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On a bright Dec day, I was walking my dog and thinking…what is it that makes me comfortable working in the uncertainty of Entrepreneurship? How is it that I can be comfortable here? Then it dawned on me like a lightning bolt from the sky:

Being outside my comfort zone IS my comfort zone.

Yes! That’s it!

Growing up an army brat in the ’80’s and ’90’s negated the establishment of a comfort zone. I went to 7 different schools in 12 years in 2 different languages. I lived in countless homes and cities and 2 countries. I traveled the world BEFORE there was Expedia, GPS, Cell Phones, Apps to find the best hotels and restaurants, Amazon, Trip Advisor …and the list goes on. It was a let’s-see-what-happens kind of world back then! I moved every 2 years and thus rarely spent more than 2 years with one friend. I have a rotating list of teachers, schools, required subjects (moving from province to province), piano teachers (of course this is totally the I reason I am not a concert pianist!), friends and addresses.

This type of living was all I knew – and I loved it. Before I turned 17 I had explored most of Canada and Europe. As a soldier, my Father was involved in some of the most interesting International disputes and relations. My Mother was the backbone keeping us happy as a family and trying all sorts of career adventures of her own. All this to say there was rarely a time when we were “settled” in the traditional sense. We are always anticipating, with delight I might add, the next adventure and we were ready to go at a moment’s notice. This is still the lifestyle I love to live. So, to be “settled” and in one place – or a comfort zone if you will – is not something I could ever sign up for.

Throw me outside my comfort zone and I am perfectly happy – as a matter of face – my happiest. As an adult, I prefer and even seek, new experiences, new people and new worlds to explore on a consistent basis. I’ve been told to settle down, calm down, stay in one place …you get the idea….for most of my adult life and yet as soon as I get in a place where I could comfortably stay for possibly years, I start to get that itch to wander, discover and find out what else is out there.

As an Entrepreneur, this works beautifully. Being stuck in one place has never been my problem and getting stuck is detrimental to a new business. Relying too heavily on one client, staying within a certain circle of business associates or tapped out business partners can create stagnant or diminishing returns. I don’t have to tell you this is not good for business. To keep growing my business, I have to keep growing myself, and lucky for me – I love that and everything that comes with it. With each new month, I strive to meet new people, to extend my services and offerings to meet customer challenges, to discover solutions to new problems and to visit new ground or new parts of the city that I have yet to discover. In other words, I love to be outside my comfort zone. Being outside my comfort zone IS my comfort zone – and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Until next time – dream, experience and love your life.

The Writing Suite is a writing-focused company dedicated to creating compelling content to engage and encourage your customers. Contact us for any and all writing needs or questions. Follow us on social for all our updates.

The post YEAR 2 – Entrepreneurship and Army Brats appeared first on Tara MacIntosh.

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Tara MacIntosh by Tara Macintosh - 7M ago

Being in the midst of the holiday season I always think of this story as I use it as a benchmark for judgment and perceptions. I would like to share my story as it may help you get excited AND stay excited about your 2019 goals – regardless of other people’s reactions or comments.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a teeny bit in love with Brene Brown and her teachings. Truth be told – reading her books gave me the courage to do so many wonderful things. It lead me to my husband, I started my own business and I throw myself into projects that I may not be 100% qualified for BUT I know I can do it with a little determination and a lot of grit.

After I found Brene I was so excited to talk about her to anyone that would listen. She has had such a profound impact on my life that I was certain she would do the same for a number of my friends who had been searching for answers in their lives. A few years ago, I purchased her book “Daring Greatly” and passed it out at Christmas to this handful of friends. I eagerly awaited to see how the magical words of wisdom would transform the lives of others as it had my own.

What happened next totally shocked me.

I met one of these friends for brunch a short time after to talk about the holidays and all the events that had taken place. When she approached the table she had Brene’s book in her hand. Once I recognized the book I thought – wow, she loved it so much she can’t wait to talk about it with me. This is going to be amazing! That was, in fact, far from the truth. What happened was exactly the opposite – she returned the book to me saying, “What is it you love about this? It’s not for me. You can have it back.”

