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Make 2015 Awesome.

Make 2015 Awesome

I am getting super excited about the end of the year. I love using the next few weeks as an opportunity to hit pause on everything for a minute (remember, you have permission to take time off) and look at what happened in this last year, and what I want to happen in 2015. Over the next few weeks, I'll be sharing the biggest lessons of 2014 via email, so (in the last blog post of the year!) I want to talk about how to make 2015 awesome – how to be sure that next year at this time, you're going to feel great about what unfolded.

 

 

As I'm always reminding you, you can build your business to be whatever you want – you get to define your own success.
But that's not where it ends. After you define success for yourself, you have to boil it down to what that will look like – the specifics of it – and start taking action to actually getting it. Action that is directly going to impact your goal.

As you're planning your New Year, keep these things in mind:

Review the last year first.

List what worked and what didn't. Celebrate your successes and ask yourself: What actions made that happen? Let go of what didn't work. (In Chart Your Stars, which you'll get in both Lift Off + the Starship, the most popular activity we do is releasing the regrets of last year- forgiving yourself and choosing to move on is powerful.) Enumerate the lessons you've learned (I'm sharing my lessons next week, via email). Make a list of what lessons you want to bring with you into the New Year.

Be specific.

Everyone wants more sales or more money or “growth.” What does that look like in your specific business? This is where you're going to take what you learned while reviewing your year, and build on it. If you made 50 sales last year and you want to grow – how many sales do you want to make this year? If you want to write a book, how you will you do it (self-publish? book proposal to traditional publisher? something else)?

Find your reason.

Why do you want this? For things you truly want, you can usually answer this question swiftly, with multiple answers. Knowing your why will keep you motivated, even when things get hard. It will inspire in you another way of fulfilling that deeper desire, when a goal doesn't work out. For example, you want to make more money because you want your business to be profitable, because you want it to….pay some bills? Allow you to go to a movie? Contribute to your dream house? How else could you get that?

Pick a focus.

If you listed 500 things you wanted to do in 2015 – that's fine! But in order to make progress on any of them, you're going to need to pick one or two to really focus on in the next three months. You can start anywhere – I always tell explorers to pick the thing they are most enthusiastic about, no matter how crazy it might seem. After you choose a destination for your next quarter, you'll break it down into individual steps, so that you can take an action every day to get closer to your goal. (We do this step by step in the Map Making Guide – which is free in Lift Off and the Starship).

You may find, as you go through this process, that what you thought you wanted actually…isn't. Maybe you'll come up with an easier or more obvious way of reaching your definition of success. Maybe you'll realize that you don't have any reasons, and you're only doing this because you think you “should.” No matter what the results are, be encouraged and keep going until you have some goals and ideas you are truly enthusiastic about!

If you'd like to do all of the above in a guided workshop, surrounded by a community of encouragers – beam aboard the Starship! It is now open to new members!

The Power of Community

Find community aboard the Starship, on TaraSwiger.com

Having a community of supportive, encouraging and whip-smart fellow business explorers completely transformed my business. In today's episode, I share a bit about how my business has been shaped by the communities I was a part of and what led me to create a community of other makers + writers, aboard the Starship. If you're feeling lonely or down, listen in as I share my secret mission and how it involves you.

 

Note: The Starship closes THIS Friday, 6/27/14, at 4 pm. To learn more, check it out it here.

 

How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).

Find all the podcast episodes here.

 

 

 

 

The Adventures

Every day is an adventure. I share the view, the gratitude and the news  on Fridays – you’re invited to join in. You can find all my adventures here, or follow along via email here.

The view

My $2/yd fabric. I went ahead and bought the whole 5 yards, so I have back-up.  Question: do you wash fabric before you sew clothes? (It's rayon, a crepe I think)
My adorable bunny-lover. (He saw the bunny, froze, then shook it off and started inside.) #bestdogever
Huzzah! Just opened The Starship for the quarter! So excited to meet who beams aboard.  All the details in the link in my profile. But ask me anything!   #starshipbiz
Morning glories are just so happy. (And they make me feel special, being up early enough to see them) Song of the Run: Do My Thing by Estelle, feat. Janelle Monae (This song is so great!) #foundwhilerunning #yaysummer #summerjam #running

I am so grateful for…

 

The Finds:

I’m reading:

  • I love that Pinch of Yum shares their monthly income report, but the best part is how the answer the question, “What does it take to make money blogging?”
  • Not much else! Spending all my time writing class materials + welcoming in new Starship Captains.

