Everyone has an upgrade style, they just don't know it.
It’s not definable like a decorating style that’s categorized by looks (modern, farmhouse, eclectic). It’s closer to a personal style. The way you put things together that make it yours. It changes, there’s a flow to it. Most importantly, it looks different for each person.
Upgrades have nothing to do with how much you spend & everything to do with what they make you feel.
When I moved back to Minnesota after the whole life I had planned for myself fell apart, it was the first time in 20 years I only had myself to think about. I had spent years sacrificing & changing what I wanted to accommodate someone else.
There was no room for settling any more, it was time to upgrade.
After feeling like I lost everything, I needed stability, comfort, & security.
I was fortunate enough to have time to find a home that felt like "me." I always wanted something with character & this old house has plenty. A big kitchen so I had room to cook. Beautiful wood floors that slant a different direction in each room. A ton of windows that fill my home with light and make the house feel breezy in the summer. I knew from the moment I stepped inside...This was My House (comfort & security).
After my first winter back, I had an automatic start put in my car. A $200 investment has made such a huge upgrade in my life. No more running outside to start my car in the middle of getting ready or sitting in a freezing car waiting for it to warm up (comfort). I also got a furry steering wheel cover (my fingers freeze immediately from when I was young & stupid and got frost bit because warm gloves weren't cute).
I got a job doing night audit for a boutique hotel. It was a stress free job that gave me plenty of down-time to read & to figure out what was next. I eventually used the time to work on my business and finish some courses I bought & never completed. Plus it was a steady paycheck(stability).
For me upgrades have nothing to do with designer labels (no judgement if that's your thing, it's just not mine). My upgrades are natural candles, kitchen stuff, massages, time to cook, soft blankets and pillows to make things cozy (It's all about textures), & my custom perfume.
This is how to find your upgrade style in 5 steps.
When I moved back to Minnesota I needed stability, comfort & security. Now I want a life that feels abundant, special & secure (step 2).
Abundant for me is about textures, good quality products, things that make my life easier (step 3).
I despise dusting & deep cleaning. Plus I stay busy and I’d rather not have my free time sucked up because the house needs to be cleaned. I like to curl up on the couch or chair with blankets to feel cozy on cold days. Massages are possibly my favorite thing in the world & a great way to relax. I had been promising myself I would get regular massages for years (step 4)
My abundant upgrades are cozy blankets, fuzzy socks, good quality candles, quality cookware, getting monthly massages, soft absorbent towels, good sheets, spending time with my friends every Friday, having a cleaner (step 5).
Special is represented by custom, early release, or limited availability.
My special upgrades are my perfume (designed specifically for me), my hair products, preordering products off of kickstarter, investing in companies on Wefunder, and tickets or invites to special events(not much of this in 2020. Thanks COVID).
Secure is represented by dependable and safe.
My secure upgrades are my front door camera, building my savings account, the autostart in my car, the neighborhood I live in, my website hosting company.
Don't feel like you have to upgrade everything at once (that's overwhelming) or that you have to stick to your original list (flow). Choose 1-3 things and make them part of your life. Then move on to the next when you're ready.
I love home improvement shows. I've always thought I'd love to have someone come in and redo my house (of course I need to buy one first).
I think I'd be great on one of those shows because I love that kind of change. Of course I'm also the girl that painted every wall in my first apartment a different color (green, yellow, orange, & purple).
Change can be both exciting and scary.
Even when you want change, getting it can be overwhelming. That's why a lot of hairstylists, designers, and even coaches will give you a watered down version of what you say you want.
In my opinion they do that more for them than you. People say they want big dramatic change, then they first see it and freak out. Gut reaction is to want things to go back to how they used to be because that is comfortable (comfortable = safe). Then they have to undo all their hard work.
Have you ever worked really hard on something and then almost immediately had to undo it all? It can feel soul crushing.
