We sure do get this money stuff tangled up, don’t we? This is the place where I untangle pieces of it. Most of it’s about money while some of it’s about something else that strikes my interest. All of it is about noticing how things get knotted up and how to untangle the knots. Oh, and if you have a topic you’d like me to explore, just let me know. I’ll be happy to give it a good shake and see what untangles.
It’s Tuesday, and I’ve been spending the last several days in another dimension – one where time, access to information and connection are very different. It truly is like being in the Twilight Zone!
This past Saturday in the early evening, I happened to take a look at the box where my WiFi/internet comes into the house, and it was swarmed with ants—thousands of little tiny ants in my living room. I know these guys, there is an ongoing war between me and them! Last November they took out an electric outlet which left me in the dark for several days before I could get an electrician out to restore order.
This time is more bizarre because it took out my capacity to use the web and my phone (which is voice over internet). I’m left with my truly basic cell phone, designed for emergencies only. What that means is that it’s a basic “burner” phone. I can call and get texts but no data at all. It’s sort of reliable.
Of course Frontier doesn’t see this as urgent so they have decided to drop in and fix it on Wednesday. I was delighted to have a neighbor who allowed me to use her computer so I could email my three clients that I had calls with on Monday, and friends I was supposed to meet on Tuesday. I still need to contact the clients booked on Wednesday to warn them. Theoretically it will be fixed by the time of their calls, but I’m not really trusting that.
So here I am writing my blog, not in WordPress where I normally do this. Instead it’s back to Microsoft Word for me. I have TV because I have been on an antenna for that for several years. I also have a fairly big collection of movies on DVD. So there is that.
The phone doesn’t ring. That’s odd in a way. Somehow that’s more about all the catch up I’ll need and want to do when I am reconnected to people.
Which brings me to the real reason I’m writing this blog. The most pervasive and odd part of this ‘blackout’ is that I can’t go look anything up, any little fact. Things like:
- What’s the weather going to be like today?
- Which internet provider gives the best service? (Frontier had me on hold for an hour, and wasn’t clever enough to have an option where I could choose to have them call me back. They did continue to suggest that I use the internet to solve my problem…hmm…but I both digress and rant.)
- Is the next Phryne Fisher Mystery ready for me to download onto my tablet from the library?
- What’s an easier Hair Ball treatment to use than that sticky brown toothpaste I can’t get down Miss Teak’s throat?
One of the reasons I don’t have a smart phone is that when I’m out in the world, I want to be present in the experience. So I’m frankly amazed at how many times I go look something up out of curiosity, a desire to plan, or wanting to gather data to make a decision.
Most of my childhood through my teenage years I spent summers in Wyoming with my maternal grandmother, “Cupcake” (so named by me when I was very young because she was sweet and had white hair – Frosting on top). She never had a TV, and reception for those that did was spotty anyway. We read, played games, wrote letters, sewed, knitted, talked…did things. The phone was on a party line so people didn’t tend to have really long conversations, and if they did, they did so knowing that someone might be listening. Summers where very different than my life at home where I had a TV in my room, and spent much time on the phone as a teenager.
I held the two places as equally valuable, just different. Frankly I think these two different worlds helped me to be both adaptable and curious.
Today I’m feeling calmer about this turn of events. There is something in this ‘experiment’ about the value of just ‘being’ where I am in the moment.
I have learned something from this hiatus. It’s something around allowing myself to sink into where I am right now, instead of anticipating and leaning toward what’s next. Trying to cram it all in to the detriment of not really experiencing the fullness of what’s here. Oddly, for me, the next step will be to limit how many times I go look something up once I am able to do that again. The question will be: “Do I need to know that now? Or can it wait?”
What might the experience of being without phone or internet in your daily life for several days be like for you? And could there be a pony in the midst of that pile? Looks like at the end of this I’ll have to acknowledge some value in the ants’ act after all… hmmm.
Shell Tain, the Untangler
PS: it did finally all get sorted. I’m back in the present!
