The Good Coach
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05/20/2012


The Importance of Art to Your Mental Health :: by Shona Cole


:: The Good Coach ::
Beginning to Create
by Shona Cole

SC Good Coach May 2012 image 1
You want your life to be filled with real relationships, new ideas, stimulating conversation, small beautiful creative moments, large times of calm sureness, a sense that you are on the right path.

True?

Well, in order to get there you need to learn:

1) to embrace the broken and messy as well as the beautiful
2) to slow down and see the details that so many people miss
3) to be daring and bold
4) to shout out what you want regardless of fashion or popularity

It is a crazy coincidence, but the very things you need to live a full life are also what makes up the nature of creativity.

The creative person is a rule breaker, they consider the details of all things and makes tough decisions, they work hard to emerge. The creative person takes steps forward and embraces their own vision. Often their art work tells a story of who they are. Just think of the works of some famous artists - Michelangeloʼs The Sistine Chapel; Edvard Munchʼs The Scream; Philip Johnsonʼs The Glass House; Sylvia Plathʼs The Bell Jar - their art works are expressions of the boldness and vision of their creatorʼs life.

While you may never produce a masterpiece that is beloved by millions, you can, no you must, find your own creative path in your life.

Pursuing a creative vision will keep you young, open and alive. The discipline of seeing the beauty in all areas of your life and world, the act of finding ways to reflect on and represent nuances of living and taking the time to put mind, body and soul to work week after week on your art will enthuse you and fill you up with good thoughts and feelings.

When you take the time to make something, one of the best by-products is self confidence. Who doesnʼt want to see their vision become a reality? With that sense of confidence in yourself you will not longer be living a derivative life, a pale copy of someone elseʼs. You will be living true to who you are.

You owe it to your spouse, friends and children to be the best version of yourself. The people around you need you to be happy and balanced. Your life is worth living, right now, right here. You need to invest in your creative self in order to be truly mentally healthy. To be truly fulfilled.

Believe me, I know how much fuller and richer my life is when I have a creative project in front of me. My days look brighter, my conversations more positive. Art makes me a better person. It can bring you up and out of that place of darkness and confusion into a world of possibilities and friendships.

Take care of your own mental health - do some art!

Shona Cole is an artist, author, mother, wife. Visit www.shonastudio.blogspot.com.

04/14/2012


The Good Coach :: Look Where You Want to Go :: by Quinn McDonald


:: The Good Coach ::
Look Where You Want to Go
by Quinn McDonald

I ride a motorcycle. Before I bought the first one, I took a class on how to ride safely. (I like to take classes if I'm going to do something that's inherently dangerous). Our class was a motley crew of geezers, younger punks, wealthy touring bike-types and regular people who like to ride.

In these standardized safety classes, you don't bring a bike, you ride a small

provided bike. I had the odd feeling that these bikes were confiscated or had been ridden into an accident. Bent fenders, scrapes and odd color combinations attested to hard use. I was on a tiny, banged up model. I felt like a circus bear on a bike.

Class rules demand that everyone wear a helmet, gloves, heavy jeans, a jacket, and boots above the ankle. Did I mention it was August in D.C.? Even at 7 a.m., we thought we were taking lessons in a dog's mouth. The instructor said, "Now we are going to learn how to go around corners and make sharp turns. How do you think we do that?" Half the class turned the handlebars and fell over. A non-moving bike likes to lie down. That often comes as a surprise to the rider.

The instructor rolled his eyes, and said, "Never turn the handlebars to go around a corner! Don’t look down at the road, don’t look at the wheel. You LOOK where you want to go. The bike will follow. Always. Look. Where. You. Want. To. Go."

He was right, of course. When we look ahead to where we want to go, our body automatically makes small adjustments to get us there. On a bike, you lean into the curve, and your hand and arm closest to the turn automatically pushes the handlebars down on that side, guiding the bike through the curve.

