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Inspiration

Friendship. Fun. Freedom. These have become the themes of my daily life.

One of the things I love most about this business is the incredible friendships that I have formed over the past 6 months.

Team photo at Shawnigan Lake Retreat

Not only have I gained friends among my colleagues, but I have also gained some amazing friends in my customers, and even those who are just in my network and supporting from the sidelines!

I’m so thankful that this job has pushed me out of my comfort zone to learn to talk to more people without worry about what they might think of me or the company that I work with.

I have grown my confidence to the point that the judgements of others rarely phases me anymore.

Team Leaders

And all of this is thanks to this amazing company, the team that I work with day in and day out, and the incredible leaders that I learn from on a daily basis!

I never imagined that switching from another company to this one would make such an impact. I honestly thought that it would be more of the same. But I could not have been more wrong! I have people by my side every step of the way as I learn more and more each day about how to be successful in this business. The learning never stops!

Afua, Krista and Mariska

I can honestly say that I wake up each morning, excited about the people that I am going to meet and talk to every single day and the fun I am going to have as I get closer and close to my life of financial freedom.

Friendship. Fun. Freedom. These have become the theme of my daily life. And it. is. awesome!

Who, out there, could use some of the same in their life?  Let’s Chat, or join us today!

Live a life you love, my friends! 

This Opportunity Could Make Your Dreams Come True!

If you’ve been following my blog and social media for a while, you know that financial freedom, time freedom and location independence have always been important to me. These are things that I have dreamed about for quite a while.

For years I have been working a day job, and taking on side projects with hopes that “one day” the side jobs would out-weigh the daily grind. But, due to the time commitment of the day job, that dream always stayed a dream. I never found the right formula and support system to make it happen.

Are You a Dreamer?

Are You a Dreamer?

Are you a daydreamer? Do you ever sit at your desk job, thinking about the other things you could be doing? Thinking where you might be if you were location independent with financial freedom? What you would be doing? Who you would be doing it with? Which passion projects you would be working on?

  • Close your eyes.
  • Take a deep breath.
  • Think about what that day dream looks like.
  • Visualize it.
  • Got it?
  • Write it down.
  • Read it to yourself everyday.

What would you say if I told you that you could HAVE that dream?

What would you do if you had the tools and the means to get there?

Would you give it a shot?

What if I told you your dream could be a reality?

Becoming my own boss has given me the freedom to work on my own terms, set my own hours and do something I’m passionate about, all from any location I choose! Whether I’m  at home, at the beach in Parksville with my family, skiing in Whistler, or somewhere more exotic like Europe or Costa Rica, as long as I have an internet connection I can get my work done! My online business has taken my dreams out of my head and into my life!

If this inspires you and you’re ready to take your dreams into your own hands, try something new, be a part of a supportive community of like-minded entrepreneurs, and dream a little bigger, drop me a Facebook message, comment below or shoot me an email for more info.

A “Freedomist” Is Born!

[This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 10]

Wow! That 10 days just FLEW by! Today is the last post in my 10 Day Blog Challenge with Natalie Sisson. And as this blog post says, I am now a “Certified Freedomist!”

What is a Freedomist, you might ask…?

A Freedomist has:

  • Identified their focus
  • Has explored and understands why they do what they do
  • Has created an image of and takes the opportunity to LIVE their perfect day
  • Knows which superpowers will help they achieve their dreams
  • Understands what success looks like and how to create it for themselves
  • Follows the advice of mentors – whether these are in person or via online advisers
  • Understands where their momentum originates from and creates a schedule to maintain it
  • Designs their life to include opportunities for adventure
  • Lives a life of Work/Freedom Balance that leads to their ultimate success

A "Freedomist" Is Born

  • You see, a Freedomist has created an image of their dreams in their mind.
  • A Freedomist has created a vision board to remind them of their dream in moments when it seems unattainable.
  • A Freedomist has set goals for themselves that seem out of reach, but they understand any dream they come up with is a goal to work toward.
  • A Freedomist understand that if they can think of the idea, and believe in the idea, they can ACHIEVE the idea.

Thanks to Natalie Sisson’s 10 Day Blog Challenge, I have explored all of these areas and she has helped me get clearer on many of them. Some will always be a work in progress, but the dream is there and I truly believe that it is completely attainable!

