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Summer Office Hours

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In honor of longer days and sunnier skies, I'm now offering FREE summer office hours twice a month!

These are potent 20-minute consultations around your #1 burning question when it comes to getting your voice out into the world. The details:

  • Offered twice per month (usually Friday afternoons PST)
  • Three 20-minute time slots available
  • First-come, first-served basis
  • One session per awesome dreamer, please
  • Upcoming dates released in my email newsletter (sign up below)

Topics covered include how to clarify your vision, define your message, get stuff done and launch your creative gifts into the world.

Schedule Now

 

How Do I Know Which Passion Project or Business Idea to Invest In?

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Throughout my 20s, I always had this feeling that some creative endeavor was calling to me. I wanted to invest my energy into something substantial, meaningful and passion-filled: but what?
My inner artist was seduced with dreams of taking up ceramics, jewelry making, graphic design, photography and film. My curious mind desired higher education in psychology, marketing and business. My big heart craved explorations in yoga, meditation and love. Frozen at the intersection of so many beautiful visions, I sat in the middle unable to move. It became easier to act in the direction of other people’s dreams because I wasn’t sure which of my own was “the right one.”  

A long process of self-exploration and experimentation followed, eventually landing me on the heartfelt conviction to write my first book and launch a new coaching business. Investing in these ventures meant hours upon hours of unpaid time for goals that promised no sure result, all while sacrificing my other dreams. How did I know it was the right direction? Internal and external forces showed up to guide the way. In fact, once you know the signs they are impossible to miss.

On the fence about which passion project or business idea to commit to? In my experience, these are the characteristics to look for in your “right” project:

Fear

Lots of it. Fear can be a useful compass showing you the direction toward what you have to do. Does it scare the shit out of you? Good. That’s where you start.

“The more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul… If it meant nothing to us, there'd be no Resistance.” – Steven Pressfield

Motivation

No one’s making you do it. In fact, no one would ever know if you just let it slip by without putting your creation out into the world.

Money

You would love to get paid for it, but even if you never make a dime, it would still be worth doing.

“Do not depend on the hope of results. You may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself.” -Tomas Merton

Self Denial

This is how you feel when you don’t give time to your project. Busy? Procrastinating? Doubtful? It doesn't matter the reason: when you leave your most important project in stasis for too long, it starts calling to you. You feel plugged up, twisted up, pressure building. Manifestations can be mild to severe.

Relief

This is how you feel when you close up a good focused session working on your project. A good old-fashioned release of energy, emotion, caring and brainpower. An intuitive pull that says, yes, thank you for coming. You did the right thing.

Intention

The drive comes from within, not from outside pressure. This work feels true to your heart. It feels aligned with who you really are and what you really care about. There’s nothing manufactured, manipulated, or striving about it.

Uncensored

In the initial phases, working behind a closed door, your creativity is unfettered by outside opinions or obligations. The work is pure. It’s just for you. No feedback rounds, brand guidelines or target audience. It’s 100% the way you envision it, no holds barred. No watering down.

“When it comes to writing… the space can be humble, and it really needs only one thing: a door which you are willing to shut. Like your bedroom, your writing room should be private, a place where you go to dream.” –Stephen King

Recognition

People around you notice the momentum that’s building. Questions are asked. Curiosities are piqued. Something is brewing in there, some force is building, and it’s drawing attention.

Intuition

Your efforts start turning heads, but no one knows the full gravity of what you’re working toward (yet). Something inside you knows it’s important. Something beyond logic and reason tells you to keep trucking. You intuit that there’s more to be explored and it will be worth the effort. Follow the mystery. See how deep this rabbit hole can go.

Curiosity

You have endless investigative energy when it comes to your project. Beginner’s mind. Everything is exciting and relevant and revelatory. Your ears perk up when people talk about related topics. You listen closely when useful knowledge or advice comes your way.

“I want the opportunity to be different. Where do I get the confidence to be different? A lot of it comes from curiosity.” –Brian Grazer

Spontaneity

You don’t always have to be thinking about your personal project for ideas to come to you. Walking at the beach, talking to a friend, taking a shower and falling asleep are all times when they arrive. Ideas seem to arrive spontaneously, beyond your beckoning or control. (Write them down!)