Creativity works the same way. Look where you want to go and you glide in that direction. You’ll make tiny decisions that take you where you look. Press down in the direction you want your thoughts to take you. Sure you’ll fail? You will. Look at the positive, the success, the goal.

It's important to look ahead where you want to go creatively. Because looking at failure is as easy as looking at success. But you’ll have a very different trip.

###

Quinn McDonald is a certified creativity coach, writer and book artist. She is author of Raw Art Journaling: Making Meaning, Making Art (North Light Books, 2011). Information on the book and Quinn’s coaching can be found on http://www.quinncreative.com/coaching/.

04/01/2012


The Good Coach :: Archiving Your Worries :: by Quinn McDonald


 :: The Good Coach ::
Archiving Your Worries
by Quinn McDonald

Quinn


Childhood worries are not minor to a child. The tower over childhood skills and understanding. By the time I was six, I developed a method for handling worries. With two older brothers and parents who had their own problems, handing them over for adult inspection didn't seem like a wise choice.

So I would write my worries on strips of blue-lined, rough, tablet paper, tear them up and bury them under a tree. Doing that taught me that paper is plant material and disintegrates. I was fascinated at the decomposition of the paper--and, certainly, my worries. Mother Earth took them back and made them go away.

As I got older, I invented new rituals. No matter what the worries. The only thing that was consistent was writing down worries on strips of paper. That stayed the same.

Sometimes the strips got burned; sometimes they disappeared into the pulp for handmade paper. Some got woven into journal covers. Eventually, Mother Nature seemed like the best result. I’d rip strips from newspapers and magazines, write my worries on them, pull a thread through the top of the bundle and hang them outside to bleach and fade in the sun and rain. By the time the strips disintegrated, I was done worrying.

Skip forward several decades: most of the worries go into a journal, now, to get painted over or written over. One afternoon, I remember the strip method, grab some paper from the studio, tear it into long, skinny strips, and write on them. I sew through the top,create a loop and hang them from the orange tree in the backyard. Days go by, 110 degrees, 111 degrees, 108 degrees, never below 90 at night. This is Phoenix and I expect the papers to crumble in days. I hit the papers with a stream from the hose. Nothing deteriorates. The strips stay readable. My worries don't vanish.

What’s happening? Is this some sign from the universe that I’m supposed to keep worrying? My brow furrows in a new worry—I may not be able to get rid of these problems.

And then I realize. . .I have used archival materials. Archival pens, archival, acid-free, lignin-free paper. My worries are preserved. Possibly forever. Only then comes the real lesson from the tree of intact worries.

The revelation comes in a flash--isn't this what we do (however unintentionally) with worries--preserve them, hang on to them, refuse to let them deteriorate? They stay with us until we are willing to let them deteriorate, bleach out in the sun, fade in the passage of time.

 As long as we write those worries on our heart in fade-proof ink and keep inspecting them to keep them fresh, they won’t fade, deteriorate and blow away. A lesson in forgiveness and letting go from archival papers.

Quinn McDonald is a certified creativity coach, writer and book artist. She is author of Raw Art Journaling: Making Meaning, Making Art (North Light Books, 2011). Information on the book and Quinn’s coaching can be found on http://www.quinncreative.com/coaching/.

 

03/17/2012


The Good Coach :: The Art of Semicolons & Colons :: by Amanda Crabtree Weston


 :: The Good Coach ::
The Art of Semicolons & Colons
by Amanda Crabtree Weston

Amandac

SemicolonColon Example

Besides their all-important role as the eyes in emoticons, semicolons and colons are used to connect closely related ideas in a sentence. It can be confusing to know which one to use. Here’s the breakdown:

Semicolons
Semicolons
are used in two particular instances. One function of semicolons is to separate two main clauses to form one sentence.

  • Shelley desperately needed a haircut; however, she didn’t have any money.