The exercise I found the most helpful and the most fun int he past 10 days was the post we wrote about Mentorship.

Mentorship #10dbc

I honestly believe that every human being has the ability to help another. You have the power to lift up every person you meet any day of the week. Whether this is through a compliment, holding the door for them, or giving them advice on a life situation.

Knowing that I have soooo much to learn in the world of online business, it was so much fun for me to think about who I would love to have the opportunity to meet and what I would ask them from a mentorship point of view. Not only did this exercise identify questions I would have for my dream mentors, it also brought up questions that I should be exploring more for myself.

As much as I would LOVE to meet and pick the brains of my dream mentors, there is so much more self exploration for me to tackle, and this exercise helped me identify even more questions to answer for myself.

Thank you Natalie, for an amazing 10 days of self-exploration! It’s been a wonderful way for me to dive back into regular blogging and I’m excited to keep this momentum rolling in the days and weeks to come!

What’s This 10 Day Blog Challenge?

This round of the blog challenge has ended, but don’t fret! The posts are still available and there is always the Freedom Plan to take you even farther down the rabbit hole of self discovery and goal crushing!

Join Natalie Sisson's 10 Day Blog ChallengeJoin the Freedom Plan with Natalie Sisson

I Am the Master of My Own Success

[This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 5]

I’m loving this 10 Day Blog Challenge that Natalie Sisson, the Suitcase Entrepreneur is hosting! (If you want to build a lifestyle business and you aren’t following her, YOU SHOULD BE!) In the past 5 days she has made me think (and write) about things that I would not have otherwise picked out as things that would bring me success and freedom in life and business. So far we have covered and explored:

And today’s assignment is to think about how to set myself up for success.

What does SUCCESS look like?

STEP 1: Create a Productive Workspace

Today, after watching Natalie’s video, I walked into my office to my desk covered in papers, receipts, bills, and all kinds of other things that have been left there in a “dump it and run” fashion. I have recently worked from my back deck, my couch, my kitchen bar stools or even my bed, and I haven’t given my actual designated workspace any love or respect.

So, after listening to Natalie’s very clever advice, I dove into the office and organized the space. I paid and filed the bills, filed my financial statements and receipts for the 3 businesses we are running from our home, and completely uncluttered mySetting Myself Up For Success space so that is became liveable, and more importantly, WORKABLE!

This is what is looks like now…

Setting Myself Up For Success - My Workspace

STEP 2: Make a List

I find I work far better when I work from a hand-written to-do list. When I’m working, I always keep a notepad within arm’s reach to write down all the things I need to do, as well as ideas as they come to me. The list tends to be long and gets overwhelming at times. My plan to make this more manageable is to prioritize this list and then break it down into a list of 3-5 tasks to accomplish per day. It always feels great to cross things off the list.

STEP 3: Choose a Production Time Period

My days tend to be a bit unpredictable, as I like to allow myself the freedom to take a longer do walk when the weather is nice, or to run out for coffee with a friend if the invite pops up, or to help a friend move (this has happened twice with two different friends this week), so my production hours will be different each day, depending on the events of the day. I do, however, ensure that I get at LEAST 4  good production hours in each day.

During those production hours, I find that I work best in 20-minute increments (I never realized that this was a “thing,” until Natalie Sisson identified this as the Pomodoro Technique). I have watched the clock and have noticed that it’s pretty consistent that I lose focus at the 20-25 minute mark. So, I schedule my work time in those increments to chip away at the to-do list mentioned above, beginning with the highest priorities to get them done and dusted first.

After each 20-25 minute increment is done, I get up, walk around, hugs my beasts, refresh my glass of water or tea, and then go back for another session.

STEP 4: Celebrate Successes!

Wits-End-Retreat-wine & pastriesI strongly believe that celebrating successes, even the small ones, is very important to keep people motivated. So, when a series of tasks leads to the completion of a larger scale project, it’s important to acknowledge and celebrate not only the goal itself, but also the milestones that get you to the goal.

This acknowledgement could be as simple as a glass of wine or a treat at the end of the day, or social media post to celebrate an accomplishment, or even just telling my partner about it and my excitement around it.

