Author Archives: Victoria

3 Ways You’re Suffocating Your Project

image: piles of papers on floor

How many ideas do you have in your “idea file” that you’ve either never started, or started but never finished?

I’ve got well over 15, and that’s just the ideas that wound up in my designated idea folder on my computer. Who knows how many ideas are buried in the pages of various journals or even on scraps of paper that are in one of the piles laying around my office.

Of course, sometimes the idea turns out to be not-so-wonderful once you spend a little time with it (before or even after it turns into a project). And lord knows, if you don’t really, really want to do a project, you should either turn it into something you do want to do or scrap it.

But for those ideas that you truly want to create, here are three ways you might be suffocating the project before you can finish it (or even start it):

1. You’re worrying about how you’ll complete it before you’re completely clear on what it is

A client of mine wanted to create a new service for her business. She was excited about it, but almost immediately, it became clear this project would require lots of stuff she’d either need to learn or hire help to do.

I heard the enthusiasm drain from her voice in the span of three minutes.

It’s understandable…projects take a lot of energy to complete under the best of circumstances, so when you realize there’s some aspect of it that you’ve never done before, it can feel like you just hit a wall.

But when you’re in those very early stages of exploring an idea, your project needs nurturing and protecting.

Worrying too early about how to make a project happen is a surefire way to talk yourself out of it.

What to do instead:

Give yourself permission to explore the idea without worrying about the parts you don’t know how to do. Try to create a safe space from which to explore, where you simply note the hard parts of a project and come back to them later.

Not easy to do, but once you’re clear about the essence of your idea, you may find that there are less scary ways to make it happen.

2. You keep asking, “Will anyone even want this thing?”

This is another one I hear all the time (from clients and from myself).

If you truly want to create something, that desire is there for a reason. Even if nobody buys it or tweets about it or says yes.

By obsessing about what will happen after you complete your creation, you stifle the flow of your creative energy.

And there are so many reasons to create something that have nothing to do with what other people think or how they respond to what you’ve made. (Creating is inherently valuable, remember?)

What to do instead:

Shift your focus from “what others will think” to “what you’re learning and experiencing.” Brainstorm a list of what you’ll gain through the process of completing this project…all the stuff that doesn’t have to do with those outcomes we can’t control.

Work on building trust that you wanted to create this thing for a reason.

Believe me, I know this one is frakking difficult to do. I’ve put several things out there to hear only crickets, and it’s painful. Yet now, looking back, it’s easier to see what I learned through the process.

3. You’re focusing solely on what’s in it for you

It’s easy to get caught up in what a project will do for your internet fame or your bottom line.

And then what you’re creating becomes a transaction. I sell you this thing and you pay me.

If you’re anything like me, it won’t be long before that icky “internet marketer” feeling sets in. And don’t forget the bonus benefit of setting yourself up for a lot of disappointment by being attached to a particular outcome (see #2 above).

What to do instead:

Shift your focus to the people whose lives you want to improve by creating this thing.

Again, not always easy. Here’s a question that helps me:

If I didn’t need the money, what would I want this project to do for people, and how would I want it to change the world?

When you focus on how your project will improve the lives of your people, the creation process is about service.

How about you?

What are the ways you tend to sabotage your projects? Is there a particular stage in the process the sabotaging happens?

Psst! Project Prowess is almost here…

Creating stuff for your business is a set of skills you can learn, and the best way to learn is by doing.

Next month, I’ll be leading a small group coaching program to help you choose, plan and get to work on a project for your biz (and showing you how to enjoy the process along the way). Be the first to hear when registration opens by signing up for my advance discount list.

Image credit: LizMarie_AK

Working Backwards

Stop and Think...backwards

Often when I start working with a new client, they have a lot on their plate, and they’re feeling scattered and overwhelmed.

And one of the first things they ask is, “What should I be focusing on?”

Usually what they’re really asking is:

Here’s a bunch of stuff I could work on…which option is going to work out the best?

That’s the wrong question.

For one thing, outcomes aren’t within our control. So even if I dig out my Magic 8 Ball, I can’t predict what will work out the best (and neither can you).

For another thing, you’ll always have options. There will always be more opportunities than there is time available to work on them.

But even more important than those two things is this:

Remember why you’re asking the question to begin with.

