When recommitting isn't enough

Last week, we talked about reviewing, refreshing, and recommitting to your plans for this year. I know what a great feeling that can bring, and there’s real power in renewed excitement.

But there’s also a danger to it. If you rely solely on the excitement of planning to drive you forward, you’ll find yourself turning to the recommitment process way too often…and get trapped in a cycle of planning that doesn’t really help you move forward (or keeps you from moving forward as quickly as you’d like).

To get where you want to go, you’re going to have to do more than plan. (Sighhhhhhh.) You’re also going to have to take action.

I have lots more to say about taking action, but today, I want to talk about a natural byproduct of taking action: getting stuck.

It’s inevitable—it’s simply part of the creative process, part of being a human. But staying stuck doesn’t have to be.

I think how we deal with getting stuck (and getting unstuck) is a big part of the reason we keep having to turn to that shiny-new feeling of planning to keep ourselves moving forward.

Think about it. How many times have you just sort of…drifted away from an idea or project or goal? You need to make a decision, or you need to do some serious brainstorming, or maybe you realize you need to rework a lot of what you’ve already done. You tell yourself you’ll just take a little break, you’ll keep thinking about it, you need a fresh perspective—but then you never return. You don’t know exactly how to push through, or you feel like it might be too hard, and you just kind of avoid thinking about it until your guilt convinces you it’s too late.

Hmm…not the best way to pursue our dreams and plans, right? I can say for sure that it’s not—because I’ve been there, over and over.

So now that you’re aware of it, what do you do about this problem?

I’ve been thinking about this for years, honestly. Back when I was doing one-on-one content work, I thought a lot about what was holding people back from getting their ideas out there. And a big one was getting stuck while writing.

As I worked with clients, I mapped out a series of ideas that I could offer for getting unstuck (take a break, consider the opposite perspective, and so on). But while I shared them with clients here and there, I never really did anything else with those ideas.

Lately, though, I’ve been thinking about how much those ideas could help all of us get moving again—and not just with our content.

So after I finished getting Explore ready for you (a new round will start April 1, by the way, and registration is open now!), I felt the pull to go back to those ideas for getting unstuck. So I did. And now...

I’m putting the finishing touches on something I’m calling Stay Unstuck: A Guide to Awareness and Action.

In this guide, I’ll help you do two things:

First, create a well of resources that you can turn to when you feel stuck. These are tactics that you know (or believe) will work, so that when you’re totally stuck, you don’t have to then also spend energy thinking of ways to get unstuck. You have a built-in way to get moving again.

And second, work on building awareness. This part is harder…which means it’s really important (isn’t that always true?!). You want to create a connection in your mind between being stuck and recognizing you're stuck, and then recognizing you're stuck and doing something about it.

I believe that if you can do these two things—create a well of getting-unstuck resources and work to build awareness around when you’re stuck (so you can take action and get moving again)—you’ll find greater ease around completing in-progress creative projects and tackle new creative projects with more confidence and excitement.

In short, I think that if you put some effort toward getting and staying unstuck, you can put your work and your ideas out there in a stronger, more confident way—and make a greater impact on those who need your help.

I’ll be back soon with more and with the finished guide. Until then, start doing a little thinking around where getting stuck has held you back and the ways you currently deal with it. There’s a worksheet in the Connection Library (you can sign up to gain immediate access right here) that can help you look at how you get unstuck; I used this as a jumping-off point for one of the sections in the Guide, so it’s a good place to start.

I’d love to hear when you feel most stuck and how you deal with it (or don’t) if you have a minute to share!

With much love,
Erica


One great way to work on getting unstuck?

Intentional writing. The next round of Explore starts April 1, and registration is open right now! When you sign up, you'll get immediate access to a welcome guide that will help you set a powerful intention for the experience. I'm doing the March round of Explore, and I shared my intention on Instagram if you're curious.

You can always reach out if you have questions, and if you're ready to dive into intentional writing, you can sign up for Explore right here!

Accessing your inner wisdom

I'm sharing a three-part series on the biggest things I think you can get from intentional writing: space, ease, and wisdom.

We've talked about space and ease, which means today we're diving into wisdom!


I’ve been super interested in the idea of inner wisdom lately.

I think it’s because I haven’t always been very good at hearing (or listening to) my own.

For as long as I can remember, I haven’t been a great decision-maker—most of the time. I agonize over the normal big decisions (like buying a car or a house), but also over the small things (like where to buy lunch in the airport—no joke, this sometimes takes forever).

