Melissa Pennel is a writer, mother, and coach living in Northern California. She is the author of the Questions You’ll Wish You Asked series of keepsake journals, a collection that guides you to ask the important questions of...
Melissa Pennel is a writer, mother, and coach living in Northern California. She is the author of the Questions You’ll Wish You Asked series of keepsake journals, a collection that guides you to ask the important questions of your loved ones.
In this episode, Melissa and I talk about transforming grief and pain into a catalyst for change in your business and life, and she takes us through her experience of following your gut, and not the standard business rules, and how that ultimately brought her closer to her heart in her business.
Melissa sheds a light on how important telling our story is, not only for others but also for our own transformation. We talk through overcoming our inner critic so we can share our story with the world.
And finally, she shares about moving through self doubt and comparison in her business transformation journey and how that’s opened up so many more opportunities for her to grow and thrive.
Join me for this inspiring conversation and to learn more about Melissa’s journey.
Find Melissa at:
Website - https://Followyourfirecoaching.com
Tik Tok - https://www.tiktok.com/@melissapennel
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/followingfire/
Resources Mentioned: What Colour Is Your Parachute
Visit Stephanie at: https://www.stephaniehayes.biz/Support the show
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Welcome to the real people real business show. My name is Stephanie Hayes. I'm a business strategist and coach who loves to speak with like-minded entrepreneurs to share their real stories and gritty details on building their business. On this show, you won't hear about glamorized entrepreneurship journeys that you see online. You won't be told how to make six figures in six weeks instead of. Expect to hear real vulnerable and inspiring stories that you can relate to. And that have helped create the foundation of each of our guests, businesses. Goodbye, boss, spades. Hello, real life entrepreneurs today. I'm so excited to welcome Melissa pal. Melissa is a writer, mother and coach, living in Northern California. She's the author of questions. You'll wish you ask series of keepsake journals, a collection that stemmed from the grief of unexpectedly losing her family before asking important questions. Melissa believes that everyone is a writer of given the right prompts and that we're all here and connected, no matter how insignificant we feel sometimes. And that every story matters. Welcome to the show, Melissa, and thanks so much for taking the time to share your story today. Thank you so much for having me. I'm so happy to be here. You're in Northern California. I am in Sacramento. Oh, are you okay? I have lots of friends in that area and I had just visited recently and I love, love, love it. So tell me, tell me your story. How did you get started? Where did you start? I know you have a very different path than kind of where you ended up, so I'd love to hear about it. Yeah. Well, um, thanks again for having me on and, and that question is one I've given a little bit of thought to, because I want to be able to answer it. And I think that where I started in this kind of. Act of my life is that I had a really tough couple of years, um, where I did lose a lot of my family and I've always been a fan of therapy, but I was in therapy at that time. Thank goodness. And my therapist throughout the course of our work together, she actually became a coach. Like she sort of took her therapy or her therapist hat off and put her coaching hat on and really talked me through what this difference was. And as we work together, of course, I'm grateful for the modalities that I think her extensive mental health training afforded me, especially when I was in this really early, um, deeply like vulnerable, you know, needing to sort through a lot of trauma and watching her become a coach and realizing just to kind of summarize the way that she explained it to me and the way I've always understood it since, since becoming. It's like, there's, there's like someone who you, like, if you're playing a sport, there's someone you would go to if you were injured and that might be like a sports doctor. And then there's someone you might turn to, if you just want to really up your game and get consistent and work on your mindset. And that would be a coach. And so I almost looked at it as like this line where if you're dipping really far below the line, and like you're having trouble taking care of yourself, your health is suffering. It's, it's very blurry. And I know I have an incredible coach right now who we are totally working through trauma. So this isn't to say that like coaching, can't also talk to our deeply painful parts, but she showed me how, how much asking questions like you do as a coach can help us to identify. Basically what's bright and like grow that. And so that's kind of where my journey started because watching her do that, I was somewhat newly sober and looking to become an actual adult. I was 27, 27 when I got sober. Gosh, my it's weird. The older you get, the more you forget, like what was, what was this year? My mom died when I was 29, which was another major, just life changer. And then, um, I went back to school and when I was in school, uh, I was like, you know, the psychology degree that I ended up getting just really kind of fit right in with the coaching that she was doing. Anyway, this is my long path to saying I am a trained life coach. That's what I've done since. Again, the years are escaping me, but 2016. And even as I say that, that's not exactly how I'm hanging my shingle today. I'm not technically even accepting new clients. Like I have a couple of clients that have held on since this was my main thing, but today I'm a writer and a publisher and I create, um, this is where it's like, you know, we talk