Marie Forleo introduction


I'm Marie

You have gifts to share with the world and my job is to help you get them out there.

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Yesterday, I was on the phone with a game changer.

She’s an author, speaker and long-time activist.

She’s attracted high profile supporters to endorse her work, and is about to launch full tilt into a book promo tour.

She called to get my insight on business strategy.

Specifically, she wanted ideas to help her organization make more money. So far, so good.

As she told me everything she had going on, a small knot began to form in my stomach. Why?

Because I recognized a deadly addiction in her, that I’ve seen in many entrepreneurs, including myself.

It’s the addiction to too many damn projects. And more specifically, the addiction to too many damn unfinished projects that aren’t making money.

This addiction, in turn, fuels one of the biggest sources of business stress in existence: overwhelm.

Self-generated, self-sustaining overwhelm.

Many successful women have a nasty habit of generating massive overwhelm by saying yes to too many projects without spending nearly enough time discerning exactly how those projects fit into their overall profit picture or their overall lifestyle picture.

Well-meaning, I’m-here-to-change-the-world-kind-of-women, in particular, struggle with this issue.

Here’s the deal. If you want a highly profitable business and you want to enjoy the sweet fruits of your labor, you’ve got to handle your addiction to too many damn projects.

The great news is that a few small changes in your approach will net you both immediate and long term results.

As a recovering too-many-damn-projects addict myself, here are four steps to get you started.

Step 1.   Know exactly what you want.

Do you know exactly what you want to create in your business?

How much revenue and profit you’d like to earn over the next 12 months?

From what products and or services you’d like to earn that?

Can you clearly and quickly articulate this to someone who could help you get there? If not, figure this out now.

I often tell my clients, “I can help you create whatever you want as long as you can clearly tell me what that is.”

Look. You’ve got genius in you.

If you’re one of those people locked in “Help – I don’t know what I want!” land, I promise that somewhere within you, you do.

Sometimes your true desires need to be coaxed it out.

Play, experiment, explore. Talk about it. Try different things on for size.

Write down your ideas. Refine them. Make what you want crystal clear.

And if you already know exactly what you want, HOORAY for you!

Keep it front and center at all times.

Step 2.   Be brutally honest about what it takes.

Get real with yourself on how much time, money and effort anything you say yes to actually takes to get done. Why?

Because most of us say yes to things before really thinking through exactly what we’re in for.

We chronically underestimate what it takes to complete projects.

Especially in terms of time, money and effort. All too often, we wind up overwhelmed and underfunded. Then we quit.

Or worse, we have a slew of partially complete, non-money making projects renting valuable space in our heads, our hard drives and our hearts.

Like any home renovation project, a good rule of thumb is that most business projects take much longer and cost way more than you initially thought.

Say yes with your eyes wide open.

Step 3.   Create white space.

I don’t know about you, but I find it near impossible to work when there’s clutter around. Any kind of clutter: physical, mental, emotional or psychological.

The fix?

Cultivate what I affectionately call white space.

Areas of your world that are open, clean, and simple.

Over the past four weeks I’ve been methodically clearing out every square inch of my physical and energetic life including my homes, my finances, my books, my calendar, my inbox, my refrigerator, my future projects, my computer files, my project list, my daily tasks, my systems and my yearly business goals.

Wanna see instant results?

Start with your physical environment.

Chose one physical area to clear out, like a closet, and go to town.

Don’t stop until you can’t possibly throw away or donate another item.

Muy importante: don’t wuss out, get sentimental and hang onto things just in case.

What remains should only be what you absolutely love and must have.

Step 4.  Get a first class ticket on the “No Train.”

If you live in constant state of business overwhelm, it’s essential to get your ass on what I call the No Train as soon as possible.

When you’re on the No Train, you allow “no” to be your initial response to new projects, new requests, new demands on your time.

This is especially helpful if you have a backlog of old tasks and projects you’ve agreed to, but have not yet complete.

You don’t have to ride the No Train forever.

And you can certainly get off for a quick stop if a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity comes along (though these are rare). Think of your time on the No Train a much needed business colonic.

Important tip: Once you get on the No Train, be prepared as you’ll still experience overwhelm for the next few weeks to a month because you’ll still have to complete all the projects you committed to a long time  ago.

The best part of this strategy is that you become hyper aware of your addiction to take on too much at once and you’ll begin to break that nasty pattern once and for all.

