Lisa Robbin Young

If you've ever read my book The Secret Watch, then you probably also know that the story was inspired by my own encounter with a woman on a plane. She told me that I'd write a book about a magic watch that revealed special secrets and it would become a best seller.

I did... and it did!

As I wrote the book, I imagined how my life might be different if magic watches were real. If I could just pop open a pocket watch and be inspired by a new inscription every day, would I be able to make the most of it like my character, Tina, did? That's actually how our virtual coaching card deck came to be!

While I have yet to find a real secret watch (unfortunately), I'm lucky that I don't have to wait around to find inspiration. I create my own inspiration every year with my annual goals.

Not *another* goals "accountability" post!

Yeah. I hear you. They're often overdone at the beginning of the year. But by February, according to a 2020 survey, about 30% of folks see their well-intended goals fall by the wayside. Since I gave you my Annual Review rundown earlier in the month, I thought it might also be valuable for you to see what I'm driving toward this year.

You know, besides more ease.

To be clear, this isn't about having you hold me accountable. My past experience has shown that sharing my goals with you will not help me stay accountable. That's not how I'm wired.

There have been too many times in my non-normative life where that kind of "accountability" put too much pressure on me to perform - and then, I'd either choke, end up stressing myself out, or resent the entire thing. Sometimes all three.

Like when all those internet marketing gurus were trying to convince you to sell something before you built it - and then you just "build the plane as you fly it." It might work for some folks, but not me.

There have been too many times in my non-normative life where that kind of "accountability" put too much pressure on me to perform - and then, I'd either choke, end up stressing myself out, or resent the entire thing. Sometimes all three. Plus, people often have their own thoughts and opinions about my goals.

Frankly, ain't nobody got time for that!

But I do believe in being transparent. Whether or not I hit my goals is up to me, not you. But transparency is a way to model for you - to see what I am doing and see how you can apply my approach to your own situation. As a business coach, I help my clients set and achieve goals for themselves. To be in integrity and "walk my talk", I think it's only fair to share my goals with you. I've used the Dreamblazing tool to define what success looks like for me for almost 15 years now. Some years, I hit them all, and most years I fall short in at least one, but that's how I expect things to go because I aim pretty high.

Your mileage may vary, but by seeing my thought process, it might spark something for you. THAT is the reason I'm sharing my goals with you.

So, based on the 5 key areas of success, here are my 2023 goals, in priority order:

Goal 1: I experience ease in every way throughout the year (Freedom)

My Freedom Goal is my number one priority. I am a hard worker. I was raised with a strong work ethic and a deep programming that the only way for me to break out of the poverty I was born into was to work. like. hell.

So I know what hard work looks like and I know how to do it. I don't need anymore practice.

That's not to say that there won't be times when I need to hustle a little. But that's what I call compassionate hustle. I can't live and work on the hamster wheel.

What's more, I don't want to.

So that means finding ease. Not working for it, figuring it out, or struggling/striving/stressing about it.

That is not the way of ease.

It looks like asking myself "What's the easier path?" and honoring that awareness.

But what's the easier path? To struggle and fight and strain and stress, or to enjoy where I'm at right now and see where the road takes me?

Goal 2: I enjoy and take pride in my body, no matter my shape or size (Fitness)

In Dreamblazing, you set two goals for the Key Area of Fitness: one for your physical container and one for what's contained within it. This is my inside the container goal.

My personal history has been more body shame than body confidence. I've had major surgeries 2 years in a row and that really knocked me on my heels and had me feeling like my body was betraying me - as if that could even be a thing! I knew that I needed to adjust my attitude and rekindle an appreciation for who I am inside and out.

I'm lucky as hell that my current husband makes a point of telling me he loves how I look. I didn't get that much in my first marriage. It's been a growth edge for me to really hear, receive, and believe that feedback. I'm still working on it.

But what's the easier path? To struggle and fight and strain and stress, or to enjoy where I'm at right now and see where the road takes me?

Right. So, I'm all about enjoying the journey this year... wherever it takes me.

If I had listened to them, I never would have written 2 best sellers or recorded 3 albums - or any of a number of other things I wanted to do with my life that I was told was "too much" for a kid who was born in the ghetto.

Goal 3: I'm cultivating a supportive community that sees and believes in me (Family)

Chosen family is a big part of how I manage to keep my shit together. I love my birth family, but they are distant, and most of them rarely ever talk to me. That road runs both ways. I rarely ever talk to them. Growing up, I didn't feel like I had much support from them - they didn't understand my goals or dreams, and thought I was aiming too high.