Energy

Someone once told me that my whole body language and facial expression changed when I stopped talking about my day job and started talking about my new secret blog. Enthusiasm abounds when you’re plugged in to the thing you care about most. (In fact, my whole energy changed when I started writing my book.)

Flow

When you’re working on this project, you tend to lose yourself. Minutes or hours go by where you are completely enmeshed with your activity. Lost. Found.

If the majority of these characteristics ring true for your passion project or business idea, you’ve struck gold. Keep at it and the investment will pay off one hundred fold, inside and out. You can even start with these simple questions to spark that big dream of yours.

Three Questions to Spark Your Creative & Business Dream

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Is there a creative or entrepreneurial venture that’s been tugging at your sleeve but you just can’t seem to pull it off? Maybe you want to flush out your documentary idea after work, or spend time with your oil paints while the kids nap. Or you could be itching to turn your love of shopping into a styling business or your crafting talent into an online store. Whatever the body of work that’s been calling to you, I guarantee it’s matched by an equally loud voice of resistance. You don’t have time to waste: there’s only one moment to speak your truth, share your art and put your ideas to the test. And I believe the world needs whatever’s inside that creative soul of yours.

Here are 3 bulletproof steps for developing your business or creative dream. In fact, each step is a question to put to your heart: WHY you care about this vision, WHAT is available to support the process and HOW can you take one baby step forward today.

1. Why do you want this, anyway?

I spent an entire year trying to write my book with little progress. My breakthrough? When someone finally asked WHY I wanted to write this book in the first place. It took 30 minutes of free writing to get past the surface-level expectations and encounter a more soft, raw place in my heart. I found a fierce longing to own my story and create dialogue about issues that I deeply care about. Once I connected with this immovable driving force, all the scattered ego-level motivations were obliterated to ash. Now I was ready to work.

So I challenge you to start with these questions:

  • What do you really want to do or make?
  • Why do you want to do or make it, anyway?
  • What is your most authentic guiding intention?

If you’re really scared to try something, there’s got to be a good reason for it. Get to the nugget of why you care. The answer may surprise you.

2. What resources are available to you?

For many years, I thought I had to meet huge business and creative ambitions with equally superhuman efforts. But going fast and hard always led me to the same destination: burnout. Every time I crawled back to that safe place of mediocrity, resistance raised its flag of victory. This cycle would have continued my whole life if I didn’t take a step back to build my foundation. I started with a yoga practice and then a daily meditation practice. Then writing classes, diet changes, schedule tweaks and accountability partners. As I slowly built up my resources for balance, clarity and community, I saw an increased capacity to sustain efforts toward a larger-than-life goal. And you can, too. 

Inquiries to ponder:

  • What’s stopping me from reaching my creative vision?
  • What tools do I need to get from here to there?
  • What resources and practices are available to help me?

Whether it’s creating a failsafe morning ritual or signing up for a class, start one thing THIS WEEK that supports your vision. There’s merit to investing in a strong foundation before picking up the nail and hammer to build that house. 

3. How can you take one baby step forward, today?

I’ve been meeting tight client deadlines to deliver market-worthy writing content to my clients for seven years, so why couldn’t I do it for myself? Once I started treating my passion project like a client project (with a real deadline, process and discipline) I was finally able to match the results. With a clear foundation of WHY I was writing, tools to help me along the way and a step-by-step plan for moving forward, I committed to writing the first draft of my book in one month. It may have been a shitty first draft, but I did it. 

Figure out your HOW with a few simple questions:

  • What are all the steps between where I am today and where I want to be?
  • How can I break this down into bite-size pieces?
  • What milestones can I commit to today, this week and this month?

Don’t tolerate disorder or distraction, cuz it’s time to work. You’re on a deadline, after all. 

So there it is, my foolproof 3-step plan to developing your creative voice. Hint: your saving grace is that one guiding intention from Step 1. It’s the compass that will steer the ship home, if you let it. 