It’s an old Texas term that most of us have heard, and many of us have used. ‘Fixin’ To‘ is similar to ‘trying’ in its effectiveness. The question really is “How to get out of the Fixin’ To stage and into the actual doing things stage?” And like most things, changing your thinking can make all the difference.
Let’s explore a different way to get results, shall we? You’ve all heard of the Law of Attraction. Near as I can tell it was originally a Hindu concept, or possibly even older than that. More recently it has become a “New Age” mainstay with the use of the equation: Intention + Attention = Manifestation. First let’s move that into clearer language: something like “Dreams, Desires, Goals,” even Fixin’ To for the Intention part. Frankly the simple word for the Attention part is Action. And finally manifestation comes down to Results.
Now, hang on. I’m fixin’ to play with the math a bit. I think of Laws of Nature like Gravity as working whether or not we believe in them. Frankly I’ve been having this ‘conversation’ with Gravity for years, asking it to lighten up a bit… but does Gravity even listen to me? Nope! I think the Law of Attraction equation works that way too, except I—being a numbers person—want to change it just slightly, from addition to multiplication. What the equation is really saying is that you need both Desire (Being) and Action (Doing) to create a Result, and math-wise, a multiplication sign makes more sense to me. If I’ve got only one of the elements without the other it’s like multiplying by zero and the result of that is zero! Wow! Math can be helpful.
So the bottom line is that Fixin’ To doesn’t get you off the couch. Actions do. And for those actions to be effective you need to be clear about what you want.
One thing I know for sure, is that when you or I get wonky results it’s because we are missing one of those two elements in the math problem!
Fixin’ To is a good step, it’s just needs a partner like action. How about aligning the two together?
Shell Tain, the Untangler
Fixin’ to change your money thinking? Give me a call at 503-258-1630 or leave a comment.
It’s one of those things that happens whether you are conscious of it or not: your brain gets trained. Most of us have heard something about this, the way our brains store information in groups of neurons firing together. Thus all the information about a particular thing is tucked in the same pile. That just happens. The question is how can you use that to your advantage?
I had somewhat of an epiphany about this recently watching a favorite movie with someone who had never seen it. The film was ‘Cat Ballou‘, the 1965 western romp with a very young Jane Fonda, a wild and inebriated Lee Marvin, and Nate King Cole and Stubby Kaye as narrating balladeers! I hadn’t seen it in years.
The moment it started I was flooded with memories. I remembered sitting in the Wyo Theatre in Sheridan, Wyoming seeing it several times as it played that summer. I spent many summers in Wyoming with Cup Cake, my grandmother. She worked at a furniture store; she’d take me with her to the store, and I’d help her. When she got busy I’d wander the town or go to the movies.
Since I saw the movie several times in the week that it ran, it’s a strong memory. I even remembered that Lee Marvin won an Oscar for it. As we watched I could smell the popcorn. I knew every bit of dialog and every shot. This was a really impactrul memory, and it was securely tucked there in my brain. I didn’t actually call it forward—it came on its own. The main difference between how my brain built this memory and others was that I saw the film a bunch of times close together.
Since we know our brains work this way, we could purposely and specifically ‘train’ them to build strength in areas that are desirable. Actually, we already do that, right? We learn things. We practice. We gather data. We do that about all sorts of things… except for money!
Actually we do unconsciously train our brains about money… it’s just that most of the training is negative. It’s about things that happened with money in our childhoods. It’s about arguments around money. It’s about many situations where money was present in the mix, but probably not the actual cause of the problem.
We all need money to survive in our culture, and at some level most of us want it. It seems to me that it’s a lot easier to acquire and deal with something you like and understand than a mysterious thing you find scary and incomprehensible. So why not change that?
Change truly results from creating those groups of neurons firing together. How can you create some new groups—and stop adding more to the old ones—around money? What might be different if that happened? You’ve developed memory and expertise around all sorts of things in your life… why not give training your brain around money a go?
Shell Tain, the Untangler
Want to chat about how to re-train your money brain? Give me a call at 503-258-1630 or leave a comment.
