3 Ways to Ruin Your Family Dinner

I love family dinners. They are a time to come together, to nourish ourselves and each other, to share and release our tensions and reconnect.

Will be gone in no time!
We actually like ruining our dinner with dessert.

Just Google “family dinner statistics” and you can read how regular family dinners lead to fewer eating disorders, less likelihood of abusive substances, and better development and learning? You’ll also read how most parents spend about 30 minutes a week in meaningful conversations with their kids.

Or they do the opposite: They see family dinner as the means to ensure a perfect child and they ruin the whole experience and all the benefits of eating together (for the whole family).

No, dessert or snacks are not going to ruin your family dinner (your appetite, sure…but family dinner isn’t about their appetite). But these things will:

3 Ways to Ruin the Magic of a Family Dinner

  1. Insist on the Clean Plate Club: Usurping a child’s ability to listen to their body can lead to overeating, food shame, bingeing, or an inability to trust and honor their body with healthy self-care habits. And if a child learns that others are in control of her body, where else might she apply that lesson? Allow your child to choose when they are done, and don’t punish them for it by making them eat it for breakfast either. (Tip: Make small portions of foods that are easy to save so you can allow them to make the choice for their own body without worrying about waste.)
  2.  

  3. Insist On Anything At All: The number one to kill the fun of anything? Make it mandatory. No autonomous person likes being forced. And there may be times when your child really needs more time to themselves or isn’t hungry or is engrossed in something important to them. Support their choice to say no thanks and it’ll pass faster than if you ruin your relationship in hopes of making it better. (Tip: Inspire, don’t require! Make dinnertime fun and they’ll soon want to join.)
  4.  

  5. Make It About You: The foods you like or think are best. The topics you want to talk about. The rules you create. The time, the place, the agenda to get them to open up or eat better or admit to something. Family dinner is about connection, coming together in love, honoring one another. It’s about everyone, not just you. Find a way to meet your needs, while honoring theirs and not only will they learn to do the same, but they’ll actually look forward to it. (Tip: Make their favorite meals, offer to do the chores, play their favorite music in the background, or have a movie + picnic on the floor or whatever else they’d like.)

Ultimately, our children’s relationship with food is based on many things: our relationship with them, our relationship with food, and their ability to create healthy habits, a healthy body image, and make healthy choices for themselves with our trust and support.

If this is something you’d like to delve into more, I’ve created a mini-toolkit for precisely this topic.

Children and Food: How to Inspire Healthy Habits, Body Image and Choices (without forcing, fighting, or fear)


This mini-toolkit is to help you recreate the whole family’s experience with food. No more fighting at dinnertime. No more forcing or bribing. No more worrying about your child’s ability to make good choices. You’ll have the tools necessary to begin to release control, lean into Trust, and make mealtime a joyful and fun experience. But it starts with your own relationship with food. It includes:

:: 72 min audio: Describes the most important principles in raising healthy children and how to begin practicing them (Value: $200)

:: 39 page workbook: Packed full of exercises to help you DIG IN and put new traditions and experiences into place (Value: $40)

:: Covers everything from: how your experience with food affects your children and how to change that, how to meet the varying needs and tastes of the whole family without feeling like a “short order cook”, as well as tips, ideas, strategies, recipes, and more from me and other mindful mamas.

P.S. This is a mini-toolkit, only focused on this topic and as in-depth as possible in the small package. For more in-depth support, stay tuned for the parenting e-course.

You can get this mini-toolkit for only $25.

(Although it comes to you for free as part of the Organic Tribe.)

Add to Cart

Organic Wisdom :: “It’s Just Not A Good Time For Me To…”

Every Friday I try to share some of the quotes I post on Twitter and Facebook, with some of my expanded thoughts and feelings on it here.

“Organic Wisdom” is what I have found speaking to me in those quiet moments, that guides me and that echoes Truth in my life. Please feel free to download, or share this image in any way you’d like.

Busy and “bad timing” are going to be the excuses we use for our entire life until one day we realize that “busy” is something we create to avoid the Big Dreams telling us it actually IS time.

