crucial parts of business. Without a way to make sure people know about what you offer and they buy what you create, your business won't be in business.

But once you've got the bare minimum of that down and people start to know of you and buy what you offer, you must move from the marketing director or head of sales of your company into the role of CEO.  You do this by getting serious about your financials (and your legal.)

You invest in great financial and legal management for your business unless you are happy to be in a constant cycle of losing what you've created and then wondering what happened when things were going so well.

I've been hearing lately from various entrepreneurial women (all marketers or sales trainers who are in the process of upleveling from Enterprising Entrepreneur to Empire Builder and from marketeer to CEO) who are coming to me after the shit has hit the fan in their respective businesses

  • one lost $900,000 (not a typo),
  • another is getting sued by a former “independent contractor” claiming to be an employee,
  • another had her intellectual property stolen by a former team member,
  • another has had a client mutiny on her hands, and
  • and there are more …

in every case it's because she didn't have her financial and legal shit handled. Even though she thought she did.

That's part of what Corey and I were talking about. There's a massive lack of knowledge out there about what it really takes to run a business, especially when it comes to finances.

Investing in the financial management of your business immediately uplevels you and your work and makes your business sustainable. It's the barrier most people never breakthrough and I'd bet it's the #1 reason small businesses (who already have products and people who know of them) go out of business.

Here's a good place to start:

Instead of asking “How can I spend the least possible on managing my financials and getting my legal details handled?”

Ask … “What is the most I can I invest to have the highest caliber and quality of financial and legal management in my business such that I am able to make better decisions that make me more money, close more deals more quickly and easily, and capitalize on more opportunities?”

I'd love to hear about your perspective on financial and legal systems. Do you think it's just over your head? You don't really need them? You are too small? It's only for … Or, do you feel like you've got it handled? How do you know?  What is your process?

If there's interest, I can lay out the bare minimum of financial management and legal systems needed for the three different business levels — True Sole, Enterprising Entrepreneur and Empire Builder. Let me know if you want that.

Mompreneur Parenting: Doing the Right Thing By Our Kids

It occurred to me last night that I have taken the easy way out with my children and some of you may be doing the same thing.

It can be incredibly hard to be a mompreneur (that's a mom + an entrepreneur for those of you wondering).

There's so often not enough time during the day to do it all, be it all, say it all.

At least that's how it often feels, right?  And it can just be easier to focus on work and trust our kids are getting what they need from others — spouse, sitter, school, or friends.

But, they aren't. I realize now, they can't.

Yes, it takes a village. And, the village, as it currently exists in my life, is no substitute for me.  Not yet.

In so many little ways, I've short-changed my kids.  And now it's time again to do what's hard.

I first did what was hard three years ago when I moved out of my big house by the lake, gave up my Mercedes (and just about everything else I thought was important) and shrunk my businesses back to the minimum so I could move to a farm with my children, disconnect them from the xBox down in the basement and get to know them again. (Thanks to Craig & Annie for supporting that move; I wouldn't have done it otherwise.)

It worked.

Since moving back to the “city” (some say Boulder isn't a real city, but compared to the town of Berthoud where my farm was located, it sure is), something has been lost.

My ten-year old has spent more time on the iPad, my almost 14-year old spends more time on Netflix than I'm truly comfortable with.

The impact of it hit me last night when I realized that my son is on track to becoming someone I don't really like very much. He doesn't want to help out around the house, he complains and whines a lot, and his creativity and resourcefulness are locked behind the messages fed to him by a screen I am not controlling.

For someone who espouses a message of investing in community, creativity and resourcefulness as the path to true wealth, I'm failing my children.  As someone who sees our children as one of the very best investments we can make in the future, I am failing our world.

It's time to do what's hard. Again.

At this moment, doing what's hard means canceling a trip I had next week to San Diego. I'll still head out to Los Angeles to speak at Christina Morassi's Ecstatic Wealth event, but instead of driving down for Rose Cole's Priestess Convergence and then back to hear Marianne Williamson's big announcement, I'll come back to be with the kids.

This morning, instead of attending Emerging Women Live, here in Boulder, I spent the morning in bed talking with my son about life and I listened to Eve Ensler on the Livestream a bit later. (POWERFUL!)

It was a hard conversation me and my boy had this morning.

