Rise of the Innerpreneur

You’re So Much More Than Your Story

photo credit Venture Vancouver

There’s a growing phenomenon in Business, specifically in Marketing and Branding trends, of increasingly emphasizing the importance of telling your story — or more truthfully, selling your story.

This concept confuses me.

Asking me what my story is confuses me. You knowing what your story is confuses me.

When I’m asked what my story is, for instance, I may think about my “Innerpreneurial” story just to help my mind focus, but even then I fragment into a million directions. Do I want to share about getting my business starting? Do I want to share about reclaiming my artist and overcoming my creative and mental blocks? Or do I share how I’ve managed my home when both my husband and I are entrepreneurs? What about how I’ve needed to and have completely redesigned my life and world? Where and what part of my life experience is the part that sells?

Maybe this whole story business is suppose to confuse me. Maybe there’s benefit for me to be confused and feeling unsure. Maybe there’s benefit to you seeming clear in your story, and I, not. Maybe then I will more easily buy your story.

Maybe I’m to be confused by the idea that I have one powerful story to tell and sell, and that I can neatly fit my life and my experiences into it. Maybe that’s the point. To present life, or me, or my product, as more simple and clear, together and whole, than your life currently is. Maybe then you will buy the story I’m selling and telling.

There are so very many experiences and learning within me that when I attempt to present you with just one, I wholly feel the incompleteness of the perspective I am presenting. This feeling leaves me wondering, how valuable is it for us to be attached to our own and others stories? What value do we get from these stories we repeat about our Self and others?

There are so many potential stories within us, the ones we attach to and share, what do they say about us and how helpful are they?

photo credit: Venture Vancouver

Systems Thinking My Way to Freedom

photo credit Georg

In order to write Pay What It’s Worth, my first book of what I hope is many books, I needed to trick myself into not being so scared. I didn’t believe I could do it. I didn’t trust that I had what it took to fulfill a dream I’d held for so long. I couldn’t see how I could clearly share everything that was within me.

As time passed and I continued to struggle with inaction, I decided that a re-framing was in order. I needed to see my newly forming book not as a static unchanging expression (a singular book) but rather as a system of expression (a book that could be upgraded with new versions as my learning and growth arose). Complex systems get created incrementally, layer by layer, by implementing sequential and layered designs that connect to deliver a better whole. They are not formed all at once, nor are they formed perfectly.

I understood this truth, lived it in my non-writing work, and with space and continued struggle, I saw the necessity for this thinking to be applied to my writing work. I was paralyzed without it, stuck reaching for the impossible goal of permanent perfection. I desperately needed to see beyond my ego needs. I desperately needed to understand that there was no real reason that the systems thinking I had grown to love and trust, to incrementally connect things layer by layer, could not be applied to my (or any) book, or to the introduction of an idea and approach I desired to share.

By embracing this systems perspective in my book writing (and in my sharing of an idea close to my heart), it helped me to create freedom to take action on my ideas. In shifting my thinking, I allowed my creation to be imperfect, and I was able to accept that these imperfections would be highlighted and gradually improved upon with time-space and experience. As a person that uses perfectionism as a tool for inaction, this shift in thinking was critical for me to be finally able to move out of the stuck place I was in. I needed to get outside my own desire to get everything exactly right, whatever that meant.

I needed to think about my creation as a layered, changing system so I could feel free in it — free to change, free to grow, free to not know, free to let it out as it was. Seeing my book as system to be grown incrementally helped me create the freedom I needed to move forward to create and express. Systems thinking released me from the unreality of perfection. Systems thinking allowed me the space to naturally make the connections I needed to grow, and systems thinking will continue to support me in growing and building the freedom of creation I desire.

photo credit: Georg

Helpful Creative Feedback

photo credit: Josh Ardle

Helpful creative feedback is encouraging, sensitive, honest, and constructive.

Creating is an arduous process that employs your very heart and soul. It is an act that leaves you, the creator, totally vulnerable to those who experience your creation. Helpful creative feedback comes from honouring this sacred creative space and meeting you, the creator, in it.

Helpful creative feedback is sensitive to the fact that you are doing your best, that your creation is not perfect nor is intended to be, and that what you truly desire is the opportunity to grow, express, and improve.

Helpful creative feedback is not about what I would do if I were you, or about what I want your expression to say or represent. Helpful creative feedback is about helping your creation to grow.

That doesn’t mean my creative feedback can’t share my negative experiences of your creation, but if your expression should anger me, it’s my responsibility to understand why it does, before I attempt to share those feelings with you, the creator, or direct them at your creation. When I do decide to share my feedback, positive and/or negative, it becomes helpful when I share it constructively, communicating in a way I would want to be spoken to should I have chosen to put the time, energy, and love into something enough to birth it into this world. Helpful creative feedback requires empathy for the creator and for the creation.

The amount of help my creative feedback provides to you depends on the depth of understanding I have about my own experience, and about how it’s not THE TRUTH. My experience is simply my perspective, nothing more. It’s just one perspective for you and your creation to learn and grow from. It holds no more weight than that. With this knowledge and humility in hand, I can be truly helpful to you, and provide you with the sensitive, honest, and constructive feedback you really need to grow.

photo credit: Josh Ardle

Practicing With Pain

Pain

If the pain is going to be there either way, why would I choose to feel it?

If I feel it, I can actually heal it. If I don’t feel it, I can not know its true state, and I can not start to heal it.

Whether I like it or not, feeling my pain fully is necessary for my healing, for my whole-ing.

I can not reduce my pain when I don’t acknowledge it. I can not feel more whole and healed when I deny parts of my experience.

When I want to hide from my pain, I remember that in facing it, I start to heal it. Stuffing it down only guarantees I will hold onto these feelings longer.

My pain is inevitable but my suffering is optional.

So I practice feeling it and not fearing it. I practice believing I can face and handle my pain. And ever single time I do, I find I’m right.

photo credit: Lein C. Lau

Beyond Right and Wrong

photo credit Dan Foy

It’s right. It’s wrong.

It’s neither.

It’s just an option. It’s just one way of doing things. It simply one way to approach something.

Take it and/or leave it.

It may be what I’ve done, and it may be what I’m doing, and it may be working for me, but it is still only one way of doing things.

Nothing more.

Take it and/or leave it. Be interested and/or think it’s bunk.

In the end, it’s simply what works for me, for now.

Nothing more.

The approach I am choosing is no more right or wrong than any other approach.

Take it and/or leave it.

Maybe my approach will work for you. Maybe it won’t. I can’t say for sure.

You know what’s best for you.

Take it and/or leave it. Be interested and/or think it’s bunk.

I am here, sharing my perspective on my experiences. And you are there, deciding what to do with them. You decide how much truth my perspective holds for you. You decide how much you’re learning.

It’s not about right or wrong. There’s no place for that here. In this space, it’s about possibility.

What’s possible for you?

photo credit: Dan Foy