Sharing Is Caring

sharing
Today, I’m talking about sharing. I mentor women who are creative and healing entrepreneurs, so this is a topic I see all too frequently. Bear with me as I look at this important topic from several different viewpoints.

Let me first point out, that none of us create success in a vacuum. It’s impossible, since life is not a vacuum but an interweaving holographic energy experience. The most successful people understand how important it is to support others.

Even if you have not dealt directly with your potential clients, they feel you on an energetic level through your website, social media interaction, resource materials, products, services, and by how they observe you treating others.

My second point is that creative entrepreneurs (artists, designers, writers, etc.) get the word out about their skills by sharing their work online through their website and social media. The value in sharing is having people find out about them, contact them, visit their site, and ultimately, buy their work.

So, when others share a creative’s work online, it can potentially help get the ‘word out’.

That’s a good thing, right?!? Well, it depends!

Sharing is (Not Always) Caring

Once creatives upload files to their portfolio, website and/or social media, the file is then picked up by search engines for dissemination. The creative’s contact information is lost, and sometimes people download the image to share separately and fail to credit the artist.

The creative only benefits when people make a conscious decision to also share the creative entrepreneur’s contact info (web, portfolio, or social media link/s) when they share. Otherwise, it’s just another random file with an unknown source.

The internet, particularly social media, has made it very easy to blindly share visuals without crediting the artist or providing links back to the creative. The excuses for not giving credit are many…and they are bogus.

The image at the top of this post is a perfect example.

Artist, Martina Hoffmann created this gorgeous image of the hummingbird, and she shared it on her facebook feed. It also appears on her website portfolio. Search engines picked up her image, and people who saw it began sharing the image.

You can see why: It’s gorgeous, great colors, beautiful flow, nice composition, many layers of meaning embedded in it, has a hummingbird, etc. It’s easy to see why people would love and be drawn to this image!

Problem is, without sharing who created it, the artist has no way to benefit from the sharing. No one will visit their site, or refer others, and no one with know where or how to buy the image. The link between the creative and the work is lost, and the point of sharing the image is invalidated!

It would be best for all involved to become aware of this issue, and take the time to credit the creative whose work they share.

Insult to Injury

When professionals PROMOTE their own services, products, and/or professional image share a creative’s work without crediting them, it really adds insults to injury. They are receiving a benefit by sharing the creative’s work (catching people’s attention), but then failing to give credit where it is due.

Now, some would say this is a legal offense, but I would go further to say this is an energetic offense: How can you expect people to VALUE YOU and what you offer, if you are not willing to VALUE OTHERS? That is energetically out of balance, out of integrity.

I first saw this beautiful hummingbird image by Martina on a social media feed from a “spiritual teacher” who was promoting her ‘love is all that matters’ image and way of seeing the world. The image caught people’s attention, and they flocked to LIKE and comment on her post, visiting long enough to read what this teacher had to share. I know, because was one of them!

Then, I dared to ask: Who is the artist? Because that information was not disclosed.

What ensued was…the reason I am writing this post:

The “spiritual” person sharing the image said they had no idea who created the image. I found the answer in less than 30 seconds, and shared the information in the thread. Rather than immediately ADD that credit information to the post, the “spiritual teacher” said they just didn’t have time to find the creator of every image they shared.

I privately messaged her to consider what message she was sending by failing to honor the person whose work she had grabbed for free to promote herself.

She then deleted her post and blocked me. I guarantee you that the people who witnessed her unwillingness to credit the creative, even after given the information, realized something about this “spiritual teacher”…and energetically, the message was not a good one.

Interesting, isn’t it?!? That a person who teaches connection and love and kindness flatly refused to take 1 minute, or less, of her time to honor the creative (credit the work shared), wouldn’t even do it after she was directly provided the information, then blocked someone who suggested she *walk her talk*.

Now, you may say: “It was on the web, so it’s fair game.” NO. It’s only on the web because a search engine crawled the file on the web. Humans download and share without crediting the originator, so the original source is lost…unless someone goes looking for it.

