“How are you?” is such a common question that most of us don’t even think about our reply when we say: “I’m fine.”
In fact, in the United States it’s even considered a greeting rather than a question. We say “’What’s up?” or “How are you?” instead of saying hello. And of course, the most popular answer is: “I am fine”. But this post is about, why saying “I’m fine” is actually a huge mistake.
Are you secretly sabotaging yourself by replying “I’m fine” … dooming yourself to a “fine” life instead of a “good” life? Do words really have that much power? Is it related somehow to the law of attraction? Or does it not really matter and you shouldn’t even worry about how you reply to the question: “how are you?”
Maybe next time before you leave your space, practice a few other options before replying to that question. Because whether it’s the clerk at the store you’re checking out your items purchased, your best friend or family member, or even your neighbor if you’re lucky enough to have neighbors that greet you … chances are, you’re going to be asked how you are doing if you leave your home at all that day .. you’re going to be asked: how are you?
Are words really that powerful? Maybe it’s because I’m a writer, but I like to think that they are.
Story time! So I never really heard of Dan Lok before early 2020. It was Q4 of 2019 and Q1 of 2020, the blissful days before Covid 19, and I took a gander in car sales. I know, pretty slimy, right? But I grew up in a sales home as my mom was a salesperson for magazine advertising for 40+ years and she was ahead of her time having a home office for much of her career when my brother and I were younger. And I would listen in on a lot of her sales calls while waiting for her to be finished to ask her for something (cue the meme of Stewie saying mom, mom, mom….) and I think somehow my subconscious picked up on her sales skills at a young age. Anyway, I mention my family history of sales because in Fall of 2019 when I was looking for work and saw an ad on Indeed for Car Sales, I thought my retail sales background and my mom’s work history would make me a good fit (was I wrong! Apparently I was too “nice” for sales they told me when they fired me lol) And it was during a slow sales day that I was sitting in my car watching sales videos to up my game, when I was first introduced to Dan Lok.
And love or hate “gurus” – there seems to be an entire audience dedicated to hating them and wondering if they’re scams and going to prison – Dan Lok does offer some good advice. Like all gurus you have to take them at face value and only apply what serves you. And one video I came across was about how to answer the question: how are you?
Like most people, I never really gave it much thought. And not many YouTube videos have really literally changed my life, but that video did, and it’s stuck with me even after all this time.
If you’ve not seen it, it’s a quick ten minute video and worth a watch, because even if you’re not in sales, “selling” yourself is an every day occurrence even if it’s just to make someone like you more. The video received 15K likes, so I’m not the only one who thought it was worthwhile. https://bit.ly/3ByFGi7 (click here to watch his video!)
Thankfully the year 2020 is in the past, and boy was it one for the history books! But it was early 2020 when I first watched that video. And while I have always been the type to say “I’m good” on autopilot to the greeting, I never really realized why. And it’s because I’m kind of a glass half full person, even with depression, I try to at least appear to have my Sh*t together.
Maybe it was because I grew up in no-nonsense-Chicago, but ever since high school I realized that people don’t really care when they ask that question how are you. It’s merely a greeting. But even when life is going wrong, I still say I’m good. Mostly so people don’t ask what’s wrong. But also because I knew they didn’t really care. And I learned when I moved to the south in 2013 to be with family, that you have to be careful when asking the question: how are you, because some people will talk your ear off if you let them. Personally, I usually do let them because that is one gift I can offer the world: is empathy. But I have also learned a delicate way of ending run on conversations without being rude. Because sometimes jobs need to get done and we don’t have time to talk about their sick aunt, chickens gone lose or their doggie needing surgery. I love small talk don’t get me wrong, but there is a time for action too.
That kind of brings me to the point of the post (yay!) it matters how you reply to the greeting because your words have power. Your words can help aid in control of your mood, and your mood can have control of your days. And your days make up your weeks. Your weeks make up your months. And your months make up your life!
So while it seems like a small significance to reply to a greeting, you are actually taking control of your life by taking control of your mood. And it starts with one “simple” question: how are you?
By switching this reply up, you are conditioning the mind to create a better life for yourself.
So even if things are not going well, try improving your mood even by a microscopic-bit by answering the greeting in a more positive way. It’s not lying or pretending things are good when they aren’t, but it’s better than saying things are fine. Because you deserve better than a fine life. You deserve a good life! Cue that One Republic song! https://youtu.be/jZhQOvvV45w
“Positive expectation, leads to positive outcome. What we want to do, is we want to take charge on how we use our words. So this is not lying to ourselves. This is not pretending everything is okay. This is how we choose how we use our words.” – Dan Lok
So by taking the question How Are You as an opportunity to present yourself in a better light than “I’m Fine”, you are taking a chance on actually engaging with that person you’re interacting with. Because you never quite know who is going to change your life. And even if that sounds a bit dramatic to you, you never know which how your day is going to be. So instead of saying “I’m fine” maybe switch it to “I’m fantastic.” Or “I’m wonderful.” The point is, when someone asks you how you are … try saying how you wish you will be. Because by imagining yourself as you wish to see yourself, perhaps you can even create that version of yourself into this reality.
But it is worth exploring the words we use oh so often. And even if you’re a hermit like me and hardly ever leave the house, you can even tell your inner voice that things are good. And, oh, that is when the power really begins. Because you might get up off that couch, you might actually do that thing you’ve been putting off, if you believe things are good and not just fine.
So … how are you? Truly? What reality do you want to create for yourself? Start that reality right now. By answering yourself this question … how are you?
