Thing Finding Thursday with Kate Swoboda


Kate Swoboda is one serious force of nature.

Her gifts are many, but what I’m always struck by in our conversations is her ability to simultaneously listen at a very deep/heart level AND have her mind pick away at the situation and survey it with care from every angle.  Curiosity, compassion and courage are a fierce combination.

That’s my Kate.

She’s quite simply a brilliant coach who recognizes that being a brilliant coach doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s easy to build a brilliant business. (Word.)

And so, for the brilliant coaches of the world, she has created The Coaching Blueprint (aff link). It’s an e-program as hella-smart and hella-generous as she is.

In this interview, she shares how she found her THING and how she has parlayed it into a business that people care about. She also shares some big learnings about undertaking massive projects as well as signposts to look for along your own path.

Interview with Kate Swoboda for Thing Finding Thursday

Tweetworthy Kate-isms (for your sharing pleasure)

  • What does trusting your body have to do with finding your thing? @katecourageous tells @TanyaGeisler (TWEET IT)
  • Justifications create a lot of mediocrity. via @katecourageous (TWEET IT)
  • I can be totally afraid and it doesn’t make me weak. via @katecourageous (TWEET IT)
  • Cultivating trust in your body’s feelings will help you find YOUR path. via @katecourageous  (TWEET IT)
  • Transformation happens whenever we choose to dive into something even though fear is along for the ride. via @katecourageous  (TWEET IT)

 

Transcript of edited interview (for your reading pleasure)

Kate:            Thank you so much for having me. I’m crazy excited to be on your interview series.

Tanya:         What’s your thing?

Kate:            My thing, we can go in technical titles, we can go what the titles are about. The technical titles are I’m a life coach, speaker, and writer. But, I really feel like working with fear in my own life and then how that translates to what shows up in my writing, my coaching, and my speaking, and specifically how we just beautifully practice courage is my vocation – it’s my calling, it’s that thing that I get really jazzed about.

Tanya:            How did you land there or is there a way in which you’re still landing, how from here to there, what was your process?

Kate:            I love that you say there’s a way in which you’re still landing, because I think that especially in our more materialistically oriented culture we tend to think there’s a place “over there” that we’re supposed to land. Part of my “landing process” you could say was the discovery that there is no landing, that the suffering in the world and in one’s personal life is about thinking that there’s a place to land, that there’s this thing out there, this day out there where if I just do enough work I won’t be afraid.

One of the things I talk about on my website and in my work is that the practice of courage is about feeling afraid, because you’re never going to get out of that part as long as you’re a human being trying new things and diving in anyway. What would you want to do otherwise? Stay stuck? That isn’t a recipe for fully alive living for most people.

Then transforming, because that’s always what happens whenever we choose to dive into something even though fear is along for the ride. The transformation doesn’t necessarily look like always that the heavens part and life is perfect there ever after.

Actually, that 1 inch of freedom is a really valuable inch to have gained. We always have some kind of transformation just by the process of saying, “This thing scared me, this thing that I wanted and I decided to go for it anyway.”

For a long time it was sort of a dysfunctional thing. It was like white-knuckling my way through fear. What that has blossomed into and what I’ve transformed is the realization that I didn’t need to white-knuckle or defend against but this was actually something that I could flow with and I could be with.

In fact, it was the essence of my power to say, “I can be with this. I can be totally afraid and it doesn’t make me weak. It actually makes me incredibly on my edge to be with this fear that’s coming up from me.”

Kate:            I actually really believe that one of the most powerful choices I can make where I’m afraid is to lay down on my bed and just cry it out. That is actually a conscious choice to work with fear right there. I don’t have to go get a business license, hang out my shingle, or do all the big things like start a blog that feels so scary if I wanted to start a business.

(Tell us about The Coaching Blueprint, will ya?)

In 2011, I had gotten to a point in my business where a lot of coaches were emailing me and saying, “Okay, Kate how are you doing this? How are you getting the guest posts booked and how are you booking interviews with best selling authors like SARK or TED talk researchers like Brené Brown. How are you doing the marketing thing and not going crazy?”

All these questions were coming up and I said, “Well, I’m going to create a program for you to teach you everything I need to know.” Along the way, I’m going to interview other coaches who are amazing and get their wisdom too. Especially, because we’re all coming from different perspectives and somebody probably wants the business coaching perspective of Tara Gentile, if they’re a business coach. They might want the creative coaching perspective of Jamie Ridler if they’re a creativity coach.

I interviewed 12 coaches and counselors and put that out. Now, in the past year, things change. Facebook has changed in the past year. Technology has changed in the past year. Pinterest has become big in the past year.

Basically, I’m re-launching the Coaching Blueprint. I shouldn’t even say re-launch. I’m updating the Coaching Blueprint. I’m adding more content and more interviews with Leonie Dawson who is a rock star who made $100,000 in 3 months. I’m like I want to talk to a coach who knows how to do that because I want to know how to do that. It’s going to be live on October 4, 2012. I’m completely and totally excited.

Tanya:            I’m completely and totally excited for you too. What fears, obstacles, or shit showed up as you were creating this?

Kate:            I learned that when you launch something, more is going come up then you ever think is going to come up. That’s something that I’m going to be talking about in the Coaching Blueprint 2.0.

So much stuff came up in the last launch. Like last minute things. Things people were requesting. Suddenly remembering at 10:30 at night just as I was about to nod off to sleep. Oh my God, I didn’t get that email to that person.

I have really set an intention for myself with this launch that I’m going to be working out, getting my salad, making my green smoothie in the morning, and drinking lots of water. My practice of courage is really being attuned to and releasing the thought that if it’s not done in a certain way it’s wrong, or it won’t be successful, or that’s its bad, and all of that.

Really, where’s the priority? That’s the take-away for when you take on a massive project and it’s scary and shit’s coming up. Is it worth doing if you drive yourself into the ground? I don’t think it’s worth doing if you drive yourself into the ground.

Tanya:            Is there anything you want the viewers who are in the process of looking for their thing, maybe they feel like they’re on edge, it’s not quite fitting, but there in a process. Is there anything that you have, any questions, or sign posts that you would love for them to see on their own journey?

Kate:            What I would say is really start to notice the sensations in your body. Justifications create a lot of mediocrity. I don’t mean mediocrity in the way that people typically banter about the term like don’t be mediocre, be better than that. I mean like mediocrity as in things that don’t really rise you to your truest calling or your purpose. Like really rise you to that place.

When you’re doing too much up here the justifications can convince you to go a certain direction. When I sit down to write something for the Coaching Blueprint or when I was sitting down to write something for the Courageous Living Program or when I’m sitting down to write for my blog, it’s like if I’m sitting down and I’m going ten ways to practice courage, oh, okay well what is what one way. It’s thinking. It’s just not going to be a successful post.

When I have that thought, when I run across an amazing quote and I think oh that’s a great idea and I scribble it down. I feel it in my body. I feel it down here. I feel it everywhere. The more you can cultivate trusting that feeling, the more you’re going to really find yourself on your path, not somebody else’s path, not the path you think you should be on.

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Go find Kate and her courageous self at her site and on Twitter.


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Thing Finding Thursday with Michelle Ward

Not surprisingly, I had a blast interviewing this Thing Finding Thursday Guest: Michelle Ward. We sang, we laughed. We talked about Things. Don’t know Michelle? Well, lemmetellyaabouther.  In my mind, she coined the term “amazeballs” (and if she didn’t, well she certainly may as well have…the word sums her up). I met her in NYC last May and have been a fan of her effervescence and light ever since that first jubilant hug. She is a funny funny, dedicated, and bombastic firecracker completely devoted to helping creative people devise the career they think they can’t have – or discover it to begin with.

She takes a strong stand for people finding and claiming claim their uniquity via The Declaration of You and “can be found coachin’, bloggin’ & givin’ away free stuff at whenigrowupcoach.com”.

So, I guess it’s pretty clear then, why I invited her to say more about Things, non?

With great delight (and the suggestion that you turn the volume down…we are highly excitable), allow me to present Michelle Ward.

Interview with Michelle Ward for Thing Finding Thursday

Your Thing is likely linked to your uniquity. Genius. Blessed, relief-filled genius.

Tweetworthy Michelle-isms (for your sharing pleasure)

  • Don’t negate anything. Everything counts. Everything’s on the table. (TWEET IT)
  • Uniquity is what makes you you. That makes you different. (TWEET IT)
  • In finding yur thing: What do I believe? What do I know? What have I learned? (TWEET IT)
  • In finding your thing ask : What do I love that’s been consistent? What do I do well? (TWEET IT)
  • For 1 WEEK suspend the belief that s.t. doesn’t count/ u can’t make a career out of it. (TWEET IT)

 

Transcript of edited interview (for your reading pleasure)

Tanya: All right. Michelle Ward!

Michelle: Yes, Tanya Geisler!

TanyaWhat’s your thing? Tell me what your thing is.

MichelleIt’s your thing! Oh my god, I’m going to sing everything with you right now.

So my thing is that I’m the When I Grow Up coach, and I help creative types devise the career they think they can’t have or discover it to begin with. So, all throughout their career transitions, they don’t know what they want to be when they grow up. They know what they’re doing isn’t working, or they know exactly what they want to do, but they can’t even think how they can get there without moving into their parents’ basement. Or they have their thing and they’re doing it, but it’s not working out quite as they want. I work with those people! As the When I Grow Up coach. That’s my thang.

Tanya: How did you find it, honey?

Michelle: Oh, my god! Um, the short story—and it’s probably still going to be a little long, it’s a very—my thing is that I use 10 words when I could use three—um, it’s part of my thing.

I started out as a Broadway baby. My life was my musical theatre. Performances, school plays, blah blah blah. Since I was six. I got into NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, very prestigious! Early acceptance for their musical theatre program, and was so excited, thought that was my ticket to Broadway, freedom, wonderful career. Graduated a year early because I wanted to start pounding the pavement! Was excited to get out there and do it.

Tanya: That’s also your thing, by the way.

Michelle: Oh, totally my thing, totally my thing. And so after about five years of pounding the pavement I kind of had to acknowledge the voice in my head from went to being like, very tiny, in the back of my head, and very quiet, to like, getting louder and louder and becoming like a monster and eating my head, and saying, like, this isn’t what you want to do as a grownup any more!

And it was traumatic, and heartbreaking, and devastating. It was like my best friend died or I lost my right arm. It was horrible. But I found life coaching, I think because I was so conditioned that I was doing something that I loved as a career that it was unacceptable to me to do something that I didn’t love as a career. And at the time, I really listened to that voice and said, “Okay. I’m not going to audition as a career any more. I’m not going to pursue acting.”

I was working like a grownup job, 401K and insurance, it was the first time I had insurance which is very not through my parents, or whatever. And I had a horrible boss, and I liked aspects of the job, but the environment was terrible, and I was like, I know I can’t stay here. What else can I do? And I wanted something grownup, and I found life coaching.

So that didn’t work out at all.

But it did! Because I was—it made so much sense for me to be an entrepreneur once I really started dissecting things and looking into things and what I would love. And the thought of helping other creative types through their career transitions, and being the coach that I needed at the time, for other people—like, that was it! Like, that’s all I wanted to do. So that’s how I found my thang!

Tanya: So, in a lot of the work that I do with my clients, there is an absolute no, like, a deal-breaking no. There are chronic curiosities. There are itches that want to be scratched. These are all, sort of, places that we look. And I’m in love with your, Look for your uniquity.

Michelle: It’s one of my things that I love to talk about, and I really work with my clients on, because, A, it’s how I feel like I built my business in the way that I did, and why I’m able to do this full time, and be, like, be as successful at it. But, yeah, I’ll own it! I’ll own it!

Tanya: Yeah! Own it, baby.

Michelle: I’m happy with where things have gone and how I’m doing, and I see that in every single arena. Especially people who want to be entrepreneurs. A lot of us—especially us ladies, who just want to like please everyone and not rock the boat, just make everyone happy, and help everybody and give our stuff away—it has to stop. It has to stop. You need to really be able to say, Who would I love to work with?

Because you know what? I get to say that those are the people that I want to work with. Whether you’re going to be an entrepreneur or not. Even if you’re like–You need to know what type of environment am I going to thrive in? Who are the people that I’m going to work the best with? Who is it that I want to serve? Who do I want to work alongside of? What type of people are they? And then, who am I?

So I can really—I hate using the word branding, but that’s kind of what everyone understands—in terms of branding yourself as an entrepreneur, a business person for your business. Or, again, just kind of separating yourself from the pack if you’re looking to get hired someplace else. But your uniquity is what makes you you, what makes you different, and I really learned that lesson a little too late, I think, when I was pounding the pavement as an actor, because it was just drilled into me that I had to not stand out!

I had to just—I can’t wear anything that distracts from my face. My clothes had to be muted because the attention had to be, you know, on my songs, and, you know, I might as well just blend in with the other 450 twenty-something-year-old girls that were going for the same, you know, five parts that I was going for. And, finally, when I realized that that is the opposite of how I get cast—I get cast as like loud and broad and funny, because that’s who I am, and what I do, and how I sing, and how I perform, I kind of went—

Tanya: And how we love you.

Michelle: Yeah. Well, yeah! Thank you. And I kind of went, why would I hide this until I got to the room and I started singing? Like, I need people to know this right away! And I bought a new dress that had bright polka dots on it, and I took new headshots with a bright blue background and did all these things to just put myself out there, and it was me.

And it was amazing what I saw. When I would come into the room, I would get this, like, lean-in from the table, and I could tell there was no one else that kind of came into the room the way I did.

I was getting a lot more auditions, I was getting a lot more call-backs. If I wasn’t booking more jobs, I was getting more people calling me saying, You auditioned for me six months ago, and now I want you to come in for this—because they remembered me.

So, bringing that all into my business, and knowing I might kind of  send people away, because I’m loud, and I say amazeballs a lot, and I use a lot of exclamation points, and could be I’m this–this far away from being, like, annoying enthusiastic. And if those people don’t get it, like, good! Go away! I don’t want to work with them.

This is who I am. This is who you’re getting when you decide to work with me, buy something that I’m selling, you’re going to get a 50-page, rhyming, career-change workbook.

Tanya: Yes, you are.

Michelle: You know? Like, that’s what you’re getting!

Tanya: So, my darling, how do—the people who are watching this are looking for their things, may well be in that spot of, I feel like I’m where I’m supposed to be but it doesn’t—it’s not quite fitting! What’s the prescription to getting at our uniquities?

MichelleAah! I wish it was that easy. I wish it was—

Tanya: Come on!

Michelle: Fairy dust!

Tanya: You make it hard! I like it, I like it!

Michelle: It really is about looking within yourself to, What do I love to do? What are the rules according to me? Like, for me, sweet potato fries are the best food ever, and a day doesn’t start right unless it starts with Judge Judy. Like, those are my rules! And also, never give up on your dreams! Do what you love! Follow your passion! Those are my things.

So like, really get into, What do I believe? What do I know? What have I learned? What do I love to do that’s been pretty consistent? What do I do well? And really dig into those things. Put them all in one place, and then even if you can bring in the friends and family finding, bring in emails that people have sent you that say thank you for things, your reviews, your report cards, whatever—put them into one place. And once you start having everything in one place, you’re going to see those threads, and that’s a really good place to start.

Tanya:  Is there anything else that you think that this group of really savvy readers needs to know about finding their thing, that you really want them to hold as they go off on their gorgeous days?

Michelle:  I think that just, what comes to mind is just, don’t discount anything. Don’t discount anything! There is nothing is small, there is nothing that is inconsequential, there is nothing to discount. And really allow yourself—even if it’s just for a week, just say, You know what? For this one week of my whole life I am going to just suspend the belief that, like—I’m not going to censor myself. I am not going to say that something doesn’t count. I’m not going to say, but I can’t make a career out of this! So what? Who cares if I love reading and I read 20 novels in a month? It doesn’t matter! It’s not a career!

Don’t negate anything. Everything counts. Everything’s on the table. Put it all out there, own it, acknowledge it. Put it in that one place. Write it down. Don’t discount it! Please! I beg you!

MichelleOkay, yes we have, and curtain! Scene!  Your transcriber’s going to be like, “how do I”…

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Go find Michelle and her amazeballs self at her site and on Twitter.

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Psst…Know what else can help you sort out what patterns have been in your life? Assembling a group of peeps who have known you in different capacities and have different perspectives on you. Now if ONLY there was a program that could help facilitate that? Oh wait! There IS and it’s called Board of Your Life. Huh. 

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What's YOUR Thing? If you’re trying to find your thing, then signing up for updates is the thing for you. Get Thing Finding Thursday updates, plus:

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Thing Finding Thursday with Emilie Wapnick

Emilie Wapnick didn’t so much FIND her thing as much as she has SHIFTED her things. A label-abhorrer, she is a woman of many interests and abilities (sounds familiar?) who was managed to stitch them together into one place. Beautifully.

Emilie works with multipotentialites to build lives and businesses around all their interests. She’s the author of Renaissance Business and the resident multipotentialite at Puttylike.com.

In my mind, she is a celebration of YES: You MAY be an expert in many things! You are more than allowed! You DO NOT NEED to pick only ONE THING!

If you just breathed a sigh of relief, if you’ve been struggling to land the plane of your vocation, you may well be a multipotentialite, Love.

The fabulous news is this: you are in excellent company. See what this super smart and savvy woman has to say. It’s allllll good.

Interview with Emilie Wapnick for Thing Finding Thursday

 

Do you hear that expansive YES? Me too. There is plenty of room under your over-arching theme. Plenty. YES.

