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The Details Dilemma

Lego BricksI don’t think I’ve mentioned this on the blog before, but I Love (capital L) the smarts and style of Naomi Dunford of

If you’ve ever put yourself in the somewhat frequently awkward position of starting your own business, you may well appreciate her good sense as I do.

If you were on her newsletter list, you’d have received an email today about Amazon reviews, and more specifically, the complaints readers leave about business books.

The book in question is Chris Guillebeau‘s The $100 Start-Up. (Chris being my other current Love (capital L) fixation for creating and hosting the World Domination Summit and being an incredibly humble, kind, and generous human being.)

In his book, he profiled some 100 businesses that have made at least $50K and got going on a Shoe String.

Without putting Naomi’s entire article here (she doesn’t seem to post newsie emails on her website), which would be long as well as unethical, the moral of the story is: The Complainers said they wanted more details.

In her email, Naomi points out that in her experience, if she gets into super-duper, nitty-gritty details, then one of two things is likely to happen:

  1. a large portion of the info won’t be relevant to many readers since every case is different, and/or
  2. when you break it down into those little steps, people then reply, “Duh, I knew that.”

She asks: What details do you WANT?

Great question.

What details do you really want to know?

I thought that if I could ask her for specific details, what kind would they be?

Would they be about getting started?
No. I’ve got the website, the email program and other tech services to handle what I need.

Would they be about defining my peeps?
Not-so-much. I know my tribe is typically creative, entrepreneurial types struggling with getting stuck in their own personal quagmires.

Would they be about defining how I’m helping them?
Ditto on the not-so-much. Private coaching, eCourses, small group coaching, RAP Session, newsletter, blog.

Would the questions be about finding and connecting with my peeps?
Yes. Though I know what I should be doing: blogging, guest blogging, networking, social media, and joining forces with other entrepreneurs.

That said, I’ve been doing so much reading, listened to so many calls, and have sat through so many classes that I don’t actually want more details here. I’ve got details coming out of my ears.

So then I ask myself, if it isn’t more details I need, then
What’s In the Way From Me Doing It??


The answer isn’t as clear cut as you’d like

The answer here is a (sarcastically) lovely pile of doo primarily involving the all-to-common demon called Confidence or lack thereof.

Two things here:

  1. I know I’m not the only one with this issue.
  2. This is a different question altogether from the details stuff.

Sure we need guidelines and it’s certainly incredibly helpful to know what other trailblazers have done before.

But at a certain point, you’ve gotta just dig in your heels and Give It Go.

Making the Switch to Action

I don’t know about you, but I’ve noticed that it can be hard to make the switch between Learning and Taking Action.

It’s awkward, it’s hard, we don’t know if we’re doing it right, we compare ourselves with those who’ve mastered it and then feel like a failure.

It’s a lot easier (so we think) to keep learning and not take action.

The kind of details someone who is stuck in Non-Action wants are impossible to come by.

I think that when people say they want more details, what they’re often saying is: “I need something else but I don’t know what.”

Our culture has placed such a huge emphasis on the rational, the understandable, the dissectable.

We like to think that when we know how something works, then we can follow in those footsteps.

You are more than a pile of Legos

The problem with this model is that we are complex human beings with a lifetime of emotional patterning swimming in a pool of uncertainty.

We aren’t Spirit of St. Louis Lego kits.

As much as we want to think that our self-image, core beliefs, values, and confidence are what the Crazy Woo-Woos worry about, these are exactly the things to look for when the pain of Non-Action hits.

And here’s the thing:
Words and details work for the logical, they don’t work for the other stuff.

What does work is compassion and understanding.

The logical direction for this post would be toward inviting more compassion into your life, but that would make for an epically long read and really, it deserves plenty of attention on its own.

For now, let’s go with this reminder:
When you feel stuck, practice kindness with yourself.
This kind of love melts fear.

And remember, you don’t need to make all the resistance disappear—
just enough to take the next step

I’ll wrap up by answering Naomi’s Call for Answers.

My short answer to Naomi

Dear Naomi,

I realize I didn’t really answer your question: “What details do I want?” but you did post two other questions in your email:

So what’s the solution? What is my entire industry getting wrong here?

My response: The acknowledgement that

  • the underlying need under the request of “more details” is to be validated,
  • the details (the logical) want to be accompanied by nurturing (the other stuff).

How does that translate into the info you provide? Hmmm… You’re a smart cookie (ref. first paragraph) and I’m sure you’ll figure it out. I’d totally be happy to brainstorm with you, too.


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Photo credits: Lego Bricks by bdesham

Spirit of St. Louis from brickset

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