Alison had published three books, delivered a talk at a renowned conference, and advanced her distinct brand enough to garner gigs around the world.
So, what was the problem?
“I’ve kind of run this thing to its end. I’m ready for what’s next, but I don’t know what that is. And whenever I get an inkling, it seems radically different from what I’m known for.” She wanted to start off her new year with a whole new “thing.”
She wanted to Break Brand.
And sometimes, most times, that’s fine and necessary. But this kind of situation raises profound doubt. The kind of doubt the Alisons of the world experience has a different hue than the kind of doubt, say, of someone just starting out with his first venture ever. Alison’s kind of doubt comes post-success, post-mastery. She’s already accomplished in one field. So, for her to arrive again at uncertainty makes her think she’s a failure or a fool for surrendering success in that one proven arena. To become an uncertain apprentice again who must ask for guidance feels, to the accomplished professional or creative, kind of vulnerable.
But this junction of doubt turns out to be profoundly normal for successful people who excel in creative and entrepreneurial fields.
The hard part for Alison and others of us like her is staying in the confusion long enough to let something real and true germinate. When we cannot endure the unknown next horizon, we often respond in one of three ways:
Stick with the safe thing.
Leap to another safe thing.
Get stuck in paralysis.
Not fun. Read more