Celebrating success is so important for me to stay motivated, so I make sure this is something I always incorporate into my accomplishments.

What are some of the methods YOU use to be your most productive? (share in the comments below)

 

There’s Still Time to Join the Blog Challenge!

If you enjoyed this post and you’re interested in joining in on the 10 Day Blog Challenge to explore your own freedom in business, there’s still time! You can join right up until the last day of the challenge! *Click* the image below to join!

Join Natalie Sisson's 10 Day Blog Challenge

Exploring My WHY

[This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 2]

The best part of any day is the hours that inspire us to do the things that we love. And I find that when I’m able to do the things that I love (spending time outdoors, with my fiance and my dogs, when the weather is nice), I am also more productive in other areas of my life.

The last thing that I want to be doing on a beautiful sunny day is: sit indoors, in a dark office with few to no windows, and stare at a computer screen for 8 hours.

THIS does NOT inspire me.

I would much rather take a couple of hours out of my day for a hike up a mountain, or along a river, or for a walk on a beach or a swim in a lake. And then when I get back to my laptop, I have all sorts of new ideas!

exploring-my-why

What does freedom mean to me?

Freedom means that I meet my deadlines while working on my own schedule. I am able to spend the daytime hours to do the things that I love (when deadlines allow), and then get my work done around those things.

Freedom means that when I sit at my laptop to work, I am in a space that inspires me. This space has lots of light! Whether that’s a coffee shop, my backyard garden, a shared office space, on a ferry, or on a beach in Bali or Costa Rica. One thing I know about myself is that I produce higher quality work when I’m in a well-lit, comfortable space.

Freedom means that I am inspiring my clients! I am helping others become a better version of themselves. I am inspiring people to live a more balanced life, and they are doing it!

Freedom means that I am inspired by those I work with and they help ME become a better version of myself as well and hold me accountable to my own goals and desires.

Leaving the Office Life For Freedom. Again.

I’ve never been someone who thrives in a Monday – Friday, 9-5 office job environment. Being locked in to a schedule that is determined by someone else is not something that inspires me. Logging the time I spend in the washroom or to fill my water glass/tea cup, or being told what I can and cannot do during my lunch breaks does not appeal to me. In fact, this environment sucks the life and soul right out of me.

I chose to work in the online/internet industry to allow myself the flexibility to work from anywhere I chose, so it’s about time I did just that!

In 2013, I left my Vancouver office life, and I was SO inspired! Three years, and a bunch of life events later, I am in a similar position in Victoria.

I’m a little freaked out about it, but that’s ok! Nothing great ever happened while hanging out inside our comfort zones, right?

Everything You've Ever Wanted is on the Other Side of Fear


 

It’s Not Too Late – Join the Blog Challenge!

If you’re interested in joining the 10 Day Blog Challenge, there’s still time! You can join right up until the last day of the challenge! *Click* the image below to join!

Join Natalie Sisson's 10 Day Blog Challenge

“Yes!” Will Change Your Life!

When was the last time you said YES to something new? When was the last time you said NO and regretted it? These two little words have the power to change your life!

Life changing opportunities come in all  shapes and sizes and usually show up when you least expect it. It could be something as simple as accepting an invitation from a stranger to go for coffee, or it could be more complex like taking on a new health and fitness challenge. Either way, you never know where an opportunity may lead. That cup of coffee may turn into a life-long friendship or even the love of your life, and that new fitness challenge may turn out to be the best thing you’ve ever done for yourself. Like Forrest Gump’s mama used to say, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

Everything You've Ever Wanted is on the Other Side of Fear

New things used to scare me. I used to think that routine was what I needed to live a comfortable life. Then several years ago my life went through a drastic change (heartbreak can do that), and I learned how VERY wrong I was! While building myself and my life back up, I made a promise to myself that I would say YES! when opportunities came knocking. It was uncomfortable at first, but through this commitment to get out of my comfort zone, I’ve discovered so much about myself and about the life that is possible for me!

