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Do You Self-Sabotage by Taking on Too Much at Once?

Do You Self-Sabotage by Taking on Too Much at Once?

Do you self-sabotage by underestimating how much time you need to get things done?

One of the biggest causes of overwhelm is underestimating how much time a task will actually take to complete, and taking on too much as a result.

Before I paused my coaching practice to focus on creating online courses, I had a client who consistently didn’t allow enough time to complete her big dream projects, thus setting herself up for disappointment and overwhelm.

She wanted to launch a podcast and gave herself one week to locate and price a recording studio and complete five interviews, which had not yet been scheduled. She didn’t consider many of the other tasks that go along with starting a new podcast such as, setting it up with iTunes, creating a home for it on a website, writing the questions and plotting out the storyline and theme, etc.

This wasn’t the only project she was underestimating. She had previously planned to create an opt-in, have her web person program a pop-up, create a landing page, and send out an email to a cold list of subscribers all while she was working on a deadline writing project from a client. On top of all that, she was coming down with the flu. She gave herself three days to do this, without considering the emotional work and day to day stuff she had to do.

Does this sound familiar? We all do this at times. Time management is a multi-faceted skill set with deep emotional ties for some of us.

Could the Issue Be Fear-Based?

There are emotional and logistical factors involved in estimating the scope and weight of any project you take on.

Emotionally, we create situations that seem familiar or reinforce our long-held limiting beliefs about ourselves. If you have a belief that you’re “not good enough,” taking on too much may serve to confirm that belief.

If you’re used to being under stress and pressure, you may overload your schedule because it feels familiar, even if it’s not serving your new goals and beliefs.

There can be many emotional payoffs for staying in overwhelm. My client was setting herself up for failure, she could confirm her long-standing beliefs that she was unworthy of success.

You may be saying to yourself, “Why would anyone want themselves to fail?”

Think about how much more comfortable known disappointment is versus the fear involved with succeeding and entering an unknown world of challenges and vulnerability. Clinging to limiting beliefs, and staying in a state of overwhelm, may seem more comfortable to our subconscious minds.

Logistically, my client didn’t have a system for estimating just how much work she was committing herself to, and how to realistically set aside time for the tasks. She needed to slow down, do a little planning before committing to a project or deadline, and establish a visual way to see where her time was going.

Do You Want to Stop Taking on Too Much at Once? WATCH THIS VIDEO.

With a few practices that elevate your self-awareness, you can start to know exactly how much time you have for new projects and identify your personal working style.

I’ve been using the same system for over a decade to help me estimate how much time I really have available and the amount of time and energy new tasks will require from me.

How to Do This For Yourself

It starts with setting realistic, yet ambitious goals, then break them down into next actions.

If you’re doing something for the first time, you likely can’t predict every step or action needed to complete the project. You may just have to jump in there and try it out. You will soon see more of the picture as you start doing.

For example, my partner is new to pitching freelance writing prospects. He set aside one hour for researching companies to send cold emails to. When he actually did the task, he realized it was going to take more work.

He broke down “researching companies” into smaller next actions. He had to dig deeper than finding a general email address and find the right person to send the email to, someone who could be a contact for him.

I suggested he envision what else may need to be done in this process. He would need to draft the pitch email, consider what areas of the email would change for each pitch, edit the final drafts, format them in the email program he’d use. While he was waiting for responses, he would need to draft and edit a follow-up email. I also suggested before he starts this process, he set up a spreadsheet to collect the information he would need to track his pitches and responses.

What he originally estimated to be a one-hour job was actually a two-week sprint. He would set aside 1-2 hours, every other day, for the next two weeks, not including the waiting period for responses, on his Google Calendar.

When he thought the project would only take one hour, and he failed to achieve what was planned, it was disappointing, even a little deflating. Now he feels confident he can accomplish the project, and do a great job, in the time he’s earmarked.

Is the Effort Worth It?

When you’re doing something new, fear and doubt will often linger around your head. You’re making new neural connections, establishing new habits and ways of seeing. It takes extra time and focus to get new habits going. Be persistent. Don’t give up because it takes extra effort to start something new. Your effort will pay off in no time, and you’ll have the new skill of being the master of how you spend your time.

What goal or project are you going to break down into next actions and plot on your calendar? Let me know in the comments. Have you tried this system or another system? I’d love to hear about it!