In this instance, both sides of the semicolon contain complete sentences. You could exchange the semicolon for a period and a capital letter, and it would still be correct. A common mistake with semicolons occurs when a writer tries to use one main clause and one phrase that, for various reasons, isn’t complete.

  • Incorrect: Tracy wanted to go on a walk with Doug on Saturday afternoon; whom she hadn’t seen in a long time. (The phrase “whom she hadn’t seen in a long time” is not a complete main clause that could stand on its own.)
  • Correct: Tracy wanted to go on a walk with Doug on Saturday afternoon; they could walk around the lake and then go to dinner. (Both sides of the semicolon are complete main clauses and could stand on their own.)

The other function of semicolons is to separate items in a list when the individual items contain other punctuation, usually commas. The semicolon helps separate what could be an otherwise complicated list.

  • Bill Johnson ran a marathon on December 21, 1998; February 1, 1999; and September 27, 2001.

Colons
Colons
indicate that what follows will explain or expand on what comes before the colon. When using colons, the second clause interprets or sums up the first clause.

  • Etsy shop owners have a limited customer base: Only those who have Internet access can purchase products.

When using semicolons, the second phrase doesn’t expand on the first phrase; rather, they are just two thoughts that are closely related. In order to use a colon, the second phrase must further interpret or explain the first phrase, like in the example above. When using two complete main clauses with colons, the second main clause should be capitalized like the beginning of a sentence.

Colons can also introduce lists, but only when the phrase preceding the colon is a complete sentence.

  • Incorrect: Shauna’s purchases included: toothbrushes, orange juice, bread, and eggs. (The phrase “Shauna’s purchases included” is not a complete phrase. You would delete the colon to make this sentence correct.)
  • Correct: Shauna brought the following in her suitcase: shoes, a skirt, a hat, a swimsuit, and sunscreen.

Colons can also introduce a word that renames the person preceding it. To evaluate whether a colon should be used in this instance, replace the colon with the word “namely.” If it can be used and still make sense, a colon is correct.

  • Dexter knew exactly who had put the salt in his oatmeal: Sammy.

Amanda Crabtree Weston is a writer and editor living in Irvine, California. Previously the Senior Managing Editor at Stampington & Company and the Executive Consulting Editor for Where Women Create and Where Women Cook Magazines, she now works as the Senior Editor at Walter Foster Publishing. In her free time, she loves to go on adventures with her new husband, experiment in the kitchen, and run. She’d love to answer any of your English language questions at a.crabtree28@gmail.com.

03/04/2012


The Good Coach :: The Art of Your/Your're & They're/Their/There by Amanda Crabtree Weston


The Art of Your/You’re & They’re/Their/There
by Amanda Crabtree Weston

Crescendoh The Good Coach“Your” and “you’re” and “they’re,” “their,” and “there,” all sound the same, so it’s easy to mix them up when you actually have to write them. A few simple rules are all you need to keep your sentences straight, so their meanings are clear.

 Your Vs. You’re

“Your” is a possessive pronoun that is often used as an adjective.

  • This is your book.
  • Please take your cookies home. 

“You’re” is always a contraction of “you” and “are.” A quick test to know if this is the correct use of the word is to actually replace “you’re” with “you are.”

  • You’re quicker than I am. (You are quicker than I am.)
  • You’re nice to those girls. (You are nice to those girls.)

 Their Vs. They’re Vs. There

“Their” is a possessive pronoun that is often used as an adjective.

  • They need to remember to leave their keys under the mat.
  • Please let them know to buy their groceries before they come home.

“They’re” is a contraction of “they” and “are.” Just like with “you’re,” a quick test to know if this is the correct use of the word is to actually replace “they’re” with “they are.” 

  • They’re sorry they’re late, but they’ll be here soon. (They are sorry they are late, but they’ll be here soon.)
  • They’re combining forces to get the project done faster. (They are combining forces to get the project done faster.)

“There” is used when referring to a place. A quick test to know if this is the correct use is to replace “there” with “here” and a question mark. 