  • “It’s not a good time to start eating healthier. I’m too busy to get myself feeling well.”
  • “It’s not a good time to follow my dreams. The market is crap right now.”
  • “It’s not a good time to talk about this. I have too much going on.”
  • “I’m just too busy, but when things slow down…”

But is that even possible?  Aren’t we “too busy” for things to slow down? 😉

Don’t wait for some magical day when the Universe reorders itself to create some impossible gap in your busy schedule to finally do what your heart, your family, your Life is aching for.

It’s not going to happen.

Instead the Universe is going to give you a dream and say “If you say you’re ready, I’ll support you. I’ll start by showing you what you get to let go of and what fears and ideas you get to examine, so that you can make a place for this in your life.”

Don’t get to the end of your life and wish you had started living years ago when hindsight suddenly shows you just how right the timing actually was.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

What have you been putting off?


The Organic Business Mastermind

This is a friendly reminder: The summer course for the business mastermind begins June 4th, just a little over a week away.

What sets this group apart? It includes:

  • The nitty-gritty, step-by-step, “How-do-I” coaching to simplify the process
  • Powerful built-in systems of support from like-minded sisters
  • And guidance to DIG IN, overcome your fears and blocks, and not get stuck in the paralyzing “Holy-crap-what-am-I-doing-what-will-others-think” syndrome

There are still spaces available but it’s filling up with just over a week to go.

If you feel that resonating pull, click here for all the details.


Officially Introducing :: The Organic (Blog to) Business Mastermind…Summer Sessions!

Do you ::

  • Work or want to work for yourself doing something you love that also makes a difference in the lives of others?
  • Have a current blog, business or Big Idea but have no idea where to go with it (or even where to start)?
  • Want the wisdom of 10+ personal years and 3 generations of entrepreneurial experience, coupled with powerful intuition and guidance, to help you strategize, design, and recreate your business into something successful?

Are you ::

  • A spiritual pragmatic, ready to lean into step-by-step actions, as well as the inner Wisdom found through meditation, EFT or your own inner work?
  • Wanting to keep your family and your values as your first priority, working in a way that is powerful, productive and authentic?
  • Ready to be accountable for your own dreams and commit to your other Mastermind Sisters?

Would you ::

  • Like to make $2,000-$10,000 a month working less than 20 hours a week?
  • Benefit from a group learning experience, where others may ask questions you forgot and where you can riff off one another to brainstorm incredible possibilities together?
  • Like to overcome your fear of putting yourself out there or not being good enough?

The summer Mastermind course is open for registration and is already filling up!

Masterminds are 8 week programs consisting of a small group of women looking to expand their dreams and ideas into something that will bring in a real, sustainable and organic income – something that will support their families, their lifestyles AND their values.

This is for you if you,

  1. have an existing idea and aren’t sure how to get started or what to do with it
  2. have an existing business in the beginning to mid-stages of growth (or stagnation) and,
  3. are ready to commit to your group, yourself and your dreams. This program most benefits those who have an online business (or want a stronger online presence), and/or offer services and information.

This is NOT a blogging e-course. This is NOT for the hobbyist.

This is for the woman who is ready to take her blog or her hobby to another level.

This is for the woman who is ready to start playing bigger, who has a voice, a message and a gift to share with the world and who is ready to say “Yes” to the possibilities of creating a real business on her own terms.

Doing OBM was intense, electrifying, staggering. It was a whirlwind of brainstorming, processing, and getting so clear and focused on why and what I wanted to do that discovering the rest of my answers became easy. – Jenn Gibson, Roots of She

What You’ll Get To Do

:: Move past your fears of playing bigger
:: Access the confidence AND ability to create a successful online business
:: Organically grow your income without burning yourself out
:: Experience the magic of feeding your dreams

Just Some of What We’ll Cover

:: The 3 most CRUCIAL steps you must take first (before you do ANYTHING else)
:: How to bring in the right readers, clients and customers
:: Which products and offers you can create and HOW to actually create them
:: Your website MUST-HAVES, including how to protect yourself against hackers
:: How to do it all in a way that feel authentic and fun
:: Tons and tons and tons more…

We’re talking my 10+ years of self-employment and nearly $10k of training in marketing and business foundations, sales funnels, target demographics, authenticity, freemiums, drip campaigns, search engine optimization, money blocks, time management, and all the nitty gritty details of what to do, why to do it and how to do it in the most powerful and effective way possible.

Basically, I’m going to give you the exact tools I used to go from making $200 a month with a blog to making nearly 6 figures in just over a year.

