Have you ever used a pressure washer on your driveway or deck?
(And even if you haven’t, a friend probably has.
And you probably know because they probably posted a VERY excited before and after on Facebook.)
Can confirm: it is a very, very satisfying feeling.
All that high-pressured water fires out of the spout at a speed that could take your finger off, and clears off decades of dirt, grime, and other unmentionables in minutes flat.
Seriously. Behold this miracle of modern life, y’all:
Have you ever used a pressure cooker (a.k.a. an Instant Pot)?
It’s a similar revelation — another wild time-saver of a tool, capable of cooking an immaculate chili in 45 minutes flat, and turning most 4-5 hour slow cooker recipes into quick n’ tasty 30 minute meals.
So: what do both of these things have in common?
What’s that magical thing helping both of these brilliant inventions cut out hours of labor and wait time, so we can skip to the good stuff?
The answer is: pressure.
(Yes, cue David Bowie and Queen indeed.)
We’re All Feeling It
I’ve been thinking about the tool of pressure during 2020’s quarantine — and especially the impact it’s had on my business.
Because with everything going on in the world, we’ve certainly been feeling a lot of it.
As we’ve watched global economies grind to a screeching halt and millions fall sick, and (about a week after we filmed this episode) our friends and colleagues take to the streets in a collective, painful cry for justice, we’ve been surrounded on all sides by a pressure we simply cannot escape the way we normally would.
For the first time maybe ever, we cannot run from from this pressure weighing on us — reminding us of both our fragility, and the enormous change we can create with our lives — because there is simply nowhere else to go.
And in some ways, there’s a blessing in the squeeze.
You Know, Diamonds are Made Under Pressure Too…
Pressure has a way of cutting down timelines on things. Of forcing you to focus your energy. Of requiring you to commit or let go, because the stakes are too high to vacillate any longer.
Sometimes, it makes you want to collapse everything you’ve built, and start again.
And that’s probably why so many of my colleagues and friends are texting each other with these words:”Aghhh, I just wanna burn it all down and start over!”
Once the initial panic began to wear off, and our “practical projects to pay the bills” were locked in, many of us looked at our lives and businesses and realized:
Those goals, desires, and hopes we’d been pushing to the back burner in the name of practicality?
THEY were what we actually wanted most.
And now, even if conditions are far more complicated, more and more of us are throwing caution to the wind and going for it — whatever “it” is.
Listen to Your Inner Pyro or Nah?
That’s the topic we dig into on today’s episode of HAMYAW:
What to do when the urge to ‘burn it all down and start again!’ strikes — what it means, when to pause, and when to listen.
Catch today’s episode now to find out:
- How quarantine has forced us to sit with the things we’ve been avoiding (GAHH FEELINGS )
- How to know the difference between second-guessing yourself because you’re about to do something stupid. and second-guessing yourself because you’re nervous to admit you want something more (or different)
- Why you need to get clear on what you want as a business owner, platform, and leader
- How we’re thinking about these questions in the wake of current circumstances.
- And more.
And while you’re over there, I’m gonna PEER PRESSURE you to add your thoughts. ;)
(Because we genuinely love hearing from you!)
What has the pressure of the current global climate helped YOU create, or what has it shown you?
Are you making any changes? Scrapping anything to start over? BURNING IT ALL DOWN?
Let us know — and we’re here to cheer you on, every step of the way.
On fire with you,
PS: We had some captioning technical difficulties this week so make sure to click CC on YouTube to get captions on this one. WE LOVE Y’ALL!
I think we actually have a talk show.
I think we actually do!
I think we actually do.
Stop calling it a podcast everybody! (laughter)
Why! Everyone! My whole LinkedIn is spammed with “I saw your podcast,” and that doesn’t even make sense! You “saw” my podcast?”
People call it a video podcast and I’m like “So… a talk show?” Like… ahhh! It’s fine. It’s fine We’re fine.
Welcome back marketing nerds of the world, it’s time for another episode of HAMYAW and today we want to talk about burning it all down. Basically, the experience that quarantine has bestowed upon so many of us. This amazing mix of realizing that we’ve been straddling this line between deep existential angst about the nature of our work, and practicality about needing to pay the bills.
