The Fear of “No Turning Back” – What Stops Us from Taking Action

The Fear of “No Turning Back” – What Stops Us from Taking Action

Permanent can be scary.

What if we make the wrong decisions? There are some things in life that indeed cannot be erased or modified – once you’ve chosen it, the decision is final. But how often does that happen?

In truth, not all that much. It’s more typical that we perceive things as permanent, even when we could decide to change course and go in another direction. College choice, career paths, jobs, projects, major purchases, and even relationships are not permanent.

Yet the perception of these kinds of things as being decisions with permanent consequences keeps people from acting.

When I decided to move, I made a LOT of big decisions at one time. I left my jobs that I worked at for 9 years. I left the apartment I’d lived in for 8 years. I left my community to live in one where I didn’t know anyone. I bought a house.

It was evident that people were scared for me.

“Do you know anyone there?”

“Can you make a living doing that?”

“What will you do there?”

“Won’t you be lonely?”

I received quite a dose of projected fear from others. I wasn’t scared, though, because I knew my choices didn’t have to be permanent. If I didn’t succeed with my business, I could get a job doing something else. If I didn’t like living there, I could move.

Yes, making decisions and then changing directions can come with some inconveniences. If you sign a lease, you are committed to a certain number of months before you can move. If you go to school, you should probably finish out the semester so you get credit for those courses and can potentially transfer them. If you choose a major and you change your mind, you may have to stay in school longer. If you choose a different career path, you may have to go back to school. If you buy something and decide you don’t like it and can’t return it, you may have to go through the process of selling it.

But are these inconveniences such a big deal? They sure seem like it, but really they’re just moments in time. There’s no reason for these things to stop us from moving forward.

If you find yourself in a state of non-action due to fear of making the wrong decision, ask yourself if the decision is really permanent. What are the alternatives if you decide you don’t like your choice?

There’s nothing wrong with changing your mind, and there’s nothing wrong with feeling like you made a mistake. We all make mistakes.

Now, I didn’t say that going in another direction would be easy. Sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn’t, particularly if there are other people involved.

But ultimately, you only have one life, and it’s far too short for you to remain in circumstances that keep you from living as you truly wish to. Your life is only limited if you choose for it to be so.

If you’re rolling your eyes at that, I understand. It just means you haven’t gotten to the point where you realize that you get to choose. You don’t have to let life happen to you – you have a voice in how you choose to live.

Making choices, especially when it requires change or voyaging into the unknown, takes courage. But what do you gain by not making decisions and trying things out? Usually that only allows for the convenience and comfort of staying where you’re at.

It’s interesting how people will choose the security of a situation, even if they don’t like it, over going through the process of change.

That’s usually due to fear of the unknown, or being wrong, or the energy it would take to make change happen.

But it you don’t like your current state of living, what do you have to lose?

Unknown can’t be known until you experience it. If you’re wrong, try again.

Some things are permanent. Most things are not. If you’ve given something a chance and you’re not happy, you can make a change. You just have to have the courage to take action toward whatever moves you in the direction of what you truly want.

And if you feel like you’re too scared to make a decision and take action today, try again tomorrow. Your happiness is worth it.

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Why Les Twins Won the Upper Division Finals on World of Dance 2017

Why Les Twins Won the Upper Division Finals on World of Dance 2017

I’ve always been a fan of talent shows on TV. Now, before you get all upset and tell me that they’re “rigged” by the producers, you have to remember that I lived in LA for years – I know.

It’s not the outcome I’m concerned with, it’s watching the different things that people create. I enjoy observing their talents and how people react to them. It shows me what the general public finds to be exciting when it comes to performing acts. For me, it’s combination of research and (sometimes) entertainment.

Several months ago when I saw that NBC was going to produce a show called World of Dance, I was excited to see what it was like. When it started airing almost two months ago, I stayed up later than normal to see it.

It was great – so much talent and such a variety of styles and personalities. But what really caught my eye was the work of Les Twins.

If you’re familiar with New Style Hip-Hop dancing at all, you’ve probably heard of twin brothers Laurent and Larry Bourgeois. I will admit that I’ve been completely unaware and ignorant of their talent until I saw them on World of Dance. My loss until now.

I was blown away. I’ve never seen such control and coordination of the human body, much less synchronizing it with another person. There were many groups that were synchronized and very clean, but this was just different somehow. It was also amazing to me that someone could have that much control of a 6’4” tall body at such speed.

I became enthralled with their work. I watched video after video, in awe of how the human body can be controlled. Perhaps it was even more impressive to me since I don’t possess these skills at. all.

Watching Les Twins made me think about my lack of control of body movement. I became more aware of what my body did when it moved and how it did that. If you’ve ever taken Alexander Technique lessons, you are familiar with that awareness – and how easy it is to forget if you don’t stay mindful.

So I became a fan overnight. I watched each week as Les Twins remained at the top of their division.

The divisional finals aired this week, which pitted Les Twins against Keone and Mari, a husband-wife duo of exceptional talent. I was excited to see the performances.

Three days before the competition, however, Laurent was injured during an extra-curricular dance session surrounded by the cast and judges of the show. He tore ligaments in his foot and couldn’t walk on it.

When asked by producers in an interview if they would see him in the worlds finals, he replied, “Everything is on ideas and creation that me and my brother put together.”

And here’s why, in my opinion, Les Twins won the Upper Division Finals:

Keone and Mari produced a beautifully crafted performance that told the story of their engagement using the song they chose for their first dance at their wedding. It was executed with precision, the story was clear, and it was romantic.

It appears that their routine had been planned for quite some time. In a producer interview, Mari stated, “We’ve been saving this piece for them,” meaning in competition against Les Twins. This was Keone and Mari’s ace in the hole, created some time ago and intended to be used if they got to this point in the competition.

Laurent and Larry, however, had to come up with an entirely new concept. In two days. Laurent couldn’t walk, and so they developed a story of a business man and a homeless person in a wheelchair.

Just before they began, Laurent yelled to the judges, “No mercy.” He didn’t want to be judged more easily because of their circumstances.

It was as clean and connected as their other performances.

After the performance, when judge Derek Hough asked the twins how they were feeling going up against Keone and Mari, Laurent replied,

“I would never just give up. Where I come from, I was poor in the street, and I made it here, and I’m not gonna give up, because of this (pointing to his injury).”

Yes, Keone and Mari gave a stellar performance. Judge Ne-Yo even gave them a perfect score.

But the innovation and ability to create on such short notice, combined with an attitude and incredible perseverance is not something that could be paralleled by a well-executed performance alone.

Overcoming adversity and fighting in the face of loss creates an emotional reaction in those who observe it that cannot be denied. The triumph of the underdog is something that society has always championed. If someone at a disadvantage can execute something at an incredibly high level despite that disadvantage, most people cannot help but to be attracted to that.

The reaction to Les Twins’ win has been mixed. And that’s fine – everyone is entitled to their opinion about which dance was better.

But the bottom line is this: people buy emotions and connections, not perfection.

So as you think about your own issues as a creative in a world filled with obstacles, ask yourself this: what are you really trying to accomplish? Are you truly seeking a connection with your audience, or are you spending all your energy trying to be “good”?

It must be both. And as Les Twins showed us this week, even when you’re at a disadvantage, if you can make that connection with others, they can’t help but feel that. You’re going to be noticed.

Working hard at your craft to create quality, precision, and consistency is important, but it’s not the whole story. You must be willing to go past that, and it turns out the deeper aspects of communicating and connecting have been shown to produce a greater reaction in people than anything else.

You can watch both performances and the story here, courtesy of OFrazK Productions.

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The Pride of Refusing “Hand Holding” (Even When You Need It)

The Pride of Refusing “Hand Holding” (Even When You Need It)

In my coaching work I’ve noticed an interesting trend when it comes to the work that people need to get done: if it’s something they should be able to do on their own, they strongly resist asking for help with it – even if it’s something that’s stressing them out or keeping them from getting ahead.

Organizing papers and ideas, planning things on a calendar, writing an email…these seem like simple things, and so the thought of having someone do them for you or with you sounds silly to a lot of people – and yet sometimes the simplest of tasks can feel complex and can cause stress and anxiety.

Just because something seems simple doesn’t mean it always is or that it’s simple for you. Just like some tasks take longer for one person than for another – it’s part of being human. We all have our strengths and weaknesses.

But being smart has a way of making one feel inept if help is needed with something that seems like it should be easy. It feels like hand holding, and that’s insulting to one’s intelligence, right?

In fact, some people become so indignant about needing help for things like this that they would rather suffer, and even lose money for services they’ve paid for, rather than admit that they need some help.

Time passes and the same things are still on the table that could have been over and done with if they’d only let go of the pride associated with insisting that they should be able to do everything themselves.

Ironically, the people who use their time most productively are the ones who will ask for help and delegate if possible. These people recognize that they could be doing more if they could get past whatever is holding them back, and that the easiest way to move forward is to find the path of least resistance to getting it done.

If that means getting someone else involved, that’s what they do. And then they can move on.

Once one has gotten over the pride of not wanting help and the shame often felt from asking for it, there is a deep sense of relief. Just knowing you don’t have to do something alone can be comforting and can provide enough support for you to move through whatever it is.

Here are some examples of ways you can get help:

Pay someone who can help you move forward.
There are people who can help with almost anything. Making phone calls, ghostwriting, organizing papers, cleaning, building, designing – you name it, there’s usually a person who can help. You can find help with intangible things, too, like anxiety, stress, mindset, etc. You just have to look for someone.

Ask someone to go through things with you.
Sometimes it’s easier to get things done if you have another person doing it alongside you. There are certain things that would either be less stressful, or just more fun if someone else was involved (I’m looking at you, file pile…). It’s comforting to have another person who can serve as another set of hands or another mind to troubleshoot and offer ideas. This can help you get things done faster and potentially better than you would be able to alone. The saying two heads are better than one exists for a reason!

Have someone sit with you while you do whatever it is you need to do.
Sometimes just knowing someone is there is enough! They don’t need to be involved, but if you wanted to talk to someone or ask a question or get an opinion, you’re not alone. Sometimes just the mere presence of another provides enough support for you to get something done that you’ve been avoiding. It also puts you in a situation of accountability: if you ask someone to come over and be with you while you do a certain task, it might be a little awkward if you don’t do it, since that was the point.

So while it may feel like it’s beneath you to ask for help or support for certain things, you have to ask yourself which is more important to you: would you rather have the task done / obstacle resolved, or would you rather it linger, distract you, stress you out, cause you anxiety, and/or keep you from moving ahead? Perhaps more important than anything is realizing that it’s your choice.

Everyone needs “hand holding” every now and then. And that’s not a sign of weakness. After all, how could getting ahead faster be construed as weak? People need people, and the ones who have the courage to rely on others when needed are the ones who gain the capacity to build the lives they want.

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Is Your Perception Burning Your Potential?

Is Your Perception Burning Your Potential?

The Müller-Lyer illusion was an optical illusion created by sociologist Franz Carl Müller-Lyer in the late 1800s, the most common form consisting of arrow-like line drawings, where the straight segments are the same length and the ends are different:

This was used to demonstrate that, while the straight portions are the exact same length, the perception is that the top line is shorter than the bottom line.

Even after proving to people that their perceptions were wrong, the illusion persists and people still feel that the bottom line is longer.

The results of this and other studies have proven that perception can be stronger than reality, even when the situation is very simplistic. This means that one’s truth, while completely believable to that person, may not be true at all.

There are pros and cons to this. One of the major pros is that this means you can create your own perceptions, which can influence your decisions, your attitude, and your actions to help you to achieve your goals and create the life you want.

You’ve probably heard the saying, “If you can believe it, you can achieve it,” or some variation thereof. It’s not to say that things will come true for you just by believing them, with no action. But that belief in what you wish to have as your reality is the foundation of making it happen.

When your perception supports what you wish to see, your potential becomes unlimited. This is how people achieve “the impossible” – they saw things as possible.

Now the flip side of this is that you can create your own world of negativity, struggle, and disappointment as well. If you say you want to achieve a certain goal, but your perception is that it’s impossible or that you’re not good enough, your goal will have a very difficult chance of becoming realized.

And of course we can also be influenced by the words and beliefs of others. If you’re not finding your own truth, you may be coloring your perception with things that are standing in the way of you getting what you want.

Has someone ever said something to you that limited your belief in your ability, and it is something you either still believe (even when there’s no proof or others have said things to the contrary), or you had to work very hard to create a new belief in its place?

“You’ll never make it.”

“Your work isn’t good enough.”

“No one will buy this.”

“Who would be interested in that?”

It’s ok for people to have their own perceptions. But that doesn’t mean you have to adopt them as your own. You get to decide what you wish your reality to be, and you get to decide what work needs to be done to get you there.

This is where all of the other stuff, like getting consistent advice and having a team, dedication, and diligence come in.

So take a good look at your perception of different aspects of your life: what do you believe about your talent? What do you believe about your work? What do you believe about your value?

Write your current perceptions down. These perceptions are what you believe to be true. And so they are your current reality. You can’t wish for your reality to be different and keep your perceptions the same.

Now ask yourself if any of those are not what you really want out of your life. If so, you’re working against the very things you’re trying to do to succeed.

Decide what you want instead and write that down. You can imagine that you’re in charge of a company, and you’re implementing some new policies. If a company wants to continue to grow and improve – it ensures that the current policies are reflecting the company’s vision.

So you can do the same for yourself. And just like it would take people some time to implement the new policies and remind themselves that they’re not using the old policies – or beliefs – any more, it might take you some time too. You just have to work to put those new beliefs into practice.

This absolutely worked for me, so I know it’s doable. But I’m by no means a lone example: every day there are thousands of examples to see of people who decided they were going to create the life they wanted for themselves, and before long they were living it.

I’d be willing to bet that it started with a shift in perception.

Are you ready to make a shift and start creating the reality you truly want? Start by choosing one thing today. 🙂

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Overwhelm got you down? Here are some ideas to get you moving.

Overwhelm got you down? Here are some ideas to get you moving.

Society tells us that summer is a time for fun and relaxation. You’re supposed to be taking it easy and having some form of a modified schedule so you can cast your worries away for a while, right?

Just like the holidays, I’d bet the concept of summer relaxation was created by marketers to entice you to buy summer products and spend money on vacations.

Because for many people, “summer relaxation” is not what’s going on right now. Which probably makes it worse, since we have this idea that the rest of society is hanging out on a pool float…

Overwhelm isn’t seasonal. Life doesn’t exist in a controlled environment like school. It doesn’t stop and you probably don’t get prescribed breaks.

