I have found myself in several completely separate and unrelated conversations lately and one theme keeps coming up.
Why do we do that thing we do in that way that we do it? Actually I’m not sure if that sums it up well. I might write on, and see if this all becomes clearer by the end.
Danielle LaPorte has recently written a new book called White Hot Truth. Her premise is something like this. You know all that self help reading, self-proclaimed-expert advice seeking, program signing up, soul searching, affirmation reciting, clairvoyant consulting, life coaching, Insta-guru worshipping, all of that? Yep, It’s probably all ensuring that you can’t actually get to what you already know you want to do or be or create. It’s all just telling you on repeat that you are not quite enough….but if you just do this course, or that retreat, or read that book, of repeat that mantra, or follow these secret 7 steps, or spill your guts in front of this seminar audience, then you might just get there. You might then be complete, you might then be ready….and if not, there’s always the premium program, or the invite only masterclass. There's always somewhere to defer your efforts and your better judgement.
Undoubtedly, there are some genuine and brilliant sources of guidance out there....but not many.
Danielle writes from experience, and I'm so glad that she has.
People often ask me where I sell my work and I feel a sudden urge to justify my existence. The expected answer consists of a list of art galleries. But that’s not my answer. I have exhibited in galleries and art shows fairly regularly over the last few years, but I’ve got to say I’ve often done it for all of the wrong reasons. There’s a lot about the experience that has felt in opposition to all of the reasons I do this work - for work rather than for a hobby.
I don’t mean to rule out exhibitions for the rest of my career, and when opportunities present I consider everything, because it’s a bit stoopid not to. What I would like to rule out is being the bunny at the end of the exhibition string. Exhibitions where artists have to pay actual money to be considered for entry (yes, that’s a real thing) are out. Exhibitions where the gallery staff “design” the art are also out (yes that’s a thing too).
Who am I, you may say, to be throwing stinky mud at the fine folks of the art world.
No one is the answer, I’m no one important.
But I am an independent artist and I’m allowed to say that certain aspects of the way art is marketed and sold are absolute bollocks, and as such I’m allowed to do it differently. To my friends operating in gallery world who are blissfully happy and fulfilled, I’m clearly not talking about you here.
So the actual answer to the question of where I sell most of my work, is directly to the people that love it. Most of my work has been sold directly to clients via word of mouth, social media or more commonly through my private online events. What I love about working this way is that I usually get to have an actual conversation with the person who is buying my work. The people who buy my work almost always want to know how I painted it, or where the idea came from, and why. And I’m happy to tell them. It isn’t art-speak rubbish, it’s a real human connection. It's also the reason I seem to do a lot of commissions - because conversations and human connections. It is special to me that someone appreciates what I’ve made so much that they want to part with their money, in exchange for living with the art. That’s quite a significant transaction. I know that people put a lot of thought and consideration into buying something from me, and that’s the way I like it. I want you to buy it only if you actually love it, and it has real meaning or feeling for you. So perhaps you can see that whacking paintings up on a wall among a bunch of other “pictures for sale” feels kind of lacking something.
People are frequently buying art to match the cushions, and it will all be junk when the next series of “The Block” begins and they realise the cushions and the art are no longer trending. It’s hard to know what you love when you are always looking to a tv show or a magazine or to Instagram to find out what it is you are supposed to love at moment, what the cool people love. People are buying art because it's trending, and mistaking that for discernment. I find that a bit hilarious and a bit disturbing.
Knowing what you don’t want in life is sometimes easier than putting your finger on exactly what you do want, and I don't want to be in next summer's garage sale.
The conversations I’ve been having lately revolve around this. What is it you actually want and how can you actually go about creating it?
Some of these chats I’ve been having are with friends who are right in full career change swing and entrepreneurs riding the waves of the journey. Some conversations are with the “you’re so lucky” crowd, some are with curious bystanders.
Here’s what I've learned and what I know. You just keep doing what feels right, what feels like you - not comfort zone you, but deep and true you, most excellent self you. No one else’s 7 step plan was made for me, and at some point you need to stop seeking guru advice and top 10 recommendations and guaranteed quick fixes from outside of yourself, and start answering your own questions. Then my friend, the rubber meets the road, you put your money where you mouth is, you start to walk your talk. Please insert your own favourite “get that shit done” metaphor.
