A riff on two of my favorite quotes:
“There is no such thing as work-life balance. Everything worth fighting for unbalances your life.”
~ Alain de Botton
“Balance is the new girdle.” ~ Jennifer Louden
As a coach I work with a handful of special clients to understand the spiritual principles behind the human experience so that they can reliably access and trust their creative intelligence and take bold action in service of their dreams. You can learn more and request an interview here.
What’s going on when you can’t get traction with a project that’s important to you? It’s always either something in your environment or what’s going on between your ears. If it’s not the environment, odds are that you’re thinking about yourself instead of about thing to be done.
Is it time to stop spinning your wheels?
If your work is calling…but somehow you aren’t making the connection between inspiration and follow through, check out The Come Alive & Do the Thing! Mastermind that actually dials down the pressure rather than turning it up.
We’ve all had friends who repeat romantic mistakes.
You may know a dreamy-eyed romantic who confuses surface and substance. Or perhaps your friend is a sad-eyed victim who sees deception and shallowness behind the face of every prospective mate.
From where you sit, it’s easy to see where they go wrong. Their preoccupation with attaining happiness or avoiding disappointment overrides their innate wisdom and common sense. Dazzled by dreams of the future or blinkered by the memory of past disappointment, they can’t see clearly in the present.
The same thing happens when it comes to money. We may be dazzled by visions of wealth, spend more than we can afford, make shaky investments, or buy into the latest scheme for making money online or off. On the other hand, fear of financial insecurity may cause us to shut down. When that happens, we deny ourselves even small pleasures or starve our businesses because we are afraid to invest in equipment, training, or help.
Just as with romance, when it comes to money preoccupation with attaining happiness or avoiding disappointment overrides your innate wisdom and common sense.
Whether we’re talking about love or money, the problem is rooted in a fundamental misunderstanding: the fallacy that your happiness and wellbeing depend on outside circumstances. And because it doesn’t work that way, the harder you try to manage your circumstances to get what you want or avoid what you don’t want, the farther away you get from the very experience of security that you seek.
And the less secure you feel, the more confused your thinking becomes, and the less access you have to the wisdom and common sense you need to make good decisions in the first place.
But as soon as you stop looking outside of yourself for happiness and wellbeing, your thinking begins to clear. You feel secure, because you are secure. Because you don’t need external circumstances to be one way or another in order to be okay, you don’t argue with reality, and you see your circumstances more clearly.
And when you see your circumstances clearly, you naturally make better decisions. And then, don’t you know, your circumstances tend to improve. It’s a virtuous circle.
If you’re reading this, odds are that getting rich isn’t your top priority, but even though your humanity is vastly more important than your bank account, you may be living with confusion, anxiety, and feelings of powerlessness around money.
If that feels accurate to you, I invite you to join me for Authentic Wealth, a seven week virtual retreat, a teleconference-based experience designed to shift your relationship to money and wealth. Click here to learn more about Authentic Wealth.
Nobody wants to miss out on an opportunity, whether it is for true love, adventure, new business–whatever.
But you actually can’t miss out unless you lock on.
Here’s what I mean.
We tend to think of opportunities as if they exist out in the world. But opportunities are a function of thought.
When you recognize an opportunity (it takes shape as a thought), you construct a virtual reality around it. Then you hold that reality in mind while you walk around inside it, testing possible scenarios and weighing the consequences of each.
That’s an amazing human capacity, and it’s incredibly rewarding when you’re in a spacious and creative frame of mind. But when you’re afraid of missing out, making a wrong move, or overlooking a ramification, it’s exhausting.
And it leads you to a dead end.
The more you fear missing out on an opportunity, the more you lock on, putting more and more of your attention onto that tiny subset of possibilities. Because that’s all you see, you start to believe that’s all there is.
You know you’ve locked on when your thinking gets muddier as the stakes skyrocket and your options shrink. The more important it becomes that you get this right, the less clear you are about what you should do.
