#16 Ready Set Go



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Paul McAleer: Hi. You’re listening to Designing Yourself. This is Paul McAleer.

Whitney Hess: And this is Whitney Hess.

So, as is pretty typical for us, Paul, we started a conversation long before we hit Record, and all this good, juicy stuff was coming up. And I was like, woe is me. The world will never hear this brilliance or this craziness or both.

So, we hit Record. But we’re really in the middle of a conversation here which is about the topic of being ready. How do you know when you’re ready? How do you get ready? What does it even mean to be ready? And it’s a little bit related to our very first podcast episode, season 1, episode 1, on starting, beginning things, because we were in fact just starting the podcast.

But this is different, I think. So, we were just reflecting on some things in our lives that we finally feel ready to do. I want to start by saying congratulations for launching the new Centralis website.

Paul: Yay. Thank you so much. So, Centralis, for those of you who don’t know - I’m accompanied by thunderstorms in the background as well, by the way. For those of you who don’t know, that is where I work. That is where I do my UX work. And, yeah, we got a new website up last week. So thank you so much. It was a wonderful, fun thing to do.

And it was good. It was so nerve-wracking to launch a website because there’s so much involved with, wow, is the DNS going to propagate and, boy, does everything work all right, and all that jazz. But I am glad it’s out, and I’m happy that I got to play a big part in that. It was a lot of fun. And now the real fun begins, of course.

Whitney: Yes, for what it can create.

Paul: Exactly. That’s the fun stuff.

Whitney: And the reason I bring it up which, listeners, he didn’t know that I was going to tie it in like that. But the reason I bring it up is because when we’re launching something new, and something especially that we’ve been working on for a long time, it can be a real challenge to determine when we’re ready to let go.

And so I’m wondering if there’s any stories you can share about how you knew or how the company knew, OK, it’s ready. Yes, there are more things we can add. There’s more tweaks we can make. But, this is good enough, and let’s hit the imaginary Live button.

Paul: Yeah, that’s hard. That is so hard because - and I know this is true with a website, and I know it’s true with, oh goodness, just about anything project-wise or personally I can think of. But there’s a point where you just have to go ahead and get it out there. And you know it’s not going to be perfect.

And there will always be something that you see that you know when you look at it, you think, yeah, I put a lot of effort into this thing, but this is where I had to say it was good enough. And that was another thing we talked about in a previous show, too, is when is something good enough?

But I think the hard part for us was really being able to say that it’s more important for us to get this website out for many reasons than for us to chase it down to a point where we felt it would be perhaps more perfect in some other ways.

Like, we didn’t want to delay it forever and ever. Nobody wanted that. But we also saw that, well, if we kept on making tweaks and making adjustments here and there, we could do that forever and ever and never kind of get it out and start seeing what it does out there.

And that’s totally the same thing, to me, as trying something new and exploring what that will mean for you to do something new, even if it’s an instantaneous thing. But just going ahead and doing it - and, yeah, there was a fear that the DNS propagation didn’t work or the permalinks didn’t work or what have you. And we prepared for that as much as possible. And there was still that possibility. But we just made it as slim as we could. So, yeah.

Whitney: So, if you can, to the extent that you can without revealing confidential company secrets, I know that it had been a while coming and you’d wanted a new website for some time. What were the conditions in the company, you think, that finally made you all ready to embark on a new website redesign?

Paul: I think a lot of it was that our old one was not helping us as much as it could have. We knew it was an outdated website. We knew that. And it didn’t reflect who we were. This is an interesting angle, too, maybe. But it really didn’t reflect who we were as people, nor as a company.

It didn’t say this is - it didn’t really put our best foot forward. It didn’t do a great job of presenting us. It did at one time, years ago, maybe. But it just kind of wasn’t us anymore. So we had to say, you know what? That’s - we’re over here now. So here we are.

Whitney: It reminds me so much of our episode on impermanence where we were talking about how change is inevitable and we’re always changing and it’s not something we can control. We try to fight against it. Many of us hate it. But it’s just a fact of life.

