Say What You Mean

[Be aware: I curse a little in this post.]

I am/was so confused. Late last year, I had three things rocking simultaneously:

  1. I knew there was more on the planet for me to do than what I as doing, but had no idea WHAT.
  2. I had seriously fucked up two projects and one relationship and really couldn’t figure out what I’d done wrong–but I knew I felt WRONG.
  3. AND, I was doing a bunch of stuff well. Many of you fine folks seemed to be enjoying my work and I was doing better than “paying the bills”.

Can you relate to this Fine/Fucked Up/Fabulous combo? It’s confusing, right? You feel like you’re doing ok, screwing things up and being a genius all at once, but you don’t know how to snap the mediocrity, prevent the screw ups and do more of the genius work.

SO, I freaked out (my version is watching several hours of (thanks for being my pusher, Colleen), cutting out all optional social engagements, letting email pile up beyond all repair and eating ice cream). I asked for help. I got it and didn’t find it soothing or helpful. I freaked out some more to the tune of deciding I could just stop EVERYTHING for six weeks straight. THIS was the turning point.

Once I gave myself permission to a full stop, something happened. I woke up the next morning and had a massive realization. I had NO IDEA WHY I was doing what I was doing. I could not explain why I was teaching. I strained myself to mental hemorrhoid trying to explain to my friend Luke WHY I love speaking so much. I could not articulate why I ran my own business (versus having a j.o.b.). It suddenly made perfect sense that I was confused, frustrated and didn’t know why WHAT I was doing on the planet wasn’t satisfying, working particularly well or easy to describe.

I devoted myself to answering these why questions for myself AND had a massive epiphany while working with a brilliant client. I realized:

If we don’t know our why, then what we do is basically irrelevant.


In the seven months since that epiphany, I have developed a process of inquiry called SuperConditions for Greatness. It’s a model that helped me build a better blueprint for my own purpose on the planet and has helped several hundred other folks as well. I’m not going to go into the whole SuperConditions model in this post, but I’m going to give you a bit of an introduction. I’ll keep writing about the work if it seems interesting to you. Let me know.

Try this on. Here’s an 8-minute intro to SuperConditions for Greatness–listen to it here:

Or download the audio here.

For you visual learners, David Michael Moore, @retweetartist created this badassed visual narrative (yes, he can do it for your work, too) describing my SuperConditions for Greatness model. Play with it and let me know how it works.

Want more? Head over here and listen to a 90-minute call describing what SuperConditions for Greatness are and how to use them to clarify your purpose and design your business for great(er)ness. I talk about my SuperConditions and work live with a fantastic group of folks.

I am excited to hear your questions, ideas and what you think your SuperConditions are in the comments. Speak up. Be great(er).

P.S. my purpose IS clear to me now–I’m here to inform your leadership by helping you educate your intuition. I still screw stuff up, but now I know WHY and can recover much faster. Oh, and I am using my greatest why to do good whats and I’m doing it just how I like to do it. SO, YAY!


And because greatness is worth sharing, copy and paste these social media updates and spread the word:

if you don’t know why, then what you do is irrelevant. #superconditions @dyanavalentine

use your good to do great. @dyanavalentine #superconditions

existential angst+massive mistakes+the comfort of genius @dyanavalentine #superconditions


THANK YOU, everyone, for reading, for showing up for yourself and for being great(er).


My friend, Melanie Martin posted this on Facebook:

I commented:

Great story! It hit me in the belly. I call it “creator’s remorse.” It happens for me .every.single.time. I release something into the world or work with a complex client or project. Every.single.time. Here’s what I do to treat the malady:

  • Tell the whole story: the situation/set up, what happened next, the result, and the after-result (what I felt like afterwards);
  • Make a list of:

+ Things I’ll never do again (never take a client/gig when your gut is telling you to RUN)
+ Things I could have approached differently
+ Things that totally surprised me (that I really couldn’t have been ready for)

  • Finally, I commit to NOT doing the first, systematizing the second, and praying for the third (well, the good ones, at least).

Three BONUS acts of remorse-prevention (always go for prevention versus treatment, right? Right!)

  1. “CUT IT OUT!” Say it out loud. Voice your complaints once, and then start your next project with those adjustments in mind. Are you doing a crappy job at your job? Then sharpen your craft, take a class or get a mentor.
  2. PLAN time for creator’s remorse recovery (including bitchfesting). It’s taxing to be seen, to put something out in the world. You suddenly see it as if you are seeing it through 10,000 others’ eyes. You know how different a new boyfriend or girlfriend looks after you’ve introduced them to your friends? Yeah, like that. So, PLAN for it. Set a walk&talk date with a friend who will listen with a scribe’s ear to hear the things that might actually be useful to you and forgive the gripe-fest parts. Then, listen back to your friend, say, “thank you for listening” and then pat yourself on the back for making art or doing your job or taking the risk to go big and belly flop.
  3. Get a hobby to distract yourself while you come down from post-completion syndrome so you have something to do with your hands besides shovel chocolate covered potato chips (damn you, Trader Joes!).

As for Melanie? Following our Facebook exchange, she had this to say:

I think accepting and planning for the fact that I will feel this way will help a lot. I am planning to not dive into the editing straight after the event but mourn a bit for a day and then tackle it because this way I can put some distance between the exhausted “I just shot a wedding” feeling and the dread of looking at the photos. And maybe accepting that all is not as bad as I see it and try to see it through my clients’ eyes will help.

Your turn: do you have creator’s remorse? What do you do about it? Tell me in the comments, puh-leeze. Thank you.

_ _ _

Now share the anti-creator’s remorse love with a friend with these handy pre-made tweets:

Know anything about creator’s remorse? @_melaniemartin and @DyanaValentine do…

Creator’s remorse usually presents as a bitchfest–what are you doing about it? @DyanaValentine & @_melaniemartin tell here:

@DyanaValentine and @_melaniemartin suffer from creator’s remorse. Do you?


Did you know that I’m doing free monthly calls? Well, now you do–so click here and sign up to get the call in info. This month’s is this Friday, yes Black Friday. What better time to tune in, listen to a dream and ask your burning questions? Hear you there.