  • Put the cake down there. (Put the cake down here?)
  • We need to get there before midnight. (We need to get here before midnight?)

“There” is also used with any form of the word “be,” to indicate the existence of something. 

  • There are several canvases hidden in the closet.
  • There is a picnic on Saturday at the park.

 Amanda Crabtree Weston is a writer and editor living in Irvine, California. Previously the Senior Managing Editor at Stampington & Company and the Executive Consulting Editor for Where Women Create and Where Women Cook Magazines, she now works as the Senior Editor at Walter Foster Publishing. In her free time, she loves to go on adventures with her new husband, experiment in the kitchen, and run. She’d love to answer any of your English language questions at a.crabtree28@gmail.com.

02/11/2012


The Good Coach :: 10-Step Action Plan :: by Lesley Riley


 :: The Good Coach ::
Stuck Like Glue — The 10-Step Action Plan
by Lesley Riley

Lesley RileyIn Parts 1 and 2 [please link the words Part 1 and 2 to the webpage with the first article] of this article, I discussed the importance and problems of keeping a written To-Do list. In Part 3, I am going to provide you with a 10-step action plan designed to dissolve the glue of the to-do.

The glue of having a To-Do list that never sees any action is that it keeps you stuck right where you are. The whole point of a To-Do list is to outline the steps you need to take each day to move you forward and propel you closer and closer to your goals. But for many, the only To-Dos that get crossed off the list are the mundane day-to-day tasks.  Don’t be fooled – the act of doing your laundry is just as important as writing your next blog post, which in turn is equally as important as submitting your work for publication. I know that doesn’t make sense, but bear with me.

The things you put on your to-do list are all important things that you want and need to accomplish: pick up your daughter at 4 PM; write your book proposal; do the laundry. Let’s look at doing the laundry vs. writing the book proposal.

If you don’t get the laundry done you and/or your family will end up wearing stinky, dirty clothes. It’s important to you that having nothing clean to wear does not happen. Therefore doing the laundry is an important task. Writing your book proposal is something that can wait, but is ultimately extremely important in advancing your career and your personal dreams and goals. When time is limited, which one wins out? Yep – the laundry. Do you see where I am going with this?

If you think of each incomplete task, no matter how small and time-bound or how big and “whenever”, as a spot of glue that keeps your head and your dreams stuck in your current situation, then you can see how not having a system for conquering the To-Dos can hold you back from living a life of freedom and accomplishment.

There are many ways to tackle a To-Do list and dissolve that glue. The more steps you can take, the more you will master and conquer your To-Do list. Try any or all of the 10 steps in my action plan and see what works for you. I suggest you put this action plan at the top of your To-Do list and DO the steps. It’s one more To-Do, yes, but just for now. Once these things become secondhand, the To-Do glue will dissolve and you will soar.

10 Steps to Conquering Your To-Do List

1. Read my Good Coach article on time and do the block exercise. We artists are visual and there’s nothing like seeing your day in 20-minute blocks.

2. Get a day-planner or At-a-Glance calendar with, at a minimum, a block for each hour. I prefer the one with15 minute intervals. The more you micro-manage your day, the more you can get done.

3. Schedule your to-dos on the calendar so that you can see the big picture of your day and week. Just like a child thrives on a schedule and routine, so will you.

4. Learn to prioritize. One of my favorite tools is to create a To-Do grid using Stephen Covey’s Time Management Matrix from his book, First Things First. Some things can just wait. Knowing which ones will make your day easier and your to-do list shorter.

5. Don’t confuse want-to with have to. May days are wasted because we choose the easy or fun option instead of the more time consuming or complicated better-for-me option. The best example of this is sticking to your diet….not. We are vey good at doing what we want to do and even better at finding 100 ways to justify it.

