If you could ask me one question, what would it be?

As I’m working on developing my next round of articles and offerings, I wonder — if you could ask me one question that would help you move forward in your life in some way, what would it be?

I’ve been focused a lot on writing lately — but there’s so much more that I do and love to do — life purpose discovery, inner critic strategies, productivity, getting unstuck, high sensitivity, creativity, writing, vision development, energy skills, intuition, authentic work, and more — and I’d like to make sure that what I’m talking about and offering is what is most relevant and interesting to you.

If you’re willing to post your reply in the comments below, I’d be thrilled. I know it means you have to enter your information (that’s so we don’t end up with tons of spam comments), which takes an extra step, but it’d be hugely helpful and I’d be hugely grateful.
 
Are you willing to give me your input? Just scroll down and speak your mind.
 
Thank you!
 
Warmly,
 
Jenna

Comments

  1. Hi Jenna,

    I love that you are asking this question! You definitely kick ass with new technology. What works best for the way you like to relate to folks? Video, face-to-face, teleconferencing? A medley? Something new?

    Thanks, G.

    • Jenna says:

      I love ALL kinds of technology, G. Thanks for asking. :)

      They ALL have their advantages too. Face to face for longer periods of time is so good for diving deep and building a sense of sacred space and connection, whether 1:1 or in a group.

      I love teleconferencing, especially with visuals, even the free site http://www.freeconferencing.com has a great way to do that.

      I especially love Vokle.com where I did a Writer’s Chat last year — I need to do another one — with a live streaming video feed and ways for people to ask questions via text or video. It rocked.

  2. I have an opportunity to write full time. It’s both terrifying and exciting. My question is: How do you set aside that fear and just go for it?

    • Jenna says:

      Great question, Michelle. Every day it’s about facing the fear and doing it anyway. There are lots of tricks that are useful — like creating a proper schedule for yourself, even if you’re working from home by yourself. But more than anything it’s about saying, “Okay, this is hard, I’m scared, and I’m going to do it no matter what.” From my own experience and from what I read from other writers, the fear doesn’t necessarily go away, especially if you’re always pushing yourself to do your next great work. So you have to make your peace with it, accept that’s normal and part of the deal — but not real — and step up to the plate and do it no matter how hard it gets. My Writer’s Circle definitely helps with dealing with the fears and staying accountable to your writing commitment and to yourself (http://JustDoTheWriting.com).

  3. How do you know if your articles or any write ups are interested to your readers? I can write with my own mind but I am not sure if my articles can inspire others. I really like to write a book but I am still stuck. Thanks! :)

    • Jenna says:

      HearingJoy — that’s part of why I’m asking the question today! :) To check in and see what’s of interest to all of you. And, you have to follow your own lead as well, speak from the heart and share what you’re here to share. Sometimes it can take an audience a little while to catch on to what you’re up to too. The only way to find out if people like your work is to share it with them, and sometimes that requires doing some work to spread the word about what you do. I took a peek at your blog and it looks like a good start on a topic a very specific audience would find interesting. That’s a great way to start a blog and a book might well grow naturally out of it. For now, I would say, make a commitment to writing and publishing regularly and explore ways you might be able to spread the word about what you’re doing.

      • Thanks for your encouragement! ;) I already subscribe your free writing tips! ;) Pretty help too. I will follow your advice. Thanks so much again! ;) Please share more your writing wisdom to us! ;)

  4. Steve says:

    How does one pick a subject/story to write about?

    • Jenna says:

      Ooh, great question, Steve, and one not easily answered. There are so many variables. If you have a list of topics, take Steven Pressfield’s advice and figure out which one scares you the most, and do that first. If you’re totally at a loss for any ideas, start brainstorming about concepts that intrigue you. There’s a good article about using mind-mapping in my free writer’s tips series you might enjoy (https://calledtowrite.com/free-writing-tips). Take the core idea and start asking yourself questions about it. On the other hand, if you feel you have yet to tap into your area of expertise, you might want to check out Vein of Gold by Julia Cameron, I hear it’s great at helping you clarify your creative strengths. I’ll think about this more and see if I can devise something more for you.

