You might notice a few changes happening around here. I see other creative entrepreneurs making changes on their platforms all the time. Sometimes they share the process, more often we just hear about the changes after the fact. I get it. Everyone has different comfort levels with behind the scenes content. No judgment here. But a ginormous part of why I show up at all is that I want to take you with me on this messy, marvelous journey into wholehearted entrepreneurship. For me, that means pulling back the curtain on my “why behind the what” and inviting you into this adventure with me. Recent, big, fabulous changes are afoot. They all started with listening to and leaning into my own internal hesitation.
Hey there, hold up a minute. You mean hesitation can be a good thing? Sure can friend. It sure can.
Have You Ever Felt Stuck But Weren’t Exactly Sure Why?
Contrary to popular opinion, hesitation is not a sign of weakness. Nor is it always indicative of fear. Sometimes, it is simply an invitation to greater honesty with ourselves, to make time to be still and be really check in with the things we are hesitant about.
Hesitation can feel a lot like being stuck. Sometimes it feels like a being in a rut or never quite getting to the goals we are trying to run after. Goals change friend. All the time. This business, wholehearted creative thing is a journey. And journeys curve and loop and climb and dip and turn and grow muddy in spectacular ways.
You might not be stuck. You might actually be tapping into a healthy hesitancy that can be life-giving when approached in a helpful way.
I Just Couldn’t Get Myself to Move Forward
Last week after coming home from a gorgeous day with family at Bok Tower in Lake Wales, I hit a patch of blah. Ok blah doesn’t even touch it. It was like progress in getting my brain back slipped back easily 3-4 months. The time in Lake Wales was wonderful. I’ll share more in a bit on that in another post. But the drive home was super stressful. (Never go I-4 through Orlando. ‘Nuff said.) The events showed me how much of a traumatic brain injury I am still dealing with more than a year later. And that is frustrating.
It was so bad, I canceled my trip to VA in May to walk in my Master’s graduation. That hit hard. It was absolutely the right decision on so many fronts, but it wasn’t easily made.
In my business, everything felt out of place and I just couldn’t get going on any the 1000 projects shouting for my attention. Some of it was brain injury overwhelm issues, but there was a good bit of ol’ fashioned hesitation in the mix. For me, hesitation is almost always a signal to slow the bus down and take another look at the map.
Hesitation is an Invitation to Greater Honesty
I am not a hesitant person. I research, contemplate, decide and act. So when I bump into a wall of hesitance especially about business things I was super passionate about and running hard after not too many days ago, I pause. I take a moment. I recognize feeling stuck is my gut-level intuition trying to get my attention.
Most of the times I have really gotten myself in trouble or made less than stellar decisions were when I failed to trust my intuition and kept running ahead anyway.
I think the entrepreneurship subculture so often shouts messages like, “Just Do It!” Jump off that cliff and build your wings on the way down. Crush fear. Slay your day. It can have the effect of pushing us in the name of success to ramrod over our own internal intuition.
What if I told you real, lasting, sustainable success looked more like, “Just breathe.” It’s ok to study the cliff and have a prototype before you leap. Recognize fear and listen to what it is speaking to. THEN, celebrate the solutions you find. You can slay just by showing up.
How to Listen to Your Hesitation
Last week I felt stuck in fog. Everything in my business felt stressful and overwhelming. So I hit the pause button. I stepped back. I gave myself permission to take a day or two off to rest, sleep, cuddle Charlie, and only do what felt approachable.
Then I started asking myself some hard, no bull kind of questions about my hesitation. I recognized multiple things contributed to the slew I was in. Brain stuff. Stress. Concern for loved ones. Deep frustration that my head still couldn’t get it together enough for me to walk in May for my Masters. Unease for what my future looked like with all the unknowns ahead. Ongoing physical pain. There were many things in the mix.
But there was also an unsettled sense about my business and where it was going. Starting and running your own business is not a straight path. And sometimes we have to step back and re-evaluate where we are in the process.
Coaching Questions I Ask Myself
Here are some of the questions I ask myself that I’ve found helpful to cut through the sludge. I take a break from where I’m feeling stuck to gain perspective. I sit down with myself and a paper and pen and ask myself some of the same coaching questions I might ask a client who came to me in the same state. Then I write my answers down. Just like as if I were my own client doing her coaching homework.
- What feels the most overwhelming? The most out of control?
- What am I stressing about specifically? Stress dump on paper.
- What am I worried about happening? Not happening?
- What exactly am I feeling: stretched, fragmented, inadequate, etc.?
- Why am I feeling that way?
- What would it look like to have peace in all these areas?
- What do I really want from my business?
- What gives me life and makes my business feel like home?
- How does the path I’m on support or fight against that?
- What limitations (brain, health, family) do I need to be realistic with, make space for in my planning?
- What systems do I need to put in place to support those limitations?
- What changes do I need to make to get from where I am now to where I want to be?
- What steps can I take now, this week, this month, etc?
Honoring Hesitation & Leaning Into Intuition
After I write all my thoughts I take another break. Then I come back, usually the next day, and reread everything while I put a game plan together to restructure and reorient my world in a way that is congruent with both my dream goals and my current reality.
Here’s what last week unearthed:
- I honor my intuition when I listen to my hesitation rather than run roughshod over it. I have become a person who wants to know what I am doing is authentically aligned with my dreams as well as sustainable in my current circumstances so I can serve clients and students well.
- I felt disorganized, unprepared and stressed by my own deadlines. I needed to change my deadlines and make room for getting the other parts of my business running BEFORE I launch the beta for my signature program. That way my shop can be earning money while I focus the majority of my attention to building the Illustrated Business Creative Incubator.
- I felt scattered by having my wedding stationery brand and my business education/consulting side on multiple websites. It would be easier and feel more “whole” to be able to run ONE business on one website with two distinct sides. And now I have done enough research to know how that is going to look.
- I want to integrate more of my personal journey and story into my business, writing from my whole heart and my whole brain.
That means I’m prioritizing writing and creating, sharing that journey here on the blog. I’m working to overhaul and build out this site to include a portion dedicated to WWhimsy and my watercolor world. I’m choosing to show up and share the messy and the mundane, to splash my heart on a page.
It is my profound hope that by opening wide my heart to steward this story well, that these words here would be an invitation for you to embrace more your story, in all its beautiful mess and glory.
I don’t just want to share business tips and write another branding blog for creative entrepreneurs and paper enthusiasts. I want this website to be a safe place to build community and grow together into something greater than we could ever be on our own. And most of all, I want you to leave our time together reminded that you are deeply valued and relentlessly loved.