Jubilee Pritchard, 39, always seemed to be a happy person, even as a little kid. Jubilee is one of the most famous speakers on positivity and motivation in the world. She travels the world every year giving talks and workshops. She’s been on every popular talk show, radio show, and podcast around. But Jubi has a secret, a deep, dark secret. She’s always been depressed and unhappy. She’s even attempeted suicide. But when she’s in public she thinks of herself as an actor. A very good actor.
Carol Temper, 51.
Carol used to be overweight but lost over 100 pounds. She still wears long sleeves because of excess skin. Her husband left her for her friend and she’s now forced to get a part-time job at a craft store, on top of the full-time job at an office where all the girls hate her because she’s so miserable. She has greasy, stringy hair, a big bump on her nose, and skin so pale you can see veins in her cheeks. The girls in the office tried to include her in their group and gave her a makeover, but she hated it (even though she looked fantastic). She’s gotten written up because of customer service complaints, so now she does the bare minimum at work. She got the house in the divorce, but it’s dusty and old and filled with her silver spoon collections.
Danny Mattice, 43, short, slightly overweight; obsessively picks his teeth with anything he can find: matchbook covers, a fork, someone else’s toothbrush, a postcard, a pen, a bookmark in a bookstore, a dinner napkin, corner of a kid’s book, a bobby pin, a dollar bill, a shoelace from his dirty sneaker, a nail, a headphone jack…He can’t understand why his first dates never turn into second dates.
Everything you think you are–writer, singer, artist, painter, musician–gets eliminated when you start comparing yourself to other people. Do you know or follow someone who is better than you are at what you do? Good! Talk to them. Reach out. Ask them how they got to where they are now. Pick their brain and learn from them. ( I just did this yesterday with a coach I love). THAT’S the way to interact with people you admire. Not jealousy and envy. Those two emotions will only leave you feeling like crap.
I think it’s safe to say most people have a “Big Dream” in life. When I ask people what their Big Dream is, they usually get a wistful look in their eyes as they describe it to me. It could be big like moving across the world, or small like writing a novel. But it’s their Big Dream.
What stops us from achieving these dreams are our beliefs and our non-action.
How many of you have taken the Meyrs Briggs test and know what “type” of person you are? Now how many of you let that limit what you do and belief?
“Sorry, I’d love to help you with the groceries you just dropped in front of my house, but I’m an introvert and don’t like to leave my house.”
You are and live what you tell yourself. If you fully believe that you’re an introvert, you will always be one. That’ll by your fallback answer when you don’t do things in life. But if you know you’ve always been an introvert, that doesn’t mean you can’t put a system in place to change that.
“I’d love to write a novel but I fall back on old patterns and fears, and never finish anything.”
Is this what you told your teachers in high school and college? “Sorry, but I have too many fears about writing to finish this.” I doubt that would have gone over well. (Also, it’s total bullshit that you don’t finish anything. Have you showered? Dressed? Eaten? You’ve finished those things, you can do more. Trust me.)
Stop telling yourself you want to do something but have fears or are too much of an introvert to do it. Stop being so dramatic. Your subconscious believes you! It doesn’t know the difference. “Oh, I’m too scared to write? Okay. I won’t do it then.”
You want to write a novel? Stop over-dramatizing it and make a simple system to follow so you can cross that Big Dream off your list. I can help with that, if you need it.
How often do you create just for yourself? I know I don’t do it often enough. Usually when I have time to sit and create, I think about who I am creating for. It could be for a specific person like a card, or for a group of people like something free to give away on my blog.
Rarely do I sit down and think, “I’m going to write out that weird short story I’ve been thinking about, just to see how it turns out.” When I write it’s usually FOR something. To sell a novel, or a workbook for creatives, or anything else that’s specifically for someone else.
If we’re always sitting down with a plan in mind, we’re not leaving ourselves open to explore new ideas and curiosities. Maybe that weird short story I want to explore will turn into something bigger…something I can publish. But for now, wouldn’t it be fun to just write it without a plan in mind? (Yes, Rebel, yes it would.)
A simple way to remind yourself to create for just you is to schedule it in. I have a daily planner that I use for little tasks. I spend a lot of time sitting at my computer working and writing. If I don’t write down the ideas that pop into my head as they come, they’ll be gone. Writing in something like, “work on my short story” is trigger enough to get me to sit, even for five minutes, and write just for myself.