For so many people, myself included, we just did an episode sort of about something in line with this. So many people I know are looking around at their businesses and realizing that so much of the stuff they felt they needed to be doing to cross off their list, to climb the ladder, to build this or grow that, or hack that are kind of being scrubbed away and what they really want is being revealed.
And more and more people are starting to pursue that and I think that is incredibly interesting. And before we go any further: we don’t want to negate the episode we had about doing exactly what you need to do.
I think that’s still incredibly important to keep the lights on and pay the bills. But we wanna talk about the realization so many people are having about what they really want beyond the posturing beyond the strategy, beyond the optics of business.
So Margo: How’s your existential angst today? You doing good?
That is 100% how I want to start all my conversations in life. “How’s your existential angst?” THERE’S a real conversation. I think what you just identified IS the angst, right? It’s that push and pull between this you know lightning bolts of clarity that I think a lot of us are getting in different ways.
Some of us are getting it with, like, body knowledge where you like have an aversion or doing things you wanna do, or the things you have to do. And then some of us are getting it with literally “This is worth my time, this is not, I need to do this…” like, you’re getting lightning bolts of clarity.
And then there’s the reality that you and I have talked about at length, about practicality and like the bills paid, and all the necessary things you have to do in a time of crisis.
Like going back you can’t rest on your laurels right now you sort of have to go back to the basics of “Okay, how do I make money, and if we were planning to build this thing and now it’s been derailed and we need to pivot and we need to understand what direction this is going.”
So like that push and pull between visionary and practical thinker. I have definitely been in both camps over the course of this quarantine and today I’m very staunchly in the burn it all down category.
You know, some days I wake up and I’m like “I don’t want to do this, I don’t want to do this, why did I do this, I never wanted this in the first place. You know? How did I get here? I will disclaimer this: I don’t believe in actually pulling the trigger on Burn it All Down Days. Yeah. I think you have to feel them and more importantly, try it on. Because I think that you learn so much when you try it on.
You actually go “Okay what would it feel like…” I have a friend who, no joke, deletes her email list every single time she has a Burn it All Down Day. She’s destroyed three email lists. Right! That face! That’s why I tell you “Don’t do it, proceed with caution…” I don’t know!
Three times… it’s just… once is a mistake. Two is like, alright, maybe you–
Oh she’s doing it on purpose!
But three just seems like carelessness, you know? By the time you get to that point…
She’s gonna watch this and laugh. She’s a friend of the show. But like, she will tell you like there were moments where she was like “Ah, I shouldn’t have done that.” I mean they weren’t huge email lists, you know? The email list would get to four or five hundred and she’s like “No, I don’t wanna do this anymore, I’m pivoting.”
Each of us has our different way of managing a pivot. Yeah. And I actually really relate to her feeling of like “I want to rid myself of this identity, and step into this next stage of identity, and sort of asking yourself those questions.
And what I always like to do is I’ll think about it. I’ll be like “Okay, what if I don’t email my list one week? What does that feel like?” “Do I feel relief? Do I feel terrified? What does that look like? Would anyone fuckin’ notice?
I’ll tell you from experience as somebody who emails her list about every two weeks: no, absolutely not, and the only reason I’m consistent is because of HAMYAW. And that’s the thing, that’s engagement, right? They’re gonna be like “Where’s Margo?”
Yeah! Well it could also be a fun experiment. But I got the same question about HAMYAW, and we’ve had this conversation. I think the viewers should probably also know, like, “Should we keep going with HAMYAW. Is this a content pivot?
Does HAMYAW fit with what we’re trying to do with our platforms?” Hillary and I have talked probably 100,000 times about how we need to do a screen share episode to actually yell at websites for y’all. And we have like 50 in the queue.
And every time we get on to start recording we’re like “But wait, there’s this other topic! There’s this other topic we really have to discuss!” And so, do you trust that intuition and is it driven by sunk cost that we want to do that? Or is that genuinely valuable for people? I mean all of these things are what comes up in that conflict.
I think one thing that you and I were discussing Margo is this… Before we started filming, and why we randomly decided to change from the screenshare episode we were going to do into this one! Well, not randomly, but I think you were mentioning sort of wanting to reconnect to that creativity. Like, what do you care about most?