Will you ever look at that question the same way again? While I’ve always said “I’m Good” on autopilot, I never realized how much power that greeting really had until I saw the Dan Lok video! Now I’m not praising Dan Lok necessarily, because I know how some people feel about gurus, but I am very glad I saw that video back in 2020 because it really did change my life!
Thanks so much everyone for joining me today! Don’t forget to hit subscribe to join Claire’s Cre8tive Club! And I will see you in the next one!
Hey everyone! And welcome to Claire Cre8tes, I’m Claire of ClaireCre8tes.com and I help busy creatives stay inspired, motivated and organized! Check out the video version for more detail of how I let a jerk at my day job ruin my blogging dreams as a hobbyist YouTuber!
So I decided to make this week’s episode a “Story Time” because truth be told I don’t have the answers to “getting over” having low self esteem as I’ve had low self esteem primarily all my life. Since at least fifth grade. I have been to some therapists about it and regular doctor’s and nothing has really helped. Guided meditations on YouTube has helped me at least relax in the moment and get some sleep.
But as far as being confident, being myself and sharing my gift with the world … well, that’s never really been my strong suit. And I consider myself a “failed” blogger sometimes, not just to be hard on myself for no reason but because they say the only way you can truly fail is by not trying at all. And truth be told, I have had vlog ideas every single week since 2014. But my anxiety and lack of confidence got in the way of doing what I love: blogging and sharing inspiration with others.
But the reason I made this post isn’t just to shout out into the void my problems, but rather, share with you my story in hopes of a cautionary tale that if you hear this story and feeling something similar, and are younger than me at age 37; you won’t wait 8 years to start living your true dream of becoming a blogger, writer, or whatever your creative journey is your desire.
Though this post won’t be a waste of your time. Because not only will you possibly find someone you can relate to and a like-minded community, but perhaps by sharing my regret you won’t follow in my footsteps. That is what I truly wish for you, is to not fall in the same trap as I did and wait for the ideal conditions or the right mindset or wait for things to get better … and just freaking start! It’s not easy to “just do it” but that is the only secret you need to know. Start with what you have, where you are and don’t be afraid to be yourself. I learned that lesson later in life, and I hope by sharing my message, I can help inspire the next gen not to wait.
So let me ask you this, what limiting beliefs has people IRL told you, that made you put the breaks on your online goals? Maybe it’s a blog, maybe it’s a side hustle, maybe you’ve wanted to dabble as an NFT artist … whatever your goal, has something in real life stopped you from just going for i?
My blogging journey started way back in 2012. I often wonder, or rather, I often torture myself thinking of what could have been if I had just kept up with it. Even just once a week my blog probably could have done pretty well. It was called Life, Muse and Coffee back the day and it had a nice little community following it. I would usually post about musings being a writer, being inspired and venting about issues I was facing in general. I even had interviews with guest authors I met on Twitter! It was a fun time.
Part of the reason that blog ended (I really need to stop using the word “fail” so often as it doesn’t help the self esteem) is because of a technical mistake I made. It really was a terrible mistake indeed!
I was trying to be clever and was finding out more about WordPress, where my blog was hosted (still is!). And I made the mistake of going down the rabbit hole of WordPress.org versus WordPress.com. I was on WordPress.com but WordPress.org felt more fancy with some extra plugin options. I wanted the fancy. So I made the switch. And I lost everything!!! It was a mess getting it back. And after much tears and heartache, luckily the original site was able to be back up. Sort of. I lost a lot of my community and it just didn’t feel the same. Maybe because my heart was so devastated when I realized it was gone that I couldn’t really be bothered with the site anymore. My passion had run dry. So I stopped blogging for a couple of years, but I never stopped having ideas for posts. I just didn’t have a desire to post anymore.
But in 2015 that changed when I ventured into the prospects of being a YouTuber. I was doing research for what readers wanted in their stories, especially sci-fi since that’s what my novel is; but that ended up being a mistake too (another post for another day! But in short, I let my story be manipulated by what I thought readers wanted instead of writing the story I really wanted to tell). Anyway, that inspired my own YouTube channel. I saw how some authors were getting a good sized platform by having one and I wanted in. So I created Claire’s Coffee Time. And you know what? That channel did pretty well! Sadly, I let IRL get in the way.
When a couple of office managers at my day job I had back then found out about my novel and my YouTube channel, I panicked. I don’t know why I was so bothered that they found out. I was a hard worker, and I never said online where I worked with; so impacting the company’s image wasn’t even a factor. But I panicked and I pulled the club. In a distraught panic attack I hit the button no YouTuber should ever hit: delete channel.
Well it wasn’t long, like a couple of month’s later, that I missed my YouTube channel, and started another one called Plan, Read Geek. It was all right but never as good as Claire’s Coffee Time. I let my insecurities get in the way, and never did manage to get confident in front of the camera. Truth be told I still struggle with that.
And so that was short lived until about 2018-ish. Then I just let mental health issues like depression and anxiety get in the way basically since 2018. Now in 2022 I’m ready to give it a go again and be consistent. Because I’ve always dreamed of having a nice author platform via my blog and YouTube and I love YouTube because the community is usually so supportive and positive. I kind of messed around with TikTok a little bit but I haven’t really gotten the hang of short content yet. And that’s why I love YouTube. It’s about quality and consistency and not just posting whatever up. But who knows, I’m not an expert at YouTube yet, just a big enthusiast!
So I’m going back to my roots and blogging in the style that was Life, Muse Coffee but with a little more structure. Instead of posting completely random musings, I will have themed days of the week. Monday’s are Behind the Muse to get other creatives inspired, Wednesday’s will be Time Management Tips Wednesday’s which will help busy creatives manage their time so they can make room for what they love; and Friday’s will be Plan With Me because I’ve had an obsession with the Happy Planner system since 2014 and that also is a wonderful community to be apart of.