WHAAATTT.

The reason this hit me like a ton of bricks was the fact that I connected so deeply to this book it literally changed EVERY aspect of my life – and that is not an exaggeration. Someone else being completely unaffected by the words was a fact that I didn’t even consider. How was that even possible?

This event opened up a whole new level of understanding for me as I ventured into my entrepreneur journey. It made me realize not everyone wants what I want, or is in the same place I am. Of course, logically we know this but to have it spelled out for me in black and white with someone I was close to made this point crystal clear. Some people, even people who are close to us, experience life from such a different perspective they are 100% non-responsive to what may excite you. I have my goals and aspirations, but they are uniquely my own and just because I can barely contain myself when I talk about them, and may even shriek with glee just thinking about them (100% I do!!) – someone else may say, “that’s not for me – what else you got?”

This “returning the book” scene is still so vivid in my mind. This life lesson has taken me far in being able to separate my needs from those around me. As a business owner, it has taught me that I’m not going to be for everyone – that’s just life. I work hard to understand where people are coming from as it shapes who they are and what they think. I don’t take for granted what I think is what they think. My path s not your path. Understood. As a business owner and a writer, this is invaluable information to know as I carve my way to my own definition of success.

Equally as important, this episode taught me to share in someone else’s joy even when the source of their joy is “not for me.” Sharing in someone else’s joyful moments will create precious memories for them to cherish and will warm your heart. We can all be successful and we can all celebrate each others success.

I continue to follow, learn and tell others about the life changing lessons I learned from my pal Brene Brown, and I continue to learn about myself as I move through this world of the unexpected.

Until next time – dream, experience and love your life.

The Writing Suite is a writing focused company dedicated to creating compelling content to engage and encourage your customers. Contact us for any and all writing needs or questions. Follow us on social for all our updates.

The post You Turn Right; They Turn Left appeared first on Tara MacIntosh.

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My sister took me on a mystery trip a few months before I got married. She told me to pack a bag, bring my passport and meet her at the airport. I didn’t know until minutes before we were boarding the plane where we were going -and it tuned out to be Philly!

My sis and I have been huge Sly and Rocky fans since I can remember. We’ve watched his movies over and over and headed to the theatre to see the last few Rocky releases. We can never get enough of our favourite boxer. As such, Philly was a great choice. We were going to climb the rocky steps AND get a pic with the statue. Heaven!

Now we get to the good stuff…you’ll want to stick around for this one – get cozy and let’s begin.

We arrived in Philly at our lovely hotel. We unpacked and headed out on the town. Not far from where we were staying we stumbled upon an Italian restaurant that was simply divine. As my impending wedding was approaching, I had been on a diet for months so I let myself have anything I wanted. This scenario quit likens to the budget of a business owner. You are so tight 99% of the time and there is that one time you throw caution to the wind and dive in with your imagined millionaire status spending until your heart’s content. After a full plate of lasagna, salad, a bottle of wine, bread and olive oil and possibly dessert (I can’t even remember anymore as all the food was so delicious!) you are yanked back to reality and the budget (or diet) goes back into place. These moments of reckless abandon are pretty fantastic and a necessary distraction from time to time.

The following day we decided it was time to visit the rocky steps and statue. It was a crisp spring day, perfect for touring the city. We got off the double-decker hop on/off bus and made our way to the bottom of the steps. As I had imagined this moment so many times in my head, I decided when I climbed the stairs slow and steady to be able to take in the moment. My sister stayed down at the bottom to take some pictures of me making my journey to the top. The first few steps went like magic. These were the mystical steps that had meant determination and triumph to me all my life and here I was – taking part in the scene. I got more confident as I ascended. Quickly, I felt brave enough to pick up the pace. I took two stairs at a time and before I knew it the top of that symbolic staircase was within a few short feet. Suddenly, 5 steps from the top and my impending victory dance, I caught my shoe on any uneven tile. In a split second, I had to decide if I was going to try to stumble and catch my balance, or give in and fall flat on my face on the busy Philly steps. I decided, at that moment, to give into the fall. The risk of trying to catch my balance was too great as the next set of steps was so close if I didn’t immediately catch my balance I would have fallen into those hard stairs. So, I went down – first my right knee, then my left knee then my hands and then my body slammed on the cold concrete. As quickly as I went down I jumped up and made my way up that last set of stairs to take the victory pose. There I stood, scraped, bloody and scared….but victorious none-the-less.