If I had listened to them, I never would have written 2 best sellers or recorded 3 albums - or any of a number of other things I wanted to do with my life that I was told was "too much" for a kid who was born in the ghetto.

This year is about deepening connections and cultivating a community of folks who get me. Surrounding myself with encouragers who believe in who I am and what I'm up to in the world - who want to see me succeed and want to be part of making that happen in some way.

I've been part of an international women's networking group for several years, and have been lax about connecting with members. Although I have a few friends in that community, I've not been great about maintaining connections. That needs to change, if for no other reason than there are some pretty amazing people there and it would be cool to have more friendships with people like that.

Jane Fonda said in a recent interview that "you have to pursue people that you want to be friends with." I've never been a pursuer. More like "if you build it, they will come." Which is hysterical when you realize the irony. So, like Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane, I'mma be in hot pursuit this year.

Goal 4: SHINE like the STAR that I am (Faith)

This is both an invitation for me to follow my own success path and to come out of hiding. That's another reason why I'm sharing these goals with you: coming out of hiding.

I've done a lot of hiding since I moved to Mississippi. It's easy to cocoon when you're in a rural town where nobody knows your name and there's nothing doing because a global pandemic has shut nearly everything down. Then there was a wedding, surgery, a move (we bought a house), another move (back to Nashville), more surgery, and yet another move last year to Bloomington, Indiana.

All that movement made it easy to lose myself in the details of those moments. To start to identify myself by those moments (or the results of those moments), instead of being intentional about the life and body of work I want to have/create for myself.

When you shine, it's either because you're emitting or reflecting light. I realized that I wasn't really doing either - and I want to do both.

To shine my own light through my body of work but, also, to share the light of others in my world. My clients are mystical, magical Unicorns. They are smart and brilliantly gifted. I want more people in the world to know about them!

When you shine, it's either because you're emitting or reflecting light. I realized that I wasn't really doing either - and I want to do both.

That means more video, another live event, and monthly live workshops for my clients. I'm also going back to doing more video and having more guests on the show. That was a hard step for me to take because I am so leery about who I share with my audience. A lot of people look good on paper, and then they open their mouth and it's trash. I care about my audience too much... and my reputation. So adding guests will be slow going, and mostly from people I've either already worked with (like my interview with Dr. Mazur), or folks I know and trust in other ways. All the more reason I need to connect to more people!

Goal 5: Rebuild my body for optimal health (Fitness)

This is the goal related to my physical container. I've had major surgery two years in a row that stem from life-long health issues. My doctors and physical therapists have given me specific instructions that I intend on following. Some of them are easier than others. The hardest one is being up and moving 15 minutes for every hour that I'm awake - that's 2-4 hours of movement every day. That's not necessarily exercise, but it is getting up and moving around. Thankfully, walking around the house, putting away dishes, and doing laundry all count toward that activity goal.

But it's still a huge adjustment to my daily routine. It gives me about 5 hours of useful worktime, and I can't sit for more than a couple of hours at a time. Really, 45 minutes is best, but some of my appointments don't lend themselves to that possibility.

I have no illusions of getting my "20-year-old-me" body back. That's not optimal health for me... making sure I'm doing what I can, as I'm able, to rehab my body to the best is can be right now is.

But my body needs to heal. I just had my 1 year follow-up ultrasound from the first surgery. I'm waiting on the results, but I'm hopeful that what I've been doing is working. In the meantime, I've adjusted my coaching calendar and I have a standing desk. So if we're in a long workshop, you may see me stand up and pace around at my desk in order to get my movement in.

I have no illusions of getting my "20-year-old-me" body back. That's not optimal health for me at almost 50. Making sure I'm doing what I can, as I'm able, to rehab my body to the best it can be right now is.

Goal 6: be a wealthy, generous entrepreneur (Fortune)

I was intentional about the wording for this goal because those words carry a variety of meanings, depending on your audience.

Wealth, as I'm defining it, is about total well-being, not just my bank balance. Yes, income is important - a girl's gotta eat! But so is showing up happy, healthy, and in the right frame of mind for whatever comes my way.

If you were in our Customer Journey workshop last month, you saw how our offer stack is changing in the coming months. We're also right-sizing our pricing and rolling out some new, free workshops over the course of the year. Last month, it was the Customer Journey workshop. In March, it's a content creation sprint, and May we're hosting a brand new workshop about Enoughness, based on the TEDx talk I'm doing at the end of March.