So today we covered kind of my origin story of blogging if you well. And I’m going to be the first to tell you: blog on your own style. Don’t be so concerned what everyone else is doing, tell the story YOU want to tell. And don’t let people in real life get you down about what you’re doing online. They don’t understand the creative journey of being a blogger or a YouTuber. I wish I didn’t delete my channel that was Claire’s Coffee Time and instead took a break. I wish I realized back then that those people offline who tease you for going after something, are probably just sad that they don’t have the courage to even try to do it. I don’t know about that, I’m not a therapist, but that would be my guess. They don’t have your best interest at least, if they tease you for trying something different. So one shouldn’t care what they think. But not listening to bullies is easier said than done, and that’s something I’m still working on.
Well that’s it for this week’s episode of Behind the Muse Monday’s! I hope you guys enjoyed this tale of what not to do and to be yourself. And I hope you consider hitting that subscribe button to join our Cre8tive Club! Because it’s time for me to stop overthinking about Blogging so much and just let my passion shine! Join me, won’t you? And say hi in the comments! Would love to hear what you think!
Now one of the big reasons I’ve been so bad at consistently posting this year, aside from my lifelong chronic procrastination, is I had a big life goal that completely failed. Since July 2021 I have been taking medical classes to make a career jump into the world of medical coding. And I value your time so I will keep my sob story on the short side, but the semester I took for Medical Coding Basics from Jan 2022 – April 2022 … I failed. I did not pass. I was not able to collect my $200 – and there was no room in the next class to take the course again. I blew it. And aside from feeling stupid, which has been a thing of mine all my life since I was bullied as a kid and called stupid all the time, even by teachers; it was absolutely devastating. It felt like with all the time, frustration and tears I poured into continued education towards the medical industry … that I failed BIG TIME.
And full disclaimer here: I still feel like I failed. So I don’t have all the answers. But I am getting to that point where I feel that it’s okay to fail. It is okay. And it’s okay to feel like a failure. It is okay. That doesn’t mean that it’s the end of the world as much as my anxiety and depression would like me to believe. And I’m starting to believe that just because I didn’t succeed doesn’t mean that I am a failure as a person. And while it took me three months to get to this point, I am sharing my story with you today and some tips I learned along the way so hopefully the next time you don’t succeed at something, you can bounce back quicker and come back stronger mentally.
I have done a lot of research on how to recover from feeling like a failure. And all the motivational videos have been great, but it isn’t about lack of motivation. It isn’t about not wanting the end result enough to give everything I have in my tank to go for it. Sometimes things are just outside of my wheelhouse, as was the case with medical coding.
Plus, the motivation videos out there seem to act like if you count your blessings, remember why you started, never ever give up, be grateful every day, stay hydrated, get enough sleep, wake up every day with your goal in mind … that it fixes everything. That sounds like pretty advice, and those things sure help, but it doesn’t make that dreadful feeling go away of not succeeding your dreams.
I was plenty motivated to leave the world of sales, receptionist, retail behind (I have tried a few different careers in my past as shown here on my resume) and dive head first as a remote medical coder, without any medical or scientific background at all. It really did feel do or die to me to pass this course so I could move on with the rest of the planned continued education to get the certificate. The pressure to pass was on. So it’s not always about motivation and drive, especially if one has mental health issues they are battling also. But, while failing isn’t always preventable, staying in that “feeling of failure” mentality can shift into a more positive light.
It’s not always about “getting over it” but it’s about “feeling better about it” so you can move on.
Please note: if failing has spiraled you into a vortex of depression or anxiety, please consult a healthcare professional. Natural remedies and mental chatter tips are great, but therapy and/or medication may be needed for your individual needs. I am not a healthcare advisor, I am just sharing some tips I’ve experienced personally. I wanted to share what has helped me get past the awful feeling of failing a semester and thus my career-changing-dreams. I’ve been ‘coping’ by escaping into playing “Animal Crossing” all day for the last three months which I started the game for the first time in May 2022, and I don’t recommend completely losing yourself like that to escape the feeling of failure. Escapism to some degree can be good for you but not all day every day for three months. However, I feel ready to dust off my planner and start to be productive again. Again, I’m not fully recovered. I still feel … bummed and/or sad about it nearly every day. And some days are better than others. But here’s some tips to help you get out of the woods of failure. Because motivation, desire and ambition is just part of the game. It’s not about not having wanted it enough, it’s about just not having been able to succeed and how to move on from that.
In This Article:
1. Failure Is Not Opposite Of Success
2. Take Time to Grieve the Dream
3. Redefine Success & Failure
4. Thank Yourself for Trying
5. Find New Passion or Career Path
6. Don’t Compare Your Progress
7. Disappointment Is Okay
1. Failure Is NOT the Opposite of Success
The quote that failure is NOT the opposite of success is one of my favorites because it’s a truth that’s easy to forget. Since kids, we are taught to “win” and to avoid “lose” at all costs. From sports to grades, the pressure to “win” is programed in us at a young age. But the truth is, losing is a part of winning. It’s not the part that people like to brag about. In fact, people hide away the ugly parts in the back of their minds, trying hard to forget that it happened. Pretending they are cool enough to win without the losses. Or, they already accepted that failing is apart of learning and have a healthy relationship with losing. I envy those people. I am not one of those people. I dwell on my mistakes and ruminate them at an unhealthy level. So, if you can, try to see the “failures” as “lessons” instead. I know it is easier said than done. But if you are able to do it sooner than later, it helps the process of moving on.
