Confession. For the last year of getting back to almost full-time work since having our daughter, I have done an embarrassing number of professional phone calls from my parked car. Sometimes on the sides of roads and more often in my garage…and almost always in sweatpants. It’s a way to maximize my time away from home with my little one but it has also been a means to hide…to linger in that stuck place I, as a newish mom, sometimes find myself….wanting to come out in the world and go big with my work…but also not wanting it to be too big and take me away from home. So I get out in the world but literally (and metaphorically) don’t get out of the car. Anyone relate?
This “in-between” place is one I have found myself in over and over again as I have slowly come out of hiding with my story and coaching work over the years. And you might find yourself here too:
- You start the website but don’t finish it
- You write the email or newsletter but you don’t send it
- You film the interview but leave it unedited
- You reach out to someone about doing a public talk but you don’t follow up
- You make a list of all the bold things and ideas you’re going to do to get out there this year…and then February comes along and you haven’t looked at it.
You take action towards getting visible, but resort back to an alternative form of hiding. You’re out in the world, but not out of the car.
But here’s the thing: getting you and your work out in the world (even imperfectly) is THE MOST powerful path to creating breakthroughs. And so it makes sense that the resistance is real. In his brilliant book “The War of Art” Steven Pressfield reminds us that the degree of resistance we feel is often equal to the power available to us on the other side.
Here are just a few ideas that may support you in coming out of hiding this year:
1. Name the hiding. It’s hard to come out of hiding when you don’t realize you are hiding. The beauty of starting the essay, sending the email, getting in the car is that you’ve started something. Yeay! This is great. And somewhere in the initial sense of accomplishment you find yourself creeping back into the “I tried” corner. Speaking for myself, I didn’t even get that I was hiding in my car until one day, while rain pelted on my roof and I couldn’t hear my client, it hit me that something wasn’t quite right. So make a list..where are you holding yourself back or only semi showing up? Owning that you are hiding is the first step in coming out of it.
2. Safety first: I am often prone to making goals that are much bigger than what I’m truly ready for…like thinking I can jump the width of the lake in one leap. And we all know how that ends up. Turns out what I, as a sweat-panted, car-closeted woman, really wanted was safety. Safety is what I have needed in this transition phase of less mothering to more working. Safety is what you need too. You don’t grow by taking leaps that are too big. You grow from taking leaps that are safe, manageable and build on your strengths. If you find yourself stuck, chances are the next big step you’ve assigned yourself is not safe enough.
3. Baby steps, baby steps, baby steps. Give yourself the stepping stone. And then another and another. Courage is a muscle built in tiny bold acts. If you’re stuck, break the next big leap into two or four or ten tiny ones. Block an hour out on the calendar, hire help if you need it, take out the list and tackle just half or a quarter of the first item…whatever it takes to just take the next step. Here’s how I did this last week. I put on jeans, a sweater, and even some makeup. I signed myself up for a co-working space. I’ll now spend at least a few afternoons every week here doing work phone calls and much more. I am out of the car, everyone! See proof below. Amazingly, the first full day I got myself here to the Impact Hub in Oakland, I learned of an opportunity to share a workshop so I’ll be doing that too. There it is again: the getting out there leading to a breakthrough. It works!
If you’re in Oakland February 21st I hope you’ll join us: https://oakland.impacthub.net/event/skillsharecarajones/
Cara at the co-working space