Category Archives: Creativity

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Insert Appropriate Inspiration Here

Inspiration. We all need it. We all want it. We also roll our eyes at it when we are not feeling in the mood for it.

There are days when a Whim, a Meme or inspiration picture floats across my Facebook feed and I’m moved to tears. Then there are days when a similar inspirational thought (or even the same one) floats across my feed and I roll my eyes and grunt. We all have days that are a tougher go than others. Sometimes it’s not days, it’s weeks, months and even years.

Sometimes when our dreams, our goals and desires get foiled we feel lost, confused and bewildered. We can’t quite figure out which way is up anymore and what we should do next. Up until this moment we knew exactly what needed to be done, in what order and when. We knew the next step. We knew the plan. We knew the goal. Now everything seems to be changing and we just don’t know what to do next. It’s very disorienting.

For the last four years I knew exactly what I was doing, how I was doing it and what the outcome was to be. I had the goal in front of me. I knew how this goal fit into my life and how it would pave the way for the next step. I was in business not because I so believed in the business I was in I couldn’t help myself. I was in business because it aligned with my goals, dreams, values and visions and it was a vehicle to get me to where I wanted to go. It was a means to an end and not an end in itself.

Then over the last few months something so sure, so certain, so predictable felt like it was unraveling all around me. It wasn’t really, it was just shifting, but to me it felt like everything I saw for my future was coming apart. Lots of soul searching. Lots of questions. Lots of wisdom sought, counsel requested. Lots of talking it through, thinking, praying, wondering.

In the middle of it all a little thread began to appear. The thread that seemed so insignificant at first I almost ignored it. Answers weren’t forthcoming to my questions so I decided to focus on this little thread and see where it would lead. As I wound the thread into a little ball, the yarn grew and the path became clearer. An epiphany!

In the midst of what looked like a pause on the future I longed for was actually an opportunity! The business and the dream weren’t two sides of the same coin. They were, and are, two mutually beneficial parts, each whole and separate from the other. What looked like disappointment became fulfillment and redirection. One didn’t lead into the other. They are meant to work together, independently but cooperatively side by side.

Sometimes what looks like a delay, a disappointment or a step backwards is really a huge leap forward toward your dream and your destiny. Sometimes what looks like a delay is really a short cut.

Be brave!

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There’s Always One

– 1

There’s always one. One unhappy customer. One complaint. One negative comment. One who doesn’t agree with you. One bad day. One bad moment. One.

Even when the rest of the crowd is enthusiastic, complimentary, in agreement, there is one who is unsatisfied, disagrees and is disappointed. Human nature, it seems, is to focus on the one. Cling to the one negative in a sea of positives. Gauge our performance by one who does not share our view.

The entire room can tell you that you look amazing, but one will say something less than positive and your entire opinion of your appearance is defined by that one.

The audience congratulates you on your presentation. Many comment on how they were touched by your words. Some even tell you how you made them think and maybe even convinced them to see it from a different perspective. But there is one who disagrees with you and tells you. Your impression of the evening is set by that one.

Vaguely in the back of my mind a statistic floats about that it takes 10 positive comments to counteract one negative, to set us back at zero. Experience tells me that ratio is too low.

I admit I am surprised by my reaction to one. One who doesn’t even have a vested interest in what I do and why I do it. One who does not have a significant part to play in my life. Their comment does not want to leave my mind. Of all the positive feedback I received that one comment is all I can replay. Negative one.

I determine to redouble my effort to pour positive comments into the lives of my kids. Not empty and hollow quips, but meaningful positives. I determine to catch them doing the right thing and making a big deal out of it. I determine to compliment their efforts, attempts and wins. I want to inoculate them to the power of negative one. Not because I want them to have a swelled head or unrealistic views of themselves, but because I realize that negative one is capable of distorting their view in the opposite direction much more effectively.

Negative one. You may seem powerful. You may shake me but you won’t move me. You don’t deserve center stage. You don’t deserve to determine how I view the world or myself. Your control ends here.

What’s Holding You Back

Starting something new, something you’ve dreamed about can be intimidating. It’s very easy to talk yourself out of taking those first steps toward your dream. After all you don’t know what you don’t know and you realize that others will quickly realize you don’t know what you don’t know and… the spiral begins. Fear of failure, of looking like a fool, of ruining the possibility of fulfilling your dream begins to take over.

