Defining Work and Success for Yourself

Back in July, I participated in a TED style in-studio event called Inspired Success. I spoke on defining work and success for ourselves. Each of the speakers received their video file this week. I wanted to share mine and also give you a bit of background on the experience.

Getting involved as a speaker for this event was pretty random. I went to a networking lunch in June. A woman there suggested I contact Sunday about speaking for her Inspired Success event, after hearing about my work. So I called and Sunday bravely took a chance on someone she had never met!

Then as we got closer and closer to the July event, I had a lot of second thoughts about participating. The “Inspired Success” theme wasn’t resonating with me so my speech was feeling really inauthentic. I almost canceled two days beforehand! It was the “breakdown before the breakthrough” as Sunday coined it. Wednesday afternoon, I sat down and wrote what I really thought and this is what came out:

Success is an elusive concept and shouldn’t be our focus.

While I felt pretty awkward suggesting that “success” shouldn’t be our primary focus at an event called Inspired Success, the audience was wonderfully supportive. In my speech, I suggested “success” is sort of a vague idea – it’s really arbitrary, not guaranteed to be replicable and can feel really empty when we “achieve” it. Instead of success being the end goal, I suggested that meaningful work and meaningful relationships are often the things we’re really looking for. In order to see “success” in these areas, we need to redefine work. Defining work properly means we learn to see value in more than just our paid employment. We need to see success in more than just dollars and fans. In fact, we need to re-engaged with our Creator and understand his calling in our lives.

Delivering the speech felt amazing – the women at this event were truly an inspiring group and the positive energy in the room was incredible. They’re doing fantastic work in our community. I felt so lucky to get to connect with many other Seattle entrepreneurs. I’m working Carin and her WISE Women group. I love Rachel‘s vision for her Leadership Launch program. Debbie and Anna have both blessed me with their wisdom and insight.

I’m so glad that I participated after all. I learned a lot about myself in the speech-writing process and was really encouraged by the stories from all the other speakers. It was another one of those moments where I felt like my calling was affirmed and the overriding emotion at the end of the day was simply gratitude.

Inspired Success is now an on-going community and Sunday is hosting her second in-studio event tomorrow in fact. If you’re a Seattle area woman leader, check out the community on Facebook here and get involved!

My Marriage IQ: Answers to questions you might have!

My Marriage IQ Logo

I’ve been getting some great questions about My Marriage IQ and thought I’d write a quick post to answer them. Take a look if you’re still in the process of deciding whether My Marriage IQ would be a good gift to get your partner for Valentines Day (you have until midnight on Valentines to decide!). If you have more questions, feel free to contact me or leave a comment below!

My Marriage IQ FAQs:

How accurate is this Birkman test? Will it really tell me anything useful about myself or my partner?

You’re right to wonder about this since there are so many random personality quizzes floating around out there. Being told you’re a Golden Retriever or Ariel doesn’t really help you improve your relationship. What you’re looking for in an assessment is validity and reliability.

Validity tests whether an assessment tool measures what it says it measures. The short answer is, Birkman International uses a variety of validity tests and the tool is sound. In 2007, Birkman updated the assessment tool to link it to the Five Factor Model – a set of five broad dimensions of personality that are widely accepted in current psychology.

Reliability refers to the consistency or stability of the assessment tool. When the test is administered it should provide consistent results. Give it to someone today and give it to them again in two weeks and the results should stay the same. This is called test-retest. The Birkman scales have test-retest reliabilities averaging 85% which means they provide a highly accurate picture of behavior. For all of you who more on the science and research end, here is the Technical Brief (pdf).

You’re not a counselor or therapist so how can this help our serious relationship issues?

You’re absolutely right that I’m not a counselor or a therapist. This tool is designed to boost communication and understanding in our relationships. It is not designed to address more serious relationship issues. It can help you communicate more effectively, but I highly recommend that you find a counselor or therapist if you need more help navigating the tough stuff. In fact, take your Birkman reports to the therapist and use them as a jumping off point for discussion. Here are some links for finding therapy:

Does this material contain gender stereotypes that will make us roll our eyes?

