Why do we e-course ourselves into numbness?
I can tell you my reason:
Because everything about running a one-person-business feels uncertain.
Do I know enough to do this?
I have so many ideas. Which should I take action on?
Is my writing engaging?
Do I have what it takes to build a tribe?
Do my packages and offerings make sense?
Will my clients enjoy working with me?
Will I be able to pay my mortgage next month?
Feels big, right?
But here's some perspective...
Everything about business - in general - is uncertain. Even for large, established organizations.
Just like everything about parenting is uncertain.
Or, everything about relationships is uncertain.
In reality, everything about life is uncertain.
But we forget that don't we?
The reason I used to buy e-courses I didn't need was because it temporarily medicated my feelings of panic about the wild uncertainty of it all.
It's essential to my well-being to constantly guide myself toward accepting the invisible pressures of running a business. To detach from making it all mean so much. To let go of what is beyond my control.
I try to be honest and aware of when I'm wanting to distract myself (with a new e-course I don't actually need) rather than sit with the normal awkwardness of doing my thing in a wild and wooly world.
The good news is, eventually you do build up a tolerance to awkwardness, uncertainty, and the unknown.
Now... I'm not suggesting you BAN e-courses from your life.
I'm planning to sign up for a couple (that I'm very excited about) this year.
What I am suggesting is learning the difference between:
- taking an e-course to medicate business pain away
- taking an e-course to expand your skill-set in a very specific and efficient way
There is a BIG difference.
The first reason will keep you stuck, trying to keep your head above water (desperate to grab the next life raft - ahem - e-course floating by).
The second reason will help you take action and become more valuable to your clients (and the money you attract is energetically aligned with the experiences and value you offer - so increasing your skills increases the value you can provide - hence, increases your income).
This worksheet will help you get to the heart of what's going on if you are waffling nervously about your next e-course purchase. (I think you know the nervous waffling I'm talking about;)
Another great way to manage solo-biz uncertainty is to get very clear about the soul of your work.
Here's what I mean:
Our work isn't our jobs or our businesses.
Those are containers for our work.
I have done my work my whole life (even when I was changing diapers, even when I was waiting tables, even when I was doing doing data entry, even when I was managing video game programmers).
My work is the role I've played in the various containers I've filled over the years. (And it's important to note, your role isn't the same as your job title:)
YOUR ROLE ON THIS PLANET IS A SACRED CONTRACT WITH YOURSELF.
Your role is a sacred contract with yourself. Your job title is a public contract with a business.
When I look back over my job history, now (that I'm older and have more perspective) I can clearly see what was happening when I started detesting certain jobs. At the time I thought things like "I work for idiots." or "I'm terrible at this."
But the real story was - my soul was outgrowing that container OR the container hadn't been a good fit from the start. Logically, I had excellent reasons to stay like: I needed the money, or the health insurance benefits, or the job market sucked.
But honestly, I was scared to change. Furthermore, I didn't know it was possible (and okay) to find a work situation that was deeply aligned with my true role. Heck, I didn't even know I had a role to play on this planet. I just did what most people do: I traded hours for dollars. Preferably doing something I didn't totally hate.
Until I did hate it.
It wasn't the job's fault. But I didn't know this at the time.
It was because the energy being asked of me didn't align with the soul of my work.
IS THE ENERGY REQUIRED TO DO THIS ALIGNED WITH THE SOUL OF MY WORK?
IF THE ANSWER IS YES, THE HARD WORK AND CHALLENGE WILL FEEL DEEPLY FULFILLING ( EVEN WHEN IT'S NOT FUN).
Sometimes my business goes through similar growing pains. That's because ebb and flow is a natural part of how the universe works.
When I start to panic in my business (due to uncertainty) or when things feel insurmountable (due to insecurity), I tune into the soul of my work and make sure my energy and actions are aligned with it. It helps me make little adjustments to the way I'm spending my time and what I'm giving my focus to. It helps me chill out.
I help my clients do this too by creating a Brand Matrix for them.
A matrix is defined as a surrounding medium or structure.
In this case, it's a visual tool to keep us connected with the truth of our real work. Not just the visual aesthetics of our businesses, but the energy we're fueling everything with.
A brand matrix guides us out of the confusion of comparing ourselves to others, or feeling depressed about unsubscribes, or wondering what e-course we should take or what group to join. Basically, it helps us return, recalibrate, and refocus ourselves (and stop worrying about things and people beyond our control) so we can take another simple step along our journey.
Here's an example of my former brand matrix:
I give my clients a brand matrix so they can keep it with them. Framed on their desks, pinned to their bulletin boards, or glued to the cover of their favorite notebook or blog planner.
It's a reference to return to when they're...
- writing blog posts
- creating social media graphics
- preparing presentations
- brainstorming products & offers
- evaluating whether a new e-course would add value to their skills or keep them distracted from taking action
A brand matrix helps us summon the courage to look uncertainty right in the eye and keep moving anyway.
Feel free to use my brand matrix as a guide and create you're own. Canva would be an excellent tool for this:)
I wish you much happiness and clarity as you evaluate the next step you take with your business. Come back to your brand matrix and know that you really do have what it takes to have what you want. And you may not even need that e-course after all. Download the worksheet below to find out:)
Curious about collaborating and coaching with me via a series of fun
(and aha-filled) phone calls to align your brand or website?
P.S. Are you a coach or healer and want to dive all in to discover your purpose and shed the big fears holding you back? My sweet friend Hillary Schneider is a gifted intuitive who can see the inner light in people plain as day - and can help you see it too, to expand the way you work with your clients:) Visit her right here. Join her private (and wonderful) group here.