“Does it really matter that we credit creatives?” YES. Creatives who can’t make a living doing their creative work have to stop, and work somewhere that pays them enough to survive. They have bills to pay, too. It is worth a minute or two of your time to ensure that a creative is properly credited for work you are sharing, whether it’s for the joy of sharing or because the work catches people’s attention long enough to hear/read the message you have to share.

Found an image or video you like, but not sure who the creative is? Here’s where to start your search:

REVERSE SEARCH IMAGES
Either of these sites allow you to upload an image or point to a URL. Facebook image URLs appear ‘hidden’, so you must download the image first, then upload to the reverse engine search. Here are two to bookmark:

Google Image – often the fastest, but not always the most accurate. Click on the camera in the search bar to upload an image or point to a URL.
TinEye – will show you the FIRST time it was crawled on the web, and where, which gives further clues.

Using one of the above links, the VAST majority of the time, you will find the creative source in less than 1 minute, but occasionally you need to do further searching.

For instance, I found an adorable GIF animation, but when I searched I couldn’t find the origin of the original art. A still from the animation proved that the art came from one creative and the animation came from another.

SEARCHING A VIDEO
Facebook allows people to grab another person’s video and post it as their own. This is why so many are now putting their URL and/or logo directly on the video.

Start, first, searching the subject of the video in your search engine. Those who take videos sometimes rename them according to the subject versus the original title. You may see several variations of the video, and have to check dates and length to determine which one is the original. Once you find the earliest version, look in the description box which often contains the creative’s original contact information.

I’ve found videos shown on Facebook that originated on Vimeo, and Vimeo videos that originated on YouTube. Be patient, and focus on the subject. You’ll be amazed how much information you can find when you bother to look!

Just Ask!

I am not saying to forever stop sharing beautiful images and videos that you like. What I am saying is: CREDIT the creative when you share! LOOK for the creative’s contact information when you want to share the image. Take one minute to reverse-search, if necessary. Once you know who the creative was, CREDIT THEM in your online posts.

When someone else shares it from you, make sure that the creative’s credit goes along for the ride. (Add it in your comment to the share.) Look out for creatives the way you would want someone to look out for your creative efforts.

Creatives want to get the word out and share their work online. If you ASK THEM for permission to share and credit them, most will be THRILLED and happy to let you share! Many will even, if needed, provide a higher resolution of the file you are requesting. I’ve never had a single person turn me down, when I’ve asked and offered to credit them.

This is what I have done with the image above. I saw it unfairly shared without credit. The person who shared it was not willing to credit the creative. I reached out to the artist and asked permission to share in this post. Permission was granted, she told me which link she preferred, and then I wrote this post about this topic. The creative is benefiting, now, correcting the wrong that was previously done.

Energetics of Sharing

When you honor and value others, you send a message to the Big U that you appreciate honor and value. When you give credit where it is due, people remember to credit you, when it is due. It truly is a give and take, and the Golden Rule in action: Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you.

Sounds like karma or ‘what goes around, comes around’, and it is…and it is also about personal integrity. YOU know when you are not in integrity. Your lack of willingness to honor, value and give credit will ensure that you are not honored, valued, or given credit.

Whether you bought a royalty-free stock image (majority of images on this site are bought, others are created by me, or used with permission of the creative) or got permission to use a creative’s image, give credit!

If you care enough to share, care enough to credit the creative!

If you are a creative, ask people to credit you and provide them the links you want them to share—social media, site, portfolio, etc. Give them one that will point to the others.

Appreciate everyone who credits you and other creatives. If you see others sharing work that is uncredited, ask who created it. Increase awareness that the best practice is crediting the creative when sharing their work. If they don’t know and you have a minute, search and share the information, yourself.

While the one situation I shared above was an exception, MOST of the people with whom I share the creative’s information will immediately amend their post to include the credit.

This is how we share with integrity, and creatives support each other.

Image credit: Martina HoffmaNN

Romancing the Struggle

romancing the struggleIn my work with creative and healing business owners, I’ve noticed that some people really enjoy experiencing struggle. Where none exists, they’ll create some to ensure there is plenty to go around.

