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Never Quit Your Passion Project for this Reason

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Recently, I was at a conference and got into a conversation with a woman who was inquiring about the work that I do. I told her I help creative entrepreneurs finish what they start, in other words follow through with their passion projects.

“Oh, that’s interesting!” she exclaimed, “I bet they need help with starting too, huh?”

I shook my head, “They start too much. That’s the issue!”

Except that as I sit here to write for the next 45 minutes, that’s not entirely truthful.

Chronic ‘starters’ do have trouble starting when they are aware of their history of quitting either too soon or too late and not being able to follow through with their passion projects.

They feel shame with the Instagram posts, “NEVER QUIT!” when they get that feeling in their stomach that they want to stop.

They want to feel fearless in their pursuit and continual commitment to their passion project, and if it doesn’t work out, they want to be able to stop without guilt.*

When the resistance to continuing your passion project gets thick--and it will--you have to decide whether or not to follow through . This is when you will ask yourself these two questions:

  1. Does My ‘Why’ Still Work?

Your ‘WHY’ in this instance is why you started your passion project in the first place.


Example: I’m starting a live course for writers to finish their passion project because writing consistently is my EVEREST. I have half finished poems and blog posts hanging around like strings that I won’t cut and I think it will be the MOST USEFUL course that I can offer that will help the MOST AMOUNT of people in my readership, including me!

The values it most honors by continuing is growth, financial abundance, and creativity.

Also, if your purpose shifts and you’re no longer aligned with your Why. Lose the guilt around it! It’s a phantom feeling, maybe because you are used to feeling guilty when you quit. But guilt comes from being out of integrity with your values and obligations. If your why isn’t true for you. Then leave it on the steps of your Project Exit and don’t look back.

2. Am I Quitting in Fear or Love?

Create unconsciously until quitting time. Then quit consciously with no guilty conscience.

Make every choice a conscious one. The decision to quit should be no different. Recently I heard in Conversations with God - An Uncommon Dialogue by Neale Donald Walsch that there are only two emotions: fear and love. If you apply these emotions to choice as it pertains to quitting, it becomes quitting based on fear or quitting based on love.

Do not, I repeat, do not quit based on fear.

Ninety percent of people do. You will know because the fear will resemble resistance and your internal ‘gremlin’ takes over your mind with thoughts like this:

I don’t know enough to write about this.

I quit every, single time. Why would this time be any different?

This is garbage and I know it.

Who do I think I am putting garbage into the world? My target market aren’t trash collectors!

These questions are not coming from your higher self. And they don’t appear when you’re in your Zone of Genius--aka, that space where you are creating the passion project you love to do that also brings you joy and/or paychecks. They come from it getting really harrrrrrd (whiny resistance voice) and from when you were a kid and you got picked last in gym class and so it’s your mind’s way of protecting you from being embarrassed ever again. It was learned and ingrained. It happens to the best of us. Excuse me, it happens to ALL OF US.


Promise yourself that you will only quit in love.


This means quitting if it will help you better serve yourself and the people on whom you want to create the biggest impact.

Is continuing this passion project harming my health or wellbeing?

Does continuing this passion project limit or infringe upon my growth in an area that is TOP priority for me? Spiritual, financial, etc.

Is there something else that feels more aligned with my core values that I am being called on to pursue?

If you answer “yes” to any of the above questions, then by all means, quit.

*A note about guilt*

Merriam-Webster defines guilt as feelings of deserving blame especially for imagined offenses. [Insert thoughtful, chin-tapping emoji here.] Imagined offenses include “letting yourself down” by not seeing your passion project through to the end. If you must quit, at least commit to quitting without guilt. It didn’t serve your mother and it’s not serving you. When guilt does show up, acknowledge its presence, but don’t let it set up shop. Show yourself some kindness and then show guilt to the door.

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5 Powerful Intentions for an Expansive Conference Experience

Taking note at Priya Parker’s keynote at the CreativeMornings Summit 2018

Taking note at Priya Parker’s keynote at the CreativeMornings Summit 2018

People attend conferences for two main reasons: 1. To connect with others 2. To expand--intellectually, emotionally and creatively. Why not create powerful intentions to design the best possible conference experience you can imagine for yourself?

Gone are the days of the run-of-the-mill trade shows. Today, entrepreneurs and freelancers plan their travel schedules around immersive experiences in unique destinations like HATCH in Bozeman, Montana, or the CreativeMornings Summit summer camp that I just attended in the scenic Catskills of New York.  These multi-day conventions are jam-packed with activities like ‘Powerful Intentions Setting’, talks from industry experts, breakout sessions and bootcamps and it can be overwhelming, even for the most extroverted of us (hand-raise-moji).

