Just Try It Out (don't add the pressure of "forever")

We've been, at least indirectly, talking about pressure a lot lately (and how to put less of it on yourself).


A few weeks ago, I talked about how balance might not look like doing something every day or every week—instead, it might look like doing something a couple of times a week or a few times over the course of a month (or whatever else feels right). The bottom line? You get to decide. No pressure.

And then last week, I talked about giving yourself a break when you need it—essentially, not forcing yourself into an arbitrary schedule when what you really need is rest. Again, no pressure.

So when I talk about Explore (a writing experience I offered in January and will be offering again soon), whether you've participated in it or not, you might be a little confused about where it fits into all of this no-pressure talk. Because the whole point of Explore is that you write…every day.

Waaaait a minute. (I can hear you now.) I thought we didn’t have to do these kinds of things every day! I had just gotten cozy with that idea! What’s going on?

Here’s what's going on: Explore, and other pursuits like it, are simply experiments. They allow you to try something on and see how it works. No pressure.


The thing is, we don't usually think in terms of experiments. Instead, unconsciously, we think in terms of forevers.


I'm sure you've had a thought that goes something like this: Okay, that’s it. I have to step up my game. I’m going to:

  • Share a post on Instagram every day.
  • Publish a blog post every week.
  • Meditate every morning.
  • Read one book a month.
  • Write 500 words every day.


At first, that kind of statement makes you feel good. Powerful. In control. Like your future self has it all together.


But while you may have excitement around those Instagram posts or your meditation time the first few days, when that initial jolt of energy wears off, you may feel tired at the thought of continuing to do that thing.

So you stop. You miss a day because you don’t feel good or you get busy or something unexpected happens and or you just don't want to...and then it’s a quick slide back into your old patterns. But something else also happens—you get frustrated with yourself. You start to believe you’re not the kind of person who can start new, meaningful habits…and slowly, you become that person.
 

What’s so often tripping us up is the implied forever. There’s no end date—so your mind gets worn out at the thought of making such a huge change.

But when you decide to simply do something for a set amount of time—an experiment—you know when the end date is, and you no longer face the pressure that of forever.



That’s why I’ve set up Explore as a 31-day experiment. You commit to yourself that you’ll write every day—but only for 31 days. Once that specific amount of time is up, you can choose to do whatever you want. You can keep going. You can stop. You can change it up. It’s your choice, and you can do whatever feels right to you.

And the same is true for any experiment you decide to create. Want to post on Instagram every day? Try it for a week and then reevaluate. Want to read one book a month? Try reading one book this month and see how it goes.

Then, when the time is up, be honest with yourself. How did it go? What do you want to keep doing? What do you want to change? Then reset that experiment timer (every day, every month, every Tuesday, whatever it is)…and keep on going.

I’ll be opening the doors to Explore very soon, and I’d love to be a part of your writing experiment. But don't feel like you have to wait to start experimenting.
 

I’ve created a simple but powerful worksheet you can use to create your own experiment right now!

 

It's in the Library with several other worksheets you can use to create meaningful connection with yourself, your ideas, and your audience. Sign up below to get access, as well as weekly(ish) emails from me. I would love to hear what you’re experimenting with!

But Will You? (Plus, last day to sign up for Explore!)


Quick note: Registration for Explore ends at 5pm Central today! But read this post even if you’ve already signed up or you’re not interested—this message is for you even if Explore isn’t!


This is the time of year where we often start thinking we can do it all on our own.


Maybe you plan on finally learning how to use MailChimp so you can send regular emails to the people you want to help.

Maybe you plan on exercising three times a week so you’ll feel better and have more energy.

Maybe you plan on making sure the dog gets walked twice every day so he can let out some of his energy.

Maybe you plan on starting a daily writing practice so you have a way to sort through your ideas and get your message out there.

And I know what you're thinking (because I think it so often myself): I can just commit to doing _____ on my own! I don’t need help!

And sure, you could do those things on your own.
 

But…will you?


I know from my own experience that the answer is often (sadly) no. January brings this weird blend of excitement / anticipation / big dreams and normal / boring / reality. And way too often, we create intentions without a structure in place to help us follow through.

So take a good look at the things you’ve said you will do in 2016. And then consider how you can take an extra step to make sure they happen.

Maybe you buy an ebook about using MailChimp or make a list of all the tutorials they have that you want to watch (they have some great ones!) and then schedule time on your calendar to do it (at your favorite coffee shop or somewhere else you find fun).

Maybe you ask a friend to go to the gym with you once a week and then sign up for small-group classes twice a week (you know, the kind where you have to commit to a specific class by signing up online—and they notice if you’re not there).

