Thinking Differently

Using the 4 Primary Aims of Life as a my guide

I can’t help but  “think different.” In fact Linda Rasch recently helped me discover that this is actually  my “why.” Not at all surprised that my WHY is to challenge the status quo!  (based on the concept from Start with Why by Simon Sinek.)

And because of this I’ve always had trouble with the idea of the typical year-end planning that everyone does.

Next year in my PERSONAL LIFE I will . . . and in my PROFESSIONAL LIFE I will . . .

boxes! boxes! boxes!  My life never ever fits into those boxes.

My work feels like play and is my passion. Which means my PERSONAL life is solidly enmeshed with my PROFESSIONAL life and my CREATIVE life is part of both.

So how can I set goals or intentions that are in clean-cut LISTS or in nice little BOXES??

I can’t! That’s just the way it is!  Then several years ago I was at a Lisa Sonora BeamGorgeous Genius creativity retreat in Mexico. While there I read an article in a Yoga Journal called AIM HIGH.  It introduced me to a concept that shifted my paradigm. Don’t you love when that happens!

“Purusharthas”

the 4 aims of life.  Or “the blueprint for human fulfillment.”

  • dharma (duty, ethics)

  • artha (prosperity, wealth)

  • kama (pleasure, sensual gratification)

  • moksha (the pursuit of liberation).”

This concept led me to change the way I created my future and to in turn, create the LIFT VISION KIT.  A different way of envisioning your goals and dreams.  Take 2 minutes to watch this…

There are three different sets of cards – and one set is  inspired by the “4 aims of life” – A fun creative tool for looking forward.  And for activating your Reticular Activating System (RAS).

Use your words, use images…

…and “create your future!”

Happy new year.

 

 

Time doesn’t Fly.

But our attention does.

We say that “time flies.” But time doesn’t know how to fly.  Time only knows one pace – it just flows at the only pace it knows. Day after day.

What flies is our attention – from one thing to another. At a pace we’ve never seen before.  It takes more than 20 seconds to refocus once our attention has been grabbed away.  And 20minutes to fully focus on a project.

To look back on our day with a sense of peace, we need to stop trying to managing our time and start managing our attention and our energy.

We each have a say in where our attention goes and the amount of energy that we put toward the things that are important.

Decide today that you are going to be in charge of your calendar.  Not the other way around.

Let me share 3 tips that will be instrumental in moving you forward – at a pace that is right for you. Then you will be able to wave the “I did what I said I was going to do” banner:

  1. COMMIT.  Set your intentions,  then schedule them.  And I mean SCHEDULE them. Write them in your calendar, in ink.
  2. CURATE. Cull your list to 3 items on your active get-to-do list. The master lists will always be waiting.
  3. FOCUS. Your energy flows where your attention goes. Do what you must to defend your attention. Close a door, go to your room or get out of the house.  Work in short bursts.
Your life is your work of art.  Your calendar is the canvas. Start painting your masterpiece today.

 

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On Being an Artist

I’m not a huge fan of labels. I’ve resisted them for the most part. But recently I was in a situation where I had to accept a label – even prove that I was worthy of it.  This was a stretch for me.  I wasn’t sure I believed it. But there are others who did. So, I’m publicly stating it here:

I am an Artist!

Transitions.

This all came about after months – years – of “magnetic journaling” (more later!) and dreaming about my next ideal living space. I knew I wanted something interesting. Something urban. I wrote about a brick wall. I wrote about being near the river. I called it a “loft.”

So it’s, Winter, I decided it was time, I started researching apartments.  And this amazing project called the Schmidt Artist Lofts popped up.  I remembered hearing about it, but I really didn’t think it was for me.  How could it be? I’m not an artist. I just work with artists.

Schmidt Artist Lofts is a renovation project (the old Schmidt Brewery in St. Paul MN) that is creating a cool live/work community for “ARTISTS.”  I love artists, but I can’t really call myself one… can I?  But, I decided to deal with that detail later.  They made it easy with their online scheduling doohickey, so I scheduled an appointment for a tour (a testament to making it easy for your potential clients!).

I was hooked.  The place had everything I’d been writing about as I’d spent the last several years living like a bit of a nomad.  And something I hadn’t thought about – I get to live surrounded by creativity. WHAT A BONUS!

What? Me? An artist? Ahhhh, go on! 

OK. Back to this “you must be an artist” thing.  The next step was to be approved as an Artist.

After some strong encouragement from my pal Beth, I began pulling together some of my experiments in visual art from the last few years and then I started to write.

Voilà! I now had an “Artist’s Statement.”  I was nervous to send it off, but i did.  It may seem silly, but I was super excited when I got the email that started out with the salutation:

“Dear Artist:”

Now

Audrey. The Blah Blah Blah girl. by ME!