Tweetworthy Emilie-isms (for your sharing pleasure)

  • When I was younger, I believed the myth that we need to have ONE thing. (TWEET IT)
  • Now I see it’s kind of awesome that I get to experience so many different things. (TWEET IT)
  • In finding your thing(s) look for overarching themes. (TWEET IT)
  • To find a theme in your life, ask yourself: When did I feel really alive? (TWEET IT)
  • Reframe how we view finishing. If you lose interest in s.t., maybe it’s ok to move on. (TWEET IT)
  • Putty Tribe is about connecting multipotentialites with each other. (TWEET IT)
  • “What do you want to be when you grow up” is a limiting social construct. (TWEET IT)
  • In finding your thing, don’t look towards roles, look more towards the motivational aspect. (TWEET IT)

Transcript of edited interview (for your reading pleasure)

Tanya: Yeah, well I mentioned to you when we were chatting that I don’t feel like I can have this conversation about thing finding without speaking with you because you know a whole lot about things.

Emilie: I have always kind of shifted things. When I was in high school I thought my thing was music and I was really serious about the band that I was playing in, writing music, and trying to get a record deal and all these things. And then I sort of lost interest in music and I got really into filmmaking and film production. I went to film school and I made these short films on 16mm and sent them out to festivals and did that whole thing. Then I kind of lost interest in that and randomly became interested in law and so I went to law school, got a degree at McGill, but didn’t really want to become a lawyer. I learned what I needed to learn and I found it interesting, but then it was time to move on.

And then I started a business and now I’m a coach and a writer and I do various things. I play the violin and I go to Bollywood dance class, so I have a lot of things and I’ve always had a lot of things. And when I was younger I kind of believed in this myth that we need to have one thing; that we’re all here because we have one true calling in life. And I would get really depressed every time I would lose interest in what I thought was my thing. I thought that was like my identity; my role here. And I’d lose interest and then I’d feel totally lost, and then I’d find something else and I’d be like, “Okay, well maybe that’s my thing. Maybe I just haven’t found it yet.”

But then eventually every time I would go through this pattern of losing interest and becoming interested in something else I would start to shy away from that new thing because I’d be like, “Well, what happens if a year or two or three down the line I lost interest in this again? What’s with me? What’s wrong with me?” And then I realized that I’m a multi potentialite and that this is how I’m wired and that it’s okay. In fact, it’s kind of awesome that I get to experience so many different things. It makes my life far more interesting and I do pick up skills as I go through my different pursuits and they contribute to each other and it makes me more creative. I can pull information from past things and bring them into new projects. And so one I stopped trying to fit myself into a label like that, everything got a whole lot easier. I could just kind of relax and just be myself and just kind of enjoy my life.

Tanya: It’s so interesting. When you said, “And I discovered that I was a multi potentialite.” I actually sort of heard the angels singing. Because it just feels like that wat the moment of great release.

Emilie: So what happened to me is that when I wanted to start a business I couldn’t choose a niche. There was just no way; there were too many things that I was interested in. And what I found is that the only thing that I felt like an expert in was at doing many things. That ended up being my niche, but that’s not a very specific topic and I started realizing that a lot of these bloggers and entrepreneurs have businesses that are not focused on one topic, but rather an overarching theme.

Emilie: I write about a bunch of different topics, but they’re all connected by multi potentiality. So that’s the idea that if you look at your life, you can kind of instead of looking at the specific interests, take a look at what drove you to them so your own personal motivations and your own personal philosophy, because there will often be something or some things that go through many of your pursuits. Like, I can identify a few. There’s problem solving – I know that I’m really drawn to various different interests of mine because there’s a problem that I want to solve, and then once I’ve solved it I’m kind of cool there and I can go on to something else.

It’s easier to find them if you stop thinking about the topic itself and you start thinking about your motivation and what drew you to certain things.

Tanya: I love the expansiveness too, and I think about that. I sort of have the visual of an umbrella and it’s like, “So there’s this,” and it provides a bit of structure, but there’s so much room under there. There’s so much room to just stretch and grow and a little bit of that and a little bit of that. I love that visual.

Tanya: What are some great questions to help people find their overarching theme?

Emilie: Well, one thing that I like to think about or I like to ask my students to think about is looking back on their life at the times when they felt really alive, so what activities were they doing? Were they working in big groups, on their own, maybe we can identify some principles there. I don’t want to say the word theme again, but maybe there are some themes that run through the various different times in your life when you felt really alive. I mean, were you working with a lot of people in a big group? Were you kind of in a bubble in your own world? What about those circumstances; what did you love? So that’s one exercise.

There’s one you can do where you take a look around your room as though you’re not yourself, so you look around. If this were someone else’s room, what would it say about this person?

Tanya: Interesting. What shows up when people do that?

Emilie: A lot of really telling things. Actually, usually it’s pretty right on. Like, my friend Abe did it, we did it together, and he was like, “Yeah, this guy would be into style and DVDs and entertainment and a lot of tech, nerdy stuff.”

I was like, “Yeah, that sounds like Abe.”

Tanya: This is a really tender spot here, I think for a lot of the viewers too and certainly I’ve had this experience. Where you try something, you’re in real earnest about it, you’re really excited about it, and you get going and then it starts to deflate and it starts to stop making sense and it starts to become dissonant and it can feel a bit like a pattern. It can feel a bit like a very unpleasant cycle and I’ve had clients that show up and start like, “I really want to do this and I’m so terrified that this pattern is going to repeat itself.”

Emilie: I think it’s about reframing how you view finishing. We’ve really been taught that you need to see one thing through to completion, but why? If you’ve lost interest, then maybe it’s okay to move on. Maybe you got what you came for. Maybe you didn’t start learning the piano to become a world renowned pianist, concert pianist, or maybe you needed to explore it for a couple months and that’s okay and you got what you came for. You got that creative activity out of your system and you enjoyed yourself. Isn’t it about just kind of being okay with saying goodbye to things and enjoying them while you’re doing them?

Tanya: Yeah. You are such a big, huge yes, you know? I’m really appreciating that. So what else do you have on the go? You have Huddle going on and you have your Putty Tribe; can you tell us a bit more about what’s going on over there?

Emilie: Yeah, so we’re gearing up to launch the Putty Tribe, which is going to be a membership site for serious multi potentialites who really want to integrate all of their interests into their lives and want the support and accountability and the network and just want to be among other multi potentialites. I kept hearing from people, they would e-mail me and they would be like, “Oh my God, you’re just like me. I didn’t know there was anyone else out there like me.”

But it’s like, “Yes, but there’s me and hundreds of other people because I’ve received this exact e-mail so many times. There are tons of people like you.” And I find people really feel isolated and alone and feel like they’re the only ones out there with this, I’m not going to say issue because it’s really a gift, but they feel like the people in their lives don’t understand them. So the Putty Tribe is about connecting multi potentialites with each other.

Tanya: So what would you really want people who are watching this to take away from our chat today?

Emilie: There are two things. One is that yeah, you don’t need one thing. In fact, chances are I would not be surprised if most of your community were multi potentialites.

Emilie: Chances are, you have more than one thing and there’s so much pressure in society. It’s almost like a romantic notion that we all have one true destiny and it’s turned into this romantic idea, but really it’s a very limiting thing that we’ve had shoved down our throats ever since we were little kids and people asked, “What do you want to be when you grown up?” That’s always one thing. So it’s really a matter of just killing that concept. It’s socially constructed, it’s very limiting, and so you don’t need to have one thing. So that would be the first step.

And number two, when you’re looking for your things, not to think about the roles, like, “I’m a writer, that’s my thing.” Or, “I’m a doctor, that’s my thing.” And more about your motivations and those themes that we’ve been talking about and what drives you and what patterns you can see emerging in your different, specific topics. So less about the thing itself and more about the motivation aspect.

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Go find Emilie and her inspiring, multipotentialite self at her site and on Twitter.

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Psst…Know what else can help you sort out what patterns have been in your life? Assembling a group of peeps who have known you in different capacities and have different perspectives on you. Now if ONLY there was a program that could help facilitate that? Oh wait! There IS and it’s called Board of Your Life. Huh. 

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Thing Finding Thursday with Ronna Detrick

In one short conversation with Ronna Detrick, I was immediately aware that this woman is big. Like, BIG. Not big, LOUD. But big, POWERFUL. Honest. Bold. Compassionate. A champagne-loving sister.

More conversations were quickly scheduled. (Including this one about faith and congregation.)

In no time, she became my go-to High Priestess of Truth-Telling. This is significant, ‘cause I’m honest. Well…largely. There are places within me that still harbour untruths. When I speak with Ronna; when I look her in the eyes; when I am graced with her PRESENCE (and oh yes – she’s got herself some presence); I get curious dig in, dig down, and yank it out. Like a dandelion’s deceptively deep root.

Kinda like thing-finding, non?

Her writing stirs my soul. Her grace stills my heart. Our conversations feed my mind. In soaking her up, I get to rest in the quiet place of integrity, courage, peace and fullness.

These are the cornerstones of the truth-filled life.

And it’s her Thing.