I honestly feel so much clearer about my business now, and I have focus and direction (two things I was lacking without even realising it). You’ve prompted me to DIG IN and get to grips with some fears I had about putting myself out there. I now feel armed and ready to move forwards. – Rebecca Mindful Misfits

Click here to see if a Mastermind of sisters is right for you!

Answering The Fear of “Who The Hell Am I To Think I Can…?” (Video)

I made this video a couple months ago (back when I still had hair), in answer to a client.

She was working on overcoming fear and self-doubt and building a sustainable online business (because those two go hand-in-hand, in case you’re wondering) and she was asking herself, “Who am I?”

“Who am I to think I can do this? To think I have anything of value to offer the world? To think that I can make a difference in this? To think I even have the ability?”

It’s a pretty pervasive fear, one I got to move through myself.

What I talk about in this video was the realizations that I came to, and that I hope you’ll come to also.

Because the question isn’t “Who do I think I am to…”

It’s “Who do I think I am to NOT?”

P.S. If you’re coming here via the newsletter, be sure to jump back there to read the special invitation I’m offering. Not a part of the newsletter? You can be. 😉

It really only takes one person to change the world. Are you going to let that person be you?

Being Practical Isn’t All That Great

I hate that title. What I really want to say is “Being Practical” sucks.

Or at least the common understanding of that phrase.

I recently did something incredibly impractical.

It’s something that could take years to fix, will most certainly cost thousands of dollars, will create unforeseeable stress and frustrating amounts of work, has already caused physical pain and was against medical advice.

It’s wasn’t necessary. It isn’t easy.

There was really nothing practical about it.

And I couldn’t be happier. 🙂

What crazy, expensive, painful, ill-advised thing did I do?

I got braces.

Who has two fingers and a new set of braces? This girl!

Not a shred of evidence exists in favor of the idea that life is serious.
– Brendan Gill

Did you know I’ve agonized over this decision for over 10 years? The idea of spending thousands of dollars and seeing one orthodontist all in the name of vanity rubbed badly against my practical side.

Spending thousands of dollars and busting my ass to find cooperative orthodontists around the country to play my little game of Build A Traveling Medical File while we travel full-time rubbed against my orthodontist’s practical side, too.

But I insisted. I told him I’d take care of the hard part if he’d just play along.

I was freaking adamant against being practical until I got what I wanted.

Being Practical Is No Way To Live

Culturally, we make impractical decisions All.The.Time….decisions that are expensive, painful, and idealistic: like buying a home, having a child or falling love!

The big stuff is easy, though, right? It’s the smaller impractical choices we let get in our way.

Or at least I did.

You know what changed my mind?

Realizing just how many impractical choices have positively shaped my life:

  • I made the impractical choice to be a mother at 17.
  • I made the impulsive decision to become a massage therapist at 18.
  • I made the expensive choice to own my own massage business at 20.
  • We made the impractical decision to take Zeb out of school when he was 7.
  • And then we had the crazy idea to sell all our belongings and travel full-time.

Did you know the definition of impractical included things like “idealistic,” “illogical,” “wild” or “improbable”?

Most of life falls into that category!

A bumblebee’s ability to fly? Certainly improbable.

The amazing capabilities of a human cell? Definitely wild!

Traveling, creating art, making love, music, dancing, climbing trees, poetry, laughter, romance…completely idealistic.

Chasing dreams, following your instincts, trust: Absolutely the most illogical things you can do in such a volatile time as ours.

And well…..there it is. My reason for being utterly impractical: All of life depends on it. 🙂

“Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.” – Cecil Beaton

Four Steps To Stop Being So Practical

I often get stopped by fear. And I often remind myself how to overcome it.

These are my four steps to making any wild, illogical, idealistic and absolutely life-changing decisions that I badly, desperately want (but am seriously paralyzed) to make.

They are the four things that get me from here to there, from fear to action, from stagnancy to growth.

It’s really rather simple. But, of course, incredibly challenging. Ready for it?

  1. Trust Yourself. Like Benjamin Spock says, you know more than you think you do.
  2. Know what you want and why and how. Because you’ll likely be doing some explaining and you’ll need a good plan.
  3. Take a really deep breath. Repeat this step often.
  4. Then focus only on taking the next step. Yup, just the next one.