We’ve all watched and enjoyed mysteries, and one of the tried-and-true adages of a mystery is: Follow the Money. In the case of a mystery it has to do with motive. But where else does Follow the Money ring true?
Actually, Follow The Money applies almost anywhere. In most instances, money is reflective, not causative. It points to the issues and problems. It marks and reports them. It doesn’t create them.
Wait, what?! Money doesn’t create problems? No, it doesn’t. What we choose to do or not do with money creates the problems, not the actual money itself. Money doesn’t have free will or volition. It goes where you tell it to. It gets used and spent and earned and saved strictly by the actions of people.
All money can really do is tell you what happened.
And it does a really good job of that. And it certainly does it in more circumstances than we tend to initially realize. Let’s look at where money talks and tells.
Business: This one is pretty obvious. Looking at a company’s financial statements tells you what’s going on in the company. The way I look at those statements goes deeper than just the sales and expenses though.
For me, the money in a company tells me where the people issues are. If all the employees in one department are complaining about not being paid enough, that tells me something. It tells me something is going on in that department that needs to be addressed. The money is reflective. If people aren’t paying the company on time, that says something too; it may be about the invoices going out too late, about the product not being right, or about a lax follow-up procedure.
The money can be talking about a lot of different things, but it is certainly reflecting information.
Personal: I also think money is reflective in our personal lives. What does your money say about you? Where do you spend it? What kind of attention do you pay to it? What is it reflecting? If you really look at your money, you can learn a lot.
I once worked with someone who said they had money all over the house, tucked here and there. They didn’t really know where it was. They didn’t know how much they had. That’s a reflection of this person’s money perspective. The fact that the money is all over, and not “organized” is reflective of something. Follow that money mystery and you’ll get somewhere interesting, somewhere important.
Sometimes following the personal money leads to some pretty predictable places. The money might go toward a collection, it might go for a child’s education, it might go for a car. It is most likely to reflect the person’s interests and passions. It also will reflect the person’s money prejudices—those beliefs they fund without even knowing it. It might go to buy everything “on sale” because that’s just what you are supposed to do. Or it might buy jewelry because it makes you feel good. Where ever it goes, there’s some meaning or symbolism behind it.
Remember, money isn’t about money—it’s about our sense of worth. What we spend it on is reflective of how we see ourselves and our world. It reflects our values, passions and dreams.
I think we can learn a lot about people by looking at different aspects of their lives. Think about it: Look in someone’s refrigerator, what does it tell you? Lots of weird sauces, or is there just a six pack and a cold pizza? Reflective, right? Money is the same way. So, spend some time noticing what your money is telling you. Where do you spend it? What do you do with it? Where do you keep it? How do those actions sometimes reflect things you hadn’t realized before? You can learn a lot. Just follow the money.
Shell Tain, the Untangler
Want to chat about what your money might be trying to tell you? Give me a call at 503-258-1630 or leave a comment.
Loyalty is a good thing. We seek it in all our relationships, and we practice it in return. We want to be loyal and we want others to be loyal to us. The question to ponder here is where might loyalty actually work against you? Specifically where does it have you spending money to be ‘loyal‘ that doesn’t actually align with balancing your self-care with your desire to care for others? And where are you possibly being taken advantage of by companies and associations that rely on your loyalty, even when they haven’t ‘earned‘ it?
It’s a tricky thing. I had a client once who was a major shopper. In truth she was in it for the ‘hunt‘, and had a whole room full of bags of things she’d bought and never used. Many of them she had bought at a particular department store that had ‘given‘ her a credit card with their name on it. She felt really honored and special that they had given her the card. It made her one of the ‘in crowd‘. She went there often, really loved their customer service, and piled up many charges on the card. The card had a much higher interest rate than her other credit cards. She was great at the buying… not so much at paying on time. Oh, and she didn’t want to ‘insult‘ the store by returning things, so she didn’t. It was all about a ‘personal‘ relationship she was imagining she was having with a store. The store was doing its job well. She just wasn’t noticing that she was confusing her personal desire—for relationship—with their techniques of building loyalty. She was stunned when I pointed out that the clerk that was helping her didn’t actually know she had a store credit card until it was time to pay. The clerk was giving good service regardless. And she also missed that no actual person would feel hurt and disappointed if she returned things that she didn’t use.
