Unpack Before You Pack

The last three years I’ve been a nomad Mermaid. I’ve moved three times in addition to going back and forth between my current home and that of my husband’s while we wait for his house to sell and we can buy a house and live together full-time – with room for my kids.


So you could say I know a little bit about packing and unpacking. Believe me, this post is *not* about how to pack literally (like folding/rolling/organizing) because I pretty much suck at that. You know I’m much more of a DIVE DEEP kinda gal, which is what we Mermaids do, so this is about UNPACKING YOUR SHIT before you PACK again. Yeah, this *is* also about personal branding because you’ve got to know what’s going on INSIDE before you can deal with the world outside and how you are going to show up in it. Let’s dive in…

Let it go so you can move on. >> Holding on just keeps you stuck. And stuck sucks. Let. It. Go.

Deal with the past so you can focus on the present and prepare for the future. >> Actively work handling those past habits/patterns/failures/disappointments/life changes so you can appreciate the NOW and bolster your future – and, ahem, not repeat them. The more resilient you are – without pushing aside your feelings – the better you will be able to cope and open up space for new things. Otherwise —ta-da— your old patterns show up like that old stained T-shirt you know you should get rid of…

Unpacking is an art in living in the present. >> Adulting means we unpack our own stuff and by doing so with intention we realize what we’ve been holding on to and we can decide, piece by piece, what to do with it. We can work on this with our physical things – spring cleaning, anyone? – as well as our careers and our relationships. We cannot change what we aren’t aware of. We can’t unpack what we don’t “see.” Getting real about it is often the toughest part.

Packing an empty bag gives you room for more. >> You wouldn’t believe the number of times I packed an already half-full bag and then wondered why I didn’t have room for that extra outfit or shoes or why my jewelry was tangled. It’s just A MESS, y’all. When we pack for the BIG NEXT THING with a nice big empty bag, we can FILL IT WITH WHATEVER THE HELL WE WANT. It’s refreshing. It’s easier. If I hadn’t dealt with what wasn’t working in my career – you name it – my ad agency, my publishing firm, brand consulting  – then I would be completely burned out by now! I’d keep trying to stuff what wouldn’t fit instead of making room for new opportunities. Like helping entrepreneurs cultivate their personal brand power, strengthening my relationship with each of my very different-yet-awesome children, and a new man in my life. Life is not meant to be overwhelming. Busy is busy, but doesn’t equate to fulfilling. So stop stressing yourself out with too much baggage.

A heavy bag is a bitch to lug around. >> I pack my bag so full that I usually can’t zip it, much less care to lift it. I sometimes call my husband and ask him to come out and help me bring in my stuff, and of course I hand him my heaviest bag. When our life is “too much” we often ask others’ to help carry the weight for us. And some help is needed, of course, we all need helpers, but if what you are carrying is truly a burden, then we (You/Me) need to fix it – lighten our load – so we can carry our stuff ourselves. Others are also NOT responsible for our feelings. It’s not their job to fix you. That’s right. We need to own our stuff, inside and out – and be the ones to make ourselves happy/fulfilled, etc. Honestly, if I hadn’t already been happy with myself, I don’t think my husband would’ve been attracted to me. And if I had smelled one scent of desperation in him, I would not have been attracted to him. I liked that he was independent, but open to love. He used to tell me how much he liked that I was positive and strong. And after the hard year I’d gone through, I *was* strong. And it showed. Your vibe truly is a magnet or repellant.

The saying “help me help you” is really one of permission. It’s about being vulnerable to say that you need help so that you can help yourself. That may mean hiring a business coach, as I’ve done with the fabulous Mickie Lara, or going to a therapist, which is so insightful and healing if you acknowledge what is and what needs to be worked on, and hiring helpers in your business, from assistants to consultants like me. It really does take a village, but still, YOU are the hunter. You make the moves.

I use the Hunter metaphor in my One Bow/Many Arrows program and with that in mind, if we have stuffed too many arrows in our quiver then not only is our journey going to be slower and you’ll tire out sooner, but when it’s time to pick the right arrow for the target ahead, it’s almost impossible. (Envision arrows spilling everywhere at our feet then scrambling to find the one we are looking for and damn, the target got away.) Kind of like that. Go with FEWER, but more powerful arrows on your journey. Less is more. Quality over quantity.

Now that the wedding is over and the marriage has begun, I am really trying to live with intention even more, packing away (or giving away) what no longer serves me and making room for all the goodness in my life, marriage and career. Change is hard for YOUR WHOLE TRIBE. While you always want to knock on wood when you make statements like this, my kids are prospering. I felt like a failure and had extreme guilt for tilting the axis of their world, but have been pleasantly surprised by their graciousness and resilience, too. My teens wrote extremely touching messages in our wedding book and my boys walked me down the aisle. My daughter was my first bridesmaid and one of my best helpers throughout the engagement. My 12-year-old joined his brother in walking me down at the last minute, which was probably the best wedding gift I could’ve been given. Your children – and your team – want you to be happy and each person being accountable for his/her role in the tribe is what true power is all about. Yes, that might mean going through some rough terrain to get there, but it’s all worth it if you work it.

If you are making a change in your career or your business and you are worried about how the packing/unpacking is going to go, remember that DECISIONS and GRATITUDE are what eases worry and anxiety. Your brain – and you – will feel much better with those two in place. Be grateful for your view, for your tribe, for your journey thus far. Choose the right arrow, but certainly, choose. Waiting too long only prolongs your situation and keeps you stagnant while the other hunters have moved down the mountain.

To learn more about how to power up your personal brand, schedule a Personal Brand Power Hour brand strategy session with me, either in person or online, for just $99. Boosting your brand power starts with understanding your strengths and adding a creative strategy to connect with your customers. We’ve got this.

Follow me on my Facebook Page for FREE content, too. Wishing you loads of adventure this summer, too.



Pics of the Week (from the wedding, natch.) Thanks to Valerie Sebestyen for the beautiful photos. Next week, I’ll share Paris & London. 

My true fit.


Red shoes and my favorite guy.
When I saw these Art Deco windows, I knew it was “the one.” 🙂
My not-so-little tribesmen.


Guys need strong, loyal tribes. Foster your children’s friendships, too.
With the Putnam brothers.
Some of my bride tribe. My journey is better because of them.
An amazing feeling. Sending us off to our new life together.




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