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I Wish I had Lived Wilder, She Said

“I wish I had lived wilder”, she said, holding my gaze before she closed her eyes again. It was two days before she passed away. I sat there on the edge of her hospital bed holding her hand in my hand, stroking her forehead with the other one. I still remember how soft her skin was and how fuzzy her hair felt. She always had a perm.

In the days before her death, she was in and out of wakefulness. In her lucid moments she would repeat “I love you. I love you.” I would squeeze her hand and say those words back to her as many times as I could before I choked up. I made sure she could feel me beside her.

Her hospital room was intimately filled with her children and grandchildren. Each one of us had begun the grieving process wanting to find peace with what was about to happen. Each one of us secretly feeling like we were her favourite. Coveting all the private moments we had had with her over the years, wondering how we’d ever get along without her.

As I watched over her, I wondered what her mind was doing as her body prepared to transition from this world. I decided that whenever she closed her eyes she was able to travel through the memories of her life, scanning each one, re-living her choices and experiences. I believed she was taking stock of her big, beautiful life.

And possibly, “I wish I had lived wilder” was her conclusion.

Margaret was my grandmother. She was 95 and a half when she left this world. Today marks the one year anniversary of her passing.

I’ve wanted to write about her for a long time. But, how do you put into words the magnitude of love you have for someone? I still don’t know.

People talk about legacy. About leaving a mark on the world.

What I know for sure is that my grandmother left a legacy. She showed me how to impact lives in a way that really makes a difference. She modelled love in every aspect of her being.

Margaret taught me that the most important thing you can do for someone is believe in them. I watched her acknowledge the beauty in people until they could see it in themselves. She showed me that physical touch, hugs, rocking and snuggling are the most nurturing things you can do for a child. And that a hot water bottle, flannel sheets and a hot cup of tea can make anyone feel better. And when your kids are driving you crazy just pull them in close and hug them a little tighter.

My grandmother was a magical person to me. I miss her presence in my life every single day.

When I struggle as a mom I ask myself “What would Gram do?”

When I feel self-doubt or question my own worthiness I hear her say: “I wish I had lived wilder.” And then, I’m not so scared anymore.

Dear Gram, it’s been a year of firsts without you. I’d give anything to eat your pancakes today.

I love you.

I love you.

I love you.



Thank you for reading this very personal post. I hope that some of Margaret’s love and magic reaches your heart today.

If you’d like to leave a comment below, you know I’d love to hear your thoughts.

And, if this touches you in some way please share: I wish I had lived wilder, she said. A personal post by @jacmcneil.Tweet this!




This is a BRILLIANT guest post by one of my mentors, the wise and lovely Jennifer Louden! Please read through to the end to learn about a special offer for those who are interested in moving Beyond 1:1 services and into a business model of teaching 1:many.


When Jac asked me to talk about my favorite ways to get feedback for my courses and retreats, I’ll admit my first thought was, “Do we have to talk about that?” Because feedback used to be such a painful topic for me.

I would ask for feedback because I wanted confirmation that I was:

a) Doing a near perfect job teaching,


b) I was reaching everybody and, yes, changing their lives.

Step back with me for a moment, dear reader, and check in – what is underneath your desire to gather feedback? I’ll bet you have more emotionally mature reasons than I had and yet asking yourself:

Why am I asking for feedback?

What kind of feedback do I want?

Whom am I asking?  

will change your feedback game. Right away, you challenge the myth that all feedback is useful when in fact, feedback is not universally necessary or useful. Too many of us ask for it because we think we should or we use it as a way to bludgeon ourselves into doing better or as a reason to quit.

Instead, use feedback to further your own teaching goals and keep your learning growing. It’s about your desires and goals, rather than looking for a stamp of universal approval or anybodys approval for that matter.

Yes, you can totally flop as a teacher and facilitator – I certainly have and no doubt will again – and feedback can be a crucial way to improve what isn’t working or to reach a particular audience more effectively. But only if we allow it in from a place of ‘this isn’t the truth and this doesn’t determine my future: it’s just an opinion. I decide what I do with it.’

Okay? Good!

Then here are some practical tips for how to gather feedback:



Eliciting feedback

Don’t wait until the end of a course or retreat but gather throughout – at the end of each section, each day, each circle, halfway through a one-hour webinar. This helps your participants learn.

We don’t learn until we reflect, so by asking your students, “What has had heart and meaning for you in this section?” or “What has been most valuable for you so far?” their learning has a better chance of sticking. And the benefit for you? You capture their juiciest insights before they fade. These can then, with permission, be turned into sales page testimonials.

During TeachNow, I offer an incentive with a feedback deadline to encourage them to make the effort to reflect.

Also, by asking throughout the course or midway in a shorter offer, you avoid the “got to go” or “I’m tired” that happens at the end, leaving you with no idea how your teaching landed – which can leave you feeling blah.


Interview three of your just right students 

It never ceases to amaze me how much more I learn about what works – and doesn’t – when I am willing to get on the phone with students that I love working with and ask lots of questions. I make notes and record (you can use a free conference service or buy a digital recorder that works via Skype). Be willing to keep asking the same questions in different ways, like:

What has had lasting value for you?

Whats different?

What was your biggest hesitation about working with me?

What isnt as hard for you now?

What have you done since the class ended? What arent you doing anymore? 

What was your favorite exercise / section / part?

Follow your intuition and let yourself be a nosy reporter, and be patient. It takes people awhile to get to their best insights. You just might be amazed.


Handling negative comments

Remind yourself that they aren’t the truth, they are someone’s opinion. The feedback is as much about the person giving it as it is about your teaching. Perhaps ask a friend to be with you when you read the negative comments or to help you process them.

Ask yourself:

Is this person my just right student? 

Is this who I want to serve?

Are they ever going to connect with me or my material?

Do I agree with any of part of their comment, even if it stings?

Can I remember that I am not my work?

Am I getting this type of feedback from more than one person?

