Why it’s Hard to Trust Your Intuition

Why it's Hard to Trust Your IntuitionHave you ever been in a situation where you made a decision that didn’t turn out well, then when you looked back you could see the warning signs?

We’ve all had those experiences. As we were having the experience, we couldn’t see the pitfalls. It wasn’t until afterwards that we could understand where we went off track.

The catch is that usually we have to experience discomfort in order to be pushed to a higher level of understanding. As long as things are comfortable, we won’t do very much to change the situation. Why should we? It’s the discomfort that leads us to look for opportunities for change.

Though in some cases we may get stuck hoping that things will change without our efforts, it’s not very likely that will happen. Even if we don’t make a decision about which action to take, that in itself is a decision! By not deciding we are deciding to go along with things as they are.

Once we find ourselves in an uncomfortable place, it becomes extremely important for us to trust our own judgment. Often we can go in circles, asking anyone and everyone for their advice.

You know what happens then? We get so many different opinions that we become paralyzed and stay stuck.

There’s nothing wrong with having a mentor or other person who you can trust to give you good advice. However, in the end only we know what’s best for us. That’s where trusting our intuition becomes most important and the key to our success.

When we listen to ourselves we can maintain focus on our goals and our vision for what we want.

Trusting yourself can be a very tough if you’re not used to doing it. There will be times where you’re the only one who can see your vision. You won’t get support and you may even be ridiculed.

In those times it is so important to be able to see and feel what others can’t.

Copyright © 2010 – 2016 Deborah A. Bailey

Excerpted from Think Like an Entrepreneur: Transforming Your Career and Taking Charge of Your Life.

The Ten Things Inventors Should Never Do

Idea to inventionby Patricia Nolan-Brown, author of Idea to Invention

If you want to know how to invent a product, you can get all the steps to invention you need in my book, Idea to Invention. Meanwhile, here is an Inventor Help Line with important information to help avoid the top ten traps that many inventors fall into.

1.    Never…Tell people about your idea before it’s protected. Somebody you’ve told might agree that it’s a fantastic product and run away with it. And “publicly disclosing” your idea (a fancy way to say “telling people about it”) could ruin your chances of getting a patent.

2.    Never…Run right out and get a non-provisional patent first thing
. Why not? Because it’s expensive and time consuming. There are lots of easier and less expensive ways to protect your idea without having to jump through all the full-on patent hoops.

3.    Never…Execute an idea before you do any research online or in actual stores
. This doesn’t mean putting your idea in front of a firing squad! It means that before you invest a lot of time or money, make a prototype, or start ordering parts, you need to be sure that there’s actually a market for your product.

4.    Never…Rely on family and friends for honest opinions. Our nearest and dearest are often groundlessly enthusiastic (or, worse, negative). More importantly, they’re not usually the targeted end-user for your product. It’s much better to do in-person or online polls (using very general questions so you’re not disclosing any important details) to see if your idea has merit.

5.    Never…Quit your day job prematurely. Your income and health insurance are important, especially when you’re just starting out. Because the Internet is open 24/7 and always at your fingertips, you can invent around your existing job until you’re ready to be a full-time inventor.

6.    Never…Assume you need a middle person in order to succeed. Product evaluation companies, product submission/licensing companies, and many others make their money by convincing you that they can do it better than you can-and many such companies end up owning your patent. With a little time and patience, you can do many of the steps to invention all by yourself-for free! And if you do go through a middle person, be sure to read all agreements very, very carefully.

7.    Never…Be greedy. If a qualified company offers to buy or license your idea, you’re just after a fair deal. Don’t lose a perfectly good opportunity by asking for the moon.

Patricia Nolan-Brown8.    Never…Expect immediate success. The race to success is a marathon, not a sprint. Pace yourself.

9.    Never…Go into debt, lose your house or your retirement funds. If an idea isn’t panning out, know when to fold, swallow your pride, and go on to your next idea. Keep your assets untouchable.

10.    Never…Ignore social media
. The Internet is one of your most valuable business tools. You can use social media to promote and sell your products, for customer service, and market research. Not only that, it gives you the ability to contact almost anyone directly and quickly-and it’s mostly free. Use it!

Wishing you all the very best ideas and inspirations.

