[Success Tweak 3] Why You Can’t Think Your Way to Success

by Amy on November 13, 2013

success 3

When I first started out coaching, I thought I wanted to be a “fertility coach.” It made a lot of sense… I struggled to get pregnant for six long years and in the process did every fertility treatment available to humankind.

From a business perspective it was a no brainer. I had connections around town from all my old naturopaths, acupuncturists and other fertility “this and that” specialists who generously helped me fill my groups.

So when I actually started leading support groups, I was shocked to find out I hated it. Each time I drove to the meetings, my body filled with a queasy heaviness that only spells one thing, DREAD.

“Why dread!?” I thought, irritated.

I tried to coach myself out of it. Dread. Then I hired a coach to coach me out of it. More. Dread. I tried to whistle while smiling while listening to inspirational music during the drive to each meeting. Ugh. Dread.

This was, to be sure, highly inconvenient! I was busy trying to establish a thriving coaching practice after all.

But this is how authenticity works. There’s a lot of talk out there about being YOU, uncensored. (Wait, that’s me. Grin.)

But the question is HOW?

Radical authenticity begins and ends with the body. Your body.

It wasn’t long before I chucked that coaching practice. I stopped offering fertility support groups. I emailed my clients sheepishly. It was more than a little humbling to my big, important, ego.

And then I started over.

My brain was NOT pleased…

“What the hell are you thinking?! Now how are you going to make a living?”
“You don’t have a niche anymore! What the hell are you going to do?”
“You’re just going to throw it all away?! All that work was for nothing! Nothing?!!!”

But my body told the truth. I had to stop being a fertility coach. It didn’t matter how much work I’d already done or how easy it was for me to fill my groups, I literally felt sick when I did it. And that’s no way to be of service to anyone.

Authenticity is easy when you let your body do the talking and STOP listening to reason.

Logic is the enemy of authenticity. [Tweet that]

Nowadays, I lead with my body. In other words, I make every business decision first by asking myself: “Does this feel good or does this feel bad?”

From there, I use my keen sense of business strategy to help me execute. And execute I do. Because when if feels good, there is very little resistance.

I don’t spend hours on Facebook, I’m not shopping for stuff on Amazon, I don’t decide I’d better check in with my second cousin. When it’s a work day, you’ll find me in my office, sitting on my Panton chair, working like a dog with a very juicy bone to bury.

Eventually my body led me to my true work helping women like you do what’s Brazen + Authentic. And I rarely ever argue with the wisdom of my body anymore.

Here are 3 Tips (from your body) to be Authentic in Business:

1. Ask Yourself: Does It feels good? It’s surprising how often people override their body when making business decisions. It’s a sure fire way to get you a lovely job that looks great on the surface but makes you feel like a trapped animal every day you go to work. I say, start with your body. Ask yourself, how does this feel? Then do what feels best.

2. Ask Yourself: Does this strengthens me?  Paraphrasing Marcus Buckingham, strengths strengthens you, weaknesses weakens you. If you suck at coaching but it strengthens you, that’s your sign. Do what strengthens you in your business and eventually you get so damned good at it people will compare you to a Jedi Master. But you’ve got to suck your way through it and stop wasting time on stuff that weakens you.

3. Ask Yourself: Does this make a thread of sense? If no, do it. Remember, your body doesn’t care about what’s practical, its advice often makes NO logical sense, and it will often lead you to do things that will make your well meaning mother gasp. Do it anyway. It will feel a bit like that time you rode the Matterhorn at Disneyland. Big success requires bold action. Your brain knows nothing about that.

Now it’s your turn!

Tell us something you did that made no logical sense but paid off big time for you professionally. I’ll pick one comment below at random to win a coaching session with me!!

P.S. If you’re a coach and you need help growing a business that 1) makes an EPIC impact AND 2) bring in gooooood money, check out my brand new program just for coaches here.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Wende Garrison November 14, 2013 at 1:07 am

Thanks for this post Amy. I spend a lot of time trying to do the right thing and catch up and be good enough. It was a huge perspective changer for me to read this and be reminded that I have a purpose (even if I don’t know it) and that I need to follow what feels good and centering. (Not follow my to do list.) I am spending a lot of time in fear lately and your honest report of your experience really helped give me a wake up call.
I really needed one!
You are always so good at that. Your tales of your biggest failures are ALWAYS what helps me most. Thanks for your honesty. I know it must be a risk, but you are a great role model for me. Thank you!
In response to your question: I have turned down a lot of things professionally that I didn’t enjoy but were lucrative–like consulting. I have never regretted it.
But now, I need to take it to the next level and use your wisdom to find my right path. For me, the work I need to do is more personal than professional. Although I am sure that finding my right personal path will impact me professionally. Thank you so much Amy. This came just at the right time! Thanks for being authentic!


