I Will Not Be So Gentle in 2014

As every new year begins, I choose a theme for the next 365 days. I have been doing this for 12 years.

Last year was the year of Magic, and it served me and my business so well that I wanted to share a few takeaways with you. I think you will be able to take some useful things from them, too. Then, I will tell you why I’m taking a completely different angle for 2014 – one that’s not so gentle anymore.

But first…

Reflection on The Year of Magic

Last year was The Year of Magic. I chose magic as my theme because I wanted to experience things like: trust, delight, and the unexpected – all elements of magic. (You can see my video about The Year of Magic here.)

Looking back on this past year, I can see how consciously inviting more magic into my life served my business well. Here is some of the particularly useful stuff I learned during The Year of Magic:

By focusing on Trust:  More than once I had to let go and trust – my own mastery as well as the unknown. I let go of a lot of old thinking and beliefs – just consciously decided to let them fall away. It took practice, but it worked. As a result, I got on some stages (virtual and live) that were new and scary for me. I talked more about my work at networking events (I used to deflect and ask a zillion questions about them instead of share what I do).  As a direct result, I am closing out this year at revenues nearly 70% higher than the year before. Trust is awesome. Center_for_authentic_expression_library

By focusing on Delight: As we painted and decorated the new Center for Authentic Expression, I picked colors and artwork that simply brought me delight. I love going into the office! It is a truly creative space for me now. (You can see a picture of the library area here to the right.) I have and continue to create some really awesome stuff for you in this delightful space. You’ll hear more about that in coming months.  I also worked extra hard to use images and stories in my presentations this year that would captivate and delight my audiences. It worked beautifully (see above note about income increase – plus it was really fun)!

By focusing on the Unexpected: Inviting the unexpected simply requires an opening in our minds to things we didn’t plan or even think we’d want – and a bit of glancing around for opportunities.For example, invitations to be a part of TWO beautiful digital magazines this past year was completely unexpected. I was gifted involvement in a class I really LOVE that is helping me elevate my business game quite a bit this next year. Plus, I have had more referrals come my way than ever before – some of them from colleagues who I didn’t even know knew me (the power of getting out there with your message bigger and bolder!).

Everything about The Year of Magic wasn’t all rainbows and sparkly wands, of course.

I struggled to find the right people to help me in my business. Even more, I struggled to learn how to let go enough to make good use of the help I did find. (Still working on that.) I worked hard to launch a course that no one wanted, despite some pretty delightful feedback about the content. In fact, that course launch brought me a beautiful stream of new one-on-one clients, which was quite an unexpected outcome.  Yet, I remain committed to creating classes, workshops and retreats – online and live. I absolutely believe that group learning is incredibly powerful – plus, I am a teacher and facilitator in my soul. This is where my best work magically shows up and the place from which I make the greatest impact – and I miss it.

So, all in all, I am happy with the outcomes of The Year of Magic. It was a beautiful year, full of a whole lot of beautiful work with amazing people (you know who you are and I am so happy that I got to work with YOU.)

It was also a year of immense growth, personally and professionally. There were plenty of learning experiences that, frankly, were exhausting. And yet I’m still standing.

In fact, I am not only still standing – but I am standing straight up and poised. Ready. Activated and leaning way in.

There’s been a shift for me as I close out this past year and head into the next.

The fact is, I am through being so gentle with my work.

The Year of Magic is lovely. It’s glittery and open and inviting of many interpretations. Sprinkle, glow, twirl… isn’t that lovely?

But the time has come for me to Take a Stand.

I am through with the gentle, sparkly commitments of years past. They were good for preparing and nurturing the work – but now it’s time to get a bit big and tough. (Am I scary yet? :) )

It is time for me to Take a Stand for my message – the one that I absolutely know will serve you completely, powerfully, unfailingly in your desire to build a sustainable business doing the work you love.

So, 2014 is the year I Take a Stand for YOU and your life-changing work.

Because here is what I know to be true, at the very core of my being:

There are real people out there right now, looking for you and the beautiful way you are meant to serve their lives. The problem is – they don’t know you exist. And if they do know you exist, they have no idea how absolutely life-changing your gifts will be for them, because you aren’t yet saying it big, bold and clearly – everywhere – in a way that calls their name.

The thing is, there IS MAGIC to magnetizing clients and building a business you love. That magic is this:

**You become a leading authority in your area of expertise.**

You speak, you publish, you share your radically clear message with confidence, in your distinctive voice. You stand out, you become known as the person to come to for your particular expertise.

YOU. You ARE the expert. You DO change lives with your beautiful work. Now, it’s time you become known for this, so your right people can find you with ease.

For me, 2014 is all about teaching you exactly HOW to become the leading authority in your area of expertise.

So take a deep belly breath and don’t think one more second about how you are going to get there. Just rest and replenish, because if you step into this opportunity, this year is going to be ah-mazing for you – and for all of those beautiful souls who’ve been waiting for you to show them what you’ve got!

Happy 2014 to you!

I love that we’re in this together.

Let’s start today, right here. What do you take a stand for in 2014? What do you know for sure, at the core of your being, that you want to say to your right people? Share below, will you? We’ll all hold the intention with you!


  1. says

    Loved your post, Michelle. Thanks for sharing Compose too!

    I think my theme for 2014 is Transformation. And one of the first things I need to transform is my outreach because, as you said, no one knows I exist!

    Happy New Year!

  2. says

    So inspiring! Thank you for sharing this. I see big, bold things happening for you in your business this year. Funny that I read this after writing my own reflective blog post and inviting people to listen for the message that will transform them from fearful to unstoppable in 2014. Fearless is my theme for 2014 . . . Sounds like you can help me with that ;). Happy New Year!

  3. Michelle Barry Franco says

    Such a pleasure to share your excellent magazine, Carole! It is an honor for me to be a part of it. And I’m seeing transformation already in play for you right now – this is your year for reaching out even bigger. I’m looking forward to rooting you on as you do it. Happy New Year to you!

  4. Michelle Barry Franco says

    Hi Gayle, my story excavating and styling go-to expert! So happy to hear we will be working through the fear this year together. Every time I think about the courage it takes to do beautiful, meaningful work, I see these wings unfurling… slowly, purposefully. I’m excited to feel the wind beneath them! (Is this getting a bit corny? And tell the truth – are you singing with me now?) Happy new year to you! Thanks for being here.

  5. says

    Love it. I’ve been doing the word of the year for the last few years and I am amazed at what happens during the year when you choose your word. My new word for 2014 is JOY and I am really looking forward to it.

  6. Michelle Barry Franco says

    It really is powerful the way our mind, consciously and even subconsciously, helps us stay on purpose once we articulate our desires clearly and powerfully – as is done with the “word of the year.” What a beautiful promise to make to yourself, a year of JOY! I am certain you are enJOYing it already (hee hee – but I mean it!). Happy new year to you, Deb!

  7. says

    Hi Michelle,
    I love that you choose a theme for the year. And I am glad that you’ve chosen to take a stand for your clients as your theme this year. I’d just like to add that you don’t have to be scary or intimidating to be firm, that part of the message was a bit off-putting. But that is me….semantics, semantics…
    Hope your 2014 is full of wonderful things.

  8. Michelle Barry Franco says

    Hi Lilia,
    Happy new year to you! I agree wholeheartedly, I don’t believe in intimidation or being intentionally scary with our message. When I said that I won’t be gentle in my work, I actually meant that my focus for this year is less about being peaceful and calming in my message (with myself and others) and more about taking a stand, even when it isn’t comfortable. When we are on a purpose-driven mission through our work, we are especially challenged to push our own edges in our expression. My focus for this year is to both do this myself and to invite those who are inspired to join me in it. This is the kind of communication that changes things. I love that you shared your experience of my article here. Thank you!

  9. says

    Last year, there was so much Fire energy around ~ no doubt that the Year of Magic for you was supported by that. This year, there is a lot of Earth Energy awaiting us ~ i see you standing firmly and strongly as you boldly go into 2014 and take a stand for all those you serve and more!!!! Happy 2014!!!

  10. says

    First, thank you Michelle for the gift of your book. It is full of new ideas for me and has re-ignited my desire, my need to return to public speaking. Second, thank you for sharing your past year and your theme for 2014. I’ve been doing themes for the past 7 years and they really work! This year my theme is commitment with the sub-word, focus. I realized that I haven’t been committed enough to my biz (some reasons beyond my control) but many within choices.So for 2014 I’m all about business- even changing my biz name, website and yes, I am going to take a stand in this crowded world of “nutrition experts.” I’m not going to fear offending some people by my opinions, observations, etc. Yes, 2014 is going to be one wild year! Thanks Michelle for providing this space for sharing.

  11. says

    I love the idea of not being gentle in 2014. As a matter of fact, I love it so much I think I’m gonna steal it and use it as MY theme too!!

    Michelle, you never fail to motivate me, inspire me, and generally rock my world. Thank you for believing in my message (and for helping me figure it out!!! A client asked me yesterday if I came up with C.R.A.P. and all i could think about was sitting in your office in your comfy blue chair with Scout at my feet while we worked it all out!) and for giving me the courage to step out in a big way even though it scares the shit out of me sometimes!

  12. says

    Thanks for sharing your journey and results from last year. I found that extremely helpful. But even more importantly, your boldness in sharing where you’re going is exciting Michelle. I’m so glad to be a part of your newsletter so I won’t miss a step in this new journey you’re taking.

  13. says

    I love your retrospective of your year of magic! How wonderful to be able to open to trust, delight and the unexpected! My intention for the year is willingness and I am excited to see what transformation and growth takes place in my business and personal life as a result!

  14. Michelle Barry Franco says

    Laura – you are awesome! Thank you for this beautiful visual. Happy 2014 to you, too!!

  15. Michelle Barry Franco says

    Oh, Bonnie – it is such my pleasure. Thank you for being here. Wow – focus and commitment, what a powerful combo. I am certain those words are serving your business goals very well and will continue to do so throughout the year. I can’t wait to watch you take your stand inside the nutrition world! With your awesome expertise, this is so good and right! Many people will be served beautifully by your commitment to do so.

  16. Michelle Barry Franco says

    Alyssa – you are such a gift. Thank you! I am very happy to know that my sharing served you well.

  17. Michelle Barry Franco says

    Hi Kelley! Willingness – what a cool, unexpected word. I love it! For me, it has openness, invitation and intention wrapped in a way I haven’t thought about them before. I can’t wait to see how it serves your life and business. Thank you for sharing here.

  18. Michelle Barry Franco says

    Thank you, Dorothy!! May we both inspire this in women, in each our own ways. I’m so happy to see you here and hope you are very well and happy, friend.

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