Together we did get her out of this pattern, but the bigger question this raises is something like “Where are you assuming more ‘caring’ from a company or professional than is really there?”
Yes, every company or pro you work with wants you to keep coming back and using them, myself included! And you need to figure out whether the ‘relationship‘ is really going both ways, or if it is one-sided.
There is something in this mix of our need for actual human connection that is being hindered by the constant pseudo connection of Social Media and cell phones. I recently sat across from a family having lunch at my local Sushi place: Mom, Dad and an about-9-year-old child. All three were on their phones instead of talking to each other. They stopped the phones when the food came, but still didn’t talk.
Maybe it’s just that there is so little actual connection going on that we don’t recognize that the ‘connection‘ we have with the person who cuts our hair isn’t the same as the one with our friend we went to the movies with.
I’m extremely loyal to companies that give me good service for a fair price. And I’m not tolerant and won’t do business with those that are rude. I ‘vote with my feet‘—and do it as a reflection of my values… what I care about. I care about how we all treat each other. I care about fairness. And where I spend my money really does reflect what I’m up to. Am I trying to fulfill some need in a place where it really can’t happen? Or am I really having an exchange that enriches both of us?
The answer is different for each of us. There are things I care about—and might even be ‘extravagant’ with—that mean nothing to you, and visa versa. I’m just wanting to make sure that you are getting what you are seeking, and finding the balancing point—that your time, energy, and money are going toward what you truly care about. Give it a ponder and see what you notice…
Shell Tain, the Untangler
If you’d like some support with the pondering give me a call at 503-258-1630 or leave a comment.
A client recently asked me about the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of my becoming a coach. In thinking about the ‘road’ I took to becoming a coach, it occurred to me that the story and what I learned along the way might be of value to others.
There really are two separate stories tied up in my career path: the one about the Money road and the one about the Coaching road, which eventually connected. At this point, I’m going to focus on the Coaching one — Who knows, maybe later I’ll write about the Money one!
Allow me to wax philosophically a bit here. There is the distinction that Micheal Meade makes between Fate and Destiny. Fate being the family, culture and circumstances we are born into. Our fate is what leads to whole families of Doctors, or Teachers, and such. Destiny is more about our innate unique personality. The talents our family never really seems to understand. For me the fate piece was the Money road that had me become a CFO, while the destiny piece was much more the fuel for me embracing coaching—following a natural talent to a new place.
Certainly anyone can become a Personal Coach, Life Coach, Health Coach, Business Coach… whatever kind of coach they want to be. And I think that the seed of being a gifted and effective ‘coach’ is something we inherently have. It certainly was that way for me. As early as Junior High (Middle School) I found people coming to me with problems. They wanted someone to talk to, someone who would listen, support them, give some suggestions, and not judge them. I seemed to fit that bill. It wasn’t something I actively sought, it just happened. And it kept happening. Of course, like most things, it was a double-edged sword. I found that they often wanted my support, but less often asked me to hang out with their crowd. C’est la vie.
Frankly this thing of being a safe and trusted ‘ear’ stayed with me throughout the years.
And then in the early ’90s there was this incredible opportunity I had. I got involved with YRUU (Young Religious Unitarian Universalists). YRUU was a youth led program for teens ranging from Middle School through High School. Many churches had a Youth Group with supported by several Adult Advisors. There were also District and National events and conferences led by youth with adult support. It was a fascinating and delightful thing that unfortunately has gone by the wayside.
