Voice of Possibility https://voiceofpossibility.com Creating Your Ideal Business and Lifestyle Fri, 03 Feb 2017 17:50:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.1 32234531 An Entrepreneur Learns From Charlie and His Loose Tooth https://voiceofpossibility.com/entrepreneur-problem-solving/ https://voiceofpossibility.com/entrepreneur-problem-solving/#comments Wed, 07 Mar 2012 05:42:51 +0000 https://voiceofpossibility.com/?p=215 I’ll bet little Charlie will make a great entrepreneur one day. I “met” him courtesy of a tweet from author Brené Brown quoting her son: “I really need a play date with Caroline. Her sister has a Nerf gun that pulls out loose teeth.” I smiled for the rest of the afternoon imagining this little […]

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entrepreneur learns from loose toothI’ll bet little Charlie will make a great entrepreneur one day. I “met” him courtesy of a tweet from author Brené Brown quoting her son:

“I really need a play date with Caroline. Her sister has a Nerf gun that pulls out loose teeth.”

I smiled for the rest of the afternoon imagining this little guy and remembering all the Tooth Fairy antics in my house a decade ago.  Charlie has something he wants more than anything at this moment and knows attaining it will actually be painful.

Yet, like most kids, he’s probably:

  • Trying out different solutions.
  • Asking others for advice.
  • Figured out creative ways to use what he has.
  • Considering what resources his connections have.
  • Weighing the anticipated pain, discomfort or inconvenience against how much he wants the benefit.

Most kids are born resourceful and take these steps instinctively. Otherwise, they’d never learn to walk, climb up to a shelf for something they want, or enjoy hours playing with an empty carton.

Unfortunately, somewhere along the line we lose our instincts for following these steps to solving a challenge.

We come to believe we’re helpless to direct or own lives, or forget how to find creative solutions to get what we want. Or worse, we convince ourselves that just because we’re afraid or we haven’t tried something before, we shouldn’t do it. The anticipated discomfort stops us from making decisions and moving towards our dreams.

It’s easy to look at a successful entrepreneur who is doing what you want to do and imagine they have some hidden talent, knowledge or skill— or that they never had to worry about money.

This self-limiting mindset totally closes off possibilities and keeps you stuck exactly where you are.

When I started my first business after leaving the corporate world, people said, “Oh, it’s different for you.” Perhaps they thought I magically wouldn’t face any consequences if I failed. In fact, I had just purchased my first condo, had a big mortgage and no spouse to support me.

The world is full of examples of people from limited means who went on to do great things. Tony Robbins and Oprah Winfrey to name just two. In upcoming posts I’ll introduce you to many more who are not so famous (and more obviously like you or I), and dig into their stories of how they took action once they imagined a new possibility for their futures.

What we don’t have in resources, we can make up for in resourcefulness.

Cultivate a habit of resourcefulness if you want to succeed as an entrepreneur and create your ideal business and lifestyle. Solving most challenges involves the same steps you knew as a child and forgot along the way. This begins with taking a good look at what strengths you already have and how you can get the other resources you need.

There are plenty of businesses you can start with little more than the computer that’s sitting in front of you now. So don’t let a fear that you don’t have enough money stand in your way. In this economy, you can either sit on the sidelines waiting for a paycheck that may or may not come, or get out there and create your own work.

Take advantage of the knowledge economy and that there is more information at your fingertips now than at any point in history. You can put your message out to millions of people and actually make money from it. If I figured it out in my 40s while raising a kid on my own, you can too!

I’d be happy to show you how, beginning with a FREE 30-minute Possibility Strategy Session. We’ll discuss how you can start creating your ideal business and lifestyle using what you already have.

Can you relate to the story of little Charlie and does it help you recall a resourceful time in your life? Please share your comments below.