about the hats that we wear and, um, the way that I'm paying my bills is by writing and publishing. And I have a couple of clients. So it's sort of like, um, I keep thinking of that idea of like, you are the brand it's like, something's hovering around me with, you know, whether it's, um, helping people via coaching or. Or writing, but yeah, that's um, technically how I got where I'm at is a lot of pain, which I feel like is a pretty common thread for many of us, even if it's not the same story, something that really hurt a way that maybe it got better. And then getting really curious and interested in helping other people find that same south, I guess you might. Well, isn't that what they say about, uh, if you want to write a great song, go through some heartbreak, something like that. You know, I think that the pain that we encounter in our lives allows us to be creative if we let it right. And we let it be that, that catalyst for our creativity. But I'm curious, like I, I'm still missing sort of the bridge between you went to school and you got a psychology degree and you were focusing on a career in, in helping other people through coaching through therapy, and then you became a writer. Like what, how did that happen? Yeah. You know, this is where I want to mention something I have turned to again and again. And I wonder if you've heard of it. It's a book called what color is your parachute and you're nodding your head. So I'll just share it just in case your listeners. Haven't, it's just a big thick. What should I do with my life kind of questionnaire, a series of exercises that help you to get clear on what you've done before that you were good at what you've done before that you hated what you enjoy doing, what you're good at the environments you want to work in. It's just like this very, um, incredible sort of, it's almost like your world building. And so I bring that up here because I did this very early on. I think I was still in college and I've done it a couple times. And when you do this, it's not like at the end, there's always a role. It's not like at the end, I was like, oh, okay. I should be a journalist, like, or I should be a teacher. It's like, I should be someone who connects people who writes, who researches, who is, um, you know, making this much a year. You sort of decide like, what is my bare minimum amount of money I have to make, not what I want to make, but like, how can I survive? So after doing that, that's what led me to coaching. Um, as far as recognizing, like, I want to help people, I'm really curious about. Essentially like what rest at the center of my, why is like helping people to know that they matter, that they're not alone, that we're all connected. So that's started looking like coaching people. And then I had this very pivotal moment. Um, just a couple years ago, I, it was the summer of 2020, which it's weird that that was almost a couple years ago now, but this is a very long couple of years for many of us. And as I said, I live in Northern California. So there have been really incredibly bad wildfires a couple of years in a row. It was a pandemic. So we couldn't really socialize inside. There were wildfires, there was wildfire smoke. So thick. I couldn't really go outside even for brief periods of time, especially because I was pregnant and I would just have this and had a toddler. The short version of this is I was very depressed. And also I'm still coaching clients still trying to piece together. I think that's something maybe it's important to shine a light on is the difficulty that can be being a self-starter when your own mental health is so fragile. And I don't say that, like, it's something that barely ever happens. I'm someone that has to work pretty hard to stay pretty well. And, um, so yeah, I guess I shine a light on that to say that, uh, it was just a really dark time and I found this course that, um, I forgot how it was pitched to me, but it was all about like how to self publish a book. And I was like, oh, that would be cool. I didn't know that I didn't really even know that was an option. And I love to write, I have tons of stuff written on the internet from my blog on I've been journaling since I could literally not even write. So I found this course and I decided, you know, um, as a coach, I think it could be really cool to basically make what I've heard called a low ticket offer. And that's something that I can share with a lot of people who maybe can't afford to work with me and who I would just love to be able to put my ideas into writing. And that's that's what I did is I wrote this tiny book about how to find your inner guide. Really a lot of the work that I did with people was helping them to access their own inner wisdom, like asking questions to help them be able to do this in life. So that's what this book was, but I, I was writing it. I something just didn't feel right. It just felt very flat. And as a writer, I'm always thinking that like the way that I feel creating something, this is probably as a creative in general, the way I feel creating something is often I think kind of transmuted in that thing. And if I feel flat and like, sort of getting it out and like looking at my old content really purposing, like it's, it's good. It's okay. I don't, I don't really want to make that. So I was feeling uncomfortable in this course was finishing and the book was done. And then I went into, I'm a big, when I say I'm a big meditator. Um, I want to be clear that like, I meditate for sure. Eight minutes a day. It's not like I spend hours in contemplation, but like, I'm very devoted to this eight minutes. On top of maybe other breasts we're coming too. But in meditation, I, I told you I was very depressed at this point. And I had been really, really missing my mom. She died 2013. It had been years, but I was pregnant. I was depressed. We're living through a pandemic. There's all sorts of darkness in the world and all sorts of darkness in me. And in those moments, I think it's pretty common to just want that