Hey, hey there bold leaders. Welcome to another episode of the Bold Leadership Revolution podcast. And today I’m excited because we’re talking about a topic that I get asked about quite frequently. It’s a whole conversation around the words ‘ease’, ‘easy’, and ‘hard’. Have you ever had someone say to you, “Let it be easy”? I believe this is a Danielle LaPorte truth bomb, and your brain seized up and you wanted to scream, “But it’s not easy!” Or do the conversations around doing less better leave you thinking, “Yeah, but how?” Or are you going through a hard season in life or business and feel deeply ashamed that you can’t let it be easy, or full of ease and flow? If you’re feeling any of these things, you’re not alone. And this podcast is an honest conversation around hard, ease, and easy, because I find these messages are getting confusing to decipher and aren’t portraying the full truth. We need to commit to conversation with more nuance and perspective as today’s marketing messages become hyper-polarized. Which is fine for a marketing message. But I want to move beyond the soundbites and go deeper to help others gain context and clarity. Let me be fully transparent on where I stand with hard, ease, and flow.
Let me be fully transparent on where I stand with hard, ease, and flow.
We, my husband and I, have been in a hard season in 2019. It started with his business and it spilled over into our personal lives. There were a lot of decisions that we needed to be making for my husband, and his business, as they navigate a lot of change and growth. And then we had some things happen in our personal life where lots of things on our house broke, and flooded, and required lots of money to fix and a lot of time and attention. And my husband had appendicitis in the beginning of the year, and my mom was recovering from having a stroke, and so things just didn’t feel terribly easy.
There was a lot of decision making. There was a lot of overcoming adversity. There was a lot of fear, a lot of anxious moments that we were facing in 2019. I 100% believe in creating ease through real practical business strategies that most people completely overlook. So I think that people freak out when they hear messages of ease and flow because they think it feels very airy, fairy and very nebulous. But I can tell you that there are actual, concrete, real practical business strategies that you can employ to create more ease in your business.
And thirdly, I believe that we have to be careful with letting things be easy and using the word easy. From my experience when we do what feels easy, it often makes things more difficult. Now I do understand that we, at times as human beings, mentally over complicate things and sometimes to cue ourselves to say let it be easy is helpful. What would be the easiest way to host the holidays this year? What would be the easiest way to make money right now? What would be the easiest solution to this problem that you’re over-complicating? I definitely understand that and that’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying we just need to be careful in how we’re using and looking at easy.
When I first started my blog in 2012, it was two years after we declared bankruptcy as a culmination of record, a really big huge business flop. And my reasoning for the blog was so that nobody ever felt alone in their day to day struggles. This philosophy continues to guide the work we do here at the Bold Leadership Revolution in that we want to provide business owners with a safe place to land on their worst days and a joyful place to come and share their greatest wins. In other words, we want you to bring your whole glorious and sometimes struggling self to your business and we will meet you where you’re at.
You will ride high when you’re realizing you’re living and working from your most authentic self while providing products and services that make others’ lives infinitely better.
The first way we do this is by acknowledging that running a business and being solely responsible for the money you make is hard. You will have worries and fears. You will have anxious moments and crushing self doubt. You will ride high when you’re realizing you’re living and working from your most authentic self while providing products and services that make others’ lives infinitely better. And you will feel the weight of ownership, and creating something out of nothing, and having to keep going day after day after day, putting one foot in front of the other. Now, the opposite of hard is easy and easy is a tricky space. Given the opportunity most people will take the easy way out, oftentimes making it way harder on themselves.
Let’s take an example of strategic planning. Most people don’t do it because it’s easier for them not to. They don’t know how it’s “too hard”. Planning makes them feel restricted so they do what they feel is easy and don’t plan except not planning makes things incredibly difficult. Here’s another place where easy kind of gets us turned upside down. When it comes to making money, so many times my clients make money and they think, “Gosh, this was so easy. It feels easy to make money doing what I love.” And then they have a freak out and try and make it hard.
When they think, “Gosh, that was so easy.” And that they should be earning money through lots of hard work, they actually are negating the effort that went into earning that income in the beginning. They’re feeling the end result being easy. They’re negating the planning, years of honing their craft, continual investments into themselves and their businesses, all the times that they showed up and were resilient in the face of ambiguity, uncertainty, and self doubt. The hours upon hours they spent training their brain to cross the bridge from fear to bravery. The initial risk they took to stop doing the thing they hated and started to do the thing they love. That actually took effort and now it’s easy.
