The Moment of Clarity

I stopped walking, paused the podcast and froze.

The dogs looked up at me wondering what was wrong.

Normally, when I hear something that I want to remember, I make a voice note on my smartphone and continue listening.

I didn’t need a voice note this time.

This was personal.

I wouldn’t forget.

I heard the guest say, “Ask them to describe when they knew their biggest problem was their biggest problem.”

The guest on the podcast was talking about how sales reps engage buyers. That was irrelevant.

Like I said, this was personal.

Do I know my biggest problem and when did I know?

Ouch!

This requires a level of self-awareness most of us will never know.

The scary part, the part we avoid—is the question, “Is my biggest problem an external event or self-imposed?”

Do I blame others for everything that’s not right, or look in the mirror?

Is my biggest problem me?

These are the types of questions we explore in The Clarity Journal. Every day we’re peeling back the layers of self-deception and getting at the truth.

Once we know our biggest problem, we can get to work on it. But, if we haven’t even acknowledged there’s a problem, we’re doomed to repeat the same old self-defeating patterns every day.

Sometimes we know there’s a problem, but we don’t really get to the root of it. Stress, anxiety, the feeling of being overwhelmed—sure, but those are just the symptoms, not the root.

Sometimes we don’t want to put in the effort to find root causes, so we just fix something that’s not really broken. It makes us feel a little better.

What if my car has trouble starting in the morning? Then, when I finally do get it started, I head straight over to get an oil change.  That was quick and easy and safe. Well, guess what? That isn’t going to help. When I really need my car to start on a cold day—I’m going to be in trouble.

If we’re going to fix something, let’s make we’re working on the real problem.

The question on the podcast froze me because I recently became aware of my biggest problem.

Burn-Out

I’ve been nearing burned-out in my efforts to launch The Clarity Journal. Not burned out on the concept, just on the struggle. Motivation is on vacation.

This is a common problem for anyone in a work from home role, digital nomad, MLM, or anyone else that is running their own business and juggling a dozen balls at the same time.

It’s hard to build something from scratch. I want to create something that won’t be considered just another piece of digital debris in a vast sea of online muck.

Burn-Out is a fork in the road. It’s where decisions are made. Good or Bad.

Reaching this point is déjà vu all over again.

This is my 3rd, 4th or 5th attempt to start a sustainable solopreneur gig.  I’m not sure of the exact freaking number. Some of my work may not have gone far enough to even count and an actual trial. It’s not like there are any rules. I’m the only one keeping score.

Every few months, I’ve pivoted and reached for something that seems better—easier. There’s a name for this.

The Shiny Object Syndrome.

Any of my earlier plans may have actually succeeded if I had stuck with them.

Maybe . . . Probably . . . No way . . . I’ll never know . . .

I think the quality of my earlier work was okay, certainly as good as a lot of the successful online products.

The quality of the thing is important. But, if you want to know the truth, it’s all about marketing.

And . . .

I Suck at Marketing

So, while the next big idea (The Shiny Object) is always more appealing, it’s just another version of changing the oil. And that isn’t addressing the real problem.

A few months isn’t enough time to launch something unless you’re really lucky or really experienced. Those magic funnels and list building strategies I see pitched every day don’t work 99% of the time.

Somehow, I thought a solopreneur gig would be easier. I had actually started a business before—cofounding a small business that developed consumer electronics.

My monkey mind conveniently suppressed the memory that it took years for that small biz to turn a profit

Now, there’s no partner to review the big idea, the plan, and see if it passes a sanity test.

When you’re solo, YOU have to be the expert in everything: the idea, the planning, computing support, sales, marketing, advertising copywriting, bookkeeping . . . what else? Oh, yeah, you must get yourself motivated.

AND—you must actually make something decent and convince people to give you money for that thing in exchange.

This gig (The Clarity Journal) will be completed.  Hell or High Water. No more shiny objects. No more motivation vacation.

Damn the torpedoes! (In this case, the torpedoes are stress, anxiety, doubt, overwhelm . . .)

The Clarity Journal has tips about getting clarity (duh) for the purpose of optimizing the start of each day so it is massively productive and leads to achieving your goals.

So, why isn’t it working on me – or is it?

What does success even look like?

Some days, it simply takes the form of getting my ass down to work on the things I know must get done, and ignoring that Shiny Object calling my name.

If you want to learn more about productivity, clarity and habit formations,  try my free 14-day challenge.

Footnote: the author on the podcast was Paul Smith, author of Lead with a Story and a couple of other books with “story” in the title. The book is focused on salespeople that are pitching to corporate clients.

The principles of “story” that he outlines are applicable to any number of situations. If you’re an online solopreneur, about 80% of the book is non-essential.

There are a lot of books about how to use “story” in marketing. I read Smith’s book after hearing him on the podcast. I haven’t done any comprehensive research to determine what might be the best book for an online content creator.

If you want to read my synopsis of Lead with a Story, you’ll find it here.

If you want to learn more about productivity, clarity and habit formations,  try my free 14-day challenge.