I had to find a way to tell my son “I'm scared about the person you are becoming” without decimating his self-esteem.

I decided the best way to handle it was to ask him who he wants to be in the world.

I laid out two paths.

“The path most people take,” I said, “is one of mediocrity.”

Most people choose to provide limited value in the world and, in turn, accept limited return on their investment in life.

They don't make very much money.  They have limited choices. Not very much responsibility. And their freedom is restricted.  Mostly by lack of time (because they have to punch a time clock) and lack of money (because the amount of money you make is directly tied to the amount of value you provide in the world.)

“The other path,” I offered, “is a harder path, but it's far more rewarding. It's a path of impact, experience and adventure.”

I felt nervous as I described this path because I do not want to imprint in my child that the only things that are good are hard because I think many of us have gotten lost there. I did, for a long time.  At the same time, I did want him to take in that the very best of life is reserved for the few who make the effort, provide the value and say yes to the responsibility.

So I explained he could choose a life of adventure, experience and freedom by putting in the effort, doing the things that most people don't want to do and receive the rewards that come with showing up for the work.  Or as my sister reminded me someone once said “If you are only willing to do what's easy, life will be hard. If you are willing to do what's hard, life will be easy.”

Then, I asked him to choose.

I told him he could absolutely choose either path and I would support him.

He said he wants impact, experience and adventure. He said he wants to provide a lot of value in the world and he's willing to do what's hard. I breathed a sigh of relief. Because there was no guarantee he would choose that.   But he did.

And that meant it was time for me to do what's hard and support him on that path.

So I canceled my trip to San Diego and I won't be hanging with Marianne and Alanis.  Then, I spent the morning with him reinforcing his choice by supporting him to delete the games off his iPad (which, by the way, he did without me even asking him and then complained that I made him do it until I reminded him that he chose to do it), sitting with him while he whined and complained through two math worksheets and reminding him over and over and over again about why he made the right choice and empathizing with him about how hard it is sometimes to do the right thing.

It is for me too sometimes.

Again and again, I'm reminded … it's worth it.

Financial Liberation: How to Experience It & Where You Might Be Stuck

horsiesI am tired. Tired. TIRED of juicy, bright, beautiful people being held back in their lives by not having the financial means to meet their needs.

OR, wonderful people who are meeting their needs well but compromising all their values to do it.

Your Financial Health + The Health Of Our Planet. 

This is not an “either-or” equation! You can do work you love, contribute positively to your community and the Earth, AND meet all of your needs. It is possible, you are capable, and it's within your reach.

It will take dedication and focus to find the right path that works for you.

First, you have to firmly decide that you will STOP:

  • STOP doing work you don't love;
  • STOP working for less than you're worth;
  • STOP working because of economic “have to's”;
  • STOP doing work that goes against your values.

OphreliaThen, and only then, you can find your own path to doing the work you're meant to do, while meeting all your needs as you do it.

At Eyes Wide Open we call this Financial Liberation.

Start By Reframing Your Financial Stories. 

Most of us were brought up with heavy social conditioning around what it means to survive and thrive in the modern world. Student loans. Mortgages. Car loans. Credit cards. Retirement plans. Crappy corporate jobs that drain your joy, so you can make all your payments. Dreading Monday morning. Knowing secretly inside that you aren't serving the planet, or giving the precious gifts you have to offer others.


You have to let go of that whole way of thinking and working in order to make space for a new way: the way to your Financial Liberation.

“Financial Liberation is knowing you can earn what you need, when you need it, on demand” – Ali Shanti

Your Personal Financial Liberation.

light withinThough the picture looks different for everyone, there is a consistent method to discovering where your own financially liberated sweet spot is, at any given moment. It sits right at the intersection of:

1. Your Passion for the problem you want to solve
2. Your Expertise to solve that problem
3. The Global + Local Marketplace, their desire to have that problem solved (and how valuable the solution is to them)

This is a very dynamic place, ever evolving to meet where you are in the present moment. Your passion might change, your expertise might shift, and the marketplace is always evolving — that's fine. As long as you can identify your authentic sweet spot in this intersection, you'll always know the right way for you to experience your financial liberation.