How have you managed to pull off colossal passion projects, paid or otherwise? What are your biggest challenges in bringing a creative vision to life? I’d love to hear from you.

Why I Commit the First Hour of My Day to Writing My Book

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I’ve never been a morning person.

That first moment I open my eyes is a yank out of the womb: transitioning from the cozy, soft dream world into the raw unpredictable reality of another day on planet earth. I used to hit snooze as many times as possible before flopping out of bed and grumpily finding my way to coffee and a hot shower. But in the past couple years, I’ve found a new relationship with my mornings that has changed everything.

Instead of rolling deeper into the warm covers, I now turn off my alarm and go right to my meditation cushion for 20–30 minutes. Then I make hot tea and sit at my desk to write for 60 minutes. There is focus and purpose and ease in the routine. Consistency wears a path from my intentions to my actions to my results and back again. My intention is to let more heart into my life. Right now, that means finishing my book.

So why do I do my creative work first?

Because if I don't do it first, I risk not doing it at all.

I’ve been freelancing almost six years and tried every combination of “performance optimizing” routines. My experiments have shown that the only way to do something every single day is to do it first. A thousand internal forces will inevitably try to say I’m too busy or tired or untalented to write, and this resistance gains momentum as the day wears on. Finding focus and resolve at 3pm is like trying to board a steam engine blowing past at 60mph. But in the wee hours of the morning, the train is still at station waiting for me to step up.

Because I'm close to the subconscious.

The subconscious is most accessible right before falling asleep and right after waking up. In the morning my creative center is close and the mind hasn’t started working yet. This is a magical time for creation. Throughout the day that energy will get drawn into work, relationships, worries and neurosis. But in those first moments of life each day, it’s all there. Like when the Death Star reaches its full charge with peak potential to destroy. Or build. It’s up to me.

Because I'm fresh.

Sometimes I get inspired to write at night, despite being exhausted from sitting at my computer all day. The energy difference is marked: at night my mind wanders, fingers miss keys and thoughts ramble on. Tired creativity is better than no creativity. But for me, it’s ten times the effort to put out the same volume of writing after dark. When I’m fresh, the words flow out with little prompting (especially after meditation). It feels more like fun than work. Like riding a tube downriver instead of trying to swim against it.

Because the world is still sleeping.

There’s something sovereign about the morning time when the collective consciousness is still fuzzy. It’s a sacred gap between the night world and the daytime frenzy — a quiet space where work can get done. My real work.

AND SOMEONE ELSE IS SLEEPING, TOO.

The world is sleeping — and you know who else is M.I.A? The gremlin (0r inner critic, resistance, self-doubt, whatever you want to call it). If I can outrun the gremlin, the reward is a glorious moment of silence to actually move toward my heart-dream. The gremlin inevitably starts to chime in as I’m buzzing happily with creative output. But it doesn’t matter. I’ve already launched and the boulder is barreling down the mountain. It’s unstoppable now.

Because it makes my day better.

My mood is better. My heart is warm. My creativity is awake. Ideas are more readily available and words flow more easily for client work. It’s like I enter the world with a full charge, ready to take on whatever comes. I’m less focused on results because the hardest part is done. I’ve pointed my compass in the direction of true north, and the rest of the day follows.

Because what I care about matters.

Somewhere along the way, I started believing the world outside was more important than the one inside. Once I was done giving to my family and friends and clients and community, then I could finally give to myself. My reward would be raw, unstructured time to MAKE THINGS.

But I’ve found the demands of the world to be unceasing. No one is going to present me a silver platter of create-just-for-the-sake-of-creating time. If I want to feed my inner life, I have to claim that space for myself. Why? Because my internal world matters. My voice matters. Only I can feel the contours of my own heart and carve sacred space to share that with the world.

I wanted to take back my life, so I changed my days. I wanted to change my days, so I took back my mornings. Now it’s my favorite time of day. Early morning is when I feel most at peace, in the flow, productive and happy. It’s the place I visit first so that I have a better chance of remembering my way back throughout the day. Wearing that path so each time I return, it’s easier to find. That place that only I know, and only I seek.