Interview with Ronna Detrick for Thing Finding Thursday

Acknowledge the disconnect between what’s going on internally vs. what you’re putting out externally, ask yourself what you really (REALLY) want, decide upon baby steps and move into your truth. You will survive. And thrive. Because:

Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.  - Buddha

Truer words were never spoken.

Tweetworthy Ronna-isms (for your sharing pleasure)

  • I can’t really expect people to be in authentic relationship with me when I’m not really being authentic. (TWEET IT)
  • If you could say anything you wanted to say, no risks, no consequences, no ramifications, what would it be? (TWEET IT)
  • As women, we feel a deep responsibility to the sustenance of relationships. (TWEET IT)
  • Can you acknowledge that there IS something in your core that knows + is trustworthy? (TWEET IT)
  • Truth–telling is about knowing that the way that other people experience me is consistent with who I actually am. (TWEET IT)
  • What if you had permission to not hold it together, but rather, to fall apart? (TWEET IT)

Transcript of edited interview (for your reading pleasure)

Ronna: —  I think my thing is telling the truth. And when I say that I don’t mean not lying. What I mean is really being in touch with the stuff that matters most to me, and knowing that I’m living that out. Knowing that I’m expressing that, knowing that the way that other people experience me is consistent with who I actually am.

And I land on that over and over and over again because I’ve been so aware in my own life of places where that’s not been true. Where I’ve had one tape running in my head, and other words coming out of my mouth. Or one way that people are experiencing me but a whole different set of feelings internally.

And so the more and more I became aware of that a number of years ago, the more I started thinking to myself—hey, this isn’t okay. This disconnect. Because I can’t really expect people to be in authentic relationship with me when I’m not really being authentic. I can’t really hold them hostage for not treating me, or not loving me, or not respecting me, or seeing me the way that I want them to when I’m not actually being that person.

And of course the risk that is inherent in that is that when I show up, when I really say what I want to say and tell my truth and live that, people might not actually like that. And I have to be willing to take on that risk as well. So that comes just out of my own chronology, my own story, my own experiences.

And because that has been super significant for me and very, very life changing, it’s what I talk about all the time.

Tanya: So how do you help people to access that truth telling?

Ronna:  We have to acknowledge it. That there is a gap for us, right? That where we want to be or how we would want to be experienced isn’t where we are. So will we tell the truth and name that for ourselves to begin with. I think for me that was a huge piece in my own story. Was having to really tell myself the truth.

Like, I’m in a world of hurt here. Or my relationship really sucks. Or I don’t like my job. Or I don’t like my body or whatever. You know we all have our own—all of those things and individual stories.

The second thing that I spend a good amount of time doing is asking people just rhetorically—like if you could say anything you wanted to say, no risks, no consequences, no ramifications, what would it be? What would you say or what would you do? And usually we feel like really nervous when we get hit with that question. But I really want people to answer that as fast as they possibly can. Because I think that’s the thing. Right? That’s the core truth.

And maybe we don’t go there right away. Because there’s work to be done before we can completely upset the apple cart. Or walk away from our job, or end a marriage, or step into a relationship or whatever—

Tanya: Right.

Ronna: —these circumstances are. But when you hear yourself say those words, even written. Then you go, ooh, wow, really? That’s where I go? Note to self.

I think sometimes we dismiss it because we start saying, well it doesn’t really matter what my answer is because I can’t have it. I’m like, that’s not what I asked you.

Tanya: So you mentioned some baby steps that people would take to have them move towards that place of truth telling in their own lives. What might those look like?

Ronna:  For me, when I first began to recognize this disconnect, this gap, between what was going on internally and what I was experiencing externally. I was commuting a long distance up to work and back every day. And I realized as I got closer and closer to my house that my anxiety level was going up higher and higher. And that I was stepping into this space of having—of kind of changing who I was. Like literally in my head going—okay, 20 miles to go. Are you ready? Do you know what this will mean? Kind of get—you know—and I would work myself into this place of being who I needed to be in that space which really was so disconnected from who I actually was.

So when I began to recognize this, what I—one of the small, small steps that I started taking was I would say to myself as I was parking the car and walking up the steps. Just one time tonight Ronna. Could you say exactly what you feel? Just one time. No more than that—just once. When some—when you start editing in your brain or you start recognizing that you have a reaction, but you’re not expressing it. Just once, could you do that?

And I thought to myself, I could probably do it just once. But even though once felt so scary to me at first. Because I thought all hell was going to break loose. Well it didn’t—right? Now eventually lots of things occurred over time in that process of testing those waters and then finally diving off the deep end in that regard.

But it was valuable for me to see that I could actually bring some consistency and some resonance there, and not fall apart. I didn’t fall apart, the world didn’t fall apart. Might have been a little dicey. But I went huh, I’m okay. Maybe I could do two things tomorrow right?

It’s really like trusting this deep knowing. And I think we lose touch with that. Right, we listen to all the data that comes in from the outside and we gauge our relational worth and our value on how other people are experiencing us and over time we’re completely disconnected from this sort of intuitive, internal, even embodied kind of knowing. And so when I ask that first question—like, you know—if you could do or say anything, what would it be?

I think that’s that voice speaking really powerfully. But we immediately go, woah I can’t trust that. Because look what would happen if I did it. And so the process is one of really beginning to acknowledge that hey, maybe there’s something in my core that is really, really trustworthy. That is stronger and wiser then all this other stuff that I take in and all these constructs that I’ve built around me. What if that were true?

And the more that we ask ourselves that question, and the more that we practice that, I think that moves us as women closer and closer and closer to just being these amazing goddess-like creatures. Because that’s—that’s like this DNA that I think we have within that we can trust.

Tanya: And what is the distinction that we often like to collapse in with truth. Is that there’s going to be a negative consequence if I tell this truth. Or what are some other distinctions that might be kind of stuck in this place of I can’t do that.

Ronna: “If I were to tell the truth, or if I were to be really, really honest and authentic in the context of my relationships, I’d be too much. Like you couldn’t handle it. Or you’ll leave me, or you won’t really like who I am. Or I’ll hurt your feelings. Or it’s going to make us uncomfortable for a while until we figure out what this new thing means.”

And it’s just—it’s craziness.

So I think for most women that’s the thing that gets us. Is that we feel a deep responsibility to the sustenance of relationships. Which is a beautiful thing. I mean that is a true thing for our hearts.

But not at the expense of our hearts, right? And often times we’re sustaining relationships that really are not nurturing us. And really are not completely whole because the person that we’ve chosen to be isn’t all of who we are.

Tanya: There like a cousin to truth, and it feels like respect. And I love the way in which—you know—by stepping into your choice, you’re actually offering your partner a choice too. A full choice. Would be the full complement of who you are then he gets to choose that’s who I want to be with or not. And that’s a very respectful place because I do think that we tend to be—you know—trying to hold a lot of things assuming that we are required to hold it all together.

Ronna: Yes, so we think.

Tanya: Yeah. And not giving anybody else the opportunity to sort of step in and be the full expression of who they are.

Ronna: Right. And to give ourselves permission to not hold it all together, but to fall apart, right? That’s the other side of it.

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Go find Ronna with all her truth-telling goddess wisdom and fiercely gorgeous writing  at her site and on Twitter

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Thing Finding Thursday – What’s YOUR Thing?


I truly cannot express how joyful it’s been to invite some of my favourite people into my virtual living room on Thursdays to discuss their THING. What it is, how they found it and sharing their collective wisdom about how you can find yours. I’m richer for the experience and it is my sincerest hope that you are too.

Remember these interviews/posts and these gems?

Danielle LaPorte - Take the charge out of finding your genius. Like, what makes you happy? – (TWEET IT)

Fabeku Fatunmise – Trust the bigness inside of you that is pulling you toward your thing. (TWEET IT)

Chris Guillebeau - The goal isn’t so much to vanquish fear, but to find a way to channel them into s.t. positive + motivating. (TWEET IT)

Jen Louden - It’s okay to find [your thing] + abandon it + find it + abandon it. (TWEET IT)

Tara Sophia Mohr - Compassion is the natural expression of wisdom. (TWEET IT)

Dyana Valentine - I want you to believe that you know the difference between right and right now. (TWEET IT)

Susannah Conway - do the work that makes your heart sing the loudest. (TWEET IT)

Pam Slim - Focus on where you can make an impact based on who it is that you are. (TWEET IT)

Jenny Blake – Sometimes in order to admit what we really want there are some scary questions (TWEET IT)

Amy Kessel - And making peace with not knowing the answers is a crucial aspect of these journeys. (TWEET IT)

Matthew Stillman – (When we’re young) our radiance goes out in 360 degrees. (TWEET IT)

Jasmine Lamb – Stop and listen. What is your life, right now, trying to tell you? (TWEET IT)

Megan Potter - My Thing is ME  (TWEET IT)

Emma Gwillim - It’s only by tasting a little of everything that you’ll get to know your favourite flavours. (TWEET IT)

Sabrina Ali – In facing doubts, ask yourself: Where is the love coming from + what’s it saying? (TWEET IT)

Brandy Glows - We could all use more gorgeous crazy in our lives. (TWEET IT)

Mary-Margaret McMahon – WHY NOT spread your gifts and enthusiasm? (TWEET IT)

Oh so much richness and light shared. And oh so much more to come (make sure you’re subscribed for updates).