For these people, struggle makes them feel more alive, satisfying their need to complain, push against someone/something, and ‘have an enemy’ to confront.

Some are wired this way, and those who are not have subconsciously succumbed to the belief that there is no other choice—and they don’t question that thinking. Fighting amid the struggle allows them to justify the belief that nothing good comes without a struggle.

Romancing the Struggle

I know because a while back, I was among the unconsciously struggling group. I didn’t enjoy the struggles, but everyone around me was parroting that ‘life is hard’, ‘making money is a struggle’, ‘we all have to settle; no one can get what they want’. I listened to and believed their complaints and worries and fears, and never once did I question those thoughts.

At the time, I didn’t even realize I had a choice! I didn’t realize my own power to create struggle or create ease.

It took me a long time to realize that life was merely mirroring what I claimed to be true. I not only had a choice, but I could question the ‘life is a struggle’ thinking, and I could make room for ease and flow in my business…and every area of my life.

Bottom line: Your life and your business are only as difficult as you decide they are.

We decide each time we observe ‘what is’ and label it ‘the way it will always be’. Or observe others in struggle and claim ‘that will happen to me, too’. We can decide something different at any point, but only we can do it for ourselves.

If you enjoy romancing the struggle, then I’ll leave you to it. This post isn’t really for you, so you’re excused..carry on and have fun.

Ready to Start Romancing the Ease?

Here’s what you can do if you are ready to experience more ease and flow:

1. Decide to let go of your struggle romance. – Nothing can change until you decide you are ready to let that go. Write your struggle romance a break-up letter. Thank it for what it has taught you, and tell it goodbye. Then, get ready to make a new commitment. From time-to-time, you may benefit from re-committing to this decision when you find yourself slipping back into bad habits of struggle.

2. Make a new commitment. – Intend to experience more ease, flow, fun, and joy. Some people find it supportive to craft and use affirmations every day reminding them of that ease, which helps them move forward. Become a regular visitor to Easy World. Visualize the ease you’d like to experience. Tune into how you’d like to feel when all is said and done.

3. Question your thinking. – Once you’ve made the decision and commitment, start consciously choosing to shift your thinking into alignment.

What’s ‘in alignment’ mean?
• Thoughts that feel good are in alignment with committing to more ease and flow.
• Conversely, thoughts that feel bad are not in alignment with committing to more ease and flow.

When you find yourself spinning on a subject, getting caught in struggle, look at the underlying belief and apply The Work: Is this true? Can I absolutely be sure it’s true? How do I feel when I think this thought? Who would I be without this thought?

4. Increase your awareness of the physical feelings in your body. – The body compass can tell us way more than our mind, if we’re willing to listen to the messages. If you are stuck in your brain, chances are very good that you are obsessing rather than resolving your struggles.

Get still, become aware of your breath, feel your arms, hands, legs, feet, chest. Notice your heartbeat. As you sense your body, the thinking centers of the brain turn off. Notice where the tension is, and let it go. Notice where you feel tight, or have sensations like aches or pains or itching. Awareness of these sensations is not only healing, but opens space for old, stuck issues to come to the surface. This is an ongoing practice.

5. Find time every day to meditate and relax. – Brain science shows us that our best thinking happens when we’re relaxed, not when we’re stressed. Just 5 minutes a day of relaxed awareness on the breath begins to rewire our brain to be less reactive. There is a reason some successful companies require their executive staff to meditate regularly. You will be amazed by the health and mental well-being benefits of this one step, alone!

6. Look for ways to romance the ease already existing in your life. – Some people find it helpful to keep a gratitude journal, or an evidence journal, or a hybrid of both, to record the good, the ease, the miracles showing up in their life…and it’s a good way to become more aware of the ease already flowing.

7. Talk, Write, Think, and Act As If. – Put your new story of ease and flow into practice. Talk about the ease in your life. Write about the ease and flow. Think about (and give thanks for) the ease and flow in your life and business. Walk, drive, eat, and behave like a person who is immersed in ease. Be the business owner who embraces ease.