Presumably, you’re asking because you want to create a work life that’s fulfilling to you. You want work that you enjoy doing. (Imagine that!)

Yet if you start by comparing available options, the chances of winding up with fulfilling, enjoyable work are slim.

It’s like getting in the car, getting on the nearest highway and just driving.

How do you know you’re going the right way? You don’t, because you didn’t choose your destination before you started.

Starting with the end in mind

That’s where working backwards comes in, starting with the right question:

What do I want in my life and business?

(Or some variation thereof.)

You have to know the end-result you want before you can know which steps to take to get you there.

I first learned this during my database design days.

I had to make sure the client was telling me all the information they would want to get out of the database, so that I would make sure to include a way for that information to get entered into the database.

If they wanted to know which zip codes had the most repeat customers, I had to design the database to track customers’ zip codes as well as who ordered what. If either of those bits of data were missing, they couldn’t find out which zip codes were the most profitable for them.

A tiny example

Maybe you’re considering partnering with someone to do in-person workshops, and it means you’ll have to go out of town once every couple of months.

And maybe you’re also considering investing in equipment that would allow you to offer a new kind of service in your business, which would mean more late evening appointments.

If you’re just comparing those two options, most likely neither will feel like a No-Brainer to you, but it might not be clear why.

How does the answer change when you ask, “What do I want for my life and business?”

Maybe, if you’re being honest with yourself, you want more time at home, and your evenings free.

If that’s the case, it doesn’t make much sense to invest money into equipment that will increase your evening appointments. Nor does it make a lot of sense to commit to a partnership that will mean more travel than you want.

Once you know what you actually want, you can work backwards to build your life and business around those desires.

It’s still a process

Might there be missteps along the way? Of course.

Sometimes the step you take will seem like a great choice, but it won’t work out. (We don’t control the outcome, remember?)

Maybe you’ll commit to teaching an online course and discover that you prefer face-to-face communication. Or maybe you’ll hire a web designer who doesn’t work out (and then disappears after promising a refund).

The steps that feel like mistakes still contain valuable learning you can use when you get back on track. (Even though they feel like a kick in the nuts.)

Step or misstep, you’re a hell of a lot more likely to head in the right direction if you know where you want to go.

Not just for big-picture stuff

This same process of working backwards applies to projects, too.

You have to know what you want to create – what end-result you want – before you can make good choices about how to get there.

It’s one of the things I’ll be teaching in Project Prowess in March. If you want to learn how to choose, start and finish projects that will grow your biz, sign up for my advance notice list to receive an email when registration is open. During the program, you’ll get clear on what you want to create, and then we’ll develop a manageable, enjoyable plan to make it happen.

Image credit: PinkMoose

Want to Love Your Business? Love Your Projects!

I heard from quite a few folks who said they missed the early-bird deadline for Project Prowess, and they asked (very nicely) if I’d bring it back…and I’m saying YES, because I really want as many of you as possible to benefit from this material!

I want you to join the absolutely amazing group that’s gathering, and learn how to choose, start and finish your projects with more ease and enjoyment.

So I’m making it super easy. All you need to do is go to the Project Prowess page, and then use the secret discount code of SAVE100 to get in for $99.

Ms. Prowess insisted I mention that that works out to less than $25 per session, and it means you are getting my project smarts for less than $15 per hour. (Isn’t that what movie tickets cost these days?)

Oh…and now she wants me to answer a couple of questions that we got.

Do I have to know what project I want to work on?

Nope! As long as you have a couple of ideas, our very first session will be about how to choose the idea that’s best for you and your business right now.

Do I have to have a business already?

Not exactly, however you should have some decent clarity about how you want to help people. Your project could be something that will help you set the business up, like creating the website, or creating something helpful for your future email list subscribers.

How do I know if this is right for me?

Well, let me answer by explaining who this class isn’t for.

If you’re just looking for a way to fill in a spreadsheet and wind up with the perfect project plan, this isn’t for you.

It’s also not for you if you’d rather burn yourself out by pushing through on a project than to stop and explore what you really want and need from your creative process.

And if you’re looking for something that will eliminate 100% of your fear and stuckness around projects, please look elsewhere. (Fear is a normal part of the creative process. The key is being able to process and manage the fear, not eliminate it.)

