Tag Archives: creativity

Repost: People will treat you how you TEACH them to treat you!

14 Jan

Today’s blog from The Daily Love hits home for me. Distractions and multitasking prevent me from focused creativity. Time to set those healthy boundaries — Stat!

January 14, 2013 By Mastin Kipp
As posted on The Daily Love

Since I have been so focused on creation lately, I’m really inspired about what it takes to create!

I do believe that it takes intense focus to create. Multi-tasking is not optional.

Now, I know you might not be able to take a whole month off like I am to write your book or create your heart’s desire. I wasn’t always able to do that either.

It was something I had to earn.

But when I was first getting started, I could find an hour, or half hour or a day on the weekend.

But – the key is – DON’T LET ANYTHING ELSE DISTRACT YOU.

Turn off your phone.

Get “SelfControl” for your Mac and turn off the internet.

Set up an email autoresponder so people know that you are not available by email.

Setup a voicemail message that lets people know you won’t be getting back to them right away.

Set boundaries.

I’ve really gotten clear in the last week (thanks a lot to YOUR help) that you GOTTA set healthy boundaries when you want to create. And then you have to enforce them.

People will treat you how you TEACH them to treat you!

So, if you are serious about creating something – a book, a screenplay, a business, anything – you gotta get clear about WHY you are doing it and then get about the business of making it happen.

This means boundary setting.

This means being able to do ONE thing at a time.

Doing one thing at a time is an underrated skill.

In this day and age we bow down to multi-tasking, but I’ve found that when I multi-task as I am trying to create, I get dumber.

I’m not as creative.

I’m not as open.

I’m not as tapped in to Source.

I’m thinking about too many things. I’m thinking about all kinds of other things besides what I’m trying to create.

The goal then is to focus our energy and attention on one task at a time.

It seems almost impossible in this day and age, but it is. But you have to design it.

You can’t just magically hope that it will happen. All of life is trying to get your attention. Loved ones. Advertisements. Social media. Email. Text.

It’s all grabbing at you. And you have the power to say ENOUGH – and design a boundary so that YOU can create.

This is what I’m doing – it’s taking some getting used to, but I can do it – and it’s working.

What boundary can you set today? How do you want people to teach people to treat you?

Repost: Out on a limb

5 Jan

By Seth Godin

This might not work.

I didn’t realize how tired I was until I started driving away from the Icarus launch event on Wednesday.

Since June, I’ve been working flat out on creating the four books that were part of the Kickstarter and the big launch that climaxed with an event here in New York. Along the way, I experienced what many people feel as they work on something new–I was  spending part of my time (against my better judgment) exhausting myself trying to predict and then control what people would think about my work.

Will they get it? Will this chapter hit home? Am I too far out on a limb?

This might not work.

At some level, “this might not work” is at the heart of all important projects, of everything new and worth doing. And it can paralyze us into inaction, into watering down our art and into failing to ship.

I do my best work when I practice what I write about, and this time, I decided it was important to go as far out on a limb as I could. The Icarus Deception argues that we’re playing it too safe, hence my need to go outside my (and your) comfort zone.

Changing the format, changing the way I interacted with some of my readers (using Kickstarter) and changing the timeframe of my work all combined to make this project the most complex one I’ve ever done. Lots of moving parts, of course, but more scary, lots of places to fail. All very self-referential in a series of books about failure and guts and flying closer to the sun, of course. That’s the entire point, right?

Of course, trying to control what other people think is a trap. At the same time that we can be thrilled by the possibility of flying without a net and of blazing a new trail, we have to avoid the temptation to become the audience, to will them into following us. Not only is it exhausting, it’s counterproductive. Sales (of concepts, of services, of goods) don’t get made because you’ve spent a sleepless night working on your telekenisis. They happen because you’ve made something worth buying, because you’ve outlined something worth believing in.

“This might not work” is either a curse, something that you labor under, or it’s a blessing, a chance to fly and do work you never thought possible.

As I slumped into my car, I turned on the radio. Stuck in the CD player, forgotten in the rush to get to the event, was the audio copy of Icarus.

(Download Audio Excerpt)

I don’t usually listen to my books after I’ve made them, but the recording sessions had been so arduous that I didn’t even remember making the recording. So there it was in my car, left behind as a quick refresher before I went onstage to give my first public talk about the book.

