Be Fearless, Inspiration, Self Development

Tips to Help You Create Even When You are Afraid

May 22, 2015

overcome fear

When you are thinking about doing something and it feels scary, when it feels like this big lion is waiting at the finish line and he’s roaring and he’s ferocious and he’s going to tear you apart… you should just run toward that lion anyway. Run to the roar.
–Tina Essmaker

I talk to a lot of artists and creatives that struggle with putting their work out there in the world. They desperately want to know that other people will  receive their work, like their work and are changed by the work they do.

Not all creative people want to share their work. Some write poetry or paint just for themselves. They might create for personal expression or to work through some trauma in their lives.

But at the end of the day if an artist wants to be a professional or make a living at what they love to do they must learn to share it.

And it can be scary.

I understand that feeling well.

The Courage to Try Afraid

I’ve been a creative person my entire life. I used to write story after story in my journals as a child. I knew by the age of 9 that I wanted to be a writer. I would even pray and ask God to let me become a writer when I grew up. (He answered that prayer!)

As a child I would create stories and games with my siblings that went on for days. I mean they were EPIC! When we played dolls our stories revolved around spies, kid heroes, and global adventures to bring the bad guy to justice.

When I got older I discovered artistic gymnastics after a team did an exhibition at my school. It was love at first flip! It was so joyous to be able to be expressive through the art of gymnastics!  During that time I got the courage to take an acting elective at school which led to my first encounter with being part of an improv troupe and then performing in school plays in high school.

When college came around I thought that I had to make a responsible decision. I never thought that I could make a living acting so I went into the freshman engineering program at school. I made it all the way into the mechanical engineering program at Purdue University before I got the courage to switch my major to theater.

It was a scary decision to make.

I prayed for a year and a half about my decision. I asked God to use me for His purpose. My heart was aching during chem labs, my health was suffering and I was getting weird stress symptoms because  I wasn’t following my calling to be an artist. All the while I was going to my calculus based physics class during the day I was going to rehearsals for plays at night. I was living a double life and it was getting to the place where I had to choose.

I finally made the decision to double major in Kinesiology while getting my Theater degree. My days were exponentially more enjoyable. Even the hard work of two majors was bearable because every day I knew that I was working towards pursuing my dream of being a professional actress.

Since graduation I haven’t had the safety net of a university setting where I was required to put out creative work for a grade. I no longer had the comforts of academic theater where props, costumes, designers, and stages where available for use (for free) . I had to learn how to borrow, beg, raise money, scout locations, audition, and produce all on my own. I had to have the courage to let my passion and calling lead the way.

I’ve produced several plays, written hundreds of scripts, blogs, and youtube videos. I’ve performed all over the country for thousands of people, in films, commercials, and plays.

And every single time I had a moment of fear.

Fear in the writing, rehearsals, editing, producing, location scouting, leading teams and more. Every time I hit publish, step out on stage, or take my breath to speak after the director says “action” I have a moment of fear.

Fear that it will suck, or someone won’t like something I created. Fear is that it will be ignored or not be helpful to someone like I want it to be.

When that fear hits you it can make you recoil like a pie to the face. It can make you ask yourself paralyzing questions:

  • Am I supposed to share this?
  • Was I imagining things when I got this idea?
  • Am I really called to do this?

And my personal favorites:

  • Who do you think you are?
  • There are a million other people who are doing what you want to do.
  • Who wants to hear what you have to say?

Dealing with Emotions of Fear

So how do you deal with all of these emotions as an artist? How do you overcome fear and forge ahead?

I think we as artists need to embrace the fact that we are going to feel this emotion for the rest of our lives. If you want to stand out you’ve got to acknowledge the fear and learn to feel comfortable with pushing through it. Think of it as a door you have to walk through and on the other side is your creation.

If you think about it, the people that we are inspired by all had to walk through that door. No one has done anything great by letting fear stamp out there passion.

Mother Theresa, Ghandi, Abraham Lincoln, Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther all had to do it afraid or risk dying without having fulfilled their callings.

I’ve found it liberating to remember that my job and calling is an artist is to create, not to make sure that I’m loved and accepted (Christ already did that for me). My job isn’t to make sure that my work matters to the masses.

My job is to create.

Tell the stories I was given to tell.

Dance the dances I was given to dance.

Eat the pudding I was given to eat…wait what?

You know what I mean.

In essence, run your race not someone else’s. (and for goodness sake’s don’t eat anyone else’s pudding either.)

Courage, especially for the creative person, is found in daily decisions to pursue momentum. To keep moving. To do the thing only you can do, regardless of the fear you feel. You must make things.

You can only control what is in your control, and sometimes that means doing your work afraid. Which is a whole lot better than not doing it at all.

-Jeff Goins

I will never ever ever EVAH forget the day I had to do some crazy flippy thingee off the end of the beam. I was scared of this particular trick. (For those of you who don’t know the beam sits 4 feet off of the ground and is only 4 inches wide. It’s just asking for you to fall on it.)

Anyways my coach asked me if I was afraid.

I said “yes”.

She said that it was okay to be afraid. But she said it’s not okay to let fear stop you.

She told me “Do it afraid.”

Do it afraid.

Somehow it gave me permission to feel those feelings. To just accept them and then decide what I was going to do next.

So I said, “Okay flippy thingee off the end of the beam. I’m scared of you but I that doesn’t mean that I can’t execute you!”

Actually I didn’t say that. I got up there and flipped off the end of the beam and landed on my butt.