It’s also always worth remembering the growth mindset vs. the fixed mindset when encountering feedback. The growth mindset basically believes, “goodie, room for improvement, and boy, don’t I love a challenge!” vs. “I can never do this, I’m a fake, and now I’ve been found out.”

Growth mindset or not, it’s still just an opinion and there will always be people you cannot please or reach. Trust me on that!


Make a simple, clear plan for how you will implement any feedback you agree with 

Name the steps you will actually take and when, instead of leaving the feedback in the vague ‘someday I’ll do something with it’ place or the ‘hang over my head because I should do it but have no intentions of doing it ever’ energy draining place. Make a plan, keep it simple, and delete the rest. For example:

A post-it note by your computer reminding you to pause more often and speak slower

Recording an additional audio about marketing (I did that for the last round of TeachNow when I got feedback from two students who wanted more nitty-gritty marketing help)

Interview graphic designers to create better designed collateral materials for your handouts


Dont forget to ask yourself 

Plan some time for your own reflection soon after teaching: What did you love? What worked best for you? What would you like to try next time? Give yourself ten minutes to free write or have a session with a teacher friend where he or she listens to you and makes notes, then reflects back to you what was heard. Because in the end, it really is your own intuition and heart that will lead the truest way to teaching with presence and love.


In the comments below, please share a takeaway or tip that stood out to you and cement your own learning. Thanks for reading and thanks to Jac for having me!

Jennifer Louden is a personal growth pioneer who helped launch the self-care movement with her first book, The Woman’s Comfort Book. She’s the author of 7 additional books on well-being and whole living and has been teaching retreats and leading workshops since 1992 and creating vibrant on-line communities and innovative learning experiences since 2000. Her current course, TeachNow, was created to help


TeachNow-Affiliates-Badge-230x205Many of the women entrepreneurs I work with are in the process of moving from a 1:1 business model into a 1:many business model that leverages their ability to teach many participants at one time. In addition to the work we do together, I always recommend the course TeachNow.

For me, it’s the one course that has helped me grow my business the most even though it isn’t a business course. I highly recommend this course both for it’s rich practical application but also because Jen Louden does such a killer job of modelling vulnerability and confidence at the same time.

For any one who signs up for this course through my proud affiliate link I will happily give you a 45 minute 1:1 Strategy Session with me (via Skype) focused on a new offer, course or program you want to get out into the world by teaching 1:many.


If you have any questions about my experience in TeachNow, please feel free to leave a comment below or private message me through my contact form.

Here’s to you and Teaching NOW!

xo Jac


Teaching a course or program? Learn 5 brilliant ways to get feedback that’s meaningful by @jenlouden via @jacmcneil. Tweet this!

Finally, a way to gather *meaningful* feedback for courses & retreats by @jenlouden via @jacmcneil. Tweet this!

When it comes to gathering meaningful feedback don’t forget to ask yourself (+ more tips) by @jenlouden via @jacmcneil. Tweet this!







I’ve seen far too many of you endure unsatisfying client relationships or stay small in your business because you’re not quite sure how to address certain “sticky” situations in a way that feels safe, confident and kind. You worry that if you’re honest or direct you may disappoint or offend your client.

As entrepreneurs, our reputation is everything so the last thing we want to do is offend our client or damage our reputation in any way. Clear, assertive communication is an important element in any successful business, but how do we balance the needs of our clients with our own needs and goals?

How do we stay true to ourselves and also honour the relationships we care about?

How do we approach sensitive topics with kindness AND assertiveness?

How do we achieve a win-win outcome when we’re seeing things completely differently from our client or colleague?

We’re ready to show you how you can confidently and kindly answer these questions within your own business. That’s why we created this value-packed e-course.

This has been a love-filled collaborative project between myself and my dear friend and colleague Krista Smith, that was born out of our desire to share the tools and skills we’ve both been using successfully in our own business for years while supporting our clients.


The e-course begins on February 11th and runs for 7-days. One topic each day for 7-days, straight into your inbox. No Facebook forums. No hoops to jump through. Just good solid value from our business to yours.


Learn how to face the hard-to-have conversations in your business with honesty and grace.

In this FREE E-Course we’re sharing:

  • the 3 biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make when dealing with difficult conversations
  • the 5 things you MUST do before your next difficult conversation
  • how to have a difficult conversation without power plays or show downs
  • how to deal with negative feedback from a client without feeling secretly crushed or broken-hearted
  • tips, scripts and best practices to keep communicating courageously


 Note: This E-Course begins Feb. 11th; you may already be subscribed if you previously opted-in to hear about the soon-to-be-released Communication Kit.

If you know someone who could benefit from this FREE e-course, please help us spread the word!

A few Tweets to make it easy:

New +FREE e-course for entrepreneurs: The Ultimate Guide to Difficult Conversations via @thekristasmith @jacmcneil Tweet this!

Learn how to have a difficult conversation without power plays or show downs. +FREE E-COURSE! via @jacmcneil Tweet this!

Honest-to-goodness problems AND answers for the way you want to show up in biz. FREE COURSE!!  via @jacmcneil Tweet this!

Learn how to have those difficult convos even when they catch you off guard. FREE E-COURSE! via @jacmcneil Tweet this!

Learn how to find a win-win outcome even when you and a colleague aren’t seeing eye-to-eye. FREE E-COURSE! via @jacmcneil Tweet this!




Welcome to In Her Element, a series that shines a spotlight on some of the remarkable women entrepreneurs I get to work with. The purpose of this series is to demystify what happens in a Thought Partnership or Brand Brilliance Experience, share inspirational success stories; and to highlight tips and teaching points that might help other women entrepreneurs as they walk along their own path.



Meet the Prince Edward Islander, Single Mama (by choice) and Coach Extraordinaire – Lisa Chandler!

Lisa’s coaching style has been compared to “a business suit with a silk blouse underneath.” This has less to do with how she actually dresses (t-shirt, yoga pants and sand between her toes when possible) than how she helps with all the things that need to be buttoned down in business (policies, processes, systems) and all the things that need to be woken up (big dreams about what’s possible, new product innovation, and how the work gets done).

