Is there an unfinished project on your plate?
One you’ve been resisting and avoiding, even though you KNOW you need to get it done?
It could be client work. Or it could be something like filing your taxes, launching a new program, or even publishing a simple blog post.
Unfinished projects can be like those vegetables we hated eating when we were kids.
My mom used to say, “If you don’t finish what’s on your plate, I’ll save it for your breakfast!”
Ugh. There’s nothing less appetizing than cold, left over spinach. Especially when you’re eight years old.
Whatever that unfinished project is, it probably feels like it’s sitting there staring at you. Maybe taunting you.
And in your head, it sounds a lot like “You’ll never be able to create a business you love. You’re just not cut out for this.”
Your resistance to finishing that project is most likely about something more than just whether or not you “like” doing it.
It’s really about Trust. Trusting yourself. Trusting the process.
Trusting the Big Picture to unfold in its right time.
These days, I’ve heard a lot of similar complaints from my clients.
Things like, “I get everything ready and I’m about 95% done, but then I can’t seem to take the next step. And I’m not sure why.”
One client said, “It’s like getting to the 1-yard line and then giving up on the touchdown.”
Has this ever happened to you? Is this happening to you?
I asked my Digital Dining Room group to share their experiences and here’s some of what they told me…
- I’m living this right now. I know what I need to do — and what I need to do is not remotely difficult! I can see both the next step and the entire staircase, but I just can’t get myself to do it. I know I’m running into an Upper Limit Problem (for those of you who have not yet read The Big Leap, I highly recommend it!), but don’t know how to move beyond it. It’s soooo frustrating!
- Sometimes it’s just that I love new ideas and things and get excited about possibilities — then dragged down by the minutiae of implementing. Other times, I think it’s fear of no response. That I have a pet project that I love but am fearful that if I launch it no one will be interested. In my head, I can tell myself it’s all one big old experiment, and that I can always tweak it, but I think my heart just doesn’t want to run the risk that I’m the only one loving this baby.
- There’s a powerful, yet quiet and undermining voice that tells me I’m not contributing anything new. So I write something then feel like it’s not good enough, not adding anything to the conversation. Of course my loud, big girl voice knows this isn’t the case, but that little rascal naysayer seems to have me by the balls (well, you know what I mean).
- I take many first steps but somewhere towards the middle, my confidence fizzles out and I go back into hiding. I usually tell myself that I have really good reasons for that. As for the naysayer voice . . . it’s always there. One of the strongest sabotaging beliefs of mine is the idea that something that cannot be held, seen, worn, or eaten is hard to sell. Maybe it has to do with my corporate sales background or maybe I’m caught in the eternal battle of the left vs. the right side of my brain. I worry that I don’t have anything that unique to offer. I know the way I do things and who I am are unique but the words to describe often sound like hot air to me.
- I find the resistance often comes in disguise… so it’s good to take time to understand what’s really going on… For instance, I may want to spend time on longer-term planning or figuring things out because I’m afraid of having an sales conversation (I just became aware that was going on with me!) That’s a confidence issue that’s being masked as thinking I have to have more in place or more to talk about or have more “figured out” before I can offer something to a client.
It all boils down to TRUST.
Do you trust yourself enough to do what needs to be done?
Do you trust the process and are you okay with stumbling (or falling)?
Do you trust the Universe and your place in it?
And how do you get comfortable with being uncomfortable?
These are all bigger questions that require more time and space than we have here. But I will say, they can be answered in conversations with our coaches, communities, and support systems.
I am who I am because of who we all are. (Ubuntu proverb)
We can’t solve our issues alone in a vacuum. They require conversations, writing, feedback and (feed-forward!) from those we trust.
And sometimes they just require baby steps.
Last month, I started physical therapy so I could re-learn how to walk (for those who are new here, I broke my ankle in January).
At first, I was too terrified to put weight on my newly healed foot. (I spent an entire day totally freaked out and sure that I’d never be able to do it.)
But then I did it. I stood in the bathroom and shifted my weight onto my “bad” leg.
It felt weird and horrible, and I shifted back onto the good leg after only a split second. But I’d done it.
And then it was time for physical therapy.
I spent an hour in the pool with my therapist. taking baby steps, buoyed by the warm water.
And then four days later, we did it again. And again.
I gained confidence that YES, I CAN put weight on my foot.
And then I had to exercise all those ancillary (but atrophied) hip, thigh, and back muscles so necessary for balance.
When I get home from PT, I usually need to take some Advil and elevate my throbbing foot.
Today (just one month later), I’m walking around without crutches.
My walk is slow and my gait sorely lacks in sexy, but I’m able to get around now in ways I thought were impossible just a month ago.
As I gathered more courage and confidence after that first physical therapy session, I noticed something new: impatience.
I wanted to do more. Drive places. Trade in my crutches for a fancy hand-carved walking stick.
I could picture my “success” in technocolor detail. And I wanted it to all happen right then and there.
But I couldn’t just push the fast forward button and make those things happen. I had to take small, tiny steps each day.
I had to do my assigned exercises.
I had to Trust the process.
And now, a month later? I’m driving! I’m grocery shopping! And cooking a few dinners every week.
It feels like I’m living the dream, baby.
Except I still need to put my foot up when I’m sitting at my desk.
And I still need to watch how long I’m out and about.
I get tired easier than I’d like, so then I’ll lay down, elevate that foot, and put a bag of frozen peas on it until it feels better.
And trust that in a few more months, I’ll be able to do even more.
What about you? Are you anxious to reach your business success destination?
I call that longing feeling, “Biz Spring Forward Fever.” Or, BSFF.
It’s that period of time after a long “winter” of slow or no progress where you can just about taste the fullness of your efforts.
Instead of just missing and longing for success, you’re seriously aching and itching to see your business burst into full bloom.
Remember: the blossoming and unfolding process can’t be rushed.
Going too fast, too furious only leads to set backs.
So trust the process, yes. And then get some help from one or two smart cookies.
Here’s the simple truth: your happily ever after and mine both require help from smart professionals once in awhile.
Someone who’s been there, done that to say “Yes! You’re exactly on track,” or “Hey, it looks like you’re putting the cart before the horse.”
Someone to help you avoid over-doing it, burning out, or spending money on the wrong things at the wrong time.
Someone to help you learn how to trust yourself, your ability to implement, and your decision-making process.
I have my physical therapist to help me re-learn how to walk. And yes, I’ve got a business coach to guide me through the process of learning and implementing some advanced biz moves.
If you don’t have a few trusted (there’s that word again) folks to help you take the right size next steps (so you can build a business that you love and that loves you back), make finding at least one your next priority.
Trust that your biz success IS possible. Take baby steps when you need to. And remember that YOU are the author of your beautiful business story.
What project are you working on right now that you’d like to finish or launch? What skills or resources do you wish you had to make your forward progress happen quicker? Or smarter? Share with us in a comment and let’s see if
p.s. One of my most favorite colleagues is Racheal Cook. Racheal invited me to be part of her Business That Loves You Back Blog Tour. If you want more insights on designing a business you love while living your life, visit bit.ly/bizloveblogtour. And don’t miss yesterday’s post from Maggie Patterson or tomorrow’s from Heather Chauvin.