Uh oh. I’m seeing a pattern, here. And it sounds like, “What I'd really love to do . . .”
One of the beautiful qualities of doing anything in repetition, is that patterns emerge over time. And patterns repeated over time, reveal data, right? And data provides insight. So, the study of patterns reveals knowledge and direction, right? I’m a creative brain and a busy mom to two tweens, so I’ve learned that especially when I’m feeling overwhelmed, it’s helpful to look at patterns in categories like my work, my emotions, or my finances to show me what requires my immediate attention.
Patterns in My Journal
One example of pattern analysis that I’ve found extremely revealing is in my journal. When I journal regularly, over time, I can look back and read the recurring themes that present themselves as my subconscious areas of focus. When my head feels overwhelmed, and I’m struggling with honing in on what I want, I re-read my journals, looking for themes.
The Hivery itself, was revealed as a recurring theme over years of journaling. As I look back in my little, green notebooks (love them!), I had been writing about “an inspiration hub” a “women’s creative collective” and a “gathering place for women looking to create” for years. I couldn’t put my finger on what it was or what I wanted to do with it, but so much emerged when I looked back at the collective consciousness that was laid out repeatedly in my journal.
A Pattern in What’s Next
So, as I saw another pattern emerge in my work recently, I took more careful notice. This pattern showed up in private conversations with women at The Hivery, either through my private consultations (which I love to do!) or in conversation with the many women that come through the doors. I started noticing that many of the conversations about “what’s next” flow into a script that goes something like this…
Amazing Woman: Well, I used to be in (fill-in-the-blank: finance, marketing, retail, tech, etc), so what I probably should do is work on my LinkedIn profile, and start doing that again.
Me: Okay, why don’t you?
Amazing Woman: Because I hated it.
Me: Hmmm….that’s a good reason. Let’s agree not to explore things we hate doing. That’s a tough setup for staying motivated. What do you love to do?
Amazing Woman: That’s the problem. I’m not really sure. I mean, I love (fill-in-the-blank: cooking, nature, helping people, organizing, throwing parties, etc), but that’s just for fun. I don’t know what I’m really passionate about.
Interlude in my brain: Okay … here’s where we chat and brainstorm for a bit … just enough time that the conversation flows, and there are enough words going back and forth where it would be easy to miss the lightening bolt. But, wait for it … there it is … listen closely.
Amazing Woman: I mean, if I could do ANYTHING I wanted, I would totally start a (fill-in-the-blank: open a bookstore, go to nursing school, have a photography studio, open a store for teens, start a food delivery service, make a difference, write a book on plant-based diets, help women start businesses, etc.), but that’ll never work.
Interlude in my brain: BAM! Works like a charm. She said it. And quickly, she moves on...
NOT KNOWING VS TOTAL KNOWING
I have heard so many stories about the amazing ideas women have for their lives, but am frequently blown away by the false layer of “not knowing” that we put on top of “total knowing”. So my question shifts from “What is it that you really want to do?” to “What’s stopping you?”
Sometimes people launch into reasons. Maybe you’ve told them to yourself: I don’t have time. I can’t afford it. My family needs me too much right now. I’d have to go back to school. I’m not good enough. I don’t even know where to start.
What if instead of reflexively filling in the reasons we can’t do something, we started planning small, but consistent explorations on how we could?
Not enough time? What if you changed your timeframe for writing that book and scheduled 20 minutes each day to work on it?
Not enough money to start your business? What can you do on a limited budget to set yourself up?
But what about the idea that you’re not good enough, strong enough, talented enough? That’s fear talking, and it can be a dream killer. Fear often pretends it is keeping us safe, but really it holds us back. Fear almost stopped me on a hike and on my true path. In both cases, I acknowledged the feeling of fear in my stomach, noted how similar it felt to exhilaration, thanked God and the universe and all of the angels upstairs that give me courage (thank you, momma!), and kept going. But, let's face it...facing our fears takes commitment. Sometimes it's easier just to avoid it.
Figuring Yourself Out Takes Work
And if you don’t know what you want or where to start? It’s a hard place to be, but be in it. Don’t jump to the next thing that comes to you because “it’s an opportunity” or “what if nothing else opens up” or “at least I’ll get paid” . . . Don’t ignore or distract yourself with the busy-ness of the day-to-day. We all know that years can go by that way.
- Make it your job to explore you.
- Journal. Every day. Five minutes per day.
- Play with things you love to do.
- Try things you’ve always wanted to try.
- Say yes to things that freak you out.
- Say no to things that begin with “I should...”
- Muck around in things you didn’t think were worth taking the time to explore.
Notice where you start to soften, where things feel right or scary. Yes, scary. Scary means fear is there, and often fear shows up when we are on the right track. It shows up when we are on the verge of something transformative.
Seeing It In Action
One of the reasons I love being at the Hivery each day and seeing what people are doing, is that I see “I’d love to...” turn into “I’m doing”. Here #womendoingcoolstuff isn’t just a saying or hashtag. Women are doing cool stuff here every day in ways that feel big and bold, and ways that feel exploratory and curious. They are being brave and creative and authentic. They are supporting each other. Inspiring each other. They are showing up. They’d love to and they are.
Need help figuring out what’s next for you? Or how to move beyond I’d love to . . . to I’m doing . . . ?
The Hivery is here to help. Here are three ways:
1. Schedule a private consultation with Grace. Working on what's next for you? Need help clarifying what you do, who it's for, and how to act on it? Or, maybe you're trying to figure out how to use your skills and expertise in a way that feels meaningful to you? One of my favorite things to do at The Hivery is to offer private consultations on going back to work, changing careers, new business ideas and formation, personal branding, and action-mapping your next chapter.
2. Join What’s Next?, a four-week program that will help you to identify possibilities that match who you are, and what motivates and excites you. All while being part of a supportive group of like-minded women that encourage ideas, next steps and action. The next 4-week What’s Next series starts up in the Fall. Click here to get on the Fall What’s Next list, and you’ll be the first to know when registration is open.
3. Get inspired. Want inspiration from The Hivery and other #womendoingcoolstuff? Join our mailing list. We are very thoughtful about what we email you, and more than anything strive to keep you inspired.