Adapted from Idea to Invention: What You Need to Know to Cash In on Your Inspiration (AMACOM Books; January 2014) by Patricia Nolan.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Patricia Nolan-Brown is the author of Idea to Invention: What You Need to Know to Cash In on Your Inspiration and inventor of the original rear-facing car seat mirror. Patricia holds multiple patents and registered trademarks, and has sold tens of millions of products. Her inventions and their backstories have been featured in national newscasts and magazines. She also has a thriving career as a motivational speaker, for groups from Fortune 500 CEOs to grade-school science-fair hopefuls, and a popular video blog. She lives just north of Boston with her husband, three daughters, and her westie, Coconut.  Find more information about the author and her book at her website http://www.patricianolanbrown.com. You can also follow her on twitter @pnolanbrown or like her on Facebook.

Book Review: The Little Book of Big PR by Jennefer Witter

The little book of big PRA  must-have for entrepreneurs who want a guide on how to use PR. With so much conflicting information out there, it’s hard to know what to do first. How do you reach out to the media? What are the “do’s” and “don’ts” for interacting on social media? What are things you should know about building a brand?

In The Little Book of Big PR, Jennefer Witter shares her expertise in a style that’s simple enough for beginners, and expert enough for established business owners looking for quick tips.

Witter runs her own agency and knows what works and what doesn’t when it comes to dealing with the media. Unlike some “experts” who give very generalized information, she isn’t shy about speaking candidly about missteps and how to avoid them. She also includes case studies to show what other have done.

Chapters include, Selecting a PR Agency, Social Media, Self-Branding, Media Relations, Speaking Engagements and Networking. There’s something here for every business owner to learn from. Deceptively simple, this book packs a huge punch when it comes to understanding the world of PR.

Entrepreneurs, particularly solopreneurs who are juggling it all on their own, would particularly benefit from Jennefer Witter’s words of wisdom. (Received a review copy.)

Confessions of a Recovering Perfectionist

confessions of a recovering perfectionistRecently I was a guest on a podcast where we talked about how hard it is to surrender control and get into your flow.

We also discussed the need to do things perfectly — or not do them at all. Lots of us get stuck in that place. It’s what we fall back on when we’re afraid to move forward.

Perfection is all about fear and insecurity. For instance, if I do things perfectly, I won’t be judged. But I can  judge someone else’s efforts because, well, I’m perfect, damn it.

It’s like when people preface a remark by saying, “he/she’s not perfect, but…” Duh. Can’t they just like someone without feeling the need to add a disclaimer?

It’s like saying, I know that person isn’t a perfect human being, but I like them anyway. Please, don’t do that. It sounds insincere, and like any back-handed compliment, it really isn’t a compliment. First, tell me who is perfect, and we’ll go from there.

Perfectionism can stop us from doing the things we love. Unfortunately it also allows us to  hold others to a high, unreachable standard without taking any risks ourselves.

“Ring the bells that still can ring, Forget your perfect offering, There is a crack in everything, That’s how the light gets in.” – Leonard Cohen

Years ago I was in a class where I had to design a layout for a magazine. I froze after I presented the initial design and received praise from my professor. The horror! As soon as that happened, things went downhill.

What if it didn’t come out the way I pictured it? What if the professor hated it? Wouldn’t I be ashamed after setting those high expectations? Yes to all of those.

So, I procrastinated right up to the night before the assignment was due. Then I quickly threw something together and turned it in. I got a less than sparkling grade, and I deserved it.

But you know what? I consoled myself by saying, if I’d only started sooner, the project would’ve come out great! The end result was I got to beat myself up for not doing the work, while pretending that the work would’ve been perfect, if only. Perfection by proxy.

“Beauty and ingenuity beat perfection hands down, every time.” – Nalo Hopkinson, Sister Mine

After a while I became my own worst enemy when it came to getting projects done. If my sewing projects didn’t have perfect stitches, I’d throw everything out. If I couldn’t find the  perfect words for my short stories, I’d write and rewrite and rewrite into infinity.

Meanwhile, I remember writing one story in few hours. When I finished, I submitted it to a magazine and sold it. What was different? It was a new market for me, and I had no idea what would go over. So I wrote down my story, edited it, and sent it in. There was no hand-wringing and second-guessing involved. Done. I was prepared for any outcome without expectation.