I hear you. John and I have read a few books where all the illustrations seem to come straight out of the 1950s. My Marriage IQ is about personalized information identifying interests and behaviors that both males and females exhibit. It’s presented in an objective way with graphs and neutral language. You will not find any cheesy illustrations or gender stereotypes to make you feel annoyed or uncomfortable! I also chose to use the word “partner” rather than “husband”, “wife” or “spouse” because My Marriage IQ is for both engaged and married couples.

Does this come from a particular faith perspective?

None of the material touches directly on faith as not all couples share a common faith so I didn’t want it to be a barrier in the process. I do provide faith-based and non-faith-based resources at the end of the guide for those who would like to explore further marriage materials. I am a Christian and so was the founder of Birkman International so both the guide and the Birkman reports uphold Christian values such as the beauty of being uniquely created, the dignity and value of every human being, and the belief that our differences are essential for contributing to the health of our partnerships and community. Also, the overall project is informed by my positive view of marriage as a life-long commitment that is worth working on and fighting for.

So what happens when I buy it?

You’ll receive and email that will have you download the receipt and instructions as well as the discussion guide. In the instructions, you will get a link for each of you to do the Birkman Method questionnaire and receive your individual reports. The discussion guide also contains a link to the instruction videos that clarify key parts of the Birkman Method reports. My Marriage IQ is entirely self-directed so you set your own pace with your partner and take your time. I’ve recommended a series of six date nights but you can do it in any order and for however long you need to. It’s also reusable. You could do a refresher on your Birkman reports every year on your anniversary. The report results are accurate for life so this information is relevant for the length of your relationship! Using My Marriage IQ in your relationship can give you a life-long reference tool on how best to take care of each other.

Why is there a deadline? Will it not be available after February 14th?

My Marriage IQ will be going offline at midnight on February 14th because of some internal changes to the costs and formatting of the Birkman Method reports for certified Birkman Method consultants. I will hopefully revive My Marriage IQ in a new format later in the year and will have to increase the price. If you’re on the fence, now is a good time to jump because it’s a killer deal and it’s not coming back. The individual Birkman consultations I typically do are $325 and My Marriage IQ pricing will likely approach or surpass that in its next iteration.

More questions? Something I haven’t covered? Leave a comment and I’ll respond as soon as possible so you can make your decision before Valentines!

 

Calling & A Meat Marination Stick

You’ll probably laugh about how much I thought about this story over the weekend! I read this NY Times piece on Thursday about a Christian lady who credits her invention of a meat marination stick to God. You should read it. And also watch the video of Mary describing her product. Go ahead, take a break, I’ll be here with my thoughts when you get back.

meat marination stick
Image Source: Cuisine Noir

Now if you’re like me, your first instinct when you hear someone say “God told me” is to tense up and wait for the crazy. And in fact, I likely read the entire article with a skeptical face. Sometime later in the evening, I realized I should know better by now. I’m always ranting and raving about how diverse our callings can be and about how we need to quit making secular/spiritual divides. I thought I’d already learned to appreciate how often God uses the material and the physical things of this world to shape, grow and bless us.

And I started thinking, What if God really gave her recipes? What if he really did give her a vision for this meat stick? Why not? I thought about heaven and considered the possibility that God uses material tools to create his feasts there even though I always picture it all appearing like magic. But what if God loves the process of cooking? What if he gave this lady a little gift from heaven to bless her family and church? Why not?

Maybe all that thinking is too crazy for you, but it totally reminded me again again that we tend to carry around assumptions and expectations about what makes a calling, or what work God is really trying to do, or how he wants people to serve each other. And these assumptions and expectations can blind us from seeing the work God is already doing in ours and other people’s lives. We can be so busy looking for what we think should be there, that we miss what really is. It’s another part of the reason, I really prefer to say that we recover our callings rather than discover them. Our callings are already present in our lives. Whether we can see them or not is the real question.

Have you had an experience like this?

How the Birkman helps us work at home without killing each other

Change score discussion

This month I wanted to do something fun and show you how the information in a Birkman Method report plays out in “real life.” I will be using our real life as we work and parent at home. Today’s example cropped up about a year ago and continues to be something I have to consciously consider in our daily life. It’s about the Change component.

The Birkman measures you on 11 behavioral components. They put your usual behavior on a continuum from 1 to 99 with each end representing a different set of usual behaviors. While John and I are fairly similar on eight of the eleven behavioral components, we have a 47 point difference on our Change score. John is down in the lower end (34) of the continuum while I’m on the high end (81).