And when you were saying that it made me think of this idea that at one point your website reflected you. But you as a business and as a group of individuals have been growing, have been changing and evolving over time. And little by little by little the website doesn’t represent who you really are anymore, what you’ve become.

And perhaps there’s this tipping point where the effort to produce what does represent you becomes less costly than maintaining something that no longer represents you. And I think we all live with outdated everything in our lives. We have outdated personal websites. We have outdated bios all around the Web, outdated photos that we don’t updated, outdated cars, outdated phones, outdated everything.

We probably have old food in the trash that we’re just not willing to throw away yet because we think maybe I can use it and I don’t really want to re-buy it. And it’s like there’s that moment. There’s that single moment in time where the scales shift and the choice is made for you.

It’s like, the website is just not representing us so much so that the effort that would go into creating a new one is less than the weight of having this old one that isn’t serving our current needs.

Paul: Exactly. That’s kind of where we ended up with it. And it’s funny because I also was thinking back over my career, and I realized that outside of maybe one, maybe two companies, every job I’ve been at a website redesign has been happening, every one outside of one or two.

So, I don’t know. I guess I just attract myself to that type of project. It just happens. And I’m usually very heavily involved in every one of them outside of one of them.

Whitney: I have a theory. Maybe it’s not just that you’re attracted to the project itself. But maybe you’re attracted to organizations that are in transition.

Paul: Oh, probably, because I’m also in transition. There you go. You know, Whitney, it’s all about redesigning the website of your life.

Whitney: Well, I mean, in all seriousness it may be that you have such a high awareness of your own transitions in life. I mean, heck, that’s a big reason why we have this podcast together in the first place, is that we have both arrived at places in our lives where our self-awareness is beyond what it may have been in the past.

But now we’ve seen. Now our eyes have been opened. And we see what’s really happening around us all the time. And so I suspect that there’s some level of comfort that you have in companies that are in transition and wanting to be a part of ushering in that transition that perhaps other people aren’t so comfortable with.

Paul: Yeah, I think that’s true. You know, it touches on one of the things that UX people do in general. And I’ve definitely been in this position before, where you come in and you’re the change agent, right? That’s the term that’s thrown around. And I’ll put a dollar in my business-speak jar for that one.

But, you know, sometimes you get brought in and your boss or whoever brings you in says, OK, we want to change, and you’re the person who’s going to lead that or help make that happen or whatever it is. And that’s a pretty big responsibility because you have to understand what’s going on.

You have to understand that whole company, right, and all the people in it, too. You have to understand the processes. You’ve got to understand the people. You have to understand kind of all the little nooks and crannies and the workarounds that people make and the culture, and do people eat at their desks, and are people silly here? Are they very serious?

You have to understand all that. And then you have to get people to a point where they will change for some ostensibly good reason and a greater purpose, right?

Whitney: At least we think it’s a good reason.

Paul: Hopefully it is, yeah. I mean, it’s like when you start a UX practice at a company, which I’ve done and I think you might have done, too. Or at least you’ve definitely coached companies with that, right?

Whitney: Mm-hmm, absolutely.

Paul: And you basically have to say, OK, well, here’s user experience, and it’s not wireframes and flows and stuff. And that’s a part of it but it’s also research and testing. And you kind of have to do the whole dog and pony show.

But you can’t just go in and say we’re going to do research. You kind of have to say, OK, here’s why and here are the problems and here’s how it can be fixed and here’s how you do it for $0 because that’s what you’ve got here. And then eventually it’s how you get the budget for it.

But I draw - and we’re talking a lot of work stuff, but I do draw kind of a direct analogy to self, too, right, because how are you going to take action or change something if you don’t have some sort of understanding of you?

You can. That’s your right. You can totally do that. You can do that any time you want. But what I’ve found is that thinking about where I was a year ago, or definitely two or three years ago, as a person I just feel like I’m in a more informed place while recognizing that where I am now is always and continues to be in transition.

And this is not the me of 2018. That’s for sure. I’m going to be in a different place then. I don’t quite know where it is, but I’m also at a point where I have that awareness of myself, and it’s not perfect. I have understanding of my processes. It’s not perfect either. And I have an understanding of wanting to say that not everything is perfect, too. I see that, right?