And I think that is a big truth for a lot of people. They’re realizing what they missed, where their energy wants to flow now. Yeah. And what’s been so interesting for me and my business is you know we filmed that episode about doing what you need to do.
I talked to you guys about the fact that I took on some copywriting projects those are good, they’re either wrapped or, you know, almost wrapped, and I am setting myself up to retire soon, which should be fun. Don’t worry clients are being huge for me about it if you’re watching!
But I think a really, really interesting turning point for me, it was when I decided… So, a huge part of the work that I do now is my coaching. We’ve got creative direction and messaging strategy and those are an easy sell.
But the coaching is another huge thing that I really love! And I was holding back from selling that, because it’s not an inexpensive investment. It’s multiple months and it is really intense one-on-one around positioning.
And I was like “I don’t know if people are ready for this right now, like, with the economy the way it is I don’t really think I can be selling this.” And that’s sort of part of the reason why I went back to copywriting, even though it has been fantastic for the coaching clients through this to have support through the quarantine and through the pandemic and all this just to have that direction.
And they’ve been saying good things about it but I was like “Would anyone new want to join, because you guys started earlier and all of that…”
I mean, you also sold it and were testing different USP’s in different ways and like that was exhausting.
Also that! Yeah. I just decided I got really clear. I was like “Damn, I miss doing this work and I want to keep doing it. I think I know exactly who it’s for now like I’ve tested it, I’m feeling really clear, I’ve done the work, so why don’t I just give it a shot to sell this and see what comes back?
And I’m about to sell out, which is a really nice five figure payday in my pocket. But it’s really incredible to sort of see that when you where energy flows energy goes, right?
And I think choosing to attempt to continue on with the work that I’m most passionate about, as opposed to staying in the “Practical practical practical practical, I’ve gotta live here because this is for sure paying the bills right now,” I decided to roll the dice because again I had that security of that foundational work, and now that I have rolled the dice, I’m gonna be able to make the next move.
I just realized something. Okay I don’t actually think this is in conflict.
So you know how we were saying “There’s a conflict between the practicality of doing what you have to do to make ends meet, and then the clarity of what you actually want,” and those often being in conflict. I think what you just said is so hugely helpful.
So, one: you did the thing you needed to do which is why you could then start thinking about what you wanted. So you actually were able to stabilize the ship.
Yeah, that’s true. Keep the ship stable guys. But part of me’s like “Oh no, now the ship’s stable I still have to, like, scrub the deck. Dammit!” But soon I won’t have to! I think that’s kind of where it lives.
As we’re talking about in the last episode well, two episodes ago now, was it’s not necessarily that doubt or resistance. It was looking around and being like “Alright how do I make this as secure as possible, and then move forward so I can continue doing this higher level stuff and experimenting?”
Even though I’m out of experimentation zone thank fucking god. With everything! Because I spent the last year, Margo and I have talked about this a lot like, testing messaging strategy clients, and creative direction, and coaching. And now everything is falling into place and I know the USPS guys! So I can actually turn it into something.
So I needed that security to kind of take that leap. But it’s so interesting how this process, this moment in time, has held up the mirror and been like “You don’t want to be doing copywriting anymore, and it’s time it’s time to move on.”
And I did what I had to do to make sure I could get over the hump. Hopefully, you know, as things sort of continue to open up things are going to improve in the economy and the stuff is going to level out. But it was definitely a teachable moment for me to realize that this was not actually the end.
And, to underline the points that we talked about two episodes ago, that this is not forever. You can make practical choices. That doesn’t mean you’re going to be living in that space for the next, you know, five or ten years. You can make it temporary.
And that felt really powerful. But I know YOU, Margo, have had some really interesting revelations about the nature of your work, and kind of where you wanna be putting your focus. Talk to me a little bit about that! Burn it all down, Margo. ANARCHY!
I think what’s really shocking to me is what… For viewers who are newer here, what has happened since quarantine is… my husband’s an essential worker, my daughter is home all day with me. She’s two, so it’s like a really hands-on period of life.