I’m also hearing from you, dear and precious readers, that you’d like the opportunity to share YOUR thing, YOUR path, YOUR journey with us.  And we’d LOVE to to meet you. We WANT to get to know YOU and where you are at in your own process of finding, loving, or claiming your thing.

And so, I’ll be mixing it up a bit around here.

Peppered in-betwixt the interviews and guest posts, I’ll be asking you one of the interview questions, and invite you to share your responses with us in the comments below and on my Facebook page.

And, for an added dose of inspiration, we’re going to hear the answer to the question from someone who HAS found their thing. And wants to share it with you.

This week, we’re graced with the sparkliciousness of  Andrea Schroeder of www.CreativeMagicAcademy.com. With a paintbrush in one hand & a glitter-gun in the other, Andrea lovingly mentors men & women who want to lead creatively abundant lives — and do ‘impossible’ things, with ease & joy.

So, Andrea, what’s YOUR thing?

My Thing is Creative Magic.

I help people find their creative spark and use it to bring their dreams to life, with spiritual practices & personal development techniques that feel less like silent meditation & group weeping, and more like magic potions & tea parties.

This means I support myself as a coach, course leader & creator of magical kits to help with everything from overcoming fear to mapping your goals to building the heart-centered business of your dreams.  I spend a lot of time playing with crayons and glitter, wearing costumes and giggling.  My job is the funnest thing ever.

I’m actively & passionately working on my mission of overflowing this whole world with sparkly wishes (fulfilled!) and dreams (come true!) — and I’m enjoying every second of my chosen adventure.

Express the greatest parts of who YOU are, at www.CreativeMagicAcademy.com. You can also find Andrea sprinkling glittery joy over on Twitter.

Your turn, Dear Reader: What’s YOUR thing?

So go ahead. We’d love to hear from you. Share in the comments or on my Facebook page. And make sure you leave your link so we can find your glorious self.

Still looking? Keep coming back for inspiration. Sign up for updates below, or email me for my Quintessential Questions.

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Thing Finding Thursday with Fabeku Fatunmise

Fabeku Fatunmise
. First of all: can you even stand how great his name is?

Me neither. Moving on.

If Fabeku had a business card (which he doesn’t), it would read: Business awesomizer. Suck exorcist. Sonic alchemist. World’s Most Skeptical Shaman.

More mm-mm-good copy from his site: Translating music magics + shamanic secrets into nuggets of biz-building BOOM!

Seriously. How could I possibly be holding conversations about Finding your Thing and NOT invite the man who rocks HIS Thing as gleefully as he rocks his red doc martens?

Precisely.

Meet Fabeku.

How extraordinary is Fabeku’s question: “Ask yourself what would your bigness do?” That version of yourself that holds itself bigger, smarter, more resourceful, more capable, more…YOU. Yes, that. What would THAT have you do?

I invite you to sit with that gift. What a wildly valuable filter for all that you face.

And I’m wondering…

In YOUR experience, what has been the single most powerful question you’ve asked YOURSELF as you’ve sought your thing? Please do share over on my Facebook page. We’d love to know.

Tweetworthy Fabeku-isms (now, with 75% more ease!)

  • Know what doesn’t work? Using other people’s maps to find your home. (TWEET IT)
  • In finding your thing, look for what’s always been a part of your landscape.  (TWEET IT
  • Finding your thing may also be about finding the right language to talk about it. (TWEET IT)
  • Vanquishing your fear is part of process of doing your thing + putting it out there.  (TWEET IT)
  • I trust the mojo of what I do implicitly. (TWEET IT)
  • Trust the bigness inside of you that is pulling you toward your thing. (TWEET IT)
  • In finding your thing: Ask yourself what your bigness would do?  (TWEET IT)
  • Stop interpreting fear as a sign that you should stop what you’re doing. (TWEET IT)
  • In finding your thing, look for the edges that stretch you into your bigness.  (TWEET IT)

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Wise + wonderful stuff.

Please go find Fabeku and follow what he’s up to at his site  and on Twitter. Treats and offers and deliciousness galore. 

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Thing Finding Thursday with Brandy Glows


Today’s Thing Finding Thursday features a guest post by Brandy. She is a word-play arteest who writes and plays at brandyglows.com, a blog that chronicles her adventures in Shalom restoration.

Know what else? She’s a brave and beautiful soul. Read on.

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Embracing The Thing That Makes Me Gasp

This morning I watched a clip from The Today Show with Tara Mohr. She shared five of her 10 Rules For Brilliant Women and one of them was to do something that makes you gasp. I remembering thinking my “gasp list” was short. I like limbs and I walk them well. I get high from the adrenaline of turning a big dream into a reality. It’s one of the things I love about myself. But it’s not my thing.

Kelly Diels encouraged us, a group she coached and coaxed into Artful, Heart-full blogging last summer, to share our stories with Tanya. I am excited to write this guest post because I love Tanya and this series she’s created. It’s been a great source of inspiration as I trek along the bloggard path. Also, I rock confessional narratives. I like being honest about what I’ve done and where I come from. I hold my stories tenderly and share them openly because they’ve made me the person I am today. And that’s a big part of what I do, but it’s not my thing either.

I’ve never actually said my thing out loud. I could say I didn’t know it, but I think it would be more accurate to say that I didn’t know I knew it.

I call myself a digital pastor. A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I started a house church, so I guess I’m not strictly digital anymore. I follow Jesus, but believe God is bigger than Christianity. I believe in the restoration in all things. And I believe it’s our job. I believe in humanity’s capacity to partner with the Divine Source to restore Shalom, or wholeness and peace, in ourselves and our worlds.

I am irresponsibly hopeful.

I studied sociology in college but grew weary of just observing and discussing problems. I longed to create real social change. Let’s end racism! Let’s feed and cloth the poor and hungry. Let’s free all the slaves! Let’s reduce, reuse and recycle our asses off.

Let’s change the world and leave it a better place than it was when we got here.

I am fierce advocate for social justice. I am a voice for the voiceless. I am a dreamer and a make-it-happener of dreams just crazy enough to work.

What’s my thing?

I’m a prophet. (This is where I gasp.)

It scares me to admit it. Even though I’d wager God wants us all to be prophets and stand up against stupid crap. People often think of prophets as crazy people, alone and lonely, screaming their messages to a loud, chaotic world. But in his book, The Prophetic Imagination, Walter Brueggemann suggests  instead that they are leaders of social movements.

It makes sense. If Isaiah (a prophet from the Hebrew Bible) was a nobody, then nobody would have listened to him when he preached naked. Or they would have called the cops.

Although I do breastfeed in public, but I probably won’t preach naked. Still, like Isaiah, I want to foretell hope, peace, justice. Maybe that makes me crazy. I’ve got to be crazy to believe in the restoration of all things. But it’s a gorgeous crazy. And we could all use a little more of that kind of crazy in our lives.

It’s us. The bloggers. The stubborn ones who insist we can write and make and work from our living rooms. We are the leaders of the next giant social movement. And unlike our  predecessors, we’re not limited by space and time. The people in our tribes can follow us from anywhere in the world. I get to share the stories – mine and yours – of radical Shalom. I get to proclaim that we can change the world – and then watch people actually do it!

Being a prophet is a process. I don’t own it every moment of every day. Sometimes I feel too weak to shout. Other times my words are too critical or too soft and they lose their prophetic edge.

I know the more I embrace My Thing, the more exciting and dangerous the adventure of life will become. It’s already led me on journeys I could never have imagined: Homebirth, helping survivors of human trafficking in India, the World Domination Summit! It’s all amazing fodder for the juicy message I’ve been given.

And it’s only the beginning.

———

Go find this remarkable woman on Google+Twitter,  or on Facebook.

Then, please answer the question I am dying to know: What are YOU crazy enough to believe in? Is that the thing that makes you gasp? How is that belief informing (or not informing) YOUR thing? 

Pop on over to my Facebook page to share. It’s a safe, safe place to share crazy, audacious and gorgeous beliefs.

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Thing Finding Thursday with Matthew Stillman of Stillman Says


“Where creativity and wisdom make out on top of your problem.”

Okay. That is some good, good copy. It’s not mine, it’s Matthew Stillman’s. You’ve heard of him…he’s the guy that hangs out in NYC’s Union Square and offers creative approaches to what people have been thinking about. You know…their PROBLEMS (so what if the word “problem” is taboo in the magical world of self-discovery).

“Stirring what is stagnant within you”


“The art of the reframe with the science of the wise”

Seriously. I can’t stop. It’s all just too good.

