Even if you've been in business for years, there's still a key skill you need.
Most of us know the things we need—or want—to be doing. When I write to you, I share from a place of reality: I'm in it, too. I know how hard it can be to figure out the right routine, and to actually take action on all of the nuggets of wisdom and advice people share.
What matters isn't that you know the right thing to do, but that you take the time to figure out how to fit it into your own life with all that you have going on right now.
Customize the knowledge to fit your own life circumstances, and be kind enough to yourself to start—that is the heart of wisdom. We each need to do the best with what we have, right here, right now.
"I don't have a 5-step solution to anything. I do have a newsletter people like reading." — Margo Aaron
My friend Margo and I cowork together a lot, and we joke about how the internet is full of simple solutions and easy recipes and five-step magical formulas.
If only it were always that easy.
"I don't have any five-step solutions," she joked to me. "But I do love writing and I work hard to show up to my writing practice as often as I can!" She writes one of the best newsletters I've ever read (I look forward to it every single Thursday, along with James Clear's newsletter and Tim Ferriss' Friday reads).
But that doesn't mean that she's figured out the perfect writing routine, or the best habit, or the secret sauce to making work. And it doesn't mean that her website is finished, or that she knows exactly what's coming in her business for the next ten years.
Do any of us really have everything figured out?
There isn't a secret sauce.
I know, I know. I wish I could tell you that it would be easy, and that I have all the answers for you lined up in all of my courses, and that if you just do one or two things, it'll all come together for you. I don't sell that. I won't sell that to you.
There's only the day in and day out work of continuing to refine your practice.
To show up when it feels hard.
To forgive yourself when you miss several weeks.
To have the courage to come back in when a few years slip by.
To be brave enough to start if you feel like you're "too old" or it's "too late."
To know that even if it worked well for years, that you may need to discover a new path at some point, and re-kindle the fire.
It's never too late to start. It's always the right time to begin.
Be kind to yourself, friends. That's the business skill that I think is missing right now.
Knowledge can be easy to collect, but true wisdom lies in taking a small step forward each and every day, doing the best we can, with what we have, and being kind to ourselves throughout it all. I'm more impressed by tiny daily acts of courage, than any big, broad-sweeping declaration or massive goal setting exercise.
This year, I've slowed down my podcast production just to make more space for writing—and even then, there are so many days when I falter.
Last week I was rocking a sick baby to sleep, because his cough was so bad he only wanted to sleep in my arms. My writing didn't get done.
But I'm back today, trying again.
And tomorrow, I'll do the best I can with what the day brings me.
So it is. The only thing I know how to do is to keep working on myself. The best place to apply what you know is in your own life. Your life's experiments and practices are your best teacher.
We don't always need more wisdom, or more books. We need the application of these insights to our lives, however imperfect and disorganized. We need people around us who are also going through similar challenges. We need kindness.
Do the best, with what you have, right now.
You all are doing incredible work. Keep going, however it looks. Don't be too discouraged—if you're showing up, trying, and experimenting, then you're doing the work.
With deep gratitude,