Underwater? (And want to come up for some air?)

Guys, I’ve made an error in judgment.

You see, my husband Dana and I have just returned from vacation. Two weeks on the coast of Maine. It was glorious. I had my out-of-office message set up; I made family time and play time my priority; I got myself to a place of feeling recharged and ready to jump back into my business this second week of September with both feet.

There’s just one problem. (Well, sort of—it’s just not the problem that I think it is.)

I didn’t carve out even an ounce of margin for myself in this week that I’ve returned to the office.

I had a medically minor but very necessary appointment first thing Monday morning.

I’m up to my eyeballs in email (apparently the out-of-office feature doesn’t actually manage your inbox for you—it just gives you a mountain to triage once you return; I forget this every time I use it).

I’ve got multiple coaching calls each day this week (which is an absolute blessing, not a curse—just poorly timed on my part).

I’m in full-on creation mode for a collaboration workshop series I’m launching with a dear friend and colleague.

Friday is September’s Get It Done Day, which means I do usually get some stuff done…but am much more committed to facilitating an experience that allows my participants to get their stuff done, so that’s where I’ll be putting my energy.

In any case, this isn’t supposed to be a laundry list of Just How Much Freakin’ Stuff I’ve Got On My Plate.

Because, as a matter of fact, I love my plate.

And I love my stuff.

As my two-week vacation unfolded, I found myself actively looking forward to the work I had waiting for me here. To the coaching calls. To the collaboration. To Get It Done Day. (Definitely not to the medical procedure, but you win some, you lose some.) For the most part, I even looked forward to coming up with a blog post to share in my weekly newsletter, because I want to write useful, actionable articles for you.

But between yesterday and today, that last one kept getting knocked to the bottom of my to-do list. (Case in point: It’s 7:00 p.m., long past the end of my work day, and here we are.)

Not truly on purpose; more like by default.

Whatever I might’ve wanted to write to you, however polished I would’ve liked to make it, it turns out I’m cooking dinner while composing this post, because it’s pretty much the only time I’ve had to give to this particular task today.

When I hit the ground running on Monday, I had to take a good, hard look at my work priorities (my clients and my collaboration) and decide that those were the only work-related things getting prime Helen attention this week. Everything else would have to get my not-so-prime attention. Like, composing-while-cooking attention.

In other words, I renegotiated.

I gave myself the grace to be imperfect. (This sentence really makes me laugh, because of course I’m imperfect either way—whether or not I manage to give myself grace for it—but it certainly feels better to be on board with the imperfection than fighting it, tooth and nail.)

And here I am. Free-writing my blog post while sautéing zucchini.

As far as my tip series goes, this might be one that doesn’t land with you right away, but hear me out anyway: I get overwhelmed, too; I come back from vacation and feel absolutely underwater with all that I’ve got to do in order to show up in the way I want.

However, what I do with that overwhelm, that underwater feeling, isn’t spin out. I don’t stay up later, way past my bedtime, to do more or to do it better.

I don’t make myself suffer for my error in judgment, the one that had me booking and overbooking my calendar for the week I returned from a two-week vacation.

Nope.

(That was just a mistake. A little too much optimism or enthusiasm, maybe. A past-me who didn’t give her future self all the leeway that her future self would wind up needing.)

Instead, what I do is revise the terms of the contract I have with myself, the one that says “here’s what you’ve put on your plate this week, Helen.”

How?

I take one (or two, or seven) things off my plate, now that I’m looking at it and it’s bigger than my stomach.

Sometimes I ask coaching clients to reschedule to the following week. (And the world isn’t ending because of this.)

I abandon to-dos that might feel really urgent, but definitely aren’t important enough to lose sleep over; in other words, tomorrow morning will be fine. (And the world isn’t ending because of this.)

I write an unplanned, low expectations blog post in between cooking and eating a decidedly un-fancy dinner. (And the world isn’t ending because of this.)

Get my drift?

Renegotiating is always an option. Very little in life is do or die. (And the world isn’t ending because of this.)

Craving some credit? (And want to actually get it?)

It's not altogether unheard of to seek validation from the people in your life.

Your spouse, your parents, your boss, your fitness instructor, your client, whomever.

