More of and Less of: The strange magic in knowing exactly why you do what you do

Life tosses us around sometimes, doesn’t it? Take time, for example. Sometimes we seem to have more than enough to “get it all done” and sometimes we’re struggling for 5 minutes to get our shoes on and get out the door. News, politics, and current events stress us. Family members need our help when we can’t even find the energy to help ourselves.

It’s a universal truth in self-employment: Some days, weeks, months, it’s hard to stay on track and moving ahead with our work, because we’re zigging and zagging all over the place.

To help keep focused on my destination, I have a secret weapon, a compassionate ray-gun, that I use in these times: It’s a little game I call More of/Less of, and it’s made a huge difference in my business.

You can try it too, and see if it helps you. Here’s one of my “More of/Less of” statements:

I help thoughtful self-employed people to create, cultivate and grow the work their hearts want to do. Why? Because I want to see MORE people on this planet working from a strong sense of purpose, with their own unique vision and contribution. I think it is going to save us all. (In fact, I think it may be one of the few things that can.)

I want to see LESS of the stress, powerlessness, frustration, and wasted resources that can be part of working for someone else. Less carbon monoxide from commuting, fewer fast food lunches, less office politics and misery poker (“…you won’t believe what so-and-so is doing to me…“), less social and environmental damage by big corporations.

I do it through bite-sized teaching sessions, regular coaching dates to help untangle specific issues and blockages, and hands-on help with stressors like “how do I attract clients now?” And yes, by being a tech sherpa, so all those self-employed people can stay connected and promote their work.

The exercise is deceptively simple. Just spend a couple of minutes thinking about each of these:

  1. What do you want to see more of in the world?
  2. What do you want to see less of in the world?
  3. And how do the services, products, or knowledge you offer the world contribute to those two efforts?

These three things, when fixed firmly in your mind, can do several magical things:

  • They can help pull you through the most trying of times, because they are rock-steady inside you even when the world might be shifting under your feet
  • They help you develop a radar for—and say “no” to—work, clients, or commitments that are just not right for you
  • They are an invaluable guiding star when you’re brainstorming new products and services: Is this creating more of X?  Less of Y?
  • They can help you attract new clients, readers, donors, and peers/partners who have the same values, and kindred spirits make for wonderful long-term clients
  • They help you articulate your work to others, in a way that makes it more clear and more memorable

You don’t have to be a social activist, a great visionary, or an 80-hour-week “hustle entrepreneur.”  It doesn’t really matter what kind of business you have (I’ll show you why below). This clarity game works even if you’re just starting out, or are just wanting to earn a simple living doing useful work that you love and are good at.

Here are some responses I’ve received from clients when I asked them to play:

A small bookstore owner:

I want to see more people finding solace and joy in books, real books, and give them a place where they can meet others who do too. I want more people to remember how amazing books are. I want to see fewer people stuck on the technology addiction treadmill, addicted to beeping devices and constant “feeds” and the ten-second adrenaline rush of a “Like” on Facebook. Sinking into a story is so much better for our minds and bodies…I sell books for all those reasons.

A massage therapist

I want to see more people feel good in their bodies, unhindered by stiffness, aches, pains. I want there to be more people who know how human touch can shift our energy. I want to see fewer people suffering through chronic pain. Some people sleepwalk through life unable to really enjoy any of it. I offer all kinds of healing massage and I can help so many different kinds of people, I understand now why I went into this work.

A creativity coach

I want to see more people being able to let their creativity loose, whether it’s doing some kind of art or just going to work and doing their job. I want more people to know that creativity isn’t just a special chosen few – we all have it!! I want to see less of the mindset that tells us “I’m just not creative at all.” It’s not true. We all just need to learn a few skills to tease it out of ourselves. I teach those skills, and every day I see it changing peoples’ lives.

A furniture maker

I want to see more people proudly having handmade things in their homes, and not just jewelry or stuff like that. Real functional things we use in everyday life, made by a real human and not in a factory in Asia. I want to see less money being paid to own cheap pressboard junk that doesn’t help support an actual person, a neighbor. Just knowing that something I made in my shop is out there being loved by somebody–that’s huge for me.

What do you think? Want to try it? All you need is a few minutes.

Think about the work you do, or want to be doing.

What do YOU want to see more of? Less of? And how do the specific services/products you offer help make that happen?

Let me know what you come up with – and be sure to provide a link to your page so we can learn more about you.