Maybe you hire a dog walker for weekday mornings so you can enjoy the evening walk even more (and not feel too bad if the evening walk has to be a little rushed, since he got a nice long walk just that morning).

Maybe you sign up for Explore so you have a little nudge to do your writing each day. (Registration closes at 5pm Central today!)
 

Be honest about what might stand in your way, and then take steps to reduce those obstacles. (And don't be afraid to ask for help.)


You'll get a little burst of excitement about your plan, which will help you get started, but you'll also have tools in place to help you keep going. The things you want to do are important, so do what you can to make sure they'll happen!

What are you planning on doing in 2016? I would love to hear!


This is the last post I’ll send out in 2015. I’m working the rest of the week, but then I’m taking two weeks off to do all the holiday things (drink eggnog, watch Love Actually, bake cookies, you know the drill) annnnnd keep getting ready for our little boy, who arrives in April! (We’ve been calling him Sprout, and at this point, we might just have to name him that. I can't seem to think of him any other way!)

But before I go, I want to say that it’s been a true joy and an absolute pleasure to write to you this year. I won’t get mushy—I could, I’m just choosing not to—but I do want to say that writing to you makes my life happier and more fulfilling, and I’m grateful to you for being on the other end, for reading these posts, for leaving comments, and for sending love. I can feel it, and I’m sending it right back.

Happiest of holidays to you and your family (and friends and pets and neighbors and...!),
Erica


P.S. Just a reminder: Today is the last day to sign up for Explore! Registration closes at 5pm Central. If you want to commit to writing every day in January of 2016, to see what writing could do for your business, head this way!

Embrace the Middle (and Maybe Even Enjoy It!)

We’ve all heard stories of overnight transformation.

You know the story line: I struggled with this thing for so long, and then one day I said to myself, No more! Time to make a change!—and poof, life was different from then on.

But the truth is, I don’t find them all that interesting.

Now I’ve certainly had those moments (I hope you have as well!), and there’s no denying that they are beautiful. You’ve finally broken through, made a change, gotten to the place you’ve been working toward—that moment is full of relief and wonder and joy.

And I definitely love to hear that people had those moments—it makes me truly happy to see others triumph over something they’ve been wrestling with. (I’m sure that doesn’t surprise you.)

But what I find most interesting is the work that gets people there.

The things they tried, the books they read, the decisions they made. That’s where the real magic lies—and it’s where my work lies as well.

Now I could go on (and on) about the importance of sharing your middle (that's when I start finding those stories interesting!), but that's another topic for another day.

Right now, I want to help you work through the middle.

I want to help you embrace it, not avoid it.

I want to help you learn how it works and what it looks like for you, not try to rush through with your head down and your hands over your eyes.

I want to help you get to those beautiful aha moment with a bit more grace and acceptance.

So next week, I’ll be releasing something that will help you with the (sometimes seemingly endless) middle of finding clarity, sharing confidently, and making an impact for the people you truly know you can help.

I’ve had a lot of curiosity about this, so I’ll give you a little hint: If you sign up next week, I’ll be helping you embrace something that has immense power for your business. And you’ll be working on it a little bit each day throughout the entire month of January. Oh, and I’ll be doing it right alongside you!

(Psst: If you want to know right when it's released, sign up here to get emails from me!)

But don’t just wait for January to begin embracing the middle.

Take a look at your list of goals or big dreams or plans (or think about something you’re working toward). What are some small wins you’ve had along the way? What’s something you’ve learned (maybe about yourself) during the process? What has been fun and rewarding, even if you’ve struggled along the way? What experiences would you have missed out on had you been able to wave a magic wand and skip straight to the aha?

That’s where the beauty lies.

And couldn't we all use a little more beauty in our lives?

With much love,
Erica


P.S. The short version? Don't simply try to push through the time you spend striving for what you want. Enjoy it—there's beauty and magic there.


P.P.S. At this time of year, pushing through can be the name of the game. We’re all hyped up for 2016, working on plans and ideas and goals and visions and…whew. It’s fun, yes, but it can also be tiring—and we often wind up feeling scattered, unsure, and stressed.

I would love to help you slow down a bit. To find meaning, to pare down to what makes sense for you, and to feel more prepared to take deliberate action.

If that sounds good, check out email coaching. You spend a little time telling me where you feel stuck, and then I’ll spend an hour writing back with ideas, insights, suggestions—whatever feels right for where you are. All for just $99. I have a couple sessions left this year, and one of them just might have your name on it!