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3 Business Lessons My Personal Trainer Helped Me Remember https://voiceofpossibility.com/3-business-lessons-my-personal-trainer-helped-me-remember/ https://voiceofpossibility.com/3-business-lessons-my-personal-trainer-helped-me-remember/#respond Tue, 07 Feb 2012 04:28:01 +0000 https://voiceofpossibility.com/?p=189 Once you’re focused on starting or building your business, it’s amazing how many analogies and lessons you can draw from other areas of your life that apply to being an entrepreneur! Five years ago I decided to take my health seriously, instead of for granted, and hired a personal trainer to “force” me to do […]

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running shoesOnce you’re focused on starting or building your business, it’s amazing how many analogies and lessons you can draw from other areas of your life that apply to being an entrepreneur! Five years ago I decided to take my health seriously, instead of for granted, and hired a personal trainer to “force” me to do the work.

Year after year, I paid for a gym membership and only managed to show up once a month, actually that was 12 visits spread over 4 weeks in any given year. Once the week was over and a few more went by, I barely gave exercise a thought the rest of the time.

There was no way this pattern was going to change unless I paid someone to hold me accountable. That’s like the role of a business coach and mentor, by the way.

While working out with my trainer, here are 3 business lessons I regained an appreciation for:

1. Having an appointment or a deadline keeps you focused.

I’ve blocked an hour off 3 times a week for my trainer. It’s an appointment I’m expected to keep and because I’m paying extra for it, deciding not to show up at the last minute isn’t an option. As a result, I’m in better shape than I have been in 20 years.

My “lizard brain” (as Seth Godin calls it), reminds me “This is too expensive and too time consuming.” But the reality is working out is keeping me in a better mood and cutting my cancer risk by 50%, so how can I afford NOT to do it?

This reminds me of all the times I hear a struggling business owner say, “I can’t afford to promote my business or learn how to charge properly for my services.” If you don’t do these things, you’re totally sabotaging your business, so how can you afford NOT to do them?

I’ve found over more than 20 years of coaching clients that having an appointment to discuss their business issues keeps them focused on getting things done.

2. Even the slightest adjustment can make a world of difference.

When I’m lifting weights, I might think I’m doing an exercise correctly until the trainer has me change an arm or a foot by an inch or less. Suddenly I’m using a whole new set of muscles. Without an expert who can see things I’m not aware of, I could easily have repeated my mistake for months with no results and concluded the exercise was a waste of time!

I see the same thing with entrepreneurs. Many give up way too early on a marketing initiative, thinking it’s a waste of effort when the problem isn’t with the tactic, but their content or the way they’re executing it.

Often all that’s needed is a little fine-tuning to get the desired results.

3. An objective third-party giving expert advice and encouragement keeps you motivated, no matter how overwhelming it feels in the moment.

Just when an exercise is getting easier, my trainer increases the weight, makes me do more repetitions or changes it up entirely. I get discouraged because then it’s hard work all over again and I want to quit.

The trainer’s role is to keep me going and push past the weight resistance. Little by little my muscles get stronger and my heart rate recovers more quickly.

That’s what it’s like in business.

You finally figure out something you were struggling with and it gets easier. You’re proud of yourself but you know coasting for too long will not generate more progress and growth. You have to take on new challenges.

Tackling each new hurdle builds strength and confidence. You feel like a genius and then you go through a period of feeling like a beginner again as you take on some new challenge.

Business success is a process, not a destination, and personal development never stops. Or I hope it won’t!

What do you think?

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Are You a Natural Entrepreneur? Take This Possibility Quiz https://voiceofpossibility.com/are-you-a-natural-entrepreneur-take-this-possibility-quiz/ https://voiceofpossibility.com/are-you-a-natural-entrepreneur-take-this-possibility-quiz/#respond Mon, 06 Feb 2012 04:17:05 +0000 https://voiceofpossibility.com/?p=157 Some people believe entrepreneurs are born and not made. Certainly there are plenty of examples in the business world of business owners who started their first ventures as kids. Take this Possibility Quiz to see if you’re a natural entrepreneur. Answer each question “True” or “False”: 1. You love reading stories about how businesses start […]

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Natural Born EntrepreneurSome people believe entrepreneurs are born and not made. Certainly there are plenty of examples in the business world of business owners who started their first ventures as kids. Take this Possibility Quiz to see if you’re a natural entrepreneur. Answer each question “True” or “False”:

1. You love reading stories about how businesses start and learning about entrepreneurs.

Most people would rather listen to celebrity gossip than hear about the latest successful business or how an entrepreneur got started. If celebrity news is more of a guilty pleasure while you’re getting your hair cut than a steady diet, you probably know where your real interest lies. Mark this question TRUE.