But you know what? I did it. I kept practicing until I was able to land on my feet and then perform that skill in front of others.

I think a major step in being an artist is to be okay with feeling afraid. Don’t fight it or feel like you have to talk yourself out of it. Realize it’s there and it’s always going to  try and stop you from executing.

Your fear is not you. It doesn’t define you. It doesn’t define the quality of your creative work. It cannot destroy your work if you don’t let it. -Dija Henry

Practical Tips to Overcome Fear When Creating

I know you don’t want to hear this but the best way to deal with fear is to just go and create.

Create, create, create.

Keep practicing the thing that you want to create. If you want to write screenplays. Write them. Write a lot of them. Write bad ones but keep writing. If you can do the daily discipline of writing you will stop being shocked when fear shows up. But you know who else will show up?

Experience.

The fact that you know that you’ve done this before and the world didn’t end. You did it before and you survived.

 

When you learning to battle fear it’s important that you learn how to start and finish a creation. It’s important for you to define what success is for you as an artist. If it’s about things you can’t control like how many subscribers you get, or how many people love your work, or trying to please everyone you will not succeed. You will always feel like you are failing.

And that gets in the way of creating. It gunks up the creative pipes. It sucks your energy. It wastes your time.

It just sucks. So let it go of what you can’t control. Do the self-work to find out what is most important to you (and only you) and define your vision of success from there.

So I have a question for you…

What if what we are calling fear isn’t fear but something else?

Types of Fear

 

There is the rational fear that tells you when something is dangerous or that danger is around the corner. The fear that tells you not jump out of a plane just to see what it’s like to hit terminal velocity.

There is irrational fear that lies to us to create so much anxiety that we believe things that are not true about ourselves or our work.

(There are other types of fear but I’m just going to deal with these two big buckets of fear for today.)

After you’ve ruled out the first two types of fear, what if that feeling inside indicates that you are actuallly on the right track? It’s not fear but the deep down knowledge that you are embarking on a a great journey that will result in you getting closer to your dreams and goals in life? The feeling that happens when you’ve taken steps that you’ve never taken before but you know that they could result in you living out your purpose with joy?

What if you can identify that emotion? What if the “fear” was coupled with the fact that you have experience and knowledge about your purpose and passions in life? What if you have done the work to know what direction you wan to go in life and what dreams you want to pursue and one day when you get an idea there is a spark. 

It feels like a tiny bit different this time when you think about creating something new. It almost feels energizing.

I experienced that spark today. It resulted in a feeling that at first glance felt like fear. But at second glance it felt like a spark of something great to come if I could get the courage up to make it happen.

I am working really hard behind the scenes to bring focus to The Inspire(d) Cafe. I’m scared every time I talk about narrowing my niche. But I know that trying to be everything to everyone is futile…and not even possible.

I’m nervous about announcing my new purpose for the blog but I know it will bring clarity to my visitors.

I’m afraid that I won’t be equipped enough to write about certain things but I also know that I want to be a writer who writes about hard things.

I think deep down inside those emotions are just indicators that I’m going in the right direction. The thing is I’ve never been that direction before so their will always be that feeling of uncertainty that could be mistaken for fear in the traditional sense.

How about you? Can you identify which of these feelings you are actually dealing with when you sit down to create?

Take a moment to acknowledge what you are feeling and tell yourself it’s okay to be afraid. But today I’m going to do it afraid anyway. I’m going to walk through that door and meet my creation on the other side.

Don’t expect fear to just go away one day as an artist. You will have to go to battle each time. But you will soon become an experienced veteran that knows how to handle the fight to get the work done.

Remember that courage is found in your daily decisions to create.

Want more inspiration?

Overcome Your Fear (video)

6 Famous Artists Talk about What it’s like to Overcome Fear and Create Beauty

Courage and the Creative Pursuit (podcast)

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Creativity, Inspiration, Self Development

How to Finally Stop Playing the Comparison Game

May 11, 2015

stop comparison

I love Instagram.

I love how I can quickly scroll through so many people’s lives and see what they’ve been up to. Sounds crazy right?

If someone were to tell me we could do that 1989 I would think what kind of future am I going to be growing up into where it’s legal to stalk someone? Is “Peeping Tom” going to become an actual job some day? Is the internet somehow going to let us be Carey Grant in Rear Window for realsies?

“Well, my dear…”

I would say to my younger self.

“Yes. Yes you will have the opportunity to spy on the lives of many people around the world.

Except in the future they will be giving you permission to do so.”

The windows of the world take many shapes and sizes now. You can peek through the windows of Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Vine, YouTube, blogs, and many more platforms and look into the lives of other people.

It’s a blessing and a curse.

We can experience the joy of feeling like we are part of the lives of our beloved family and friends miles away across the country as well the twinges of envy that come from seeing someone on yet another amazing vacation on a beach somewhere…

in their amazing bathing suit…

with their amazing body…

with their amazing well behaved children that they birthed out of that amazing body.

Ahem.

Enter the Comparison Game.

I have to admit that I’ve been guilty of playing the comparison game. Comparing my life to others even though I KNOW that what I see is  just a snapshot of their lives. I mean I know for a FACT no kid is actually that well behaved all of the time and that just because someone has an amazing set of abs doesn’t mean they don’t have bad hair days too.

I KNEW all of these things in my head but it didn’t stop my heart from sinking with feelings of “failureness” (is that a word?) when I saw yet another person getting closer to their dreams, launching their new products or being fearless in pursuing their passion.

