Note: this may be the stupidest blog post title I’ve ever come up with.
Sure, I avoided the cliched (and highly recommended by nine out of ten experts, me being the tenth, obviously) of giving a number:
“8 ways to blah blah blippity blah”.
But only barely. It still sounds like an especially terrible book title.
“101 Ways To Use The Dammit List For Fun & Profit … On A Rainy Day.”
And yet, here we are. I’m not going to change it because this post really needs to go up already. But yes, the title is a disgrace.
Oh, right. An explanation.
The dammit list is … any and all of the things you stand for.
Things you care about enough to put a dammit on the end of the sentence.
When I was a bartender in Tel Aviv, I only had one thing on my dammit list* which was nobody gets to touch me — ever, dammit.
* I hadn’t come up with the concept of the dammit list, but dammit I would have had it on there.
Many of the people I worked with had significantly more rules and higher standards than I did.
(I don’t work double shifts, dammit. I don’t make coffee for the boss, dammit. I get to wear whatever I want, dammit.)
And I admired them for it. Even if I couldn’t take a stand myself.
It’s useful to know your dammit list. And I want to talk about why that is. Some points? I shall make some.**
** Some of these are business-related or biggification-related. And some completely aren’t. Anyway, you guys are smart. You can figure out how to apply this stuff.
Your dammit list helps you speak to your Right People.
Because it’s about who you really are.
I work with a duck, dammit.
I write ridiculously long posts, dammit. And that even though pretty much everyone I knew told me it was the blogging kiss of death back when I started. It’s not.
I do extremely wacky things, dammit. I won’t hit you on the head with woo, but yes, there will be a little. Dammit.
Every time you share more of your fabulous you-ness, even when it totally doesn’t feel fabulous because it’s kind of embarrassing — the people who need to be around you are drawn to that.
Your dammit list can be part of what makes you irresistible to the people that will be the most fun for you to interact with.
Your dammit list forms the basis of your red velvet ropes.
And your red velvet ropes are everything that makes it easier for your Right People to say yes to your thing.
I only work with people I like, dammit.
If I want to teach Old Turkish Lady yoga at a biggification retreat, I’m going to, dammit.
Your dammit list is where you get your systems. And your policies.
Systems and policies are the bomb.
Because they’re all about healthy boundaries.
Systems let you grow and change. They let people know what to expect from you. They let you turn the thing you do into something that sustains you instead of something that drives you freaking batty.
My first real business policy showed up a couple years ago, straight from my as-yet-nonexistant dammit list, when I stopped doing freebie 20 minute consultations with potential clients.
I don’t remember what brought on the decision.
It could have been my time is extremely valuable, dammit. Or maybe more of an I don’t need to let people interview me, dammit thing.
Or something completely different.
It doesn’t matter. I don’t have to, dammit.
Your dammit list allows you to not do things that don’t feel right for you, without having to explain yourself.
Okay. I don’t put things on sale, dammit.
Not because I’m a diva.
But because I personally would feel annoyed if I bought a cool thing online, and then a few weeks later it was half the price because someone’s nephew had a birthday or something.
Because I believe that prices have resonance, dammit.
Because I have no patience for things that create additional admin work, dammit.
However, once I figure out that this is my rule, it is what it is. I don’t need to add a section to my store-like thing, saying that stuff isn’t going to go on sale. It just doesn’t.
Your dammit list does not need to impact anyone else’s dammit list.
If you choose to put stuff on sale? I will still love you.
If you choose to do freebie client intake sessions? Awesome. It’s your thing. Do what you need to do.
My dammit list is about me. Your dammit list is about you.
We can both be lovely people (and smart, quirky, goofballs! and friends!) even when stuff on our dammit list is radically different.
That’s because of the sovereignty thing. There is room for your you-ness and for mine. We don’t need to be in conflict.
Speaking of which …
Your dammit list is the basis for a Sovereignty practice.
Sovereignty, if you recall, is the concept I borrowed from Hiro.
It’s the spiritual quality of not giving a damn what other people think, dammit.
It’s owning your physical, mental and emotional space. Your body. Your time. Everything in your life that you get some sort of a say in.
When you put stuff on your dammit list, you are practicing sovereignty.
You are reminding yourself that the things you know and want are important. That there is room in the world for your needs.
Your dammit list is a work in progress.
One of my Kitchen Table people asked:
“Can we put things on our dammit list even if we don’t feel ready to actually enforce them yet?
Like, one of my personal manifesto points would be about never working for The Man again. But, umm, I’m not ready to walk out of my job now. But it still definitely belongs there.”
You can even have a Transitional Dammit List if you want (and an Ideal Dammit List for later).
Or it can be more about principles:
“I get integrity, dammit! I get respect, dammit! And when I’m ready to do my thing, it will include not every having to work for the Man again! Dammit!”
You really don’t have to include stuff that doesn’t fit now. Or you can choose not to have to enforce some of your dammits yet.
Your dammit list is for you, so build it however you like and in whatever way helps you feel the most safe and supported in this.
Your dammit list in your personal life.
Your dammit list can help you find a partner, decide who gets to hang out with you, and what you choose to do with your “spare” time.
It can help you make decisions about how to handle family stuff.
It can help you make compromises or find middle ground.
For example, I know that not going to Thanksgiving or Christmas at the in-laws/un-laws needs to be on my dammit list.
But I also know that spending time with them in a non-stressful non-holiday setting is something that is really important to me and to my gentleman friend.
So we visit them in between the holidays, and it’s absolutely lovely. We get to compromise, dammit. We get to find a third way, dammit.
Your dammit list and conflict resolution?
This one definitely needs to get its own post. Because I know a lot of you are wondering what happens when your dammit list runs into someone else’s.
The thing is, there aren’t that many things that are so hugely, hugely important to us that we will not compromise on them.
So if you’re going to have to do some creative problem-solving with someone, it’s really useful for them to know which are the things that absolutely cannot budge.
Because everything else is negotiable.
Crap. Too much to say.
Okay. I was going to end with a list of some of the dammits that I love.
But I’m going to stop here instead and do that some other time.
In the meantime, if you need Dammit List inspiration, read some of the comments on the original post.
There are some excellent dammits there. Quality dammit-izing.
Comment zen for today.
You’re more than welcome to leave your dammits, transitional or otherwise in the comments.
And I want to say this: it’s a super hard topic. Lots of trigger-ey stuff.
Especially when there is stuff we want on our list that we can’t justify having there yet.
Or when we feel stifled and frustrated, because other people’s dammit lists have seemed to have more power than ours.
Or when we feel anxious that if we start having a serious dammit list, other people are going to get really pissed off.
So I want to acknowledge all that hard, and also to reassure you that this is all stuff we’ll be talking about in other posts.
We all have our stuff. We’re all working on our stuff. We’re practicing.