Drawing Your Way to Your Dreams

As a lifelong insomniac, I decided to make a sketch of me sleeping peacefully in the future ūüôā

What if I told you your ideal future starts with a single drawing?

That’s exactly what Patti Dobrowolski suggests in her TED talk “Draw Your Future.” ¬†She says that if you draw the reality that you want, your brain will find a way to make it happen.

Don’t worry about whether you are good at drawing. ¬†Just make the sketch specific to exactly what you want your future to look like. ¬†Remember to draw yourself happy ūüôā ¬†And then color your drawing in with vibrant colors. ¬†Because the more vivid the picture, the better your brain will respond.

The key is to follow these three steps: see it, believe it, and then act on it.

This technique isn’t just for individuals, like artists and entrepreneurs, either. ¬†Big name companies are using this method to get their employees motivated to find solutions for team projects. ¬†It brings new meaning to the phrase “Two heads are better than one.”

What does your future look like?  Draw it and find out!

Above Your Nerve

Emerald Lake at Rocky Mountain National Park

I recently blogged about the movie “Wild” featuring Reese Witherspoon, based on the memoir of¬†Cheryl Strayed’s journey hiking the¬†Pacific Crest Trail. ¬†There are some great quotes in there. ¬†Today I’d like to highlight one from an Emily Dickinson poem.

“If your Nerve, deny you
Go above your Nerve‚ÄĚ

Talk about nerves. ¬†My husband and I decided to hike the Rockies just after Memorial Weekend, May 31. ¬†We thought we’d see 3 or 4 pretty lakes, each about a half mile apart, and be done in about an hour or 2. ¬†Little did we know the park just opened the path after the holiday because of snowfall. ¬†Thankfully we had recently purchased our first pair of hiking boots, and they were waterproof. ¬†We must have changed our clothes every 20 minutes. ¬†From tank top to long sleeve to breathable jacket to rain jacket to light down jacket and sometimes back off again at intervals. ¬†It was actually pretty warm until the wind came. ¬†Until the rain came. ¬†Until the sleet and hailstorm that rangers never warned us about. ¬†Luckily we found shelter under a rock slab…sort of. ¬†But that was at the top. ¬†First we had to get there. ¬†And that involved climbing snow and ice-covered paths steadily inclining. ¬†We had no idea each lake required a hike in elevation. ¬†But we followed the others, hoping they knew what they were doing…where they were going–some of them slipping around in street shoes and wearing nothing more than a t-shirt and jeans. ¬†I secretly wanted to quit a few times all while having the time of my life. ¬†I love to hike, but my nerves get me every time, especially with looming heights, steep cliffs, and now icy paths. ¬†My mind is always thinking about what might go wrong. ¬†I used to hush that inner voice, try to turn it off, even curse at it. ¬†But that never worked. ¬†The best thing to do is let it talk. ¬†Acknowledge it like an old friend. ¬†Let it chatter on in the background. ¬†But meanwhile get to work. ¬†Get moving. ¬†Start climbing. ¬†And when it gets to that point where you think you want to stop and turn back, that’s when you must go above the nerve.

Good luck to you on all your journeys. ¬†Safe travels and take care. ¬†But don’t let a little thing like fear stop you. ¬†It’s only the background music for your adventure. ¬†And when you make it back, that same voice will say, “I knew you could.”



The Key to Success: A Journal of Steps

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I keep an affirmation journal. ¬†In it, I write down all the accomplishments I’ve made towards my creative goals as well as the positive feedback I’ve received. ¬†It’s useful to go back from time to time and read over the list to remind yourself how far you’ve come. ¬†It also helps combat the negative voice in your head. ¬†When you confront that negative voice with your list of accomplishments, it’s amazing how quickly the voice becomes silent.

But what I want to share with you today is how I learned about a way to take this concept one step further. ¬†Awhile back, a fellow blogger, Timothy Pike, started following my blog. ¬†One of his posts caught my attention. ¬†He titled it, “My life changed, literally overnight, when I started keeping a success journal.” ¬†You can read more about it here. ¬†I quickly learned that his success journal was far more detailed than mine. ¬†Partly because he committed to writing down at least one accomplishment for every day of the year.

While I was only writing what I considered worthy accomplishments: having a successful art show or receiving encouraging feedback from an agent or editor, this blogger suggests that you write down every action you take towards your goal. ¬†For instance, not just winning a contest, but entering one. ¬†Not just completing a novel, but coming up with an amazing new character. ¬†And certainly don’t limit your accomplishments only to moments where others have responded favorably to your work. ¬†You need to feel a sense of worth from within yourself, so you can trust yourself and continue moving forward.

The most amazing discovery, as noted by this blogger, is what happens when you start keeping this success journal.  It not only lifts you up, it also pushes you to take further action towards your goals.  You literally want to have things to write down in your success journal, so you keep taking steps.  Action is always the key to success.

So what are you waiting for? ¬†Take a step in the direction of your dreams. ¬†Then write it down! ¬†You’ll be surprised at how quickly you want to take another step.


Small Miracles

Howdy Partner!

Greetings all ūüôā ¬†I’m back from a recent trip to the Southwest. ¬†And boy was it action packed! ¬†Look for upcoming posts on just how much fun I had out there. ¬†But for now, I want to focus on something small.

Small miracles. ¬†What are they and why do they exist? ¬†I don’t have any scientific explanation, but I do believe that small miracles happen on the daily. ¬†They seem to occur while we’re waiting for the big miracles–the answers to our prayers, the dreams we hope to achieve, the success we want to have.

Big miracles are fine. ¬†You can build a life around them. ¬†But I believe it’s the small miracles that get us through the day, lift us up when we are down, and spark something inside us that is truly divine.

I experienced a number of small miracles on my trip. ¬†Here are just a few that I’d like to share.

  • We received an upgrade on our flight and were able to watch movies and enjoy extra snacks on the way out west. ¬†I sometimes get nervous on flights, so this was a great bonus!
  • In Scottsdale, my husband and I visited the shop of a local artist. ¬†We connected with the owners, exchanged business cards, and I even received a free calendar of artwork because they found out it was almost my birthday ūüôā
  • While looking for non-dairy ice cream, I found a shop serving my other favorite cold dessert–bubble tea smoothies!
  • When walking with a friend, a guy in a cowboy hat saw us posing for a photo and said– “You all need this for your picture!” ¬†Then he placed his cowboy hat on my head. ¬†That was great for a laugh and such a random feel-good moment ūüôā ¬†It can be fun to interact with strangers on a trip. ¬†See the photo above.
  • Hiking in the Rockies, we met someone from my hometown–Toledo, OH. ¬†We also met a father-daughter duo at our final destination who took our only great photo of the two of us at this spot. ¬†They even told us about a unique local place to hang out and get a drink in Boulder.
  • We were unable to make our final dinner reservation, but the next day we ended up there for lunch. ¬†No brunch, but they just happened to have a soft-shell crab sandwich–my favorite! ¬†Thank goodness for small miracles ūüôā

While you’re waiting for big miracles, what are the small miracles that make your day special? ¬†Please share!

Thought for the week: Pearl

A pearl needs some time and a lot of sand to rub up against to become its shiny self.

I’m Thankful for Grandmas

Happy Thanksgiving everyone ūüôā

While I was at the Toledo Main Library for my art show, I had a chance to stop in the children’s department.¬† If you haven’t been there, GO!¬† You’re in for a treat.¬† I especially like the fish tank celebrating The Rainbow Fish.¬† But¬†I also saw something new.

The installation in the above photo depicts a scene from the book¬†Abuela by¬†Arthur Dorros.¬† I’d never actually read this book, but I was so moved by the piece that I went home and requested the book from my library.¬† It’s about a girl who is¬†always going places with her Abuela.¬† (Abuela means grandmother in Spanish.)¬†¬†One day¬†the girl wonders what it would be like to fly.¬† Readers¬†are then taken on a flight of the imagination, following this girl and her grandmother on their adventures together soaring above the city.

After seeing this art installation and then reading this book, I could not help but think of my relationship with my own grandmother who passed away last fall.¬† She was one of my first teachers and taught me how to play the piano when I was young.¬† I would not trade anything for our time together sitting at the piano bench.¬† I learned many lessons beyond how to read and play the notes.¬† She taught me the importance of finishing what you started and never giving up, even if that means playing the same refrain over and over because you’ve forgotten the rest.¬† The show must go on!

I know the show must go on even now that she is gone, but I feel like a piece of her is still with me,¬†cheering me on, as I continue¬†on my life’s journey toward publication.¬† I still remember those Sunday dinners together.¬†¬†I will be thinking of her as I sit down with my family for Thanksgiving.¬† I hope you have a chance to be with those people who are near and dear to your heart.¬† Don’t forget to tell them you love them and give them a hug to show you mean it.

We’re heading into the season of wishes and miracles.¬† If I had one wish, it would be to go flying with my grandma, even if it’s only in my dreams…

“The Brand Hand Moment”

We’ve talked about receiving and we’ve talked about asking, now it’s time to talk about giving.¬† But what happens when you give and give and give…receiving nothing in return?¬† Some would say that’s the beauty in giving.¬† But what about when it comes to your career?¬† Should we be willing to work for free?¬† According to Jonathan Fields, author of Uncertainty, that answer is YES.

But it’s not that simple.¬† He has a great post on his website titled “The Myth of Working for Free.”¬† What he suggests is that¬†when you’re first starting a business or working as an artist, that¬†you should expect to put a lot of leg work in¬†to get your idea off the ground.¬† This means time spent networking, researching, investing, creating, the list goes on and on.¬†¬†And¬†even after you do all this, you might not see the¬†initial return in the form of actual dollars.¬† BUT there’s a silver lining.

Because all this time that you’ve been building, you’ve been creating a name for yourself.¬† You’ve¬†received valuable tools and met just the right people to support you along the way.¬† You’ve discovered your own voice and style.¬† You’ve been given the forum in which to share your talent with others.¬† And then one day…

You suddenly swap roles without even realizing it.¬†¬†Fields calls this “the brand hand moment.”

“It‚Äôs the point where the value of your brand and contribution becomes so self-evident or clearly expressed that it gives you enough power and leverage to start getting paid cold hard cash for the very thing you were paying cold hard cash to do the day before.”

I think it’s helpful to think of everything you contribute to your dream as an investment.¬† Sometimes you don’t see a return right away, but eventually you do, as long as you’re willing to stick with it.

Fields says even people who are¬†well-established can benefit from opportunities to ‚Äúwork for free.‚Ä̬† For example, you might agree to speak at a certain conference without accepting any monetary compensation because you know that key people will be there that can help you expand your business either by getting the word out, teaching you something, or marketing you in such a way that will make you more valuable in the long run.¬†¬†So what you do for free now, could create actual money in the future.¬† Hey, isn’t that one of the laws of the universe ūüėČ

Now, I’m not suggesting we all start working for free.¬† There’s something to be said for simply having a steady job and making money to pay the bills.¬† But if you find yourself starting up your own venture, take heart.¬† You may feel like you’re throwing spaghetti at a wall, but eventually something’s going to stick.¬† And when it does, you want to be there to claim that noodle!

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