In the past, I have walked away from careers when I’ve gotten in deep enough to see the cogs and ugly machinations at work. I’ve opted out and walked away feeling all noble for not being a part of it anymore (talking to you fashion world). But I can’t walk away from art because I’m not sure what of me would be left. So instead I’m working, and walking my less than traditional path in a career with no promises, and no limits, and of course no manual. I'll be over here doing what feels right and I'll put my fingers in my ears and sing la la la la if I hear the words "If you want to be a real artist you should......"
This is absolutely not an advice column, way too many of those already. But if you know someone who might find this useful, please share it with them via social media, or any other way you like.
Thanks for sticking it out to the end!! Let me know what you think, or if you can relate.
ps. I mentioned private online events (read exhibitions, studio sales, pop-up stores). They are for my mailing list buddies only and if you think you might to be there, then I’d love you to join me with the form below . I have something special to announce in about 48 hrs so don’t delay!!
So it's May, and in a few short weeks it will be winter. That's usually my cue to shut down, and say no to everything except soup. My birthday is on the first day of spring, and that's when I usually return to normal human functioning.
Last winter approached with an unusual, growing thrill. We'd made plans to leave this cold, wet, grumpy greyness for some Spanish spectacularity. Sarongs, sangria, and sun that doesn't burn. Oh and a wedding, oh and a new baby niece to meet, and a spot of German beer and bakery tastings. It was just a few weeks away but it was enough to eliminate the dread of the approaching winter, as is my usual autumn routine. Last year was certainly different, and we made vows to always plan something exciting each winter. Except we haven't.
Now I love the cosy nights with a cup of spiced tea and a blanky on the couch, slow cooked dinners, my hand-knitted yoga socks (like fingerless gloves, but for feet), and the ever-delicious hot porridge in the mornings cooked with my spice mix of the day, the hygge. But do you notice these things are all rather indoorish? Yes, I'm a hibernator through and through. I avoid going outside in winter. Me outside in winter involves wiry hair (ok there are beanies for that), streaming eyes and a drippy nose, so unless there are hot pies or waffles involved, I'm out (or should that be in). I'd rather spend my money on sandals and sundresses than big coats and thermals, and usually I do, therefore every winter I am dressed inappropriately every day and that is not a recipe for fun times let me assure you. It doesn't help that I am also married to a man who might be part frog. He feels the need to "rug up" ten months of the year and is suitably well equipped. Actually that is not what I sat down to write....
So the thing is, it is full and proper winter in a less than three weeks and I have no plan...no escape route. There is something else different this year too. I'm not beginning the slow slide into hibernation that I usually so enjoy. I've got a million projects percolating in my mind and in my journal, and I feel like I need to employ a few assistants just to help me sort through my brain contents. It's bulging with ideas and possibilities, some which are already started, and some that draw from previous work that now seems incomplete without this new bubbling fresh chapter. Others are entirely new areas that I haven't stepped into before but seem like the perfect space for me to play in. The last thing I need is to escape. (..however if you are about to invite me to a weekend away, perhaps a week in Noosa, I hear the Daintree is lovely this time of year...I'm there!)
I've been fairly studioless for the last 3 years and every visual artist will understand how paralysing, frustrating, and soul squashing that is (if you have a studioless artist in your family, take note) . Now I am not studioless, but blessed with an abundance of my own space and more time than ever before. It's a perfect storm for creativity, experimentation and growth. Yes, this winter is shaping up to be quite different. Exciting, stimulating, productive, heck maybe thrilling!
Now this is a very early call. Riding the peaks and troughs of working by yourself, for yourself can be mentally messy. I'm going to leave this post here, just so I can come back and read it again in about mid June, and again around the end of July and possibly mid August too. It may be getting dark outside, but I'm feeling all the brights right now and hence the bloggish snapshot.
I'll show what's happening as we go, so join me on Facebook or Instagram (mostly instagram these days).
My mailing list buddies always get the first word and VIP treatment on all things new so jump on there to guard against bouts of FOMO.
Boy do I love a new start, a fresh page, a reboot! For us in Victoria, today is the first day of term 2, and for me it's a fabulous day for a fresh start, and a new chapter, and drop-in to see if my blog still exists. It does! Winning so far.
As a Mumma working from home I get so excited about the school holidays. I don't dread them at all, ever. I imagine slow mornings and free time, no lunch boxes, no drop offs, no pick ups and no after school activities. I imagine the mountains of things I can accomplish without the constrains of those schedules and structures, all that free time. Then every school holidays, on about day 2 I realise.....the kids are here ALL the time!