I first met Lisa for coffee as she was passing through to lead a workshop. I was instantly attracted to her down-to-earth presence mixed with her laser sharp business mind. Such a wonderful combination. Lisa is the first female ENTJ (for you Myers Briggs aficionados!) that I have ever worked with and I loved how our partnership unfolded. She’s not only an experienced leadership coach, she also has a personal story that I find incredibly inspiring. She chose to have a child on her own and then, after years of working in fast-paced Montreal, she relocated herself and her sweet daughter, Lali, back to her home town in Prince Edward Island to be close to her family.

It has been an absolute delight to partner with Lisa and to be her sounding board and confidante as she reshaped her brand and brought a new website and service into the world. Most people know about beautiful Prince Edward Island because of Anne of Green Gables–well I’d say that Lisa Chandler is putting this sweet Island back on the map. Learn more about Lisa here.

This is Lisa:

1. What were your top goals when you stepped into your Thought Partnership with Jac?

I was singularly focussed on revamping my Chandler Coaches website which I had outgrown. Before hiring Jac as my Thought Partner, I had been going in circles on my own, struggling with my purpose and strategy for the site.



2. Whenever we bring an outsider into the tender secrets of our business it can feel really vulnerable. When you hired Jac, what were you most worried about?

When I think back, I would say it was the cost. As I coach myself, I truly believe in coaching but somehow when it came to coaching for my website, I paused as I was reluctant to spend $ on top of the web design and programming costs. Once I realized I would get web strategy with Jac, the investment felt worth it.

3. What impact did your work with Jac have in your business (and life)? 

Jac was the partner I needed when I was feeling like an isolated entrepreneur. We had the good fortune of sharing a coffee face to face in June of 2014 thanks to a coaching friend who introduced us. I had no intention of hiring a coach that day but as Jac sat across from me asking me some tough and caring questions, I realized she was the partner I was missing for my web work.

lisachandler4 (2)

4. What specifically did you achieve?

The end result is a great new site www.chandlercoaches.com! It represents me and my coaching business so well. It doesn’t look like what I originally had in mind and yet it reflects me so well. The site doesn’t feel like I am marketing myself in an uncomfortable way. Instead, it tells a concise story about who my ideal clients are, what they get when they coach with me and what I am about. It also makes it easy for my ideal people to figure out how to work with me.

Beyond the site, my thought partnership with Jac helped me be courageous about business development pursuits and helped me refine content for a few group coaching sessions I led.


5. You’ve done incredible things in the last few months, what’s been your proudest moment?

Completing my site was a proud moment BUT I am more delighted that I met a wonderful guy last fall. While it may not seem linked, I believe that feeling more settled and inspired in my business has helped me turn my attention to matters of the heart.


6. Based on what you learned about yourself in our time together, what’s had the most impact for you? What ideas or concepts do you find yourself wanting to teach or share with others?

For the longest time, I have worked with my own clients to help them identify their right clients and to become crystal clear about their own brand. My work with Jac hammered home for me how important this work is. I loved her methods and her energy. I also loved how Jac took a strong stand on issues that came up for me as this pushed me to process my thoughts to come up with better answers.

7. As our Thought Partnership comes to an end, what are the next challenges you’re facing in your business?

It’s been a few months since Jac and I wrapped up our coaching. As time passes, it is becoming more and more apparent that I would love to partner with others to create great programs versus working alone. I delight in my clients’ accomplishments and feel privileged to be brought in to their business worlds. I know that partnering with others would help me bring greater innovation and inspiration. One of my goals for 2015 is to be on the lookout for how I can create partnerships in my business.


8. What worked for you about Jac’s approach, style, expertise?

Jac is playful, spunky and fun. She can also be methodical, strategic and goal oriented. That ability to dance between fun and focus really worked for me.

9. What are your top tips for hiring a Thought Partner or Coach?

As a coach who has hired a number of coaches, my best advice is to be open to being coached and the coaching process. My second piece of advice is to trust your gut. If what you read about the coach feels like what you need at the time and you have a good connection when you first meet, dive in. It is up to you to make the investment worth it.



Lisa Chandler coaches established entrepreneurs & professionals (i.e. lawyers, accountants, consultants) in Atlantic Canada and all over North America. She helps them grow their businesses on their own terms: for freedom, financial rewards and meaning. Sometimes her clients need a sounding board, a champion to stretch them, or a confidante to talk through tough decisions. Other times, they need structure, skills and accountability around how to develop business. Lisa’s clients love how she dances between challenge and support to help them achieve strong business results. Find Lisa at her site or on LinkedIn.

Let’s Connect in the Comments

Many of us are struggling with making big decisions and managing competing priorities–kids, business–even moving. I think Lisa is such a wonderful example of how it is possible, and she shows us that when you really want something, challenges can be met and overcome. What struck you about Lisa’s story? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Tweets Made Easy

Meet the Business Coach putting Prince Edward Island back on the map! @ChandlerCoaches via @JacMcNeil. Tweet this!




I spend a lot of time helping women entrepreneurs navigate the turbulent waters of risk and vulnerability. Over-exposure to vulnerability often shows up as lethargy, burnout or dissonance–a general feeling of “meh”. When we trace the symptoms back to the source we tend to find a pattern of too much vulnerability and not enough respite in between.

Let’s be honest. It takes a lot of emotional energy to put yourself (and your art) out there day after day and the more sensitive you are to the noise and feedback from your outer world, the more you need to pay attention to your own internal rhythms and needs for stillness and calm. I believe in honouring our need for stillness and reflection so much that I even created this highly embraced Retreat Kit.

But what if you’ve been hiding out in stillness for a little too long? What happens when a week of solitude and reflection turns into months of inactivity? What do you do if the business you once loved suddenly feels … boring?

When ambition and purpose are your fuel it can feel damn right unsettling, even scary, to be floating through your business without it.

At least that’s how I’d describe it.

