Posts Categorized: Personal

My “White Hot Truth” story (inspired by Danielle LaPorte)

Posted on by Selena Soo, in 'Entrepreneurship, Personal'

As you might know, I’m a huge fan of Danielle LaPorte.

(For those of you who don’t know Danielle, she’s a bestselling author, spiritual seeker, and member of Oprah’s SuperSoul 100).

Many times, her comforting words have touched me at my core. It’s like she understands the depths of my soul and can reflect back exactly what I need to hear on paper.

That’s why I was so excited about her latest book, White Hot Truth: Clarity for Keeping It Real on Your Spiritual Path from One Seeker to Another (available for pre-order now).

The book is all about being true to yourself, even when it’s difficult. It’s about embracing self-improvement and learning from others, but not losing yourself, and never forgetting your own personal power.

As part of her launch, Danielle has invited people to share their own “white hot truth” stories.

Today I’m sharing mine.

My white hot truth…

I was out in the sun in a cute cafe, enjoying oysters and mimosas with a dear friend, who said, “Congrats on crossing the million-dollar mark in your business! What’s your next goal, Selena? How big do you want your business to grow?”

I felt a bit foolish when I told her, “I’m really happy with where my business is right now.” The truth is, I didn’t have any ambitious plans to grow.

My response even surprised me, because I’m hard-wired to push myself. It’s my greatest strength and my greatest weakness.

For me, every day starts at zero. I have this relentless need to “achieve” something each and every day (this includes workdays, weekends, and vacations) in order to feel good about myself. While intellectually I understand I’m worthy just for being me, there’s another part of me that ties my self-worth directly to my accomplishments…and I’m always close to falling short.

Now, I can’t complain too much, because my drive has served me well. It led me to push myself to earn $157k in the first year of my coaching business (despite being an introvert who was terrified of public speaking). The next year, I doubled my business to $315k and the next year, I earned close to $700k. I’m deeply grateful that my revenue and impact continues to grow each year.

Along the way, I joined some incredible masterminds. I learned from amazing mentors. I pushed myself well outside of my comfort zone and tried new things (that made me want to throw up and not get out of bed). I’m so grateful that I did those things anyway. Because if I didn’t make those investments and take those risks, I’d never know my real potential.

But today, I find myself in an interesting place, because I’m not “striving” in the same way I was before. Not only that, but I find myself disagreeing with a lot of conventional wisdom and advice. This includes advice from top experts who I continue to respect and admire to this day.

For example, I don’t believe that every expert, coach, and thought leader needs a continuity membership site (arguably the hottest business model right now). Or to run a free challenge, be active on Instagram or Pinterest, write a book, start a podcast, and post regularly on social media. Why do I say that? Because I don’t do ANY of those things, yet I’ve still managed to build a thriving seven-figure business. In fact, there was a loooong period of time when I didn’t even do any list-building!

I’m so tired of people saying you MUST do X, Y, or Z if you want to be successful. Because the truth is, you don’t have to do any of it. Let’s say you want to travel from where you are to Chinatown. There are an infinite number of ways to get there — by subway, bicycle, private jet, or horse and carriage. It doesn’t matter what mode of transportation you take, as long as you get to the final destination and enjoy the ride along the way. It’s the same with business.

Another piece of well-meaning advice that always makes me cringe is, “You don’t want to be trading dollars for hours!” It’s as if working with people one-on-one is the biggest mistake you could ever make as an entrepreneur. As if it’s the *one thing* holding someone back from their passive income dreams and piña coladas on the beach.

Personally, I’m thankful for the supremely talented rockstar entrepreneurs who make their one-on-one services available to me. I love group programs and they certainly have their place, but where would I be without my amazing team of coaches, consultants, and contractors who share their gifts so generously with me?

I also feel deeply grateful to be offering my one-on-one services to a small group of private clients. I feel so honored to be their trusted advisor. I’m grateful that they confide in me with their biggest dreams. And in the process, my private client work allows me to make a greater impact in the world than I could ever make solely on my own. By elevating my clients’ ideas, message, and story, I’m doing what I consider to be truly “high-leverage” activities, while impacting millions along the way.

As I approach the five-year anniversary mark of my business in June, I can’t help but wonder what’s next for me. What are the new ways I’m meant to help others and make my unique mark in the world?

While there are an infinite number of business opportunities I could consider, I’ve been shy to make any big moves. Because traditional “success metrics” like money and email list size don’t mean as much to me now as they did before. Today I care so much more about alignment and how I feel.

What feels joyful, exciting, and expansive for me? What feels easy and true, that will also allow me to learn and grow?

In the past, I’d look to a business coach or mentor to tell me what to do. I’d spend $10,000 or maybe even $30,000 in search of an answer….

But today, I realize that the only person who really knows what’s right for me is me. Like all of us, I have my own unique set of filters and preferences which help me define what my own version of success and happiness looks like. The answer is not outside of me — it’s within.

It feels weird not be “striving” the way I was before, where doubling my revenue each year was the clearest sign of success. It feels weird to have extra time and space on my calendar — and to exercise the discipline to “keep the space open” while I let what seem like once-in-a-lifetime opportunities pass me by. But that’s what feels most true to me right now.

Keep the space open, keep the space open.

Let go of the good to allow for the great.

To have faith that if I trust with an open heart and make room to receive, the answer will come…

My 2016 Year-End Review

Posted on by Selena Soo, in 'Personal'

Happy 2017! I hope you had a restful holiday, and are feeling excited about the year ahead. I recently sat down to reflect on 2016. It’s amazing how much can happen in a year!

Here are my 16 top highlights, plus read until the end to hear about my #1 focus in 2017.

My 2016 Highlights…

1. Spoke at Lululemon in Ponsonby, New Zealand for close to 100 people (thank you Emily Gallagher for making this possible!).