You should also know this from his site:

Matt conceived of, wrote the treatment for and co-produced a feature length documentary film about the origins of poverty and why it persists in a world with so much wealth. His film, called “The End of Poverty?” premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and was featured in over 40 festivals around the world. Matt has spoken at the United Nations about the film and poverty four times as well as many other educational and socio-political forums.

Currently Matt is developing a study to radically transform the property tax system in New York City.

Not just another guy “de-problemizing through high weirdness” in Union Square and a really green wall in his apartment. Nope, he’s an original, to be sure. And a truly generous person.

So there was NO WAY I could continue talking to people about their things without talking to Matthew about his. And, of course, yours.

Interview with Matthew Stillman for Thing Finding Thursday

Look for the gaps, note the aversions, stay in some uncomfortable places, and play with the purpose of play.

Oh yes.

Tweetworthy StillmanSays-isms (for your sharing pleasure

  • You need to be willing to stay in some sort of uncomfortable spots and see what opens up there. @StillmanSays http://ow.ly/8PjhN  #TFThurs
  • (When we’re young) our radiance goes out in 360 degrees. @StillmanSays to @TanyaGeisler http://ow.ly/8PjhN  #TFThurs
  • (As we age, we feel loss b/c) we’ve lost access to three quarters of our being. @StillmanSays to @TanyaGeisler http://ow.ly/8PjhN #TFThurs
  • The game being infinite is more important than winning a particular game. @StillmanSays to @TanyaGeisler http://ow.ly/8PjhN  #TFThurs
  • Be kind to yourself. You’ve done so much work already. @StillmanSays to @TanyaGeisler http://ow.ly/8PjhN  #TFThurs

Transcript of edited interview (for your reading pleasure)

Matthew:  Well, one of my things–the thing that people who are online probably know about me most–is my website, stillmansays.com. And that is an experiment that I’ve started which I’ve turned into a business, which is a report of my time spent sitting out in Union Square in New York City, where I live.

At Union Square, I sit with two folding chairs and a table, with a sign that says “Creative approaches to what you’ve been thinking about” and a smaller sign that says, “Pay what you like or take what you need.” I sit out there for 10 hours a day or so, a couple of days a week, when the weather is appropriate, and just talk with strangers about anything at all that they need a creative approach to.

And it’s been everything from as simple as “I need a name for my novel,” or “I have a relationship problem,” or “something going on with my business,” to “I need help finding my spirit animal,” or “I have a dispute with a neighbour,” or “I need to find a new religion,” or “I need help avoiding getting murdered.” It could be anything at all, and I hopefully help people look at the situation they’re in in a very creative way.

Matthew: And then, seeing it differently, it may be figured out. It might not be figured out. Or it might just be seen in its proper or different perspective, which allows you to have a different relationship with it. You know, so often we think that the only way to get into a house is through the front door; but sometimes it’s the back door. Sometimes it’s through a window. Sometimes you need to dig a hole underneath the house and crawl up through the floorboards.

Tanya: “De-problemizing through high weirdness,” this is from your site, this is what you do–I was totally gob-smacked by the genius of that.

How do you go from the time, the opportunity, people say you’re really good at de-problemizing through high weirdness, and then you just sort of say, “Yeah, you know what? Union Square: What it’s really missing is a desk, and two chairs, and these two signs. And me!

Matthew:  Well, I guess that’s part of my charm, that I was willing to say, “This is the thing that’s missing.” I didn’t know that it was going to turn into a blog or a years-long experiment. I thought I was going to just do it! But on the first day I went out there, it just worked. And it was very clear I could keep doing this.

Tanya:  Right, right, okay. Your last post, or the most recent one that I read, is–I’ve forgotten the title now.

Matthew:  The baby feet one and St. Anthony?

Tanya:  The baby feet! Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.

Matthew:  It’s a good one.

Tanya:  I’m really in love with this idea of lost or forgotten voices, and in the realm of thing-finding, I really think that there’s something magical and beautiful about listening for those lost or forgotten voices.

Matthew: When we are children, and when we’re born, we are treasured by and large for all our qualities. People love us for our selfishness, they love us for our screaming. So all our voices, for a time, are available to us. And for lack of a better analogy, they go out in 360 degrees. Our radiance goes out in 360 degrees.

And after a certain amount of time, we’re told by our parents, and our caretakers, and society, “You know, we love you, but it really would be helpful if you were a little less selfish, you shared more, you were quieter, you were–” and it’s not done out of malice, it’s done out of sort of getting you into a system which can really be useful. But we start to close down and put into a bag the other voices that we have, because they’re not appreciated or heard. They’re too different.

And so, I’m making up a number, but let’s say you’re 10, 12, 14, 16, 20–you have practice putting three quarters of yourself into a bag behind you, and we don’t listen to those voices any more, because it makes our life too complex to listen to these other voices. And similarly, because we have to make so many choices every day, we streamline ourselves to say, “You know what? It’s easiest if I just listen to these particular voices. I’ve got to get to particular outcomes faster.” And because the world that we live in requires speed and efficiency, we move along with that, and say, “You know what? I’m just going to listen to the voices that are easiest, and get me to the place that I want to be and feel comfortable and safe in.”

And then, we have cut ourselves off from three quarters of our being, because there is 90 degrees which is presentable and useful, and the rest of it is not appreciated. So that leaves us feeling, later in our lives, “Why do I feel vacant? Why do I feel closed off? Why do I feel like the same things are happening?” Because we’ve lost access to three quarters of our being.

Tanya:  I’ve got a seven year old daughter, and she was super proud of an award she came home with, she was awarded in front of the whole school; it was an empathy award. And about a week later, I was talking with her teacher and he said, “It was great to see her so proud of that award. You know, she’s a bit too sensitive, though.”

Matthew:  Ugh!

Matthew:  Yeah. I mean, for me, the fact that he said that to a girl in particular. You know, more broadly speaking, so many women are essentially forced to harden themselves and to cast aside some of the core elements of their femininity early. And I’ve seen too many girls sacrificed on the altar of progress and forward movement and they lose all their softness, or enough of it that they just become something different.

 Matthew:  You just want to be able to open the door, to say, “Here’s A voice.” And see if—if you’ve been carrying around a bag with three quarters of your identity for thirty-plus years, it might be terrifying to look it there, because if you were dragged in a bag for thirty years, you’d be furious! So it is, often, scary to look at those voices. I might say, it’s worth looking at the things that you have a very strong aversion to, and just see what your philosophies are about that, and see if that’s a part that you have a need to tap into.

Tanya:  Love love love that you’ve said that. I’m big on aversions in the work that I do, too, so thank you for highlighting that

Tanya: Do people ever show up and say, “Dude, what’s my thing? Like, what’s my thing?”

Matthew:  Yeah. I think the most direct question I ever got for that, that I can recall at this moment, is someone who came to me and said, “I’ve just quit my religion and I need to find a new religion.” So that’s sort of, “What’s my thing?”

But I think the thing of “finding your thing” is to not be afraid to lift every stone and to stay there. Because finding your thing is good, and important, but you’re not just one thing. You are—it’s more important for you to be whole than to find your thing. Because your thing might be really big.

As an infant, you take absolute delight in playing with your toes, and absolute delight with throwing food, and absolute delight with falling asleep, and hugging your parent’s leg and hugging a fire hydrant are the same thing. So I wouldn’t close the door to finding your thing, you just need to be willing to stay in some sort of uncomfortable spots and see what opens up there.

Tanya:  There’s a way in which we have this be very serious, where does curiosity and play factor in?

Matthew:  In terms of play, there are two types of games that one can play. There’s a finite game, and there’s an infinite game.

Finite games are played to be won. They’re played within fixed boundaries, and they’re played for a title, they’re bounded by time and location.

But if you’ve ever seen people who just love to play basketball, or if you see kids play basketball—they’ll run off the court, the score ends up being 117 to 4, no one cares. They’re playing for the sake of playing. It’s more important to keep the game moving than anyone winning.

So in terms of play, I think it’s very important to not be playing for title, or for winning, or for status, but to be playing for the sake of play. And there is where there is freedom. And in order to do that, you need curiosity. And it’s important to people to know what the rules are, too. That’s perfectly reasonable! But, ultimately, the game being infinite is more important than winning a particular game.

Tanya:  And, through that, that’s where we find our toes.

Tanya:  For the people who are trying to find their things: What do you want for them?

Matthew:  To forgive themselves for not having found it. To criticize themselves less for struggling. And to be kind, because they’ve done so much work already. I think those are probably the most important things to start with.

_______________

Compassion, wisdom, quirkiness, and a truly delightful human being.

Go find him and his incredible stories at StillmanSays.com and on Twitter

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Thing Finding Thursday with Jen Louden


Jen Louden. To know her is to love her. Without question.

{Sigh}.

To me, this woman is the sheer embodiment of Creative Joy (and River Deep? Oh YES).  Truly.

{Deep sigh}.

