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How I learned not to trust myself. 💡
A productivity hack that surprised me.
Alright, that was a juicy title for what is surely a complicated topic. The reality is, I do trust myself in so many ways, but what I want to tell you about this week is how I learned not to trust myself in a particular instance, and how this is a good thing.
Here’s how this plays out.
I am an idea generator. Ideas and creative problem-solving come naturally to me. It’s perhaps why I became a storyteller and why I also wear a marketing cap in much of my paid work. In the past, it’s also gotten me into a bit of trouble. 🤔
That’s because I can be impulsive. This is a part of me that I’ve learned to temper as I’ve gotten older. I’ve learned the hard way that acting on ideas, without thinking them through, can create a whole lot of work for me that I’m not always prepared to do. Ask my husband. 😂
Like that time I started a blog on a whim. (Instead of waiting for others to publish my work, I can publish it myself!!) Within hours, I had a name (The Campsite), a tagline (Inner Journeys. Outdoor World), a website and social media feeds, and a series of departments lined up. A few weeks later, I had a logo. I started to write articles, interview authors and photographers, and review gear. It got noticed. Requests piled up. Next thing I knew I was nominated by USA Today for 10 Best Readers’ Choice Award for Favourite Hiking and Outdoors Travel Blog. This was awesome, but more requests piled in.
Did I mention I was doing this all for free?❗
And did I also mention that shortly after starting this blog I got asked to edit a local mountain culture magazine, which I wholeheartedly accepted? 😃
Four years later, when I was starting up my own mountain culture publication, Canadian Rockies Annual, I knew I needed to let go of The Campsite. So, I depersonalized it (to make it easier to sell) and eventually sold it to new owners. (Unfortunately, if you go looking for it now, it no longer exists).
Now, I’m not saying I didn’t learn something valuable from The Campsite. I could write a whole other newsletter about that experience. But, for today’s purposes, a major takeaway from that whole endeavour is that I need to let ideas marinate before I pursue them.
This is where I learned not to trust my instinct to act on my ideas.
Here’s what that looks like. The other day, while I was running the track, I had an idea for an article. My instinct was to text the subject I wanted to feature to ask his permission. Instead, I put a note in my phone. This would give me more time to think about the idea, see if its value could stand the test of time (even for just a few weeks) and, perhaps most importantly, determine if I actually had the time to research and write the article.
I still need to revisit that note on my phone.
You’d be surprised how many times each day this scenario plays out for me. Sometimes I can act on my ideas because they will actually propel something forward for me with little time or work. But if it’s apparent that a new project or initiative will require my 1. physical presence 2. considerable time and 3. my expertise — I give it time to marinate.
Often I go through my phone list and ideas no longer make sense, or they’ve expired somehow. But, when enough time has passed and I scroll through and align an idea with #1, #2, and #3 in a purposeful and productive manner, I can give it the green light. 💚
It has surprised me how effective this technique is. Perhaps you’re an idea person like me and you’ll find it helpful, too. But I’ve also found it helpful in friendships and relationship-building, new habits and daily practices, and other kinds of commitments.
When you’ve got a moment, let me know how this plays out for you!
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What’s caught my attention lately… ✨
On my bookshelf, yet to read: How To Do The Work: Recognize Your Patterns, Heal from Your Past and Create Your Life, by Nicole LePera. I liked how this book comes from a holistic psychologist. From her website: “Drawing on the latest research from a diversity of scientific fields and healing modalities, Dr. LePera helps us recognize how adverse experiences and trauma in childhood live with us, resulting in whole body dysfunction—activating harmful stress responses that keep us stuck engaging in patterns of codependency, emotional immaturity, and trauma bonds.” Phew - sounds like a lot but so important. Why not maximize the time we have left on this planet?
Check these out too… 🙌
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