I'm not suggesting that you shouldn't set money aside for things you want. What I am saying is that you can set financial goals (REALISTIC goals that are based on your inner definition of what you truly need, not some external idea that you've been fed and swallowed), create an income plan within your sweet spot, and create the financial means that you need in a way that's consistent with your gifts and values.

601543_10151643853952076_443386181_nThis Is NOT About Money.

Imagine for a minute that the world operated on a trade-based or gifting economy. What would you be doing, what would you be offering? Would you make sure that your gifts connected with the actual needs and desires of the people in your community? WHY are you doing anything other than that now?

You'll know you're on the right track when you feel energized, you feel authentic to who you are, and your Ideal Customers/Clients light up when you describe your offers to them.

There's no, “Oh God, I have to work again.” It's more like “Oh Yay, I get to go help & give again.”

There's integrity, and you feel good every day about what you're doing to meet your needs – because it's in alignment with your values.

Where You Might Get Stuck.

  1. atabey-ara-gualiYou're not clear what your passion is. Sometimes it takes years of exploration to find the problems you're truly passionate about solving. If this is where you're stuck, you need to give yourself plenty of time and space to play around. This isn't something you can force. While you're figuring it out, choose to help with a problem in your local community that someone else is working to solve, that you at least feel good about contributing to. Stay in your integrity, and let yourself be playful with what you choose to support.
  2. You don't know what your expertise is. If this is where you're stuck, you need to gain more experience. Find people/groups who are solving something you're passionate about and help them. Get paid to learn and develop your expertise.
  3. You're not clear on the needs of the marketplace. If you know what your passion & expertise are, but you aren't clear whether people want and value what you have to offer, then you need to do market research. Identify people you know who have this problem / want this solution and ask them:
    • How big of a problem is this for you? 
    • Where are you most stuck on it?
    • What is it costing you to be stuck? 
    • How much would it be worth to you to solve this problem? 
    • What value would the solution contribute to your life?
    • What would you be able to achieve next from this place? 

2e25491d36a73f3849ed816152caf8a7A Word On Money Mindset.

A lot of people who identify as being heart-based, spiritual, healers, etc. have deeply held beliefs that money is bad, they secretly feel they don't deserve it, or they have a really hard time claiming their own value.

It's time to wake up. To contribute anything of value to the world, you have to be well resourced yourself, and you have to work practically with things as they are in order to make them better. Period.

You know you have gifts to give and people need them, so you have to just do it.

Whether you're on your journey to Financial Liberation, you're already rockin' it out, you're totally stuck, or you completely disagree with everything I've said – I'd love to hear it. Please comment below.

Is Your Crappy Agreement Process Costing You Money and Clients?

Before I get into how you are likely losing money because of the way you are presenting your agreements, I want to give you a little backstory …

Last night, Craig was sharing with me his vision for a new app he is building around his Purpose Mapping program. His program triangulates your Myers-Briggs, Astrology and Enneagram to determine your purpose, strength, achilles heel and shadow. The app will allow you to share your typology with others in your community for instant deepening of connection. Pretty cool, huh?

I got really excited and I said, “ok, what's next? How can we move this forward?” And he said “well, I'm stuck because the gal I chose to work on the app with has sent me an invoice and a confusing agreement that I haven't had time to review adequately.”

publishing contractOf course, I asked him to show me what was going on thinking I could quickly review the agreement for him, sign off and move things forward. This project is too important to be stuck behind a slow contracting process.

When he opened the email from his app developer, I saw that they'd been in conversation about this for over two weeks and there had been no forward movement.

That's two weeks that his project hasn't moved forward and that the app developer hasn't collected payment. All because her agreement process sucks.

When I clicked through to see the agreement she was asking him to sign, which she presented with the caveat “My lawyer is effing hard core so his wording is pretty legit” I was able to quickly see the problem.

Her lawyer may be “effing hardcore” but his agreement sucks.

Here's a screenshot:

Here's the truth about this agreement …

It doesn't matter how legit the wording is in this agreement because the formatting makes it nearly impossible to easily read it and understand what it is.

All the words are smooshed together in large paragraphs, making it almost impossible to read.

Beyond the formatting, there's no context for the agreement in the words either.

It just jumps right in with NonDisclosure without any sort of introduction or explanation of what the agreement is, why it's needed, who the parties are, or what they want to accomplish.

