Let it be easy.

Toni McLellan Coaching Let it be easy Hey there, awesome friend!

When you plan on trying or creating something new, do you sometimes feel daunted, or overwhelmed? Do you start playing “What if” games where you envision in detail every conceivable scenario in which things could go wrong, to the point where you start to believe that they probably will go wrong?

Yeah. That’s totally a habit, and a mind game. The good news is that both habits and minds can change and be replaced with better ways of doing, being, and thinking. (Click to tweet this!)

So I’d like to ask you: When’s the last time you let a new thing be easy?

I mentioned my love for public speaking in last week’s newsletter. When I first thought about speaking in front of a room full of people, my brain immediately went to The Best Speech Ever — a TED talk, with slides, in which I am wearing killer boots and the audience adores me. But my actual speaking gigs so far have been tech-free (the only reason I’ll ever use slides in a talk is for sight gags. True story). My boots were cute, but not killer (they’re on my “to buy” list for fall, though). And, I mostly winged it. I even bombed once, like, whoa. I do outlines on colorful note cards to corral my brain, but I don’t rehearse over and over, I just show up, pay attention to the people who are there, and go with it. It all flows, it all comes to me pretty easily, and I absolutely love it.

Easy.

I had a speaking gig this week for a local networking group of female biz owners. I’m as excited as I was honored to be asked. I knew what I was going to talk about, but hadn’t yet created my outline last week when a pretty bad headache struck. I got a cool washcloth, put it over my eyes and laid down to do some deep breathing. Not even two minutes in and I had my outline. I love you, Toni’s brain.

Easy.

Now, I do plan on getting more training as a public speaker; totally on my “level up” list for this fall. But I’m not holding back even though I don’t have it all figured out, I’m honoring my natural gifts, and I’m having a blast.

Secret sauce, babies.

Recently, my friend Mike and I started a podcast called Serious Business. It is not at all serious and has little, if anything, to do with business. That’s how Mike and I roll. We’d talked about collaborating somehow over the years, and this year we just decided to do this. We knew little to nothing about podcasting or editing, got my awesome husband-the-former-radio-producer on board to be our editor, and we just started recording. No detailed road map, no actual experience, nothing but a desire to have fun and share our wandering creative brains.

Easy.

Soon after (like, literally, after Episode One), our friend Jeremy Fuksa invited us to join his podcasting network, Mistit Radio. Both Mike and I asked him a ton of questions and immediately learned that Jeremy has it all figured out and then some, and is a generous guy who operates under a collaborative/creative model (as opposed to a competitive/scarcity one) that appeals to both of us on a deep level. Easy. So I’m psyched to announce that both the Serious Business and the still-in-the-works Do What Lights You Up podcasts are joining the Misfit Radio network!

Easy.

A couple of brief thoughts to distill this into something you can use:

  • Cultivating ease instead of struggle/worry/what-ifs involves three elements:
    • Honoring your natural gifts and desires and
    • Taking action in some form, without waiting for perfect conditions and
    • Paying attention to what happens when you act — are you hitting roadblocks at every turn, or are doors opening and is positive feedback flowing to you?
  • Your actions should be designed to generate results and not simply be busywork.
  • ‘Easy’ doesn’t equal ‘effortless.’ You’ve still gotta put in the hours to make things happen, whether lifestyle/career change, writing a novel, or starting and running a podcast (or a podcast network).
  • If you’re gonna put in the hours, you might as well spend them doing something that feels fun, that feels like coming home, that feels right in your gut.

I’d like to ask: How can you invite some ease into your life and work, starting today? Post a comment below and tell me your plan and what action you’re going to take.

Thanks for reading, and have an EASY time this week!

Coming Home

Coming Home to the person you've always known you could be, insights by coach Toni McLellan

Heyyyyyy! Hi!

I’m SO excited to return to this newsletter after taking the month of August off. I’m gonna come clean and say that I savored the shit out of last month! And as with most pauses, I did quite a bit of reflecting, in addition to being with my fam and working with my clients. Time well spent.