Having a project or a to-do list that never seems to end, accompanied by growing demands, surprises, and/or other time-sucking tasks can take its toll if you’re not careful. Even if you’re not able to laze around this summer, you don’t have to feel like you want to crawl under a rock, either.

If you’re experiencing overwhelm, here are some ideas to help you get moving again:

1. Establish boundaries

If you’re doing too much, chances are you said yes to too many things (even if the person you said yes to is you). Boundary issues can show up in other ways, too, such as letting others run your schedule or letting others’ priorities or drama become yours. If you’re feeling guilty because you’re not doing everything for everybody, you’ve got boundary issues.

Start by identifying at least one place where you can say no in your work and in your personal life. Your time is your most valuable asset, and you should be the one who decides how you manage it.

2. Let go of fear

I know, easier said than done, but that’s why we were gifted with courage. Courage allows you to experience fear and to make decisions that fly in the face of fear when necessary. Procrastination, playing small, not participating, fear of missing out…all of these can contribute to overwhelm.

You can try responding to fear-based thoughts and actions by asking yourself what would or could happen if you weren’t afraid. What could happen if I didn’t procrastinate? What could happen if I go big instead of playing small? What could happen if I put myself out there?

When you take the fear away and imagine what something would be like without it, or what you could accomplish in its absence, you may discover some very exciting possibilities. You may also discover that some things you were worried about aren’t that big of a deal.

3. Let go of the need to control everything

Seriously…this can really stand in your way. And it’s probably even worse if you’re good at most things you do. The need to control everything can lead to unnecessary micromanaging, focusing on perfection rather than process and completion, and it can also cause excessive worry, none of which are going to help you get ahead.

A need to control often comes from not trusting others or from a fear of loss of control. But as long as you insist that everything has to be done under your thumb, to your standard, and in your way, you’re going to continue to contribute significantly to your own stress level, and eventually that can become overwhelm.

The whole point of being in control of everything is so you feel better, right? How’s that working out for you? 😉 I poke at this because this was definitely something I struggled with when I was younger. Ironically, it never helped my life improve…

See if you can start by delegating one thing you’re doing to someone else. No, it’s probably not going to be done your way, but hey, at least you don’t have to do it! Empower others to take control and give them a chance try their way. Or show someone how to do something (without insisting that it be exactly how you would do it). Tell them you’re there if they need help, and then let it go unless you’re asked for help. (No helicopter delegating…!)

By taking measures to decrease overwhelm, you are valuing your own worth. We’ve all heard the phrase less is more, and it can apply here too – doing more doesn’t usually equal getting more. Unless we’re talking about stress – you’ll usually get more stress…

Remind yourself that quality is almost always better than quantity. And when it comes to how you’re living your life, you don’t get time back, so take the steps you can to make the most of it!

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Summer program not what you thought it would be? How to make the best of it

Summer program not what you thought it would be? How to make the best of it

Summer is a great time for continuing education: young artist programs, entrepreneurship programs, internships, and certification programs abound, giving people of all different ages and experience levels an opportunity to enhance their knowledge and skill level in some way.

If you auditioned and accepted a program or registered for one this summer, I can imagine you were excited about it! While these experiences are often wonderful, they can also come with challenges. And unfortunately, they can be downright unpleasant sometimes.

A program should be a place to gain knowledge and experience and to build relationships – the last thing anyone wants is to have a bad time. But just like all instructors aren’t the same, all programs are not created equal either, and not everyone excels at running a program (or being in one).

If you find yourself in a program that turns out to be something less than desired, here are some ways to try and make the best of it:

1. Avoid complaining with other participants

When things aren’t going well, it’s easy to commiserate with others. This usually escalates quickly into a bitch-fest where the bashing of program employees, faculty, or even other participants ensues.

Do yourself a really big favor, and don’t get caught up in this. There’s a good chance things you say will get passed on. While it’s really tempting to get things off your chest, this is not the way to do it.

Rather than jumping on the complaining wagon, steer any comments like this toward problem solving. The conversation will be much more productive, and you won’t be associated with having a negative attitude.

2. Push (kindly) for clear communication

If the program is unorganized or doesn’t seem to be giving you a clear idea of what’s going on, don’t be afraid to ask questions and ask for clarity – just be sure to do it in a kind way.

People are usually trying to do the best they can. And while that can fall short of expectations, people who just don’t care are probably not the norm. If people are trying, it doesn’t help to give them a lot of frustrated energy or attitude. Chances are that will only slow them down even more.

If there is a lack of organization that seems to be caused by overwhelm, why not offer to help? You’re there anyway, and if it will make your experience a happier one, this might be a way to enjoy your experience more (and be a hero to everyone else).

3. Protect your own energy

Programs bring together a lot of different people, and it’s quite common that everyone – participants, faculty/presenters, and staff – are all creatives…

That means a lot of different personalities, behaviors, attitudes, and emotions surrounding you all at once! It’s common that people disagree, get frustrated, and even get in heated arguments.

