I have been wrestling with how to close out a project that has been consuming my mind, energy, and emotions. The project is a risk, and includes trying to help others launch their big ideas into the world.

I have learned a few things along the way.

Taking risks is hard.

Launching ideas is scary.

Fear of failing is paralyzing.


We move forward despite the resistance.

We will have doubts during the entire journey.

We will feel stuck, get stuck, and periodically wiggle free.


What do you do when you are at the end of a project?

How do you end one journey and make sure it closes out correctly?

How do we move from one project to the next?

I was recently talking to a close friend and they offered a great word.


And not just any Permission.

Two specific areas of Permission.

Permission to Rest.

Permission to Celebrate.

Permission to Rest – to acknowledge that your efforts and energy that you put into this project will require recharging afterwards and to make space and allow yourself to rest without feeling guilty, lazy, or worthless.

Permission to Celebrate – to acknowledge that you did something, created something, and made something happen, and to give yourself some credit even if it wasn’t perfect or exactly what you had hoped.

Permission to both Rest and Celebrate is difficult.

We are so “busy” that natural Rest feels like we are doing something wrong.

We are so critical and/or trying to be humble that to Celebrate feels wrong as well.

Maybe all projects should end with Permission.

Go ahead and give yourself the Permission to Rest and Celebrate.

And just in case that is hard to do, we give you Permission for both.

Making Cabinets


“It was easier when I was making cabinets.”

“Why, what was different?”

“At the end of the day, I could see and feel my progress. Now I just deal with people and it is hard to know if I accomplished anything.”

As I reflect on my own work. I can relate.

A lot of what we do is less measurable, less tangible.

It is certainly easier when you make something. It wasn’t there before. You built it. It now exists. You can see it.

Ideas, thoughts, managing, leading are harder to quantify.

But we are still making.

Building ideas.

Crafting thoughts.

Developing people.

Creating and expanding organizations.

“Maybe it would be easier to ask yourself a simple question at the end of the day: What Cabinets Did I Make Today?”

“What do you mean?”

“Think about your work now in terms of cabinets because that is where you started. Take your interactions with customers, sales gained, estimates written, and turn then into cabinets.”

“You are a little weird.”

“Yeah I know, but keep tracking. This will tie your current work to the familiar and fulfilling work that you keep longing to do again.”

“I can try. So when I complete four estimates in a day, that may be a cabinet? Instead of not feeling like I am making progress, I can look at that pile of paper, and see a cabinet?”

“Yes, making cabinets out of your current work.”

Maybe that is how we can all calibrate our time, our effort. Think about our work in terms that are familiar and comfortable. A lot of our lives can feel like spinning our wheels instead of Making Cabinets.

What Cabinets are you making?

What [insert your cool creative thing here] have you built today?

Go. Make a difference. Make Cabinets.


I Am Trying

I am trying

Breakfast with close friends is a favorite thing. Great food, great coffee, and great opportunities to talk and connect.

Typically these talks include catching up on life, work, and our goals for both.

On this particular morning we were discussing my goal of posting a blog once a week.

As soon as we started discussing it, I blurted out.

“I am trying.”

This friend would not let my words pass without intervention.

“You are not just trying. You are doing. I see your posts once a week, that is not trying that is doing.”

They were right. My old narrative of “trying” did not match the current reality of “doing.” That narrative, and those words came from a time when I was struggling with writing. Instead of writing, I told myself that I was “trying.”

My friend’s words stuck with me since that day. The recalibration of the narrative was helpful. I realized that a lot of the time when I am not actually accomplishing my goals, I use “I am trying” as an excuse for not doing an unpleasant or hard task.

“I am trying to call my family more often.”

“I am trying to connect with friends.”

“I am trying to find time to schedule that.”

“I am trying to be more organized and clean up my desk.”

“I am trying [and the list keeps going].”

I have become more aware of how often “I am trying” made its way into my life.

How often has this narrative kept you from the harder tasks? How has “I am trying” created an obstacle for you?

For me, the choice is simple. I am no longer trying. I simply have to do.