No Mistakes…Only Opportunities

Earlier today, I was reminded about the connection between artistic creativity, entrepreneurship, and manifesting.

If you are an artist, then I don’t need to tell you how much that type of creativity requires openness and willingness to let go…of thoughts,  preconceptions, and expectations. Successful entrepreneurs and manifestors benefit from letting go, too.

How, you might ask, does one actually do that when you’re stressed?

ZenTangling is a form of doodling that lets you have fun while training yourself to open up your mind and let go. While there are some established ‘patterns’ you can follow, you can also just wing it and see what happens, often with unexpected and stunningly beautiful results!

© Nancy Barry-JanssonBack in the late 1970s, before I had ever heard of this term, or the name had been trademarked, I was inspired by an unknown european folk artist who drew in a black and white style reminiscent of the Art Nouveau.

I put that inspiration to good use a snow day (no school), and I had the equipment: 18″ x 24″ bristol board, crow quill pens, watercolor brush, and black india ink! I lost myself for hours in listening to music while making tiny circles, curves, and lines in ink with the crow quill pen.

The drawing above is what I created from letting my mind go. Nothing was pre-planned. I remember how focused I was, and yet how free my mind felt while I was working on this. Even looking at this now reminds me of that relaxed-yet-focused state of being.

When was the last time you allowed yourself to be in that state?

As Einstein said, you cannot solve a problem with the same energy that created the problem. To find the solution, we must first find a way to relax the mind so we can think clearly and see other possibilities. Meditation can be a tremendous help, but for those who struggle to relax into meditation, a little doodling can help!

Searching YouTube, I found this video demonstrating ZenTangling – entitled, No Mistakes —Only Opportunities. I was immediately struck by how true that is of life, creativity, entrepreneurship, and manifesting! As the demonstrator spoke, I wrote down the comments she made that could easily be affirmations for life and manifesting…

• No mistakes…only opportunties

• I let my mind go and don’t worry about the outcome

• If I come up against a brick wall…I ZenTangle®, and my mind opens up to the possibilities

• …let (your) mind roll and do as (it) pleases

• Don’t worry about it…let your mind do what it does

• Relaxing and letting go

• Let your inner artist do whatever it pleases

The next time you have a thorny issue to resolve, take some time to relax your mind, meditate, or doodle. Allow the solution to catch up with you!

Now it’s your turn to share: What do you do to relax your mind?

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.

Relishing the Renewal

As I wrote about in my February 2010 post, Aligning with Your Natural Creativity Cycles, once we have completed a large project, it’s not uncommon to desire a time for rest and relaxation. This is a normal part of the creativity cycle, and if we don’t allow ourselves this time, we often create illness or some other *road block* to provide it to us.

Now that I have completed the online portion of my latest project, a 7 part call series for small businesses entitled, Harnessing Your True Power: What to do BEFORE you take action!, I literally feel like I just gave birth to a HUGE baby with a 2 month-long labor!!!

By the way…

If you wonder why people charge for the audios and transcripts from these kind of series, take my word for it: It’s a HUGE undertaking, and most people wouldn’t do it in the first place if they realized it upfront. This is from someone who simply ADORED interviewing the experts and talking about this subject. That part, though adored, was only a fraction of the work involved! I worked nearly 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, for 60 days conceiving, creating, planning, preparing, and managing every detail of this series…and there were even more people behind the scenes helping *me*!

When you give birth to a human baby, the body’s hormones fill the mother with a myriad of conflicting emotions. I’m finding myself feeling similar conflicting emotions, sans the hormones. Part of me is ELATED to have this baby born, and  *out in the world* so I tell everyone about it, while another part of me…just wants to relax and sleep.

I recognize the latter emotions as a sign that I have completed the major creation phase of this project, and my mind/body, body/mind is ready to take a breather. I’ve learned to give myself this respit…it pays off! I stay healthy while I’m relaxing, and the next project benefits immensely. Honoring this part of me is not only good self-care, it’s good self-love. When we treat ourselves kindly, the universe mirrors that back to us in many ways.

While the major creative part of this project is over for me, I won’t consider myself *done* until the final transcripts have been provided to me, I do my magic-makeover on them, and they –along with the final audios– everything is officially delivered to all the folks who purchased the entire call series.

Which reminds me…

I also want to personally thank everyone who helped me get to this point, including all the experts who happily gave their time and promoted these calls, and my behind-the-scenes team that helped me with transcripts.

I especially want to thank those who purchased the entire call series before even a single call was available (talk about TRUST in what I’m about and what I offer!!!) and those who bought after listening to the calls…realizing this series was worth purchasing. Thank you!

Thank you for joining me on this incredible journey!

Thank you for summoning this information through me!

Thank you for inspiring this great resource!

Thank you for listening and sharing these calls!

Thank you for purchasing the series!

Thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU!

Once the orders are fulfilled, then, I will truly be ready to relish the renewal phase and…relax!

To get to that place of fully relaxing into renewal, I have a *secret*.

Relaxation CoachFortunately for me, I am working with two very special relaxation coaches who know me well…who also happen to be very furry and cuddly. They are intent on ensuring that I learn the proper way of fully, and deeply relaxing. In fact, they specialize in this and are equipped to pin me down, if need be!

If you are self-employed, I highly recommend working with such specialized coaches. If you aren’t so lucky to have your own relaxation coaches, I know your local shelter will be happy to *hook you up* with some! Your body and your business WILL thank you: Seriously, I’m not sure I can ever convey the power of this kind of coaching, whether it’s 1:1 or 2:1 or 3:1 or … OK, your city probably has limits, so check on those first.

So, now that I’ve shared this secret with you, if you don’t hear from me for a little while, you’ll know my relaxation coaches are showing me how it’s done! =^..^=

Effective Solopreneur: Aligning with Your Natural Creativity Cycles

I was recently reminded of the Creative Cycles and realized that it is not exclusive to artists, but everyone ~ as we are all creators of our life experiences. I share this
information with you now so you can begin asking yourself how you can use these cycles to help yourself and your business.
Are you aware of your creative cycles?
Are you taking advantage of their natural ebb and flow to enjoy creating your art, your life, your business?
About 7 years ago, when I was creating a lot of fine art watercolors, a fellow artist friend shared a small hand-bound bound book that explained the natural cycles of
creativity. To be honest, up to this point, I hadn’t even noticed that there were predictable cycles. Although, I had noticed that if I wasn’t creating in some way it was hard to
get the creative process going again.
The book was written by a woman, an artist herself, who was getting her Masters in Psychology at the University of California at Santa Cruz. Unfortunately, I don’t remember
he name, but this gal had noticed a creative cycle in herself and others and decided to self-publish a book about the process. She knew my friend and had given her one
of the hand-bound copies of the book, and my friend shared the book with me. So, I began reading the little book and was amazed how much it not only resonated but
explained a lot!
The author suggested there are four common stages of creativity: Gestation, Inspiration, Creation/Birth, Renewal/Rest. These cycles happen in a certain order, like seasons
of the year, but differ in their length from artist to artist, and project to project.
If you are a successful non-commercial fine artist or a writer of novels, whether you are consciously aware of them or not, you are successfully managing these cycles. If
you are just starting out or an unsuccessful artist, you may not be taking advantage of what these cycles can do for you. If you are a commercial artist, designer (interior,
web, etc.), these cycles are most-likely tied more to the projects you are working on for clients.
Here’s the breakdown of the four stages, as I recall them:
Gestation
This is the stage where things are quiet creatively, but you are feeling hopeful because you are noticing interesting experiences, gathering ideas, deciding what you want
to work on next.
Inspiration
This is the stage where you find a new idea that *excites* you. It might be a single idea, or one idea that quickly spawns many additional ideas. It may be something you
observe outside of yourself or something that pops into your mind. The topic feels juicy and pregnant with potential. You begin whittling down the ideas collected to decide
what you really want to focus upon.
Creation/Birth
This is the stage where you begin taking action toward materializing the inspired idea, from start to finish. The creator’s energy is high, and they often feel full of life and
vibrant. The work may take on a *life of it’s own*, possibly even going in a new direction not considered in the Gestation or Inspiration stage.
Renewal/Rest
This is the stage creatives enter upon completion of the Creation/Birth stage. Often, the artist has been focusing so intensely on the previous stage, that this stage may feel
like a shock. New or Inexperienced creators may find this stage comes relatively unexpectedly. Most creators might find themselves feeling low, possibly even feeling
depressed, in comparison to the high-energy stage of Creation/Birth. Doubt creeps in, and in this low energy stage, the creator begins questioning if they will ever do
anything worthwhile again. In extreme cases, a creator susceptible to addictions may do drugs or drink to deal with the low energy, doubt, worry, and fear. However, if the
artist is aware of these stages and knows *this one, too, shall pass*, they can embrace it and move through this stage relatively quickly~sometimes hours, versus days,
weeks, or months.
How Does This Relate to You?
For centuries, farmers have known to sow seeds, nurture the plants, and harvest with the seasons. Following the natural cycles makes farming easier and more productive.
The same is true for your business. When you read through these stages, above, did anything stand out for you? Did you find yourself seeing connections in your own
creative cycles?
At the end of large client projects, I often got ill or, at the very least,  needed to sleep 14 hours a day for at least a week or more. Prior to understanding the cycles, I would
often beat myself up about getting ill or needing excess sleep. I doubted myself and wondered if I was depressed, even though I felt optimistic the vast majority of the
time. Once I knew about this stage I realized it was not only to be expected, but a good thing that I could look forward to experiencing. I prepared myself for it and
arranged lots of self-care in advance knowing it would be most appreciated. As a result, this stage went from 2+ weeks down to a few days, sometimes just a weekend or
a self-care-filled-afternoon to recharge. Knowing about this stage, preparing for and embracing it made a huge difference!
I also began appreciating the Gestation and Inspiration stages more, instead of putting all of my focus on the Creation/Brith stage ~including the expectation of being in that
one stage ALL the time~I began to see how each stage had value to my creativity.
What stage would you say you are in right now?
What can you do to embrace this stage and prepare for the next one?
How can you use these stages to plan your business activities (including Marketing and Service/Product Creation) so they are fun for you, rather than forced?

I was recently reminded of the Creative Cycles and realized that they are not exclusive to artists, but everyone ~ as we are all creators of our life experiences. I share this information with you now so you can begin asking yourself how you can use these cycles to help yourself and your business.

Are you aware of your creativity cycles, or are you forcing yourself to be always “ON”?

Are you taking advantage of their natural ebb and flow to enjoy creating your art, your life, your business?

Creativity Cycles

About 7 years ago, when I was creating a lot of fine art watercolors, a fellow artist friend shared a small hand-bound book that explained the natural cycles of creativity. To be honest, up to this point, I hadn’t even noticed that there were predictable cycles. Although, I had noticed that if I wasn’t creating in some way it was hard to get the creative process going again.

The book was written by a woman, an artist herself, who was getting her Masters in Psychology at the University of California at Santa Cruz. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the author’s name, but this gal had noticed a creativity cycle in herself and others, and had developed a hypothesis about how to work with the cycles. She noticed that everyone benefited by working with the cycles, rather than against them, and decided to self-publish a book about the process. She knew my friend and had given her one of the hand-bound copies of the book, and my friend shared the book with me. So, I began reading the little book and was amazed how much it not only resonated but explained a lot!

