Do the Work: The Answers Come in the Doing and After it’s Done

Answers Ahead As I was reading back over my journal from about a year ago, I ran across this thought (I was writing about getting some specific projects done in my business that I’d been avoiding):

It’s slowly sinking in that I don’t have to be able to make complete sense of something to do it anyway.  I don’t have to rationalize it, explain it, or justify it to myself or anyone else.  I just have to get it done if I know on some level it’s what I want and need to do.  Maybe the answers come after it’s done.

Do you struggle to complete tasks or projects that you know you want to complete… because you feel like you’re missing a piece somewhere?  Or you can’t quite explain the entire idea yet?  Or you’re worried what others will think and whether they’ll be okay with it?

I’ve been stuck there.  Repeatedly.  But I’m getting past it faster now than I used to.  I’ve learned three things over the past year that have helped me.

1.  Learn as much as you can about yourself.

I need to see the “big picture” and understand the goal I’m working towards, then figure out all the little pieces that need to be in place to get to the big picture.  If I can’t see the big picture I get stuck.  I can’t figure out what goes where or, maybe more importantly, why it goes there.

How about you?

I’ve learned more about my own style of working and am conscious that the more I can help myself create the big picture, the better motivated I’ll stay to work towards it.

When you understand your internal and external motivations, you can more easily move yourself to get things done.

And when you identify the biggest fears and stopping points you have, you can get help to combat and move through them.

2.  Let go and have faith.

This may sound trite to some of you (others will get it right away), but it’s important.

Sometimes I have to let go, just do what I know to do, and trust that the pieces will fall into place.

If you don’t know what you’re looking for, relax and realize that when you’re ready for it the right resource or person will show up at the right time, or you’ll discover the right question to ask to find your answer.

Don’t wait until you can “see” how you’ll reach your goal to start working towards it!  Figure out your first step, or two, or three, and just get started.  As you do the work, each next step will get clear.

3.  Trust your mentors and coaches.

They can see the big picture, and I’m going to trust that because they’ve been there, they’ll guide me to what I need to do at the right time.

I used to question that (in my own mind, I tried not to argue out loud)… I’d wonder if they really understood where I was trying to get… or if that strategy or tactic or idea would really work for me… but… but… but… no wonder I wasn’t getting where I wanted to go as fast as I wanted to go!

It reminds me of the Martin Luther King, Jr. quote:

You don’t have to see the entire staircase, just take the first step in faith.

Sometimes the answers are hidden in the “doing”–so dive in and start doing the work you need to do.

Your Turn!

Do you journal  your thoughts around business and what you’re working through?  Do you look back through to see how far you’ve come, what’s changed, and what patterns you’re still stuck repeating?  Does it help you to keep momentum and keep moving forward?

Spread the Love


  1. Reading my notes from the past helps me to see where I remain stuck and what I’m avoiding. The other day I found a 20 year old list of things I wanted to do. Good news, I accomplished most of the things on the list, bad news, there’s one thing I keep putting on my list that never gets done. As recently as three years ago I attempted this feat, and it sits on my hard drive gathering dust, it’s my book. WOW!!! That’s a long time for a goal to sit on a list.

    I agree, if we wait for everything to be perfect before taking action, we’ll miss opportunities to learn, grown and amaze ourselves. Sometimes the knowing comes from the doing. Now I need to follow my own advice and get that darn book done.
    Adalia John recently posted… Will Your Start-Up Succeed?My Profile

    1. That is awesome! Do you know Flora Brown? She might be the answer to getting that BIG goal done. ;)

  2. Excellent Michelle. These are pretty much the things I’m working on right now. I tend to get stuck if I don’t have all the pieces aligned much like when I try to put a puzzle together.

    I like to separate the pieces (corners, colors, shapes) before even starting. My sister dumps the pieces on the table and just starts putting them together. I don’t like puzzles yet she loves them. :)

    Fear and self-confidence have been my biggest stumbling blocks in building a business. Fear of failure, of disappointing people, my self, my family and even fear of success. If I succeed at what I do I actually have to be accountable to people. Yikes.