We could probably spend lots of time discussing why I do this—and I certainly have, with myself and others—but that’s not why I brought it up.

I’m telling you what a terrible decision-maker I can be because I want you to see the contrast with the times when…I’m not.

When I was 24, I moved from southern Virginia to Boston. With no job lined up, to an apartment I’d never seen. I couldn’t have told you why I was doing this, but something in me just knew it was the right thing to do.

After a few months, I knew Boston wouldn’t be my forever home, but I also knew it was still the right place for me at that time. Again, I wasn’t sure why, but I had a sense of peace around the whole thing.

Then when I was 29, I moved from Boston…to Birmingham. Alabama. With someone I had only been dating a year. We had never lived together, and I had never been to Birmingham—heck, I’d never even been to Alabama. But again, something in me felt very calm about this decision—there almost wasn’t a decision to be made. I just did it. (We still live here...and now we're married with three cats and a kiddo!)

I know this is odd coming from a girl who can draw out something relatively simple for weeks before making a final decision.

I think what happened in those (and other) times where I made decisions almost effortlessly is that I followed the voice of my inner wisdom.

And now that I can see that, now that I realize I’ve had a taste, I want more. I don’t want to wait for those moments when my inner wisdom pushes through all the worry and negative chatter and indecision in my mind.

I want to be able to access my inner wisdom when I need it, rather than layering over it with other (less important and misguiding) thoughts, ideas, and advice.

I don’t want to agonize over decisions, whether small or big. I want to simply listen to that voice inside of me that knows what’s right for me, right now. And I’m pretty sure I’m not alone.

So how do we access that inner wisdom? Here are my thoughts!


Pay attention to your body.

Some people feel inner wisdom and intuition in their heart area, some in their gut. And I’m sure others have different kinds of physical feelings that let them know to listen up. Begin to notice how you feel when you make decisions and when things go your way—or don’t. Over time, you can start to identify the feelings in your body first and then try to interpret what those signals mean. I think meditation could be a really great way to supplement the idea of paying attention—when your mind is more still, you may be more in tune with signals your body is giving you.


Actively request that it surface.

If there’s a decision you’re consciously trying to make, sit down and write about it. Start with the problem—like, “I’m trying to decide whether or not I should move…” and then keep going. Go wherever your mind leads you. If you get off track, examine what it could mean. You may just be trying to avoid thinking about the decision, of course, but you also may think you’re off track when really, the place your mind is taking you is totally relevant.


Make space for it to rise.

I would love to have my inner wisdom more present in my everyday life, not just when I’m making big decisions. But I don’t necessarily want to sit down and write every single time I have a decision to make, like “I’m trying to decide whether to finish my to-do list or take a nap...” (though, to be honest, in the beginning, that’s probably not a terrible idea). And that’s where an ongoing writing practice can come in handy. If you’re intentionally doing the kind of writing that creates space in your mind, you’ll make making room for your inner wisdom to surface more often.
 

Learning to listen to your inner wisdom isn’t something that will happen overnight (that’s true of anything that represents true growth and change). But like so many other things that take time, I believe it’s truly worth it.


So I’ve created something to help you make space for your inner wisdom and create ease around intentional writing. It's called Explore: 31 Days of Intentional Writing.

Each day for 31 days, you’ll get a prompt in your email. These touch on your past, present, and future, and are designed to help you get writing and see where it takes you.

But the prompts are just part of the magic! I’ll also send you a welcome guide that will help you set a specific, powerful intention for your 31-day practice—and Make space for my inner wisdom to surface would make a really great intention.

Then when you’re done, I’ll also send you a wrap-up guide to help you harness what you created (the writing you do, the momentum you create, or both!).

And each week, you’ll get encouragement from me as well as a reminder to check in on your intention—so the entire process feels deliberate and meaningful.

Use the code explore10 to save $10 off the price between now and February 25 at 5pm Central (tomorrow!!).

If you sign up between now and then, your first prompt will arrive March 1—but you’ll get immediate access to the welcome guide so you can begin setting your intention now.

If you’re on the fence, please hit reply to this email—I’m happy to answer any questions!

I’m super excited for March 1! Until then, I’d love to hear how your inner wisdom has surfaced in your life. Hit reply and let me know—I always enjoy hearing these kinds of stories!

With much love,
Erica

A guiding word

For the past few years, I’ve chosen a word to guide me through the year.

(This has become an increasingly popular thing to do—which I’m happy about!—so I’m guessing you’ve heard about the concept. But if not, I’ll share some resources at the end of this post that can help you learn more and choose your own word.)