Once that happened, it was proof that my perfectionism was hiding my fear. Fear of succeeding, fear of failing. Yes, fear of success too. Because if I was successful, I’d have to repeat that success again and again. Then what? Suppose my perfection wasn’t perfect enough to maintain the success?

See what a trap it is?

Perfectionism was a trap that stopped my forward movement. A place to hide where I could sneer at others who weren’t as perfect. Meanwhile, they were getting things done.

“It is failure that guides evolution; perfection provides no incentive for improvement, and nothing is perfect.” – Colson Whitehead, The Intuitionist

The voice of resistance usually hides behind perfectionism. Check out The War of Art by Steven Pressfield for more on that topic and this book too: The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown.

Be willing to fail and make a mess. Out of the mess, the ideas can grow. Failure really is part of the process of creating. It’s not just a feel-good idea from a motivational poster. It’s true.

Spending hours editing, revising and working on my writing finally taught me that perfectionism is a trap. Years ago I stopped myself from finishing my writing projects  because the end result always had to be perfect. Now I know it’s a process — often a very tough process. But it’s worth it.

“I think perfection is ugly. Somewhere in the things humans make, I want to see scars, failure, disorder, distortion.” – Yohji Yamamoto

 

Love the cracks and the stains and the screw-ups. Get your hands dirty. Be willing to let your heart break. Stop reaching for some detached, perfect state that doesn’t exist and never will.

Let go of perfection and free yourself so you can do your work.

Copyright © 2016 Deborah A. Bailey

Book Review: What She Knew by Nadine Galinsky Feldman

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What She KnewWhat She Knew by Nadine Galinsky Feldman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Liz Nabor is at the top of her game in the finance world. Not only is she incredibly successful, but she’s been able to rise in an industry where the old boys club is not exactly welcoming. Unfortunately the financial meltdown of 2008 is looming and the Madoff scandal threatens to reduce her high-powered life to ashes.

At first I thought Liz was terribly naive not to see how some of her most intimate relationships were not what they seemed. But as the story unfolded it became clear that she’d stopped herself from seeing what was obvious in hindsight. Just as many people made investments that seemed too good to be true, Liz also charged ahead, not looking into the manipulations happening around her.

Pretty early on I guessed how things would unfold in Liz’s personal life. Though there were a couple of surprises that kept me guessing as to how things would finally play out. Liz manages to stay true to herself, while coming to terms with her past. Her growth does make her more sympathetic, and gives a face to the countless people who were caught up in the purges of the financial industry during that time.

The author did a good job of giving the reader a look at what was going on behind the scenes. Not only was it a good story, but it should serve as a cautionary tale as well. (Received a review copy.)

Amazon link: What She Knew

Why it’s Time to Walk Away from Other People’s Drama

Why it's Time to Walk Away from Other Peoples Drama“Few of us write great novels; all of us live them.” ~Mignon McLaughlin

Do you spend a lot of time being influenced by someone else’s drama? Are energy vampires draining you and leaving you exhausted?

Life can be challenging at times, but all drama all the time is not required. If someone in your environment is always coming to you with their problems, their negative viewpoint or the latest episode of their personal soap opera don’t be pulled into their story.

How we live our lives can’t be determined by outside events – or people. If we allow that to happen, our sense of self will always be directed by what’s going on outside of us. We will be in permanent react mode instead of setting our own pace.

Are you living from your core beliefs and feelings, or are you always riding on a roller coaster of emotions, pulled along by outside events and people?

You make the choice.

Copyright © 2010 – 2015 Deborah A. Bailey

Why it's Time To Walk Away from Other People's Drama | Soul of an Entrepreneur blog

 

Excerpted from Think Like an Entrepreneur: Transforming Your Career and Taking Charge of Your Life.

The Balance between Writing Fiction & Non-Fiction

Think Like an Entrepreneur: Transforming Your Career and Taking Charge of Your LifeWriting fiction and non-fiction has always been a balancing act for me.

My first “real” job was as a catalog copywriter for JC Penney. I wrote about women’s fashions and toys.

Imagine having to come up with 1 or 2 sentences of copy to describe an item–including all the selling points that a customer needs to know. And it had to be engaging, not just a list of descriptions.

Making every word count ensures that you eliminate fluff and a lot of useless filler. It taught me how to write very lean, which served me well years later.

After several years in catalog copywriting, I changed careers into IT, which is about as far away as you can get from writing copy.

