piper’s dream report: week one

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I don’t think there are enough words for me to say thank you to all of you for your wonderful words of encouragement and support.  I honestly feel blown away by them and I want to say how much it means to me.  It was nerve-wracking to put that first post out there…definitely a bit out of my comfort zone.  And I felt a bit worried that maybe my story wouldn’t resonate with people.  But you all are so supportive…thank you for being behind me!  And I want to give a special shout out to those who applied for the Dream Reporter position…I know it could quite easily be me reading about your story here and nodding my head saying “that’s me too!”.  So I want you to know that I really think that my story is your story and that we all have that same end goal – to have the courage to follow our dreams. I like to think that we’re all in this together!

So after I finished my first post and had the excitement of reading your comments, reality sunk in.  As in “what did I just sign myself up for?” and “I have to do another post?!”  And to be honest, I’ve been a little freaked out.  I think I was hoping some magic genie would appear after my first post and grant me my dream.  I guess it doesn’t quite work that way, huh?!  I actually have to dig down deep and work for this.  Uh oh.  Because I know I have to “weigh in” today (eek!) so I feel like that person who takes off all of their jewelry so they can show any sort of improvement up on the scale!  I want so badly to say “look at everything I did” because I feel this heavy responsibility – I don’t want to let you guys down.

So…can we count procrastination as an accomplishment?  Because if so, I really did get a lot done then!   I thought Jess’ post the other day couldn’t have been better timing.  It’s like she wrote about exactly what I’m going through right now.  Because I’m stuck…and being stuck makes me feel annoyed at myself for not knowing what to do next and then ultimately leads to procrastination.  I stare at my ever growing to do list…and find myself wanting to do anything other than tackle it (for one thing, it’s this horrific mess of 3 different spreadsheets…I don’t even know now why I have 3 of them!!).

I think part of it is that I’m at a turning point…I set up my LLC, got my EIN#, created a list of designers & artists that I would love to work with. But these are mostly administrative items.  It’s like I’ve just been playing at starting a store.  Now it’s getting real…I’m at the point where I have some major decisions to make.  But not really knowing what to do or how to do them, makes me feel stuck…so, I just tack them on to my to do list.  And there they sit because how can I work on these things if the house is a mess and I have to write posts for my blog and I need to read all these other blogs and why are the dogs just staring at me, I better take them out and play with them…well, you get the picture!

This is where I wish I had a partner or a mentor or just someone that can tell me what to do next.  Give me the exact instructions, A to Z, of what I need to do to set up a successful store.  Of course there are plenty of books and classes and workshops on this…I’ve pretty much read or been to them all – but they don’t give details.  Details like: this is exactly what you should say for your elevator pitch, this is exactly who you should choose as your web designer, this is exactly the artists you should work with, this is exactly what your logo should look like.

So I procrastinate because I’m afraid of it not being the right decision or the perfect decision or just not knowing where to start….basically I’ve got a bad case of perfectionism which holds me back just as much as fear does. I’m pretty sure a picture of me would be right next to the definition of perfectionism – I think I’m a textbook example of it!  Somehow I learned the crazy thought that everything I do must be right the first time.  Which is impossible, right?  So this means I end up living in dream world….have you been there?  It’s nice and safe and full of ideas and procrastinating.  No decisions need to be made in dream world!  If only there was a way to actually live and make money in dream world!

So basically this is where I’m at right now…I need to stop being stuck and bust out of dream world.  And I KNOW the only way to do that is to TAKE ACTION.  To stop procrastinating and worrying about whether it’s perfect and tackle my to-do list one item at a time.

(image credit)

I’ve started by posting notes all around that say TAKE ONE ACTION TODAY.  That seems doable.  One action a day.  That’s 365 in a year…just about the size of my to-do list J  I also ordered myself a cool planner from Bob’s Your Uncle…I figured if it was fun to look at, maybe I’d want to work on it!  (better than these awful spreadsheets!)