Now I am very grateful to be blessed with two little possums who have lots of interests, including each other, and they generally have no trouble finding things to do, games to play, worlds to create. The problem is that these things often involve such parental inconveniences as hauling every item of food prep equipment out into the garden to be filled potions, pastes and “perfumes”. Or maybe a spot of cave building with every bed to be stripped, every pillow and cushion utilised and linen cupboard emptied for maximum comfort and creepiness. How about a little paper craft in the loungeroom, yeah, lets snip and rip and spend two hours making lots and lots of confetti, and then we’ll throw it at each other, just once and then walk away to find something else to do because there’s no room in the loungeroom now - its covered in teeny paper bits and scissors and caves and toast. And then there’s my work, which is not neat, not tidy, and not confined to a small area.
That is school holidays at my place. God it’s a mess, but its how we roll. I know there are programs, and workshops and play dates and sometimes we do a little bit of that, but for the most part, maximising “free time” is what our school holidays are about. I sometimes worry that in the busyness of the term, in the pursuit of their interests in after school activities, they may forget how to amuse themselves, how to be bored for long enough that they find their own solution. So far so good.
The truth is, in these holidays I’ve had a lot of work to do, and it couldn’t wait. I have two exhibitions coming up in the next few weeks so I’ve been painting every day and many nights too. The girls have been awesome, providing remarkably useful feedback at times, and hardly any offensive commentary :) Six new paintings complete. Gold medal for School Holiday Management awarded.
However, today is the first day of the rest of my life. Yours too. I’ve tidied up the holiday chaos and I’m ready to launch into 2016 version 2.0 There are exhibitions, which I would love you to come to, there’ll be some gear shifting, challenge setting, path forging, and even some *gasp* travel.
I may or may not write all about it here, depending on which way the southerly is blowing but if you join my mailing list we can stay completely in touch. I’ll be sending out all of details regarding the upcoming exhibitions this week, so jump on the list now by following the link below.
I hope your holidays have been happy, and even if they haven’t, its a new term, its a new day, it will very shortly be a brand new hour. Just start over.
It’s Christmas Eve, and this Christmas is shaping up to be fabulously unusual for me. This past week has been utterly relaxing, free from shopping, very low on cooking and cleaning, and generally non-frantic. Fabulously unusual.
I’ve almost finished my summer reading library, I’m practising the art of making smoothies in a thermie (by the way, any tips are appreciated), and my kids are so sun-kissed and waterlogged every day that they’re zonked as soon as the see a pillow…and so am I.
Tomorrow I’m looking forward to seeing my babies faces when they open their gifts, and watching everyone else around the tree too. My girls have shopped for me with only budgetary guidance, so I’m keen to see what they’ve chosen. I’m looking forward to the feast which will conclude with a raw, vegan Christmas pud. I always eat the traditional pudding at Christmas, but not because I love it, mostly for the custard and brandy butter which for me, is always followed by a bit of a dairy hangover the next day.
I can’t wait to have a little lie down after lunch, probably by the pool while the youngsters splash around and defy all adult understanding with their endless energy, squealing and capacity for fun. I love the lunch that turns into dinner and the evening that sneaks up when you think its about 4pm. There’ll be yoga in the morning, and there’ll be feisty conversations. There’ll be tears and possibly a tantrum….and that’s just the parts of Christmas day that I know about.
The fabulously unusual? Well I don’t know those parts yet, but I don’t have to wait long now.
I hope your Christmas is everything you hope it to be, and many things you didn’t even know you hoped for. It seems like it has become commonplace to dread Christmas and all it entails. I agree that the consumerism and the indulgence and maybe even the greed stinks. But you don’t have to buy into it. You don’t have to join the chorus that judges the way others spend their Christmas energy.
With some effort, you can even stay present in your own moment, your own Christmas, your own loved ones, your own heart, your own love. Ok, it will take a lot of inner effort, but it’s Christmas!!
See you on the other side.
Love and best wishes,
For the first time ever I am sitting in an aeroplane typing on a laptop. How productive, So conscientious. I’ve always assumed a level of workaholism when I’ve watched others around me doing exactly this, but envy too. I’ve wondered why you wouldn’t just kick back and enjoy half a movie and a frozen lettuce and butter sandwich. Actually no I haven’t. There’s no enjoyment in lettuce with butter and don’t start me on that airline bread-like substance.
