Ask Caroline: Working 14 hours a day to hopefully one day be successful?

What do you do when what you're working as hard as you can (on a business, a relationship, or a creative project), and you're still not getting the results you want? How do you know when to keep at it, and when to pull the plug? Today on Ask Caroline, I'm answering a question from a reader I'll call Melody, who is working 14 hour days, yet losing money in her new business. She's "tired of chasing a never-ending to-do list without clear results that it's worth it." What's Melody's next move? (And where am I pulling the plug in...
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Please oh please, don’t try this at home!

One of the most dangerous parts of my psyche is my tendency to think that if I just work harder, then SURELY I can fix it. This part of me is vulnerable to the "hustle harder" hype, the movie montage fix. Can you relate? Do you get swept up in doing more, while refusing to make trade-offs? Do you try to save dysfunctional relationships, resisting goodbyes? Do you override your limits, and then wonder why you're exhausted? If so, I am with you. I get it. As I tell coaching clients, the flip side of our greatest strength is also...
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Spoiler alert! The intruders aren’t your biggest problem.

When I wrote to you about my recent dream - with the menacing intruders who broke in and took over my house for a party, then were so convivial that I nearly lost sight of the hostage situation - many of you said that that story resonated. To quote one reader: "The party at your house is exactly how it feels in my life ... Because you do start to feel that it's not all that bad, and you can be a part of it, even though you didn't want it! I still don't know what to do with that..."...
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No, I’m not making this up…

Do you know that feeling you get when you realize that it's the anniversary of something truly insane that happened to you, and you look back and think: Whoa, I survived THAT? A year ago we were going through a lot collectively, with the pandemic and the politics and the massive injustices and tragedies involved. And on a micro level, this was a tough time for our household. Last spring, I was 8 months pregnant and 100% terrified to labor again. (There was some big-time physical trauma at my first birth.) Then our toddler tripped and sustained a break to...
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Where are you missing the obvious?

When our new Baby Girl was four weeks old, our midwife reminded me that it was time to introduce bottles. (Though I planned to continue nursing, introducing bottles would give me the option to be away for more than a few hours if I needed it.) (Here she is! Thank you for sending good wishes and requesting a picture.) So I dug out the box from when our toddler was small, washed the pump and bottles, and set them up on the drying rack. But when it came to actually assembling a bottle, I could not get it to work....
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The Four Magic Words (You’ll Never Guess)

If you’ve already read my new book, You Don’t Owe Anyone, then you know that I’ve dreamed of becoming a published author ever since I was six years old. When my first grade teacher helped our class make our own hardcover books, I was hooked. She told us that authors were people whose job it was to make books. I thought that nothing could be cooler than that. (My first book, age 6) (My new book, age 35) Fast-forward about 30 years. After decades of diligent reading, writing, and study, that original dream has come true today. You Don’t Owe...
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Top 25 Answers to YOUR Questions, Revealed

Dear ones, A Wish Come Clear turned 10 years old last week, but most of you reading now have joined us in the last 2 years. As I reviewed your great listener questions from The Pursue Your Path Series, I realized that there are SO MANY buried treasures in the blog archives that effectively answer your questions! So without further ado, here are some of your questions paired with the most popular posts from the past 10 years. …
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If only you knew (what it’s really like to write)

Over a dozen of you wrote to me last week to share how much the missive meant to you. Thank you. As I read message after message, I shook my head and thought, “Wow. If only they knew.” Then I realized that perhaps it’s right that you DO know. The morning I wrote that missive, I did not bounce out of bed with a smile. Like so many other parents in this COVID time, my husband and I have been caring for our baby for 2 months without outside help, while both running our businesses. We’re thankful to have that...
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All the things we need to drop (and one that remains)

Do you remember the 1998 movie You’ve Got Mail, when Joe Fox and Kathleen Kelly were both so darn PSYCHED to read their email? For all their differences, the characters had this in common: They loved logging onto AOL, hearing those dulcet dial-up tones and the voice saying, “You’ve Got Mail!” And after they deleted the spam, typically they only had ONE real email waiting for them. I woke up with that image in my mind the other day: An near-empty inbox. Just one message that really meant something. …
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I couldn’t get this off my mind

There is a man who lives down the road from me in Alabama. Let’s call him Andy, because that is nothing like his name. One of the very first things you’d notice about Andy is that he smokes. His clothes smell of it, and he has a metal pail on his front porch where he drops cigarette butts so they don’t light the house on fire. Most evenings you’ll see him out there, standing by door and smoking. He’ll wave to you politely through the puffs. …
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