Only do X if it aligns with my Why

Most of the past decade has been driven by what I can now identify as #FOMO–Fear of Missing Out. I’m sure this is related somehow to the Fear of Success that Steven Pressfield mentions in The War of Art.

Even though I’m multi-passionate and want to Do It All, I have taken the sucker’s path and followed every whim to figure out what all the fuss is about regarding X–X being whatever project seems to be trendy or popular.

I don’t regret the rabbit trails I’ve followed, because I am extremely curious and love figuring things out.

Like, the one time years ago I was so overwhelmed with knitting curiosity that I just had to buy knitting needles, a thing of yarn that I thought looked pretty (it was but it scratchy and NOT comfortable), and a how-to guide for beginning knitters.

I learned how to knit and was on my way to a scarf in about an hour. I could have finished the scarf in another hour. Yet, it took my literally years to finish it. I worked on it maybe one line at a time.

It turns out that I love owning knit scarves and gloves, but I didn’t feel the need to knit my own outerwear. Of course when Etsy exploded on to the scene and all these knitters suddenly became successful business owners I thought, “Well, there goes a lost entrepreneurial opportunity! I could’ve opened up my own Etsy shop!”

Should I have opened a shop? Would that have made me happy? I barely finished a scarf even though I knew how to knit. I just liked learning how to knit, and once I learned, didn’t feel the need to repeat it.

I made peace with my decision because I didn’t truly love it (I barely liked doing it), and why would I go into business doing what I barely liked doing? I already had that experience with my past day jobs, I wouldn’t do this for my lifelong dream of self-employment.

That’s been my pattern with other things and hobbies and topics that I’ve stumbled upon over the years. I’m grateful for loving the feel and idea and act of learning and collecting experiences over acquiring stuff…but I wonder if the downside to all of this broad seeking is a lot of knowledge without any depth or wisdom.

Like I somehow crossed over that boundary from the land of Curiosity to Scatter and Distraction.

Could I be justifying my whims and love for All The Things and desire to Do All The Things behind this veil of being an Inveterate Fullfiller-of-Curiosity? (I have decided to make that my new job title, FYI.)

If so, what is it that I’m trying justify? What am I trying to defend or validate? And more importantly, what am I hiding from myself with my multi-passionate curiosity?

Could I really be hiding my Fear of Success under layers of wanting to Do All The Things??

The obvious answer to me is yes.

Yes because All The Things are lovely to me, but a lovely distraction.

Yes because though I love the thought and idea of All The Things, I have a pretty narrow focus on the end goal for my life: Author. Entrepreneur.

Yes because All The Things do not and have not served me in my progress toward those end goals.

(Ironically, I have ALWAYS achieved whatever tasks I focus on. Unfortunately, those tasks have at best validated the idea that whatever I focus on,  I accomplish (with great effort). At worst, it has delayed my own version of success. (This thought is the most depressing because I value time so much. This blog used to be titled “Redeeming the Time” before I just simplified it as my blog.)

So. I’m going to take my own medicine and advice and choose a lane and drive it. One lane. I am going to remember my Why, and only choose those tasks and activities that will get me to my Why. I will no longer wonder if I should be doing X, I’ll know because I will refer to my Why.

If X aligns with my Why, then I will do it. If not, I will dismiss it.

I will remember these quotes:

“Activity does not equal Productivity” + “You don’t need a new plan for next year. You need a commitment.” (Seth Godin) = Happy Liza

I will be like Gryffindor’s sword and only take in what will make me stronger.

Something positive to end my reflection on: I did have one main constant and focus this past decade, and that was to be successful in business and drive profitable sales growth through an engaged, loyal, and motivated sales team.

I may not have a book deal yet.

I may not have had the courage or conviction to start my own business 5-7 years ago.

But, I have those things now, and I have over ten years of experience creating profit for someone else to give me the confidence I need to know that I can do it for myself.

Thanks for reading.





Welcome To Your Next Level Up


Almost there (Photo credit: Kaneda71)

Recently, I discovered that I was a winner in my paythebills job’s most coveted contest. I’m not going to lie, ever since I became a store manager three years ago, winning this contest has been something that I’ve hoped for. Not in one of those realistic ways, like saving up to pay for a cool vacation or to buy the next awesome book. No. It was more like one of those “wouldn’t it be nice if I win the lottery” kind of wishful thinking.

For two years, I was a finalist, good enough for recognition and a gift card (for which I was truly grateful), but just missed out on the grand prize. So, when I finally won for 2011, I actually didn’t believe it. I still don’t. Heck, I probably won’t really believe I won the contest till I’m actually at the conference.

Isn’t that the funniest thing? Something that was beyond a possibility suddenly becoming a reality and here I am, not even believing it. I guess my issue is that I haven’t really reached an end point. In fact, I feel like I just climbed a reeeaaallllyyyy long flight of stairs, reached the platform, only to see another flight of stairs. And, another. A never-ending spiral of increasing challenges and expectations.

It’s enough to make me dizzy if I think about it for too long.

I know I shouldn’t be surprised. There will always be another milestone to reach, another goal to shoot for, another layer of complexity to master. That’s life. Besides, any goal worth pursuing isn’t about arriving at a destination, but the stuff you learn about yourself along the way. Or something.

So instead of freaking out about the sky-high results that I’m expected to deliver year-over-year, and the ever-expanding areas for which I’m held accountable, I’ve made a concerted effort to focus on my priorities week by week, measuring progress on them each month.

Eventually, I’ll get to a point where I can be in the moment and celebrate winning (probably during the conference in June). But, now, I have work to do. I need to train my mindset to meet a whole new level of expectations this year, and I have to answer this internal voice that questions if I can win again next year.

It’s a good thing I like challenges.

How about you? Any big goals for this year? Where do you see yourself a year from now?

Necessary Writing Tools


The computer is arguably the most useful tool for writing, but I would like to posit that a proper mindset gets me to that computer in the first place and allows me to drown out the negative internal voices that tell me everyday that I’m not good enough.

I’m nearing The End of WIP2. With every word I manage to punch out on the keyboard today, I say to those voices: “suck it.”