Tuesday, January 13, 2015

You Are Your Greatest Asset

What you believe to be your greatest setback, is actually your greatest asset. 

Let me explain. 

Say you're an aspiring animator, but you just can't seem to break through and land your dream job. You've been working in retail for the past 10 years selling clothing. You think that the reason why companies aren't hiring you is because of your lack of animation experience. But the reason why they're not hiring you, is because you're not selling your greatest asset. The fact that you worked in retail for 10 years. 

Think about it. You've worked close to 20,000 hours around people. You probably know the ins and outs of every single personality known to man. You've dealt with every conceivable situation in which you were having to make someone else happy. You probably have more stories to tell than your great uncle Joe. You have experience. You have perspective. You have wisdom.

Your ability to draw on those experiences is what sets you apart from the rest. It's not your greatest weakness, it's your greatest ally. So use it. Embrace it. Cherish it. And honor it. 

I wanted to get a job as a hostess at my favorite mexican restaurant in Las Vegas. I had absolutely NO restaurant experience, and the lady interviewing me made a point of bringing that to my attention. "Yes", I told her. "You're right, but I can assure (and promise) you that the experience I've had working with people in my other retail jobs has provided me with everything I need to succeed."

I got the job. 

I ended up hating the job, and left shortly after, but I did it well. I was right. My experiences did prepare me for something completely new. I could have let go of that dream, agreeing with her that I wasn't capable because I had no prior 'experience'. But I believed in myself so strongly that even she was convinced. 

You must do the same with any job or career you choose to work towards. Your experiences, your knowledge, your wisdom, and your perspective are all the preparation you need. Now, of course, you may need to go to medical school or rocket science school if you want to become a doctor or an astrophysicist. I get that. But don't hold yourself back from chasing those dreams simply because you never studied math or science in the past. If that's what you truly want, use your experiences as the foundation - the fuel - to propel you toward your goal.

You are uniquely you. Don't be ashamed of the choices you made in the past. They shaped into who you are today. Pardon me for the cliché message, but it's true. You know it. So let it guide you. Let it be a part of you. And don't be afraid to share it with the world. You are your greatest asset.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Importance of Self Preservation

It's kind of an odd phrase: self-preservation. It's an interesting concept. Preserving the self. What does that even mean? 

I like to think of the self as the part of us that is aware. The conciousness of our every-day. Our soul. 

So let's rephrase this: soul-preservation. Preserving the soul. But the soul is boundless, limitless, eternal. It doesn't need preservation, right? It should be able to function just fine on its own. But who are we when we lose connection with our deepest, truest selves? When we feel life-less, soul-less, uninspired, and minute, what has caused that? What brings us back into balance - back into life? 
The re-alignment with our soul. Our spirit. Our true self. 

So the preservation is really the acknowledgement and re-association with our self. It's the reminder that it exists. That if it isn't honored or considered, we become deadened. So how do we become 'whole' again? And why is it important to do so?

Well, I think we've all experienced what it feels like to live out of alignment. And while it may seem like an obvious thing to make adjustments, sometimes we go so long living out of whack, that we start to believe that the pain we're feeling is completely normal. We don't even think we need to be fixed, until it's too late. Once we start making mistakes (and no one area of our life is safe - they're all effected), that's we recognize that something is wrong, and maybe we decide to  take action. Or at least we should. 

Think about the ways in which you take care of yourself. What does that look like? What does that even mean? When you're unhappy or depressed, what's the one thing you wish you could do? What do you long for? What do you crave?

For me, I crave familiarity. Sometimes I feel out of alignment if I'm trying too many new things. I need to maintain some sort of comfort and reassurance, which are impossible to feel in the areas I'm stretching. I crave going to my favorite places, eating my favorite foods, reading my favorite books, watching my favorite shows, and spending time with my favorite people. All of those things help to recharge my batteries. Especially since my day-to-day can be so unpredictable. 

Now, that doesn't mean we can't leave room for a little spontinaety. It's just as critical to explore and discover new things as it is to revisit our familiar things. Our favorite things remind us of who we are, while being open to new experiences can help us to feel youthful again. Don't you always feel charged after experiencing something for the first time? It's like you're a kid again, when everything is new and exciting! 

Regardless of what you do for self-preservation, do it. Make sure it's a part of your life. Your every day. Your routine. Make taking care of you is the number one priority in your life. I'm not a parent, and I can imagine how hard it is to think about putting yourself first with your children and spouse's needs un-met, but think about your parents. Wouldn't you rather see them happy and grounded in themselves? Do you think their happiness and groundedness would have helped them be better parents? Something to think about. 

Anway, your happiness is up to you. You are the only one who is going to spend as much time as you focusing on that. So get connected with the things that make you come alive. They are going to be unique to you, so stop what you're doing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself these questions:

• If there was anything you could be doing right now, what would it be?
• If you could be anywhere, where would you be?
• If you could eat anything, what would it be?
• If you could spend time with anyone, who would it be?

If you could make the choices about where you are in your life, would you?

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Fear of Creative Success

Lately I've been feeling overwhelmed by my lack of creative output. I'm not sure if it's because of exhaustion due to my day job, or if it stems from an even deeper level. I know what I am capable of. But do I, really? Is my lack of production simply out of fear of what might come of it? What if I create something that the world absolutely adores? What if it changes people's lives for the better? What if it doesn't? What if it's a total flop, and I just wasted precious hours on something that didn't even make an impact? But what if it did? Will I then have to own up to the creative power and responsibility required to maintain credibility? What if I'm a one-hit wonder? What if I'm just not knowledgable enough in my area of expertise? Who am I to even be the expert? Where is all this self doubt even coming from? Who am I even comparing myself to?

The truth is, there will always be someone better, more skilled, with more experience than us. And there will always be someone with less experience and skill than us. What drives me is not competition, but rather a deep knowing that I, too, am capable of such great things. But the problem is, we quickly forget that even the greatest (and weakest) artists started somewhere. Whether they are impactful or not, they started. The feared not of their abilities, but embraced them. They saw something in themselves that couldn't not be shared with the world. Whatever their message, the drive to see it through overpowered the debilitating thoughts of shame and scarcity.

As I open myself up to the possibility of a creativity-filled existence, I will pay close attention to how it makes me feel. If I'm scared, it's probably the right decision.

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” - Eleanor Roosevelt