Before long you might just find yourself living a wild, illogical, idealistic life of your own. 🙂

Join the Convo:

Why do you think we’ve become such a practical society? Or what’s been the best, most impractical choice you’ve ever made?

Love what you read here? I would love for you to share it! You can use one of the social media buttons below…

Stress, Happiness and Our Social Structure

I recently watched a National Geographic documentary called, Stress: The Portrait of a Killer. (You can find it on Netflix.) The entire documentary discussed the physiology and effects of social stress on our bodies and the sources of this epidemic of chronic stress in our modern lives.

Did you know the American Psychological Association reports about 75% of the population attests to feeling stressed regularly, and a third of all Americans report extreme stress?

Yeah, I think it’s about time we start analyzing what we’re doing here.

31/365 - Stress.
(Photo Source)

The Physiology of Stress

If you’re not familiar with stress, I’m going to give you an oversimplified idea of what exactly it is: Stress is the physiological state our bodies take on when we perceive danger or are in any situation which requires an increased reaction.

Our adrenaline pumps, our heart races and we end up with more blood to our muscles to help us run away from the flesh-eating lions. Or bad guys.

Or these days, traffic.

What originated as an occasional life-saving response to certain dangerous situations has become an everyday response to everyday situations.

Our bodies can’t differentiate between becoming something’s dinner and forgetting to pick up dinner on the way home.

And the effects of stress are pretty huge: a weakened immune system, imbalanced hormones, belly fat, heart disease, fetal disruption in pregnant woman, improper body function (because stress hormones shut down all but the essential systems in your body to help you survive an attack…as the documentary stated, you don’t need to be ovulating when you’re running for your life), and even diminishing brain cells.

That last one probably explains a lot.

Of particular interest, though, were the two studies portrayed in the search for causes to our excessive stress in modern day living:

  1. A long-term study done on baboons (the most diabolical, back-stabbing and malicious of primates, they said). These guys all had the same diet, the same living conditions, but also had a hierarchy in their tribe.
  2. A European corporation where each person had identical health care benefits, but which also had a definite, established hierarchy. Can you see where they were going with this?

In each study the subject’s stress levels, health, happiness, ability to handle illness and life expectancy hinged not on their health care, but on where they ranked in the hierarchy.

The lower on the totem pole, the more stress and negative health impacts you experienced and the less happy you were.

The higher up, the healthier you were and longer you lived.

This was universal, across the board, in humans and animals and in multiple studies. Social ranking affects us. Social stress hurts us.

Our Social Structure is Killing Us

Do you see it too?

Our entire social structure – from politics to work to school to family life – is built upon a hierarchy.

In the political world, the very politicians who are meant to represent our choices make decisions without us. We make calls, we threaten, we argue and debate, we shake our fists and stress ourselves out over their misdeeds. Then out of fear – or possibly exhaustion – we vote them back in.

They control every aspect of our lives and freedoms
and we feel helpless.

At work, we have no autonomy, are spoken down to, mistrusted and lament that every moment of our work day (and many moments outside of work) are decided for us. Every deed is judged, our deadlines are tightened and we’re made to juggle more than we can handle. Work and life satisfaction mean little and we toe the line to meet the boss’s bottom line.

We sign over our lives for the false
promise of security.

School is probably the most obvious. Constant scrutiny and judgment, condescension, lack of respect for personal choices (we at least choose our jobs and our politicians, to some extent)…most students aren’t even allowed to control their own bodies and are told when to eat and pee and how fast to do it. Their work is criticized in front of their peers and every moment is determined and judged by someone else’s standards.

Instead of ensuring success, it’s training us for
more of the same.

And family life is not much different. Rights and “privileges” are doled out by one or two established rulers, based on age and accomplishments. Choices are not mutually agreed upon. Again, even basic body functions – such as hunger or sleep – are not entrusted to the people to whom they belong. Autonomy is lost. Trust is compromised. And we all suffer.

After a lifetime of practice,
it’s hard to see another possible way to interact.

We learn it as toddlers, it’s reestablished as children and teens, and by the time we’re adults it’s so firmly ingrained in our way of thinking that we can’t get out from under it.

We’re training stress, disease and unhappiness into our culture.

