Habits

How I Handle The Fear Of Success

Sometimes we fear success as much as we want it! Here are some simple tips to keep in mind so you don't self-sabotage.

I hit a major snag this weekend in my art business.  I *finally* bought a new printer to make my own art prints but I can’t seem to match up the color on the screen with the colors that print on the page.  Yikes.

As someone who knows just enough about printing/technical stuff to get by, this can be a dangerous situation.  I don’t totally know what I don’t know, and can majorly screw things up with a few wrong adjustments.

I got on the phone with Epson on Saturday to try to trouble shoot the whole scenario.  I’ve been putting off calling them for 2 weeks because of my desperate and irrational fear that it can’t be fixed–what if I made a mistake in buying my own printer?  What if I can’t really do this?  I realized during those 2 weeks, staying in limbo kept me in that holding pattern of not exactly failing, but not exactly succeeding either.

Three hours later, we hung up and I still felt anxious because they couldn’t resolve the problem and couldn’t tell me what the true issue was.  They suggested I contact the help desk of Adobe Photoshop (what?).  Turns out, they’re closed on the weekend, and better yet, they don’t offer phone support for my product.  And so it goes.

I know I am in the home stretch.  This art business is what I have been dreaming of for a long time.  So why was I procrastinating on figuring this piece out?

After a short break from talking technical madness, I logged in to a chat room for Adobe and found that I needed to calibrate my monitor.  Funny how we didn’t cover that topic on the three hour call yet there it was, the simple answer.

After I thought about it, I realized this: I may get exactly what I wish for.  And even though I really want it, sometimes I just get scared of change and I self-sabotage.  

Can you relate?

I came up with a few simple thoughts on how to welcome success and how you can avoid your own case of self-sabotage:

  1. Visualize what you want.  When I can actually see in my mind how I want the ending to look, I feel more comfortable when it (or something close to it) appears in my life.  Fear of the unknown is no longer an obstacle.
  2. Act as if.  When I behave from the perspective that what I want is already in my life, it’s easy to incorporate it when it actually shows up.  I choose each minute of each day how to feel, why not choose what I want?
  3. Ask for Help.  There’s no need to reinvent the wheel!  There are soooo many people who have already done what I’m looking for, and they are so willing to help.  Some great options that help me all of the time?  On-line forums + social media communities.
  4. Understand the sacrifice you make by not winning.  What are you giving up by NOT succeeding?  For me, it was figuring out the hurdle of the monitor needing calibration to make prints that I was proud of.  There are options you are letting go of by not overcoming fear of success; identifying them can be a great motivator.
  5. Let go of expectations.  I know, I know, it’s not what you want to hear, but the main idea is to hold your expectations loosely–you never know when something even better may show up.

It’s not so scary when I break it down into those simple steps.  Maybe they will help you, too.  I’d love to hear about what small step you’re taking today to handle your fear of success here.

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How I Handle The Fear Of Success2018-03-29T20:23:14-04:00

How To Invite Inspiration In.

Do you know what inspires you? Or how to be ready when it shows up in your life? Click through for 7 ways to invite inspiration in.

 

I was lying in bed talking to a friend after a long day of deadlines, appointments + meetings.  I got a little giddy as I said goodbye to her, knowing it was bed time.  I loooooove sleeping– and girlfriend, I was ready to hunker down.

But as I was just about to fall asleep, I had a new idea pop up for one of my art pieces–I think it was a result of seeing something on Instagram earlier (I love that community).  The idea was a new style I wanted to play around with, so I jolted back to being fully awake + thinking about how I can incorporate this into my work.

I was kind of annoyed to get this inspiration so late at night–I was tired and not in the mood to be inspired!  But it got me thinking about how inspiration flows in my life.  

I realized this good-idea-before-sleep scenario is pretty common for me; the shower is another hot spot for budding break-throughs.   It’s when I’m completely relaxed that these new ideas come floating up effortlessly, simply because I’m letting them.  Can you relate?

And inspiration usually comes when I least expect it; I’m chilling out, enjoying the moment and letting my mind wander, then….wham!  The new idea/thought/feeling becomes crystal clear.  For me, it’s just about being open + allowing the energy to flow through.

Inspiration can come in many forms–it can be a new recipe, a different color for a painting, a great piece of furniture for the bedroom, a course that expands my world view, a specific taste that satisfies a deep craving or a song that calms me down.

Inspiration is our subconscious affirming to us what our soul is yearning for. It’s our way of attracting what truly nourishes us.