When I first started dying my hair purple I had to go back twice after because I was so disappointed that it wasn't purple enough. I went to work & no one even noticed. I went home and cried. I almost didn't call my stylist to complain. Technically it was purple, even if indoors it looked like a boring dark brown.
The second time I went back I said "I want people to look at me and say f*ck her hair is purple" Once she knew I wouldn't freak out, we got to the point where she wouldn't even tell me what she was doing or what colors.
I'm fearless when it comes to dramatic changes to my hair or house. I think it has a lot to do with my belief that everything is fixable.
Changing careers, ending relationships, and changing my routine are changes that I used to overthink(that's code for they freaked me out because they have the potential to change my life).
I used to think about them forever before I did anything about them. There was a lot of start and stop and start over. There was this feeling that I had 1 shot to get it right.
Even when you really want change there's a good chance you'll hit a spot where you start to panic a little and get the urge to leave things as they are. No worries it's natural to get those feelings. What matters is what you do next.
Now is when you have to get brutally honest with yourself. What's freaking you out about the change?
Is it that you're realizing you don't actually want it?
I used to work with a woman that was in constant competition with her friends. Her friend got a BMW so she worked her ass off to get a BMW. Finally she traded in the car she absolutely adored for this new car that (if we're being honest) she hated.
If you don't want it, stop. No guilt.
Does it feel like you're going down the wrong path?
I had a coach that kept pushing me to focus my business towards helping other people figure out their businesses. I tried to go with it, but honestly that's not what excites me. I love it as part of the whole, but if I had to talk business all day I'd get burnt out real quick.
Adjust your path. Keep the changes you're liking and redesign what isn't you.
Is it just part of the process?
Sometimes when you begin to see the change becoming real you freak out because it's different. It's like when you get hired at your dream job and before you start you worry that you won't be good at it. What if you don't like who you work with? What if they figure out you're not qualified enough and they fire you?
Keep going. You deserve this.
Create change that excites you.
Don't you love it when you accidentally discover something? That's how I figured out my trick for determining what I really want.
The hardest thing about making changes is there are just soooo many options.
Most changes aren't as simple to undo as returning an outfit to the store (there's a fair amount of clothes in my closet that are still there because I didn't want to go through the effort of returning them).
You thought you liked it while you were in the store. The sales person was telling you how great you looked. You were surrounded by other shoppers that could pass for store models and you talked yourself into it.
Then you get home and you're not so sure anymore. You put it on and you don't feel that "store confidence", maybe you realize it feels scratchy. Or worse, you don't know exactly what it is, but there's something about it that you don't like.
What if you choose wrong? You can change it, but wouldn't you prefer to get it right the first time?
I've been using screen savers to figure it out. Or more accurately, to figure why I like what I like.
I told you I started doing this by accident. I just wanted pretty stuff to look at.
I hopped on pinterest (I may be a Pinterest addict) and went crazy. I've always loved design and I've been thinking about my future so I chose a bunch of house interiors that I liked.
I took all those pictures and set them up as a screensaver slide show. After about a week I started to realize that I didn’t like some of the pictures. I would get annoyed when they popped up.
I began removing the pictures that bugged me and I started to see trends in what was left. I was seeing what I liked and WHY I liked it.
I always knew I wanted high ceilings with beams. I've figured out I don't want the big wooden beams, I prefer metal beams and to have the wood on the actual ceiling. Can you imaging if I redid a house and spent all that money, just to walk into the living room every day and have it bug me?
My newest project is gallery walls. They're beautiful. When done right they tell a story.
It started with a framed painting a friend gave me (you can see the picture that started it all above).
It's beautiful, but I hadn't hung it because you can't hang 1 smallish frame on a wall. That and I have plaster walls so I was a little freaked out about hanging anything after hearing horror stories of walls crumbling when they were drilled into wrong.
I had just seen an HGTV episode where they did this beautiful gallery wall of different mirrors. I thought that's exactly what I need to go with my painting!