It seems ridiculous to even struggle with these feelings at times but it’s quite common (and quite human) to struggle with feelings of comparison. But I believe that over time I’ve come up with ways to stop playing the game of comparison…or at least take a time out from it.

But before you can take a time out from the game you need to recognize that you jumped into this game in the first place.

Because some times the comparison game can sneak up on you like a hungry lioness stalking a baby gazelle.

Recognize When You Are Playing the Game.

One major way that we observe others we don’t know personally is through external measurements like money, clothes, cars, houses, physical appearances, accolades, etc.

There is no way to tell the condition of a person’s heart just by the clothes that they wear or the car that they drive.

But even if you could see who they are on the inside you still don’t have grounds for comparison!

Why?

Because you are unique. You are one of a kind, baby.

I love this quote:

Be yourself because everyone else is taken. -Oscar Wilde

It’s so true! One of the main reasons that we compare ourselves is because we are trying to be something or someone we really aren’t.

For example, in an attempt to grow my online brand I started to really examine what the successful people were doing online. Although it was a  good idea initially to look at characteristics of successful brands, I started to find that I was beginning to feel as though I needed to do exactly what they were doing to be successful. I thought their path to success would be my path to success as well.

The truth was is that they were actually successful because they discovered what they passionate about and gifted in and ran with it. Their passion, talents and gifts converged together allowing them to run fast and achieve more than I ever could trying to be like them. I kept finding that I couldn’t keep up with the bigger DIY vloggers or Natural Hair gurus because that wasn’t really the full scope of my calling.

The funny thing is that when you hit your stride with living and breathing in your own gifts, talents and passions you can then  run  free creating, producing, and building your own dreams. In fact, when this happens you might cause someone else to feel  like they can’t keep up with you!

The other thing that I noticed is that the pressure to deliver has gone down significantly. I don’t feel like I have to hurry up and put things out to keep up with other people. I’m actually happy that I wasn’t successful at those things I was striving after because it kept forcing me to focus more and more on discovering what my special gifts, talents and passions were.

[Tweet When you stop comparing what you are doing with what someone else is doing you find that your creative work becomes better. It’s more authentic and therefore more enjoyable to create. – Dija Henry @inspiredindy]

Hi Self!  It’s Nice to Meet You.

When I was striving towards things that I thought I “should” to become successful, I kept finding that I wasn’t feeling aligned, peaceful or content with what I was doing previously. On top it, I kept finding that I couldn’t even articulate what my own calling in life was when people asked me what I did.

So I started taking a ton of personality tests to find out more about my unique tendencies strengths, and weaknesses. I started to talk to people who knew me well and had my best interests at heart in order to get help in discovering the  potential that I couldn’t see in myself.  I also had to take some time off from social media because the more I was looking outward at others the less I could hear my own authentic voice and focus on my own passions.

I needed to get everything quiet around me and really observe what made me happy every day. I had to do a lot of prayer and soul searching to discover what my calling was.

I had to ask myself questions like:

  • What is most important to me?
  • What made me feel most alive when I was doing it?
  • When did I feel most energized?
  • What kind of life did I envision for myself in the future?
  • What were my God given talents, passions, and gifts?
  • What legacy did I want to leave behind?

These are just a few of the questions that  I had to work through in order to discover my passion in life. Believe me, this was a long intentional journey over several years.

I intentionally had to get clear on my purpose in life.

I intentionally had to be able to articulate my passion in life.

I had to intentionally discover my calling in life.

The more I did these things the more I began to feel confident that I was moving in the right direction for my life.

There is something really freeing about that.

Cultivate Your Circle.

I started to cultivate friendships that encouraged me to be my unique self and started phasing out relationships that made me feel…well…less than myself. I found that by pouring energy into valuable, edifying relationships I started to see more value in my innate gifts. Having supportive friends and family that love you, encourage you and keep it real with you is so necessary to building self-esteem and discovering your calling.

This made me start thinking about what it means to accept yourself for realsies.

Think about it like this:

Wouldn’t you be stunned if your best friend tried to change herself to get the approval of someone else? Wouldn’t it hurt you to know they didn’t love themselves enough to be the awesome person that you believe they are? Wouldn’t you do everything in your power to help them know how special and loved they are?

Give yourself that same gift of acceptance, my friend.

Dr. Margaret Paul co creator of the Inner Bond Self Healing Process, has worked with people that the world would say had it all in terms of looks, education, finances and opportunities who still, in spite of everything they had, felt worthless.

Dr. Paul concluded that:

“The reason they continued to believe they were not good enough is because they were judging themselves based on their external, transient qualities of looks and performance, rather than valuing their authentic and enduring intrinsic qualities.”

In other words, those who judge themselves on temporary qualities like looks, money, performance, etc. still did not have any self-worth. Someone is always going to have more money, better clothes, or more beauty. Someone else will always run faster, have more power, or a nicer (or more) cars.

But NOBODY can be more you than you! NOBODY can be a better version of you than you.

So remind yourself how awesome you are the next time you feel that comparison game calling you in the ring. Celebrate the other person who is being themselves and remember that your time will come to show the world who you are. Until then just keep growing as  a person so you can be ready to step into your opportunities when they come!

Compare You to You.

I realized that if my goal was to be more of myself everyday then all I could do was compare myself with my past self. And the only practical measurement I could make was to try and be better today than I was yesterday. Instead of looking at transient qualities I tried to grow in qualities that are more inherent to who I was created to be.

  • Am I growing in my gifts?
  • Am I more patient, kinder, more loving?
  • Am I getting closer to understanding my calling in life?
  • Am I happier today than yesterday?
  • Do I feel more at peace with myself?
  • Am I growing in my faith?

These types of questions are more connected to the inherent characteristics that make up the person of you. They are connected to your self-worth more than those temporary measurements that don’t really contribute to true self-worth. Thinking about these topics instead, made me feel motivated to be better for myself and for my family.

Not in My Strength.

I have to add this small caveat.

Not every day is going to feel like you are moving forward and that’s okay. I’m also getting in the habit of recognizing that I need to give myself grace when I have a bad day or I felt like I didn’t make any headway on a personal goal.

If things don’t go right today, so what? Tomorrow will be better.

For me, my faith is something must lean heavily on as I try and grow as a person. When it comes down to it I want to see growth in the areas that God wants me to grow in. If that is your goal too remember that we can’t grow in godly ways without the help of His spirit. Be careful about trying to do everything in your own strength because you will most certainly get worn down and frustrated.

I know from experience.

The day that I surrendered trying to control the outcome of my life is the day that I found the most freedom to just live me life.

Learn to Reframe Your Thoughts.

You have more power than you think over your thoughts. You’ve probably heard of the glass is half full or the glass is half empty analogy. The glass and the water do not have any inherent meaning. The fact that only 50% of the glass is full of either water or air has no inherent meaning either. We ascribe meaning to the situation concerning the glass from our past experiences, current situations, and even our mood at the moment.

The same thing is true in life. Events and situations do not inherently have meaning. We ascribe meaning through our thoughts and emotions.

For example, just because you stubbed your toe getting into the car doesn’t mean you are a clumsy, worthless person who can’t walk a straight line sober. It just means that in that moment you stubbed your toe because maybe you were in a rush or pre-occupied.

So how can reframing our thoughts help us stop playing the comparison game?

Know that it’s normal and even part of who we are as humans to compare ourselves to others.

Dr. Leon Festinger proposed the Social Comparison Theory in 1954 stating that  humans have a basic drive to evaluate their opinions and abilities and that people evaluate themselves through objective, nonsocial means.

I do think that humans have a natural drive to compare themselves or else we wouldn’t have such an issue with it. But I don’t think that we are able to be objective about comparisons in order to evaluate ourselves. That’s just not real life. But in order to stop playing the comparison game I do believe that we have to find a way to be more objective about the thoughts that run through our minds when the comparison game comes a calling.

I’ve learned to take hold of the thoughts that naturally come up and run them through a process:

  1. If I have a negative comparison thought I make my self STOP as soon as I notice what I’m doing.
  2. Then I acknowledge that thought.
  3. Then I try to take a huge step back from what’s happening.
  4. Next, I remember my personal strengths, my personal goals and life vision. I remember that I’m on my own path to fulfill my own calling and no one else’s.
  5. I mentally celebrate the other person’s accomplishments in a genuine way.
  6. Lastly, I tell myself that I’m going to get there one day. One day I will make my mark and reach my goals because every day I’m taking steps towards fulfilling MY calling in life.

And before you say this is easier said than done. Let me say it for you.

This is easier said than done.

It has taken me a lot of practice to catch myself. I do it because I don’t like the icky feelings that the comparison game leaves me with when I play it to long

However, it’s really very freeing to remind myself that the only person that I should be comparing myself to is myself. And even then I have to give myself grace because I’m going to have good days and bad days but definitely no perfect days.

Celebrate Others.

Now when I see someone doing something amazing on social media or in real life the first thing I do is mentally celebrate them for what they’ve accomplished. Especially people who are doing what they are truly passionate about and finding success.

My secret trick: I celebrate others  by momentarily placing myself in their shoes and allowing myself to feel those good feelings I believe is being conveyed in their picture, video, etc. That way I can immediately create a positive reaction in my heart. As if they were a friend and I was truly happy for their accomplishments.

I believe that if they can find joy doing what they love that means that I can too. It’s possible!

By taking a step back and remembering that each of us has our own journey in this life it can give you a better perspective of their success. Remember that we each have our own unique purpose in life. Don’t feel jealous because someone is fulfilling their calling. Remember what your calling is so that you will feel free to celebrate them knowing that your time will come too!

Get a Clue from Comparison.

Many times the feeling of comparison can give you wonderful clues for your own life if you are willing to look for the signs.

If you can take a breather and observe your feelings in the middle of the comparison game, you can access a gold mine of insight into getting clarity in parts of your life that feel unfulfilled. You might be able to use these illuminations to awaken a part of you that has been dormant and motivate yourself to work harder towards your goals.

I love what Maya from Shamelessmaya said one day on social media. She said when you are comparing yourself with someone take note if you are envious of what you see or the feeling they are exuding? Do you see someone who is pursuing their passion and fulfilling their calling? Could that possibly be why you feel those negative feelings?

Maybe your reactions are a clue that you actually desire to feel what they are feeling rather than desiring what they have.

Remember Your Value.

Your value is inherent as a human being. It was created the moment you were conceived. You are valuable  not because you are on the cover of People Magazine. The President of the United States is just as valuable as a little baby born in  a remote village far away.

Your value is not:

  • how many twitter followers you have
  • how many Youtube subscribers you’ve gotten
  • how much money you have
  • how small your waistline is
  • how happy you are
  • If you are married
  • if you have kids
  • If you are the highest scorer
  • How many awards you have
  • how pretty or handsome you are
  • What your job position is

Get the jist?

You are highly valued because you are here on this planet. You make a difference whether you know it or not.

Since you made it to the end of this post I will leave you with this:

You are fearfully and wonderfully made, my friend. You were created for amazing things. For a little more inspiration when you are feeling low check out how you can be creative when you don’t think you are and 10 ways to get inspiration when you need it.

God Bless

stop comparison

 

Creativity, Goal Setting

Creative Goal Setting – Weekly Wishes

May 2, 2015

creative goal setting

One of my favorite bloggers Melyssa from The Nectar Collective, has this amazing ability to build a goal setting community and inspire creativity and courage. For almost a year I have been on and off again participating in her creative goal setting link up called Weekly Wishes.

I kept coming back to this link up because I found a group of like minded women who were positive, encouraging, creative and kept me accountable just because they were linking up too.

Sadly this is her last week after almost 2 years of doing these weekly wishes link ups so I had to make sure that I participated one last time.

But before I share my creative goals I need to share my creative journey.

I have been doing a lot of soul searching these past few months and especially these past few weeks concerning my creative business life and calling.

(And it’s been messy and dark and full of tears.)

I’ve been really trying to hone in and get really focused on what I want to spend my life doing.

(Maybe this became more urgent as I recently celebrated another birthday?)

I’ve asked myself what my true passions are, what my gifts are and what kind of life do I want to live in front of my children. A big catalyst was going through coaching with another amazing blogger named Courtney from Think and Grow Chic and listening to a webinar she hosted a long with Natasha Cole from the Go and Glow Project.

Between these two ladies,  a lot of prayer, journaling, talking to trusted friends and encouragement from my husband and family I discovered two major things:

  1. Wanting to see a dream happen and making practical goals for a dream to happen are two different things.
  2. I really wasn’t working as smart as I could on creative goal setting.

I’m discovering that in order to do big things in life one has to be really focused. Trying to start a lot of projects or put things out to quickly (or too slowly) does not really help you move forward with your creative goals. I was getting tired of that overwhelming feeling of trying to keep up with the rest of the world by producing content like crazy or seeking to get more followers on social media.

I found myself full of anxiety and feeling like I was losing a grip on my voice and my passion.

I am a person who needs to feel aligned from the inside out with my goals and I was starting to lose that feeling of knowing who I was. I felt like I had entered the Bermuda Triangle and my creative compass couldn’t find north anymore.

Comparison started to sneak in slowly as I saw others make progress in their areas of passion while I felt like I couldn’t get anywhere. I watched people grow in their blogs, their YouTube channels, their personal brands, etc while I could barely keep my chin above the content producing waters.

I have to admit I had moments where I thought maybe I should be creating content around beauty or natural hair or motherhood in order to be “successful”. But deep down inside I knew a few things:

  1. I wasn’t super good at beauty stuff
  2. I didn’t  want to be a natural hair guru
  3. I never considered myself a mommy blogger (in the conventional sense)

But I wanted to fit in a neat and tidy box more than anything because I thought it would just make life easier. I had to accept the fact that I just don’t fit into a box (like many creatives) and life was not getting easier by trying to fit into said box.

I’ve been afraid to admit that my creatives goals were worthwhile. All these years my passion just kept walking quietly next to me all like a good friend.

Just waiting in the shadows until I could let the light shine on it again.

It wasn’t  until I admitted a few things to myself that I was able to move into the light:

  1. It’s not weakness to ask for help. In fact, it shows strength.
  2. My natural gift and passion is to encourage other creatives be creative.
  3. I am a nerd (my A.P. Physics teacher always told us we should be proud of being a nerd.)
  4. There are certain things I have to let go of in order to receive blessings.
  5. I love studying creativity.
  6. I want to tell stories in all kinds of ways (acting, writing, film, books, theater, comedy, etc) AND THAT’S OKAY!

Somehow blogging has played a really huge role in helping me along my creative and personal journey. It’s really amazing to me that the choice to start sharing my life online in 2009  would be the beginning of a life long journey of self-discovery through writing.

My Confession

Recently  I’ve been spending months trying to figure out how to make my blog popular and forgetting about growing as an artist.

Being someone who’s mantra has always been “do good work” it was disheartening to find that I was letting my fear of being vulnerable and unpopular cause me to “not do good work”. I suppose this is a common theme for many creative people. I thought that just because I was putting content out there that I was still being creative.

Not so.

Putting content out consistency was something that I had become good at. I failed to understand this concept:

creative goal setting

  • If I hurry to put out content it’s going to be “cheap” meaning the quality isn’t going to be as good as it could be.
  • If I try to make it super “good” (a.k.a. perfect) it would take forever to get done
  • I couldn’t even entertain the good and fast area because I’m not making a whole lotta money blogging…yet.

To be honest, I was finding myself in the fast and cheap (sounds horrible, doesn’t it?) area trying to “be consistent”.

I didn’t realize that it’s possible to be consistent with good quality…and most importantly that there CAN be an audience that wants to hear what I’ve got to say.

I want to find away to be me and give value to others. To incorporate my love for story telling and creativity in a way that spills over into inspiration for creatives who want to make a living doing their passions as well.

I’m not an expert. I’m right here with you. Trying to be the best me I can be whilest encouraging you to be the best you that you can be.

(Did you like how I threw in “whilst” in there? I know I did.)

creative goal setting

So that brings me to my goals:

Creative goals

  • Write with more heart and openness and less fear.

