Do This When You Get That Sinking Feeling

Every time I try a new idea or offer a new kind of thing online or in person, I get this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. What will people think? Will it work? Is this going to meet people where they are? Will all of the effort be worth it in the end?

These questions are always present, and for good reason. Because sometimes the new idea doesn’t work. Sometimes I have to go back to the drawing board and try to figure out what next new thing to try. And every single time I end up feeling like I’m free falling.

I’ve had to ask myself over and over, “Is it worth it?…Do I have what it takes?”

Sinking Feeling?

That’s why MOANA hit me hard a couple weeks ago. If you watched my video about it, you know that MOANA comes to a place in her journey where she fails at something so she takes the symbol of her calling and hands it back to the ocean.

Did you hear that? She hands back her calling.

She decides that the ocean chose the wrong person for the job and she simply doesn’t have what it takes.

It’s at that point in Moana’s story where someone special (her guide) comes back and says something like, “Moana, you’ve come so far. Moana listen, do you know who you are?” Moana takes a step back and remembers who she is, her family history and the moment that she knew the ocean called her. With renewed conviction, she rises again and completes her mission.


I’ve gone through that very process *on repeat* for three years, especially right around the time when I try something new. Why? Because I’m always hoping that the next thing…the next offering…will propel me into an easier path.

If I write a book, the launch will be easy.

If I have a strong launch for my book, the blog will be easy.

If I create a course to help people find their voices, the launch will be easy.

If I make videos to share my ideas, creating content every week will be easy.

If I use the right hashtags, getting my offering in front of more people will be easy.

Lies. All lies. None of it is easy. Every bit of it is just as much a struggle as it is a joy. Every bit is just as disappointing as it is encouraging. So why do I keep going?

The same reason you do. Because…

We are stronger than we think we are.

Our messages are more powerful than we think they are.

People’s longing to connect is deeper than we think it is.

Our destain for wasting our lives is more potent than we ever thought it was.

We know who we are.

Do This.

Look, if you’re going to create stuff and offer it to others, there is always risk involved. Huge risk. Making something and then holding it out to others is about as vulnerable as standing naked in a crowd. That’s why you want to be sure that you KNOW WHO YOU ARE and that you’re doing it without holding back.

  1. What led you to this point in your journey?
  2. What is the point at which you felt called? How did you know?
  3. Who needs what you have to offer?
  4. What is the redemptive message you’ve been called to share?

This stuff is so important. If you want to live unfrozen and live as a creator, offering stuff that represents the message you’re called to speak, you’ve got to get used to that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach.

You have a choice. You can call it nerves or you can call it the thrill of the leap.

I am doing something new and exciting and totally risky. I’ve created an online course to help you begin the process of really finding your voice – your redemptive message – and then figure out how you’re going to use it. The course will run for 4 weeks beginning January 9th, 2017. I’m working my tail off to be sure you get way more than what you pay for. I believe that this course could be something that thousands of people could take in the future, but I’m starting at the very beginning and I’m looking for a few risk-taking creator-messengers to join me while it’s in infancy.

If you feel a tug on your heart right now in this moment, then I want you to follow that feeling and go read about the course right now: IMPACT By DESIGN: 101 Core Message course information (best viewed on a computer, but it works on your phone, too.)

But I have way more to offer you if you’re not quite sure if you want to take this leap (registration is only available through Wednesday, Dec. 14th) In the last video I made, I explained that if you’re someone who has all kinds of thoughts, connections and insight floating around inside, I GET you and I know exactly what I can do to help you decide what to say to find your most effective message.

You see, the problem isn’t that you don’t have anything to say, it’s that you have so much to say that your life-message is either spread too thin for great impact or you are paralyzed in indecision.

I can help you!

I’m doing a Facebook Live training about building the 5 layers of Arrowhead Alignment of your core message. On Tuesday, December 13th at 7:30 CST, I will be explaining this method of aligning your message with who you are for integrity, consistency, clarity, confidence and deep impact.

Download this freebie to see if you want to learn more. In it, I share the 5 layers of Arrowhead Alignment. I think this process could help you, otherwise I wouldn’t bother. I believe I’m called to help you find and build your authentic redemptive message, not just push you to say whatever comes to mind. #LoveEdits. That’s why I’m offering this to you.