Generosity takes many forms... including generosity to myself as well as others. Putting my oxygen mask on first is not being generous. That's a bare minimum that hasn't always happened. I want to move beyond that and really enjoy being exceptionally good to myself. Sharing the spotlight with my clients, as I mentioned earlier, is also rooted here. So is improving our client experience. We're moving our community off facebook this quarter. We're also migrating our Rising Tide learning library and all our courseware to a new platform as we prepare for a website redesign in the next year. I wanted a stable, easy to use place for everything to live, so that we can create a better customer experience. So that I can afford to be more generous to everyone in our circle.

Generosity takes many forms... including generosity to myself as well as others.

Being an entrepreneur signals my desire to keep getting paid (and paid well) doing work I love. Being an employee is challenging for non-normative people. Ageism and racism are real; so is fat phobia. The easier path for me has almost always been entrepreneurship - even when owning my own business has been hard.

I hope my transparency inspires you. Above all, define what success looks like for you this year, then go for it! Whether you need support to help you stay accountable or not, whether you hit all your goals or fall short, what matters most is that you are moving in the direction of your dreams.

Confession time: I have sort of a business crush on Mr. Franklin. I stumbled across his first book, Produced by Faith, just as I was finishing work on my own book, The Secret Watch. His collaborator, Tim Vandehey was a friend of my editor, and I was actually checking out Tim's work when I came across DeVon. I read his book, and immediately fell in love with his vision for spiritual success in a secular world - that comes from staying true to yourself (and how God designed you).

I also saw how he and I were up to the same thing in the entertainment world, but coming at it from opposite ends of the spectrum. And yes, I secretly hoped he would read my book and decide to make it into a movie, but I digress.

DeVon is inside the industry, making decisions, policies, and flipping the script on how business gets done in Hollywood. I'm on the outside, working with the very people that haven't had a chance because of the way the old regime operated - to learn how to "pick themselves" instead of waiting for some big break. We're both working to change the face of entertainment media for the better, so it's only natural that I was a big fan from the start. Where DeVon's first book focuses on the inner journey of the movie that is your life, The Hollywood Commandments is the next installment - how to be yourself inside a machine that may try to make you anything but.

Franklin is a devout Christian, but don't let that dissuade you from reading this book. It is filled with gold when it comes to navigating the rough waters of career success - whether you're in Hollywood, CA or Hollywood, AL (population 1000), whether you're in entertainment or animal training. It's not what you do, or where you do it that matters, it's who you are as you're doing it.

Franklin's book centers on ten "commandments" for staying true to yourself (and your faith) in a secular world. He serves up a lot of common knowledge concepts - like over promise and under deliver - so in that respect, it will feel as familiar as many self-help books on the market. But, as Franklin points out in Commandment #8, Your Difference Is Your Destiny. Franklin's difference is his years behind-the-scenes rising through the ranks in Hollywood, making mistakes, learning as he goes, and doing it all as a person of color and a man of faith to boot.

While Franklin never makes race a point in the book, it shouldn't be ignored. It's tough to rise up in Hollywood, and there's still a lot of disadvantages for a person of color. To see this, his third book, speak so plainly about what it really takes to succeed in anything (and have it come from a place of hard-won experience), speaks highly of his work ethic and how true Franklin is to walking his talk. He came to Hollywood on a Divine prompting, knowing no one, and trusting the process. He went from intern to assistant to eventually owning his own production company, paying his dues along the way. This is the lesson of persistence and discipline that Franklin espouses throughout the book.

Watch the entire review, where we'll dig into the specifics of the commandments, and how they apply to you regardless of your faith walk. Here's the replay:

On Day One of the Creative Freedom Challenge, we're taking a hard look at the biggest reason you're still stuck in energy-draining work, instead of getting paid well for doing what you love.

And it's not what you think.

Most people think the reason they're stuck is because they haven't made enough money yet to make the leap. If you're just getting started and stuck in a day job, that may be true. More on that in a minute.  You can be several years into your career as a creative entrepreneur and still find you've created a "job" for yourself, doing things that aren't fulfilling - like putting out fires or picking up dropped balls.

In truth, "not enough money" is not the biggest reason you've stuck with your "job" for so long.

The real reason you're stuck is lack of clarity.

Lack of clarity often shows up in one of two areas:
1. Who you really are and what really matters in your life and Great Work (that's what we'll cover today).
2. How you want to show up in the world (we'll cover that next).


