Let’s be honest, 2017 was difficult. We saw some of the worst of human nature and behavior. I’m still in disbelief to be honest. At the same time, this year has been one of my most creatively rich. I thought a bit about it and realized, it’s no accident...
Dark forces, be it a person, an organization or a job basically squeeze hope out of people. Yet, at the same time, they are strangely similar to the battles that we all face within. Have you ever found that by February, you can’t even remember your resolutions, more less why you would get out of bed and...at what hour?
To do anything great in our lives we actually have to face dark forces all the time. The only thing is that often, they are inside ourselves. The voice that says you will never be able to do that might be coming from your boss (or president) but if you harbor it within, that’s where it really takes hold and festers. Similarly, as a creative, my work is as much about believing in myself as it is about drawing a happy ice cream cone.
It’s not easy but knowing what wisdom to draw upon at the right time is part of the secret sauce. Listening and responding to what you need and drawing on the vast amounts of helpful information is how to win the battle. In a way, you must be the artist of your life – whether you’re a creative professional or a business entrepreneur. With that in mind, I created this list of 10 helpful resources that will keep the hope alive, put your ducks in a row and put some fire where you need it. I hope they help you slay that demon – inner or outer and make 2018 the most awesome year yet.
There is nothing like inspiration to remind you that it’s all going to be ok...and this podcast (and the episode linked in particular) does that with a giant, virtual creative hug. It really is a pep talk as the name suggests. The positivity of the host, Andy J. Pizza (how can you not like a Mr. Pizza?) is infectious as is the way he explores the inner workings of creativity. He’s an accomplished illustrator but it’s not just geared towards that field. He really gets to the core of why we create and of the different paths to get there. He’s also aware of all the marketing trends of the day which is pretty special. I’d say he’s somewhat of a creative unicorn and he keeps me hooked week after week.
If you’ve ever struggled with making resolutions or keeping goals or forming healthy habits of any kind, (raises hand vigorously) this might help. It’s based on the idea that you can make lasting change in your life if you practice a very small action towards a bigger goal. So if for instance, you want to get fit, you might do 3 teeny-tiny sit-ups – but you do them after an ingrained habit like brushing your teeth. In this way, you develop a new habit by attaching it to an existing one and eventually you get those ripped abs. I personally don’t care about ripped abs but I am I’m writing this post because I used this technique...so I guess I’m looking to develop writing abs.
There is growing research on the power of changing your environment to change your behavior. If you are feeling lethargic or uninspired or just plain stuck, it might be worth it to look around the space you spend the most time in and see if you can make any changes. I recently got my carpets cleaned and honestly, it feels like my whole life took a bath. I love this article and especially the quote within it:
“when a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.”
Maybe it’s because I just watched The Last Jedi but I am newly obsessed with the myth of The Hero’s Journey. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s basically Star Wars over and over again. It’s worth looking into for anyone who wants to make their year – or life – amazing and is based on Joseph Campbell’s Hero with a Thousand Faces – a best selling classic from the 1950s. Author Steven Pressfield knows a thing about the concept too. As the writer of many books about confronting and understanding the inner resistance that says, “namaste in bed” – again, he is a great source of understanding how to break through and be the hero of your life.
Not only is it rude and annoying but did you know that having your phone around you constantly can make you dumber? Finally a way to get people to rekindle the lost art of manners. So if politeness hasn't curtailed bad behavior yet, there are now studies that show student test scores rising or falling based on the proximity of their phone. It's actually made me put my phone out of sight when working and guess what – I've gotten so much more done...not to mention given me a boost of self righteousness.
While I had heard of this notion before, it’s taken me awhile to succumb to the magickal thinking behind it. The way it works is you write a letter to your future self and said things will come true. Stop rolling your eyes, I can feel it, ok? Hey if Jim Carrey wrote himself a check for millions of dollars and actually got the money, I think we can all pen a letter to the internet gods. What’s even better is that there’s an actual website called futureme that lets you go through the ritual. There’s something kind of fun when everyone gets woo-woo together. So indulge yourself, dream up where you could be in a year and hit send – just don’t dream of making a movie like Dumb and Dumber...ever, ok, please? (Special thanks to Sarah Von Bargen’s wonderful www.yesandyes.org for the tip off to the website in her recent newsletter.)
If listening to a podcast could be like getting coffee with a really smart friend, this is it. Not only is it comforting but these ladies are incredibly business savvy and decode buzzwords like storytelling and target audience with real-world practicality. I constantly feel more informed, supported and prepared to achieve my dreams without feeling like I’m involved in some marketing pyramid scheme.
I’ve never been much of a “no pain no gain” type of gal. I’m much more of a take a break and then a nap and then get some coffee type of gal. At the same time, I recently came across this burgeoning YouTube superstar and took notice. His style is not really my style but I have to say that this video really changed me. It lit my fire so to speak. He taps into the power of action...so much so that it’s become my mantra for the year. Whether good or bad things happen, there’s no denying that when you take action, things happen...and after this beyond bananas year, we all certainly need to make some things happen...please make them awesome.
Wishing you the most awesome year yet!