I realized something this week. It turns out that all this time I’ve thought that the “wins” in life, the things worth acknowledging and celebrating, are supposed to be pretty.
I was SO WRONG!!!!
It turns out that some of our biggest wins are hidden in big, messy arguments, somewhere underneath the yelling and the tears. Others are buried in moments of terror, self-doubt and pain. And still more of them are surrounded by everyday frustrations, overwhelm and mess-ups, which is why they’re hard to see, and why it’s hard for so many of us to believe we’ve collected more than a handful of wins throughout our entire lives.
Yesterday I got an email from someone who wanted something from me that I didn’t want to give. She wanted my time.
I have become more and more fiercely protective of my time over the years, but apparently had not yet mastered the art of the effortless no. The moment I read the email subject and knew what the request was, I felt my stomach clench — first because I didn’t want to give time to this particular conversation and second because I knew that I probably would anyway.
WHY do I sometimes think that something is such a good idea, and then it turns out to be such a bad idea but I keep going anyway, like if I can just force myself through it it will be totally worth it? This is what just happened to me, and some ways it might help you when your own brilliant ideas have you banging your head against the wall...
I’ve thought about it and have concluded that I spend more time in my head than doing stuff. And that might be a problem.
If you’ve noticed that exciting ideas explode into your mind, and that you even get so far as to map out how to make those visions real, and then you don’t actually implement any of those steps, or you get started and then abandon ship, then this is a problem for you too…
People (smart people) have been telling me for a while to trust myself, to do what brings me joy, and to trust that the Universe has got my back. And to the intellectual, rational, socially constructed part of me THIS SOUNDS INSANE.
Are you telling me I can build a thriving business and life just by watching movies and eating chocolate all day?? That I can spend my time playing with my kids (who, in this fantasy, are never cranky and always want to play with me) and reading my YA novels and getting massages while money magically appears in my bank account and the laundry miraculously folds itself??
Um, no. But getting all snarky about it is a fantastic way for me to NOT LISTEN to what these people are really saying. On the other hand…
I'm literally spending this last day of 2017 flopping back and forth between absolute conviction that 2018 IS THE YEAR I finally nail those goals that have been accumulating for yearsand absolutely rolling-my-eyes that I would even entertain such a thought.
If you too have a complicated relationship with New Years resolutions, I invite you join me in an experiment for 2018: Aim low.
Just a quick heads up--YOU ARE ALREADY OF VALUE. Full stop. End of sentence. No qualifiers.
You do not have to be more productive. You do not have to earn more money. You do not have to lose weight. You do not have to be a better parent. You do not have to write your book, organize your house or launch your business.
There is NOTHING you have to do right now in order to be a valuable, worthy human being. You do not have to earn your place in this world.
So I posted this on Facebook today in response to my own minor meltdown, and had a feeling it was hitting a chord. I wanted to share it with you, in case you ever find yourself wondering, "How the hell do people get everything done??" or "Why isn't my life/business as perfect as that person's over there??" or "There's a chance that I might be failing at everything. Am I the only one who feels that way?"
If you've got a Vision, you've almost certainly experienced Vision Panic at some point (and more likely at multiple points). Vision Panic is typically some combination of overwhelm, paralysis, freaking out, crying, deciding to quit, getting angry at innocent bystanders, and attempting to tackle every challenge at once with a momentary burst of superhuman focus and energy that's quickly followed by exhaustion and collapse. The good news is that if you're experiencing anything like this, you're probably climbing one hell of a mountain and birthing one hell of a vision. And, even more good news! I'm going to give you my go-to tool that will help you move through your Vision Panic more painlessly, effectively and quickly, so you can get back to creating...
I bet you never thought Moana could teach you SO MUCH about what it takes to be a Visionary. I was pretty surprised too! But since I've been doing a weekly video (OK, it's been two weeks, but that still counts as weekly) about exploring The Visionary's Journey through the movies, I've been pretty amazed by the lessons you can uncover in some pretty unusual places.
Below I break down the Top 5 Ways Moana Is a Visionary (+ some give you tools you can crib so you can rock your own Visionary's Journey)...
Once upon a time there were three friends, Meh, Eh and Good Enough. They each longed to do something meaningful with their lives, and had enough gumption to just go ahead and try, and so they set out to change the world. And that's when things got interesting...
Oh my gosh, I just did something that scared that crap out of me. Last week I was challenged to do my first Facebook Live video, on the theme "The Top 5 Ways Wonder Woman is a Visionary." I was TOTALLY going to bag on it.
And then I didn't. And I'm really, really glad I didn't. Here's why...
Ever gotten really, really excited about something you want to create, something you know will be amazing, will change lives, and which you are exactly the right person to do? And then your rational mind kicks in and reminds you of all the reasons why it's definitely not going to happen?
Yeah, me too.
SO, I want to share with you one of the lessons that has had the biggest impact on the visionaries I work with, that frees them up to pursue their most brazen, most deeply felt dreams.
