It’s a million dollar question, isn’t it?

And it’s one I’ve been asking myself a lot lately. Do I absolutely LOVE what I’m doing? I mean, am I absolutely, madly, can’t wait to jump out of bed, passionate about how I spend my time every day?

And the more I asked the question, the more undone I became, because you see, the answer that surfaced was no.

Do I LIKE what I do? Yes! Without a doubt. I love the creative aspect of my job and the freedom and flexibility it gives me. I love being geographically free and there’s no greater feeling than being your own boss!

And the money is not bad, either… Plus, I LOVE helping other people get what they want. That really turns me on and lights me up!

But there was a part of me that felt incongruent; like I wasn’t living my life’s purpose and passion.

The truth was that I wanted to paint. I was an art major; with a concentration in painting. I hadn’t painted in years and I missed it.

The feelings of incongruence kept nagging at me. To add insult to injury, I was scared to admit it. I without a doubt, did not want to say out loud that I wasn’t loving the business I’d spent the past 5 years working to build; the business I’d left my profitable real estate career to pursue.

Consequently, there were accompanying feelings of guilt and irresponsibility… I MEAN, I can clearly remember my parents telling me as a child how incredibly difficult supporting yourself as an artist was… Hence the term; starving artist. I felt as if it were a silly pipedream.

The weight of the “SHOULDS” I was carrying around was breaking my back! After all, I have commitments and responsibilities to my kids… to my clients… to my friends and family… The list goes on and on…

But don’t I also have those same commitments and responsibilities to myself?

And if I can’t be my authentic self and own everything that that entails, then how can I be an inspiration for those around me; particularly and specifically, for my boys???

A couple of weeks ago, I was getting a quote for blinds in my master bedroom and when the rep came over to my house for measurements, she commented on the art on the walls (most of it mine) and asked me if I was an artist.

And I responded, without hesitation, “Yes”.

Believe it or not, I stunned myself. I was floored that I said it so unabashedly and I was even more astounded by the lack of latency in which I said it.

This was profound (for me, at least) in two major ways… First and foremost because that simple, two word statement had everything to do with ownership and identity. Secondly because I’ve always thought of myself as artistic, but never as an artist. I guess for me, the word artist was defined as the occupation; as the income producer, rather than the individual involved in the activity.

While I’ve been painting since I was a teenager, I’ve never thought of myself as an artist.

(and i think i’ve always wanted to…)

SO, I dug deep into my pocket of bravery and decided that what I most needed was to be true to myself. That I would
commit to taking a year and consciously step off of the hamster wheel that is my “business” and spend some time
focused introspectively…

(TRANSLATION: no new clients for one whole year.)

Scary, huh? That means no income as well…

Fortunately, I’ve got some resources to float the boat, so I’m lucky enough to be able to take this time and really explore what makes my heart sing, (Believe me, I am well aware of the blessings and abundance in my life and that not everyone is as fortunate.)

So, here’s what I’ve decided to do… For starters I plan to:
  • paint
  • write
  • journal
  • read
  • meditate
  • get on the mat and practice yoga
  • honor and love my body
  • walk
  • travel
  • volunteer
  • play guitar

and whatever else I encounter along the way…

Basically, I plan on doing the things that nurture me and feed my soul, so that I’ll not only feel like I’m living my life honestly and authentically, but ultimately to have more to give to others.

I’ve got two amazing gals helping me stay accountable; both to myself as well as to this dedicated time. I’m grateful to Deborah Razo and Heather Fatzinger for loving and supporting me through this journey. In our weekly chats, they love, accept and meet me where I’m at, encouraging me to grow and expand while holding empathy and space for me to feel safe and unjudged.

Additionally, I’ve just (like yesterday) joined another group of lovely, local ladies going through the book “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. Stay tuned to see what this opens and uncovers. I’ve heard great things from people who have taken the time to do the work.

Finally, I’m committed to embracing whatever the wind blows my way… I’m committed to saying YES. Yes to the opportunities that show up… Yes to being open to everything… And most importantly, YES TO BEING HONEST. I will honor the need to express myself artistically.

And I am committed to sharing it along the way… Which, if I’m being honest, I will tell you scares me the most.

SO, I promise to share the good, the bad and the ugly… The ups and downs of this journey with you, right here on this blog… All of the joys, setbacks, wins, loves, frustrations and fears… The art, the expression, and the creation of what this year will bring.

Care to join me?

11 Social Web Facts That Will Blow Your Mind

Each of us recognizes that the Internet and the social Web is growing quickly. However, it can be difficult to put this rapid growth into perspective. Sometimes you have to take a set back and look at some of the numbers to truly get an understanding of how the social Web has expanded. The folks over at Pingdom compiled together some great statistics about the Internet’s growth. In case you don’t have time to look through their entire list, I have selected 11 stats that demonstrate the current state of the social Web.

11 Social Web Facts That Will Blow Your Mind

1. In 2010, 107 trillion emails were sent on the Internet. (Source)
2. At the current rate 36 billion photos will be uploaded to Facebook each year. (Source)
3. Each day 2 billion videos are watched on YouTube. (Source)
4. Each month 30 billion pieces of content (links, notes, photos, etc.) are shared on Facebook. (Source)
5. In 2010, users sent 25 billion tweets. (Source)
6. Worldwide there are 1.97 billion Internet users. (Source)
7. At the end of 2010, there were 88.8 million – .COM domain names registered. (Source)
8. As of December 2010, there were 255 million websites. (Source)
9. Worldwide, there are 2.9 billion email accounts. (Source)
10. The average Internet user watched 186 online videos per month (USA). (Source)
11. Every minute 35 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube. (Source)
Which of these statistics was the most surprising to you?
until next week…

