DISTANT

Somehow
I love you deeply,
but you are a stranger to me.

Like the moon
your face is familiar.
I can see your light
But I can not feel your warmth.

IM~PERFECT

Failure and perfection are not your only two options. 
They are not two ends of a spectrum with a gaping black hole that traps you in outer darkness if you fall somewhere in between.
They are not two sides of a coin you can use to barter a specific outcome
Or negotiate your future.
Achieving (the illusion) perfection does not guarantee you will not fail
Because the opposite of failure is not perfect.

The opposite of failure is doing.
Success is found in the endless space
Amidst the action
And the mistakes
And the flaws
That make you magic.

It's found in the starting over
And the letting go.
Success is in the trial and error
And roughness
Of falling down and getting back up again.

Failure is trying to be perfect
When the only thing you can be perfectly is yourself,
Which you already are.

Don't let the fear of imperfection stop you.
You can fail and still be perfect.
And imperfect as you feel, you can still succeed.

imperfect

The Wave

As the energy surges through my body I find myself once again asking, am I bipolar, or is this just entrepreneurship?

My family has a history of mental illness so the thought, though extreme, isn't entirely unwarranted.

Sometimes I feel like I am a goddamn crazy person and the people closest to me are patient as fuck as I bounce between the doubt that anything I'm doing is making a difference and the kind of contagious positivity that will annoy even the cheeriest of souls.

On an off day, I question my entire purpose and path. I feel zero motivation to continue doing what I'm doing; have thoughts of abandoning my business and becoming a full time barista on Bondi beach in Australia.

But when the weather turns and we have an especially beautiful day in Austin, Texas I often find myself splayed on the floor amidst poster boards and post-it notes planning my empire, visioning a positive future for every element of my life, and strategizing the fastest way to build billion dollar businesses and conquer the entire fucking world. And I have the confidence that I can actually achieve all of it.

Where does this energy come from? It's internal... so I know I've generated the flow within my physical body and/or brain (assisted, always, by almond milk coffee) but why does it feel so natural on some days and others I can't for the life of me uncover the force to send one goddamn email even after seven shots of espresso.

I'm learning to go with the flow. I don't understand it, but like a surfer floating patiently off the depths of a dark shore I wait for the perfect wave. I rise and fall with the gentle swells, often annoyed that I have to sit so still. Being tossed around and teased by the subtle sway of the tide.
Occasionally giving me hope that this is the big one.
Sometimes pouring over my head filling my mouth with the salty taste of ocean water.

But when it hits I soar.

I glide.

I run.

I fly.

I have the godlike strength to push past the toughest obstacles and in the pure ecstasy of a flow state I can see things happening around me before they are real. I have the energy to make big things happen. I am on top of the motherfucking world. I am unstoppable.

I want to capture this feeling. Bottle it up like a strong cold brew to drink on my next down day, but there is no such device.

After some time, the wave dies down and I reach the shore to rest.

I'm not a surfer, but years of summer trips to the ice cold beaches of Southern Maine during my youth taught me plenty about waiting for the perfect ride. It takes patience. Persistence. Practice.

I heard once that every seventh wave is a big one. I have no idea whether that has to do with gravity, the Fibonacci sequence, or if it's actually even remotely true, but I like the idea that everything in nature has its own powerful rhythm. Slow, steady, consistent flow followed by a sudden surge as the tallest wave comes crashing into shore with the sheer force of thousands of pounds per gallon.

And so, I ride on.

FEARLESS

I am not fearless,
I am fierce. 
To have fears is human.
To love them, divine.

Note to Self

Whatever you are, be it.
All the way. No apologies,
excuses,
or regrets.

Be yourself,
Ceremoniously
Irreverently
Fanatically
Idulgently
Curiously
Passionately
Proudly
Boldy
Fiercly
Grossly
Wildly
Foolishly
Heartily
Fully
Incandescently
Forever;
Your wholehearted self.

Enough

I search for the place that is Enough.
It feels like a faraway frontier.
A foreign destination.
if search for it on Google can I pinpoint the location? Find exactly how many miles away it lies and step by step instructions to arrive?

I don't know where it sits on the map, but I know it exists within a mountain range somewhere among the peaks Too Much and Not Enough.

Enough, too, is a mountain to climb. And though it feels far, I seek the path that will lead me to the summit.

But the terrain is treacherous, hidden by low-hanging clouds. I walk blindly, winding back and forth between the two towers. Exerting magnificent force to pull myself up over the boulders and obstacles in my way somehow only to end up descending back to valley, stuck somewhere in between

Too Much and Not Enough.

Their faces stare back at mine and from beneath them I know the shape of both mountains well.

Too Much looks like brutal force, feeling misunderstood, lying and hiding my true self behind a shield of what is acceptable. It is being told that I am too confident, too much woman to handle, that my behavior and strength is intimidating and I have to tone it down to be accepted by the world around me.

Not Enough is equally harsh; flooding my mind with fierce insecurities, reminders of my many mistakes and flaws. It wants to drown me in the lake of doubt and judgement as I compare myself to others, believing the message that I will never measure up.

