I don't want thought leaders at my company!
-Said no CEO, ever.
Last night I was watching an episode of Salvage Dawgs on Netflix. It consists of footage of a crew salvaging old woods from abandoned buildings, a couple of guys going out to pick antiques out of junk yards and repurposing unworking things into useful things. The episode I was watching had these guys working to save two huge trusses from a building they’d been salvaging for a week. These huge roof supports were attached better than they expected for a 100 year old building and it took a ton of work, heavy equipment and problem solving skills to extract them. In the end, they did it.
So, that lead me to start thinking…what happens when you extract your 100 year old trusses? What happens when you achieve the distant goal you have worked for so long on? After the celebration dies down, it can feel, empty. Whether your trusses are landing a big client, being promoted to your dream title, completing that masterpiece project or just starting your business, it can feel like an empty building after the back patting stops. Then you’re just left to figure out what this means for you now.
This happened to me last week. I had been dreading the idea of speaking in front of a large group, but when you do what I do, it’s a necessity. So, a few years, I started putting myself out there, making a point of putting myself on camera and in front of people. I forced myself to slow my breathing when in front of a crowd and focus on being me. Two years after I announced that I absolutely would not, under no circumstances, let public speaking get me again, I was given an opportunity to speak in from of 175 people on the topic of small business marketing.
I went, I gave an HOUR AND FIFTEEN MINUTE talk about a topic I’m passionate about and I didn’t suck. I had so many questions and a line of people to talk to me. It’s the type of positive attention I love. When we left, people pointed at me from across the street. “That’s her”, they whispered. It was truly one of the most exhilarating experiences I’ve had in my career. It was the high of pseudo-famous.
Then, two days later… it was gone. I was just Maureen again. The silence after can be deafening.
So, what now?
Well, I’m not sure about you, but after my “trusses” are extracted, I ask: “what’s next?” To believe that we have one purpose in this life would be heart breaking. And as a collectively passionate and goal-oriented group, we know that this is action time. What else will make you feel fantastic? What else will help move you along your path to your long range goals? It’s time to sit down and strategize. For me, it is about finding another opportunity to speak about something I’m passionate about. There is no better thing than helping people do their jobs better. That’s why I got into marketing into the first place…good marketing helps people do their jobs better.
So, let’s get started!
I’ve been reading “The Desire Map” by Danielle LaPorte. I’m a newly christened FanGRRRRL. This is important to note because I’m staunchly anti-self-help. I have no interest in getting in touch with my inner goddess, I avoid becoming one with my “wind”, or discovering my cheese. Plainly, I’m a skeptic.
But, I want to be clear, I’m a strong believer in improving oneself. Getting better and badder is part of my life mission. So, when I attended a Camp Souldust and was introduced to the idea of “creating goals with soul”, I was sold. The core of the book/workbook turns goal setting on it’s head. It focuses on how you want to feel when you achieve goals and success instead of what you want to achieve. So many people spend their lives acquiring, achieving, and checking boxes, yet still feel empty afterwards. What if you focused on how you want to feel? How would that change your goals? Your choices? Your life directions?
As I said, I’m a FanGRRRL. It’s real.
Why do you care?
Great question! Those feelings that we want to feel are encapsulated in “Core Desired Feelings”. Currently, mine are: MIGHTY, MAGICAL, GRACIOUS, and AUDACIOUS.
That’s all the good stuff. Just as important is the bad stuff… the feelings I want to avoid. Here are my Core UNDESIRED Feelings: GUILT, OBLIGATION, and TRAPPED
I’m naturally motivated by avoiding those negative feelings… and it turns out that when I avoid those feelings and head towards my positive emotional goal posts, I feel instantly better.
As I transition my perspective away from avoiding bad feelings and focus on leading with good feelings, I’m seeing the way that I choose business, build partnerships, and make money, shifts. I choose clients that bring me joy. The time I spend on their work is a pleasure. The more joy I have in my work, the happier I am. The happier I am, the more patient I am as a parent and I’m more loving as a partner. Being a better parent and partner helps me avoid the guilt that comes with impatience and unearned impatience.
Who wins? EVERYONE.
My journey has begun a few months ago and it’s already helping to direct my effort, my heart and my head in a new direction and I’m pretty excited about it. Maybe you need a fresh start too?
(I am not being compensated for any of these words. This has just worked for me and I believing on sharing good tools.)
During my walk this morning, I discovered that my mouth was set in a determined line. I had my spine stacked in forced confidence. And my walk was the definition of grim efficiency. I’ve found myself in a place where my effort and time is spread around to my projects and people like chips on a craps table. I gamble that the choices I made have paid off. I’m grateful there are a few sure bets like family, but the chips are stacked a little higher in places that help pay our mortgage, and the rest are just hope. Hope and time.
I work hard to take full responsibility for the choices I’ve made while simultaneously sloughing off any responsibility that I don’t need to take on. It’s hot in here. This is adulting.
When the weight of the day feels like a heavy pack, it’s time to re-evaluate the places where you put those units of time and effort. As Danielle LaPorte will say, living your dream doesn’t mean there isn’t hard work. But, the trick is ensuring that projects and people you bet on helps fill your soul so that, heaven forbid, you died tomorrow, you regret nothing. Know that, as you pick through the tasks and daily obligations, that all of those efforts feed a machine that is worth running.
Make space to work on works that work.
You’ve heard the phrase “color outside the lines” and “think outside the box” haven’t you? Me too. They’re painfully cliché and they’ve never really quantified what I have to offer as a creative. Sure, I like to do those things, but they never really meant anything to me. I never felt inspired when someone suggested that I should “think outside the box”.
Whether you’re a creative or not, the bottom line is there’s an expectation out in the world about what you’re supposed to be. Or maybe it’s what you’re supposed to achieve. And sometimes it’s about how you’re supposed to live. And you’re supposed to live outside other people’s (or maybe your) expectations with these phrases.
What if there are two boxes… one that represents expectations and another one that represents your ability. Let’s focus on that second one. It represents your energy, your ability to perform, your big dream, your crazy endgame. It doesn’t matter if you’re running a department, a small business, or a Fortune 500 company, you’ve got juice. You’ve got spice. You’re a boundary pusher. You wouldn’t be here if you weren’t.
So, for the sake of argument, and the awesome person I’m sure you are, I’m going to assume that the expectation box is smaller than the one that represents your ability. That one is kind of a mind blower for me. I think I saw my mind socks shoot across the room. Now what?
We all have obligations (family, friends, etc) and I think they fit nicely into that first box. All of that space between the first box and the second one… that’s greatness. That’s the space where you can experiment with your ability, build great things, inspire others, live in light, rock the casbah. That’s the place where the limit can move.
So, just fill that expectation box up, go ahead. Fill it up with doing what’s necessary to help build a springboard into the outer box. Love the family, kiss the baby, hug the partner, show up for work on time… knowing that these wonderful things help build the bridge to the next part of your life, the part that inspired you to become a business owner. If that first box isn’t full, then you won’t be tall enough to reach the second one.
I'm a veteran digital marketer whose career has grown up with the Internet.