My advisor gave me that look advisors give students when they think you’re totally screwing up.
“You realize that changing your major as a junior, you’re going to tack on an extra semester of school, right?”
Her words were caring, but her tone said, “Are you crazy? Just finish your damn degree already, girl.”
I nodded that I understood, filed the paperwork, and showed up to the first class – “Strategic Writing for the Media” – that would change the course of my career path forever.
I changed my major 5 times in college. Oh, and I also went to three colleges (four, if you count the P.E. class I took at the local JC that I never showed up to, but magically passed).
I’ve always been a bit of a dabbler – so much so that I’ve never been able to settle for anything in life that doesn’t really light me up, whether it’s a job, a relationship, or a cookie. (Never settle for mediocre cookies.)
Recently I learned there’s actually a mantra of sorts for this type of behavior, especially in business:
“Clarity comes through engagement, not thinking.”
Marie Forleo’s words.
Put another way, you don’t get clear about your life, your purpose, your business, or your cookie selections until you actually get out there and experiment.
You don’t know what’s going to work – or not work – until you change your major five times. Or you book your first client, despite feeling like you’re going to fail. Or you try that different approach that’s risky. Or you eat 9 different types of cookies until you find the one you LOVE.
You won’t get clear on any of this by sitting around and thinking about it. You find clarity through action – through trying, succeeding, failing, kinda-making-it-work, tweaking, refining, listening, and delivering.
You also get clarity from engaging in your life. Because the action you need to take to get clarity isn’t about putting 10 million to-do items on your plate. It’s about dabbling in things for pleasure and purpose. Enjoying the ride and trusting that you’ll get there in good time. You can achieve clarity sitting on a beach, drinking champagne at 10 am (which I may or may not have been doing last week).
The Evil Gatekeepers
There are two evil gatekeepers that will keep you from creating the business you want + living the life you truly desire:
1. Not starting
Not Starting is your fear running the show. And Perfectionism is Not Starting’s jerky little sidekick, because even if you get started, Perfectionism will make sure you don’t get far. It’s not good enough. I need to change that. It should be different. Better. Gahhhh. Screw this. I’m tired.
Not Starting and Perfectionism are the demons you need to slay, babe.
I know from experience. I know from wasting far too much time aiming for perfect, and only finally achieving success in my business when I kicked perfect to the curb, left the overthinking and philosophizing to the poets, and make a commitment to engage until I found what worked.
Did this involve failing? Abso-freaking-lutely. Did it involve sleepless nights, worrying, stress, and moments where I wanted to give up? Yep.
But it was about showing up. Doing the work. Hiring help. Trying new things. Being authentic. Listening.
So. Clarity comes from engagement. Not thinking.
Where can you engage today? Where can you just start, even if you’re unsure?
Let me know. I bet I’ve been there.
I hereby give you permission to change your mind. To try all the cookies. To switch majors, or try a new business idea, or get the help you need to get you out of your head and into action.