Prototyping Life

I’ve always loved the idea of systems and routines. I’ve mentioned before (not that anyone is reading this lol) that I have a history of buying notebooks, planners, books, tools – fully intending to totally transform my life overnight. That’s how it works, right?

For a long time, the systems I tried didn’t work at all – I’d buy all the things, excitedly put things in place, and immediately abandon them. That could mean something like designing a planner, printing it, punching the holes, filling the binder …and then never using it, not one time.

Back before covid chaos, I was using a bullet journal daily – the same basic spread daily. It worked! Until life threw that big, conspiracy-filled wrench into all of our lives. I’ve been talking a lot with my friend about what systems should be, and what we create instead. The systems I’ve used have worked, until they didn’t.

We need systems that work when life falls apart. They don’t work at all if they only work when things are going according to plan, when we are perfect. They need to be simple and streamlined enough that the system itself does not become its own task, onerous and dreaded.

A few months ago, my grandma gave me a plastic box of old, yellowed index cards. I had no idea what to do with them, so I set them in a random place in my house and ignored them, until one day I needed to scribble out a note to myself, and grabbed one. Over the next few weeks, I found myself repeatedly reaching for them any time I needed to write something out. It’s a small amount of space, there’s no commitment, I can doodle, scrawl, scratch out, toss it in the trash, cut it up, stick it on my wall, carry it in my pocket.

These little index cards freed me from the pressure I always felt with a notebook or planner, especially a new planner. Nothing scarier than that first touch of ink to a clean book. It’s against my religion to mar the first page, at all.

After a few weeks of index cards, I noticed that things had fallen into a rhythm and that tempted me, and I followed. I wrote down the “schedule” for my life, I didn’t make it up, it’s what we were doing! Surely it will work, it’s loose, it’s easy. Ha.

Life shifted, as it always does. I panicked briefly, lost sleep, felt like a failure – then I remembered that I am learning, and I can adapt. The first problem was that I was not waking up at my preferred 5am – and this sent my day into a tailspin. I could just adjust my entire day, in theory, based on when I actually got up. However, my brain is a stubborn little shit, and I needed to trick it into feeling like it was supposed to be based on when I rose, that I was not supposed to wake up at 5am religiously.

Enter the Prototype V1

The first adaptation of the system was building the flexible wakeup time into it. I spent about an hour creating a little index card “book,” figuring it all out – I made a slider, so I could pull the tab out and just start my day based on when I woke up. I knew it was a test, so I did it pencil, with tape, sloppily cutting out the pieces that I needed. The shifted schedule was built in, surely this would work! I amuse me.

A few things happened next. First, I started making plans with people, during times that were already spoken for, because every hour was spoken for with the time blocked system. I started falling behind as I tried juggling and bending to make things fit. The system only worked if I closed myself off from the world.

I also found myself getting caught up in one project or another, and struggling big time with transitions. The system could not account for being immersed, for days when I wanted didn’t want to move on. Then there were other days when I had all the energy and motivation, but I had no idea where to focus it – so those loose chunks of time didn’t help, I didn’t know how to fill them, so I would waste my time spinning my wheels instead. I was also keeping too many balls in the air, so I often felt pulled in multiple directions, overwhelmed, and not feeling like I was actually finishing anything.


This is an important stage to improving a system. You can’t scrap it, start again, or build on it, without first knowing what is wrong. I took a step back and really pondered what wasn’t working.

  1. Nothing was truly flexible
  2. There was no room for my whims, whether that was lunch with a friend, or wasting my day drawing a lady
  3. It needed something that balanced longer-term, big picture goals with the daily whims, that helped me maintain momentum and direction

From past systems, I knew that it could not be hidden, so it couldn’t be a notebook or digital. More than anything, it needed to be simple, taking only a few minutes to manage, and it should fit into the routines that I do have pretty solidly developed.

The most straight forward solution seemed to be a board, like the morning boards found in classrooms everywhere. I want to stick with my daily index card. It works, it’s adaptable, I don’t feel bad if a day doesn’t need it or allow for it – which was always such a big road bump in past systems, one day could snowball so quickly. I needed a board for the bigger picture items, to keep me on track. I opened illustrator and scribbled out a basic workflow that I needed, let it marinate over night – and today we are here.