Why wouldn’t you do what I do - look around and stare at other people in the cabin and wonder why they are flying. Work or pleasure, flying to a job interview, a court appearance, their mother’s funeral, a get rich quick conference. I make up stories about strangers on my plane. Anyway, today I’m not because after a cracking few months of painting, planning, uploading, scheduling, editing, shopping, wrapping, hiding, cleaning, dropping off, picking up, turning up, clearing out, washing, folding, weaving, trimming, and did you notice I didn’t say writing…?
I haven’t sat down with this computer for the purpose of writing in ages. So I’m not here to “get some work done” (for anyone reading along while I type). I’m here because I’m on holidays and I’ve been busting to write! While my husband and daughters watch in-flight movies beside me, because they can, I’m tapping away on my laptop for the same reason. By the way, did you know that Virgin now serves alcohol, for free?? I thought we were must have been in the wrong seats, but no, they’re dishing it out all over the place. Unfortunately I’m not a fan of drinking and flying, but I appreciate that if I was, I could. I’m more of your “brought my own teabags” kind of flyer. Gangsta yo.
In case you missed it in the last paragraph, I’M ON HOLIDAYS! I hope you are too, or at least getting close to a day when you will have some well earned rest. I’m mindful of not letting Christmas get frenzied this year because frenzy isn’t fun for me. I understand that some people thrive on a bit of chaos, but I do not. I shrivel. I would like my Christmas holidays to be peaceful, relaxing, warm and swimmy. I want to eat and drink and chat and sing and swim and walk and laugh and draw and stretch, and sleep. I want to end the year feeling good, happy, ready.
Adios for now. I’ve got half a movie still to watch….
About a month ago, I attached an end date to what was otherwise a very loose plan. I created a fabulous planner that contained every action that needed to be taken, every call that needed to be made, every item that needed to be purchased and every backup plan that may need to be called upon along the road to this launch day.
At this point I’d like to point out that this particular end date has not yet arrived, and also that this little piece of writing is not part of that well made plan.
My meticulous plan consisted of many sub-deadlines on the way to the big day. A series of little targets, which would ensure my arrow was properly aligned all the way to the big bullseye. A few of these I hit smack in the centre. What a winner, what a professional, what an effective human being. Obviously, some of these targets I missed by a gaping margin…actually yesterday.
At the end of what I’d imagined should have been an ecstatic week of flowing creativity, I found myself a fair way short of where I’d wanted to be, and feeling like a big old dud. This deadline was measured by paintings completed, so for an artist, just I little bit important. To be honest I’d been feeling pretty dud-like all week. Tired, heavy, encumbered, not sick but bleh (pronounced with a scowl and the tongue hanging out). I’d been painting like a bat out of hell and that part was going beautifully. I was productive and flowing while I had a brush in my hand but most other minutes of the day were flat and caveworthy (another story for another day).
And yet here I am, Monday morning. I’m not stressed, and what’s new and unusual is that I’m not beating myself over the head with my unfinished canvases or stabbing myself in the ear with the pointy end of the paint brush. I’m not feeling hopeless, or useless, or stupid. I don’t feel like a cheeseburger, or watching daytime tv. I don’t feel at all like quitting, despite the steep road in front of me. All this feels very unusual, and very powerful too. I feel like getting on with it. I feel like putting my head down and keeping on keeping on. I feel like looking at the calendar and deciding on a realistic timeframe in which to do what needs to be done.
So I didn’t get the work done this week, but it may not have been my lack of productivity, lack of commitment, tendency for distraction, inability to say no to other things, my family that insists on eating dinner every single damned night, or suppliers that deliver things a long time after they’re promised. Maybe the cause was that the deadline was defective right from the outset. Maybe meeting my expectations would have required a lesser quality of work. Worth it for a tick on my planner? No way. Fulfilling and rewarding? Nup. Maybe I just didn’t allow enough time in my perfect plan. Of the many ways there are of looking at it, this is the perspective I’m choosing. It’s kinder, and it lets my mindset remain productive, not destructive. There is no one true perspective. Any perspective becomes your truth if you believe it, buy in. So I’m choosing the self-lovin’ one. Why wouldn’t I? (except I usually don’t)
So today, without judgement, I work. I mother. I wife. I may even friend. I paint, and exercise, and meditate, and eat, and do the school run, and play with the dog, and endure the swimming lessons, and make dinner. Not in that order. I get on with doing all that I need to do. And today I do it with my inner heroine in charge. Onwards and upwards me…and sidewards, and upside downwards. Perspective
ps. Watch this space when I am actually finished. It’s going to be gorgeous.