I need to work on the “getting back up” part of failing. I should look at it as part of training. No one is born great, they start off small and work their way up. But I can’t help but to feel “stupid” or like a “loser” if I don’t catch on quickly. Especially with studying. When the other students in the class caught on way faster than I did, I was mega embarrassed. I was blushing so much I felt like I was radioactive with how much I was glowing with embarrassment. I expected to be teased on the zoom call. Luckily in continued education, they were mature about it when I didn’t know the answer to the question I was called on to answer. It wasn’t like in elementary school, middle school and high school where I was teased relentlessly for not getting the answers quickly.
One tip that has helped me, especially on my path to Yoga, is to laugh when I make a mistake. It might sound like I’m embracing my inner Pinkie Pie, but her advice to “laugh it off” is actually very sage advice at any age. It kind of helps resets the mentality and to try again. Like when I wobble on a Yoga pose and fall down, I simply laugh and try again. I often am not able to make a Tree Pose or a perfect Downward Facing Dog even yet, but it helps feel like trying again, to laugh off the mistake.
However, getting questions wrong on tests, not being able to finish them on time, and not be able to retake the tests – makes being a student in traditional education super discouraging. I’ve always been a horrible test taker and the fact the tests were timed made it extra challenging. I don’t really have advice on how to get over a bad test grade you can’t retake, except be honest with your instructor. Sometimes teachers can let you make-up or perhaps even some extra credit. Wasn’t the case for me, sadly, but it doesn’t hurt to ask or at the very least let the teacher know what’s going on so they know you are trying. A little empathy goes a long way so you at least know you’re not doing it alone. The good news from talking to my teacher about it, was she was very kind to me about it. She said I would be a good medical coder because I read carefully, which didn’t help me during the timed tests, but her encouragement made me want to try even more. Though it didn’t work out in my favor, it made the journey more enjoyable having the instructor rooting for me. So talk to people who are in charge of your goal if that’s the case: instructors, bosses, coaches, teachers … you never know if they can give you extra advice or be your cheerleader when you need it most. It certainly beats suffering in silence.
2. Take Time To Grieve Your Lost Dream
I was going to say “take time to grieve your dead dream” but that sounds a little too morbid, even for me. However, it often feels morbid to know you could never have a chance at that dream again. And that’s okay. Because you’ve put a lot of work into that dream. You’ve done the planning, the research, perhaps the commuting for the training or practice. Maybe you’ve even spent money for classes or training. And it can feel like a part of you died if you didn’t succeed. Maybe you’ve spent weeks, months or even years on it! It sucks. And it’s okay to feel that way. Because while I’m not about to compare your life goal to your friend or family member, it does feel like you’ve lost someone. And that someone is a part of yourself. Because you’ve put your all into it. And it didn’t pan out. It is okay to grieve.
If you can, try grieving in a healthy way. Spending all day playing a game like “Animal Crossing” for three months … is not exactly a healthy way. Numbing your sadness with fast-food and wine … is not a healthy way. Tweeting all day about it, can be healthy-ish to get it off your chest. Writing down how you feel in a diary? Even better. And again, therapy can help you get past it. Therapy never worked for me, but I don’t knock it. Guided meditations and self-hypnosis on YouTube is a great way to take a look into your subconscious and feel out your feelings. It’s how I got through my insomnia, and it’s how I sleep at night through guided talk down’s and hypnosis.
And give yourself time.
Grief looks different on everyone. Don’t feel bad if it takes you a long time to “get over it” about not succeeding your big goal. If it takes you a few months, that’s okay. If it only takes a few days, that’s okay too. Just try to have another goal you can work on in your back pocket so you can stay productive and healthy during your time of grief. But yeah, allow yourself time to heal. And, although I can’t lead by example on a healthy way to “get over it”, sometimes advice on what not to do is also a helpful perspective.
So if you’re upset that Plan A didn’t work, try having a pet project you can work on to get your mind off of it. Be it an artistic goal, a creative project, a fitness goal, spiritual growth, learn a new language or skill … or something else. Sometimes staying busy can help get your mind off of it to move on. Just be sure not to burnout in the process of staying productive. I’ve done that before, too.
3. Redefine Success and Failure
Have you heard this one before? Only YOU can define what success means for you. Likewise, you get to define what failure means. Sometimes it can feel way more devastating than it really is. But, by redefining what it actually means, you can move past it. Like, if I redefine failing school …. I could look at it that perhaps medical coding wasn’t the right path for me after all. Just because I haven’t found the right career path for me, yet (although at age 37 is is starting to feel super discouraging), doesn’t mean I won’t ever be able to find a career that supports me and doesn’t make me feel worthless every day. Writing makes me feel meaningful, but I haven’t been able to make that my career – yet.
Yet is a very powerful word! Try to use that in your mental chatter. Say to yourself: “I haven’t succeeded … yet.” It instills a sensation of hope, and hope is extremely powerful to get you through the day. Always look forward to the next sunrise! Hope is essential to get through the dark times. Like the grieving period of failure. Have hope. It is okay. You are okay. You are safe, loved and valued. Have hope.
What does success mean to you? What does failure mean to you? Share in the comments below! The great thing about both success and failure is that it is different for everybody. And even for yourself: every day, ever week, every month; every year – you get to redefine both success and failure what it means to you during this season of your own life. No one but you gets to decide that. No one. You are okay.
4. Thank Yourself For Trying
One way to help get over the grief of the failed dream, is to thank yourself for trying. Sure, you may not ever get the same opportunity again: but you should thank yourself for at least going for it. So many people don’t even try, and that is a shame.