What is the “Change” component?

Birkman defines this as mental and physical restlessness. It describes comfort in shifting priorities, patience with interruptions and flexibility in accepting externally imposed change.

Low Change behavior is concentrative, not easily distracted, patient with long-range projects, and able to focus on the task at hand.

High Change behavior is easily excited by new ideas, ready to start new ideas, initiating change frequently and adapting easily to variety.

In terms of responsiveness to change you could compare a 1 to a supertanker needing to change course (that takes awhile!) and a 99 to a speedboat needing to change course (done in the blink of an eye!).

What are the different Change needs?

Low Change needs: protection from interruptions, opportunities to complete important tasks once started, time to consider new ways before changing methods, minimum of abrupt changes, an opportunity to give input before changes are initiated.

High Change needs: alternating work responsibilities, frequent changes of activity, relief from daily routine, opportunities to shift priorities as new interests arise.

How this plays out:

You might already be picturing the scenario: John has just embarked on editing a wedding – a “long-term” project on which he is usually able to focus for vast stretches of time. He likes to edit through until he’s done. Tash cannot fathom how he can possibly concentrate the whole day on the same task (she admires it but also wonders how this can be healthy) and she tends to suggest changes: “Don’t you need a break?”, “Let’s go for a walk”, “Can you help me with x, y, z for a minute?”, “Here talk to Canon for a second while I do this.” Tash blissfully believes she is offering him some variety in a LONG BORING day while John’s stress level rises with each interruption.

This happened quite a bit in Canon’s first year because it was also John’s first year of working from home. Since I need lots of variety and relief of routine, I assumed John probably did too. Not true! Turns out he needed to be protected from interruptions so he could complete the tasks he had started. Initially, I thought he was just trying to get out of helping with Canon by working constantly. John felt like I was trying to sabotage his work.

Looking at our Change scores helped us both to realize there wasn’t something “wrong” with the other person and that neither of us was trying to purposely annoy the other person with our usual behaviors. We were able to discuss ideas for solutions more practically and with less emotional turmoil.

While he still gets interrupted (“Help! Poop disaster!) I try to stay aware of interruptions and keep them more minimal when I know he’s concentrating on a long project. At the same time, John sees that I need alternating responsibilities and we continue to try to work out how we can best divvy up parenting and photography work.

That’s just one tiny piece of all the material the Birkman Method reports contain. If you’re intrigued – there’s still time to enter my giveaway here: The Birkman Preview report covers all eleven behavioral components and more. Or head over to my Birkman services page to learn more.

The simplest problem-solving method we never use

problem-solvingJohn and I are listening to a fascinating book in the car. It’s call Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by two brothers name Chip and Dan Heath. They tell story after story of how big changes took place because of surprisingly simple solutions. We’re not even halfway through the book yet but I already feel like this simple problem-solving method is a major takeaway.

The authors tell a very moving story about malnourished children in Vietnam during the 1990s. A man named Jerry Sternin was tasked with addressing this issue in a six-month time frame by not-too-friendly government officials who weren’t thrilled to have a foreign expert telling them what to do. It seemed impossible since many many experts had already spent hundreds of hours analyzing all the contributing factors and determining root causes and pointing out the systematic problems causing malnourishment, none of which Sternin could influence or change within a six month time-frame.

So Sternin did something else. He started interviewing Vietnamese moms in villages. All the kids were weighed and measured and they discovered that even in the same conditions, some kids in the village were actually not malnourished. Sternin established what moms were normally doing to feed their children and then interviewed the moms of the healthier kids to see what they were doing differently.  The moms of the healthier kids were feeding them four times a day instead of twice (not more food just spread out over four meals) and they were supplementing the rice with tiny shrimp and crab collected from the rice paddies (traditionally not fed to the kids) and mixing in sweet potato greens.

The changes were tiny and easy to replicate.

Sternin used a problem-solving method we don’t use enough: look for what’s already working and then see how we can replicate it. This is also called Positive Deviance.

This “problem-solving” method isn’t looking at the problems at all – it’s looking at the positive “bright spots” as the authors term them. How simple is that? And yet, by nature, we all tend to focus on the negative. We get mired in analyzing all the things that are wrong instead of looking at what’s already right and seeing how that could translate for us. We focus on fixing what’s broken instead of just implementing more of what’s already working.