Looking for support on your own creative or entrepreneurial project? Check out my new one-on-one coaching service.

What My Meditation Practice Teaches Me About Creativity

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A holistic performance coach first taught me meditation techniques three years ago, when I was so blocked up I could hardly write. Soon I was doing three-minute breathing exercises as my morning tea brewed and two years later I tried a week long silent meditation retreat. In the meantime I’ve written my first book, launched a new service offering and reconnected with my creative voice. From finding more balance and flow to self trust and deeper truth, this is what my daily contemplative practice teaches me about creative process.

Big visionaries need big balance.

I’ve always had a gift for thinking big and seeing the highest potential of every person and situation. These imaginings can feel so detailed they draw me like a moth to the flame until I’m almost living in the vision itself. This is a powerful tool for creation, but needs to be balanced with something anchored to the present moment. When I start feeling stressed, flighty, impatient or overwhelmed, I know I’ve gone too far into dreamland and it’s time to come back. That’s where meditation is my go-to salve.

My mindfulness practice reminds me that yes, though my dreams are grand and enticing and impassioned, I don’t have to wait for their manifestation to be happy. The present moment is equally gorgeous and magical and rewarding. It’s all here right now.

Meditation puts me in the flow zone.

One of the greatest gifts of meditation has been learning continuity of attention. In a culture where our minds jump constantly from screen to screen and task to task, combined with a creative bent for free association, it’s easy to get lost in the rabbit hole of obsessive thoughts. Meditation trains the mind to stay steady on one point of focus until your whole being is united in a single activity. “Being lost in the moment,” as people say. Losing track of time.

It’s harmony. Unity. Flow. With training, I’ve found a way to keep my body and mind in one place, working together and not divided against myself. As Kanye puts it: “Don’t let me get in my zone,” because he knows once he gets there, he’s in his power. We all are. Not to mention the feeling of warm contentment is unmistakable.

I build trust in myself.

In yoga, my teachers always challenge us: “Where can you soften in the pose? What can you let go?” They know that when the minimum amount of effort is exerted, a kind of grace follows. It means dropping from your head into your body and letting intuition take over. It’s tapping into the muse. The creative voice. I resisted this mysterious force for a long time because somehow in the process of growing up I lost trust in myself.

When I can let go of control during meditation, even for a moment, I build tolerance for the free fall. In short lapses I see it’s okay to hand over the reigns and let my subconscious drive for a bit. The more frequently I visit this place, the more comfortable I become, and the longer I can stay. In creativity, it means listening to my song more than I’m singing it. Channeling more than manipulating. This is the place where true art is born.

I find where the story ends and truth begins.

I’m a storyteller. Such a good storyteller, in fact, that I can convince myself of entire realities existing only in my mind (don’t believe me? ask my husband). Fantasy is a fun place to play as long as I can find my way back. When I’m confused or uncertain or doubtful, meditation is the anchor that always reveals the truth. It helps me feel underneath the tangled narratives to find something solid. The calmness of an untouched lake. The steadiness of the sea’s horizon.

Stories are the fabric of my life and one of the greatest gifts of mankind, and meditation helps me see them for what they are: words and concepts. This balance helps me enjoy the realm of imagination while connecting with the awareness, wisdom and inner guide that’s always beneath.

Mindfulness practice and creative process take me to the same place.

When I stopped letting the core of my being shine through in creative expression, I missed out on my greatest strength. Creative work combines craft and hard work and outside feedback but it starts with raw expression. Anything less isn’t art; it’s just a thing of the mind. This is why children are so free: they trust themselves, they’re always in flow and wholly present for what they’re doing. This is our true nature. Well-being is our birthright. Meditation helps me get back to that.

Ultimately the reason I meditate is the same reason I create: to tap into that ever-rewarding flow state and discover who I am. Whichever way I get there, it’s my favorite place to be.

Are you a creative person who doesn’t create? Let’s see if I can help.

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