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!

Quote for the Day: Happiness

We all want to be happy.  The pursuit of happiness is mentioned in the Declaration of Independence.  Will Smith even starred in a movie about it.  But what does it really mean to be happy?

I recently watched a TED Talk that offered another model for this ideal.

“The happiness of pursuit”

Instead of always trying to accomplish something in order to find happiness, we might want to consider finding happiness as we try to accomplish something.

Shawn Achor says in his talk entitled The Happy Secret to Better Work,¬†“Every time your brain has a success,¬†you just changed the goalpost of what success looked like.¬†You got good grades, now you have to get better grades,¬†you got into a good school and after you get into a better one,¬†you got a good job, now you have to get a better job,¬†you hit your sales target, we’re going to change it.¬†And if happiness is on the opposite side of success, your brain never gets there.”

So go after what you want.  But instead of viewing happiness as a destination, see if you can find happiness along the way.



Tis the season for giving, so I thought it would be a good time to talk about a new trend: crowdfunding.¬† My husband and I have become hooked on TED Talks and one of them we watched was given by musician and artist Amanda Palmer.¬† It was called, “The Art of Asking.”¬† She started out as a street performer and talked about the experience of asking for money without saying a word.¬† Are we obligated as observers to pay for viewing art?¬† No.¬† But maybe we should be.¬† Most of the time, art shows are free, working on a donation only basis.¬† So how do artists make a living?¬† One answer that more and more artists as well as entrepreneurs are turning to is crowdfunding.

Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising monetary contributions from a large number of people, typically via the internet.”¬† Many successful startups began this way.¬† Over the summer, I attended¬†a fantasy conference in Detroit and crowdfunding was the topic of one of the presentations.¬† Here is what I learned.

Let’s start with some of the companies that host crowdfunding projects.¬† Kickstarter is probably one of the most well-known and will probably get you the widest audience.¬† They have an all or nothing approach where your project is either funded or not.¬† Gofundme is popular for charity projects.¬† Pubslush is specifically for literary projects.¬† With¬†Indiegogo, you get to keep the money you raise, but the organization takes a larger cut.¬† They’re all worth looking into!

What kinds of projects might you post?¬† Anything from selling¬†BBQ sauce to publishing a novel.¬† You also set the parameters¬†for¬†what you’re trying to raise.¬† One author said¬†she only asked for half the money she would need to publish her book.¬† You want to set realistic goals to improve your chances of getting funded.¬† You can even ask¬†¬†for help in funding additional items like marketing and cover design.¬† In fact, it’s important to think about all¬†aspects and possible expenses¬†before jumping in.

Some tips for a successful campaign:

  • Make sure your campaign stands out.¬†¬†One way is through making a video, but keep it short and to the point (2 minutes tops).¬† Projects with a video are more likely to get funded.
  • Make sure you can deliver a good product.
  • Have a completed project to insure success.
  • There’s a pay-it-forward option that allows you to give back to the community that¬†supported you.
  • Have a pre-campaign, as well as one during, and after.
  • Offer press releases to let people know.¬† Use social media, forums, etc.
  • Develop a street team of fans who can¬†create blasts on the internet to get the word out.
  • You want a big push from the start.¬† If you hit 50% right away, you’ll probably get funded.
  • Make sure your rewards for donations can be fulfilled.¬† Also make the rewards fun and enticing like offering free BBQ sauce or signed copies of books.¬† Virtual prizes are also common and free for you.

Here are some specific examples of rewards you can offer:

  • Authors can provide critiques
  • Have someone’s name included in your story
  • Personal video thank you
  • Read tarot
  • Offer to read your story to someone or record it
  • Have a digital book giveaway

Additional tips for writers trying to publish a book:

  • You can choose to self-publish the project using the funds OR use a publisher who manages the details for you.¬† (Cool, right?)
  • It helps to provide author interviews, and you probably won’t have to pay to get them.

*Remember that you can only give what you make.  There are also some rules about giving away food.

Getting back to Amanda Palmer’s TED Talk.¬† As a musician, she almost never stays in a hotel, relying on the hospitality of her fans.¬† But she also¬†makes them a part of¬†the rock star experience in a more intimate way.¬† She’s known for allowing her fans to write comments on her body with markers after¬†a show.¬† That’s what I call trust!¬† So it’s definitely a give and take process, born out of mutual respect.

There’s actually all types of crowdfunding, not limited to the above mentioned organizations.¬†¬†When a writer asks for feedback from fans on a published story and then incorporates their suggestions into the next story, I¬†would consider that¬†a form of crowdfunding.¬† There’s no monetary exchange, but I would argue that you are still asking for donations.¬† You want to make a better book and gain ideas from your fans.¬† In exchange, your fans are involved in the process.¬† Check out the book Uncertainty by Jonathan Fields for details on how this works.

I’ve also seen many artists include simple donation buttons on their websites and blogs.¬† They might ask for help in keeping them supplied with materials like brushes and paint.¬† The downside is that you might feel obligated to produce art in a certain way to please the fans that are supporting you.¬† I’ve toyed with the idea of including a donation button on my blog, but haven’t done so yet ūüėČ

Whatever you decide, to crowdfund or not to crowdfund, it is useful to know there are options out there.  Either way, it is certainly an exciting time to be an artist/entrepreneur.  As we delete the middle man and form more symbiotic relationships between creator and audience, there are no limits to what we can achieve!  And certainly, everyone benefits.



Strike a Power Pose!

power pose

We’ve all heard about the importance of good posture.¬† It keeps the body in alignment and projects confidence.¬† But here’s something new.¬† Can it actually affect performance and relieve stress?¬† According to Harvard Business School professor Amy Cuddy, it can.¬†¬†I recently watched her¬†Ted Talk about body language and boy did I learn a lot!

Certain poses, called power poses, not only affect how others see us but how we conduct ourselves.  These poses can be traced back to the animal kingdom where animals needed to mark their territory, hunt for food, or secure a mate.  You can see the same poses adopted by people when they negotiate business or win a race.

The science behind this claim involves actual body chemistry.¬† When we make these poses, our testosterone (the “dominance” hormone) rises and our cortisol (the stress hormone)¬†drops.¬†¬†So it’s no wonder we’re then able to handle uncomfortable situations and make¬†more rational¬†decisions.

My favorite pose is called the “Wonder Woman.” I can actually feel it in my shoulders, where I hold a lot of stress.¬† You can see an¬†example of the pose in the photo above.¬† ¬†My word for this year is confidence,¬†so it seems fitting that I would seek to embody that¬†both internally and externally.¬† Now that I know power posing can actually promote relaxation, I’ll be adding it to my nightly yoga ritual as well as practicing it before a¬†presentation or interview.

See the photo in my previous post for another example of a power pose known as “pride,” which I call the “Winner’s Pose.”¬† You can’t help but feel joyous and even grateful in this stance.¬† Like the world is your oyster ūüėČ

So if you do nothing else today, make sure you spend 2 minutes striking a power pose.  Your body will thank you.  And you might just feel ready to take on the world!

“Our bodies change our minds, and our minds change our behavior, and our behavior changes our outcomes.”¬† –Amy Cuddy, TED

“Fake it ’til you become it.”¬† –Amy Cuddy, TED