We do the same thing when we consider our own strengths and weaknesses. Instead of focusing on what we’re already good at and continuing to hone those skills, we often bog down on trying to “fix” or improve all our weaknesses.

So the next time you feel like there’s a huge problem you’re facing, is there a way to turn the question around and say “What is working in this situation and how can I apply that to what isn’t?” It might just work.

Choosing Who We Learn From

Last Tuesday I got a haircut. I love my hairstylist Amy – I’ve written about her before here. She and I are about as different as you can imagine but it’s a good thing. We always have pretty deep conversations about faith, politics, health – you name it. I like to think we learn a lot from each other. This last Tuesday’s conversation was no exception and was a really important reminder for me to be humble.

Amy told me a hard story about feeling out of place and belittled by people she respected. It’s her story so I’m not going to go into the details but it made me think a lot about the people who made her feel unworthy of participating. Why? Because I recognized myself in them. Amy was in a position to offer a unique and valuable voice in a setting outside of her comfort zone. Instead of being welcomed for bringing a different perspective, she got shut down, because the people assumed they had nothing to learn from her.

Here’s the deal: we all want to choose who we learn things from. Some of this choosing is wise (we want to listen to good teachers) and some of it is very, very prideful. We want to only learn from those we admire and respect, from those we assume are more experienced, more mature and more knowledgeable than we are. And when we choose to learn only from those people we perceive as “worthy” of teaching us, we close our minds and hearts to a multitude of other teachers we should be humble enough to hear. All of us prize some kind of intelligence over another whether it’s our IQ, our emotional intelligence our the hard-won insights that come from experience in the school of hard knocks. That’s fine. The trouble occurs when we’re not open to receiving insight from people in our community (or outside of it) who don’t find our mold.

I wonder how often we would be surprised by wisdom if we learned to see it and accept it from unlikely sources.

It reminded me of this passage in 1 Corinthians 1:18-31

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”

Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”

Stay tuned – I have at least one more post I want to write about A Year of Biblical Womanhood but I wanted to share this story while it’s still fresh in my mind.

College & Calling

I was recently reading through a great blog post series over here where people write to their younger selves in the spirit of “if I had my life to live over this is what I would want you to know.”

I was also recently thinking that it is already mid-August and school is about to start again.

These two things got me thinking about college and calling and what I would do differently if I was back at Trinity Western University, excitedly starting the college adventure (which I can hardly believe was way back in 2003! That’s almost 10 years people! Yikes!).

I had a great experience at TWU. I started as a Communications major and switched to a Business major by second semester. I lived on campus all four years. I made lifelong friends and met my husband. I participated in student leadership as a Resident Assistant, Community Facilitator and Discipleship Group Leader. Through all of these roles, I was mentored, stretched to grow, given an avenue to hone my  skills and use my gifts. I’m not saying I regret my experience.

But . . . looking back now, I think I would still do a few things differently. If I could go back and give my 17-year-old self some advice I would tell her . . . not go to college right away. (What?! And miss out on all the fun that is freshman year? Crazy, I know . . . )

Why?

  • Because I took a lot of classes that bored me and I haven’t really used (Economics – that was you).
  • Because I graduated with $17,000 in student loan debt and spent the first year of working paying that off.
  • Because some of the classes I could have really used, I was too intimidated to take, or didn’t know I would need (Hello, Philosophy).
  • Because now that I understand what motivated learning looks like I realize how much more I could have gotten out of college
I’ve unfortunately often said that all the valuable learning I did in college took place outside the classroom. College is such an awesome time of concentrated learning and I wish now I could have just enjoyed more of it. I wouldn’t trade my community life experience for the world but I wish that I had gotten more out of my classes, especially since they were so expensive. I can’t go into all my reasoning on this right now, but over the last few years I have come to the conclusion that a Business Administration degree is pretty much useless. While it felt “practical” at the time, I wish I could have let myself be the English major I probably should have been. And I wish that I had taken more of the Religious studies and Philosophy classes because when it comes to making decisions about the big questions in life, a business degree doesn’t equip you with the answers.

