Category Archives: Thing-Finding

Thing-Finding and Projectizing

I used to talk all the time about finding your Thing – the Thing you love to do, are good at and that will support you financially.

Lately I’ve been talking a lot more about projectizing.

Back when I didn’t know what my Thing was, I always felt like I had to leave most of my Self at home or in the parking lot to fit in at my job.

But even once you know what your Thing is and it’s time to start projectizing around it, you still need to make sure what you’re choosing to work on and how you’re working on it fit all of who you are.

Both Thing-Finding and Projectizing have very similar processes…you need things like Safety and Desire and Commitment. And a big willingness to experiment.

Really, they’re very closely related. Fundamentally they both serve the same purpose:

To help you shape your work around yourself, rather than shaping yourself around your work.

So when C. A. Kobu asked me to contribute to the Discover Your True Passion module for her amazing 52-week self-study program, A Year With Myself, I was thrilled to get the opportunity to share more about Thing-Finding. And this week it’s been published!

I wanted to do a little something fun to celebrate, so I’ve got something special for you whether you consider yourself a Thing-Finder or a Projectizer!

For Thing-Finders (in other words, if you’re still not sure what your Thing is)

I’m excited because I think you’ll get lots out of the journaling prompt that’s available for no cost whatsoever, but if you want even more, purchase the full 52-module kit using my link between now and March 15 and I’ll send you a gift copy of the full Shmorian Thing-Finding Kit, and an invitation to a live Q&A call in late March (exact date TBD) where we can talk about all your Thing-Finding questions.

On top of getting all 52 AYWM modules as they’re released, you’ll get the Thing-Finding Kit and a call with me!

If you think you could be a Projectizer (in other words, you’re ready to start bringing your Thing-related creations into the world)

Purchase the full kit using my link between now and March 7 and I’ll send you a coupon code for 50% off your registration in Project Prowess.

Which means you’ll get the full A Year With Myself experience (52 modules!) and you’ll get my hands-on support in creating something to help you start or grow your business.

Note that the deadline is different for this option, because Project Prowess starts March 8!

Easy peasy

Simply purchase A Year With Myself, and then email me your receipt (my email addy is right on my Contact page) and let me know whether you’d like the Project Prowess discount or the Thing-Finding Kit and call. I’ll get your goodies to you within 24 hours (probably a lot sooner).

I’m really proud of the module I shared for A Year With Myself. I hope you enjoy it. :)

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.


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.

Thing-Finding Myth #2: I’ll Be Wasting My Education and Experience

I’ve actually had two Things that turned out to be not my Thing.

I know I mostly talk about my database programming career as my Thing-that-wasn’t, so if you haven’t been hanging around here for very long, you might not know about my first Thing-that-wasn’t.

Right out of college, I went and taught scuba diving in the Caribbean.

I became pretty unhappy pretty quickly, but I was afraid to walk away from it, for one of the same reasons I didn’t want to walk away from my IT career:

I put a lot of time, money and energy into becoming a scuba instructor. How could I just throw it away for something completely unrelated?

(Aside: For some reason I didn’t struggle a lot with “throwing away” my degree in International Relations/Japanese at the time.)

There’d be no way to get that money, time or energy back. Such. A. Waste.

The reality

Nothing is wasted.

I know it might not seem that way if you’ve studied to become a doctor and now you want to start a personal chef business. Or a jewelry-making business. Or a copy-writing business.

But here’s what I’ve experienced and witnessed over and over again:

Every experience you have helps you become the person you need to be in order to have your Thing.

My study of Japanese (and spending time in Japan) led me to reject seeking a corporate job out of college, and go to the Caribbean instead.

Getting sick in the Caribbean forced me to go home.

Seeing my sister studying computer science (and struggling with figuring out what was next for me) allowed me to see it as an option for myself.

My time in corporate jobs eventually made me realize how much I value freedom and flexibility. They’re non-negotiable for me.

And the analytical skills I learned while working with databases – and all my other experiences – help me every day when I’m working with clients.