Okay, so she’s that, she’s funny as funny can be (cf: The Giggle Reel), she’s hung out on Oprah’s couch, and oh, I don’t know, like, HELPED LAUNCH THE WHOLE SELF CARE MOVEMENT with her first book The Woman’s Comfort Book. Since then, she’s written five more books on well-being and personal wisdom that have inspired more than a million women in nine languages, like the classic The Woman’s Retreat Book and her latest, The Life Organizer. She has been a national magazine columnist, radio show host on Sirius, the whole while with those brilliant baby blues shining bright and a grin that could stop a Mack truck going full speed. In fact, I’m sure it has.

She knows self-love + world-love = wholeness for all.

{Yet another deep sigh}.

So, she’s a woman WHO KNOWS THINGS….you know?

Intimately.

And she revealed a LOT in this interview in service of you finding YOUR thing. She talks about teaching your way to your thing, her incredible TeachNow program (of which I am enthusiastically participating in this time around), seducing your thing, loving and abandoning your thing (and how that’s juuuust fine) and all kinds of other richness. TRUST me.

And I confess, I had a helluva time editing this video down to under 10 minutes (the limit available for a YouTube video) so once you’ve enjoyed the interview, devoured the transcript, shared the tweets (as feels appropriate to you), please treat yourself to The Jen Louden + Tanya Geisler Giggle Reel (wherein I THINK she does Shiva Nata, shares a highly memorable moment on National TV and we yuck it up but good).

{Final sigh}

Interview with Jen Louden for Thing Finding Thursday

Good, right??

Tweetworthy Jen-isms (for your sharing pleasure)

  • You don’t think you’re ready to teach, but you discover what you know thru teaching. @JenLouden to @TanyaGeisler http://ow.ly/8GHZc #TFThurs 
  • Don’t let the heartbreak stop you from trying. @JenLouden to @TanyaGeisler http://ow.ly/8GHZc #TFThurs 
  • It’s never about being done, or perfect. @JenLouden to @TanyaGeisler http://ow.ly/8GHZc #TFThurs 
  • And if I try to stare too hard…or make it a brand or a tagline, it bites me in the ass + it dies. @JenLouden http://ow.ly/8GHZc #TFThurs
  • Finding your thing is an onion, a spiral, a dance, it’s not a destination. @JenLouden to @TanyaGeisler http://ow.ly/8GHZc #TFThurs
  • Your thing may be what’s flirting with you out of the corner of your eye. @JenLouden to @TanyaGeisler http://ow.ly/8GHZc #TFThurs
  • It’s okay to find [your thing] + abandon it + find it + abandon it.  @JenLouden to @TanyaGeisler http://ow.ly/8GHZc #TFThurs

Transcript of edited interview (for your reading pleasure)

Tanya: So, Jen Louden, what’s your thing?.

Jennifer: Can I read you something?

Tanya:  Always.

Jennifer:  I’m called to lead you into sun drenched wholeness.  I am called to paint a picture for you of you free from shackles and shame and blame and ill health.  I’m called to mold a whole body YES to whatever life brings.  And I’m called to help you find and live your creative heart’s desire in service to the world – in service to you and in service to the world.  And I’m called to ask you to consider the whole of the world and all the beings as you live your heart’s desire.

I’m called to write stories that bring you home.  Yeah, so anyway I wrote that and I want everybody listening to know that I have lived in the question of what’s my thing and everybody close to me will tell you with a lot of teeth grinding and a lot of angst, since my first book was published, probably before that was that book arose out of wondering what’s my thing and feeling like I was failing at the thing I wanted to do, which was write screenplays.  So I think the most important thing I want to tell people listening is you decide what your thing is and it’s like something for me that flirts out of the corner of my eye.  Right, it’s like, “Ooh, I see you, but do I really see you?”  And if I try to stare too hard or bear down on it or make it a brand or a tagline, it bites me in the ass and it dies.  And it’s something about this living relationship.

In yoga today my teacher said, “Be peace.  You know, it’s a word; it’s a lovely word that we hear but be it now.”

And it was like, “Oh holy, yeah.  That’s it.  That’s what we need to do with this thing.”  Finding it, living it.

What gets in my way is that I intellectualize it and I want to brand it and I want to be strategic about it.  I’m not saying that’s wrong, but it’s like the cart can get in front of the horse.  We have to keep coming back to being this thing that really is beyond words and taglines and brands and everything and trusting that.

Tanya: And I think that there’s something – I’ve talked to other people about gaps to be filled, I’ve talked to other people about itches that need to be scratched, but there’s something about this dancey, fluttery, whoop, what was that, it’s gone.

Jennifer:  And seducing it, right?  Seducing that desire.

Jennifer:  So I was on retreat with my brain trust … and one of my dear friends, Eric Klein who’s a 30 year ordained spiritual teacher, incredibly successful consultant in business and best selling author, I was watching him this whole retreat having a hard time really claiming his chops as a teacher.

Tanya:  Yep.

Jennifer:  In a very deep way.  And I thought, “I want to help people who want to teach.”  That’s how our ideas start, right?  They start as this little thing that we see a need in the world or a need in ourselves.  All of my books have come from a need in myself, most of my blog posts do.  And then I started talking to my friend Michelle Lisenbury Christianson because I love to collaborate with people, I like to do serial collaborations. And we started talking about our own journeys as teachers and how much shame and suffering we had because we were both called to teach in our 20s.  My first became a word of mouth bestseller and people saw me on TV and they were like calling me up, “You want to come talk at our hospital?”  Or, “Hey, do you do workshops?”

But here’s the important thing everybody, here’s the important thing about finding your thing through teaching.  You don’t think you’re ready to teach, but you discover what you know through teaching.  And if you set it up in a way that it’s safe for you and that you can collect what you’re learning, you can record it, you can grow so much faster into seeing, “What is it about my thing that I love?  What is it about it that I don’t love?  What is it that I want to learn more about?”  But it’s never about being done or perfect.

You will never know everything you need to know to teach what you want to teach and hence that is what is so maddening for people and so tenderizing about teaching.  Things will always arise that you can’t answer and the stronger that you take your seat as a teacher the more able you are to meet people there and be curious with them and be a student teacher.  And there are a number of the master teacher interviews, there’s like 34 and we’re always adding more master teacher interviews.  And Sherry Huber, the zen meditation teacher is one of them and she talks about being a student teacher and being asked to teach and having her knees literally shaking and she’s still terrified, like 35 years later.

Tanya:  Right.

Jennifer:  So to me the greatest gift of TeachNow and probably the greatest gift of a lot of my work is kind of being willing to pull the curtain back and say, “This is what’s really going on in this moment right now.”

Tanya:  Love it.  Okay, so you said that your family, your friends witnessed this whole process.  It’s been quite amazing to watch it.  Even at the top of the call you were saying you don’t really coach anymore.  So as your own identity has been morphing and your things have been sort of shifting like a beautiful home that’s sort of settling into itself in a way, you know?  What have been some questions that you’ve been asking yourself?

Jennifer:  Well, first I have to tell you that my word for the year is home so it’s really lovely that you said that.  And I don’t mean home like staying home, I mean like building a new way of being, inhabiting the space of that deep rootedness and self trust, so nice little synchronicity there.  The benchmarks are, for me, first to notice where I’m feeling out of alignment or like I’m faking it.  That faking is a huge benchmark for me, and then I’ve had to learn, God, over and over and over again, “Oh, that doesn’t mean I’m doing the wrong work.  It means I have a story about how I should be doing the work.”

Tanya:  Yes.

Jennifer:  Huge, huge, oops, still learning it, still learning it.  And then looking back at whatever I’ve done and there’s a lot of it and going, “Oh, holy shit, that was really of use to people but I wasn’t getting fed because my story was ‘that’s not what I’m supposed to be doing.’”

Tanya:  Right, right.

Jennifer:  So there’s so much discernment here and I think it’s so important if there’s one message that I have for people is that you don’t think that there is an arrival place or a done or that if you get there, you will know it because it will be delightful, light, and easy all the time, right?  Because you’re still you, even when you’re doing your thing you’re still you.  And so as you can tell, a little goofy, a little intense, and a little bit of an over provider so those things are always going to be, but as I spiral around I tend to loosen them up a little better; I can get some distance.

Tanya:  And again, that’s where the home piece comes in it seems like for you.  So within the context of all of these disparate things that just make you so alive and so Jen Louden, yea!  Finding the piece and the homeness in there.

Jennifer:  Yes, perfect, thank you.  That’s why you’re such a great coach.

Tanya:  Oh, thank you, thank you.  Is there anything else that people who are watching?

Jennifer:  There are a couple of things.  One is that it’s okay if you found it in and abandoned it and found it and abandoned it and found it and abandoned it.

And we can be ashamed that we’ve given up and we’re here again, or we can celebrate and get support.

Tanya:  No honestly and truly, you’re so like, “That’s it.”  And the idea of this being a dance, I’m sort of like, “Is it fitting now?  Not so much, I’m going to try this.  Is it fitting now?  Oh, a little more, if I just had a little more of this, add a little more shimmy shimmy shake.”  I absolutely love that and it’s okay to abandon and revisit and abandon and revisit.  Do you know how expansive that is?