In the last two years, I have enjoyed researching this topic of calling on my own time, out of my own desire to learn. I’ve written thousands and thousands of words on the topic because I think it’s important and I really care about understanding what it means for my life. I think many us don’t truly know where our interests lie or what our gifts are when we’ve just finished high school. We panic about picking a major but our lives don’t fit into just one subject area so neatly (I won’t take that tangent about changing the education system right now either).

What would I suggest to myself?

  • Working & going to a community college so that I could have paid for college as I went.
  • Taking any class I was interested in, in any subject whether it seemed practical or not.
  • Forcing myself to take a few classes that didn’t seem interesting at all, just to make sure I wasn’t missing out because of false perceptions.
  • Going on a million-and-one informational interviews or job-shadows in a wide variety of industries.

Mostly, I wish I could have told myself to relax and just enjoy learning for its own sake, instead of worrying about my major or minor and my grades. Then maybe my college experience would have been as beneficial to me inside the classroom as outside of it.

Perseverance

Wow – it’s Friday again! Sorry, I missed posting on Monday due to traveling to Canada to visit my parents and forgetting which day of the week it was! After a successful first trip with Canon, we got back on Wednesday and yesterday, I had a pretty crummy day. I think it was mainly post-party blues after having so much fun with my sister and family. I also had just finished reading the fourth book in a series of historical novels and while I’m dying to just go ahead and read the next book, it wouldn’t be very responsible of me. They’re the kind of books you get lost in for hours and then feel guilty when you finish because everything else has been neglected in the meantime . . .

But I was also feeling crummy because part of me just wanted to give up yesterday. Say goodbye to the blog, forget finishing my book and just let it go. Relax and settle (and read the rest of that series guilt free!). Sometimes, it feels like too much work to write. The work that I usually want to do, suddenly feels like a burdensome “have to” or “should do.” When I get down like this, it’s easy for me to start multiplying all the problems in my head. I’m trying to finish an ebook I started a year ago and instead of being happy with how far it’s come, I feel weary with how much I imagine I have left to do. Sometimes following this calling isn’t exactly easy or fun and I question how worthwhile or necessary it really is. And yet, just a week ago, my sister and I were wondering what on earth people do with their time when they don’t have project they’re working on. I know quitting really isn’t an option.

So I guess I’m learning about perseverance. Today, I’m feeling motivated again for two reasons:

1. My husband. When I was moping around in my classic fashion last night, he gave me a good pep talk and encouraged me to keep going. Besides being encouraging, he suggested some practical ways we could carve out a little more time for me to work on my project. I know I’ve said this so many times on the blog already, but here it is again: you cannot follow your calling as a lone ranger. Partnership and community are essential for helping each of us stay on course.

2. After thinking through what I need to get done, I figured out a different approach that should be more motivating. One of my big fears is that I’m going to read back through my ebook and realize I still have TONS of editing to do. So, of course, I’ve been avoiding starting the read through and everything has come to a screeching halt. While I know it’s usually important to just face your fear head on, in this case, I’m going to let it be for another week and instead work on other pieces of the project that aren’t contingent on finishing the editing. Just changing the order of my to do list has already helped me feel more hopeful that this really will get done.

Thanks for letting me share today. Hope you all have a good weekend!

 

Listening is Hard

Recently, I shared about finally letting go and seeing a new way forward with my book project. I got some very encouraging words from several people about how great it was that I was so tuned in and quickly sensed the Holy Spirit’s guidance in this area. It was encouraging to hear that because most of the time, I don’t think I am a very good listener. I wish was, considering how so much of following your calling requires listening. Sometimes research just doesn’t translate into practice very fast! Listening is an incredibly difficult discipline and more often than not, I’m a better example of ignoring clear messages.

Consider how this whole project started. At the beginning of 2010, I began to get a strong sense that I should start a new “project” but I didn’t know what it should be. Did I take the time to sit and listen? To ask God what he thought?

Of course not, I got right down to brainstorming and trying to think it out for myself. I got restless, frustrated, made some attempts to start different things but nothing caught on. It took me until the end of February to suddenly realize why I wasn’t getting anywhere. Here’s my journal entry from February 23, 2010:

Dear God,

I feel discontent with life again. A feeling of why am I bored at work and wondering if I should be more proactive in initiating some of the changes that are so desperately needed. I feel like I’m all talk and no action. Help me to see why you have me there.