YES’es That Have Changed My Life:

  • Applying for a media pass at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics – This is where my Olympic passion was born!
  • A one-day (leave at 7am, return at midnight) media trip to the Yukon!
  • Spending a night in an Ice Hotel in -30 celsius in Quebec (Brrrr! but awesome!)
  • An invitation to spend a month in Bali in a gorgeous luxury villa (No-brainer, right? But I would never have dared to travel alone before!)
  • Two months of travel in Thailand and Bali, including some of the best scuba diving I’ve ever done!
  • A diving trip to the Great Blue Hole in Belize!
  • An invitation to join friends at the London 2012 Olympic Games!
  • Traveling to Costa Rica (alone) and spending a month learning Spanish, working out on the beach, releasing baby turtles into the ocean and exploring this incredibly beautiful country!
    Baby Turtle in Montezuma Costa Rica
  • Running a crowdfunding campaign to fund the Olympic Spirit Project at the Sochi 2014 Olympics – I succeeded in raising more than my goal, traveled to Russia (solo) and had a once in a lifetime experience.
  • The Cycling Co Logo Buying a cyclocross bike and taking a 6-week road riding clinic! – Who knew riding would give me such a sense of freedom?! (Well… lots of people know this, but I would never have, if I hadn’t said yes!) — Mountain biking is next!
  • Co-founding and building a road and mountain bike coaching business – The Cycling Co. (Good thing I bought that bike!)
  • Taking on a fitness challenge to kick my health and fitness habits into shape! – I’ve lost more than 20lbs and I feel like a million bucks!

  • An invitation to a team of incredible women in an online health and wellness company so I can help others achieve their health and lifestyle goals too! (This opportunity is available to ANYONE, by the way, so if you are inspired to help people reach their personal health and wellness goals and you want to learn more, contact me!)
  • And the most recent yes: I GOT ENGAGED last weekend to a kind, caring, generous, strong, amazing man! We are gonna ROCK the marriage thing! 😉

I said YES!

“Yes!” will change your life!

Life is too short to pass up new opportunities. What’s the worst thing that can happen? Maybe you won’t like it? Maybe you won’t have fun? Maybe you won’t be successful?  But…

WHAT IF you LOVE it??? And…

WHAT IF you achieve MAD SUCCESS??? And…

WHAT IF you EXCEED your goals and expectations???

You will never know unless you get out of your comfort zone, take that first step and say, “YES!”

YES. It’s a powerful little word. “Yes!” will change your life!

So my advice to you: Just Say YES! 🙂

Happy New Year! 3 Lists to Make (and Burn) For 2015

It’s New Year’s Eve. Many of us use this time to reflect on the year that has passed and plan for the year ahead. With this in mind, I wanted to share a tradition that I first heard about and started last year, and I invite you to play along.

Happy New Year 2015

Make 3 Lists

The activity includes making three lists as you reflect on the past year and begin to visualize the year ahead in your mind.

  1. Make a list of what you want to leave behind in the year that is ending.
  2. Make a list of the good things you want to take with you into new year.
  3. Make a list of the things you want to create for yourself in the year ahead.

Then tonight, on New Year’s Eve, take the list of things you want to leave behind in 2014, and you burn it!

Now you can take the burning literally or metaphorically. If you don’t have a fireplace or safe place to burn stuff, you can rip it up and flush it down the toilet, or fold a paper airplane and fly it off a bridge, use your imagination and do whatever will have the most meaning to you to make your commitment stick!

My “crap list” will have some interesting things on it:

  • It will have a few people on it.
  • It will have a few bad habits on it.
  • It will have a few things on it that I know have been holding me back from getting myself to where I want to be.

Paper on FireAnd tonight, it’s gonna BURN!

I see so much potential for awesomeness in 2015, and I don’t want to carry any of the things or people that have been holding me back into the year ahead. A new year is a chance for a fresh start. And although I truly believe that EVERYday is a chance to start over, a new year just seems to have that much more meaning and impact.

So what will you put on your lists? What do you know is bad for you? What is good for you? And what do you strive to achieve? Make your lists! From the moment you write it down, and you see it in front of you, if becomes REALALITY!

Write it! Burn it! Live it!

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Wishing you an amazing 2015!

What are some of your goals for 2015?

Give Wall Art This Holiday Season

A couple of weeks ago I received a request from one of my Instagram followers for prints of a couple of my mushroom images I had posted a few weeks earlier. She said she had the perfect wall art frames and would love to see my mushroom photos in them!