So, recognition and observation is - just like in design, it’s kind of the first thing that you really need to look at and understand before you can take any action that might have a really long-lasting effect and a desirable one, at that.

Paul: I completely agree. And I think that there’s some other mysterious forces at play. So, I think that readiness isn’t only within our control. I definitely agree with everything you just said, particularly about knowing oneself. And the more you know oneself, the more perceptive you are to the conditions that make you ready to proceed.

But I also think that it is a lot of other external forces conspiring to create the conditions that surround you that allow you to have the confidence to proceed. So, I think what I’m saying is, everything you just said I totally agree with. And that’s the inner world.

But I do think that there’s some outer-world stuff as well. The external world, the planets have to align sometimes. You have to wait for other people to be ready in order for you to be ready to move forward with executing your plans.

Paul: Tell me a little more about that.

Whitney: Well, that has been my recent experience.

Paul: OK, great.

Whitney: So, two weeks ago tomorrow I was finally certified as a professional coach.

Paul: Yay!

Whitney: After a whole year, which now that I’m saying it doesn’t sound like very long, like it really could have been a lot longer than that. But I was, as I’ve mentioned before and of course you know, in this yearlong certification program where I was trained to be a professional coach based on a specific methodology that is proprietary to the gentleman who started the school.

And it’s not unlike the Cooper design methodology. They are a consultancy. They do user experience design and have for a very long time. They have honed their process. And not only do they use that process with their clients, but they have a whole arm of their business that’s all about training, and they bring people through a series of classes and they train them in that process as well.

And because it is their process and a sort of prescription of the order in which things should be done and what techniques to use and how to do those techniques, they could put a trademark on the end of it and it’s a methodology. And it belongs to them, and you can be trained in it. And then you can take it out into the world and adapt it to suit your needs.

Not unlike that, my training program for coaching is very much that way. It’s their proprietary methodology and, yes, I am now trained in that. And it’s called Integral Coaching. And I can talk about that some other time. But I bring it up because I have been in this transition from consulting to coaching for the last year plus.

I had the realization that I wanted to shift my business away from being responsible for having the answers and giving those answers to my clients to guiding my clients to find their own right answers and to build those competencies in house.

And I had that realization. Of course, it was not like a light bulb over my head, as I kind of wished it had. But it was a confluence of things and different inputs that I was getting for some time. But I think I’ve finally accepted it as being true in, let’s say, February of 2013.

Paul: Oh, wow.

Whitney: And by March I was looking at the field trying to figure out what is the coaching discipline and how do I learn about it so that I can bring this into my business, because I knew that that was the shift that I needed to make in the way I operated. But I knew I wasn’t ready to make that shift because I didn’t have those competencies yet within myself.

And I decided that the right approach for me was to enter a certification program just like with user experience, design development, everything in technology. You don’t have to be certified. It’s an unregulated discipline.

But, unlike in the field of user experience, perhaps, in the field of coaching it really helps that you’re certified because there’s this governing body called the International Coach Federation that is totally unofficial, but they’re widely accepted, very, very, very widely accepted, far more than any one association within the field of UX.

And they accredit training programs. And so, if you go through an accredited training program, then you are eligible to get these professional credentials. And they have three levels - associate, certified coach, professional certified coach and master certified coach.

And it’s all based on how many hours you’ve been coaching. And you need an obscene amount of hours to become a master certified coach, like basically 25 years of experience.

Paul: Oh, wow.

Whitney: So, I’m telling you all of this because I knew that I needed this program. And so I entered the program, but at the same time I wasn’t going to wait a year until I was certified to do anything. I had to make small changes to the way I was doing business because once I had the realization and once it set in and I accepted this is what I need to do, this is how I have to change, it felt so wrong to do things the way I had been doing them.

It just felt inauthentic, like that’s the old me. I know better now. I’ve got to do it this new way. And yet I didn’t have the education, and certainly not the experience that I needed to figure out how. So, the last year has been a lot of trial and error. I haven’t just like pulled the ripcord and said never going to do anything like I used to because that was my income stream. And I couldn’t just jump into coaching totally because I had no idea what I was doing. And I’m sure I still don’t. But I have a little bit more of an idea a year later.

