Her Story with Christine McAlister: Living a Life With Passion
In her book, “The Income Replacement Formula,” Christine McAlister, best-selling author and founder of Life With Passion, opens with a pretty accurate description of the evolution of most big dreams:
“When you were little, you believed everything -anything -was possible. With wide, innocent eyes and a gap-toothed smile, you loudly demanded that you be given all the same opportunities as the big people in the house, whose knees and shoes you knew well from your seat on the floor. Full of determination and desire, you believed you could do whatever you wanted, starting with actually walking across the room by yourself!
Time passed. You got older, and either played by the rules or rebelled against them; more than likely, a bit of both, though you were probably a “good kid.” Your world was filled with “practical” voices, telling you what was expected of you. ‘This is the way the world works’, you were told. The young adult version of you, though still idealistic, slowly, sadly, began to believe what the voices said.
Which meant that, along the way, you lost your drive, your purpose. The vision you had for yourself as a child had long since disappeared as you conformed… And you hated it. You got a “normal” job, and and settled into your “normal”, expected role in life.“
And that’s pretty much how Christine found me at a Heine Bros. coffee shop almost two years ago after overhearing me complain to a friend about how stuck I felt in life.
She apologized for ease-dropping, but explained this is exactly how she helped people for a living and left her card so we could follow her blog.
I online stalked her for a year until I finally got sick of hearing my own excuses of why I continued to stand still in life, not living up to what I knew I was capable of, and asked for her help.
This week’s Her Story Spotlight with Christine is extra special because of the huge impact she’s had on my life in 2018 along with how smart, talented and inspiring she is in general.
As with every woman that has taken the time to work with me on these Spotlights, I am honored to share with you some of Christine’s story and lessons learned for getting unstuck and living a Life With Passion where you make rules.
Meet Christine - 5 Fun Facts:
1. I'm a mom to a 2-year-old, an angel who would be 3, 4 Egyptian Arabian horses, & 2 rescue dogs--an Aussie and a Catahoula mix.
2. I LOVE Europe and specifically England, studied at Oxford and have spent a lot of time there--I look like I fit in with my fair skin and dark hair!
3. My favorite drinks are jasmine green tea and all colors of wine!
4. Though you wouldn't guess it by hearing me speak, I'm a sensitive introvert who loves reading by the fireplace in head-to-toe fleece and watching reruns of my favorite Netflix shows (which include, shhhhh--teen dramas!)
5. I'm pretty sure I was meant to be born in a time when fainting couches and dressing in ball gowns for dinner were the norm.
Tell us about your business, Life With Passion!
Starting your own business can be overwhelming and scary, but I believe it doesn't have to be that way. I started Life With Passion to make it really simple and doable to create a business you love, so that you can replace your income and get free of the 9-5 world for good!
My company helps high-achieving women to do just that! I believe we all have unique gifts that we can easily build a business around, one that we can run from anywhere.
What gave you the courage to take the leap from employee to entrepreneur in the very beginning?
I'd been building my side hustle for 5 years but was too scared of failure to commit to going in full-time. I had to move 1.5 hours away, and it was either get another job or finally GO FOR IT. I chose the latter, and replaced my 9-5 income in the first month out of my job.
Why do you think it's sometimes so hard for people to stop being miserable in a career path and go after a life with passion?
Even as much as we might hate our jobs and KNOW we're meant for more, there's comfort in knowing what to expect every day, because to our brains, whose main job is to keep us safe and alive, safe = same, even when it sucks! We've been trained our whole lives to be really good employees, so when it comes to thinking and acting like an entrepreneur, well, that's something that most of us don't know how to do intrinsically. So, it takes support, accountability, and changing the way we think (and then act), to be successful. The good news is, when we have those things, it CAN be simple.
Because we've worked together, I know you made a major pivot from your first business to now with Life with Passion after the loss of your daughter, Mauve. Would you be willing to share more about the "why" behind this business and why you made the change after going through that experience?
When I lost Maeve in a full-term, unexplained stillbirth, it turned my world upside down, and I realized that it was going to be up to me to define what my life looked like in the "after" of going through such a life-altering tragedy. I wanted to create a legacy that I was proud of for myself, but also for her, since she wasn't here to create her own. And I knew that this was the worst thing I could ever go through, so I wasn't as scared of what people thought anymore. I wasn't as scared of being judged. I made a decision to do whatever it took to stop playing small and start making the kind of difference in the world that I'd dreamed of making since I was young. My intention is to show that no matter what you've been through, you can not only survive, but you can thrive--AND, you don't have to wait for a tragedy to wake you up to living a life with passion; you can start today.
For anyone else who's experienced a similar tragedy and looking for support, can you share a little about the non-profit you and your husband also started?
Going on with life after losing a child feels like an impossible task. Through training people to accomplish their own impossible athletic feat, whether that's a 5K or an Ironman, Miles With Maeve provides support for people who've experienced a loss and raises awareness and funds for the organizations who helped us survive after we lost Maeve.
Because of the results you've gotten with clients over the years through Life With Passion, you were able to write and record a best-selling book on Amazon with your 7 step formula. How can this book help someone looking to replace their 9-5 income with work that is more fulfilling?
It gives you the simple steps to follow to create that successful 6-figure business for yourself.