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Release Perfectionism and Reach Goals Through Self-Acceptance

Release Perfectionism and Reach Goals Through Self-Acceptance

Perfectionism is a stealthy beast. It puts a strain on bodily systems and cripples self-worth. It’s a fractured lens through which to see the world. 

The perfectionism lens can make us think we, and others, need to live up to specific expectations of what being human “should” look like.

There is no “should.” There is no one way for a human to be.

Self-Acceptance is the Key to Achieving Goals

We’re each on a journey, walking alongside one another with paths intersecting. We pick up tools as we walk which help us to see in new ways. 

Inside each of us exists polarities and paradox. We would like the world to see us as one way, but there’s always an opposite within us that we must also embrace.

We all have ignorance, anger, and pain. There is no possibility of knowing everything or being perfect. Striving to be something other than what you are will keep you from appreciating and sharing your unique gifts.

Nature isn't perfect, and She doesn't strive. We too are nature. Click To Tweet

I love this passage from Ordinary People as Monks and Mystics by Marsha Sinetar. It traces a bit of the root of perfectionism, a belief system we’ve all experienced as humans being, and presents an alternative to striving.


Release Perfectionism and Embrace Compassion

Be gentle with yourself. If you hold an achievement-based sense of self-love, you may feel your worth is in the efforts you put forth. Nothing can change your worth. We are all equal here, with or without achievements or specific qualities.

Exchange the perfectionism lens for the compassion lens. Instead of striving to be perfect, allow yourself to experience self-acceptance and compassion.

Empathy, fierce compassion, and persistence can create lasting changes and dynamic ripples in all the lives you touch. Your imperfection can create space for connection and understanding.

Whenever I feel judgment and perfectionism creeping into my perspective, I remind myself my goal is connection and compassion. We don’t need to be perfect, we just need to take care.

Mantra Practice

release perfectionism

So many personal development courses online prey upon our feeling something is wrong with us, promising quick changes and leaning on insecurities to sell products. They sell the idea we need to change ourselves to be acceptable or whole.

I believe when we let ourselves be, we make room for love. Love may not be all we need to make positive changes in ourselves and the world, but without it, we have no starting point.

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3 Things Every HSP Can Do to Finally Complete Creative Projects

3 Things Every HSP Can Do to Finally Complete Creative Projects

Don’t you wish you could just wiggle your nose like Samantha from Bewitched and magic would complete your creative projects? I’ve been trying to master that skill since I was in grade school. No such luck!

It can be hard enough trying to start, let alone complete creative projects, with so many things seemingly smacking you upside the head every time you try.

For highly-sensitive creatives (HSCs), it can be especially difficult. We’re deeply connected to our inner life and pick up on energy in our environment others don’t.

I’ve met plenty of fellow HSCs who also have depression, anxiety, and a lingering case of perfectionism that can add to the challenges of making progress and finding focus.

To have the energy and confidence needed to get going and complete creative projects, HSCs need a system in place to help carry them through and stay focused on what’s most important.

How do I get past a few of the biggest barriers to starting and following through with creative projects?

1. Become aware of emotional habits that breed doubt and drain your energy.

How you do one thing, is how you do everything. If you’re constantly hard on yourself, you will also be critical of the work you do. If you avoid conflict and challenges in daily life, you’ll likely turn away from challenges in your work.

If you’re ready to let go of emotional habits that no longer serve your needs, it can be exhausting keeping them up! It’s time to let go. Release judgment and exchange it for compassion.

2. Connect to your biggest source of confidence and clarity – your intuition.

“When we relax our tendency to grasp for a pat explanation and just be present with whatever is happening without trying to alter it, we can bring to bear a deeper, more intuitive knowing. That in itself changes our reaction and our perspective.” Tara Brach

We can’t know everything. If you’re waiting until you feel completely sure your project is ready to get out into the world, you will be waiting forever. If you’re searching for answers from everywhere but inside you, you’ll be searching forever.

You are your own best source of advice. Mentors can watch us evolve and show us what’s worked for others, and that’s invaluable. When it comes down to getting the work done, it’s just you. One foot in front of the other, you bring new ideas and visions to life.