Prototype V2

The biggest lesson I’ve taken from the past few months is that I need to stop over-committing to systems (and hobbies, and daydreams) because they seem like they should work. Stop buying all the things, stop investing my time & energy in something untested, or based on what “should be” instead of what actually is. So I grabbed stuff I had on hand, put no effort into making it pretty. Instead I focused on the functionality of the system – does the set up phase work? Can I do this once a month? Yes. It was quick, easy, and enjoyable.

The Breakdown

The Idea File

In my summer bucket list, I mentioned that I need to figure out my ideas system – and I knew that could be stage one of the workflow, a repository of nuggets & threads – places I want to go, things I want write about, art to experiment with, things to research, etc. I pulled out the box of index cards my grandma had given me, the cover broken off, yellowed with age. Perfect, stage one. On my monthly planning day, I can flip through this file and pull anything that catches my eye, things I’d like to prioritize in the month to come. I can jot down ideas anywhere, as I have index cards available – and they can be filed during my normal processing times.

The Monthly Intentions

Once a month, I want to sit down and really focus on my intentions for the month, create a small vision board, and pull together the projects I want to build on. I’d like to cut back on starting new projects (other than client work, of course) in the middle of the month, trusting that I can pick it up in the next month. This is not a hard and fast rule, I know that sometimes I will need to pull a thread immediately, see what unfolds. I want to practice setting things aside until later, however, and keeping focus on the projects I have in progress already.

The Weekly Goals

On Sundays, during my routine weekly prep time, I can pull the projects out of the monthly section, and into the weekly. This tells me that they are my top areas of focus for the week – so on those days when I have no idea where to focus my energy, it’s already decided.

The Daily Card

This is the one that has the most flexibility, and in observing how things have been going in the past month, I learned a big lesson. I like hyper-focus, I love the feeling when I lose myself to a project, surrender to what shows up. I also realized that even though I felt amazing in that work, there was a growing anxiety as other things were neglected. How can I create space for whims, for indulgence, without that feeling of failure?

Each day, I will feel out what I’m being pulled to do, what I’d love to lose myself in. I’ve been practicing this for the past few days, and it works well so far. Once I know what that thing is, I can think about the other things I want to accomplish that day. Those things come first. This has a double benefit – I move more easily in the other tasks or projects, more focused and relaxed, because it feels good to be choosing them. I also know that I will get to do the other thing later, instead of trying to force myself to stop in the middle, or feeling bad for not being able to.

The daily card (as it has been for a while) will be done during my morning routine, along with my daily tarot spread, reading, and drawing exercises. I can refer to my weekly goals to help me identify my priorities and plan my day.

The Documentation

I want to be sure that I am sharing what I am doing, that I am not just tucking things away to collect dust. So when I complete a project, they move from the weekly section, and into the done & document section – for now, that is blog posts. Eventually, I’d like it to be videos on Tik Tok. I’m working towards that behind the scenes right now. So the documentation is really a second task list of projects I can be working on, like this blog post!

The Accomplishment

Obviously, I just threw this board together, and I have not yet “crossed anything off” – but after I have documented a project, it will move to a final section, that shows me all I have pulled off in the month, so I can analyze, and so I can celebrate.

This is an experiment, it may not work, at all. I can think of a million ways to improve the design of it, make it pretty – the board definitely needs to be bigger. But that is the point of the prototype, it isn’t a final version, it’s not supposed to be perfect, it needs to be functional so I can figure out if it works, and make adjustments based on what does not work. This is concept that can be applied, that I hope to apply, to so many areas of life – focusing first on what actually works, what we actually need, and not on how it looks. I’m not chasing Pinterest perfect, I’m seeking solutions that will help me live my life with more calm, more connection, more freedom to follow my own curiosity.

A Place for Everything

In 2016, thousands of people downloaded planners I had designed. I couldn’t use the planners myself, I was only good at organized thinking in theory. In practice, I couldn’t maintain a simple intentional habit to save my life. How many planners, notebooks, systems have I purchased only to forget they exist within days?

I started really pushing into habit development around then, but it wasn’t until 2018 that I was able to implement and diligently maintain a daily practice. For a time – but then something would happen, a minor roadbump, a major depression – and the habit was abandoned. I’ve been struggling to reestablish habits since the beginning of the lockdowns, which threw me completely off course. I could manage for a few days, but overwhelm would set in.

