The Real Work You Need to Be Focusing on Right Now

The Real Work You Need to Be Focusing on Right NowI’ve heard from so many business owners about how they’re planning on using this time to be productive. To work on their business and do all the things that they never get around to doing. While this is good, I have a feeling that most people are avoiding the work they really need to be doing right now.

Looking for fast-acting tools and resources online isn’t the work. Asking others to teach you shortcuts isn’t the work. Getting halfway through your planning only to turn on the TV and binge isn’t doing the work. The work I’m talking about is choosing to be uncomfortable, choosing to fail, and managing your emotions like an adult.

In today’s bonus episode, I’m coming in with some tough love that I think many of us need to hear. I want you to take responsibility for how far your business has come, and realize that you could take it farther if you did the mindset work. Join me as I share the five things you can and should do to fix the root problems of your business.

If you want to keep this conversation going, you have to join my free Design You Podcast community on Facebook. We have great conversations over there about the podcast episodes and our podcast guests are in there too! So head on over and I’ll see you there! 

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • That the problems you’re facing in your business were there before COVID-19.
  • How to not get fooled into doing busy work so you can avoid the hard stuff.
  • Why discomfort is the currency of your dreams.
  • That confidence in business comes from failing and looking dumb over and over again.
  • Why figuring things out for yourself is how you find the magic.
  • How to stop being an emotional child when things get hard, boring, or uncomfortable.


Listen to the Full Episode:

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Full Episode Transcript:


Tobi Fairley: You are listening to The Design You Podcast with Tobi Fairley, a bonus episode.

Female Announcer: Welcome to The Design You Podcast, a show where interior designers and creatives learn to say no to busy and say yes to more health, wealth, and joy. Here’s your host, Tobi Fairley.

Tobi Fairley: Hey, friends. I’m coming at you with another bonus episode with my thoughts on the Coronavirus and I think about this a lot as I’m sure all of you do, too. I’m not sure the way I think about it is the way most of you think about it, probably not.

I’ve been accused of definitely thinking differently than other people many, many times, but today I want to come to you with very – I don’t know, direct? Have I ever been anything besides direct? Very direct thoughts about where we’re finding ourselves right now in our lives and in our businesses.

I can already tell you, I haven’t even recorded this episode yet, I have a few notes on it, but I can already tell you this is going to be one of those episodes that you want to listen to over and over and over again. Or maybe that you don’t want to listen to, but you can’t stop listening to because you know it hits you at the gut level, at the core of what the problems are in your business and even in some other parts of your life.

Because as I keep telling my Design You members, we don’t have a business brain and a personal brain. We have one brain and the way we do one thing is the way we do everything, so if we’re thinking that when it’s time to work on our business we can just put on our business hat and leave all the personal development and all of the deep thinking and work on ourselves over on the other side, on the personal side of the brain then we’re absolutely wrong.

What I know, and as Oprah says, “What I know for sure,” what I know for sure is that I can give you all the business tools in the world and I’ve been giving those to a lot of you for years now and I’ve been giving very progressive tools about how to build an online business for more than two years now, two and a half really and it doesn’t matter what tools I give you if you’re not doing the actual work, the deep personal work that is the problem, that are the blocks, that is what is in the way of you creating the life and the business that you really want.

So, what I was thinking about this week is that the Coronavirus is not the problem in our businesses right now. Think about that for a minute. The Coronavirus is not the problem, the problems, because there’s multiple of them, were already there. They were already there and you were ignoring them, putting them off, maybe working on them occasionally or thinking you had time.

What the Coronavirus did is it basically, it’s like a big old flashlight, there’s my southern Arkansas accent coming out, but it really is. It’s like a big old flashlight shining a light right on our weak spots. Or maybe even a better analogy is it’s like an x-ray and it’s showing us all the broken parts. They were already broken, but we were ignoring them and they were already causing us pain. But we were ignoring the pain. We were shoving it down, we were covering it up with buffering and other things and the Coronavirus is making it really, really hard to ignore the broken parts anymore.

So, the beautiful thing about the Coronavirus if there is a silver lining, which I think there are many, but one of the beautiful things is that I see people who I’ve been working even in my Design You program for more than a year, some of them for two years who have been making steady progress, but all of a sudden they have a sense of urgency with the Coronavirus to stop messing around, to stop wasting time, to stop being afraid and to just go after and do the things that they needed to do in their business that they knew they needed to do.

It’s funny to watch our brains, they’re like toddlers, they have little tantrums, they don’t want to go do things that are uncomfortable and we’re going to talk about that specifically in this episode because there’s about five things that I think you really need to know about and think about that really matter. I’m going to get to those in just a little bit, but they’re probably not what you think.

So, the beauty of having this sense of urgency right now to do the work is so important, but I want to make sure you know what the work actually is because I’m pretty sure that a lot of you don’t or you’re ignoring and hoping it’s not that work that you have to do.

What you want the work to be is the work to do something a little more progressive, take more progressive action in your life or your business. So, I’ve had many of you come to me and say things both inside my program and outside my program I’ve had people say, “I’m so mad at myself.

“You’ve been teaching me this for a year or two years and I’ve just not been making it a priority. I’ve been saying I didn’t have time to work on my business. I didn’t have time to create a scalable product. I didn’t know how. It was uncomfortable and I just kept doing the things that already weren’t really working in my business but they were comfortable. They were what I knew, so I just kept doing them anyway and believing and telling myself that I had to do those things first.”

I get that. What I tell those people is, stop beating yourself up over it because that’s not going to help anything. All that’s going to do is shut you down more because if you’ve heard me talk about our feelings and our thoughts which I’m sure you have, unless this is your first episode of listening to me.

You’ve heard me say that negative thoughts and negative feelings don’t create positive action. So, any beating up of yourself is a complete waste of time and is actually going to be one more block that keeps you from doing what you want to do in your life and in your business.

I’ve also had people come to me that are outside of my program saying, “I think I want to work with you. I think I want to work with you, Tobi. I think you’re right. I think you’re the only one talking about these progressive tactics for creating an online business and having scalable products.” One person even said this was a watershed moment for them, and I love that.

I even had to look back up the definition of watershed because I wanted to know exactly what it was even though I knew in theory what that meant and what I found was a watershed moment is a turning point, the exact moment that changes the direction of an activity or situation. A watershed moment is a dividing point from which things will never be the same. It is considered momentous, though a watershed moment is often recognized in hindsight.

Okay, wow, that’s huge, right? She said this was a watershed moment for her that she’s been resisting a lot of this online business concept and scalable products and things like that. So, now she’s had this watershed moment, this shift, this pivot in her thinking in that she believed that what I’m talking about is the future of design or interior design or any creative business for that matter.

I agree with her, that’s why I’ve been talking about it for two years, but here’s what I really want to talk about today. Coming into Design You and taking my Digital Marketing for Creatives course, which is phenomenal and it tells you all of the steps and actions and things that you need to know. Well, a lot of them I’ll tell you about and some of the things you’re going to have to figure out on your own in a minute.

But it tells you all of the how – or the what really of what you need to be doing in your business and it’s genius. I’m teaching it live April 6th and 7th, so if you come join me now you get to hear the latest and greatest version of it and it is amazing, but it’s not the work, okay? It’s the actions you can take, but there is the work that you have to do that separate from taking Digital Marketing for Creatives.

The same thing with the course I just finished this week and we’re going to be putting it out in a few days from now as we finish up some of the worksheets and tech side of it of getting it live for you, but I created a course I was already working on, I pushed it up in my schedule called, “How to Work From Home.”

There is a lot of how and the tech that you use, the tech that I use that I’ve been running my business from home. In fact, my whole company, both of my businesses, my consulting business and my design business from home for more than three years, almost four. But the work in that course is not the how, it’s not the step-by-step. It is the mindset stuff. It is the thinking. It is the deeper level of work that matters.

Besides those two things that I’m giving you, I’m giving you – if you’re a Design You member, the Work from Home course and the Digital Marketing for Creatives course. I’m also doing a bunch of free stuff and one of the things I’m going to do this week is teach a free webinar on what I’ve learned from the Coronavirus in my own business and that you need to know, too.

There are some very specific actions that I think you should be taking that you’ll hear in that webinar. The same thing with a bonus training I’m doing for all of my members in Design You this week about creating a 90-day strategic plan. Again, a lot of actions.

All of those things, all four of those things that I’m creating or have created already, but they’re the work. Okay, so let’s talk about what the work is because I have people all of the time say to me, “You know, Tobi, I think I do want to learn from you. I’m really interested in some of the older classes and courses you used to teach about interior design and how to run a design business. Do you still teach those?” Which I say, “Yes, absolutely.”

