Last year, I opened up my coaching practice with twenty spots. I filled them all within two weeks and off we went – a year of coaching twenty motivated, creative bloggers, writers and entrepreneurs. I finally was bringing my workshop teaching experience into a one-on-one environment.
It has been an awesome. With a few caveats. First the positives:
I learned so much about motivation, permission and accountability. My students were doing all the work, but it was incredible to see people leap into their projects with confidence. One of my students started out creating a mini-ebook – but just went ahead and wrote an entire book. Now she’s shopping for a publisher. Another had a goal of making a small monthly income from her blog – but just had her first five-figure launch.
I’d love to take credit for all of that, but I didn’t do the work. I just helped them clear the path. Set priorities. Have confidence in their idea. I gave them the BIG YES.
Of course, life isn’t that simple and a few of my students dropped out, gave up on their idea or moved on to other projects. Sometimes life gets in the way. Or our health.
In the end, my coaching practice shifted the way I look at my own creative work. I took a lot of the lessons from my year of coaching and incorporated it into my own life. Here are the changes I made:
1. Sometimes I need a cheerleader. I started asking for positive-only feedback from my sounding board. There is plenty of time for being a critic or an editor but in the early planning stages, it’s more helpful to seek and find the positive. What I really want is “YES and here is why that is great…” (Of course there’s a bit of intuition about when it’s appropriate to throw up some concerns… )
2. 80% of project planning is convincing yourself this is a good idea. Don’t focus so much on the little details, we plan to reassure. You will figure it out as you go. Treat that project plan as testing the waters that your concept will work, rather than a day-to-day check list.
3. Personality types matter! Take the Myers Briggs test and build your work life around your ideal environment. It. will. work. wonders. This year I’m asking everyone to take this test, just so we can frame everything in the way that works best… (INTP here, I need alone time to work, and I’m motivated by my quest for knowledge.)
4. Thinking and feeling are part of your job. I started giving some of my coaching students a break and saying, “Listen, let’s not count today’s call, let’s reschedule, and you can go brainstorm for a week then come back.” I could just feel the pressure melt away. They always came back with a ROAR, full of ideas and totally straighten out because they took time to get clarity. It has reminded me that self-care and scheduling time to reflect is just as important pushing forward.
5. Success builds on success. If you can do one thing well, the rest gets easier. Your shoulders relax. You zero in on what’s important. You focus. It’s like watching someone hop from stone to stone – if it went well on the first one, each leap becomes increasingly more confident. It’s important to start small and build success into your project plan.
6. If you can’t imagine it, you can’t build it. If your goal is to make $3,000 a month, that’s what you’ll make. If you’re not dreaming about six-figures, you’re not going to get there. Because of magic? Nope, it’s all about those micro-decisions that are so small and undetectable that you make them almost reflexively, but over the course of months or a year, it influences your direction completely. Most of what holds us back is nearly imperceptible. Dream as big as you can.
7. Accountability is awesome. After years of working for myself it feels weird to admit this, but it’s amazing to have some hard dates and another human being to hold you accountable. Calendar reminders don’t cut it. You have to imagine calling that person on the phone and updating them on your status. It’s really freaking effective.
8. If you’re not sure about something, talk a walk or get outside. It’s easy to focus on the mind or our feelings but using our body can help clear our cluttered thoughts and organize disjointed feelings. From a completely practical, “let’s get stuff done” point-of-view taking a 30-minute walk is more effective than an afternoon at your desk. Try it. It works.