Who Project Prowess is really for

You want to look forward to spending time with your business. And you understand that both which projects you work on and how you work on them are a big part of enjoying your work.

It’s a process. And the way that you shift your relationship with projects is by practicing. What do I mean by practicing? I mean learning the tools you need, and then using them to work on a real project.

How much is it worth to you to have the support and accountability you need to get a project you care about done?

There are some utterly fabulous people who’ve signed up. I hope you’ll consider joining us.

You Don’t Need a Project Plan

That’s right. You heard me. You don’t need a project plan.

It’s easy to think that a good project plan is what will keep a project flowing and keep you from getting stuck, right? I mean, all that information about what needs to be done and when it should be done by…how can it not be the cure for all project ills?

But I’ve seen lots of people create new products and services and get them launched without anything remotely resembling a traditional project plan.

And I’ve gotten stuck (and witnessed clients getting stuck) on a project that had a plan with the exact right amount of detail.

So what gives?

I hinted at the answer in my last post, when I mentioned that beyond the project plan, you need stuff like Desire, Alignment, Commitment, Safety, and Capacity.

Stuckness tends to show up when one or more of those qualities is missing.

(And in case you’re new around here, what I mean by “stuckness” when it comes to a project is anything that causes your progress to slow or stop. Stuff like wanting to chase after a new shiny idea instead of working on the project you already started.

Or feeling like you need to ask a million people for their opinion of what you plan to create instead of just creating.

Or preferring to scoop out the litter box rather than work on your project.)

Today I want to talk about the most important ingredient to keep your projects moving.

The #1 Thing You Need for a Successful Project

Desire.

Without Desire, you’ll either never complete the project, or you’ll need to force yourself to keep going.

And if you have to force yourself, you’ll probably wind up so drained afterward that you won’t be able to muster any excitement to tell people about your creation.

(If an ebook gets published in the forest but nobody reads it, does it make a sound?)

Why Desire is so important

You have to want to create the thing you’re about to create.

Sounds ridiculously obvious, right? But I mean you have to really want to create it.

When you get an idea for something – such as an ebook that you just know will blow people’s minds – in order for it to become more than an idea, you have to bring it out of the world of ideas, and into the world of form.

It takes a tremendous amount of energy to do that, so your desire to create the thing needs to be up at 10 (if not 11).

Anything below that and you risk not finishing the work you started.

Think back to some of your past projects. How many of them did you feel so excited about creating that your Desire was at 10 or 11?

Or did some of those projects actually have a hint of Should in them?

Or maybe your desire to do the project was actually more for a particular outcome – like selling a certain number of copies?

Does that mean that every day you need to be completely on fire to keep making progress?

No.

But that original Desire needs to be there, someplace within you, so you can connect with it to keep going when the project gets hard.

I’ll be the first to say that even when you do everything “right,” projects are still challenging (I’ll share why that is in my next post). But with the right tools in your toolbox, you can finish a difficult project rather than shelving it.

That’s why I created Project Prowess. So you can learn how to choose, start, and complete projects that will grow your business and help your people. While you get to love your work.

Want to…

  • write an ebook?
  • create a client-wowing service or teleclass?
  • revamp your website copy?

Learn the best tools to get it done and out into the world while enjoying the process. With full support from me for a hell of a lot less than the cost of one-on-one coaching.

Project Prowess starts March 8, 2012. Registration is now open, so go check it out now!

Introducing the Project Prowess Group Coaching Program

It’s been quiet here because I’ve been hard at work creating something I just know you’re going to love. And I’m super proud of it.

It’s a group coaching program that’s designed to help you go from Great Idea to Something Amazing to Offer Your People.

But it’s more than that. This program will show you a better way to projectize so you’ll have more ease and enjoyment (and less self-doubt and overwhelm) in your creative process.

If you’ve been wanting to write an ebook, create a class or e-course, or even build a new web home for your biz, now’s the time.

Because this isn’t just a spray-you-with-a-fire-hose-of-information teleclass either.

This is a limited-enrollment program where you’ll get plenty of hands-on input and support from me and from the other wonderful folks in the course.

Why I created this

Mainly because I’ve heard from a lot of my readers that they have a hard time finishing projects, for a bunch of different reasons.