I’ve moved in, settled and I’m beginning to meet my amazing neighbors.  I get to walk by art on my way to my loft and next Saturday I’m going to be a greeter when we (that is, all the artists at the Schmidt Artist Lofts!!) welcome visitors for the Saint Paul Art Crawl.  So come on down and check it out!

Creativity is the ability to express ourselves and to look at the world in new and different ways coming up with unique solutions to common challenges.  In that way, everyone is an ARTIST.  So call me artsy fartsy anytime… I’ll wear that label proudly! You know I believe in CREATIVITY. ART. In fact I believe creative people are the ones who will change the world. If insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results, then creativity is the opposite of that!

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Design a Life with White S.P.A.C.E.

“white space” – the empty space between and around the
essential elements of a design

A good designer knows that “white space” is critical to an elegant design.

And a good composer knows when to add silence to emphasize the beauty of their composition.

Designing a life is no different.

When you have the right amount of white space, your life will feel like a great symphony.  With harmony, rhythm and flow in all the right places.

By adding SPACE you will find the sweet spot where ABUNDANCE + CREATIVITY + PRODUCTIVITY intersect.

To do this, pay attention to the essential elements in your life.  And make sure that they have enough space around them to allow you to honor what’s important.

That’s it.  Just leave space around your essential bits, and your essential self will have room to emerge!

Clear SPACE in your life for what’s essential.  Make room for  STILLNESS | PLAY | ACTION | CONNECTION | ENERGY and clarity will emerge.  Identify the daily practices, systems, and personal rituals to help you do this.

STILLNESS.

Find time to be still every day. Traditional meditation, a walk in nature, whatever works for you. Whether it’s for 4 minutes or an hour. Schedule it.

The constancy of stillness… only from that place can you create your best work and your best life. — Oprah Winfrey

PLAY.

Play is not just joyful and energizing — it’s deeply connected to our development and intelligence. And a strong correlation between success and playful activity has been shown. So make time to play! To laugh. Even a forced smile can improve your mood. Smile muscles activate endorphins + immune boosting T-cells.

To thrive in our wild new world you would be well advised to play until you can’t think. — Martha Beck

ACTION.

Do at least one thing each day that moves you forward and is in alignment with your calling.

Vision without action is daydream. Action without vision is nightmare.  – Japanese Proverb

CONNECTION.

Get together, call, email, or write someone a note!  Connect.

“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”  ― Brené Brown

ENERGY.

Learn your own circadian rhythm.  Honor it.

During the day stretch. Stand up. Move around. DANCE. Do something to get your blood moving!

Science tells us we’re at our best when we move rhythmically between spending and renewing energy — a reality that companies must embrace to fuel sustainable engagement and high performance. – ― The Energy Project

When you Honor the spaces in and around the essential elements in your life, you will see your “essential self” emerge.  Try it. You’ll like it!

This is a Day (Poem)

This is a day


for contemplation and laughter


for wearing hats and silly scarves


for comfort and camaraderie


for new friends and fabulous food.


today I can be quiet,

today I can embrace my inner muse

today I shout to the rafters and giggle out loud


this is a good joke, a day of acceptance.


this is a day

of embracing my me-ness,

my I-am-what-am-ness

today is a day for embracing.


today is blue pitchers and salt + pepper shakers


today is Dopey and velvet hats and red boots.


Today is about Levis and white shirts, big hair + great earrings

today is about no pantyhose

ever.


Today I embrace 
vibrantly bohemian

-Kelly Pratt

(sometimes I write poetry.)

The Bamboo Lesson

The story of the bamboo tree keeps appearing to me lately. And it is a perfect metaphor for life, for starting a business, for just about any endeavor. Personally it fits like a glove.

In 2008 I began planting the seeds of my business as a coach and creative catalyst. Now many years later I’m experiencing a growth spurt. And many of the “seeds” I planted are bearing fruit! Just like a bamboo tree.

A lesson in patience, faith and trust (and a little bit of pixie dust!)

the Story of Chinese Bamboo Tree

Photo by Pablo Azuduy

Growth of the Chinese Bamboo tree requires nurturing – water, fertile soil, sunshine.

In its first year, we cannot SEE any signs of activity.

In the second year, again, nothing visible above the soil.

The third, the fourth, still nothing.

This is when many give up and move on. Lose faith. It’s difficult to believe in what we can’t see. We begin to wonder if our efforts (caring, water, etc.) will ever be rewarded.

But then…in the fifth year – the bamboo tree breaks the soil and grows 80 feet in just six weeks!

Call it a miracle.
Call it overnight success.
Or know that it is really about belief in what you have to offer the world.

Pay attention.
Think bigger.
Put it out there.
Get busy!

All it takes is patience, faith and trust and ACTION (and a little bit of pixie dust!)