Do The Work

Do The Work

Fear. Self-sabotage. Procrastination. Self-doubt. I’ll bet you know some of these “characters” first-hand. I do. I know all of them…and then some, sometimes all at once! Right now, this is where I am.

Earlier this year, I shared that I’m writing a book. It’s a book on knowing and living your truth. I’m embarking on this, my most creative undertaking yet, and as I do, it’s awakening Resistance (yes, with a capital “R”) like I’ve never experienced. I’ve done hard stuff in my life. I’ve done big things, creative things and things that have terrified me. But this venture has me searching for a new way, new tricks, props – anything! to keep me focused and move me through the process.

What’s helping most is a platform of sorts that I call “Do The Work.” It may sound ridiculously simple. It kind of is. And yet, it’s bullishly hard. So, I have little reminders, like the sticky notes pictured here, posted around my office and home to keep it front and center. This maxim is becoming my #1 defense to the Resistance – this multi-headed fire breathing monster – I experience every day.

First, it has helped me to acknowledge that this project isn’t really about writing a book. In the beginning, I thought I was simply writing a book. Instead, it’s a meandering, soul quaking undertaking to:

explore what it means and what it takes to know yourself at your core

understand and challenge your deeply held beliefs

get clear on what you most want and desire in this life

realize you’re always in choice to claim and act on that desire

know that it takes a hell of a lot of courage to take that action and live the life you most want to live

What I now know is that when you begin work like this…a deep, life transforming undertaking  – where you stir up the molecular juju within yourself – you awaken God and all her angels as well as the darkest dragons and demons. Daily, the battle between these allies and adversaries rattles my bones! If this sounds intense, it’s because it is.

This project as a whole is much less about the art and skill of writing (although this is important!) and far more about – Doing The Work – the discipline of showing up every day, committing this as a core part of my professional full-time business, and engaging in the physical activity of producing words on paper.

This project is also acknowledging a very important shift in me that writing is not my fluffy, amateur, side kick hobby. It’s my profession. I’m a writer. There. I said it. I AM A WRITER. My internal battle to slay the dragon is as much about claiming and owning who I am as a writer as much as it is the writing process and content itself.

Every. Single. Day. Resistance slithers in on my scene with a mission not just to slow my work or redirect it, but to derail and destroy it. It’s sneaky and cunning. It attacks not as a single strike, but rather as a slow, steady, relentless invasion. It’s deadly. And I refuse to be taken out by it. It requires me to be diligent, resolute. I engage everything at my disposal to slay the beast. In my world it shows up as:

  • my other work clients needing my attention
  • urgent (but not always important) project needs that spring up
  • my elderly mom and her many demands of my time and focus
  • a workout that I suddenly am hugely motivated to do
  • the compulsion to organize my bookshelf…again, this time by title and in alphabetical order!
  • monthly finances that must be reconciled NOW
  • the overwhelming desire take my dogs for a walk

Early on, it tricked me. I had no idea all the attractions and distractions were Resistance.

Some of the above tasks seemed like legitimate priorities, and I thought my unquenchable desire to read more, study more, and research more were all forces to sharpen me, enhance my work, make me better. While all these certainly are important – there is a time and place for them, and it’s not during my writing time.

Resistance is seductive. The more I fall victim to Its force, the more and more and more It wants.I see you, Resistance. I’ve learned. I’m smarter now. And you will NOT beat me. You will not win.

Do The Work keeps me focused. Do The Work centers me. Do The Work has me keeping the main thing the main thing.

Now, in the mornings when I rise, I imagine the hoodie, sweatshirt, or suit I put on as a powerful, protective “Harry Potteresque” cloak – an impenetrable “Do The Work” shield to all the distractions, chaos, and fires attempting to kidnap me from my writing. I put it on. Lace it up. It’s becoming my super power.


Hi, I’m Jeanie Duncan. I work with individuals and organizations as a transformation partner to help them unlock their Truth, discover authentic value, and create meaningful impact in the world. I believe when we are truly aligned with our purpose, we can live and perform at our highest potential. With over 25 years of experience as an executive, CEO, consultant, coach, and writer, I offer strategic, knowledgeable, and experienced guidance for those who are ready to take the courageous leap toward true transformation. 

My Personal Motto: Act As If

My Personal Motto: Act As If

Act As If - woman climbing stairs
Years ago, while conducting research to start my business, I read the book, Birthing the Elephant by Karin Abarbanel and Bruce Freeman. In it, I came across a phrase that became a motto to me – “Act as if.”

Presented in the context of becoming an entrepreneur, Act As If conveys the concept of viewing yourself as this new brand and self image and aligning your actions and how you communicate and express yourself.

“Actions change attitudes, motions change emotions, and movements change moods. You might not be able to change your thoughts and your feelings, but you can change your actions. Your actions can change your feelings; your actions can change your thoughts. You can act differently than you feel.”

