I believe this statement about vulnerability, and I try to live into it. Today is my turn to share some vulnerable storytelling that, I hope, will serve your creative dreams, help your boldness, and nudge you in the direction of the changes YOU need to make.
I got married about a month ago. It was gorgeous, love-infused, and such a gift! Then, we came home and dove head-long back into work. Only a couple of days later, we were both on the verge of a breakdown.
See, I have this TINY tendency to do too many things at once. And, by that, I mean that, in the past five months, we have moved across country, set up and opened a retail store, got married, planned a retreat I’m co-facilitating in a week, oh, and I’m now re-structuring and re-launching all my programs at the same time.
I do not recommend this approach.
But, I have learned from it and hope you can, too. Here are my top five insights from this time (and all that past wisdom I put aside for a while to engage in this wild ride).
5. Be a tortoise, not a hare (plod, plod, plod).
Multi-tasking prevents creativity. Focus encourages it. Do. One. Thing. At. A. Time. Or, as I heard in a wonderful interview some months back (also the name of a play): Here. This. Now.
One of my best work habits (to which I joyfully return this month) is sectioning off my schedule so large chunks of time are devoted to each area of my life, rather than skittering back and forth between them. For example, Wednesdays are for music. (I invite you to call me on this one if I’m getting distracted:).
4. Ask for help (and be willing to pay for it, if necessary)
This goes from everything to taking someone out for coffee (appropriate if you are new in town, want a friend/colleague, or are in a networking group together- not appropriate if you want them to do for a cup of coffee what they usually do for their livelihood) to joining a private coaching program, hiring a graphic designer, a publicist, or other professional.
I’m a recovering do-it-yourselfer (and I don’t mean those gorgeous greeting cards you made last week to send to your family for Christmas- I LOVE those!). I mean, doing absolutely everything myself, because I can figure it out, gosh darn it, and, besides, I’m broke and can’t afford to pay anyone anything. When I was living on less than $10,000 a year for ethical reasons, perhaps that held true. But now, well, really the moment I wanted to ask other people to pay for my help, that was the moment I needed a new story to guide my own actions.
And, I have a good one now, mostly, except for those moments I slip back into the old DIY broke scarcity story. Just like with any big change, it doesn’t magically all work all of the time after the first go. We will slip and fall off and have to gently pick ourselves up, clean and bandage the skinned knee, and lovingly help ourselves back into the new reality.
So, I have paid for coaching, for graphic design, for conferences and retreats, for sponsorship opportunities (tabling), for mastermind groups, for networking, and for training around specific leaps/skills I wanted to take with my work. It’s no different from paying for voice lessons or art classes. And, it tends to all cost less than grad school.
The real reason to do it, however, is it allows you to shine at what you do best while encouraging others to shine at what they do best. You also gain skills, meet people, gain fans, grow as a person, and have more fun doing it. And, you make leaps you could never have made on your own.
3. Cultivate honesty with yourself.
I spoke about this in the last message, but it bears repeating. When I get honest with myself (kind, gentle, but truthful), I can let go of all that anxious energy that comes in not really knowing or admiting what’s going on.
This has looked like re-evaluating my business budget and realizing that my overhead is higher than I thought (which explains why it’s been hard to put the amount we planned into the household account). Naming that and making a new plan around earning that much more was such a relief! No more secret shame spiral for not paying what I had promised to the household. A clear plan to earn the income.
This has also looked like seeing myself as a whole human being again, not just a work machine. Once I got honest that sitting in front of the computer all day wasn’t making me more productive, it was actually making me feel icky, then I could return to my previous holistic vision of myself. I take time to build friendships, take walks, have downtime (without feeling bad about it), and do life-affirming activities, knowing they all feed into my success as a human. And, you know what, it has made my work time more productive! Bonus!
2. Let go when it’s time to let go.
I had an incredible time in the woods with my oh-so-gifted co-facilitator for the Space To Create Retreat last week, but that took some letting go for me to get there.
Why? Well, remember that stunning list of things we’ve done and huge life changes we’ve made in the past five months (while I was planning and inviting people to this retreat)? Well, all that means I didn’t spend as much time focusing on giving you lovely people the chance to know about and attend the retreat. This means we are going to have a tiny, gorgeous intimate group rather than the big round circle of participants we imagined when we began planning.
And, that took some adjustment of expectations, some letting go, and some basic gratitude practice for the people who will be there sinking into the quiet inspiration of the space, the instruction and each other. But, after that I was able to be so excited to have that quiet sinking time myself and to share that with these precious few. It is just what I need.
1. Be bold!
This leads to my number one insight. Be bold! Dare greatly! Step out!
Even if you do it all wrong, you are building the groundwork for future success, and, if you are willing to be vulnerable and in-process about it, you can help others along the way. While I don’t recommend my approach to the last five months, there are many reasons I made the choices I did at the time. And, I don’t regret them. I will not take that path again, but glorious things have emerged from that time and they brought me here, to a beautiful town full of creative people I am slowly getting to know. They have helped my new husband bring his store to life.
They have helped me to be willing to re-invent and improve my programs, so I can offer you things like the:
- 6-week Jumpstart Your Inner Fire Program to launch your creative dreams into the world,
- Love Your Livelihood Program for job-seekers, career-changers, and those ready for their next phase,
- New and improved SPARK Program (click here to join our free open SPARK Creative Community Call this Thursday, October 3rd and to join our list for all the program details).
In the end, I learn best by doing and I have learned a lot this year. That said, I am happy to share that with you, so your road can be a bit easier!
What have you discovered? What questions do you have? I invite you to share your thoughts as comments.