Amy November 17, 2013 at 12:01 am

Thank you Wende! I wish you luck. I have never been sorry when I follow my heart. I’m happy to share my “failures.” My perspective is so different around the idea of failure. I don’t see it as a negative at all. Which is probably why it’s so easy for me to share. xoxo


Terena November 14, 2013 at 2:02 am

This is so spot-on for me right now! I am eager and quite impatient if truth be told to find my niche – while this may take some time I am already having a lot of ideas that apparently “don’t make sense” and yet my gut is telling me to go for it! Some other times that has happened? Doing a workshop for 27 people within months of starting my coaching business..I thought noone would show up!


Amy November 17, 2013 at 12:02 am

Go for it Terena! That’s how I ended up finding my niche 😉 By going for it.


Adriane November 14, 2013 at 4:53 am

First off, I HEART YOU, AMY PEARSON! I heart this story so much. It just makes me that more comfortable in going forth and sucking my way through it and learning, like you. The biggest body compass experience of my life is not professional, but it is something I am proud of (and it translates into all the lands of a life, I think). So, it is about my own baby quest: It took longer than I thought and basically I was an emotional spaz and just not very dignified in my brooding. After my baby came,I was sort of embarrassed for a while that I had not been more “together” and detached and cool about the whole process. But now I am proud of myself for how it went down. My desire for a baby and my willingness to frickin’ flat out own that desire is one of the most honest sloppy parts of my life. Especially since this occurred during a time when I had a pretty stiff upper lip and was not very connected to being all that authentic. Even so, I managed to, what is the Mary Oliver phrase (?)…”let the soft animal of my body love what it loved” (and want what it wanted). My body (gut, soul, heart, hormones) had my best interest in mind way more than my mind did. xoxo


Amy November 17, 2013 at 12:04 am

I HEART YOU RIGHT BACK ADRIANE! Love your story and the Mary Oliver quote is so perfect. Now you can take that experience and remind you the of the power of owning what you want.


Melissa Howard November 14, 2013 at 9:52 am

It made no logical sense for me to take a class on how to write a play when I was studying for my BA. It wasn’t part of my major and I had no aspirations to be a playwright. But, I signed up anyway because it felt good. And, in the first assignment I started to write a play that felt good in my body. It made me laugh. But, when we had to share our play segment with the class the professor was very condescending to me and the other students took his lead and sneered at me. That felt really bad in my body so I quit the class. But, a few months later I was volunteering at the box office for our community theater and noticed a sign that said they were taking submissions for next season’s plays. The deadline was two weeks away and I would have to have a director on board to direct it before I could even submit it. But for some crazy reason my body was saying “Go for it!” So, I pulled out the segment of the play I had started in that class and finished it in a blaze of inspired writing. By then the deadline was two days away and how was I ever going to find a director in that time period? I thought maybe I’d just submit it next year. But the next day I was doing an errand and happened to run into one of the main directors of our theater. I asked him if he’d chosen a play yet for the upcoming season. He always directed at least one play every season, but he said, “No, I just haven’t been able to find one I liked this season.” I asked him if he would read my play. He loved it, submitted it and the board approved it. And, when I was writing it I just felt in my body that the lead male role could only be played by this one certain man I had seen in other plays and hoped he would show up at the audition. The night of the audition he just happened to be passing through with no intention of auditioning, but agreed to read for it when the director asked him. Of course, he got the part and he just happened to have the music for and knew how to sing “Stand By Me” the song he was going to have to sing solo in the play. My college professor really didn’t like my play, but when I heard the audiences roaring with laughter, and a number of people told me afterward they’d enjoyed it more than plays they’d seen on Broadway and in London I was so glad I listened to my body and not his opinion.


Amy November 17, 2013 at 12:06 am

What a story! It’s so good to hear from you Melissa! Thank you for sharing this here. I hope you are still writing. And I hope to see your play some day!


Amy November 17, 2013 at 12:09 am

This also reminds me of what my friend Amy Jones calls “Universe Cookies.” Seems that when we follow our true path, the Universe rolls out the red carpet by sending synchronicity and magic. Here’s to more synchronicity and magic to you!


Carrie November 15, 2013 at 2:18 am

I loved this post. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing this! I’m starting to feel this exact sort of dread from my coaching practice, and I’m trying to figure out if it’s my niche or if it’s coaching. Was it always clear to you that the dread was coming from your niche instead of coaching in general? Sometimes I think I should chuck my coaching practice in the can and focus on a different path. But something is stopping me, and I wonder if it’s actually my niche.