3. Create a system to automate your workflow and free up brain space for creative work.

Just like our emotions and daily actions become habits, so does organizing thoughts and projects. When we develop a flow for working, it takes some of the pressure off our brains. We don’t have to think about where things are, what to do next, how to proceed each day. Having those everyday decisions already complete gives the brain freedom to focus on the harder stuff of being creative and producing the work.

Before I started using Scrivener in combination with a travel notebook, a large “business grimoire,” and iNotes, I had ideas and writing everywhere. I couldn’t see how everything would flow together, and I didn’t see how cohesive my content and vision actually were.

Having a system for working on content and projects saves me an incredible amount of time and energy, not to mention relieves my anxiety and helps me sleep better.

Do you want to know how I plan my products and launches?

My next post will be all about the systems I use to help creativity flow and organize projects in a flexible and clean content creation system.

If you’re interested in creating your own system for getting things done with less stress, sign up for my weekly newsletter. I’ll let you know when new content is up and send you a hand-drawn cartoon to brighten your day.

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Overcome Information Overload and Connect to Your Intuition

Overcome Information Overload and Connect to Your Intuition

Are you suffering from information overload? Do you have so many ideas you feel paralyzed and can’t start your next project? At this point, you can’t feel the difference between healthy realism and crippling self-doubt?

Many of us get stuck in the learning phase before taking on a new project or challenge in life. It can feel like a legit pursuit until you realize that project has been on the shelf for years and you’re still studying up on how to get started. At some point, you have to say to yourself – I’ve done enough research to start. You could also ask yourself, “What’s really keeping me stuck?”

We learn the most by doing. Any questions you have before you begin will be answered by actually trying things out. The fear of “doing it wrong” can hold you back from using what you have and taking a risk. I’ll tell you a secret – your project will only be amazing if you make LOTS of mistakes. The more mistakes the better!

We’re not talking mistakes you made because you didn’t put any care or time into your efforts. Even the best-laid plans will result in a good number of errors that couldn’t be foreseen by the maker. These are opportunities. We don’t start off with a completed masterpiece. It takes several iterations before your creation will be who it will eventually be.

how to hear your intuition

How do you jump off the information overload wagon?

  • Unplug from outside advice and focus on creating your thing.
  • If you get stuck, go ahead and gather research on your specific challenges, but use what you find immediately. Make a habit of using the information you gather right away. This will keep you doing instead of stewing.
  • While you’re at it, unplug altogether. Stop looking at news headlines, your Facebook feed, Instagram images, and tune into your inner voice. All of these platforms of connection take up real estate in your brain.

If you’re a highly-sensitive creative, social media will zap the energy you need to get things done, or even maintain your mental health if you have anxiety and depression like me. You can get off the comparison train, or the “everything has been done already” helicopter ride, by staying off these channels as much as possible.

Once you’ve started to clear your mind, get your ideas in order. If you’ve been keeping all your ideas in your head, or in too many containers, you may already have an entire project complete without being aware. Put all of your writing and ideas in one place. Focus on that realm instead of the what others are doing and never-ending preparation.

I use an amazing system to keep my projects in order and capture all of my ideas. I didn’t realize how much I’d written, researched, and fleshed out until I put it all into Scrivener. Now I can see I already have five courses written, all over 50% complete!!

I’ll be sharing this system, and a template for creating an online product from start to finish, in a course launching in early January. You can learn more about it here.

Once you’ve semi-closed the open portal of overwhelm (aka the Internet), it’s time to connect to your BEST and most original source of creativity, your own inner knowing.

Take action each day, and make lots of mistakes!

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Is It Healthy Realism or Crippling Self-Doubt?

Is It Healthy Realism or Crippling Self-Doubt?

People are always saying “trust your intuition,” but how can you tell when it’s self-doubt talking and not your inner wisdom? How do you know if you have a realistic perspective or if fear is keeping you from taking risks?

Starting anything is the hardest part of the adventure. Taking the first steps, usually alone in many senses, we’re afraid of how we’ll look if we fail. We’re afraid we won’t live up to people’s expectations if we succeed. We’re afraid of getting hurt, not being good enough, feeling exposed, or looking like a fool.

The reality is we’re lucky if any of those things happen to us. Life is a gift, and it’s fleeting. The world will not end if we look foolish, especially not if we laugh along and don’t take ourselves too seriously.


This is one of slides we go over together in my free mini-course, Get Started, Get Going.

