overcoming resistance

OvercomingResistanceAbout six months ago I asked my gut – for the first time ever – what I should do next with my career as an open-ended question.

I expected to hear something like “more workshops,” “new consulting packages,” or something along those lines. But the answer I received was clear, concise and completely unexpected.

Though I am unable to share the answer right now, I do want to share what happened since that fateful day:


Well, not nothing. Actually, a lot of things happened.

At first, I dove headfirst into this project. But after failing twelve times to get the very first step of this journey right, I started to get distracted with other projects.

I focused on the Workshop At Home launch. I did a lot of client design work and I worked on the hotel branding project. I did dozens of business consults. I prepped for the podcast launch.

I got so busy with everything else that stalling on the gut-led project became “understandable.” And in turn, this created Resistance to the project as a whole.

Of course, I didn’t see it that way at the time. While I was working on all of these different aspects of my career I told myself that I “didn’t have time” for the project my gut called me to do.

Meanwhile, as the prospect of moving cross-country became a possibility, I became obsessed with the idea of shifting gears there.

New city + new home = new career, right?

But as you know, Seattle didn’t happen.

Instead, I stayed in Chicago and implemented my “Seattle changes” here. I started eating healthier (no more TJ’s Mac and Cheese everyday for lunch), simplified my friendships, exfoliated unnecessary clutter, and lived like I wanted to in Seattle.

But I still didn’t make the project my number one career priority.

As I delayed my progress on the project last week, however, things started to unravel. It finally got to the point where I felt miserable.

Not exactly depressed… just very down. I could see myself making all of the superficial changes that I wanted to make with the Seattle move, but deep down they were meaningless if I continued to stall on the real issue: not doing what I am called to do.

So finally, I picked the project back up. Just a little each day. As long as I worked on it to some degree, I felt better.

But as I read Turning Pro this morning, Mr. Pressfield hit a nerve.


Rather than make sure I spend a few hours a day on what I am meant to do, I center my days around business consulting sessions.

At first I told myself I needed to do this “for the income.” But really, that’s not the case. The Intention Sessions (which align with my project perfectly), hotel design work, and home design work provide ample income. And if necessary, we can tighten our budget for the time being.

I also feared that if I dropped the business consulting options I would be disappointing those who want to work with me. People I could help.

I wondered if people would think I was going off the deep end. I’ve learned over the last few months that people perceive me as a ‘business person who sometimes talks about life stuff’ — without the business advice, will they see what I do on the life side as valuable?

And the most insidious fear of all was that I might not be good enough at the thing my gut told me to do.

But today I’ve reached a breaking point. I know that if I delay on this project any further I will feel more miserable every day. I cannot keep caving to excuses and rationalizations any longer.

Going forward (but perhaps not forever), I will no longer offer business consulting sessions. Those who have reached out to me already or have sessions on the calendar are still welcome to work with me. For those who are new, the Workshop At Home serves as a powerful course with tons of information for new business owners, and Wish I Knew offers insights for small business owners on a variety of topics.

With the upcoming holidays, I am postponing the podcast launch until January, too.

In the meantime, I am shifting my focus to my project first and foremost. I have a self-selected deadline to have the first milestone of this project completed by January 1st.

Thank you so much for following me on this journey. Your continued support and encouragement on this winding road means a lot to me, and the minute I can share more details about this project, I will!


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  1. alexandrainto

    Thank you so much for sharing your process and your struggles with resistance. It is great to see someone being so transparent about their process as opposed to I wanted to be x and suddenly with a little magic and positive thinking I became x. Thank you for continuing to be an inspiration.

    1. Thank you! I am glad you appreciate the candidness, I thought about waiting until things were more ‘sorted out’ but it feels great to just share where I am in this moment in hopes that it might resonate with others who struggle to make large changes in the face of Resistance, too.

      1. alexandrainto

        It really does resonate with me. As I read this, I was actually in the act of resistance so it made me realize that I need to address what I am resisting. Thank you for that.

        1. Really? (If you don’t mind me asking) what was your brand of Resistance at the moment? Fear of failure? Rationalization? Comparison?

          1. alexandrainto

            Yes really. My current brand of resistance is fear of failure. All of the what ifs are going through my head making me not want to even get started. Still I have persevered through today and made some positive steps forward.

          2. Jess Lively

            Exactly! Tim Ferriss also recommends making a list of all the “worst things that could happen” that your fear of failure is centered upon. By writing out, in detail the absolute worst things that could happen on one side of a piece of paper, you can write what you would actually do if that fear came true on the opposite side of the paper.

            The point of the exercise is to take the ‘scary’ feeling we feel and write it out so we can see it in the light of day and address it before getting started. That way we won’t be haunted by vague worries that don’t have corresponding actions like “go back to my old job” or “find a part-time job to help pay the bills.” Those steps aren’t the end of the world, but the fear of failure sure does end the project before it has even begun.

          3. alexandrainto

            Thank you so much for sharing this exercise. It is a fantastic idea to look at all the possible outcomes and know that you can handle it. If you don’t mind me asking, what Tim Ferriss book did you get this from? I just got the 4 Hour Work Week but would love to read another book of his if it has suggestions like this.