We all like to feel appreciated. Seen. Acknowledged. Maybe even adored? C'mon, it's fine to cop to it.

Whether or not we need this validation is irrelevant. (Well, it's not entirely irrelevant—it's pretty important you realize validation isn't an essential part of your existence; praise can't and shouldn't be water or food or air to you. I like to think of it as cake icing. It's really, really nice; it makes life more enjoyable and work easier; but it is possible to give yourself what you seek from others...to decide that you don't need to outsource your self-esteem.) Many of us crave it on occasion, and there's no sense in pretending we don't. Or in denying ourselves this thing we so desperately want.

What's the solution?

Well, let's call a spade a spade, and just ask for the damn thing we're after.

When I want acknowledgment, I ask for acknowledgment.

When I want praise, I ask for praise.

When I want to be seen, I ask to be seen.

Plain and simple.

How do I do it?

Well, sometimes I ask informally (e.g. I might say to my friend, "Check out my new haircut!" when I'm seeking some attention and acknowledgement), but I also ask professionally (e.g. I request feedback from all my clients via a straightforward questionnaire that covers what worked well for them, as well as what didn't; I give them the opportunity to praise me and to help me become a more effective coach).

When’s the last time you asked for a pat on the back from someone who loves you, likes you, trusts you, or just might have something really nice or helpful to say about you?

What about a public pat on the back? In other words: a Facebook recommendation, a Google review, a LinkedIn endorsement, a word-of-mouth referral, a website testimonial?

What's stopping you from asking? Share below and let us help you.

(And if you've got this one covered, awesome! Share with us what's worked for you.)

Bad with appointment-making? (And want to be better?)

Are you avoiding your doctor and dentist like the plague?

(Even as they're the ones who can help you avoid the actual plague?)

I know, I know—you're not doing it because you don't care about your and your family's health and well-being; it's just surprisingly difficult to make the time, consistently, to schedule appointments with All The People, for All Your People.

Too, we tend to overestimate how long it takes to complete this ticky-tacky stuff.

If you were to time yourself, you'd see that making a dentist appointment truly takes all of five minutes. It just feels like it'll take the better part of a day when you avoid it for months on end...and it grows extra limbs and then reproduces in your mind.

So, here's what I've taken to doing:

I'm knocking out my doctor/dentist/gynecologist/dermatologist appointments all at once.

Using one of the productivity hours during our free, monthly Get It Done Day co-working event (to be honest, it takes me far less than the full hour—which means I've got built-in daydream/chill-out time to reward myself with), I can get all my sticky note reminders crumpled up and into the trash—and be done with it.

If you suspect some group accountability would give you that extra push of motivation, join us! For a group of strangers, we're surprisingly invested in your getting your tasks off your list before the end of our day together (we even use a shared spreadsheet to keep track). And we cheer for each other in a heartfelt way.

Want to make your own event of it? Super! Go ahead and invite some friends over for an in-person Get It Done Day. (I don't own this idea!) You could incentivize yourselves with fancy coffee creamer and breaks on the front porch!

If you're not even remotely motivated by group stuff and/or if the timing of a group event is impossible because of your work schedule, find a way to entice yourself. Pick a day to ditch the office break room and your usual brown bag lunch, and instead, mosey down to the gourmet deli. In-between bites of a sandwich someone else made for you (they always taste better, don't they?), work your phone and "Must Call" list like nobody’s business. In less than an hour, you’ll have those appointments off your to-do list and on your calendar.

It doesn't have to be so hard! (In fact, it isn't all that hard; it's just not particularly fun. And Get It Done Day can help you there.)

Bad with birthdays? (And want to be better?)

Do you hate that sinking feeling you experience when you realize you missed your best friend's kid's birthday again?

(I do.)

Do you imagine that one day you'll get it together? You'll get the card out in time so that you can quit shopping from the 'belated' section of the card aisle?

Well, guess what? It won't happen. Not if you keep pushing it off to one day.

It will happen only if you make the decision here and now to align your actions with your values, to do the thing that represents who you want to be in the world.

 

I want to be the person who remembers birthdays and anniversaries, and sends a simple card (we're talking a short, but thoughtful message) to her people when they're celebrating their special days.

How do I do this?

