By now my intention to send this weekly has been shot out of the window and eaten by a hungry magpie. And yet, I am numbering each missive to you anyway. Thanks for staying on my list!
There’s a good reason, though. Perhaps the best reason.
It’s also the reason why I believe that there are some stages in life that people should just be totally excused from work if they wish.
The one I’m in right now is growing another person.
Yup, I’m pregnant. No, we weren’t trying. No, we never had kids on our radar ever. But hey, it turns out we don’t make mistakes, just happy accidents!
I firmly believe that pregnant women shouldn’t have to work; that it ought to be optional. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to concentrate on, well, anything while being seasick 24 hours a day, or so tired you feel like you’re moving through treacle and could sleep for your country (even while sleeping eleven hours a day), but honestly it’s just easier to let some things go.
Like these letters to you. :)
Nevertheless, it’s been a fantastic lesson so far.
You’ve probably gathered that I’m quite an organised, effective person. Having taken a business from nothing to 7 years (it’ll be 7 in September), regardless of its size, is a massive achievement for anyone. It’s helpful to be super organised. I’ve never yet met someone who is disorganized or frizzy who was successful in business without major help.
So, as a planning kind of person, I’m being taught in the most direct way possible to stop knowing.
Every day, for me right now, is different.
And then throw in a see-saw of an economic situation right now, and a shift to the way people are thinking about life, and society, and how they earn a living, and every day there is different too.
It strikes me that the concept of don’t-know mind, which some Buddhists refer to as beginner’s mind, is actually the most useful concept to hand right now.
What will I do with my clients while I’m on maternity leave? Don’t know.
Will I keep the business running once bubs comes along? Don’t know.
What am I going to feel like eating (if anything) today? Don’t know.
Will I be able to stay up past 7 pm? Don’t know.
Can “normal” be a thing, ever again? Don’t know.
What will come of our new publishing imprint? Don’t know.
Haha, yes, in the midst of all this madness I’ve decided to go headfirst back into publishing.
When you approach your world with don’t-know mind—even your business world—it is immensely freeing.
Recently, we soft-launched a new publishing imprint of Brutal Pixie, which is Sunrise Books. It’s not going to be the last one, either; I have a number of others in the pipeline, each with different missions, visions, and intentions.
There are a bunch of reasons why I’ve done that.
Firstly, the opportunity came to me, rather than me chasing it. So saying ‘no’ would have been ridiculous. Secondly, I adore publishing and developing writers, and believe it’s the best work in the world. And thirdly, publishing is the kind of work you can do even when there isn’t an immense amount of time in which to do it (which probably says a lot about my capabilities, truth be told).
Fundamentally though, we never know what’s going to happen in any moment from now. So why not say yes to it?
Is it going to be a success? Don’t know.
The very act of planning is an act of control. Literally all it does is prepare your mind to focus on the correct things. Beyond that, a plan is nothing more than a task list. This is why coaches like Jim Fortin, Mike Dooley, and others, talk so much about becoming the right person. It’s not just that you have to Do a thing; it’s that you have to Be a way. Once you are that Way, you’ll be more successful at what you Do.
I guess, then, the question is, if I am in Beginner’s Mind, and I Don’t Know, what does that mean for the Way I am being?
Open. That’s what it means.
The translation is that you’re open to whatever comes your way, rather than being so focused on Path 1 that you miss the beauty of stumbling into Path 2 by mistake.
For many years, I’ve been saying to people that running a business is really a spiritual activity. Right now I’m seeing people’s spirits shine front and centre. Some are wrapped in fear, doing everything from the perspective of survival and anxiety. Others are shining with curiosity and doing things they would never normally do.
So it is with me. Because I don’t know what today is going to bring; and I don’t know anything much about business and life beyond today. But what I do know is that it’s ok to not-know.
In not-knowing, I can be comfortable with whatever comes my way.
How are you not-knowing in your world today?