Even if there really is no direct tie between your past experience and the Thing you’re drawn to, there’s always value in every experience you’ve had. Sometimes it just takes a hell of a lot of hindsight to see it.

The ROI question

Someone recently asked me how they could justify not getting a job in their field of study after spending so much money on a degree. They felt they needed to get an acceptable ROI (Return on Investment).

But if you knew – and I mean really knew – your Thing would support you financially, and that you’d wake up most days bouncing out of bed because you couldn’t wait to work on your Thing, would you even care about getting the ROI from your degree?

I think the desire for ROI is not really about the degree (or career, or business) you might walk away from. It’s about not believing your Thing will support you.

Or maybe wanting ROI comes down to wanting to see clearly that what you did was worth it, even if it didn’t make your heart sing.

Nobody wants to feel that something they invested in was for nothing.

What if the degree you got (or the business you built, or the years you spent in that other career) that you feel is not useful for pursuing your Thing was exactly what prepared you to go after your Thing?

I try to avoid getting all Hallmark-y around here, but seriously, would you rather get the ROI from past investments or actually enjoy your life?

Is it easy to give up what you’ve put a lot of time, money and energy into? Of course not.

Do I still occasionally grieve over my lost Japanese fluency? Or catch myself thinking building a database for my business is a good use of my time? Yep.

But. Is it worth it to go after your Thing despite the apparent “waste?” Abso-fucking-lutely.

How about you?

What kinds of stuff have you invested in in the past, that you feel you need to see the ROI from now?
What would achieving an acceptable ROI give you?
What does seeking ROI for something you don’t want cost you?

On Tuesday, 6/14, I’m sharing the foundational steps that will help you get unstuck and find your Thing. Check out my *no-cost* teleclass, Six Essential Steps to Find Your Thing. I’d love to see you there.

Thing-Finding Myth #1: There’s Only One Right Thing

Back when I started trying to figure out what my Thing was, I had a lot of preconceived ideas about what it would look like. And some crazily specific notions about how I’d find it.

I was sure that there was only one right Thing for me. More like a Calling or a Mission from God (à la Jake and Elwood Blues).

And I thought that if I just prayed or meditated hard enough, it would arrive as an instant, deep knowing.

Though I would have denied it, I wanted my Thing to be announced to me audibly by the big, booming Voice of God.

Much easier for me to admit was the fact that I wanted the entire path laid out before me.

I wanted a guarantee.

Can you relate?

Those beliefs and desires led to a hell of a lot of stuckness.

First of all, that’s a lot of pressure. One right Thing out of an infinite set of potential Things? What are the odds of getting it right?

Secondly, it put me into passive mode.

It meant waiting for my Thing to find me. And it implied that the only legitimate action was waiting for The Answer.

It created the sense that any step forward I took without knowing what my Thing was was a Waste of Time.

The reality

Your Thing is any combination of What, Why and How that lets you be fully yourself and thrive at work.

The What is the product of your work. Mine’s coaching and teaching and creating digital products.

The Why is the reason you do it, or the big-picture outcome you want to create in the world. Mine is to empower people to start and grow businesses they love, and thereby raise the sum-total of happiness in the world.

The How includes the tactics and strategies and methods you employ as you go about the What and the Why. My How focuses on online stuff like this blog and teleclasses. It also includes the fact that I structure my work days with lots of solitude and flexibility.

Is my current business the only way I could have a Thing that fits me? No way.

I could coach on health issues instead of business issues. Or I could apply more of my tech skills to my current Why. Or I could choose (if it floated my boat) to focus my efforts offline rather than online.

It’s really about creating work that supports all of who you are – even the parts that feel like they get in your way.

How about you?

What kinds of beliefs do you have about Thing-Finding?
Are they stopping (or slowing) you from getting out there and trying stuff?

Want to learn the foundational steps that will help you get unstuck and find your Thing? Check out my *no-cost* teleclass, Six Essential Steps to Find Your Thing. It’s happening next week. I’d love to see you there.