In March I started taking meds for (previously undiagnosed) ADHD – the immediate effects were amazing, I started experiencing life in a brand new way, free of the fog, exhaustion, and pure chaos that was my constant. Then I adjusted to the meds, and those benefits started slowly slipping away. We upped the dose, and after the same outcome, we took a bigger leap up. In May, I started at 60mg, which is still lower than the Vyvanse ceiling, and still avoiding Adderall, which admittedly scares me a bit.

It’s been three months. Three months of calmly and blissfully putting things in order, cleaning up 36 years of disorganized existence. Almost every day I wake up smiling, ready to embrace whatever the day has for me. Some days are still gloomy or unmotivated, and those days are powerful – because I am still capable of functioning, still able to manage my thoughts and not spiral into anxiety, and able to remember clearly that it’s just a day, and tomorrow will be good again.

All of that was not really the point of this post – such a rambler.

One of the things I’ve been able to do is adjust my thinking about routines and organization – something I’ve been in a lifelong struggle to master. I realized that so much of what I’d tried to create in the past was built around the Pinterest-worthy systems of should. I wanted things to be pretty and perfect – but that’s not how I function, that is not who I am. I’ve instead begun to adapt systems to how I actually think and live. I will talk a lot about that here.

I’ve come down to the core concept of containers to manage systems, and it is being applied in all areas of life. Yes, it makes sense if we are talking about tangible (or digital) items – but this concept is also applied to the less tangible thoughts, habits, relationships. A place for everything, and everything in its place.

I think my favorite, and obvious, container solution I have implemented is an inbox & processing system for all things. For so long I would spend hours creating a perfectly organized system for something, and then when I was actually doing a task I would forget the system existed. I would create a file structure for saving documents, but when I was actually working I didn’t want to spend the extra 30 seconds finding where it went, and I was focused on the next thing – so it just went wherever it landed. There are some areas where I have built processing into the routine, no longer allowing myself to put it off – putting away laundry is the best example. But for most things, I’ve created spaces (inboxes) for things to be processed when I am in processing mode. Rocks collected, bookmarks, files downloaded, photos taken, items purchased. There is a place for everything, including the things out of place.

One thing I still need to develop a system for is how to manage my ideas, which I am more full of than ever. Part of all of the system creation I have been doing is also tackling the messes of the past – and with the ideas system, I plan on sorting through the piles of notebooks, multiple google doc accounts, and very likely even old messages with my best friend. Out of curiosity, I did a quick search of our Facebook messages – over 400 instances of “I have an idea” – how many were immediately forgotten or abandoned? Most.

As a person who loves to be spontaneous and live according to my whims, I believe deeply in systems. Having systems in place that support your lifestyle, and the simple functions that are involved with living, you have more time and freedom to do whatever the hell you want. For me, it’s not about rigidity, rather it allows for more stress-free adaptability. When I know everything is taken care of, it’s not a big deal if things don’t go according to plan. I know nothing will get out of control, and I have a roadmap back to order.

The sites that I am currently building (I am hoping to launch this week!) are another system, for the less tangible. For so long I thought of my website as a finished thing, that I just needed to build it and they would come. In reality, I never used my websites, I always hated them as soon as they were done, and nobody ever (not ever) found me through them, it’s not why they existed. They existed because I thought they should – you just should have a website if you are an entrepreneur. The ability to give a web address to someone, plug it into my profiles, was the only real benefit.

Now, however, I see them totally differently. I see them as freedom – I get to just create, to do the work I love, and I am building the containers (websites) and systems to help me organize and share that work, instead of letting it collect dust tucked away in a forgotten folder.

Everything feels so wildly different these days. I am so excited for all aspects of life.

There is this really rough phase between starting and succeeding. I mentioned in an earlier post that we need to stop glorifying the hustle – but that the hustle is a necessary phase. My hustle phase was either 15 months or 32 years, depending on who you ask. It took me a while to learn that there is a place beyond the drown/struggle/hustle cycle, and another good bit of time to figure out how to get there. 

This period of my life looked like all kinds of ugly (and a lot of beautiful, too. We’ll get to that) – I struggled through abusive relationships, homelessness, mental illness, single parenthood, poverty, and just plain being a bitch ass loser. I struggled as I ran businesses that, despite my absolute obsession with business, I couldn’t quite get over the hump. They sustained us, but just barely. I was not hustling – I was only struggling. It wasn’t a business problem, it was a me problem.

Fast forward to January of 2016. I had been struggling hard for a few months. Baling water, slipping under, coming up for deep breaths and a glimpse of the sun – only to feel the water creeping up to my eyes again. I did one little thing, meant to be temporary, meant to be a rope to help me cling to my capsized and holey boat. It turned out to be a brand new boat, with two shiny paddles. Enter Hustle.

