Hello? Is it me your looking for? Sorry, I’m having a Lionel Richie moment. Cheesy I know, but good cheese. So, I’m a little late in posting today but can I just say that I had such a great morning!? I did. Totally. I’ve had a lot to do lately since I’m preparing for something pretty big in my life that I’ll tell you more about on Monday because then I can actually say something but in my preparations I’ve been busy, busy, busy! I’m not trying to lead anyone on by telling you I have good news to post about but frankly, telling you this and putting it out there that I must tell you is keeping me on track with “it” so it’s in no way meant to tease people. I’m not one who likes tease and I quite hate being teased (asked my husband) myself. But on my Monday I’ll tell you about this news. Believe me, you most likely won’t care so much but I totally do and can’t wait to tell you. But that’s not what this post is about. It’s about finding balance which I’ll get to now.
So where have I been all day? Well nothing life changing or anything but gosh this morning I had a lovely breakfast date and it felt so good to go out to breakfast during the week — something I try to do every so often and if you haven’t had a stack of french toast at a greasy spoon lately then I highly suggest going for it because all work and no play makes Jane a very dull girl. Lingering at breakfast for a few hours felt like having a massage on an exotic island complete with boozy fruity drinks being served by a cabana boy named Marcelo, who has a swimmer’s body and eyes the color of the sea. And an accent. Must have an accent. Okay, breakfast wasn’t really that good but it still felt like luxury. I’ve been driving myself quite hard during the week and not really enjoying what it means to be a freelancer — can you relate to this? Yes, you say? I almost feel like I could write a commercial for antidepressants, sleep aids or memory loss.
“Hello. Do you suffer from total frustration? Do you sleep between the hours of 4am-7am only to press repeat and work another 18 hour day? Do you leave the house in two different pairs of shoes? Do you forget to shower some mornings, putting it off until after lunch? Do you think about work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Then you need Freelance-free, a new drug that helps you get a life!”
We laugh but it’s kind of sad. I say I keep normal business hours, and I do, but then I have to factor in the additional 6 hours each night on top of that and though I unplug on the weekends, I often wonder what I left corporate for, you know? Like what was really the point of saying goodbye to the fat paycheck and benefits if I maintain the same stress level and frustration on my own?
April 1st I decided to change things in my own life, one of which was to unplug on the weekends. I mention how I am able to do in an interview over at Ink on my Fingers. During the week, I’ve been trying to show more flexibility in my schedule and to not burn myself out by over-committing. I think we women (and ok, sometimes men though I think the boys do better in this department than the girls), but I think we ladies tend to commit to more than we can sometimes follow through on. I see this often in the circle in which I run and I’m sure in your own circles you have observed this yourself. Running, running, running yet being totally unaware. That’s not such a great way to run a business! My goal, starting April 1st, was to be more “aware” – more in the moment, and I found that by giving myself mini breaks during the week and by unplugging during the weekends, I’ve reclaimed my sanity and my inspiration is overflowing once again. I had thought that balance wasn’t important, it was more vital to just get things done already… and over the past few years I’ve been learning a lot more about balance and schedule and my own personal goals and I guess just coming full circle with all of this which has helped me personally to start blossoming and to feel more in tune with myself, in control, and on my game. Now this is why I left corporate, this is the freedom and direction I was hoping for.
I remember waking up on my birthday this past March thinking, “It’s time”.
I didn’t know what my head and my heart were trying to tell me, but intuitively I felt like something shifted inside of me in a big way which lead to my April 1st change. Life isn’t some race to the finish line nor about who is faster or better or who has more money or talent, like my grandmother always said, “There is always someone smarter, prettier and richer than you are so be your best because it’s impossible to be the world’s best” and you know, I didn’t beleive that when I was young but I really get it now. Life is about balancing all the things you need to be and do and manage so that each of those things gets the right amount of attention that they deserve. Working only to neglect those you love is not balance. Working to neglect yourself is a really bad decision. Working towards goals others are setting for you is kind of stupid. Working on projects you don’t truly like, just because you sort of ‘fell into it’ is also kind of a waste. In the end, it’s all about balance for me and continuing to live an authentic life that feels right for me personally. Not right for you or your friends or some group of people. And being balanced and finding the right fit is absolutely the most important thing and it doesn’t always come in your twenties, for me it comes now in my thirties, but I’m happy to be more balanced and aware of this now. Sure, my closet still needs organized and as I type my sink has some dishes calling out to me to be washed (Holly, Miss Hollllyyyy – do you hear them? I’m blocking them out), but in my heart, head, emotionally, spiritually, in every way I feel very aware, balanced and on track.
How about you? How are you doing in this regard? Are you feeling overwhelmed? Burnt out? Are you constantly working and not really feeling any better for it?
