Before we jump in: This article was originally shared with my email community in September 2019. I'm sharing it with you on the blog today in the hope that it may be of some encouragement and insight to you in your creative journey right now, and also give you a little sneak peak of what you can expect from Weekly Letters too. If you'd like to receive letters like this one straight to your inbox every Sunday, you can sign up below. You'll also have access to all of my Mini Books too!
I have this wonderful client who is working really hard right now on getting her business up and running and off the ground.
She’s doing the sometimes messy but oh so meaningful work of figuring out who she really wants to be in her work, how she wants to work with the people she’s so excited to serve, and how she really wants to be spending her days too.
But during a recent call together something felt a little off. My client was feeling scattered and overwhelmed and had made some changes to her messaging and approach that no longer really felt like the amazing woman I had been getting to know throughout our calls.
Digging a little deeper together, what came to the surface is that she had recently connected with a business expert in her local area who has given her some very specific advice on how she should be running and building her business. And even though that advice didn’t really resonate with my client’s own values and vision for her work, she felt like she didn’t have permission to not implement what was being advised seeing as the person doing so was successful in their own work.
And here’s the thing: I’ve seen this happen many times before.
A client is finding their flow with their work and taking bold and brave steps forward towards building a creative business and life that truly lights them up, and then they stumble across a podcast or a blog post or perhaps a business consultant that sounds oh so convincing that can suddenly distract them from their own path.
This isn’t to say that looking for advice and guidance is wrong, there is so much wisdom and insight to be found online and offline to support us in our journeys. But where we can sometimes go wrong is when we take on-board advice that doesn’t truly serve us and our work - the tricky part is being able to tell the difference between the two.
That’s where this simple checklist comes in.
These are the questions I ask myself whenever I’m navigating an external opinion, perspective, or philosophy and seeing if it’s something that I want to take on board in my own work and life.
1. Does this advice understand what my own goals, intentions, and values are?
Or is it coming from a value system diametrically opposed from my own? Does it understand my own hopes, goals, and dreams, or just assuming that I want the same as it’s own?
Does this advice come from a place that inspires and resonates with me?
Would I want to run a similar business or have a similar approach to life as the advice givers? Does the advice inspire me, if so why? How does it align with my own values, goals, and intentions?
2. Does this advice treat me as the expert of my own life and work?
Does it hold space for my own nuances and lived experiences? Does it guide instead of instruct? Does it make me feel empowered or not good enough?
3. Does this advice make me feel expansive or anxious?
Do I feel energised and supported to take intentional action towards the goals that matter to me? Or do I feel like I will fail if I don’t do what this advice recommends? Do I feel more connected to myself or less?
Only you can know what advice and guidance can serve you best, but I hope that these four questions can be an extra little buffer to help you sense check whenever you might need them.
More than anything, I hope you know that nobody knows what you work and your life needs better than you do. The only person worthy of steering the ship of your own life is you.
As always, I’m rooting for you!
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