Also, I thought that if I shared my to-do list, shared my goals, that you would see what I’m working on as I go along.  If I’m going to weigh in, I guess I need something to weigh in with!  So my goal this week – put my to-do list together on one list and prioritize it.  And TAKE ONE ACTION EACH DAY.  I’ll be back next week to report on what I did.  If there’s one thing I have in spades, it’s perseverance…that’s got to count for something right?

I would really love for you all to be a part of this…I think I’m hoping I’m not alone in these feelings.  So if you have any questions or want to correspond with me one-on-one feel free to email me:   piper (at) onesydneyroad (dot) com.

And let me know – do you ever struggle with perfectionism?  Does it make you procrastinate?  What have you found works for you?

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  1. I can only think of one person I know who doesn’t procrastinate and it’s because she gets so anxious having things hanging over her head that she starts everything right away. I need to develop her kind of anxiety! Certainly it’s better than perfectionism?

    As a writer, I find that procrastination looms when I have a blank page in front of me. Like “I don’t want to put a bad sentence on this beautiful white page! So I’ll just…not write anything at all, in case it sucks.” I’ve started giving myself the freedom to basically write stream of consciousness on my first draft. To put stuff down on paper as if it’s not a draft at all. So far, it has helped a lot to just get me going.

  2. I absolutely love the pictures you used! I love those quotes too. You know it’s sometimes hard in these days to become what we want to become and have want we want to have but without dreams, hope, actions and support we are going to stand in the same place, but standing in the same place can also mean that we take a step back without even knowing it! It’s good to follow the dreams!

  3. Ann

    Hi, Piper! Congratulations on being the Dream Reporter! Having to show up for Jess is a great way to get you off your “but”! I did a post for Jess about my “designed life” and it is scary to put yourself out there, but I find if you’re able to verbalize what you’re thinking and feeling you’re half way there! As for perfection, if things were perfect there would be no joy in making things work. I opened a store with no knowledge of what I was doing either, but you definitely figure it out as you go. I would suggest that you define who your customer is with a minimum of 3-5 adjectives, (as is glamourous, eclectic and witty), whatever you want this store to reflect. Then keep these adjectives in mind as you choose your logo, merchandise and even web designer. Above all! Trust yourself! This will be your creation and only you know what you want that to be! You can do it.

  4. Joy

    This might be helpful: review of the book Making Ideas Happen. chance to win one if you make comment on site today. good luck http://bit.ly/931pL6

  5. Kristin

    I’m a master procrastinator. Don’t get down on yourself. You are going after your dreams and that is a beautiful thing. You’ve made way more progress than most people with a long range goal!

  6. rachel

    I *love* the idea of doing “just one action each day”…so simple, but it would accomplish so much. Love it!

  7. Piper, there’s a really incredible book out there called ‘The Boss of You’, written by two incredible women that own a boutique web design firm in Vancouver. It’s geared toward women and teaches you ‘everything you need to know’ about being a female business owner. The book is part workbook part guidebook and is INCREDIBLE and really geared toward small, creative businesses that are focused on creating an awesome, well-rounded business. They walk through SO many aspects of starting a business that some of the things you’re wondering how to do (logo design, elevator pitch) are totally in there and I think it would be incredibly helpful for you! I’m reading it right now and totally love it. Oh! And they run a blog, too! Just google ‘The Boss of You’.

  8. Oh man, Piper, I so relate! Death by perfection. I can have so many ideas, that become tangled in a huge pile, that making headway in any direction is really hard. Lately, I’ve tried to remember that “It doesn’t have to be hard,” and to refocus sometimes I think about what would be the path of least resistance. Something I can work on now, and then build on/polish later. For me taking small steps leads to a good momentum.
    I completely second “The Boss of You.”
    I do illustrations for the web design company http://aeolidia.com/ and cannot recommend them enough!
    Thanks so much for posting.

  9. Piper

    Wow, you guys are wonderful!! Thanks for these ideas and suggestions and just for listening to my story and cheering me on…it’s amazing how that helps 🙂

    I love that idea of just using adjectives to think about who my customers are…that’s a great idea!! I’m going to try that out and see where I get.