person who was there for you. And so I just kept thinking about her and I started to think about all the things I wish I had asked her specifically, because I was about to have a second kid. I was like, what was she feeling at this point? Like, was she, I, she, she wanted kids, but I'm kind of terrified to have two kids. It's hard enough having one. How am I going to do this? Um, wanting to just unpack so many things with her. So I started to write down all these questions. I wish I had asked her and I was thinking, I'm going to write the answers to. Questions to my kids. This is divorced from my business. This was just kind of to fulfill my own creative well, because I, I was just feeling very depleted and dark. And so I sorta put that book that I had been working on a side and I was like, I'm going to make this, the focus of my course that I'm taking, I'm going to publish a journal for mothers and daughters because I'm a mother and I have daughters and I miss my mom and, and I've since published lots more for the other dynamics, but like, that was really where it started with that pain. And it was just all the questions that I wished I had asked my mom and that I wanted to write down for my daughters. That was like a real kind of game-changing moment because I did this really just from a, um, curious point, like there's things I think we do as entrepreneurs that probably seem to align with like, quote unquote, our brand and like the things that I would write about the confidence mindset, finding your inner guide, like this didn't fit with that. I didn't even know how to, when it finally published, I was really excited about it, but I didn't even know how to share it with my newsletter or my people, because it's like, I don't even know if their parents, I don't know. I'm just kind of questioning, like, where did this come from and where does it belong? And then I started sharing about it and it just, I think, landed in this very perfect place of, of need where people were really wanting to connect in a really authentic way. I mean, also to kind of shine a light. The political and cultural climate of the last, I mean forever, but the last, you know, three or four years or so I think can really be dividing among generations. And I think I started to see this be a way for people to talk to their parents about stuff that wasn't necessarily going to get them in a big fight, but might explain why their parents thought the way that they did. And anyway, um, I basically created this not knowing where it would go and it just kind of ran away. And I had never published a book before and didn't even know that this was such a big deal at the time, but it w it started selling like thousands of copies pretty early. And I was sort of just like, oh, so this, this was what I found, like, not looking for it, like this had sort of just come. And I'm not saying that I think that's something I like to add around here is never in my life from a deep depression. Have I created a, a big, you know, I see a bestselling book, but I did this time. And also that isn't always the case. It doesn't mean that from depression, we should always be like mining our pain. And like, I think if I'd asked myself, how can I monetize this? Or how can I make this into something that can pay my bills probably would have been completely different, but that was the bridge, the important bridge I crossed. And then I was like, I love writing. I can self publish. Apparently this is a door you can just open for yourself. I think I'd always. I had to wait for a publisher. I had, I have to wait for someone to think I'm worthy and I have a big enough following. And it turns out my very, very modest sized following is actually really dedicated and enough people to kind of get the organic growth of the books that I create going. So I just kept making them. And, um, and now I really just see clients that, uh, are sort of, kind of leftover from a couple of years ago that, um, partly too, because I'm a mom. I think that's another important part of my priorities is like, I even, even something like this, I it's like I have to like really go through a lot of hoops to have the specific time free and make sure my kids aren't making noises. And, um, and I it's just hard right now to do that when it comes to my household, my particular household. Yeah. So that's sort of my long path to where I'm at right now. So you're focusing now, primarily on your writing or are you still coaching or doing writing coaching? Yeah, it's funny. I feel like I should be doing writing coaching because that's now most of the, um, inquiry that I get and I am, I am considering creating some kind of just like, you know, pay what you can, here's how to self publish a book. Just very simple, um, offering on my site. But right now I'm primarily working on my books. And then what I do as sort of a small portion of my months is all I'll coach, literally one Saturday a month. I have three clients. So yeah. So that's, um, probably going to change. I think another thing it's important to say is that, um, when I talk about hanging a shingle, you know, that like idea of like, here's what I do. Um, I don't, I don't actually. Say what I do a lot, because I find that that. Let me think about how I'm saying this, ultimately where I'm at has changed so much since I started. And I guess I'm just continually open to that. So I'm not like taking the coaching shingle down. I still really enjoy helping people if I could split myself into and my time could be better spent working one-on-one with people again, I would be doing that, but right now I'm finding it's better spent being able to, um, be flexible with my time.I might work at 11:
00 PM at night, and that's not a time of, at least in my time zone. I'm going to see a client. So. Yeah. So I'm mostly just writing and publishing at this point, but that's okay. And what I love about your stories that you sort of carve you've navigated and went, went with the flow in your life and at this season of your life, what works for you with little kids and, you know, whatever you've discovered in terms of your own working style, what works for you is to be a writer and to self publish. And there is no business police that say you have to be coaching, or you have to be doing something else. And you're kind of feeling into that. And I think being really rooted into who you are as a person first and what you are really kind of driven by. Um, that's the work I do with my clients right off the bat, before we ever get into any of the strategy around their business, because that has to be in perfect alignment. If their business is going to be something that they can put their energy towards. So I really love that you sort of carved away, this, this version of yourself in this version of your business and who knows what's going to happen 2, 3, 4, 5 years down the road, you're allowed for that to evolve. And I think that's what people don't realize is like they think they have to design this one business model and stick to it for the rest of their lives, but that's totally untrue. Every business I've seen has evolved over over time. So I think continuing to be curious and, and find those other opportunities, you know, serves all of us really, really well. Yeah, no, I so agree. I love that. That is the work you do at the beginning, because that probably saves people so much time and money and energy to get really clear about the routes. Like I think, I don't know if you use that metaphor, but to be so deeply rooted. And I, that you're making me think of years ago. I remember hearing an interview with, um, gosh, I can't even remember his name, but do you know that account humans of New York? And it's again, if your listeners haven't, it's just these really beautiful stories of everyday people along with a photo and you get very invested and it's people in New York and their stories. And I remember hearing him talk about how, if he had, if he had waited until that thing, he was doing, looked like that thing he was doing, then he would have never started basically that he, I forgot where it was. He started, but it's like our, our businesses and our, what we think that we're doing changes so much. And this is where to be transparent. I had a judgment. I think I am, uh, I've become aware of like, I'm a highly judgmental person in that my brain just categorizes very quickly. Good, bad, good, bad, good, bad. And I'm constantly doing the work of like pausing and looking at, okay, you've assigned a goodness or badness to that sort of like unpacking that in my own life. And I think I would have said, okay, Melissa, first, you were a life coach. Then you were a podcaster and I still have a podcast, but I'm not creating the episodes right now. Then you're a writer, like, get it together. You know, what are you? Because your people are a little confused and that voice is informed by some of the, I'm going to say the bro marketing culture, but also just my own inner critic. It's like we feed our own inner critic with outside influences and I can get a lot of the bro marketing culture of like, you need to niche down. You need to work on your SEO. You need, you need to. And I think that that is something that as uncomfortable as it is, even as I unpack it with someone, I am constantly just trying to be like, what is it, the center of this? And if that wants to evolve, if in two years I'm opening a restaurant, I don't want to do that. But just for example, like that's what wanted to evolve around this? Why of like connecting people and helping people. I think if anything, for me, it's letting go of the ego of like, um, because this kind of gets to the point of your podcast. I feel like so often we see success stories. Like I see Brandon from humans in New York and just think, wow, he's just so articulate. And he knows exactly that account is so neat. Like I know exactly what to expect my brain, doesn't say all these things, but it's just really easy to see the finished product and not see the in between, because he probably only had a thousand followers for that. Or he probably, I don't know, this is the in-between. You know, and, but this is, this is the, I love your point here because this is the whole, this is the whole point is that there is no in-between right. There's there's like, this is a, this is a journey. This is a, like, our businesses are just once we get, once we divorce ourselves from the idea that we, we are going to arrive somewhere and I think this is the mistake. A lot of people make as they constantly beat themselves up and constantly feel this like unrest or I'm stuck because they haven't arrived somewhere. But what they don't realize is that the arriving is constantly shifting as they learn more about themselves as they learn more about that. That's what, but that's, what's so fun about being in business is that we can just take it wherever we want to go and we can follow our, and we should, that's what work should be. Like. I can't wait to get up and work every day because I'm always just doing something different and it's, it's like fun for me. Does it have to be this, like I've arrived at this place? No, it doesn't have to be, and it can continue to evolve if you're always like doing that, you know, I'm one minute I'm a zoo zookeeper and the next minute I'm like a coffee bean expert. Then maybe you're going to have some issues with traction. Right. But if what you're doing is constantly growing and evolving. Good. It should. Because if you don't, you're going to stay stuck in one place. Oh, my gosh. Yes. I would just got goosebumps. When you said earlier, like there is no arriving because I agree there is something I think probably plugged into. Um, I love to blame culture and I feel like we have this top of the list, like work strive. Six figures is awesome. I want six figures. Like I think both can be true. We can have these really incredibly big goals and realize, okay, why do I want six figures? That's because money for me equals freedom equals being able to maybe pay someone to do something I