My Formula for Stumbling Through with Grace


If you read through some of my previous blog posts, it can sound like I really have my act together, but the truth is that I am usually stumbling through.

There are times when …

  • I don’t feel qualified to run my own business.
  • I don’t know if I can write something helpful or meaningful for you.
  • I don’t treat people I love the way they deserve.
  • I eat things that don’t agree with me.
  • I skip working out or meditating.

While perfection has never been my goal, I’m not even close. I’m usually taking one step forward, two steps back and stumble through until I figure something out. I stumble more when I’m not honest with myself, when I try to force something to work, and when I approach things in a way that is not congruent with my values.

Someone recently asked me how I knew how to write an ebook and sell it on Amazon or how I knew how to start a blog and understand social media. I told them that I had no idea how to do any of it. I asked for help, tried and failed, tried again, and then with a little bit of stumbling, I found the answers that worked best for me.

If you ever feel like you are stumbling through too, I hope this will help.

My formula for stumbling through with grace.

  • Be Curious. If you approach something new with genuine curiosity, questions will trump struggle and you will be more open to problem solving.
  • Find the simple. There is always more than one answer and the right one doesn’t have to be the biggest or the most complicated. Sometimes we think we have to earn our success through toil and turmoil, but if you can get there on a more enjoyable road, do it.
  • Smile and breathe. Everything is going to be ok. Even though you can’t see the finish line and might not even know where it is, a light heart, big smile, and deep breath can be a good reminder that you are taking things to seriously.  Your work is important, but it doesn’t have to be heavy.
  • Make mistakes. You are going to fail. You are going to make a dumb mistake. You are going to look back and think you should have known better, and you are going to survive all of it and be better because of it.
  • Enjoy the view. Don’t wait until the end to enjoy the view. Look around as you are stumbling through. The end result might be where you have your sights set, but the people you meet on the way and the lessons that present themselves are too important to overlook.
  • Ask for help. We are all in this together and even if our work and lifestyles are polar opposites, we are more alike than you think. Ask questions and learn from other people. Work with people who are willing to stumble through with you. My greatest teachers are always learning. They are always willing to admit that they don’t have it all figured out, but equally willing to stumble through until they do.

Anyone who tells you they have the answers to everything is lying. If we want to discover new, creative solutions we need fewer experts and more graceful stumblers.

Maybe we are all stumbling through life. The future is uncertain. We learn as we go, and do the best we can. Let’s put our expert/guru caps aside and stumble through gracefully together.


  1. jen says

    “Sometimes we think we have to earn our success through toil and turmoil, but if you can get there on a more enjoyable road, do it.”

    Ah, very timely and encouraging words, thank you.

  2. Kate says

    Thanks for the generous post. You wrote on the subject I most needed to be reminded of right now. Applying your advice to life and family is what I must do at the moment. Keep it simple. Be generous. Enjoy. Hard to do when dealing with lots of stress, illness and death of a related family member’s parent. This is life. Stay curious. Be connected.

  3. Diane Elkins says

    Spark and Tinder has helped me to look at the design, purpose and possibilities of my blog from angles I hadn’t considered and on a much bigger scale. The topics are covered in depth (money, creativity, social media to name a few) and the material is presented in a concise, easy to digest format. Accessibility to Courtney and her endless knowledge and generosity in sharing – is like that mentor that everyone dreams of having and few ever find. The energy and support from the talented, creative and dedicated S&T members continues to amaze me – learning from and following the successes of folks from all over the world is very inspiring.

  4. says

    I really appreciate your last point, “Ask for help.” I’m a member of the Spark and Tinder group and I’m so appreciative of the community that has grown with the program. This amazing group makes it so easy to ask for help, whether I’m having technical difficulties, struggling with discouragement, or needing someone to help me bounce wild ideas around. Being a part of a loving and supportive community helps me to stumble with a little more grace than I could on my own. Thanks for the post Courtney xx

  5. says

    This post was so timely. Not a coincidence I’m sure. As I become more and more connected to my authentic self I’m feeling more courage to finally move forward with a dream of mine. As much as I’m aware that fear and doubt are going to rear their heads from time to time it’s reassuring to know that everyone begins from a place of not knowing, stumbles and setbacks. Thank you for the reminder to start from wherever you are and just move towards what it is that you truly desire.

    Tania Welch

  6. Carol B. says

    wow- thank you for sharing with such humility and generosity of heart.
    every week I am encouraged and know that I am just one of many who are inspired by you sharing your journey.

