Category Archives: No-Brainer Scenario

A Peek behind the Curtain

Since launching my No-Brainer Scenario kit last week, I’ve been reflecting on the project. What worked, what didn’t. What I’d like to do differently next time.

I decided to put it here so that you could apply the parts that fit to your own projects.

What I did well:

I committed to a launch date sooner than I usually do.

And in case you’re wondering, I found the date by listening to my body.

In the past I tended to wait as long as possible to set a date because I was afraid I’d get stuck launching before I was ready. But what I’m learning is that committing is a necessary part of the process and critical to the project’s success.

Committing activates my energy in a different way. And as long as I’m mindful of my capacity and check in with myself on the date I’m choosing, it works. Everything comes together in the end.

I set milestone deadlines to help keep me on track, and I met them.

Sometimes when I’m planning a project, it’s hard to see all the moving parts clearly.

Maybe it’s not clear how long it will take to do some things. Which means it’s hard to know when I’ll get to certain other things.

But by working backwards from the launch date (which was January 24), I could see there were some things that had to be done by a specific date.

I needed to have time to test my shopping cart setup, which meant there had to be something to test by the 22nd or 23rd.

Which meant I needed to have my final PDF files by the 21st.
In order to do that, I’d need to be done with all revisions by the 19th
Which meant I needed to have review copies sent out by the 12th, and back by the 18th or 19th.

You get the idea. I plotted out what I knew first, and worked from there to fill in more of the blanks.

As long as you’re on track with your milestones, it’s very likely you’re on track for the project as a whole.

On days I didn’t feel like working, I still sat down, opened the draft and tried.

More often than not, the words showed up eventually. (Sometimes that wasn’t until 10pm, leaving me only an hour to write, but what can you do?)

Keeping to a schedule helped me experience more flow with this project. I felt productive because I was productive.

Doing even an hour of work one night would help me gain momentum the next, because often that little bit of progress was all that was needed to get over the hump to that next burst of creativity.

What I’ll try to do better next time:

Schedule (and commit to) more recovery time and replenishing activities throughout the project.

Especially as the end grew near, I pushed myself harder because I wanted to feel like I was ahead of my deadlines. (Apparently I had a bit of a trust issue – I was worried that I’d hit a snag and need to play catch-up. I never did.)

Simultaneously, my body started demanding more attention with a big increase in back and neck pain.

Between the extra pushing and not consistently nourishing myself, by the time I launched I was utterly depleted.

On top of that, thanks to having a history of ignoring my body’s needs, I don’t exactly have a go-to list of ideas to pull from. What does my body need in those times?

I do know that getting away from the computer is a good thing. Beyond that, I’m still learning. I need to plan some replenishment experiments to figure this stuff out.

Also, when you don’t do the things you need to replenish yourself, it takes longer to recover.

Practice trusting that what I’ve created is what my people need.

There were times when my perfectionism got in the way of progress.

I kept second-guessing whether certain sections were clear, or if I needed to add more examples.

I futzed around with the formatting longer than I should have. And every time I messed with the line spacing, it would change the page breaks, which meant I had to correct the white space. Since this is the longest workbook I’ve created, I have no idea if there was a way to avoid that, or if that’s just part of designing a book.

It raises all sorts of questions like “What qualifies as done?” and “What’s good enough?”

Hence the need to practice trust, since there’s no black-and-white answer to either of those questions.

Allow even more time for pre-launch (and post-launch) promotion.

I did better at this than in the past, but I find it challenging to switch between creating the actual product and the “extra” stuff needed to generate excitement and get the word out.

I made meeting the launch deadline my top priority, so I let a couple of blog posts slide.

And once I went into recovery mode, I haven’t done a great job of continuing to spread the word. (The internet is a busy place, and people need reminders.)

Mostly I need to find the pre- and post-launch activities that are effective without making me feel like I need to take a shower.

At the same time, I can already see that I’ll be able to balance the two needs of “creation” and “promotion” better next time as a result of what I did this time.

How about you?

What do you do well in your projects? What do you struggle with?
What are your favorite post-project recovery activities?

