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Practicing the Art of Containment

My tendency is to tell pretty much anyone pretty much anything, unless I think it’s going to hurt their feelings.

Sometimes this is awesome because I have a TON of community support around my dreams and desires.

But sometimes it bites me in the ass.

Example: I’m pumped about a new creation. I haven’t finished it yet but the sweet rush of beginning has already set in (we Aries girls love a good beginning). And I’m excited. And I want to tell people.

So I do. I tell everyone I speak on the phone with that week. I tell my mom. I tell a few folks in person.

Then I think: Go big or go home!

I decide to tell my online community. I plaster social media and my blog.

Now the world knows and it’s awesome.

Except that here’s what sometimes happens: There’s actually not that much juice left for the project beyond those initial sparkling first steps. And now I’ve announced that something is coming.

So I make the thing, because I said I would — and because people are counting on me. But I make it with way less-than-optimal inspiration and passion. And that’s not only not so fun for me, it’s also not really in alignment with what I value, what I believe in, or what I teach.

There are times to tell and there are times to contain.

Sometimes I shout something from the rooftops and I’m thrilled I did. Sometimes it’s really smart to create buzz, even way before what’s coming comes.

But this year I’m working on something new: the art of containment.

I’m asking:

What happens when I marinate in my joy?

What happens when the project is in the can before I press send?

What happens when I create something and then tell people about it?

photo (1)I was incredibly inspired by Beyoncé’s surprise release of her self-titled visual album (there’s a music video for every song plus three bonus videos). There was no fanfare. No PR. No lead-up. She made no major media appearances. One day in December she just dropped the album on iTunes. And it broke sales records.

(I saw her in concert a few days after the record was released. Drop-dead gorgeous and madly inspiring — that’s what I have to say about Queen Bey.)

“I didn’t want to release my music the way I’ve done it. I’m bored with that. I feel like I am able to speak directly to my fans. There’s so much that gets between music, the artist and the fans. I felt like I didn’t want anybody to give the message when my record is coming out. I just want this to come out when it’s ready and from me to my fans,” she said.

When it’s ready. What a novel idea.

I love social media. I love the fact that I can talk to tens of thousands people all over the world anytime I want. And I love talking through my ideas with my community.

But there’s something so elegant, and even subversive in today’s tell-all culture, about doing our work, reveling in the satisfaction inherent in making stuff, and not saying anything about it until it’s ready.

Some projects need steeping. Some ideas need to marinate.

Some messages are ready early. Others are ready later.

Begin to decipher which cards to play and which to hold close to your heart.

If you’re like me and sometimes feel like you have a bullhorn strapped to your mouth, next time you’re about to make a big announcement, see what it feels like to contain it.
Tweet: Sometimes the best ideas get sweeter when you let them cook fully before the big reveal. ~@katenorthrup http://ctt.ec/DURQ4+Sometimes the best ideas get sweeter when you let them fully cook before the big reveal.

Try keeping it silent and sacred for a while. You may be surprised by how good it feels.




You might be stealing from the people who need you most.

That one got your attention, right? And I say it because it’s true. But that’s not my quote. It’s from a woman dedicated to helping you have a business and a life you love. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Marie Forleo, a dear friend of mine who Oprah dubbed a thought leader for the…Continue Reading