We are different. Your zone of genius is different than mine.
You may feel great on camera, I feel great before a blank sheet of paper. You may want to be a social entrepreneur, helping the less fortunate, and I want to be a coach to people who are stuck in unfortunate ways of thinking. Sometimes you find yourself in circumstances you want to change. Fortunately, circumstances are temporary.
Everything is temporary. Except one thing.
In this article, I want you to really think about this thing and do the exercises. My hope is that they open you up and free you from unnecessary things. Once you're free, you'll have enough space for new creative ideas to come in. Flood in, actually.
Your truth. Your magic. Your purpose.
What is it? Do you want to tell the world it's doing something wrong? Or do you want to bring your soulful inventions to life? Whatever your purpose in this life, it will always be the same. As a multipassionate, I've had many vocations and hobbies, but I've always been the same: I'm the girl who wants to help people see it can be done another way.
I'm also the girl who wants to help you see the magic in you. It's there.
This will never change. Whether I show you these things through marketing or writing or coaching, I will never stop speaking and being my truth because it's so deep inside me, it's like someone planted it there when I was born. A divine seed maybe?
You can always recognize the people who are speaking their truth. They're the ones who stand out from everybody else. A few examples - Jeff Goins, Paul Jarvis, Jen Carrington, Sian Richardson, Gary Vaynerchuk, Elizabeth Gilbert, Marie Forleo, Oprah, J.K. Rowling. Be honest, don't you kind of wish you were more like them? I do. They're my human compasses, my guideposts, taking me closer to my dream, giving me perspective.
I'm so incredibly grateful for their truths because they've inspired mine.
Take a minute.
Get a piece of paper, so you don't get distracted on your computer. Write down everything that brings you joy. Everything - big or small - that helps you come alive.
One of my favorite quotes is by Howard Thurman:
Don't ask yourself what the world needs.
Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
For me, the list goes like this:
- learning new ways to be better, stronger
- connecting with people & hearing their stories
- writing in a way that resonates with my readers (love it when you tell me!)
- figuring out new ways to do something that's no longer working
- using colors and categories to organize information
- listening to people who have connected to their inner wisdom
- reading a book in a semi-quiet library or coffee house
- laid-back conversations with my best friends, wherever
- writing blogs, guides, and exercises (and generally feeling helpful)
- aha-moments in the middle of the night
- my cat at the end of the day
- singing music to myself
What's your list? Can you take a photo and tweet it @VioletaNedkova?
Your list will come in handy when you need to disconnect. Also, think of people who inspire you to speak your truth. Write their names. Make a mental note to listen to them or watch them speak, and take their wisdom in at least once a week.
Things in your way.
No matter what you do, how you do it, what reasons you do it for... there will be challenges, distractions, obstacles, and plain time-wasters in your way.
Yesterday I was listening to Marie Forleo talk about the steps she took to get from earning six figures to earning 7. What she said made a lot of sense:
- Follow timeless principles, not cookie-cutter blueprints.
- Always feed your truth instead of your ego.
She said to "stay close to your truth" and never let anything or anyone come between you and it. (Just like me, she loves Simon Sinek's WHY speech.) She also said she eventually had to stop looking for "easy solutions" and start inventing her own.
Following "cookie-cutter blueprints" and expert advice is perfectly natural, especially when you're starting out. Just don't turn it into a habit. They're there to help you, not force a new image or somebody else's truth on you and the way you do things.
You want these people's knowledge, but not their ways.
The ego certainly doesn't help here. You're thinking everyone's ahead of me, I need more traffic to prove I'm doing well, and by the way, I want to achieve this by the end of the year to feel good. That's bull. You only need to see that your way is the best way.
Your way will carry you further than any blueprint or your ego ever would. I know it can be scary, especially if your way is unorthodox or unpopular, but you just have to trust it. And here's another lovely quote, this time from the lovely Oprah:
The only courage you ever need is to the courage to live your own dream.
Take another minute.
This time write down all the things you do like other people would. Those are the things that don't "feel" like you. Then add the reasons WHY these things don't connect with you. Maybe they make you uncomfortable, but you do them to please people or get more traffic. Stop. These are not legitimate reasons for doing something.
The only good reasons for doing things come from your core.
I've told you about The 3 P's of Authentic Marketing, right? They're passion, purpose, and personality. I call these three "the core" because together, they make sure your business (and life) is yours and nobody else's. They're your spiritual fingerprint.