If you’ve ever …

  • been stuck in second-guessing mode, wondering if you’re working on (or starting) the right project…
  • wanted to make progress but just couldn’t see what your next step needed to be…
  • been in the middle of a project and lost your motivation, or worse, became convinced everyone would think your creation was silly or stupid…

…then this program will help.

Though I have over 10 years experience in “project management,” what I’ve learned since starting my biz is that it takes a hell of a lot more than a spreadsheet of tasks and due dates to complete a project.

It takes stuff like Desire, Alignment, Commitment, Safety, and Capacity.

No matter how snazzy or detailed your project plan is, without those ingredients, you’re going to have a hard time finishing your project and offering it to your people. And even if you force yourself to finish it, you’ll wind up miserable in the process.

Forcing yourself to power through a miserable project is no way to grow your business.

How it will work

Our little group will have four 90-minute calls together.

Each week I’ll share a bit of theory and a practical tool or two (along with how-tos and examples), and then the rest of the time will be spent digging into your projects.

If you’ve got too many ideas, I’ll help you figure out which will be the best project for you and your biz right now – and you’ll feel confident that you’ve made the right choice.

If you’re having trouble getting started, I’ll get in there with you so you can see what needs to happen first, second and third.

If the project isn’t going as you expected, we can work on transforming it into something energizing and nourishing.

There’s also a private Facebook group page, just for you, me and the rest of the folks in the program. That way, you’ll have all the support you need, even between our calls.

The other reason I’m doing this

Because a lot of you have told me you want to work with me but don’t feel like you can afford it.

This program will give you six hours with me (plus between-session support via the group page). Six hours of one-on-one sessions with me would cost nearly five times as much as the cost of this program.

If you’re ready to create something in a safe, supportive environment, I didn’t want lack of funds to get in the way, and it’s priced accordingly (so I don’t expect seats to last very long).

Without further ado

Without further ado, I’m thrilled to present Project Prowess: Finish the Projects Your People Need While Enjoying the Creative Process.

The price is only $199, but to celebrate this beautiful program’s arrival, there’s an early-bird price of $149 available through 9/22.

Get thee to the party, and let’s get to work on creating something to delight your people and grow your biz!

When Pushing Through Doesn’t Work

I’m stuck.

And I’ve been stuck now for, like, two weeks.

I’m supposed to be finalizing the details for the new thing I’m creating for you. Really, I expected to have it announced to the Shmorian Society already, but it feels like I’m not even close.

Who knows what triggered the stuckness to begin with, but I know what’s not helping:

Lamenting how far behind schedule I am.
Thinking about this project as something that Must Be Successful.
Refusing to step away from the project even when nothing’s working.

Hello, expectations

I’ve got lots of expectations about how this project should be progressing and how I should feel while working on it.

And focusing on all the ways reality isn’t matching up with those expectations is just making me more stuck (and downright miserable).

The truth

Sometimes things don’t go according to plan. And that doesn’t mean I should scrap the project.

Nor does it mean there’s something wrong with me. (Or you, if you’re at a similar place with your project.)

Stuck happens. And stuck dissolves.

The stuckness isn’t me. Or you.

What’s really needed

Trust that there is time. Trust that things will all work out in the end, even if they don’t look the way I wanted them to. Trust that the outcome is just as likely to be better than expected (so stop assuming the worst).

To remember that nothing is wasted. And that I get to define “success” as it relates to this project.

To connect with the essence of the project. Because I don’t control the outcome, but I can do my best to create something that will help my people.

To do as much as I’m able to nourish myself. Because if I’m not getting work done, filling my well is a much better use of my time than falling into the abyss that is social media and the interwebs.

To remind myself of everything I have accomplished. And creating the Better Taster program for Project Prowess is no small feat. (There’s still time to join if you’d like help with your project.)

What’s really, REALLY needed: Safety

All of those things that I ought to be doing instead of arguing with reality are actually all about one thing: Creating Safety.

Some part of me is feeling unsafe and believes that completing this project is dangerous somehow.

It doesn’t really matter whether I’m afraid of succeeding or failing or things changing, but somehow I have to restore a sense of safety.

But there’s a catch.

When you’re stuck and need to create safety for yourself, it has to be done with no hidden agenda.

If I do it for the purpose of making more progress, it won’t work.

Project stuckness is kind of like a hermit crab that’s pinching you. Or maybe it’s pinching the project. Either way, it frakking hurts.