Business and Blogging Goals

  • Define a target audience for rebranding from being a blogger to a business woman.

Self Development Goals

  • Take a class.

Spiritual

  • Find a bible study.

Family and Relationship

  • Reward kids for good reports.

Health

  • Get moving for 30 minutes a day

I’m going to miss these link ups for sure but I’m excited to see what amazing things will happen in the future at The Nectar Collective!

What are some of your creative goal setting tips?

 

 

life

36 Things I Would Tell My 20 Year Old Self

April 28, 2015

20 Year old self

Last year I wrote a post called 35 Things I would Tell my 20 Year Old Self which basically was a letter to my younger self. It seems to be one of my most popular posts to this day.

I remember combing through books and the internet in my 20’s for any advice to help me get through those tumultuous years. In some ways I feel like getting through one’s 20’s can be more challenging than your teen years.

Research has begun to show that our brains actually continue to develop into our late 20’s while we are dealing with a ton of life changes.

And they come at a fast past.

Most people in their 20’s graduate college, start graduate school, get married, start having kids, move away from home, move in with someone, start a new job and much more.

I did everything but go to graduate school.

And yes I had major panic attacks for years.

I wanted to revisit this topic this year. I turned another year old last month and it was quite emotional. Last year around this time my life and my family’s life was spared during a very scary experience. I realize how every day is a gift of grace. I know that I was given a second chance at life and that my life has purpose. I’m still looking for the “exact purpose” but I know that it has some purpose or else I wouldn’t have made it another year.

So here are 36 things I would tell my 20 year old self:

  1. Don’t worry about the details because always work out of the best
  2. Ask for help
  3. Reading personal development books are fun but not the answer
  4. Faith is a choice
  5. Happiness is a choice
  6. Remember that you have people around you who love you
  7. Go where you are celebrated not where you are tolerated
  8. Get in the habit of speaking your mind
  9. It’s okay to share who you are with people
  10. Life is about the type of person you become not what you do
  11. Having a lot of interests, talents and gifts is NOT a curse
  12. God will never forget you or your dreams
  13. You are stronger than you think
  14. You are a good mother
  15. Enjoy every day with your children because they grow up really really fast
  16. Comfort zones are sneaky things. They can close in when you least expect them too
  17. Taking your time to make decisions is a good thing
  18. Your biggest opportunities won’t come because of things you’ve done
  19. Be careful of standing in your own way
  20. You will have opportunities to do what you love
  21. Buy better quality shoes
  22. Take the time to find your classic style
  23. Every tragedy that you will encounter will turn into a blessing
  24. Things will get better
  25. God really does provide for His children so just lean on Him
  26. Just because someone says something about you doesn’t mean it’s true
  27. You don’t have to be on every social media site.
  28. Stop eating gluten NOW!
  29. When your daughter and you wear the same size shoe buy lot’s of cute shoes that you can wear later
  30. Your work as a blogger and youtuber will pay off one day
  31. Learn as much as you can about money
  32. There are no grades to be given in the game of life
  33. Your mindset is a powerful thing so keep it positive
  34. Spirituality is more than what we are taught in church. You have to seek it out for yourself
  35. Your unique characteristics that made you feel like a loner once will help you thrive as an adult
  36. There is nothing wrong with telling people what you want and making your needs a priority

 

 

 

Creativity

How to Be Creative (When You Don’t Think You Are)

April 15, 2015

how to be creative

Creativity. It’s everywhere you go these days. From movies to shopping malls,  social media posts to blogs even the teenager down the street can be a filmmaker if he gets his or her hands on a camera. It seems like creativity is becoming more and more interwoven into our society. You might be wondering how you can tap into your own passions and find out how to be creative again.

Business & Employment in the Arts states that Nationally, 702,771 businesses are involved in the creation or distribution of the arts, and they employ 2.9 million people.

Because of the surge in technology we are seeing the addition of new and creative degrees in universities that allow for students to graduate in fields that were not available 10 years ago.

But where does that leave those who feel like they aren’t as creative as others? Those that look at the “artsy fartsy” people with curiosity not feeling like they can or should try anything creative. Maybe you are one of those people. Maybe deep down inside you would like to awaken your creative side. You are wondering how to be creative but aren’t sure how exactly to do that. Here are a few ideas you can think about that might help you with how to be more creative.

Know That You Were Created to Create

God said that we (humans) were created in His image. That means that we were created with His characteristics. God created this world and everything in it with a thought and then words. He gave us the characteristic of creating as well.  With a thought things can happen. Don’t believe things can be created with a thought?  We create things with a thought first. Something that has no physical existence.

It’s a thought that got us on the moon.

It was a thought that cured polio.

It was a thought that harnessed electricity.

It was a thought that got me writing this post you are reading right now.

So if you are doubting your ability to create. Just stop, drop and roll it out of your head. You have it in you because you were made to do it.

Reframe What You Think Creativity Is

Many times when we think of being creative we limit it to the pure arts like dancing, singing, painting and other fine and performing arts. But creativity is so much more! It’s not something that is specific to one area of life. It’s can exist in all areas of life in all kinds of ways!

  • It’s they way that you approach solving problems
  • It’s the perspective that you have on life
  • It’s  the way that you react to roadblocks

Creativity is by definition “the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; originality, progressiveness, or imagination”

Creativity is the ability to go beyond whatever has been and use imagination to create what can be.