Now it’s your turn: Are you ready to let go of the struggle and begin romancing the ease? Have you already made the shift? Share your stories below…

Image credit: niserin

Why Your Creative or Healing Business is Not Growing

WhyBizNotGrowing

Many of my mentoring clients are creative and/or healing professionals who feel spiritually *called* to their work—it feels like their life’s purpose. They are drawn to me because they want to find a way to do their heart work while also making a good living.

Creative and healing professionals often have their craft at the forefront of their business radar—none would have considered opening their doors if they didn’t feel they offered a valuable service. In fact, the number one reason creative and healing professionals do not officially start their businesses is a fear that they are ‘not good enough, yet’.

These professionals spend an enormous amount of time making sure they have something of value to offer, and constantly improving those offerings.

What often takes a back seat to the honing of their craft or skill, though, is the actual Sales and Marketing for their business. It’s true. S&M (Sales and Marketing) are often viewed as torturous. Not only do these skills not come easy to these professionals, there are often a lot of bad-feeling stories and judgment wrapped around the idea of sales and marketing, as well as other essential business success functions like hiring a support team. I’m talking about the kind of bad-feeling stories and judgment that keeps people stuck where they are, never able to move forward.

When Our Stories And Judgments Hold Us In Limbo
Amy (name changed for privacy) feels called to her work as a massage therapist who incorporates sound healing, and often refers to it as her ‘heart work’. Performing her work fulfills her deeply and she cannot see herself NOT doing this work.

However, Amy has been struggling for the last few years to get her business off the ground and actually growing. See if you can tell from Amy’s stories why her business is not growing…

• “I hate having to sell or promote my business.”
• “UGH…Marketing feels like busy work—so much to do, for no results.”
• “No one can afford my fees—and I cannot afford to drop my fees any farther.”
• “It’s pretty much impossible to make a living doing my heart work!”
• “I highly doubt people making money doing this work are ethical. I don’t know how they can possibly be making any money!”
• “I’m not willing to be a sell-out like others, in order to be successful in my work.”

In addition to focusing on what she hates about her business, Amy has already decided people cannot afford her services, and she negatively judges others who manage to make money in her field.

These stories and judgments are woven into nearly every conversation Amy has, and despite understanding the power of energy, these are also woven into Amy’s own mental self-talk. In fact, her stories are now so embedded into her being (she’s been telling them so long), the minute she sees her business cards or equipment, she physically feels the negative impact in her body.

Professional colleagues who encounter Amy find themselves feeling drained after speaking with her, so they make excuses not to interact. No one is mentioning her business to potential clients.

Family and friends, who say they want to support Amy, instead, find themselves commiserating with just how *difficult* it must be to start and run a successful business. This only reinforces what Amy already believes to be true.

Creative and healing professionals who have both an inner calling to do their life’s work while simultaneously holding bad-feeling stories and judgments that prevent them from growing their business or being financially successful are their own worst enemies.

That disconnect between their calling and their stories/judgments that undermines their calling creates energetic resistance, keeping business growth and success forever at bay in a state of suspension. Never growing. Never thriving. Always pain-filled. Frustrating. Exhausting.

Sound familiar?

It Matters How You Start and Nurture Your Business
When I began working with Amy, I helped her see how she had actually started her business with the doubt, bad-feeling stories and judgments in place. Then, when her business began to reflect those stories and judgments back to her, she labeled what she observed as the ‘reality’ of her failing business.

Once she had observed and labeled the failure, she was never able to imagine something better because ‘reality’ (aka ‘what is’) was always staring her in the face. She literally set the groundwork for her business to fail before she started and then she nurtured the failure, not the success.

Whenever Amy had tried to set her observed ‘reality’ aside for a moment, to imagine something better for her business, she had plenty of people around her happy to remind her of ‘reality’. Her husband and parents, attempting to be helpful, were particularly relentless in suggesting that Amy give up on her dream, and just get a reliable 9-to-5 job. (For the record, not following your heart work is soul-crushing, and a fast-track to depression and loss of self-esteem.)