For a while there I was spinning in circles, just happy to be afloat. Just happy to be in control. Just happy to be dry and hustling. Pretty soon my arms got tired AF and I realized I wasn’t going anywhere. I noticed all of the boats knocking against each other around me, spinning in their circles, not getting anywhere. Every once in a while, I would catch a glimpse of someone floating by, seemingly carefree. Who are those assholes?!? Why are they are lucky?!

I started creepin. Listening in from the corners of Facebook groups I felt I had not one damn bit of business being in – because these were real people. These were people who had shit figured out. They had nice hair and nice clothes and nice families and nice fluffy bank accounts. They even had life insurance, guys. They had wreaths on their front doors, which is like the ultimate fucking indication that Inside This Home, Real Thriving Shit-Together Adults Reside. But I creeped and I started learning about what life can look like. Oooooh my dear was it beautiful and unattainable. 

I was poor from poor people who snuggle up to their poorness and wear it as a badge of honor. We struggle. We are proud of our struggle. We got that gumption man. We are born of sticktoitiveness and something else we won’t call desperation, but it is. We hustle and claw and feastfaminefeast and dream of the day that winning lottery ticket will be ours. This is who I am. I am not the Hamptons and Key West and your $3500 drumming circle on a private beach in Cabo. I am my car out for repo and expired tabs. I am that hot pink electric shut off notice hanging from a crooked doorknob.

But I want to be more.

But I want to be more.
But I want to be more.


How that statement began to impact my life was crazy – and scary. I felt I was more but I had no idea how to be more. Money started showing up, more money than I had ever made, so fast I couldn’t even take time to process what was happening. Do you know what happens when you are your poverty and suddenly you’re above the poverty line because people are throwing money at you? Do you know what happens when you go from hoofing it with four kids to the grocery store to stretch your last $20 in food stamps on something to feed everyone for a week….to buying a car for cash, virtually overnight?

You lose your sense of self. Your identity, in fell swoop, is gone. 

I knew I wanted to be more. I could see other people being more. I just couldn’t bridge the gap between who I was and what “more” might look like for me, the perpetually struggling Mich. The fuckup loser that is endearingly broken and flaky and can always be counted on for a good pipedream. This is who I am. So, what is a fuckup loser to do when they double their annual income in six weeks?

Burn it down, bitches.

I’ve always known I was a pro at self-sabotage, but holy damn did I impress myself with my ability to completely screw myself over. First, I spent every dime. Then I drove my business into the ground. Then, I sunk into a depression so deep and dark I didn’t think I would ever climb back out of poverty, or self-loathing, or fuckupitude. 

We’re not going to spend a lot of time on that, maybe another post we’ll dive into the Year of Darkness. Right now…I’ll just say, it sucked, but I committed myself to self care, mindset work, and letting it happen. So I climbed out, inch by inch, day by day, rock by rock. That’s another post, too. 

When I was out, I looked around and realized that somehow…the world had changed, and in that nasty dark hole…I had changed, too. I climbed out more. Comfortable in the fact that maybe I could belong in the keys, or the hamptons, or maybe even the drumming circle on a private beach in cabo. Comfortable with the idea that I could make, and even not spend, 100k a year, or more. Comfortable in thing that had left me a shell shocked and horrified ghost the year before – maybe, just maybe, I could have all of this without struggling. Without hustling every minute to still feel inadequate and undeserving. 

So I came back in 2018, after a full year of my life mortified, hiding in shame and fear. I came back finally ready, equipped with lessons and insight. The first lesson was to abandon hustle. Completely. I would not, for any reason, go back to 80 hour weeks in exchange for 2k months. No sir.

Somehow, the bills are being paid. Debts are being paid. I work fewer than 30 hours a week, with clients that show up and are amazing and push me to do better work than I’ve ever done. We are getting ready to finally get back to a life we have been fighting for over the past 2.5 years…because I gave up the fight. I learned to set my intentions and allow the flow of my intention to carry us toward my desired outcome. 

The Glorification of Busy

Why do we do it? Is the success we envisioned really about working well into the night, every night, for the rest of our lives? Is that what we really wanted when we daydreamed about taking back our lives, or becoming adults who can do whatever they want. To hustle?