Long long ago, my mum wandered into the studio and saw something she liked. That wouldn't seem so unusual, she is my mum after all. One may assume that being her daughter, she loves everything I do, but she doesn't.
Nor would anyone, surely.
But on this particular day long ago, she did. The two paintings she liked, and wanted, were just little experiments that had gone awry (as experiments happily can). They were paintings of the type that lean, face to the wall, in hiding, waiting to be painted over some day with the next experimental whim. Nothing that I even intended finishing, let alone allowing them onto someone else'e wall with my name squiggled into the corner. But Mum wanted them, and I said "Mmm maybe, ok, they're not finished, I need to just... when they' re done, I don't know, maybe next year?"
I meant No way. Never. How embarrassment.
A couple of house moves ago they were packed into boxes and somehow ended up in my parent's garage. Mum, being mum, unpacks boxes and found them, and reminded me of my half-semi-sort of promise to finish them for her. I entered her garage the next time I visited, with dread. I thought I was rid of those things. I had the same level of enthusiasm as you might have re-heating last Wednesday's dinner, knowing it wasn't even that good when it was fresh.
But fresh eyes are beautiful things. I'd forgotten what the failed experiment was meant to be and now I could see the colours and the shapes. I could see movement, and delicate plays between the spaces. I couldn't see any of this before of course, because I was busy searching for my amazing, miraculous experiment outcome, which wasn't there.
So the happy ending to this story is that I joyfully finished the paintings and they became something new. They are on Mum's wall now, and she loves them - she always did. She didn't know or care what I was trying to achieve with them in the first instance. She saw at the beginning what I couldn't. These once rejected beauties have now inspired a new little series that I'm working on right now. And I'm in artistic bliss. The other part to this happy ending is that I've changed my attitude to all of those old or unfinished paintings that lean, face to the wall, in my studio. Once libraries of embarrassment, shame, and self-torment, they are now paintings-in-waiting. Maybe started too soon, or ended prematurely, they now wait for my fresh eyes to catch up and see them again, minus their unmet expectations.
They're waiting for my mum. Still my best customer.
Habits are so hot right now aren’t they. Experts everywhere are talking about habits. How to break them, how to make them, wellness habits, business habits, parenting habits, habits to make you rich, and habits to help you sleep. Luckily for you, I’m rubbish at habits. Not as rubbish as I used to be, but still rubbish. Being bad at habits and therefore routine, you might assume that I’m all fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants, spontaneous, floating along wherever the breeze may blow. I’m not that either, at all. I suppose I’m somewhere in the middle, like most people, probably like you. I’d like to be better though, and I think life could run more smoothly, just like the podcasts tell me, with a few tweaks here and there. I’m not going to give you any advice, but here’s the tip of the iceberg of changes I’d like to make. I’d love you to add your three in the comments below.
One to Break
Staying up late for no good reason. There are some good reasons to stay up late, but not many and they’re not at my house. Staying up late has definitely become a habit. When I go to bed late, I wake up late, I wake up tired, and I can’t be bothered starting the day in the way I’d like to - in a way that sets me up well for the rest of the day. Days are precious and like everyone else, I have a lot going on in life. Now more than ever I need to give myself the best chance of having a decent day, and it seems to start the night before. When I’m home, I’m going to bed by 10pm.
One to Make
Clean my brushes completely, immediately. I’m good at working right up until the last second and sticking my brushes in a glass of water when the clock strikes “school pickup”. What I’m terrible at is coming back to them in a timely fashion and finishing the clean up job. I’m ashamed to say that my beautiful, treasured, expensive paint brushes can sometimes stay in that glass of water for a couple of days. Bad artist, bad artist!! I must make a new habit of cleaning up completely, immediately. I am not silly enough to think I can achieve this in any other room of the house, but I’m going to do it in the studio. If I’m late for school pickup, you’ll know why.