The crab starts pinching and won’t let go until it feels safe. And if you move or try to pull it off too soon, it will start pinching harder.

Creating safety for you and your project can’t be conditional on making progress or getting unstuck.

The scared parts of yourself are smart enough to know when you care more about getting work done than making sure they feel safe.

They can tell the difference between asking “What do you need?” while being truly open to the answer, and the same question asked when you really only want to hear how to get your project moving again.

I’ve been trying to push through, thinking that if I just push a little harder, for another hour (or four), I’ll break through and the project will start flowing again.

It hasn’t worked.

I’ve lost sleep and I’ve cried and yelled and whined and flopped on the couch to numb out in front of the TV.

I’ve meditated and talked with my Selves and my business and my project and I’m still stuck.

Because deep down I was doing those things because I was trying to get my project back on schedule.

Fuck the schedule, because I want to do this project, but not if it means winding up in anxiety mode every day.

Pushing through didn’t work, so now it’s time to let it go and see what happens.

Going from Beautiful Idea to Finished Creation

I’ve been thinking about projects. You know, those things we want to create that will help our people. And grow our businesses. Stuff like ebooks, courses, services and products.

And I’ve been pondering what gets in the way of going from idea to plan to finished creation – sanely and enjoyably.

The ideas are plentiful, but don’t always take off

I think for most of us, the ideas are there. (In fact, usually too many ideas and choosing what to focus on is the problem.)

Often, when an idea bubbles up into our consciousness, there’s a period of Great Infatuation where the idea is all you can think about. I’ve lost many a night of sleep because I can’t stop mooning over how cute some idea is.

And then – eventually – the Great Infatuation is over

Maybe we look at all our other commitments and feel like we can never do justice to our idea, so why bother starting.

Or we’re willing to start but can’t figure out how.

Or maybe we start but the Voices tell us the idea is stupid after all.

Or we lose steam because the project has since ballooned into a magnum opus and it’s just not fun anymore.

Or sometimes we get all the way to the end and just can’t bring ourselves to expose our fragile creation to people who might not appreciate it.

Regardless of why or how, it winds up being damned challenging to get our project into the hands of the people we created it for.

Thoughts…I haz them.

Between completing many a project as a database programmer (in another life) and creating and launching offerings for my people here, I’ve learned a few things about what works and what doesn’t.

But before I start spewing what I know all willy-nilly, I’d like to know about your experience with projects.

Where do you get stuck?
What do you wish you knew about how to go from idea to finished creation?


You can answer here in the comments, or you can take this super quick 6-question survey.

Your answers will help me focus on the stuff that will make it easier for you to bring your creations into the world. Creations that your people need. And I want to help you get them out there.

The Fragility of Ideas

Sometimes you get an idea.

It could be for a new product or service. Or it could be for a new focus for your biz.

And at first, you’re head over heels in love (or at least in lust) with the idea. It’s all you can think about.

Then you realize, it’s probably time to get some outside feedback before you commit to moving forward.

As tends to happen with feedback, some people love it, some like it, and a few of them really aren’t into it. (Even though you were hoping that every single person would tell you it was the best idea since the DVR.)

Then, suddenly, you’re not sure what you were thinking. And you’re not sure how you feel about your idea anymore.

Maybe it’s just me, but even a little bit of negative feedback feels like having someone piss on my Wheaties.

Start by stopping

When you feel that sense of disappointment about the feedback you received, you need to stop and clear everyone else’s voices and opinions out of your head (and heart).

Because this is the moment where it would be really easy to convince yourself the idea isn’t worth pursuing, just because a couple of people who were honest with you didn’t love the idea.

Now is when you ask some questions. Questions like…

Who loved (and liked) your idea? Are they your Right People?

Have they bought from you in the past? Do they read your blog faithfully? Have they signed up for your newsletter or advance discount list?

If they’ve done one or more of those things, that’s a good sign they’re your Right People.

Who thought the idea needed work? Are they your Right People?

If they’ve never bought from you, aren’t on your list, and don’t read your blog much, take their opinions with a grain of salt.

Often, family members and co-workers (and sometimes even our friends) fall into this category. Be especially careful of listening to feedback from these groups.

What – exactly – did people say about the idea?

If you can get some emotional distance and listen objectively, often you’ll find that the negative feedback came from a misunderstanding of what you were proposing.