2. Before you were old enough to get a real job, you thought up little businesses you could start.

I’m not sure every kid who operates a lemonade stand is a natural born entrepreneur, but it’s usually pretty easy to spot the kids who seem destined to start their own business.

For example, in his New York Times bestselling book Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion, Gary Vaynerchuck talks about how he set up a franchise of lemonade stands and then went on to make $1000 a weekend selling baseball cards as a kid.

Is there any doubt that this was a guy who would be unhappy as a mid-level executive in a huge corporation?

Look back over your own life and think about businesses you started as a kid, or whether you’ve spent much of your adult life trying to come up with your next business idea. If you can see a pattern of entrepreneurial thought/hunger, mark this question TRUE.

3. You aren’t afraid to ask questions and you love to learn new things.

I’ve been training people since 2005 and I can usually spot the ones who will be successful in their own business while they’re still taking the course. They’re the ones who are obviously engaged in the material, they get involved and ask lots of questions because they want to learn as much as possible while they can.

Most people go through life doing the same old thing day after day.

They watch a ton of TV and rarely read a book, especially if it’s non-fiction. If they do find themselves in an unfamiliar situation, they rarely ask a question— either because it doesn’t occur to them, or they’re afraid to look stupid.

Entrepreneurs on the other hand, invest in themselves. They read business and marketing books and magazines, subscribe to newsletters and blogs, and invest in courses. If this is you, mark this question TRUE.

4. You are busting with ideas and always looking for ways to improve how something works.

This doesn’t mean you have to be like James Dyson who became obsessed with the idea of creating a vacuum that didn’t lose suction and 5,126 prototypes later invented the first bag-less vacuum cleaner.

My point is you have a natural inclination towards generating ideas and thinking creatively. If this is you, mark this question TRUE.

5. You’d rather color outside the lines or start with a blank page.

Entrepreneurs tend to question why things are the way they are, rather than just accepting them at face value. That’s why they’re the innovators in our society!

While some kids never want to color outside the lines and prefer fill-in-the blanks to open-ended questions, there are always those few who would rather start with a blank page.

They might not test as well in school because memorizing facts bore them, but give them a more complex problem to solve and you’ve piqued their interest.

If you’re shaking your head in recognition of why you didn’t “fit in” like everyone else, mark this question TRUE.

How’d you do?

If you answered TRUE to 4 or 5 questions, then you’re in the right place!

To step into possibility and create your ideal business and lifestyle, you’ll have to be willing to:

  • Question the assumptions that have guided your choices.
  • Try on new thoughts and behaviors.
  • Invest in yourself!

Please share your ideas. What would you add to this quiz?

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Battling Resistance as an Entrepreneur https://voiceofpossibility.com/battling-resistance-as-an-entrepreneur/ https://voiceofpossibility.com/battling-resistance-as-an-entrepreneur/#comments Mon, 06 Feb 2012 02:27:59 +0000 https://voiceofpossibility.com/?p=36 Battling resistance is really difficult when you’re just starting a new project, product or business. It can stop you dead in your tracks and is most insidious the closer you get to your launch and especially when you’re attempting something you really care about. As Steven Pressfield says in his new book, Do The Work! […]

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ResistanceBattling resistance is really difficult when you’re just starting a new project, product or business. It can stop you dead in your tracks and is most insidious the closer you get to your launch and especially when you’re attempting something you really care about.

As Steven Pressfield says in his new book, Do The Work! Overcome Resistance and Get Out of Your Own Way:

The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.