          4. Jess Lively

            Yep! It is in 4-Hour Workweek. : )

  2. Ashley

    Thank you for sharing with us! I hope the more you start working on your “gut project” the easier it gets and the more clear it gets. I also can’t wait to here about it! I’m also still excited for the podcast, but totally understand why you are postponing it as well. There’s a lot on your plate!

    1. Thank you so much, Ashley! I am so excited to hear you are pumped about the podcast, too! With the holidays going on and the number of interviews I want to have before the launch, it just kinda made sense to wait until January. Though some people might have enjoyed them to listen to while traveling over the holidays I also figured a lot of people would be so busy with everything that it might not be as easy to work into a holiday routine.

      This way, January is a great time to set new habits, which can include podcasts like this one. : )

  3. This is so inspiring because I think most of us put off doing the things our hearts really want to do, the things we’re meant to do. It can be scary to put down the distractions and really look at that big, bold dream. I’m so proud of you, Jess, and I can’t wait to see where it takes you. 🙂

    1. Thank you, Sage! It is a bit scary, especially before I made the decision this morning. But I feel lighter now.

      Quieter, and lighter. Less weighing on me.

  4. Lindsay

    I am so happy for you and your progress, and I’m so proud that you made the decision to move the podcast launch too. I know you can do it! I’ve been thinking a lot about how my own gut decisions have come to me in the past too. I think I’m making some progress

    1. Thanks, Lindsay! I feel like of all people you were probably one of the few who were hoping, from a project management perspective, for me to put that in 2014. : )

      I am also happy to hear you are listening to your gut more and reflecting on how it has helped you in the past. That is awesome! If you find yourself facing Resistance, I highly recommend The War of Art for a little inspiration.

  5. Thank you for sharing your journey with us Jess. You’re absolutely right, it is super easy to get caught up in distractions that essentially sideline us from the work we are meant to do – I’m guilty of this too + glad to hear I’m not alone. Your new project sounds exciting + I’m keen know more in the new year! xx

  6. What can I say? I’m bummed for me and my business, but I’m happy for you. Just don’t leave business consultations forever, please! Good luck on your project! I’m excited to hear more about it.

    1. Aw, I’m sorry to hear that, Anna! I will still be helping people through The Intention Sessions on business, but in a much more limited sense (how to overcome Resistance [like I’ve dealt with and shared in this post], how to structure our day, etc.).

      If you have new to business (0-12 months), I would highly recommend checking out the Workshop At Home. It has tons of great information and advice to help you start moving forward. : )

  7. Kimberly Anne

    Going with your gut is heard, but so fulfilling when you are able to do so. It is so crazy how resistance/procrastination can manifest itself and make us feel icky. I am going through that right now with my own site and some projects that I have been delaying. Sometimes you just have to dig deep and get it done! Excited for you! As usual, I know whatever you are working on will be fabulous.

    & I hope you LOVE Turning Pro. I still need to download the first book.

    1. For sure, Kimberly! I totally here you on the procrastination front, as you know from this post. For me, I have now decided to hustle a little more in the mornings so I can get to work on my project BEFORE the other things I need to do during the day. This way it can’t get pushed off to the side. It comes first. Though I don’t know if this is feasible for you at this point, Mr. Lively (who has a regular day job) has been working on his project at night after dinner instead.

      Also, LOVE Turning Pro! I’m almost done with it now. I don’t want it to end!

  8. I hear you, sister! Amen. If you haven’t picked up The War of Art or Turning Pro, I highly recommend those books to help you get a clear understanding about what is happening and why. : )

    Also, thank you so much for mentioning the life vs. business content piece – I really appreciate that you see my intention is to truly serve beyond just business strategy and really work on the fundamentals that apply to all areas of our life. Thank you.

  9. Kaly Sullivan

    Thanks Jess – this is a much needed reminder as the BIG project that I know in my gut is where I should be focusing keeps slipping down the to-do list. So brave of you to refocus and reshuffle. I love the idea of putting it first in the day. I can see that working for me. Let’s see if I can wrestle my resistance tomorrow!

    1. Thanks, Kaly! As you know, I totally can relate to what you are going through. I do feel so much better making it the first thing I do in the day. It kinda makes me feel like no matter what, I’ve succeeded.

      If you need any resistance-boosting powers, I would read The War of Art and Turning Pro for guidance.

  10. Weezie Boiles

    Can’t wait to hear what the big project is going to be! Congratulations for getting to your breaking point- and moving forward. That’s not an easy feat!

    1. Thanks so much, hun! I like the congrats about the breaking point. It feels good to be past it now… though it will be a daily renewal to keep it going… One day at a time.

  11. Nicole

    I totally want to cry because a goal of mine was to schedule a consulting session with you! But I’m so excited to hear this and to see what the big project is.

    1. Aw, I’m sorry to hear that, Nicole! If you ever want to do an Intention Session, please let me know! And of course, the Workshop At Home is like a three hour consulting session with myself and the seven guests – with tons of great questions to consider, advice, and tips. : )

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