Of course, this list isn’t comprehensive, but it will get you on the road to recovery.

How about YOU? Got thoughts on this topic or stories to share?

Leave a comment below and let me know. And if you’ve found this post helpful, go ahead and share it.

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  1. Kris

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this Marie! You are amazing!

  2. This is really great! I’m such a victim of taking on too much! Great advice. These next two weeks, when I’ve created the space in my schedule, I’m going to get laser focused on these tasks you set out above.

  3. Great stuff, Marie!!! I’ve completely had experience with the too-many projects addiction. Step one was a huge first step for me in my journey, but I feel myself still needing to revisit it often to make sure I stay on track!

  4. Right on! I’m exactly like that. My husband thinks it’s silly, but I can’t concentrate on my biz projects when I have things around the house that need to be done. The more cluttered up my house or desk is the more cluttered up my brain is 🙂

  5. Marie ~ I loved this article….I am definetly a I’m-here-to-change-the-world-kind-of-women, and I totally struggle with this issue (of doing so many “projects” and wanting to see the profitable side of the projects!) thank YOU so much for these amazing tips!! These tips I am going to incorporate into my life and I know they are going to rock my world!!!! Happy Holidays!!!

  6. I stopped taking on too much when I left corporate and guard my time fiercely now! I love saying no when I mean no instead of yes 🙂

  7. Sue

    SOOO what I needed to read at this very moment. Time to finish my money making products! Thank you Thank you and Thank YOU for your style and wisdom!

  8. 81 open projects… I definitely need and love the word no more. I’ve learned my lesson. So good to hear it reinforced though!

  9. Hey Marie!

    Oh, these are very good tips! I think #2 and #3 are the particular ones I need to work on more. I’m pretty good at saying No to stuff, and am continually getting more clear on what I want – but still have too much clutter around me and DEFINITELY tend to underestimate what things will take! 😉

    Thank you for this! 🙂

  10. This was my favourite part of this post: “Or worse, we have a slew of partially complete, non-money making projects renting valuable space in our heads, our hard drives and our hearts.”

    How true it is! I think many of us underestimate the negative impact of the “energy suck” created by having unfinished business that’s just sitting there. Task and project completion is a powerful thing!

  11. Angela

    Creating white space and getting clear as to what it is I want has been the key for me in 2010. I still have a few more place to create the white space but I making substancial progress. Now it’s time to get brutally honest on what’s it’s going to take. Enjoying every step of this journey.

    Thanks Maria!

  12. Exactly one month ago I broke up w/ my bf of 4 years because he was the #1 source of stress in my life. Just this week I threw out an old sweatshirt of his, the remaining toiletrees he had at my place and a whole photo album of us…enormous relief ensued! Thank you for affirming in this post that I did the right thing by clearing him and his sh*t out of my life. Holler at white space!

    And for the first point, I needed that! So many genius, 10k ideas floating around in my brain and my journal, I need to focus in on the details of the ones that really make my heart leap so I can come correct to Adventure Mastermind (which I cannot wait for!!!!) Love, love, loved this post, thank you so much and a happy, beautiful and FUN holiday season to you and Josh! xo

  13. Sometimes things just come to you when you really needed them….really needed to hear/see/digest this today! Thanks Marie and Happy Holidays!

  14. Jen

    Oh boy, okay…so 1) I need to hone in on what’s going to make me the money and 2) Stop waisting time on projects that aren’t makin money…set a weekly schedule, clean my kitchen and run with it. Great tips as always! Creating your own job can be overwhelming to say the least but finding people like you HELPS!

  15. Ahhh, the magical synchronicities continue- this is exactly what I have been feeling.
    Reserving my First-class ticket on the No-to-overwhelm-Yes-to-crystal-clarity-spaciousness-and-elegant-simplicity-for-me Train

    Solstice Blissings Sweet Marie

  16. Hi Marie! I agree completely with “I’ve got too many unfinished projects going on with too little money coming in” but it’s not because I say yes to other people, it’s because there are so many books/articles/products I want to create – all million dollar ideas of course – that are all currently halfway complete. I start off with a burst but once I get to unfamiliar territory (or undesirable territory – like the selling phase) I start slowing down and lose enthusiasm/confidence and eventually decide the next idea would be easier, so off I go again. Help me Marie!