Next thing you know I've filled my Amazon cart about 3 times. I would order then get another idea of things my wall needed. I started with frames, votive holders (that I ended up not using), & floating air-plant terrariums (didn't make it on the gallery wall, but looks amazing hanging in my kitchen).
I searched mirrors (I wasn't going to spend $80 a mirror) and found a set of 24 for $24 at the Dollar Store. I thought a little paint and these will be perfect (Amazon cart #2). I got on Etsy and bought these fabulous flowers made of wire. I bought some metal prints from Displate.
Now I've bought entirely too much stuff for 1 wall. But I like options and maybe I'll do a couple more (turns out I did 3 walls).
I rarely do things in the order you would expect. Only after buying a ton of stuff for my gallery wall(s), did I begin to think about layout. To me you can't consider the layout until you know what you're working with.
Onto Pinterest. I pulled a bunch of gallery wall photos. I created phone wallpaper collages with the images. Then I would remove the images I didn't like or I was just unsure of. I kept doing this until I had it down to 4 images.
Once you have your final pictures it's time to do some digging.
What they have in common? What do you like about them? What bugs you? Where do your eyes go first? What is repeated? Is it a feeling, a color, a texture, a layout? Find your connections.
Keep going back and looking at your choices. You won't see everything all at once. Ask a friend what they notice when they look at your final pics.
What did I learn about gallery walls?
I like the frame colors to be mostly the same (2 colors at most). There’s 1 attention piece that draws your eye because it's different from all the rest (size and shape), and the rest work together to complete the story. I like the spacing to be similar. A mix of sizes. Pops of color. Drops of unexpected.
You can use this process with hairstyles, outfits, interior design, Branding photos, dishes, layouts, art, tattoos, or anything visual.
Marketers are the hype men of the sales world. You need to be that for your life.
Marketing is all about telling people where to focus & showing the value.
I think there's a lot of spinning neutrals into positives.
This weekend I had plans to go to a concert that had been rescheduled from April. I was so excited. Two days before I checked the venue site to see what rules they had and my heart sank when I saw that my rescheduled concert got cancelled. WTF COVID??
The day of the concert I spent the day at my friend's house having cocktails poolside.
Today I scheduled a me day. My plans were to have a day where I had nothing I had to do. My friend called me up, we went to lunch, got manis & pedis, then I came home and discovered my air conditioner stopped working (I just needed it to work for 1 more week then it would be cool enough to have the windows open).
There's 2 basic ways to spin the last couple days.
Nothing ever works out for me.
I really wanted to go to this concert, so of course it was cancelled. All my concerts have been cancelled.
It's supposed to be extremely hot this week, so of course my air conditioner breaks. My apartment didn't come with air conditioning, so I have to pay to have this fixed (Why did I want to live in an old house with "character"?).
I won't be able to get my tattoo now because I have to use the money to replace the A/C. Most tattoo places are booked out to the end of the year. Why can't I get anything when I want it?
See how it turns into this weird game of 6 degrees of crap (you do get extra points if you can somehow link it to Kevin Bacon).
Then there's the positive spin....
Things don't always work out as expected (but they work out to my benefit).
I got to spend a beautiful day at the pool (I have a friend with a pool!!).
I have the option to take days off just because I want to. I got to spend the day with my friend and she paid for lunch and nails. I can afford to take a me day and not have to do the math about what that will do to my bank account.
There's only 3 more really hot days before we hit fall weather. I won't have to store the A/C unit this winter. This A/C unit was gifted to me for free and I got 2 summers out of it. I have a lot of time to replace this unit (there will be a sale & I do love a sale).
It's all about how you direct your focus.
I don't support being delusional. If it's a dumpster fire call it a dumpster fire. If you want change (even changing good things) I help clients do it all the time. But your life will never be flawless. So focus on the good in it. Focus on the good in the people around you. As you do that you train your mind to see more of it. To be open to opportunities that offer more of what you want.
