The Experiment

One of the main reasons I started this blog is to share my story with others. I want others to know they are not alone in their insecurities and fears or… desperation.

As part of my journey, I am taking a class called “Answering the Creative Call.” This class is based on the book, The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron.

I am currently reading chapter 5 titled, Recovering a Sense of Possibility. In this chapter the author asks, “What dream are you discounting as impossible given your resources? What payoff are you getting for remaining stuck at this point in your expansion?” She goes on to suggest that we can find the answers to some of our life’s issues by doing a simple experiment.

The Experiment.
I am going to try this experiment everyday for one week beginning tonight to see if I can come up with solutions to specific areas I am feeling trapped.
1). Ask: At night, before falling asleep, list areas in which I need guidance.
2). Listen: In the morning, write on these same topics and listen for the answers.

I will post an update next Friday to let you know what I have experienced.

Why is this photo here? read about Alana's dream in the comments below. (Photo courtesy of: worldgallery.co.uk)

TV show “Glee” sparked my passion

I’ve always been jealous of the people who have been able to find what they are passionate about in life and go after it. I would ask myself, “How did they know that is what they are passionate about?” I can hardly think of many things that get me really riled up or extremely excited. However, yesterday I had one of those moments and knew immediately that it triggered something deep inside of me.

I gotta say. I love the tv show “Glee.” Yes, I get sucked into their stories of high school drama and I actually enjoy it. Maybe it is because this resonates with how I experienced high school. I see these young students struggling to find their identity and then have moments of epiphany where they take another step into becoming who they were created to be.

This particular clip is from the Glee episode, “Asian F.” I watched this music video probably seven times in a row on Saturday and at the exact same moment each time, I cried. At the 1:13 minute mark there is a character named Emma Pillsbury who begins to groove to the music (she has red hair and is wearing a black and white polka-dot sweater). Emma is typically shy and reserved, but in this short moment you can see that she is excited about the dance and can’t help but move a little herself. Yet, she still holds back. Later in the video, at 2:09, she can’t hold back anymore. She just HAS to get up and join in!

I get so pumped when I see women who are not confident in who they are, suddenly bloom into who they were created to be – when their eyes flash and you know they mean business.

I’m not sure how my passion for women to know who they are created to be is going to play out, but I do know that it is going to be radical.

Tribute to Steve Jobs

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.” [Steve Jobs - Stanford commencement speech, June 2005]

(This quote was recently posted in a newsletter from Dan Miller)

To My Fellow Creatives

“I am the least creative person. Anything I do creatively looks like it was done by a kindergartner.”

I was dumbfounded. I was sitting across the desk from my coworker and had just asked her, “What would you like your coworkers to know about you?” I was interviewing – we’ll call her “Sheri” – for our next company newsletter. First of all, here is Sheri’s chance to say something really great about herself and she chose to highlight something she viewed as negative. Secondly, the least creative person? What does that mean?

Today, I challenge the definition of Creativity. I am assuming Sheri meant that she does not have skills in drawing, painting, writing, dance, music or the like.

But are those really the only things that are considered Creative?

I’d like to pose that Creativity is wanting to purchase an expensive bicycle and doing everything you can to figure out how to get the money. Whether it is selling items you no longer use, doing extra chores for a friend or taking on a second job.

Creativity is driving on your way home from work, getting stuck in traffic and maneuvering your way to find a different route.

Creativity is having a certain gentleman catch your eye on your first day of class and going home and picking out the perfect outfit, perfect hair and perfect makeup that will be sure to grab his attention the next time he sees you.

Creativity is spotting a shy person in your dance class and finding topics that will get her to open up and engage in conversation.

For a long time, I have struggled with my own creativity and how good I am at being Creative. My father and sister are both incredibly talented artists and I have always fought the feeling that my creativity level does not – and would never – match theirs. When I attempted to paint or draw, those skeezy voices would kick in, “Wow. Nice try. Your sister’s drawings are much more realistic,” and “That took you how long? Your dad could have had that done in ten minutes.” Only recently, have I realized that Creativity shows its face in many ways. I possess a knack for engaging others in conversation and getting them to feel comfortable with not only me, but also with themselves.

Looking back, Sheri was an incredibly creative person. She had a mezmerizing way of sharing stories. I just wanted to sit and listen to her talk because I enjoyed her inflections, silly phrasing and gestures. I wish I would have told her that day because she no longer works with us.

Creativity is so much bigger than the word we seem to narrowly define.

Thanks Luke Simpson for your drawing! You can check out his mad skillz at: stickworldcomics.com.

"Creative" by Luke Simpson @ stickworldcomics.com.

Hey! I’m Smarter Than You Think.

Hey! I am smarter than you think.

The past couple of years have been rough for me in my work place. It’s not that my working conditions are horrendous where I am forced to move 100 lb. boulders all day long from over here to over there, or that I have people screaming at me that I suck and they wish I would die, but these past couple years have still been rough. And this is why: I have learned the difference between working on tasks in my weaknesses and working on tasks in my strengths.

I was hired by my employer to do Interior Design. At this company, it means producing commercial floor plans, elevations, site plans and selecting interior finishes for mostly office and manufacturing buildings. I have learned that although Interior Design is what I went to school for, I am only decent at it; I am not great at it. I have found myself feeling more and more dumb because I don’t get the technical aspects of design. Although the project managers have been so kind as to teach me endlessly how roof pitches come together and why a building needs a concrete fire wall on one end and not the other, I just don’t get it. I started to feel guilty and think, “Man, did I pull the wool over their eyes! What did they see in me? I suck at this.” But then I realized, “I’m a great sales person. I’m awesome at selling people on ideas and getting people excited to take action!” I sold my employer on the idea of “me.” At the time, I believed in myself too, so I wasn’t necessarily selling a false product, but I sold them on the idea that, “Hey, if you hire me, I will make you happy and this is why…”

Over the past year, I have begun to learn what my strengths are and what my weaknesses are. I’m great with people and developing relationships. I’m not great at putting together price quotes for carpet goods. I’m great at having a vision for the future and inspiring others to come alongside me and take action. I’m not great at dissecting a website design and putting it all back together again.

If you have that voice inside of you shouting, “Hey! I’m smarter than what you think. I really can do a lot of things well!” I encourage you to take a look at your job or marriage or schooling and really discover where your strengths and weaknesses lie. If you can define your strengths and find a position that really utilizes those strengths, you will experience success.

“Awesome, Alana. You make a good point, but I have no idea what my strengths are or how to begin to find out.” Here’s a great resource to begin with: Strengthsfinder 2.0 by Tom Rath.

Does this resonate with you? Why or why not? I’d love to hear from you!

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Alana