During my time as a programmer, I didn’t write any fiction, or non-fiction for that matter. When I was a child, I’d written tons of stories, poems and even song lyrics (which still surprises me to this day). But after I went into IT, I put my creative writing on hold for a time.

In the corporate world, my “voice” had to be more formal. Usually the “passive” voice is the way people there communicate. No direct statements that can come back to haunt you later on if anything hits the fan. Passive voice is a perfect match for corporate, but unless you want to put your readers to sleep, I wouldn’t recommend it for fiction.

Making the leap between non-fiction and fiction can feel like a leap across a canyon. Ultimately I started taking classes so I could sharpen my writing skills and learn how to structure short fiction. Electric Dreams: Seven Futuristic Tales

But still, it was tough to let go of all the business writing rules I’d absorbed. When you document systems, usually you’re explaining how something works. Sometimes for a technical audience, sometimes not. No embellishment. Just straight facts.

What helped me bridge the gap between those two writing styles was to start a blog. Posts from that blog went into my first book, Think Like an Entrepreneur: Transforming Your Career and Taking Charge of Your Life.

By that time I was also writing and publishing short stories. So, once my first non-fiction book was out there, I was ready to start working on a novel.

My first published novel, Hathor Legacy: Outcast was rewritten about 3 times, but each time through, I stripped away more of the layers standing between me and my fictional world. I had to be vulnerable when I wrote fiction. Getting into a character required me to see through their eyes. No way would I be able to maintain my distance and still make a connection with the character’s thoughts and feelings.

If there’s one big difference between fiction and non-fiction, that’s it. Distance. Writing for business requires a certain formality. You don’t get the same thing with blogs (but you might depending on the author and the audience). But with fiction (at least with genre fiction) you have to be willing to get closer. If you do that, the reader can too.

Going back and forth between a story world and “reality” isn’t as difficult if you do it regularly. Writing is one of those things that has to be done all the time. That’s how you get better. No matter what it is: short, long, non-fiction, fiction, poetry–just write it. Go with it.

Once you’re writing all the time, you’ll find it’s not so much about striking a balance as it is finding the flow. But in order to get there, you’ve got to keep writing.

Copyright © 2016 Deborah A. Bailey

Originally published on the Author Deborah A Bailey blog.

The Struggle is Real: Is it Fear of Success or Fear of Failure?

The Struggle is Real: Is it Fear of Success or Fear of Failure | Soul of an Entrepreneur blogSometimes you can be in love with the struggle. It can ignite your desire to work harder and to push when all you want to do is give up.

It’s like when you’re lifting weights in a gym; when you go to the edge of your endurance you get to the point where you have nothing left. That’s the point where the breakdown happens that leads to the rebuilding.

Over time you can feel yourself going longer, having more energy to push through. I’m not talking about pushing too hard and burning out. That’s a different thing entirely. I’m no stranger to that.

Being a workaholic is probably the only acceptable addiction. The one you can talk about openly without someone either wanting to call the police or stage an intervention.

But after a while the struggle can get to be enjoyable. It can get your adrenaline flowing as your stress levels surge. You’re going against the odds. Getting it done. Aren’t you proud of yourself?

Always pushing and never giving up. You can fall in love with the struggle. when that happens, it’s hard to let things flow. Because if there’s no fight, something’s missing.

“Every great work, every big accomplishment, has been brought into manifestation through holding to the vision, and often just before the big achievement, comes apparent failure and discouragement.” ~ Florence Scovel Shinn

I’ve had that happen with my writing. When I write, and I’m in the flow, it feels great. It doesn’t feel like work. Or how we think work is supposed to feel. Painful. Awful. Exhausting. Without a doubt writing can be that way at times when you’re reaching for something and can’t get it on the page.

So if you’re working on a business idea. You’re all excited and stressed and ready to put it all out there. Putting in time and money and whatever else you’ve got. Priding yourself on what you’re willing to do to get it done.

What happens if you get to a place where you don’t have to struggle?

What if you can get into a mode where you can, for the most part, get things done without running yourself into the ground. Without skirting the edge of your endurance?

“Go all the way with it. Do not back off. For once in your life, go all the goddamn way with what matters.” – Ernest Hemingway.

