The Story Economy Blog

The Word You are Looking for is Enough

enoughIt’s a ritual for me to watch Love Actually every holiday season (yes, I only like happy movies). But there are so many great scenes: Hugh Grant dancing, the dirty movie “stand-ins” and their awkward conversations, Colin Firth in the lake (any time Colin Firth is in a lake, it’s good). But my favorite is perhaps the scene here, where the tortured guy in love with his best friend’s new wife finally confronts the situation. He confesses his love to her on Christmas Eve via adorable cue cards, without expecting anything, and then walks away, saying to himself: “Enough. Enough now.”

Enough. Enough now.

As 2014 winds down, I couldn’t say it better myself.

Enough is such a simple concept (yes, that’s enough cream in my coffee). But when you are under a pile of something you don’t want any more of, it’s not always clear how to escape.

We all have these “enough” moments in our lives and businesses. A demon you can’t cast off. A thought that won’t leave you alone. A sense of indecision that eats away at you. A procrastination that pins you at the chin and then calls you names. You’re probably thinking about the enough you can’t find as you read this. I’m definitely thinking about mine. So, as this year closes, how can we find that sense of: “Hey, enough already!”?

I think there is an element of taking stock that always has to happen first. If I were to do this, mine could look something like this:

  • Newsletters sent: 43

  • Pages of script written:¬† 411

  • Completed web sites:¬† 7

  • Clients who know they still need to finish their site and maybe will get inspired to get moving if they read this:¬† 4

  • Book manuscripts turned in:¬† 1

  • Lattes, mochas, and other assorted espresso beverages consumed: 200 (a guess, and probably on the low side)

  • Psychics consulted:¬† 1

  • Emails sent:¬† 3,973

  • Miles run:¬† 820

  • Heartbreaks I (sort of) expected:¬† 1

  • Heartbreaks I never expected:¬† 1

  • Moments I regret:¬† 0

It’s fun to create maps of where we’ve been. I’m insanely sentimental and ordered about record keeping and reflection, so I do this better than anyone. Looking back is how you see that some things were exactly the right amount—that the “enough” was organic.

But for every few of those enoughs that come naturally, there is a missing one that tears you apart. And for those, I think it’s about coming to terms with the fact that you are getting something out of not saying enough. I don’t mean something lovely like discounted health insurance or free lattes. I mean something sneakier, like the fact that you get to stay a victim. Because no one can be that mad at a victim, right? Or it might not be that exactly (because worrying about people being mad at me is my thing)—but I guarantee, it’s something sort of like that, around expectations or judgment or one of those other insidious layers in the crud pile.

The end of the year is such a natural break, a natural time to decide not to carry the crud pile around with us anymore.

So, how do we create that moment?

There’s No Shortcut to Enough

Your enough moment could look like a lot of things. It could look like a movie if you want—a grand gesture with cue cards that communicates your doneness. If that works for you, then do it. But for me, the decision to say “enough already” tends to be quite anti-climactic, coming after a long series of something, like conversations, reflections while running, unsent messages, outlines, or thought experiments. I swirl and swirl and swirl around in a tizzy until slowly it becomes clear that I have to channel the enough.

There is absolutely no 5-step process or model that can get me there. Or you there. There are only two steps: understand what’s keeping you from saying enough, and then saying it. What goes in between is between you and your psyche or soul or whatever. You probably already know what has to go in this space. So, forget about a shortcut, and just do what you do. But do it.

You may be saying: Um, who is this copywriter girl writing about all of these heady things? Good question. Here is the way I see it: My job is to write things for people. To help them know what to say and then say it so it sounds like the best version of what they’re about. But my real job is understanding people. And what I understand is that we all get stuck. A lot. Naturally, I try to solve the stuckness with words.

And the word you are looking for is enough. Enough already.

Now, go celebrate something. I’ll see you in 2014.


  • Roberta Paolo

    Posted by Roberta Paolo on 12/18/13 6:27pm

    I can't remember where but I once heard the "enough" moments you refer to described as a menu of regrets. Once started it is all to easy to get caught up into clicking on that menu which generates only negative energy. I was inspired to comment not by the topic of your posting but the photo of the chair your desire. It takes me back to 1963 the year my husband and I married and the living room furniture we purchased from Sears. It was Swedish/modern style, blond wood and the same shade of turquoise as your chair which was the hot color that year. My taste in furniture changed over the years but the vision of this furniture it scattered through the memories of the years in our first home in Madeira, raising our children, family, ordinary and special events. I no longer click on the regrets menu but focus on the many joys of the time, which bring positive energy into my life today.

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