Resistance takes many forms, according to Pressfield, and everyone experiences these at various times and to various degrees:

  • Fear
  • Self-doubt
  • Procrastination
  • Addiction
  • Distraction
  • Timidity
  • Ego
  • Self-loathing
  • Perfectionism

Unfortunately there are no bonus points for having all nine on this list! Reading Pressfield’s book this week was very timely. There was no iBook edition so I downloaded the Kindle version which works really well on my iPad. I was quite anxious to read it because all my resistance was coming up as I struggled to launch VoiceOfPossibility.com into the world.

My latest business decision was like waving a red flag in front of the “bull” that is my resistance.

My corporate name for more than 10 years had been Six Elements Inc. It started as the corporate identity for my line of home accessories, the Debra Gould Home Collection and later branched into home staging and interior redesign.

When I launched a training company to teach others how to make a living decorating homes to sell under the Staging Diva brand, Six Elements still made sense as my corporate name because it was a related business.

When we conquer our fears, we discover a boundless, bottomless, inexhaustible well of passion.

It’s taken me more than a year to figure out what would come next in my evolution as an entrepreneur and I finally hit on the idea of renaming my corporation Voice of Possibility Group Inc. so that my different business divisions and brands could flow under that new moniker.

It’s an excellent representation of the personal journey I’ve been on since my 20s, and the overarching theme of all the businesses I’ve been most passionate about. It has also been the theme I keep coming back to when I speak to groups.

While excited by the many possibilities for my future represented by the new name, I knew it meant that I’d also start a much more personal blog. This triggered my resistance big time!

Fears of being exposed, judged or ignored kept me stuck.

I’ll share my own stories of stepping into possibility to inspire you to open up your own life and work. You’ll also meet fellow entrepreneurs and “rule breakers” and learn from their stories and “lessons learned” too.

You’ll discover practical tips and strategies to actually “Do the Work” that’s necessary to creating your ideal business and lifestyle. I know these work in the real world because I’ve tested these techniques and continue to use them to grow both my online and offline businesses. I’ve also coached entrepreneurs and written about business and marketing since 1989.

Please share your ideas, questions and challenges below. How do you battle resistance in your own life and business?

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3 Tips to Get Out of Your Own Way and Start Your Business https://voiceofpossibility.com/3-tips-to-get-out-of-your-own-way-and-start-your-business/ https://voiceofpossibility.com/3-tips-to-get-out-of-your-own-way-and-start-your-business/#comments Mon, 06 Feb 2012 02:16:14 +0000 https://voiceofpossibility.com/?p=66 The closer you get to the reality of being an entrepreneur the more your fear will kick in with all the reasons you should give up and go back to doing something less “risky.” Here are 5 tips to help you get out of your own way so you can start your business and create […]

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start your business and work from homeThe closer you get to the reality of being an entrepreneur the more your fear will kick in with all the reasons you should give up and go back to doing something less “risky.” Here are 5 tips to help you get out of your own way so you can start your business and create your ideal lifestyle.

1. Ignore that little voice telling you that you have nothing original to offer.

Unless you’re a computer programmer, it’s almost impossible to come up with something so unique it’s never been done before. Yet, only you can offer your exact service in your particular way because you have a unique set of life experiences and your own way of explaining what you do.

Your message will resonate with your ideal customer, it’s a matter of finding out who they are and ensuring they find you.

If you’re launching a product that’s completely new, you’ll have a harder time marketing because you’ll have to spend so much time educating potential customers about the benefits of something they’ve never needed or thought about before.

It can be done, but it may take longer to succeed as I learned when I built a business around hand-painted floorcloths and later home staging (decorating homes to sell).

The business upside of being “first” is it’s easier to establish yourself as an expert in your field and you may get more media attention. The downside is you have to convince people of the need for your product/service before you can convince them to hire you.