Next thing you know, you're living a life that makes you happy and fulfills your needs.
I've always loved to cook. For as long as I can remember I have been cooking with my mom and grandma. The kitchen is where I first learned to experiment. Some things turned out delicious. Others went straight to the trash. And that was okay. There was no judgement, I just learned what worked together.
Cooking has a freeness to it & I ten thousand percent believe that how you create your life should have that same freeness.
You start with some basic ingredients, but you can end up with so many different results. Possibly why I'm obsessed with Masterchef & Chopped. It's fascinating how many different dishes they create from the same starting point. The best part for me is it opens me up to ideas I would have never thought of on my own.
Creating your life is done using the same principles.
We all start with the same basic ingredients. A want, your skills, and your personality.
You start by choosing what you're going to make. When you're cooking you hop on Pinterest or flip through your cookbooks and search for a recipe. When you're creating your life you look at what others have created.
What life do you want to make? Look around to get some ideas. Do you want to own a business? Be a stay at home parent? Professional athlete? Dog groomer? Whose lives interest you?
Then you pick a recipe that fits your needs.
You look for keto, vegan, or a recipe that doesn't have nuts because you're allergic. This is where you figure out what your unique version looks like. If you're designing your career it would include things like how many hours do you work? Are you working for a company, freelancing, starting your own business? If you got rid of all the rules, what would it look like?
Once you've decided on your recipe, all that's left is to gather the ingredients.
Ingredients are all the little pieces that make the recipe yours.
If your recipe's career related you choose a niche, get the education (sometimes it's life experience), find a company that fits your needs, start your own business, get a website.
If it's having a less stressful morning the ingredients could be getting up 5 minutes earlier. Choosing clothes the night before. Having grab-n-go breakfast options. Rotating carpool duty. Premaking lunches.
If you have an ingredient that isn't working, switch it out for something else.
I used to struggle trying to make everything I did fit into some perfect little box.
I worked my ass off to make my life check all the boxes. I tried to make my relationships look picture perfect. When I started my business, I tried to set mine up like other successful businesses.
What did I get for all that effort?
A life filled with things I didn't care about doing and a bunch of stuff I didn't like. Relationships that looked good on paper, but were all about the other person. And a business that was in a constant state of struggle because I was forcing myself to fit in someone else's mold.
One of the biggest challenges when you're starting something new is letting go of how it should be done.
You should definitely look at people with similar ideas or who have what you want for inspiration. See what works for others. Ask yourself what it is about their way that speaks to you.
Notice what in their process you don't want. And remember you don't have to do it. If it's a key piece, like accounting, you not doing it could look like hiring someone to take care of that piece.
I work with a girl who loves making videos, but hates editing them. Instead of forcing herself to struggle through the editing process (which would probably result in her making less videos) she hired an assistant to take care of the editing.
I can't tell you how many times I tried to force myself to do things that didn't align with my style. Or set goals based on priorities that belonged to someone else.
I'd end up procrastinating the things I was forcing & I never cared when I reached the goal. Honestly reaching the goal usually felt like I was creating more work for myself. I got the bigger house, which meant more cleaning. More rooms to furnish (I did like that part). A lawn to take care of (not my thing). More bills. For what, so people I didn't care about could come by and tell me how beautiful my house was?
Everything you want is a reflection of your core self. It only makes sense that your version of what you want would be unique to you.
It's natural to look at how it's previously been done, but you have to remember that it's not the only way.
I like to use what I call the Frankenstein method. Look at all the ideas, techniques, and processes that other people use. Figure out how they fit together for your version. Picture the finished product, what pieces do you need to make it work? Take what aligns with you and you leave the rest.
You're not reinventing the wheel, you're just getting the right wheel for the job.
It's one thing to stay home by choice, but staying home because you HAVE to is a whole other animal entirely.