  17. Great, perfect, and exactly what I need right now! Thanks Marie and Merry Christmas!


  18. Guilty as charged. And this is the very thing I coach people on.
    One hang-up I’ve found with creative people is that deep down they (I include myself) think they should get some kind of medal for doing a million things at once and overextending. This starts in childhood, and results in an inability to feel like it’s ever enough –for us, since we’re special –to just do one thing at a time.
    I plan to give myself that gift this holiday season and hope to continue to do so throughout the year. Thanks for ther great reminder.

  19. Marie, it’s like you live in my brain!!! This is EXACTLY what I’ve been struggling with since I launched my business 3 weeks ago. I’m going in so many directions and therefore heading nowhere! I want to create, create, create!! But then there goes marketing… Thanks for the too-many-damn-projects addict reality check!! I’m glad it’s only a 4 step program instead of a 12 step 🙂

  20. Love this article. What I learned is to ask myself “Is this another distraction?” or “will this move me forward?” 9 times out of 10 it is a distraction. Single women do that with dating too. Wasting too much time on the wrong men and end up alone.

  21. Oh shit, I could’ve used this six months ago when I was over-committing myself, sometimes for the sake of over-committing myself. Consider me a passenger on the “no train”. Time to sit down and distill what needs to be done and what can be discarded entirely.

    Good advice, this. Thanks!

  22. I think this is something we can all relate too. Even though I guard my time like a junkyard dog, I still seem to always be doing something. Thanks for the words of wisdom. I think I need to get some of that white space flowing in this cluttered life…..

  23. Marie, so in alignment with this. After taking a long hard look at 2010 I see that there were a number of things that I said “yes” to that in retrospect were simply time-suckers. As I ramp up for a fabulous 2011, “ROI” is my new guiding light. I’m going to judiciously weigh every idea and opportunity on what the ROI will be…and not just for my biz. As you mention, energetically I want to make sure that everything entering my life moving forward brings a positive ‘return.’ Thanks as always for the inspiration! xoxo

  24. Really empowering when you think about it. Thanks for the actionable and clear suggestions!

  25. Martha

    Perfect post for the New Year! Very helpful. I found Steps 2 and 3 to be especially helpful.

    Happy Holidays and here’s to an AMAZING 2011 for us all!

  26. Hey Marie, You know I love preaching the “eliminate clutter & simplify your space” mantra. Your physical environment has the power to be a source of unlimited energy, but not when you don’t have “white space”! (I have an how your environment can put you into sensory overload article coming out soon as a guest post to…well, I’m keeping that a secret for now! I’ll give one hint: this person was a guest speaker at your event;-)

    I have requests coming in for more guest posts, & although I’m excited, I had a moment of thinking “Can I really do all this? Along with my other projects?”

    I’m going to put my “to-do” sticky notes on my wall and choose the ones that will be perfect for me. And say no to the rest.

    Thanks so much for pointing out the too much going on addiction;-))

  27. Awesome post Marie! I was just thinking about the same things. I think what works for me is being BRUTALLY honest as you said. I ask myself “Is this new endeavor really in alignment with what I want to create in my life?” and “Am I willing to do what it takes to get this project done?” And if the answer is no to either one of these I know to pass. I think this can be applied not only to business but to all areas of life. Here’s to a even more focused 2011! Thanks for sharing Marie!

  28. Juliette

    You are absolutely right, have been having these very thoughts myself lately. Especially when I look at my inbox and try to follow every internet marketer to see what’s up. More often I find myself just shutting down the windows and refocusing on what I really plan to do, which is helping people get started in the first place (yeah, it’s like helping myself at the same time). So, ever so often I have been able to say: Nope, this is not for me.
    Marie is the real thing, and I will work so someday I will be able to afford her coaching program. Thanks for being there!

  29. The big thing for me has been – saying no to *me* … I’m good at saying no to other people, but I seem to think I have unlimited time and energy and keep saying yes to every freaking idea I have. Even if I say yes only to ideas that are about my purpose etc. … um, that’s still like working 120 hours a week. And that doesn’t *really* move me towards my purpose, reaching my goals, having a kick ass life, etc. etc. etc. 🙂

  30. thanks marie-
    so true and just the kick in the butt i needed to hop on the NO TRAIN

    ps the description of your kick ass awesome pal with too many projects sounded just like a kick ass awesome pal of mine!