The word “inspiration” literally means,”in” + spirare “to breathe”.  When we are inspired, we are taking in our unique breath of life--whatever that breath or stimulus may be.

So how do you invite inspiration in? 

  • Be open to it.  Inspiration is a personal thing–what inspires you may not inspire someone else, so do not be judgey about what shows up for you.  Being open to it is the most important part of it–actually recognizing it showing up.
  • Be prepared.  Keep a notepad by your bed or use the recording option on your phone when you have a great idea; some people (aka: me) even try to make an mnemonic device so that they remember the thought later.
  • Get clear about your joy.  When you know what makes you happy, you will feel more motivated to act on the inspiration you get from it.
  • Strike while the iron is hot.  Inspiration is the gateway to action.  When you are looking to be inspired, surround yourself with the thoughts, people + things that get your heart pumping.  When your muse shows up, grab a chair and listen intently (even when you’re about to fall asleep).
  • Keep expanding. Being inspired comes in many forms so keep your eyes open for opportunities to grow + learn + try new things.  An open heart will help you expand in many directions along the way.
  • Welcome the act of being inspired, no matter what you’re doing.  Inspiration is part of your natural state, but sometimes it can feel a little inconvenient because it shows up at random times.  So when you are relaxed and feeling joyful, most likely you will receive some messages from your higher calling.  Know that the more inspired you are, the more inspired you will become, so just go with it!
  • Trust.  This is a biggie–trust that feeling inspired is divine intervention showing up in your life.  In some way, you called it forth and it is being answered. Hooray!

Inspiration is a personal preference–what gets me excited may do nothing for you; the important part is to figure out what makes your heart soar, and keep pursuing THAT.  If you surround yourself with what usually gives you butterflies, it will just be a matter of time + space before you’re feeling your next jolt of excitement.

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PS.  Have some thoughts on this topic?  Tell me about it over on facebook!

How To Invite Inspiration In.2018-03-29T20:23:14-04:00

How To Get Out Of A Funk.

4 Ways to get out of a funk. Click through for some simple tips on how to get yourself out of a slump and get back to being yourself!

Sometimes Summer brings on the funk for me and it can make me feel a little out of it/unmotivated/lazy.   Does that happen to you, too?  I think it’s a combination of the weather (it’s so nice!) and it being the ‘vacation time’ part of the year that throws me into a sort of haze.

The other day I was a total sloth. I ate my weight in coconut milk ice cream, vegged on the couch watching a Say Yes To The Dress Marathon for 3 hours and took a nap that would rival Rip Van Wickle himself.  I just couldn’t seem to snap out of that lazy feeling.

I have tried to accept that funks are just a part of the waves of my life.  I can go through some periods of super productivity and clarity, and then others of total idleness.  

I can be super-assertive and be totally on top of things.  Bulleted list? Check.  Timeline? Check.  Feeling amazingly organized?  Check, check, check.

Then on the other hand, I can also be the best couch potato in the world (see above).   Who needs lists when you have movie marathons, takeout and a cozy blankie?  Pure heaven.  But too many hours clocked into the couch can feel like it’s swallowing me and my motivation whole.

So instead of beating myself up when I get like this, I’ve figured out a few simple steps to help me get out of a funk and maybe they’ll help you, too:

  1. Acknowledge the reason for the funk.  Am I eating right/getting enough sleep?  Am I working through a personal issue?  Do I feel nervous about the next step (whatever it is)?  Imbalance of any one of these things can drive me right into funk-ville, but acknowledging the cause can often alleviate some of the burden.  Once I address the culprit, I can get working on the solution.
  2. The only way out is through.  When I’m feeling funky, I just want to instantly snap out of it and get back to normal; but it’s not always that easy, is it?  Saying to myself, “I’m going through a weird phase and it will pass” lets me off the hook and gives me the room to be a little off without feeling like an odd-ball.  When I’m honest with myself and admit I’m less than my best, I bounce back to being me, quicker.
  3. Make small changes.  The most valuable lesson I have learned from my off times is: the secret of my success is found in my daily routine.  So instead of a total routine re-vamp, I try to make small moves everyday to get me closer to where I want to go.  Just putting one foot in front of the other–small movements aren’t overwhelming and I can stick to them.  And these small, consistent actions usually create big, awesome results.
  4. Reflect on the funk from the other side.  Once I get through my off kilter moment, I like to look back at how I handled it.  Was I patient and kind to myself?  Or was I a nervous wreck, fighting the process?  Looking back not only helps me develop compassion for myself (and others who are going through the same thing) but it shows me that nothing is permanent.

Life is always changing, and part of that is trusting that I can work through whatever comes my way.  You can do it, too!

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How To Get Out Of A Funk.2018-03-29T20:23:15-04:00

Busy Does Not Mean Better

In the spirit of being adventurous and open-hearted, I’ve gotten into the habit of saying yes to a lot of things in my life.  In the beginning, it was an exercise in faith and trusting the universe, that what I needed would come my way.  It opened me up to new experiences and expanded my heart and mind–mission accomplished.

Purpose of life

But lately I’m just feeling really busy.  Do you know what I’m talking about?  When you spend time doing things that aren’t necessarily adding value to your life, but you do it just because you said you would?  Yuck.

So as a result, I’m making it a point to being more intentional these days with my time + energy.  I’m trying to set boundaries and create a framework that allows me to enjoy what I’m doing when I’m doing it.  Imagine that. And instead of feeling selfish about it, I’m looking at it as self-care.

I want to be intentional about my life and not let it just happen to me.

For example: I recently admitted to myself that I don’t love going out at night after work, during the week.  Once in a while is fine, but I’m trying to make it a habit not to schedule social activities at night during the week unless it’s something that I really want to do.

And being a social person, this can be hard–my actions conflict with my feelings.  I want to be that fun person who’s ready to go at a moment’s notice.  But….I’m realizing, I’m just not.  I need time to decompress at the end of each day.  And if I go out, I don’t get to unwind and it does something funky to my psyche.  I become irritated and tired Steph.  She’s no fun.

In this adventure of un-busying my life, I’m getting to know myself better and listening to my heart.  It feels really good to tune in to what I want, and just say no.  I acknowledge that trying to do it all doesn’t work for me.  And the more that concept sinks in, the lovelier it feels to let myself off the hook.

Here are some of the questions I ask myself to re-calibrate how I’m spending my time, maybe they’ll help you too:

  • What do I enjoy doing?  It’s such a simple question but sometimes we get bogged down in life by obligations.  Remembering my joy triggers each day are such a necessity–Reading, watching a movie, painting, spending quality time with Chris–and I want to do that as much as possible.
  • How do I want to feel? How I want to feel is the driver of all things in my life.  It is the fuel to my fire: content, calm and inspired.  These core feelings help me make decisions throughout my day.
  • What are my limits?  Knowing my limits allows me to set healthy boundaries.  I know I need no less than 8 hours of sleep a night, so I plan accordingly.  I also love weird, healthy food (I’m one of those) and need to sweat out my stress regularly to stay sane.
  • What do I want to accomplish?  Having a basic plan helps me organize my thoughts and actions throughout the day.  Whether it’s a new blog post or starting a new painting, I have mini goals that motivate me and keep me on track.

Being busy doesn’t mean getting a lot done.  It just means we don’t have time to deeply examine our choices.  Sometimes what we stop doing is just as important as what we start doing; how can you become less busy today and more in tune with yourself?

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Busy Does Not Mean Better2018-03-29T20:23:15-04:00

Why We Must Ride The Waves Of Life.

If you’ve been keeping up with my posts, you know it’s been an exciting time around here lately.  I’m going through some really amazing changes that I’m open to with my whole heart, even though I’m secretly freaking out a little bit.  I recently got engaged and just moved into a dream house with my love–we’re working diligently on turning the house into a home, and it’s a lot of fun + scary all at the same time.

You've seen my descentAs I’m going through all of these highs, I’m still feeling the waves of everyday life.  Two days after getting engaged, I broke my toe.  What bad timing!  And a few days later as I was enjoying the amazing sunny weather during my lunch hour,  I locked my keys in my car.  Talk about learning to ride the waves of life.

Even though these minor events sprinkled some frustrations around my joy, it was a good reminder to me that life is a mix of highs and lows;  it is always changing and moving.  I think it’s natural to want to lock things down and set cruise control on the “happy” setting each day, but there’s more in store for us than that one-dimensional life.

And the neutrality that comes with no emotional fluctuations only ends up stifling the spirit.  Wanting happiness 24/7 is just a result of trying to avoid any sort of pain or discomfort–but experiencing happiness all the time would burn us out in a different way.

Because even though we crave happiness most of the time, feeling the highs and lows give us perspective to appreciate the varying degrees of life; they create depth of character.  How would we know pure bliss unless we’ve experienced a deep low?  Without the peaks and valleys, we lose perspective and soon feel trapped in that tightly cocooned safety net.  We are meant to change and grow, not stay stagnant.

As I reflected on the the events of the good-and-not-so-good events happening at the same time, I realized it’s part of the beauty of life–the balance of the yin and yang.  I try to remind myself of this natural law as I go through the roller coaster of emotions that change can often bring.  I know that eventually, things settle.

It reminds me that life is meant to be lived and enjoyed, and messily so. We have to ride the waves of joy + sorrow and grow from it, in order to become the person we want to be. That includes screwing up, feeling bad and bouncing back, too. Without that, we lead a life of emotional mediocrity and stifled curiosity.  Our spirit blooms when we feel the full range of emotions because we gain confidence as we get to know ourselves better.

Riding the waves of life with courage allows us to expand into something we may not have imagined–but always wanted to be.  The trick is getting beyond the fear long enough to embrace the changes as a good thing.  Because they usually are.

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Why We Must Ride The Waves Of Life.2018-03-29T20:23:15-04:00

You Are A Magician: How To Create What You Want.

Did you know that you're absolutely magical? You can manifest whatever you want, you just have to decide what it is! Click through to read--You Are A Magician: How To Create What You Want.

Did you know that you're absolutely magical? You can manifest whatever you want, you just have to decide what it is! Click through to read--You Are A Magician: How To Create What You Want.

I love the whole process of creating.  Even better, I love hearing about the process of how other people create because we’re all magicians in our own way + I love learning new tricks.

And whether we realize it or not, everyone is always creating.  It can be for a change in life circumstances, a new job or making new habits; it all falls under the umbrella of manifesting what we want.

The act of creation is the ultimate expression of getting what’s on the inside to show up on the outside.

Every change starts with a feeling. I’m a huge believer in the law of attraction + the power of thoughts, and I have experienced first hand that the best way to create what you want is to stay positive.  What you focus on will grow.

Because your feelings are your compass.  And your primary focus with those feelings should be to always feel good. When you focus on feeling good, specifically about what you want, you’re sending a signal out that will attract back to you the material equivalent. You don’t want to attract back your bad mood, right?

Your feelings are like a smoke signal to the universe.

So how do we actually use this idea of creating what we want and have it actually work? It’s pretty simple, but most people make it waaaayyyy more complicated than it needs to be.  Here’s the trick on how to create: act as though the object of your desire is already present in your life.  Think about it like it is already here, and watch it magically appear.

I know this all sounds hippie-dippie, but trust me, it works.

Here’s an example: want to lose weight? Start thinking about how your body will move differently once the weight is off and practice moving like a skinnier person.  Go shopping and check out some clothes that will fit you at your new weight.  Visualize yourself doing an activity easily that may be a bit of a struggle right now.  Act as if.  Be intentional about the feelings you’re putting out there.

Here are some ways that I maintain an environment of feeling good so I can create what I want:

  • I keep a list of feeling/pictures/phrases/memories that bring me to a good space.  When I am feeling down or needing a moment of inspiration, I refer to these lists/images for a boost.  It immediately gives me a lift and brings me back to the place of feeling light and happy. Creating from that place is much easier.
  • I wear clothes that allow me to move, breathe and be comfortable.  I feel like the more restricted my clothes are, the more restricted my feelings get.  My litmus test?  I want to be able to sit indian style at any given moment without feeling I’m going to split my pants/skirt.
  • I schedule time each week to be creative.  Even if it feels a little too contrived at the time and I’m not in the mood, I just get my body and mind there in the space;  eventually I get inspired and explore ways to express my creativity.  This set time keeps me moving forward in my creative path so I’m ready when inspiration strikes, kind of like building a habit.  Right now my blocks of time each week is my abstract painting class and Friday morning painting–anything other than those times is a bonus.
  • I try to stay open to inspiring moments throughout the day.  A beautifully colored leaf or tinker of laughter can ignite my heart at any moment.  I try not to wait for that lightning bolt of inspiration, but  try to be thrilled by everyday life so I stay in the flow.
  • I seek out others who are on the same path.  Birds of a feather, right?  Social media makes it so easy to check out what others are doing and get inspired; the different communities I chime in on give me courage to keep creating and help me appreciate the process rather than constantly sprinting to the finish line.

You are a glorious magician. What will you create today?

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P.S. What is calling you? and How are you stoking your creative fire?

You Are A Magician: How To Create What You Want.2018-03-29T20:23:16-04:00
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