I’m eating: 

  • Pad Thai, of course!
  • BBQ tofu sammies + summer squash rice casserole (from Cookin Crunk.)
  • THIS was amazing. My lasagna noodles totally broke apart, so instead of rolls, it was more of a lasagna with pieces of noodles above and below a layer of DELICIOUS pesto-y vegan ricotta. Topped with more pesto. I could eat this every day.

I'm listening to: 
The Songs of Summer, since 1962 – this is a great playlist for summer-ing it up!

In case you missed it: 

What adventures have you had?

Can you really craft the business you want?

Can you really craft the business you want?

When you start making your work and selling it, you wonder if it's going to go anywhere. But you start. And you build. And then…you still wonder if it's going to anywhere. If it's going to be any of the things you dreamed it could be.

Business is daily. Ownership is a constant process of making, tweaking, experimenting and reassessing.
So you get dragged down. You get disappointed. Your doubts bubble up.
Instead of just wondering, now you're downright doubting.

Could this work?
Does this work?
How in the heck will I know what works?

You are not alone.
Everyone doubts. Everyone feels totally lost.

Doubting is not a sign that you're not going to make it. It's an indication that you're doing something worthwhile. 

Let me be clear: You can have the business you really want.

There are two parts to this:
1. YOU CAN DO IT.
2. It can be what YOU want (not what others have or think you should have).

1. You can do it.

Seriously. Amy's doing it. Ana's doing it. Katie's doing it.
You can do it. (You don't have to be exceptional.)

No, it's not easy.
No, even though they've reached the goals they set a year ago…they're not done. They're not content. They're setting new goals and working just as hard as ever.
As long as you clearly define what “it” is for you (the kind of business you want), as long as you take responsibility, as long as you commit to doing the hard work consistently and strategically: You can do it.

Will it be awesome?
Yes.
Will it be everything you imagined?
Probably not.
Will you change your mind once you get “it”?
Probably. (Definitely.)

2. It can be what you want.

You can build exactly what you want – whether that's quitting your job, or filling your savings account, or going out to eat more often. Whether you wanna wholesale, do craft shows, or never leave your house. Your business can look any way you want. You don't have to follow anyone else's rules and you don't have to achieve certain markers of success.

The thing is, this is the ONLY way to do “it”. This is the ONLY way to have a business you love.
Define what you want.
Pursue it.
Review what's working.
And repeat.

You are not alone.

Even when you doubt, even when you succeed, even when you change your mind completely (hey, it happens). There are other makers, writers, and designers who are going through it. If you'd like to get together with them, talk about it, celebrate with them and generally feel less alone and less overwhelmed, The Starship is now open.

In the Starship, you'll be guided to define exactly what YOU want in your business. You'll create a plan (with our help!) to get there.  You'll review and experiment and build on what's working. All with some one-on-one help from me, and the encouragement and insights from over 3 dozen other gals who have been there. You'll quash those doubts and know what to do and if it's worth it.
You can join here.

beamaboardstars

Beam aboard for 2014

Beam Aboard the Starship

The Starship is now boarding!

You can read all about it here, but I wanted to fill you in on what I'm excited about!

The Starship only opens once a quarter*, in order to make sure everyone gets started from the same place (and to ensure that I have time to get to know everyone and their business).

*To keep it small + personal (other Captains connect, collaborate and befriend each other) only 12 new Captains will beam up this quarter (to join the 40 who are already aboard). After that, boarding closes until March!

You see, the Starship is a place for weekly accountability, monthly review and anytime-you-want-it question-asking…but I've learned over the last 3 years (!) that it's not enough to have resources, you have to know where and how you want to use them. Unless you start with a plan and intention, all the resources can overwhelm you. So I've built in  plan-making, intention-setting rituals + resources, so that you will use what you bought.

Here's how you'll make that plan: 

1. Get oriented in the Starship.

With a quick email series, you'll learn how to navigate the resources available to you. You'll also learn how to make a Clear Ask, so that you get the help you need (I use this in all my communication!)

2. Get oriented in your own business.

It's vital to know where your business is, right now. (Not just where you want it to be, or where you think it “should” be). We'll do this by starting the Chart Your Stars Guide, on December 27th. And to make sure you get the most out of it, you'll get a brand new e-course (with 6-7 lessons) to help you find your North Star, make your own Star Map for navigating your dreams, and setting Destinations that actually matter to you.