Designer MBA is alive and well and in my Design You coaching program, better than ever. But what they’re telling me in those moments is that, I just want the business tools. Just give me the tools, just tell me the how, but I don’t want any of that woo woo stuff. I don’t want any of the personal development stuff. I don’t want any of that stuff, which is so fascinating to me when I hear people say this.

I get it, because guess what, just getting the how-to’s, just getting the action steps that’s the easy part. But the easy part never ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever works if you don’t do the deep, personal work that is what is keeping you from your dreams right now.

I heard my mentor this week, Brooke, say, “I’m not in the business of selling you my programs. I’m really in the business of selling you your own dreams.” I could relate to that so much because that’s exactly the work I do with people is to help you get out of your own way so that you can finally actually implement any and all of the tools and the actions and the how-to’s that are out there whether they’re mine or somebody else’s.

But having the right tools is not the problem because you’ve had the tools. You’ve had so many tools, and maybe you haven’t had all of them, and maybe you haven’t had mine and yes, mine are top-notch, stellar, cutting-edge, progressive, all of the things that I say they are and that other people say they are, but none of that actually matters if you haven’t done the other work.

Okay, so I think you get my point. Let’s talk about what the other work is because if you are sitting at home right now with more time than money, which is where a lot of us are, or both time and money, but nothing to do, I want you to know what the work is that you should be doing.

I’ve watched all kinds of Facebook Lives and Instagram Lives and a lot of creative people in the design industry talking in another industry. I’ve seen other designers say, “This is the time to be doing all the things that have been on your list.” I agree, it’s the time to be doing some of the things you haven’t been making time for, but probably not the things that have been on your list because cleaning out your sample room is not going to fix your business problems. Getting a new website is not going to fix your business problems.

Do both of those things add value in some way to your life? Of course, but they’re not urgent and they don’t move the needle at all. Even a website, do you need a website? Yes. But is it the work? No, it is not the work, so don’t be fooled into busying yourself over the next week or month or six months into thinking that if I just go become a busy beaver and I start at the top of the list that I thought was my to do list and work my way down that I’m going to have a completely different business six months from now because you won’t.

You may have an organized work room, you may have some prettier digital assets out in the world, but they’re not going to fix the problems that were in your business and still will be in your business. Let’s talk about what those are, okay?

I think there’s five key things that I’ve identified that keep coming up for me and for the people that I work with in my Design You coaching program. Here’s why the Design You coaching program is different than any other business coaching program that you can go out and get because I’m not just teaching you tools.

The tools are the bonus, okay? The tools fix the symptoms and that’s great because we want to do that. We want to have the tools to make things easier, but the tools do not fix the root of the problem, the root of the diseases in your business. They do not. Here’s what those things are, okay?

First of all, not willing to be uncomfortable and I mean, truly uncomfortable and not willing to choose to be uncomfortable meaning not being willing to feel your feelings. A lot of people are like, “Seriously, Tobi, why are we going to talk about feelings and a bunch of touchy-feely stuff when all I want to do is make money and have better clients and have a better life and have more time freedom?”

I’m telling you, if you cannot be uncomfortable then you will never be able to create that life because everything it takes to create that life is on the other side of discomfort. Discomfort is the currency of your dreams. Selling at the way you need to, at the level you need to is uncomfortable. Creating money for your business is uncomfortable. Spending money on your business is uncomfortable. Putting yourself out into the world and taking a stand and choosing a niche and talking to a specific group of people and not just following the rules that you see that you believed were the rules of your industry that looked fun and sophisticated and acceptable.

Those are not the things that are the currency of your dreams. Those are not the things that are going to get you the life and the business you want and the way we know that is because those things are the things you’ve already being doing in your comfort zone and they’ve created the results you currently have.

They’ve created the amount of money you currently have. They’ve created the exposure and the size of the brand that you currently have. If you’re listening to this you know that that is not the result that you want. It may be a start on it. It may have gotten you some wins. It may have felt like you were on your way, but you are not there and the reason you’re not there is because you’re not willing to be uncomfortable.

So many of us don’t even deal with the problem of discomfort and feeling our feelings because we spend all of our time covering it up, numbing it out with our buffers. Like wine, food, emotional eating, scrolling Instagram, shopping, people pleasing, overworking, getting involved in other people’s business, gossiping, all the things we do to make us not have to do our actual work of getting ok with being uncomfortable and moving through the resistance of discomfort and doing stuff anyway.

So, that is one of the first places that you really have to do some deep work that I do with the people in my program, that I’ve done on myself, that I do on myself every single day. It’s not a one-time job. You don’t take one course and fix it. It is your life’s work and you get better and better at it, but it is an ongoing process that you have to be willing to voluntarily sign up for every single day if you want to build the life that you really want to build.

The second part of this which is closely related is the fact that we have to work through our extreme fear of failure. Almost every single coaching session I do in Design You with a thought model or with a problem that someone is having almost always it comes back to either they don’t want to be uncomfortable, meaning even bored. Bored feels uncomfortable. Vulnerable feels uncomfortable. Exposed, putting yourself out in the world feels uncomfortable.

They either don’t want to be uncomfortable or they don’t want to fail. What I teach people every day and what I remind myself constantly, and I have to go back to it because I catch myself falling back into this trap multiple times a week is that we have to be willing to fail up, to fail forward, to fail until we succeed. We have to be willing to suck at stuff.

We have to be willing to look dumb until we can look good at doing something, whether that’s Facebook Live or anything else. We dig underneath the symptoms and get to the root of people’s problems and it is this fear of failure. I want to do it right the first time, which is impossible, y’all. You can’t be good at something on the first try. You have to be willing to suck at it for a while until you’re good at it.

So many people aren’t willing to because they don’t want to look stupid. They care what people think about them. They think they will be judged. They think they will be rejected. They think they will be kicked out of the imaginary club that they believe exists in their industry or among the people they admire or their peers. If my peers saw me say this, teach this, talk about this, do this, if they saw me make that kind of website or have a course or a scalable offering they would judge me. They would think I have lost my mind. They would think that I had sold out. They would think I was unsophisticated and here’s the thing, sophistication does not bring you money.

Sophistication is not the currency of your dreams. It is rooted in the comfort zone of feeling like you fit in, of getting gold stars and approval and validation from your peers or other people and that has nothing to do with business. That has nothing to do with solving people’s problems and adding value into the world, not a single thing.

So, fear of being judged, rejected, fear of failure is the work, maybe the most important piece, but gosh, all of these are so big, hat you have to get underneath, that you have to fix, that you have to be willing to feel like a failure and I don’t mean an ultimate failure, but to feel like you failed and something didn’t meet your high, high expectations, and keep doing it, and keep getting back up, and keep going again until it does meet your expectations.

It’s so, so important and it’s part of the work. It’s number two of my five things. To be willing to be uncomfortable because it’s the currency of your dreams and to be willing to fail, and fail, and fail, and fail, and fail until you succeed. Again, I don’t mean ultimate failure. Ultimate failure is sitting on the sidelines watching and not wanting to be judged and quitting ahead of time. That is ultimate failure.

But I’m talking about daily, mini, M-I-N-I, and M-A-N-Y, mini and many failures in small ways that don’t meet your expectations and being willing to feel the discomfort of that and do it again, and do it again, and do it again until you feel good about it. Guess what, the confidence you’re looking for does not come from doing it right on the first time.

The confidence you’re looking for comes from the failing and do it again, and failing and doing it again, and failing and doing it again until you show yourself that you will show up for yourself. You will try. You will do what it takes and you will get good at it, and you do get response and validation from the people who are noticing that you’re willing to put yourself out in that way. It’s humongous.

Okay, number three, becoming an emotional adult. This one is so big. There is so much to this one we can do an entire – I don’t know, we can do 10 podcasts on this one, but when you’re looking at the problems that were already in your business before Coronavirus, a whole lot of them fit right here in this number three because what do children do? They have tantrums. They balk when they don’t want to do something. They want things to be easy. They don’t like it when they have to try hard or focus or concentrate or feel uncomfortable, right?

So, many of us are not doing the consistent things, the consistent actions, the things I do teach in my courses and classes you’re not doing them because you’re showing up as an emotional child and not an emotional adult. So, what do I mean by that? You’re not doing them because you don’t feel like doing them. That might go back to number one and number two, you don’t want to be judged or rejected or whatever. Sometimes you’re just being lazy. I just don’t feel like doing it right now.

Usually, what’s really under that is discomfort. A lot of you are being complete emotional children with the inconsistency of the way you’re showing up in your job because you’re not willing to be bored. You think you should be really entitled to being inspired and motivated and feeling creative and happy at all times and that is not real life.

