Tag Archives: creativity

Life and Blogging are Like a Camera

life is like a cameraI came across this quote picture on Facebook, posted by a friend, but created by Jack Canfield. I do love social media, even though it can be a time quicksand.

So now I have all the acknowledgements taken care of, I find it has inspired me to revisit the purpose of this blog.

It started with an idea to attract people to our new software product, as well as the wellness products with my longtime Shaklee business (still gotta have a plug for the best natural products around). Then, as the software concept imploded and the desire to find our way back to our deepest dreams emerged, it became a way to recreate our financial and creative lives.

  • First, by inspiring us to recommit to our passion for writing and creativity.
  • Second by building this blog to support others like us who were ready to delve into their true talents and become financially independent entrepreneurs. Creative entrepreneurs, that is.

As often happens with life, both our lives and this blog developed into something I never imagined as we struggled to find a path beyond our start-up partnership. Now that that dream has disappeared, this new vision seems much more coherent and valid. It addresses our core dreams and talents. As well as the ongoing desire to help others live better, healthier and more congruent lives.

All this may sound too philosophical for some of you…like, where is the meat? Yet I know there are many who have already embraced the desire to put their talents to work, their dreams into action and their finances in their own hands. And many who are entering their ‘third trimester of life’ who are ready to recapture their true essence, while creating a new stream of income… a necessity for so many of us. Continue reading

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Food Mashups! My 7 Creativity Take-Aways from a Quirky Trend

Bruxie waffle mashupAs a creative person, I love messing with recipes almost as much as words and images. Add a little of this, use this instead of that, reduce the sugar, salt or whatnot.  It’s fun and after years of cooking, it comes naturally.

But I have to say, the new trend of food mashups is way beyond anything I’ve come up with… like waffle burgers, oreos baked inside of cookie dough or tostado lasagna.  All this may have started in home kitchens trying to figure out what’s for dinner when the refrigerator/pantry was just a leftover hodgepodge.  And 30 years ago, who would have thought of Thai Chicken Pizza or Cronuts, which now seem a bit tame.

Thinking about food mashups not only made me hungry, but it also inspired some thoughts about applying this creativity to our writing, photography or music to come up with new forms that people don’t even know they want.

Kind of like, who would have thought writing 140-character messages would be of interest to ANYONE?  Enter Twitter and another revolution began. (Speaking of Twitter:  Would you like to follow Getting Traction?)

So, here are my take-aways from the culinary mashup trend: Continue reading

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How To Be Creative In Spite of the Detours – Part 1 – 7 Tips

How to be creative

Did I mention ‘taking a nap”?

 

Needing some off-road survival tips to get you one track?

Read on…

Plans get postponed or land in your lap like a pile of trash. 

Potholes send you off road without 4-wheel drive.

That’s what often passes for my highway to success.  I find myself there on a regular basis!

How about you?

I want to write and create content, articles and books that entertain, inform and you to commit to the life they want and have the tools to do it.  I want to be a better photographer and create more interesting images for my blog posts.  I want to spend every day being the ME I’ve postponed for 60 years.

How to be creative, even when it seems the world and your own fears and deficiencies conspire against you, is my question these days.  This is the topic I woke up with and can’t avoid writing about.  Just getting the words on the page is having a beneficial effect already (Tip #1 perhaps?), so let’s dive in with some suggestions.

Getting creative in spite of it all:

      • Tip #1 – “Morning Pages” – early morning peace, blank paper, cup of coffee, cozy sweater and ‘fur’ lined slippers, great pen – now write!  Write about all the crap that keeps landing in your path, write about the people that really bug you and disrupt your days (suggestion – be sure you have a secure hiding place for that notebook!), vent, rant and generally make a mess of at least 3 pages!  Phew…that’s better!
      • Tip #2 – WALK – there’s nothing like a good, solitary walk.  Deep breathing, birds in the trees or glistening city sidewalks (or maybe the trash along the sidewalk gives you a different sort of inspiration) or just the opportunity for your eyes to focus on something other than a computer screen.  Walking has been proven to do all sorts of great things for your body and brain, inspiring creativity via the simplicity of oxygen, happy hormones like serotonin that lead to that niggling craving for some paper to write down the ideas that pop into your head.  Bring along a moleskin in your pocket or perhaps a digital recorder.  No phones though…I find they disrupt my energy flow as I keep thinking of all the people I SHOULD be calling…not on my walk, mister. Best of all, you get away from the dishes, laundry or pile of paperwork that keep calling to you.
      • Tip #4 – Cry – No, don’t watch the news. I mean cry in a way that connects you with the human race and moves you to be a better, more inspiring writer or artist.  If it touches you, then that often inspires you to create something that touches others. Create your go-to bookshelf, video playlist or memory/photo album handy for this one.
      • Tip #5 – Connect – I sometimes force myself to sit in my desk chair until I complete a planned project.  My bum starts aching. Until I realize talking with someone I love, respect or just enjoy talking to is what I need.  Why do you think Starbucks is so popular for the work-from-home-set? Just the buzz of other people talking can be enough…sometimes. But if you have a solitary creative process, setting a goal to meet someone for lunch or coffee at least 2 times a week can be the change that does you the most good.  What’s your favorite connecting spot? Gym, meetup groups, adult classes, community events? Find one because you’ll never get everything done, if that’s what you’re waiting for.
      • Tip #6 – Disconnect – Some days I need to go someplace where nobody knows my name, phone number or email address.  Like a patio restaurant, favorite beach, park bench or maybe that dark, artsy coffee bar in a different part of town.  Unfamiliar surroundings, eavesdropping on conversations, even reading a free magazine you find along the way can jump start an idea I’d totally forgotten. Ideas bombard me every minute.  The trick is to pick one and take action.  New surroundings can be the inspiration you need.  Bonus idea:  If you never take the bus, take the bus alone.  Try something new, all by yourself.
      • Tip #7 – Kids, dogs & cats, oh my! – Don’t have any handy? Borrow one.  There is nothing like the spontaneous energy, virgin enthusiasm and unspoiled wonder of children and animals.  Every day is an adventure. How dare we be bored, whiny, unproductive adults?  Shame on us.  Got more time? Visit a zoo or nature preserve or volunteer someplace where you can get your ‘fix’ on a regular basis.  Extra bonus: If you work it right, you can get the” laugh, cry, connect” tips all in this tip right here!

Some of these seem contradictory.  That’s how life is.  That’s also how people are. We need different solutions on any given day.  That’s why you’re so fascinating, too.

And that’s why we want 7 tips instead of just 1!

That’s it for now. More ideas are popping into my head, but I’m curious to hear what you peeps out there do to jump start your creativity when life gives you lemons or leftovers.

For more posts on Creativity on Getting Traction:

Food Mashups!  My Creativity Take-aways

 

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Ready to ‘Be All In’? 5 Action Steps to Get You Started

Involvement or commitment?What does ‘be all in’ mean to you?

In the dictionary “all in” refers to being drained, exhausted or done in for the day.

Not quite right!

In poker, it has a slightly different meaning…done for the night, or all your chips in on the last hand?

Closer?

I didn’t find a meaning that fit my idea until I came across a financial investor site.

Aha…

Definition from Investorwords.com:

“The process of putting everything or all of a specific item into something. Items that can literally or figuratively be put all in to something include time, money, energy, or other resources.”

This is what I’m talking about!

This is what I’m learning to do with my creativity, too.

My life as a creative person involved seeing my talents as hobbies for fun or gifting, or a skill to be used for other business needs. Writing, designing, researching can be incorporated into many aspects of business and that’s what I did for decades, while I wrote poetry that no one ever saw. Crafts… well, they made great decor and gift items.

About 15 years ago I began sharing my writing with a writing group I joined, then with my partner and finally in the last few years with family and friends.

Still…it was something I was good at, but couldn’t conceive I was good enough that people would actually BUY it.

It was only recently that I began to develop the confidence that I could create a business that would market these talents, instead of some other product.

When we perceive a talent or skill as a hobby (i.e. not valued by society as a source of income) we tend to relegate it to spare time rather than prime time.

We tend to put it at the bottom of the priority list. Not dedicate time to producing or developing our craft. Or we avoid it altogether by watching other people live their dreams on TV.

What stops us from committing our time, energy and money to focus on what we love? Perhaps even creating a lucrative career from them?

I don’t believe it’s really all the excuses we’ve come up with over the years. I believe it’s based on our FEARS.

FEAR of:

Not being good enough to…

Being ridiculed or ostracized by …

Failing at …

Wasting our time on…

Living on the streets like the poor artists/writers we’ve heard about!

The list goes on and yours is unique to you, but we all have one.

In order to ‘be all in’, we need to start by liberating ourselves from these limiting fears, then delving into what really gives us pleasure. We’ll explore the rest of the process soon, but first let’s deal with those hidden fears.

Action Steps:

  • 1. Write down 5 or more consequences you are afraid of if you focus on your creative talents.
  • 2. Examine each of them. Are they based on your experience, others’ experience or things you’ve learned from family, friends or society? Or perhaps they’re simply based on your own lack of confidence.
  • 3. Write down at least one strategy to help you overcome each fear. e.g. read a book or watch a movie that inspires you; research people who write, create music or art; take a class to help you develop your talents and asses your potential, etc.
  • 4. Set aside a segment of time each day/week to enjoy your talents without guilt and begin to create a plan for building on your talents and monetizing them. Turn off the TV, get up early or reserve part of your weekend for your own personal ‘artist’s day’.
  • 5. Find a mentor. It could be a fellow artist/writer/musician, a friend you trust, a teacher or family member. Confide your dream and ask for support and honest feedback. If you like social media, look for groups with similar interests. Google+ is a good place to start. If you like meeting in person, look for meetup.com groups in your area.

For some of us, this last step may be the hardest and you might not find the right person on the first try.

It’s an ongoing process, but the first step is to begin.

If you already have a mentor or artist tribe, it may seem like a no-brainer. Perhaps you are the ones who can reach out and support the budding artists in your community.

I didn’t find my writer tribe until I was in my 50’s…but that was mostly because I never had the courage to ask. Don’t be that person. There are so many people, both young and old, with dreams of a life focused on what they love to do. People like you, perhaps, who also need a mentor.

For fun, watch Eat that Frog to inspire you to get started.

Then, take a big gulp and join us, subscribe or comment to let us know your thoughts.

Next Post: Finding your passion, pleasure & peace

 

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How to Master Multi-tasking for Creative Entrepreneurs

When I first became a working mother, then later a mom-preneur workingbaby and working mom from home, I discovered the need for multitasking… BIG TIME!  Today, it seems to be a necessity. However, there are those who are telling us our brains just don’t work that way.

So how is it possible that everyone all around us is doing IT?

I’ve noticed as I get older, the multitasking genius is fading and it’s often more difficult to track two similar activities, like talking on the phone and scanning a web article. My brain goes into rebellion. Other factors seem to affect my abilities too. i.e. some days are better than others. Do you know what I mean?

So, I decided to do a little research on the art of multitasking.  Here’s what I found:

  • Our brains can’t multi-task (sorry, but it seems to be true!)
  • It’s more stressful when we try to make it multi-task (most of us have experienced this!)
  • Multi-tasking is really switching the brain’s attention from one task or awareness to another. (‘Command center, pay attention to THIS now!’)
  • As we age, get too caffeinated, fatigued or stressed our brains ability to switch focus effectively can deteriorate.
  • We can train our brains to be more effective at switching focus by practicing!

I find the creative tasks are the ones that demand my full attention. If I’m sitting here thinking about why my phone is beeping softly, whether my laundry is dry, and how much time I’ll need to make the soup I promised everyone for dinner… well, things just won’t gel like I want, which will result in a lot more time to get it right.

Multi-tasking…bah humbug!

Here’s the quandary:

How can something that is functionally impossible, seemingly destructive and potentially non-productive be so darn essential for success in the 21st century?? (That’s a lot of adverbs in one sentence, but I think you can see the necessity!)

So, here’s my Mastering Multi-tasking for the Creative/Mobile Entrepreneur Checklist, in spite of it all:

  • Remember that you are not thinking 2+ things at the same time; you are simply switching back and forth, so practice becoming quicker at it by using your brainpower without getting stressed
  • Develop your list of habitual skills with practice. Make a list if that helps. The more time you spend practicing an activity, the less focus it takes for your brain, then the easier (and less stressful!) it is to switch focus while continuing your habitual activity.
  • Try multitasking between habitual activities and brain-intense activities (like washing dishes + talking on the phone, or walking + listening to an audio seminar)
  • When something is really important or demanding of your full creative talents, remove distractions, set a timer and give it 100% focus for the allotted time.
  • Get up and move every 1-2 hours! Make a couple of quick phone calls while walking around the block. Today, I started the dishwasher, laundry and cooking the soup at 10 a.m… Once set up they don’t require my attention, but technically I am the ultimate multitasker. When I take my mini-break, I give myself 10-15 minutes to put the laundry in the dryer, empty the dishwasher and stir the soup (on timer so I don’t need to worry until it beeps). Then back to work, fully focused and refreshed.
  • Find tools that work for you to make you more effective. I always liked lists because once I make the list I don’t have to keep trying to remember what else I need to do. Very distracting! I also love Evernote to keep all my research results handy at the click of a button. This one tool has saved me incredible time, stress and paper piles.
  • Take a brain break! You know, stand up, stretch, deep breathe and don’t try to do anything for 5 minutes except just BE in the moment.
  • Even better, take a ‘screen break’. Study, read, think, talk with real people… anything without a screen, touchpad or earpiece. Shop even…woohoo…in a real store, I mean. This one we’re talking one hour+.
  • Reward yourself when an important task is complete… is that a power nap, a coffee with a friend or just curling up with your favorite magazine with a cup of tea? Your brain will love you and perform better for it.

Below you’ll find a few articles I came across while researching this article. I’d also love to hear how you handle multiple task challenges, so please share your ideas.

Make it a focused, productive, low stress day by going out there and employing your creative talents, one at a time.

Further research suggestions:

How Multitasking Hurts Your Brain (and Your Effectiveness at Work) 

Secrets of Multitasking: Slow Down to Speed Up 

How to Multitask Without Losing Your Mind

Think You’re Multitasking? Think Again

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