Abraham-Hicks often talks about the importance of only focusing on ‘what is’ if we ENJOY ‘what is’. Otherwise, they tell us we have to be willing to look beyond it in order to grow:

As others insist that you look at “reality,” they are influencing you to be rooted to this spot like a tree. As long as you are seeing only what-is, you cannot grow beyond it. You must be allowed to see what you want to see if you will ever attract what you want to see. Attention to what-is only creates more of what-is.

(excerpt, The Law of Attraction: The Basics of the Teachings of Abraham, pg 190)

Looking beyond ‘what-is’ is a skill well worth developing as a business owner. Successful business owners know this. Children practice this every day as they play using their imaginations. They suspend their disbelief that their playmate is not really a cowboy and they are not really a pirate. They toss a piece of fabric around their backs and call it a cape, and strike the Super Man pose with true conviction.

In that moment…they ARE what they imagine themselves to be. They FEEL the power of their imaginations, and they revel in the joy of it.

As adults, we can benefit greatly from brushing off our childhood skills of suspending disbelief and imagining something fun in our professional life.

Brain science has already proven that the subconscious mind does not know the difference between our real observations, our memories, or our imagination. The subconscious is moving forward, choosing opportunities and experiences based on how you feel. If you start a business with stories of doubt, fear, and judgment of those who are successful, the feeling is probably not very good—and neither will be the results.

Getting Help To Succeed
Amy hired me when she needed someone dedicated to seeing her succeed, willing to guide her through the maze to turn her business around from the ground up. First, she had to consciously choose to wipe the slate clean on her business, create her business anew from a better-feeling place while releasing her judgments. Then, she had to be willing to actively nurture her own success as one would lovingly tend a garden. As a result, Amy discovered a new-found interest in sales and marketing on her own terms, in a way that was fun and invigorating for her. The result is a thriving business with a lot less frustration, and a MUCH happy business owner!

What are you willing to do to grow your creative or healing business? Share your better-feeling stories in the comments below…

Image credit: Ion Chiosea

Are You an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person)?

Does this scenario ring a bell for you…

“I’ve always been highly sensitive, and as a creative and inventive person, this is usually considered a very good thing.

Except when non-sensitive types always made fun of my sensitivity~cracking jokes at my expense, or finding fault with everything about me, and then accusing me of being “overly sensitive” or “touchy” or “having no sense of humor” when I didn’t laugh. I actually have a very good sense of humor and an ability to laugh at myself, but I am also highly sensitive.”

Some HSPs pick up on other people’s energy and have a hard time shaking it off. Others become easily over-stimulated and find being in the world very overwhelming. A number of HSPs constantly feel like the world is against them and being true to themselves feels like an uphill battle. Still others had the blessing of realizing they are HSPs, and have found ways that help them function better while taking advantage of their amazing sensitivity.

If this rings a bell with you, you might be an HSP. The good news for HSPs is that they are usually very creative and often find it easy to think outside the box. The world needs you!

Elaine N. Aron, PhD. wrote the first real self-help book for HSPs: The Highly Sensitive Person. Her website, hsperson.com, is a treasure trove of information to help HSPs find a better way to experience life while appreciating their gifts. On her site, it says…

Elaine Aron has a doctoral degree in clinical psychology and a thriving psychotherapy practice. She is the first therapist to tell HSPs how to identify their trait and make the most of it in everyday situations. Highly Sensitive People have an uncommonly sensitive nervous system – a normal occurrence, according to Aron. About 15 to 20 percent of the population have this trait. It means you are aware of subtleties in your surroundings, a great advantage in many situations. It also means you are more easily overwhelmed when you have been out in a highly stimulating environment for too long, bombarded by sights and sounds until you are exhausted.” An HSP herself, Aron reassures other Highly Sensitives that they are quite normal. Their trait is not a flaw or a syndrome, nor is it a reason to brag. It is an asset they can learn to use and protect.

If you suspect you might be an HSP, you can try the self-test on Aron’s website.