Do you know what hustle means? It means desperation. It means you have to keep frantically paddling to move in the direction you want to go, desperately trying to reach whatever finish line you have painted for yourself. But here’s the thing – it never comes. Because you’ve glorified the paddling. You’ve glorified the long nights and the working lunches and the overwhelm and the fifteen perfectly synced social media accounts. Damn it feels good to be a hustler, baby.

And yea. Yippie. You’re no longer in the water, you’re no longer drowning in financial distress, or job dissatisfaction, or self-loathing…but if you slow down you might just capsize that shit and be right back where you started: wet and sad. 

You know what feels really damn good? Drifting. Throwing the fucking paddles overboard, kicking back, feeling the sun…and breathing. Going with the flow. Trusting it to carry you where you intend on going…at a pace that allows you to feel amazing in THIS moment. A pace that means you get to enjoy this moment. Instead of forever chasing a tomorrow when maybe you can finally soak up the sun. And without tired jello arms. Without bags under your eyes and a million people strong “network” of people who don’t know you for shit, who smile a crooked, crazed smile at you as they hustle past you in their own boats, shouting across the void that is your mutual existence….hey wanna buy some lipstick? Will you eat this pill, you fatty? Look at my pumpkin spice cappuccino. Please? #dathustletho

Look…the hustle is necessary. Hustling when you’re building something is amazing and it is usually what it takes to make something amazing happen. Hustle & Gumption. (2022 Mich here to say nope, turns out, that was wrong. It’s never necessary) But we get there, we build the thing, and we just get stuck in the hustle. We don’t create systems that will allow us to mine peace and freedom from all of that hustling. We don’t use the hustle to lay a foundation that will become flow

10 Tips for Moving Beyond Hustle and into Flow

  1. Raise your prices, good lord, please. Why do I even need to say it. Do you even math, bro? You can’t charge $20/hr and make 6,000 a month (and see point 2) and expect to not die…literally die, of exhaustion and not being able to take a proper shit. Not literally, sorry, I’m excitable. 
  2. Get real about money. Get past your childhood and your bullshit baggage and recognize that 10 year olds are walking around with $600 phones, in $100 shoes. Your idea of what a “lot of money” is …it’s flawed, my friend. You’re stuck to your craigslist pleather couch because you can’t afford air conditioning, so I mean…I get it. But get unfuckingstuck. Look around the world and recognize that your poverty is not a reality that should be limiting you. 
  3. Set a damn schedule. Office hours. A start time that allows you to brush your teeth and wash your dirty bits and maybe even shovel some warm food into your head. Maybe even meditate and do fancy stretching things. Schedule a quit time, and then fucking quit. Treat yourself like an employee you really don’t want to pay overtime for. Go to a movie alone, or on a date, or fly a kite with your kids. 
  4. Speaking of employees – hire someone. Hire out those tasks that make you want to gouge your eyeballs out with a dirty spoon. Train someone to be you in your business – so that when your child goes all exorcist on you, you’re not like hold plz bb, mommy needs to go make someone custom nipple tassles. 
  5. Create passive income streams. Sell your knowledge. You know shit that other people don’t know, things they want to know. E-courses, webinars, podcasts, e-books…those are just the basic means of disseminating knowledge. Information sells. Know how to design cutesy little characters in illustrator? Upload your designs on RedBubble, CreativeMarket, CafePress and any of the million other easy peasy platforms that do the work for you. There are so many ways for you to make money in your underwear…figure out what you love and work from there.
  6. Recognize yourself for the badass that you are. Stop selling yourself short. Stop limiting yourself. Stop turning to dry sources and asking them to fill you up. Stop surrounding yourself with people and things that don’t make you feel good, and challenged, and inspired. 
  7. Create an exit strategy for the hustle. Map that shit out so you know where you should be, when. So that you know when you will be tossing the paddles and declaring yourself entering flow-mode. Do you want to be working sixteen hour days, still, eight years into your business? So you kept your business afloat with desperate paddling, and you miss your baby’s first steps and last bedtime story… does that really feel like success? 
  8. Quit bragging about the hustle. Stop pretending it feels good…look. Look. You’re almost always talking to other entrepreneurs when you say it. Why do we do it? We all know the truth. That we are tired. That a bubble bath and watching six hours of Buffy sounds amazing. We miss leaving our shitty job at the end of the day and being done – and no, we wouldn’t trade it. We wouldn’t go back – but we don’t have to fake it. It’s ok to be real about the fact that this sucks ass. We only need to glorify it if we don’t believe it will ever end. If it’s temporary…own it. Own the reality of it. Own the fleetingness of sucksville. We can love what we do and not love that we are doing it every waking moment just to barely stay afloat.*
  9. Stay current on systemization tools that will help you cut out steps and create more efficient workflow and better experiences for your customers or clients.
  10. Let go. Some of you may already be able to move past hustle and into flow-  but you’re terrified, or a workaholic, or a control freak. Let go of that shit, man. Just let go and let yourself flow. If you just love it – really, profoundly feel contented with living to work, madly in love with the hustle. Forget everything I said – why are you even reading this. It’s ok that this isn’t for you