Everyone starts somewhere. You don’t know what you don’t know, but there are lots of people who are willing to come alongside you and help you find out what you need to know. Living in the information age has its benefits. A quick Google search and you are bound to find out at least a little something about what you don’t know yet.

Taking little steps forward is empowering, exciting and exhilarating. Little stabs of doubt and fear will try to deflate your excitement and steal your dream. Don’t listen to them.  They’re only afraid they will be expelled from your life for good. So what if you fail? Everyone makes mistakes. It’s almost cliche to remind you that Thomas Edison found 10,000 ways that light bulbs wouldn’t work before he found one way that would. Yes, you’ll probably make mistakes. That’s okay. If you wait till you know everything you need to know you’ll never begin.

There is something raw, beautiful and attractive about ignorance on fire. Just begin taking steps toward your dream. You never know, you might just succeed!

Following Your Dreams

There is something amazing that begins to happen when you overcome fear and begin to follow your dreams. Things that seemed impossible before become possible. Things you never thought you’d witness begin to happen to you.

For decades I’ve dreamed of writing and speaking. I have allowed myself to be held back believing I was too young, didn’t have enough to say, was too unknown, too…. you name it I created a reason for why I wasn’t pursuing my dream. I even told myself I was being humble and waiting for someone to tap me on the shoulder to tell me it was my turn.

Crazy. The things we use to mask our fears of being rejected, of failing and of losing our dreams are really just excuses. After all it’s far less painful to dream for the future than to try only to have our dreams rejected.

Thanks to a great friend I’ve been encouraged to pursue my dreams. Really, intentionally, purposefully pursue them. When I took steps towards my dreams my dreams took giant leaps toward me. Things I never would have imagined happening to ME are falling into my lap.

I can’t promise you that when you take the first step your dreams will rush at you too, but I can promise you that until you move toward your dreams they will not be any closer than they are right now, so why not take a step? You may be surprised by the outcome.

Teaching an Old-er Dog New Tricks

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I’m a recovering perfectionist. Yes I admit it, I have this internal need for things to be just right. Nothing less will do. And yes, you’ve guessed it, the standard I measure things by is my own. I love clean lines, finished edges, precise angles and uncluttered spaces. I love order and function. And if you know me at all you know that my life looks NOTHING like the precision I crave.

What my life actually looks like is functional but utilized. The desk is covered with bits of paper that I mean to address in an hour, but never get around to. The filing that sits beside the files and not in them. The laundry that is folded, but not put away. The dishwasher that is clean, but still full! The floor is covered with little bits of train tracks and miniature horses. There are about a dozen notebooks lying around my work space and throughout my home. Each one started but not completed. Each one intended to be finished from one end to the other before the next one was begun. There are drawings and charts and graphs scattered throughout.

Don’t get me wrong, the house is not a complete mess but rather very lived in if you will. You see there is another side to me that craves creativity and must create solutions, systems and discover new possibilities and that side of me could care less about order, neatness and precision. That side wants to take bunny trails in every direction. That side wants to pursue a possibility and capture its every nuance. That side can’t see what’s around me until it notices a moodiness and anxiety rising with me that prevents it from focusing on the latest train of thought. When I stop and notice those signals I realize that the perfectionist in me is feeling overwhelmed by the chaos the creative side of me has made. And so the dance continues.

I take time away from creating to reorganize my space, my life and my things. I determine I will stay on top of it this time. I promise my perfectionist self that I will not allow paper to pile up, but will file it immediately. I will not let laundry stay folded in the basket, I’ll put it away as I’m doing it. I promise my perfectionist self I will finally finish the profiles on all my social media accounts and I will plan out and prepare my blog. I do my best for a few days to stay on top of those tasks and then I notice a sadness and lack of energy and I realize I’ve been maintaining everything, but creating nothing. And the cycle begins again.

But I’m learning. I’m learning to identify those signals before they become so loud they drown out everything else. I’m learning not to let the perfectionist side of me dictate long to-do lists that prevent me from accomplishing them. I am learning to actually enjoy my children and not just plan their daily tasks (we home school). I’m also learning to not let the creative side of me get so engrossed in every bunny trail that nothing gets accomplished. In other words I’m learning to be a peace keeper between the two sides of me.

This old-er (not old) dog is learning some new tricks and giving both intense sides of who I am come out and play. I’m trying to give both sides equal billing and you know what, its kinda starting to work!

Am I the only one who feels like I’m at war within myself?