Last week, I did something really difficult: I announced to the GTD Virtual Study Group that I was stepping down as host and facilitator of the podcast. After nearly seven years, I am walking away. The decision to leave this role behind was a very, very hard one and I wrestled with it for months. If you were to read the pages of my journal, you’d see the back and forth: Give it up! No, keep it!
As a coach, when I’m working with someone who wants to leave something behind, I often point out the distinction between moving away from something versus moving toward something else. I’d like to explore that distinction now, to take you inside how I made the decision to walk away from a very successful and highly visible role, one that put me in front of a huge audience, and allowed me to earn accolades like “one of the most influential people in productivity.” Why would I, or anyone, do such a thing?
First, there was GTD itself. The longer I went on, the more lifeless and stiff the approach felt to me. I found myself feeling angry at the “dogma” that valued control so highly, that emphasized constant capture, endless processing, and obsessive organizing. I longed to bring spiritual, soulful, compassionate dimensions to the table but I found that when I turned the conversation to topics other than strictly GTD, I got complaints. So while I was successful in being authentic and vulnerable in that public space, I was stuck holding back and compartmentalizing a huge part of myself, biting my tongue and keeping my thoughts to myself.
As time went on, it got harder and harder for me to think of topics that I wanted to talk about. I told myself that I was burned out. But then several small events came together all at once to help me to see things differently and to show me what I want to move toward rather than what I want to move away from.
1.) I combined my office with my art studio. Suddenly, two sides of my being that had been walled off from each other were co-habitating. There is no boundary between the creative, artistic, unconventional me and the productive, methodical, systematic me.
2.) I decided to remodel my website and, after a pivotal conversation with two incredibly successful entrepreneurs, I chose to narrow my niche. The look and feel of my brand now includes aspects of me that I’d been aching to let out: artistic, feminine, fun.
3.) I told a fellow productivity guru that I was a mosaic artist and he responded, “Oh. [insert long, painful silence] Interesting.” Suddenly, a fuzzy image resolved into a clear picture. Even though I really, seriously, wanted to cuss him out, I was so happy. That’s why I don’t “get” this guy! It’s not me! It’s not him! It was the piece of the puzzle that had been missing. And it made the next step very obvious.
To be available to an audience who will embrace Soul-Full Productivity, I have to get out of the shadow of GTD.
I want to put Soul-Full Productivity center stage and talk about it all the time, with whoever will engage with me. I want spiritual, compassionate, vulnerable authenticity to be THE topic, not a side dish. I want my productivity conversation to be artistic and creative and right-brained along with the techy, left-brained, systematic. And I want to talk to people who, when I say “I’m an artist,” respond: “Cool! Tell me more!”
I made my decision public last week, on the live call. It was an emotional, vulnerable, amazing conversation. You can hear it here.