don't want to do, or be able to pay my bills. And then I think like, okay, so freedom, freedom is what I already want to have in my life. I don't want to wait for six figures to have freedom. So how do I cultivate freedom now in whatever way is possible? And I think so often I'm just doing this ping pong between like, there is no they're over there, like. And it's a really beautiful realization. I had one of those yesterday where I was just with my kids and we were just like, it was just one of those perfect moments and something I hold really fast too in my business is especially with two small kids. My youngest isn't even a year old yet. And like you, I am so excited to work. I try to hold really fast to my work hours because I'm so excited about what I do, because I can get really into it. And I feel like I need to finish this project. And I don't mean in like a hustley productivity way, just like, oh, I'm really excited about this, this designer, you know, I designed books. So I'm often designing book covers and like putting together vision boards and art, and I'll get really into that and want to work late. And I try to have really strong boundaries around that time, because speaking to, oh, that's where I came from. That there is no, there, there is no arrived. And I have journaled about my ideal day in the life, right? Like when my business, my career, my house, my confidence, like my, all of it, like, what does that day look like? What am I doing? What am I feeling? And one of those things I've written is I work four to five hours a day. And so, because. Once that, like, I try and implement that right now. I'm not going to work crazy hours right now to try and get to that life in the future and be all stressed out because I want to be free. Cause it's like, This is my life right now. And yeah, so well, and like, if this concept of the business, please like it, once you go out on your own, it does, it takes a while to unlearn that culture of work where we're know. Accountable to someone. And they're like, here's the thing. My clients don't give a shit what I'm doing all day. They don't care. They don't have the time to care when we show up and we get on a call together, I am there and I'm present for them. But if I want to go for a run at 12 o'clock, I can go for a run at 12 o'clock like there's, nobody's paying attention. And when we get past that, Idea that there's always someone watching or that we have to be accountable to someone else for our time. I mean, that is my biggest trigger is I don't want anyone to own my time. And I think when you talk about freedom, I actually think what it really is, is choice and the ability to choose. So I might choose to work 10 hours today, but I chose right. I was, it wasn't put upon me and that is freedom. So I think that there's like, this is what I've gone for for so many years in the work that I do with my clients. It's just making sure that I understand them first. What is their preferred way of working? What is their, like, what are the constraints that they have? What, how does their energy flow, like, are they a person who wants to work for, you know, sprints and then take a break or, you know, whatever, everybody's got something different. I want to bookend my week. So I have Mondays and Fridays without any like calls. Everybody's a little bit different and that'll evolve over time. And so I think this, I think this finding your path and finding your own, and that's going to change, you know, your kids are going to get older. I've got teenagers now that has changed the way that I work and the, you know, the patterns of my time and that's fine. So we have to be this, like, we have to be like water, right? We have to be like water flowing through our little business canyon. This metaphor is getting really bad, but you know what I mean? I do. Yeah, no, I think that, that is, um, you're actually reminding me, I'll just go to my, I'll buy you a ticket to this train of thought. And beautiful chorus is really beautiful chorus and they sing mantras and I'll often have them playing in the background. And one of them is be like water, my friends. And I just so resonate with that, that willingness to flow, to admit when ultimately you've changed or your lifestyle has changed. I think I'm constantly. Constantly in conversation with my future self asking, like, what will I have wanted to do, you know, based on how I feel and who I am right now, what choices will I have wished I made? Which it sounds like is a big part of what you do with your clients. I think that that can be really easy to start to get away from is like, and again, this is like comparing the, what is my why, but truly like what lives at the center of why I do what I do. And yeah. So yeah, it's a little bit about values. It's also about who you are as a person, right? Like, you know, w we talked about these sort of four pillars of passion and your business, and a lot of people will go into business and they'll be like, I like photography. So I'm just going to be a fit. I'm going to be a photographer. And then they find out that that's, that's a hobby, right? That's a, an interest, but in business we have, there's sort of four pillars of passion. There's like the people that you work with, there's the offers you create. There's the skills and experience that you have, and there's the way that you want to work. But in traditional business, we're taught start with your customer first, but that's not always going to mean that you're going to create a business that's aligned with who you are, because that's not my main pillar. That's not my main focus. I know who I want to work with, but I'm driven by how I work. And I have very, very strong passions and desires about the way that I want to work. And so when we build a business based on that first, then we have a business that we actually like. But it, you know, I think a lot of Tanya Lee who's program, I mentioned earlier, you know, she says, look, you can like what you can want, whatever you want, but you have to like