Science Reaffirms The Alternative

Don’t you love when you know the answer and science backs up your own experiences?

This documentary and all the research reaffirmed what many of us already know: that there are two main determiners to decreased social stress, increased health and long-term happiness.:

Autonomy. And connection.

(Could it be any more tailored to the message of this blog?)

Every study in the documentary showed that environments lacking an authoritative or authoritarian leader, places that we feel in control and conditions where the general energy is cooperative, mutually respectful and built on the premise of equality that stress levels and health issues were dramatically decreased.

The more choices you  control, the more time you spend on the things of your choosing and the more equal freedom you enjoy in your life, the healthier and happier you’ll be.

The research and studies also showed why: humans (and primates) that felt a part of a compassionate, connected and mutually respectful tribe increase something called telomerase, an enzyme used to mend our cells and keep us healthy.

Yup, that’s right…

Things like love, laughter, a feeling of belonging, caring for one another, autonomy, validation, equality and generosity actually HEALS our bodies.

It’s everything I’ve talked about in Being Organic: An Invitation to Change Your World.

It’s organic learning, organic living, organic Being.

And in the coming months this blog is going to evolve to reflect that even more. Subscribe, sign up and stay tuned.

So, now I’m turning this post over to you…

What are the things in your life that are causing you social stress or providing you healing?

What is it that is fostering connection and autonomy, both personally and in your relationships?

Because the science is in and our health depends on it.

How To Make Being A Practical Creative Not Suck So Bad

Today I’m hosting a guest post from the always inspiring, always hilarious words of Michelle Ward, the When I Grow Up Coach.

I asked her to write a bit about doing what you love, moving toward your ideal work and overcoming some of the blocks along the way. She never disappoints. 🙂 Enjoy her words on being a “practical creative”!


As the When I Grow Up Coach, I’ve worked with a ton of practical creatives. I’m one, my husband’s one, and, oh, 99% of my clients are one.

By “practical creative” I mean someone who yearns to have a passionate career (aka something that doesn’t feel like work!), gives them freedom (whether it has them working for themselves or someone else), lets them use their talents in a way that feeds their bank account, and allows them to have the stability they want as a grown-up without living their life for The Man.

In other words, something that we think exists only in our dreams.

Y’ see, to be a “ practical creative” , in a word, sucks. It seem so counterproductive, so ironic, so nonsensical to want the Life Of An Artist with the guaranteed paycheck that we think only comes with being a Corporate Drone. There sometimes seems to just be no gray area to live in, and we often wish that we could just be like everyone else, perfectly content to be a worker bee who comes home every night, has dinner with his family, watches TV and hits the sack at 10:30p day after day.

Instead we race from day jobs to practices, to rehearsals, to sewing machines, to classes, to canvases, to novels we’ re in the middle of writing. We beg off of happy hours and go to bed way past midnight to work our passions, our talents and our aspirations that make us so happy and yet torture us at the same time. It’s our blessing, our respite, and yet also – (pause for dramatic effect) – our curse.

We often don’t feel like we’re in control. We wear a mask in the office, 40+ hours/week, and spend the rest of our waking hours (another 60 hours/week, maybe?) feeling like we’re not living the life we yearn for. And that’s because, well, we’re not. We’re still on someone else’s terms, under someone else’s rules, in a life that doesn’t feel like our own.

So, where’s the grey area? Is it even possible to own your life when you’re a practical creative, needing to scratch that stability itch?

Heck, even as an entrepreneur I often don’t feel like I’m totally in control of my life. If I did, I’d be taking an improv class or writing a cabaret show alongside building my business, coaching my current clients, writing my book proposal, and being a worthy wife, daughter, sister and friend.

