One Little Word - Brave via Campfire Chic

 

I overheard one of my coworkers the other day lamenting the fact that it’s mid-November and she didn’t feel like she did anything of significance over the past year. She didn’t stick to her resolutions, she didn’t get into the grad program she was hoping to start in the Spring…and there was more. She listing all these things she didn’t do this past year and it didn’t sound like it was in an “oh well” sort of way but an “I’m a terrible person” sort of way.

This month’s intention is to be brave enough to forgive.

What does she need to do? Normally, I’d say she needs to get over herself and get back to her cubicle, but that’s not a good response for a blog post like this, right? What she needs to do is to forgive herself. She needs to forgive the fact that she failed at keeping her resolutions, forgive herself for not staying on track to get into a grad program when she wanted, and whatever else she was complaining about.

But let’s be honest: forgiving ourselves is often times harder than forgiving others. We are our own worst critics, right?

So I want you to do me a favor this month. I want you to let go of the ridiculous expectations you had for this year and I want you to write down everything that you did accomplish this year. Your list doesn’t have to include amazing things like traveling overseas for a month or quitting your day job to work for yourself, they can be simple things like learning to make a mean meatloaf or buying your first pair of climbing shoes.

It’s the little victories, remember?

What are you going to forgive this week?

A version of this blog post was originally shared with the Campfire Chic mailing list, subscribe today and receive exclusive content from me. Read the other BRAVE posts here.

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One Little Word - Brave via Campfire Chic
The thing about the newsletter today’s blog post came from: I had it scheduled for mid-October but I kept moving it back a few days each week and thought to myself, “I’ll get to it then…when things slow down”. It took me being suck at home with a wicked cold to get my ass in front of my computer to send it to my mailing list. I promised myself I could rest once I got the email out.
Why? Because I realized that I could keep putting it off, keep making excuses, and it would never get out. You’re probably thinking that I’m crazy to hold a nap hostage as I typed this out to my mailing list, how I’m totally irresponsible and probably prolonged my sickness because I wasn’t properly resting. And maybe you’re right.But I viewed it is a 10 minute break from sipping tea and marathoning Covert Affairs (thanks, Amazon Prime). Breaks like this remind me that while I can’t sit in front of the computer for hours and plug away at my ever-growing to-do list, I can do something.

And that’s what I want to talk about today…my secret to getting things done: 10-minute tasks (similar to the 2 minute rule Kristin blogged about a while back).

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.
– Thomas A. Edison (click to tweet)

October’s brave intention was to go to brave heights. Sounds pretty lofty, huh? But I’m framing it in a way that will hopefully sound a little more attainable…keep moving and you’ll get to your destination. My 10-minute breaks help me wear away the giant pile of to-dos so I can keep moving, even if that means I’m moving kind of slowly.My 10-minute tasks from this past week (November 11 to today):

  • Contacted 2 people for interviews on Campfire Chic
  • Folded the towels and put them away
  • Wrote a testimonial for a blogger/coach I greatly admire
  • Updated my notes for the media kit that’s been on the back burner for months
It may not seem like a lot, but to me, it’s a great amount. It helps me keep things moving and helps get me closer to more naps! My challenge for you this month is to take 10 minutes to do something you’ve been putting off. Get it off of your list and move on.

What 10-minute tasks could you do today?

 

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One Little Word - Brave via Campfire Chic

As my BRAVE year comes to a close, I’m already throwing around ideas for 2014’s One Little Word. I love putting these emails together and the response that comes from them — I really appreciate when readers hit reply and tell me about their goals and how they plan on making those plans happen. While the following post isn’t exactly the same as the email I sent in September, it has the same bones.

 —

Can we chat really quickly about this whole being brave thing?

It’s awesome.

That probably sounds very toot-my-own-horn right about now, but I’m talking about the responses I get from readers. It’s pretty awesome. You’re being brave in amazing ways. You’re taking on challenges like nobody’s business. You’re changing the way you view the world and how you deal with difficult situations. You’re freaking awesome.

This month’s intention is “reach for brave limits” and I want to talk about trying new things.

Sure, I write about trying new things in my “from a beginner” series, but those blog posts are specific to certain activities. I want to focus on smaller opportunities to try new things, because sometimes jumping into a new hobby is overwhelming or can be expensive. Starting small may lead to bigger things…

I’ve always heard that it takes 21 days to form a habit. That number turns me off right away! Twenty-one days seems like such a long time that I don’t want to even start whatever it is, let alone finish it! So instead of thinking about creating habits I like to just try new things – if it’s something I dig and it clicks, it will probably turn into a habit down the line. I’m eating kale regularly and can’t remember the last time I had an orange soda from McDonald’s so I think I’m doing something right. But let’s be real, we’re probably going to try things that are way more fun than eating kale…things like a new workout, a new video game, trying new painting techniques, and wearing galaxy leggings sound way more fun than eating kale…because they are.