Honestly, it’s pretty hard to do all of those things. I know this because as many people as I coach, there are still millions of people who choose not to align their work with their highest level of value and contribution, whether they work for themselves or somebody else. It’s easy to never have a difficult conversation with your boss about your strengths and how you could be adding more value to the company for fear they will not agree or reject your idea. When we do the hard thing upfront, everything else becomes easier, but we can’t first let it be easy.
Now say you’re a hardcore opponent to the term easy. How about swapping it out for ‘efficient’ or ‘effective’? How can I make money the most efficient way? How can I make money more effectively? We start to ask different questions then. How can we do hard things more efficiently? Or my favorite, how can we do this hard thing with greater ease? I believe ease is different than easy. The reason why ease is different from easy is because our brains resist easy. We can know and commit to working from our strengths. This brings ease. We can create a plan that takes everything we are thinking in our heads and puts it down on paper to create the mental space to be more strategic about our work. That brings ease. We can put ourselves in a regular inconsistent feedback loop like we do with our CEO debriefs, so we are always aware of the things that are working and feel like ease versus the things that feel hard and aren’t working.
We can know and commit to working from our strengths. This brings ease.
We can create this data for ourselves so we know what to do more of and what to do less of. We can stop focusing on the things that don’t bring us results or put our effort and energy into the things that do bring us a result. And a result doesn’t have to be tangible. It can be a specific feeling or a way of being as well as an outcome or a goal achieved. We can take the time to create a clear vision so we know where we’re going. Vision creates ease, but those things aren’t easy. It’s not easy to work from your strengths and to create a habit of a consistent feedback loop or to sit down and write out your vision in a way that compels you to take action. Now I have a real life example to kind of drive this point home around easy, and ease, and hard and all those things.
A few years ago I was in Vermont with my family. We realized we were heading back to New York on a Friday smack dab in the middle of summer traffic as people were heading out to the Hamptons. This is like Dante’s Inferno. This was not going to be good. So we put a plan together to avoid the traffic. It required us to book a spot on the ferry and commit to being at that ferry spot at a specific time. Now we had two kids, we didn’t know when they were going to need any potty breaks, we didn’t know when they might need to eat, so planning this took effort. It took us planning out what time we were going to leave, what rest stops we were going to hit, when we were going to hit them to get to that ferry on time. When we got on the ferry and we got to the destination, then we bypassed all the traffic.
Now the easy thing to do would have been just to get in the car and see what happens. Just wing it, right? How many times have you just said, “It’s easy. Let’s just wing it.” Right? The harder thing to do was make the plans, make the arrangements, make sure that we were at the rest stops at the right time, and really monitor the traffic and our timing getting to the ferry. But once we got on the ferry, we cruised home in 20 minutes. We had ease in our journey. We didn’t hit traffic once, but we did not make the easy choice. We did not make the choice to wing it and see what happens.
So here’s some key takeaways from this conversation. Ease does not mean easy. It means being efficient, focused, and strategic in deciding what works for you. A result doesn’t have to be tangible. It can be a way of feeling, of being as well as a number or a specific outcome. Working to your strengths the majority of the time is hard and it takes a lot of effort to stay focused, but the payoff is huge. It will bring you ease and most people will take the easy way, which makes it harder on themselves. A bold leader does the work in finding ease.
Ease does not mean easy. It means being efficient, focused, and strategic in deciding what works for you.
I would love to know what your key takeaway was from this podcast episode, so head on over to the ‘Gram and share it with us. You can tag me, I’m @thetaranewman. I often share lessons learned on this podcast. It’s one of my favorite things to be able to do and I’m able to do this because of a strong commitment I have to radical self reflection. This commitment means that every week I’m looking at what’s happening in my business and in my life. The good, the bad, and yes, occasionally the ugly. Doing this work allows me to look at my months and even my years with real data, even for the less tangible parts of my business and life. I call these weekly meetings CEO Debriefs and I do them twice per month inside The BRAVE Society. We do them together.
I have pulled together some of these highlights from CEO debriefs that I’ve done inside of BRAVE and I’m sharing the best of the best with you. You might’ve heard a couple of these on the podcast, but I want you to take it a step further and feel what it’s like to do these with us inside of The BRAVE Society. So head on over to the my show notes and sign up now to receive 10 CEO Debrief Questions you will want to ask yourself. Plus listen in on some of the most popular shares that I’ve made. Listening to someone else’s debrief is a great way to find the language for what you’re experiencing, get a concrete example of radical self reflection, and learn how to grow your business because it’s oftentimes not what we think.
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Special thanks goes to Stacey Harris from Uncommonly More who is the producer and editor of this podcast. Go check them out for all your digital marketing and content creation needs. Be sure to tune into the next episode to help you embrace your ambition and leave the grind behind.
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