Rather than being one more strategy book that just gives you a million to-dos before you're allowed get started (I've read way too many of those, and they've left me feeling MORE overwhelmed!), the book identifies the most common things holding high-achievers back and teaches you how to overcome your own versions them, one by one, AND make money as you do, by following a clear plan.
There are some ladies in this group who also feel like they have a book inside them. What's something you learned from your writing process that they might be able to use as they start to write their own book?
Treat it like you're just writing a series of posts or journal entries instead of THE BOOK. When you add the pressure of writing a book, it can feel like a ton of pressure, which can lead to big-time procrastination, and that book never gets out there. If you love to write, just write a bit every day without judgment. If you prefer to talk, dictate the book or have someone interview you about your topic, then have it transcribed. Do whatever it takes to get it out of your head and onto paper. Writing it is the hardest part; everything else (editing, publishing, launching) comes later and is much easier! So make the writing as easy and as fast as you can.
So many times, especially with social media, we are just seeing people's highlight reel and think we're the only one "failing" miserably. What is a business challenge or something that didn't go your way that you have you had to overcome? How were you able to do it? What advice would you have for others who feel like they've hit a wall, failed, or are facing a challenge?
As we're starting and growing businesses, ups and downs happen to ALL of us, but sometimes I think we don't give ourselves grace that they're "allowed" to happen to us.
In the beginning of my business, I spent way too much on Facebook ads to get clients, rather than using my own strengths of being great at forming relationships and learning to do sales in that way. I totally bought into a "shiny object" that building a big list and following was the way to get clients and the financial success I wanted...and while I got clients, I learned a hard and expensive lesson about listening to and trusting myself instead of the "one strategy" that was being touted as the only way to build your business. Now I build my business entirely organically, through relationships, building a community, and getting visible in ways that feel good for me (like being on podcasts and guest blogging).
I know that there's a different right strategy for everyone, and that's one of the things I help my clients determine.
If you know your strategy, stick to it and don't let anyone else derail you, no matter how big of a name they are!
If you don't yet know it, then reflect or get some help to figure it out.
Clarity is the key to getting unstuck or through a challenge!
What would you say has been the main key so far to helping you get to where you are now in your business?
Learning and focusing on my strengths! Owning those, getting help to figure them out when I've been unsure, and hiring coaches, mentors and a team to help me do what I do best (coach, connect, and create content) helps me live out of my Zone of Genius every day rather than falling into the trap of continuing to chase shiny objects, get stuck or overwhelmed, change my mind all the time, or procrastinate.
And that's what's led to generating multiple 6 figures in revenue in just 3 years!
What are you looking forward to in the future with the Life with Passion? Any big plans for 2019?
In 2019 I have a new program coming out to further help high-achievers to thrive through entrepreneurship!
In the future have at least 2 more books to write (release dates TBD :), and as my speaking career grows, I may be coming to your town to speak and host an in-person event! :)
What are some tools that help make life easier and better for business or for personal development?
My team of 2 VAs are my lifeline to making sure the business runs smoothly every day.
Before I was ready to invest in a team (and learned how to delegate!), focusing on money-making, income-producing tasks (and letting go of everything else) was key to my early and continued success.
My favorite invoicing/accounting tool is Freshbooks; it makes invoicing FUN for those of us who don't like Excel!
I also love Calendly & Google Calendar for scheduling and Asana for project management--all have free versions and getting yourself organized does NOT have to be complicated or overwhelming!
What routines do you have that helped you stay on track with your goals and everything else you have going on?
Knowing my most productive time of day and protecting it for my daily mindset practice (meditation and journaling), then content creation and planning. I create solo in the morning, then collaborate in the afternoon by helping my clients grow their businesses!
What is a book (behinds Life of Passion of course! :)) and podcast you would recommend to others looking to figure out their passion and start or grow a business they love?
The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks, PhD. was a huge eye-opener for me and my clients. It's one I revisit at least yearly.
The Mind Aware is one of my favorite podcasts because the host, Dana Wilde, teaches you simple and even FUN ways to train your brain for entrepreneurial success. It's great for a pick-me-up or quick insights when you are needing inspiration or clarity on your business-building journey.
On a final note - We've talked before about how important mindset is. You can have the best website in the world and all the marketing tools at your finger tips, but it really does come down to having the right mindset in order to be successful. What's one of the biggest mindset shifts you've had to make to be the person you are now?
You're so right, Sarah!
Moving past the fear and self-doubt that kept me stuck for most of my life is hands-down the biggest change I've made. Tie that in with allowing myself to believe that I'm worthy and deserving of receiving money, enjoying my life and taking care of myself NOW, not just when I've reached some external milestone like 7 figures, and you have my individual recipe for success.
These beliefs have actually helped me grow my business faster than hustling and working all the time ever did (now I work part-time and make way more!), so that's why I believe it truly requires that combination of self-belief along with the simple action-taking strategies we high-achievers are always going to tend toward believing are the only reason for our success or failure.
Instead, it STARTS with what we believe to be true, because what we focus on expands.
For anyone looking for help with making these important mindset shifts and taking the leap from employee to entrepreneur with a live a life of passion, where can they find you to start learning more?
The best place to start is to learn the 7 simple steps to making 6 figures from anywhere! To do that, you can grab the first chapter of The Income Replacement Formula for FREE here: lifewithpassion.com/freechapter
If you’d like to show Christine some love, comment below to let her know about a key takeaway you got from her interview! If you have a recommendation for one of our future Spotlights, please reach out and let me know!