There are many great online and offline resources for HSPs. If you haven’t already listened to my October 2009 Co=Creation Cafe Call with Jenna Avery discussing how HSPs can embrace their sensitivity and find their authentic calling, you can listen to it or download it here.

Are you an HSP? Share below in comments what has helped you embrace your sensitivity

Effective Solopreneur: Energy Management

Why Worry?Almost 20 year ago when I was going through a particularly frustrating period of my life someone gave me the Why Worry? graphic [see right].

At the time, I was going through a difficult divorce while raising a not-yet-diagnosed toddler with Asperger’s Syndrome, working full-time at a Silicon Valley company and spending a great deal of my time worrying about WHAT IFs. No doubt, all that worrying was a colossal waste of what little energy I had available.

My analytical left-brain appreciated the statistics about the pointlessness of worry. I’d read it to remind myself, but before long, I’d find myself worrying…again. Why was that happening?!? More importantly, what could I do about it?

Even though I could logically see that worry was a waste of time and energy, my creative right-brain had become quite dependent upon worrying. You see, I had trained myself (over many years) to worry… about everything. I was really good at it, too! That’s why my creative thoughts immediately went *there* time and time again.

My brain defaulted to worrying, and I was so stuck in that rut I didn’t know how to train myself to use my energy more productively. The sad truth is, most people who are addicted to worry do NOT know how to use their mind to focus consistently in more positive ways. Worrying requires incredible creative skills and use our imagination to think of the WORST possible scenarios so our mind can spin on them.

Since the Law of Attraction ensures that we attract into our experiences whatever we give our attention, you can see that worrying attracts more things to fret and worry about.

Imagine being able to retrain yourself to harness your creative energy, and use it in an empowering way!

> What would you be creating more of, as a result?

> What would you be creating a lot less of?

> How would your life and business benefit?

 

Is WORRY your default energy or attitude? Share below what you have done to manage your energy better…

PS: If the graphic helps you, too, just right click the image at right to download and print the PDF reminder for yourself.

Creative Discipline Is A Recipe for Success

Recently, I got thinking about the power of discipline on the creative mind. I had been watching the movie, Julie & Julia, on DVD.
The creativity of the human mind knows no boundaries, and therein lies the paradox: Without something to reign in, focus and channel creativity, it tends to float aimlessly. While creative-types (including myself) will complain about the limitations put upon us, the truth is that without those limitations deadlines often aren’t met. Deadlines being one of the limitations set upon us.
Talk to any creative artist who has set about a project with no creative or time boundaries, and chances are very good you are talking to someone who has not even come close to completing said project. It could go on indefinitely…without direction or focus.
For the few who haven’t seen the movie, this is the one based on two true stories~that of Julia Child before she wrote her now-famous book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and that of about the young gal (Julie Powell) who loved cooking and saw it as a nightly refuge from her difficult day job. These two stories have some parallels, which deepen when Julie decides to tackle Julia Child’s recipes in year and blog about the process. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julia_child#Films )
At the beginning of the movie, Julie Powell is wallowing in a dead-end job and questioning what she’s done with her life, feeling lost at sea. For this heroine, the act of focusing on her passion (cooking), giving it structure (completing 524 recipes in 365 days), and commiting to be accountable (blogging about it daily) created a recipe for success. Watching this movie I saw parallels with my own creativity and that of others.
During all the years that I worked solely as a self-employed commercial artist, my client specifications created the structure and the deadlines created the accountability. I prided myself in always meeting client deadlines~and often early~while exceeding the client’s expectations for the project-at-hand. Whether we like it or not, the creative mind thrives best with structure and accountability. Keep it up long enough, and it generates a creative discipline where creativity flourishes under even the tightest constraints.
What does this have to do with you personally or with your business? All of us have something that requires creativity in our lives, and can benefit from this formula:
• Your Passion Find out what you truly love and focus on that. If you don’t know your passion, be wiling to try different things until you find it. Julia Child tried hat making, learning bridge, studying French, until she came upon cooking and discovered it was her true passion.
• Structure What actions, related to your passion, are you willing to take on a regular basis? When I was working in mortgage lending in the 80s, I would come home from work each night, change my clothes, grab dinner and work on my acrylic paintings for 2-3 hours. I was happy to commit to this schedule because it was my passion at the time.
• Committed Accountability How can you be accountable? If clients aren’t involved, find a buddy, a coach or a Quantum MasterMind that gives you the support and place to share the successes and frustrations.
Julia Child’s efforts did not go unnoticed. Her book is considered a masterpiece, and it launched her teaching and television career. Julie Powell’s efforts did not go unnoticed, either. By the end of her year-long journey, she caught the attention of the NY Times, got a book deal and ~as we all now know~ a movie deal, and is now working as a published professional writer.
Have you found ways to create structure and committed accountability for your creativity? Share with us below in the comments…