And that’s good information to have because it means there’s something about your idea (or how you’re communicating it) that isn’t clear enough.

“Not clear enough” does not equal “not a good idea.” You may want to ask for clarification from them. Or to offer clarification of your own.

That’s assuming, of course, you’re talking to your ideal people.

How does the idea in question fit with the over all vision you have for your business? Is the idea in line with your values and your biz’s values (and purpose)?

If your idea doesn’t fit the big-picture direction you’re trying to go, check in with yourself about why you’re so infatuated with it.

Don’t dismiss it out of hand, though, because there’s probably something in there that you want or need. So how can you give that to yourself without pursuing an idea that’s not aligned with you or your biz?

The point:

Your idea only needs to appeal to the people you want to serve in your business.

If your idea resonates with your ideal clients, and is in line with your overall vision, you’re probably going in the right direction. Even if it scares the shit out of you.

Negative feedback from your not-Right People is a good thing, even if it hurts. It means the stuff you’re doing to attract only your ideal clients is working. (Thanks to Jenny Bones for reminding me about this today.)

And always remember: Regardless of how uncomfortable it is to put our ideas to the test,you are the one who knows what’s best for you and your biz. You get to decide which bits of feedback you’ll incorporate into your idea, and which ones you’ll ignore.

Guess who we’re really talking about here?

Yes. Me. (Surprise, surprise.)

That’s part of why it’s been quiet here on the blog. I’ve been moving through the infatuation and early-feedback stages for an idea I have. It’s a pretty big change, but I think if you’re among my perfect people, it will feel more like settling into a couch that’s got just the right amount of stuffing in the cushions.

Want to stay in the know?

I’m not sure exactly when I’ll be sharing these changes publicly (probably pretty soon), but if you join the Shmorian Society (using the form below), you’ll be sure to hear about it first.

As a thank you, you’ll also receive the 6-part Shmorian Project Prescription eCourse. If you and your project have lost that loving feeling, this will help you remember what you saw in each other to begin with. Hint: I’ve also been known to send out occasional treats.

* indicates required



Note: If you don’t see a sign up form, or it looks garbled, you can click here to sign up.

I hope you’ll join me on this new phase of my business adventure!

Dealing with Fear

Note: This post refers a lot to Thing-Finding, but if you’ve already found your Thing, try reading it with your business or a big project in mind.

By far, the most common questions I wound up receiving for last week’s free teleclass were about dealing with fear.

There were lots of different fears that people mentioned:

Fear of failure
Fear of overwhelm
Fear of losing a stable income
Fear of not being able to handle the new skills required of them
Fear of going after their Thing and still winding up unhappy
Fear that everything will change

I’ve experienced every single one of those at some point or another. Some of them I’ve experience today.

Let’s get real about Fear.

1. Fear will (most likely) always be there.

I say “most likely” because I refuse to rule out the possibility that one could reach a point where fear is a non-issue. Maybe that’s what “enlightenment” is.

But for now, I know I still deal with it. And pretty much everyone I know deals with it.

It’s part of doing stuff that takes you outside your comfort zone.

2. Fear is not a good indicator of whether you’ve found your Thing or not.

I used to think that when I’d found my Thing, it would be easy to create a business around it.

Ha!

I delayed starting my business for nearly two years because of that belief.

3. Every single one of the fears I listed above comes from getting ahead of yourself.

You – right now – have a certain skill-set and set of past experiences that (naturally) inform what you believe is possible for you.

If in your heart you think you want to move to Bali and start a cage-free Kopi Luwak farm, but all your adult life you’ve worked as a technical writer for a big company, of course it’s going to feel like an impossible transition.

The fear comes from trying to figure out how you’ll get what you want in one big step, without all the little steps in between.

4. There are parts of you that know the Truth.

The truth is:

The Universe is on your side and wants you to succeed. (And your commitment helps it to conspire on your behalf.)

When you want something – like to find your Thing – it’s because you’re aligning with what your soul already knows about what you want and what you can have.

See also: You wouldn’t want it if you couldn’t have it.

So if the fear doesn’t go away, but it’s stopping you from finding your Thing, what can you do?

5. You can learn how to move forward despite the fear.

It all comes down to learning.

