start business

6 ways to get out of overwhelm and finally get that big project completed.

I’ve heard that when someone asked Ernest Hemingway how to begin to write a novel, his response was “First you defrost the refrigerator.”

Do you have a project you’ve been putting off forever? Are you feeling like you’ll never complete it because it feels too big and overwhelming? Maybe you’ve begun and then put it on hold to do something else and never gotten back to it. Or you haven’t even started it.

My friend and client Keri told me about a brilliant idea for a business. She was working a full time job and couldn’t quit until she had her business rolling but the thought of all she had to do to get to that point felt overwhelming. She imagined taking an unpaid sabbatical to work on her business but kept finding reasons she couldn’t take time off.  The whole project just seemed too big to tackle so she felt paralyzed. An entire year went by and she did nothing.

Here’s how we solved her dilemma and got her business going. We made a list of all the things that would have to happen before she could launch her business. I helped her put the tasks in order and then asked her to commit just 2 hours a week to this list. Some weeks she worked the 2 hours straight on a Saturday. Other times, she found it easier to take fifteen or twenty minutes in the morning and do one thing on the list. Some days, it was simply a phone call or sending one email. Imagine if she’d done that a year prior? Instead of feeling discouraged and overwhelmed, she’d have put in over a hundred hours in tiny increments and have her business up and rolling.

If you’re like many of us, you have an idea for something that could make a big difference in your life or career but you just can’t seem to ever get to it.

In my private consulting, group coaching and also in the Mastermind Groups that I facilitate with Barbara Winter , I see this often.

Here are several ways you can get out of overwhelm and get that project launched once and for all:

  • Break your BIG idea down into small, manageable parts. (Think about Keri’s  15-20 minutes a day. That’s 104 hours a year. Or if your project involves completing 90 tasks, do one small thing a day and you’ll have it nailed in three months.
  • Make appointments with yourself to complete incremental tasks more frequently. Rather than wait until you can take a couple of weeks off to work on your project, schedule each small step on your calendar.
  • Reward yourself for completing each piece. My favorite activity is walking my dog in nature so I promise myself that once I complete a particular chunk of work, often a tiny piece, I get to take a walk on the beach, by the lake or in the woods.
  • Pay yourself. Seriously. You know that gorgeous lamp you covet for your home office but you don’t feel right spending the money until you have your business going? Try this: every time you mark off one item on your to-do list, put a dollar in your “purple lamp fund jar” and in six months, you’ll have your business launched AND $180. for the lamp.
  • Track your progress.  Try what my friend Laura did last winter when she was feeling particularly unproductive. One evening she sat down and made a list of every small thing she had done all day. Then she titled it “to-do today” and checked each item off. Particularly if you’ve been telling yourself you’re a procrastinator, listing even the tiniest tasks can give you a sense of accomplishment which will keep your momentum going.

If you are ready to tackle that BIG project now but need help lining up the priorities and implementing the above steps,

GO HERE to find out more about how I can help you develop a personal ACTION PLAN to get out of overwhelm and finally get it done. 

 

 

WHY are you neglecting your dreams?

My friend Barbara Winter, author of Making a Living Without a Job,  has said, ” We can either have our excuses or we can have our dreams. We can’t have both. ”

If you’re an idea generator like I am, you know that feeling of “I will never live long enough to bring all these ideas to fruition”. For those of us who have a constant flow of fresh ideas, we choose which to give our attention to first and don’t fret over those that may not be hatched for awhile. (and I’ll tell you a little secret. Sometimes I give my best ideas away to clients, because I don’t know when I’ll find time and I want to see them come to life. Each time, the muse gifts me with several more.)

When I speak with people who have lots of ideas, I suggest they jot down some notes and keep them in a file. Once they’re recorded, the anxiety over possibly forgetting them subsides. The mind is then free to focus on one idea at a time and the file is always there when you are ready for it.

What about the ideas that you thought were brilliant when you stashed them away but when you have time, you never revisit them? Why are you neglecting them? Is it fear of failure?

If you’re risk adverse, let me ask you this. Which is scarier to you? Trying and failing or the regret of never having tried? I’m sure you can guess which frightens me. Regret, for sure. I take risks because I am more afraid of regret than failure. (and for the record, I have no regrets.)

It wasn’t until recently that I realized there are people who fear success. Some worry about having to live up to others’ expectations of them if they succeed. For some, it’s uncomfortable to be in the spotlight. Well, contrary to popular thought, I know that a private person can be successful without having to show up on Oprah.

Another excuse I hear for leaving a good idea by the wayside is the fear that someone will steal your idea but you know what? You can’t do anything with your great idea if you never take it out of the closet.

When I speak with aspiring entrepreneurs about what’s been holding them back, they most frequently site overwhelm with not knowing what to do first. They just have no idea where to begin so they freeze and do nothing. One of the best ways to overcome that overwhelm is to get a clear vision of the whole project and then break it down into actionable small steps.

There are lots of reasons for staying stuck and not acting on your dreams but the most common, without a doubt is lack of support and guidance.

What’s happening with YOUR neglected dream? Are you still making excuses or are you ready to  put it on the table and give it the attention your great idea deserves?  check out what Barbara Winter and I are doing to help a small group of aspiring entrepreneurs break through the barriers and start their dream businesses NOW. HERE’S the SCOOP

Is it worth the risk to start a business now?