6. Figure out how you work best. One school of thought on tackling a to-do list is to do the biggest/hardest/most time consuming task first and get it out of the way. On the contrary, others say to get all the little nagging tasks out of the way first and tackle the big one with a sense of accomplishment. I work in the middle, completing all the quick and easy tasks I can do before 10 AM and then settling in for the big one and doing the less important or urgent small tasks late in the afternoon after the big one(s) is complete.

7. What about things that take more than a day or afternoon to complete? Make an appointment with yourself (on you day planner) to work on these tasks and keep the appointment. Even 15 minutes every day brings you closer to the goal than always leaving it for later when you have more time. You know why. “More time” never comes. You used the appointment system in high school to learn algebra. You can certainly use it now to achieve your bigger and better goals.

8. Speaking of time – get a timer! Using a timer prevents you from wasting time, whether it’s online or on task. Checking your email or writing a blog post is part of life. Spending all morning reading blogs or Facebook is not going to get you any closer to your dreams. Set a timer. 10 minutes. When time is up, get back to work.

9. And speaking of getting back to work…practice discipline. Those who achieve the most, the ones you admire (or envy!), are very disciplined artists. While it may seem like a lot of work, or counter-intuitive to your creative free-spirit, discipline and organization actually allows for more freedom, peace of mind and…success!

10. Schedule free-time into your day. Breaks are important, especially for the larger to-dos that take more concentration. The more you push yourself to finish something the more stress you will be. Stop for 10-15 minutes each hour to stretch, take a walk, paint a background or do a sketch. Or maybe you opt to do one of those quick and easy to-dos on the list like throw a load of laundry in the dryer. In an average day, five or six 10 minute breaks add up to an hour of personal time. Would you rather spend it looking at what others are doing, or doing something for yourself? Choose wisely.

PS. If motivation is a problem, revisit my Good Coach article Don’t Just Think – Do!.

Lesley Riley is an internationally known artist, workshop instructor and author with a passion for spreading the magic of art. Though her company, Artist Success, Lesley provides resources, coaching and mentoring for artists, guiding them from where they are now, to where they want to be. For more information and resources, visit ArtistSuccess.com.

01/28/2012


The Good Coach :: Stuck Like Glue by Lesley Riley


:: The Good Coach ::
Stuck Like Glue — A Three-Part Story
by Lesley Riley

Lesley RileyPart 1
When it comes to your art, are you stuck, like glue? Perhaps you are you suffering from the glue of the to-do. You know the feeling; your attention is stuck on all the things you have to do and you cannot get any creative action going. To-dos float around in your head and clog up the space that inspiration needs to occupy. They come in all sizes, tiny “take-my-sweater-to-the-cleaner” tasks to huge “complete art for my one-woman-show” kind. No matter the size, some of your attention units get STUCK on them, if not consciously, definitely subconsciously. Symptoms of to-do-itis include: confusion, overwhelm, distraction, scatterbrain, lethargy, fatigue and a compulsion to drop everything and run away for a play day.

To be more creative, or more effectively creative, you must get control of your to-dos. To-Do lists are the perfect solution. I recommend keeping them to all of my coaching clients. (It’s true for all your ideas too, but that’s a story for a different time) Write those to-dos down – on paper. I know, I know, you’re a digital gal. You’ve successfully migrated from paper lists and calendars to “the cloud.” I see the value in that, I do. That’s why I do both. The problem is that the cloud, in many ways, resembles your mind – and what’s in there is still floating around…out there...somewhere. It’s not tangible, not readily visible. There is no eye/hand connection like there is with a written list.

As an artist, you know the importance of the eye/hand connection. The act of writing, the contact of pencil to paper. Not only does it make your thoughts tangible, it makes them REAL.

The real benefit of writing your to-do list down it that it takes all those necessary actions, both big and little, out of your head and frees up mental space and energy for creativity.

Part 2
Congratulations! You have written your to-do list
. I imagine you are feeling a sense of accomplishment and even better, a lightness of being now that you have cleared all that stuff out and made space for creative thinking.

But you’re not quite there yet. There is one more crucial step to dissolve the glue of the to-do.