Before you arrive at your next conference, I invite you to go inward and create a few powerful intentions of your own to better curate the experience you wish to have. Adopt one or more of the five powerful intentions below will allow for inward expansion that in turn will attract the people you are meant to meet.

Powerful Intention #1:

I will put my mission to the test--how can what I learn here allow me to be more specific in what I strive to do and who I do it for?

Before setting foot on the cobblestone path that led to the cabins at CM Summit camp a few weeks back, I was vacillating between 2 ideas for my group coaching course that I will be launching by year-end 2018. However, after prolific author and marketing master, Seth Godin took the stage, he urged us to “seek to serve the smallest possible audience.” After mentally eliminating the idea that was too broad, my mental picture of how I will serve my ‘polyamas’ became evermore clear and colorful.

Ascend Live 2018 with Melissa Pharr

Ascend Live 2018 with Melissa Pharr

Powerful Intention #2:

I intend to stay fully present to what is showing up for me emotionally. Whatever comes, I welcome and acknowledge it with radical consent.

“Participate to the point and extent that you want.” Priya Parker, author of The Art of Gathering and master facilitator at the CM Summit told the crowd that fully encircled her on the field house bleachers. She defined this as radical consent, and I might offer that if you are feeling something that prevents you from campfire crowd crooning your lil heart out, honor your emotions and take that space. Sometimes the best powerful intention you can create is the one where you honor yourself fully.

Powerful intention #3:

I will treat this experience as a mirror to show me what is beautiful, what is ugly and what is true of me.

It’s not always kumbaya and kombucha at these things or as CM says, ‘hugs and high fives.’

After several impactful keynotes on Day 2, I had to step out.

I found my way to a hammock with my journal and a hot, heaving, heavy chest. I felt like a child about to throw a *major* tantrum. One of those upsets that as a child you allow the emotional storm to rip through your whole body, squirming and screaming, face twisted in aggravation in the unfairness of it all. I was envious in the most altruistic way (friendvious?)

“I want to be the one on stage! Why aren’t they listening to ME? I want to be the brilliant one facilitating transformational change!”

The feelings weren’t pretty, but I allowed them to set up camp in that hammock that overlooked the lake-facing cabins.

It felt beautiful to accept the truth that I couldn’t not facilitate transformational change until I felt it first. And how could I not be grateful for that hard-hitting dose of empathy!?

Powerful Intention #4:

I will pay attention to my energy and how certain people, nourishment and experiences ‘fill’ vs. ‘drain’ me and note them accordingly.

One of the greatest gifts of practicing presence and self-awareness is that you become keenly aware of how your energy shifts. The higher we resonate, the more creative and expansive we are and the more we attract opportunities and similarly high-resonating people our way. It can be very easy to abandon your self-care practices when in a new, exciting environment, but doing that can cause you to burn out quickly. Keep the ones that allow you to show up fully present, whether that is getting your morning meditation in or keeping an alcohol-free spree going.

Tina Ross Eisenberg, found of CreativeMornings takes the mic

Tina Ross Eisenberg, found of CreativeMornings takes the mic

Powerful Intention #5:

I will get weird.

Fellow Austinites understand that weird is a euphemism for being unapologetically authentic and simply doing you. Try bypassing small talk and getting real with your fellow comrades by asking off-the-beaten path ice breakers like “What are you interested in to the point of near-embarrassment?” or “What’s your go-to dance move?”

Making out-of-the-ordinary connections make them more memorable, and is a trick that memory masters use with mnemonics. If one of your reasons for attending a conference is to meet amazing people, make meeting them memorable for everyone involved!

Do you have a go-to powerful intention that has worked well for you? Please share in the comments below.

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5 ‘W’s to Win the Year - Mid-Year Resolution Review (As Seen on CBS Austin)

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By the time December hits, only nine percent of people who set New Years resolutions report feeling successful in attaining their goal (Statistic Brain Research Institute)

However, you can win the year STARTING NOW with these 5 W’s--no matter when the year ends!

See the full segment on CBS Austin below:

1. WHERE are you now?

Check in with yourself. Take some space and be honest with where you are with your goal. If you haven’t made it tangible, create it via a SMART goal—Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relavant and Time-Bound.

2. WHY do you want this goal?

To make an impact in the lives of others? To look better in yoga pants? How does it align with your CORE VALUES? Write it down on your WHY card and put it where you can see it everyday--mine is on the front of my laptop!

3. WHAT NOW – What really needs to shift to make this a reality?

Drop other activities that don’t align as closely. How often will I be checking in with myself and what are my benchmarks for success? Write these down too!

4. WINS!

Make a list of all the fun things that you’ll do when you hit your benchmarks. Get whatever you need – like dance shoes or a suitcase – for when you inevitably hit those benchmarks.

5. WHO is keeping you accountable?  

Recruit someone who cares about you – a coach or friend and send them a recurring calendar invite with your goal as the name.

What are your favorite tips to keep on track with your goals?

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"What is a Life Coach Anyway?"

AKA Is it like therapy / mentoring / consulting / etc.?

AKA Is it like therapy / mentoring / consulting / etc.?

In November 2015, I hired an online therapist. I was anxious about the upcoming holidays, ‘cause I had just left a job that paid, and was about to move ¾ of the way across the USA where I prayed I would find an occupation, friends, tacos and sunshine on December days.

I knew that this was what I wanted to do, but I still felt fear. And I wanted the ear of a professional near as I steered my life in this new direction.

I remember my calls with, let’s say Amy, and they consisted of me gushing about my week, complaining about how hard it was to keep my morning routines. And once the fog of the holiday lifts and I Lyft it from the airport to a new city with suitcases in hand, what was my plan? I asked her questions sometimes. Because she was a specialist of the mind. She had to know something I did not.

I learned did not matter what she thought. Because I wanted to move through the strife to get my brand new dream life. What was the homework I needed to do to make the stuff in my visions come true?

“Homework?” she asked. “We don’t really do homework in therapy.”

Hmm. In her practice this was an atypical approach. What I realized I wanted was a life coach.

"So what is a life coach? Is it like therapy?"

Life coaches are partners that help you gain clarification around what you want and why and a plan for taking action towards a life you are exhilarated by. Coaches do this by asking questions that access the client’s truth. It is an empowering process to experience and teach; proof that sustainable evolution is within everyone’s reach.

It’s a little like therapy because we tend to “think out loud”; venting can be soothing too, and totally allowed. Also, some of the reasons we don’t have the things we want is our inner voice that haunts us. It whispers limiting beliefs about our world and ourselves that prevent us from taking action and put our dreams on the back shelf.

Coaching can help to give the voice a name and reframe our perspective, but some of these beliefs are deeply held and were formed at a very young age. There may have been trauma and abuse and there could be residual fear and rage. This is where therapy can help. Therapists can aid healing old scars and move patients to a safe place to approach coaching with a healthy mind space.

If you’re a car with a faulty engine, you’re not gonna get too far. Therapy fixes that glitch to make your motor run. Coaching is like that fuel injection that gets you to your destination faster and the ride a lot more fun.

"Not to be insulting, but isn’t coaching like consulting?"

No offense taken and it’s easy to confuse. Both are specialized professionals being hired to provide a service. But consultants are experts in a particular domain; they come with an agenda to complete a task or make gains towards mutually-agreed terms of success.

Coaches, on the other hand, believe the clients are the experts in their own lives. They strive to hit the goals of the session that the client sets. The client determines the success. And it is the coaches job to get there through their own process. Coaches are kinda like nocturnal scientists with a flashlight. specializing in discovery, uncovering motivations, patterns and clarity for the client to insight.

"OK, and since we’re on this tour, how is a coach like a mentor?"

Coaching can seem like mentoring because the coach is often an achievement queen or king despite the hardships they have overcome. The expertise they bring might be the thing that attracts the client to them in the first place. The difference is that mentors are usually older or more senior than their protege, and often advise what they feel is the best way to go. There is no monetary exchange in mentorship. On the flip side, coaches get paid and their place is not to give advice. The best coaches know that everyone’s path is their own--they ask the tough q’s so as to reveal the answers that deep down, the client has known all along. In my experience, working with a coach is the most sustainable efficient way to make change because it comes from deep within. The client makes the choice to turn the page in their own story. Both parties are highly engaged. There are coaches for clients of any age or stage in life.

A note here: while it is often the case that a client pursues a coach due to a particular specialty, it is not mandatory in order to have a glorious coaching experience. A well-trained coach can help a fully-functioning person work through whatever it is they want to. That being said, the upside to working with a coach in a certain niche is that they have tools that tend to scratch a special kind of itch. Want some help losing weight? A trainer may help you trim temporarily for that one important date, but a health coach addresses the issue at the source. They will work first not on your core, but the core thoughts and beliefs that will get you more lasting results.