It turns out that I don’t just write for you. I also write to remind myself of what I’m hoping to become as well. Hearing myself, months later, reading something I didn’t remember writing or reading, I shed a few tears. Yes, this is work worth doing. Yes, being out on a limb is exactly where I want to be.

That’s where we’re needed… out on a limb.

Seth Godin’s “The Icarus Sessions” Worldwide Meetups starts TODAY!

2 Jan

Seth Godin’s “The Icarus Sessions” Worldwide Meetups starts TODAY, Jan. 2!

Challenging new way to bring your art forward. Not to make a sales pitch, not to get customers or patrons, but to find the courage to stand up and say, “here, I made this.”

Find a Meetup near you.

theicarusdeceptionjan2013

Amazon description of Godin’s new book, The Icarus Deception (released 12/31/12):

“Everyone knows that Icarus’s father made him wings and told him not to fly too close to the sun; he ignored the warning and plunged to his doom. The lesson: Play it safe. Listen to the experts. It was the perfect propaganda for the industrial economy. What boss wouldn’t want employees to believe that obedience and conformity are the keys to success?

But we tend to forget that Icarus was also warned not to fly too low, because seawater would ruin the lift in his wings. Flying too low is even more dangerous than flying too high, because it feels deceptively safe.

The safety zone has moved. Conformity no longer leads to comfort. But the good news is that creativity is scarce and more valuable than ever. So is choosing to do something unpredictable and brave: Make art. Being an artist isn’t a genetic disposition or a specific talent. It’s an attitude we can all adopt. It’s a hunger to seize new ground, make connections, and work without a map. If you do those things you’re an artist, no matter what it says on your business card.

Godin shows us how it’s possible and convinces us why it’s essential.”

Repost: The Tutu Project

28 Dec

Oh. My. Gawd. I LOVE this story:

The Tutu Project: Photographer’s Self-Portraits in Ballet Skirt Are Weapons in His Wife’s Breast Cancer Battle

Perusing the pictures alone will make your day. I promise.

Old-school connectivity: Hello, are you listening?

26 Dec

I talked to my dad on Monday, Christmas Eve. He mentioned something that made me sit up straight and take notice. He said, “Looking at your phone affects your connectivity.” Think about it.

No, seriously. Think about it.

We are in a day and age when NOT looking at your phone is a skill. And a problem. I lost my cell last Wednesday. For 5 days, I didn’t have one.

And honestly? It felt pretty good.

Don’t get me wrong. In the beginning, I freaked out! Retraced my steps countless times. Called my husband, asking if he found it at home. For a couple days, we frantically searched the car, the parking lot, the 2-minute path from where my vanpool drops me off  and up the elevator and to my cubicle, the house, our driveway — everywhere!

Nada.

So for 120 hours, what did I do?

Told people to use Facebook, my work line, or email to reach me until I received a replacement. Kept my cell service on, so I could check voicemail messages (just in case).

Put all my energy into our first annual ugly sweater contest at the office. (A smashing success!)

Only surfed the Net at work or at home. NOT while in transit or during face-to-face conversations.

Enjoyed the longest conversations with my vanpool buddies. (During the 2.5-to-3-hour-long roundtrip commute, I usually scanned the top news stories of the day online. Or napped.)

Used an eraser board for my to-do list.

Wrote more in an old-half-filled-almost-forgotten-handmade journal a friend gave me several Christmases a go.

Posted on Facebook and talked with family and friends to research opinions on what new phone to buy.

Used my old point-and-shoot camera to capture holiday photos. Didn’t post them on FB.

Instead of texting confabs with friends who lived nearby, we met up.

Listen to favorite CDs while wrapping gifts and writing cards with zeal.

Mindfully pushed “Play” button daily so my toy musical snowmen sang their silly tune. (I squealed with laughter each time.)

Baked cornbread. Twice.

Caught up on “Color Splash”, “Person of Interest” and “The Voice”  episodes.

Perused a few magazines I had stacked high.

Snuggled more with my husband on the couch.

Looked at people more in the eye.

Somehow this “OMG-am-horribly-lost-don’t-know-what-I’d-do-because-I’d-die-if-I-lost-my-cell-phone!” mindset snuck up on me. For many months, I felt off. Perhaps I was affected by a number of things — work stress, long commute, financial/health concerns, etc. But I sensed an ever-present tension that I just couldn’t put a finger on, yet felt in my gut. It haunted me.