your reason for wanting it. And I think that this is where we come from in business a lot is that it's no longer true. That the only thing we strive for is money. And it's totally okay if you do. I like money. I want to make as much money as I can. I have no shame about the idea that I want to be. I want to be pulling in as much as I can and I will totally be, but I like my reason for wanting it right. And a lot of people come to me and their reason for wanting to kind of grow their business is often not money it's that they want their business to feel good. And they are stuck in this business model where if there's friction or it's not really aligned with who they are. And so you like following this path to what felt really good for you is such a great example. And I actually would love to know a little bit more about the writing you're doing right now. Like, are you focusing on a specific topic or type of writing or are you kind of following whatever comes to you? Yeah. Um, I'm kind of doing a combination of both. So I kind of like accidentally stumbled onto self publishing. And as someone who'd been blogging and, you know, writing a newsletter and writing social media posts and like writing in my journal, I was like, oh, I'll start writing books. And that led me to learning about this, getting a big education in self publishing and the amount of intentionality that can create, uh, there's a large amount of writers that I used to think. It was only like Stephen King and like a couple, you know, big authors that like were paying their bills with books. A lot of people think that, and the truth is there's a lot of very normal everyday folk that are doing very well, just writing. And I found these people and started just studying everything about them and their path. And there's a lot to learn, but I'm, I'm taking this path to say, there's this idea that I applies to lots of places in business and that is writing to market. And that's like recognizing, okay, here's what my customers seem to want. Here's what the market seems to want. I'll create that. And then there's that idea you just talked about about like the, how does it feel? Cause let's say, um, let me tell you, I have this software that can tell me like the, what people are searching for as far as books go and what is selling, like what is selling a shit time? As far as books go. And one of the books I found that was selling like $50,000 worth of sales a month is how to eat cock recipes with chicken. And it was literally a recipe book, but it was, and it was like a gag gift that I, I feel like people are getting, they're like ant like, oh, look at this, you know? Huh. But I bring that up to say, I'm not just going to create stuff that is selling a ton. I'm going to look at all right. What do I want to write about? And where does that overlap with what people are looking for? So I have found myself tending to write about. For one, I largely create journals right now. They're journals full of questions. So it's sort of like, uh, an and some of them are meatier than others. Meaning some of them, I have more of my own work intermixed with questions, but the one that I am working on right now is something that is actually like, nobody seems to be searching for it. I tried every different like search term and like possible way. It's I decided speaking to what started this journey for me was being pregnant in a pandemic, super depressed, missing my mom, you know, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And I decided, you know, what I think would have been neat is a pregnancy journal that is geared towards girls who have lost their moms. Like it has everything a normal pregnancy journal would, but it keeps in mind that you might not have that mom to call after you find out it keeps in mind that this might be a really sad time because the truth is it was a real mixed bag for me. It was like, this pregnancy was this beautiful. Journey and transformation and it's incredible. And it's made me miss my mom so much. So, so anyway, um, I bring that product up because I think I do both. I look at like, what do people seem to want? Like for example, I started with the mother daughter journal and I had a ton of people asking, well, what about fathers and sons? What about grandparents? And I've made a bazillion different iterations of these journals to account for the different dynamics, because there's lots of different relational dynamics where people want to get to know their family. And alongside that, I'm not creating this journal. That is very much a heart project. And very much one of those things that came from my own inner stillness of like this wants to be born. I don't know where it's going to land, but before I made any of these, I didn't do that market research. I'm just trusting, like, if this is the thing, so it's already all created, I'm waiting for the physical proof right now. And once I get that, I feel comfortable talking about it because it's like, okay, I've got the book in hand. We know that everything printed. Right. But, um, yeah, I think largely this is, I think I write a lot about grief and about meaning, because speaking to how I'm always talking to my future self, I feel like a lot of the point of these journals are to talk to your future self. Whether that future self has lost your parents. And you're going to wish you ask them questions or I'm working on a question you'll wish you asked yourself. Maybe it's just things that you wish you'd asked yourself earlier possibly about business, right? Like speaking to wanting that alignment within yourself, asking these questions and sort of like this, um, consideration of. It might sound morbid, but I'm constantly thinking about like death bed, regret. What will I want to have done? Who will I want to have been? So a lot of the journals are built around that idea. Who will you want to have to have talked to? What will you want to have known about yourself? And again, speaking to that, original, why? Like, I think when we tell stories, um, we, we