Hi. I’m Illana and I’m a changeaholic.
When I was five, I wanted to be ten. When I was 10 I wanted to be 30 [seriously, I was TERRIBLE at being a tiny human]. My whole life, I have been completely and totally addicted to next. Only, when you’re trying to run a business, that can be problematic. See, when you own a business, people kind of expect you to do the same thing over and over, so that they know what to expect from you. I suuuuuuuck at same. Case in point, maybe you noticed that Makeness just got yet another face lift.
I have always been a big fan of the idea that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, but if it’s a little bit broke, do everything you can to over-complicate it, break it, THEN fix it.
It’s both the source of my success and the truck I will be driving when I careen headlong into total abject failure – if I’m not careful. See, changaholism is a lot like other addictions. It makes you fun and compelling, and makes the world think you are in on a party that they want to be in on because it looks really fun and glamorous. And it IS all of those things. But left to their own devices, changeaholics can also totally neglect both the present AND forward motion, in lieu of constant reinvention.
Some signs that you might be a changeaholic:
1. You have redesigned your website and/or changed your business name more than three times in five years.
“It can ALWAYS be better, right?!?”
2. You try every single social network and actually BELIEVE that you can keep up with all of them.
“I crave a variety of stimulation at all times.”
3. You rebel against things that really don’t need to be rebelled against, just because stirring the shit gives you a buzz.
“If everyone else is doing it, they are all lemmings. I shall reinvent the wheel. How hard could it be?”
4. You run like your hair’s on fire the second you start to earn some traction and/or get known for something.
“Shit. Shit. Shit. I never wanted to make a living at THIS. I think I shall burn it to the ground and start over. NEXT time, I’ll get it right.”
5. You travel/shop/exercise/pick-a-hobby to the detriment of your closest relationships.
“I just gotta be me. If you can roll with that, great. If not, sayonara. Next….”
Oh, and also… changeaholics can kinda be judgmental dicks. Did I fail to mention that?
So, right now, many of you are nodding your head and going, “I have a couple of those. Does that mean I am a changeaholic?” Yes. Yes it does.
So, now that you have admitted the problem, you can begin the road to recovery.
Step 1: Lean In.
Don’t just admit that you love change. Embrace it. Tell people. Be proud of it. Think about all the positive things that changaholism has improved your life.
Step 2: Shine a light in on the dust bunnies.
And notice the inverse. You know you have missed opportunities because of you need for Next. It’s time to square up, brace yourself. Pick a weapon, and venture into the dark corners. Face down your rationalizations. Come out swinging, ‘cuz this might hurt a bit.
Step 3: Lick your wounds.
Drink some wine. Remind yourself that people love you and it’s ok that you’ve been in denial a little bit.
Step 4: Take stock.
Make an actual list of what’s working and why. Ignore the voice in your head yelling, “BUT WILL I ALSO GET TO MAKE A LIST OF ALL THE THINGS THAT AREN’T WORKING? I LIKE THAT LIST BETTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Step 5: Take stock again.
Because you probably couldn’t ignore that voice after all, and most likely wandered off to do something else, avoiding the task altogether.
Step 6: Confess.
Tell at least on person who is important to you that your are owning your bullshit. That you know you have made excuses and rationalizations that have sabotaged your life and business. And that you are attempting to learn how to stick to a plan and see it through.
Step 7: Make a plan.
Go back to your list of what’s working. Pick ONE thing from it that you both love AND that’s really working for you. Make a plan to expand on that. Not a goal. A plan. Example: If you’re a coach who is doing day-long sessions and they are working well and you love them, plan a way to create more interest. A blog series. A video. Something. Not a huge something. A small something that will take you no more than a day or two to complete. Don’t think about where it will take you. Just do.
Step 8: Do the plan. Test accountability.
Engage with a friend. Explain what you’re doing and why and work together with someone. Just make yourself accountable to them. Just ONE person. Ask them to to check in with you about it, but be clear that they are not to guilt you about it, and are not there to nudge you into finishing. They are just there to know you are working on something and to love you whether you do it or not.
Step 9: Do another plan.
With that item or one of the others from the list. Repeat. Notice the point when you feel like you want to push back against what you’re doing. Do it anyway. Then switch to something else on the list.
***Don’t add to the list until you have completed forward motion on each item.
Optional: Expand accountability. Tell more people what you’re up to. Not the whole world… just a few friends. Accountability is optional because it doesn’t actually motivate everyone. I am EXCELLENT at not following through on things that I told the whole wide world I would follow through on. Turns out, I am just more self-driven when I am quiet with me, myself, and I. But I still share with my partner. He asks me how things are going but doesn’t judge when I shift my attention. That’s what works for me, may or may not work for you. But always a good idea to seek out someone who can be a sounding board. Have I mentioned I do coaching? Coaches are good for that.
Step 10: Ignore the list for a while, deliberately.
Give yourself ONE WEEK to explore the new. Play. Work. Meet new people. Find a new hobby. Start a blog about something you know nothing about. Figure out what the fuck Tumblr is for. ONE WEEK. At the end of the week…
Step 11: Add ONE item to your list of what’s working.
ONE. UNO. SINGLE. And if something on the current list is getting neglected, do not drop it, instead move it to the top of the list and make a plan to make it more spiffy. Sprinkle glitter on it. Buy it some new shoes.
Step 12: Drop one thing from the list.
But here’s the catch: You can only drop something if:
- You have already come up with [and implemented] a plan to make it cool-as-shit.
- Said plan fell flat.
- You have something to replace it with.
- You have asked yourself, “Why isn’t this working?” And you are actually honest about the answer. And the answer isn’t, “Meh? Just not that interested anymore.” OR, “I just don’t think that’s what I’m meant to be doing.” Both are bullshit, and you know it.
For a recovering changeaholic, Step 12 is the most important. Dropping something is a slippery slope. You will be tempted to strip naked and run like your hair’s on fire from everything you know and love, because this life can’t hold you, and steps are for losers, and there’s nothing wrong with being adventurous and never having any money and being mediocre at a whole bunch of things because you only live once and fuck it all, I’m going to be a nudist and start a blog about dumpster diving in Guam while doing mushrooms with a biker gang. There will be an Etsy store. I will make millions. If you don’t believe me then fuck you.
Where was I?
Oh right. NOT doing that.
You have to be ready to face your own truths and your own lies.
Constant change can be great. It is can also lonely and unproductive. You ARE brilliant, after all. How on earth is the whole wide world ever supposed to notice how beautiful and spectacular you are if you never stand still long enough?
Ready to start making your list? I can help. Fill out the little form below and you’ll get a copy of Get to the Good Stuff, my nifty little workbook that will help you face your truths and find the juicy bits under all the noise.
edit 5/16/13: Want to keep reading? Oh good! I wrote a follow up post too.