3. Make each dream do-able.

On January 6th we'll start Map Making. With a 6 day e-course and a dedicated forums, you'll identify your next Destination (for the next 3 months) and break it down into do-able To Dos. This is where everything you dream about doing because practical.

4. Learn how you best work.

After you've got your do-able To Dos…you actually have to do them. Through forum posts and weekly check-ins and monthly reviews you'll identify how you best get work done, and we'll help un-stick you when you get stuck.

5. Stay on track.

Every month you look back and review your Adventure so far in a super-quick Reassesment Log. You can see where you swerved and what you learned. We're there to cheer on every mile marker you reach!

After 3 months, every quarter, we start again with Map Making and review – so that you're always moving forward, always identifying the next Destination and going after it with the freshest information on your very own business. (This way we avoid the I forgot about my New Year's Resolutions! problem.)

 

Along with this cycle of review + doing, we also have one live class a quarter (you have immediate access to over a dozen downloadable classes.) In a live class, everyone (who wants to) takes the same class in the same week, completes homework and gets their questions answered.

The classes this year are:

Pay Yourself: 6 brand-new video lessons + apply-it-now worksheets on finding the profit in your current business and paying yourself (finally).
Craft Your Customer Path: Identify and create the path your customer will take to buying your goods. We'll talk about effective email newsletters, social media, and systematizing it all, while building relationships and loyalty.
Explore You: Figure out how to apply what IS working in your business to what IS NOT.
Holiday Sanity! In Q4, we focus all our energy on making a great holiday season, in our business and in our lives

 

You don't need another thing to remember. 

Have you ever bought an online class and then didn't know what to do or how to navigate the space or what happened when? I hate that! So I've built the entire process to come to you easily + simply.

 That's why Starship Captains don't have to remember ANY of this. Everything I mentioned just comes to you. You don't have to remember to check a website, or log in, or anything. Every Wednesday I send an email with a mini-lesson, reminders about what we're doing (the Map Making, the classes), and an invitation to the weekly chat. So if you take a week (or month!) away, you have a chance to jump back in, every week.

Any questions?

 

PS. Every class, workbook, and Guide I've mentioned comes FREE with your Starship membership. You'll get access to absolutely everything I do (including exclusive access to one-on-one sessions) without having to buy a thing.

 

 

Image is from this article on different colored stars. Fascinating! 

 

 

 

 

Adventures in Business with Jill Wolcott

Jill WolcottToday I'm exploring with Starship Captain Jill Wolcott. Jill is an award-winning teacher who combines a wealth of knitting knowledge with a great sense of humor to make her classes both useful and fun. Jill is always thinking about knitted garments, how they fit, and how to guide knitters toward a successful knitting experience.  She recently published an ebook of knitting designs: The Goddess Collection.

 

 

 

People have this fantasy of what it's like to be a full-time maker. But what's a normal day for you really like? 

I don't really have a “go with the flow” life.  Weekdays I get up at 6:30, make coffee, tidy up, look at email and Evernote (my assistant works from her home), shower, then hit my office.  My office day is spent working on patterns, marketing, administrative things, book projects, creating classes and class materials, and whatever is on my list.  It almost never includes knitting.  The closest I get to knitting is picking up needles to figure out how I can better explain how to do a technique or maneuver.  I do a lot of editing, drafting, redrafting, initial charting, and a lot of grading sizes.

On Wednesdays I leave my office about 10:30 and go downtown to teach at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.  I'm usually pretty tired at the end of six hours there, but I am a favorite instructor and have been given an outstanding faculty award 11 times in the 14 years I've taught there.

I do volunteer work for TNNA and am part of the Starship and Cat Bordhi's Visionary Authors group.  I also have an elderly mother and we do things on Thursdays and Fridays when I can get away.  She is a long-time knitter so is always interested in what I am working on.

Wendy works with me from Pittsburgh, PA.  She is like the third lobe of my brain and is beginning to take on more pieces of my day-to-day work so that I can explore more, create more, do more.  I would be lost without her.  I have another assistant who comes into my office twice a week and does hands on things–from winding yarn to finishing work on projects.  She does shipping, tracking, and entering things into my bookkeeping software.  Again, without her help I would surely be buried in my own mess.

Most of my samples are knit by paid knitters.  They are a brave lot who embark on projects that are often still in process.  They must be my eyes as I am not seeing what is happening except through weekly photos.  I have someone who works as a project manager to keep the knitters on track–and make sure I answer questions and address problems.

