It’s how you think about the race that matters

race

Over the weekend we took my son to the New England Regional Track finals. He kept warning me that they were seeded just about last and were not expected to win their race or even come close to winning. I gently reminded him that earlier in the season he had not expected to get to run at Regionals at all, in fact, he had not even expected to run in his state finals. We all packed up and went. He was in at the 4 by 800 relay, which for you non track geeks, is a relay where that each run a little over 2 mins. He had only run this relay 3 times. One time to show his coach that he was a fast “short distance” runner, one time in the state meet and now he was running at an arena where many elite runners had  raced. There was great energy and expectancy  in the air. His team was not last but they certainly were not in the top 5 either. I didn’t know what to expect from him when he found me in the crowd afterward. He had some choices to make on how to view his race.

1st choice:

He ran consistently and even ran 1 second faster than he had last time (seconds! OMG- track talk!) but 2 out of the 4 boys did not have their best race:  choice: I could possibly blame someone else for the outcome.

2nd choice:

He met a coach and father of an elite runner sitting next to me in the crowd (ok, I met them and introduced him) they gave him technique suggestions and told him that the mere fact that he was here as a sophomore showed remarkable potential: choice: I need to change high schools so I can get better training. I am possibly not in the right place to be doing my very best.

3rd and final choice:

As we drove out of the city in search for a lunch spot, I heard him say, “I went to Regionals. I can hardly believe it, as a sophomore. It is just now sinking in!”: choice: I am satisfied and happy today, right in this moment. 

Over lunch, he also expressed that he was considering staying at his small Catholic high school (we had been talking for weeks about a change.) The choice is up to him, all these choices are up to him. It is how he chooses to think about the race that really counts.

The same goes for us, we can wake up starting the day thinking that we can’t possibly accomplish all we need to do. We can carry those defeating thoughts as we plot our weekly and monthly calendars out. We can choose to think that we don’t have enough creative time or that our businesses are not growing fast enough. We can focus on deals that didn’t happen instead of being pleased with the ones that did.

Make the right choices about how you view where you are today. Decide to be grateful that you have energy to accomplish anything on your daily and weekly calendar. Realize how fortunate you are to get to incorporate creativity into your life. Understand that you may not see the roots spreading underneath the surface of your business, be confident that each step you take is grounding you for growth. Rejoice in the GOOD things that are going on in your life and choose to believe that the deals that didn’t take place didn’t take place for a reason.

The outcome of Luke’s race was what it was. He could have had gone over every detail in the car (and trust me-he does that often) and dissected it. I was so proud that he just basked in the opportunity that he had that day to even be in the race. 

It moved me.  I spent the rest of the weekend quietly painting and puttering with a smile on my face, happy to even have to opportunity to do what I do. The right view of your race changes everything.

How are you going to choose to think about your week?

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What the font?

shoe_monicalee

Who and What I am into this Week is asking myself about fonts. I have spent hours this week (ok and maybe last week too) trying to find a good hand scripted font that conveyed the right emotion and that matched my watercolor style. At the very end of the Smart Creative Style course we play with fonts after  we get a grasp on our creative styles.

So I knew I needed a couple of fonts and I wanted at least one to  feel somewhat old fashioned (like you had a strict handwriting teacher) and yet loose enough to not make my watercolors feel imperfect. This turned out to be a REALLY TALL ORDER! I ended up purchasing a few fonts that were classified as 1930′s and 40′s fonts. This is the description of the family of fonts that I was interested in:

“The Charles Bluemlein Script Collection is an intriguing reminder of the heady days of hand lettering and calligraphy in the United States. From the early 1930s through World War II, there were about 200 professional hand letterers working in New York City alone. This occupation saw its demise with the advent of photo lettering, and after digital typography, became virtually extinct.”

Well, that had me sold right there. Classic girl, classic fonts so after MUCH deliberation, I dropped $100 and bought 2 fonts. I also purchased 2 very popular fonts that had a more calligraphy feel to them, but I had to ask myself if they were too popular for what I wanted to accomplish. Then, I began to ask myself if I should just lean on my own handwriting. After all, I was  trying to buy fonts to look like my own handwriting (if I could get my kerning act together.) I think my issue with my own handwriting is that I do the backward slant, the forward slant-it just depends on my mood! THEN I went on the hunt for my old calligraphy  pens (I used to LOVE using them!I know they are here somewhere) I couldn’t find them, ordered new ones. Are we getting the entire picture of what I am into this week? Spending money trying to write words! Now I am thinking I should just ask my mother to write things out for me-she has that whole old school penmanship thing down! What about you? Do you like your handwriting?
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There’s a new girl in town and her name is Alison!

Move over Martha! There is a new girl in town and she is F-U-N! I just love meeting someone who bubbles over with enthusiasm for simply being on the planet! Alison Faulkner is THAT GIRL. Graphic artist by trade, DIY Diva Priestess by design. Ok, she may not call herself a DIY Diva Priestess, more like a DIY Disco Diva. Alison is a bundle of energy and smarts over on her corner of the web called The Alison Show where she claims to be a compulsive, crafter, baker, and sharer.  instgram-a must  You know I think bloggers understand their audiences and rock social media, Alison is no exception! (She is a crack up on instgram-a must follow!) She talks about how she does it in this interview!

So tune in!!! Listen how she channeled her high school craftiness (when crafting was decidedly NOT cool) into a full blown super blog. You name it, she has made it and she will probably bring a big smile to your face.