  5. What’s the best way to silence the inner critic? The one that tells you what you have to offer the world isn’t good enough or intriguing enough and won’t ever be rewarding enough to put the spring in your step that you yearn for…

    • Jenna says:

      Mark, that’s a great question and one of my favorites. In my experience that voice never goes away but we can learn to stop listening to it. I’ve taught a lot on this subject in my Quiet Your Inner Critic courses and it may be time to resurrect that material. It is a big issue for all of us. My favorite basic technique is to examine each of the messages and face them, one by one.

  6. Jen says:

    When being around others, especially crowds, is so stimulating, it tends towards anti-social behavior, how does one deal with that when it is inhibiting their career and said choices? When social interactions are involved with the job description, I run the other way. And, believe it or not, I used to be in sales, but never again.

    • Jenna says:

      Jen, that’s so common for sensitives, isn’t it? It can really feel like an impossible request. That said, there ARE energy skills you can learn to help make being around others less stimulating and less energetically overwhelming, which can really help (check out my Shop if you’re interested in that). We can also get more comfortable and feel less over stimulated the more of it we do, like we’re building up muscles to make it easier. I used to be unable to sleep after speaking in public and now have increased my comfort level with it to the point that it’s much easier to handle. You may also want to focus on how you can bring your social strengths into play as much as possible, like talking 1:1 about deeper topics. You might also be interested in some of my “spotlight” work if/when I do it again.

  7. No questions just now, Jenna. …but a big, rousing, BRAVA!! for asking!
    As the recipient of a lovely amalgam of your gifts and offerings, I love knowing that I CAN ask for what I need from you. From Energy Skills as I learned to embrace my Sensitivity and hone my own intuitive and empathic gifts, to Hand Analysis, Voicing my Vision and getting unstuck, to the Writer’s Circle where I learned to open myself to creativity more effectively and much larger than I could imagine on my own, and onward to powerful one on one work… I’m grateful for you and your offerings and encourage anyone reading this to ask for the clarity they are seeking. Jenna delivers!!

    • Jenna says:

      Thank you so much for the lovely comment and support, Lydia!

  8. Clare says:

    As a sensitive person, I find the biggest challenge that keeps me from moving forward is overstimulation (not from my job). But I live in a bustling city and I find that traffic, crowds, concrete and noise, people weaving in and out, leave me feeling a bit burnt out. I’d love to know what tips you have for protecting yourself from and managing this?

    • Jenna says:

      Clare, this is an excellent question. I teach about filtering and protecting ourselves from the energy of other people in my Protection and Boundaries class, but I think there is more to it when it comes to being in the bustling city. I’ll make sure to address this in a future article. Thanks for asking!

  9. Tara says:

    Hi Jenna, Thanks for asking! Great question. I like Clare’s question above, about how to handle everyday overstimulation, such as noise, traffic, crowds. I find working in overcrowded cubicles to be quiet under-productive not just for myself but for many others as well. No privacy whatsover, not even in the bathroom! Aside from working from home (which is my dream), how does a highly sensitive person handle everyday life, which can include taking public transport if they work downtown in a big city, no where to go for a quiet peaceful lunch, etc. I basically live with my earphones on! : S The other huge issue I have is deaing with constant company when we’re at home, whether it’s drop in visits or constant invitations to do something at least once a week (I know, it’s a good problem to have, right?). My partner, although he is trying, doesn’t really understand my need for quiet, space, and the amount of alone time I need. Thanks again! I know I’ll find the answer for me, but any tips would be helpful :)

    • Tara says:

      oops, typo! I meant “quite unproductive” above :) Also, should say “dealing”, not deaing : / Thankyou!!

