Category Archives: pondering

Happy Birthday, Blog! (Or Taking the Step in Front of You)

Today my blog is one year old. Hard to believe – I was sure I would peter out on this effort after a few months.

I started this blog back when I still didn’t know (or couldn’t admit) I wanted to be a coach, and really had no idea where this blog would lead me.

One place it led me was to the Room of Staring Your Stuff in the Face.

Stuff like unreasonably high expectations and comparing myself to others.

There was writer’s block. And the one where I finally admitted (publicly!) that I want to be a coach.

I explored why I can’t stand calling myself a coach.

I attempted to loosen up, creativity-wise, by wrecking a journal. Which led me to explore what it means to quit a project before it’s “finished.”

I dealt with the shitstorm that is the Phoenix real estate market. Well, I’m still dealing with it, but we don’t need to talk about that now.

I was finally able to launch my redesigned website so that people could figure out that I was a coach. After much inner turmoil.

I realized my dream of quitting my job. I also discovered that it didn’t feel at all the way I fantasized it would.

Whew! That’s quite a bit…

If, at the end of 2008, someone had asked me if I’d be a full-time entrepreneur by the end of 2009, I would have said no way.

If someone had asked if I’d launch a business by the end of 2009, I would have said it was unlikely.

I’m blown away at how this year turned out.

You never know where a step might lead you.

When I started the blog, I wasn’t sure what I would write about. Or how I would (eventually) generate income from it.

All I knew for sure was that I wanted to be able to make a living without reporting to a job every day.

And I had a pretty strong suspicion that working “online” would be important for me in creating something that would support me with my introversion and HSP tendencies.

But other than that? I had no clue.

With a lot of help, I managed to take the step of starting the blog even though I feared I would only post a few times and then bail on it.

Although starting the blog wasn’t the only step that led me to launching a business and quitting my job, it was an important part of helping me meet really cool people who became part of my support network.

It helped me feel like I was part of this whole online thing that all the kids today are doing.

This isn’t about telling you to start a blog.

Sure, there’s a part of me that wonders why you wouldn’t want a blog, but I’m not going to try to convince you if it’s not your thing.

But is there one little step you could take toward your thing, whatever it may be?

Even if it doesn’t look like it’s directly related?

Even if you don’t know what you’re thing is?

Kind of like the what-the-hell-am-I-even-going-to-blog-about-but-I’ll-try-it-anyway blog-equivalent?

Something you could take a risk on. Something you could try, and then let go of if it really isn’t your thing.

You might find that moving in that one tiny, seemingly unrelated area will help unstick you in other areas.

Or it might even send you in a direction that you’ll look back on in a year (or five) and shake your head with gratitude and wonder. Because you simultaneously won’t know how you got there, and will know it was exactly where you were supposed to be.

Happy birthday, sweetie-blog. I just know this coming year is going to be awesome for both of us.

And huge thanks to all of you for reading and commenting and generally showing your support!

Being Me, Not a Metaphor

I’m at a point (or so I think) where it is time for me to offer – officially – my coaching services.

I’m trying to just keep it really simple, not expecting perfection in my web copy. Just making room for my Right People to find me.

The words haven’t been coming.

Words and their meanings

Since taking a class from Havi this past weekend about Metaphors, I’ve been thinking a lot about words. Basically, the words we use can inadvertently create resistance in people (me, you, everyone) because of the associations we make with the words.

Often unconscious associations.

For an example, check out Havi’s most recent Friday Check-in where she talks about eating frogs.

My particular frog

So I’ve been examining my associations with the words “coach” and “life coach”. A lot of them aren’t terribly favorable, so no wonder I was afraid to say it was what I wanted to do with my life.

Then I saw this amazing video post from Pace. She talks about how, in her desire to be a revolutionary, she realized it wasn’t working for her because she was trying to act like a stereotypical revolutionary. It wasn’t her.