The things I've just asked you to write down, on the other hand, will only get you distracted and off-course. Here's what my list looks like:
- Random Pinterest tactics from different sources (I don't like Pinterest, it's eating up my energy and time that I could be spending in "my genius zone")
- The idea that I "have to" do webinars or podcasts or live-streaming (I don't feel ready, it's not my main strength, and again, it's taking time away from creating)
- Thinking up different services people may want me to provide (waste of time because only I know what I want to do and how I can bring more value to the world, and anyway, when you speak your truth and show up fully, the right people show)
- Step-by-step how-to technical guides (they're super valuable, but there are so many people out there doing these who are way better at it than I am)
- Trying to be controversial (it doesn't come naturally and people don't respond well when I've tried to do it - stupidly, because I thought it was cool)
- Focusing on results rather than relationships (even though my biggest priority is helping and connecting with people, I get distracted by vanity metrics and comparing my brand to other people's instead of focusing on my own sh*t)
These are the 6 things that don't belong me. I bet I could think of more!
Was your list brimful or was it tiny? Did it surprise you? I bet it was hard, too. You have to be 100% honest and then cut at least HALF of those things out of your life. If they make you feel uncomfortable, they are unnecessary. Period.
You know the symptoms, right? Burnout, stress, tightness in the chest.
These are the things you experience when you spend a long time trying to avoid your truth. You don't do it on purpose, of course, it just slips your mind from time to time. You see something shiny, chase it, meet someone fascinating, go deeper into things you find interesting, and before you know it, you're in your 3rd life crisis. Lovely.
You might be tired of writing things down by now, but I think it's important to make a list of your symptoms. I've noticed that when you're AWARE of something, it loses a bit of its power and becomes less of a problem. For example, a solopreneur who works 24/7 and has health problems on the regular obviously has a problem. Denying it or guilting oneself out into doing more and 'how come others handle it' won't help. What will help is admitting you have a problem and letting others help. Delegating, taking breaks, etc.
Now write your symptoms down. Mine are: getting sick (esp. throat and stomach), hardly sleeping and having concentration problems, sniping at people who have done nothing wrong, not finding time to fill basic needs - eat, shower, sleep.
Anything resonating yet?
Now that you know your symptoms, you can monitor yourself and the minute they rise up, disconnect and do something that brings you joy. The joy will balance out your symptoms while you figure out a way to remove them completely.
Honor your truth.
The WORST thing you can do to your truth is ignore it.
Take this blog post for example. It's NOT the kind of thing I usually publish. Yet, I published it even though another one was scheduled for today. Why? Because this blog one speaks my truth. The other one was a listicle. I was desperate for content when I wrote it and if you ever catch yourself doing that, thrash the damn post. It's not worth it.
Every time you publish something not worthy of your brand, you chip away at your image a little. (tweet me)
Every time you copy someone, someone loses their faith in you. If you're not 100% proud and excited to bring something out into the world, don't do it.
I'll give you another example from my own business.
Yesterday I was having doubts. That's normal. They freaked me out a little, but I patiently waited them out and reminded myself WHY I'm doing all this. As long as you remember your truth and you use it as a shield, nothing can derail you.
Specifically, my doubts were saying: Experts advise to start with a small course, maybe a free one. Something you know, like twitter. So this course you're designing right now is way too big and you don't even know if there's demand for it. Those are valid points, but they're not good enough reasons to stop what you love and do something counter to your truth. If I were to sit down and produce a course about twitter, it would not be good because my heart wants something else. And I'm not sure I was put on Earth to do *this*.
If you ask and open yourself up to the answer, you'll know what you are meant to do. (tweet me)
Even just by looking at the first list your produced. Or asking your best friend what you're best at. Or asking your partner whether they've seen your face light up and when was the last time it happened. Go ahead, ask. I'll be here, waiting.
I honestly think that the ONLY way to go back to your truth is to disconnect with whatever makes you stressed or distracted and re-connect with whatever makes you happy.
Let's just take one or two days off. I know you have a million things to do, but I definitely need this and you might need it as well. Your work won't go anywhere and you can't give 100% when you're stressed & overwhelmed anyway. You can give 70, tops.
Tomorrow, you spend time with you. There will be no:
- social media
- outstanding tasks
- to-do lists
- webinar replays
- client-related tasks
- blog posts
- group chats
- looking at other people's sites
- online courses
You can read books and brainstorm or anything that wakes and charges you. And if you HAVE TO work this weekend, wait for Sunday. I actually work most Sundays because I'm so energized after my Saturday retreat.