    • Jenna says:

      Tara, I’m so glad you asked. Earphones are a good short-term solution but I hear you about wanting more (see also my note to Clare). It also sounds like some tips about communicating to your partner about it might help too. I’ll definitely put that into the hopper to address. Great points! Thank you so much. :)

    • Cindy a.k.a. crichardwriter says:

      Earplugs work well too – sometimes it is great to be silent; no noise whatsoever.

  10. T. Chupp says:

    How about returning to HSP? A little more of that would be very helpful. Thanks!

    • Jenna says:

      Hi T, Thank you for that request. Yes, I’ve been thinking about that a lot too. Are there any aspects of being highly sensitive that you’re particularly interested in or want support/help/insight around? Thanks!

  11. Mary says:

    What is your story of “going pro” (referring toSteven Pressfield’s newest book)?

    • Jenna says:

      Mary, I just posted my answer to your question in today’s new blog post. Thanks for asking!

  12. Ann Hodges says:

    Hi Jenna
    My question is this: What daily habits do you believe are essential for a HSP to cultivate? Or , more broady, what skills do you find are most important for a HSP to develop? I understand that each person is unique; however, your interactions with so many HSPs over the years might have helped you identify universal challenges. As you well know, there is only so much time in any given day–I could use some help identifying ways to spend a little less energy existing and a little more time on fun and creativity.
    Thanks for your continuing interest in your audience. It’s nice to be consulted!

    • Jenna says:

      Ann, that’s an excellent question. Thank you for asking it. Here’s a summary answer — the long answer probably requires an ebook (or two).

      Daily habits: Plenty of sleep, eating enough protein, being well hydrated, not rushing, practicing basic energy and clearing skills. Bonuses: morning pages, meditation or some other kind of personal clearing.

      Broader skills: Having a strong sense of self, knowing your life purpose / calling and taking daily action on it, good energetic and interpersonal boundaries, the ability to say no, a sense of personal responsibility and self-reliance, overstimulation recovery techniques, a clear vision, excellent time management and prioritization skills, intuitive skills and training, the ability to deal with old patterns / doing your personal work, and advanced energy skills.

      Spending less energy existing and more time on fun and creativity — YES! Me too. It’s so easy to get caught up in the existing and the effects of things that go on. The trick is not letting yourself get derailed for too long when something comes up and getting back on track as quickly as you can. I’ve had more than a few derailments recently that have taken more work than usual but I’ve hung in there knowing it’s worth it to get to the other side.

      This is a great topic for an ebook! Looks like I have my work cut out for me. :)

      • Jenna says:

        p.s. I forgot to say — another part of having more time for fun and creativity is prioritizing RUTHLESSLY. It’s worth it.

        • I wholeheartly second what you are saying Jenna about the skills for Sensitives and returning to it. Yes please

          • Jenna says:

            Pamela, Do you have specific things about skills for sensitives that you’re interested in learning more about? I’d love to hear about them.

          • I’m needing overstimulation recovery techniques, energy boundaries, energy and clearing skills, advanced energy skills, handling the spotlight with an audience.

  13. Hello Jenna, I’ll put some context to this question as it may seem odd to ask it randomly. I’ve instigated many changes to my life within the last 12 months, which included taking a leap of faith and leaving a permanent job whilst having no other work lined up. I left the work as I had been unhappy for a long time, and there was finally a chance to move away from it. During my time in the job, I thought a lot about what kind of work would make me happy and fulfilled, but never hit on anything concrete. I’ve also dealt with a form of depression, which was partly a result of being in an environment that was detrimental to my health. Since leaving my previous job, and having started to work for a small family firm, I have a very different perspective on things. I have also moved forward with other important issues, so I really feel that I’ve taken responsibility for many things. This being the context I mentioned at the start of my paragraph, I think my thoughts over the last few months have been what if you don’t hit on an idea for doing something you really love? And if you don’t, does it matter . Is it possible to put yourself under too much pressure to find the perfect job/work role? Do you need to really love what you do or can it be ok to simply like it?
    I hope this makes sense.
    Thanks for reading.
    With best wishes
    Anna Murray