    I used to journal all the time. My journals were read which violated that part of me and I haven’t been able to get myself to journal since. I know it’s needed because that part of me is suffocating and wants to be set free.

    What helps me is watching people I admire move past their fears. I see that they survived and it makes me want to take the step into the unknown, knowing that the next step will appear just in time.
    Sara recently posted… Second Edition of Hooking for Cash eBook is ReadyMy Profile

    1. Hey Sara, we have so much in common. (((hugs))) You might check out Penzu as a journal option, it’s got layers of security. I prefer paper and pen but for the same reasons I don’t journal that way. It’s a huge personal violation when someone does that without our permission. :(

      I have found that once I realize things like this about myself (needing the big picture), then I can also more easily stop, tell myself I can choose whether to need that or not, and just take it a step at a time. It helps. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… 3 Ways to Stand Out and Be an Awesome Guest BloggerMy Profile

  3. I have to admit I am not keeping a journal – maybe sometimes at the personal level, but not at all business-related. How do you go about that?

    1. Mine is pretty combined, to be honest. So much of moving forward in business is growing on a personal level that I don’t think I could separate it if I tried. I’ve got a journal with I write in.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… 10 Creative Ideas for Your Next Blog PostMy Profile

      1. Thanks for the reply! – I’ll have to check that out ;)

  4. I have an idea for an eBook that would be very helpful for women. I struggle with worrying that I have enough content for it and how to structure the chapters.

    1. Hey Nancy, thanks for sharing that here. My suggestion would be to start with a “mission” statement — what is the big result you want women to get out of your book. And then look at how you need to structure it and what to include to help them get that result. So it may be that you realize you need to end each section with an action step, or a reflective exercise, etc. And that there are X major ideas or concepts or steps they need to understand and follow. That’s how I’d figure out how to structure it. For content, know that more isn’t always better, but once you have your structure you can always add content with stories, illustrations, interviews, etc. So I’d run the outline by your coach/mentor or a few trusted colleagues for ideas there. Hope this helps! :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… 10 Creative Ideas for Your Next Blog PostMy Profile

    2. Nancy, in addition to what Michelle is saying, try not to worry so much. What if it works great? And if it doesn’t, you learn from it, adapt and improve for the next one ;)

      I am working on launching an ebook that’s very different than other books out there, to be honest I have no idea how it’ll turn out, but I’m doing it anyway! Good luck, wishing you great success!

  5. I definitely agree with the answers come after you get it done. I know now the second time I do something is going to be awesome, so I just need to get through that first time.

    As far as trusting your mentors and coaches? Well, only to a point. Try on what they say, definitely, but if it doesn’t work for you, then drop it. I’ve found a lot of people stick with the wrong mentors and coaches for years, sometimes decades, following advice that just sucks and doesn’t work for them. They think there is something wrong with them, when really they’re just following the wrong mentor. Misplaces trust can delay your success for a long time.
    Amethyst Mahoney recently posted… The Easiest Way to Make Your Webinar AWESOMEMy Profile

    1. LOL I like that – know you’ve got to just get through the first time.

      You know that’s totally true. The step I forgot was find the RIGHT mentor/coach to trust. ;)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Woo Your Readers with These 5 “Fall in Love” Types of ContentMy Profile

  6. Dear Michelle,

    Your point 1 and 2 both tie together for me. I’ve come to the point that I realize that I don’t always see the big picture, but I know that God does. I just have to be willing to take the risks necessary to do the things He leads me to do. Debbie Seiling
    Debbie Seiling recently posted… Is a Person a Christian Just Because They Say They Are?My Profile

    1. Love this reminder, Debbie, and I agree. We can’t see the big picture and sometimes it’s about trust and taking that first step and second step and fiftieth step in faith.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… How to Create a Tweet Circle to Get Your Blog Posts More TweetsMy Profile

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge