Let Go of What You Think You Know

We’re all on a creative journey, whether that’s launching a blog, starting a business, writing a book, putting out a music album, being the best (insert job title), finding greater purpose in life, or becoming the person we’ve always wanted to be. It takes creativity (and sometimes patience…and always courage) to stay on the path.

Much easier said than done. I know. I’m along for the ride, too. And some days are bumpier than others. Keeping the metaphor going for a moment, how do we keep from popping a tire, driving into a ditch, or getting locked out of our car? In other words, getting stuck or stressed?

Let go of expectations, and stay detached from the outcomes.

I’m not suggesting we park it on the couch, rip open a bag of Cheetos, and watch our life happen in front of us like a TV drama (or sitcom). While that sounds a liiiittle tempting, we still need to do the work. We need to show up every day like a front-row student who’s ready to work and learn. Just don’t stress about your grades.

We must continue to be curious.

Experiment. Let go of what we think we know. When we start a new project or venture, if we feel the fear of failure, instead of thinking, “Oh no, I’m going to fail” or “Crap, I don’t know how this will turn out,” try thinking, “Let’s see. Let’s find out” or “Hey, this could work!”

Remove the fear of failure with a bigger desire to learn.

Learn to be okay with not knowing, getting messy, and maybe even being wrong. Dare to find out what’s on the other side of letting go!

***

Here’s a visualization exercise to get rid of any negative energy that’s still nagging at you:

  • Sit quietly and make a list of situations in your life where you feel stuck, frustrated or scared.
  • Pick one situation and really look at it. Why do you feel this way? Have you been overthinking it, trying to control the situation, doubting or being too hard on yourself?
  • What is the outcome you think should happen? Picture it.
  • Now let go of that outcome and your attachment to it…
    • Visualize an empty balloon.
    • Breath in, then exhale all of your outcomes into the balloon.
    • Let the anxieties, fears, and frustrations that go along with these outcomes flow out, as well.
    • Take another deep breath through your nose…sweeping up any last bits of negative energy.
    • Then exhale through your mouth, pushing it all out and into the balloon…watching it fill up and expand effortlessly.
    • Now, detach from the balloon. Let it go…watch it fly away.
    • As it’s released in the air, come back to yourself. Feel your toes and legs grounded beneath you. Imagine you’re rooted into the earth like a tree. Stand tall. Feel strong. Be renewed.
  • What can you see now that’s possible? Write it down and make a plan to do it!

Many blessings,

Kate

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Up Your Creative Game in 2018

If you feel the good energy 2018 has in store, let “new” be the spark that lights your inner fire to be awesome.

Decide and know your creativity is super important for co-creating your life, and then find ways to stay inspired.

I’ll do my best to post pieces of inspiration for us every week. So be sure to keep coming back for Creative Tip Tuesdays!

For today, here are some thoughts about what causes creativity:

Take a minute to really think through this list in terms of your abilities. Maybe even score yourself in these areas. On a scale of 1-5 (5 being best), how do you stack up?

Don’t get bummed about the low scores. Find your strengths and run with them.If you’re insatiably curious, stay that way. If you’re an energizer bunny, keep pushing forward. Work with what naturally comes your way and use it to your creative advantage.

PS. This list came from a fantastic blog about creativity. I highly recommend it. Also, watch this movie. I’d love to know what you think about it.

Until next time, here’s a little personal pep talk…

Fist bumps and blessings,

-Kate

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Shaping Your Holiday Wishlist for New Year’s Resolutions

I’m excited to share this guest post from a fellow blogger, Julie Morris. She’s a life and career coach who thrives on helping others live their best lives. Today she shares some thoughts with us on creating the most helpful holiday wishlist.

Hopefully this gives you some inspiration on some last-minute gift shopping – for others and yourself!


{Image via Pixabay}

It’s that time of year again…

The days are shorter and the malls are more crowded: the holiday season is upon us once again! Not only do you get presents, but also the fresh start of a new year come January 1st.

New Year’s resolutions are about shaping your life to be more like you want it to be. Whether you’d like to get back in shape, become more creative, learn a new skill, or simply take time to be more present, you can give yourself a little head start on your resolutions this year by crafting your holiday wishlist to include things that will help get you there.

Here are some of our favorite ideas.

If You Would Like To Get Back In Shape…

Ask your loved ones for the gift of fitness with your very own kettlebell! Kettlebells are all the rage right now. You can get a full-body workout from the comfort of your own home. You can build strength using full-body movements that work various muscle groups at the same time. Check out this free workout tutorial from PopSugar and see just how fun and effective kettlebells can be.

If You Would Like To Be More Creative…

To help ignite your imagination, ask for art supplies this holiday season! Getting new supplies will inspire you to use them and you can explore where your mind goes from there. What kind of art supplies depends on your preference, but if you really want to push your mind’s boundaries get something you’ve never worked with before. If you’re already pretty good at drawing, ask for modeling clay that you can use to create unique shapes. From there you can transcribe your vision in other ways. There’s no better inspiration than yourself!

If You Would Like To Add More Music To Your Life…

Put an instrument on your wishlist this year! Stringed instruments (like a guitar or ukulele) are affordable options for your friends and family. Plus, there are endless online lessons that can teach you how to play from the comfort of your own home.

Ukuleles in particular are a great option if you are just starting out. These smaller guitars help you establish the finger dexterity you need in order to move up to a full-sized guitar. Plus, they are super cute. Not sure what kind of ukulele is right for you? Check out this helpful guide to explore your options then put the best one on that wishlist!

If You Would Like To Be More Mindful…

Coloring books for adults are a fun, inexpensive gift to add to your wishlist this year. Coloring has many benefits for mental health, including reducing anxiety and improving focus. However, one of the reasons it’s a huge trend right now is how it promotes everyday mindfulness. If stressing out over hypotheticals and the future was a regular occurrence in your life this year, a coloring book could be just the gift you need to put things in perspective looking forward.

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It may be a coincidence, but it’s pretty cool how the biggest gift-giving season falls next to the biggest starting day for self-improvement. Merge the two this year by asking for gifts that will help you realize your goals. Whatever they are for the year ahead, take advantage this of the season and ask for things that will help you achieve them.


Great advice, Julie! I personally want to exercise more, so I’m going to look into those kettlebells.

Friends, I hope this was helpful. What would you add to your wishlist this year?

Blessings,

-Kate

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Who Lit Your Day? Finding Light in Everyday Circumstances

Avery came home from school with the biggest smile on her face. She couldn’t wait to tell me about a kid who went out of his way to ask how she was doing. She said, “Mom, he really lit my day!”

I loved that phrase.

And come to find out, that day wasn’t particularly awesome for her. She went on to tell me about a girl who was mean to her and how she was stressed about some of her classes. But she seemed to keep those things in perspective. She talked more about how cool it was that someone “lit her day.”

Talk about filling up a mama’s heart. Not only because of that sweet boy, but also because of my strong, optimistic daughter who saw his goodness and allowed it to brighten her entire day.

It can be easy to get sucked into the negative – especially when there’s no shortage of it these days. But it’s much more productive to look for the good, the courageous, the kind, and the meaningful events around us.

The things we focus on expand in our lives.

So in order to live a more joyful life, paying attention to the positive seems to be the fastest route there.

I took Avery’s lesson and reflected on my week…looking for the light. And here are my top five moments. >>

{ONE} A Cup of KindnessA cup of kindness

The first thing that came to mind happened just this morning!

When I shuffled over to the Keurig to make some coffee, I found a freshly brewed cup waiting for me – in my “Special K” mug. It was such a sweet, quiet gesture by my husband that definitely lit my day. Dang, he’s good.

{TWO} A Moment of PrideA moment of pride

My son, Evan, is required to complete service hours for school. As we were brainstorming ideas, such as volunteering in the school library, he decided he wanted to do something more personal – like help a neighbor.

Well, we have an elderly neighbor who can’t drive, and her husband is in a nursing home, so I take her over to see him twice a week. I’ve been doing this for a little over a year now, and we’ve developed quite a friendship. One day, she mentioned how she hated her phone because she didn’t now how to use it. I told Evan about her comment, and he decided to give her phone lessons as his service project!

They had their first session this week. Seeing him sit patiently with her and teaching her how to “tap on apps” was such a great experience. Even though he was helping someone else, it lit me up inside to see his kindness.

{THREE} A Blast from the PastA blast from the past with friends

One of my dearest friends, whom I haven’t talked to in awhile, reached out to me recently. It was so nice hearing from her. She’s one of those friends that you can pick up where you left off, no matter how many months or miles grow between us.

After we connected, I pulled out some old photo albums. Because I actually had those back then. I found pictures from our girls’ trip to Germany. This picture of Kristina, DeeAnn and I above is one of my favorites. It shows exactly how we felt together…full of pure, unleashed joy. Always laughing, getting into mischief, and having each other’s backs, no matter what.

These ladies always light me up when we’re together. And it makes me want to go see them right now!!

{FOUR} An Unsuspecting QuoteBook: Today, Tomorrow and Every Day

This book has been on my “to read” list for awhile. I first saw it in a boutique in Seaside, Florida this summer and finally got around to ordering a copy. It’s called “Today, Tomorrow and Every Day” by M.H. Clark.

It’s a quick read and unfolds like a poem…using the terms “she” and “her” throughout. But as you get into it, you recognize “her” as yourself.

I had a moment of recognition when I read this page > Quote about perfection

As a recovering perfectionist, this really spoke to me. I strive to be more authentic and unapologetic every day. So this was gem. This author, this book, this page…all beams of light for me.

{FIVE} A Teddy Bear WelcomeTeddy bear welcome committeeOur cleaning lady, Brigida, and her fierce crew, whom I appreciate beyond words, are so good to our family and our home. They don’t just clean and move like ninjas, they leave little surprises for us…like this hilarious welcome committee above. Cleaning days are such a highlight, and yesterday was especially bright.

That’s a wrap! What special moments or people lit your week? Maybe take a moment to let them know – and light them up, too. <3

Many blessings,

Kate

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A December Digital Detox

As we lit our first Advent candle on Sunday, we were prompted to turn off the electricity so we could see the light. I thought that was such a beautiful message.

In order for us to really see the light…light that is good, light that brings hope, light that delivers truth…we needed to power down for a moment.

What if we did this for the entire season of Christmas?

In the midst of such busyness and excess, what if we stopped for a minute and did nothing but breathe? What if we decided to put down our devices and enjoy the real, living faces that are in front of us? As someone who’s probably (okay, very likely) on my phone waaay too much, I’d like to find out.

Studies are telling us that social media appears to promote narcissism, smartphones could be causing insomnia, and screens seem to be making our kids less empathetic and more depressed. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to head down such a sad and tired path – and I certainly don’t want my kids there.

So what do we do? We learn to unplug every now and then.

I’m going to try a digital detox for the month of December. If you’d like to join me, come back each Tuesday for a weekly challenge. (You can log off once you’ve read each post. I definitely see the irony. Lol!)

For now, let’s start with this…

This week’s challenge: Pick one day (each week of December) where we go Facebook free. If FB isn’t your jam, select the social channel of choice – one that you typically can’t live without.

Don’t check notices, post any statuses, or respond to someone tagging you in a photo. Turn off your notifications and spend the day being present. Maybe even try some bullet journaling?!

I’m going to pick Friday, which is the day I tend to post the most often. And it’s the day when I really should be enjoying and doing other things. Like this! >>

And spend more eye-to-eye time with these sweet faces…

So it’s Facebook-Free Fridays for me!! I’m already kind of nervous, which means I definitely need this detox. I hope you’ll join me.

Here’s to a more relaxed week for all of us, sitting in our true light, feeling the hope arise.

Blessings,

Kate

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Sleep Your Way to a More Creative Life

The phrase “let’s sleep on it” might actually have significance – other than helping you end a long meeting.

Neuroscientists believe that while you’re sleeping, you continue to work through ideas that were planted in your mind when you were awake. So essentially, you can keep creating cool stuff while your body gets its beauty rest. Ahh. I love the sound of that.

There’s a particular type of sleep that’s most beneficial for our creativity, too. According to this study, REM sleep helps the brain connect unrelated ideas, which in turn helps our creative problem-solving.

Fun facts about REM sleep:

  • What does it do? This type of sleep increases brain activity, promotes learning, and creates dreams.
  • When does it happen? It takes place after you’ve been sleeping for around 90 minutes.
  • How long does it last? The first cycle lasts about 10 minutes, and the length of each cycle increases with time. It can last up to a full hour in the phase right before you wake up. Basically, the longer you can sleep, the more REM you’ll get!
  • How does it affect us? According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, a study depriving rats of REM sleep significantly shortened their life span, from two or three years to five weeks. (Yikes! So a deep sleep might even help you live longer?)

During the REM phase, when you’re in a dream state, your brain is busy making sense of your thoughts, memories and experiences. And these connections often prove inspirational. Steve Jobs was noted for saying, “creativity is just connecting things.” And we can definitely do this in our sleep.

In order to capitalize on your dreams, keep a notebook by your bed. As soon as you wake up, write down any thoughts that come to mind – even if they seem nonsensical at the time. They will be ideas worth mining!

In addition to dreaming, it’s important to get a regular amount of sleep each night. By establishing how much sleep you need (for me it’s 8 hrs) and sticking to a routine, you’ll create a rhythm for your body. A rhythm that will help you think more clearly, aid your memory and make creativity flow more freely the next day.

Author Stephen King King believes a regular sleep pattern encourages our wakeful minds to unlock the similarly creative imaginations we access in our sleep. He said, “as your mind and body grow accustomed to a certain amount of sleep each night, you can train your waking mind to sleep creatively, and work out vividly imagined waking dreams, which are successful works of fiction.”

Whoa. Coming from a master of mysterious, bone-chilling novels, I’d say he’s on to something. That dude has quite an imagination.

So as you begin to work on your next creative project, seriously consider “sleeping on it!” And then take notes the next day.

Before you lull into a creative slumber, though, I’ll leave you with some of my favorite quotes about sleeping. >>

XoXo,

-Kate

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Creative Tip: Are You Asking The Right Questions?

If you want to awaken and nurture your spirit of innovation and creativity, one way to crack that egg is by asking questions. When you get super curious about an idea or problem, you can break new ground and walk away with a brilliant solution.

Questions stir up new connections between two or more concepts, or they lead you on a path to new questions and different angles. So how do you enwreathe an idea with just the right question?

Here are three approaches to try!

{ONE} PLAY “TEN QUESTIONS”

Remember the game 20 Questions, where one player thinks of a person/place/thing and another player asks up to 20, yes-or-no questions before guessing what they’re thinking about? Well, you can take a similar approach to a creative problem.

Think about what you’re trying to accomplish. Then write it in the form of a question – in at least 10 different ways.

For example, if you want to invent a new way to walk a dog, you could start with “How do I design a better leash?” Or you could ask, “What’s the problem with leashes on the market today?” Or better yet, “What would make a dog want to stay next to his owner on a walk?”

As you explore, your questions might get deeper into the issue and closer to a creative fix.

{TWO} THINK LIKE SOMEONE ELSE

Instead of sitting there feeling stuck inside of your own head, try to slide into someone else’s perspective.

For example, if you’re designing a better sippy cup, ask what changes your kids would make. What would make it easier for them to hold it? What would make it more fun for them to drink from it?

Think through the problem from their angle and ask questions from their side of the equation.

{THREE} REMEMBER TO GET FACTUAL 

Phil McKinney wrote a book that’s dedicated to this entire topic of digging deeper and asking the right questions. It’s called Beyond the Obvious. I haven’t read the book yet, but I recently stumbled upon one of his concepts.

He came up with two basic categories of good questions: factual and investigative.

As the name implies, the objective of the first category is to get information…real, useful info that provides detail and context. It’s the “who, what, where, why, and how” kind of questions.

They serve an important purpose, though. Sometimes people glaze over details or make assumptions, when a simple, factual question could be the missing link to uncovering a solution.

For instance, there were two sisters who always cut the ends off their ham before cooking it for the holidays. One sister finally stopped and asked why. When her sister didn’t really know, they decided to ask their mom. After all, she taught them how to cook a ham. The mom said she cut the ends because she didn’t have a pan big enough…not because it had some sort of culinary benefit.

So discovering a new way of doing things can certainly come from asking factual questions.

And remember to keep following the question train. Keep asking why, and follow up with another question until you’re satisfied.

McKinney believes you’re more likely to get creative answers from open-ended, investigative questions – like what we explored above in options 1 & 2 – so it’s good to give all of these approaches a try.

Let me know what works best for you.

Have a creative day!

Kate

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Why should we care about being creative?

{via} Today’s creative tip!

Let’s say you’re a blogger or writer. You probably see the need for creativity on a regular basis. As you plan out your posts and thoughtfully craft your sentences, you rely on many techniques to keep your work interesting and memorable. If any part of your livelihood (and therefore your paycheck) relies on creative thinking and solutions, then it’s sure to have a meaningful place in your life, and you see the importance of sharpening your skills.

But what if you don’t feel like your job or your life depends on it, why should you really care about it…at all?

Edward de Bono woke me up with this statement, “Creativity is the most important human resource. Without creativity, there would be no progress, and we would be forever repeating the same patterns.”

Could you imagine a world that was on constant repeat?

Not only would that be boring, but also frightening. And if you think about it (like in terms of a song that never stops playing on the radio) it would also be annoying.

When we frame it up in this manner, we realize that spending time coming up with new ideas or “piddling around” with words, craft supplies, or music isn’t being frivolous. It’s necessary.

There’s even scientific evidence that shows creativity can help us live better, happier, healthier lives. I read a beautiful post that describes creativity as “a way we wrestle and thrive and search and grow and learn and make sense of the world. It’s how we find our purpose and our joy and our way through long, dark days until we get to better ones.”

So if you take away only one thing from this post, hopefully it’s a need to express your own creativity.

If you’ve been struggling with prioritizing your time or rationalizing why you should take up crocheting or tackling a few of the DIY projects on all of your Pinterest boards when you have kids to pickup from school or there’s laundry piling up in the hallway, this is your permission slip to do so.

Go explore. Get messy. Grow through your experiences – and help keep this world off repeat, damn it.

XoXo,

Kate

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Scare Up Some Creativity

Goblins, ghouls and spilled glitter aren’t the only things we fear. The death-stare of a blank page can make any writer go numb.

So how do we unmask the fear of our own attempts at creativity?

First, it helps to put fear in its place. Here’s some perspective from one of my all-time favorite humans. >

Along that same train of thought, I’ve heard that “fear doesn’t actually stop death, it stops life.”

That’s a pretty powerful statement. And why would we want to do that to ourselves? Why would we stop ourselves from truly living and expressing the creativity that’s inside of us?

If we’re being totally honest, there’s probably a long list of reasons. And some of them might look like this:

  • I could fail.
  • My ideas could suck.
  • People could think I’m stupid and have no original ideas.
  • I could lose credibility as an artist or writer.

The key word in all of those scenarios is “could”. We don’t know for certain that any of this is true. For now, it’s all in our head.

So, isn’t it just as likely that our list could turn out like this:

  • I could succeed.
  • My idea could be awesome.
  • People could think I’m super creative and full of original ideas.
  • I could gain the confidence of those around me and have a giant fan club.

Yes. The pendulum could most definitely swing in that direction.

If we define fear for what it really is: False Evidence Appearing Real, then maybe we can muster the courage to face our creativity. Surrender ourselves to the process. Allow ourselves to take a chance and let go of the outcome. Even if a project or storyline doesn’t work out, we can choose to learn and live on.

Everything we experience becomes our experience.

So in honor of the upcoming holiday (Halloween), let’s make a pact to scare up some creativity this week.

Stare down that blank page and write like your life depends on it. Because maybe it does.

Courage and blessings to you,

Kate

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Hold On To Your “Ors”

For today’s creative tip, I want to focus on choices – and the beautiful fact we have them.

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If you’re feeling stuck, challenged or downright uninspired, lean into the idea of choices. They don’t have to be life-changing decisions. Start with a tiny fork in the road and let it guide you to a better place.

For instance…

If you’re in between creative projects and don’t know what to do next, you could pickup your camera or sketchbook like usual or try your hand at watercolors or crocheting. Challenge yourself with a new medium, and you might discover a whole new hobby. That you love!

Have you taken on too many projects and feel overwhelmed? You could stew in your stress or take a quick minute to stop. Delegate what you can. Say “no” where you need to. And handle the rest one thing at a time. It’ll all get done in due time.

Maybe you’re writing a book and are struggling with dialogue? You could continue to sit in front of your computer and feel frustrated or you could pack up your laptop and head to a coffee shop where you can eavesdrop on conversations and gather inspiration. A simple change in location could be just what you need.

Let’s say you want to share a creative idea at your next meeting but are afraid of rejection. You could sit in doubt and smother the idea or take a chance on it working out. Like they say with the lottery, “you can’t win if you don’t play.”

And if your idea doesn’t go over well, you have the choice of feeling deflated or inspired to make it better next time.

There’s always an “or” when we really look for it. Hold on to it and maybe even see what’s on the other side?

Still need a nudge? Elizabeth Gilbert gives us this empowering thought from her book Eat, Pray, Love. It reminds us to stay in charge of our choices. >

Many blessings,

Kate

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