But here’s what we can put into practice right freakin’ now:

  • Track your time for an entire week. You can use one of these templates to help you out so it’s not entirely torturous. Make it as specific or as general as you want (i.e. 8-9a: get ready for day OR 8-8:15a: shower, 8:15-8:30a: make-up; 8:30-8:40: get dressed, etc), and don’t change anything that you’re already doing. Just go about your normal week. On the 8th day, do the math. How many hours did you spend at work, including the commute? How much time was spent in front of the TV? How long were you writing, or sewing, or rehearsing? This isn’t an exercise to beat yourself up for working too much or too little on your passions, but to really assess what’s working and what’s not. Which leads me to…
  • Be brutally honest. Pretend as if you owe nothing to nobody, you haven’t made a single commitment, you wouldn’t upset anyone by saying “ no” , and there are no such thing as repercussions. How do you want to spend your day/week/month? What would be fun for you? Make sure you turn off your brain for this one, just for a bit. Listen to your gut. Listen to your heart. See what they say and give that great stock. If that proves difficult…
  • Lay down on your couch or nestle in to your favorite chair and close your eyes. Envision YourNameHere Land, where you paint the scenery and decide on the laws and activities. The trees might be purple and everyone might have to sing instead of talk – who knows? Let yourself go to this place and live there for just a few minutes. When you see that scene and walked around in that universe for a while, open your eyes. What did you do? Who was there with you? What did YourNameHereLand look like? What made it so amazeballs? Write down everything you can remember, or at least what made a difference. Then, see what you can translate to The Real World. You might not be able to paint the trees purple, but you might be able to give yourself a purple fence in your backyard. And how awesome would a purple fence be?
  • Pick up The Artist in the Office, especially if your day job is killing you. This’ll totally help you not only have fun while you’re there (as much as possible, anyways), but might even help you appreciate the gig with new eyes. I know it sounds impossible, but just trust me on this one.
  • For the love of Pete, don’t bite off more than you can chew, and/or never leave time for yourself, and/or burn the candle at both ends. Nothing hurts the creative part of the practical creative then become a headless chicken. Trust me on this one, too. It’ s not a pretty sight.

Above all, try and remember that you’re not a human oxymoron. Who wants to be an accountant that does nothing but work, eat, sleep, and watch TV anyway? (Not us!)


Michelle Ward, aka The When I Grow Up Coach, works with creative people to devise the career they think they can’t have – or discover it to begin with! A certified life coach by the International Coach Academy & a musical theater actress with her BFA from NYU/Tisch, Michelle has been featured in “Newsweek” and “Metro News”; is a co-host on Spring; & encourages everyone to discover what makes ’em amazeballs on The Declaration of You, an e-course with Jessica Swift. She could be found coachin’, bloggin’ & givin’ away free stuff at whenigrowupcoach.com.

Our 4th Unschooling Anniversary (And Growth)

Getting Ready

Swing High

Flying Boy

I love unschooling. I know that probably goes without saying, but it’s good for me to be reminded sometimes. 🙂

Yesterday was our fourth unschooling anniversary. Four years ago we made one choice that changed our world. And today I’m reminded just how phenomenal and empowering a choice it was. See, I don’t love unschooling because of its “results.”

I love unschooling because of what it gives us: freedom, space to heal and the courage to live passionately.

Four years ago, I stood before a child that was angry and sad. I stood before him with questions about how to help him and how to ignite the interests he once had. I was worried that he no longer loved to read or wanted to play with numbers or patterns.

Our life was anxious and nervous and uncertain.

In school he felt a lot of pressure to perform, took to heart anything that sounded like criticism, and became paralyzed by fear of failure. Even things he enjoyed and excelled in were avoided.

Reading was one of those things.

Although we had been reading since he was an infant, although he was excited to learn to do it on his own, and although he picked up on it quickly and easily, he was before me declaring his hatred for books. With pressure, judgment and limitations placed on him his loved for books suffered.

But unschooling changes those things.

Living outside school gave us the freedom to be ourselves, the space to heal our wounds and the courage to live passionately.

As I type this today, four years later, I’m sitting beside my 11 year old as he writes his first novel. And it’s not just any novel; he’s writing an epic fantasy novel.

My heart is so big and happy right now. 🙂 I wish there was a smiley with it’s eyes closed and it’s face basking in the sun. Because that’s how I feel, as though I’m basking in the glow of a beautiful life.

My son is writing a novel. And I’m not concerned with any of the details, the grammar or spelling or “doing it right”. I’m not even concerned if he doesn’t make it past the second chapter (because he’s already finished the first…and it was Oh.So.Good).

I’m concerned with feeding his passion and his desire to want to do something So Big, so outside his usual comfort zone.

I’m concerned with supporting his sense of empowerment, as he chooses to do something that conventional wisdom wouldn’t expect from him.

I’m concerned with helping him feel the potential within him, to know he CAN, even if he chooses not to.