Take action on that To-Do list. Start, complete and to what on the list, then cross things off!

“But wait,” you say, “there’s no way I can do all that now….or today….or even this month!”

So what’s an artist to do?

In Part Three, I am going to provide you with a 10-step action plan designed to dissolve the glue of the to-do. Yes, the 10-step list will be another thing to add to your to-do list. But let’s be real – life is one unending to-do list. You will never get to the end of it. To live is to do and the more you do, the more likely it is you’ll end up with more to do. The goal is to create a to-do list that makes you eager to jump out of bed in the morning and tackle it.

My future starts when I wake up every morning.
Every day I find something creative to do with my life.
Miles Davis

Stay tuned for my next column later this month. In the meantime, get in the habit of writing down the things you need to do and take as much action as you can. It’s best to you start loosening the glue and opening up space for a more creative and less stressful life RIGHT NOW!

The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do.
The hard part is doing it.
Norman Schwarzkopf

To want in one’s heart to do a thing
for its own sake; to enjoy doing it; to concentrate all one’s energies upon it –
that is not only the surest guarantee of its success. It is also being true to oneself.
Amelia Earhart

I would like to do whatever it is
that presses the essence from the hour.
Mary Oliver

Lesley Riley is an internationally known artist, workshop instructor and author with a passion for spreading the magic of art. Though her company, Artist Success, Lesley provides resources, coaching and mentoring for artists, guiding them from where they are now, to where they want to be. For more information and resources, visit ArtistSuccess.com.

01/13/2012


The Good Coach :: Begin to Create by Shona Cole


:: The Good Coach ::
Beginning to Create
by Shona Cole

  We may content ourselves with a joy ride in a paint-box.
— Winston Churchill, Painting as a Pastime

SC Jan 12 Good Coach image 2

Last time we talked about "time to create." But what if you have the desire to create, but you are stuck? What if you can’t think decide how to start moving, or you fear failure and how hard the work will be?  How do you begin then?

Here are some steps to help you get going when you feel stuck in a rut!

STEP 1
Prepare mentally for the work. 

- Ignore the whispering voices that say “don’t begin, you will surely fail”. 

  • Decide to swim against the tide of insecurity, self-doubt and fear masked as indecision. 
  • Put aside the criticism you have heard from your parents, your siblings, and yourself and embrace the “Go!” in your life. 
  • Know (and remember often!) that it is better to do than not to do.  Always!
  • Determine that you are going to be a person of action.
  • Remember your past successes and recall that you have the capacity to succeed. 
  • Announce to the world that you have the courage to go for it.

Listen up: The world needs to hear from you.  The world needs to see what you can uniquely think or dream up! Only you can bring that to the table!

STEP 2

Prepare physically for the work. 

  • Organize your craft space and supplies. You will be amazed at how organizing your space will propel you forward!
  • Buy or borrow what you need to get started.
  • Examine your daily and weekly schedule.  Spot “down time” and claim it for your art. 
  • Include art time in your schedule.  Plan for creativity and art! 
  • Make a list of all that needs to be done. Break it down into manageable steps. Do step one today. Don’t worry about step two until tomorrow.
  • Talk to a friend about keeping each other accountable. 

STEP 3

You are ready to go!  So,

- Simply begin! 

Shona Cole is an artist and author of The Artistic Mother. Visit http://shonastudio.blogspot.com/.

 

12/30/2011


The Good Coach :: A Time to Create by Shona Cole


:: The Good Coach ::
A Time to Create
by Shona Cole

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot ... Ecclesiastes 3

SC Jan 12 Good Coach image 1

There is a time to create. How do you know that time is now? How do you know when something is important enough to rearrange your schedule and make time for creativity?

Good questions, right? Well, how about these answers for starters?