Small things to try this month:

  • make a recipe you pinned on Pinterest
  • take a different route home from work
  • buy a domain for that project/blog/shop you’ve been dreaming of starting
  • change your direct deposit to send a small percentage directly to your savings account
  • purchase that mystery fruit from the grocery store and research what to do with it
  • introduce yourself to the new neighbor

What did I do in September to push my limits and try new things? I did the Pinterest recipe thing! So here’s the thing: I pin all these recipes and I don’t do anything with them. One day, I decided to pull up a couple of recipes from my Pinterest board and buy all the ingredients I would need for them. I’m not known for my cooking prowess. In fact, Alex does all of the cooking and if it is up to me, I’d rather just go out and buy something to eat. It’s terrible, I know. So I tried something new and made this one-pot wonder tomato basil pasta (substituting whole wheat noodles and adding mushrooms) and this quinoa & sweet potato stuffed portobello mushroom recipe. They’re not particularly difficult, but they inspired me to make a big pot of chili to have ready for dinner when I get home tonight – let’s be honest, chili is better the next day, right? I’m working to get over my uncomfortable feelings about cooking and trying new things.

This week, I plan on cashing in the CorePower Yoga voucher I bought online to get back into the game. I quit my last studio for reasons and my home practice is getting a little stale after being sick twice in as many months. I need a change and while I’m terrified to go near the tall goddesses I see going into the studio on my way to REI, I’m going to do it.

What are you going to try this month? What is holding you back?

 

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One Little Word - Brave via Campfire Chic

You know what the problem is, with all the planning and actions we take? All the GO GO GO, the adding things to our task lists, the focus on what’s next…

The problem is we’re not taking the time to celebrate.

Why do I say that? I had to take a mental health day a couple of months ago because I felt like I was stuck. Stuck in a rut of suck. I knew I was spending hours working on things but I didn’t feel like I had anything to show for it – nothing tangible, nothing to move out of my inbox, nothing to cross off of my list.

Let me tell you, that rut was pretty ugly, and I’m happy you weren’t there to see it.

I was (thankfully)able to take that day and reflect on what I completed over the past week – I reviewed timelines, calendars, and checklists. I took that opportunity to start fresh, announce to my cat that today was going to be Day 1 and I was going to rock the shit out of it. And I did. I got out of that rut and even celebrated getting out of it with a blood orange Pellegrino. I party hard, folks.

Kam, I’m not like you! I won’t fall into a rut! I’m going to celebrate when I’m done.

Celebrating the little victories, or as we’re going to think about it this month – honoring brave choices/decisions – is a super important but often overlooked part of this process to be awesome. We are just too darn focused on the end-goal of being awesome that we aren’t taking the time to acknowledge that this journey is pretty cool and we’re doing some great things.

Let’s talk about this a bit more. Say your goal is to start a blog that focuses on hikes in your state. You want a space to connect with other hikers, maybe even start a hiking group, and share trail reports. I’m guessing your plan is to celebrate once you finish that first hiking group hike, which may be months, if not a year from now. Why not celebrate buying your domain and having your site go live for the first time by going out with your friends? Or maybe celebrate the first comment on your blog with a break from the computer? Or there’s what I do: “Whoa! That’s pretty cool. Go me!” and then sharing my small victory with Alex (or Rintu) so I can express my excitement about the small victory…

Even a small victory is a victory.

 

…I’m also documenting my brave choices/decisions – like cutting 9+ inches of my hair to donate – on my blog and in my One Little Word binder for the year. Honoring my choices with documentation makes it easier for me to keep moving forward with my goals without dwelling on my failures. Because that F word is nasty.

 

Take a second and write down all the
small victories you’ve had recently and/or
recall the brave choices we talked about last month.

 

Another side to honoring brave choices that I want to talk about today is the idea of honoring a recent family member/friend/favorite blogger’s brave choice/decision. What I mean by that is, joining their excitement and maybe sharing their story with those in your network. I know I shared quite a bit about my friend, Amy, quitting her job so she can be even more awesome. I make sure to text my friends when I see that they shared something on Facebook that deserves more than a “like”.

 

So here’s my challenge to you this week: celebrate somebody’s choice (taking a new job, quitting soda, registering for a half-marathon, launching a new product) and use it as fuel to inspire you to do awesome things. Maybe share a cool blog post you found on Google+, leave a review on iTunes for the podcast you found recently and adore, or maybe contribute to a Kickstarter/Indie-a-go-go campaign hosted by your favorite “online friend”.

 

Email me, tweet me, post it to the Campfire Chic Facebook wall, whatever! I want to hear about it.

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One Little Word - Brave via Campfire Chic

A version of “Take Some Brave Steps” was originally shared with the Campfire Chic newsletter subscribers on May 28, 2013. Be a part of that 200+ group and be the first to get this content, discounts, and other opportunities.

 

Take Some Brave Steps

 

Take a quick look at the calendar…there are only 5 months until Christmas. Yep, I had the same reaction when I received a newsletter in early May reminding me that now is the time to prep my online shop for the holidays. The newsletter went on to say how I need to start stocking up on packing supplies, perfecting any sort of special wrapping I’m going to include, that I should be looking to take new photos for items, and securing ad space. My eyes bugged out as I quickly scanned the room for a calendar…I still had time, right?

