Act First, Then Inspiration Comes

What do you do when you’re in-between time, when one chapter of your live or work has ended and yet it feels like the next one hasn’t started yet?

I’ve been in this space and was so grateful when my friend Brooke named this for me. It’s called Chrysalis Time – the time in between being a caterpillar but not yet a butterfly.

I’ve gone through a few big transitions and for the first time in awhile I’m not sure what my personal goals are. There are things I want but can’t control. I’m figuring out what I want to continue and what I want to manifest next. It’s been a time of hibernating, but also of desperately needing companionship.

I’ve found comfort in Tara Mohr’s words:
Know it for what it is. Name it as chrysalis time.
Know it is normal.
Know it is universal.
Know it is temporary.
Allow the cocooning but be mindful it doesn’t turn to isolation.
Have compassion for all the ways it is hard – the disintegration, the waiting, the discomfort.
Remember you can’t rush the process.
But remember you can help the process.

For an uber planner/achiever/doer, this time seems extra hard. Knowing it’s normal helps.

Talking to friends who listen helps, exercising, getting outside, starting a project and putting pen to paper or hands to keyboard all help.

Go to the thing, even if you only get yourself there by saying you’ll go for an hour (you may end up staying out all night!).

The key is you have to actually move.

Even if you don’t know what to do, you have to begin.

Some people think ‘Well I don’t have an idea, so I can’t start.’

Wrong! Robert Rodriguez puts it best; “You’ll only get the idea once you start. It’s this totally reverse thing. You have to act first before inspiration will hit. You don’t wait for inspiration and then act, or you’re never going to act, because you’re never going to have the inspiration, not consistently.”

In what ways will you move, take action, and start the thing this week?

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Stretch Yourself, Do Uncomfortable Things

This week, I encourage you to take inventory and ask yourself the following questions:

  • What have you done this summer to stretch yourself?
  • What new experience have you tried and ended up loving?
  • Who are the people in your life who challenge you to be your best?
  • What are you reading or listening to that provides alternate perspectives?
  • What or who do you need to cut from your life that’s getting in your way?
  • Since last year, in what areas have you seen exponential growth?
  • This summer has been all about growth, stretching, and saying ‘Yes’ to big challenges. I just came off a big sprint. Our team had the chance to make magic happen at our first Customer Love Summit (read all about it), I had the privilege to speak to high school girls at App Camp for Girls, and I got to speak on a panel about Word of Mouth with three CEO’s and the legendary point guard Sue Bird (yes, I was star struck).

    From these experiences, I learned we’re capable of so much more than we think, it takes a team to make special things come to life, if you’re going to do the work, get up on stage, and always, always prepare before you give a talk.

    What is one thing you’ll do this week that’s uncomfortable?

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    From Networking to Dealmaking

    About a month ago, Seattle hosted our first Alley to the Valley (A2V) Summit with 65 handpicked influential women who are entrepreneurs, investors, and corporate executives.

    What hooked me about being a part of this, is that the point of A2V Summits is to get past networking, and get to dealmaking. It’s a day to make things happen for each other and accelerate your goals.

    While there were some powerful speaking sessions, the most important part of the day was the Ask/Offer Sessions, when each Dealmaker shared who they are, what they are asking for and why. For example, women asked for funding for their startup, for intros to strategic partners, for co-founders, for board seat opportunities, etc.

    Here’s what I learned:

    Get clear on what you most want
    What is the domino that will start knocking over the rest of the dominos? What do you need to find out first before you can choose a certain path? What doors can this specific group of people help you open that would be harder to do without them?

    Figure out who can help
    Do your homework and know your audience. Pick an ask that they can help you with and think of how you can provide value to them ahead of time.

    Tailor your profile
    We’ve all accomplished so much, but the key is to focus your profile. Our amazing coach Keita Williams taught us that your supporting materials (aka your bio, LinkedIn profile etc.) must support your ask. Meaning, if you’re raising money for your start-up, your profile should talk about your business and your entrepreneurial chops. Or if you’re a VC, your bio should talk about which type of start-ups you invest in.

    Craft your ask for the audience
    Everyone in the room is busy, so make it as easy as possible for them to help you. Instead of asking for intros to executives in the auto industry, provide a list of company names and executive titles you’re looking to meet. Get as specific as possible, provide examples, and demonstrate that you won’t waste the introduction.

    Follow-up and make the magic happen
    Once people have offered to make an introduction or offered to help, it’s on you to follow-up. You may have to follow-up a few times with gentle nudges. Think about how to make it easy to help you. For example, you could write a sample introduction email that your contact can copy and paste.

    Give and share your network
    Most importantly, what introductions can you make, or advice can you share to help someone else advance their goals? We each have built networks and can help open doors for others.

    The conference was designed around this dealmaking format, but this ask/offer framework can also work in many situations. I love it because it helps the conversation get past small talk to thinking about ways we can support each others in our goals.

    What is your biggest ask? Who can open doors for you? How can you help others achieve their goals?

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    Stop Waiting To Feel Ready

    Are you waiting to feel ready or feel more confident or more courageous to get started? Newsflash, stop waiting! You don’t have to feel ready or more confident, you just have to train yourself to take action.

    It’s a losing bet to wait to feel ready. Why? Because you can’t control how you feel.

    The good news, is you can control how you think, and how you behave.

    If you only make decisions based on feelings, you’re robbing yourself of joy and activity. [More on this in Antonio Dimasio’s TED Talk on “The quest to understand consciousness.”]

    Mel Robbins has a little hack that can help. The next time you find yourself hesitating to take action (the brains signal to try to prevent you from taking action), count down 5-4-3-2-1 and then do. This can help you break the habit of hesitating.

    To learn more about this technique, check out Mel Robbins’ interview on the Lewis Howes podcast. There are tons of great nuggets in there.

    What do you do to help you take action?

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    7 Books to Broaden Your Perspective

    In the last month, I’ve been on a reading tear. (To see how I read so many books in a month, check out How I read 12 books in 3 months).

    For this week’s Inspira, I thought I’d share what I’ve been reading:

    Year of Yes: How to Dance it Out, Stand in the Sun, and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes.
    For one year, Rhimes said yes to everything that scared her. This is her story about how she learned to love her truest self. This woman has accomplished so much.

    Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
    I read this book a year ago and listened to it again. The book is an intimate letter to Coates’ son about “race” and what it means to be a black man in America.

    Rising Strong: How the Ability to Reset Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown.
    The subtitle says it all, “if we are brave enough, often enough, we will fall. This book is about what it takes to get back up.” I laughed, cried, and grew by reading this book.

    The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande.
    The volume and complexity of knowledge today has exceeded our ability as individuals to properly deliver it to people—consistently, correctly, safely. A checklist can make all the difference. Worth reading to see how pilot checklists are created (not as easy as it sounds).

    Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport.
    Mastering deep work is the super power of our time. Newport not only tells you why, but how you can transform your mind and habits to support this skill.

    Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath & Dean Heath.
    This is a classic book for Marketers. It’s about what makes ideas stickier.

    World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks.
    I’m fascinated by the psychology behind how people make decisions in impossible situations. This book shared dozens of perspectives of surviving the great zombie war from across the globe. Listen to this book; you’ll recognize famous voices.

    As you pick out your next book to read, I challenge you to think about the authors you chose to read. When I examined the books I read last year, I realized that a big percentage were written by white men. This year, I’m purposefully looking for books to broaden my perspective (more on this soon).

    What should I read next?

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