I have a tech editor who works per hour.  She has a wonderfully detailed brain and asks me lots of questions to make sure my work is clear.  I also have a copy editor who works on my longer work.  She is primarily looking for consistency and continuity.  Both are knitters who understand why I like to take a different approach in presenting my patterns.

I knit after I quit work in my office. I cook dinner most nights, and I knit afterwards until I go to bed. I am not usually knitting samples; I am either working on new design ideas or making a second sample or one of my designs for me to wear. I make the final sample myself only if there is a quick deadline or if it is a small item. We've found that I am not reliable at finding problems in the patterns, so it isn't usually a good place for me to put my knitting energy. All my knitting is related to my business and I have no time to knit any one else's patterns, but I do love to knit.

Weekends are often where I find time to follow new ideas or do things I want to do but don't need to do.  I have a wonderful husband who likes to spend time with me–some of it without knitting needles in my hands. We go to a fair number of jazz and world music performances, plays, and author/artist lectures. We both read a lot, although knitting cuts into my reading time!

There are so many ways to make a living as a maker – how are you doing it? What have you combined and how has that changed through the years?

As mentioned above, I teach to make money.  It is the only reliable money source I have.  I am working on making it possible to offer classes via video with live check-ins so that I can continue to teach those classes online  without it being a live performance.  This will make it easier for people to fit it into their schedules too.  Right now those classes are for knitwear designers of any stripe.  I hope to have classes for knitters in 2014 as well.  I do not teach at retail knitting shows right now because I simply do not have time.  I do some limited work for magazines, and sometimes do consulting work.

I don't think the work of a designer has changed much over the years. With Tara's help I am finding the courage to do what I believe I want to put out into the world, even though it is a little different.

Jill Wolcott designs

What new thing are you exploring now?

I have just launched what I call Studio Space.  This is a subscription program to invite knitters to share their knitting time with me and other committed knitters.  I have framed my first offering around my Goddess Collection, but I think this will end up being the beginning of the program, and not our sole focus.  My other new thing is eBook pattern collections, and online classes.  I want to write books too, but need to get some of these other wheels turning more effectively to allow that to happen.

What's your definition of success in your business?

For my business to be successful I need to balance expenses and income, but that isn't the whole picture for me.  I would like some recognition for my skills and talents, but primarily I would like to know that I am helping knitters find pleasure and satisfaction in the actual making of knitted things.  I would like to be able to make a living too!

 What's the next destination you're working towards?

Jill Wolcott Knits Studio and mastery of marketing!

 

Thanks so much for sharing your workday and adventure with us, Jill!

 

Jill's a Captain in the Starship. You can meet more Captains + learn if it's right for your adventure when you sign up for the free mini-course here. 

 

cross_stitches

 

“I find great resources among the other Starship members, and I really love having the weekly accountability (if you want it) of telling someone what I’m doing.  This is making a ton of difference in how I get my work done, how I value it, and how I prioritize my time.
In the 2.5 months I’ve been on the Starship I have seen real differences in myself as a business owner, and my ability to see how to move my business ahead in the direction I want it to move.”
-Jill Wolcott, Jill Wolcott Knits
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6 Thoughts on Before Happiness

6 thoughts on Before Happiness
This month I've been reading Shawn Achor‘s second book, Before Happiness, and HOLY COW. I can not get over how very applicable it all is to what we do here, in exploring and crafting a business (and life) we actually love. I took copious notes all through reading it and wanted to share just a few with you. (I highly recommend reading the book for yourself!)

Love this book! Talking about it tomorrow on the blog. #holidaysanity
Here are a few of my thoughts as I read:
1. This book isn't so much about Happiness, as it is about having the life (and business) you really want, by paying attention to how you perceive the world around you. As a positive psychologist researcher (“positive psychology” is the branch of psychology that studies successful people as opposed to other areas of psychology which study the ways we can be unwell), Anchor is reporting on experiments (both his own and others') on how perception shapes reality.

2. When we talk about perception vs. reality it sounds a little woo-woo (but the science shows it's a measurable fact!), so you can think of it like this: In the middle of winter, after days and days of sub-freezing weather, a sunny day in the mid-50s causes you to exclaim that it is SUCH a nice, warm day! But a sunny in the mid-50s during the heat of the summer, will having you commenting on how cold it is. This is an example of how your perception changes the reality. The same temperature warms you up or has you shivering. The temperature (reality) is the same, but the perception of the temperature changes.