Either though experience, or getting help or gaining knowledge, you’ve arrived at the place where you’ve reduced the need for constant struggle. There’s still effort, but things get done with less drama and exhaustion.

What happens when youLindsayHenwood_unsplash achieve the goals you’ve set.

You’re on the top of the mountain. You’ve done it. Now what? Where do you go from there?

When you’ve achieved the thing you’ve been giving all your energy to –what then?

Sometimes the love of the struggle…the getting…is stronger than the desire for the having.

Where are you on your journey? Are you putting off reaching your goals because the struggle feels so much better?

Copyright © 2016 Deborah A. Bailey

Book Review: Venture Mom: From Idea to Income in Just 12 Weeks

VentureMomVenture Mom: From Idea to Income in Just 12 Weeks by Holly Hurd
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Venture Mom: From Idea to Income in Just 12 Weeks by Holly Hurd, founder and CEO of the online marketplace VentureMom.com, is a valuable resource for moms looking for support before (and during) their business launch.

Starting with the five commonalities that all successful ventures have in common, Hurd breaks down the steps and includes assignments to guide you through the process. She also includes success stories so you can see how others have done it.

The book shares information to help you set prices, develop your brand, how to set up your marketing and social media, among other things.

It gives details on setting up both product-based and service-based businesses, so there’s something here for every interest. If you’re looking to start a business while balancing a family and other commitments, Venture Mom is a must-have guide to doing it right. (Received a review copy.)

Amazon link: Venture Mom: From Idea to Income in Just 12 Weeks

How to Keep Working When You’ve Got the Winter Blues

CGreenblatt_unsplashWhen the holidays are over and the New Years celebrations have died down, it’s back to the usual day-to-day activities.

But this time of year comes with a twist for me.

Usually it starts around October when I’m anticipating the time change for daylight savings time (someone please tell me why we’re still doing this?) and suddenly it’s getting dark at 4:30 eastern.

Here on the East Coast the weather gets colder and the trees lose their leaves—everything is stark and grey, without color. Even the sky. It’s like going from bright Technicolor to  black, white and grey.

I love color and light. A lot. It gives me energy. For a long time I never understood why my mood would change during the winter months. But I’d go into a depression and sometimes be stuck in it until spring.

Once I found out what the deal was, it was a revelation. My issues had to deal with the lack of light. From that point on I made sure to do things to help me through: more light, more color and more exercise. Along with those things, less sugars (to avoid the sugar crashes), mediation and lots of reinforcement.

If I get a running start in October, usually I can get through it without falling into an emotional hole. And that hole is not the place to be. It’s like being sucked into an abyss at its worst points.

Once that happens, it’s easy to get stuck in the worse addictive behaviors — or to tune out completely and detach from my normal activities. Of course if you’re showing up at a workplace everyday, your symptoms might be alleviated somewhat. But when you’re working from home (and probably spending large amounts of time alone) it’s tough to stay on track.

But what really pisses me off is that this is called a disorder. It also has its own stupid name: SAD. Seasonal Effective Disorder. Really? Who the hell really thought naming a thing like this, SAD?

Not only are you feeling like shit, but the name of your so-called disorder is just as depressing.

Let me clarify. I don’t consider what I go through as a disorder. Yes, I like light and color. Yes, I prefer to see it all the time, not just 6-9 months out of the year.  I’m not broken. I just need certain things and I’m not getting them. That’s how I choose to see it.

So, I’ve learned to compensate by doing healthy things to keep me going so I can have the energy to get my work done.

Here are some suggestions:

*Get a light box or add more lights to your environment.  A friend of mine recommended full-spectrum light bulbs and I’m using them in my home office.

unsplash-Tongle*Buy fresh flowers or postcards or other items to add a touch of color to brighten up your home or workspace.

*Exercise is a great way to lift your mood. If you can’t get outside as often, use online exercise videos or DVDs. Or create your own routines.

*Meditate in the morning and evening to clear your mind and get focused. If you’re feeling down, positive self-talk will get you going and help to release anxiety.

*Don’t hesitate to meet with a health professional if you feel it’s necessary. There is help out there in many forms, and there’s no shame in acknowledging that you can’t manage this on your own.

One more thing: limiting your exposure to  negative environments (and negative people) can go a long way.  Now is the time for extreme self-care, so don’t be stingy with it.

Copyright © 2016 Deborah A. Bailey