*I do ask that you give me your email address so I can send you the PDF and share other resources with you. If you are already receiving emails from me, you can just click the link in the email I sent this week and you don’t have to keep registering your email address for stuff.*

It’s difficult and expensive to get a message out into the world. I want to help. And you can help me by engaging with this post on social media through your likes, comments and shares.

Kick 2017 off with some quality self-awareness and ACTION with me. Let’s do this together.

~ Andrea Joy


Download the Arrowhead Alignment guide [Here]

What To Do When Your Life Feels Like A Rough Draft

Yesterday something happened. I hit a milestone I’ve been pursuing for months, perhaps my whole life. I declared the rough draft for a book, finished. I printed it out, shut my computer and picked up our kids. I’ve been told that getting out that first draft is a big deal. I suppose it is, in a way. But I am also aware of how much more work I have to do before it enters the world. It was a moment that came and went unceremoniously. Just another day.

I know what my end goal is and I know that I want to do it, but at this point the book feels a lot more like chaos than art, more like confusion than clarity.


Rough DraftLife Is One Big Rough Draft

That’s kind of the way it goes, isn’t it? We enter into life-things such as a career, marriage or parenting with some distant, vague goal in mind.
Most of the time life feels more like chaos than art, more like confusion than clarity. And the little mundane steps along the way pass by unceremoniously. Just another day.

But if we stop when things feel mundane and get chaotic, we won’t get anywhere meaningful. If we see how “rough” our rough-draft-of-a-life is and just stop writing our story, we effectively box up our voice and set it to the side. And it becomes irrelevant.

In his book Creativity, Inc., Pixar CEO Ed Catmull discusses why it is necessary to move with purpose through the creative process, “Early on in the production of a film, chaos reigns. The bulk of what the directors and their teams are doing is not cohering, and the responsibilities, pressures, and expectations are intense. How, then, do you move forward when so little is visible and so much is unknown?”

Moving Through The Chaos

You move forward in the chaos of life because if you don’t, you’ll get stuck in it. Your life will pass by while you stand there whining, complaining or seething.

But that’s not you.  You want more than to sit to the side, paralyzed by the chaos. You want to make a difference for someone, even if it’s difficult to do. So you courageously work your tail off to dig deep and search around inside the real you for the thing that you most want to say and do in each moment because you want your voice to be a true representation of who you are.

You may feel like your life is a rough draft right now. But someday you will be able to look back and see beauty in the chaos you’ve moved through. Someday you’ll see your life as a work of art.

Just keep moving.

[Update] September 2, 2016
That rough draft is now a Kindle Bestselling book about my own life that felt like a rough draft.

Yes. I now see it as a work of art.

Get the book HERE.Keep moving through the chaos. someday you'll see your life as a work of art.

My Birthday Proclamation

How I want to spend my life

Do you ever wonder what your life is really about? I am not talking about your overall beliefs about the meaning of life, necessarily. Rather, when you look at how you actually live, what you actually say and how you actually do what you do…how are you spending your life?

Photo by Jennifer Brungardt

Photo by Jennifer Brungardt

The other day I watched a movie that rocked me to the core and got me feeling what I was already thinking about my life-spending. In Still Alice, the main character is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. I grieved as a brilliant 50-year-old Alice considered her future, forgot her family, grew anxious and lost her ability to interact with others. And I thought…

How much time do I really have left? The next fifty years are not promised to me. I turn 37 this week. What if I had thirteen years left to leave a legacy? How do I want to spend my life?

I can tell you how I don’t want to spend it.

  • I don’t want to spend my life protecting myself. I don’t want to hide or hold back for fear that I may not succeed or that someone might think negatively about me. I don’t want to restrain my love.
    • So I’m going to go for it. I’m going to step out and do something bold and brave. And then I’m going to do it again. I may fail and I may not be everyone’s favorite person, but I plan to learn and grow from it all. Because I want to love boldly.
  • I don’t want spend my life overwhelmed. I don’t want to shuffle stuff around and over-pack our schedule for fear that I might miss out on something or disappoint someone. I don’t want to act like I’m God and can handle it all.
    • So I’m going to simplify. I’m going to cut back on stuff and activities that turn into detours or stumbling blocks between us and our family purpose. I realize it will be a constant balancing act, but there will be less to balance. Because I want to think clearly.
  • I don’t want to spend my life running from feeling. I don’t want to distract myself with meaningless things so I don’t have to feel the intens
    ity of the meaningful things. I don’t want to numb my feelings or carelessly feed my emotions so they grow out of proportion. I don’t want to diminish or exaggerate feeling.