This is what it is to be an entrepreneur. You gain momentum and then you gracefully (sorta) fall on your face. I’m learning to spend only enough time on the ground to be able to pick myself up and keep on marching – scars, blood, scrapes and all.

When I met up with my sister again, as she climbed to meet me, she asked what had happened. She said, “I was filming you and I lost you and then you jumped back into the frame.” Ya, well, that happens. Don’t be afraid to “fall out of frame” and come back to the people who love and support you. Keep moving forward. The key is to find those that will help you get back and up, clean up and get you a martini for your efforts!

Until next time – dream, experience and love your life.

The Writing Suite is a writing-focused company dedicated to creating compelling content to engage and encourage your customers. Contact us for any and all writing needs or questions. Follow us on social for all our updates.

The post Everything I learned about Entrepreneurship from Sly Stallone appeared first on Tara MacIntosh.

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I went to see the celebrated “Badass” author Jen Sincero speak, and she kept repeating “act as if”. I liked this mantra immediately but it took me a minute, more like 2 weeks, for this practice to really be absorbed and put into play.

Jen S. was getting at the fact that you have to be one step ahead of yourself in business (and perhaps in goal setting in general) – which is a hard concept to wrap your head around. I started to think of this idea and how it would apply to my business. I imagined myself 6 months or 1 year in the future and how successful I would be (keep in mind I was still caught up in seminar woot-woot mentality). I had to begin to plan accordingly.

These ideas translated into spending money I didn’t have to create a structure that was bigger than what I currently needed to support the business I have – act as if (I already have it).

Armed with my new found enthusiasm that comes with attending networking and pump-you-up events I began to act as if. I increased my computer support systems to the “executive” packages to be ready for the clients I will have – act as if (I already have them). I hired 2 freelancers to do various tasks for me as they were taking up a lot of my time. I was now free to take on all of the new writing jobs that were going to come my way – act as if (I already doubled my writing jobs).

Ok, I’m ready.

Meanwhile, back in Reality-ville, the very next day a client I had worked with for 2 years called to cancel their service. Immediately. As this was one of my first clients I did not have a contract with them (lesson learned for future!) so I lost the revenue immediately. Gulp. Now, not only did I have to get new clients to fill the “as if” gap, I had to replace old clients. Harsh but important lesson. Please learn from my missteps.

Before getting carried away acting “as if” I recommend a pulse check on your current business. This, of course, I learned the hard way. I incurred expenses assuming I would continue as if AND increase business. Right. Curve ball #1000 of Entrepreneurship. Just when you think you got it, the universe presents its sense of humour: Universe 1; The Writing Suite 0.

I do agree with the “Badass” queen in theory. At some stage of your business, you have to grow BEFORE you have the funds or revenue to support the growth. If your business doesn’t grow, it dies. You have to stay one step ahead to be prepared to accept new business when it comes along. When and how is up to each entrepreneur and their comfort levels regarding business growth. Pushing yourself keeps you on the edge of your comfort zone and helps you believe you deserve more and bigger business deals. That confidence will help you successfully grow.

Hustle, girl! The hustle is real!

Until next time – dream, experience and love your life.

The Writing Suite is a writing focused company dedicated to creating compelling content to engage and encourage your customers. Contact us for any and all writing needs or questions. Follow us on social for all our updates.

The post Lessons on Acting “As If” (fill in the blank) : calling all Entrepreneurs appeared first on Tara MacIntosh.

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Does every entrepreneur struggle?