  31. It’s ever so amusing to me that the very reason I’m inundated with tasks and stuff, is that I’ve been trying to find what I really, really want!
    Trying things on for size. Saying yes to new experiences. Open to everything and anything that might be in alignment with whatever it was I was searching for.

    And now, having found it, I can finally say No. And focus. And de-clutter.
    Even though I adore my home to be as lavishly decorated as any Hollywood theater set (I’m an actress, what can I say?), there’s still stuff that I’m holding on to “just in case”.

    “Just in case of WHAT??” I keep asking myself that question and if the answer is a situation that I don’t really want to have ~ like ‘getting fat again’ or ‘for a rainy day’, then I’m getting rid of it.

    Because really, dahlings, life is just too short and too luscious to spend swamped in the crappy stuff, whether mental or physical, don’t you agree?

  32. Awesome post. Thank you! Time to clear up my physical environment over the holidays. Cluttered office = cluttered mind.

  33. Love this Marie! I am guilty of this as well and working on being able to say “no” more often 🙂 Will factor all of this into my 2011 planning!

    • great post Melissa… love the ladies with the wisdom. xo

  34. This entire post is one delightful “much needed business colonic.” Your point about “Self-generated, self-sustaining overwhelm” – yeeeessh, serious ditto to all previous comments, so identify.

    For a number of years I’ve been asking (out of curiosity) successful business people how much REAL work they feel they get done in a day. Invariably, whether they work 6, 8, 10, or 12+ hours a day, they tend to respond back with “3-5 hours… on a good day.”

    Your piece is a wonderful reminder to reclaim and reframe the “Just Say No” slogan to make sure those hours of real, meaty, meaningful work are spent in a way that truly does bring you closer to Step #1. Brava, Marie!

  35. You so know me. Just what I needed to read and going to read it again. Heck think I will print it out so I can remind myself of this.

    Your always on it Marie. Thanks xo

  36. Woah a little hitting home here! I’ve got a few projects going on and your tips helped SO MUCH! I’ve got my main projects I’m working on and I’m happy to say that I know what they are for and the end goal for them. But def worth passing on!
    .-= Roz Pearcy´s last blog ..Online Marketing Strategy- How to Brand Yourself Without it Being about You =-.

  37. I love the No Train. I want a first class seat with a sleeping berth. I know that everything takes longer and costs more than you think it will. I am in the final days of a 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway and this little extra project ate up almost two weeks of December just getting the details all ironed out. Yikes. Thanks for the reminder and validation that it is okay to say No More.
    .-= judi Knight´s last blog ..Get Creative With Aviary -The Free Google Apps Graphics Suite =-.

  38. Great advice! Thanks so much. I love your approach.

    MaryJo Briggs

  39. “business colonic” hahahhaha

  40. Once again, you write a post that gives me both the chills (the good kind) and a smack down (also the good kind)!
    Girl…I’m the Queen of too many projects and wanting to do too much. This post really made it clear, how often I say ‘Yes’ and how much of my energy is zapped by being spread to thin. No bueno.
    After riding the RHH Live high for the past month, I’m really excited about 2011…and to put all of these great suggestions into practice.
    Rock on sista’! Happy Holidays to you & Josh! xo

  41. Nancy Urena

    Marie! Happy Holidays 🙂

    I started this as soon as I finished my 3rd semester of school which was last Saturday 🙂 I was so overwhelmed with school, Toastmasters, work. I actually said no to something this week and it felt really good. It’s all about taking care of YOU, how much do I care and love myself that I will put MYSELF first. Well, I just hired Melody to help me organize all my crap and I couldn’t be happier. I actually have no problem needing to hold on to physical things. Throughout the year, I’m always donating clothes, books, etc. So when I started on Saturday, it wasn’t too bad 🙂

    OK – I’m off to do a little more holiday shopping and some accupuncture 🙂


  42. Hey Marie,
    thanks for sharing this post.
    You are absolutely right.
    One cristal clear target, one project and full energie is the key to success I think.
    But there is an extra point in this chain: being pro-active.
    You have to work and get things done.

    Regards from Germany


  43. Susan

    Thank you for this information! I have been drowning in overwhelm for the last 3-4 months and feel exhausted. This helps me pick myself up and begin to get started again- clearing the clutter. What a great idea.