All around … suckish-ness.  I couldn't advise him to sign this.  I could barely read through it myself, and honestly, I wasn't about to.  It was so bad, in fact, that I almost recommended he just find someone else to work with who has her shit together more and can present a solid agreement that we can easily read and understand.

I probably won't go that far because he likes the app developer and we have agreements he can use from our LIFT Foundation System & Toolkit, but it's quite possible that your agreement process is costing you clients, and you don't even know it.   The easier you make it for people to engage your services and write you a check, the more they will say yes and the more they will be willing to pay.

Many professional service providers deal with this by just not using agreements at all and doing everything on a handshake deal. Bad idea. Especially when it comes to intellectual property, software, and content you are selling in the marketplace.

Sure, I'll work with a service provider who doesn't have his or her own set of good agreements, but I'm going to pay less because I can tell they aren't the best.  At least that's the impression I'm left with when I come across it.

So, if you want to command premium fees for your work, get paid on a timely basis and not leave your prospects projects stalled out while you get an agreement in place, get your agreements set up right.

  • Make them easy to read.
  • Present them in a clean and clear format so that anyone receiving it can scan through it, easily understand it and simply sign it.
  • And always present your agreement for electronic signature. These days, emailing, printing, and faxing agreements back and forth is simply ridiculous and a waste of time. We use EchoSign.

By the way, this isn't just for the newbies.  A few weeks ago, a good friend and very well known internet marketer asked me to get in on a new project he was creating. I was a big yes and then he sent me over the agreement and it was so horribly written I almost backed out. It was confusing, clearly copied from another transaction that wasn't that similar and just wrong in so many ways.

He thought he was being smart by putting an agreement in place, but instead he just looked novice because it was so evidently the wrong agreement.  I began to doubt whether he could really pull off the big project he was proposing I put my energy into.

Because he's my friend I didn't just back out, but instead worked with him on it, gave him feedback, and he's making it better, but now it's weeks later and he still hasn't gotten my full-bodied yes because there's no signed agreement.

So don't let lack of clear agreements or a clear agreement process stand in the way of you working with more clients, collecting checks and moving your projects forward.   Get your shit together.  It makes a big difference to the people you want to work with.

What Is Wealth When Money Is Irrelevant?

I’m writing to you from the center of the Boulder flood plain. Yesterday, I lived on North Boulder Park, today it’s North Boulder Lake.  Kids were being pulled on wake boards across the park by dad’s on dirt bikes.  The cops didn’t like that.  See pictures here.

I know the flooding is horrible for a great many people, and there’s also something I really do love about a powerful weather event like this. In any sort of a crisis situation, really, we get to have a direct experience of what really matters.

What is wealth when money is irrelevant?

Whether it’s a choice to go to Burning Man where there’s no commerce or a crises weather event where you can’t get to a store to buy what you need, at some point you learn true wealth isn’t measured by money.

What’s real becomes far more important: community, creativity and resourcefulness.

These are the foundations of true wealth.  Cultivate them and you are truly financially liberated.

With community, creativity and resourcefulness it matters not a bit how much money you have in any given moment because you can acquire what you need, when you need it, on demand.

It’s not the cash you have in the bank, your credit score, the debt you are are carrying on your credit cards, or the size of your retirement account — your true wealth is made clear …

It’s your community.

Do you have people who love to support you and be with you when something happens?

I was blessed to spend storm time with John Taylor, Jennifer Peck, Sujana Hara (who’s apartment has been contaminated and condemned by the flood), Jon Brandon and his son Alex, and a bit of time with Jason Digges.

Great companions make life enjoyable for me.

It’s your creativity.

How will you use your time?  Will you watch tv and go shopping, consuming as much as you can in an attempt to fill what’s unfillable?

Or will you create? Music, art, writing, food, poetry, dance … the treasures of life you can always exchange for the basics – food, shelter, and love, anytime you need it.

It’s your resourcefulness.

When you can trust in your own resourcefulness, you can trust in your own ability to use what’s available, call in what you need, and create what you want, when you want it, on demand.

These are the pillars of true wealth and the path to financial liberation.

I’m grateful to these stormy extremes as they are giving me more opportunity to build community, creativity and resourcefulness.

How’s your community, creativity and resourcefulness? Are you focusing your wealth building on the places they won’t actually make that big of a difference?