  • When an idea first pops into your head, making you feel excited and inspired by the possibility.
  • When the idea returns to your mind again and again, begging to be expressed.
  • When your family and friends confirm your creativity and say “that is a great idea!” “How do you do that?” Or, “I wish I had thought of that.”
  • When you are blue without it.  

“Okay,” you say. “I got it.” But what does creating actually look like?

I won’t beat around the bush: creating looks messy and often disappoints; it is thrilling and terrifying all at once. It is time consuming. If you decide to begin creating, then your days are going to fill up. One creative act begets another. And so on. Creating is work and you will be busy. That is a simple fact of life.

And like it or not, once you begin, you will, at some point, stumble and fail. But remember, each time you create you are learning something new. Even if you “mess up” you are learning what not to do next time!

To create means changing.
To create means facing your fears, head on.
To create means showing up, paint brush in hand, and being willing to fail. And creating means also means being willing to succeed!

This year, you can be that person who faces the world head on! You may not know everything or even a little, but you can learn. Today. In 2012!

If you want to write a book, start with an outline. Then just start writing. See where the story leads you.

If you want to capture your world in images, just get out the paper and pencil and draw. Carry that huge SLR camera with you when you go out. Take pictures! Forget perfection!

If you want to do mixed media, buy that stamp set you have been coveting! One color of ink will do. Tear up the papers. Get out that glue stick and just begin!

If you want to sew, get out the sewing machine and thread. Thread the bobbin, cut the material and sew something, just to get warmed up, a bag, a collage, a skirt. Anything. Once you start, your own natural momentum will take over!

You will learn along the way. You will pass over your fears. You will be embracing your creativity and it will be the right thing to do.

Shona Cole is an artist and author of The Artistic Mother. Visit http://shonastudio.blogspot.com/.

12/10/2011


The Good Coach :: Facing Your Fear :: by Quinn McDonald


:: The Good Coach ::  
Facing Your Fear
by Quinn McDonald

Quinn McDonald
Some years ago, I worked for a small company that did good work. It hit a rough patch, and the president decided that we all had to help the company save money. We had to be frugal with office supplies, print on both sides of a page, turn off lights when we weren't in our offices. I spent a lot of time scouring the hallways looking for dropped paperclips. Probably enough time to cut into the time I could have been working productively. I saved the company about $0.75 on paper clips that quarter, in those hours of looking in the hallway and stairwell.
 
The cutbacks became serious. We had some benefits cut. And eventually, the company stopped paying its contractors on time. The time went from 30 days to 45, to 60. I spoke to the president.

"We have to pay the people who contribute to customer satisfaction, to bringing new clients into the company." The president looked at me as if I were a simple child.
"We have to save money to make the company last long enough to get out of the problem."

"We can't save our way out of a growth problem," I suggested. "Pay the people who are keeping us competitive, they are keeping us alive." It was useless. The president believed that not spending would save us. It did not. You can imagine the rest of the story. It was an inevitable downward spiral.
 
Finding your purpose in life and finding satisfaction follows the same standards. We listen to our fears, giving more value to our biggest fears. We avoid the work that would bring us success, we run from the decisions that demand us to face down fears.
 
We think of our priorities in terms of "being safe," or "avoiding risk." That's the same mistake the company president made. The company couldn't save its way out of a growth problem, we can't get satisfaction, joy and energy in our lives by avoiding fear.
 
We reach satisfaction in our life, we realize the purpose of our life by facing fear, and making choices that free us, not those that avoid fear. When we act with courage, face our fears, refuse to quit just because it's hard, that's when we can see the purpose in life.
 
Running away from fear is not the path to your destiny. Staying on the path to your destiny with determination and courage will bring you light and clarity.

Quinn McDonald is a certified creativity coach, writer and book artist. She is author of Raw Art Journaling: Making Meaning, Making Art (North Light Books, 2011). Information on the book and Quinn’s coaching can be found on http://www.quinncreative.com/coaching/.

Quinn will be teaching One-Sentence Art Journaling in Studio CRESCENDOh. Enroll here.

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