  44. You are so right, Marie … A few weeks ago I shut down part of my business that was making me cranky & unfulfilled. Do I miss it? Heck no! When we keep forcing ourselves to do things that make us cringe just to make a few bucks, it NEVER works out. That time could be better spent toward passion-driven opportunities. I have officially devoted January to rethinking what it is I want. Then, I plan to get it. Thank you for all you do!

  45. As always, wonderful suggestions! Happy Holidays to you and yours!

    Harrah Brown
    America’s #1 Feng Shui Coach

  46. I can so relate to the white space. I M taking the next 10 days off and I know it will give me time to Stretch ! And ideas to explores. And I am going to do a better job of planning out what I want, and making it clear.

  47. Chelsea Moser

    SO true! I’ve been there. It’s so not fun. It’s like “HELP, get me off of this crazy train!”. Great post, Marie. xxo

  48. Kate McNeilly

    Spot on! Thanks for the kick up the butt …

  49. What happens to me is I get caught up in other people’s addictions too-many-projects. I get all excited about helping them with a project that gets pushed to the back burner while they work on another project. Then, when they get ready to work on the project I got all excited about (and already said “yes” to), I’ve taken on another project I’m equally excited about.

    Meanwhile, I haven’t worked on my own “genius” project since October.

  50. I opened your email right after I had cleaned my entire apartment. And, honestly it felt so good to clear out all the stuff!

    I think we’re thinking in a parallel plane 😉

    Thanks Marie:)

    • that’s so cool when that happens.

  51. Great stuff. I actually follow most of these most of the time. And that’s the problem – most of the time. I do believe the hardest part is keeping consistent with this – people are just so inclined to say “yes” to everything… but… try try and try again right?

    Thanks for the share.

  52. Marie, I love your message here but something that I can’t seem to figure out is how to simplify when I live with a husband and 2 sons that are slobs and packrats. I am feel like I spend crazy amounts of time trying to get organized and clean the clutter and in a matter of seconds after the men get home things deteriorate into a mess. Any thoughts? 🙂

    • Hi Jean,

      I have the same issue in my living space. I am going to resolve it next year by renting a coworking space, until I move into a bigger space where I will have an office with a door and my own rules on how it should look.

      Might something like this work for you – a dedicated workspace away from home, or another room in the house that will be off limits to them?

      Also, I’ve come to realize that clutter is used as a way to exert control. (Chronic lateness is another way). There may be some underlying issues going on that need to be acknowledged and addressed.

    • I totally agree with Marie, decluttering is so essential!!! I am a Professional Organizing and I help my clients release items that no longer serve them or that have already served them. Clearing out makes space for new, bigger, and better things to come into your life. Tip: items need a home, when everything has a home it is easier to keep your space under control. 🙂

    • Yes Jean hire a cleaner. It’s a small price to pay so that you can focus on what’s really important. Also encourage them to pull their own weight!

  53. Very important message! Thank you for sharing it. I’m FINALLY really clear on what I want and it required A LOT of simplifying. I’m really looking forward to keeping it that way for 2011 🙂

  54. I’m finishing up a book which still requires a good deal of time and attention. Need to keep my website going and growing and want to move the majority of my time spent in private practice into speaking engagement and consulting. Not sure how to narrow down my goals and not feel a perpetual sense of overwhelm.

  55. Thank you Marie – again for a brilliant and quite timely message. I’m in that state of overwhelm, too many projects I’ve said yes to and the clutter seems to be closing in so fast that I’m feeling suffocated and can’t get out of my head. I will be taking your advice and working through the clutter and getting crystal clear on my business over the next week so I can jump into 2011 fresh, energized and in my power. Hands clapping for this message!

  56. Hi, Marie
    Thank you so much for this post!
    It’s so Godly refreshing to have a confirmation of the ‘no clutter’ rule, especially now in my life. I have just moved from a townhouse to an apartment which I share with my parents, who now live with me. For them, my habit to un-clutter and create areas of my world that are open, clean, and simple is, as they put it “exaggerated”. They smile, joke and “succumb” to my “curious” habit. I just moved, so the house is still not put together, as I was working through this month, trying to not fall too behind on my work, but I physically feel the pull of the clutter on my energy – a good reminder about this golden rule of productivity.
    Again, thank you for reaffirming that I don’t need a “reason”; I hate to be “right” 🙂

  57. Great blog post, Marie. I particularly like the suggestion to create “white space” and get on the “no train.” White space is something I am in need of, having just moved. I still feel like I’m living in a half built house with things lying willy-nilly all around. Occasionally I go on a rampage and scrub out a corner of my new place, organizing books or putting all my silverware into an organizing tray. Each time I do, I breathe a sigh of relief 🙂

  58. Bridget

    and yet another great contribution to make the world easier!
    Thank you so much!!!