Find Your Passion

“Art isn’t only a painting. Art is anything that’s creative, passionate, and personal. And great art resonates with the viewer, not only with the creator.” – Seth Godin

Art is made possibly through creativity. Creativity flows out of passion. So go on a quest to find out what you are passionate about! Find the thing that energizes you and gets your wheels turning and your imagination humming. It could be anything from music, to numbers, to technology.

If you need some help finding your passion here are a few questions you can ask yourself:

  • What kinds of things did I love to do when I was a child?
  • What problems in society do I want to see a solution to?
  • What kinds of things make me feel energized?
  • What topics could I talk about forever?
  • Is there something that I naturally do without even thinking about it?
  • What skills and talents come naturally to me?
  • What is something that I want to learn more about?

Don’t Be Afraid To Try

Creativity is a skill that gets stronger over time. Just like you need to work your muscles out to get stronger you need to work at being creative every day. Start with easy creative “weight” before doing the heavy lifting.

  • Write a few sentences of a poem in a journal
  • Think of some ideas to solve a problem in your life
  • Take a basic class in something new
  • Brainstorm out of the box ideas for a work project
  • Go outside, lay down and stare at the clouds identifying what shapes you see

Get yourself used to working in new areas of your mind every chance you get. Creativity is a beautiful thing because it’s process is so unique to each individual. What works for one person may not work for another. It takes time for each person to develop their own creative methods. But after a while you will get the hang of it!

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Goal Setting

Weekly Wishes Goal Setting Link Up

April 8, 2015

weekly wishes april 8

This past weekend I had the joy of celebrating my birthday, my mom’s birthday and Easter with my parents over spring break. It was such a joy to be around the ‘rents and extended family to celebrate one of my favorite times of the year. This Lenten season has been a wonderful and difficult time as I reflected on the work that Christ did so long ago for me. I reflected on His sacrifice and His love for humanity.

I took a lot of time to think about my passions and how I can use them to serve. Every so often I feel like my blog (and life) needs to be refocused and this has been a time of just that. I believe that there is a great opportunity with blogging for creative people to make a living doing what they love. I’ve been inspired by so many women who I see getting out of their comfort zones and making it happen!

It’s been a while since I’ve linked up to weekly wishes but I’m ready to get back in the swing of things! I love the weekly wishes goal setting link up because it’s a great way to get accountability for your weekly goals and to be part of a great community over at The Nectar Collective!

Some goals I have for this week:

Mind:

  • Find another book to read
  • Write a review of the book Make it Happen

Body:

  • Schedule a massage
  • Eat gluten free

Spirit:

  • Read scripture first
  • Speak my mind

Business:

  • Set up a freebie download
  • Create an editorial calendar

 

Filmmaking

Walkers Shortbread Cookies – Celebrate Your Lucky Moments

March 24, 2015

Last week I had the opportunity to work with Walkers Shortbread cookies and the 411 Mommas to create a video highlighting their delicious cookies. I discovered their cookies at a local bookstore and they are really good! What made me even happier was that my kids, who are allergic to eggs and nuts, were able to eat them without a problem.

Walkers shortbread cookies theinspiredcafe.com
I really wanted to take the opportunity to create something unique to  highlight their product. So I forced myself to think of something awesome and mind blowing. Of course, nothing came to me. That’s usually how it works when you are trying to be creative, doesn’t it?

lemon head
So I let it go and went to bed. I knew that my brain was working on it all night because I woke up to an idea!

I jotted down my script on my phone in the wee hours of the morning and called my production team to see if we could make this happen. It took a few weeks to get everything scheduled but finally the day arrived!

walkers shortbread cookies theinspiredcafe.com

Everyone at my job agreed to help out as well as some of the other entrepreneurs at my co-working space. I couldn’t believe how generous everyone was with their time. We set up lights and cameras and really got the place buzzing.

By the afternoon I was so exhausted but we had more to film with my kids. It was a challenge to keep them focused long enough to film but they did great. I’m learning more and more that my happy place is when I can do what I love with those I love around me. That’s really my passion.

walkers shortbread cookies theinspiredcafe.com

Here’s how the video turned out. I hope that you like it. Remember that even when you feel like awesome stuff is happening for everyone else that you still have blessings to count in your own life!

A special thanks to The 411 Mommas and Walkers Shortbread Cookies for this opportunity.

Entrepreneurship

Grow Your Business – Share Your Vision

March 12, 2015

grow your business - theinspiredcafe.com

For those of you that don’t know, I currently work in a co-working space for entrepreneurs. I absolutely love it! The energy there is amazing and the people are even more so. I love going to work with people who are striving every day to be there best…better than their best and dreaming fantastical dreams of success through their business ventures. Some are seasoned entrepreneurs and some are just starting out but everyone I’ve met has a really positive attitude about their work which is so refreshing after coming from the corporate world.

Entrepreneurship comes with such a unique set of challenges that it’s nice to know that the person next to you is struggling through the same things you are in one way or the other.

The other day I had the chance to sit down and chat with the founder of our co-working space, John Wechsler. He has been a family friend for almost 15 years. In fact, he gave my husband his very first job when we were engaged!

Oh how time flies.

Since those days John has started other businesses, lived in California to work on Formspring and run with the big dogs in the tech start up world (a.k.a twitter/google). What I love about John is that he is super duper positive, humble, and one of the most generous people that I’ve ever met.

I got to sit down and talk with him a little bit about my hopes and dreams to eventually act and make movies. He challenged my thinking in so many ways during that conversation. It’s been a week and I’m still mulling over the conversation. He also gave me some pointers about how to better engage with others when sharing with them my visions and goals. I wanted to share 3 practical tips that I learned with you in hopes that it might help you accomplish your dreams and grow your business.