All of my feelings I think many of you are dealing with on a regular basis, am I right? I can tell you this — please examine what things you are saying yes to and what you are taking on and make sure these things line up with the goals you have for yourself. When I was teaching the Blogging Your Way class online, which I’ll teach again starting in October (the announcement and enrollment link will be posted on decor8 on August 10th), I realized just how many wonderful, talented and very eager people there are who want to blog from the heart and who really want to be authentic and one-of-a-kind and this gave me so much pleasure because I loved learning about each student and their goals for their blogs, even career goals. All of this learning was a joy to me because as a blogger, I don’t always get to jump into the heads of fellow bloggers. I mean, I could never just go up to another blog author and ask them about their goals, dreams, etc. because they’d wonder about my motives. But in the class environment, as a teacher, the barriers were down and conversation flowed — I was able to freely speak to my students through podcasts and listen to their fears, dreams, issues and the experience was so encouraging and enlightening for me. And I learned that we all are in the same boat, we all get frustrated because we all get out of balance and lose our direction at times and usually it’s because we start saying yes before we think about what we are saying yes to.
To wrap up I simply want to say that I had a nice morning and I’m glad that I allowed myself the freedom to just have breakfast out. It felt balanced and special. And well, I guess I should reveal that I ended up in Nordstrom (you have to pick up the new Trina Turk designed Clinique bag free with a $25 purchase, it’s floral and lovely for Trina fans like me) and then I went to Anthropologie but honestly, Anthro during sales season is somewhat depressing because everything is thrown everywhere, but I still had a good time checking out the store displays and smelling all of the candles. :)
Okay so talk to me people. I really want to connect with you guys on this topic and see what you think about freelancing and finding balance, do you have it? Do you need it? Do you seek it? What are you doing to be more balanced?
(images: holly becker for decor8)
Thank you. You have been so gracious to give me the space to go off on a tangent each Thursday to write the 10 week series on creativity, a topic I’m so passionate about. This series really ties in nicely to the overall content and vibe on decor8, don’t you think? I’ve grown quite attached and find it hard to imagine giving it up but I did tell you this would only run for 10 weeks and today well…we’re at week 10. Now I’m wondering if this should really be the end of the road. I’ll think about it and let you know.
Are you ready for our final topic in this series? It’s a good one and I even have a very special podcast and guest sharing with us today.
Allow for some trial and error and nip negative thinking in the bud while you are capturing. Imagine that you are painting. While you are capturing, or creating, be careful to not become overly critical of your work or to allow what others may think to come into play. That’s the fastest way to shut yourself down. It’s fine to evaluate your work as you go along, but it’s best to not over-analyze while you’re in “the zone”. Trust your creativity, believe in what you are doing. Avoid allowing the opinions of others to form the one that you have of yourself. Trust your inner compass because it WILL lead you if you tap into it, listen, and obey. It also keeps you on track when others start to throw darts or challenge the authenticity of your work. Trust in your unique voice will help you to stay on track, focused and forward moving.
“When I first started working creatively, my former manager told me that there really are no new ideas in the world,” says Marisa Haedike of Creative Thursday, a successful artist living and working in Los Angeles, California. “Though I tend to agree, there is originality in this world and that originality stems from each one of us.”
Haedike continues, “We can trust that what makes something unique can be as simple as our interpretation, our expression of an idea.” She not only coaches people wanting to live more creative lives through a series of podcasts on her website, but has thousands of devoted customers who love her artwork. Through expressing herself without judgment, not allowing negative comments to penetrate, and by embracing her originality, Haedike has learned to trust her creative voice. For this reason, I’ve decided to wrap up this series with a very special podcast from Marisa herself, a gift from me to all of you for following this series. You can click below to listen, it’s just under 15 minutes so enjoy!
Now it’s your turn to comment on trust. You may also comment on the future of this series with any tips you may have. I’m interested in hearing how trust in yourself is helping you during these economic times and how it helps you to deal with other fears outside of money.
(image from creative thursday)
Writing today’s topic for the Creativity Series was a bit of a struggle because I am sensitive to how the economy is affecting others and despite how badly I want to radiate hope and positivity I don’t want to come across as happy-go-lucky, annoying, or perhaps naive to the problems that many are facing. But you know what, I’m not going to over cook this because who knows, maybe some of you need this reminder so this week we’re going to talk about developing a sense of humor to not only help you be more creative but to keep you sane in a pretty messed up world.
print by paperfunkpress.
How does developing a sense of humor inspire creativity? How can it help you get though hard times?
It can really push down walls when you decide to lighten up and just be yourself without becoming overly concerned about the opinions of others. It can also protect you from your worst enemy which so often yourself. I can’t stress how important this is. When others are overly judgmental, negative, or when you find yourself being overly critical of yourself, it’s time to tap into your sense of humor.