One to Keep
Drawing every day. Every day. I started doing this a few years ago, and at first I was a little shaky. Sometimes I didn’t feel like drawing and sometimes I didn't know what to draw. Sometimes I didn’t have my proper drawing tools, the right sketchbook and my good pencil or pen. So sometimes I didn’t do it. I didn’t feel like I was “good enough” at it. But guess what? There’s no minimum standard required. Now drawing in the sand is enough, so is half a crayon on the back of an envelope. Daily drawing makes you an opportunist, a maverick, an adventurer. Now that I draw every day, I don’t get attached to the outcome and am less critical not just of my drawing but of everything.
I’d love to know what has worked for you, be it health, wealth, work, parenting, or just the general management of your crazy life. Add your breaker, maker and keeper in the comments below.
Yesterday my family departed for the last time, from a special little piece of the earth we’ve been blessed to call our own. This little piece of land has changed us all forever.
I confess that I enjoy procrasti-searching on real estate websites. It’s so easy to find yourself falling into real estate hypothetical la la land. It’s one of my favourite ways to avoid folding the washing or cleaning the bath. (I have many great strategies for this actually, but that’s another story.) Anyway, one fine clothes-pile-laden evening, I found a ripper. I’d been searching for pretty land in pretty places, but not because we were interested in buying. I was searching for fuel to feed the yogi, artist, earth mumma, nature lover, beautiful-thing-maker, creator-of-something-out-of-nothing show reel that I play in my head when I need direction and inspiration.
The photos of this property were oh so pretty, but that’s not unusual for real estate sites. We’ve walked through enough properties to know that you can’t expect an actual property to match its super-lens, digitally-enhanced marketing photos. We booked an inspection partly because the photos were incredible, but also because this property was just out of Marysville - a town that already had our hearts from many years prior, and also a town that maybe needed our love. We hadn’t visited since the Black Saturday bushfires, and a day trip felt overdue. We decided to arrange to visit this property just to see if the pictures were real. They were not just real, they barely did justice to the beauty and the magic, and the vastness, and the wildness. The scars were deep and still pretty fresh, but this land had us at “We’re here”. We were like a corny tv commercial. My husband and I walked in awe, glassy eyed around the land as the children squealed and ran and skipped from one new discovery to the next. They ran their little hands over the charred tree trunks and forged pathways through bushes that scratched their skin and they didn’t even notice. Big daughter hugged trees while little one collected “crystals”. As an artist, my mind was wild with possibilities, ideas, projects, potential. This fourteen acres of raw, wild bushland with a tragic past became ours 6 months later.
This is not the first time or the last time that a procrasti-search has ended in a purchase, but this was especially unexpected and could be filed under “Acts of Great Intent and Enormous Optimism”.
Should we name it? Suggestions from the back seat came fast “Friends Road!” from the older blue-sky girl. “Long-time-to!” from the little one who doesn’t like winding roads. “The Beech” the front seat agreed, still in awe of the ancient Beech Myrtles we’d wandered through on the last visit. We called it all of these things, and more.
As we spent time there over the years that followed, we made big plans and dreamed beautiful dreams of what this place could become. Our children made markets and cafes from sticks, rocks and found rusty things. They made billy teas from the plants they found and learned to recognise, and made perfume from whatever was around that particular season. They made a skink hospital. We met locals. We made friendships we intend to keep. We learned so much about our land. Camping with a tent, and no running water or power, we had to. We did endless research into the history of the land and the vegetation of the area. We found Indigenous land management philosophies that were worlds away from what our trusted authorities prescribe. No surprises there. We did our best to give back to the land what it needed, and what it once had, but we also stood still a lot and watched nature’s recovery processes taking place. All this, while every time we visited eagles soared above, watching us too. We didn’t do everything we’d planned, not even close.
Now we are handing it on to the next custodians and I know they’ll have big plans and dreams like we did - it’s that kind of place. We hope they spend many happy years watching and learning and growing as they too become a part of this special land.
So how has it changed us all forever? How did Marysville make us? I don’t yet know exactly what the special purpose of this whole exercise was in our lives. Along with the joy and adventure, there was also some stress, backache, and a bicycle cog through a little big toe. I do know though, that I will look back on all of this one day and see that it was transformative for all of us, and maybe I’ll even find the words to describe it. It’s not so obvious in the present moment to see the effects of any such journey but in the rear view mirror of life I’m sure it will be clear.
If not, that was some very expensive camping.
