This week I started a new company called Families InDeed—“Growing Exceptional Families and Leading by Example.”

I’m very excited about this project because I will be teaching a fantastic set of parenting classes I haven’t had the opportunity to teach in nearly twelve years!

After years of threatening to do it, I’ve finally taken the leap and re-vamped the classes for today’s parents. But re-vamping classes and deciding to teach them isn’t enough. I knew I needed to have a very specific plan for the vision that was dancing in my head. I needed to write a ‘white paper’ – a type of marketing tool. It answers questions such as who, what, where and when in regards to products or services you are selling.

Putting all of those thoughts and dreams and ideas down on paper was proving far more difficult than it sounds above. How much should I charge? Who would be interested in these classes? How would I accomplish my goals, and for that matter, what were my defined goals?

I stopped and started several times on the white paper before realizing I needed a different approach. I opened a new document in Word and typed:

Creative Me:

Methodical Me:

These were the two voices warring for attention in my brain. The first one was hopping up and down in excitement while the second one was the voice of reason, of questions and facts and realism. I began to write a dialogue between them…

Methodical Me: What is it that I want?

Creative me: I want to teach parenting classes!

Methodical Me: Okay, teaching parenting classes sounds fine with me. In fact, it sounds great! But a few questions first.

Creative Me: Sure! Ask away!

Methodical Me: Who are these classes for?

Creative Me: Everyone!

Methodical Me: [smiles] Okay, can you think of any limitations right now?

Creative Me: [stops bouncing] Well, a few. The classes I currently have are aimed at the ages 2-10 bracket. But I can put something together for teens as well!

Methodical Me: Okay, that sounds wonderful. So right now, we have the PEP series for Children Ages 2-10, right?

Creative Me: Right!

Methodical Me: Wonderful. So now tell me about where you are going to teach these classes.

Creative me: I could teach the classes at local schools, daycare centers, libraries, and even counseling centers.

Methodical Me: Excellent. Now how would you approach these people and what would you need to provide them in the way of marketing materials and information?

Creative Me: Oh wow…have I got a list of to-do’s!

  • I need a presentation packet: brochure, a single page overview of the parenting classes, a short bio about me, and so much more.
  • I also need to finish the Powerpoint presentations on all of classes in the basic seven-session series.
  • I also need to prepare an instructor timeline, but that can wait until I’ve given them a final polish. Because, obviously, I won’t need to have that until I actually DO the classes.

Methodical Me: Okay, slow down. Let’s talk for a minute about WHO, WHAT, and WHEN and then we’ll get back to the WHERE. Is that okay?

It may sound silly, but it worked. I realized very quickly that these two very distinct, unique voices were me, but they were different aspects of me. In writing it out, and actually ‘coaching’ my other ‘me’ I was able to hone in on areas where I had questions.

In the end I came up with a workable action plan to how I wanted to see Families InDeed begin, who it was for, where it could go, and when it could get there.

Starting a dialogue with yourself may sound silly, but think of it this way.

Our minds exist to ask question and give answers—learning and knowledge are lifelong endeavors and we live for the opportunity to expand our understanding more with each day that passes. Asking yourself the important questions stimulates the need to answer and encourages introspection and understanding of self.

Try it.

You might be surprised at how well it works!

Above all, the thing to keep in mind is this: Not all things work for all people. So if you can sit down and write a business plan from the get-go, great, go do that. But if you are having difficulty getting started, starting a dialogue with your ‘self’ might do the trick too!