    • Jenna says:

      Hi Anna, I think this is an important philosophical question, and I’m not sure anyone can really answer it for you — we all have to answer it for ourselves. I’m a huge advocate for finding what lights up your soul from the inside out, and coupling that with your life purpose to reach for work that we love — even on the days when it’s hard. And at the same time, there are many, many people for whom work doesn’t need to play that central of a role — that it’s enough to have work that they like and time to do other things as well. It depends on your personality, I think. I can do work I like for a while, but it eventually loses it’s appeal for me and then I feel lost and frustrated. It’s much better — for me — to be doing work I love. That sustains my interest and commitment for it in the long term.

      And yes, pressuring ourselves to find the perfect job/work role doesn’t really help. It’s more of a gradual discovery and exploration that leads to clarity and insight. The life purpose, passion, and vision work I do can help stimulate those insights, but making the choices and synthesizing the information comes from within.

      I’m glad you left the work that wasn’t working for you — it takes time to heal from difficult environments and depression. I think this is a great question you may want to revisit after you’ve had more time to heal from the prior experience. You may well have other ideas at that point.

  14. Jo says:

    Hi Jenna,
    Thank you for these wonderful postings! Can you recommend some resources that highlight good jobs for non-partnered HSPs, who have to pay the mortgage/bills and do all household chores while still wanting to find time to write? I have a very demanding “day” career that requires getting up early to commute (I have to drive to the city, no public-transportation option here in the Midwest suburbs, so can’t use commuting time productively), no privacy during lunch breaks, and get home late in the day. I want to carve out time to write, but end up with about one hour of free time in the evenings, and am too mentally exhausted to feel any creativity. I want to change this pattern, and know that it requires some type of career change, but don’t know how to get there from here! Thanks, Jo

    • Cindy a.k.a. crichardwriter says:

      Hi Jo,

      I hope you don’t mind my answering your question (I’m not Jenna, but I am in a similar situation to you and thought I could help). I don’t have anyone else to help me pay the bills either and I have a very demanding job. Here are some things that work for me in terms of helping me to get writing done:
      1. I get up 1.5 earlier so I have time to do morning pages and to write for at least an hour before I do anything else for the day. Don’t beat yourself up on the days you don’t get to it – just start over again.
      2. I meditate for a little bit at the end of each day to get over the stress of the day.
      3. I try to take small breaks throughout the day to help me conserve my energy (you will feel so much better at the end of the day if you do this).
      4. I use my commute time productively by listening to fiction and nonfiction books on CDs. You could also carry a digital recorder with you to record any ideas you may have while driving (as long as you don’t mind looking like a nut to other drivers :)
      5. Try asking for some scheduling adjustments (for example, maybe you can work an hour longer on 4 days out of the week and take a half day off on Friday to use for writing time)
      I know it can be tough working around your life situation, but it can be done – hang in there, you will find the right mix for your personality and lifestyle. Good luck.

      • Jo says:

        Thanks, Cindy! These are all great suggestions. I think the key for me is to keep doing what I can, when I can. It’s like exercise, even ten minutes is better than nothing :-)

    • Jenna says:

      Hi Jo, What a great question! And I love the suggestions that Cindy made. As you’ve both mentioned, the key thing about writing is to do it consistently, even if it’s just for a few minutes every day. It’s much better to write for 15 minutes every day 5 to 7 days per week than in one big block of time once per week. The nice thing about getting up early in the morning is that then you’re giving your best energy to your highest priority. And being a little sleepy disarms the inner critic too.

      Another thing you could consider is writing on your lunch break. I know you don’t have the privacy you want, but you may be surprised. I was writing in a cafe the other day and I was amazed at how once I got into the script I was working on, I completely stopped hearing all the noises around me. You may also want to learn some energy skills to protect you from everything going on around you so your energy stays higher throughout the day (eating well and drinking lots of water will help with that too).