    And I can’t believe there’s a book on starting a business that I haven’t read yet 🙂 The Boss of You sounds great…I’ll definitely get it, thanks for the suggestion. In fact, I want to start reading it right now!

    A friend of mine just was telling me that when I find myself procrastinating to think of times when I did something difficult or was fearful of and got through. I’m finding that that’s helping me see I have gotten through things before that maybe I didn’t know how to do. I’m going to keep trying this and see if it helps! I’ll let you all know 🙂

    It’s hard to give ourselves a pat on the back I think. But we all deserve it, right?!

  10. Ling

    Hi! I’m also on the same path as you on the search of getting to your dream! 🙂 I’m an interior designer and I love painting. I’ve been “dreaming” about opening up my own art studio where I can teach art and do design consulting side by side!And I’ve already taken my first step in starting up my own blog
    Really excited that we can all be part of your accomplishment! Good luck! and never Give Up! (=

  11. Andrea

    “…do you ever struggle with perfectionism? Does it make you procrastinate?” OMG, have you SEEN my life? I don’t start things because I believe it’s not going to turn out how I want it to. In my head I know that nothing I ever do will be perfect and that just trying is the important thing, but my heart hasn’t quite gotten the message yet.

    I love your idea of doing just one thing a day, even if it’s something little. I used to do something similar to this and it really helped me, and I need to put it into practice again. Gotta take those baby steps again before I can run. Thank you for the reminders! 🙂

  12. Heather

    I so understand this place, I have spent years getting ready to get started. I read a post the other day that perfectionism is just another form of fear, I so relate to that. Some things that have helped me , remember this.. You have what it takes right now to do what it is you want to do, you have all the wisdom with in you. Don’t put the cart before the horse, I was so doing this the other day and had to give myself a talking to, Priorities are you friend, I know when you are going for a dream that they all seem like they should be at the top of the list! Don’t forget to take care of yourself, mind , body and spirit in the midst of all the to do’s.. You don’t have to have it all figured out now.. This is a process, this right now is the journey!

  13. Jessica

    I love this. I think we’ve all been there. I get paralyzed by the to-do list often! I procrastinate one thing, and that thing turns into 5 things that get backed up behind it, and then suddenly there is this mountain of junk that I avoid at all costs!

    I love your idea of doing one thing today. One thing less on the mountain I’m avoiding is doable … and then tomorrow there is one less thing on the mountain. And then you can soon whittle away at all of that and you don’t even realize it – because you’ve just been doing one little thing at a time!

  14. Lori

    Piper, great post! I am a perfectionist too. Over at “Penelope Loves Lists” she had a great post about overwhelming to-do lists and suggested just narrowing it down to three items to do a day. Just three. I thought that was crazy because my lists are always 15-20 items long at least. But when I started just focusing on three items a day, it really did help. I wasn’t as overwhelmed with three items versus 15-20. So it is similar to one item a day, but I just wanted to share my experience. BTW, I want to read “The Boss of You” now too!!! 🙂

  15. Kate

    I recently went to a Project Management Symposium and they talked about not managing your priorities correctly. Like Lori said, the a key note speaker (Neal Whitten, if you’re interested in this kick-ass, no-nonsense, get-stuff-done guy) suggested you manage to your top 3 priorities every day. I guess he’s taking it one step further than what Lori suggested – TOP 3 priorities, not just any 3. If you have a deadline coming up, a customer commitment, or a strategic partnership you need to focus on, keep those 3 things at the top of your list, then tackle things like administrative tasks that need to get done, but could wait, because they are easy and you know you can surmount them.

    I love reading your stuff! I can’t wait to learn more from you 🙂

  16. Oooh. I second the recommendation for The Boss of You. It is fantastic.

    Piper – I listened in on a Webinar with Seth Godin a week ago. It had one really great piece of advice that I took down: “Write you interests down, circle one and don’t work on anything else until you succeed.” You’ve circled your interest, and now you’re doing the hard work! Keep it up!