Real life, the things that separates the successful from the really successful is the people who are willing to show up as an adult day in and day out and do the things that feel monotonous because they know that those are the things that get them to the long-term results they want.

The long-term results of having a full client pipeline, money in the bank, financial freedom, time freedom, all of the things that we want are not the instant gratification things. They’re the showing up anyway things. That is what an emotional adult does.

When you look at yourself and you’re like, “Am I consistent? Do I follow a schedule consistently? If I say I’m going to do it, do I follow through and do what I said?” Or do I get to that point in the day and I’m like, “Oh, I was going to. I was going to work on my finances. I was going to work on my business. I was going to sit down and think about creating a scalable offer. I was going to make some sales calls. I was going to finish all of those loose ends on those projects that aren’t fun, but you know what, I don’t feel like doing that.” That is a total emotional child move right there and it will never, ever, ever create a business that you dream of.

An emotional child gives in to urges like looking at candy and not being able to say no to it. We give in to urges all of the time if we’re showing up as an emotional child in our life and our businesses. Urges to watch TV instead of work. Urges to do what feels good instead of what is important. It really looks a lot of times like playing business, playing office.

A lot of you come to me and say, “Tobi, I listened to some of your content and you’re right, I do have a hobby business. I have a jobby, not a job. Because I’m not consistently showing up.” Here’s the thing, that is not because you are whatever label you put on yourself, a creative, a night owl, a spontaneous – any of those things, none of that is the reason.

The reason is because you are not doing number one and number two. You’re not willing to be uncomfortable number one, and you’re afraid of failure number two, so you’re not showing up as an emotional adult in your business. You’re playing office. Here’s the thing, there is no magic pill.

The people who come to me and come to my program that don’t stick are the ones that didn’t want the personal development work. They’re the ones that are like, “Just give me the tools and let me go on my merry way and let me believe there’s a magic pill,” but guess what. They’re going to have the same results with my tools or anybody else’s tools potentially, although I do think mine have some very progressive ideas in them that will take you farther, if you haven’t done the personal development work.

They’re only going to take you as far as anything else ever took you, maybe slightly farther, but it’s not going to be the magic pill you’re looking for. It’s just like any diet or anything else. I even talk to people about this. There are people in my program who are like, “Well, I also want to lose weight, and I also want to work on my relationships or my marriage,” and it’s the same work. It is the absolute same work, the showing up consistently. Having discipline, having integrity with your word, being an emotional adult. That is number three.

Okay, number four, how greed, H-O-W, how greed. I learned this from my mentor. It’s one of the most brilliant things I’ve ever heard of and I see it every single day. It goes back to that entitlement. It goes back to not wanting to fail. Just tell me how, Tobi. Just tell me how and I will do it. That is a great big lie that you’re telling yourself because if that were the case you would have already done everything else that you learned how to do and you didn’t put into place and you weren’t consistent about and you didn’t show up about.

How greed is being greedy with the entitlement of knowing how. I deserve for someone outside of me, someone, something, some course, some program, some thought leader, some guru, some business coach to teach me the how so that I don’t have to figure it out for myself.

Why don’t we want to figure it out for ourselves? Because we don’t want to fail, we don’t want to look stupid, we don’t want to feel rejection, we don’t want to be uncomfortable. But the magic pill that you’re looking for is in the figuring it out. Marie Forleo says, “Everything is figure outable.” She knows the magic in figuring it out because that is where the confidence comes from and that is what is self-sustaining.

Once you teach yourself to believe you do have what it takes to figure it out and show yourself that you can figure things out and try things and put them out there and be willing to fail and not think of it as a failure, but think of it as feedback and get right back on the horse and try it again, and keep doing it until it succeeds. Those are the people that create the life and the business of their dreams.

So, if you have how greed, which a lot of you do, think about it. It’s a sense of entitlement. It’s a little lazy. It’s mostly wrapped up in I don’t want to be uncomfortable and I don’t want to fail. I don’t want to do it wrong and I’m believing there’s one right way and if I keep looking hard enough I’ll figure it out.

The thing is, you could’ve built 10 dream businesses in the time that you’re looking for the magic pill because there is no magic pill. The magic is in the doing. The magic is in the showing yourself what is possible.

