Remember writing those essays in school?
What if you wrote one now...what have you been up to since June? What were your highlights, low points, surprising moments and lessons learned?
Post in comments or click the button below to share what you did this summer and what you're carrying with you into fall.
(If you're in the southern hemisphere, feel free to share what you did on your winter holiday. :))
For my summer vacation I took a zigzag trip to London, Amsterdam, Edinburgh and Norway crossing time zones, bike riding in the Holland countryside, sipping hot cocoa in a tiny Scottish coffee shop during a rain storm, sitting third row center for a Royal Shakespeare Company play in London's West End district, and coming face to face with a real Viking ship in Oslo.
This trip was about inspiration and expansion.
In the span of three weeks and four countries, I also met more than a dozen women leaders. We discussed how women do business differently, and ways we could collaborate together.
I asked each the question: What's your next leap? Here are their answers.
Andrea is a Sex and Love Coach for Powerful Women. "Some would say that moving out of corporate life after 20 years as a digital designer to start Lush, my coaching practice, was a big 'leap.' But for me, an even bigger one was moving out of an eternity of being single (and struggling with it) into a new, beautiful relationship (with ease).
I was determined not to give up on love. I knew I had to go deep, as the superficial stuff (self-help books, advice from friends, speed dates, blind dates, internet dates) was getting me nowhere.
Over time, and from various places (neuroscience, modern psychology, and ancient yogic tradition to name a few), I had found a series of steps and exercises that began to shift things for me.
I slowly began to feel sexy and vibrant again after many, many years of living what felt like a dry, cardboard life in 2D, regardless of all of the success I had met in my professional life. Even before I met love, my life had changed fundamentally, and I decided that I'd start Lush. Because life should feel lush – full and alive – all the time."
Miisa is truly a powerhouse. We were on the move during our entire meeting. She founded DrivenWoman, a fast growing members’ network that helps women define their own success, create positive habits and put plans into action, one small step at a time. "We do this by sharing our progress, keeping each other accountable and inspiring each other in monthly group meetings.
There aren’t any other forums like this where women support each other in such a safe and honest environment. It's a community that encourages everyone to believe anything is possible if you are ready to put work into it. Hundreds of women have successfully transformed their lives using the collective energy of our Lifeworking groups. These transformations include radical career change, setting up a new business or learning to live in a better balance."
DrivenWoman Lifeworking groups are in the Greater London area in the UK, Switzerland, Finland and Singapore and recruiting new Group Leaders and future Territory Leaders for new cities. Contact her for more details.
Charlotte van 't Wout
"I'm a digital nomad who has been traveling the world for over 1.5 years as a coach and journalist.
Now I've settled in Amsterdam, my hometown, and started a company: SPOT.
I rent out venues for workshops and offsites. My other big passion is to teach women about business models, making money and the lifestyle of a digital nomad."
I can also attest that Charlotte makes delicious Dutch pancakes when she hosted me in her home!
"Hi! My name is Els and I work as a freelance trainer & program manager to educate and inspire entrepreneurs to start their tech businesses.
I love doing this, but would love to start & grow my own scalable business even more. I just have to take the leap… My personal interests are very broad, from yoga, organic food & farming to psychology, from design to sustainable engineering, so choosing a direction is difficult. I promised myself a freelance year to explore opportunities and it's passing by quickly, so I’m curious what 2018 will look like :) Time for action! Cheers." <-- how awesome is she?
Sally J Fisher
Sally and I met at an outdoor market in the Stockbridge section of Edinburgh and her whimsical drawings of puffins and the Scottish highlands made me instantly happy.
"In 2013 I had a change of heart and left my job in nature conservation without a real plan. I had an overwhelming desire to be an artist so I just started doing it!
Art and nature were always my two passions in life so it seemed the natural thing to do. Initially I managed to pay for the move by renting out my spare room on Airbnb. This gave me enough income to support myself while I built-up the business side of being an artist. I still have to pinch myself when I think about how lucky I am to spend every day doing something I love."
Liza and I met through a mutual friend and ended up spending the day together tasting a Scottish whiskey made by one of the only women in the industry and listening to locals play at the famous Sandy Bells pub.
"My leap combines my personal mission (spreading love and light) with my professional experience (digital product strategy and communications) into a new venture to accelerate the mind-body-spirit movement. There are incredible time-tested methods of increasing our happiness and wellness yet it's tough to navigate all the options from ayurveda and energy healing to meditation and intuitive communication. Making this accessible and actionable to the mainstream is my goal.