Although the infamous Yoda quote: “Do Or Do Not, There Is No Try” at one point may have been motivating, the truth is … that kind of mentality can be toxic. Because perfectionism isn’t healthy. It IS good to try, even if you don’t do it right the first time. Or the first ten times. Or the first hundred times. Trying each time, is the name of the game.
I actually had a manager use this former fave sci-fi quotes against me. At first I was excited for his geeky reference when he said in a Yoda voice “do or do not, there is no try”, feeling a sort of kindred for a fellow Star Wars fan. But when I wasn’t able to produce results at the ridiculous speed they were demanding (and I had only been there a week); he claimed I wasn’t trying, because the results weren’t produced. AKA, that I did not, AKA that I didn’t try. Although I had bruises on my arms from trying! So that’s what I mean that the quote can be toxic if used incorrectly. Sometimes you try and literally give it your everything, and the results just aren’t there. So you either have to have patience to improve, or find yourself a better situation. And yeah, I found myself a better situation and left that grocery store with the crazy speed demands. Because I’m a detailed person and it’s hard for me to produce details AND speed. But that’s a story for a different day.
So thank yourself for trying and give yourself a pat on the back. Or better yet, give yourself a special treat for trying. A nice dinner, a spa day, a day off. Just something special just for you, to say to yourself: thank you me for investing in me! Because that’s what trying is: an investment. Be it an investment in time, energy or money … you should thank yourself for trying. And, also, a good way to do this is to write down what you learned. You don’t have to write a novel about it (although, you COULD) but you can journal about your experience and what you learned both intellectually and also what you learned about yourself during this experience.
It’s okay. You tried. And that’s a very brave thing to do.
5. Find a New Passion or Career Path
Passion fuels purpose. That’s a popular quote you may have heard before. But it bears a reminder in this situation. Because as a creative, we often have many ideas and projects running through our minds. Like a thousand, million internet tabs open inside our mind all at once. Being stuck in a dreadful state of mind from failing one big goal can get in the way of those other ideas. Or, if you were like me and trying to improve your situation for your day job, you might find yourself feeling defeated and worthless. And that isn’t the case. You are only stuck if you believe you are stuck.
For the career, find a new skill to improve or try to apply to other jobs. Sometimes you don’t need an entire new career path but rather a different job. After all, they say people don’t leave jobs but rather they leave bad managers. So by changing positions you can feel accomplished. I recommend if you are currently working, to stay where you are until you are hired elsewhere. But everyone’s situation is different, so trust your heart on what is the right move (or not to move) for you.
For the creative, if you feel your goal failed or published art/novel failed, try working on another project to not only “stay busy” but to keep the passion alive. Because passion really does fuel purpose, and the more you use it the more creative you will feel. Even if it’s not a project you truly wish to be working on, you might be inspired for a different project along the way, and can switch project later.
I find this with writer’s block, because I personally find my “muse” to be a jealous thing. If I’m working on Project A because I’m stuck on Project B, Project B will become jealous of Project A and suddenly strike me with an idea. Then I will pause working on Project A and switch to Project B. So it’s kind of like using procrastination for you. You can procrastinate on Project A while inspired for Project B, and vise-versa. But play around with your project ideas and see what works for you. Every muse and inspiration process looks different for each person. And you are okay. You’re doing great. Just keep being creative. Because the world needs more of what you have to offer. The world needs more kindness. The world needs more creativity. And that starts with being kind to yourself. Just keep creating. You’re doing great.
6. Don’t Compare Your Progress
Another cliche for you: comparison is the thief of joy. Is this true? I believe it is. One thing I’ve always been good at in the world of social media, especially with other authors, is to not feel jealousy. Now I am human. Sometimes I do wish I could be as good as them or have as many sales as they do. And while I was struggling in school, I wished I could catch on to the medical coding exercises as fast as the other kids in the class. But the truth was, I couldn’t. And yeah I might have felt bad a day about it, but I try not to let the feeling of jealousy or resentment linger on for too long.
I don’t like the feeling of jealousy or resentment. Shakespeare called it the green eyed monster. But for me it’s a monster that crawls under your skin. It feels icky and gross for lack of better terms. And I find it clouds my heart. I try to shake that off as fast as I can. Only rarely does it linger onward. Because I believe, that everyone has their own personal struggle. Their own personal torment. So just as I don’t compare my pain to others (like I don’t say to myself, it could be worse because I’m not suffering from x,y and z) I don’t also compare other’s success to my own. Because they have had their own personal hero’s journey to get to that point. And as I don’t know them, I don’t know what they have been though. So how could I compare myself to them if I don’t even know them?
Similarly, one shouldn’t compare their journey with others. It’s not a very helpful feeling, even if it is human to do so. With the example of school, if you compare your grade with the highest grade in the class … it might leave you feeling stupid. It doesn’t mean you are stupid, but sometimes it makes you feel that way. Same thing with fitness goals. If you’re just starting out on your Yoga journey, and you watch a video of a girl on YouTube who has been crushing it for ten years, and think yourself it to be impossible or you could never do what she did … well, then you would be correct. Because if you think it’s never going to be possible, then it won’t be.
Or if you think you suck at Yoga because you can’t do a complicated move like that girl who has been doing it for ten years, you might think you’re bad at Yoga. When in reality, you are just starting out. But who knows what you could do in ten years? Maybe you’re ten-year in the future self will be inspiration to someone else who is just starting. But you will never know if you try. And comparing yourself to those further along than you, while although very human to want to, it only just going to discourage you from trying your best at where you are at this moment in time.