Number five is the situation you might call it lazy, it’s more like resistance to me, but it’s that I don’t want to do the work. That’s what this whole podcast is about. I don’t really want to do the work, Tobi. I want the business. I want the joy of the business, I want the fun of the business, I want the recognition of the business. I want the ego stroking that the business gives me, the identity it gives me to look like I’m a businessperson so everybody can say, “Oh that looks really fun,” or, “That was a really pretty room or garden,” or something else, event that you designed and get your ego stroking from outside of you and that is not at all what gets you to the business that you’re really looking for.

So, this hard, deep, personal work that I’m talking about does and it is not the stuff on the surface. It’s not the thing that anybody can see. It feels like a thankless job, but it is the work. I see a lot of people when it comes down to it where we say, where the rubber meets the road, they’re like, “I’m just not willing to do it. I’m not willing to feel the pain of doing the personal work, of pulling back the curtain and seeing what’s under there. I’m afraid of how it will make me feel. I’m afraid of admitting and taking responsibility for any failures that I’ve created or not followed through on in my own personal life and I don’t want to beat myself up.”

Here’s the thing, beating yourself up is optional. Taking responsibility is important, beating yourself up is optional because what I help people and see is, of course, that’s all you could do at that moment because you weren’t doing the work to have other ways of dealing with this. You weren’t changing your thoughts. You were just trying to change your actions and we can never act our way to success and the results we want. We have to think our way to them.

So, I really want you to see that if you’re not willing to do the personal work, if you’re not willing to admit where you’re not showing up and not beat yourself up about it, but have compassion with yourself about. Go to the root of the problem and see why you’re not showing up. It’s not therapy, y’all. It is the opposite of therapy. Coaching is the opposite of therapy.

Therapy can be great and it has a purpose and I’ve had therapy for various things in my life, but what the difference is in coaching and therapy is therapy keeps you stuck a lot of times because you’re blaming something outside of you. Your parents, your spouse, a situation for why you are showing up the way you are. Coaching and taking responsibility for where you are is completely different.

I said to somebody this week who was struggling with the fact they’re successful in area of their life but with food and their weight which I can relate to and I’ve done this work on myself and I said, “You know what? You don’t have a food problem.”

Food is only the thing you’re using the make yourself feel better because you don’t want to be uncomfortable. You have a thinking problem. Taking that level of responsibility that it’s just my thoughts is huge because most of the time we want to say, “Well, it’s because my parents were this way,” or, “My mom was overweight,” or, “My dad was mean – “ or some other dysfunction in my life.

As long as you are staying in that place, which is more what therapy is about and blaming anything you have zero power to move forward. Blame makes you a victim. It makes something else or someone else the villain and you, the victim. Blame does not move you forward.

So, what I help people do is just take responsibility for where you are right now. Of course, my finances aren’t in order. I haven’t done the things to get them in order. Of course, my business is struggling, I haven’t been working on it. Of course, I need to lose weight. I’ve been using food instead of feeling uncomfortable.

But when you take responsibility at that level and have compassion and forgiveness for yourself, you can move forward and do this work I’m talking about that we do together and it is the work that sets you up to then be able to use all the tools, all the courses, all the webinars, all of the strategic plans that I teach you.

Then all of those are like pouring gas or punching the accelerator to your dreams, but the tools alone never, ever get your there. So, I want you to know and I had to come talk to you about this this week to make sure what you think is your work right now is actually your work and absolutely, come join me and learn all about how to digitally market to your audience and how to create courses and scalable products and all of the tools, but only believe that those are going to work for you if you’re also signing up for the personal work, for fixing these five things.

The willingness to be uncomfortable, a willingness to feel failure, a willingness to show up as an emotional adult, a willingness to figure out the how of a lot of it on your own, not having how greed, and a willingness to do the hard, personal work. To not be lazy and to not shy away from the things that actually are going to make the most difference.

I really want you to just think about this. Think about it in this episode, like, what are you willing to do for your business and your life? Are you willing to journal every day to see what your thoughts and your blocks are and where you are shying away from things because you’re uncomfortable?

Are you willing to get coached on this by me in front of other people? Because if you can’t do that, how in the world are you going to be able to – if you can’t get coached in a safe space where everybody is doing the same work together, how in the world are you going to be able to go sell something to someone that has a really expensive price tag and stick to your pricing and believe you’re worth it?

How are you going to be able to grow a business to six figures, or seven figures, or beyond that because that is uncomfortable. You’re never going to be able to unless you’re willing to journal and get coached and try and fail, and try and fail, and try and fail, and get up, and get up, and get up again, and again, and again.

