Getting Back to Work

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Late last week I spoke at the Circles Conference to a packed (and quite stylish) audience full of designers. And now I’m nursing what my friend Brené Brown calls a vulnerability hangover.

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My talk was about how painful it can be to be a working creative because of The Fear. But that if we can just do a few things – like get specific about what both the worst case scenario and the ideal day look like, get clear on what we really want to be doing all day, and maybe make a mantra to remember what that is – then maybe it won’t be quite so painful to put your heart into your profession. I didn’t really get serious about my talk until two weeks ago. I had written out what I wanted to say – and when I read it out loud it sucked. So I recruited my speech writer and voice coach (that would be my sister and business partner, Tara) and we spent an entire Saturday afternoon out at my parents lake house writing my script – word-for-word. Then I spent the next week memorizing my cues and designing my slides. The night before my talk in the hotel room I practiced forgetting the script so I could sound casual. As if I was going to walk up on that stage and give a story that had just come to mind – like lunch with a friend. Then I practiced walking (the stage strut – not quite a model stomp) and talking at the same time without forgetting that words were supposed to be coming out of my mouth.

Oh. And that was all only after getting my snotty and over-tired baby to sleep on the hotel bed – two hours after his normal bedtime. Which for a baby, and a new mom, is kind of a big deal.

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After my talk I felt high. I had a quiet, humbling moment of gratitude when I found myself backstage. And then when I was sure nobody could see me I pumped my fists in the air – like a dorky protagonist in an 80s romantic comedy who just scored a date with the homecoming queen. I know it’s probably not cool to admit that I was proud of myself … but I was proud of myself.

I made my way back to the conference lobby buzzing with inspiration and energy. And that’s when I saw my sister talking to my creative girlfriends – my tribe from all over the country (and even Canada!) – and my baby crawling around on the floor at their feet … and for a minute I felt like I had it all. And that I could actually do it all. But today. Today, I have fears, my self-doubts, and my vulnerability hangover. And now I’m getting back to work.

P.S. You can watch the talk here. 

Talk notes drawn by Terence Tang.

Coaching for Creatives | Show Up With Intention

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How are you showing up for your clients?
If you’re racing from deadline to deadline you might be showing up frazzled, resentful, and spread thin. And it will show in your work and client relationships.

How are you showing up for your partner, your family, and your friends?
If you’re itching to check your email under the dinner table you might be showing up with scattered attention and only a part of your whole heart.

Try this – the next time you go into a client meeting take a minute beforehand to consider how you want to show up. Take some deep cleansing breaths and visualize how you can best help your client and what you want to accomplish. The next time you sit down to work on a project clear off your desk, close all your browser windows (and perhaps open a real window). Soak up the potential of a blank page and set an intention for how you want to feel while you do the work.

The next time you have dinner with a friend or a date out with your main squeeze try leaving your phone at home. Instead of falling back on conversations about what sucks, instead speak from the place that holds your dreams and desires.

This week try to consistently show up as your best self and share the gift of attention and intention – in work and life. I’ll join you. 

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If you like this post you might like my DIY Coaching for Creatives Email Sessions. It’s 4 emails x 4 weeks (16 emails total) for just $40. Complete with worksheets, exercises, mantras, meditations, and to-dos for time management, decision-making, and strategies for living more of what you love – in work and life. You can learn more about what you’ll get and purchase anytime here.

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Coaching for Creatives | Move Your Body

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While I was in life coach training with Martha Beck I learned something that has forever changed how I move through life and it was this:

Emotions live in the body.

It seems really simple and perhaps obvious. But think about it – when you’re scared, stressed, worried, excited, anxious, in love, happy – how do you experience those emotions in your body? I find that most of my feelings live in my gut – but sometimes I feel them down in my tailbone or up in my shoulders. And I’ve found that if I don’t move them through my body they can get stuck – which usually results in long-term funks or some sort of meltdown that involves sobbing into my pillow. Now, crying is a legitimate release of emotions* but I’ve found a less traumatic way to move emotions through my body is simply by moving my body, on the daily.

A pattern I’ve uncovered with all the creatives I’ve done one-on-one creative coaching with is that they all want more time to move their body – whether that’s at the gym, a walk in the park, or spending some quality time on the yoga mat. It can be hard to justify the time it takes to move your body when you have important deadlines to meet and emails to answer but I think making time to move your body daily is the most important thing you can do for your creativity. You’re not only moving unproductive emotions out of your body, moving your body allows creativity to move through you.

I’d like to invite you for the next week to tune-in and notice where in your body you feel your emotions. And then I challenge you to spend just one hour a day, every day, moving your body. Make it a non-negotiable priority. Schedule it on your calendar (during work hours is even better!) and make it happen. Take note of how it changes your attitude, productivity, and creativity.

What is your favorite way to move your body? Have you noticed an impact on how it affects your mood or creativity? The mind/body connection is one I’m going to continue to explore over the next few months – so I’d love to hear your thoughts.

*P.S. I love what Tonya Leigh writes about the beauty of crying here.