If you're a curious consumer or a professional/provider of these services, please email me to participate in the initial research. Also, I'm happy to offer 15% off my online Social Media Boot Camp for Lauree's friends."
Frøydis was my tour guide in Oslo! She loves her city and her passion comes through in everything she does.
Her leap is growing her business that, in her words, "elevates high achieving multi-talented business owners refining their most profitable skills and passions so that they can finally feel whole and aligned with their purpose and brand.
In this way I show them how to create a business that integrates these facets of skills and passions with less overwhelm and in less time." She offers a free Visibility Workbook at her website.
Silvia van de Kruijs
Meeting Silvia makes your day. You'll see why from what she shared...
"On a typical crisp, windy Bergen summernight I met two wonderful American women. A friend of mine in the Netherlands (Els!) connected us and I did not want to miss the opportunity to meet new people. Having wonderful people around me and meeting new ones gives me a lot of energy. This includes my two year-old twin girls, my friends back home in the Netherlands, the USA and Germany and all the people I met when I was traveling.
Working hard and achieving small and larger goals has always been a drive. It was no surprise to anyone that I decided to move abroad after graduating: Norway was my next destination. It might however been a surprise when I started working on an oil rig as a drilling supervisor in 2012 for two years. Being 6 months pregnant does not stop me looking out for new opportunities now, especially abroad. I have applied for a new position in Mexico City; Exploring a new country, learning a new language and getting to know another culture is still as appealing to me with (almost) three kids as it was for me as a student. Keep your fingers crossed for me!"
From our meetings in Europe have come more introductions and connections around the world. What an incredible network of change makers this is becoming!
"I’m a business strategist for women entrepreneurs who already achieved success in their careers and are now building their personal brands and businesses. This year, my big leap is in helping clients incorporate high ticket corporate engagements into their business models. We already created collaborations with corporate executives, fashion brands, Hollywood film industry and outer space industry (the likes of Space X and such).
In my own business I launched Insights Salons – high profile round-table intellectual discussions in elegant settings in NYC, LA, Miami, Dubai and London that bring together aspiring and seasoned entrepreneurs. I completed successful salons in Krakow, Poland and NYC already this year!"
"Hello ladies! My work focuses on coaching and training Emerging Leaders. I love working with people to increase enjoyment in their work -- and lives at large -- and grow more effective and confident as they stretch into leadership roles. I am fortunate to work with my founding team at 20 Rock to design bespoke leadership programs for both organizations and individuals.
The big leap?! Completing the chapter on my first business, a dance and social coaching company (bitter and sweet are the true words) as I focus on expanding 20 Rock across U.S. and U.K. markets. And! I'll be relocating to the U.K. in 2018 to live with my fella -- apparently England is calling :)
As many leaps do, it feels fully right, and still filled with just about every emotion. I look forward to connecting with you and hearing about your bold moves."
"Anything is possible - Yup, believe it. I was a senior leader in at FTSE 100 Company, I had everything on paper and my life seemed meaningless. A number of life tragedies set me into a transition zone. I began to question who I was and how I wanted my life to be and realised I needed something different, more. 5 years later, I coach women in the same place to trust themselves, find their voice, embrace their brilliance and make a difference in the world. I've just spent the last months working a empowerment programme with sex trafficked women in Nepal. I'm passionate about you trusting yourself, being able to speak up and create the world you want. I've just turned 40, I currently live in Bali, have clients in cities all over the world. This is YOUR life and I want for you to have one you LOVE. It is possible.
I have a passion project interviewing women around the world for 40fortea. 40 cups of tea with 40 women inspiring us to live authentic lives. (If you know a tea company who would like to sponsor this, let me know). I am British, love to drink tea, be in nature, sleep under the stars and am committed to evoking change in the world. It starts with us, our inner leadership creates outer impact. I also run a book club called "Spark" for women who want to spark change in their lives and the world."
Are you inspired by these women from all over the world?
Reach out to them! Click their photos to check out their websites, businesses and LinkedIn profiles. Meet them when you're next traveling or connect them with someone you know.
Help this international community -- forged during my summer vacation -- continue to blossom!
I can't wait to hear your summer stories. Don't forget to share them in comments and email me.