And the first kind of six weeks of quarantine I was like “I WILL DO ALL THE THINGS!” I was like “I will take all the sales calls, I will launch all the things, I will not sleep, I’ll work every–” like “When she goes to bed every nap time, every this this…
And for the first three of those weeks I was on fire. I mean I was getting things done, I was promoting, I was everywhere. And then if my husband was like “You’re burning out.” And I was like “I am NOT!”… as I burned out and died.
And so I kind of looked around I was like “Okay let’s let’s be reasonable.” And I had a morning where I woke up at 4:00 in the morning I was like “I have to shut down this launch.” I was in the middle of launch, and I was like “I can’t actually do good work right now, and I can’t implement, and I am not in the right headspace, and this is irresponsible now. This is not the right move so I’m gonna have to hit pause on stuff, and I need to to look…”
And so what that did was sort of take my entire platform and put it on pause. And so I looked what I reasonably had time for, and I was like “Okay I cannot stop my writing.” So I was like “You’ll continue your weekly email, you’ll have that up.”
We had a HAMYAWs in the pipeline, but even that, Hillary can tell you it’s been really hard for me to like get to my computer to even edit. And like be able to – things that we normally had a mandated 48-hour turnaround on, I’d be like eight days late.
Yeah, it’s weird to say that out loud because I’m looking like “What were you doing with your time??”
Yo, time is a flat circle here in quarantine. Was it two weeks or two days? I don’t know! Two hours…
I mean I can tell you what I was doing… I mean this morning I tried to edit some HAMYAW stuff or like just look, just rewatch an episode so I could do some show notes.
My daughter just kept grabbing my my computer! She just kept grabbing it.
And I was like “THIS is what I’ve been doing!” And like in my head as a rational adult I’m like “Oh! Just go in the other room and close the door,” and then and then it’s like… for some reason in actual toddler life, that’s not an option. You have to sit next to them, and you have to like make sure they don’t die. Apparently that’s a thing!
It’s really frustrating to make sure they don’t die.
They eat so many snacks!
Get a job Essie, come on, you freeloader! You can’t do *anything*? It’s difficult! You leave the room and… I don’t know, what do kids do? Do they chew through wires? That’s what my cats do.
Literally my daughter will move furniture and climb it to reach knives. I’m not even kidding.
Tiny little death wish. So cute!
I’m like how did you even put that together? Ok anyway, so the point is, this is the backstory to getting to your question. Which is like: I’m in this stage where I had to put everything on hold, and I think what was fascinating to me is what happened right after that.
Which is what I missed, and what I didn’t, how I judged myself, where I found my worthiness, how my identity showed up.
I was like “Oh my god. Am I a stay-at-home mom now? Am I a writer, am I business owner? Like, what do I want to be doing? What is just on pause because it’s quarantine? What might not come back? You know, trying to have all these discussions with myself. And I think similarly to you, you start with practicality.
Like, how is money, and, and that is obviously a household conversation it’s not just a business conversation. And thank goodness, you know our contractors our, I meant you and me, our contractors were paid up so I didn’t feel like “Oh god we owe people money!” and like –
Yeah oh my god can you imagine?
I’ve never been more grateful for working with only contractors and not full-time employees. It’s weird. It’s a disadvantage because you don’t get status, but a huge advantage in terms of how much easier it is to actually manage.
IS lack of status really a con in these unprecedented times?
You underestimate my vanity.
Go on though, go on!
So I think what came up for me is a lot of stuff about resistance and, where was I steering my platform? And I have made so many decisions based on practicality. Like, “Okay, this is something that the market’s asking for so I should build it and it’s a thing I’m good at and I can make some money.”
And I actually enjoyed it!
But now I saw it go away and I’m like “I don’t miss it.” What’s that about, and why don’t I miss it?
And then there’s certain things where it’s like” I miss them so much! What I would give to have an uninterrupted even 40 minutes to just write my thoughts out and then send them to y’all!” There are times where I ghost on Instagram, I mean Instagram’s not even like… well, it is for business but like you know.
Things were where it would be like “Okay just write a caption,” it’s so much work to do with a toddler that I miss that piece you know? I miss being able to self express, I guess. And to share. And so that part’s been really nice.
So there’s little things like that that you start to observe or that I started to observe that have been really clarifying in terms of where the business goes. And I think what what’s been frightening and where I am right now is there’s certain things I’m like “I’m not bringing that back.”
Yeah that can die.