2. Hosted my first big live event for 200 people, with speakers like Derek Halpern and Ryan Lee.

3. Did a 2-day professional video shoot to collect case studies for one of my group programs.

4. Launched Impacting Millions and helped students land opportunities at O, The Oprah Magazine, Forbes, MindBodyGreen, The Huffington Post, and many more.

5. Hosted a party for Farnoosh Torabi, celebrating her column in O, The Oprah Magazine and CNBC primetime show.

6. Masterminding and pool time with friends during Ryan Levesque’s Next Level ELITE mastermind retreat.

7. Started organizing monthly influencer dinner parties with my good friend Chris Winfield.

8. Hosted three private group masterminds at my home.

9. Planned a special dinner party in honor of Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income.

10. Organized a table at the Open Center fundraising gala, honoring Deepak Chopra.

11. Found a new, cozy co-working space.

12. Went on a spa holiday in Arizona for a week with my friend Natalie MacNeil.

13. Published the Ultimate Guide to Meeting People at Events, which led to three follow-up stories in Business Insider and one on Inc.com.

14. Did an interview with my mentor Ramit Sethi, which reached 600,000 people.

15. Attended and fundraised for the She’s The First Mentor Breakfast, honoring Marie Forleo.

16. Made $1.1MM in revenue this year. This really blows my mind. I used to work at a nonprofit, where I was capped at $42k/year. I’m so humbled and honored to have hit this major revenue milestone — thanks to a lot of hard work and many incredible people who helped me along the way.

Thank you for being a part of my community and celebrating with me. =)

While 2016 was an amazing year in many ways, I have a feeling that 2017 will be even bigger and better.

Many people have asked me, “What’s next for you, Selena?” They want to know if I’ll be launching new programs, doing more events, or writing a book.

My #1 focus for this year is my Impacting Millions publicity program, which will open doors in March. My most important goal is to help YOU establish yourself as your industry’s go-to expert + reach more people through the power of publicity. I look forward to sharing more with you in the coming months!

Why Expressing Gratitude Matters: 5 Ways to Say “Thank You” to Colleagues, Mentors, and Friends

Posted on by Selena Soo, in 'Networking, Personal'

Have you ever gone above and beyond to help someone?

Perhaps you spent two hours on the phone with them offering advice in your area of expertise. Or maybe you connected them to a valuable resource or person to help them with their career, relationship, or health.

Sometimes, you may even rearrange your schedule and cancel existing commitments to help someone during a time of great need. In the moment, the person you are helping may say a quick “thanks!”, but after that, you never hear from them again.

This happened to me last year. A colleague who was unemployed reached out to me. She had been job-hunting for months and was stressed out, frustrated, and losing hope. Every day she’d been sending out her resume, but getting no response.

She asked for my help, and I ended up connecting her to the president of a major company looking to hire someone just like her. Two months later, she got a senior level position with a 6-figure salary!

I found out about this when she announced her new job on Facebook. While I was excited to hear the news, I felt a little unappreciated and forgotten about. In fact, I only heard from her several months later when she had another favor to ask of me.

This happens all the time. We get busy and forget to thank people for their help. But gratitude is so important.

When we forget to thank someone, they feel less motivated to help us again. But when we do thank someone in a thoughtful, heartfelt way, it makes the person feel deeply appreciated and wanting to help you even more.

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Here are five specific ways to express gratitude this holiday season and beyond:

1. Send an email

Just sending a short, thoughtful email is something we all can make the time for. You can make your “thank you” truly felt by the recipient when you share how specifically they have helped you.

As an example, you could say: “It was great to meet you last week! Thank you for recommending that book to me — I bought it right away! I’m already half-way through and it’s amazing. I can already see how I can apply some of these insights to my career.”

Share what impacted and moved you, and the results of putting their advice into action. This allows the recipient to know the difference they have made in your life, which makes the act of giving even more fulfilling to them!

2. Handwritten card or note sent by postal mail

I heard a statistic recently that nowadays, only 3% of mail is handwritten. The rest is bills or junk mail! The receiver of a beautiful handwritten note or card will feel so special and excited to open up a real piece of thoughtful mail.

The fact that you took the time and effort into writing a note by hand and mailing it the old-fashioned way shows someone how much you care.

3. Take them out for a nice lunch or dinner

Another way to show your gratitude is to take someone out to lunch or dinner. You could reach out and say, “I want to thank you for all the ways you have supported me this year. I would love to take you out to your favorite restaurant. It’s on me!”

Many people are too busy for coffee dates in the middle of the day, but taking someone out to a fancy dinner is an unexpected treat that will definitely make you stand out.

4. Thank them publicly

We all have our own public platforms where we share information — whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, a blog, or a newsletter. You can use any of these platforms to publicly express gratitude towards someone who has made an impact on you.

I love when someone posts something nice about me on Facebook or promotes one of my articles. Not only does it feel special to get recognized publicly, but you are also introducing the recipient to potential new fans or friends.

5. Send a gift

Sending a gift is another way to give back to someone who has given to you. A client of mine gave someone who referred a client to her a Starbucks gift card and said, “Coffee is on me for the month.” The person receiving the gift loved that!

Another example is a woman who I’d recently helped who sent me a card, a book, and gorgeous bouquet of flowers. It was such a sweet gesture that made me feel so appreciated. 

If you don’t know what kind of gift to give, you could ask that person’s friends or even colleagues or assistant. You could say, “I’d like to give Jane a thoughtful gift. What does she like? Here are a few ideas I have.”

The holiday season is the perfect time for you to reach out to the colleagues, clients, mentors, and friends who have made a difference in your life this year, and to tell them exactly how they have done so. 

Selena Soo