To do that you need this level of mindset work of deep personal work. The thing is I hear people say, “I’m afraid of you, Tobi. I’m afraid to get coached by you,” and I hear that. Yeah, I have a lot of tough love. Y’all know me as being direct, but I’m also so super compassionate because I feel like my life’s work is to help as many people get out of their own way as I possibly can.

I’ve been in my own way so many times and I’ve learned to have compassion for myself. So, definitely have compassion for you, but what I want you to see if you’re not really afraid of me. You’re afraid about what you’re going to uncover and admit about yourself.

You’re afraid of taking responsibility. You’re afraid it’s going to be painful and feel uncomfortable to admit that every result you currently have in your life you created and I don’t let you stay in the place of beating yourself up. We take full responsibility for things because that’s the only way to move forward, but beating yourself up does nothing but keep you stuck.

There’s a lot of people, I think, who don’t work with me because of what they make it mean about themselves. Their ego, really, “If I work with Tobi that would make it look like that I need her help and I’m not as far along as she and we’re peers and I don’t want it to look like, I need her. Or I’m not as advanced or successful as her.”

What I want people to see is separate my business, my design business or anything I’ve put out in the world from this work, I am just your guide with this work. I’m just the person who helps you step into your dreams and we all need help. I’ve needed help. That’s why I’ve done this work. That’s why I’ve learned this work.

If you listen to your ego you won’t peel away the smoke and mirrors that would allow you to be truly vulnerable and it would allow you to admit the truth to yourself that you don’t show up for yourself. You don’t put yourself out there, you don’t show up when it feels boring or uncomfortable. You do give into urges all the time to quit and do things that are more fun. You don’t get your schedule dialed in, you don’t manage your money, you don’t follow through on a lot of things.

Here’s the thing, this is not a pointing of fingers. This is getting to the point of taking responsibility because that is the foundation that we build everything else on top of. So, when you keep yourself from those answers, when you keep yourself from that personal power, you’re only treating symptoms for the rest of your life. Whether it be listening to a seminar, going to a program, reading a book, taking a course, you’re only treating symptoms and you’re never really going to get through to the root of this where the true freedom is.

There’s a part in a book called Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself by Joe Dispenza and it’s a really deep, sciencey book. I read it as part of my master coach training recently and one of the parts that stood out to me the most was when he was talking about how most of us, or all of us really, create a façade version of ourselves, a false self, the version we put out into the world.

It’s the version of us that we think is acceptable, that we think is appealing, that we think people will let in the club, right? We hide and stuff down all of the messiness and all of the truth and all of the ways we’re not showing up for ourselves and we hope that nobody ever finds any of that stuff out. Those are the deepest, darkest secrets of who we really are and we’re so afraid of those things.

So, we spend all of this time and energy on the treadmill, out in the world, on social media, painting this picture of our perfect life and our perfect selves and all the pretty things we’re doing and it’s really not the truth and it’s exhausting to keep that version up.

Now, it doesn’t mean we should go out then and be like, “No, I’m a total wreck, hot mess, and I’m literally a month away from being broke.” It just means that doing this level of deep, personal work is chipping away at all of those things so that you bring them out in the open to yourself.

Because as long as they’re secrets there is always shame. As long as you spend all of your energy trying to be palatable and acceptable to the world you’re not really doing this work. So, when I was reading that part there was a little section in there that said, if people don’t really love being around you in some way and you’re into deep, personal work, it might be because you’re not validating their false self.

I was thinking about this and I was thinking, “I think I do that to people.” Not that I’m doing anything, their thoughts are doing it, but being around me, working with me is putting pressure on them that there’s some work they have to do, that they should be doing, that they’re believing they should be doing. I’m not putting that pressure on them, they are, but I’m a reminder of that level of work, of that level of excavation that they should be doing because I’m not out there just chit-chatting all the time, just being playful, just talking about fun, pretty, interior design. Just sitting around and shooting the breeze about the industry or even – not necessarily gossiping, but just chatting that’s not me.

I am always looking to improve and to up level and to get out of my own way and to help other people get out of their own way. That puts a certain level of pressure on other people if they’re ignoring or not ready to do this work. So, here’s the thing, you get to decide when you’re ready. You don’t ever have to do it and there’s nothing wrong with you if you don’t do it, and there’s no judgment by me or anyone else if you don’t do it.

