Weekly-ish notes on navigating big change

Month: January 2012

It’s time for the contractions

In Do More Great Work, the author describes the creative rhythm as expanding and contracting, imagining and doing. I think a lot about the cycle of creativity, the flow of inspiration + doing, followed by a time of quiet not-doing…but I've forgotten the rhythmof every creative endeavor, the rhythm of expansion and contraction. Of breathing in inspiration, ideas, big dreams, and then breathing out, narrowing in on the things you will do.

We creatives LOVE the expansion part. We soak up inspiration, we breathe in dreams, we acquire ideas. Magazines, classes, pinterest…it's all one big inhalation, one glorious expansion of all possible things, zooming infinitely outward.

But the exhalation, the contraction, the doing…well, that's not as glorious. Not as tweetable.

But if anything is ever going to get done, if you're going to write that book or finish that project or launch that line, there has to be a point where you stop inhaling and you start exhaling. You zoom in on what you will do.

In narrowing your focus, the outer stuff, the stuff you decide not to do gets fuzzy and eventually falls out of the frame.
And while this doesn't look so exciting, exhaling and contracting can be  filled with enthusiasm, an inner propulsion that glides the project out of your head and into the world.

I'm here.

I've inhaled inspirations, stories, examples, and dreams. It's time to exhale, to breathe out the last bit of the book. To hand it on time. To contract narrow my focus to only the book and the Starship* (for the next few weeks).


Are you inhaling? Is it time to exhale?


*This means you won't be seeing me on the blog, in your inbox, or anywhere else (except for Instagram, and the Starship) until February 8th. 

The Map-Making Guide is my personal exhalation process. Turn dreams and wishes into measurable milestones and do-able to-dos. The Starship will be starting the map-making guide together, with weekly check-ins, this Wednesday. Join us here, if you like.

In safety, I found YES

Quite by accident, I'm writing this exactly one year later.

Last year, I wrote that my theme, quite unwanted, was safety.
It wasn't what I wanted to focus on, but it's what I needed.

3. Snuggled in with pup while filling out @goddessleonie's planner for 2012

One year later,  what I realized (thanks entirely to Leonie's yearly planner) is the RESULT of all that safety.

Instead of putting up walls, instead of creating a hard shell, focusing on safety allowed me to open up, blossom, and risk things I never would have imagined.

Quite unexpectedly, 2011 was about saying YES, even when I wasn't sure I was enough.

I said YES to two big clients who sought me out, doing completely new-to-me kinds of work, things I never would have dreamed selling.

I said YES to a sudden goal to get a book deal before my 30th birthday (which is still 6 months away). Even stranger, I said YES to that book deal and to a writing schedule that might just result in having a finished book by my 30th birthday.

I said YES to the bizarre idea of the Starship. And then I said YES to putting in the daily work to build it, to lead it, and to support all of the captians aboard it.

I said YES to travel. I said YES to writing.

I said YES to the things I (secretly) wanted.
I said YES to things I thought I was afraid of.

And with every single one of those things, I had a clear, panicked moment “Me? Really? What? Can I even DO THIS?!?”
And then I did it.

Because I sought to cultivate safety and internal (and external) support, I had the confidence for YES.
Because I make sure I feel safe and cared for, before I say yes.
Because I (finally!) prioritized what I deeply need.

I still have so much to say about safety and where I found it and how it surprised me and what it taught me, but that will come later.
For now, I'd love to know:

What did you say YES to? What do you need before you can say YES?