2. Embrace the idea of competition rather than being terrified by it.

If you have competition before you begin, that’s a sign that there’s a market for whatever you’re thinking of doing. For example, when serial entrepreneur Steven Smith came up with Stash and later Tazo Tea, there were already plenty of tea products in the market.

No doubt there were sleepless nights wondering if he could compete with the likes of Lipton, Bigelows and Twining. No one would have blamed him for giving up before he started because of such well-financed competition.

Not only did he sell his tea for about 400% of the usual price to consumers (thanks to a good product with really smart packaging and marketing), he later sold these companies for $5 million and $9 million respectively.

When I launched Staging Diva® and entered the home staging training industry in 2005, it was already dominated by a few very large companies. I saw an opportunity to focus my training on a different angle (the business of home staging) while everyone else focused on teaching decorating. I was also the first to offer online training when all my competitors were offering hands-on courses which forced students to take 3 to 5 days out of their lives and travel.

Had I spent too much of my time and energy looking at the competition, I never would have moved forward.

Instead I kept my gaze firmly on where I wanted to go and carved out my niche which has earned millions over the years.

Other competitors have come and gone. One company was financed by Ashley Madison (the website that helps married people have affairs), which meant it had way deeper pockets than I do. It lasted about two years, taking a significant chunk of my business thanks to non-stop ads on HGTV. They’re out of business while I kept going because I had a better product and superior customer service.

New business competitors jump into the home staging training industry all the time, many of them copying my lead. I stay vaguely aware of what they’re doing, but I don’t waste a ton of energy following their every move. As long as I keep being a leader in my field, my following will continue to grow. My competitors are a reminder to stay sharp and on top of my game.

3. Confront all your fears about the worst things that can happen if you fail.

If you’re starting a business that requires a big investment that will put you deep in debt, then you have to plan contingencies for failure. On the other hand, in today’s information economy you can probably find a business that requires little financial investment and that you can start on the side of another job. It’s no longer necessary to open a restaurant or storefront, buy a franchise, or start a manufacturing business to be an entrepreneur!

And, if you’re 40+, do you really want to work all the long hours those businesses would entail?

I love watching shows like Shark Tank and Dragon’s Den where would-be entrepreneurs pitch their ideas hoping to win financing from one of the “Dragons” or “Sharks.”

What’s amazing is how many of them have already put their entire retirement savings on the line or taken multiple mortgages on their homes.

Personally, I’ve never had the appetite for that much risk. I have always started businesses that required little investment (other than my time), with low overhead and high profit margins.

This way the worst thing that can happen if I “fail” is:

  • I lose any time I put into the business that I could have invested elsewhere.
  • I make less money and have to cut my expenses.
  • I’m disappointed it didn’t work out the way I planned.
  • I learn something that will help me in my next venture.

What about you?

What’s your biggest barrier to starting your business or what’s the worst that can happen if you fail? Or if you’re already an entrepreneur, what tips would you add to help people get out of their own way and move forward with their dreams? Please share your comments below!

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Business Success Defined With Your Ideal Lifestyle in Mind https://voiceofpossibility.com/business-success-defined-with-your-ideal-lifestyle-in-mind/ https://voiceofpossibility.com/business-success-defined-with-your-ideal-lifestyle-in-mind/#comments Sun, 05 Feb 2012 02:30:26 +0000 https://voiceofpossibility.com/?p=98 When you look at news about entrepreneurs, you might fall into the trap of believing business success is defined by how large an empire you can create. Our culture glorifies multi-million dollar sales and fast growth. But what if that doesn’t fit your ideal business or lifestyle? Shortly after I started my first business (integrated […]

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Business SuccessWhen you look at news about entrepreneurs, you might fall into the trap of believing business success is defined by how large an empire you can create. Our culture glorifies multi-million dollar sales and fast growth. But what if that doesn’t fit your ideal business or lifestyle?

Shortly after I started my first business (integrated marketing communications) in 1989, I was at an MBA alumni event. All anyone wanted to know was how many employees I had, as if that was the measure of my success.

I found this kind of ironic because it was the start of the last great recession and most of them were working for Fortune 100 corporations in the midst of “streamlining” their operations.