So, I just wasn’t ready for a lot of things. But before I was certified, I became ready for certain things. I came ready to put the word “coach” in my title. And I started doing that maybe, I don’t know, a few months ago, couple months ago. I can’t remember. I started calling myself a user experience coach instead of a user experience consultant.

And that term doesn’t necessarily mean anything to anyone because it’s not a really common term yet - wink, wink. But it means something to me. And it’s a great conversation starter for prospective clients who say, what does that even mean? User experience coach is kind of vague. And then it gives me an opportunity to express how differently I approach things.

It’s not give a man a fish, it’s teach a man to fish. Why is that so important, especially when it comes to user experience, X, Y, Z? I don’t need to give you the pitch now.

But I was ready to use that word, “coach.” And I was ready to start talking about why coaching was important. But there was still a part of me that felt like I was not - I did not have the permission. I did not have the credibility, the readiness, to really change the way I was structuring my client projects, the way I was pricing.

I did have some one-on-one coaching clients. That was a part of my certification program. I was required to have real clients with real issues, and I saw them through full five-month-long programs. And some of them I’m still working with now.

But I wasn’t doing that more than a few hours a week. I was still very squarely focused on the kinds of UX projects I’ve always had but doing them slightly differently. Only in preparing for the certification, let’s say - it was two weeks ago, so let’s say a week and a half before that. When I knew it was on the horizon, I was not guaranteed to certify, I had to go through a sort of graduation process that was very involved, but one of the pieces was actually coaching someone live in front of a room of my classmates and in front of a panel of my instructors.

And, yes, they watched live. And based, in part, on how I conducted myself in that and how well I was able to demonstrate my mastery of their methodology, in part, that was how they determined whether I was ready to be certified. I didn’t know if I would be, but in working up to it, I was starting to be ready to rethink my business.

And then, since they put the rubber stamp on it and they said, yes, you are in fact certified, and I got a pretty little certificate and all this stuff, since then, in less than two weeks, I have exploded in terms of rethinking my business.

These are the different services I’m going to offer. These are the pricing structures. These are my target audiences. I mean, I was really struggling for the last few months, even thinking about who am I going to target. Am I going to target, like, people like you and me who are user experience practitioners? Are those my clients?

Am I going to target executives? Because I went into the program thinking I am going to get this certification so that I’m more credibility to the C-suite to help them create organizational change that creates the right climate for user experience to thrive. That was my intention.

But then I’m like, oh, but do I really want to work with executives? What about groups, and what about the team stuff that I’m doing now? I was so lost. But since somebody else external to me said, yes, we think you are ready, my belief in myself and my own feeling of readiness changed so much that it just unlocked all of this cognitive power, I guess, and energy and determination to get it out of me, get it kind of put down on paper, documented.

And, I feel close to ready to launching that. And so, my long story here is to say that I don’t think it was just the conditions inside of me changing, but like the external conditions. But maybe you disagree.

Paul: So, you kind of caught me there by surprise. No, I don’t disagree. I feel that what it sounds like is really you started to explore these ideas, and that was kind of the first sign that you were ready for something. You couldn’t identify what it was because you didn’t know what it was yet.

And you also - it sounds like didn’t really have a sense of what would be on the other end early on. But it was kind of - it sounds like it was kind of more of a feeling that grew then into an exploration that kind of splintered off and starting having intention behind it and very direct action.

And you took an enormous set of actions towards now something that was a goal that came out of that intention. And the intention remains, but now it’s at a point where now there’s a new goal, and it’s really thinking about business models and how to sell these services and how to get to the right people and help them.

And all of that just kind of blossomed out of that. And, yes, there is the internal aspect and all that goes with that. But, if you’re not getting any feedback on it, if it’s just you in a vacuum in an office by yourself with no internet and no other people, then first of all, sad to me. But second, it’s not realistic because we’re social creatures, right?

