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Hi. I'm Laura.

Discover the meaningful work that's right for you. Finally.

Ever Feel Like a Nobody?

Last week in the comments, Megan playfully said,

“I can’t spend my life chasing sparkly unicorn dreams of being a health coach and motivational speaker! Who do I think I am, Tony frickin’ Robbins?! I’m a NOBODY!!!”

Calm down, now. Don’t forget about the boogers.

Tony Robbins? He gets boogers. Ellen gets her feelings hurt. Beyoncé wonders if she can pull it off. Brené Brown gets mad and wants to shoot people the bird. Oprah poops.

Whoever you are bowing down to, measuring yourself against, and deferring to…they’re an awful lot like you when you take away the celebrity.

Imagine that there was some big natural disaster. Nobody can make it to their private island, the personal helicopters can’t get in, and security systems for the mansions go down and it’s not safe for the fancy people to stay there. Everyone needs to make it to the Superdome for food and shelter. Things are bad and it’s about survival now.

What do you think Tony and Beyoncé are thinking about?

I’ll tell you what: the same stuff you are.

Where’s my family? Are my parents safe? My daughter was at school when all this happened and I don’t know where she is. Where is my daughter? Has anyone seen my daughter? Honey, hand me that extra sweatshirt and put the bread and Skippy in a bag, we need to go.

Because we’re all just people. And we all care about the same people stuff.

Tony and Ellen and Beyoncé and Brené and Oprah?

Their kids get sick. Their parents slip and fall and have to be cared for. Their beloved pets die and it devastates them.

They either pick their nails or have a wart on their heel or can never spell the word “museum” right on the first try.

They have a favorite food. They have acid reflux and a prescription for anxiety.

They had a first kiss. They had a summer reading list. They had to make their bed.

Their dog gets fleas. Their car gets flat tires. They have split ends.

They have dreams that are dear them. They fear that they won’t come true.

But they have big, public failures, too. The show gets cancelled. The ratings drop. The event doesn’t sell out. The reviews are terrible. They don’t get the financing. The publisher says “no”. It’s on the news. It’s all disappointing.

But that doesn’t stop them.

They lick their wounds for a bit, but then they go into problem-solving mode. They change direction. They reinvent. They double-down. They hire lawyers and publicists and choreographers and editors and coaches. They enlist others to help bring their vision to life.

They ask for advice. They have friends and mentors who they trust. They value the input of these people but put their own instincts first.

They definitely don’t wait for permission.

They make hard decisions. They know there will be tradeoffs.

The build their dreams over time. They start in church choirs and friend’s basements. They write half paragraphs in composition notebooks. They practice dance moves in front of the mirror in their bedroom. They make recordings that no one but their stuffed animals will ever hear.

They change their minds. They know they will outgrow projects and ideas and that their work will evolve over time. They know that makes them innovative, not flaky.

But most of all, they keep raising their hand and saying yes. They keep finding ways to sing for people, write for people, and talk with people. And if you want your experience of being a human to look a little more like theirs, you will too.

In the comments, share a “singing in the basement” start that you can make today.

  1. This is the single best thing I’ve read today! Thank you for writing this and bringing me back down to Earth. I often forget that the people who shine bright put their pants on the same as we do.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  2. I love this! All we can really do at any moment is begin exactly where we are. “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step.” Dr. Martin Luther King

  3. I needed this reminder, especially after the week I’ve had. Thank you so much for sharing this with us!

  4. mkopp28@gmail.com says:

    Laura, you are AWESOME. Thanks to you (and a few other wonderfully supportive people in my life), I’m committing to chasing my sparkly unicorn dreams. =)

  5. Wow. I just came across this as I was online looking to make myself feel better about my writing business and thinking of ways to press forward. I didn’t read every single word of this, but it touched me so. I think that I am love with this blog already. Thank you!

  6. bateiap@gmail.com says:

    I love this so much. Yes, yes and yes to go for and try again and try once more. Thank you for pushing me once more (and this is something I love about your work: inpiration and pushing me forward).

  7. michellebarkway@hotmail.com says:

    Just what I needed to read today! Thanks for the reminder.

  8. malini07@gmail.com says:

    I related to a lot of the comments from last week (especially about having too many possibilities), and I’m glad you’re going more in depth with this. Right now, I’m promising myself to finish editing the novel that I can’t decide if I like but my f&f all want to read, and put together some the “basics” I haven’t — a card, learn to use my dad’s recording studio…

  9. Thank you! This is brilliant. 🙂 I like to remember that everyone I look up to now was once in my shoes, riding the struggle bus. They probably still are, but they keep doing what they love anyway. And so do I.

  10. lauren.byrd@gmail.com says:

    Yes, I was just commenting to a friend today that our favorite director was working as a teacher and script girl in her early 30s (my age.) Always makes me feel better about my life being a mess.
    Things I’m adding to my to do list because of this post:

    (Mentally): Remind myself that the one career area I want to explore may not be an easy path, but I have possibilities and can always volunteer more to find out if this is really “it” for me, before giving up the ghost.

    Pitch one of my ideas to a (paying!) publication

  11. Taryn Morvillo says:

    This is true awesomeness.

    I will say "No" or "Not right now" to family members guilting me into doing favors because "my work can get done whenever". Living in the guest house is as helpful to my mother as it is for me, and I need to develop stronger boundaries now.

    I can "block" my creative work at different times throughout the day, keep a heatmap/journal of my energy and productivity, and set up a routine that works with my creativity and energy cycles.

    I can break my practice pieces and pre-business business projects into "milestones", "deliverables", etc.

    I WILL TRACK MY TIME. Whether it’s writing practice or commenting on blogs or slacking, I’ll know where time is spent. And knowing is half the battle.

    I can record and optimize even the simplest of processes. Because a process becomes a system. Bad habits die hard, so get them out while the process is simplest. Even if it’s replying to personal email, I can think in terms of best practices.

    I WILL RECORD MYSELF answering questions about my business, how much experience I have, what the benefits of X are, etc. I know I talk too fast, mumble, and even get a little too loud when I’m nervous, particularly on the phone.

    I could go on and on – but the point is I never thought about all these things I could be doing that will make me more confident, effective, and professional… And FEEL more like the professional I’m purporting to be. Brilliant and simple.

    Lots of love and light –


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