I’m emerging from an incredibly busy year. In 2014, I signed on so many 1:1 clients that I stopped making time to market my work. I went radio silent on my blog. I neglected my e-letter subscribers. I rarely showed up in social media. (Gawd, social media can be a real drainer sometimes.)

I became so insulated with an over-focus on my clients that I actually lost my ambition, my drive, my marketing mojo.

What you need to know is that I LOVE my clients. I am genuinely attached to who they are and I care deeply about their growth and happiness. But over time, my actual client work became the only thing I loved about my business.

I created an imbalance that left me with only enough energy and enthusiasm to focus on my clients. I became jaded when it came to anything marketing related. I recognize that in part, that had to do with helping my clients market their business which ultimately drained the creativity and excitement I had for my own.

Let’s just say that 2014 offered me a lot of “lessons learned”. Thank you, 2014.

Hello, 2015.

In December, I made it a priority to do some intentional soul searching. I called on my closest peers and confidantes and talked openly about my fears. I was looking for questions and answers. I wanted to know who else was feeling like this and what the hell they did to fix it.  At the heart of my gigantic feeling of “meh” around marketing and connecting online was a real need to stoke that fire that already lived within me. To re-connect with what I love about my own business. To be willing to slow down on the number of clients I work with so that I can create a more robust and balanced approach to running my own business.

Today, I’d love to share a few things I’ve done to intentionally stoke my own inner fire and breathe life and love back into my business. Each of these actions are renewing my own sense of excitement and possibility. I hope they help you too.

Here are 5 easy, effective and fun ideas to help you fall back in love with your business:

1. Do what’s fun even if it has nothing to do with your business.

I joined my all-time favourite sport: Muay Thai. It’s the real-deal kickboxing where you wear gloves and wraps and throw knees, elbows, punches and kicks. I met a new friend who I adore. I feel empowered, challenged and strong. My favourite compliment is when my partner tells me that my roundhouse kick is so strong it rattles her brain. Seriously, that stuff is fun to me.

Having fun outside my business has helped to lift the “meh”. It reminded me that life is about waaaaaay more than my business. I started seeing the parallels between the mindset of training in an intense sport and the mindset of an entrepreneur. I  remembered that at the heart of what I do is a belief that we are all strong, capable and full of personal power.


2. Keep talking about what you’re feeling without trying to shift it.

For months I would strike up conversations with clients, friends and peers around the topic of ambition. I stayed curious about what I was experiencing. I asked for other’s insights, experiences and perspectives and I observed my own behaviours and thought patterns.

I stayed more attached to naming what I was feeling rather than trying to shift it. I think giving myself permission to be in it rather than push out of it actually helped it run its course. In fact, the idea of “This too shall pass” rings true for me.

3. Don’t make it about you.

I decided that instead of focusing on how I could make myself fall back in love with marketing that I’d try the opposite. I thought, what if I got out of my own way by making this about my community and not about me? As soon as the idea of being generous crossed my mind I felt a spark of excitement. All I can say is follow the spark!

I created an easy way to give back to my e-letter subscribers by creating a simple “Ten-in-Ten” Draw. Once a week for ten weeks I’ll draw a name from the list of entries to either receive a free copy of my Digital Retreat Kit or a free 45 minute Vision & Strategy Session (in total, I’ll be giving away five of each item). The first draw happens this week. The response has been so heart-warming I may do something like this to kick-off every new year.

Not on my list? No problem. Sign-up and follow the entry directions in my next e-letter.


4. Get involved with a project or person who DOES have a lot of energy and enthusiasm for their biz.

I was invited to take part in the #Fearlessin15 Challenge which is a free offer and looks like a lot of fun. I loved their exuberance and professionalism in making the Ask and it seems like another fun way to re-engage with my work without having the pressure of it being my own program. This is an up and coming business that offers another perspective on building a thriving business as a woman. I plan to engage in their photo contest and soak up the excitement they have for their own project.

I don’t think we need to be fearless, but I do think we need to be brave and believe in ourselves.

Note – as part of my involvement in this free challenge I’m automatically given an affiliate link to their upcoming course Boss School for anyone who may want to check it out. I haven’t done their program so I can’t speak to it personally.


5. Follow the whacky out-of-the-box idea that just won’t leave your brain.

I’ve had an idea for months that has nothing directly to do with business coaching. In fact it’s a product idea. It’s too early for me to share any details. It feels like it needs some more protecting before I “out it” to the world. What I can say is that I have hired someone to research the product and I’m creating a plan to bring into the world. I promise that as soon as I have a solid idea of exactly what I’m doing I’ll be shouting it from the roof tops.

My point is that we can’t force ourselves to be excited about something we’ve done for a long time but we can follow the bread crumbs toward that new and whacky, out-of-the-box-idea that just won’t leave our brain (or our heart) alone.

Let’s Connect in the Comments!

Gosh, I really shared a lot here. I’d love to know who else has been feeling bored, unambitious or even falling out-of-love with their business. Let me know where you’re at and if any of my ideas resonate. I’d love to hear from you!

Tweets Made Easy:

What to do if you’re feeling bored, unambitious or even losing your passion for your business. via @jacmcneil Tweet this!

How to fall in love with your business again. via @jacmcneil Tweet this!


communication kit

My client said to me yesterday: “I think it’s me. I’m just too sensitive.”

She was seriously contemplating throwing in the towel. Too many sticky situations and unpleasant client relationships had taken their toll.

Have you ever wondered if this self-employment Thing just isn’t worth the emotional hassle?

Too many self-employed women endure unsatisfying client relationships or stay small in their business because they don’t know how to address certain situations without disappointing themselves or their clients. They struggle with how to communicate what they want because they worry they might offend someone or damage their reputation in some way.

Instead, they decide to suck it up and just get through it. They default  to martyrdom. And after a while, the resentment creeps in.

I don’t want you to suck it up and I definitely don’t want you opting out of self-employment because you think you’re too damn sensitive.

The problem isn’t your sensitivity. In fact, you’re the perfect amount of sensitive.

The problem is that your communication toolbox is missing a few important tools. It’s as simple as that.