There’s so much of this work that we need to do that is inward-facing, and it needs to be, because I feel - I mean, well, it needs to be at least for me, and I think for you as well. In my experience it’s been incredibly beneficial because as we operate in this world we need to know who we are, to some degree, or have some sense of self and expectations and needs and wants and desires and all that good stuff.

And that gets refined and changed over time, and that’s something to recognize, too. And how you go about that, it’s a very personal thing, right? I know what’s worked for me. You know what’s worked for you so far. Again, that may change later.

But, beyond that then, it’s OK, now how do I deal with people? How do I deal with organizations? How do I deal with expectations of others and the feelings of others and empathy and all of that? And, validation is a big part of that, too.

And, you know, I was in a place for a very long time where I needed external validation just because I didn’t feel like I had any internal validation. For me it was filling that vacuum and that void that I felt I had. And it was largely because I didn’t feel confident enough in my skills or abilities or being able to really put some weight behind my hopes and dreams and all that fun, good stuff.

And in the absence of that I wanted other people to kind of direct me because I thought, hey, people have a good sense of me, maybe better than myself. So, I’m going to invest and put all my chips on whatever they think I probably should be doing because I don’t know. And I’m scared to explore that. And I don’t know how to explore that.

And I wasn’t really ready to do any of that either. So, for me it was a lot easier to say, what are expectations of others? What are they thinking I should do? That seems reasonable. OK. And I’ll do that, whether it was fulfilling for me or not.

And that’s where - I mean, to me that’s kind of where it’s - for me, at least, it’s too much validation. I mean, if during your process you were - if you were in a position where you felt maybe you were having - I don’t even know. I don’t even want to put words in your mouth.

But if it was a situation where you were having problems making decisions based solely on what others would think, which is a position I know I’ve been in, then that’s a question of, well then, where do you bring in the balance of what you feel and you know about yourself?

So, where do you find that? Where do you find that need for the external, that input, that feedback which I think - you know, I agree with you. It’s really vital to help you kind of crystallize things - with how you’re feeling and kind of where you’re coming from and where your gut and your heart are really taking you and leading you?

Whitney: I totally take your point. And there have certainly been far too many experiences in my life where I’ve put more stock in what someone else felt than what I was feeling myself. And those days are, thankfully, long behind me, far behind me, whatever the saying is, but only recently.

This was maybe a little bit of that because it was my decision to go down this coaching road. There aren’t a whole bunch of people in our field who’ve done this. I do feel as if I’ve gone out on a limb quite a bit. And there are some people who, let’s say, were in my court in the past who don’t fully understand why I’m doing this and haven’t been very supportive recently.

And that’s cool. That’s their life, and it has more to do with them than it does with me, I’m sure. But I think that there was not the validation necessarily, but there was a sense in me that it just wasn’t time yet. And it’s so funny because we did not plan to talk about readiness. It came out of the conversation that we had prior to hitting Record. But, funny enough, about a week before I was certified - have I ever told you about my AquaNotes?

Paul: No. Are they underwater?

Whitney: They’re waterproof.

Paul: Really? No way.

Whitney: I am sending you one in the mail. Get ready. Oh, I feel like I have really betrayed you by not sending you AquaNotes yet. Anyway, it is one of my best tools. It is a pad, a small notepad, with suction cups on the back that you can bring in the shower. And it is totally waterproof. You use a #2 pencil. And you can get the pages wet and they just dry. And it’s fabulous.

And I’m obsessed with them, and I’ve used them for years. Shout-out to close family friend and gadget guru, Steve Greenberg, who found them originally and had them in one of his segments where I first learned about them. And I was like, oh my God, you have to put me in touch with the people that make these. So anyway, AquaNotes, that’s my plug.

Paul: Wow. That’s incredible.

Whitney: They’re fabulous. So, it’s in our shower, and when stuff pops in my head in the shower, as it tends to, it’s a good place to write it down. But just about a week before my certification, this word just popped in my head. I was really struggling with being nervous about going to certification and am I going to get certified.

I was grappling with what is my business model going to be, how am I going to change my business, am I ready to be a coach, all this stuff. And I just wrote one word down, and that word stayed up there until about three days ago. “Wait.”

