Pod-Blast 4: Vulnerable Creation

So, I’m a Brene Brown junkie, so when I see her talking on something, I listen.

The Beautiful Writers podcast has some great guest on it, so even though the vibe doesn’t 100% work for me, I have a couple of episodes I like–and this conversation is a great balance of Brene’s perspective on creativity and being real about making stuff.

Ironically, the strength of this conversation is that it’s not just Brene talking. And it’s about the way these three are IN their practice of writing as professionals.

Beautiful Writers – Daring to Create Greatly with Brene Brown

Warning: it involves a tale of remaindering. It isn’t pretty. Everyone survives.

 

Taking Cheer from Saint Patrick

Saint Patrick’s Day! A day holy to people wearing shades of green that make redheads LOOK green, and equating Irish heritage with being alcoholics numbing the pain of monocropping potatoes for the British Empire.

You can tell I’m Irish-American because my sense of humor is a little bitter.

But actually, I’d like to raise a metaphorical glass to the historical Patrick. There was a man who turned a dark time of his life into a calling, a passion.

And there was a time of history where the ending of one empire, the end of the world for many I am sure, sent out the seeds of a new civilization. One, in its own ways, as barbaric and cruel as any of the great empires. The one I feel perched at the very edge of.

The saving of ancient literature in Irish monasteries, with love and passion, mattered dearly. Do you think the men copying manuscripts hour after hour knew their own historical significance?

I doubt it. I hope they get to see it from their vantage point now.

I have often in my lifetime (with typical inherited pessimism tinged with arrogance) been sure I would see the fall of my own civilization. Recently I’m thinking the time-line looks uglier than I thought.

But maybe writing, and working on my passion, might matter.

So again, a toast to Patrick, who is apparently the patron saint of nothing BUT Ireland. Maybe he would have liked to be the patron of memoir or those beehive monastic cells or something.

I invoke today all these virtues
Against every hostile merciless power
Which may assail my body and my soul

says the ancient text (translated) attributed to him.

Amen.

Bouldering – Master Stroke Workshop

I’m doing a to-do list workshop on Facebook, and the first in-depth lesson I’m going to take  up here!

In this short video I laid out the idea behind choosing the big three accomplishments you want to have in life.

In essence, a day can be filled with little tasks that are urgent…but not leading to your real goals. If you know what your big goals are, and then figure out how to break those big goals into daily steps, you can make sure you’re working on those bigger tasks.

Then the margins of the day be filled with those minor ones.

So how do you discover your Boulders?

Maybe take a moment to think about what you’re pursuing right now. What is the dream for you, that you’re going for? It could be a higher level of responsibility in a career move. If you’re a visual artist, maybe having a gallery show.

You can also have goals in your personal life (get fit enough for a 5K, throw an amazing retirement party) or off a bucket list (See Paris!)

These are all things you probably can’t run out and do tomorrow–unless you’ve already been doing groundwork.

You may have way more than three. What are the three you want to accomplish in the next 5 years? 10?

How do you break down your Boulders?

If you look at these big tasks, you may already have a good idea what the next step is.

If not, you may need to Google and read a few blogs on How To Travel To Europe or How To Yarnbomb A Whole Bridge.

(I hope no one comes to this blogpost as the only place offering advice on that second one. GET LOTS OF FRIENDS.)

But you don’t want to get too lost in the details.

For instance, I want to publish a novel. I know I should write every day. But if I write every day and never move on to revising and getting feedback on my novel, I can’t move forward.

If I get all that feedback and then never finish revising, I won’t get it out to agents. (Alternatively, I won’t get around to creating a promotion plan for self-publishing!)

Sometimes you need to figure out each new step as you push forward. I had to go to workshops to learn how to revise my work effectively, and I’ve done other learning in the field, so I know better how to create marketable material.

But you can’t get stuck on any one of those steps. You have to remember the Boulder.

START NOW.

What’s the next step you know to do for your handiest boulder? Put that first on your list of things to do tomorrow.

Need help figuring out your boulders? That’s what I’ve started this Master Stroke group on Facebook for!

I’m also holding free coaching sessions, so get in touch here to brainstorm about your goals in life and in 2017! It would be my pleasure to talk big dreams with you.

The Disproportionate Fear of Firsts

When I called a college the other day, I had to psych myself up for it–I even called a doctor’s office with a little question as a sort of trial run. (Killing two birds with one stone: if the doctor’s office call was all I had, I would have dreaded it more.)

I got through a phone-tree to a person, who directed me to the right office, where I left a message. And I congratulated myself, scented by all the courage-enhancing essential oils I’d put on, for doing it. It wasn’t so bad. I was an adult!

I happened to miss the call I got back the next morning.

Still in my pajamas, I immediately, calmly rang back. Got a phone tree–zero for operator–got through.

Had a very confident conversation with minimal blethering-on (I feel the bio was appropriate to establishing connection, if slightly long) and then got off the phone feeling like I had deported myself with honor.

All without real pants on.

Why are we so afraid of doing things for the first time?

I think in a lot of cases, it’s the lack of connection. I called someone who doesn’t know me, and has power of judgment. When she called me back, I knew I had succeeded in at least making a small connection.