On a personal note, my dear friend Mike and I launched a new podcast called Serious Business. It’s produced by my husband, Dan! Serious Business a sweet mashup of pop/nerd culture, creativity, and silliness. Click here to listen and subscribe! (And while you’re at it, Mike writes a thoughtful and informative weekly newsletter, if you’re into that sort of thing.)

This week, I want to share an idea that’s been percolating for a while: Coming Home.

In my work with clients, I’ve noticed a few common threads: Issues around goal-setting, perfectionism, resistance, and procrastination. Desire to set boundaries and be vulnerable and honest with loved ones and colleagues. Moving past common stumbling blocks for both creatives and solopreneurs. Releasing the fear, jealousy, and anger that are bundled with comparison and judgment. Hitting the sweet spot of powerful thinking combined with high-value action.

But the most important theme I’ve encountered time and again is that most people just want to know that their dreams and desires aren’t stupid, outlandish, or silly, and that neither are they — that they’re essentially okay just the way they are. (I’ll let you in on a secret: We are all not just okay, but magnificent, right here, right now, and we always have been.)

It seems so simple, right? But that’s really the essence of the work we do in coaching, or at least the style of coaching that I do, which is focused a lot on beliefs, mindset, and long-term habit and belief change over time.

Coming home to the person you know, deep down that you were meant to be is a powerful process not of transformation, but of becoming. Owning. Stepping into. Declaring. What does ‘coming home’ look like?

  • Knowing, loving, and accepting yourself — even when you screw up. Especially when you screw up. This includes all the ‘weird’ stuff about you that you worry people might roll their eyes over.
  • Feeling empowered and making choices instead of feeling worried, paralyzed, or powerless.
  • Sharing your feelings and dreams without qualification, apology, or deflection.
  • Declaring your desires and intentions without recoiling out of fear of who might reject or judge you.
  • Spending your time in ways that invigorate and sustain you. Straight-up: This includes napping.
  • Being fully present to and grateful for the miracles and abundance all around you.
  • Being able to receive with grace and complete willingness — money, love, assistance — whatever it is you’ve been longing for but somehow told yourself you’re not able/good enough to have, or that it’s weak or somehow immoral to receive.
  • Developing a sunny resilience that carries you through trying times and screw-ups, creating laughter and buoyancy instead of panic and self-pity.

Would you like to come home to yourself? What would that look, feel, and be like for you? Hit ‘reply’ to this newsletter and share with me what that would be like. Or, we could totally talk about it together!

An invitation from me to you

Have you been considering working with me, but hesitating for some reason? Whether you’ve been reading my stuff for a while or we’ve only recently connected, and you’re not just thinking but feeling in your gut that my approach to coming home in life+biz might help you, get in touch and let’s talk about working together.

Maybe it’s time to listen to your inner voice and set up a free conversation with me. Here’s a handy-dandy link to my free clarity sessions calendar. No pressure, just straight-up ‘How can I help?” energy. Now’s the perfect time to hire me at my current rates and lock them in for as long as we work together! Yep. That’s how I roll. Are you ready to come home to yourself? Get on my calendar and let’s connect and map a route for you.

Savoring summer.

Savoring summerI’ve been writing lately on uncovering what you really want and the value in surrendering to your deepest desires. I also wrote about what might happen if we mustered the courage to really be ourselves — a strong, deep desire I encounter over and over in my work as a coach and leader of workshops and retreats.

This week, I’m keeping this newsletter short and sweet as I dip into a time of savoring summertime. So here are a few quick updates:

  • Today we celebrate my middle son’s 12th birthday, complete with a three-layer cake made from scratch by my 15-year-old and a friend of the family who is here visiting for the week. On the menu, per our tradition of letting the birthday boy or girl choose dinner: Mac and cheese + bacon.
  • My three boys return to school on August 14th, and while I’m mostly done with back-to-school shopping, there are meetings to attend and a few last items on the list (my kingdom for a school binder that doesn’t fall apart after three weeks!). My firstborn starts driver’s ed this semester. How did that happen?
  • I just launched a beta version of a group coaching program, which kicked off on August 1st. The energy that this group brings to each session is something to behold: Vulnerability, raw honesty, humor, and fierce determination. I feel so lucky to do what I do! My plan is to shape this into a periodic or even ongoing offering, with some one-on-one coaching mixed with group sharing and growth. Email me if you’re interested in joining an ongoing program like this.
  • My new blog series on how to suck at self-employment is off to a terrible start. At least that’s the plan. (In case you hadn’t guessed, it’s a tongue-in-cheek look at common mistakes and pitfalls of starting a solo biz.) If you’d like to do a guest post about this, or have a great story about your own experiences being bad at business, I’d love to hear from you.
  • In other news, my friend Mike and I just released the first episode of a just-for-fun podcast called Serious Business. We are silly, hopeful, engaged, and at times irreverent, so if you’re into that sort of thing, you’ll definitely want to check it out. There are links to subscribe via iTunes over at that link.
  • I’m hoping to launch the ‘Do What Lights You Up’ podcast this summer, too. I’ll have more info on that in the weeks to come. If you’d like to be a guest, please get in touch and we’ll talk about setting up an interview.

That’s all for now! To get in touch with me about anything covered here, or just to introduce yourself and say hi, email me or post a comment here on the blog. I’ll return to regular posting here in September.

How to suck at self-employment: Plan, plan, and then plan some more

How to suck at self-employment, a road map for solopreneurial failure by Toni McLellanPlan, plan, and then plan some more.

Load up your Amazon shopping cart with every book you can find on business planning. Also, get some out of the library, and forget to return one of them because your [kid, parakeet, roommate, spouse/partner, friendly ghost] put it somewhere unknown. Take an e-course about planning a business, and fall behind somewhere in the middle of week one and let the emails pile up, unopened but creating stress in the back of your mind. Don’t forget YouTube; watch hours and hours of videos on starting a business.

Maybe also hire an expert to help you craft a bulletproof business plan. Bonus points for choosing an expert whose personality, existing business model, and methods don’t jibe with yours, and let them push you to make decisions that don’t feel right in your gut. Shrug and think, “Well, they’re the expert!”

Also, buy a calendar and spend a full week of your biz-building time filling it in with all of the great stuff you’re going to do once you’re self-employed. Spend months and months obsessing over every detail and forecasting every potential outcome. Create databases and piles of stuff that needs to be collated.

While you’re at it, obsess over which structure your biz should have – corporation, LLC, sole proprietorship. Don’t allow yourself to do anything concrete related to your business while you research various options endlessly, creating more and more self-doubt and overwhelm. Got it? Great. You should totally suck at self-employment.

However, pretending for a paragraph or two that you don’t really want to suck at self-employment, I’ll say this: Planning is great, and there are lots of awesome and useful resources out there, from biz coaches to books, classes, and seminars on starting a business. I know I just spent a few paragraphs poking fun at using resources to over-plan and buffer you against facing failure or rejection, but don’t mistake that for a complete dismissal of good planning tools. Here are a couple of solid resources I’m personally familiar with and am happy to recommend. (Note: I don’t really do affiliate links, so if you see me recommend stuff, it’s because I believe in it and love sharing great ideas, products, and services):

  • The Right Brain Business Plan® by Jennifer Lee is great for creative types – you shiny-object-chasers know who you are. There’s a book, a website, and plenty of other resources to use. Just don’t use them at the expense of taking action.
  • The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau – You may know Chris from his website (formerly known as ‘The Art of Non-Conformity’) or his epic conference, World Domination Summit. Chris’ book involves case studies and hours of research on starting a biz without taking out huge loans, and his style is very clear and open-minded. A great primer to get you motivated to take action.

Many people hide behind the planning phase because it feels safer. That’s because it is safer; you can’t be rejected if you’re still in the planning phases. Planning is great, and often  both advisable and necessary, but it shouldn’t stand in for action, effort, and forward momentum. At some point you have to let go of the edge of the pool and start swimming.

I’d love to hear your ideas on this, including great resources and stories of your own experiences planning a business. Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Toni McLellan is a biz + life coach who used to suck at self-employment as a freelance writer and blogger. She sucked even worse at law school, which she attended to avoid getting a straight job. Learn from her mistakes and those of others she’s coached, interviewed, or spotted sucking in the wild. ToniMcLellan.com