I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

The launch celebration for The No-Brainer Scenario: A Simple Tool for Powerful Clarity is ending Friday, Feb. 4. There are still coaching bundles available. Got a project you want to finish (or start)? Let me use all my project planning superpowers to help you super-charge your progress!

Find the No-Brainer Scenario: Work for Myself or a Company?

Recently I asked the members of the Shmorian Society what they wished the No-Brainer Scenario could help them decide. I left it open-ended, because I’m starting to believe that there are very few situations the technique won’t help with.

Here’s one of the responses I got:

I wish the No-Brainer Scenario could tell me whether working for a company or for myself is the better option for me, a mother with house payments and childcare payments as my main obligations. By working for someone else I have stable income but not as much flexibility in my schedule; solopreneurship would provide the flexibility (I think) but probably not the stable income.

I’m not sure I’d be a better mom if I was physically there for my kids but distracted by emotional worries due to financial insecurities.

The No-Brainer Scenario technique can definitely help with this, but possibly not in the way you would expect.

The technique can’t tell you which option is better for you, because that’s a subjective question only you can answer. (And I wholeheartedly believe that what’s best for you is always whatever your heart wants.)

What the technique can help you with is to clarify what you want, and the conditions you would need to feel safe to go after it.

When I read between the lines of your question, what I get is that you feel frustrated at the lack of flexibility in your schedule. You want to be able to be there for your kids more.

And yet you’re also concerned that if you opt for more flexibility, you’ll have to accept a decrease in stability. It’s very wise for you to realize that if you’re stressing about finances all the time, you’re probably not doing your kids any favors.

So for the sake of this post, let’s assume that you do want to work for yourself. And at the same time you don’t think that’s a practical solution because of the whole stability thing.

How the No-Brainer Scenario can help

Part of what the technique does is to create a container where you can explore what you want without worrying about how to make it happen.

The way to start is by asking yourself, “What would make it a No-Brainer to work for myself instead of for a company?”

Next, it’s time to list everything you’d need to feel good about giving up the apparent stability of working for a company in exchange for more flexibility.

I’m just making some educated guesses, of course, but maybe your list would look something like this:

  • My business would be truly flexible & not suck me in to working at other people’s offices all day.
  • Although the monthly income might vary, I’d be able to bring in a minimum of $2000 per month.
  • I’d have a cushion of 6 months of living expenses saved up, for added security.
  • The added flexibility would allow me to cut my childcare costs by half or more.

The possibilities are endless as far as what you can include on your list. If it’s important to you, put it on there.

What the list is telling you

Once you’ve got your list, there is so much information you can use to start creating a plan.

You already know that:

  • Any potential business needs to provide true flexibility.
  • Financial stability is really important, and you’ve got some information about what stability looks like to you.
  • It’s important that making a change like this make it easier for you to be there for your kids, and you know that you want to decrease the amount of time they spend in daycare.

More specifically, you’d probably want to focus your energy on investigating online business options. Or possibly a service business that can be conducted at non-9-5 hours. And you can explore ways to start a biz as a side-gig at first, so that you can keep your job for now.

You could also explore decreasing your expenses so you could save for a cushion more quickly.

But it goes beyond that.

You could take those same conditions, and put your feelers out for a job that gives you those same things: financial stability and flexibility to be there for your kids.

Because if you’re getting what your heart wants (financial stability and a flexible schedule), maybe it doesn’t matter whether you get it by starting a business or by working for a company.

What’s important is that you get clear on what you want and work toward giving yourself those things.

How about you?

Do you see yourself in the situation above? What conditions would be in your No-Brainer Scenario?

What do you wish the No-Brainer Scenario could help with? I’d love to hear about it.

The No-Brainer Scenario: A Simple Tool for Powerful Clarity is now available (at the launch celebration price!). Know what you want so you can make it happen.

It’s Here, Let’s Celebrate!

I’ve been working on my No-Brainer Scenario ebook for a little over three months now.

The past few days have been about finishing the somewhat tedious tasks that are needed to make a product available.

Shopping cart buttons, zip files, creating PDFs, editing and converting sound files, sales page tweaks.

Yesterday I got to the point where every last task on my project to-do list was done.

Except one.

This blog post.