Yeah burn it. I think where I’m always terrified is if my first thought is “You need to rewrite your About page.” I know it’s a phase.
Oh no! Not that part!
No, but just questions like clarity for myself. It doesn’t always mean that things are gonna change in the way the audience sees me. But yeah, interpersonally all know my ambition is going in a different direction, or I want to chase different projects.
I know I still want my audience, but I don’t always know if my interaction with them is gonna be different. I think, yeah, I’m gonna be less responsive on email because it’s time I admitted to myself that I can’t respond to all the emails. You know, stuff like that which you’ve been telling me forever and I’ve been like clinging. I’m like “NO! I will!”
What’s interesting is again this moment in time it’s almost like this is sort of the nature of grief in a lot of ways. Like when you lose somebody, you remember all the wonderful things about them. And there are all the things that you didn’t realize you would miss. You know, all these tiny details. And I think when something like a pandemic happens like when a global event like this that’s, again, totally nothing you can do.
All of us are out of control, literally the only thing we could do was sit at home. It scrubs a lot of the extra stuff, a lot of like the packaging, away. And I think that’s actually a really wonderful moment.
Because I think as business owners also, and especially you guys know what I’m about to say… *leans closer* “especially as women”, sometimes when we look around and realize “Oh shit, I don’t wanna do this anymore!” we second-guess ourselves. And we will fight that feeling for a really long time.
And I think the gift in a lot of ways of this situation is for people realizing that you are allowed to say “Oh I don’t want to do this anymore!” And you can listen to that. Because you only have one life. You only have one chance, and you don’t know when and your momentum, when your audience, when the demand for whatever you offer is gonna go away.
So why not let go of what you don’t want to do anymore, to make, to pursue what you really want, and use that time and energy wisely? Now, I’m not about to tell you to leave your six-figure marketing business to go pursue underwater basket-weaving. BUT! If that’s what you want to do, why the hell not? You weave those baskets! But I think it’s –
Responsibly! With your bills paid for. Go on!
Weave responsibly! But I do think this has been a really powerful initiation for all of us in that regard. And I think a lot of people are realizing that the stuff they were already thinking about leaving behind, that little voice in the back of their mind that was like “I’m done with this, I’m not enjoying this work anymore, I want to do this.
I know my passion lies here, this gives me energy and this zaps it.” After those initial couple of months of like “Gotta get the bills paid, make sure the bills are paid…” Now that the smoke is clearing, I think for a lot of people it’s never been more obvious where they need to be and where they belong.
Not just not in terms of even people being like “Come on in!” but rather the sandbox they want to be playing in. The people they feel like they have so much in common with. And all of that. It’s a different, it’s a different situation. A different climate.
Yeah, can we sit here for a second, because I think what you said about second guessing is a really big deal. I think like learning to trust, and listen to your gut is actually the skill we need as founders and as visionaries, and as people who are steering the ship.
And I think that especially as women, that is one of the things that is, no but it’s for real, like it’s conditioned out of you. It’s conditioned out of you to not trust yourself, to not go with your gut, and not even allow yourself to make mistakes.
You know I hear a lot of people saying “I just want to make the best decisions,” and it’s like “Fuck the best! Just make a decision!” and learning how to make it. It’s funny I’ve been reading this book called “The Body Keeps Score”, which apparently everyone has read.
I KNEW you were gonna reference that! I was almost like “You might even say the body keeps score…” You made a comment about feeling something in your body earlier, I was like “You’re reading that book aren’t you?” YES!
So everyone I’ve mentioned to has already read it apparently I’m like super late on this.
I haven’t read it yet. Ugh,
Ok. Well read it so we can talk about it we’ll have a HAMYAW on it. And there’s so much to say about it but I think right here what I want to bring up is that like we often ignore the voice inside. With good reason for a million reasons that happen in your childhood…
But I think we’re adults now, that we can start to learn to listen to ourselves again. And I want to say something specifically to our people who tread the line between artistry and business. This was a realization I had for myself and I noticed it and literally, when I started thinking about it, all of my clients.
Every single client I have ever had, specifically for my Voice Lessons product.
Such a great name, ugh.