 As you listen in to this interview, you’ll  hear what Alison offers to brands that want to work with bloggers. She is crafty, savvy and vivacious, an awesome combination of talents. She also adds her unique perspective over on the Babble blog, I particularly liked this post.  She has her own You Tube channel and I think she is one to watch! She would be my choice over ANY daytime TV show on the market!!

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Speaking of Blossoming…

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Over the weekend Amy Butler sent a link to the newest issue of Blossom Magazine. I thought I would just take a quick peek and quickly realized that I was sinking into a  joyful treat. Deep, thoughtful articles and visual eye candy had me glued to my seat. As Amy gets to know herself in a more intimate way, her work just keeps getting more spectacular. I wanted to post the link and show you something I think is SUCH A GOOD EXAMPLE of inspired interpretation!  A recent sojourn to Egypt fueled Amy’s soul and the result is her newest fabric collection, Hapi. I mean, look at these images side by side! She stays true to who Amy Butler is and yet pushes herself beyond what you might expect from her. I think the result is beautiful!! She has captured the vibrancy of this desert place is a stunning way. Interpreting what inspires us can be tricky at best, Amy and I have had lengthy conversations about rusting your intuition, it is just so amazing to see the results when you do! When Amy trusts, big things happen. She has retreats and trips planned this coming year, oh my! Now we are talking about life candy!!

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Not to be outdone in the inspiration department, David Butler, the creative mind behind Parson Gray got inspired for his latest collection on a trip to the Grand Canyon. I love seeing inspiration laid out like this! (Where will they go next!!?) You really need to take a look through this issue, your mind and your spirit will thank you! Here is the link: Blossom Magazine Issue 2

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Who and What I am into this Week: Black and White Simplicity

Tanya Ling

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I am tucking in a do some painting and drawing this weekend. I have given myself a deadline to create some new work. One of the things that has loosened me up (my life long goal!) is to take color out the equation. The other colors in my paint palette are a bit put out with me, but I have told them to pipe down, this will be good for all of us.

Jordi Laban

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Gladys Perint Palmer

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Meet Eva! The smart girl from Sycamore Street Press

Smart Cookie Alert! You are going to love Eva Jorgensen! Eva and her husband, Kirk  run a stationery company called Sycamore Street Press. I love the look and feel of their brand. In this interview, Eva explains how a  family trip helped them define a vision for their business and their lifestyle. I heard her on a panel at ALT Summit and she really impressed me. The entire panel impressed me, but I loved the practical marketing application that Eva uses as she pins on Pinterest! She shares it in this interview so tune in!! P.S. She also talks about her instagram “look and feel” which I think is totally working! You can follow her on instagram @sycamorestreetpress . Eva has the sweetest spirit, she is someone whose personality really matches her business!

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Clearing up the fog

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I have to share what has happened to me in that last couple of months. Maybe if you are on a foggy part of your own journey my story might help. You may or may not know that I tucked my paint brushes and aspects of my creativity away for a bit while I started Smart Creative Women. I am not sad that I did this because I found my voice and creativity in a completely new way tackling technology, talking to other creative people and helping creatives get clear with where they were headed. I even put together a course that helps you crystallize it, all the while my internal motor was buzzing inside me asking myself how I was going to express myself next. I knew that the answers were on the inside somewhere.

For all of you that have listened to me lament,  question and ask myself what makes sense for me, thank you. Smart Creative Women gets me so excited that I feel like I am jumping up and down on the inside but I also knew that I wanted another aspect of my creativity to make me feel the same way. I was advised to just create, tricky when your day job takes an enormous amount of time. So I set out to sketch and sketch. I applied all the principles in the Smart Creative Style course and it was enlightening. I learned things about myself that I was so excited to uncover. Little pieces of my personality started to make sense like never before.

Here is where my story might help you, IT DID NOT ALL HAPPEN IN AN INSTANT. I am an expert and pulling apart ideas until they are no longer recognizable. I am hard on my own  ideas because when I do commit, I get seriously focused. I also know what it’s like to stick around in “indecision land” for too long. Feeling like you have not hit the right note can leave you feeling like you are in a fog.

One of the main lessons in Smart Creative Style is to trust yourself. If you are in a foggy place and you are not quite sure when the fog will lift, I will offer advice that my mother always gave me, follow your peace. I recently broke down what peace felt like for me and  it was, follow your inner jumping and down girl.  Essentially, the best piece of advice my mother could ever give me and is to trust myself.

I am at a point now when I have a lot of opportunities coming at me. It is exciting for sure, but it can also add to the fog. I also feel like I could be successful and profitable at many of those opportunities, but some of them came with a nagging little voice on the inside that had me asking “Why? Why would I follow that path?” This would lead me to my next line of questioning, “What is your end goal?” OH! THE FOG! Was I not sure or where my goals too lofty?  I completely get that fog is a total bummer, but let me encourage you to keep showing up even if you are not sure what is “next” for you. So many of us keep looking for outside voices to help us out which I think can be fabulous, but it can also make you feel like a hamster on a wheel. While I do believe pieces of programs and courses offer wonderful solutions, you are eventually going to have to trust yourself when it comes to making decisions about your future. Which, if you know me also means you are going to have to love yourself, and quiet those critical voices in your head.

YOUR ANSWERS WILL COME, maybe not all at once, but tuck all your ah-ha moments into your heart and trust that there will be a moment when you will know what to do next and you will see a clear path for yourself. The fog will lift and you will know your next move. Trust. 

So what does this have to do with my own fog lifting? Mine comes in the form of getting my “non tech” creative bug back. I am so full of ideas that the days are not long enough and I am jumping up and down on the inside! (Which, Mom, is my version following my peace!) This is one of my inspiration boards for my next act:

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