I’m concerned with his sense of freedom, giving him the space to grow and feeding his courage to live passionately.

Because those are the things that nurture a personal definition of success.

Those are the things that change things.

Unjobbing: What It Is and What It Isn’t

I’ve thrown the word “unjobbing” around here a few times. Like unschooling, it’s a word we use that, at first glance, does little to really describe the idea.

Just as unschooling doesn’t mean uneducated (nor is it against school or always done outside of school), unjobbing does not mean unemployed. Nor is it really against jobs or always done outside the presence of a job.

Instead, unjobbing is more about how you do what you do than what you actually do.

Unjobbing is about making a life instead of just a living.

Instead of living for work, we work to live (and to learn and grow and experience). We love what we do; it brings us fulfillment and it enables us to do some pretty wonderful things. But it’s not all we do. It’s not the only focus of our life.

Unjobbing is often used synonymously with entrepreneurship, working for oneself. But I think the greatest downfall of entrepreneurship is the insipid ideas and lessons we learned as children that still linger in our ideas around our work.

Just like deschooling, dejobbing has its place.

Unschooling and Unjobbing (Deschooling and Dejobbing)

If you look at unjobbing like we look at unschooling the definition becomes clearer. It’s obvious to see that the same paradigms linger over us long after the school years are past.

You could say that having a job (or which job you have) is a choice and school isn’t. Except that school is a choice, just one we fail to see.

And like school, we often fail to see our jobs as a choice, too.

Most working adults, just like concerned parents, don’t realize there is another choice: when you’ve been taught a lesson for 13+ years, you come to see it as the only way of doing things.

Adults are just grown kids, continuing to believe the same lessons we learned in our youth:

Obligation

A sense of obligation to people that don’t even matter to us is taught at a very young age. Extrinsic motivation and meaningless accolades (grades, rewards, punishment, guilt, praise, admonishment) feed our desire for approval and attention and our fear of ostracization. Those lessons linger long after we’re grown and we continue to feel obligated to have “a real job”, to work hard and to be grateful for it.

Hard work and gratitude aren’t necessarily a bad thing. Unless we’re doing something that is meaningless to us.

Life is not meant to be lived for others.

It’s meant to be fulfilling by our own definition. Obligation doesn’t do that. Loving what we do, knowing our reasons for it and loving those reasons does.

Competition

Likewise the environment of competition sets us up to compare ourselves to our peers. Who is “passing” or “failing”? Who has the more expensive designer shoes? Who has the hotter girlfriend? Who’s a nerd, a jock, a punk, a slut? Who has the most friends or the highest or lowest GPA?

Just putting that many similarly-aged and -interested people in one room creates an environment of judging, competing and comparing.

In order to stand out amongst the crowd you have to either do better than the others or act out against it. Both are a form of competing for attention.

That competition plays out in our adult life as we try to keep up with the Joneses’. Most of us get stuck always trying to get ahead, get a raise, get a bigger house. (The rest tend to resort to drugs or alcohol abuse, complete disregard for others or a total withdrawal from society.)

We compare and base our value off our neighbor’s value – or what we perceive it to be.

Sadly, while we compare what another family may have we rarely compare what they don’t have. We may see the bigger house and nicer car, but we rarely take into account the extra work, the disconnection, the dissatisfaction.

So as we run to keep up we find ourselves overworked, disconnected and dissatisfied and can’t understand why.

Worthiness

Perhaps the biggest elephant in the room, our sense of worthiness is so strongly tied to our salary it’s a wonder Big Pharma hasn’t created a disorder for it and patented a drug already.

Our sense of self-worth strongly relates to the words used to describe us (or other children around us).

A lack of compassion or attention, an unfulfilled need for validation, even things like “good boy” or “bad boy,” “that’s not nice of you”  or “she should be ashamed of herself” and so on, all plant seeds in our young minds that germinates into self-doubt and fear.

Only if a Superior deems our actions as okay are we to be considered worthy.

And thus we become performers, doing something that doesn’t resonate with us, all for the external validation we crave.

And it’s not just those that have a job that are affected. In fact I’d bet just as many entrepreneurs suffer from these hurtful lessons than anyone else.