Through most of the ’90s I was heavily involved with YRUU on all levels: local, district, national… and I even wrote the “Youth Advisor Handbook” (available in various reprints on Amazon and even Ebay). The point was to really encourage the youth to run things themselves. The advisor role was to support, listen, and create an atmosphere that allowed the youth to actually come up with their own solutions. The youth never ceased to impress me. They were often wiser than the adults. Certainly it took patience to let them lead—I learned to count to 10, and then do it again, and again! Giving them the opportunity to fix the problem on their own gave them practical experience. And that is a fundamental tenet of the concept of coaching… that the client at some level actually knows—and has the capacity to solve—their problem.
This was a perfect place for me. The only frustration was dealing with the adults and parents who wanted to jump in and control things. They had a hard time truly trusting that the youth could make good decisions.
At this point there was no such thing as Personal Coaching, and no way to make a living doing this (it was all volunteer work). However, around this same time along came Thomas Leonard. He was an EST employee in the ’80s and founded Coach U and the ICF (International Coach Federation) in 1995. He spearheaded the radical idea that people could seek help and support for their lives without needing “therapy”—that we all had the capacity to do better.
When I heard about coaching in the late ’90s , I was naturally intrigued and went to a presentation. It sounded great, and at that time looked like a hobby. How was anyone going to make a living doing this?
By late 2000 I was hooked by the idea and started training with CTI (Coaches Training Institute). This is what I was meant to do, what I’ve always done: untangled the knot, dug deeper, asked the questions. Now I had a platform and credentials for doing it. Fortunately for me the Money road had given me a bunch of business skills to help build my practice. It all came together for me.
There is something truly magical about finding the work that truly makes your heart sing. As you read this you’ll notice there were hints all along the way, coaching and untangling things comes naturally to me. It’s why I’ve been at this now for almost 20 years… it’s frankly the ONLY career I’ve ever had that never bores me!
Look back on your road and see where the clues are… is there something calling you to a different path?
Shell Tain, the Untangler
If you’d like some support in sussing out your ‘destiny’ give me a call at 503-258-1630 or leave a comment.
Have you every wished you had a business partner in your solopreneur business? What if the business itself could be that partner? If you are an entrepreneur, if your pay is ‘commission’ based, if you are self-employed — your business is your partner!
One of the pitfalls of having an independent business is that it’s just you, right? You make all the decisions. Sure you may have some outside help for things like accounting and keeping all the technology going. Hopefully you also use some outside support around marketing. And at the end of the day it’s just you.
I’d like you to consider a radical idea, one that will actually improve your business! Think of the business itself as an entity outside of you! Even imagine it as a person. First allow your mind to dream her up. See her there about three feet in front of you? What does she look like? What is she wearing? What is her name? Is it the name of your business or something else?
Imagine what it would be like to have a partner and ally in your business that you could talk to. Someone you could brainstorm ideas with. Someone that is right there with you every step of the way. Frankly most of us ‘talk’ to ourselves anyway — what would be the value of purposeful conversation with your business?
When you start thinking of your business as a person or entity things shift. It allows you not only to give different attention to your business, but to also have a clearer separation between it and your personal life. That’s a very good thing!
It’s very easy for us to get tangled in having the feeling that our business is personal—that people’s response to the business is to be taken personally. And that’s a trap. Clients see the ‘business’ you differently than friends and family do, right? You need to have some separation between those different roles in life to keep sane!
I have had some clear personal experience in this area. As the Money Knot Untangler, people naturally associate me with money. That’s a good thing for business. However, when you find people backing away from you when you are introduced because you represent that scary money thing, you start to worry that you might smell bad! I’ve had that experience many, many times. My ‘Business Babe‘ part laughs at that and thinks it’s great. Personally it took some getting used to in order to stop feeling like no one wanted to dance with me at the school dance.
In case you are thinking this is just weird and woo-woo, allow me to remind you that even our government thinks of Corporations as entities. Just sayin’!
How about having little meetings with your business? Asking what it needs? What’s working well? What needs improvement? Oh, and together you both might actually gather some data about what’s going on by looking at the money stuff. Money’s job really is to provide information. The twist here is that your business may see and interpret the information in a different way that creates new opportunities, or smooths out rough spots. It’s worth a shot, right?