And I have not been a patient person in my life. Waiting is not something I tend to do at all. I just don’t do it with the exception of my very favorite burrito place in Pittsburgh, where I went to school, called Mad Mex, which always has a 45-minute wait. And I have waited many, many, many times to get a burrito there.

I just don’t wait for things. Either I make it happen, or I just give up on it. I go away and I do something else. And then maybe I’ll come back and, OK, now it’s my opportunity. But patience has not been my strength. And I was very surprised to see myself write that word because it’s not something I’m quite familiar with.

But I had some deeper, you know, kind of subconscious insight that I just needed to wait. So I stopped working on my new services and all that, and I stopped basically doing everything. And I had other client work to do, so I focused on that. And then I went to San Francisco, and lo and behold I was certified.

And then, I had about a week, as I was just telling you, of really coming down because it was a really challenging year, an emotional roller coaster, a lot of self-development included, not just training to become a coach but in becoming a coach. I had to change my own way of being.

And it was like this sigh of relief mixed with a bit of grieving that the process was over because I really came to love the 17 other people in my cohort. I came to love my instructors and our mentors. And so there was this week of just processing it all. I can’t believe it actually happened and I am actually certified.

And then, this click. And I was in the shower, and that “Wait” was still looking at me. Surprisingly, Frederick and I had not written anything else. If we had another thought, I guess we must have torn a page from behind it.

And, I wrote just out of me, the same way “Wait” just came out of me, I wrote, “Ready, set, go.” And now that’s what’s hanging there. And I feel like, whew. The last few days have been insane, like I’m - a lot of stuff is coming out of me, and I am just - I was ready. I just got ready, and here I am.

So, I want to know, because we’ve been saving it. I want to know, what have you recently been feeling like you’re ready to do that maybe has been brewing for a while?

Paul: For the longest time, it feels like, people have said to me you should write a book, or when is your book coming out? And I’ve heard that for a very long time in my career. And I never considered it, kind of, ever. I would deflect those statements by saying, oh, I’m not going to write a book.

And then, for me, depending on where I was in my life, I might say something internally to myself like, well, who would buy a book of what you have to say anyway? Like, who’s your audience? Who would actually read your stuff? I mean, it was kind of disparaging, but I was also - that part of me really wanted to be a realist, right?

So, that was kind of my default position. And somewhere in the not-too-distant past I moved into a little more receptive place with that because that’s something I’ve just held so close for so long and felt this probably won’t happen. It’s OK.

But last week I had - I don’t remember if I was napping or sleeping, but it was something good. And I had a dream that I basically had the whole idea for the book and started work on a book. It didn’t - the dream, unfortunately it didn’t get to the point where it was published and I had a book deal or I had people downloading it from Amazon or Apple or whatever.

But I definitely had a shift in my perspective based a bit on that. I was more open to the idea. And I believe I was more open to the idea before I had that dream because I had already started questioning, like, where does this come from?

And I didn’t sit down one day and say, you know, I’m going to deal with the part of me right now that says I’m not going to write a book. Now, I have - to be fair, I have found that to be useful for many other things. For me, that type of meditation and work has been very useful for me on many things but not for the book, because it’s a book and I didn’t think much of it. But after I had that dream I really had that shift of perspective.

So, I’m feeling like I’m at a point where I can see it happening, like I can visualize that happening. I don’t quite know what the book would be about yet. I don’t quite know how things would be pulled together. I don’t know when I would write it. But I’ve moved it internally from the realm of impossibility to the realm of possibility.

Whitney: That is amazing. What an accomplishment.

Paul: And here’s the thing. I don’t know how I did that. I don’t recall any one point where I was just like, huh, yeah, I’ll write a book. No, it was just kind of one of those ideas that just kind of was sitting with me for such a long time. And some of it was implanted there by other people and what they’ve said to me.

And at the time I didn’t really see those as compliments or anything of the sort, just kind of a direct question. And I had a baked response for it. So, I’m just more open to that idea now, and as a result I’m really entertaining it now.

Now, I don’t know when it’ll happen because I’m not at that point yet. I’m not quite ready to say that or really think of it in that way. But having that notion now around me has shifted my perspective quite a bit.

