by Marla Beck, MFA, CTACC
The other day a colleague shared with me a story.
She had a big project coming up. And although she was nervous, she decided that everything would unfold with ease and grace…and it did. She got the results she wanted and had worked for, all because she took a moment to decide what she wanted.
I know this may sound quite simple, but it works.
A simple case study.
A few weeks ago, I coached a musician -- a guy who's quite accomplished in his business-world day job -- to create a new music school. He came to me for help because he'd gotten overwhelmed with completing a grant application to fund his new venture.
We talked about his vision for the music school, and our conversation revealed his intentions for the project were two-fold: to serve his community, and to shift his livelihood to the arts. The grant seemed like a good idea because, well…it was there…
The thing is, my client jumped in to developing his project before he was crystal clear about his intention. He'd always assumed that his music school needed to be non-profit, and when he saw the grant he thought he should apply. But our coaching conversation revealed that a for-profit model -- one that would enable him to make a living and also serve the community with some pro-bono or sliding scale work -- was more closely aligned with his intentions. It took a coaching conversation, a powerful kind of talk with an objective third party, for him to get clear.
The best part about this clarity? No grant application needed. And his overwhelm and resistance disappeared. Instead, he was now free to get busy with the exciting (and yes, kinda' scary) work of choosing his services, committing to his project and starting to network and get the word out to prospective students.
My client moved out of overwhelm into a state of ease. And grace.
Your goal is often closer than you think.
It's very easy to put roadblocks in our way when we're facing a scary part of our project.
- That's the reason so many solo business owners think they have to "get the website done" before they dare to tell anyone about their services.
- That's the reason it's so damn tempting to over-research a topic or a chapter when you write.
We're kind of ingenious in a backwards kind of way. Because if we're so busy dealing with the roadblocks, we don't have to take the scary steps we need to that will potentially expose us to rejection or disappointment.
We can stay safely stuck.
I'd like you to write the words, "ease" and "grace" down and post them in your workspace.
Then I want you to observe your writing mindset in the coming week.
(Take a look at your to-do list, too.)
Be alert for self-made obstacles, which often present themselves as big projects or tasks you're resisting. Ask yourself, "Is this task truly necessary? Could I move forward without it?"
Approach this exercise with a sense of humor and compassion for yourself. (You may find, like me, that you are amazingly inventive at keeping yourself "busy.")
Practice this new habit regularly and you'll be one step closer to trading your "spin out" for clarity, ease and grace.
Your writing career will thank you.