As a multi-passionate creative, it can be extremely tough to narrow down what you want to do. How do you choose which idea to pursue when you have so many, and when they all sound so interesting?

Since we obviously can’t pursue every idea all at once, we need to practice patience. Then, I believe, we need to follow our curiosity.

In my eight years (thus far) of self-employment, I’ve done just that — followed my curiosity.

I originally started with what I knew: I’d gone to school for office administration, and had worked as a secretary for several years. I’d also been a book blogger and independent book reviewer for the previous eight years. So, my first business idea was to be a Virtual Assistant for authors.

Yet, as I spoke to the various authors I met, I discovered that what they most needed help with was marketing and promotion. So, I shifted my business to help these authors get their books seen.

After about a year, I was restless. I knew that doing this kind of work wasn’t the best fit for me, so I questioned what I’d rather be doing. And, with some journaling and self-reflection, I decided to try being a professional blogger.

This didn’t really take off, though, as I would’ve needed a larger audience in order for the ads and affiliate programs to even be available to me, or for them to produce a worthwhile income. So, it was back to the drawing board.

After more self-reflection and journaling, I realized that I had always felt drawn to things like coaching, advising, and mentoring. So, I figured I would try coaching, especially since people seemed to be able to get started in this fairly easily.

Much to my surprise, I landed my first client within the same week! (I had made mention of my new services on Facebook, inside of a group, during one of their promo days, and found someone from that).

Turns out, I had found a piece of my puzzle (the bigger picture of how I was created to serve, using my innate gifts). Coaching felt like what I was meant to do.

► RELATED: Find YOUR unique blueprint for how you can best serve the world, here.

Part way through my first year of coaching, however, I got distracted when a friend (re-)introduced me to network marketing (NWM). [I’d been an independent consultant with The Pampered Chef years before, but hadn’t realized it was part of the larger industry known as network marketing].

Thus began three (3) years of trying to continue building my own coaching business, while also chasing the network marketing opportunity. And, in that same time frame, I ended up testing out seven different NWM companies, looking for one that fit me best… to no avail. (I have since come to realize that it’s because marketing isn’t one of my core strengths.)

My time spent pursuing that industry did teach me a lot about running an online business, mind you. And it helped me to learn more about what does and doesn’t work for me. Plus, as an added bonus, I met a lot of amazing people through NWM — including my own coach, Crystal!

As of 2020, I finally stopped trying to force myself to fit an ideal I’d held in my mind’s eye, and I admitted to myself that NWM wasn’t where I was supposed to be. I also realized that I couldn’t properly build 2 separate businesses at the same time — especially not if I wanted to do things well. Instead, I needed to devote all of my time, energy, and attention to growing just one of them, first. And once that business was running successfully, then I could choose to take on something else, if I still wished to do so.

Sure enough, once I began to give all of myself to my coaching business, I started to make progress, again.

Now, has it been completely easy? No.

Have I decided on a single idea to pursue, at the expense of all the others? Also no.

I still get new ideas all the time! And some do seriously tempt me to change my course.

However, I have done so much self-reflection, searching, and journaling in the past eight years, in order to understand who I am and how I am wired to best use my gifts to make an impact & income, that most of the new ideas that cross my path, now, just aren’t appealing enough to pull me away from the business model I am currently focused on pursuing.

If you need help getting that same level of clarity, so that you can be content with the path that best fits you, check out my “My Unique Blueprint” mini-course. It will walk you through the same process I went through, and help you to find your best-fit path to making an impact and an income (but it won’t take you seven years, like it took me!).


It has long been believed that our personality does not change. But what if that isn’t true?

I love personality quizzes. I find it absolutely fascinating to see the uniqueness to each person’s individual makeup, and to hear about how their experiences have helped to shape who they are.

I recently read a book called, “Personality Isn’t Permanent” by Benjamin Hardy. In it, the author claimed that researchers are coming to see that personality is not, in fact, permanent, and that we can shape who we become through intentional choices and behaviors.

Now, I’ve always said that no one personality quiz is ever going to be able to 100% accurately describe who you are.

What I know to be true, however, is that, by taking a handful of these quizzes and then looking for the patterns among your results, you are able to get a pretty clear picture of who you are — or, at least, who you are right now.

Don’t believe me? Check out the “My Unique Blueprint” mini-course, and test this for yourself!

I have discovered, throughout my years of inquiry and self-study, that our personality can shift and change. And my belief is that the trigger for this is our own personal growth (our environment probably plays a part, as well). Allow me to explain.

When I was younger, my personality tests would say I was a mix of INFP (Myers-Briggs) and Enneagram 9 (Had the Sparketest been around then, it might have said my primary type was Maker and my secondary was Maven).