  59. Love the article and it’s so true. Now that I’ve become clear about what I really want, I seem to be attracting it easier than in the past when I was all over the place. As a result, the things that I attracted were a mismatch and my business felt stuck in the same spot. But now that I’m clear, I feel things are moving forward. Thanks for sharing!

  60. Kristin

    I love this article! Thanks so much! I have a tendancy to get moving in a hugely productive way, feel all the inspiration coming, and then somewhere along the line, I begin to complicate things and lose my focus–if it’s not too many projects, it’s at least the constant activity in my mind–ever looking for more and more things to help me in my business.
    What I took from your message was to simplify and be really clear. Perfect! Thanks!

  61. Such a timely post and I love it!

    But Marie, how does it work for multi-talented people? Even though I narrow it down to 3-4 projects, I still feel overwhelmed.

  62. Betty Hygrell

    Hi Marie,

    Love the article! and about the right time 🙂 I specifically like the idea to create the white space and to be brutally honest about what it takes… will definitely trying this when I am back home tomorrow! Merry Christmas to you! ♫♥♫

  63. I love love love it! Now, I have to do it 😉
    I’m already on #1 and #2 now I have to tackle #3 and #4.

    Thanks, Marie ~ You inspire me!


  64. Great post Marie (as always)! I’m a too-many-projects addict in recovery.

    I spent 8 years working as a professional organizer and time and time again clients would tell me that money would show up after we organized their office or paperwork. Prospective clients would call and projects and opportunities would pour in.

    When you create space, money appears!

  65. Really enjoyed this post Marie! I was definitely in the boat of “I don’t know what I want”, and it overwhelmed the hell out of me! But you are so right… with space, time, reflection and playing around, it did come to me and I’m so stoked on it. And whenever I get overwhelmed by making it happen, I just remind myself that this is normal and I will get there if I keep on focusing on my goals 🙂

  66. Thank you Maria!
    My sentiments exactly – the only thing is that we sometimes don’t realise that we are creeping into overwhelm until we can’t bear it any longer before we do something about it. A good tip, that use with myself and my clients, is to have an ‘accountability buddy’ – someone you can trust to tell you when to back in focus.
    De-cluttering without doubt works – it frees up the stagnant energy for new and better to flow through.
    Great work – thanks again
    Jennifer Beaumont-Whyte – Personal Development Coach

  67. White space, what a relief! Once again, you’re right on the money…

  68. Great insight into the Addiction of Overwhelm. I think it’s so tempting to stay in crisis mode, and focusing 100% on the urgent at the expense of the important. Great comments from everyone and the white space / more profits link definitely gets my attention. Merry Christmas to you and your awesome commenters!

  69. So timely and perfect a message. I just did what I call a ‘schlocky’ purge and blogged about it. I too believe in the power of the white space and that when you get rid of the old tired and tattered there is room to grow and room for new brighter things to come into your life. Thanks for the illumination 🙂

  70. Wow, good to know that I am not alone in this too-many-damn-projects boat! It is a real problem with a real solution! I’m riding that no train straight into 2011!

  71. Marie –

    You’re frickin’ fabulous : ) Great tips! LOVE #5 – First-class ticket on the “No-Train.”

    Here’s to rockin’ 2011 : )

  72. I’ll have to come back to this a few times. Great tips on sticking to my dreams and goals for 2011.
    The white space is calling out to me under my files, “Kim, you’re clarity is under here!”
    Thanks Again,

  73. Pam

    Marie, you hit the nail with your “no train” and I’d like to add something more concrete. I’m a small busininess owner & community activist. When someone approaches me to be involved in ‘XYZ project’ I have 3 filters that always come into play: (1) Will my involment in this project enhance my personal and business goals; (2) Will I have the time and passion to move this project forward; and (3) Will a leadershio role in this project bring me fullfillment and joy. If I can say an emphatic YES to all three questions, then I know it’s the right thing tio do. If not, I can give an objective rejection and perhaps a recommendation. I think that I’m respected for this approach.