Learn how to strengthen your connection with the parts of yourself that know the truth.

Learn how to process all the emotions that come up when you hang out at the edge of your comfort zone.

Learn how to give yourself safety so you can explore your potential Thing without scaring the shit out of yourself.

These are all skills you can learn.

By exploring safely (one manageable step at a time), you’ll build a history of positive experiences with that Thing.

You’ll also build a body of evidence that doing something a little bit scary turns out okay (and is totally worth it).

The rush of joy you feel from working on your Thing will help sustain you when you’re trembling at having to put yourself out there in a new and uncomfortable way.

And that’s what will help you make more progress despite the fear.

You don’t need to get over yourself or just do it.

That’s why I created Exploring the Shmorian Thing-Finding Methodology.

I’ll be sharing the tools that will help you know what you want, manage the fear and explore safely.

Exploring the Shmorian Thing-Finding Methodology starts on Wednesday, 6/29. And there’s still time to get in on the early registration price (but only through Friday, 6/24). I hope you’ll join us.

Thing-Finding Myth #3: I’ll Absolutely Know When I’ve Found My Thing

In case you haven’t been following along, here are links to Thing-Finding Myth #1 and Thing-Finding Myth #2.

How did you know when you’d found your Thing?

That was one of the questions I got on Tuesday’s Six Essential Steps to Find Your Thing class. (You can still get the recording here.)

Such a great question, and after thinking about it some more, I realized there was more I wanted to say.

Because there are lots of layers in the answer.

How *I* knew

When I was getting ready to launch this business, I got so stuck that I was sure coaching couldn’t possibly be my Thing.

How could it be my Thing if it was so hard for me to launch?

So I let it go. For almost two years.

But then it – coaching – kept coming back.

Coach-y stuff kept showing up in my blog posts.

And once I’d gotten some distance from all the frustration, I started wanting to move forward with it again.

At that point, I’d begun to learn about safety (one of the Six Steps), and I saw how I could take teeny steps toward putting myself out there as a coach.

Soon I wound up offering free coaching sessions to a group of supportive online friends. Which allowed me to get lots of positive feedback, and helped confirm I was on the right path.

The Reality: You can’t really know for sure

If you’ve got several potential Things that are appealing to you, you probably don’t want to focus on the “wrong” one. Or maybe you always wonder if your real Thing is still out there somewhere.

There is no way to know with 100% certainty that you’ve found it.

Looking for 100% certainty starts to sound a lot like thinking there’s only one right Thing, doesn’t it?

The whole point of finding your Thing is to have work that makes you ridiculously happy and is custom-fitted to who you are.

So maybe your Thing is actually two or three different Things that you put together in a way that nourishes you and supports you financially.

Could there be something you haven’t found yet that you’d enjoy more than whatever it is you currently think is your Thing? Possibly.

But if you stay connected with yourself (another one of the Six Steps), and give yourself safety and whatever else you need, you’ll always be able to tweak your work to fit you better.

What does it mean to know?

“Knowing,” at least when it comes to Thing-Finding, is a progression.

Each step you take in experimenting (another of the Six Steps) with a potential Thing helps you learn more about it. And more about yourself.

You begin to understand the essence of the Thing and why you’re drawn to it, why you’re good at it.

Understanding its essence will help you keep the parts you like and lose the parts you don’t.

Everyone’s different

I can’t tell you for sure how you’ll know you’ve found your Thing. But I imagine you’ll start displaying at least some of the following symptoms:

  • Looking forward to working on your Thing
  • Wanting to get better at it
  • Generally enjoying it
  • Or maybe even grinning uncontrollably because you can’t believe you get paid to do it
  • Appreciating what it teaches you, even when you have a shitty day at it
  • Ending most days pleasantly exhausted rather than seriously drained
  • Needing to try harder to take time away from your Thing

It really is possible to feel that way about work.

I’m not going to lie – some days aren’t all unicorns and rainbows. But even the hardest days working on my Thing are only slightly worse than my best cubicle days.

How about you?

How do you think you’ll know when you’ve found your Thing?

What would you do differently if you believed you couldn’t know for sure?

Psst! Starting Wednesday, 6/29, I’m sharing the best tools I know to help you find your Thing in my new course, Exploring the Shmorian Thing-Finding Methodology. Make progress on your Thing without freaking yourself out.