That’s why we made THE COMMUNICATION KIT for you.

It’s a collaboration between me and the amazing Krista Smith and it was born out of our desire to bring to the forefront the skills we’ve been using successfully in our own businesses for years while supporting our clients.

But what is it exactly?

It’s a downloadable self-guided resource kit that includes six stand alone modules dedicated to the most common sticky situations we face in our business. We’ve included easy to follow frameworks, effective scripts, best practices, and practical applications for navigating those bumpy business relationships.

We think it’s the answer you’ve been waiting for. And it’s coming soon!

communication kitInterested in learning more? Please pop over to our Communication Kit Launch Page and leave your email. You’ll be the first to receive the details and special pricing.

Please Spread the Word

We’d LOVE for you to share this with your own tribe of supportive women entrepreneurs–heaven knows we could all use a hand addressing some of this icky stuff without getting derailed or depleted.

A few tweets to make it easy (and thank you!)

The problem isn’t your sensitivity. In fact, you’re the perfect amount of sensitive. via @JacMcNeil Tweet this!

How to get unstuck from sticky situations especially if you’re the sensitive type. via @JacMcNeil Tweet this!


Welcome to In Her Element, a series that shines a spotlight on some of the remarkable women entrepreneurs I get to work with. The purpose of this series is to demystify what happens in a Thought Partnership; share inspirational success stories; and to highlight tips and teaching points that might help other women entrepreneurs as they walk along their own path.


Meet the Alaskan Medevac Helicopter Pilot, Coach & TEDx Speaker: LORENA KNAPP!

Lorena is a medevac helicopter pilot and accountability coach. Helping people achieve their dreams has always been her personal go-go juice. First it was the students in her elementary school classroom, then the adults she taught to fly helicopters. But when she transitioned from teacher to helicopter pilot she had to overcome some major resistance – both internal (her inner critic) and external (people around her saying she couldn’t succeed). Her work as an accountability coach has expanded from mentoring female aviators around the world to working with all kinds of people who are ready to expand their comfort zone, make important changes, and live a bigger life.

When I first met Lorena I was totally ‘wowed’ — I mean come on– a female medevac helicopter pilot from Alaska? That’s pretty badass. Then, I watched her Tedx talk and felt completely inspired. This woman has a gift and a personal story that reaches far and wide. I loved the challenge of supporting her to build a business that expresses her creativity and heart even though she has a full-time job she LOVES and has no plans to leave it. People say we have the same time in the day as Beyonce. I say, we have the same time in the day as Lorena Knapp. So get your ass moving.

It has been an absolute delight to partner with Lorena and watch her business and brand evolve into a clear and powerful platform with an updated 1:1 and group offer. This inspiring woman claimed her point of view and stepped solidly into her zone of genius. Learn more about Lorena here.

Meet Lorena:

1. What were your top goals when you stepped into your Thought Partnership with Jac?

I’ve always had a passion for helping others achieve their dreams. It is my personal go-go juice this has been expressed in various ways throughout my life. First it was in my career as a teacher, then it was when I mentored others, and now it is with my dream job of flying a medevac helicopter pilot in Alaska.

Several years ago I had a life-changing experience that further crystallized the importance of not waiting until “someday” to pursue your dreams. (You can hear more about this in my TEDx talk).

Now not only do I get to fly over a landscape that is as stunning as a Planet Earth video, I help transport people to medical attention so they have more tomorrows. My job is great in that much like being a firefighter, I’m able to do other things while I’m at work as long I’m able to get the helicopter up and off the ground within ten minutes.

My side business as an accountability coach is incredibly rewarding and a creative outlet that helps provide balance to my highly technical job. It is also one more way for me to help people achieve their dreams and create their own “Big Life.”

I hired Jac to help me wade though my own overwhelm, get focused and streamline my business. I had been doing okay on my own but I was ready to take things to the next level. I know how a really great coach can help people move through their fear and limiting beliefs and achieve greater results with greater ease.

I have no intention of giving up my day job so I wanted to meld my side business to fit within my time constraints and the seasonal fluctuations in my flying schedule. I wanted to feel good about what I was doing and know I was doing it well.


2. Whenever we bring an outsider into the tender secrets of our business it can feel really vulnerable. When you hired Jac, what were you most worried about?

When I create something new, it feels fragile and unable to stand up to harsh criticism. My business was just over a year old and even with my skills as a navigator in the air, I often felt lost as an entrepreneur. I was worried that Jac wouldn’t understand my time constraints and would want me to do more. I didn’t want to “do” more, I wanted to work smarter and more strategically.

3. What impact did your work with Jac have in your business (and life)?  

Working with Jac helped me better understand myself and how I show up (and hide!) in relation to my business. Jac offered insight into how my personality type might excel at things while also struggle with others. She helped me understand that I will always have more ideas than time to implement the ideas which gives my inner critic an endless supply of material to berate me about.

Understanding my primary archetypes was enlightening and I had so much fun with the exercise that I shared it with my family and friends. This helped me customize my website copy to ensure I was attracting my “right people,” the people that I would best be able to help and enjoy working with the most.

I know people often look at my job as a medevac pilot and think, “wow she’s badass.” Don’t get my wrong, I love flying and even today when I watch another helicopter fly overhead I think, How freakin’ cool is it that I get to fly every day? but my “regular girl” archetype has me feel like I’m just a normal person. My regular girl helps me create a sense of “we’re in this together” with my clients while my ruler archetype has a lot of wisdom and experience to offer has me be a more effective coach.


4. What specifically did you achieve?

As a result of working with Jac I’ve completely redesigned my website in a way that resonates with me and my clients. She helped me accentuate what makes me different in regards to other coaches. To excel in my career, I’ve had to learn a lot about managing resistance (both internal and external). I’m able to share these insights along with an intuitive ability to assess how to help a client navigate their own obstacles to meeting their goals. We updated my group coaching, (Big Life Accountability Support Team) and one on one program (Big Life 1:1 Support Sessions) to highlight some of my specific strengths as a coach.