Something that made no logical sense but paid off for me- starting up a conversation with a random person at a workshop that I felt drawn to…and she’s now one of my closest friends and one of my biggest promoters for my business!


Amy November 17, 2013 at 12:16 am

Carrie, I knew it was my niche because there were other things about my coaching practice that didn’t feel so heavy. This is why I like to think about the things I do as strengthening or weakening. I feel weakened when I am a fertility coach. I feel strengthened when I mentor coaches and other women to live brazen. When I first started coaching, I felt dread each time I got on the phone with a new client. But coaching always strengthened me. The reason I felt dread was because I sucked. And I was worried about what the client would think as I sucked my way through a session with them. But it still strengthened me to do it, even though I sucked. So I kept at it… And now the dread is a distant memory.


Lisa November 15, 2013 at 4:29 pm

Favorite line — Logic is the enemy of authenticity! (and if a knew anything about tweeting, I would “tweet that.”)
I just finished producing my website which included much in the way of blood, sweat and tears. It made WAY more logical sense to hire this out but I LOVE knowing how things work and couldn’t stand the thought of not understanding how to take care of my site once it was up and running.
And true to your assertion — even when I was a pile of goo after a weeks worth of work went poof — I wanted to persist — not because it made logical sense but because I was authentically enjoying the process of learning something new.


Amy November 17, 2013 at 12:12 am

LOL Lisa! Tweet or no tweet, I’m glad you liked that. Persistence, motivation, consistency and hard work… when we love what we do the paradox is that those things aren’t a problem. It’s when we force ourselves because we THINK we need to do them. That’s when resistance comes in. At least this is what I’ve seen. xoxo


Steph November 20, 2013 at 3:05 am

This is my path now. I was a walking brain for most of my life, and now it is all about letting go of logic and listening to my heart and my body. The journey of a lifetime!

There are two big decisions I’ve made that have changed my life, personally and professionally (because for me, they’re two sides of the same coin). One was the decision to give up my acceptance to medical school. It seemed crazy–I’d had to go back to school to get all my basic science courses done, which took years. I’d worked myself to the bone the whole time, with a full-time course load most semesters, plus a full-time job and a couple of part-time jobs on the side. The coursework plus the applications had cost me many thousands of dollars. And then as I was going through the interviews, I started to feel a contraction in my body, and a tinge of dread in my heart. Deep down, I knew I wasn’t going to do it, but it took me over a year to convince my head to let go. It was excruciating. But I knew that if I had continued on that route, I’d be permanently on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds, and I would not be anywhere close to authenticity.

The other situation came years later, after I’d gone a holistic mind-body route instead. I had been a exercise instructor and fitness trainer, but after ditching med school I’d trained to teach yoga, do health coaching, and I was tutoring pre-med and high school students in science. And I was still running myself ragged. I knew I wanted to do authentic work that was heart-centered, but I felt SO stuck. Then I went to a seminar that was ostensibly about money, but was SOOO much more. One big exercise was to choose a “stretch”–something that felt good to our hearts, but that we were afraid to do. My stretch was to take a month off of work. I was terrified, but I did it, and it put me on the path to opening to my soul’s true work. It’s still a journey in progress, but slowing down has changed everything for me. (The teacher’s name is Barbara Stanny, btw, and I send tidal waves of love and gratitude her way for her help.)


Amy November 20, 2013 at 7:13 pm

Thank you Steph for sharing your stories. BTW I LOVE Barbary Stanny! I too was a “walking brain.” I just love these stories because it can be terrifying to listen to our hearts. But the stories of others’ experiences help other people to take a leap of faith.


Jenny Treiber November 30, 2013 at 9:11 pm

Thank you so much for this post! Funny how I haven’t been keeping up with my email but when I read this post it was the information I needed exactly today anyways! I love when that happens… I have been thrown into change mode in my life and been given the opportunity to potentionally leave my job and be a stay home mom and make my part time, long term hobby into a business. And I am scared shitless! Every logical part of my brain and my inherited uber-responsible gene is saying NO! Are you crazy (??) you can’t liquidate your 401K and follow your flightly bliss! That will not pay the bills and you will be homeless w/ a newborn! (Notice the many exclamation points, my well meaning dad’s voice is LOUD in my head) Still, when I close my eyes and imagine what is would be like to move to a small desert town and set up a studio, I feel an amazing lightness and freedom in my body that is indescribable. Thanks again Amy


Christy Harvey April 17, 2014 at 1:32 am

Probably my favorite thing you’ve written – and there’s a lot of your work I love!


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