I had started a few posts, but it always felt forced so I’d set it aside for later.

But once you get to the end of your task list, there is no more later.

I managed not to panic, and instead asked my ebook what it wanted me to write.

It said, “Tell them why you love me.”
“Okay. What about it?” I replied.
“You tell me.”

And that made me laugh because I wanted it to tell me why I love it, and it wasn’t going to cut me any slack.

(Aside: I found that whole exchange interesting because I’ve been aware all along that I love this project. And yet it was challenging to articulate it in terms of “I love it because…”)

So I sat with that and here’s what came to me:

I love this ebook because it’s beautifully simple and helpful in a loving and compassionate way.

It’s simple because the technique is easy to remember, and has only four steps.

It’s loving and compassionate because you can start where ever you are. There are no radical changes required. It’s gentle. And meant to be used with curiosity.

I’m so thankful for the help I received along the way that allowed this ebook project to flourish. Special thanks to Hiro, Fabeku, Sandra, and Maryann.

My wish for this ebook is that it will be a starting point in helping you exercise your power to choose and create the things you want for your life.

Without further ado, allow me to present The No-Brainer Scenario: A Simple Tool for Powerful Clarity.

Please join me in celebrating! Virtual cake and champagne all around!

Setting aside the How

One of the most important aspects of getting clear on what you want is to set aside the how. At least temporarily.

What I mean is, you need to think about what you want (in life, work, whatever) first, without worrying about how to make it happen.

You probably want some pretty big things. Like a business you look forward to spending time with. One that supports you without draining you.

Maybe it’s really big. Like world-changingly big.

When you want something that big, it’s easy to focus on the distance between where you are now and where you want to be. Big things often come with (what seems like) a big distance to travel. It can feel overwhelming and hopeless.

There’s nothing wrong with you. And it certainly doesn’t mean you chose the wrong thing to want.

The reason it feels overwhelming is because the You who will get there is not the You of today.

You-Today isn’t quite ready for all that’s involved in arriving at your destination. And that’s perfectly fine, because you’ll be ready by the time you’re there.

A metaphor might help

You’ve walked in the dark with a flashlight, right? Or maybe you’ve even gone scuba diving at night?

The flashlight shines a certain distance. Beyond where the beam ends, you can’t see anything. Because it’s dark.

If you want to see something that’s beyond the beam of the flashlight, you need to take a step forward. (Or you need to kick your fins a bit.)

When You-Today is thinking about your dream business (or dream whatever-it-may-be) and starts to worry about the How, it’s like you’re trying to look past where your flashlight is shining.

Of course that’s going to be scary because you have no idea what’s there in the darkness.

And if every time you think about what you want you feel scared because of the How, it’s won’t be long before you stop trying to think about it.

Or maybe you’ll choose a smaller dream.

Once you do that, you’re not getting clear on what you want anymore. You’re getting clear on what you think you can have.

So what to do instead?

The way to keep the What separate from the How is to create a container.

It sounds mysterious, but it just means to give yourself a safe place to think about those big dreams, without looking out past your flashlight beam. The container lets you get clear on what your dreams look like without worrying about how they will happen.

A simple place to start?

When you’re thinking about what you want, keep reminding yourself that it’s just information. And that you’re not committed to following through on any of it.

You can also let your body guide you. It knows what you want, and if you can put the How aside, it will help you stay on the right path.

Creating a container is also what the No-Brainer Scenario does. It gives you a way to feel safe while you explore what you truly want.

Once you’ve spent time with what you truly want, only then should you start thinking about the How.

The key to working on the How without going into freak-out mode is to make sure the steps in your plan are manageable. And appropriate for You-Today. (If you’re not sure how to translate your big dream into You-Today-sized steps, I can help.)

How about you?

Have you experienced the “shut-down effect” of worrying about the How too early in the process? How did it affect you?

Do you have a favorite way to create a container for exploring those big things you want?

The No-Brainer Scenario: A Simple Tool for Powerful Clarity – an ebook to help you know what you want so you can make it happen – will be available January 24.

Your Body Knows What You Want

Within the next week or so, I’ll be finished writing my No-Brainer Scenario ebook. It’s about making good decisions with ease.