Just as Pace was getting sucked into behaving according to some pre-conceived idea of how a revolutionary should behave, I have concepts and images of what it means to be a coach. What it looks like to be a “life coach”. *shudder*

I’ve got this idea in my head that a coach is rah-rah and tries to apply some formula to every client and if it doesn’t work it’s the client’s fault.

And is pushy and goal-obsessed and tells you that if you can’t stay focused and motivated and Meet That Goal, you will never Win The Race.

I keep bumping up against those images and ideas, and I’m afraid that’s what being a coach will mean. That I will have to become those things in order to be a coach. I know that’s not rational, but it’s there.

What’s really not rational about it is that the people who are coaching me aren’t like that, so where am I getting this idea that I will be required to turn into a yucky bullying coach?

In the work I’ve been doing with clients, I don’t treat them like that at all. The thought never crosses my mind, yet there’s still some part of me convinced I will inevitably embody the image.

And if it were true that I had to do it that way, then forget it.

Be yourself

Pace’s heart-felt appeal is for us to stop trying to be something we’re not. To just be ourselves.

That really cut through all the bullshit flying around in my head.

I don’t have to place finding the right name for what I do ahead of going out and doing it. I need to infuse the word “coach” with my own elements that represent what I want it to be.

There’s always going to be somebody who responds negatively to a word. So instead of trying to find the perfect word, I need to focus on conveying those elements – communicating my essential self – in what I do and write and say.

Me being myself as a coach means giving clients individual attention and helping them in the way they need to be helped.

Working together as partners.

Using my intuition to go below the surface of a problem or block.

Really listening.

Exploring options. Reframing thoughts. Considering perspectives.

Offering encouragement and support.

Holding space for people to feel safe while they work through their stuff – like inviting them under an umbrella in the rain.

That feels so much better than worrying about what a coach should be.

Moving Ahead without All the Answers

I’m sure a lot of you have heard by now about Havi’s upcoming class about how to get great testimonials without feeling icky about it.

Since I’m in the process of launching my coaching business, I’m definitely going to take the class.

Who wouldn’t want to learn genius testimonial-getting techniques from Havi, when her destuckification magic permeates everything she does?

Interestingly, though, I saw a tweet yesterday that got me thinking.

Basically, the person who tweeted replied to Havi and said they weren’t going to take the class because they need to be offering something that requires testimonials first.

Maybe. Maybe not.

Going from stuck to un-stuck

One of the big reasons I got so stuck when I completed my life coach training was because I was waiting for answers to questions. Like stuff about marketing and choosing a niche and on and on. I believed I had to have a niche and a marketing plan and a business plan already in place when I started my business.

Nobody was there to tell me that I didn’t need to answer all of those questions before I started.

I got so stuck I became convinced that I didn’t even want to be a coach because every time I thought about it I had all those unanswered questions giving me the stink-eye.

Skipping ahead

Fast forward to July or August of last year, when I discovered Havi and her magic-making ways of destuckification.

Things started shifting for me and I was able to start this blog in spite of being scared shitless (not shiftless – har!).

I still had lots of unanswered questions, but I was more comfortable with leaving them unanswered. And I was learning how to keep moving forward without all the answers.

More and more I began to see that, for me, moving forward would be the very thing that would help me find the answers.

It was either wait and continue to focus only on deciding what business I wanted to start, or keep pondering that question while I started doing some other things to prepare myself for the inevitable outcome of figuring out what I wanted to do.

Taking a risk

I didn’t know what kind of business I wanted to have, but I did know I wanted my own business.

Starting a business takes work and preparation. Then Naomi over at IttyBiz offered her Marketing 101 course.

It would have been really easy for me to say that it doesn’t make sense for me to take that course because I didn’t have anything to market, yet.

(In fact, way back when Havi and Naomi offered their Non-Icky Self-Promotion class, that’s what I said: I can’t justify taking this because I have nothing to promote. Now, I wish I had taken it anyway.)

But because I think Naomi is the bee’s knees and I know she stands behind everything she does, and because I knew I would be getting recordings of the calls that I could listen to forever and ever, it seemed like a really low-risk thing to do.

The risk paid off, because learning that stuff helped the whole idea of starting a business feel more doable.