After years and years of paper calendars (I'm an analog person at heart), I've finally made the transition to electronic (I can pull it up when I'm in those card aisles at Target and/or add special dates when I realize I never wrote down my best friend's kid's birthday in the first place!). I've created a separate Google calendar just for birthdays and anniversaries, which I review at the start of every month. (I can also turn it off when my calendar looks too chaotic and I need to see some white space.)

How do I make sure I get those cards out?

Well, it takes a little bit of effort, but you had to know I wasn't going to say I snap my fingers and it's done. 😉

When I review my birthday/anniversary calendar at the start of the month, I make a note of all the special dates that fall in the coming weeks (as well as into the first week or two of the following month). This takes no more than two minutes.

Next, I go through my stationery collection (yes, I have one—it's composed of paper I've loved, cards I've picked up because they reminded me of someone or because I knew I'd have a future need for them, boxed sets of whimsical designs with blank insides, etc.) and I grab a card for each person who has an upcoming birthday or anniversary. This takes between five and 10 minutes.

Obviously if you had a lot of time and/or resources, you could go a number of ways:

Money not an issue? While waiting for your prescription to be filled at the pharmacy counter, you could shop the card aisles and find something for everyone on your list, sparing no expense.

Time not of the essence? You could spread out a few sheets of watercolor paper and go to town with an abstract design, then cut up the paper into individual notecards and scrounge up some loose envelopes.

But my method of collecting pieces of stationery as I go, then raiding my supply each month for my loved ones' occasions, works really well for me. It helps me use the stuff I already have, and it also allows me to buy ahead when something strikes my fancy (or when it's November and I find the perfect card for my goddaughter's July birthday).

After I've picked out a card from my stash for each person, I grab my pack of colorful felt-tip pens and bundle it up with the cards (giant rubber bands work great for this, but really just grouping the stuff together in a small pile is sufficient), then park it on the coffee table, where I can see it when I'm resting later in the day and can scribble my loving sentiments, one at a time

Since I've taken all the pressure off of myself to write something clever or perfect (after all, the fact that I'm getting a card out at all is epic! Why would I make it any harder on myself?!), picking up the pen to finish the job is far more enjoyable than it is a burden. Message scribbling takes a max of 15 minutes for, say, a bundle of five cards. That's three minutes a piece. Easy-peasy.

Stamps and my address book come next. And usually, by the time I've written the message, I'm fired up and wanting to get these notes in the mail ASAP, before they get covered by incoming mail and other house detritus, and then lost for months on end—so, it's pretty easy to get myself to address and post and be done with it.

If you're someone who does gifts in addition to cards, you're on your own.

Nah, just kidding. 😉

My recommendation there would be to remember the whole reason for the gift-giving in the first place.

If it's become a real burden to you, or something you just don't ever make ample time for, I'd say it's time to reconsider your efforts. Would a FaceTime call be more enjoyable for you and your person? Does it make more sense to plan a time to get together in person for ice cream and a heart-to-heart? Do you need to set up some personal boundaries around gift-giving?

An example from my own life: I buy books for kids. That's it.

Every kid in my life gets a book for his or her birthday, and another book at Christmas. I don't do toys, mainly because I don't feel like keeping up with what's cool and/or what the kid already owns. Also, I'm a big believer in reading as a totally worthwhile kid activity, so I practice what I preach by making books my go-to kid present.

As for the adults in my life, I give gifts on an at-whim basis; if, when I'm out and about, I see something that's just perfect for a particular someone, I'll buy it and save it for the nearest occasion. If I don't, I don't. This way, no one's getting crap for the sake of my handing them something on their special day, and I'm not forcing myself to go hunting for gifts for my loved ones all month, every month.

Your gifting philosophy might be different from mine, and that's a-okay. The important bit is that you're living out your values, not someone else's—and that you're aligning your actions with what's most important to you.

Card-sending and gift-giving not at all important to you? No problem! That doesn't mean you don't care about your people and it certainly doesn't make you a bad person. We all have our things, our ways of staying connected to the people in our lives, so take a moment to consider yours.

How can you bring more of who you want to be into what you do? Share with me below.

What's August for?