5 Tips For Shaking Off A Mistake

by Vito Scarafile on Thursday, September 30, 2010

I recently asked my Dad if he’d be willing to do a guest blog spot and he agreed. I love these, especially the last one about sleep.  “)

Legendary Basketball Coach John Wooden once said, “Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.” The obvious point he was trying to convey is that everyone makes mistakes and fails. It is what you do after the mistake or failure that makes all the difference. Here are 5 ways to shake off your mistakes and move forward to success.
•Brush it off
No one is perfect. Once in awhile everyone makes mistakes, it’s going to happen. Don’t spend time worrying about it, cooperate with the inevitable and focus on what you are doing.
•Don’t fuss about trifles
Forget the small stuff. If you let go of the smaller mistakes, you’ll be more focused and catch the larger ones before they happen.
•Don’t worry about the past
Shake off your mistakes and move on. Forget about what happened, no matter how silly or embarrassing. By letting go of the past it will help you focus on your current task.
•Profit from your mistakes
So you’ve made a mistake, now figure out why you made the mistake, make a note and move on. Making even a mental note will help remind you to be more careful next time the situation comes up.
•Rest before you get tired
Many times silly mistakes are made simply because you are tired. Make sure that you get enough sleep.
Thoughts?  Please post your comments here.
Until next week..

“It’s Gonna Be A Twitteriffic Day!”

Sometimes you just gotta make light of it all…
It’s sad, but it’s kind of true.  And, like it or not, this is the way many, many people are communicating these days.  It doesn’t mean you have to love the vehicle, but you go where the fish are and these days, the fish are swimming around in the social media pool.
What do you think?  Do you love Twitter?  Do you Tweet?  Or, do you hate it?  Indifferent?
Let me know what you think.  Post your comments here.
until next week.

4 Things You MUST DO To Be Successful Using Social Media…

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the difference between those who succeed in the social media arena and those who don’t do as well. I’m sure that there are many, many variables at play, but off the top of my head, I came up with these four. See what you think…

You MUST Act with Honesty & Humility.

Your client has a bullshit meter that works like a charm. They have the capability to smell insincerity (over your ethernet line) & faster than the speed of sound. Being honest & yourself will be one of your greatest strengths.

You MUST Accept Change.

Do I really need to explain this one? Your only guarantee in life is that things are gonna change, so you had better adapt. The only other option is six feet under. Those who can’t keep up will get run over, especially in the area of technology which moves at lightening speed. Stay on top of the trends and you’ll be fine. Rest easy, because I have already found the best of the best and you won’t have to waste your valuable time trying to figure out who to pay attention to…

You MUST Inspire.

Don’t be dull ! AND don’t doubt yourself. You may second guess that your opinion is valuable, but I promise you, SOMEONE ELSE THINKS SO! And they will applaud you for being authentic.

You MUST Take Care of the Client Experience.

This one is really important! Social media is a great way to connect very quickly with your client. It’s also a great way to get quick and instant feedback. When your client shares something with you and trusts you enough to interact, you need to be paying attention so you’re ready to jump into the conversation. If you don’t respond, chance are, you’ve lost the client.
So there you have it. There’s four, off the top of my head. What other things do you think you MUST DO? What other characteristics or principles need to be in play? Let me know your thoughts, please.
until next week…

Icing The Kicker

In the sport of American football or Canadian football, the art of “icing the kicker” is a tactic employed by defending teams to disrupt the process of kicking a field goal just prior to the snap. Typically, either a player or a coach on the defending team will call time out just as the kicker is about to attempt a game-tying or game-winning field goal. This is intended to distract, frustrate, annoy, and make the kicker nervous, increasing the likelihood of him missing the kick.
Last week, I got iced. Last Tuesday, I got up before either of the boys were awake and I sat down and wrote from early am until 2pm. The only reason I stopped was because I needed to get online for a class I’m taking. My class was the proverbial time out. I will admit, there was a part of me that wanted to blow off the class and keep on writing. Class ended at 4:30 and my son had a swim meet that night that started at 7, so I knew I would have another 2-½ hours to write; providing I could get back into it…
Additionally, I was feeling resentful of the swim meet. Not resentful of the swim meet itself, but I felt guilty that I didn’t want to go; that I wanted to keep on writing; that I wanted to do something for myself. Bottom line, I was pissed that I was unable to continue and I was feeling guilty for feeling pissed.
And I was fretting about whether or not I would be able to get my head back in the game.
That was a bigger feat than one might think. I’d always experienced this with painting. The times when I felt most inspired were often the most inconvenient times; in the middle of the night… in class… while on vacation and sans any art supplies… and now the same was holding true for writing. Just to sit down and do it usually would get me moving towards that infamous “zone“, but getting myself to sit down to do it was an accomplishment in and of itself.
So I found myself on one of my most productive days ever… kicking field goals right and left (or straight and high, I guess I should say) until I got iced.
Truthfully, this happens all the time, doesn’t it? Your kids will always interrupt you at the most inopportune time. The traffic is always the worst when you’re late and the paper will inevitably jam in the copier when you’re trying to print the handouts for your presentation. I’m not just talking about Murphy’s Law… I’m talking about those moments when you are truly at your best; totally present, in the zone or the flow or whatever you want to call it (I call it being incredibly productive) and someone or something calls you to the sidelines. I was the kicker and I was being iced. So, what I want to ask you is… how do you get back on your game after you’ve been thrown?
How do you keep your focus or better yet, knowing that interruptions will arise, how do you bring yourself back to that place before you were interrupted?
When life throws a monkey wrench at you, how do you deal? Do you cover your head and duck or do you catch the wrench and try to juggle?
Please post your comments here.
until next week…
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