Keep moving

One of the things I’ve learned since I started blogging is that every time I write about something that I think only applies to me, I find out from my dear readers that they can relate to it. I’m never the only one who has dealt with this stuff.

So maybe some of you are like me and feeling like you want a business, but you have no clue what kind of business. And you’re looking for ways to keep moving toward that thing you want, even though you don’t quite know what it is, yet.

That’s the key: finding ways to keep moving around those stuck parts.

Sometimes it’s the moving itself that helps to unstick some of what’s stuck.

When I was deciding how to keep moving, it usually came back to risk. What’s the risk that I’ll feel like doing this was a mistake?

That usually boiled down to worrying I would feel like I paid too much for the quality of the material, or worrying that the content wouldn’t be applicable.

With Havi, you’re not going to get crappy content. That’s a given.

And that second one (non-applicable content) can be offset by not paying too much.

Even a couple months ago (when I didn’t know what I would be seeking testimonials for) I would have felt like Havi’s non-icky testimonials class was a low-risk opportunity because it includes the recordings and notes.

And for four and half hours of Havi’s genius, this is not an expensive class.

It seems to me that the worst thing that could happen is that you take the class and feel like it’s not information you need. Yet.

But 3 or 6 (or however many) months from now, when you’re ready for it, it’ll be there, waiting for you.

And you never know…it might be the very thing that helps unblock you in other areas, too.

The Point

This isn’t actually about whether you to take this particular class or not.

What I hope is that you might possibly see that there are no “rules” about the order in which you should learn things or try things or do things. And that if risk is low enough, it can be better to try something than to wait for answers to come.

I mention the class only because it’s happening soon, and because some of you might feel like you’re not ready for it yet. And, of course, because it’s from Havi and she’s amazing.

But maybe “ready” isn’t about being able to apply the information immediately. Maybe it’s about being at a point where you’re open to trying something new to see if it helps you with moving forward.

Time for a New Next

In the past few weeks, I’ve made an enormous change, both within myself and how I present myself to the world. It came with its own bit of aftermath.

In almost an instant (not literally, but you know what I mean), I went from being someone whose only “job” was to figure out what she wants, to being someone who now has to Make It Happen.

It’s been challenging – slight understatment – to avoid falling into the black hole of Overwhelm.

There was a part of me that knew this challenge would be waiting for me on the other side of declaring my dream. That part of me wanted to protect myself from the frustration of having too much to do with too little time.

I know it will be an ongoing process. Especially while I’m still working full-time for the Man.

Let’s face it – some days are harder than others. Last week was actually pretty awful.

I’m trying to keep my priorities in order – mainly that means:

  1. Doing as little as possible to jeopardize my day job, yet still maintain my sanity.

    • Fine line, there! The less said, the better, probably.
  2. Not letting my self-care fall by the wayside.

    • Dance of Shiva and meditation are two really important things that helped get me here, and it would be silly to skip them under the guise of needing more time.
  3. Nurturing this ittybiz by spending as much time as possible on the parts that energize me, so I have “energetic reserves” for when the other mundane crap gets me down.

    • Working with clients is a lot more fun than trying to hammer out a new About page right now, so client sessions will come first.
  4. Taking all of this as slowly as I need to, so that I don’t fall into a trap of creating resistance by pushing myself too hard.

    • This is probably the hardest one and makes me all whiny: “But there’s so much I want to dooooooo!”
  5. Trying my best to enjoy the ride and be present with this whole process.

    • Okay, so maybe this one’s the hardest. Brings up lots of issues I have with time – or lack thereof – and the urge to get There when there is no There, only Here. And a pesky tendency to argue with reality.

I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a small part of me that misses that place of not knowing what I want to do.

It meant always knowing what the focus of my meditation would be. And what books to read. And not having to wonder “what should I do next?” because it was the same next as before: figure out what you want to do.

But I was there long enough.

Now it’s time for a new Next and learning how to find the comfortable place within the chaos and the questions and changes of starting a business.

Bring it on.