I was quite happy with the fact that I had no employees and wasn’t planning on adding any.

Why add over-head when your business model doesn’t need it? Besides, if I had an office to go to everyday, I couldn’t make a living in my pajamas when I felt like it.

Whether you’re just thinking of starting your first business, or you’re already an entrepreneur, it’s worth thinking about how you define your own business success. It might be all about how much money you make, but perhaps not!

It’s all about creating your ideal business and lifestyle, whatever that means to you!

When you aren’t focused exclusively on money, you actually open up more possibilities for the kind of work you do and what type of lifestyle you enjoy. When my home staging training company was growing exponentially in 2006 and 2007, I got caught up in the idea of earning a million dollars in one year. It was within my grasp considering there were months when I made just under 6 figures in a single 30-day period.

The more I focused on that million dollar target, the less passion I had for what I was doing.

One of the things I get the most personal satisfaction from is the difference I make in people’s lives when I help them move forward in a way they never thought possible. When I’m focused on achieving my mission, I’m fulfilled.

Earning enough money to put my kid through college, build up my retirement savings, and live in a nice home without worrying about money are all important to me.

But when is enough, enough?

I’m quite content driving my 7-year old car, though I do admire that Porsche 911 Carrera parked at my gym! I don’t want a Manolo Blahnik collection, though I notice how lovely they look on others.

Not chasing all these expensive trinkets and toys gives me much more freedom because my cost of living is lower.

When I focused on hitting a million bucks in sales, it really sucked the joy out of what I was doing. I told my virtual assistants (I run an international business with no employees) that they’d each get a new MacBook Pro if we hit a million. I quickly realized I was way more excited about giving them that “prize” than I was about the sales themselves!

I also noticed that one of the things I value most — my free time — was rapidly disappearing.

The bigger my business got, the more people I needed on my team. I established project management and team collaboration systems and it became harder to get simple things done. Now I had to follow a “system” so that everyone was “in the loop,” instead of just having an idea and running with it, as I was more accustomed to doing.

Systems are important (and I’ll be teaching you about the ones I use) especially during periods of rapid growth, but I believe that if you’re a natural-born entrepreneur, they can also feel stifling.

As I delegated more projects to different people, my time and attention became increasingly fragmented.

At multiple points on any project, I had to give the next steps, changes or approvals. This meant I was always jumping back and forth from one thing to another, with my energies scattered in many directions.

I was losing my freedom to concentrate on a single project for a day or week— which is something I actually enjoy!

These are just some of the examples of what can happen when your goals aren’t aligned with your ideal business and lifestyle. So consider what’s important to you and what your true definition of success is, instead of getting caught up in the entrepreneurial version of keeping up with “The Joneses.”

While there’s certainly an ego boost attached to being featured as one of the fastest growing companies, having a big building with your name on it, or being able to say you employ hundreds of people, consider whether this will give you the lifestyle you want.

What about the fancy cars and mansions?

If you’re looking for a get-rich-quick scheme, or lots of talk about fast cars and fancy homes, this is probably not the right place for you.

I do believe in being well-paid for what we do, and I’m not embarrassed by what I earn. I teach others how to do the same, but I don’t view wealth as the greatest measure of success. Plus, I know from experience that the single-minded pursuit of money doesn’t guarantee happiness, meaning, or purpose.

Please share your comments and observations about how you choose to define success. I hope to create a supportive community where we can all learn from— and inspire— each other to have our own ideal business and lifestyle.

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Why Voice of Possibility? https://voiceofpossibility.com/why-voice-of-possibility/ https://voiceofpossibility.com/why-voice-of-possibility/#comments Tue, 31 Jan 2012 07:01:11 +0000 https://voiceofpossibility.com/?p=6 When we stay open to possibility (instead of letting fear guide our choices), we experience more joy, meaning and purpose than we ever imagined— both in life and business. This is not a theory I’m sharing to make you feel good. I’ve personally lived the truth of it. In this blog I’ll share some of […]

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Open to PossibilityWhen we stay open to possibility (instead of letting fear guide our choices), we experience more joy, meaning and purpose than we ever imagined— both in life and business.