  17. Emma Jo

    It’s so nice to read about your journey (as I have put mine at hold for the next 7 months at least, due to lack of money)

    Tell me more about your shop, what are you selling? How big or small do you want your boutique to be? where is it going to be? Are you going to sell online as well? Are you selling your own stuff or others? Do you have like a set date when you’re going to be up and running this shop? I am so curious! 😀 Do tell!

  18. Maddy

    I think you’re on the right track, especially the part of taking a small step every day. When you look at the large task at hand, it can be so overwhelming! The great thing is that you don’t have any deadlines here. So you can work on opening your shop as slowly (or quickly) as you’d like! The small tasks everyday will keep propelling you forward, but will also make the larger task manageable! And what the heck, maybe somedays you’ll feel the energy to tackle a couple things off the checklist!

  19. I have definitely been here (recently). And you’re on the right path because I’ve found that the best way to get unstuck is to talk about your dream with someone who “gets it”. The designer I chose to work on my logo and webdesign is so inspiring. We love sending inspiration photos back and forth and anytime I talk to her I get enthused all over again to make it all happen! My friend (we met through blogging!) and I email each other “updates” and know what the other is hoping to accomplish but putting off so we can encourage and remind each other of our goals. It’s also nice to get a second point of view on some of the decisions I’m making from someone who is familiar with what I’m doing.

    My advice on the designer part is to contact your favorites and say you may be interested in working with them. Tell them your goals, aesthetic, and basic timeline. Some may be too busy and you can cross them off right away. Read their responses carefully – you want someone who can see and share your vision and is familar with the market but has their own ideas that complement your existing ones. Make sure you’re both enthusiastic about creating a beautiful end result.

  20. April

    Piper I have thoroughly enjoyed your two posts and can’t wait for more. I can completely relate to where you are and how you are feeling. I’ve got a notebook full of ideas and drawings…but I (so far) only dream. You are an inspiration for getting off my ‘but’ and doing something!

    Also, thanks to the ladies with the book recommendation “The Boss of You.” I’m looking forward to getting a copy!

  21. Amendment to first comment: realized that by “designers” you probably mean for inventory! Was thinking graphic designers.

    Instead, take this advice – check your local library for stats from your city, it may help you in your decision in location 🙂 And check out Jamie Meares over at isuwannee.com who opened her own shop after being laid off. Insta-hit and I’m sure she’d have some great advice.

  22. Jonna

    “This is so me!” 🙂 Piper, we share the same dream – to be a shop owner, to be independent, to be free, to push through the boundaries of our own fears and imperfections.

    My advice, EXPERIMENT. Try something for two weeks and just see how it goes. The big hairy audacious goal is too much to look at all at once. Example…for two weeks commit to working one hour, just one hour a night on X. Even if you can’t think of what to do that day, just sit down and think on it for one hour. After the first day or two you’ll get the hang of it.

    If it’s tough, just remember it’s only an experiment – no WINNING, no LOSING, not RIGHT, not WRONG. After two weeks try something different.

    You may even find you totally rocked and got a lot done!

  23. Congrats on being the Dream Reporter Piper! Every day, I feel like my “to-do” list gets larger and larger. Not because people give me tasks to do (well that is part of it) but I always add new things to do myself. Whether it’s sew presents for people, create new content for blog posts, what have you, it does get pretty overwhelming at times. When I think about sewing, there are soo many parts to it like picking fabric, measuring fabric, cutting fabric, and then finally sewing!! I don’t particularly enjoy the in between steps like cutting but I know it has to be done to reach my end goal. So in light of TAKE ONE ACTION TODAY, you have inspired me to take my sewing in chunks and do one day of cutting and then one day of sewing and not overwhelming myself with everything all at once!!!

    I can’t wait to meet you tomorrow Piper and I will make sure you are on task!! =P


    Buy this book and read it. As most of us live multiple lives, careers, parents, partners, friends, volunteers, etc., our lives consist of multiple projects moving simultaneously at different paces. David Allen gives you a lot of really good, practical tips that will help you execute and move forward.

    I also would suggest you make a date with yourself every week to manage that to-do list; assign dates, add new information, delegate. I think the more productive you become the less hung up you’ll get about perfection.

    Good luck and enjoy the ride!!!

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