My Name is Amber & I’m a Multi-Passionate Entrepreneur (Who is Interested In Your Feedback)

Hi All, I always new it was the case, but society seemed to shun it.  Get a niche, focus, you’ve got too much going on – that, however, is where I get my energy so that mantra didn’t sit well with me.  When I’ve got a lot going on I seem to have energy to do even more.  There is even research to support that a little stress is good for the ladies in the house – crazy,  I know!

Needless to say, I was comforted when Johnny B Truant did a post on Marie’s site about Multi-Passionate Entrepreneurs – love this!!!  I started to refocus and feel reenergized about what it is that I’ve got going on here.

So what are my current multi-passionate endeavors?  I’ve got boudoir photography on the list, plain old fun family and wedding photography, as well as an interest and passion for coaching/strategy sessions and lifestyle transformation (which really aligns a bit more with my professional experience to date)…. And then a couple of special projects I have brewing. More on those next week. One thing I have decided on is that I’m going to use ambermccue.com as my website, but I’m struggling with a tag line.  If you have the time to view this video and provide any feedback, I’d be most appreciative.  It went a little longer than I intended and you won’t miss much if you jump around – except maybe the explanation about why my hair is still in a towel. :)

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The Transformation Funk Got Me Today!

The transformation funk got me again!

To catch any new comers up, I’m going through a whole lot of transformation lately.  About a year and a half ago, I realized I was not living my life in alignment with my life purpose (send me an email at ambermccue@gmail.com if you want more information on how to find that… It is life changing and I highly recommend it).  That has brought on a host of realizations and changes that I am actively working into my life from modifying spending habits and enjoying time at my daughter’s lacrosse practice, to the current 30 day vegan challenge  and my search for freedom.

Lately, particularly as 7.31.2010 approaches, about every two weeks I experience deep anxiety and I fill up with fear.  Questions flood my mind:

  • When will I know I can “quit??  Will I have the courage to do it?
  • Not to mention, I’m actually doing some cool stuff at work lately and working closely with someone I really really like – but I don’t want to admit it and like it too much because I am on a different train
  • What if the big marketing initiatives we have coming up (which will really help us get a sense of if our message resonates or not) totally bomb?
  • If they bomb, I’ll surely not meet my date.
  • There’s so much I need to do and so much income I need to get into my pipeline before I quit – no way I”ll get there by 7.31.2010
  • Am I spread too thin?

All of these thoughts overpower me.  Consume me.

Set goal. Accomplish goal. That’s what I do!

In my heart I know that I fail this first time around THAT’S OKAY because I’m learning!!! And I’ll eventually get it and get what’s right for me.  It’s a hard lesson for me to take in.

As I go on this journey and work toward this goal, it is much easier to study and learn and apply.  It is harder for me to move in and out of a reflective space where I explore what’s right, what’s working, and what’s not.  Ultimately, it isn’t about accomplishing the tasks.  Rather, this journey is about freeing myself from the mental models that have become engrained since childhood and living a fulfilling, on purpose life.

Live a Little

My dad reminded me of this today.  He used the line “live a little” to persuade me to take a drive through a local dairy farm on our way home from errand running.  — Not exactly the rip roaring adventure one might expect to hear following the words “live a litte” :) — At the time I was annoyed that he said it,  afterall, I had stuff to do today and I was already behind because I fell slept for TWO HOURS after I fell asleep while working to meditate my funk away.  (Think the sleep was a coping mechanism :)).  Work awaits me at home, Dad!

Ahh, but he was right on.  That is exactly what this journey is about and I’ve been so nose to the grindstone that last couple of weeks that I haven’t done much living.

So, this reflection serves as my reminder to enjoy the journey.  The journey is just as important as – if not more important than the result.

Love,

Amber

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Build Flourishing Partnerships

Yesterday, I shared why Partners Rock My World!  Today, I’m sharing some tips to help those partnerships flourish.  Some of these are old news; some are things you might expect but don’t necessarily do; and some work as good with my husband as they do in business…

1)    Be up front about what you can give to the partnership – consider time, energy, product, knowledge, skills, expertise, etc.

2)    Communicate about your strengths and weaknesses and offset each other where you can

3)    Have a common vision – or at least parts of a common vision and, again, offset each other where you can and support each other offers something the other doesn’t

4)    Prepare for the moment you’ll disagree.  How will you make decisions? What will you make those decisions against?  Answering questions such as this in advance will help you avoid unhealthy conflict in the moment.

And my personal favorite….

5)    Talk about what’s on your mind, but not usually said.

This one deserves a little explanation.  I’m not referring to the elephant in the room that everyone knows about but doesn’t talk about; although that’s important to address too.  I am talking about the things that are on your mind that you usually keep to yourself and don’t share.  Think about that.  What you think, but you don’t say.

For example, in corporate America people might look at me funny if I introduced myself in the meeting by letting everyone know I had a “funky energy” today. (Although I think we’d all be better off if we could be more honest).