Between 2011 and now, however, I have done a lot of personal growth work. And my quiz results now say that I am an INFJ (Myers-Briggs), and an Enneagram 5-wing-4. My Sparketypes are Maven & Advisor.

Truth be told, this change makes sense to me.

Growing up, my siblings and I lived with my mom, who is an Enneagram 9 (the peacekeeper). I also lived a very “sheltered” upbringing, and didn’t get a lot of exposure to elements of the world at large. I existed in a sort of “bubble” that consisted of family, friends, and acquaintances who all basically believed the same things, attended the same church & schools, and spoke and thought alike. As such, I feel that I displayed the personality that fit my surroundings and that I saw exemplified by my mom.

From my twenties and onward, however, I broke out of that “echo chamber”. I began to question what I’d been taught and what I believed, and I started developing my own unique perspective on the world. I also was exposed to new environments (eg. workplaces, the online sphere, entrepreneurship, etc.). And, throughout that process, I believe my personality began to shift, as well.

But here’s the interesting thing: I am starting to wonder if perhaps it isn’t so much that our personality changes. What if, more so, we aren’t getting an accurate picture of our true personality in the first place? What if, as we learn and grow over time, and as we gain more exposure to parts of the world around us, we simply become more of who we were meant to be, at our core?

The reason for my questions is that I believe God created us to be who He intended us to be. And yet, one of the goals of this life on earth is to grow… to become. So, if both of these things are true, wouldn’t it stand to reason that we only become more of who we actually are?

It would certainly make sense of why we can see a shift in a lot of our behaviors, but why certain aspects of how we behave never seem to change.

This is my theory, anyway.

What are YOUR thoughts on this? I’d love to discuss the topic with you in the comments!

It has been a long time since I’ve written a blog post. But I plan to write many more in the months & weeks to come! First, to give you a bit of the backstory…

TIRED OF THE “NOISE”

For quite a while now, social media has really been getting under my skin. I’ve longed for the simpler days of blogging, where communities formed in the comments, and we weren’t all controlled by an algorithm.


I’ve been saying to people, for a couple of years, that I wanted to return to blogging (I’d spent eight years as a book blogger, prior to 2013), but hadn’t yet made the leap. But things really were pushing me to the limit.

RESET

Over the final two weeks of December 2021, I decided to take a break from posting on social media. And it ended up being really insightful. The pause helped me to see how much “pressure” I’d felt around trying to adhere to some unspoken standard there. It felt great to escape.

And, to be honest, I’m still not ready to go back.

am, however, excited to begin blogging, again!

LOOKING FORWARD

One of the main things you can expect to see here, over the next little while, is more book-related content. Reason being, I love to read and to learn. Yet, in the last several years, I’ve not made as much time for reading as I’d have liked. As such, I’m attempting to remedy that, going forward!

I also want to share what I have been learning (and have yet to learn) about being a solopreneur, and about finding your life’s purpose. 

Because so much of our life is spent working, I believe it’s critical that we enjoy what we do. Work shouldn’t be some drudgery that we have to force ourselves to attend to, week after week — that’s no way to live! Instead, I’m all about helping you discover your purpose and your true identity, so you can love what you do, and live life to the fullest!

COME ALONG FOR THE RIDE!

I do hope you’ll join me. I would love to gather a community, here, of creatives who are living out their purpose, and who consider themselves to be lifelong learners, like me.

Feel free to get my blog posts delivered straight to your Inbox every week, by [clicking here]. 

I can’t wait to see what this new year brings!

– – – – – – – – –

TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS:  What are your thoughts about social media, these days? Are you tired of the noise, too?


Have you heard the phrase, “Stop comparing your chapter one to another’s chapter 20″?

As I was journaling, recently, I came to a realization that really jumped out at me. And it was this:

One of the reasons newer entrepreneurs get so overwhelmed and frustrated, and have no idea what to do, is because they are seeing all these other — more advanced — entrepreneurs saying “do this, this, and this“, OR telling their stories of how they did X, Y, and Z to get to where they’re at.

What these new entrepreneurs aren’t considering, however — and here’s the real “aha!” — is that the tactics and methods being touted / recommended by these other (advanced) entrepreneurs is actually “Level 30” stuff … not the “Level 1-5” stuff that would actually make sense in the beginnings of entrepreneurship!

If you haven’t yet walked through Levels 1 through 29, of course the Level 30 stuff is going to confuse, frustrate, and overwhelm you!

The problem is, a lot of those other, more experienced entrepreneurs don’t stop to think about this. So, there aren’t usually any caveats saying, “As a pre-requisite, you need to have done ___, first, or none of this is going to work for you.

There should be a clear distinction between what’s beginner-level, what’s intermediate, and what’s more advanced. And yet, there isn’t (to my knowledge, anyway).

Instead, there is so much information online, and no real (affordable) way to know — quickly! — what belongs at what level.