5. You’ve done incredible things in the last few months, what’s been your proudest moment?

Often when we look around online it is easy to compare ourselves to others and notice where we are coming up short. Jac helped me let go of comparing and create my own “conditions of enoughness” in relation to what I do for my business each today. As a result, the panicky feeling of overwhelm has left (okay, mostly left) and I’m able to feel more at ease. This is success.


6. Based on what you learned about yourself in our time together, what’s had the most impact for you? What ideas or concepts do you find yourself wanting to teach or share with others?

Each of us has an inner wisdom that can guide us (if we listen) to make choices that nurture and fulfill us. Stripping away the protective layers we create to hide and play safe allows others to really connect with who we are and gives others permission to be more fully themselves.

7. As our Thought Partnership comes to an end, what are the next challenges you’re facing in your business?

I’ve learned to see my business as constantly evolving and that things are never quite “finished” in relation to it. Where I am now is exactly the right spot at exactly the right time and there is know where to “get to.” Based on past results, I know I will be completely delighted and surprised by what develops in the future.


8. What worked for you about Jac’s approach?

Jac is adept at distilling what is on your mind into a concrete thought or actionable step. One of the things I love about working with Jac is they way she is able to blend the intuitive with the practical. Her prompting about “What feels right?” helped me tap into my own inner wisdom. She always comes from a place of what is best for the client, knowing that what works well for the client works well for her business.

9. What are your top tips for hiring a Thought Partner or Coach?

Make sure that you fit well together. The partnership should challenge you but feel fun and enjoyable all at the same time. I wasn’t sure I was ready for a coach when I first considered working with Jac but she kept bubbling up in my consciousness. I needed someone else who really got me and what I wanted to achieve and help me wade through my own overwhelm and figure out how to move forward.


Lorena is a medevac helicopter pilot and accountability coach. She helps others determine, implement, and accomplish the action steps needed to achieve their dreams. Her online coaching programs provide weekly support and guidance to tackle the limiting beliefs and resistance that prevents people from doing the things they’ve always wanted to do. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Let’s Connect in the Comments

Have you ever struggled with having two passions and wondered how you could give attention to both? What struck you about Lorena’s story? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Tweets Made Easy

Success story! Meet the Medevac Helicopter Pilot & Accountability Coach @bigstatebiglife via @JacMcNeil. Tweet this!


Welcome to In Her Element, a series that shines a spotlight on some of the remarkable women entrepreneurs I get to work with. The purpose of this series is to demystify what happens in a Thought Partnership; share inspirational success stories; and to highlight tips and teaching points that might help other women entrepreneurs as they walk along their own path.


Meet the Sugar Shift Queen: MICHELLE MACLEAN!

Michelle is a certified Wellness Coach and Nutrition Consultant on a mission to help you shift your relationship with sugar so you can change the course of your health and live the sweetest life possible. Michelle’s personal story has been an important influence in the development of her business and brand. A few years ago, the trajectory of her health was headed straight for diabetes. Today, her life is filled with a lot of other sweetness. Freedom. Lightness. Energy. Balanced emotions. No cravings. Pure, whole real foods. And her work now takes people on an 8-week transformation in how you think and feel about your body, about food and about sugar.

When I first met Michelle, I fell in love with her integrity. She is someone who walks her talk in every way. She knew she was making a difference for her clients but she was really run ragged in how she was operating her business. After a year of really hustling she was ready to differentiate her brand in the marketplace and define her key messaging and approach. What unfolded over the last four months has been a complete transformation.

It has been an absolute delight to partner with Michelle and watch her business and brand evolve into a clear and powerful platform with an amazing new signature service. This lovely woman claimed her point of view and stepped solidly into her zone of genius. Learn more about Michelle here.

This is Michelle:

1. What were your top goals when you stepped into your Thought Partnership with Jac?

My top goals were to:

1. Have offerings that come from an authentic place within me and serve a true need for my right people

2. Be on my way to implementing strategic, original, tiered programs and services

3. Initiate the process of a developing new website

4. Reach new audiences and build my list

5. Reduce overwhelm and learn to co-habitate better with my inner critic

2. Whenever we bring an outsider into the tender secrets of our business it can feel really vulnerable. When you hired Jac, what were you most worried about?

I was worried that the initial success I had in my business was coming to an end. My business felt like an apple tree. One that had been picked clean of the low hanging fruit during my first year and I was not sure where the next harvest of apples was going to come from.

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3. What impact did your work with Jac have in your business (and life)?

The initial self-discovery work with Jac helped me dig deep into my life experiences and draw out the lessons, learnings and my unique gifts. I believe this process enabled me to be open to seeing the next right steps for my business. I always felt like my right people would show up, and because of the work with Jac, I was able to see and identify them clearly. Jac’s support, encouragement and insight gave me the confidence and courage to step out of my comfort zone and take my business to the next level.

4. What specifically did you achieve?

I accomplished so much more than I ever dreamed we would together:

1. I refined my brand positioning so I could clearly differentiate myself (this included new key messaging and all new copy).

2. Developed and launched a gorgeous new website.

3. Made my television debut! (and they’ve invited me back!)

4. Grew my list by almost 50 percent.

5. Created and launched my brand new signature service called The 8-Week Sugar Shift (and registration is now open!)

Today, my business feels like an apple tree in full bloom all the time with lots of ripe juicy apples.

michelle smaller

5. Youve done incredible things in the last few months, whats been your proudest moment?

My proudest moment was being interviewed on Global TV. As a former PR and media relations gal, I spent time reacting to negative media converge, pitching corporate angles and securing media opportunities for executives. I always wanted to be in the background. Being in the spotlight was completely different for me and totally out of my comfort zone. I felt very proud that I mustered up the courage to overcome the fear, stand in my passion and truth, and believe that I could do it and do it well.


6. Based on what you learned about yourself in our time together, whats had the most impact for you?  What ideas or concepts do you find yourself wanting to teach or share with others?