7. Disappointment is Okay
Controversial opinion alert! But I believe it’s okay to feel disappointed once in a while. We can’t be happy-go-lucky all the time 24/7 or we could go crazy. And disappointment, believe it or not, can be helpful. Now I’m not talking about the kind of disappointment that your mother gives you … with the shake of her head and that look, but I’m talking about the disappointment you feel from your inner self.
Why is self-disappointment healthy sometimes? Because it can show us how we really feel about a situation.
For instance, when I didn’t pass the course back at the end of April, and I found out the May course was already filled up and there was no room for me to get in. I felt completely destroyed. But after some encouragement from my Twitter friends (Thank you Bek, James and others!) I did some soul-searching with a little clearer head. I used my disappointment as a tool, to see how I really felt about medical coding after I had this devastating blow of failing the final and the semester itself.
I used disappointment as a tool to see what EXACTLY I was disappointed about. Sure I was disappointed that I didn’t pass. But I thought deeper on it. I had a metamorphosis weekend on it. And I came to the conclusion I wasn’t 100 disappointed about not being a medical coder. I realized what aspects of that career appealed to me so much, rather than the career itself. And it was being able to work remotely in my home office, have a higher pay grade and weekends off. And after some research, I discovered there were jobs out there that met that criteria.
So if you use disappointment as a tool, you can really pin-point WHY you wanted the goal so badly in the first place. Sometimes it’s not always the goal itself that is important to us, but rather, certain aspects of the goal we find the most appealing. And sometimes we might just find resources we already have to get those aspects to create a feeling of fulfillment.
Disappointment can be okay, because disappointment can be a tool to discover what you truly desire, not to sound like a certain crime solving devil.
So you have failed. It is okay. It is truly okay. Dust yourself up, take time to process what happened in a healthy way. Redefine what both success and failure mean to YOU, thank yourself for trying because trying is a very brave thing to do. Find another project to keep busy to help your mind not dwell on the failed goal. Don’t compare your progress to others or it might prevent you from trying or make you feel bad at your current progress. And finally, disappointment is okay because it can be a tool to find what exactly it is you really, really want out of the goal you were pursuing.
So my friends, that is it! Yes, this was a long post. But I’ve been thinking about it a couple of months now. But when I fail, I shut down. And I gotta work on that. Part of it is my depression and anxiety, and part of it is that I’ve never been very good at the letting go process. But through mediation, journaling and just staying busy … I am working on it. I am, as we all are, truly a work in progress.
A lot of this post, and frankly this entire blog, is more of a cautionary tale. A do as I say, not as I do. Because sometimes by showing a bad example, it in itself can be good advice.
I truly hope this helps, because feeling like a failure can be the worst. Please don’t spiral in it or dwell on it. And truly think about seeking help if it lingers more than a couple of weeks. Because reflecting on non-successes can be very helpful and healthy part of growth. But stewing in the sense of failure is awful and you deserve better.
So thanks so much for joining me today. And I wish you the feeling of success in the future! Keep at it, you’re doing great!
Whether it’s the sunrise being later so chances are you’re commuting to work or school in the morning in the dark; and then earlier sunsets in the evenings so you’re commuting home in the dark also … it’s no wonder that dozens of studies have shown many humans are prone to seasonal affective disorder (SAD) during winter months. In fact, studies have shown that about 5% of adults in United States are affected by SAD, and symptoms may include fatigue, weight gain and more. Yeah, it’s not fun. So with moods being off for many during the winter, often passion projects and creativity takes a back-burner. Now for some parts of the United States and many parts across the world, it’s nice and toasty warm where you are.
Good for you. Totally jealous! No that wasn’t sarcasm, I am so over winter!
And I admit, it takes a lot of self control not to hibernate all winter in front of the TV and catch up on your favorite Netflix shows. I know the feeling! That’s basically what I’ve been doing since the pandemic started in 2020, lol. But the last couple of weeks especially, I have really missed being productive in my Creativity – because the truth is, even though I hadn’t been physically creating anything lately; I never stop thinking about ideas. And sometimes, those ideas just scream at you to move and get it done!
But when it’s so cold outside, and it’s so nice to just curl up with a hot cup of coffee and either your favorite book or TV show … sometimes finding the urge to create is tough – even if you have both desire and motivation to do so. Have you ever felt that way, especially in the winter? Well get comfortable, grab your favorite beverage and stay tuned because in this post I’m going to give you 10 tips and tricks how to overcome this and rock out your creative project you’ve been itching to get back into. And stay until the end, because I’ve got one awesome bonus tip for you that you won’t want to miss! So let’s get started!
Tip #1: Review What processes you’re currently doing and review if they are still serving you…
Which is just a fancy way of saying take a look at what you’ve been doing the last couple of weeks or so throughout your day. Sometimes it’s easy to just kind of go on auto-pilot through the motions just to get everything done on your to-do list. But how about that to-do list? Does everything really have to get done by you? Right now? Are those little steps in your morning and/or evening routine still benefiting you or making you happy? Or are they there just to feel busy? If it’s the latter one, see if there is a way you can delegate that task or maybe find another time of day to do it. Sometimes it’s more important that a task gets done, not always important when during the day that it gets done. So maybe you can use that time to carve out some progress of your Creative project! Who knows, you might be surprised what you can move around your schedule outside your obligations. Sometimes switching up when you eat, for example, impacts the rest of your morning or evening. Just be sure your’e staying well nourished!