You can’t think your way out of virtual reality lock-down. But you can recognize that you thought your way into it.
You can take off the goggles and headset.
You can relax and know that as your mind quiets and your mood lightens you’ll naturally see new possibilities.
In a universe of infinite potential, there’s just no such thing as an opportunity too important to miss.
Photo Credit: John Nicholls via Flickr
Humans are creative. Creativity is part of our nature. We don’t have to try to be creative; we just are. If that’s so–and I believe it is–what’s up creative block?
Given that we are so blinking creative, human beings have developed innumerable ways of losing contact with their innate creativity. That said, here are three that are tried and true.
Looking in the wrong places
We experience creative block when we don’t find ideas where we expect or think we want them to be and then conclude that we have a problem.
It’s not looking in the wrong place that’s the problem (though it made a nice subhead, don’t you think?). I mean, if we’re talking about creativity, can there be a wrong place to look?
The problem is believing that you have a problem when you don’t find what you think you need or want.
Believing you have a problem is like putting a clamp on the hose connecting you to your creative source. The more serious you think the problem is, the more you constrain the creative flow.
What really sucks is that on some level you know this, and knowing it you lean on yourself, further constricting the flow.
That would be why the subsequent desperate scavenger hunt for ideas doesn’t usually reveal treasure after that first round of frustration. You can search high and low, but if the creative flow is constricted, you won’t see the gleam of inspiration even if it’s staring you in the face.
Which brings me to a second common way to generate creative block.
Overlooking the obvious
Sometimes the creative thing to do is so obvious that we overlook it.
You know this one if you’ve ever puzzled over what to wear only to end up with the first thing you took out of your closet. Or agonized over what to write for the About page on your web site only to find the answer staring up at you from a forgotten note or email.
I’m not going into detail with this one because it happens so often to most of us that you’ll find plenty of examples in your life in the past week.
Why do we overlook the obvious? One answer lies in a third common way to generate creative block.
If believing we have a problem is clamping down on the connection between us and our creativity, comparing our creative process or output to someone else’s is like dropping the hose. We instantly abandon our personal access to creativity as we try to figure out how to splice into someone else’s.
What’s more, we feel the disconnect. Adding insult to injury, we interpret that feeling as evidence that there really is something wrong.
That last bit is important, and it applies to all the ways in which we generate creative block. The block is insignificant compared to the belief that the block is a problem.
Worrying about creative block holds it in place
Worrying about creative block not only holds it in place, it is the block. Without worry, what we’re calling creative block doesn’t exist. In its stead are any number of moments in which any number of thoughts are freely flowing through your mind. Some you like. Some you don’t. Maybe you pick one to follow, maybe you don’t. But until you worry about it, you don’t have a creative block.
Wait a minute. Is that practical?
I can hear some of you rolling your eyes (can you hear eyes roll?). Isn’t this talk of blocks and worry just word play?
After all, if you need a creative idea, and you don’t have one, you still have a problem, don’t you?
What you have is an unmet desire that may and may not have any number of consequences (none of which, it’s worth noting, exist in the here and now).
Call that a problem of the “This needs worrying about!” variety, and you will continue to feel cut off from your creativity.
Call it a problem of the “Hmmmm…” or “Huh?” or “I wonder…” variety, and you can expect–sooner or later–to have an insight or aha that meets or exceeds your expectations.
Rely on the connection, let go of the content
As a human being you have continual access to the infinite flow of creative thought. You don’t get to control the content, but you have a a lot of choice about how connected you feel to that flow. The more connected you feel, the more likely you are to recognize inspiration when it comes along.
Your leverage is in trusting the flow, not sweating over the content or the timing.
When I was a senior in high school my true love was a sophomore in college. That was back in the day when long distance calls were expensive, and we wrote piles of earnest letters full of angst and idealism.
One day I received a letter that signaled the beginning of the end of the relationship. That was the letter in which my boyfriend announced how many children we would have and what we should name our first son.*