What makes it even harder is you have no idea how long you'll be doing this for. At least when you got grounded growing up you knew how long you were grounded for. You had that internal countdown keeping track of how long until your life would go back to normal.
Quarantine isn't the total isolation that it used to be. You can use technology to help feel connected. FaceTime, InstaStories, Videos, social media, texting & phone calls are great ways to connect with people when you can't do it in person. But what do you do?
There's only so much Netflix binging, napping, and day drinking a person can do before it gets old.
Have you gotten there yet? I just watched a video of Ellen trying to talk to a telemarketer because she was so bored.
So how do you make self-quarantine work for you?
Most people start with time fillers. Social media, videos, games, reading, naps and things that give you an escape. These are great, but most people get bored with them.
Next are the project tasks. These are the things that have been on your to-do list. They may not be the most fun, but you would have done them eventually. These include cleaning, organizing closets, decluttering, hanging pictures, cleaning out the fridge, organizing your photos and other projects you've wanted to do.
Finally you can set quarantine goals.
This is where people really start to differentiate from each other. Quarantine goals are things you've always wanted to do but haven't had time, they can be things that move you closer to a larger primary goal, or it can be stepping into your upgraded life to see how it feels. These are great ways to find your path & some fit into multiple categories.
Things you've wanted to do, but haven't had time. These are often things you've had on your list for months or maybe even years. Many times it's something with a learning curve. A language. A new skill like knitting, yoga, photography, or cooking. Upgrading a skillset also falls into this category. Finally finishing a course you bought or learning how to use more than just the basic features of something. Great examples are Quickbooks, Lightroom, or your instapot. They usually take some time & can't be completed in one session.
I like to call these supporting goals. They move you closer to a primary goal. Learning Italian for a trip you're planning to Italy. Writing chapters for the book you've dreamed of publishing. Setting up a website so you can sell your product. Taking a course so you check the boxes for an upcoming promotion. Starting an exercise routine so you're prepared for an upcoming hiking trip, marathon, or just you have enough energy to chase toddlers around all day.
Finally, and this is the most fun in my opinion. Try on your dream life. Maybe you dream of working from home. Here's your chance to step into that. How have you pictured your life when that happened? Do you make breakfast every morning or sit on your porch with a cup of coffee? Maybe you saw yourself going for a run and watching the sunrise. Do those things. See if you really like it or if it's something that just looked good on paper.
Have you been picturing what life would be like if you weren't constantly running from one practice or game to another and there was time to actually sit down and eat dinner? Now's the time. Have an everyone sits at the table dinner. Cook together. Order in. Do it how you pictured it.
It doesn't matter how much or how little you do as long as it feels right for you.
“It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”
― Lewis Carroll
I can't tell you how many times I've heard you shouldn't retake personality quizzes because the first result will be the most accurate. That's true and it's not.
You have a core personality that is pretty solid, but there's so much of you that changes.
You're not the same person you were when you were 20(do you remember all the dumb decisions). You might be an entirely different version of you 6 months from now.
Every time my life has fallen apart & I've rebuilt it, I've also rebuilt myself. I've figured out what wasn't working for me. I reprioritize. I become a stronger version of me.
Throughout your life, different parts of you will take the lead.
If a family member is sick, your caregiver side might take over. Or it could be the assertive take no shit side(because sometimes that's the only way to get doctors or stubborn patients to listen).
After a loss, your rebellious side might come out. Or the planner.
When you're in a new relationship, your passive side might come out for a while (because you don't have to take care of everything on your own). Maybe the curious or explorer side decides to be front and center.
I take a money archetype quiz once a year to see what my top 3 qualities are. Then I adjust my actions to fit. They're usually similar, but the order shifts.
You are constantly evolving. Acknowledge the present version of you. Use her strengths. Pay attention to her priorities. She is the key to success at this stage of your life.
You never really know until you start doing.