And, while I understand this concept intellectually, somehow every time I have open space in my calendar the cold, hard facts about how long it actually takes to accomplish things start to mist over, and, as if in a dream, I begin to imagine that it actually IS possible to do everything. Right here, right now.
I had a conversation yesterday with a client, we'll call her Millicent, who has, not one, but multiple fantastic, creative, transformative, BIG visions, and who seems to be growing in doubt and fear the closer she comes to realizing them. That doesn't surprise me, since the farther we get from our comfort zone and what's known and "safe," the more threatened our ego mind becomes, and the more it starts kicking up the volume on all the reasons why we can't do what we're doing, why it's a terrible idea, and why we're going to fail (and end up on the street, and die, if we're really going to follow this path to its logical conclusion).
So I’m pretty clear that for 2017 my big mission is to lead women to admit, accept and embrace what’s true for them—and then support them indiscovering and expressing their own unique magic. So, that’s pretty fun!
I was about to mockingly congratulate myself on sending out my second JOYmail in 2016, when I realized that, you know what, there’s actually a reason why I haven’t sent out more than one newsletter this year. In fact, there are several reasons, and I’m thinking now that it might be helpful to share some of them with you.
Ever try to do something that seems like a really smart idea, an idea that will save you time and/or money and/or energy? And then it totally blows up in your face and ends up costing you MORE time and/or money and/or energy than it would have if you'd done it the regular way in the first place?
In the spirit of gratitude to all of the people who have shared their vulnerable moments over the years, and helped me feel less alone and more hopeful in so many areas of my life, I am sharing with you what spilled out of me in a moment (a long moment) of fear and shame and sadness. This is the exchange I had with my ego last week. I hope you find in it something of value to help you through any downward-spiraling moments of your own, if you ever happen to have any...
Well, holy crap. I graduated high school 25 years ago.
It doesn't seem possible, particular since I still feel like a sixteen-year-old most of the time. But, having received the invitation to our 25th reunion, I can't exactly refute it. So let's take advantage of this opportunity--
If so, you're not alone. According to The Power Path's monthly forecast, the theme of July is "Growing Pains." If my life, or the lives of pretty much all of my clients, are any indication, these shamans have it dead straight:
So a month ago, at 11:30 on a Tuesday night, I suddenly became possessed by the idea that I had to join a gym. (For those of you who know me, "join a gym" was not even close to the phrase you would have expected to follow the words, "I had to." Even I was shocked by the overwhelming pull I was feeling to do this.)
A couple of weeks ago I attended my son’s school talent show. He is seven. He held up a glass and showed the audience that there was a quarter in the glass. It was good that he said this, because I don’t think anyone in the audience could actually see that there was a quarter in the glass. Then he made the quarter disappear. (I don’t think anyone could actually see this either.)
I just got this note from someone who participated in my last Get One Thing Done Day, we'll call her Abby:
"I 'got one thing done,' Jennifer, and put project to-do lists on my bulletin board, plus made shelves for individual project papers. But there are so many. I'm a KALEIDOSCOPE, with many interests. Setting priorities is hard. I end up doing the urgent things, jumping from one to another, all so important."
First of all, if you're my dad, you may want to seriously consider not reading the rest of this article. Same goes for you if you're the kind of person who gets squeamish talking about ladies' undergarments.OK, now that that's out of the way--I don't know about you, but I pretty much hate wearing bras. Every once in a while I'll luck into one that fits so comfortably that I forget that I'm wearing it, but most of the time I feel like I'm stuck in a harness that I can't wait to rip off.
Well, my plan was to stay in touch with all of the amazing people in the Place of Joy community, to do it consistently, and to share things I think you’ll value.
I wanted to do this because (1) I have a lot to teach and writing is a great way for me to get it out there, (2) people respond to a lot of what I write about and it seems to make a difference to them, and (3) because the general consensus is that if you stay in touch with your community consistently and provide value, your business will grow.
OK, so I know I’ve spent the year running programs and workshops designed to help people get their stuff done, and that a lot of the questions I ask have to do with what things you wished you’d gotten to this year but didn’t. And I’m not going to pretend that it’s not true that there are probably things on your list you haven’t gotten to—I know it’s certainly true for me.
I feel like I just got through one batch of holidays and am diving head-first into another, without a second to breathe. And while I know there are lots of other people who celebrate all sorts of holidays and still manage to run households, businesses, personal lives and school book fairs, frankly I sometimes can’t imagine how they do it. Or, more accurately, how they do it without breaking down and crying and/or getting a little snappish and/or wondering what would happen if they just quit doing everything.
Let me share with you a conversation I recently had with my six (and-three-quarter) year-old son on our walk home from school:
Me: Would you still love me if I were a zombie?
James: If you didn't eat my brains I would love you. [Thoughtful pause.] I would love the "you" I remember, not the zombie you. If you tried to eat my brains I would throw a jalapeno at you and burn you up.
I thought this was a reasonable response.
My husband agreed, and added this: You see, that's how James is going to make it through the Zombie Apocalypse, he realizes you can't get sentimental.
So what does this have to to with business? I'm glad you asked.