This same perception/reality thing comes into play in your business: Is a month with a $1000 in sales a “good” month or a “slow” month? Neither answer is objectively right or wrong, it depends on your situation.
So this book is about that,  and about whether you are choosing a positive (and true) reality or a negative reality (which might also be true, but closes you to finding more opportunities and paths to success).

3. I love reading about studies about this, because it reflects exactly what I hear from YOU. Many of you have amazingly brilliant ideas and you did have lots of enthusiasm…until you started to focus on the competition, on all the hard work, and how very many things could go wrong. The enthusiasm and energy drains out of you, until you can't see any of the opportunities in front of you, and you can't spot any path that would lead you to success.

I was delighted to read that it's not just you, it's how our brains our wired (watch out for danger, in order to stay alive!). But I'm even more delighted to have learned ways of getting around the Inner Eyeore, to help you find the light + enthusiasm again.

4. As I suspected based on experience, celebrating successes (and being reminded of them) really is a proven path to success. Yay!

5. Your map needs to be centered around your very own meaning markers (Yep, Shawn uses the same language I've used in the Map Making Guide). It's not enough to just set goals or have dreams – they need to be centered on what really matters to you, and how you are going to most enjoy getting there. I talk more about this in this video+ I'm editing the Chart The Stars guide (available only to Starship + Solo Mission captains) to not just  discover what matters to you, but to remember it over and over during your normal everyday planning.

6. I  could very easily list every point in the book that lines up perfectly to what we already do inside the Starship + Solo Missions. (In fact, I started a big list for myself.) But I think it's sufficient to point out that all this science and knowledge is useless unless you apply it to your business – not just once when you read it, but again and again as you reassess and reorient as you move forward (which, by the way, is one of the best ways to make sure you end up where you want to be).

In order to make it truly useful, I've baked the book's “success accelerants” right into the experience of being on a Solo Mission or in the Starship. You don't just learn about them, you'll act  on them, simply by opening the emails and filling out the worksheets.

 

My goal is to make your success, towards your very own dreams, completely unavoidable.

For more thoughts on books, check out the discussion around the New Domesticity

Sounding the warning trumpets

The Starship closes to new members tonight (Monday). If this is the warning you've been waiting for, beam up here.

Although it's always bittersweet to close the doors, the real magic begins as soon I shut down the transporter beams, because I get to turn my attention the Captains inside the Starship…and I have some very exciting plans for them (and you?):

 

  • Live Map Making starts next Monday. We do one piece of the  Map Making Guide each day, and at the end of the week, we have a plan for one goal to work towards in the next three months. Even if you feel totally unsure what your goal might be now, you're sure to have a plan you'll love by the end of the week. I can promise that, because it's always the people who are totally new to this kind of planning that end up exclaiming: “This has totally changed the way I think about my business” (Beverly said that last quarter)

 

  • Solo-sessions! I sit down (well, on the phone, Skype or video chat!) with each and every captain who wants to, and we strategize their next steps together. Sometimes we're planning your next launch, sometimes we're brainstorming solutions to that pesky I-have-no-time problem. Sometimes you get on the phone with something that has dragged you down for months…and we've solved it in 15 minutes (This happened with Holly last month. I kept saying, “Are you sure you don't need to talk more about it? Or..something?” “Nope! All solved! Ready to get to work now!”)(Extra special – I no longer offer Solo-session to anyone outside the Starship. Becoming a Starship captain is the only way to work one-on-one with me.)
  • Holiday Sanity! This four week party leads you into a sane, relaxed holiday season. We create a plan, and keep each other gently accountable to do everything from making gifts, to filling holiday orders. This is the fourth year that I've held Holiday Sanity and it's always a favorite!

Whether you're frustrated because you don't have a clear path, or you're dreading the holidays because they overwhelm you – we're going to laser in on the problem and zap it, by finding what works best for you.
So if you'd like to get that (which is only happening live this quarter) beam up heretoday. 

yes to adventure

And if now isn't the right time…I'll see you next quarter!

PS. A few explorers have written that they can't afford to pay the entire registration at once. Of course, not! MOST captains come aboard with the payment plan, so don't be shy about using it, sugar.

 

 

 

 

Confidence

Go forward with confidence

This week I worked with an explorer who was struggling to feel confident, in order to move forward and make a map.
She said she wasn't confident enough to talk about her work with anyone, not confident in herself enough to move forward.

And I nodded along thinking, Yes, that's right. Of course you don't.

Because, darling, you don't start confident.