This is not a theory I’m sharing to make you feel good. I’ve personally lived the truth of it. In this blog I’ll share some of my own “adventures” and tips for how you can open new possibilities in your own life (and make a healthy living at the same time).

My favorite quote is from John Kenneth Galbraith:

The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking.

I discovered this quote in 1998 when I had already:

I was determined to live a more creative life, even though I wasn’t sure exactly what that meant or what my next career would be. The only way to find time for the “painful job of thinking,” was to step off the expensive hamster wheel I was running on and dramatically cut my cost of living.

Having only lived in major cities up until that point, moving to a tiny island on the opposite end of the country took me utterly out of my comfort zone. The only person I “knew” was the local real estate agent I’d discovered online 3 months before.

Taking a leap or coming undone by a cord of wood

About a week into our move I remembered how months earlier sitting in the relative comfort of my big city house, I had read the quote “Leap and the net shall appear.” After taking a pretty huge leap, there I was in my country kitchen having a minor panic attack realizing there was no flipping net!

What did I know about septic systems and wells? How come I didn’t recognize half the items in the hardware catalog even though this was my third property? Who knew that living in the country with no street lights and no neighbors to hear you scream would seem really scary in the middle of the night?

It was only my own resistance to change triggering all these random negative thoughts and fears.

The locals told me I’d need a cord of wood to keep me warm during the many power failures that would occur that winter. They’d shake their heads and tell me I was probably too late to get any dry wood for the season. Looking back I realize this was probably how they liked to scare the “city folk,”  but at the time I just accepted their warnings as helpful advice.

I had never played the “helpless single mom” card and I wasn’t about to start. I was too embarrassed to tell them I had no idea what a cord of wood was!

I had no idea how many cords I’d need, how big a stack it would be, where one would get it, or how long it would take to pile it all up once dumped on my property.

Perhaps my Internet wasn’t installed, or Wikipedia didn’t yet exist, because it took me exactly 2 seconds just now to learn that a cord takes up 4 feet x 4 feet x 8 feet. I don’t know how I could have possibly stacked it on my own, unless I turned it into a week-long project. I was on my own with a 3-year old (who couldn’t be left to wander off into our “forest”) and I’m only 5’1″ tall!

These were only some of the many challenges of our first months “in the middle of nowhere”, but we muddled through.

Actually one of my favorite memories of that year was our first power failure.

I baked potatoes wrapped in foil in the fireplace, roasted hot dogs on sticks and after dinner we went outside to look at more stars than we had ever seen. What kid wouldn’t love that more than eating dinner with a nanny and having 20 minutes with an over-tired, distracted and cranky mom before bedtime?

Was giving up my previous life and moving to the opposite end of the country radical? It really depends on your point of view and how much you’ve “followed the rules” in your own life.

It was definitely radical for me then but I also kept thinking, “What’s the worst thing that can happen if I don’t like it?” Or put another way, “Really what do I have to lose?”

While I anticipated staying on the island, we moved once I realized a year-round rural lifestyle isn’t for me. How wonderful to have learned this by the age of 40 instead of spending another 20 or 25 years fantasizing about living in the country when I retired.

Many of my fondest memories are from that year and I’ve never regretted the decision to move there or give up my marketing communications business, even though it didn’t turn out how I expected.

In fact, it set me on a path that’s taken me to where I am today— with more meaningful work, more free time and higher income even though I’m finally earning a living from my creativity.

Other than becoming a parent, most other choices are reversible.

If we take a job we don’t like, we can quit. If we marry the wrong person we can get a divorce. If we start a business and it fails, we’ll have learned something along the way that will help us in our next venture.

What “radical” next step are you thinking about for your own life? Please share your comments or questions so that together we can grow an inspiring and supportive community dedicated to more possibility for all of us!

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