The day that I read those words, in October 2010, is the day I began my business. For several months prior, I had conducted research around launching a new venture, secured necessary resources, and written a business plan. On paper, it looked great, and when I read the words “act as if,” I thought “what am I waiting for?” I needed reminding…I’m more ready than I think I am. It’s interesting when you’re starting something from scratch. There’s a moment when you literally must flip the switch. So I did.

Act As If hit home for me. I took on the mantle of entrepreneur and business owner – I walked as if, ate as if, slept as if…I went about my day as if this is completely who I am, even though early on there were many days where it felt more like a story than reality. I lived this new brand as if everything in my life up to this moment had prepared me for this.

Now, 10 years later, through evolving iterations of my work, Act As If continues to be my motto, encouraging me to show up as both who I am and who I aspire to be. It helps move me to action when my doubt creeps in telling me I have to wait for the perfect plan before taking the first step. After all, our thoughts and actions create our reality. We manifest what we most desire and focus on.


Jeanie Duncan, Transformation partnerHi, I’m Jeanie Duncan. I work with individuals and organizations as a transformation partner to help them unlock their Truth, discover authentic value, and create meaningful impact in the world. I believe when we are truly aligned with our purpose, we can live and perform at our highest potential. With over 25 years of experience as an executive, CEO, consultant, and coach, I offer strategic, knowledgeable, and experienced guidance for those who are ready to take the courageous leap toward true transformation. 

Horses, Dirt Bikes, & Slingshots: shaped by my childhood adventures

Horses, Dirt Bikes, & Slingshots: shaped by my childhood adventures

Growing up on a farm, my big brother, Lee, and I filled our days playing with cows and horses, riding our dirt bike, fishing tadpoles out of the creek, and making forts from hay bales that filled our big red barn…the structures soon to became territory for our slingshot battle. The fact that neither of us is blind today truly is a miracle.

As thrilling as all these activities were, they paled in comparison to the work we did in the treetops. If we were to account for our total childhood handy work, we’d have a considerable tree house village! We could make an entire lumber pile and 500 nails disappear in a day or two. In the summers, we practically lived in our rickety tree dwellings, carving our names in the thick branches and telling stories, all with our Daisy BB guns never far from our sides.

When I think about what matters most to me today – things like nature, adventure, creativity, and freedom – it takes me back to my childhood and how much those experiences have shaped who I’ve become. I’m thankful for parents who gave us this beautiful space and so much freedom to explore and play. When I consider all the risky things we did, it gives me proof that kids are surrounded by a pack of angels! I mean, in this photo, we’re about to jump a stack of concrete cinder blocks with a ramp built of plywood and 2X4s and I’m riding that dirt bike in shorts and am barefoot!

I feel these values alive in me today – mostly in my spirit and essence in how I show up in life and work, and in the particulars of my behaviors and decisions. For example, even though I live in the city now, I’m never too far from the woods, a stream, or a trail. My windows are open to feel the breeze and hear all the sounds of nature. Although my “farm” animals now are Hendrix and Fred, my Labrador and Beagle, I love a horseback ride whenever I get the chance. And three years ago, I bought a Triumph motorcycle. I love my riding and camping adventures. It’s through these experiences that I’m most fulfilled.

How have your roots shaped who you are today?




Hi, I’m Jeanie Duncan. I work with individuals and organizations as a transformation partner to help  them unlock their Truth, discover authentic value, and create meaningful impact in the world. I believe when we are truly aligned with our purpose, we can live and perform at our highest potential. With over 25 years of experience as an executive, CEO, consultant, and coach, I offer strategic, knowledgeable, and experienced guidance for those who are ready to take the courageous leap toward true transformation. 

Courage to Leap From Fear to Freedom

Courage to Leap From Fear to Freedom


Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway" – John Wayne

This quote has always been a favorite of mine. And it’s taking on new meaning after going skydiving with a girlfriend and our sons. It was an exhilarating experience with many rich take-a-ways.

Skydiving is something I’ve always been terrified of, but really wanted to do. When I stop to think about it, it’s not often words like ‘terror’ and ‘desire’ go together in the same sentence.

I believe most of all, I wanted to prove to myself that I could be that afraid of something and still do it. I had this unbridled anticipation that if I could just do it, it would be one of the most amazing experiences ever – soaring, floating, free.

It was all of that. And more.

For a long time, my fear paralyzed this dream. Eventually, I grew tired of hearing my own whining voice (as did my friends), continually expressing my longing to do it and talking myself out of it with endless excuses. I decided – ENOUGH! It’s time to accept my fear and move directly into it.

Having now taken the leap, I realize the powerful metaphor that skydiving is for both fear and freedom. As for fear, there are many things that I’m afraid of. Yet, when I face the fear head-on, it often vanishes…or at least shrinks. And there in its place is a surprising gift – freedom.