This beautiful little ring says, “Let laughter save the day” by lucky life.
I believe that laughter stimulates great thinking. When you are under less stress your thoughts flow more freely and your mind can wander a bit outside of the box.
A sense of humor helps us during the journey. Drama seems to up ratings on television but in real life, it only brings our ratings down. Friends may start to dodge us, clients could begin to call us into question, family members will avoid “stepping on eggshells” simply by withholding information that you really should be hearing. It’s a lot easier to communicate with someone who doesn’t fly off the handle over every little thing. This is the sign of someone who may need to tap into their sense of humor. The world does not revolve around any of us, we’re all going to hit problems and deal with annoyances often on a daily basis. There is no problem-free life, no perfect government, no ideal marriage partner. We’re all broken in one way or another with our own fears, dysfunctions, inabilities, dark sides, etc. It’s important to accept that fact and realize early on that nothing we take on is easy, whether that’s a new child, a career, or something that should be fun like starting a new hobby. Developing your creative side takes effort, failure often rides alongside success, so it’s unavoidable that the path you thought would be perfect may not be the same path you find yourself on in a few years. That’s where a sense of humor helps. Trust that the journey is often as rewarding, if not more, than reaching the actual goal. Allow your sense of humor to take the wheel when you feel like giving up or flipping out. During the hard times you may need to step outside of the ‘bubble’ you’re in and laugh at the situation a little. Remind yourself that you’re human.
While sense of humor is important, going through life laughing things off and ignoring potential issues is dangerous. I’m certainly not encouraging laughing at funerals or telling your depressed friend to stop feeling sorry for herself. You have to take things seriously but there does come a point where you’ve taken something seriously so what’s next? You then have to start dealing with it, mending the problem, repairing or rebuilding, etc. It’s at that point when you can decide to put a positive spin on the situation or not. You can find some relief as you deal with your issue if you remember the good during the bad times.
Happy people are more creative, creative people are more productive, and productive people are well, happier. I once read somewhere that developing a more optimistic world view can help you become more resilient and that it’s good for your emotional and even physical health to lighten up and laugh. That’s good stuff there.
I could go on and on but you get the point of what I’m trying to say. Look at the good side. Keep your goals in front of you. Laughter really can be the best medicine. Before I sign off I want to leave you with a few tips on how I keep a positive outlook. First, I don’t take myself too seriously. If I screw up, I admit and move on. I even laugh out loud at myself in public — I once fell down the stairs at a party and laughed so hard I cried – and I was wearing a dress and high heels and clearly made an idiot of myself but I got up and started dancing again and just shook it off. Sometimes when I’m moody and crabby I don’t feel like laughing. At all. That’s when I immediately notice something is wrong so I’ll call a friend who I know will make me laugh, I look for my online friends, I put on some good music, or I watch something really random and stupid on YouTube. :)
Now I want to hear from you… How has your sense of humor helped you during the dark times? What tips can YOU share with others on how to develop a sense of humor? How has your ability to laugh at things, from your failures to your stumbles, helped you as a person?
(images linked above)
Today for the Creativity Series I’m keeping it short and sweet — the goal this week is to DO SOMETHING. Ready?
Buy out time for creative pursuits. Leaving creativity to chance is equivalent to leaving exercise to chance. It won’t happen unless you take charge. Analyze your weekly tasks and decide what can be exchanged in order for you to schedule a regular creative pursuit. This can be an outing such as a gallery visit or something as simple as a visit to the local book shop, or you can use the time to be more hands-on whether it’s through photography, composing music, or scrapbooking. When I’m in need of inspiration I usually open up my journals and start cutting and pasting (example above).
Key is at first: Keep It Simple and as you start seeing the benefits, you can expand from there. In looking over these 500+ comments where decor8 readers outlined what they would do if they had a day off and $20 to spend, I noticed a theme: They’d get outside, exercise, and do something creative. Maybe you can spend time today looking over some of their comments for ideas as to how you can carve out an hour, an afternoon, an entire day for YOU. Easier said than done, but if you leave something that impacts your life in a positive way (and those around you) on the back burner and just keep plugging away at work, work, work you may find yourself at the doors of burnout and absolute loss of ideas and inspiration. Be an example to your family, friends, and those in your field: You have your act together, you are at the steering wheel, you buy out time for yourself which makes your body of work stronger and more interesting.
For encouragement, I’d like to leave you with a creative exercise this week. Write done at least ONE thing that you plan to do this weekend that will put you back in touch with your creative side. It can be anything. Then I’d like to ask that you return here to this post on Monday and report in whether or not you actually did it, how it felt, and how you feel after the activity. I’ll do the same. If you can photograph what you did or saw during that creative time, please link to the photo in Monday’s comment. Sound good?
(photo by holly becker for decor8)