This week, I'm popping in with a quick note to share with you an insight I had yesterday:

What if August isn't for doing more, for scrambling around to fit in one last thing before summer's over...but is, instead, for reaping what we've already sown, for enjoying the results of all the work we've already put in?

What if August is the collection month, the good-on-you month, the pre-harvest harvest?

What if August is for allowing the data to stream in and inform what comes next?

What if August is all bounty and no labor?

What if August is effortless effort?

As if to confirm my hunch, several bits and pieces on this very topic have been landing on my radar since last week. Signs abound.

 

Soon the harvest will begin here in earnest. There will be beans and tomatoes to can, grapes to steam for juice and jelly. There will be carrots and potatoes to dig, and then a garden to put to bed for the winter. I like the idea of pausing now, of a deep slow breath before the chaos of summer’s bounty fully arrives. Time to think, reflect, be thankful, anticipate.

—from Brenna Layne's "Lughnasadh Thoughts"

 

This is it. 
It’s not perfect. 
It’s ever-changing. 
There are highs and lows.
But THIS is how it is.

—from Andrea Scher's "This is how it turned out"

 

Hitting that peak of summer that’ll soon roll into September, already the nights are coming in sooner. Watering after dinner starts at dusk and somehow it's dark within the hour.

Last light comes from the flowers. What was a field full of wild colours two weeks ago has settled back into to the steady orange of marigolds, California poppies and the awkward family lineup of sunflowers. Despite the erratic irrigating, blunt pruning, blind training and lack of weeding...the seeds sown in March just keep on stretching...rambling...despite my best efforts to ignore half of it.

It feels like it’s been a full season already, don’t honestly think I’m even halfway through yet. The weather has been so out of whack that I couldn’t guess when the corn will be ready, when the big tomatoes are going to ripen, or if there will be a November frost to sweeten up the pumpkins. So I’ve given up on making many plans or taking a lot advice lately, everyone’s stabbing in the dark anyway, myself included. It’s gut instincts or bust now, best laid plans were fine for keeping me occupied in winter but it’s all out of the window now...brakes are off again, let's just see where the rest of summer takes us. Fairly sure the plants have got it covered.

—from Meg Lobb's @girlfridays_notes Instagram feed

 

The sometimes push-pull energy of August doesn't have to result in pushing or pulling.

Flow is always an option.

If you're picking up on the conflicting energy of this month, consider approaching your days as opportunities to reap what's already there—to benefit from the seeds you planted in early spring when the ground had just softened, the earned abundance that's finally coming into its own right now.

The season will change again, and soon (I've already spotted a few bright red leaves in our neighborhood!)—and with it, the natural rhythm of your actions.

You've got nothing to worry about and nothing to force.

Examples of small steps you might take today

BUSINESS

  • Come up with a list of five specific people you want to serve.
  • Ask ten friends, family members, or coworkers to subscribe to your email newsletter.
  • Reach out to a former client in a meaningful way; ask her what she needs right now.

HEALTH

  • Post a request on Facebook for physician recommendations in your area.
  • Set a timer to remind yourself to get up from the computer every 40 minutes to stretch.
  • Replace your third cup of coffee with a glass of water.

RELATIONSHIPS

  • Instead of your usual phone date this week, FaceTime with your parents or your kids.
  • Put a note in the mail to that friend you haven’t talked to in a while but think about all the time; no fancy stationery necessary, any old paper will do.
  • Before you and your love fall asleep for the night, share with each other your favorite part of the day.

Do these examples spark some ideas for you? Declare your small step in the comments, and I’ll cheer you on. Encouragement is more vital than you might think!

How to turn a session with me into...three

SO MUCH of my transformative small-steps work with clients happens between our coaching sessions.

Between them?!

Yup. The biggest shifts occur within the client when she’s out there on her own, incorporating what we’ve talked about, experimenting with the challenges I’ve given her, and updating me via email.

It’s an awesome thing to witness, because SHE HAD IT IN HER THE WHOLE TIME. I just brought it out of her and then reflected it back so she could see it for herself.

One client summed it up perfectly: “The most helpful part of working with you was the ability to email you updates on the status of my [Big, “Impossible” Thing] and receive very thoughtful and in-depth responses from you that helped me understand my next step. Those emails were so valuable to me, I always felt like you gave me your very best and also that you were 100% cheering me on. I felt relieved when I wrote and sent you the emails. I felt inspired and encouraged when I received your responses. You helped me to see things differently and more authentically.”