"How do you know if a coach is legit?"

Because the coaching industry is largely unregulated, doing your research on who you work with cannot be overstated. Many pro service providers classify themselves as a “coach” when really they take more of a consultant’s approach.

Ask yourself: In choosing to work with a life or business coach, what is most important to me?

Some of the factors you will want to consider:

  • Fee

  • Experience (years / coaching hours)

  • Education & Training

  • Certifications (CPC, PCC, ACC, MCC etc.)

  • Specialty (Life Purpose, Transition, Executive, Corporate, Relationship, Health)

  • Service Offerings (1:1 coaching, group training, workshops)

A Note about Life Coach Fees

Coach fees vary considerably depending on the specialty, experience, service offerings, and the client. I’ve seen fees for as little as $35 to $1K per session or higher in the corporate realm. It is hard to know what a coaching experience is worth and it can trigger overwhelm. But here are some questions to ask yourself:

What changes do I want to make most in my life and what is it costing me financially and emotionally?

How would my life be different if I were to make those changes? What else might shift for me?

If I were to be able to make those shifts in the next 6 months, what would that be worth to me?

Getting clear about what you want to gain from the coaching experience is the first step to making it happen.

And while you’re at it, find out how you want to feel. Tap into it and you can make it real.

"OK, I’m curious about hiring a life coach for sure. What’s the next step if I want to learn more?"

Once you have an idea about the changes you want to make in your life, a great place to start is asking people in your circles that you respect and admire if they have ever worked with a life coach and who they might recommend you hire.

Then hopefully, they send you to me. Hehehe.

As a huge advocate for the impact coaching’s had on me, I am delighted to discuss it more in depth with you for free.

Googling also works and is free. Any great coach who has some interesting content to share will probably have a mailing list or an Instagram account. Sign up and follow them to see what kind of insights are there.

Lots of times they will have useful freebies in exchange for your info. And while we’re on it, you’re in for a treat, you can get Five Days of Focus for free just by signing up below. Thanks for investing your time with me here. I’d love to hear more about what you would like to know about coaching on social or in a comment below!

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Follow the Fear

Big-Question-Mark-Polyama

I felt that sting in my nostrils. I squish my nose.  It's like a fire right before my flood of tears extinguish it. 

I didn’t expect it, nor could I detect it even when at my Women’s Group, someone brought up the thought:

“What were you afraid of as kid?”

My mind first trailed to the negative knee-jerk self-talk I was trying to rid.

“I’m so stupid I say when I make a wrong turn, leave the house while a candle still burns, or any number of any non-intelligence related concerns. 

Where does that come from? I need to go further back…

To a classroom. 2nd grade. Where I sat in the back. My 8-year old mind was so noisy with asks—I wanted to know everything! always! right now! My poor teacher probably struggled to stay on task.

One day, I arrived at school and she announced a new rule:

“Alison may only ask 3 questions per day.” If this was a joke, it was certainly cruel.

But no, a construction paper pocket to the wall was affixed. And ironically inside 3 tongue depressors— these would be my "Question Sticks." 

I was so humiliated, but was consumed by the thought: now I had to ask the other kids my queries and how the heck would I know if they were right or not? It felt so powerful to have the answers—to be the one that KNOWS. How would I get smarter? How would I grow?

I survived 2nd grade, made A’s and eventually got a degree. I changed careers from fashion to marketing, considered an MBA, but WHY when Google is free? I took speed-reading classes to get up to speed, consuming books, TedTalks, the bible of Fast Company

I did some self-exploration in that time too, and that’s when Polyama Project was born—which brings me to you.

I want to be an expert in multi-passionate people like you. I want to know everything about how I can help them DO. 

I want there to be more Leonardo Da Vinci's, Benjamin Franklins, Andy Warhols, and JLO’s. The accomplished gems that when the sun hits their facets, it’s a fricken light show.

And then I asked myself something—whats stopping me today?

"I don’t know enough. I’m not mentally tough."

I went deeper into that fray...

If had all the time and money in the world, what would I do to feel that I was doing this the right way…MY WAY? 

To help others find thier fullest potential, there had to be some rules...I would educate myself and learn the tools.

And that’s when I made the decision to go to certified coaching school.

This past weekend I started iPEC training, and learning what can't be taught online or on a shelf. I’ll be incorporating this into my writing and courses, and facilitating on a level that I could not have attained by myself. 

I can’t wait to share the insights that are revealed as I progress through.

Now, when it comes to getting curious around your fear, what questions ‘stick’ for you?

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