“I’m excited to finally get working on something I’ve only dreamed about but a little nervous about taking the risk at my age. I’ve always heard you shouldn’t take risks when you’re close to retirement” a client/friend said this morning as we worked on action steps to accomplish her business goals for 2014.  (Note: I never repeat a conversation without permission.)

 

Aspiring entrepreneurs bring up “risk” often and for many, misunderstanding risk keeps them in a state of paralyzing fear so they never act on their dreams.

 

It’s high time we examine exactly what “risk” means.

 

noun: the possibility that something unpleasant or unwelcome will happen

 

verb: to act or fail to act in such a way as to bring about the possibility of an unpleasant or unwelcome event

 

 

“Risk” is a word that I frequently hear in regard to my solo  travels. Women friends say, “I’d love to go off alone like you do but I’m afraid to risk traveling alone.”  I do not see it as a risk because the probability of something unpleasant occurring is unlikely and I do not act or fail to act in a way as to bring about the possibility of an unpleasant or unwelcome event. I always have my car serviced prior to driving cross country and I never camp in a place that is likely to put me in danger.

 

When starting a business at any age, there are good risks and bad risks just as there is good debt (a manageable mortgage) and bad debt (careless consumption on credit). Offering a product or service that the world needs and you are driven and able to provide is a good risk and only a risk in that there is never a 100% guarantee of success. A bad risk is investing or borrowing more money than you are confident you can repay. That’s why I suggest resellers only purchase in quantities that they will be able to pay for in 30 days. It’s why I never charge more for courses or coaching than I am confident a client will make back many times over if they do the work. It’s also why I am opposed to SBA loans and am a proponent of businesses that take very little start-up capital and it’s the reason I encourage “start small”.

 

Do I see starting a business later in life as a risk? If you’re going to borrow or invest an amount that makes you uncomfortable, then, yes, that’s a risk at any age. What I do see as frightening is facing an old age of regret because I was afraid to chase my dreams.

 

Is unreasonable fear going to have you are looking back at the end of your life regretting that you didn’t take the risk to explore and nurture your ideas? That’s a very scary thought indeed.

 

If you have an idea that keeps boomeranging and excites you but scares you, ask yourself, “Is this a reasonable fear? Is this a good risk or a bad risk?”  Can you start small and build your dream in a way that doesn’t scare you? I believe nearly any idea is do-able that way. How about yours?

What to do about those ideas that keep re-surfacing no matter how many times you bury them

Do you have an idea that you keep putting  off until “someday”, feeling that the time isn’t right, you aren’t sure how to go about it or if it would make money? I have lots of these that sit on the back burner. Some, I pull out, recognize that it isn’t the ideal time and I pop back in the “later” file.  Others, I revisit, evaluate and determine that the profit potential isn’t enough to spend time on or that my passion for the project has dwindled. Then there are ideas that just won’t stop coming back to me. Even when I am immersed in another project, they continually pop up and beg for my attention. I call those “boomerang” ideas. Barbara Winter calls them “neglected ideas”.

If you have an idea, however vague, that keeps popping back up no matter how deep  you bury it, it’s probably worth your time to finally take it seriously.

While I never make a major business decision without weighing it intellectually with facts and figures, I am a true believer in tuning into the subconscious. When an idea returns even after I have dismissed it, I know it’s time to give it serious consideration.

Because boomerang ideas can be pesky for a reason, Barbara Winter and I have planned something we’ve never done before. We’ve reserved a suite in Las Vegas to sit down with a select group of aspiring entrepreneurs and bring those neglected ideas to what I call the “possibility circle”. That means you put your concept out there and we all put our “problem solver” hats on to bust through the obstacles and create a viable business.

This won’t be a lecture and it isn’t for you if you are looking for a “what do I want to do when I grow up” seminar. It will be a hands-on, hats-on how-to-make-it happen NOW workshop. If you’ve been sitting on an idea that won’t leave you alone until you do it, if you are ready to roll up your sleeves, dig in to the details and bring it to life, click HERE to learn more about how you can be part of this powerful mastermind. And if you do it NOW, you’re still in time for a pre-workshop phone consult with me. Here’s how you can join the circle.

Why New Years Resolutions Don’t Work

Incase you missed this last year:

resolution |ˌrezəˈloō sh ən|
noun
1 a decision to do or not to do something

I’ve never made a New Years resolution. I think it’s because when I decide something needs changing or fixing, I just do it now. Deciding to change a specific behavior on a particular date just never made sense for me. Maybe it’s just a personality thing but I wonder how much of our making and keeping resolutions depends on how we define the word.

resolution
noun
intention, decision, intent, aim

These words feel a bit wishy-washy to me. Almost like you’re saying “I’ll try” as opposed to “I will.”

What if we define resolution as
plan, commit, pledge, promise?

That makes it sound like more of a sure thing, doesn’t it? Something more binding, right?

Have you been thinking that 2012 is the year you are finally going to start or grow your business? That after the New Year you are going to get serious about making it happen?

If New Years resolutions haven’t worked for you before, forget resolutions. How about SOLUTIONS?    Check out what Barbara Winter and I have planned so you can make sure that 2013 is the year you absolutely MAKE IT HAPPEN,  HERE.