I don’t leave anyone out in the cold during this work. It’s a supportive, co-created process, and I keep close tabs on your small steps because I want to keep showing you that you’re Making It Happen. If you take it slow and steady, I know you can do anything you want to do.

Have you thought about investing in a 90-minute session with me—but you’re not sure how far those 90 minutes will really get you?

You might find that 90 minutes, split into three 30-minute laser calls, is spot-on—as it was for my client. She showed up to our calls, did the work I gave her, and as a result: “The follow up emails are really where I stretched and applied your guidance.”

She also said this, which might resonate with you: “I have no doubt that a 90-minute session would be magical, but I preferred having a few sessions spread out so that I continued working with you as things began to shift.”

If you’re on a tight budget, consider three mini sessions. Email me with what you want to achieve, and we’ll break it down into three micro steps—which you can then take with 90 minutes of my support.

Are you a hurdler, too?

You don’t want to take small step after small step; you want to leap from here to there, smoke rolling off your heels, growing pains averted, accomplishment shining like a trophy on your shelf.

You’re not saying you want it to be easy (well, not really)...but you do want ease. And speed, come to think of it. Is anyone taking notes here?

Small steps feel piddly to you—amateurish, low level, for people who aren’t as motivated and sharp and quick-witted as you are.

But whenever you go big, you wind up going home. The leaping isn’t working for you. It’s landing you not quite in Burnout, but somewhere between Losing Steam and Shiny Object Syndrome. You get distracted (somehow, by your own self). Something else looks more interesting. Easier. Higher rewards for less legwork.

Rinse and repeat.

Many of the women who come to work with me are hurdlers. They think fast, so they want to do fast. Slow feels impossible. Small feels inefficient, maybe even like it doesn’t count. By the time we’ve completed three months of coaching together, they’ve transformed into tightrope walkers; they operate deliberately, with precision, focus, and a plan. From experience, they know that small steps are the only sustainable way forward. They’ve changed the relationship they have with themselves into one of trust and steadiness. There's no rush; they’re working on today and not getting ahead of themselves.

Want to create a new relationship with yourself and your wildest dream? Email me and we’ll set up a time to speak.

This is your very first step

I can share with you all the best tips for approaching your Big, “Impossible” Thing. I can help you figure out what your first small step is—or, if you’ve already begun (go, you!), I can help you figure out your next small step. I can work with you to create an effective and consistent roadmap for going after and getting the thing you want.

But what I can’t give you is your WHY. WHY you’re driven to pursue your Big, “Impossible” Thing in the first place. The deep need or desire that’s at its core. Only you feel that in your heart, and only you can communicate it to the world.

If you’re not so sure you know your WHY, that right there’s your first step.

Before roadmapping or logo-designing or outlining or editing a single page on your website or sending an email inquiry—before all of that comes the very preliminary, very crucial step of determining WHY you need to realize this vision in your lifetime.

Without your WHY, you can spend all the time in the world on the legwork of your Big, “Impossible” Thing...and still not have a sense of clarity (and that essential resolve) when it comes to the big picture.

A WHY flings you out of bed in the morning. A WHY makes those necessary admin tasks a whole lot less of a drag. A WHY opens your eyes to opportunity and paves the way for serendipity.

Though I can’t just hand you any old WHY, I can help you dig around and determine yours. I promise you it’s there inside you—you only need a little assistance to articulate it.

Are you clear on your WHY? Leave a comment below, or email me—I’d love to learn what you’re up to, and WHY it’s so important to you.

How's your patience/resolve ratio?

Taking small steps toward your “Impossible” Thing requires a healthy ratio of PATIENCE to RESOLVE.

All at once, you must be willing to hang in there for months or years at a time as your “Impossible” Thing slowly takes shape...and you must be tenacious in the day-to-day in order to drive your vision forward into reality.

Though it will feel like outside circumstances are your biggest challenge, I promise you that won’t ever be the case.

Consider this from William Somerset Maugham, British playwright, novelist, and short story writer from the 1930s:

“If you don’t change your beliefs, your life will be like this forever. Is that good news?”