The trail is lonely as I zig zag along the switchbacks feeling in some ways too strong and yet at the same time, too strong.

The steep climb leaves me out of breath and exhausted with self loathing. On both slopes I encounter familiar foes: shame, fear, unworthiness. I battle them, confused. Tired, marred, and covered in dust I put one foot in front of the other and trust that I am moving in the right direction.

I can see Enough on the distant horizon, glowing gold in the setting sun.
And wonder as a I wander,
Will I ever arrive?

My heart is my compass
The journey seems long
And although I am tired
I press on.

too much not enough

Dreams

kasbah du toubkal morocco
kasbahdutoubkal

I wake before sunrise to the tinny echo of the Islam call to prayer dancing through the mountains and valley. I wonder from where exactly this broadcast comes and who will obediently respond to the reminder at this hour. Though I do not understand the words of the invocation my body complies and follows the invitation to pray.

Stepping out of bed, I remember the floors are heated, serving not only as a luxurious comfort in the crisp early spring, but also immediately grounding me, sending warmth through my entire body, reminding me of the gentle nourishment and strong support the earth beneath me constantly provides. 

This place is tucked deep into the seams of the Atlas Mountains, its restored ruins sit in the shadow of Toubkal - the highest peak in the region. She stands firm, still snow-capped and starting to turn golden with the light of dawn.

This very image has been a recurring dream of mine; one I have seen daily thanks to the picture I ripped out of a magazine two years ago and taped on the inside of my closet door among the notes and quotes and goals that regularly inspire me. 

‘What a lovely place to go,’ I thought to myself as I carefully handled the glossy page.

Someday.

There is a wooden banner at the top of the terrace that reads ‘Dreams are only plans of the reasonable.’ Reaching the height of the hill feels like an accomplishment much more grand than the short hike to the gate. It represents everything I have done and become in the past two years and as I step through the palatial walnut door my entire body is filled with joy. My dream has become a reality; fueled by opportunity and persistence it has been realized much sooner than I ever imagined possible. I pause with deep gratitude for the many things that have made it possible for me to come here: the systems, the stress, the people and partnerships, trust... and years of practicing following my heart instead of listening to the fears that shout inside and around me. Each success - at first a fleeing idea - becomes a wish, and turns into a goal, then a plan with a set of action items; a list of alchemic instructions which when followed carefully transforms a vision into reality. 

When you desire something with all your heart, the universe conspires to help you achieve it. 

The formula is simple: Love fully, live fully, and when you find your life’s purpose - the dream that lights a raging fire in your soul - have the courage to follow your heart and it will take you to places you never thought possible, and beyond. 

kasbah morocco
morocco terrace
mountainside village
apple blossoms

The Beyonce Survey

There's this bold thing I've been wanting to do for a while, and it's solicit feedback from my clients and peers. Since I don't have a team working around me, or a boss per se, I have to create opportunities for performance reviews and open myself up to the responses I receive. Yikes.

For a while, my excuse for delaying was that I had seen a template in a book I read sometime last year, and I wanted to use that, but I could never remember which book it was from and no amount of googling seemed to provide a template I could copy.

I finally found the courage to pull something original together and last night I sent out the following email to 47 family members, friends, and clients:

Hello!

Hope you are well. If you are receiving this email, you are someone I consider an important person in my life, and your opinion is one I value. If it's been a while since we spoke, let's please catch up. <3

I have a favor to ask, but first an explanation:

I learn many great tips from TED talks and a recent one on getting better at the things we care about resonated deeply. It was Beyonce that grabbed my attention, naturally. Most of the people I know revere her, and we're quick to quote "woke up like this," but in his talk, Eduardo Briceño points out it might be more than flawless genes. Every night following a performance, she watches a video of the show that just ended, identifies opportunities for improvement, and then makes adjustments for herself and her team before the next show. No wonder she is a perfect being.

beyonce flawless

This process deeply impresses me. And since I, too, hope to produce wildly successful smash hits, become a queen, run the world, and improve myself (or at least the latter), I would love it if you would be willing to take two minutes to answer this brief survey to help me get there. [link]

You can do it anonymously, or feel free to use your name if what you are sharing requires context.

And please, please be brutally honest. If you can't think of anything critical to say, I'm flattered, but think harder. I genuinely want to know which behaviors (strengths and weaknesses) I should focus on improving.

Much love, humility & fierceness,
Richelle

The link to the survey asks the following questions:

  1. What is one thing you've seen me do this year that impressed you? I'm open to all answers, but particularly interested in a positive change I might have made. Full disclosure: This question is 100% first to pad my ego before I read all the things I need to work on. :)
  2. Which 1-3 words would you use to describe me to others?
  3. What would you identify as (one of) my greatest strength(s)?
  4. What is a skill, behavior, or habit of mine that could use attention and/or improvement? If possible, please provide a specific example.
  5. How can I be a better friend, family member, colleague, mentor/mentee, client, or vendor to you (& your business)?
  6. Any additional advice you'd like to share to help me achieve increased success?

I haven't checked the results yet, but I'm bracing myself for Radical Candor and ready for a harsh look in the mirror and some heavy duty self improvement.