Being vulnerable enough to make that step toward connection is a big deal.

What’s something you’ve been hesitating to do because of this kind of personal risk, big or small?

What do you need to actually go do it?

I can set you up with some EOs! Or a coach who makes it a bit more rewarding.

(If you think I don’t do things so I can brag to Coach Carmela about it, you’re dead wrong.)

~ Bethany

Your Friendly Neighborhood Health Coach

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Taking action despite fear is part of what separates the hero from the extra. Interested in learning how you can act the hero part more in your life? Come to my webinar, Unlock Your Agency – Friday Sept. 30th, 7pm Central on Zoom!

Book Review: Rising Strong

Sometimes you don’t open a book for a reason.

I had asked my mom which Brene Brown books she had when I finished listening to her episode on Elizabeth Gilbert’s Magic Lessons* podcast, a brilliant conversation about fear and creating..

*I also got Gilbert’s Big Magic out–look forward to a post on it as well!

This book sat on the top of a sizeable pile of To-Read books for while–and then I had a couple of failures in very different arenas of life, and it was waiting for me.

I read it through as if it were a particularly addictive novel. But it’s not a fluff read. It’s funny, wise, and occasionally heartbreaking. And it digs into the reasons we weaponize our words in situations–and how to instead explore what the pain is that makes us retreat into our tanks.

It’s not a comforting “you’re fine, just be true to yourself” read. It’s instead a concrete guidebook for those who want to do the work of confronting their emotional baggage, shame, and own that vulnerability.

It’s the kind of book that could change the world. At the very least, it will change the world around those who read it and take it to heart.

I’ve been doing the work of coaching in my own life for some time now. Up to now I’ve been learning to release emotions and improve my baseline. A mainly self-centered process that’s important. Rising Strong outlined how to expand this into relationships with others–when you have a conflict, and are face-down with hurt.

How to learn from those moments to later keep your feet under you and recognize, “Oh, my sense of inadequacy is being triggered by this, but I don’t think that’s the intention. How do we handle this together?”

And in a way it is a comfort to read. It says, “Oh, yes, you will fail yourself and the people you love. But here is how to learn from that.”

That sounds less like wishful thinking and a lot like the life I can live. It’s actually really exciting.

***

I’m also really excited to share this with my coaching clients! The more we understand emotional hindrances to moving forward, the more I can help them be the heroes of their own stories.

Mark your calendars for my next webinar, Unlock Your Agency on Sept 30th, 7pm Central!

Link is to the Facebook event where updates and reminders will be posted. Join there and you can even catch a replay if you miss the actual webinar.

Blunt Conversations with Myself

I spent the whole day like I was in the wrong gear, engine making a grinding sound. I couldn’t get anything done, though it was so URGENT to do so, though I kept reaching out for things to do…

Irritating, but I knew that I just hadn’t asked the right question yet.

So I kept going for walks. Putting on my EOs. Journalling and reading and…

Big Magic tripped the switch. Elizabeth Gilbert was describing how she worked part time as she wrote. I sagely nodded my head. She noted that she’s seen artists burn out trying to make their living off their art. Oh, yes, I also…

:screeching breaks sound effects:

I had made a point of not doing that to writing–but then I’d given myself a near impossible goal-expectation in my coaching business. THAT’S why I couldn’t get traction on my to-dos.

The best thing, though, was that my process to question my paralysis worked. It took longer than I wanted it to, but it worked.

I asked, “Why am I afraid? What am I making this about?”

I went for walks, journaled, and read books that seemed likely to shake loose thoughts about it.

What are you stuck on lately? Have you asked those hard questions of yourself?

That’s not the end of the story, so check in again on Friday!

The Bell-Sound of Fear

I just finished handspinning a yarn. Yay!

It’s gorgeous. And even though I had no reason to think it would turn out otherwise (the color scheme is great but far from daring) I still had a little crisis of confidence.

Sometimes I only notice I’ve had the crisis as the beautiful relief hits–when I’m certain it’s going to be good. The mounting peal of “is this right is this right” gets cut off and instead there’s clear air to breathe.

I think this is a universal principle, at least of creating.

But creating is everything, from a project at work, to a reorganization of the kitchen, to daydreaming the next fandom post you’re going to make.

Why do we battle fear?

Because making something new is so important.

With a yarn, it’s easy–if I keep going, I know I’ll see if it works. Or I’ll test it, realize it doesn’t, and stop until I work out a solution.

With something bigger, like a novel, you may hit that ringing sound of CRISIS several times.  Where in the process can be personal, but some popular ones are: in the middle of the novel’s drafting process, when setting out to revise, and when sending queries to agents.

Those are the moments where you think “I am actually doing this” and the meaning behind that act becomes clear.

You can’t keep that suspenseful doubt from happening–you can, however, talk to it.

“No, these colors go together. I know that once things fluff up after I’ve set them it looks more finished. This plan makes sense.”

Next post (Wednesday) will be on deconstructing when you’ve making something mean too much, and the fear becomes paralyzing! Because I’ve been working through that recently, too.