If you don’t change your beliefs, are you in a good place to actually achieve your “Impossible” Thing? Tell me in the comments how you’re handling your own PATIENCE/RESOLVE ratio these days, and if one or the other needs some attention.

Small Steps, Tip #4

Today was a glorious day of STARTING.

We just wrapped up April’s (free!) Get It Done Day, where four intrepid souls joined me in beginning Those Tasks We’ve Collectively Avoided For Too Long.

Some of these tasks were organizational, some administrative, others generative or creative. Regardless of the nature of the tasks, we all had our reasons for procrastinating on them until today.

And you know what the best part was? It didn’t even matter why we’d put off starting our various projects; each of us decided that today was the day we’d make inroads on them, no matter what happened last week or last month, no matter how we might’ve failed to start sooner.

Today—we determined both separately and together—would be our starting line.

(And this was the kind of race where no one’s actually racing anyone else and everyone gets a trophy. ‘Cause that’s how I roll.)

Though we worked independently throughout the morning and afternoon (FYI: just an hour at a time—any more than that, and we’re asking too much of our bodies and brains), we checked in with each other on several different occasions via video conference call.

We laughed. We cried. (Just kidding, no one cried.) We mostly got it done. At the very least, we started something we’d previously put off starting.

Do you feel how huge that is? If you’ve ever avoided beginning a project, you’re likely nodding your head in agreement right now.

Sometimes we’re afraid to start a project because we don’t believe we have what it takes. Sometimes we (think we) don’t know the first step. Sometimes we convince ourselves we need to be able to finish the project before we can start it; we need to set aside a whole day or a whole month before we can even look at the thing; we get really All Or Nothing about it.

We don’t do ourselves any favors when we let our clever excuses run the show. They might be clever, but that’s about all they’ve got going for themselves.

If you’d like some support in locating your starting line, come to the next Get It Done Day. It’s free, but you do have to register. I can’t wait to see you there.

A procrastination solution that requires just one day of your time

Without exception, I use my time far more efficiently when I know someone else is paying attention.

If I go to the bookstore on my own, to hunt for a particular book, you can bet I'll wander to my heart's content, remembering this book and that book and detouring myself the entire time. An hour or more can be lost like this.

Sure, I've got a goal (to locate that one book), but it's pretty meandering as far as a plan is concerned, and it's definitely aimless in the sense that it doesn't live on a timetable—so, I've more or less made it forgettable from the outset.

If, on the other hand, my husband's waiting out in the car and we agree I have 15 minutes to find my book, I'm focused first on accomplishing the mission at hand, and only then would I permit myself to wander around with any remaining time.

As with the first example, there's still the same goal (to locate that one book); however, this time it's set within a specific context—a husband waiting patiently and an increment of time that's trained squarely on the objective, not on the experience.

An important aside: I absolutely believe in focusing on the experience much of the time. In fact, I'd go so far as to say I'm someone for whom the experience is often prioritized over the objective.

But, when it comes to doing what I know I need to do with this one life of mine (and when it comes to doing what I want to do and staying married to the person I want to be married to, lol), I try to remember that focusing my energy on the objective is sometimes undeniably important.

And in many cases, dealing with the objective first (and positioning it within a meaningful context—on a timetable, as part of an agreement, etc.) actually affords me the opportunity to be present for the experience.

ENTER GET IT DONE DAY.

 

Get It Done Day is a FREE virtual event for anyone who struggles with procrastination and has been avoiding a specific something (or somethings) for a good, long while. The objective is to give you a designated time to finally complete That Which Inspires Dread.

It’s free, but you must register. Hop over here to add your name to the list.

What to do when you don't know what to do

Your Big, "Impossible" Thing scares the crap out of you.

You literally have no clue what the first step is in getting what you dream of...and admitting that feels vulnerable, like you have no business dreaming of something you don't know how to start, let alone achieve.

I have news for you:

YOU'RE ENTITLED TO WANT SOMETHING REGARDLESS OF YOUR KNOWING HOW TO GET IT.

 

Not knowing should never be the reason you don't pursue your Thing. Why?

Look around you! There are RESOURCES everywhere! In the form of people! People who DO know what you don't positively abound on this planet!