In my conversation with Morgan last week, however, starting off the Skype date letting Morgan know I couldn’t totally describe it but I was dealing with some “funky energy” set the stage for a dialogue and helped explain how I might engage in that particular conversation.  With that open dialogue, she was then ready for anything!!!  I, on the other hand, was able to fully be in the moment and more comfortable and engaged because I could worry less about what was in mind.  She knew I was feeling funky and understood if I said something off kilter.

Ultimately, these tips are applicable for any partnership – business or personal.  I think my husband would agree.

What tips do you have to make partnerships rock!?

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Why Partners Rock My World

I’ve gotta say there is something about working with partners that makes this entrepreneurial stuff so much more fun.  I’m swirling and twisting on this journey toward Freedom 7.31.2010 and it can sometimes feel lonely and confusing.  While I’m finally starting to evolve my vision and I’m getting a stronger sense of what I want my brand “Amber McCue” to represent, I have a tendency to get hung up on details.  Afterall, this is “ME” I’m putting out there – I want to get it right, says my inner voice.

Even though I’m still scheming, learning, and building, when I’m doing that with partners the “work” is much more fun.  It also helps keep me on track.  When I have voiced commitments to someone – even if they are my own personal commitments – they become that much more real.  Different partners help in different ways too. (I’ve mentioned these two here before, but they are worth calling out again because they are doing good things… : ) )

Bluegrass Romance – Commonality In Mission, Rock Star Support & Encouragement

I met Morgan over at Bluegrass Romance through the internet.  Surprised at how much we had in common (boudoir photography, passion for life and adventure, and being former single mommas) we connected not even knowing what it would bring.  Right now, it is a weekly support call where we share what we are up to and encourage one another.

Three Boudoir – Friend and Traditional Business Partner for Taking on Sexy

In my boudoir photography business, I have friend and traditional business partner.  We are building and growing this business under our shared vision each bringing different skill-sets to table.  My photography and coaching experience to help people feel comfortable in their own skin in front of us two strangers +  her modeling experience to direct clients to pose in just the right to help their inner beauty shine right through = a fantastic team!!

Even though partners totally rock, there are some best practices from “big business” that totally apply here.  The really cool thing is that in the entrepreneurial world we can really hold ourselves to implementing them and building partnerships that help drive our purpose, meaning, and enhance our lives.

Tomorrow I’ll share some of those tips… Today, I’d like to hear from you!

What AWESOME partnerships do you have?

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Good Bye Franklin Covey, Hello Passion-O-Meter! Just hear me out…

Just about two weeks ago now I returned from fantastic trip to Hawaii.  I mentioned in my last post that while I was there I totally unchecked from the craziness that sometimes comes with life.  I rediscovered silence, I reflected a lot, and really listened to my self speak. 
 
A couple of days into our trip I noticed a trend.  When I actually listened to ME and observed my thoughts and the reactions of my body, I could very easily differentiate between what I felt passionate and got fired up about and - on the flip side –  what I didn’t care if I e v e r did again.  I was so excited about this realization, about finding out exactly this is what it feels like to love what you are doing.  I don’t think it is that I hadn’t felt that energy or passion before, but it felt different when I was able to compare and reflect and back up the good feelings against feelings I once thought were good.  Did that make any sense at all? Let me give you an example…
 
Up until the last two years, I really thought I liked my job in corporate america.  I was contributing.  I was getting a lot done, checking a lot of my list, getting raises, and was appreciated by my teammates.  But did I reallllly love it?  Did I really get fired up about what I was doing? I don’t think so. 
 
I think I was a happy hamster. 
 
Can anyone relate?  I did love helping people.  So, that was nice.  And I was motivated by the team’s success, but I didn’t honestly feel fired up about billing, for example.  It was a necessary evil. (To put this into further context, I am a super positive person so it is hard for me to easily see the negative.)
 
As I dip my toes further and further into the land of entrepreneurialism, this question of “what am I passionate about” it increasingly important.  
 
There is no way that I am getting on the hamster wheel ever. again.  
 
Knowing what I am passionate about will help me focus my ideas in terms of who is my ideal client, what is my market niche, how will I brand myself, etc. 
 
As George Kao recently advised me, it will even help me figure out what I should do next on my to-do list.  On a recent call with him I asked what he would recommend I focus on next in terms of business activities as they relate to my personal business goals.  He said everything I mentioned was very important and valuable efforts.  He carried on, however, and suggested I do the one I feel most passionate about in the moment.  It made perfect sense to me…
 
Do what you are most passionate about in this moment.  You’ll likely do it better than if you are doing something simply because you have to check it off the to-do list. 
  
Between my realizations from the trip and George’s recommendation, I started to categorize my life activities in a way that I could easy reflect and measure my passion. I call it the passion-o-meter.  Like thermometer – but with passion! I tested this mentally in Hawaii and tested it in reality just yesterday with my to-do list. 
 
Instead of prioritizing Stephen and Franklin Covey style based on priority, I decided what to do based on what I felt most passionate about.  I had a list so there was some direction, but it was much more fun to tackle the to-dos on a Sunday afternoon with this new model.  Here’s a sample for you to consider:
 
Important Note:  Sometimes it isn’t easy to start right away with listening to what is happening in the moment.  That is why reflecting is so important.  This template could also be used as a journal bolt-on or easy journal/reflection tool (if you don’t do any reflection or journalling right now). 
 