I believe that we all need to do own own work first. Whether it’s in our business, our personal lives or our health. If we are truly wanting to make lasting change and reach new heights, it’s got to come from within, by going deep and listening to our hearts. And that there is no one-sized-fits-all approach or quick fixes if we want change to be sustainable. These concepts are integral to my approach to wellness coaching and nutrition consulting.

7. As your Thought Partnership comes to an end, what are the next challenges youre facing in your business?

In health and wellness, new information surfaces every day. Staying on top of the latest findings, research and trends is key to having a timely, relevant and effective practice. Staying fresh, current and connected to what my right people need is an ongoing challenge.

michelle 2

8. What worked for you about Jacs approach?

Jac is ferociously supportive, loving, and empowering. Knowing she was there in my corner with brilliant advice, counsel and mentorship gave me the strength, motivation, inspiration and belief in myself to dig deep and take the leap. She helped me make peace with my inner gremlins, kept it simple, cut through the clutter of overwhelm and kept me on track.

9. What are your top tips for hiring a Thought Partner or Coach?

I decided to hire Jac because I got to the end of last year and was at a complete standstill in business planning for this year. I just couldn’t do it alone anymore. I was tired of throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what would stick. I needed a partner who was focussed solely on bringing my unique gifts into my business. Hiring a coach was life changing. I always knew when I was ready it would be Jac. I didn’t really entertain other options. For me there has to be a personal connection, someone you trust, someone who has been there and done their own work. I respect and admired Jac’s integrity, warmth, realness, and fierce belief in her clients.

Jac helped me bring the Sugar Shift to life and Im thrilled to be sharing this transformative, step-by step program with women who are struggling with the negative impacts of sugar. If you’re curious, you can check out my signtaure program right here.


Michelle MacLean is a certified Wellness Coach and Nutrition Consultant on a mission to help you shift your relationship with sugar so you can change the course of your health and live the sweetest life possible. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest or check out her new Sugar Shift program here. 

Join us in the Comments!

In what ways can you relate to Michelle’s journey? What stands out to you? We’d love to hear from you.

Tweets Made Easy:

Check out @JacMcNeil ‘s Thought Partnership with the creator of The Sugar Shift @MMHealthCoach! Tweet this!

Is your initial biz success coming to an end? Read @MMHealthCoach’s story in brand positioning via @JacMcNeil. Tweet this!


This is a guest post by Abby Kerr Founder and Creative Director of The Voice Bureau which focuses on brand voice development for values-based business.


You need to write sales copy but you have zero professional copywriting experience.

You’re transitioning your business from offline to online only (or online mostly). You know how to sell effectively to the Right People in person through a no-pressure sales conversation, but when it comes time to translate that acumen on to the page, you choke up.

Sound familiar?

Sister, you are not alone.

Even though writing is a gift of mine, I, too, struggled with writing sales copy for the first couple years of my online-only business. I used to own a brick and mortar retail store and had no trouble selling high end gifts, home furnishings, jewelry, and apparel to my in-person customers.

Whenever I’d try to write a sales page for my copywriting or brand consulting services, I’d slip into a voice that felt about 90 degrees off from my usual conversational speaking voice. My ‘sales voice’ felt slicker than it needed to be, snazzier, and lacking the confident, ease, elegance, and wit I knew suffused the rest of my site copy.

It took several years and lots of practice writing both for myself and for paying clients before I fully stepped in to writing sales copy in a way that worked well for me and my Right People. But I got there. And I’m getting there still, growing and learning more with every sales page I write.

If you need to write good sales copy for your offers, programs, events, or services, but you have zero professional copywriting experience and are feeling intimidated and twisted up about selling through the written word, this post is for you.

First, the truth: It’s not possible to become a great copywriter overnight. It’s just not. Great practitioners and creatives are never made overnight, even when there’s a high level of talent present and mucho desire.

But you CAN learn to write good (and better) sales copy for your own offers in a short amount of time. And you can write great (and better) sales copy over time as you practice these techniques offer after offer, page after page, and observe what other sales page writers are doing well.

Here are my best tips for writing good sales copy when you have zero professional copywriting experience:


Assume that this one person is really ready for and desirous of the offer you’re making. Yes, we all have to overcome objections  and address some ambivalence in our sales copy, but you should never approach writing copy as if you’re sitting down to sell to an adversary or a naysayer. NOTE: There is a time to understand what the naysayers would think and say when you’re outlining your ideas for your sales page, and we’ll go over that in my new sales page-writing course.

Write your sales page for your particular Right Person client or customer who is full of high hopes, positive expectations, and a shining degree of enthusiasm for what you’re offering. And make sure this Right Person you’re writing for is perfectly wired and prepared to receive the full value your offer encompasses.


Features are what the offer has, includes, or does. Benefits are what the buyer gets, receives, or experiences, as a result of the features.

It’s tempting when writing descriptive sales copy to go feature-crazy, bulleting out what’s included and adding a dozen high value bonuses to pad the core offer. But here’s the weird truth: often people will buy something without totally understanding what it is if they’re convinced they know what they’ll get or experience, in terms of enhancing their life or self-image.

Case in point: my partner and I just signed a two-year lease on a townhome we’d never seen in a community outside of Seattle we’d never been to. I know.  Although the online photos were not so flattering and we hadn’t a clue what the neighborhood was like, we knew the following: that we’d be living in proximity to a safe, pretty, interesting community; that the home was animal friendly with a fenced backyard; that the property had a good price-to-perceived value ratio, and finally (a perk I couldn’t overlook), the place has a “garden soaking tub.” Proximity to a desirable community, animal friendly, price-to-value ratio, garden soaking tub: all features.