Tip #2: Let go of the processes that are no longer serving you…
Kind of similar to tip #1 but that is just the first step! Taking time to review what you’ve done is great, but there’s more to letting go than just knowing where you’ve been. Really be honest with yourself and see what is working and what isn’t! Not sure what is working? Maybe ask others in your network of family and friends what they do for ideas. Or check out Pinterest, Tik-Tok and YouTube for Morning and Evening ideas as well. There is a TON of videos out there on the perfect routine. Just remember one very important thing: that’s what works for THEM. It might not be your thing. And your routine doesn’t have to be fancy or extra just for internet clout. But it’s a place to start for searching for ideas. Because if your feeling stuck creatively, there might be something else going on that is making you feel stuck. I can’t tell you what that is as I’m a writer not a psychologist, and that’s where a little introspective comes in.
Extra Tip: don’t have time to journal? Use the voice memo app on your phone to make an audio entry! Sometimes recording private thoughts even in audio form is a great way to clear some mental space to make room for creativity.
Tip #3: Remember why you started your creative project in the first place….
Sounds easy enough, right? Just remember the moment you started your project? Well … almost. Sometimes the hard part of this step is remembering how you first felt about that project! Get excited again! Pretend like you’re starting for the very first time. Do you have a movie or TV show you love that you wish you could watch for the first time again? Well, that could be YOUR project. Just remember how exciting it was when you first started! That feeling probably hasn’t been lost. You just got boggled down by other responsibilities in life or perhaps you’ve gotten in such a rhythm of your current project, that maybe the spark has died a little bit. And that’s okay. Sometimes that’s part of the process. The important thing is to find joy in creating again!
Tip #4: Talk to other creatives….
The good news is this tip IS as easy as it sounds. And super fun, too! Just jump onto Twitter, Instagram, Facebook wherever you hang out and join in the conversation. This one is almost a sure fire way to get inspired! Because after all, creativity is contagious!
“Creativity is contagious. Pass it on!”
((Is that a tattoo-worthy quote or what?!))
Extra Tip: Twitter Spaces is an incredible way to get inspired by other creatives! Not just authors on there burt artists, musicians and more!
Tip #5: Perhaps take a self-care break … but don’t give up!
If you’ve rolling your eyes at this article because you’ve tried everything under the sun already and still can’t get your nose to the grindstone on your creative passion project, not to worry. Perhaps then it’s time to walk away from it. Just for a couple of days or even a week! You know what they say: absence makes the heart grow fonder. It might surprise you that your muse will be singing your name again soon enough! Just please don’t give up! The world needs to hear your passion! I added the “don’t give up” part because after my novel got so many negative reviews, I almost did throw in the towel! But even though I wasn’t creating physically, as mentioned, the ideas would never leave me alone. Especially when it seemed I was trying to sleep! Leave a comment down below if you can relate to the muse bothering you in bed thing. What’s up with that?
Tip #6: Try changing scenery if you can….
Sometimes travel isn’t always an option. Especially these days. But you don’t have to go somewhere far away to get a different point of view! If your area is safe, try going for a walk around the block or even to your local park. Mix it up! I know, I’m not an outdoorsy person either, but even I admit sometimes all one needs to feel creative again is some fresh air through their lungs! You never know!
Tip #7: Go for a drive or a train ride if you have access to…
Similar to the last tip, a change of pace is good for the muse! I know personally I get my best ideas on the road. Which could be dangerous. Because by the time you get home, you could potentially forget! Also dangerous if it distracts you from driving. But if you’re able to go for a longer commute than normal and take the backroads home, just get lost in your fave music and think about your project. If you have a super great idea, try pulling over if it’s safe to do so and jot a note down on your phone or do a voice memo. I remember when I lived in Chicago, I’d especially get ideas on the train! Be it from people watching or conversations over-heard, I totally got inspired to. Coffee shops I hear also work great. But again, only if it’s safe in your area to do so. Because staying safe and healthy is crucial.
Tip #8: Switch projects to spice things up…
Sometimes when NOTHING I do can make me work on a project, it turns out that more work is actually the answer. I know, I was surprised by that too! But it sort of makes sense. At least for me, the muse is a fickle thing. And sometimes a jealous thing. Kind of like Tinkerbell level of jealousy of Peter Pan paying attention to Wendy instead of her. That’s what it reminds me of, at least. So what do I mean by more work is the answer?
If you can, try to work on another project instead of your current one. Sometimes even three projects at a time is okay! Just don’t overdo yourself to the point of burnout. But if you focus on another project now, that way you’re not spending all your time daydreaming about Project A, and feel accomplished about Project B. Sure enough I bet soon enough Project A will feel jealous, and knock some ideas into you! Then you can either write those down and continue with Project B, or you can say sorry to Project B and work back on Project A. Totally your call!
How many projects at a time do you find yourself working on? Does multi-tasking overwhelm you or inspire you? Let me know in the comments! Always so much fun to hear how other Creatives work!
Tip #9: Change other areas of your life like type of foods you eat or fashion styles….
Keeping on theme of variety being the spice of life; maybe you don’t want to tackle another project. No worries! Try getting variety in other areas of your life. Maybe you LITERALLY need to spice things up. Try different type of cuisines or flavors in your meals. Try making something fun at home. Can’t cook? No worries, that’s the magic of YouTube University! Literally I don’t know where I’d be without YouTube. It makes a master chef even with the likes of me!
Cooking not your thing? I get you. Try changing up other areas of your life that you can control. Like your fashion, cleaning routines or any other areas like that. The point is to get out of your rut! Small changes can lead to something big! Or they just might inspire the muse. Cleaning can be inspiring? Surpassingly yes! The mind does like to wonder when doing mundane things like laundry and dishes, so try to go with the flow when you’re doing those tasks, and try to listen to your muse! After all, inspiration has been known to strike when you’re least expecting it to! Sometimes those are even the most fun ideas coming from doing everyday tasks.