In order to make good decisions with ease, you have to know what you want. And that’s what the No-Brainer Scenario technique helps with: getting clear on what you want.

I spent quite a few years believing that I didn’t know what I wanted. That I couldn’t and wouldn’t ever know what I wanted. Especially in the realm of finding my Thing. It was incredibly frustrating.

Looking back, I realize there was some part of me that knew all along. I just couldn’t hear it.

The parts of me that knew my true heart’s desires were buried under layers of conforming to others’ expectations and beliefs about how the world works.

It took time to get back in touch with the parts of me that knew what I truly wanted.

I believe some part of you already knows what you want, too.

Not knowing what you want is such a hard place to be. And when you’re in it, it feels like it will never change.

It won’t happen overnight, but here’s a simple way to start to reconnect with the parts that already know what you want:

Listen to your body.

Your body knows because it hasn’t lost connection with the parts of you that know what you want.

It’s so simple to start.

Pick a time and a place. Someplace comfortable and quiet. Away from distractions like phone and email and Twitter.

Sit in a comfortable position and become aware of your breathing.

You don’t need to change it, but by focusing on it, your breathing might slow and become deeper.

Begin to notice the sensations in your body.

Where are they?
What do they feel like?
Are they tied to specific emotions?

Don’t over-think this. Just notice what you feel in your body.

If this is a new practice for you, it might take a while to notice anything specific. Try to be patient and keep noticing.

How do you use this to help you figure out what you want?

Let’s say you’re thinking about taking a class.

After spending a few minutes getting quiet and noticing how your body feels, begin to think about the class you’re considering.

Think about whatever is involved in taking that class.

What do you notice now in your body?

Have the sensations changed? Have new sensations come up?
Where are they? What do they feel like?
Are they comfortable or uncomfortable?

Chances are, if you’re feeling discomfort in your body at the thought of taking that class, it means you don’t want to take it. Or there’s some part of you that doesn’t want to do it.

Conversely, if you feel “positive” physical sensations, it likely confirms your choice to take the class.

An encouraging caveat

If listening to your body is new to you, at first it might feel like it’s not working. You might sit down to listen and not really hear (or feel) much of anything.

Keep at it. As you practice, you’ll notice more and more subtle sensations. Practice regularly for even just a few minutes at a time and it will get easier.

Skeptical?

Hey, I’m all about healthy skepticism.

I’ll bet if you look back on past choices and situations, you’ll start to see that your body was trying to tell you about what you wanted. Try to remember how you felt physically, and notice patterns of what you felt in “good” vs. “bad” situations.

About four years ago, long before I’d learned how to listen to my body, I was thinking about switching jobs. On paper it was a great opportunity. But every time I thought about saying yes, I’d feel a wave of blech come over me. It felt like my body wanted to run away but was too heavy to move.

I said yes anyway because it was such a good opportunity (ha!), and it was a huge mistake.

But it’s not that simple!

My guess is, the part that feels complicated is choosing to act on what your body tells you. Because that takes a lot of trust.

Start small. I’m not saying you should pick up and move to Thailand because you felt a twinge in your left pinky toe. You can even start by noticing how your body feels, while still deciding however you normally would. And then observe how it turns out.

Listening to your body can be a tool – almost like a compass – for helping you move toward the things you want. It’s about learning the language of your body to help guide you.

It’s a tool that can be used in tandem with other tools, like the No-Brainer Scenario.

How about you?

What have you noticed about how your body feels when you’re about to do something you want to do? And when you’re about to do something you don’t want to do?

Have you used the practice of listening to your body to help make decisions in the past? I’d love to hear about it!

Want to receive notifications (and a secret discount!) when the ebook is available? Just join the Shmorian Society, and in the meantime, you’ll get my free 30-day eCourse, the Shmorian Project Prescription.

Holiday No-Brainers

No-Brainer Scenario LogoIf you’ve been reading my blog recently, you know I’m working on an ebook about the No-Brainer Scenario.

One of the things I’ve been discovering since I wrote the initial blog post about the technique is all the different ways it can be used.

When I discovered it, I thought it would only work for yes/no decisions: Should I take the job? Should I go to the conference?