Unjobbing vs Entrepreneuring

I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was 19 years old. For seven years I owned my own mobile massage therapy company, contracting upwards of 20 or more massage therapists, yoga instructors, estheticians and nail techs for bodywork and treatments in homes, hotels and at conventions. I made good money, enjoyed what I did and had big goals for the future.

And I was miserable – we were all miserable.

It took several years to realize that no amount of money, power or job satisfaction alone can fulfill me. I worked for myself, but that didn’t keep me from being overworked, disconnected and dissatisfied.

Many entrepreneurs mistakenly think the key to happiness is the freedom to work for oneself.

But no amount of independence can make you free when your mind is still shackled to the same ideas passed around Corporate America or Corporate Education.

And that’s what happens to a lot of entrepreneurs: we’re driven by the same sense of obligation, the same competitiveness and sometimes a whole lot more of need to prove ourselves. We carry forward those same lessons of our youth, except now funneling it into making a lot of money.

Don’t get me wrong – making good money is not a bad thing.

But I’ve met too many entrepreneurs (*raising my hand*) who become consumed with their businesses and forget why they work for themselves to begin with.

Will The Real Unjobbing Please Stand Up?

Which leads me to unjobbing, what it is and what it isn’t:

Unjobbing is not about loving your work, although that should probably be a piece of the puzzle.

Unjobbing is not about working for yourself, although most unjobbers do.

I’d argue that unjobbing isn’t even about making a life instead of a living, although it’s certainly an important part.

Unjobbing is about changing the way we think of and view our world.

Unjobbing is about letting go of the obligation, losing the competitive drive and determining our own self-worth.

It about questioning what we take for granted, finding truth among the bullshit and deciding for ourselves what has value in our lives.

It’s about deschooling our adult minds and living outside the status quo, giving ourselves the same freedom we give our unschooling children.

It’s not job satisfaction, it’s life satisfaction.

It’s purpose and passion and following our interests.

Our work either becomes our soulful purpose and contribution to the world, something we feel passionately about and something we feel drawn to do.

Or our work is something that provides what we need to do the thing(s) we feel is our soulful purpose and contribution to the world, enabling us to continue something we feel passionately about or drawn to do.

Either way it’s not a “job”. It should never be something we loathe or put up with for a paycheck. It’s one aspect – perhaps the biggest or the smallest – of one entire life.

Our Unjobbing Journey

Even though I’ve worked for myself for the past decade, I still had a lot of dejobbing to do. Most of it was done around the time that we took Zeb out of school and I began unschooling my life right along side him.

I reevaluated my business and quickly found the meaning and the meaninglessness. It didn’t take much time to decide to sell the company. I worked for another year in my own private practice, seeing clients 5-10 hours a week. (The paradox became that I was working less, making more money and finding fulfillment in new areas of my life.)

Justin’s dejobbing/unjobbing journey has been drastically different. So much of a man’s value is tied up in his ability to provide for his family that even when Justin is providing for our needs (not just monetarily, but our need for time with him as well) he still worries that it’s not enough if his work doesn’t consume 40-80 hours of his week.

He’s written privately about his process over the past year of losing his job and transitioning into working for himself. It’s been a challenge, albeit a fascinating one. Perhaps someday soon he’ll revive his blog and share it with you.

The past year has brought us to a very different perspective.

We don’t want to work hard through our best years only to retire, exhausted and physically incapable, decades from now.

Nor do we see retirement as something we’re likely to ever do. We love what we do and we plan to continue doing the things we enjoy our entire lives, expanding it or changing it organically.

We don’t view work as a necessary evil either. Nor do we think we need to stick to one thing.

We’ve found doing several things – like writing this blog, running the new website, and offering our mobile services – to be much more enjoyable. We can follow our own inspiration, our own passions and we can allow them to evolve as we do. No more stagnancy. No more boredom.

Our work reflects the evolution of our minds and our lives.

We’re entrepreneurs. We’re unjobbing. We’re unschooling our whole lives.

Want some more reading on unjobbing?

This is obviously just one person’s perspective on what works for us. There is plenty more out there to draw inspiration from. A few favorites:

So…what do you think about unjobbing?

This is obviously a big subject and one I’ve barely even skimmed the surface of, so stay tuned for more posts on the topic in the coming months. And feel free to ask questions in the comments below or send me a question directly: theorganicsister at gmail dot com.