I’d be interested in what you think of this idea.  What techniques do you have to keep you focused and excited about what you are doing?

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Nothing Better than a Hawaiian Vacation to Help Refocus!

My family recently returned from a trip to the Aloha state.  Every time I return from the islands I find myself seeking freedom!  I knew this particular trip would be double trouble since I was in pursuit of this even before we even got to the islands. Uh oh.

While there, Matt, my husband, and I joked – with serious undertones – about the fact that we were taking a trip to Hawaii in the midst of our savings push and with my 7.31.2010 goal getting scary-close.  We found some solicit in the fact that we… errr.. paid for the trip in cash.

As the trip progressed, however, and I disconnected from the day-to-day excitement that comes with my regular life I stopped thinking about to-do lists and the bills and allll of the other things I hated doing or just felt numb about (since there isn’t really much that I really “hate”).

Waking up at 6:30 am and enjoying a walk along this beach on day one probably helping speed the unwind and disconnect process…

Yes, beaches help me relax :)

Instead of just being in go-go-go mode, I started to become much more aware of how I was f e e e e l i n g (lesson: remember to listen to what you feel for clues on what you are meant to be doing).  I observed myself getting more excited about certain things than others!

Even when my mind drifted into a daydream, I noticed what I was dreaming about and hoping for and which daydreams I was more jazzed about. Not having to worry about all of the excitement that unfolds in daily life, I sat in solicit a lot and I had time to really think about what I am planning and where I am going in life.

Here’s just a little bit of what I found:

I needed to go back to the real world and maintain the Aloha spirit I find in myself every time I am in Hawaii.

Aloha

When I return home I need to continue to make time to be active and hang out with my family.

I need to volunteer and give back more.

I need to feel fulfilled in what I am doing each and every day – no excuses.  (Unless it is one of those recharge and reflect type days which are also very, very important).

Hawaii Bird

To that end, I am absolutely on the right path in terms of finding my freedom,  my bliss.

I’m here going on this journey, trying not be too hard on myself along the way.

Diamond Head Hike

I couldn’t ever imagine picking my current job over Hawaii, but I envisioned all sorts of others things I feel as passionate about as I do my Hawaiian vacation like helping you grow – and growing with you, photography, planning retreats for rockstar women, positively progressive change, listening, those two in the picture below, etc., etc.

Love these two

I will seek those things out in a bigger way each and every day.

My Bliss

So, I am home.  I’ve reorganized.  And I am feeling increasingly more energized about what I have to give to this world!

Who’s with me?

I can’t do this without you!

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Celebrate!!! I Made A Decision. And Allll Sorts of Goodness Has Followed!

I sit here on this rainy afternoon in Maryland, celebrating the fact that I made a decision. Wahoo!  7.31.2010 here. I. come.

It has been a reallllly amazing week.  Six months ago I picked a date to free myself to fully do what it is that I want. How I get there is basically what this blog is all about.  I felt the need to pick a date because I absolutely suck at making decisions.

I hem and haw about something – the “important” somethings – for weeks and weeks.  I knew I would continue running in my non-decision making circles unless I set my own goal.  After a whole lotta personal reflection, it was very, very clear I knew I needed to first lead myself to success before I’d be able to build any sort of a tribe.  Ya know, a little coaching for myself this time!

So, I’ve picked a date and everything I’m doing is completely in support of finding my bliss (and hopefully helping others do the same along the way! :)).  Not only I am doing things differently, the universe is supporting me.  A new found favorite, Marie Forleo, has a video on how to get anything you want.  I think it is uber important to celebrate even the small things — and I completely forgot to celebrate this ginormous decision I made in Freedom 7.31.2010 until I saw her video today.  To quote Marie, it does seem that, “once you take action on that decision, the universe bends to support you.”

As I reflect on this past week alone, it is amazing to think about how much followed from the simple decisions that we made in just the last five days:

1) Finally went all in and launched the Three Boudoir fan page with my kiss-ass partner, Joanna

2) Met with my new BFF Morgan from Bluegrass Romance who I met via Project Mohave/Marie Forleo/George Kao/Twitter

3) Discussed a potential partnership and development of a retreat in August with Morgan (details will follow!)

4) Walked out of the Skype date with Morgan and told two dudes about this women’s retreat I’m planning with partners for August (they wondered why I was glowing so much… had to tell – it becomes so much more real)

5) One of those dude’s has crazy awesome experience in direct market and would offer his services at cost to me (and my fantabulous partners) so they can test their business model and build their own company resume (woot!)

6) In the process of booking T H R E E – yes, T H R E E, appointments for Three Boudoir

…That was all just this week and I’m sure I’m forgetting something too!!!!!

I can’t imagine what more is to come.  Wait yes, I can.  Ahhh, it is going to be great!

The universe is waiting for you, what decision do you need to make today?

And once you decide, don’t forget to c e l e b r a t e !!

- Amber

P.S. Big thanks to my hubby, Joannarama, and Morgan for making this week (and the past several weeks) rock!

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