I have a life coach and she’s wonderful. Lots of people ask me what life coaching is and that’s probably a question best left to her. I would describe it as “therapy with action items” except that therapy is a lot more touchy feely, and this is waaay more action oriented. I leave our sessions armed with confidence and direction–whereas I enter them most of the time feeling pulled in infinite directions and listless.
Today we had a harder session. As my life coach, she is privy to all my current plans and happenings. She knows the extent of my desires to be an internet celebrity and a talk show host, and she has watched me falter time and time again over the past 18 months as I have been slowly building a foundation for success. When I’m in my more darker moments I can be very hard on myself for how long the process has taken, but ultimately, that’s where I am. I could beat myself up forever, but that is a debilitating mindset and one I try to escape whenever possible.
Today, though, she had to wake me up. She said, “You’re living in your imagination!” And it’s really true. In my imagination I have a retail space, a team to work with and a back room for filming. I get to talk and laugh with people all day. In real life, I’m stuck here in my living room/office laboriously building the foundation for my success.
In my imagination I’m writing a soap opera novel (as well as an autobiography titled “Adventures of a Super Sponge Saleswoman“). In the soap opera, one of my characters is (SPOILER ALERT) afflicted with optimism. I say afflicted, because in this case, it really is a debilitating illness. But the audience doesn’t realize this…they, like she, believe that she is intensely successful at whatever career she has. She’s so successful (and paranoid enough) that she starts hoarding duffel bags of cash in her closet. It’s only years later that we discover that the bags are filled with scraps of paper… she was never successful, never had any money to hoard, but was so blindly positive that the very scraps of paper looked like cash to her.
There was something about this life coaching session today that made me think of this character. It’s such a sad fate for her, and I find it funny that one day I thought this was such a great story arch that I wrote it down on a slip of paper to be filed in my “Soap Opera Novel” file. Today it feels too sad to ever be part of one of my projects.
There’s a lesson for me here, in the fate of my character. As I stoke my fire of optimism (a necessary ingredient to being a successful entrepreneur!) , I will remember that imaginary bags of cash won’t do me any good in the long run, as imaginary videos, blogs and businesses also won’t. The worst blog entry in the real world puts all the blog entries in my imagination to shame. Similarly, going out and promoting a website for a business that needs a little work will help me infinitely more than spinning my wheels as I search for the perfect phrasing and look.
As my old friend John Rosenberg of Hella Fresh Theatre says, “the best is the enemy of the good.” I’d just add that imagination can fuel or stifle productivity, and sometimes it’s hard to notice which side of the line you’re on.