- How Jamie Varon decided to embrace an “effortful” attitude and put more intention into her work
- Why living and working from France reset her satisfaction meter and helped her find a new level of confidence
- Her weekly writing practice and how that habit has impacted her ability to show up and do the work
- The results she’s experiencing—personal and professional—from embracing a new working style
I used to find confidence in the fact that lots of things come easily to me.
I taught myself how to play the piano as a small child.
I could pitch a softball at 60mph without much practice.
I got excellent grades without studying.
I was given extra responsibilities at my first jobs.
My default mode was to expect to good at whatever I tried. I expected things to be easy and effortless.
Most of the time, this was good. It meant that I had the confidence to try new things or step up to a new level.
But operating like this also had a serious downside.
The downside of finding confidence in things being easy is that, when I tried something that didn’t feel easy, I ran the other way.
Anything that took effort or practice tore down my confidence and left me feeling like a sad sack.
This month, we’re examining confidence. Specifically, we’re looking at how small business owners find the confidence to take a big step forward.
As you might imagine, lacking confidence in anything that required me to actually work at a thing didn’t serve me well as a business owner.
For years and years, I ran my business in a way that allowed me to avoid hard things.
I hired contractors instead of making a home for employees. I relied on more passive marketing instead of picking up the proverbial phone and closing the deal. I avoided examining my own mindset instead of confronting my biggest fears and weaknesses. I set goals that felt safe instead of taking a long hard look at what I really wanted from my business.
A couple of years ago, I started to get real with myself.
I realized I had been coasting. And, while coasting felt good, it wasn’t really what I wanted to be doing.
This was around the same time I started bouldering.
Imagine a 15ft wall—or, quite literally—a 15ft boulder.
Your job is to start at the very bottom and use your hands and feet to work your way to the top.
Unlike big wall climbing, bouldering doesn’t use ropes. You fall on pads. And, you will fall.
I was terrible at bouldering at first. Like, truly terrible.
Looking back, I’m not sure what even possessed me to sign up for the class. And I’m less sure what made me decide it was a good idea to go back for the second class!
Getting on the wall the first 5, 10, or 15 times, I felt weak. I felt inept. I felt truly terrible at the task set before me.
But I kept getting on the wall. I practiced—and I hadn’t truly practiced anything in my previous 35 years of life.
Eventually, I got better.
Now, I teach bouldering at my gym and other climbers come to me for tips on a regular basis.
Bouldering taught me how to work hard at something.
It taught me the value of effort.
It taught me how to feel immense satisfaction at the smallest improvement.
And, I’ve carried all of those lessons into my business.
I put more effort into my business today than I ever have—not because I believe in hustle porn or even associate hard work with bigger results.
I put this effort into my business because creating something great requires me to be great and that requires my effort.
It’s worth it. My business is worth it. I’m worth it.
My conversation today is with someone exudes effortlessness on social media. Her lifestyle, her writing, her way of showing up… it feels so natural to me. So I was surprised when she told me, right out of the gate, that she’s embraced an “effortful” attitude.
Jamie made a big lifestyle change over the last few years and I wanted to know where she found the confidence to do life differently as a small business owner.
We talk about the year she spent living and working in France, how she’s redefined satisfaction for herself, and how she balances setting goals with finding peace in what already is. We also talk about the very real implications these changes have had on her business and professional success.
This candid conversation with Jamie is part of a whole series we’re doing here at What Works on confidence. We want to shed light on how small business owners continue to find confidence, long after they’ve taken the leap to get started.
Over the next month, you’ll hear about finding the confidence to raise your prices, come back after a major loss, experiment & iterate, stick with the plan, and land giant clients. When we’re not posting new conversations here on the podcast, we’re sharing personal essays and reflections from What Works Network members on how they find the confidence to take the next step.
To get the full series delivered to your inbox—and check out what we’ve already released—click here.
Now, let’s find out What Works for Jamie Varon!
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