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you-ness

Listening in

I've been quiet. Not just on the blog, but on the Explorer Lessons, the Twitter, and even on Instagram. It started out unconsciously…I just didn't have anything to say. I wanted to read all day. Dye yarn. Do quiet-ish things.

Plotting with beet/carrot/ginger juice. #unpluggedadventureday

But then Thursday, I purposely took break from the constant stream of feedback. I didn't check email, twitter replies, or even likes on Instagram. Instead, I drove to Asheville, explored, wrote. I didn't really know why I avoided all feedback until I was driving home at the end. And then it hit me.

I spend a lot of time (maybe most of it) listening. When I'm answering questions on the Starship or taking part of a Twitter chat or just reading blogs, I may be talking, but I'm also listening for the connection. I'm watching for the chords that tie it all together, for the deeper question people are really thinking about. (This book opened my eyes to my system-spotting + building – it's part of my personality type!)

Once I spot the connection, I dive into it. I write a blog post, shoot a video answer or, if it's a deep and twisty question, I create a class. For example, In December I got an email from a Captain about how she'd had a banner year…but paid herself nothing. Then I saw a few comments on Twitter saying “I invest everything back into the business.” I spot the connection right away: People don't know how to measure (and improve)  their profit. So I wrote, asked questions and taught a class about doing just that. It might not be my favorite thing, but it's undeniably vital to every business…and no one else seemed to be talking about the equations that I use…so I did it. (That's another part of listening – watching for great resources I can recommend – and making sure I'm not spending my time creating something that already exists in way that my people can absorb.)

I LOVE this deep listening and connection-spotting. It's the way I process the world and my brain does it even when I'm not working. But, if I'm not careful, all that listening can result in only thinking about things other people need…instead of creating what I need and want to create. So when I finish a period of intense listening and responding, it's time to stop in and listen to myself again.

It's  just like I'm always saying about finding and listening to your Right People. If you listen in, you'll definitely make what they want.

But that's only one part of the equation. The other half is YOU. You have to spend some time listening to yourself, learning what your skills are, and expressing (or trying to express) what you need to create in this world.

So I took the week to listen in quietly to myself..and I got a whopp of insight (at 7pm while washing the dishes) about how to clarify my message (see the Start Here page for the changes) and what I need to work on next (opening the Starship for the quarter and a BIG exciting project).

When was the last time you took a break from your listening stations and tuned into your internal frequency?

A manifesto. A philosophy. A question.

Lo, these many weeks, I have been digging into what we're doing here.
What I believe. What  my mission is.

What I believe about you.

 

And here it is, all at once:

The gist: I don't want to create ANYTHING that makes you doubt yourself.
Instead of telling you WHAT to do in your craftybiz, let's dig into your particular smartness and look at how you can apply THAT.

But I'm still figuring it out: How can I best do that?

What do you think?

Notes from the BOOK: A spoonful of my own medicine.

Notes from the BOOK is a weeklyish peek into how the BOOK is taking shape. Lessons learned, moments of bing, and excerpts.

Last week I wrote this for the book:

“Get clear on YOUR strengths and your product's unique awesomeness before you start thinking about your customers. If you do it the other way around, you'll create something bland and not-you. Your you-ness is the main selling point when you make something by hand, so we're going to do everything we can to make sure we don't dilute it.”

 

And then I got stuck.

I couldn't write another word.

I outlined my next few points, the rest of the chapter…but I couldn't seem to turn my outline into coherent sentences (even the above sentences are a little murky for me, they're sure to go through a rigorous editing before they end up in the book).

 

A few days later (3 days of no writing! The world was caving in around me!), I recognized something else lurking, some un-book-related stuckness. I've been feeling a bit drifty about what I want to do next (I know, I know, the BOOK should be project enough). This sense of unease seeped into every other aspect of my work.

I didn't feel like my Work has a Mission. It seemed random, piece-meal and unfocused.

 So I went in search of a Mission.

Many journal pages, and days, later I talked to Jay about it.

His first, uncluttered response: Isn't your Mission to Be Tara?

 Oh, yeah.

 I spent another few days trying to figure out what this meant for my business.
Obviously, it's not a business model. It's not a marketing plan. It might be my personal mission, but how could it lead the business?

 

Uh, what did I write up there?

The first job, when you're selling something so very YOU, is to get clear on what that YOU is and then make all decisions from that. Your strengths, your vision, your you-ness guides everything (in fact, my whole BOOK is about HOW you make smart marketing decisions based on your you-ness).

 

The drifty, unfocused feeling came because I lost sight of that.

I've been making decisions based on what I thought I should be doing.

On other people's definitions of my business.

And other people kept thinking I was a consultant.
So I had to set up my site like a consultant.
I had to market and make offers and products like a Consultant.

 Except I'm NOT a consultant. I'm not a person-who-knows-better.
And I'm so totally not a coach (unless it's napping. I could totally be a napping coach).

 

 I'm Tara.

(my own Tara, not other people's versions of Tara)

An explorer.
A writer.
A sharer.
A big-sister (a smidge more experienced, a little bossy, mostly goofy).
I share that here.
I create tools and spaces for you to do YOUR OWN exploring.

In those tools and spaces, I'm a silly, friendly, encouraging fellow traveler. I share my path and help you figure out yours, all while protecting and respecting YOUR experience.

Knowing that, respecting that and paying attention to that Tara-ness IS a mission.

It is a business model.
It is a marketing plan.
It guides my decisions.
It helps me focus.
It keeps everything coherent and heading the right direction.

 

And back to the BOOK…

The last week of not-writing, it was my own good sense trying to fight through the what-everyone-else-says clutter to assert itself in my life. To bring me and this place and everything I do in alignment with what I was writing.

 

(why yes, it is a little frustrating that I didn't recognize it before spending a week gnashing my teeth)

 

What's your mission? How does it want to assert itself in your business?