      As far as different careers or jobs go, I don’t have anything specific to suggest but I do like to see HSPs working 30 to 35 hour per week jobs if at all possible. Flexible schedules, working from home some of the time, working longer days to cut back on other days — these things can all help. You may also want to explore seeing how you can change up the way you’re working to see if you can batch your tasks at work so you’re using your energy wisely. That’s another great topic for a future article.

      Thanks for asking!

  15. Cindy a.k.a. crichardwriter says:

    How to be more present while writing so I can enjoy the creative process? It is tough to switch off my brain so that I can really get engaged in my writing and reach a level of flow – I would love to hear some strategies to help.

    • Jenna says:

      Hi Cindy, I like your question. To me the answer depends a little bit on what your brain is doing that is keeping you from your writing? Is your inner critic piping up? Your to do list? Something else? Or are you finding that you are not engaging with your work as much as you’d like to on an energetic or intuitive level? Let me know and I’ll post back more answers for you.

      • Cindy a.k.a. crichardwriter says:

        I think it is more my to do list and goings on in life than anything else. I don’t have that many issues with my inner critic. I try to list out things to get them out of my head and on to paper, but usually I still continue to ruminate over things like my brain is in overdrive. I hope this helps to explain things – if not, let me know.

        • Jenna says:

          Hi Cindy, that’s interesting that even listing out the items on paper doesn’t get them out of your head. To me that suggests that perhaps you may be overstimulated in general and need to do more to calm down your nervous system as well as making the lists. For example: getting enough sleep, cutting back on caffeine, having some time to wind down, drinking lots of chamomile tea, that sort of thing. You may also want to do some grounding and centering visualization work or take a few deep breaths and image your thoughts melting away into a quiet pool of water. Another thought is taking a salts bath to clear away “stuff” you might be picking up from other people: http://www.highlysensitivesouls.com/seasalts.htm. Let me know if you try any of these things and how they help, okay?

  16. I’m impressed with how you are using your interests & abilities and interacting with us and making your business. I’d like to know how to do that. And that combined with being ok in the spotlight. Realise I’ve been stuck in analysis paralysis on what I want or don’t want to do rather than knowing the areas of my interest / ability and offering them to people and seeing what they want. Much better way to approach it.

    • Jenna says:

      Pamela, being stuck in analysis paralysis is hard — and I should know because I spend a lot of time there myself. One of the things to recognize is the link between being stuck there and not feeling okay being in the spotlight. I like your insight about offering your abilities to people and seeing what they want. Thanks for your comment!

  17. My business plan is STILL not complete – I’m baulking big time at flying – how can I get the support / sounding board / confidence I need and the clarity & perspective I need to move beyond being a very big scaredy cat? . The Writers Accountability Group is fabulous. Could that approach be adapted to navigating myself out into the world? And it be functional from Australia. How can I know what is enough to do? Usually how I feel about it tells me and I just do it. But I’m crawling around the edges and keeping myself safe but it’s excruciatingly painful because it means I’m on a meagre scaredy cat income. People say how much I’ve helped them and I can see it, feel it, and I want to help more and can vision myself doing a lot more but still I stay as I am. OUCH. I’m a one toe at a time kind of girl when it’s time to take the first swim of the summer. Maybe that’s just how I’m going to have to do it. Respect the scaredy cat at the same time as holding her hand as she goes out into the world.

    • Just read through all the other entries and realise Jenna’s entry …”Every day it’s about facing the fear and doing it anyway….” covers it. Looks like I’m making friends with my scaredy cat now. Have you ever held hands with a cat :) ?