Taking on the energy of others can really affect your ability to have your own experience. If you’ve ever been in a good mood and then someone comes along who isn’t and suddenly you don’t feel so great anymore, you know what I mean.

Just imagine a force field around yourself – one that protects you from outside influences like the energy of others, and news you hear, and germs (!) – and do this every morning.

If this sounds silly to you, that’s ok – it’s just a visual that accompanies the conscious decision to keep things out of your being that you don’t want to let in. I used to get sick all the time, and once I started doing this that almost quit happening completely. Now it seems that aside from the occasional allergies (which also don’t happen often), I only get sick once every 7-10 years.

I don’t know if you’ll have a similar experience, but it’s certainly worth a shot for something that’s so easy to do.

4. Practice empathy

It’s not unusual that someone (or more than one person) stands out to you as a person who is either very into themselves or condescending, or possesses some other characteristic you find to be unfavorable.

Just remember that people who tend to exhibit behaviors like this are usually struggling with finding their own place, and they usually feel insecure. I’m not saying you should tolerate unacceptable behavior – it’s ok to set boundaries. But perhaps consider the possibility that under that external jerky façade is someone yearning to be accepted, and some kindness would go a long way.

Yes, connecting with people like this can take some extra effort. But I’ve seen people with these kinds of insecurities completely change their behavior and outlook in as little as a couple of weeks, all because they were shown kindness.

Go out of your way to make someone like this feel included. Be a leader and take some time to see if you can discover some of the good qualities the person possesses. Who knows, you might make a good friend (and possibly change someone’s life).

Just like anything, most experiences are what you make of them – even if it’s learning what you want to avoid in the future! Perhaps there’s a greater lesson to be learned than what you expected. Practically everything provides an opportunity to learn, even if it’s not what you originally envisioned. It’s up to you what you’ll take away from your experience – challenge yourself to find the value in any situation!

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Is Your Idea of “Winning” Expecting Too Much?

Is Your Idea of “Winning” Expecting Too Much?

I’ve noticed in my coaching lately that a lot of conversations have come up surrounding the concept of high expectations.

There’s nothing wrong with high expectations. In fact, setting the bar high usually means that we get more done than we thought we could.

There is an issue, however, with unrealistic high expectations; that self-asserted pressure that something you’ve set out to do must absolutely be executed or accomplished completely or to a certain level, and if that doesn’t happen, then you’re a failure. It’s a black and white approach that essentially states an all-or-nothing acceptance. If you fulfill your expectations, fine. And if you come up short, then nothing you did matters.

The problem with this, of course, is that you probably did a lot of good things, maybe even great things, attempting to fulfill those expectations. Here are some examples of what I’m talking about:

Your goal was to work out every day this week. You worked out four times.

Your goal was to eat only healthy foods this week. You ate some things that aren’t so great for you a few times.

Your goal was to write an article today. You got an outline done and half of the article written.

Your goal was to practice for an hour every day this week. You practiced every day, but only for a half hour each day.

Your goal was to clean the house today. You managed to vacuum and get some papers filed.

In each of these examples, a goal was established. And if you decided to do something like one of these and you hadn’t been building up to it at all, then these would be high expectations. Changing your schedule from not doing a certain habit to doing it every day or all at once is a big step.

You’ll also notice that in each of these examples, there were steps taken toward the goal. That’s awesome! But so often, those parts are ignored. Instead of giving yourself credit for the four days you worked out, you criticize yourself for not working out every day…

If you’ve ever put some good effort into something, just to be told ONLY what you did wrong, you know what I’m talking about. It’s deflating. Sure, we want to know how to improve, but when we only notice our shortcomings, eventually (if not right away) we begin to wonder what the point of trying is.

I recently read a white paper by Tim Ferris, who is probably most famously known as the author of The 4-Hour Work Week. The article was on rituals he likes as part of his morning routine, and credits these as what he does to help himself “win the day.” Ferris says that if he starts his morning off right, this sets up how the rest of his day will go. Ferris mentions five rituals that he aims to accomplish each morning.

Two things about this article really stood out to me:

1. Ferris states that if he manages to accomplish 3 of the 5 rituals, he’s “won the morning”

2. He says, “I’ve deliberately set a low bar for ‘win’”

There’s a lot of hype about taking action – motivational talks, videos, articles, and programs, all urging you to make it happen! And that is absolutely essential, but so is how you make it happen.

Big, lofty goals are ok – that’s how big things get accomplished! But how about leaving your expectations at the door? Get excited about the possibility, and then see what your mind and body’s thresholds are. See where you need a little extra time or motivation. See where you might need to break things down into smaller goals.

Next time you set out to create a new habit or accomplish a new goal, set the insistence of high expectations aside. See what happens. Give yourself credit for what you could do, and then perhaps you’ll feel excited to try to do a bit more.

When you allow yourself to stay in a discovery-like phase as you attempt your goals, it allows you to create an individualized version of what is successful for you.

Essentially, the whole idea is to move forward – perhaps moving in the direction of your goal is a better definition of winning than 100% fulfillment. 70% of something is still moving forward.

1% of something is moving forward. 🙂

Come hang out with us! Click here to get access to my free subscriber info, including tips and exclusive subscriber giveaways, delivered with love to your inbox. I tell some good stories and give extra insight that you’ll only see inside. You’ll also get a FREE copy of my QuickGuide, The Best 3 Ways to Make or Break Your Performance Career! 🙂

How Committed Are You to Your Creative Career?

How Committed Are You to Your Creative Career?

Anyone who made the decision to enter into a career as a creative entrepreneur knew that it would take commitment. When asked about their commitment level, most people say, “Of course I’m committed!” And I believe them – I’m certain on some level they are.

But what many people may not know is that commitment does indeed come in different levels. The question is: does the kind of commitment you have influence the success of your creative career?

Based on what I’ve known to be true for myself and for those I’ve coached, the answer is yes. Below are some thoughts on different levels of commitment, each building on the one before, and what it might mean to your success potential.

Commitment to the creative concept
This one’s usually not a problem at all. If you weren’t committed to the idea of what you’re doing, you probably wouldn’t be doing it anymore. This is usually a commitment to the fun parts – the things happening as part of your career building that are almost always enjoyable.

If you don’t feel committed to your creative concept, it’s time to have a talk with yourself about why you chose to develop your creative skill into a career and see if you should continue that path. This can be a tough conversation, but it’s an important one.

Commitment to showing up
A lot of people think they are committed to their creativity and want to work in their chosen field, but what they really mean is that they are committed to showing up. They are definitely committed to their creative concept, and they want to work in their chosen field.

Showing up is important, and sometimes it’s the most important thing you can do (we’ve all had those days). This is a commitment to putting in the time, but it’s not a commitment to what happens during that time. Many people show up to create, to practice, or to execute, but that doesn’t actually happen. They meander through their work without much purpose. Or they are distracted by a commitment to perfection rather than being committed to the true essence of the work. Or they easily become overwhelmed without a system in place. Or they struggle with fear, oftentimes not knowing that’s an underlying issue.

This basically amounts to busy work. It can feel like things are getting done when they are not, or it can feel like nothing’s getting done, both of which ultimately lead to frustration.

Commitment to creativity
When you truly commit to creativity, you are saying yes to process, and this is where great work is done. It can be a messy, dirty, mistake-ridden experience, and often is. When you dive into process, you’re diving into the essence of what makes your career move forward. You can’t do this work without be committed to your creative concept and to showing up.

Process can be different for each person, but if one wants to continue to improve, it is not always easy. To be truly committed to creativity, you have to be in the right frame of mind. You must be in a place where you feel free to explore without judgment – that’s where you’ll find your good stuff and really be able to cultivate and refine your work.

Commitment to your vision
If you’re truly committed to your creative vision, you are finding ways to make things happen, even (especially) when you don’t care to do all that needs to be done. Admin work, phone calls, networking events, marketing – a lot of people find tasks such as these to be difficult, and yet without these kinds of non-creative aspects, the chances of creating a thriving business are very slim to none.

Creative vision drives you through all parts of your work – the fun parts and the not-so-fun. If you can’t do something, you’ll do anything and everything from learning a new skill to swallowing your pride and asking for help; you’ll invest money even if that’s difficult for you, and you’ll delegate. Commitment to your creative vision doesn’t mean that you necessarily enjoy all aspects of building a successful career. It just means you’ll do whatever it takes.

Having this level of commitment doesn’t mean you have to have all the answers, it means you’ve clearly identified what you want and where you want to go and that you’ve taken the time to visualize your career path. It can be hard to stay motivated when you don’t know what you’re working toward, so if you haven’t had a sit down to think about your creative vision, do it! It’s important. 🙂

Where are you with your commitment to your creative career? Are you all in, or do you experience some challenges that keep you from fully committing to your creative vision?

If you find you need help aligning your desire to succeed with your level of commitment, don’t be afraid to reach out and work on this with someone. It can make all the difference in the amount of time it takes you to get ahead.

Come hang out with us! Click here to get access to my free subscriber info, including tips and exclusive subscriber giveaways, delivered with love to your inbox. I tell some good stories and give extra insight that you’ll only see inside. You’ll also get a FREE copy of my QuickGuide, The Best 3 Ways to Make or Break Your Performance Career! 🙂

The Pros and Cons of “What If”

The Pros and Cons of “What If”

Chances are, if you’re a human, you’ve started a sentence or two with, “What if…” followed by some form of thought. You’ve probably also noticed (even if you’ve never considered it) that “what if” is typically followed by one of two kinds of phrases: a positive, curious-like question, or one typically associated with dread, fear, or anxiety.

In both cases, “what if” is about possibilities – things that could go well, could be interesting, could inspire, could be exciting…or things that could go wrong, could cause pain, or could lead to disaster. And in both cases, we don’t know the answer. “What if” is just the starting point.

It’s a very powerful starter. “What if” can turn things around or send thoughts into a downward spiral. So it’s not something you should use without knowing its consequences.

When we are in potential danger, the ego tends to go into protector mode. “I’ll save you!” it says, and it courageously and dutifully sends you all kinds of worst-case scenario thoughts. After all, if you avoid the situation, you can’t get hurt, right? Problem solved!

Unfortunately, the brain can’t distinguish between fear caused by real life-threatening situations and those that are not so at all; all it knows is this: if you feel threatened, you must be in danger.

These kinds of “what if” questions are typically forthcoming without much thought at all. They bring to light anything and everything that could go wrong, in order to assess things that might cause harm to you in dangerous (or perceived to be dangerous) situations.

When you don’t know that this is what’s happening, you may tend to buy into these ideas. And anyone who has done that knows what happens: when you believe the potential disaster “what if” questions, or even if you just choose not to address them, the level of anxiety tends to skyrocket. You can also experience difficulty if you have insecurities about the potential issue, as these thoughts can prey on things you do not feel confident about already.

The good news is you can ward off these fear-driven “what if” questions by doing a little work ahead of time, so that the next time they appear, you’ll know what to do:

1. Before entering a situation that may cause fear, such as presenting your work, interviewing/auditioning, public speaking, etc., make a list of potential issues to troubleshoot so that you are as prepared as possible.

“What if I forget what I’m supposed to say?”
I’ll prepare a note card for my presentation with bullet points / I’ll make something up until I find my place / I’ll ask the pianist to give me a word

2. Be prepared to answer any “what if” questions with evidence.

“What if they hate me?”
Now how is that up to you? No one has ever said they hated you in the past, so you have no proof that’s ever happened. Besides, your job here is not to make people like you.

3. Go with the scenario and then ask for an action step.

“What if I fumble the whole presentation?”
Ok, let’s go with that. You fumble the whole presentation. Now what?

You may not be able to stop these kinds of “what if” thoughts from happening altogether, but you can take their power away and prevent them from filling you with anxiety.

Now let’s talk about the other kinds of “what if” statements: those that evoke a positive state of wonder.

“What if” statements that seek to discover can allow you to break through barriers created by limiting beliefs. By using these statements, many people have solved problems, invented things, created new methods, and opened themselves to greater things.

These “what if” questions explore possibilities you haven’t tried before. They can serve as catalysts to more ideas. There are usually two kinds of reactions to these – an excited, inspired feeling that evokes a continuation of thought along the same lines, or an almost-immediate denial of the possibility.

Positive “what if” questions can ask us to challenge our minds to see past what’s obvious. If you allow them, they can be responsible for mindset shifts, groundbreaking work, and expanding your potential.

If you have trouble allowing yourself to dream up new possibilities, or to hear such things when presented by someone else, try this: just be quiet. 🙂 Just because the idea is out there doesn’t mean you have to do it. But you also don’t need to dismiss it right away.

Just allow the “what if” to be. Even if it’s something that seems impossible, just let it hang there. Sometimes amazing things happen when you allow the mind to stay open. If you can’t resist a response, try something like, “Oh, that’s an interesting thought!”

If you’ve never considered the power you have with “what if,” now you know it should be taken seriously. These two little words have the potential to make or break many situations. And although you may not be able to determine when “what if” shows up, you definitely have the ability to choose what you do with it.

Come hang out with us! Click here to get access to my free subscriber info, including tips and exclusive subscriber giveaways, delivered with love to your inbox. I tell some good stories and give extra insight that you’ll only see inside. You’ll also get a FREE copy of my QuickGuide, The Best 3 Ways to Make or Break Your Performance Career! 🙂

When Needing a Break Becomes Going Into Hiding

When Needing a Break Becomes Going Into Hiding

We’ve all had those days: your desire to go to work is non-existent, and all you want to do is curl up and read a good book or spend time with your two best friends, couch and Netflix.

There’s nothing wrong with that – everyone needs to take a step away and regroup occasionally. In fact, it can be to your advantage. Taking a break allows us to recharge, which can boost creativity and productivity.

But what if you’ve been feeling this way for a while now? When feeling like you need to take a break becomes perpetual, something is out of balance. And when you’re working for yourself, it can be difficult to incentivize yourself to get back into work mode. If you’re going into hiding and staying there, it’s time to check in with yourself and see if one of these things is the cause:

If you’ve got too much on your plate, your brain might be rebelling. One of the most effective ways to deal with overwhelm is to break down what needs to be done into smaller, more manageable tasks.

If the tasks still feel overwhelming, they are not small enough! For example, if the task is to email someone and you’re not sure what to say so you are hesitating, make the first part of that task a draft or bullet points of the email.

If the breaking down of tasks or organizing them is in itself overwhelming, get some help! Work with a friend or a coach who can lead you through this.