This plays out for me in work situations like public speaking and dealing with a challenging client situation, or on the personal side such as sailing in intense conditions with high winds or heavy weather, or mountain biking a technically difficult trail.

This experience is a reminder to examine the task and its importance, purpose, and impact, while weighing the risks and rewards.

A little part of me even believes that acting on this insane courage unlocks some deep, hidden ‘magic power.’ That now – from out of nowhere! – I will leap tall buildings and blast fire from my fingertips…or at least the mortal equivalent of having greater confidence and faith that I ‘can do it’ and it will all work out.

Lastly, I’m left thinking of everything I would have missed had I stopped short of jumping. Bold moves launch us out of our comfort zone and open us up. You can’t help but expand when free falling 120 mph at 12,000 feet! I’ll never see things quite the same again.

Lessons in courage from skydiving:

  • Embrace fear and take action anyway. I don’t think it’s about overcoming the fear or that it goes away.
  • With any given situation, explore the worst-case scenario, gauge your comfort level, tap into your resources, and work backward to develop a plan from there.
  • Take action that helps make you more comfortable. In this case of skydiving, I consulted with others who had done it and sought their advice, researched (exceptionally) reputable skydiving companies to ensure they have (highly) trained professionals and excellent equipment. Risk mitigation!
  • Do things often that take your breath away.
  • Get out of your comfort zone…sometimes far, far outside. This is where real learning and living takes place. Life is more fun and interesting if it is a series of amazing adventures.
  • Be fully present in life – the skydiving free-fall lasts only 60 seconds, and the entire experience is over in 7 minutes. The impact; however, lasts a lifetime.
  • Surround yourself with spicy friends who’ll call you out on living small.


about---leadershipAbout Jeanie Duncan: Jeanie is President of Raven Consulting Group, a business she founded that focuses on organizational change and leadership development in the nonprofit sector. She is a senior consultant for Raffa, a national firm working with nonprofit clients to lead efforts in sustainability and succession planning, executive transition and search. Additionally, Jeanie serves as adjunct faculty for the Center for Creative Leadership, a top-ranked, global provider of executive leadership education.

Paralyzed, But Alive and Wondering

Paralyzed, But Alive and Wondering

paralized getting-unstuck

I have not been able to move – not one square inch – on my social media strategy. I have the most beautiful plan on paper…Really! You would be so impressed. But mostly, it just sits there.

And because I’ve had this condition for quite some time, I’ve given a lot of thought to the “why” and to “how” to overcome my procrastination.

Why my paralysis:

  1. My plan is complex and broad and presents me with tremendous self-applied performance pressure.
  2. I’m putting myself out there on the public stage, so my work must be perfectly brilliant and thought provoking, conveying wisdom and clearly articulated, intelligent thoughts.
  3. My dazzling strategy centers on my writing and posting a blog piece every week. Arrrgh the pressure! (see #2 above) All the other platform postings flow from this piece and from each month’s theme.
  4. With my business, I am it…the sole practitioner. So, when business is rolling (and thankfully it often is), I am really busy and find it hard impossible to make time to write, tweet, and post on Facebook and LinkedIn.
  5. Therefore, about #4, I think: “If I can’t find time to write and be present on these sites, do my prospective clients find the time?” Doubt creeps in regarding the value of planning and executing this strategy. Why write and post these amazing pieces of art and intellect when my target audience is too busy (or doesn’t care) to even read the stuff.

Moving to Action: 

So, I ask myself: “How important is it to me to execute my social media strategy? My short response is “It’s really important…a 10 even!” I have the plan (did I tell you how brilliant it is?). I want to do this. I’m decent at writing. I’ve had good results from it previously (even with what little I’ve done), and many of my colleagues report impressive outcomes (the good ol’ ‘everyone else is doing it’).

How do I get off center and come alive? I’m not really sure, because nothing I’ve attempted has worked. But here’s what I’m going to try starting today:

  • What would it be like if I gave myself a break? Simplify the complex, detailed plan into ‘bite size’ pieces. Instead of the pressure to execute fully and perfectly, be okay with some small, consistent steps.
  • Send “the judge” on vacation.
  • Quit talking about it and do it. Schedule time in realistic increments, like 15–20 minutes.
  • Reframe. I’ve learned a lot from my life experiences and have access to a deep inventory of resources. Think of this as a gift of sharing rich assets with others.
  • Write! Post!
  • Hold myself to it and maybe enroll an accountability partner.
  • Measure and acknowledge how it goes for a week or two.
  • Celebrate!
  • Repeat.
  • And if this doesn’t go well, I can always look to other options, like hiring a ghostwriter or virtual assistant to help me.

I’m getting started today, and we’ll see how it goes. I’m hopeful!

Meanwhile, I’d love to hear from you – how do you overcome a stall and move into action?