Rarely do I meet a maker who is certain she is smart and capable enough to really, truly do what she wants to do. Oh, we all have moments of hope and inspiration and I can do it!…followed by stretches of Oh Lord, what was I thinking?

Confidence is something you build.
You become confident in your work by making more of it.
You become confident in talking about your work, by talking about it, practicing, learning what your customers respond to.
You become confident in yourself, by doing what scares you, by adventuring forward, even when you're not sure.

Sometimes, the Doing will build confidence all on it's own.
But usually, you have to show yourself what you did. You have to remember that you weren't sure, you tried something, and you survived. (Whether the thing you did succeeded or not doesn't matter. The fact that you tried is all you need.)

I think we look around at our world and we see bloggers blogging, makers making, and everyone selling, selling, selling and we think that it comes so easy for everyone else. That it must just be us that it's awkward for.
But, oh honey, that's just not true.
I have a Starship full of people who, despite being rockstars in their fields, regularly back down from making a clear request, from writing a compelling description, from asking for the sale. They stumble and fumble and doubt. They have total crises of confidences.

So do I. Sometimes, right here, out loud.

That's why I build in weekly yay-ing. Every week we share what went well. Every month we spot what's working. And every quarter we revisit our goals and celebrate the milestones. This way, we can remind ourselves of our boldness and that build confidence.

It's not that the bloggers and makers and sellers are more confident. They are just doing it. (really). They (and you!) build confidence by a steady cycle of doing + rejoicing over the doing.

What can you rejoice in doing, to remember your confidence?

 

How to decide if you should buy a class or book

How to decide if you should buy a class or a book

I've spent the last 24 hours thinking and talking about how to know if something is right for you, where you are, with the business you have. You see, yesterday I opened the Starship to new members, and I've welcomed in three new members and heard from quite a few more. Our conversations have me reflecting on how I make these decisions in my own business, and how anyone knows that anything is the “right” for them. I have a few questions I ask myself before buying, whether it's a $25 guide or a $500 year-long adventure.

Do I know and like the person?

Does this person show up regularly and with integrity? Especially in a class, the way I feel about the person is going to impact my ability to learn. If you don't like who the teacher is, as a person, you're not going to trust the information they have and will spend time second-guessing everything. You learn better from someone you deeply trust. Also, if this is going to take longer than an hour, you want to like the person's voice and style, and look forward to spending time with them. (This is why it's so easy to buy anything Sarah or Diane makes – I want to hang out with them as much as possible.)

 Does it provide the structure that I need?

For me, this means something more than a simple PDF download. I learn best if the information is chunked up and delivered in pieces, and has some kind of accountability built in. The entire reason I joined Up & Running is that I needed a training plan and accountability on the regular.
But of course, not everyone learns in the same way, so this is something I've tested endlessly in the Starship. Sure, I've got great info on profitability or finding your customers, but how can I share that information in a way that results in real changes for the captains? The last 2 years have taught me that the best results come from apply-it-to-your-own business worksheets, regular emails that move you through the material, and then weekly and monthly check-ins with other explorers who are doing the same. It's a combination of question-asking and accountability-providing. This not only teaches information, it also keeps the regular movement of your business from where it is to where you want it to go. It makes big goals more reach-able and dreams more do-able

Does it fit with my immediate goals?

Is this thing aimed at what I'm working on right now? Even if the class has fantastic information, if it's not information I can use right now, I resist it.
Why? Because otherwise it will be a distraction from what I'm working on and I'll be frustrated that I can't put what I learned to work right away. (This is why we spend the first week of each quarter in the Starship setting individual goals and mapping out a path – so that you spend your time in the Starship working on your goals and avoid distraction.)

Does it fit in my long-term vision?

Is this going to help me build the kind of business I want to own next year and the year after that? Is this going to distract me by thinking about something short-term?
And the really hard question: Is this going to help me become the kind of person I want to be? Or encourage me to focus on being someone else.

This question is so hard to answer, but vital. There are super-compelling classes, books, and adventures that look fantastic. But if they don't promote my core values, or encourage me to be me, then I know they're not for me. Of course, the first step is to know what you value and define them, so that you can spot them (or their lack) in an offering. The values I look for in a class or book are exploration (trying and experimenting vs. certainty that THIS is the one true way), personal responsibility, sustainability (valuing the long-term over the short-term, conserving resources), and self-knowledge.  This reflects my business ethics and ensures I spend my time in integrity.

 

What do you ask yourself before you buy a class or book?

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