start to realize, like, let's say I'm journaling to my daughter. I think I find more meaning in my own life and in my own story. And suddenly I've, alchemized maybe one of the worst days of my life. And from that I've pulled a Pearl. Here's what I think you should do daughter, or, you know, future self, whoever it is that we're journaling to. So yeah, no, I, I, um, a couple of years ago I purchased for my parents, um, a subscription, which takes them through a year of prompts for like daily prompts to, or weekly prompts to, um, extract all these stories from them. And I think one of the things that they had felt was that they're gonna, you know, they're going to come to the end of their lives and nobody knows their story. And it was such a cathartic and like, life-changing. Exercise for them, because at the end, you know, the service, they, they publish it into a hardcover book and it's all like published and they can, you can make as many copies as you want to give them to your family and that sort of thing. But this whole idea of being known is so important to us. It's like, you know, Maslow's hierarchy of needs. It's like right up there on the top is that we want to be known. And I think that what you're doing and what you're kind of digging into is this deep knowing of people and this ability for them to be known. And I don't know if you would categorize the writing that you're doing, kind of around that, around that topic or around that area. But it sounds like a lot of what you're kind of pulling out of people is this deep knowing, yeah, this is why having, you know, a podcast interview with a business coach is so great because then you reflect back to me like, oh yeah, that's what I'm doing. But truly, I think that. Once to be known and to truly know others. I think for those of us that feel that not everyone is going to identify with that need, but the people I'm drawn to definitely are. And yeah, there's something about life that just takes on more meaning when a, someone maybe cares about your story and you get to care about it too. I think that's, that's part of why I'm really, um, trying to move toward the one that's just for yourself because I've made a lot of family journals. I've made book journals, I'm making this mother daughter journal, but I also think it's important to just find that deep meaning just, just for ourselves, not even need it to be reflected in a relationship or. Yeah. Cause that's something that also gets said to me. Um, I, I shouldn't read comments online, but you know, what else are you gonna do at two in the morning, then read your own bad reviews. I'm kidding. Don't do that. But people will say like, well, my daughter doesn't care. Like why would I fill this out? You know, my daughter doesn't care about my story. And I, I still think for one, a lot of our children, I was, I was a daughter that my mom might've thought I wouldn't have cared. And then I did cause she was gone, but also not waiting for someone to care and ultimately just kind of reaching within ourselves and giving our own lives that meaning that's part of my why. Well, I think the most important person to know you is yourself, right? And I think a lot of people go through life, not knowing themselves and being so comfortable and familiar with themselves, but they can make good decisions about. About their lives and about their business, like this deep knowing of yourself as something I wish every one of my clients would come to me with already. Right. Because it's, it's what guides all of the decisions we make in our business going forward. Once we have that in place, all of the rest of everything becomes quite clear. Um, I want to shift topics just a little bit, because I know that we're kind of getting close to the end of time and this is a great, just such a wonderful conversation. Um, I want to know kind of what's next for you? Like what, and there doesn't have to be anything new. That's next for you, but kind of what's what's down the road for you. What are you envisioning? Well, there are the projects that I'm currently working on, and I've already mentioned a couple Questions you ask yourself, I've got the new motherless daughter journal. And I think that, you know, speaking to a larger vision, I that's something that is still, you know, speaking to being water and being in flow. I don't know exactly how this will manifest, but I think it's something to do with actually writing. I think when I have more bandwidth to work more with people one-on-one, or even in groups, facilitation, I am so drawn to creatives. And essentially here I am creating journals saying, Hey, your story matters. You should write it. And I would like that. I would like to take that to a bigger stage, whether that's, um, helping people to write their memoir, helping people to just, I get a lot of people messaging me, um, and sort of just the writing arena of my work and things like. Oh, you're so brave to share this. I never could. And I think I want to help those people realize that I'm terrified all the time. I've just done a lot of work around what is fit for putting out in the public versus what is not. And I don't say that meaning, um, there's a particular area of my, my life I won't share about, but maybe an area of wounding helping people identify what is, um, what is wanting to be born? What am I not sharing? Because it's just so tender and, and I hold it so sacred versus I'm scared and I'm afraid people are going to misunderstand me or judge me. And like, yes, they will. And that's okay. So I see that as my future work. And so I'm talking to a vision, not like a offer I have or anything to even, you know, back in people with this is maybe something that's like years down the road for me, but I'm very drawn to, and I think that's part of my purpose is like helping to get those untold stories out because. Yeah, I think there's a lot of, um, fear around what people will think. Yeah. Oh, I, a hundred percent. And I think it holds people back in business as well. Like, you know, I don't