But if you do it, you are going to be able to finally step into the freedom you’re looking for. You’re finally going to be able create real, lasting, sustainable success in your lives that does not get derailed every time there is a recession or a new technology or more companies go on the Internet or direct to consumer pricing and selling or a pandemic or any other catastrophic or giant change.

Those things will no longer rock you to your core or rock your business to your core because you will have done the work to learn how to show up, to learn how to be an emotional adult, to learn how to pivot and move towards real needs, and follow through and do what you say what you really want to do in your business.

You won’t be covering it up anymore, you won’t be hiding from it, you won’t be looking for the magic pill because those things are all surface level and when we get something that rocks us to the core, like what we’re going through right now, it blows right through all of those surface level things we were trying to do hoping that that they would help us avoid doing what we actually needed to do.

Okay, so I know this is a deep episode. I think it’s a super important episode. I can’t wait to hear from all of you who were moved by episode, who were mad from this episode, who were scared of this episode, but what I want to tell you is that this is the work, the personal work. Because we don’t have a business brain and a personal brain. We have one brain and the personal blocks are our business blocks.

Getting through, excavating, removing those blocks are the way to recession-proof, technology-proof, pandemic-proof, self-sabotage-proof your business. When you do this work and can feel discomfort on that level and move forward anyway there is absolutely nothing you can’t do.

When I had that realization, not that long ago, that doing this level of work feels so uncomfortable. It feels, honestly, like terror when you’re choosing to do it. You’re electing to doing this work, but I survived it. I survived the terror of doing that work on myself and I’m still doing it every day.

When I realized, wow, that felt horrible, but it didn’t kill me and it really moved me forward in huge ways and now when terrible things happen in the world or my life I know I can feel that level of terror and survive and move forward and grow and be better because of it because I already practiced it.

I did it on purpose. When you know that about yourself then there is nothing and I mean nothing that you can’t do. There is no mountain too high that you can’t climb. There is no goal too big that you can’t achieve because you have proven to yourself what you’re made of and you’ve taken responsibility for all of the behaviors and blocks and any that you’re going to find out in the future that are there and you’re willing to face them head on and do the work on them and get them out of the way so you can go to the next step. That is the work that we do in Design You.

So, yeah, we give you tools. I’m teaching you digital marketing for creatives in a week after I’ve recorded this episode or maybe it’s after you heard this and that’s fine because you can come watch all the recordings of them and they’ll still be fresh and amazing and you can still come on live calls and ask me all the questions about them.

But here’s what I’m telling you, if you want results, if you want change, if you want to survive the most scary and seemingly unsurvivable things that are going to hit you and your life and your business the work I just talked about, these five things, that is the secret.

You know when there was that book The Secret, I think it was about manifesting and law of attraction. I’m like, “No, that’s not the secret. This is the secret that nobody is talking about.” I have people in my community all of the time, I just had one this week say, “Why are we not teaching this stuff from a young age? Why are we not teaching this in school? Why are we not teaching us how to get out of our own way and be willing to fail and be willing to feel uncomfortable because it is the currency of our dreams?”

That’s what you’re going to do to fix all of those problems that were there before the Coronavirus and will be there after the Coronavirus and will continue to be there until you’re willing to face them head-on and do the work to remove those blocks.

Okay, friends. Wow, thank you for listening. I hope you see that this is heartfelt. I literally spend so many hours every single week, going what is the problem? What is in the way for me and other people? How do we bust through that? I think this is possibly the single most important episode I’ve ever recorded.

I hope it hits you on that gut level and I hope whether you work with me or do this work on your own or with someone that it moves you to change the things that you have been doing in your life to keep you stuck and to create the problems that you’ve had long before this pandemic started and long after it will be over.

I love you all so much. I love my industry. I love creatives. I love doing this work. It’s such an honor and such a privilege and I hope to see on our regular episode this week and on future episodes of The Design You Podcast and I really hope to work with some of you in this deep, personal way that’s going to be the currency of your dreams. Okay, bye for now, friends.

Thank you so much for joining me for this episode of The Design You Podcast. If you’d like even more support for designing a business and a life that you love, then check out my exclusive monthly coaching program, Design You, at tobifairley.com.

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Hi! I'm Tobi

I help creative women (and a few really progressive dudes) design profit-generating, soul-fulfilling businesses that let them own their schedule, upgrade their life and feel more alive than ever!

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