Jennifer: Sometimes the things that you most care about are the things that you’re most afraid of, so you may know very well what your thing is and you may know that you may not be able to bring it to life the way that you want and that may break your heart, but don’t let that heartbreak stop you from trying.  I’m not going to be able to write the great American novel.  You may never read what I write, or maybe I will.  But if I put my hat on that as living my thing, then I’m screwed right out of the gate.  And instead I say my job is to show up and how can I show up all of myself and how can I keep learning and how can I be curious and how can I really try to tell a story that does what I want it to do, which is bring wholeness and make you think and make you, well lots of other things.  That’s all I can do.

Annnnnnnd…The Giggle Reel

 

_______________

Go find Jen at her site, TeachNow and on Twitter. Learn from her. Celebrate your path as she celebrates hers. Joyfully.

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Thing Finding Thursday with Sabrina Ali


When Sabrina Ali first reached out to me via Kelly Diels, she said: “My ‘thing’ is resumes”. I’ll ‘fess up: since I left my corporate gig in 2006, I haven’t thought much about resumes (with the exception of including one in my own business plan). Those dreary under two-paged, Times New Roman, 1.5 line spaced, centred contact info (“make sure you don’t have a partygrrrl69@ email address”)  documents that seem to breathe “meh, this is good enough”. SO. BEIGE.  So, given that this delightful young woman came to me through Kelly (and I’ve only met incredible, anything-but-beige stars through her), I imagined that Sabrina would offer my readers some fabulous tips about sassing up their resumes. And that that would be good.

Between the months that have elapsed since that request and this posting, it’s truly blissful to see Sabrina claim her REAL thing: uncovering vocation. 

Boo Yah.

So please, dig into this wise young woman’s delicious words. And see what covers start to peel back for you.

What’s your thing?

Sabrina Ali:  Here’s “the” thing first:

The simplest thing that you do is your gift to the world. You need no thanks because it’s a pleasure just to be able to do it. And you can absolutely create a life out of doing this seemingly simple thing because you do it uncommonly well.

The dilemma?

Not everyone knows how to express, name or talk about the meaningful thing they do with specificity. It’s under a lot of clutter.

So my thing? Where do I come in?

I uncover vocation. I help articulate enthusiasm (with my compassionate investigative querying nature) and facilitate the design of strategies to create vocation-centred living. It’s all concrete; it’s all marketable and totally professional.

I’ve personally been working with people on creating vocation-centred lives my entire life. I was designed this way. Over the last eight years alone I’ve worked in career transition coaching, self-development facilitation, career and education advisement, and employee engagement roles.

It’s (like seriously long over-due) time to re-imagine our concept of work. Work is not just about a means to an end, it’s about creating a life that integrates all parts of you.

Was finding your thing the result of a divine revelation, an insane invention, a culmination of insights…or something else?

Sabrina Ali: Finding my thing was all of the above and something else (as you say). It was a matter of putting all the clues together:

A culmination of insights: I used to be a career workshop junkie. If someone was holding one, having one, giving one then I was there. They were fun to me. Some were better than others and whether I was looking for a job or not, I went. At some point, I started to offer my insights to the other participants. At some point, I started to become the teacher. Who me?!?

A divine revelation: I used to drop everything, clear everything in my schedule, move my schedule around, and even create a schedule around helping people with their career and education strategies. I just couldn’t help myself. And I especially loved the results – phone calls, emails, or coffee and dinner dates with people to celebrate job and school program offers. People were feeling “on their path,” they were making more money, feeling happier. Hearing this news was the equivalent of … well, I’m almost embarrassed to say, but it was like having really great sex. Every. Single. Time.

The revelation: My enthusiasm is a force to be reckoned with. And so is everyone else’s. And I define this particular enthusiasm as: Clarity of purpose in total alignment with intention – where being and the task are one.

My insane invention: I have an insane invention being invented right now! I’m in the midst of creating the ultimate self-guided digital vocation exploration kit. It’s called the Bliss Kit and it’s for fellow heroes and heroines who yearn for self-discovery; who want to create careers and lives with a sense of energy-giving purpose. This is the quintessential collection of career and self exploration tools to assist people on their journey. It’s due out in March.

Something else: I’ll call it listening to the signals of life. Reflection, curiousity and intention are the ingredients. I would have been blind to the clues lying around me if not for the act of reflection and the power of being in a state of curiosity. The wisdom is not hard to find, but you don’t know what you’re looking for or looking at without intention. With intention it’s like looking for Easter eggs that were hidden by someone that wanted you to find them.

Obstacles/fears/doubts – what were they, how’d you vanquish them??

Sabrina Ali: These words have come to mean: The gifts that I couldn’t have in the moment that I’d never want to be without.

It’s human to experience obstacles, fears and doubts.

It is divine to transform them into something that serves your life. And we always at any moment have access to that possibility.

Obstacles: Not enough money. Not enough love. Not enough acceptance. Not enough credentials. Not enough time. It all boiled down to externally referencing myself towards other people’s ideas of success rather than defining my own based on how I wanted to feel in my own life.

Fears: That I’m generally an inadequate human being. That I have helped all the people that I can and now there’s no one else to help. That I can’t  write. All stories that I inherited and contrary to the actual evidence showing up in my life.

Doubts: That what I’m doing (whatever plan, strategy, idea) won’t work. The antidote? Listen to life instead – what people are asking me for, thanking me for, admiring about me without any prompting whatsoever from me. Where is the love coming from and what is it saying?

My vanquishing (love that word btw) strategy: Tiny. Baby steps. And often (momentum is a friendly force).

A nurturing strategy that encounters the doubts, obstacles and fears was key. For example, I have worked with gifted coaches, a Jungian counsellor that I really connected with, energy healers and did yoga over the last 4-5 years. These partnerships helped move me through my stages faster and I’m thankful that I made those investments in myself. I am in a supportive relationship where I grow into more of who I am and I also adopted a dog. I speak kindly to myself. I even did a couple of online writing courses for the sheer pleasure of learning (nothing with grades). I write every day.

If you love yourself and allow yourself to be loved, fear, doubts and obstacles start to look like opportunities for evolution. If they can get you just sick and tired enough of maintaining life ‘as is’, they are your friends. Trust me.

What questions did you ask yourself to trigger your a-ha moments…and what signs and milestones should others be looking for in their journeys?

Sabrina Ali: When I feel the “crunch” of existing – exasperated, frustrated, pointlessness, listlessness, rather than asking: “Why is this happening to me?” I ask: “What is this experience here to teach me?” Not in a punitive way, but rather in a compassionate way to help me evolve my capacity to be in the world and to live with more joy than fear.

Pain is sometimes very subtle and sometimes it’s loud and clear. Either way, it is a sign that something is unresolved. We were taught to avoid pain, but the bridge to joy lies in turning towards it.

It’s the foundation of why an entire work history can be transformed from a burden to an expression of enthusiasm. It processes and grieves things that we blame ourselves or others for. It allows for alchemy of experiences from pain to purpose, useless into ‘full of use.’

With this question alone I started to witness patterns that limited me that I had been unaware of. This is freedom. Freedom to choose rather than letting an unconscious pattern keep you feeling estranged from your one wild and precious life.

***

Sabrina Ali is totally honoured to have her “thing” exposed by Tanya Geisler. :) She’s a Vocation Strategist and the Creator of www.makebelieveforreal.com. Sabrina says: Work is a pilgrimage of identity, a partnership of your heart and head, and what you are called to do for work is sacred.

You can also find her on Twitter.

***

Tweetworthy Sabrina Ali (for your sharing pleasure)

  • Finding your thing is about putting the clues together.  @thewitchofbliss to @TanyaGeisler http://ow.ly/8yT5k #TFThurs 
  • enthusiasm = clarity of purpose in total alignment with intention - @thewitchofbliss to @TanyaGeisler http://ow.ly/8yT5k  #TFThurs
  • It’s divine to transform fears + doubts into s.t. that serves yur life.  @thewitchofbliss to @TanyaGeisler http://ow.ly/8yT5k #TFThurs
  • In facing doubts, ask yurself: Where is the love coming from + what’s it saying? @thewitchofbliss to @TanyaGeisler http://ow.ly/8yT5k #TFThurs

***

In upcoming Thing Finding Thursdays, I’ll be sharing interviews with the paragon of Creative Joy herself Jennifer Louden, Matthew Stillman (“deproblemizing through High Weirdness <–LOVE) and more, MORE, MORE!!

Plus, news about the launch of my Board of Your Life kit. It’s coming, and it’s goooooood. Make sure you’re signed up to receive notices, will ya? 


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What's YOUR Thing? If you’re trying to find your thing, then signing up for updates is the thing for you. Get Thing Finding Thursday updates, plus:

Top secret and supershiny notices, events and discounts.

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