Clarity can be tricky. It can make you feel stuck because you're unclear on what to do next. You might know what you want, but have no idea how to get from where you are to where you want to be. Worse, you might get exactly what you thought you wanted & realize it's all wrong.
There are a lot of things that "look good on paper."
I've had a lot of ideas about how my life should look. I worked my ass off, got those things & realized they weren't for me. They weren't what I actually wanted. I used to look at it as I wasted years. In a way, I did. Once I knew it wasn't what I wanted, I didn't change anything because I already had so much time invested.
I've spent a lot of time doing things that weren't making me happy. I stuck with them because I didn't want to start over. They were familiar. I was too scared to try something different because what if I failed & had to come crawling back????
I did not want to hear, "I told you so."
Maybe you've experienced this too.
That is why I prefer not to have a complete plan. We're taught you have to push through. You started it, you have to finish it. That goes away when you don't go into it think you have it all figured out.
When you're not sure exactly what you want or you don't have a complete plan, it frees you up to make adjustments.
Take any goal. Figure out what it looks like to you. Start taking action to create that goal the way you see it.
Next, (this is the most important advice I can give you) if you don't like it change it!
Stop forcing things because you think that's how it should look. The biggest reason is because it makes you miserable. Second reason, you won't do it. You'll procrastinate, organize your sock drawer, binge Netflix, or anything else you can think of to not do it.
Let's say you want to get healthier. You decide you're going to get up every morning & go to the gym. You're going to prep all your meals for the week on Sunday. You're only going to eat Keto or Paleo or one of the ohs.
The first week you force yourself out of bed twice and go to the gym. But, you're not a morning person, you feel crazy uncomfortable at the gym with all the super motivated morning people. Who says you have to go to the gym? Who says it has to be in the morning? Maybe you prefer the gym in the middle of the night when there's only a handful of people. Or you prefer kayaking in the morning, walks in the afternoon, weekend days hiking on local trails. DO THAT INSTEAD!
You don't have to change your goals, just change the details.
What do you want?
I hate that question. I spent years stuck because I was trying to figure that out. I knew what I didn't want. (That was easy) But, what did I want???
We put a lot of pressure on that question. You feel like you have one chance to come up with the "right answer." There's this feeling that you need to have it all figured out.
Trying to get your answer just right is a huge reason people get stuck. I like to start somewhere different.
When I work with someone and they're not sure what they want, I ask them "How do you want to feel?" That question brings in all kinds of possibility.
Behind all the things you want is a feeling.
Sometimes you discover the thing you believe will give you that feeling isn't actually what you want at all.
If you have something on your want list, but all the details are missing, it could be because you don't want that thing. This is much different that having some of the big details & not knowing how to make it all come together.
I've worked with a bunch of people who come to me and say they want to start a business. Truth is they don't want to run a business. They want to feel more creative. They want more flexibility with their schedule. They want to be able to travel more. Or they want a different career path. Starting a business is not the only way to get those things.
Choose the area of your life where you want change. What feelings do you want in that area?
Write down all the things you want to feel. Confidence. To feel loved. Excitement. Predictability. Stability. Connection. Creative. Playful. Focused. Feeling successful.
It doesn't have to be one word. It's even better when you can focus in on what's attracting you to that feeling. It can be getting rid of the doing the exact same thing day after day. Exploring new places. Having people you can depend on. Spending more time outside. Being the fun aunt. Having your house filled with people.
Take your direction from these answers. What things give you those feelings?
Spending more time outside could be weekend road trips. Daily walks in your local park. A job guiding walking tours.
Connection can be done by working in a group atmosphere. Hanging out with people that get you. A new relationship. A spiritual practice. Joining a class.
Stability can be created by getting a promotion. Starting a savings plan. Having a schedule.
There is never only one way to do anything. Start with the feelings you want to experience and figure out which path you want to take to get there.
Intuitive clairaudient healer with a gift for getting to the point & making things seem doable.