    God bless!

  7. says

    I’m stumbling through also, falling, picking myself back up, falling again…

    The process has been made so much easier with the support of your Spark and Tinder community. The learning, the mistakes and the successes, we all make them together and I find peace of mind in sharing the experience, so thank YOU Courtney for making it possible.

  8. says

    Yes to making mistakes again and again, but hopefully not the same ones. Thanks, I appreciated reading this today!

  9. says

    There’s a lot to be said about learning from experience, isn’t there? At the same time, I really enjoy receiving the monthly Spark and Tinder lessons so I don’t have to stumble too much! You have such a unique approach, Courtney, mixing simplicity and focus as a way to approach blogging, business, and life. I always learn something new and appreciate the chance to explore new ways and new ideas.

  10. says

    Such divine and simple truths. Thank you for sharing your formula at the perfect time for me to read it and be reminded. Much gratitude to you Courtney!

  11. says

    Thanks for this reminder, Courtney. Very well timed and awfully important for me to read.

    I’ve also been a part of the S&T group from the beginning on, and it’s been an eye opener in many ways for my journey as a small business owner. The support of the group alone is special, and the monthly topics to concentrate on and the lessons Courtney sends us are very dear to me. It’s wonderful to be able to share this (stumbling) adventure with people of the group and to be learning from and being part of other people’s journeys.

  12. Joanna says

    I joined Spark & Tinder about a month ago. Since I just recently started blogging, I have found this group very helpful. It is nice to have a support group – people who are also learning new things as well as some who are more advanced. This group is especially important for brainstorming ideas and getting feedback on your work. I know, as a new blogger, that I appreciate these things. The lessons and communication with Courtney are definitely a bonus! She is more than willing to help in any way she can.

  13. says

    Courtney, your willingness to be vulnerable in this post shines a light for me to consider being moreso in my blogging.

    I appreciate the Spark & Tinder group as a supportive community in which we can ask any questions related to micro-businesses or blogging, and other members offer answers and ideas.

    ~ Dena

  14. says

    After nine month of joining Spark & Tinder Group I feel more and more safe in this place. I wasn´t used to talk to people from all over the world and first it was difficult to ask questions showing how imperfect I am and how much I donn´t know about blogging and business. But I´ve learned that is ok. Courtney often said: Contact me, ask me questions, let me know how I can be helpful. Once I dared to ask her, everything became easier. I love that I can ask simple questions, difficult questions and receive helpful answers or also share my sucess. That´s the best thing, to receive love from like minded and awesome people.

  15. says

    Courtney, thank you for such an honest post. I’m a stumbler (can you see me waving)? I’m learning to enjoy the stumbling, as that’s how I learn. I’ve learned it’s ok to ask questions. And that it’s okay to be vulnerable, because otherwise I couldn’t be the real me online.

    I’ve been part of your Spark & Tinder group since it began, and I’ve learned too much to count. It keeps me on the good path, and it’s more like my home base now. I’ve met so many beautiful people, some from opposite ends of the earth. All in different stages of their journeys, yet helping each other.

    As a blogging introvert, this experience is priceless! So, thank you again for everything you do for us, Courtney.

  16. says

    Take Courtney’s invitation to join Spark & Tinder. It will save me the trouble of convincing you when we one day meet. Courtney’s advice is priceless and sound, based in experience and rooted in her gusto and courage. My blog has been shaped and nurtured by her guidance. The friendships and collaborations I’ve developed with other Spark & Tinder members have been fun, educational, and valuable. See you soon in the group!

  17. says

    Courtney, this is beautiful. I am feeling quite overwhelmed at the moment – way too many moving pieces. You remind me that it’s all a bit of a scramble and that’s ok. Thank you :)

  18. says

    Thank you so much for sharing this with us! It’s liberating to read that someone successful like yourself is having the same thoughts and the same doubts as the rest of us.

    I have a little trick that works surprisingly well for me that I would like to share: 

    A few years ago I was part of a choir. Before every concert, our choir leader told us to have fun and smile, no matter what. She said that even if we make a mistake, the audience might not even notice. Especially if we look happy and confident. And if they do notice it won’t matter that much if we show them that it doesn’t matter to us, we’re still having fun.

    Even now, when I’m not a part of the choir anymore, I’m using this advice in other parts of life, and it works! Look happy, look like you know what you’re doing and remember to have fun!

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