The photo above is something I made a few years ago. I suddenly got into drawing cirlces on a canvas, then coloring them in with Sharpies. I spent night after night working on these canvases just for me. Then, because I’m me, I started thinking of ways to give them away. I ended up making a dozen black and white ones for kids in the cancer ward at our local hospital. I thought they could color them while having chemo. I contacted the hospital and brought them in.
I’m really glad I did that, but after I was done, I’d lost my mojo for creating them for myself. This is the only one I made for me that I kept, and whenever I look at it hanging in our bathroom, it reminds me of being in my own little world for those few days, listening to music, drawing, and coloring.
Do you create just for yourself? If not, why not start?
I’ve always done what I call the Drop and Dive. I drop a project I’m working on to dive into something new and shiny. And I finally figured out one of my triggers for doing that.
It’s not that I’m lazy and just don’t want to finish, or that my new idea is the best thing ever. It’s how my new ideas come about.
I love making new friends and meeting people. And, frankly, I’m good at it. I’m interested in what people do for a living, if they’re happy, and what more they want out of life and why they’re not going for it. I like to hear about their kids, and where they live, and see what we have in common.
I’ve met some of my favorite people at random places. My friend Elisa and I met at the beach about eight years ago while waiting for other friends to show up for a picnic. My son and I were playing in the sand when I noticed her and her two little boys. We made our way over to them and talked and played. As they left, I ran after her and gave her my number to get together. I’m so grateful she called.
A few years ago I met a girl at the mall play area where our kids were playing. We hit it off and became Facebook friends right there. We don’t hang out, but we follow each other on Facebook, and I stop in to see her at work once in a while. She is a sweetheart and I’m so glad to have her in my life.
Last Fall the kids and I were hanging out at a park when I noticed a mom with kids, one of them older. Whenever I see older kids on a school day who aren’t in school, I usually ask if they’re homeschooled. I love meeting other homeschoolers and my boys are always looking to make new friends. She is a homeschooler and we also became Facebook friends that day.
These are the good stories. The ones where we met and struck up conversations because of our kids. I love these moms and I’m so happy to have met them.
The people I have to slow down on meeting are the Creatives. My people. My tribe.
When I meet someone and we hit it off because we both have (or want) creative businesses, I know I’m in trouble. Not only do I want to ask them a million questions about their life, but I usually want to create something WITH them. A book, a course, a podcast, a group…anything that will combine our creative minds.
This is my crack.
Brainstorming with someone just as hyper and excited as I am, and coming up with ideas on how we can work to serve others together.
And when I do this, I drop whatever project I’d been working on.
Half-way through writing a book? It’ll still be there after I do this new, shiny thing with my new BFF. Spent hours and hours building a website to launch? It can wait a few more weeks while I create a YouTube channel with someone I just met.
This doesn’t mean I can never connect with my creative soulmates again. It just means I need to slow down, take a step back, and remember I already have a project I’m working on that must be finished before I dive into something new.
Unless I DON’T have a project I’m working on (which is unlikely). Then I can jump right in!
One, if you don’t jump at the chance to make something when the idea comes to you, it’ll move on to someone who will. I believe when we get ideas, it’s Inpiration tapping us on the shoulder. It’s saying, “What do you think of this? Should we try it?” If you ignore it or say no, it’ll move on. If you jump at it and say yes, you’ve got yourself a new project.
The second thing is, it’s important that you know no ideas are original, but they haven’t been done yet by you. If you get an idea and think, “Ah, it’s been done before,” think again. It hasn’t been done by YOU.
You and I could be given the assignment to write a short story about a boy who falls in a well and his dog helps rescue him. We’d think, “Well, that’s like Lassie, right?” (I’m actually too young for Lassie, but I’ve heard that’s how the stories went). My point is each of us won’t write the same story as the other. Yours might be a story about the love and loyalty between a dog and his boy master. Mine could be about an evil boy who tried to hurt his dog and ended up getting hurt himself, with the dog saving him. We both had the same rules for the story, but we wrote two totally different things.
When Inspiration sneaks up on you and suggests you two have some fun together, it’s okay to say no. But don’t say no out of fear of originality. And don’t be upset when you see that same idea come to fruition down the road through somebody else.