On Saturday morning, December 12th, I was at the REI Garage Sale with my honey and I said, “If no one sells paleo Christmas cookies in Boulder, I’m going to start a pop-up paleo Christmas cookie business.”
Noah didn’t even blink. This is what it’s like to date an idea-machine/entrepreneur:
“Oh, you’re going to write a book about loving your period? Cool.
You're gonna run a hotsprings retreat for spiritual entrepreneurs? Cool.
You want to bake Christmas cookies in your kitchen, which can't be more than six square feet? Sounds great.”
Two weeks ago, I didn’t own a rolling pin, cookie trays, cookie cutters, measuring cups, or spoons. I have one wooden spatula that doubles as a mixing spoon. My food processor is basically my right bicep. I didn’t have any recipes picked out, either, and I don’t really follow any paleo baker’s blogs. (Do as I say, not as I do: check these guys out, and this chick too.)
I didn’t have a plan or supplies. What I did have was:
A BIG idea.
The skills to make it happen (remember, I was a baker in a past life).
A ton of inspiration.
People who love what I do.
As you may have noticed, I went home, made a plan, borrowed some cookie cutters and sheet trays, and sold over a hundred cookies. That’s the outward expression of what happened; that’s what I was doing. My friend and mentor Diane Whiddon talks about the difference between being and doing, and it’s a vital distinction because what you do is totally transformed by how you do it.
Here’s a play-by-play of my being vs. doing around christmas cookies:
Being: incredibly festive.
Doing: listening to Bing Crosby’s White Christmas on repeat, attempting dairy-free egg nog.
Being: excited about christmas cookies.
Doing: declaring my intention to sell delicious, healthier christmas cookies and to eat all the leftovers.
Being: nostalgic, curious, relentlessly festive.
Doing: choosing recipes, making a grocery list, declaring my intentions to my friends.
Being: utterly joyful in an overcrowded Whole Foods, juiced and excited in my tiny kitchen.
Doing: testing the first batch of gingersnaps, figuring out how much to charge.
Being: curious, awake, thrilled while tasting the first batch of gingersnaps.
Doing: Cranking out seventeen zillion cookies, taking photos for Instagram, oversharing on Facebook.
Being: so proud, festive, joyful.
Doing: Packaging up everyone’s orders, running to the post office, orchestrating pick ups and delivery.
Being: Falalalala la la la la!
Creativity, productivity, and sales are a balance of being and doing.
I could have done all the same things, but been anxious, suspicious, and defeatist, and it would have been a totally different project. Think about the last project you took on. What were you doing? How were you being? Would things have gone differently if you have been being differently?
When I ask my clients what stops them from doing what they love, the most common answers are, “I’m afraid,” or “I don’t know how to start.” Being is the salve that soothes both of those concerns.
Fear is human! We will never live without it.
The magic is in feeling afraid and still taking one small step forward. Someone wrote a whole book on this statement—Feel The Fear and Do It Anyways. (I actually haven’t read it, but I bet you my dad has.) How can being soothe fear? Maybe it’s being afraid and trusting the universe. Maybe you’re being terrified and loving, or scared and exhilarated. Don’t try to move the fear, just give it a buddy to hang out with.
If you feel confused or don’t know where to start, the answer is most definitely in the being. How could you be at the start of your new project? Festive, curious, passionate, loving, inspired, nurturing... Ask yourself the question, “If I’m being ________, what would I do first?” If you look back at my process before baking cookies, my first action step was listening to a bunch of Christmas carols, which allowed me to be excited enough about my project to take the first concrete steps.
Whatever your creative process is, pay attention to how you are being. Be more intentional with your being, and watch the joy, space, and freedom that you can create.
If you're interested in chatting with me about being, doing or cookies, you can schedule a complimentary 45 minute phone call.