want to put this out there because what if, what if, what if, and it can be absolutely crippling for people and, um, the more that they can feel comfortable sharing and being okay with judgment and we can all adopt this sort of curiosity as opposed to judgment, that helps us lubricate our ways forward, I guess. So I hope you continue to keep doing that work and that intention you have is going to guide your decisions around everything that you choose to do, even if it's five years out. Right. So I'm excited for you. Thank you. I have a question that I ask everyone in the, in the spirit of the things we talk about here. The difference between what we see kind of out there in the online business world and this, the business world in general. And what's real in terms of building a business. I think that even just in the way I want to answer this question is part of the difference, because as a deeply sensitive, almost painfully self-aware person, I think what I would say are the days when I am just sure, this is never going to work and what am I doing? Oh my God, I'm a total joke. I'll look in my rear view mirror and just see a bunch of confusion. And, and I'm bringing up like the, the worst of the worst, like bad days. And those do, you know, they can be entire days. And so even as I share that, my head is like, oh gosh, you know, Stephanie is going to be like, you're a basket case. And my, my customer, my clients aren't, this is what I'm, this is what's real though, is the, uh, deep self doubt and moments of like, what the fuck am I doing? And then the beautiful thing about time and the painful thing about time, but is that it, it will change and I will feel differently. And I think that ultimately, you know, we don't get to see those moments. And when we do, I also think there can be this double bind because thinking to social media culture, And I'm not even going to act like I don't do this. Um, I think we'll see these like vulnerable shares where it's like, I'm having this really tough time. Here's what's going on. But sometimes if our lows feel worse than that, or if we just forget, we forget that. Like, I, I think what I'm trying to say is even those can sometimes seem curated. I saw this the other day where this, um, this very beautiful girl was like trying to frazzle up her hair. And then she had like a piece of it going out to one side and then she pressed record and she was like, oh my gosh, you guys look at my hair. I look so crazy today. Well, I'm just doing the best I can. And it was obviously a joke in a skit, but like, just remembering that like no one is immune to days where they just feel like, is this ever going to work?. And I think the ticket is just to keep going, even in those moments to rest that day. And then rest is we just have this, this topic up for discussion this week in my group program, I'm all about rest and how important rest is to us being able to keep moving forward. I have a real problem with the whole productivity culture and don't get me started on that, but like micro moments of rest, as well as, you know, bigger chunks of rest are absolutely critical to letting our brains kind of like reset and enable us to go and do this work, the next kind of sprint of work that we need to do. So I love that you brought that up. Um, we're coming up on, on time and I want to thank you so much for taking the time today and chatting with us. Can you tell our listeners how they can find you? Yeah, so you can find me on my website. It is follow your fire, coaching.com. And on there, you can find all of the journals that I offer my books. Um, you can sign up to my email list and that's where I, I will email maybe once every couple of weeks. And that's where I share thoughts on life, but also give away lots of things and try and just start interesting conversation. So, yeah, please come connect with me. And I'm also on Tik TOK, Melissa. Pinell um, I'm on Instagram following fire. I'm sure I'll give you all of my links, but yeah, I was small in the episode for sure. Yeah. Well, I. I'm just grateful to have shared this time with you. I feel like it was just a really important moment for me too. And I just love that, um, the premise that the show is resting on, as soon as I was like, oh, I have to study research. I'm going to be on this show. And as I was listening to your episodes, it's just, I think it's such an important thing to shine a light on for people because there's so many people give up thinking, well, had not finished, finished. Yeah. Finished I'm out there. Yeah. I get, I love that you brought that. Um, and I think that I th I love being on, on other people's podcasts because it's almost a time of like processing and trying out new things and like, Learning more about myself too. So I think it's, I think podcasting is just such a gift to us because we get to, we get to clarify and process and learn more about ourselves. So I'm glad that you were here. Okay. And that's a wrap. I'm so happy. We had the opportunity to chat with Melissa today to hear more about volume prior coaching and the writing and work that she has been doing, uh, her experiences along the way and what the future of her business entails. And thank you for tuning into this episode of the real people, real business show, where we get the real entrepreneurial stories and journeys that you can relate to show notes, resources, and special offers from this episode are available on our website and social media platforms. And finally, I would love for you to join us on our next episode. We're going to be speaking to Sandy Neusbaum. You're sick, who has built a travel business focusing only on Disney. And I can't wait to hear about that little piece of magic and some of the fun that we're going to talk about there. Thank you again for joining us. If you've enjoyed today's content, I would love for you to give us a review on whatever platform you're on to help us share these genuine stories with an even bigger audience until next time, keep building, keep dreaming and keep being real.