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P.P.S. If you like this post you might like my DIY Coaching for Creatives Email Sessions. It’s 4 emails x 4 weeks (16 emails total) for just $40. Complete with worksheets, exercises, mantras, meditations, and to-dos for time management, decision-making, and strategies for living more of what you love – in work and life. You can learn more about what you’ll get and purchase anytime here.

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Coaching for Creatives | Thoughts Are Things

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Today’s post is a reminder that everything begins with a thought. Look around you. Your laptop, the vase on your table, your cup of coffee, the Kleenex box on your desk, the art on your walls, and even your relationships … all of it began with an inkling of an idea. Thoughts may feel intangible but the truth is this:

Thoughts are things and they will manifest in your reality.

So, if everything in your life was cultivated from a thought, that means you are responsible for all of it. Good and bad. So take some time to take stock of how your thoughts have come to life around you.

Try this: On a sheet of paper draw three columns. Label them with the following:

1. PAST
Write down three of your most major accomplishments and trace them back to the original thought. Take note of how you were responsible for them manifesting them. Write it down in the far left column. For example, one of my biggest accomplishments was trekking to Mt. Everest Base Camp. I had never even been overseas when I saw a documentary about Everest on the Discovery channel and thought “Wow. I’d like to see Mt. Everest!” That seemingly flip desire manifested itself into a life-changing journey. 

2. PRESENT
You have something like 50,000 – 70,000 thoughts per day. Most of them are recurring. So today I want you to come up with three new thoughts. It can be anything from a goal or resolution, to a relationship you’d like to develop, to a new “what if” question, to something you would like to make or research. Write them down in the middle column. My thought today is not entirely formed yet, but I’m curious to see how being a new mom will blend in with my career – especially as my maternity leave comes to an end. Another thought I have is that as much as I would love to be creative and make things with my hands in my down time my true passion is cooking and fitness. Maybe I will explore being more intentional with those things as my “hobbies”. 

3. FUTURE
I want you to write down the date for exactly one month from today in the future column. Leave this section blank until a month from now. When you return to it I want you to write down how the thoughts you wrote down in the middle column manifested themselves in your life. So for me, I’m going to note in a month from now exactly how that new mom / career blend has manifested itself (it could be anything! From simply a new perspective to maybe a new service or product for working moms.) Or perhaps I’ll have some fun passion projects or experiments rise out of my obsession with health and fitness.

So, today we’re focusing on the manifestation of positive thoughts but consider the less-than-fantastic stuff around you. Take responsibility for it and ask yourself “what thoughts or stories do I tell myself to attract _____.” Sure there are some things that may not be your fault – like getting into a car wreck or falling ill. But try to find responsibility and awareness for the thoughts and reaction around the crummy stuff. Take note of how it shifts your perspective from a reactive victim to perhaps a proactive badass.

I’d love to hear some of your past accomplishments and the originating thought in the comments. Or let me know your new thoughts for today and let’s check back in together in a month to see how they all came to life?

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P.S. If you like this post you might like my DIY Coaching for Creatives Email Sessions. It’s 4 emails x 4 weeks (16 emails total) for just $40. Complete with worksheets, exercises, mantras, meditations, and to-dos for time management, decision-making, and strategies for living more of what you love – in work and life. You can learn more about what you’ll get and purchase anytime here.

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Also, our Braid ECourse, Dream Customer Catching: Embrace Your Expertise and Attract What You Track is now open for registration and will be in-session March 21 – March 30. And Kathleen readers can take this course for $50 by using the discount code ANDKATHLEEN50 when you register.
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Creative Block

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My good friend Danielle Krysa, aka The Jealous Curator, wrote a book called Creative Block: Advice and Projects from 50 Successful Artists. I got my copy of the book in the mail the day it was released, and you guys, it’s really good. Danielle interviewed 50 artists about their creative blocks, inner critics, and creative process. It’s a big book, but one that can be digested in bite-size chunks. I love reading the behind-the-scenes and stories of artists I know and love (like Alyson Fox, Wayne White, and Lisa Congdon just to name a few) but I’m also discovering new artists to admire.

Last January Danielle and I were chatting about her then *top secret* book and she confessed to me a big lesson she learned in writing this book – which is that you just have to ask. You see, Danielle was scared and intimidated when it came to asking kind-of-a-big-deal artists to be interviewed and published revealing their insecurities and creative blocks. But she did. She got vulnerable and she asked. And 9 times out of 10 they said yes. If they said no, it was usually done with kindness. And now she has gifted the world with this amazing compilation that will help hundreds of thousands of artists and aspiring artists feel less alone in the struggle that is being a working creative.

At the end of my DIY Coaching for Creatives email series I provide a list of resources and books to check out. I will definitely be adding this one to the mix. Brené Brown says it best here:

“Danielle Krysa’s Creative Block is truth-telling balm for all of us who wonder if we’re the only ones who get stuck, second-guess ourselves, and dance with gremlins. I loved every page – the art, the interview, and the unBlock challenges.”

– Brené Brown, Ph.D., LMSW, author of Daring Greatly

You can buy Creative Block here and check out The Jealous Curator here.