Guilt – is what kicks in when most of us stop doing and start listening. Because we are not “producing” according to other people’s definition.
We are told to do, do, do. “Take action!” “Just Do It!” “Get off your ass!” If you are not taking action, you are procrastinating. You are a loser. You judge yourself, before anyone steps in to judge you.
We are in a society where we fear missing out. We need to do, do, do so we have something to show for – doesn’t matter what that is. We don’t feel we can rest until the to-do list has been checked off.
But the do, do, do mentality can send us down the rabbit hole of busy work. It can become the hamster wheel we unknowingly enslave ourselves to.
Have you had the experience of going down the route of doing something because “everyone else is doing it” and only to find out, 6 months down the rabbit hole, that it’s not taking you the direction you want to go? I have.
It’s not just me. I have seen this over and over again with my clients:
When I first started coaching clients, I put a lot of emphasis on “taking action.” Until I realized if I pushed my clients to do stuff without a solid foundation of clarity and conviction, they don’t get anything meaningful done… if they could get off their duff at all.
Despite the “appearance” that they are spending a couple of weeks upfront to look inward and not making “outward” progress, now I insist my clients to go through the dig deep/exploration/face the Truth process because at the end, they become committed to the direction they choose, they are guided by their big Why and they won’t go down the rabbit hole only to realize they are on the wrong path 6 months later.
What amazes me is, when my clients take the time and give themselves the space to find their clarity, nail their message, claim their superpowers and get their mindset on board, their progress become much faster than just muscling through a to-do list.
Rick had his big vision stewing in his head for two years when he started working with me. The first thing we did was to get clear on his message and vision – it wasn’t all smooth sailing and it took us quite a few weeks. But after the clarity clicked, BAM! 12 weeks into our coaching he had his signature program designed and a website launched! (You can read his story here.)
Kristie came to me wanting to change her business model from per-session to programs and packages. She knew intellectually what to do but she was stuck – despite her go-getter personality, she couldn’t seem to make the transition. We spent a few weeks to help her get clear on her big Why, work through her fears and upgrade her mindset. It took us 6 weeks of “stillness” to get things sorted… but once we had the clarity and mindset bit figured out, she signed 9 clients in 3 weeks to her new packages! (You can read her experience here.)
When I first talked to Dana, she had a little success running some detox programs but was not feeling fulfilled because deep down, she had a bigger message to share. She was losing her fire and with that, motivation and conviction. We helped her get clear on her message, find her voice and claim her identity, so she can be all of her in her business. (You can read her story here.)
Puja came to me with a big (but somewhat vague) vision and she was starting from scratch. We helped her put a stake in the ground, get clear on her Who and Why, claim her superpowers and tailored strategies according to her money personality and strengths. Guess what happened? 6 sessions in she scored a speaking opportunity to present in front of UN staff – she didn’t even have a website yet!! (Yes, UN, as in the United Nations.)
Most importantly, I know this clarity and stillness thing works because I have experienced it first hand.
Because I am guilty as charged with the whole do, do, do habit.
All my life, I had graded myself by how much I “get done” – I focused on the outward “achievements” that made me feel good for a while but soon I needed another shot of adrenaline as the previous round faded away.
Until I mustered up the GUTS to stop and really listen.
Sometimes, what others may see as “procrastination” is very good for business.
The inaction creates a space for clarity to flow through. You can’t possibly hear your true inner voice if you are busy listening to other people telling you some 7 easy steps to xyz. You can’t possibly find your true identity if you allow others to tie you down with their beliefs and perceptions of who/what you are supposed to be or to do.
That was what I did when I overhauled my business. Enough was enough and the doing got old. Misalignment turned from a hairline fracture to a deep trench. The doing was tearing me away from ME, taking me deeper down the rabbit hole.
Cut the cords, conjure the dome of silence, and float in the bubble.
I stopped producing. I gave myself permission to not chase that “monthly number” for a while. I cut the cords, let go of identities, ignored expectations. Be still, be quiet, listen, wait, breathe.
It was hard, the hardest fucking thing I have ever done. Harder than pulling all-nighters in Harvard, harder than juggling million-dollar website projects in cutthroat New York City ad agencies.
Clarity was the reward. Finally, I am able to step up to own a conviction and claim a vision. This was too scary for me in the past – every time I got close I numbed myself out with busy work so I didn’t have to face the truth, and the fear and resistance that come with it.
I put a stop on busy work, and forced myself to face the Truth, to face what is truly important, what really matters.
Even though I released control of the process, it didn’t mean I was not making progress. The stillness of the inner work was deceptive. It took every single ounce out of me to get the clarity and the conviction that form a new solid foundation.
I faced my fears everyday, and it took everything to fight the fear of lack so I don’t jump into hasty actions that do not align with my deepest value.
Holding a big vision and releasing control of the process freed up space to allow intuition and creativity to flow through. It may sound air-headed: I just did what was in front of me, and did what felt right. (Not what the logical mind *thought* to be right but what the Guts said was right – even if it was scary and I had to push myself through it.)
I wrote. I wrote, and I wrote. Being totally vulnerable so I could get it all sorted on the page. Then I hit “publish” to declare it to the world.
One particularly “raw” and honest post in which I shared the good, bad and ugly brought in $4,000.
In the months that followed, I was invited to guest post in a few blogs with a good-sized audience. I was invited to be interviewed in several podcasts and telesummits. I attracted clients who pay the money, appreciate my superpowers and do the work. I feel more at peace and aligned when I sit down to work.
When I stopped “producing” for the sake of producing out of fear and conformity, I became more meaningfully productive.
Here is what I have learned about making progress while floating in the process:
- Let go of the need for certainty and consistency so you can be open to new possibilities and see opportunities that were not apparent before. That means understanding and overcoming the Fear of Change when we are tempted to revert back to the tried-and-true.
- After you have committed to a big vision and find your conviction, let go of the stubbornness around one specific outcome/manifestation. Let go of the How, and focus on the Why – the How can suck you back into busy work.
- Follow you guts, do what’s in front of you and what will bring you more aligned with your mission, vision and conviction – hold onto them for dear life.
- You will be tempted and get sucked back into busy work. More likely than not, it’s the Fear of Missing Out and/or the Fear of Being Criticized kicking in. Recognize it, and follow this quick process to work with it.
- Show up and Trust (yep, easier said than done)
When you nail your big Why, your message and your conviction, you will know. You will have that deep sense of Trust and peace because it is totally, completely in alignment with YOU.
I am not saying sit on your bum bum and hoping things will fall on your lap. You do have to do the work. But act from a place of your truth, of inspiration, not from fears and conformity. And you will be seeing results and revenue along the way – like breadcrumbs telling you that you are on the right path.
As we listen, we can draw the fine line between stillness and action so we can create meaningfully and intentionally.
What is the first step? Nail your message, claim your superpower and muster up the GUTS to monetize your Truth. Let me help.
What is your biggest challenge when it comes to stopping the busy work so you can listen and refocus? Leave a comment below and share your insights: