If, like me, you become a bit panicky as you feel the shorter days, impending darkness, and the loss of your multiple-walks-per-day-happiness regimen, I invite you to join me in my strategy for fall (and forever):
Be the light.
Start the fire.
(Sometimes I am a walking slogan, okay!)
But it is creative flow, and the ways in which it intersects with others—more than praise or recognition—that genuinely and sustainably lights us up from the inside out.
There are 97 days left in the year and what I most want to know is:
What will you create?
Maybe you will...
Establish a morning routine that doesn’t involve checking Instagram before you get out of bed
Shoot the music video that is haunting your dreams
Organize an event for a cause close to your heart
Launch the podcast that the world needs
Write the book proposal you said you would write last year
Edit & polish your pilot treatment so you can finally send it to that person who asked for it
Develop your signature talk and don’t stop until you get it booked
Start the weekly Instagram show you can’t stop thinking about
Create a new offering for your clients that you can’t wait to deliver
Reach out to 100 people who need to know about your extraordinary new project
Show up for the movement practice your body has been calling for
I am captain of the team of people who want to do ALL. OF. THE. THINGS.
(Hands up, all my co-captains out there).
Multi-faceted people are a vital force in our shifting world, but we must be rigorous with structures that allow us to bring work to graceful completion.
The best thing that works for me and my clients is to choose short, focused sprints (I call them leaps) where we can go ALL IN.
Can you select the ONE thing that matters most?
Let’s be clear that choosing only one leap to focus on right now does not mean you have chosen to be only one thing in your life. It does not even mean that you have only goal. It simply means you are clear about what matters most.
Creating excellent work of substance takes tremendous time and energy, and to do so, we have to learn to place some of our passions, ideas, and identities on the back-burner while we focus on the project at hand.
Who you become as you bring each project to completion is exactly the person you need to be to launch into the next one.
Here are five rules (& practices) to support your process:
#1--The Rule: SHOW UP
Duh. I know. But the truth is that you will do everything you can to avoid doing the work you most desire to do when there is no one asking you for it.
And—most likely, you experience a cacophony of voices and forces demanding you attend to their desires.
If you identify as a woman, POC, LGBTQ+, or as a member of any other marginalized community, you are fighting centuries of systems and conditioning reinforcing the idea that your creative contributions are generally less valuable, and that what you have to say, make, or do with your time is less important than responding to the needs of others.
Showing up for our creative work is no small potatoes, and, for some of us—a revolution.
And it’s beyond time.
#2—The RULE: Turn off the noise
Here are some of the most common “noises” (inner and outer) that inhibit our work:
The noise is big.
The noise is not your fault.
But you must do absolutely everything in your power to make the sound of your creative voice louder than the noise.
Before you begin a creative work session, put your devices on airplane mode, set a timer for 3 minutes and let yourself write out every single fear, doubt, piece of angst, story of being an imposter, and trashy thought or idea that is standing in your beautiful way.
Then put that paper in the recycling bin.
Take a breath, shake out your body, and release some sound and any remaining sludge keeping you from your brilliance.
Take 3 more breaths to invite in all your inner and outer support.
Do your work.
My friend, author Sarah Selecky, wrote an exquisitely helpful piece on Digital Minimalism. My most important boundary with the digital world = no email or social media before I have written for at least 33 minutes in the morning.
#3—The RULE: Tell the truth
I adore the magic of helping people develop aligned, creative, and ethical strategies to amplify and become more visible with their work.
If the work lacks truth, the strategy will never work.
Great work involves taking the lid off and telling the truth.
We are afraid to tell the truth because we are afraid we will feel unsafe if we do—because this person or that person from our past will not like us or accept us, or because we will feel embarrassed or uncomfortable.
But embarrassment is a prerequisite to dynamic creative work.
And telling the truth is what moves people.
Do a free write, draw, or dance on any/all of these prompts... What am I holding back? What does my inner creator want to say? What stories or questions am I obsessed with? Where do I feel this in my body?
Make a commitment to taking the lid off in your work, and remind yourself that you have the capacity and strength to deal with what happens when you do.
If you feel stuck on the blocks, work with a therapist, coach, or energy worker to help you clear what is in the way. Sometimes one conversation can change everything.
#4—The RULE: Forgive yourself
If you have ever taught, coached, or guided a young person, you know that no substantial growth or learning happens when the child is in a place of shame.
The same is true for us.
When we make a commitment to any new endeavor, one of the most essential and often forgotten steps is to forgive ourselves, so that our creative parts feel welcome and invited to show up for the process.
Perhaps this is about letting go of an old dream, a sticky collaboration that didn’t have closure, or when it didn't work out the last time.
Ask yourself: What do I need to forgive, in order to forge ahead?
Then, for everything you wrote, put your hand on your heart, and say the Hawaiian Hoʻoponopono prayer to yourself:
Thank you. I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me.
Write this (or any other words of forgiveness that appeal to you) on a post-it and put it where you can see it. Then say it and forgive yourself as often as you need to throughout your creative process.
#5—The RULE: Be open to what comes up
Do you ever notice yourself saying:
I am absolutely willing to go all in as long as I can guarantee it will go WELL (and that every single person and their mother and their cat will like me when I do it).
Oh nelly. ME TOO!
But nothing creative or interesting happens when we know the outcome.
The quality of your work (and life) is directly proportional to your willingness to dive headfirst into the unknown.
We become so obsessed with results, that we oppress our greatest creative energy with our need to get it right, and be perfect right away.
But having the bravery to go through the uncertainty, mystery and doubt fertilizes your instincts, and makes way for the inspired flashes of 'ahas' and 'I do knows.'
Today, make the brave decision to be open to all possible outcomes in your work. Summon willingness to open up to the magic of what can evolve when you fling yourself into the life and breath of creative process.
It will help to get clear with yourself about what stage of process you are in--the generative stage, the editing/shaping stage, the packaging/shipping stage, or the marketing/amplification stage—and do your best to honor the stage you are in without trying to simultaneously be in another one.
Maybe you whisper to yourself:
I can't wait to see how this unfolds...
Most likely you do not need all of these rules right now, but I have a hunch you may need at least one. And DO NOT be fooled by their simplicity!
Truly honoring these rules will...
As long as you are willing to go all in…
I want us to become so distracted by the light of our creative process this fall, that we simply can’t be bothered by Holiday overwhelm.
I want us to become addicted to folllowing-through and the resevoir of self-trust that begins to form as a result.
I want my inbox and DMs to flood with messages in December, telling me about the fire you are building, and, most importantly, the person you are becoming in building it.
I am going to be doing a free Facebook Live on Monday, September 30th (Here on this page) at 4pm PT / 7pm ET to teach more in depth on these five rules, and answer any questions about your projects and process this fall.
I would love to connect with you and hear about what you are working on!
You can also head over to my Instagram and tell me in the comments of my most recent post what you are committing to this fall, or hit reply to this email. I read everything you write to me and I care about your process.
You are 1000 percent onto something.
And I can't wait to see the sparks.
Dear anyone who is NOT feeling it today,
To take this picture we laid down in a vineyard, in the rain, in a sort of pilates boat pose so we wouldn’t mess up our hair and then tried to look relaxed.
In the moment I was anxious, angsty, annoyed, and doubtful—only later when we saw this magical shot was I elated.
Our photographer Megan Allen is a genius and took this shot so we can put it on our wall and so people can rightly gush over its beauty but I think she also took it to remind us that we will not always feel magical when we are making magic.
We wake up to write and we are grumpy.
We go to a meeting for something we thought we cared about and suddenly we care zero percent and are annoyed with everybody we once loved.
We head to our supposed HAPPY place — time with our children, a studio, a beach — but we get there and we feel quietly depressed and lost.
All of a sudden your bliss, the one magic you thought you could count on is eclipsed by a dark stirring within. you second-guess everything, you feel like nothing matters and so you think:
If I really loved or was meant for _______ (insert activity / person / pathway formally known as YOUR BLISS) then I wouldn’t feel so ________ (insert painfully uncomfortable FEELING).
Joseph Campbell says follow your bliss, which is right, like...OVERALL.
But your bliss—or, as the Japanese would say, your Ikigai —your reason for being—doesn’t always look like what it sounds.
Sometimes your bliss role-plays as extreme dissatisfaction.
Sometimes your magic shows up as a storm of comparison and jealousy.
Sometimes your ikigai means you eat a big bowl of doubt for breakfast.
So here’s to you, playing the long game, letting the wide river of your courage sing louder than an afternoon rainstorm of feelings. To getting up and doing it anyway, feeling the opposite of magical some days so your future self can look back and say: “thank you, brave one.”
The theme of the summer is magic, but sometimes magic does not always look like magic and I think it’s good to be honest about this.
I believe in you (even when you aren’t feeling it).
Photo by Megan Allen of Studio 22 Photography
We. did. the. thing.
After nearly a year of inspiring collaborations, ambitious visions, and healthy(ish?) doses of stress and anxiety, I am exceptionally proud to share that Michael and I are now married humans.
Our wedding was an experience beyond what I could have ever imagined.
It rained, it stopped raining, it rained again, it rainbow-ed, and then the sun made a surprise entrance in the middle of the ceremony that we couldn’t have directed better if we tried.
We had about 7 different plans that changed 7 different times up until 7 minutes before go time about where it would be and where we would face and how we should probably go lie down in a vineyard and take photos in the rain and should people eat appetizers before or after because maybe the sun would get the hint if we planned it just right?
We make beautiful plans and then they change and we experience a more beautiful kind of beauty we could never have anticipated.
Doesn't it feel like the quality of our life is determined by how we show up in the spaces between those shifts and changes—what tone of voice we use when we switch to plan B and how we treat other people when we are actually going with plan Z and can we still locate our bodies and make a breath or two in the midst of all of the muchness?
Mostly I feel like I am at the beginning of the greatest adventure with the most extraordinary man and I cry every five minutes at the wonder of it all.
NOW...Let's talk about Act TWO of 2019.
Sam Cartagena, Publicist and Founder of Ambition & Mischief, interviewed me for Mischief Makers—an interview series focused on creative women and their entrepreneurial journey — and I am sharing the answers below.
Then, you can listen to this audio recording of me interviewing Sam about being your own PR genius and mindful marketing.
who are you?
I am a creator.
I write, speak, teach, direct, and coach on the creative process, becoming seen, heard, and known, and elevated and alive performance. I founded The Collective for Women Creators. I believe we are all miracles who forget we are miracles and that we were not born for boxes. I am dedicated to building a future we can't wait to wake up to and bringing more three-dimensional women-driven stories, leadership teams, and art into the world.
what exciting projects are you working on right now?
We are currently working on a big expansion of The Collective. I am building an online course that will be released this fall. I am working on a book and directing my 72-year-old Dad in an experimental autobiographical cabaret.
Also, I am about to get married.
receive My Book of rules // not rules for creating anything