I’ve been trying so hard to brainstorm, plan, think and analyze new ideas for work, how to make John’s business work, how to live a more free life but I’m finding it nearly impossible to get anywhere. Are you sending me a message saying ‘Why aren’t you asking me first? How about spending a little time listening?’

If you are, then I think I’ve finally gotten the message.

If a journal entry can have a sheepish expression, this one sure does. The cool thing is that five days later this calling project was born! Pausing for God’s plan is hard when you’re an idea person and you just want to get going on something. But this project has been going for almost two years now (much longer than any of my personal projects) and maybe it will go a lot longer if I remember to be patient.

If you’re struggling with listening, you’re not alone. It’s hard to calm our whirling brains down enough to hear anything sometimes. Plus there’s no formula and no set method either! What is encouraging to me is that God is so patient. I didn’t miss my chance to participate in this project because I didn’t pay attention for two months. He still gave it to me when I finally showed up. I’m very grateful for that.

And speaking of being grateful, Happy American Thanksgiving on Thursday!

 

Letting Go of Assumptions

I know I’ve shared bits and pieces of my own story on the blog throughout the year but I thought I’d do something different today and actually tell you a bit more about current happenings in my own “calling.”

When I started this whole “calling project” that became MyCallingIQ.com, I planned that my research and blog posts would eventually lead me to writing a book. A book would be able to reach more people beyond the blog and allow me to take more time to explore topics that I feel like I sometimes only briefly summarize here.

I wrote the rough draft in April this year, and spent the summer working on a book proposal and more research.   My goal was to have an agent-ready product for Christmas (I was hoping I might even have an agent). That meant a full book rewrite was on the books for September-December.

When John and I found out we were pregnant, I suddenly felt the pressure to get the rewrite done as soon as possible. Instead, total lethargy hit! I lost all motivation to even read (gasp!) for about a month because I felt totally exhausted (although I thankfully wasn’t too sick). Lying on the couch watching TV all evening suddenly sounded very reasonable – something that I’ve never made a habit of doing before.

After about three weeks of this, I started getting worried that I had lost my passion for helping others understand calling. I wondered if I was just going to drop the whole project now that parenting was soon going to take over as a new primary role. I had some doubts about how relevant and urgent all of this really was. It seems like everyday new books come out that deal with “my” topic!

And then just in the last weeks of October, I had several great conversations that reminded me of how important I think understanding calling is, and how excited I am to share what I’ve learned with others to help them live into greater freedom and joy. My energy levels have thankfully also returned to normal. I decided November was going to be the Rewrite month.

So I sat down at the beginning of last week with a plan to push through and get a full length book polished up. It was a pretty ambitious plan and it was hampered from the start. Every time I sat down at the computer, I wasn’t just breezing through edits and rewrites, I was facing more and more questions about structure: Does this outline even make sense? Does this material go in this chapter or the other? Do I lump resources and action items at the end or throughout? This is non-fiction, why is it being so unruly!?  I also wondered if people even want to read through whole books anymore. Especially in my generation?

After a lot of mental debating, frustration and stress from my own self-imposed deadline, I hit a breakthrough! I did some research and called an expert (my sister) and finally admitted that this project doesn’t have to be a book. It doesn’t have to be what I’ve just always assumed it would be.

As I let go of the idea of putting all this information into a standard print book with chapters, I suddenly saw how the material would fit together better. I am going to be producing four mini-books (or guides) as ebooks.  Amazon Kindle has a new category called “Singles” for works that are longer than articles and shorter than books. My mini-books will probably end up between 15,000 and 25,000 words and really make the most sense in this format.

As I finish up the different mini-books (the first one should go out for critique/feedback this next week), I’ll spend some more time introducing them to you and hopefully by March you’ll be able to get them on Amazon for your fancy e-reader! I hope to also have them available on my website to download as pdf files for those of us who are a little less fancy.

It was a huge breath of relief to me to suddenly see the way, and it only happened after I gave up my basic assumptions about how things were “supposed” to work . . . hmmm . . . think I’ll hang onto that lesson for further application in my life. My motivation and excitement for my work came back in full force and confirmed the new direction was probably the way to go.

Next week, tune in for some more great insights from friends contemplating their own callings. Thanks for letting me share!