Tip #10: Imagine you’re on the beach!
Okay, this is probably the most fun of them all! Because no matter how old you get, your imagination is the most powerful tool your own, and no one can take it away from you.
Back in early 2020 before Covid hit, I worked outside as a car salesperson (gag, yes I know!) my jerk of a manager did offer one good tip. When he asked his sales staff what the weather was outside one cold rainy afternoon, we of course answered with logic: rain. He said WRONG! It’s 75 degrees and sunny outside! The rest of the group seemed confused, but I totally understood it because it was a trick I also used in Chicago.
Go to your mental beach! It’s not as crazy as it sounds and could even be fun! The best part is it doesn’t matter if you’ve never actually been to a beach in person. You get to create your very own private beach! Without the expensive price tag! And no, we won’t judge you if you have a drink in your hand in toes in the sand. That sounds perfect for me! Although I at least recommend wearing a swimsuit in your imaginary beach, but hey, it’s your fantasy! You do you! Just have fun with it and imagine you’re somewhere tropical or dreamy. Bonus if you’re a writer: imagine being there with your characters! They might hang out with you and get you inspired again!
And as promised, here’s your surprise bonus tip! You ready? Here you go: sound-therapy.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to pay extra for a specialist. Once again, it’s YouTube to the rescue! Try these dozens of choices for “Hypnosis for Creativity” or “Guided Meditations for Creativity” or other relatable searches that suits your needs. It might take a little bit to get used to if you’re unfamiliar with guided meditations and the like, but I find them super relaxing and inspiring! There are even types of hypnosis for creatives that work your subconscious while you sleep! How cool is that?
So what about you? Are you struggling to stay productive on your Creative projects during winter? Does your muse dry up during this season? What are your fave tips to stay Creative during the Winter months? Let me know in the comments below!
Greetings everyone! And welcome to my Monday series called Inspire to Cre8te where we deep dive into the behind the scenes of creativity including Mental Health of creatives, time management tips and more to help you feel motivated and not-alone in your creative journey!
Today we are talking about Overthinking!
Overthinking can be a killer for your muse as creatives. It can cause confusion, it can cause self-doubt, imposter syndrome or uncertainty if the project your working on is even with finishing or publishing. It can make you feel stuck.
“Overthinking is a prominent characteristic of worry, rumination, and obsessive thinking.” Psychology Today then goes on to say: “…that many people have concluded that overthinking is part of their personality; they’ve not realized that strategies are available to counter this anxiety-indusing habit.”
Some writers at first might consider Overthinking a good thing because of plotting and character development needed to write their stories. And while plotting is super important, that’s not exactly what Overthinking is.
Overthinking is more like invasive thoughts that take away space in your brain for creativity.
So, what does Overthinking look like? While Overthinking can look like or have different experiences between person to person as every individual is unique, some common signs include:
Spending too much time on one thought or a recurring singular thought
Unable to work on a project because too busy thinking rather than acting
Dwelling on the project instead of working on it
As you can imagine, it’s extremely frustrating thinking about a project rather than actually working on it, no matter how motivated or inspired you might be for the project. Sometimes it can make you feel stuck or like your letting yourself down. Yeah, if you couldn’t tell, this girl knows the feeling of Overthinking oh too well! You might say it’s the reason I haven’t been very creative the last few years. But, that could be another post for another Monday!
However, that is why I wanted to talk about Overthinking today. Because sometimes it does help knowing you’re not the only one going through it. Also, by talking about it helps normalizing talking about the mental health of creative minds, which can help spark ideas and help creatives be more productive and inspired.
So what do you think? Is Overthinking just part of some people’s personalities? Or is there actually some things that can be done about it?
Well, to quote the 11th Doctor: “I am and always will be the optimist. The hoper of far-flung hopes, and the dreamer of impossible dreams.”
Luckily, managing overthinking is in fact, possible. Here are 10 tips to get you started.
Start With Mindfulness. Sounds super simple but just becoming aware of the problem can help change your thinking pattern.
Question if the thoughts are helpful or even true. The brain loves our inner-critic and sometimes, often times, the criticism isn’t even true.
Try at least one action a day towards your project. Start small and build up to make creativity a habit!
Examine the worth of your goal: is this a good idea or just something to make me feel busy?
Review your WHY or your North Star. Remembering what got your excited in the first place or who you are doing it for really helps create that first spark all over again.
Talk about Overthinking or creativity with other creatives. I know when I’m in a creative Twitter Space, I can’t help but get even more creative!
Seek a therapist. Bonus if they specialize in creative individuals or Overthinking and/or Anxiety.
Join an accountability group! Having someone with the same creative goals as you can help you both make them!
Change up your working space. Does the space you create in inspire you? Even adding a plant or something simple can help shake it up!
Movement Every Day & Stay Hydrated! Don’t forget to take care of your body! Sometimes when we feel stuck we just need a little MOVEMENT and some good old H20 to get that noggin cooking again!
So those are just some of my thoughts on Overthinking. I know when I started researching about it, not just for this article but for myself too; it did help me become aware about it. I started falling down a rabbit hole of YouTube channels that specialized in Overthinking and how you could stop it. Here are a couple of super motivating videos that helped me: here and here for just some starters! Like mentioned, it does help not feeling like you’re the only one. Because that can lead to feeling like a “freak” or “weird” – which aren’t very helpful thoughts!
So go out there, talk to some other creative folks and get your inspiration again! Because thinking about being inspired and working on being inspired aren’t exactly the same thing. And YOU DESERVE your project to be completed!
Thanks so much for joining me today! Subscribe to this blog to join the Cre8tive Club!