These are the images she chose:

A photo posted by Mariska Richters (@mariskar) on

A photo posted by Mariska Richters (@mariskar) on

And this is how the final wall art turned out:


Thank you so much @LifeOfShauna for posting a pic of the final framed wall art and for your kind words! I’m so happy and excited that you like the photos and I love that they inspire memories of your favourite childhood stories!

Give Wall Art This Holiday Season!

Are you looking for a unique gift for someone close to you this holiday season? Do you know someone who loves to travel, appreciates nature and explores the outdoors?

Check out my Instagram feed and if you see something that inspires you, please contact me for pricing and I’ll get them printed and sent off you you in a flash! And don’t forget to click follow while you’re there!

View Instagram Feed

OR

Visit the Etsy Shop

Take a Ride on the Van Gogh Glowing Bicycle Path

I love night photography. I love to travel. And I LOVE how my fellow Dutch folk come up with so many super fun and inspiring ideas and projects! I’ll be adding the Van Gogh Glowing Bicycle Path my bucket list the next time I head to the Netherlands for a family visit.

The Van Gogh Glowing Bicycle Path

Dutch artist Daan Roosengaarde created the van Gogh glowing bicycle path inspired by Vincent Van Gogh‘s “The Starry Night” painting. The one-kilometre glowing bike path is located in the city of Eindhoven and opened to the public on November 13, 2014. The path forms part of the Van Gogh cycle route that connects the Vincent van Gogh heritage locations in the province of Brabant, where Van Gogh lived.

The path is illuminated by thousands of twinkling stones that feature glow-in-the-dark technology and solar-powered LED lights constructed by Heijmans.

“I wanted to create a place that people will experience in a special way, the technical combined with experience, that’s what techno-poetry means to me,” said Roosengaarde.

Van Gogh Roosengaarde Glowing Bike PathVan Gogh Roosengaarde Glowing Bike PathVan Gogh Roosengaarde Glowing Bike Path Van Gogh Roosengaarde Glowing Bike Path Van Gogh Roosengaarde Glowing Bike Path Van Gogh Roosengaarde Glowing Bike Path Van Gogh Roosengaarde Glowing Bike Path Van Gogh Roosengaarde Glowing Bike Path

Van Gogh 2015

The opening of the cycle path on 13 November marked the start of the Van Gogh 2015 international theme year. In 2015, the 125th anniversary of the death of Vincent van Gogh (Zundert, 30 March 1853 – Auvers-sur-Oise, 29 July 1890) will be commemorated with a comprehensive cultural programme on the theme 125 years of inspiration.

[Tweet “The #VanGogh-Roosengaarde Glowing #Bicycle Path! #BucketList”]

Photo credit: studioroosegaarde.net

3 Reasons You MUST Build a Lifestyle Business

What exactly IS a lifestyle business? And, more importantly, why do you need one? 

The basic premise of a lifestyle business is that the entire purpose of the business is to enable the lifestyle of your choice. In other words, you decide what your ideal lifestyle looks like, then work backward to figure out what you need to do to get there. 

Contact MariskaSo, what are the three best reasons to build a lifestyle business?

Your job sucks.

It’s a well-known fact that most of us work to get by or because we feel like we have to be beholden to a job in order to have a steady income. Fortunately, we live in an era in which this bondage to our jobs is more of an illusion than ever. The barrier to entry for becoming an internet entrepreneur is lower than ever.

Making your own career and travel choices rocks.

Once your lifestyle biz is up and running, you’ll be astounded at the freedom you enjoy. You can literally work anywhere on earth with an internet connection. Most lifestyle business owners choose to work fewer hours (because LIFESTYLE is what it’s truly all about), dedicating their fully focused attention to running their business at predetermined times. I have friends who literally travel the globe — one country after the next — all while running a six-figure online business.

Creating money on demand is awesome.

With your own lifestyle business, you don’t have to wait for every other Friday for that elusive paycheck. YOU make the decisions on how to bring money in the door, and YOU are the beneficiary of your own hard, focused work.

Are you ready to build your own freedom plan?

Join my team and let me walk you step-by-step to generating your first online income to scaling and making SERIOUS money so you can finally ditch that J-O-B for good!