The expectations of others aren’t what’s really stopping the success train. It’s likely fear of the unknown and limiting beliefs around personal capabilities.

Do you have two voices inside you saying contradictory things? These two perspectives keep battling over small details. One voice says you’ve got something special to offer. The other voice tells you nobody will care what you have to say. You’re too old, too young, or other people have already done what you want to do.

All of us have those competing feelings. Don’t let all that noise in your brain stop you from having a good time on this planet. Do your thing.

Look a little deeper, under the confusion and doubt. In the quiet space inside, you’ll find your wise inner voice. Trust her. Developing a deep trust in your instincts will help you see with a more balanced perspective and make decisions you can feel confident about.

We can tell ourselves any stories we want to corroborate our fears and keep us in our safe zones. We, humans, do it all the time – always looking for evidence that what we believe is true, especially when it comes to confirming our fears.

You might want to Pin this quick guide I made for you on how to recognize if you’re stuck in a fearful mode, or if you’re being realistic about your capabilities and possibilities.


You and I both know that making big decisions can come with a landslide of doubt and negative self-talk. On top of our own emotional challenges related to moving forward into the unknown, we may also have to deal with not-so-supportive external forces in our lives.

To make big choices and take on new challenges with confidence, plant your roots in mindful thinking and become familiar with how mindset effects time management and decision-making skills.

In my free mini-course, Get Started, Get Going, you’ll dip your toes into what it might look like to be your own best support system, building momentum and flow through consistent action and mindful thinking. Integrating these beliefs and practices into your daily life will help you feel more peaceful, powerful, and positive while taking on new challenges.

free confidence mini-course

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If you’re still wondering if it’s healthy realism or crippling self-doubt that has you standing still, take a leap. Do that thing, take that calculated risk, and you’ll quickly find out what was holding you back. Not only that, you’ll be free from it too.

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Don’t Let Sour Grapes Keep You From Enjoying Life

Don’t Let Sour Grapes Keep You From Enjoying Life

Have you ever heard the term “sour grapes” from the fable The Fox and the Grapes by Aesop?

The fox in the story attempts to reach a bunch of grapes on an out of reach vine. He fails in his attempt, and instead of accepting his failure, he says the grapes aren’t tasty enough anyway.

The book I’m currently reading, Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking by Daniel C. Dennett, prompted me to reflect on this phrase.

Dennett says, “… sometimes people pretend not to care about something they can’t have by disparaging it.”

He suggests one might simply mention the term sour grapes to encourage someone to reflect on their own about their thinking. The term is an “intuition pump,” as he describes it, that can catalyze one’s own intuitive powers and evolve their perspective.

A series of related examples I’ve come across recently ran through my mind. The most memorable being Trump saying he didn’t want Time’s “Man of the Year” distinction anyway, while Time magazine said it was not offered.

An author and mystic I deeply admire, Toko-pa, shared this quote from the book Wild Women Who Run with the Wolves By Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Esteson on her Facebook page,”It is a psychic fact that when one has given birth to a beautiful thing something mean will also arise, even if only momentarily, something that is jealous, lacks understanding, or shows disdain. The new child will be called down, called ugly, and condemned by one or more persistent antagonists.”

This quote, to me, rings with sour grapes also. The mean child being jealous of the beautiful child, not recognizing the value of its unique existence, letting shame burn a hole in its heart.

We’ve all experienced this feeling of sour grapes. Success and the pursuit of happiness are so lauded in our society, yet teamwork, humility, and compassion are often left untouted by the loudest voices. It’s no wonder we would feel ashamed by a failed attempt, or unworthy due to lack of achievement.

These sour feelings of disappointment don’t need to define our responses to situations. We are able to choose how we perceive things. If we fail, the opportunity to see the lesson, adjust our course, and try again is in our hands. If we see others succeed and shine, it’s our success too. We all play a part in one another’s wins and losses.

The truth is, we don’t know how anything will work out. The grapes may be out of reach. We may have wanted them badly and tried with our best effort to reach them. We may see others applauded and accomplished while we feel unseen.

Letting go of expectations for how our experience should look can make that sour taste turn into the lingering sweetness of gratitude.

Support others with compassion and generosity. Don’t let achievements be your definition of worthiness. You are worthy now. These strengths of character are the sweet grapes you’ve been longing for all along.

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