Recently, I got thinking all about the power of discipline on the creative mind. What started me on this odyssey of creative thought, you ask? I had just finished watching the movie, Julie & Julia, on DVD.

The creativity of the human mind knows no boundaries, and therein lies the paradox: Without something to reign in, focus and channel that creativity, it tends to float aimlessly. While creative-types (including myself) will complain about the limitations thrust upon them, the truth is that without those limitations nothing gets accomplished and deadlines often aren’t met. Deadlines as in results, are also one of the aforementioned limitations.

Talk to any creative artist who has set about a project with no creative or time boundaries, and chances are very good you are talking to someone who has not even come close to completing said project. Such projects could go on indefinitely, growing in scope and essence… without direction or focus.

Trust me, I know this truth first-hand.

For the few who haven’t seen the movie, this is the one based on two true stories~that of Julia Child before she wrote her now-famous book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and that of the soon-to-be-30 Julie Powell, who loved cooking and saw it as a nightly refuge from her difficult day job. These two stories have some parallels, which deepen when Julie decides to tackle Julia Child’s recipes in one year and blog about the process.

At the beginning of the movie, Julie Powell is wallowing in a dead-end job and questioning what she’s done with her life, feeling lost at sea. For this heroine, the act of focusing on her passion (cooking), giving it structure (completing 524 recipes in 365 days), and committing to be accountable (blogging about it daily) created a recipe for success. Watching this movie I saw parallels with my own creativity and that of others.

During all the years that I worked solely as a self-employed commercial artist, my client’s specifications created the structure and their deadlines created the accountability. I prided myself in always meeting client deadlines~and often early~while exceeding the client’s expectations for the project-at-hand. As a result, I was prolific in this work.

However, when there wasn’t client work it was easy to flounder, if I didn’t deliberately create some structure and accountability of my own.

Whether we like it or not, the creative mind thrives best with structure and accountability. Keep it up long enough, and it generates a creative discipline where creativity flourishes under even the tightest constraints.

What does this have to do with you personally or with your business? All of us have something that requires creativity in our lives and/or business, and can benefit from this formula:

Your Passion Find out what you truly love and focus on that. If you don’t know your passion, be wiling to try different things until you find it. Julia Child tried hat making, learning bridge, and studying French, before she happened upon cooking and discovered it was her true passion.

+ Structure What actions, related to your passion, are you willing to take on a regular basis? When I was working in mortgage lending in the 80s, I would come home from work each night, change my clothes, grab dinner and work on my acrylic paintings for 2-3 hours. I was happy to commit to this schedule because it was my passion at the time.

+ Committed Accountability How can you be accountable? If clients aren’t involved, find a buddy, a coach or a Quantum MasterMind that gives you the support and place to share the successes and frustrations.

= Success Julia Child’s efforts did not go unnoticed. Her book is considered a masterpiece, and it launched her teaching and television career.

Julie Powell’s efforts did not go unnoticed, either. By the end of her year-long journey, she caught the attention of the NY Times, got a book deal and ~as we all now know~ a movie deal, and is now working as a published professional writer.

If you’ve been feeling lost as sea, unable to find the shore with your creative work, look to see if your work contains the passion, structure and accountability. If not, try establishing some and see if it brings you safely back to shore.

Have you found ways to create structure and committed accountability for your creativity? Share with us below in the comments…

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