This year, I’ve chosen the word LIGHT.

This word came to mind over and over toward the end of last year, so I started taking it seriously. Normally I do a more dedicated exercise to figure out my word for the year, but this time around, it found me. (More about that in a minute.)

Once I accepted light, I started looking up definitions—and immediately got overwhelmed. This word means a lot of different things, and while each definition felt right, I was nervous about how to keep it all straight in my mind as I tried to live by this word throughout the year.

But as I kept thinking about it, I realized the definitions I had read (and was reviewing often) really belonged in three separate buckets: internal, everyday, and work. Once I sat down and sorted them out, the overwhelm went away and I felt much more excited.

So here’s how I’ll be focusing on the word light internally, in the everyday, and in my work!

Internally, light will mean the opposite of heavy; unburdened.

Motherhood has opened my eyes to struggles I’ve been facing for years without even noticing. Having Nathan forced me to confront these things head-on, and while that was (and continues to be) difficult, it was also a huge gift. I will continue to move toward a feeling of lightness as I work through these things!

In my everyday life and work, light will mean nimble; requiring little effort.

I also want to bring more lightness into my everyday life and into my work. I tend to overcomplicate things, and I simply don’t have the time or energy for that any longer. I’ve been learning what really works for me and what doesn’t, and what things I’ll need to let go of to have the daily life I truly want. I’m feeling lighter already, and I’m so excited for what’s to come as I keep focusing on the feelings I want.

In my work, light will mean illuminating; something through which light can pass.

I want to help you feel unburdened and nimble as well. Throughout all the different iterations of my work (like copy editor and one-to-one content coach), this has been my goal. But more and more, I’m realizing that rather than simply being a flashlight that highlights only one direction, I want to be a lens through which you can truly see yourself and then work toward becoming the strongest version of yourself possible. From that place, you will be more equipped to create stronger content and a stronger business and life.

I’m excited about how all these facets of light will work together. But I’m equally excited about how it felt to find this word.

As I mentioned, I normally sit down and put work toward finding my word. And that’s totally fine. But it felt so good to have the word come to me. And it got me to thinking about why that happened.

Since having Nathan, I’ve been forced to make a lot of changes. Good, positive changes. And in the process, I feel like I’ve become much more open to the ideas and truths inherent inside of me—and learned to truly listen to my own internal truth and wisdom.

And I’m sure by now that you know I’m going to say this, but one of the big things that has helped me get here is writing.

Not writing for other people, but writing for me. Behind-the-scenes, sort-it-all-out writing.

But you know what’s funny? After having done this kind of writing for so long, I’ve found that I follow a similar process when thinking things through. I have a verrrrry active baby running around, and sometimes my brain is the only tool easily available to me—ha!—and it’s been interesting to see how my thought processes have changed over time. Often, I actually imagine myself writing through a problem.

Explore can help you develop your own writing (and maybe thinking!) process, and I’m almost ready to offer it to you. I’ve been going through the entire program to refresh, update, and add things that I think will make it an even better experience for you. I can’t wait to give you this powerful method of digging into your own internal truth and wisdom! Keep an eye on this space for more details when I have them.

Okay, now that I’ve shared my word and what I plan to focus on, it’s your turn!

Have you chosen a word or other guiding theme for the year? If so, I’d love to hear what it is! I’m always fascinated by what others choose and what it means to them. I’d also love to hear how it’s already showing up in your life as well as how you plan to keep it in mind as you move through the year. (Feel free to comment below or to share on Instagram right here.)

If you haven’t chosen a word, or you are new to the idea, here are some resources to check out!

Susannah Conway’s (free!) Find Your Word class

I’ve mentioned this before, and I’m gonna keep on mentioning it. This is a great, free five-day email course that will help you sort through your possibilities and choose a word that feels meaningful for you. It’s what I’ve used in past years!

Nicole Gulotta’s blog post

I’ve been following Nicole for years over at her literary food blog, Eat This Poem, and I’ve loved seeing her unfold a new direction as well—helping writers balance work and creativity. She wrote a great introductory post about finding your word.

Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map work

This is another resource I’ve talked about before and that I’m sure will come up again. Danielle’s process leads you to find a few words (I think three or four is ideal) that will help you focus on how you want to FEEL as you move through life. A wonderful process (and one I’m planning to work through again soon, to find some supporting words)!


I would love to hear if you use any of these resources, and if so, how you like them. I'm wishing you lots of love and light in this coming year, no matter what your word or guiding theme or wish!

Until next time,
Erica


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