The author suggested there are four common stages of creativity: Gestation, Inspiration, Creation/Birth, Renewal/Rest. These cycles happen in a predictable order, like seasons of the year, but differ in their length from artist to artist, and from project to project.

Here’s the breakdown of the four stages, as I recall them:

1 | Gestation

This is the stage where things are quiet creatively, but you are feeling hopeful because you are noticing interesting experiences, gathering ideas, deciding what you want to work on next. This stage comes after the creator emerges from the Renewal/Rest stage.

2 | Inspiration

This is the stage where you find a new idea, or series of ideas, that really feels *exciting*. It might be a single idea, or one idea that quickly spawns many additional ideas. It may be something you observe outside of yourself or something that pops into your mind. The topic feels juicy and pregnant with potential. You begin whittling down the ideas collected to decide what you really want to focus upon.

3 | Creation/Birth

This is the stage where you begin taking action toward materializing the inspired idea, from start to finish. The creator’s energy is high, and they often feel full of life and vibrant. The work may take on a *life of it’s own*, possibly even going in a new direction not considered in the Gestation or Inspiration stage.

4 | Renewal/Rest

This is the stage creators enter upon completion of the Creation/Birth stage. Often, the creator has been focusing so intensely on the previous two stages, that this stage may feel like a comparative shock. New or inexperienced creators may find this stage comes relatively unexpectedly.

This can be a very critical stage for creators because most find themselves feeling low, possibly even feeling depressed, in comparison to the high-energy stages of Inspiration and Creation/Birth. Unprepared, doubt, worry and fear can easily creep in during this time, and in this low-energy stage, the creator begins questioning if they will ever do anything worthwhile again. They simply don’t have the energy to contemplate something new, and often feel defeated because of the low energy levels.

In extreme cases, a creator susceptible to addictions may retreat to drugs or alcohol to deal with the low energy, and/or soothe doubt, worry, and fear. However, if the creator is aware of these stages and knows *this one, too, shall pass*, they can embrace it and move through this stage relatively quickly~sometimes hours or days, versus months or years.

The creator knows they have left this stage when they find themselves entering the Gestation stage as they gently begin gathering more data and being intrigued by new ideas of theirs or other creators.

How Does This Relate to You or Your Business?

For centuries, farmers have known to sow seeds, nurture the plants, and harvest with the seasons. Following the natural cycles makes farming easier and more productive.

The same is true for your life and your business. Do you force yourself to create when you really need to rest, or try to rest when inspiration is striking? Do you honor or resist your natural creativity cycles? When you read through these stages, above, did anything stand out for you? Did you find yourself seeing connections to your own creative cycles?

At the end of large commercial client projects (Rest/Renewal), I often got ill or, at the very least,  needed to sleep 14 hours a day for at least a week or more. Prior to understanding the Creativity Cycles, I would often beat myself up about getting ill or needing excess sleep. I doubted myself and wondered if I was depressed, even though I felt optimistic the vast majority of the time. Once I knew about this stage, though, I realized it was not only to be expected, but a good thing that I could look forward to experiencing! I prepared myself for it mentally, and arranged lots of self-care in advance, knowing this stage was on its way. As a result, my experience of Renewal/Rest dropped from from 2+ weeks down to a few days, sometimes just a weekend or a self-care-filled-afternoon to recharge. Knowing about this stage, preparing for and embracing it made a huge difference for me!

I also began appreciating the Gestation and Inspiration stages more, instead of putting all of my focus on the Creation/Birth stage ~including the expectation of being in that one stage ALL the time~I began to see how each stage had value to my creativity.

Here are some questions to ask yourself now:

What stage would you say you are in right now?

What can you do to embrace this stage and prepare for the next one?

How can you use these stages to plan your business activities (including Marketing and Service/Product Creation) so they are fun for you, rather than forced?

How can you combine these stages with your knowledge of the Law of Attraction to create true synergy?

I invite you all to share your insights and thoughts below in the comments to other readers will benefit…

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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