Meet Amy

Amy Oscar is a friend and colleague. We met at a conference back in 2010, and she was kind enough to write the cover quote for my book, "The Secret Watch." Amy's building a global following on the back of her book "Sea of Miracles." Her Soul Caller program has evolved from a weekly free twitter chat into a series of courses, programs and retreats. She also does private sessions as an intuitive guide and healer. Amy has thousands of fans and followers around the world (some of them pretty well-known), and yet, with all those clear signs that she was on to something, she still hadn't quit her day job.

For more than 15 years, Amy was an editor for a national women's magazine. She LOVED her job, but as her Great Work through Soul Caller started picking up steam, she still hadn't let go of her day job to focus on her Great Work. Here's what Amy told me:

"I sensed that I'd put an important part of my soul in deep freeze." 

She then told me how it took her months to untangle what was going on inside her. Ultimately Amy realized, when she considered her job versus her Great Work, the truth so many creative entrepreneurs face:

"One was always going to have me hiding behind someone else's glitter cape. I didn't just have a message. It was MY message to deliver. So many people are telling this story and each voice matters. Each story resonates. We need them all. Mine was different and it had to be heard." 

Do you make the leap or let it go?

Making the choice to pursue your creative calling can be complicated. It's not always easy. That's why clarity is so important.

Clarity comes from accepting your truth with what I call ruthless honesty: no judgement. Just seeing the facts for what they are.

Here's how Amy described her watershed moment:

"I was afraid to stand alone. It was never about the money. It was about my willingness to trust the world to love me when it could see me. And not just as a cog in someone else's wheel... It's about the willingness to come out of hiding. To stand in the light and be seen loving what I love. Being what I am. Which doesn't fit into anyone else's idea of what I could or should be or how I might serve their vision. It's about the willingness to step into  the image I hold inside of my own heart of what I am.


"I realized that if I was going to be happy - and live a fully engaged, fully present life - I wasn't going to live a normal life.  And I finally accepted that. I quit my job because the Soul Caller work was more important to me than a paycheck."

Amy got clear on the life she wanted to live, the Great Work she wanted to bring into the world, and who she would become in the process. When Amy got clear on who she was and how she'd outgrown her day job, she was ready to embrace her "own message to deliver" and share it with the world.

Amy's truth is a common one: more than the ability to make good money at it, the real issue behind making the shift into creative entrepreneurship is a lack of clarity (and perhaps a fear of being really seen).

In order to get paid to be you, you've got to BE YOU.

Look, if a guy can earn a living wage making youtube videos about playing video games or unboxing action figures, there's no reason that you can't get paid well to do what you love, too. But you have to have clarity on who you are and what really matters to you before you can stake your claim on your Great Work and share it joyfully with the world.

Then, you've got to show up that way consistently. Sure, try it on and see how your Great Work can not only serve others, but also yourself. Once you've got clarity on that, you've got to have the confidence to step up and own your message in the marketplace on a regular basis.

But that's the next part of our challenge. 🙂

Today's Assignment

Today, spend a few minutes thinking about what REALLY matters to you - in your life and work. What are your non-negotiables? When I work with clients, we use what I call the 5 Key Areas of Success as the model for defining success on your own terms. Here are additional resources to help you get more clarity on what really matters and how you want to show up in the world:

  • Raving Fans Toolkit - a free gift to all my subscribers, which walks you through all four elements of building a Noble Empire.
  • Creative Freedom Entrepreneur Type Quiz - A free tool to help you uncover your blind spots as a creative entrepreneur.
  • Dreamblazing - my fully customizable planning tool that helps you not only get clarity, but make a plan to achieve your dreams and goals.
  • How The World Sees You - a great book by Sally Hogshead that helps you see "your highest value through the science of Fascination"
  • Strengths Finder - Tom Rath's assessment and book that illuminate your strengths and abilities.
  • What Are Your Immutable Laws? - this post is an oldie, but a goodie, from Mike Michalowicz.

Believe it or not, you already ARE a success. It may not feel like it right now, but it's true. Success is a destination, not a journey, and you're already here. Everything you've done (or failed to do) has led to this moment. Until you have clarity on what success looks like for your unique situation, it's pretty dang difficult to feel successful.

Are You On The List?

If you want to get all the updates in the Creative Freedom Challenge, along with a copy of my Raving Fans Toolkit, you can sign up right here (that box at the top of the page works, too).

How do you define success?

What resources would you add to this list? Share your comments below and let's be a rising tide for everyone!