Oftentimes having someone to assist in the decision-making process can help get things moving again. This is why people hire personal organizers or have a friend come over and “sit with them” while they go through things. These people can help keep things moving, and they can provide insight when you get stuck. Whoever you choose should be someone who excels in this kind of organizational processing and has a supportive, positive attitude. You’re looking for help, not for someone to commiserate with or someone who is going to make you feel ashamed of being overwhelmed.

Burn out
If you’ve been pushing yourself beyond your personal limits for too long now, there’s a good chance your body and brain are fighting back. Like it or not, you’re trapped in a human, and humans can only go so long before they need a break. Ignore that need, and eventually you’ll experience that lack of desire to continue (or worse, your body will shut down with sickness and force you to stop altogether).

Tolerance levels are different for each person, so you really can’t compare yourself to others when it comes to how much you can endure before you need to take a break. Pacing is also individual; one person might be able to work at a fast pace for hours before needing a break, and someone else might work more efficiently at a more even-keeled pace and need frequent breaks. There is no “right” ratio – the best way to determine your most efficient work pace and tolerance levels is to observe how you work and how that makes you feel, and then to adjust and compare.

If you’re feeling burned out, you’ll want to ease back into tasks starting with things that you enjoy. Be careful not to insist that you take on too much while you’re getting back into a good flow, or you may find yourself right back where you started.

It’s quite common to want to run away from work when we feel like we don’t know what we’re doing. Fear of failure and even fear of success can keep us from moving forward. And fear of the unknown is a primal instinct – we might get hurt, or worse, something might kill us!

But when fear of the unknown impedes your work progress, it’s time to figure out how to make whatever it is that’s holding you back less scary. And that usually means it’s time to get some help.

Research, customer support, and professional advice can all be useful to figure out what we don’t know. Yes, you must invest time and/or money to acquire the knowledge you need, but if you’re being held back and your business isn’t growing because of it, then it’s worth it.

Every single business must make investments in order to grow. Sometimes this is easy to see, because the investments are tangible – like renting a space or buying a piece of equipment, supplies, or product inventory. But it can be more difficult to make the decision to invest in the acquisition of things like knowledge, confidence, and productivity tools – especially if you think you should already have those skills.

Investing in the things you don’t know how to do is really investing in yourself, whether you learn how to do it yourself or empower yourself to move forward by getting help from someone else. And that’s one of the greatest investments you can make, because that information stays with you regardless of what you do. More ability and less fear? Win-win!

Disappointment / Frustration
If you’re hiding because things aren’t going well, it might help to look at things from a different perspective. First of all, nothing is going to get better while you’re hiding.

Think about a boxer: if a boxer is taking a beating and then the round ends, he gets to go to his corner for a brief break. Obviously, he is disappointed with the way things are going and he’s undoubtedly frustrated that the hard work he’s put into training is not paying off.

He gets a talking to and some water. He might get cleaned up a bit. During that break, the boxer may not want to go back out there. He could do just that and quit, but that would be the end of his career.

So unless he really wants to end his career, he has to go back out. But is he in it? Or does he go in physically and check out mentally? If he checks out, he will most likely be knocked down, if not out.

If he’s really exhausted, or needs more time to get himself back in the right state to try and turn things around, he might try to hold his opponent a lot. Maintenance mode – just get some time to pass until he can muster up some more strength.

But if he has decided that he’s not going down without a fight, he sharpens his mind and thinks faster. He allows primal instinct to take over. He moves toward his opponent rather than backing away, going on offense. He refuses to take no for an answer if at all possible.

It’s the same for work as it is for the boxer – unless you really don’t like what you’re doing anymore and you’re ready to quit, you’ve got to get back out there, even when it hurts. Take a break for sure, and use some time to figure out what’s going on, what you might be missing, and how you might try things differently. Then pick yourself up and try again. That’s part of what being an entrepreneur is all about.

It’s ok to get knocked down – anyone who runs a business gets bruised here and there. And it’s ok to take a break and regroup. To identify a break vs. the desire to hide, look for structure. A break looks like saying “I need to step away for a bit,” or “I need to take the day off from this.” Going into hiding may sound more like, “I don’t feel like going to work today,” or “I’m really busy with other stuff today,” and you think things like this repeatedly and find excuses to avoid work. You tell people you just need a break, but the break lingers.

I say this all the time, because it’s important: if you can’t do something by yourself, ask for help. All successful people have a team! Some of my most successful clients are the ones who have learned how easy it is to empower themselves by picking up the phone and saying, “I’m stuck.” That tiny S.O.S. can be all it takes to get things moving again.

Remind yourself that you’re never really stuck. You always have choices, and you can choose things that can get you back on your path to success in no time.

Come hang out with us! Click here to get access to my free subscriber info, including tips and exclusive subscriber giveaways, delivered with love to your inbox. I tell some good stories and give extra insight that you’ll only see inside. You’ll also get a FREE copy of my QuickGuide, The Best 3 Ways to Make or Break Your Performance Career! 🙂

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