The Illusion of Productivity

What does spinning your wheels and practicing the illusion of productivity look like? What does it mean for your business?

I have had a lot of personal practice in the art of not moving forward. Sometimes we don’t know what to do, or what we need to do is so overwhelming that we stick to the things that are familiar – even when we know they don’t work! Even more often, I believe we are so deeply afraid of success that we keep ourselves mired in the comfortable and predictable. It can be scary to break free! 

Even so, consciously I know you want to start breaking walls, your own limitations, and out of the patterns you play out on a loop in your life. Recognizing and owning the habits that are not serving you is a key first step. So let’s break down some of the ways it manifests! 

✓ Not being “ready” to start – engaging in prolonged periods of education and research. You have started to notice the information you are consuming is starting to feel like a broken record, because you know your shit, but you still don’t trust yourself!

✓ Endless “tweaking” of your branding, website, pricing, photos, copy, or message. Tweaking is a great way to hone your offerings! However, it should be done from a point of understanding. That means you have tested and acquired feedback or results that inform your new direction. Making changes without new information is just not knowing what else to do, or being afraid. 

✓ Engaging in marketing activities that have proven themselves as totally ineffective, or low performers. Are you dropping links in every possible place, without considering if they will hit your target? Are you posting endlessly in groups where you get “validating” engagement but little-to-no actual leads/sales? 

At this point I also want to mention things like ladders, like for like, and facebook games. Algorithms decide when to actually show your posts to your followers based on a measurement of how many followers you have and how often they engage. If you have inflated followers who are not interested in your brand, algorithms see that you are not interesting to your followers, and not worth showing! These types of activities are not only ineffective, they are actually hurting you.

✓ Occupying spaces filled with peers, instead of finding and engaging with your true market. 

✓ Latching onto gurus who tell you, directly or indirectly, that you can’t succeed if you don’t do things their way or hire them. There are as many paths to success as their are people dreaming of it. Trust yourself first. 

✓ Playing small. Every single person is spectacular in their own ways. I truly believe our world would be a better place if we all honored and lived fully in our personal power and let ourselves SHINE. You’re a pretty big deal, stop pretending. 

✓ Accepting bad sales. These are sales that undervalue the time, effort, experience, and the heart you pour into your work. They may also be sales filled with red flags, clients or customers you know are out of alignment, but accept out of desperation or low confidence.

✓ “Investing” in low end services, education, or assistance that ends up costing you more in the long run. There is a common line of thinking that says, “I will invest real money in my business when it proves it can be successful” – ignoring that investing can help us get that success sooner.

✓ Jumping off bridges with your friends. This is often connected to gurus, again, but so often you can predict that a guru has spoken when suddenly you see businesses making identical announcements and changes at once….and then reversing them days, weeks, or months later when they realized they didn’t think it through. 

There are people who might read this and think, “well fuck, this is literally all I do” – and yea. That’s why you’re stuck AF, my friend. You’re just wasting your time and setting yourself up to fail! Knock it off. 

What do you do instead of these things? Well, it depends on your business! It depends on your market and where you are stuck. There absolutely is not a single one-size-fits-all answer. 

My usual suggestions are:

✓ Clarify your market, message, and brand – once and for all (do you know how many people are trying to sell their work without ever even taking this step?!)

✓ Establish yourself as an expert in something relevant to your work that you care deeply about

✓ Push yourself outside of your comfort zone. If you feel safe and comfortable – shake it up somehow.

✓ Stop accepting your limiting beliefs as reality. Get a no bullshit friend or coach who will slow your roll and give you a big dose of what is real.

✓ If you catch yourself complaining, ground yourself in gratitude, and then take steps to change what you’ve damn well been complaining about for the past however many months.