Whitney: It’s just amazing to hear because as you’re saying all of this I’m thinking how interesting that our two most recent experiences are kind of these polar opposites where it was growing in me for some time. But I just needed that external recognition. I’m not going to call it validation because I don’t know that it wouldn’t have happened had I not been certified. I can’t say that.

But that sort of recognition, acknowledgement - yes, we feel that you have mastered our methodology, we want you to be a part of our community, and therefore we are going to certify you. And then it was like everything inside of me finally aligned with the world and it all broke open.

I’m seeing in you, it’s like the world’s been telling you this for so long. But something had to just align in you or just be fostered, nurtured in you, that finally those things could connect. And how fascinating that they really connected for you in a dream which is the place where we’re living so much of our lives that we’re totally, for the most part, not even aware of because many of us aren’t trained to remember our dreams or to participate in our dreams.

But it’s still part of ourselves. Your body constructed that. And so, it just was living inside of you and it revealed itself to you on the day that it happened to reveal itself. And I just find it completely fascinating that there was like this processing that had to take place.

I think of it not unlike photography. I mean, there was - I am a super-old-school photography nerd. My dad was a professional photographer for many years. And I grew up obsessed with photography and was in the darkroom constantly.

And when you put your print in that first bath and it’s just white, it’s white, it’s white, it’s white, it’s kind of grey, it’s kind of grey, it’s kind of grey, and then it’s like, pow, there’s an image, it’s not unlike when you’re watching the sun set and it seems to take forever for the sun to get from two inches above the horizon to hit the horizon.

And then when it hits the horizon sometimes that little egg yolk just zips right down on the horizon. You’re like, oh my God, it’s so fast. And that’s kind of how it is when you’re developing a photograph. And it sounds - and that’s where processing comes from, like you’re processing a photo. And it’s like when you’re processing it inside of yourself that it was this slow, slow, slow progress until suddenly the image appeared.

Paul: Yeah. You know, it’s one of those things where I wasn’t really listening to what other people were saying in that case. You know, I really wasn’t absorbing it and really paying attention to it. But, things lined up in a certain way as they did for you. It just came from a different direction. You’re right. That’s pretty wild.

Whitney: It’s amazing. Well, I wish you the best of luck, and I can’t wait to see where it takes you. I respect completely that you’re not ready to declare it anything. It’s just a shift in your willingness to accept that this is something you do want out of your life.

And I think that that is huge. That’s why I say that’s an amazing accomplishment. I think most people never overcome those old stories that they tell themselves. And you have to start telling yourself the new story. And then when you tell yourself the new story long enough, you start to do the things that the person in the new story would do. And then eventually you become the new story.

And I just gave you, in 10 seconds, the methodology of the coaching training that I just went through.

Paul: But, of course, that’s not a replacement for your coaching services. But I love it.

Whitney: Thank you. I appreciate that.

Paul: But I love it because it is so great, the idea that you are writing your story. And these things that you might hang on to, you have to really evaluate them and say, like, is this really me or did this come from somewhere else? And why do I think about myself in this light, or is this really what I want to do, and then questioning in a good way and then coming out the other side and seeing what it looks like. Whitney, thank you so much. This has been a lot of fun.

Whitney: As always, so much fun chatting with you.

Paul: All right. We’ll talk again soon.

Whitney: Bye.

Paul: Bye.

Whitney: Designing Yourself is hosted by Whitney Hess and Paul McAleer and is edited by Aaron Dowd. Our theme music is “All Heroes” by Ardecan Music Productions with some rights reserved via creative commons. You can follow Whitney on Twitter at @whitneyhess. And you can follow Paul at @paulmcaleer.

Paul: If you like what you heard on this episode, stop by our website at DesigningYourself.net. You can subscribe to the show via your favorite podcasting app or via iTunes. We love to hear your feedback. So if you have an idea for a topic, a guest, or just want to say hello, you can call our listener hotline. Call 1-404-500-SELF. You can always reach us on Twitter at @designingyou, and our super-secret email address is designingyourself@gmail.com. Thank you for listening. We’ll talk again soon.