Yes.

I can 100% confirm that every entrepreneur struggles. It is part of the job. However, the struggle, in my experience, comes from a number of less obvious factors.

Let’s explore my top 3:

A. Loneliness. Loneliness is really underplayed in the entrepreneur world. It is something that every one who starts their own business experiences and has to overcome. The loneliness doesn’t always come from being the only one in the office /basement/garage/coffee shop – although that is certainly part of it. It comes from being the only one who has to do it all. You are responsible for running your company AND for staying motivated to be innovative AND to deliver your product or service while continually improving. All of these hats are exhausting to juggle – and you are the only one who really gets it.

It is beyond joyful to be doing what you love every day so most of us are willing to take on the loneliness and power through.

Some entrepreneurs, however, confess it is the reason they gave up their dream and moved back to the corporate world or accepted a paid position of some sort. Humans are built to operate in groups, and sometimes this becomes so overpowering it is enough to end the entrepreneur journey.

B. Misunderstood. A lot of entrepreneurs didn’t quite fit in to the corporate world – that is exactly why they were willing to risk it all to jump into this unpredictable crazy world of business ownership. Having the balls to make the jump is wonderful – once you are there it doesn’t cure the fact that you are misunderstood. The truth is you have to go out on a limb, and often. You had to do a lot of things without validation, praise, acknowledgement, openness or comparison. This can lead others to misunderstand what you are doing or diminish your efforts or your ideas. The frustration can still be very palpable.

Is there an upside you ask?

Why yes!

There totally is …the difference is you now have the freedom of expression as you are THE BOSS. You have the confidence to move forward and you can seek to work with those that support your vision and style. This may not come quickly or easily (probably won’t!) BUT you are on your own path and for most entrepreneurs – that is more precious than anything else one could be offered. Bravo, and carry on.

C. Dream to reality. When you are dreaming about your fantasy life – it can be anything you can imagine it to be – it is your dream afterall. Once you cross the line into reality, it loses its perfect outer shell and you are exposed to the messy truth of what it is to turn a dream into reality. I can tell you from experience that you will ALWAYS love what our deepest passion is – there just may be a business element added to it that you will have to stare in the face. You will have to turn what you love into a business, meaning you will need to find a way to have others (clients) love it too to be successful, and sometimes that means doing it the way they want it.

My advice?

Keep what you love close to you. Keep it top of mind and always in your heart. You may need to shift off course slightly to get to the end goal but if you keep your end goal always in mind, you will get there. Believe, and it will be.

Be who you were meant to be. Love it. Embrace it. Let it become the story of your life.

Until next time – dream, expewriting-focused your life.

The Writing Suite is a writing focused company dedicated to creating compelling content to engage and encourage your customers. Contact us for any and all writing needs or questions. Follow us on social for all our updates.

The post Less-Obvious Entrepreneur Struggles appeared first on Tara MacIntosh.

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People always ask me how I knew what path to follow. My answer is consistent – to me writing is like breathing. If I can’t write and inspire then, well, then, what else is there?

For me, there was only ever one path. As odd as this seems – when I was younger I used to imagine the worst part of going to prison (why I thought about prison I’m still not entirely sure!) would be the fact that I wouldn’t be able to write in my journal every night or be free to share my thoughts and inspirations. THAT was the worst part of prison? To me, it was. That is how deep my passion runs inside my veins.

Even though I have recently rearranged my path to be able to write with conviction every day -there are still doubts. I waver on occasion thinking I should get a job that pays more, and is easier, and something that I can leave behind, and actually shut off. I think about it, however the problem is that the universe strongly disagrees. And, I do mean strongly! Everything in me tells me to stay on this path and keep moving forward. I am finally listening to the universe and moving with the waves that come over me rather than pushing against them in pursuit of a “safe” path.

My pursuit of something safe in the old days would result in a jolt of “I need to work harder” if someone in my circle was moving up in the world. I would be happy for them but I would wonder what I needed to do to get ahead as they did. What did I have to do to succeed? When will enough be enough? The answer to that question seemed like it was a lifetime away as nothing I ever did filled the void. I struggled to discover how to live with a yearning I could never quite quiet.