Yeah, it really needs to be a book, doesn’t it? It really does. So we often mis-categorize things as resistance. And I am the queen of talking about resistance, we have a great episode on it which I’ll have to link somewhere.
But I think this is where conditioning is really important to talk about, because we often will be like “Oh it’s just fear, it’s fear that’s coming up,” I actually sometimes think it’s it’s not fear.It’s just that we have so much conditioning that we can’t actually see ourselves.
You can’t hear the little voice that actually, totally, 100% knows. And you confuse it with the different voices you hear from what your parents expected of you, what your academics expected of you, what other colleagues have to say about you.
One of the exercises I had clients do is actually name the voices. Like, just give them titles, and be able to like caption them so they could start to listen to their own, and tell the difference between them. But like, I think when it comes to what you want to do in your vision for your platform it’s such a lofty question that it’s easy to ignore it.
And it’s easy to also just sit on it for too long, and get like self-flagellating about it. We all know those people…Not like I’ve ever been one of them.
Me neither. Who’s that?
I think in a pandemic setting, a crisis in a situation of a chronic crisis, even, one of the good things that can come out of it is that ability to listen. To just listen, and tell the truth about who you are and what you want, and it is powerful.
Yeah, it really is and being connected to that mainline… and I actually have a client who is a futurist and she studies the future of work and is a consultant for major corporations like redefining the c-suite, and all of that.
And she made a really fascinating observation where she said “We’re all sort of under lockdown now, when we emerge from quarantine and life starts going back to normal, people are gonna want to be back in there.”
Because I think there’s a really… along with all the death and the crisis and the headlines, I think people again are really connected in a way to themselves. Because they’ve been forced to sit with their shit!
Because you can outrun your trauma, you can outrun the stuff you don’t want to do anymore, you can outrun bad decisions for a little while. But when you are stuck at home because you literally cannot go outside, you really have to face this stuff and work through it.
And there’s no escaping.
So I think there’s a lot of growth happening right now, a lot of clarity, probably a lot of innovation. I’m not about to say from like a super privileged space that “It’s all been good and we as a society…!” But I think that especially in the business world we’re gonna see a lot of people make some major shifts for this reason. I think people are getting –
God I hope so. I hope so!
– clear on where they’ve been wasting time, yeah.
My fear is that we snap back. Like, I also I fear that for myself too, is that I’ll immediately snap into “Make money mode, let’s go do practical things, let’s not think about the future, let’s just like think about our ego, and get all the ego awards”
As a woman. I like that we always lean close to the mic to say that. I think it’s important. Blessed be, Margo. You can just come back and watch this episode of HAMYAW.
You’re just gonna send it to me every time I regress.
I’m gonna spam you with your own show. You’re gonna be like “I have to do something practical!” No no no no no no. I would encourage our viewers as well sort of reflect on what’s coming up. The truths that are coming through really loud and clear, because you cannot ignore that.
The truth about what you want to let go of, the truth about what you really want to be doing, all that is coming through and it’s real, and it’s good. And I hope people aren’t running from that.
And if you’re feeling an urge to burn it all down, obviously, don’t set fire to your entire life necessarily but that is a call directly from your intuition GPS that something needs to change.
So don’t hide from it, don’t run from it, you’ve got nowhere to run anyway, you can’t go outside.
Oh man, and that’s a wrap, I love it! You have nowhere to run, you must feel the feelings!
You have literally nowhere to go, your feelings will find you.
But! But. There’s margaritas to-go now. So go get some margaritas to-go while you chase your dreams folks, you heard it here first.
Oh thank you guys so much for watching. We have a blast making this for you, and we want to hear how this existential angst meets practicality is feeling inside of you guys.
How are you dealing with quarantine, how are you thinking about change?
How are you thinking about sustainable change?
What do you want to burn down?
Tell us all the things in the comments, send us the DMS, we read all of them even if we don’t always respond. Actually I think we do respond.
We respond to all of them, so some come say hi!
Don’t set the precedent! Anyway alright. I’m Margo Aaron,
And *as a woman*, I’m Hillary Weiss.
If you liked this episode please like it below, subscribe to our channel, and share it with your friends. We will see you in two weeks, thanks so much for watching.
Stay safe out there guys! BURN IT ALL DOWN!
Photo by Juliet Clare Warren