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Stephanie-Johnson,-Joshua-t

For this week’s post, I’ve decided upon a bit of a departure from the travel and style guide blogs that are a mainstay on SJ’s Style Compass.  Over the last several weeks, I’ve been reconnecting with old friends through a series of inspiring, intimate dinners, and I’ve begun to realize that nearly everyone around me appears to be in a MAJOR state of change.  As a result, I’ve also been inspired to turn inward, to think about ways that I can challenge myself to get out of my comfort zone, and to make positive changes in my own life.  Whenever I think about change, I always come back to the subject of fear, as I believe fear is (and has been, in my own life) often one of the biggest impediments to enacting truly positive change.

I’ve always been a believer in facing your fears and am a subscriber to the thought that the thing you fear most is exactly the thing you should be doing.  There was a time where my absolute fear of public speaking caused paralysis and when I was asked to be a guest speaker on entrepreneurship at USC I politely declined.  I thought I could avoid fear by walking around it and saying no to any offer to speak in front of a group.  Shortly after the USC invitation, The Learning Annex asked me to teach a three hour class on how to start an accessory company.  I was smart enough to see that the universe was giving me opportunities to face my fears and move beyond them.  I said yes.  Hours before the class, which I had painstakingly prepared for including creating an A-Z manual on ‘how-to’ as well as listing valuable resources (for free!), I lost my voice.  My panic was so extreme that it was manifesting itself physically. The show must go on and rather than cancel I looked fear in the face and taught a great class that was deeply satisfying.  I taught classes for The Learning Annex in New York, L.A., San Francisco and San Diego for several years and selfishly looked at each class as an opportunity to face down the fear and hone a new skill all the while sharing the knowledge I had about starting a company from nothing.  In recent years, I’ve continued to face down the anxiety with a handful of television appearances.

Stephanie-Johnson,-Hallowee

I have discovered that being prepared goes a long way to helping with my anxiety, but more importantly that the love and support I feel from friends and family is what really buoyed me when I thought I might sink.  And recently I’ve noted that in almost every conversation I’ve been having I’ve heard women tell me some amazing story about how they are ‘in transition’ or are ‘reinventing’ and how many of them have connected with communities that are inspiring them to make change and do the impossible with their businesses and personal lives.  They are throwing fear out the window and realizing how it doesn’t serve them.  If change is the only constant, I am seeing it everywhere I look now.  People moving, getting out of relationships, moving into new partnerships, downsizing, having children, losing parents, getting sick, getting healthy, changing careers, selling it all and seeing the world, moving to another country, creating and inventing new businesses and new ways of doing business, leaving the known for the unknown in everything and embracing it.

I’m inspired to stop talking about it already and start a salon at home where friends share experiences, ask questions, motivate, inspire and support.  It seems I’m not alone in this movement and I’m excited to embrace the change that is inevitable, and to surround myself with like-minded people who have an equal desire to improve the quality of their lives and relationships.  Below are some of the resources I’m currently tapping in my quest for inspiration and everything good.

Stephanie-Johnson,-HK-swatc

Read:  The 4-Hour Work Week.  If this book doesn’t kick you in the ass and make you laugh while doing it I don’t know what will.

Do:  Juicing.  I received a juicer for Christmas and ever since, I have been obsessed and amazed at how much healthy I can put in my body in thirty seconds or less.

Listen:  Daft Punk.  The grooves on Random Access Memories inspire me to get moving and keep creating.

Role Model:  Gwyneth Paltrow is ‘the person whom I most admire’ at the moment.  Rather than talking about reinventing, she is enhancing the rich life she already has by adding author, fitness guru, and app designer to her already impressive resume as actor and mother.  Say what you want, but there is no denying that this is one woman who is going for it.

Do:  Join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).  If you’re unfamiliar, here it is in a nutshell:  a farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public.  Customers purchase a share and in return receive a box of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.  It’s a great way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer.

Do:  JumpLife.  A super fun trampoline workout that feels more like playtime than anything else.

My Hero:  Erela.  My (nearly six-year-old!) daughter inspires me every day.

What inspires you to forgo your fears and embrace change in your own life?  I’d love to hear your comments below!

erela,-my-hero

Stephanie-Johnson,-Mykonos,

Nothing like a trip to the Greek islands to jump-start your summer.  I’d never been so when a friend asked me to celebrate her 40th birthday on the island of Mykonos, I didn’t hesitate to say yes.  After a quick overnight stop in Santorini (read about it here), my friend Marlien and I headed straight for party central:  Mykonos.  And what a party it was.  Think swimming in the sea to the thump of the DJ on the sand, never ending magnums of Domain Ott Rosé, Greek salads for every meal, dancing on your table post dinner, and nonstop fun.  In fact, such fun that four members of team birthday were sent to the hospital in the first 24 hours with injuries that included a broken foot and tooth.  Ah, the good life.

STAY

Santa Marina – my fellow revelers and I camped at this beachfront Starwood property.  Our room was simple (and small) with a balcony boasting views of the sea.  It’s a hike up a hill to the rooms, so be sure to pack a bag for the day.  Great beach with paddle-boards and kayaks for rent and a seaside restaurant.

Stephanie-Johnson,-Marlien-

EAT

We hopped a ten minute boat ride from our hotel to Kalua on Paraga Beach for a 2pm lunch.  We had a festive meal (for 80) with delicious salads, fried calamari and whole fish.  The rosé flowed liked water.  Our meal rolled into three hours of afternoon table dancing and l joined the DJ to spin some tunes.  Such fun that our hostess proclaimed herself to have had a ‘life realization’ that she is a ‘day’ party person.  I’m right with you girl!

At night we watched the sunset from the most incredible vantage from the deck at Capri in Little Venice.  Canvas deck chairs lined the wall facing the sea and the water would sometimes lap over the wall getting our feet wet.  Sublime.

Dinner followed at Caprice a few steps away with views of the sea so close you catch the spray on your face.  A gorgeous Mediterranean meal under those famous windmills and surrounded by the sea.  We got the party started when my friend Marlien dared me to dance on the table after dessert (read about that and more on Marlien’s blog, Le Catch).  Why not?  An hour later the entire restaurant was prancing from table top to table top shaking whatever they got.  Memories in the making.   Supreme fun.

Stephanie-Johnson,-Flat-Pou

LISTEN

Daft Punk’s Get Lucky was the anthem for the weekend and let’s face it, also for the summer of 2013.

DO

Do NOT wear heels unless you’ve got a pair of flats in your clutch.  This island is so rocky and steep that flat sandals are the only way to go.

DO rent a car or a scooter or a four wheel ATV if you are sober enough to operate one.  The island only has 30 taxis and we found ourselves stranded on more than one occasion.

Thank you to sweet Annie for including me in your birthday bash and introducing me to this beautiful island and to the most incredible new friends.  I look forward to sharing more good times!

What would a Greek getaway be without a little Athens (mis)adventure?  Read about it in my upcoming post, Destination Greece:  Part Three!

Stephanie-Johnson,-Mykonos,

 

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