Some of my clients have believed they've discovered an exception to this (they haven't): "But what if I don't know what I don't know? Then, how do I figure out where to start, what questions to ask, who I need to hire to help me first?"

YOU FIND SOMEONE WHO WILL ASK ➡️ YOU ⬅️ THE QUESTIONS.

 

You find someone who doesn't care what you think you know or what you think you don't know. Someone who doesn't believe your Stories about yourself, your litanies of self-diagnosed shortcomings, your limitations. Someone who will shower you with questions like it's her job (because it is).

If you're nodding your head because you don't know what you don't know about going after your Thing, I have two things to say to you: 1. It's more common than you think (in other words, you're not alone), and 2. get a coach on your team right now.

Comment below or email me privately to start a conversation, which we can take to the phone. If I can't help you, I'll refer you to someone who can. Resources abound!

Small Steps, Tip #3

What about when everything seems to be going against you?

You lose your job, the weather doesn't cooperate, your buyer backs out at the last minute, the baby wakes up every hour on the hour so you're a zombie come sunrise.

What do you do when you feel as though you’re once again back to square one? How do you figure out your first, smallest possible step? I encourage my clients to ask themselves one simple question: "What can I reasonably accomplish right now, given my current situation?"

The first key here is the word 'REASONABLY'—and it's often the place where folks require some help (because the kind of person I work with often overloads 'reasonably' until it isn't actually reasonable at all—sound familiar?).

The second key is the time component: RIGHT NOW. It's crucial to take action immediately, when the disappointment or stressor or misfortune is relatively fresh, because that small initiative reinforces the fact that all is not lost, that our agency hasn't gone anywhere, and that forward movement (even itty-bitty micro-movement) is possible even when we’re really tempted to burn it all down and sit in a steaming pile of wallow.

What are some examples of reasonable and immediate small steps you could take when the going gets tough?

Well, it all depends on your situation, of course—but one might be as simple and seemingly innocuous as writing a single email.

Another might be employing the Phone-A-Friend option, to welcome a new perspective.

What about taking ninety seconds to pen a madcap list of all that could possibly come next?

Sometimes a hot shower is the only thing that’ll do.

These options are small. They’re not world-rocking. Probably they won’t even appear to change anything at all.

But each offers you an opportunity for a mindset shift.

And once your mind is right, once you’ve shifted it from “WHY ME?” to “WHO CARES?” you’re back on track to create the outcome you’re after.

Certainly feel your feelings, but don’t let them stop you from going after and getting whatever you want.

Small Steps, Tip #2

Hey, you—yeah, you. You with the eleventy bajillion things on your to-do list.

I've got news for you: You don't actually have eleventy bajillion things on your to-do list.

You don't even have twenty things on it.

You have ONE. One thing to do first.

And it's your very next step.

That's it—just the very next step; it's the only thing you need to look at, and then take action on, right now.

(Still overwhelmed? Look at that very next step and break it in half. Start there. Once you begin, momentum will support you. Also? I can support you. Leave a comment below and we'll have you moving in no time.)

Small Steps, Tip #1

As anyone who’s coached with me knows, I’m a major fan of taking small steps in the direction of the thing I’m after.

Small steps keep me from getting overwhelmed by the enormity of my goal and how hard it might be to imagine having actually achieved it.

Also? Progress of any amount just feels really damn good, so why not go for the gradual and consistent approach (and give myself regular hits of dopamine)—rather than going full steam ahead and burning out after a couple days?

When I say ‘small steps,’ I mean SMALL. (Kinda funny to use caps on the word ‘small’.) Like, even half-steps—HELL, QUARTER-STEPS!—count.

Examples of totally valid small steps: googling to find out what city form you need to complete in order to become a farmers’ market vendor; choosing a paint color for the bathroom (even if you don’t plan to paint it today, tomorrow, or this weekend); asking your Facebook friends for a dentist recommendation; finding out which buildings on the main drag are vacant and could be home to your someday, one day small business; pulling the luggage down from the hall closet in preparation for packing for next week’s trip.

It’s nothing complicated or overwrought; there’s really no wrong way to take a first step (however small) toward your objective.

What’s a quarter-step you could take today that’ll get you closer to your Thing?