Some might recommend you get a coach or mentor to help you figure this out. And yet, for most new solopreneurs, the prices charged by these coaches are so far out of their budget that it feels impossible to ever get any help.

[Side note: This is one of the reasons I love my own coach, Crystal! She believes coaching should be affordable, so that those who are ready to do the work can get the help they need, without breaking the bank! Check her out, and tell her I sent you!]

One of the things I am working on doing is putting together a reference that will show you what you need to focus on at each level of your self-employment journey. This way, you won’t have to waste time trying things you’re not yet ready for (thereby, feeling like you’ve somehow “failed”), and you don’t have to worry that you’re missing a step, as you will be able to “cut through the noise“, and just do what you need to do, right now, where you’re at.

Do what you can, with what you have, where you’re at.

Theodore Roosevelt

At some point, I hope to offer a web class called Solopreneur Foundations, which will be one of these helpful resources! If you’d like to be notified when it’s available, I invite you to sign up to my newsletter, and you’ll be the first to know!

How do you feel about being alone with your thoughts and feelings? Does it make you uncomfortable? Are you afraid of what will come up?

I read this quote, the other morning, in my current read, “Every Thought Captive” by Jerusha Clark:

I feared the silence and solitude. What would I hear in the silence? Would I have to face myself if I sat quietly for five minutes? … I kept my life loud enough to drown out my own thoughts, and what God might be trying to say to me.

Andrea (quoted on page 205, “Every Thought Captive” by Jerusha Clark)

And, this made me curious… both about how others (like you) feel on this subject, and also whether I am truly as comfortable as I think I am with self-reflection.

I’ve always considered myself to be extremely introspective — perhaps even more so than most. I love to sit & journal, and think, and dig into why I do (or don’t do) certain things. I’ve always been curious.

As such, I don’t see myself as being scared of the silence; I’m not afraid to look inside, or to consider my own thoughts.

I don’t even think I’m all that fearful of what God may want to say to me. After all, I ask Him, frequently, to speak to me… to show me who He is, and what He has for me.

However, for me, it’s more about the feelings I may have to experience if I really slow down enough. I don’t like discomfort. I don’t want to face certain feelings. It’s not that I can’t… simply that I prefer to stuff them down, find the positives, and carry on. Who has time for negativity, am I right?

And yet, by not facing my feelings, they continue to pop up again — sometimes in different ways — trying to get my attention. And they usually don’t go away until I’ve dealt with whatever it is they’re trying to show me (which usually involves bringing them before God and getting His help).

Here’s the thing:

By not slowing down and taking time to be in the silence with our own thoughts (or feelings) — or, even allowing God to speak to us — we cannot grow into all we are meant to become. We get stuck in a loop of sameness. And that’s really no way to live. It doesn’t bring us the “abundant life” Christ promised us.

So, I encourage you to be brave. Intentionally take the time to sit in silence, even just for five minutes, and take note of what comes up. I will be doing this, myself (facing my feelings), too.

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links. Please see my Terms for more information.

Back in 2015, author Elizabeth Gilbert shared this on Facebook, and it was so good, I felt I needed to pass it along. She wrote . . .


Dear ones,

My friend, pastor Rob Bell, once gave me this beautiful piece of advice, which I will now pass on to you.

He said that, whenever he starts to beat himself up for not being good enough at life, he simply writes this on his hand — STUDENT — and reminds himself to look at that word several times a day, and to meditate upon it.

He said that that one word — STUDENT — is his best defense against self-abuse, shame, perfectionism, failure, and regret. Whenever he fails himself, or falls short of his ideals, or doesn’t know how to handle a complicated situation, he just looks at that word — STUDENT — and then gently allows for self-forgiveness. Because we are all just students, after all.

We are all new at this.

We’ve never been here before — in these bodies, in this lifetime, in this world. We don’t always know how to handle things in the best way. We don’t want to suffer, but we don’t always know how to avoid it. We long for closeness and peace in our relationships, but we haven’t necessarily learned, yet, how to find it. We want meaning, but lose sight of it. We want revelation and transcendence, but don’t always know how to reach for it.

But we are learning.

We are always in the process of learning — and it’s not fair to expect that people who are in the process of learning should automatically always get things right. Nobody always gets things right during the learning process.

Elizabeth Gilbert

That’s okay.

We are merely students, after all, and students –by definition– are not masters. We will be students for as long as we live. We wake up every day, and take a deep breath, and go back to school in the world all over again. That’s what dedicated students do. Every. Single. Day.

This morning, I felt like I really needed the reminder.

So, I got out a Sharpie, and wrote the word across the palm of my right hand — my stronger hand — which I can then lay across my heart throughout the day, with hopes that the message will sink in: “It’s okay. You’re doing your best. You’re still learning.”

Onward,

Liz Gilbert