By creating a real relationship with your business you will make both of your lives easier, and may actually get a level of support you just haven’t found before. Give it a try. At least these days when we talk to ourselves out in the world folks just assume we are on our cell phone, so no worries there! Remember that you are still the President/Owner of the business, and this ally is here to help you. See what you two can come up with. And if you need a bit of help mediating the difference between what you want and what the business wants, I’m here to help!
Shell Tain, the Untangler
Let me know if you’d like help creating a relationship with your business. Give me a call at 503-258-1630 or leave a comment.
Who do you go to for information? These days we often dive into the ‘web’ for information, and I’m guessing you also have people who you seek out for their knowledge and expertise. Long ago my family taught me about this in some interesting and amusing ways.
First let me tell you how I learned to bake bread. My paternal Grandmother, Dossie, was a cook—like ran a lunch room, catered meals for 100+ by herself cook. And she baked, wow did she bake: rolls, cinnamon buns, bread… everything! In my 20s I started to learn to bake, and it does require finesse and practice. The interesting thing was how she tutored me in this. She couldn’t really explain what to do. She’d say things like “you knead the dough until it feels right.” Huh? What she could to was diagnose a problem in seconds, even over the phone. So that’s how I learned the art form of baking from her. I’d call and tell her how the loaf looked, and she’d tell me I didn’t let it rise long enough, or I didn’t have enough yeast in it, or a myriad of other tips. She was a very reliable source for baking knowledge, and I got to be a pretty good baker. (As a sad little aside, I have had to mostly give up baking, at least for myself—gluten and yeast are no longer my friends.)
Even earlier when I was in Junior High School—which you may think of as “Middle School”—there was another resource lesson. Actually it was several lessons in one event. My dad was the kinda guy that wanted you to think, and have a good reason for what ever you did, or asked for. We had this Funk and Wagnalls encyclopedia. It was many very small books. One day I came to him and told him that we needed a new encyclopedia. “Why would that be?” he asked. “Well, it’s because I have to do this report on WWII for my Social Studies class and our encyclopedia was published in 1937,” I responded. A new encyclopedia was purchased right away. I needed a better source, and he readily agreed!
What I took away from both of these early examples—and other life experiences—was that you really need to be careful who you go to for information. It’s not that people don’t have opinions on a variety of things—they do. But do they have expertise, a base of knowledge about the subject, or wisdom in that area?
I think we get ourselves in trouble when we ask well-meaning folks who don’t actually have expertise in the topic about things. For example, we tend to ask colleagues about how to attract clients. I’ve seen it within the coaching community for years. It’s not that talking with colleagues about your business is all bad… but how about talking with the people who you actually want as clients instead? Finding out what they want? Oh and finding a sales and marketing expert to help you attract those people?
When it came time to upgrade my website I worked with Jerry Fletcher, Brand Poobah and he started with having me gather data about my clients, and then I had conversations with the clients I really worked well with about what brought them to me. I needed to know what the clients wanted and needed in order to hire me. And I needed someone to help me give them that.
I know what I do well and where I need help. And when I need help, I look for someone who is a reliable, deep source in that area I don’t know about. We all have different talents and knowledge. I don’t need to know everything, what I do need to know is how to find and expert and when to ask for help. It saves me bunches of time and money, and also helps me learn about new things.
Where might an expert help you do better?
Shell Tain, the Untangler
Let me know if I can either be a source or help you find one. Give me a call at 503-258-1630 or leave a comment.
How do you get ‘ready’ for work? What do you do to prepare yourself to give a presentation? Or to have a challenging conversation? How do you don the mantle of your career?
I got intrigued with some of the creative ways we do this while reading a recent blog by my friend, Rachel Boehm. In The Clothes Make the Man she talked about the subtle messages our clothes send to others and ourselves. Part of her sharing was this great story about how she felt more strong and capable when wearing high heels, so she donned some to plunge into fixing the clogged kitchen sink. The heels helped her get the job done!