But actually, it can be used for situations that don’t even really feel like decisions.

Yesterday I was kind of freaking out a bit about Christmas.

I’m horrible at preparing ahead of time, which doesn’t go well with wanting to give creative, heartfelt gifts. And I tend to feel extra stuckness when it comes to figuring out a present for the Hubs.

I was beginning to approach full-on panic mode, and then I wondered if the No-Brainer Scenario could help.

Attempt #1

What would make it a No-Brainer to buy him a gift, in spite of being unsure of his preferences?

  • Basically, it needs to be easy to find, easy to buy, and it needs to be returnable in case I get it wrong and he doesn’t like it.
  • However, if I were willing to give up on the surprise element, I could ask him to just tell me what he wants.
  • Or, he could give me a list of five things he’d like, and I’ll pick one. That would keep a bit of the surprise in tact.

My frustration is really coming from feeling like I won’t be able to surprise him, and from feeling like I’m already too late to pull off anything worthwhile.

But here’s a whole different way to look at it, if I were willing to let go of all the rules about surprising him and whatever else I have rules about:

We could decide together on a gift for us, and figure out when we want to make it happen.

To be honest, after working through all this, I was still feeling unsatisfied. I mean, of course if I’m buying an item for somebody, I should make sure it could be returned if necessary. And of course I could have the Hubs just tell me what he wants.

But there was still something missing that I couldn’t put my finger on.

Attempt #2

One thing I’ve learned about this technique is that when you don’t know what you’re looking for, Qualities are super useful.

So I realized a better way to ask the question:

What does the Hubs’ No-Brainer gift look like?

I would want the gift for the Hubs to include:

Definitely Fun and Connection and Play (who couldn’t use more Play in their lives?)
Another nice-to-have would be Creativity
Of course, I still want Ease as part of both the gift-giving and gift-experiencing

This led me to all sorts of ideas that may or may not be pull-off-able, but I feel ten times better about my options. And if I’m willing to forgo the surprise element and come up with something together, then these Qualities will help narrow down the options nicely.

An example of what these Qualities bring up for me is a creative class of some kind that we could take part in together.

(Sorry for not being more specific – I can’t be sure he won’t read this post!)

Clarity is always a good thing

Maybe a lot of this seems kind of obvious, but it wasn’t for me.

Until I sat down to think about it, I wasn’t able to see how big a role the surprise factor and the looming deadline were affecting my stress levels about this decision.

By looking for my No-Brainer Scenario, I was able to remember that how I handle situations like this is up to me. And that there are no rules except the ones I impose on myself.

It also helped me feel in my body what it would be like to approach the Hubs’ gift without a bunch of pressure and anxiety. Because lord knows it’s no fun to do one’s Xmas shopping in that state.

I find that once I’m in time-crunch-oh-crap-what’s-the-perfect-gift mode, I kind of lose sight of why I’m buying a gift to begin with, so going back to the Qualities was incredibly helpful.

The biggest insight I got by finding my No-Brainer Scenario for gift-giving is that when the focus moves off of the meaning and gets consumed by rules about how it needs to happen, I start to freak out.

Some other holiday-related No-Brainer Scenarios I’ve been playing with:

What’s my No-Brainer holiday gift budget?

What would make it a No-Brainer to manage all the different family visits that people are expecting? (Hint: this one will probably involve letting people know that they won’t necessarily get to see me before the New Year.)

How about you?

Care to play along with some of the holiday stuff you’ve got going on?

What does your No-Brainer holiday look like?

And hey, just so you know, I totally get the fact that the holidays can be really angsty. My stuff around getting a gift for the Hubs barely scratches the surface of all the other holiday angst I’ve got swirling around.

So I also get that shifting how you do the holidays isn’t like changing what brand of coffee beans you use.

If you want to start shifting it, start slow and small by gathering information. Find your No-Brainer Scenario with no expectation to act on it, and see what happens.

If you want to learn more ways to use the No-Brainer Scenario technique, be sure to join the Shmorian Society to be the first to know when the ebook is available. In the meantime, you’ll get my free 30-day eCourse, the Shmorian Project Prescription. Fall in love with your project again, so you can get it done!