See you soon Marysville xo
I haven’t really done much. I’ve not done mountains of things. That’s why I’m perfectly qualified to write this piece about getting things done.
If you wanted to lose 10kg (by the way, you don’t need to), would you go and ask the metabolically-gifted, naturally and effortlessly reed-thin friend who is always complaining about the problems associated with not being able to fill out the back of her jeans? (Apparently these problems are real, don’t scoff) Or do you go to your other person you know, who has battled a bit with their health. Your friend who has made lots of attempts, and almost as many failures, but seems to be thriving with vibrant health and happiness right now will be a far greater source of wisdom. (Youdontneedtolose10kgsyoudon’tneedtolose10kgsyoudontneedtolose10kgs)
So that’s where I come in. I’ve not done lots of things and I have failed so many times in so many ways. But there are somethings I have done. Allow me to be your guru!!
Here’s how you do stuff.
1. Power Up
In order to get to the end of these 4.5 steps, you’ll need a some juice, some fuel. This is kind of like packing your bags for a holiday, gathering ingredients for a recipe, or packing the entire contents of your house into a nappy bag (yes, memories permanently burned in). Preparation is everything and you need to prepare your mind.
I power up with inspiration that will convince me that anything really is possible, I am an amazing human being, and that the universe is on my side. Podcasts, books, TedTalks, meditation, time spent with world-conquering friends. Any or all of these are great at getting your mind where it needs to be before you begin, and you must continue engaging in these mind-feeding activities. Forever.
There comes a time when you have to actually start doing your thing, whatever that is. At this point, you must tell someone that you have started and what your end game is. Not your dog. Tell your world-conquering friends, tell your cheer squad. Don’t have any world-conquering friends or a cheer squad? Tell someone who does stuff. It’s likely that at some point you’ll tell someone that will respond with something less than encouragement. When this happens, grab a permanent black marker and write “DON'T TELL ME BIG STUFF. MY MIND IS TEENY WEENY.” across their forehead. This will protect you or someone else from making the same mistake in the future. Return to Step 1 and re-fuel. Once you have told the right person, the person who will ask you how it’s going next time they see you, you will feel a little nervous buzzing feeling. That's just the cogs of good action starting to turn. Now it’s time to gather your resources, make list of what needs to be done, and in what order, and place a goal date beside each. And now do it.
I know you can't quite afford it yet, and you don't have all of the necessary expertise, and the timing isn't right, but just start anyway.
3. Have a Breakdown
You are going to have an emotional breakdown of some kind. Whether your thing is building a veggie garden, tracing your ancestry back to the beginning of time, getting a book published, or turning your little passion project into a multi-million dollar enterprise, you are going to have a breakdown or three.
What is important to realise is that it is just another step in the process. An important step. It’s not the end. It’s resilience-building. Have your breakdown, get a haircut, move on to the next stage. Perhaps you need to re-visit Step 1. You won’t have a cheer squad celebrating every time you cross an item off your to-do list. It will be lonely and tedious at times and you’ll find lots of excellent reasons to abandon ship. For goodness sake keep going. Have your breakdown, and then keep going.
I have two words for you. Self sabotage.
I know the things you do to that keep you small and safe. You say No to little opportunities because you’re too busy, not experienced enough, have other responsibilities. You refuse offers of help because you don’t want to inconvenience anyone, and you don’t put your hand up for help when you know you need it. You let due dates slide, because then you’ve missed out and that lets you off the hook. You listen to the naysayers on repeat in your mind, and you call them “voices of reason”. I’ve done them all, I’ve resigned from awesome jobs, and turned down perfect opportunities because I was scared of failure, and also scared of possible success and the unfamiliar territory that success may land me in.
I was in the audience for Missy Higgins’ first keynote speech where she spoke about her creative life and creative process. She was an amazing speaker, and had a great story to tell. Her advice for getting stuff done was “Don’t take any shit from yourself”. Call yourself on your own crap, and get it done. Keep going and don’t stop until it’s finished. UNTIL IT’S FINISHED.
The extra half a step accounts for the fact the you must keep returning to Step 1. Tell someone you’re starting, return to step one. Have a breakdown, return to step 1. Rescue yourself from self-sabotage, return to step 1. Finish you thing completely, return to step 1. There are so many resources out there
In the comments below, tell me how you do stuff. How do you Power Up? and tell me I'm not alone in my self-sabotaging ways....?