1. Know your ask:

  • You need to be really clear on what you need when you sit down to talk with someone. Ask yourself what is the one thing (other than money) that if you had you would feel like you could make your dream happen.

2. Share your vision:

  • Have a quick and easy way to share your vision with the other person you are talking to. John suggested that I create a 30 second video that talks about what my vision is about so that others can quickly get the jist of what I’m trying to accomplish.

3. Tell everyone:

  • Be able to tell everyone about your vision and what you want to accomplish. The more people you passionately share your vision with, the more that passion will infect others. Others will start talking to others and soon it will create a whir wind that will attract opportunities to yourself.

I think the main theme is being able to effectively and passionately communicate with others what you want, what you want to accomplish and how they can help you do that.

It’s easier for others to see how they can help you if they can clearly see your vision and where they could fit in it.

I hope these quick tips were helpful to you. If you have any more tips please share them in the comments!

God Bless.

Spread the Inspiration and join The Get Inspire(d) Link Up by linking up something that you think will inspire others or something you found inspiring this week!

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Inspiration

Make it Happen

March 3, 2015

“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” – Milton Berle

The Doors of Le Marais in Paris

I think this is the story of my life honestly.

Creating doors where there are none.

This thought process is exactly what got me blogging, youtubing, creating my own work in general.

I figured if there wasn’t any opportunity around then I would have to make it happen.  For me it’s acting. The market that I’m in is not as saturated as L.A. , Chicago or N.Y. Even though there isn’t a lot going on here in I think there is a growing independent film community of actors, writers, producers that are trying to make it happen for themselves. So that is really encouraging.

I used to actually get annoyed by this quality in myself. I know, I know…most people don’t annoy themselves. But believe me I thought it was a curse for a long time. This need to constantly create or express myself. I even think that if I lived in a place full of opportunities I would be COMPELLED to make my own way…because it would be MY OWN WAY. And all the while I would be doubting myself. It’s a strange paradox really to be compelled to build doors and at the same time question yourself.

But over time I’ve slowly begun to accept and even like the fact that I have this quality. I’ve learned to accept that it’s not a curse. It’s the way that God made me. I put a lot of pressure on myself to “make it happen” but I am trying to balance the idea that God is the one that started this work in me and that He has to be the one to finish it.

Many times when you are among the first to build a door it’s hard, scary, and full of challenges. But for those that come behind you it gets easier and easier. And in the end you get to be a huge part of building that really nice house (business, philosophy, non-for-profit) that inspires people and communities for a long time.

Maybe you are trying to write a book, or create a website or start a business? Maybe you feel alone and unsure of what the next steps are. But it’s important to see the doors and steps that are right in front of you. I wish to God in heaven that I could see the whole picture before I started something. I wanted the reassurance that things would be successful before I started. But that’s just not how things work.

It doesn’t give opportunity to grow your faith and trust God.

Not knowing the end but starting when He nudges you to start is the beginning of a faith walk. So while you are building whatever it is that you are trying to make happen you are simultaneously building your faith. While your faith is being challenged and built I believe that He is shaping the character that you will need in order to continue to walk through more and more amazing doors in your life.

What are you building now that seems really hard? What have you found inspiring to help you make it happen? Why don’t you share that by linking up!
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Crafts

Easy Asparagus Recipe

February 27, 2015

I don’t know about your kids but my kids have to be tricked into eating their vegges.

I take that back.

I wouldn’t say “tricked” I would say “manipulated”.

Wait. What?

See my kids have a TON of allergies and the foods they can eat is very limited. Many times it breaks my heart to have to say no to treats at birthday parties or events because the items have eggs and nuts or other things that could send my kids to the hospital. On top of it we can’t make dishes with too many extra ingredients unless they are whole foods that I know won’t spark an allergic reaction.

I’ve actually cried over this. I know it sounds silly. But we want our kids to be able to experience the joys that other kids get to and it’s hard when they can’t.

When I give people the list of things that my kids are allergic to they look at me wide eyed and ask me the following: “Well what do you feed them then?”

Well I feed them food. Like fruits and vegetables, lean meats (no shellfish for one and no fish for the other, the third one loves shrimp.) and certain grains. I used to have panic attacks at every meal time. It was rough for your girl for a while there. But after a while I started to get things worked out.

(Side note: For some reason the kids can have McDonald’s without a problem. hmmmm.)

As a result I try to make simple things a little bit more exciting for my little munchkinos. While going through the aisles at Costco (they always have something new and exciting to try.) I saw some pretty green things in their huge refridgerator while I was getting a box of spinach.

I looked closer. Asparagus.

I wonder if the kids would eat this?

I bought the little green trees and brought them home.

The next day I opened the crisper and thought to myself how in the world could I make these tasty. I looked up some recipes and found a recipe with prosciutto and asparagus. I didn’t have anything that fancy on hand. I looked in another draw in the fridge and found…

Turkey bacon!

YEAH! Turkey bacon makes everything better.

So that is how this easy asparagus recipe was born. I wouldn’t call it a recipe though. Maybe just an excuse to put something green and bacon-ey in front of kids to manipulate them into eating something green.

Anyway. I hope you like this super easy, allergy free, totally manipulative way to feed your kids more green stuff.

Have a great day!

Inspired Questions: What are someways you manipulate your kids into eating more green stuff?

God Bless