    • Jenna says:

      Yes! The Writer’s Circle approach can definitely be used to help navigate yourself out into the world. The key would be to identify the specific tasks you want to take, and then set aside time to take them each day. Of course the social accountability helps. Maybe we need a Spotlight Accountability Group? As far as how much is enough, keep in mind that because there is always more we can do, we have to set attainable goals and take consistent action to meet them — it’s the cumulative effect over time that pays off. So just like with writing, we have to “declare ourselves satisfied” with our day’s work and know there will be more to do tomorrow. If you need help and want support, try working with a coach, finding an online group, joining a Meet Up group, or something along those lines.

      And yes, facing the fear and doing it anyway is a big part of it. It’s totally okay to be afraid. Just don’t let it stop you.

  18. ina trider says:

    Yes Jenna, I would like to hear your view on the ‘abandonment’ that takes place in some of us due to one’s sensitivity?

    • Jenna says:

      Hi Ina, interesting question. I’m surmising from what you’re saying that you’re meaning self-abandonment, is that right? My take is that we often abandon ourselves in a literal sense — we energetically leave our own bodies — when we feel assaulted or taken over by someone else’s energy or over-stimulation from our environments. Not really the best solution, but one we often default to. We can also abandon ourselves in terms of rejecting ourselves by judging that we are “too sensitive.”

      Let me know if you have follow up thoughts or questions. It’s an interesting topic. Thanks for posting it.

  19. Diane B says:

    Jenna, I am not sensitive to just spirits, my physical body is also VERY sensitive as well be it food that will spoil in the next month or medications /allergies i have NO relief for…. Is this a common thing, if so how can I get better control of it. I have a lot of medical problems seemingly . Some of which i think is due to my sensitivity. I ideas thoughts and feed back please via e mail if you dont mind. Im very shy .

    • Jenna says:

      Hi Diane, I do think that many sensitive people have more sensitivities to medications and foods and have physically sensitive bodies. I think a great approach is for sensitives to work on reducing the overall “load” on our physical and energetic systems, by making sure we get enough sleep, are eating well, drinking enough water, etc. Then we have more space to deal with the next layer of challenges. I’ve improved various physical problems just by taking better care of myself and putting my own goals, needs, and priorities first.

  20. Jessica Lovelace says:

    Hello Jenna. I’ve recently found out that I’m sensitive as well as empathic. This has made it difficult for me to write as something always seems to disrupt my work–whether it’s sounds, emotions from nearby people, or even needing to write after I’ve had a very draining day. I’m increasingly finding it difficult to find the peace and will to write and fear I’m losing my passion for writing. What can I do to adapt myself to my sensitivity and rediscover my passion for writing?

    • Jenna says:

      Jessica, Great question! I think one of the reasons I like to write so early in the morning is that I’m much less likely to be interrupted or affected by other people. I also like to write before I get drained. I’m also curious to know if you’ve experimented with writing in a noisy place for more than a few minutes. The other day I was writing in a coffee shop and at first I felt like I would not be able to do it, but then once I got going I was able to block out the sound, which I found fascinating. Once I’m concentrating on something, I stop hearing the noise around me (as much). I still prefer to write at home, but I like the flexibility of being able to write in different locations.

      One other thought for you is this: How regularly are you writing? I find that my passion for writing is tied directly to how consistently I’m writing. Not how much, but how consistently. Daily writing for me has totally shifted me out of what I thought was apathy and into passion. Don’t wait for the passion. Write first and the passion will return.

  21. Kathryn says:

    Hi Jenna
    I love to write and I know the direction I want/need to go in. My question is if I begin a blog do I have to blog everyday and can I write about whatever is important for that day? Also just wanted to say thank you for answering my question from a few weeks back, the information was very helpful!
    God/Goddess Bless
    Kathryn

    • Jenna says:

      Hi Kathryn, The wonderful thing about blogs is that you can decide how often you want to blog, and what you want to write about. There are no real rules in blogging, except to know that if you want to build an audience, you’ll want to write often enough that people don’t forget who you are (like every couple of weeks at a minimum). I hope this helps, and I’m so glad my answer to you from a few weeks back was helpful too. That’s great to hear!

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