Of course all this is metaphor. The symbols help us ‘stand’ in the role. No wonder It’s often about shoes and feet. It sure was for Dorothy—from following the yellow brick road to clicking the heels of her ruby slippers together. We feel different in flip-flops than heels.
For some of us it’s a conscious act. Long ago in the ’80s I had a co-worker named Martha. Part of her job as the Finance Manager in that company was to make collection calls. Trust me, that can be a daunting thing for both parties on the call. The way she gathered her personal power to make those calls was by wearing her pearls.
What we are really doing with all this is both making a declaration, and gathering talents and strengths together. The shoes, or jewelry, or whatever just help to remind us. Additionally by using them, seeing them, feeling them we open those neural pathways in our brains where all the positive association around them live.
I take my maternal grandmother with me everywhere I go in the form of a ring that was hers. As I do that I bring her qualities to life in me—things like fortitude, kindness, and even poise—which I need more of! When I’m doing a talk or presentation my other grandmother brings her feisty, fearless self to me. Together the talismans and ancestors all support us.
What do you don to set the tone and take up the mantle?
Oh, and just for grins, what talisman or item of clothing or jewelry might help you uncover and rely on a part of you that would be more helpful and effective with money? And please, don’t make it a green eye shade… that would likely have the opposite effect!
I invite you to become even more conscious of this idea of creating intention through symbols that serve you.
Shell Tain, the Untangler
I’d love to hear what item works well for you. Give me a call at 503-258-1630 or leave a comment.
This year is almost done, we are about to cross the finish line — and begin again! Like most of our finish lines, it’s an arbitrary thing. There really is little difference between December 31st and January 1st. Of course there are rituals around these two days, and traditions, and they still are each 24 hours long.
We actually celebrate this ‘finish’ every year. The year will finish no matter what we do. And yet there is a huge pile of goals we declare and never ‘finish.’ Why is that?
We distract ourselves, we procrastinate, we make up weird rituals around things… on and on it goes.
Recently a client turned me on to this very aptly named book called: “Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done”, by Jon Acuff. It’s a WONDERFUL book about the tangle we get ourselves into in ‘trying’ to get things done. I highly recommend that you read it… NOW! It’s fun and amusing and dead on. He comes at this issue through the idea of Perfectionism, and how it scares us and holds us back.
Another book along a similar path that I find equally compelling is “The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles”, by Steven Pressfield. He’s writing about the same result of not getting things done, only instead of centering it around perfectionism, his nemesis is Resistance. This is a favorite ‘bathroom book’ of mine—a book with short bits to be read in several minutes! He’s less outright humorous, perhaps more sardonic and witty, and absolutely on point!
Here’s my take on both of these books, and why we need them. They are full of strategies and tactics for us to, at the very least contain, and possibly even curtail our “inner critics”. This handy, dandy persistent nagging voice in our heads is responsible for us staying in ruts, and not embracing our dreams.
You’ve heard me talk about it before, and no doubt will hear my musings on the topic again. I do so because it’s crucial to you living a life that is fulfilling.
A short review of your critic’s game plan:
- It wants to keep you safe
- In this moment you are safe (i.e., not on fire)
- It wants to block anything that might create change (i.e., change could make things worse)
- Distraction is a very good technique keep you where you are!
Can you see this pattern at work in your life? You get close to doing something that might ‘change things’ and then somehow get distracted, or confused, or mired in the process. That is very likely your Inner Critic keeping you firmly planted in the doldrums!
Part of the value of both the books listed is that they give you some practical tactics to break through that cycle and create the life you want.
Also, please note, this is NOT new stuff. We, as humans, have always had these challenges in staying stuck in places that don’t work for us. One of the main reasons for a ‘coach’ is to help us break through that and create the life we want.
So to finish out 2018 and start 2019, how about giving yourself some strategies through one of these books—or other ones you find—that will give you some new tools and perspectives? It just might change things for you!
Ka-ching to a Cool Yule!
Shell Tain, the Untangler
Feel free to share any other books that may have helped you avoid the critic’s traps. Give me a call at 503-258-1630 or leave a comment.