    • So I’m going to explore. I’m going to dig deep to uncover what I’m honestly feeling and why. I’m going to bring those real feelings to God and allow Him to turn them into power with His love. Because I want to live passionately.

That’s it. Those are three things I don’t want to spend my life on, and three things I do. These particular things have been on my mind for a while, but now I want to be clear: I want to love boldly, think clearly and live passionately.

How do you want to spend your life – your actual day-to-day life? What are you willing to do or give up to get there?

Go for it square



How To Get More Out Of Movies

...and life

What questions and expectations are in your mind as you enter the theater to watch a movie? Are you asking if you’ll like the movie? Do you expect action or romance? Do you ever wonder what gift the movie has to offer you?

I get a lot out of movies and I love to talk about them with others. And when I say I get a lot out of them, I’m not messing around. I declared that Frozen literally changed my life and I’m not even being sarcastic. (Read about that here.)

Abstract ThoughtDespite my self-declared distinction as a “writer,” I prefer the movie over the book every time. It might have something to do with the fact that I think in shapes and vague images and have a difficult time imagining elaborate descriptions, so I skip to dialogue. The “Abstract Thought” room as depicted in Inside Out is a perfect example of what happens in my head.

But I love the movies. I don’t have to focus hard on imagining, so I can just think and feel. And that’s where the magic happens for me.

Open Curiosity

Let’s look back to Les Miserables which came out in December of 2012. I recorded my observations about why I got so much out of the movie at that time, but the concept of open curiosity applies to every movie…every life.

Considering the many criticisms I heard regarding the quality of singing and singers chosen for the Les Mis, I was surprised the noticable lack of musical precision did not bother me as it often does. Instead, I was lost in the moment, inspired with every note. This is why:

  • Curiosity.

    Rather than participating as a critic looking for certain elements, I came to the theater wondering what the experience would be like. Curiosity is an interest that doesn’t expect a certain answer. There’s no subtle demand to wondering…no agenda. Just the question.

  • Openness.

    In my curiosity I didn’t guard my emotions like I often do when I don’t know what to expect. Instead, I gave myself permission to trust the filmmakers to draw me deep into a story and experience that took me to the depths of despair and up to the power of grace and love and redemption.

I realize that other directors may have set a higher standard of musical excellence. Other actors may have interpreted the characters differently. Other cinematographers may have chosen different shots or angles or lenses… But in the middle of the film, I wasn’t thinking about what they should have done to give me a different experience. I was experiencing. I made a mental decision after the first imperfect note to trust the artistic choices of the filmmakers and enter into the experience they were offering.

In the end, I was overcome by hope and desire. I sensed God’s presence with me – His love for the world – the great need for His light – a desire to love another and “see the face of God”.

Criticism Is The Safe Path

Why is it so tempting to view to view our life, others’ lives and God’s interaction in our life with a critic’s eye? I wonder if it’s partly because we are afraid of the unknown. We want the security of knowing everything will work out for the best, so we try to figure out how to make life work out for our idea of best. Rather than being curious, we are critical.

I can’t believe he said that!
What was she thinking?

Viewing life as a critic allows us toLive Dangerously pull out of the experience (where it is quite dangerous since who KNOWS what might happen) and close off our emotional responsiveness. From this seat in the house, we do not have to feel vulnerable or sad because we can be angry that someone did something differently than we’d hoped. Maybe it was a friend. Maybe it was ourselves. Maybe it was God. But there must be someone to blame. Rather than being open, we are closed and cynical.

In The End

Granted, I knew the plot of the Les Miserables story. I knew it was going to be miserable. I knew the misery would be redeemed in some way. So perhaps the fact that I knew the end of the story made it easier for me to remain open in the middle of despair.

I don’t know how every story will end here and now. People will get hurt. Some will feel tortured. I will die, though I don’t know how or when. There is ugliness, despair, misery. It’s awfully hard to feel hopeful when I don’t know what might happen in the end.

Or don’t I?

The thing is, if I consider what the Bible says and believe there is a bigger story…
if the end is one where justice and love rule side by side…
if there is a greater goal than happiness here and now…
if the whole world is in the pains of childbirth as the New Creation is born…

If my story is not the end…

If my story contributes to the greater Story…

Revelation 21:4-5
‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

If this is the end, can I trust God in the middle of the ups and downs of my story?

Open curiosity or closed cynicism?

What do you want to ask of the movies? What do you want to ask of life?