Getting Shit Done 101

Oct 31, 2017


“when a woman stops doing she must learn how to simply be”

— Maureen Murdock, The Heroine’s Journey


I have always been a Get Shit Done kind of gal.


I started the practice of having a detailed day planner, and extensive to-do lists, at the age of eight.

I am the fucking MASTER of getting shit done.  And being the master of getting shit done has gotten me really far in life.  I’ve got an advanced degree, have traveled the world, started a business, and generally made All My Dreams Come True.

I, and everyone who gets shit done really well, get a LOT of positive feedback for this sort of #goalcrushing behaviour.  After all, we live in a world that values accomplishment, goal-setting, and success stories.

A great many (many!) women approach me for coaching so I can help them Get Shit Done too.  They have dreams of starting businesses and traveling the world and starting to write or paint or dance again.

They say they just need some clear goals.  They need a to-do list.  And they want accountability, which is their nice way of saying they want me to email them weekly and MOTIVATE THEM TO GET THEIR SHIT DONE!!!

I’ve been turning these women away, lately.  I’m killer at setting goals and making to-do lists and MOTIVATING PEOPLE TO GET THEIR SHIT DONE, and I could probably make a tidy salary doing this.

But, I’ve learned, this stuff bores me to tears now.


What I find interesting is why we don’t get shit done.


What I find compelling is untangling what happens when we get in our own way.  What deeply embedded stories about ourselves and our capabilities hold us back.  What intuitions prevent us from moving in some directions and not others.

What I’m deeply curious about is what magic might happen when we are still, and why so many of us – myself included – are so desperately uncomfortable in that liminal space.

There is a place for getting shit done, to be sure.  But most of us have focused so completely on that aspect of accomplishment and life, in general, that we ignore the time that’s needed

to percolate.

to rest.

to compost old ideas and await the spring of new ones.

We hastily plaster a Get Shit Done Band-Aid on problems and processes that are far more complex than any to-do list can accommodate.  We decide to start a daily writing practice and then beat ourselves up for not committing to it, forgetting to tend to deeply-held beliefs that creativity is frivolous, or that the laundry is more important.  We decide to start businesses and lament the time it takes to earn a profit, forgetting to tend to the identity shift from employee to entrepreneur.


And even as I coach women to dive deeper than their to-do lists, I am learning to do the same, myself.

Many people say to me “I don’t know how you do it.  I don’t know how you find the time.”  I used to say “I just make the time.  I just work really hard.  I’m just REALLY organized.”

(yeah, I know:  total jerk)

Now, I am finding that my creativity flows the strongest when I’ve spent more time with my kids, or in the forest, than when I spend time at my computer.

And then, of course, I forget all that and freak out about my to-do list.

It’s a process.


But it’s one I’m committed to allowing.


What about you?  What’s your relationship to Getting Shit Done?  Do you struggle with actualization?  Or with finding time to rest and just be?

The Becoming Podcast has been on a short hiatus while I focus on writing my book, but oh what a comeback episode I have for you!

This month, I spoke to Toko-pa Turner, who many of you may know as the unofficial patron saint of many of my circles and gatherings because of the sheer number of times I’ve quoted from the wisdom of her book, Belonging.

Toko-pa is a Canadian author, teacher, and dreamworker. Blending the mystical teachings of Sufism in which she was raised with a Jungian approach to dreams, she founded The Dream School in 2001, from which thousands of students have graduated. She is the author of the award-winning book, Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home, which explores the themes of exile and belonging through the lens of dreams, mythology, and nature. This book has resonated for readers worldwide, and has been translated into 10 different languages so far. Her work focuses on the relationship between psyche and nature, and how to follow our inner wisdom to meet with the social, psychological, and ecological challenges of our time.

Here’s some of what Toko-pa and I talk about in this episode:

> The dream that changed Toko-pa’s life, causing her to question her career and, ultimately, her identity

> How we can court our dreams to support us during times of radical transformation – and the reasons so many of us have a hard time remembering and working with what shows up in our dreamscape

> Toko-pa’s perspective on the message of Belonging after the divisiveness our society has experienced in the years since it was published

> What happened for both Toko-pa and I when we fell out of belonging from the ideologies of the “wellness world”

> How to build community when you’re under-resourced

> “The Big Lie” when it comes to belonging, and how we can reclaim a sense of belonging to the greater family of things, as Mary Oliver so famously wrote

Listen to the episode on iTunes


Show Notes

Toko-pa’s Website

Belonging:  Remembering Ourselves Home, Toko-pa’s book

The David Abram video about animism mentioned in the interview

Toko-pa’s self-guided program, Dream Drops

Companion, the program that accompanies Belonging


Also, while you’re at it, if you enjoy The Becoming Podcast, I would be so grateful if you would rate and review, and even subscribe to it on iTunes.  That goes a long way to helping more and more people find and benefit from hearing these interviews!  Thank you so much!