Working with what's known

There are some things in life that we tend to avoid knowing.

For example, our credit score or the median cost of a rental home in our city.

It’s because there are some facts for which we have no capacity. Blissful ignorance has a certain value, to a point.

Until your state of ignorance costs you more than knowing what you’re really up against. Until your state of ignorance becomes an energy leak.

In my business, I like to minimize energy leaks from the beginning. I like to work with clear deliverables, known timelines and transparent budgets.

When I share work with a client, I ensure to include a request for feedback by a specified date. If I don’t hear from them, I follow up. There’s no need to feel guilty or that I’m being a nag. The timeline was known.

There will always be uncertainty. There will always be unknowns. But cleaning up the unnecessary ambiguity frees up mental energy. It plugs the leaks.

One foot out the door

If the right job came up, would you drop everything including this business you have been nurturing - and say yes?

When you get tired of the hustle, will the lure of a regular salary be enough to pull you away from the clients who trust you, who love to work with you and will surely miss you when you’re gone?

Do you have one foot out the door? Or is what you’re building too precious, too important that no salary is great enough?

What’s your price?

The other kind of learning

There’s the kind of learning that’s stimulating and motivating. It acts as a sort of reset - shaking up your routine, setting you on a new path - like attending a conference or going back to school. It’s also passive learning.

And then there’s another kind of learning. The excruciating kind. This kind of learning comes up when things get tough - like when you lose a client or lose big money on a project. The kind of learning that brings up questions like ‘am I really cut out for this?’ or ‘am I wasting my time?’.

We all get triggered in certain ways when things don’t go as planned. We blame ourselves and our process. We tell ourselves that this happens because we’re not good enough or smart enough or we don’t work hard enough.

The trick is to recognize when learning is masquerading as something else like failure, rejection or unworthiness and to dig a little deeper. To reframe the situation, clean it up and honestly reflect upon what you could have done differently. To face it and let it help you re-work your systems, build a better process, communicate your boundaries more effectively.

Every time you learn something the hard way, you are taking another giant leap forward. Learning now means you get better sooner. So you’ve just lost big money on a project. Your bank balance may tell you you’re behind. But really you’re streaks ahead.