  74. Rockin post to ring in the new year! Thank you. I took a hiatus from life the last 2 months and as the year come sot a close I have been thinking about where my car is going and how to get there. I have unfinished projects in my personal as well as professional life. It is time to wrap them up to move onto new things.
    This article is in line with my thinking and gave me some ideas…like the ‘no train’. Love it!!

  75. Jamie Ann Hurley

    Once again, Marie – utterly perfect timing. You are SO on it! Being locked in “I don’t know what I want” land kicked my ass in 2010, but my thoughts and energy are moving in the right direction as we turn the corner on 2011. Thanks for such encouragement and love!

  76. Maria, what a timely piece. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed with project after project and not get anything done. That’s why 2 weeks ago, I declared the year 2011 the year of simple, focused action. There’s no other way to go, otherwise all you end up with is another year of unfinished projects and dreams delayed. Love it.

  77. Marie, you ROCK girl!!! This was absolutely NEEDED for me right at this moment. I definitely need to create space and complete the projects I already have going on. This I am returning to very often for the reminder!

    Always need a nice, swift kick in the butt with honesty thrown in. Love it!

    Thank you for all that you do!

  78. Brilliant advice. My mom always told me “if you want something done, give it to someone busy”. The problem is, the busy people end up doing everything – and eventually burning out. I (like all the entrepreneurs on this page) have a huge tendency to say yes to everyone and everything. I can’t stand to think I’m not good enough, smart enough, or resourceful enough to add another thing to my list.

    These tips just might save my life – or at least my business!

  79. I love this article Marie. And I’m sharing it with every artist and “free-thinker” I know, because so many entrepreneurs coming from the right-brained approach to business struggle with this!


  80. Awesome article. The “bright and shiny objects syndrome” is so ever present among women as we strive (to our own detriment) to live multitasking lifestyles. Intentional focus is the key to getting things done! Thanks again.

  81. I found this post via a friend’s Facebook page, and I loved it.

    I’ve been dealing with a lot of clutter. An abundance of projects, papers everywhere, just too much going on overall.

    I can feel a major “new years cleanup” coming on! Thanks for the great post…I’ll be back again to your blog to read more soon.

  82. Jen

    Wow Marie, you really have some fantastic observations here – I find myself always on the yes train even making stuff up to distract myself from what I am struggling with. ANd I thought it was more creative to jump form one thing to another, and have a lot of projects going on – of course I am still searching for what I want to do, or at least a clarity. So I cleared off my entire desk and gave it some white space, a few piles on the floor to tackle tomorrow but it feels great to see the white. And I will totally buy a bunch of tickets for the no train – actually I will need an endless supply in order to stop always being super mom and the busiest person at work! – A huge thank you!!!

  83. Ariane

    Singing my song there Marie. I gave away most of my things, the rest currently in boxes I am ready to give that away too. I love the white space!

    I have been successfully testing a new approach to projects. Coming from a place of being, rather than making things happen, and it’s working. If I have one or three too many projects, I do all the research, document it in a journal and intend for it to happen as and when.

    Several months ago I released a project dear to my heart, essential for ensuring food supply and yet not economically viable for me. I wrote up the project brief and put it into being mode. Last week I was talking with someone and the idea came up. He jumped on it and now he is convening meetings and opening the doors in a place where this project is such a “yes” fit. We start testing in two weeks. That’s how I like it – grace, ease and fun!

  84. Love your writing style, you have a strong voice.

  85. Thanks Marie, I missed the “no train” a few months back and it is costing me dearly.

  86. Thank you. This is helpful advice.

    I wouldn’t know where to start. I have been in business since 2008 as a freelance writer and editor. Then I took on a Masters degree and am also organising a national conference – both of which may help me meet people that may turn into clients.

    But I am also writing a book – it’s slow going work though. And I have other books in mind. I want to be an author – I have no idea if I am good enough to be. I also love the journalism work and wish I often had the energy to do better at it.

    But I am tired. And depressed. And skint/poor/etc. And on top of that my father has just died.

    So definitely too many commitments but I don’t know which ones to drop. Any help would be awesome. Thanks, Marisa

  87. Hi Marie,
    I absolutely loved this lesson. As I sat here in front of the computer, feeling completely overwhelmed by what I had to do, here is your article!.Thank you for giving me the ‘aha’ moment! Permission to say no! And to start cleaning out and stop committing to things that are not really serving me.
    Always love your advice.

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