But this experience helped.

Being disconnected reconnected me. I became more present during conversations, my writing more genuine, my actions more sincere. It felt familiar: This is how I used to connect to others; and this is how I used to write as a teenager when it was just me, lined notebook paper, and a pen. I’m harkening back to the ’80s — a simpler time with far less distractions.

Am on the grid again with a new smartphone  (the same old model, btw). Am surfing and texting again — but less often. (Remember: That takes skill.) I can go back to my jump-at-every-alert-pre-cell-loss ways.

But why?

My brief interlude of no-cell-codependency shifted my focus from an expensive, handheld device tethered to my hip back to the way I used to do things. Nothing compares to scribbling in a journal, crossing out items on the eraser board, and taking my time to read a paper magazine in between my hands. I missed the tactile and visual sensations of doing different things with different tools. Until now.

Yes, it’s old school. But it’s me.

Repost: Doing what you love (but maybe you can’t get paid for it)

26 Dec

By Seth Godin

[I wrote this five years ago. As you plan the magical things you will do next year, I thought it was worth reconsidering:]

The thing is, it’s far easier than ever before to surface your ideas. Far easier to have someone notice your art or your writing or your photography. Which means that people who might have hidden their talents are now finding them noticed…

That blog you’ve built, the one with a lot of traffic… perhaps it can’t be monetized.

That non-profit you work with, the one where you are able to change lives… perhaps turning it into a career will ruin it.

That passion you have for graphic art… perhaps making your painting commercial enough to sell will squeeze the joy out of it.

When what you do is what you love, you’re able to invest more effort and care and time. That means you’re more likely to win, to gain share, to profit. On the other hand, poets don’t get paid. Even worse, poets that try to get paid end up writing jingles and failing and hating it at the same time.

Today, there are more ways than ever to share your talents and hobbies in public. And if you’re driven, talented and focused, you may discover that the market loves what you do. That people read your blog or click on your cartoons or listen to your mp3s. But, alas, that doesn’t mean you can monetize it, quit your day job and spend all day writing songs.

The pitfalls:
1. In order to monetize your work, you’ll probably corrupt it, taking out the magic in search of dollars

and

2. Attention doesn’t always equal significant cash flow.

I think it makes sense to make your art your art, to give yourself over to it without regard for commerce.

Doing what you love is as important as ever, but if you’re going to make a living at it, it helps to find a niche where money flows as a regular consequence of the success of your idea. Loving what you do is almost as important as doing what you love, especially if you need to make a living at it. Go find a job you can commit to, a career or a business you can fall in love with.

A friend who loved music, who wanted to spend his life doing it, got a job doing PR for a record label. He hated doing PR, realized that just because he was in the record business didn’t mean he had anything at all to do with music. Instead of finding a job he could love, he ended up being in proximity to, but nowhere involved with, something he cared about. I wish he had become a committed school teacher instead, spending every minute of his spare time making music and sharing it online for free. Instead, he’s a frazzled publicity hound working twice as many hours for less money and doing no music at all.

Maybe you can’t make money doing what you love (at least what you love right now). But I bet you can figure out how to love what you do to make money (if you choose wisely).

Do your art. But don’t wreck your art if it doesn’t lend itself to paying the bills. That would be a tragedy.

(And the twist, because there is always a twist, is that as soon as you focus on your art and leave the money behind, you may just discover that this focus turns out to be the secret of actually breaking through and making money.)

And from a recent interview:

I wonder why anyone would hesitate to be generous with their writing.

I mean, if you really want to make a living, go to Wall Street and trade oil futures … We’re writers. We’re doing something that is inherently a generous act. We’re exposing ourselves to the muse and to the things that frighten us. Why do that if you’re not willing to be generous? And paradoxically, almost ironically, it turns out that the more generous you are, the more money you make. But that’s secondary. For me, the privilege of being generous is why I get to do this.

Repost: Alexandra Franzen – 28 birthday wishes for me & you & the world

24 Dec

I recently discovered Alexandra Franzen while reading an entry from Kelly Rae Robert’s blog. Alexandra’s birthday entry made me swoon, rekindling my love for words. When I read her writing out loud, the words danced off my tongue.

I’m hooked.