3 Things That Made me Happy in February

It feels like ages since I wrote anything here. In fact it isn’t just a feeling. I haven’t written anything since...

3 Things That Made me Happy in February

It feels like ages since I wrote anything here. In fact it isn’t just a feeling. I haven’t written anything since September. The last months of 2017 were challenging to say the least. In the aftermath of the separation I went through I found myself incapable of writing. I needed time to come to terms with what had happened: the disbelief, the pain, the heartbreak, the violation of trust.

It took me awhile to figure out what I wanted to do next. With this newfound freedom came a whole lot of new questions. Where to live, how to reorganize my life, move forward, what to learn from this experience.

What first felt like the end of the world slowly turned into a brand new, and exciting page of my journey. As the dust settled on the remains of what was now my former life, I realized I wasn’t looking at a pile of ruins but instead and the foundation of something new.

Until December most of my attention went into nurturing myself, tending to my wounds, making sense of things. By the end of that month things had already improved dramatically. As I left for Chicago to spend the holidays with my family I promised myself I would return replenished, well rested, feeling alive again.

Chicago in December 2017

Enjoying -20° C with Andy, one of my favorite cousins, who’s clearly happy and  unaffected by the cold 🙂

The time I spent with friends, and family was incredible. So much love. So much support. It was exactly what I needed.

I even got to meet fellow BYCA coach, and dear friend Bailey Opsal from www.baileyopsal.com

Although I did feel a lot of improvements when I got back at the beginning of January, I knew I wasn’t there yet.

I’m still not there yet.

Healing takes time.

I’m aware it might take years for me to fully recover, but I also know how powerful the energy, support, gentleness, and compassion I can show myself, and that I receive from others can be in accelerating this process. So by the middle of January I decided to come out of hiding, and to map out, as I’ve done for so many years before, what my life in business would look like in 2018.

As part of my end of year goal setting and planning work I love to set a “word of the year”, an intention for myself. This year I decided to go for the word FREEDOM. First because with every change I believe comes liberation, but also – and more importantly – because I believe there’s a silver lining to everything. Including painful experiences.

Let by the intention to live a free, courageous, and joyful life this year I made some crucial decisions in January that brought me a lot of delight in February. Here are 3 of them.

#1 Feminist Marketing For Culture Makers

Kelly Diels is one of the most inspiring women I know, and her program Feminist Marketing for Culture Makers is by far the best investment I’ve made in a course – ever. Together with a group of inspiring change makers I embarked on a 9-month journey to redefine online marketing, to form a bridge between the culture we’re living in, and the one we want to create for ourselves, and future generations.

Kelly doesn’t believe in busy work. Instead, she’s managed to create a unique mix of lectures, focused assignments, group sharing time, and co-working moments.

With the work we’ve done in February alone I was able to cut my operation costs (apps use, subscriptions, etc.) from more than $5000 year to less than $1500, while making better – more informed and inclusive – decisions about the online tools I’m willing to use for my business.

That exercise alone covered the enrollment costs of the program! But that’s not why I love the course so much, or what it’s all about. Every month Kelly guides us through a different feminist marketing subject and, together with us, redefines what online marketing is. With compassion, respect, and vision she shows us that in order to be successful online – especially as privileged female entrepreneurs – we don’t need to follow any aggressive launch formulas or fall into the trap of the Female Lifestyle Empowerment Brand.

#2 A Short And Happy Escape to Paris

At the beginning of February I took the Thalys to Paris to attend the first Meetup organized by the Big Dreamers Club, my online membership site for multi-passionate women who want to dream big in all aspects of their lives.

The Meetup was a great success. We gathered at the Pain Quotidien in Varenne, a lovely Parisian neighborhood, to discuss how to dream bigger when setting goals for ourselves.

Paris Meetup February 2018

The only downside of coming together at a pastry shop is that it has a closing time… As we were finally getting into things, sharing, and having inspiring conversations we were gently asked to leave. So we found ourselves in front of the shop talking and wishing for more time. A great lesson that I’m absolutely taking with me for the next edition that will most probably happen in May!

If you want to be notified when and where it happens, hop on my mailing list. I’ll announce the gathering (with limited spots) there first.

#3 Business Bosses Mini-Retreat

As February rolled into March I attended the first Business Bosses Mini-Retreat organized by Maggie Giele, friend and digital strategist gifted with wizardly powers. A two-day gathering to strategize about business, connect with fellow online entrepreneurs, find support, and inspiration.

Maggie did a wonderful job bringing almost 20 female entrepreneurs from around the world together in Haarlem, The Netherlands. All inspiring, multi-passionate women from different backgrounds, working on projects and businesses ranging from makeup artists & beauty coaches, to copywriters, event organizers, and more.

Maggie guiding us through the different hats entrepreneurs wear in their businesses

The mini-retreat had two parts. The first day was a mastermind / workshop day. A mix of asking ourselves pertinent questions about our businesses, thinking about the future, conversation, and sharing. Day two was a sightseeing tour of Haarlem, with some shopping, and coffee tasting.

Inspiring, happy conversations happening all around. (Pictures by Maria-Ines Design Studio – mariainesdesignstudio.com)

The mini-retreat is an ongoing quarterly event that takes place all around Europe. I’m super excited about the next edition that will take place in Antwerp on the 24th and 25th of April. If you want more information about it, feel free to get in touch with Maggie or me.

Now it’s your turn. What made YOU happy in February? Let me know below.

(Featured Photo by Caique Silva on Unsplash)

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