As I travel my path I am eternally grateful to know that I am finally on MY path and as slow or as fast as it goes – it doesn’t matter. I am on it and that is all that matters. The fact that I have found it and that I move one foot in front of the other every day to move myself closer to it, is enough. It is more than enough. It is perfection.

I knew my path was solid when recently I had a call from a friend who was about to embark on an exciting opportunity that would afford riches and travel and all the things I used to seek. I’m confident that I should be no where else as I didn’t even flinch when hearing this news. I was overjoyed for the journey my friend may embark on, and all the success it will bring to her, and I do not wish to move myself in any other direction, not even for one second. I wouldn’t change my place for money or status or anything that would bring me away from my journey. Being honest, this is the first time I can truly let another’s success be their own and not have a stir in my own mind, wondering how I can elevate my game. My thoughts were quiet, content and happy. I wasn’t looking for reassurance that I was on the right path, but if I was, I got it.

This is when you know you are where you are supposed to be. You are not distracted by others ambitions or success. You are happily moving towards your own goals and genuinely thrilled for others who are moving towards there own. No sense of comparison or competition. This is being where you need to be.


Until next time – dream, experience and love your life.

The Writing Suite is a writing focused company dedicated to creating compelling content to engage and encourage your customers. Contact us for any and all writing needs or questions. Follow us on social for all our updates.

The post Finding Your Path AND Knowing You’ve Found It. appeared first on Tara MacIntosh.

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What is security?

You probably have a quick answer but what is it really?

Security is a false sense of a constant state that you may believe would never change. Well, that is a nice theory BUT change is inevitable and it is something that, once you accept, really OPENS you life to enormous FREEDOM.

Once you are no longer afraid of “rocking the boat” so to speak, for you know that no matter how hard to you try to keep it steady, it still rocks and moves and spins in uncontrollable directions. Once you accept this, you allow yourself the freedom to make mistakes, to try things out and to, most importantly, follow your dreams.

Dreams are simply ambitions that seem so far out of your range that you can’t even fathom them coming true. Part of the reason for this is because of your fear or the unknown, fear of change, fear of the incredible and ever frightening “what if’s” that cram themselves into your brain and eat away at your confidence. Don’t get me wrong, these thoughts and ideas are almost always present and something you have to work a lifetime to ignore and push out of your way, but once you do they no longer control you.

Letting go of the fact that you are secure allows you to be fearless in your choices and move faster towards your dreams. You will change from believing your life’s ambitions are a distant untouchable idea to a reality that you can live and breathe every day.

Starting my own business lead me to not be afraid of losing a job. I gave up my “security” (which of course is no security at all) to follow a very unknown, very risky path of writing. Untethering myself from the idea of job security gave me the freedom to stand up for myself and to go after what I wanted, IN THE NOW, because I was no longer afraid of losing it all and rebuilding from an unknown starting point all over again. I knew somehow I would make it – I would always find my way.

I CHOSE to follow an unknown path for the mere act of trying is far superior to simply wishing. If I failed, I still won. There was no failing, there was just learning and redirecting my energy to something that I strongly believed in. I’m strong enough to follow my own path, regardless of how outside the norm it is, and I believe I am more respected for standing up for what I believe to be true. Am I popular? No. Am I understood? No. Am I imitated? Yes. Following your bliss may be outside of the world that most others live in, and therefore you may find yourself on the outside, but the freedom you will feel by being yourself is far superior to any other feeling that you could have from following.

Freedom is a rare and precious gift. I thank my guiding stars I was brave enough to go after it and really live.

Until next time – dream, experience and love your life.

The Writing Suite is a writing focused company dedicated to creating compelling content to engage and encourage your customers. Contact us for any and all writing needs or questions. Follow us on social for all our updates.

The post Letting Go Of Security Is The Biggest Freedom. appeared first on Tara MacIntosh.

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