Or how I nearly ruined the thing I like most. I hope this is helpful, because I'm squirmy to talk about it.
It doesn't take long for people to notice this glaring truth about me. I think a lot. A lot.
I could think less about nearly everything I currently think about, but that's too much to ask of myself, so in particular I want to think less about work.
Hear me out.
As the owner of a business I think about what makes someone successful.
I read and watch interviews with solvers of the world's biggest problems looking for what stands out.
Sometimes, I even wonder, Why them?
Why are they making such an impact, why are media clamoring to get to them, and (let's be honest) why are they making more money?
No matter who the person is, the same answer hits me every time.
Successful people don't think about if they can do something, or what people will think if they do. It's not that they don't care, it's that they don't think about it.
The question I usually come to is, How is that even possible?
I'm really embarrassed about what I'm about to admit.
Right now, I probably spend half of my work time doing actual work, and the other half thinking about what people will think about it.
The math alone would tell me that I'm wasting up to 45% of my brain capacity on what has been proven, by all of the successful people I watch, is useless.
(I'm reserving at least 5% because sometimes you need to make a plan, do market research, or spell check. These can take other people into account in a very healthy, useful way.)
Did I mention that I'm embarrassed?
Because basically I just admitted to hobbling my chances of success on a regular basis.
I worry when should I blog, do I tweet enough, did I say the right thing, will I be understood? The list goes on. I bet some of you know what I mean. Not only is all of this second guessing taking up valuable work time, it's also preventing me from instinctively knowing the answers to any of these questions.
I have good instincts, as do you, and when I'm worrying/over-thinking I'm not listening to them. Worse, I'm treating myself like I don't have any instincts, or they aren't good enough to listen to.
I didn't realize just what a problem this is until I almost ruined hugging.
My #hugtour. I like hugging, I like that some people have even referred to me as The Hug Lady.
The first few Hug Tours in the spring of 2011 could be considered a case study for successful people. Oprah, Warren Buffet, and Bono doing what they do best, and Me hugging.
Why was I successful? Because I HUGGED PEOPLE!
I decided that I wanted to show people I love them, and that a hug was how I'd show them. Then I did that over and over again. Speeches and media interviews ensued.
At some point, probably June 2011, it hit me that people were watching. I was overwhelmed by the response -- in the best way possible. I felt seen. I felt like I was making a difference.
Then it took an unfortunate turn. I thought, I need to keep this going. I need a plan. I worried that I could get hugs wrong.
Well, that just takes all of the fun out of it, not to mention the generous loving. My interest waned and so did everyone else's.
What now? For one, I need to stop looking for the secret to success.
I know it already. We all do.
The original #hugtour came from sitting on my couch watching Maya Angelou on TV. When she said, "Give what you have to give," I let my instinct lead me to loving people and helping them love each other more. I found something I wanted to do, did it, and it worked.
That means the second thing I'll do is Do Something.
Not just anything. Do something I'm drawn to do, when I'm drawn to it.
Not doing things for the sake of doing them, or because I probably should.
When I hit on something great, keep going. Trust that "the plan" will work itself out without much over-thinking on my end.
If someday you see me in an interview, this blog post could be a turning point in my story.
That was the day I decided that things would be different.
That would be really, really cool.
But let's not think about that too much, shall we?