Here are the benefits we saw that really sold us:

Feature: Proximity to good community —> Benefit: Good “quality of life,” illusion of safety, prestige factor

Feature: Animal friendly with fenced backyard —> Benefit: Safety for our beloved furry kids

Feature: Price-to-value ratio —> Benefit: Perception of getting more for our money than we might elsewhere

Feature: Garden soaking tub —> Benefit: Relaxation, ability to warm up on chilly Seattle evenings, and (for me, as a Pisces) immersion in water for ultimate creative inspiration


You’ve probably heard this advice a lot when it comes to writing online copy, and that’s because it’s true. The best sales copy has an informal, relaxed tone and style (even when selling B2B or to fellow professionals), varies its sentence structure, length, and rhythm, and mimics the flow of everyday conversation in that it subconsciously allows for the reader’s mental pauses, need for white space and thinking time, and arising of questions.

In general, most non-professional copywriters could stand to be a LOT more casual and informal in their sales copy. No need for fancy words, stiffness, or laboriously constructed sentences. It’s more important to communicate plainspoken integrity and approachable relability than it is to project an unusually high intelligence.


This is the part of writing your own sales copy that is both art and science. Every good sales page strikes a balance between (A) getting to the point with clarity and (B) building relationship, rapport, and recognition, based on what type of buyer your Right Person is. The balance of brass tracks-to-story is also influenced by why your particular Right Person is drawn to your offer.

The suggestion here is to learn to edit your own copy so that it reads clean, straight up, and to the point.

And also to learn how to frame your own experiences with life, business, health, clients and customers, family, relationships, personal development, leadership, what have you, into compelling stories other people can see themselves in.

Let’s Hang Out in the Comments

I would LOVE to hear about your own sales page-writing experiences. What feels like it comes easily to you when you write to sell? What successes have you noticed? What’s been challenging? What continues to mystify you? I’ll be hanging out in the comments and look forward to meeting and conversing with you.

Note from Jac: I’m thrilled to be an affiliate for Abby’s course: Writing the Conversational Sales Page - registration is open and the course begins September 8th. If there’s one popular area of “stall-out” for the women I work with, it’s around writing a sales page with confidence. Abby’s courses are always professional, the content is top-shelf and the community vibe is welcoming and safe. I say go for it! xo

Tweets Made Easy!

  • How to Write Your Sales Copy with Zero Copywriting Experience by @AbbyKerr. Tweet this!
  • Confused about features vs/ benefits when writing your sales page? Read these great tips by @AbbyKerr. Tweet this!

This is a guest post by Tanya Geisler – a certified Life and Business Coach (CPCC, ACC), TEDxWomen speaker, and writer – who teaches women how to step into their starring roles, own their authority, and overcome the Impostor Complex in their life, in their work, and in their life’s work.



I’ll never forget the day it was “named”.

It was June 24th 2009, and there she was. In fabulous heels, piercing eyes, dreadlocks, glorious heart and her breathy voice.

Danielle LaPorte.

Talking about her days at the future-studies think tank.

Talking about her days at the head of a lifestyle media company.

Talking about hustling.

Talking about fabulous heels.

Talking about magnetic authenticity.

We were nodding along, spines tingling from the lightning rods of her white hot truth.

And then she named IT: “There were times when I felt like an Impostor.”

Holy hell.

There it was.

That feeling. THAT FEELING.

That just-a-matter-of-time-before-they-find-out-that-I’m-a-fake feeling.
That this-success-isn’t-going-to-last-because-it’s-not-real feeling.
That I-just-got-lucky-that-one-time feeling.


I knew that feeling so well, I’d experienced it THREE TIMES in the 90 minutes leading up to her taking the stage.

When I picked up my coach colleague in my car to head to the event (would she find out that I wasn’t as powerful a coach as she’d heard?)
When I parked by my old high school just next to the venue, and remembered how surprised that I’d won a student council election by a landslide (surely a vote recount was in order?)
When I met other women entrepreneurs before D’Love (that’s what I call her) took the stage, (will they call me out for not belonging?)

But then, these words:

“There were times when I felt like an Impostor.”

And in that moment, my heart lit up and I’m pretty sure I heard angels sing.
It had a name.


Sidebar: I entertain the possibility that I’d heard the “Impostor Complex” before that day, but resonance doesn’t work like that. We hear what we need to hear when we need to hear it. And THAT was the day I needed to hear it.

So yeah, it had a name.

And the moment I knew it’s name, I knew two more things:

1) that if it had a name, then it was “normal” to experience (y’know, the whole “you’ve gotta name it to tame it”)
2) that I was in exquisite company.

Inadvertently, I spent the next couple of years immersed in the observation of the Impostor Complex. I say ‘inadvertently’ because it’s not like I devoted my days to studying everything I could on the topic (though I did read much of what the clinical psychologists who first coined the term, Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes, had to say).

No, I mostly just couldn’t unsee it in my clients and myself.

Seeing the costs of believing its lies. And the costs show up in a myriad of ways:

• Not communicating with our audience.
• Not launching.
• Not owning our authority.
• Not saying yes to opportunities.
• Not asking for help.
• Not reaching out to influencers.
• Not taking the stage.

On the flip side, I’ve seen and attribute much of the success that my clients and I have enjoyed to finding ways to overcome the Impostor Complex…once we see the lies for what they are.

I now see the Impostor Complex as a (totally fictitious) family member that shows up at gatherings telling ridiculously outlandish tall tales. And once you stop believing his lies, you can just enjoy him from a place of pure entertainment. What will he come up with next?

Because the best news about the Impostor Complex is this:

If you experience the Impostor Complex, then you are a high-functioning, high achieving Super Star who strongly values integrity, mastery and excellence.

Every time you strive for the next rung, it’s gonna show up, harping on with its lies. And the sooner we see its lies for what they are, the sooner we can get on with sharing our excellence in the most meaningful and delicious way. Knowing that we are in excellent company . . . each others’.

Grab Tanya’s super quick and very powerful ’12 Lies of the Impostor Complex (and One Truth)‘ right here

Over to you . . .

In what ways has the imposter complex shown up in your life and business? Tanya and I would love to hear from you.

Please Share!

Revealing the Lies of the Imposter Complex by @TanyaGeisler via @jacmcneil. Tweet this!

If you enjoyed this post please pass it on. (A BIG thank you for doing so! xo)