 

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the rockstars who are working on whatever it is people are supposed to be doing to prepare for the end of the calendar year…I also get that the “holiday rush” starts in September for many online sellers. Totally get it, I’ve been there – I was the one in line at the post office everyday, I was the one adding extra cards to packages, and I was the one placing those “last-minute” gift orders for my loved ones.

 

But let me tell you how I felt after reading the newsletter: like a failure. That, for some reason, I wasn’t going to catch up…do you know that feeling? Like, here I am cruising along, doing my thing. and boom, I’m ugly-crying in the emergency lane while everybody else speeds by. I felt like I was taking too much time researching and planning and whatnot and not enough time actually doing anything. I felt like I was holding myself back by making too many plans. 

 

It’s time to move into traffic and whatever other “get moving” metaphor speaks to you.

 

It’s time to:

  • pay for that gym membership
  • cancel the movie channels
  • say “no thank you” to the free soda refills
  • register that domain name
  • step up to the registrar’s desk at the local college
  • step away from project that just isn’t working out (so you can come back with fresh eyes)

Time to take a brave step.

 

The hardest part of a journey is the first step out the door. You can spend months planning, saving, re-planning, preparing…but for some reason, taking that step over your threshold is the hardest step. Maybe  you step outside and run back into the safety of your house to do one last check to make sure you have everything (but really, you just want to be back where it is familiar and safe), or maybe you keep going knowing you can get help along the way, if needed.

 

So let’s do it.

Let’s take that brave step and get this show on the road!

 

What brave steps have you taken lately?
How do you feel about The F Word (failure)?

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3 Reasons Why Your Blog Needs a Newsletter

 

While a personal blog probably doesn’t have a need for a newsletter, the blogs looking to grow an audience or attract new clients may have a use for a newsletter.

 

A newsletter is a powerful tool for building community and marketing new products/services…and it’s a pretty low-cost solution! Low-cost is important as we try new things and as we build our communities and reach out to clients and connections. But that shouldn’t be the only reason why you consider adding a newsletter to your toolbelt.

 

3 reasons why your brand/blog needs a newsletter

 

Direct access to interested readers/buyers

You can promote your new posts and products/services on Twitter and Facebook until the cows come home, but what if your readers aren’t checking their feeds at that moment? That probably means you’ll schedule updates 2-3 times throughout the day hoping to catch  your followers’ attention at least once.

 

You know what your readers do check? Their email. If you could grow your newsletter list to 100 subscribers and get a 50% open rate…wouldn’t that be awesome? Especially when you’re promoting a new product or service! The people opting into your newsletter are already more invested in your success than people who aren’t subscribed…they’re more likely to buy from you and share their love for you!

 

Think about it! When you open your inbox, you look at each subject line and taken action on most of those emails right? Opening and responding to a few, moving a few to different folders to read later, and outright deleting others. Action. You want to reach people where they take the most action. And that’s their inbox.

 

A venue for testing content

Worried about a new blog series or want to poll a section of your audience? Use your newsletter subscribers!

 

Ask for input/feedback from your newsletter readers…you’ll be surprised how many of them respond!   If you see that content from a particular newsletter does well, why not spruce up the content a bit and schedule it for a month from now? You have a pre-written blog post and a way to encourage people to subscribe to your newsletter. Pretty awesome, right?

 

Additional marketing for products  

Say you have the type of newsletter that is more content-based than image/promotion based…select a layout for your newsletter that allows you to include a short message toward the bottom so you can include a reminder about your upcoming Kickstarter campaign or to offer a discount code to an ebook you published earlier in the year.  This may also be a good place to promote your advertisers, remind your readers that you offer ad space on your blog, or to invite people to join you in an upcoming ecourse.

 

What other reasons would you include in this list?

As a consumer, what style of newsletter do you enjoy getting?

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Search Engine Optimization is difficult, huh?

I mean, if it takes so much time that people can do it as a full time job, how can I be expected to do anything SEO-related for my site that will make a difference?

Let me help you!

Subscribe to the Campfire Chic Newsletter for a FREE SEO Ebook

I put together 15 tips to get you started on your SEO journey and put them into a short ebook…and all you have to do is subscribe to the Campfire Chic newsletter to get your copy!

 

The Campfire Chic newsletter is a monthly (generally) one-sided chat I have with you from the comfort of your inbox. I talk about some things I’m thinking about and we try to give each other a mutual kick-in-the-butt so we can even more awesome than we already are. Because, let’s be honest, Campfire Chic readers are awesome.

 

This year, you’ll find a trend with my newsletters: they’re all centered around my BRAVE intentions for the year. It’s not your usual newsletter that’s a pretty sales pitch…we talk about things like holding ourselves back by making excuses and taking brave steps.

 

If you are already subscribed, you will have the opportunity to get your free copy with the next newsletter…which I plan to send out this week!

 

Click here to subscribe to the Campfire Chic newsletter

 

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