On the last Tiny Talk, we created our vision for life.
If you have not done that part, you will want to go back and listen to that first before moving on to the next step, which is brainstorming your goals (Part 3) and then choosing your Big Goal (Part Four).
In Part One, we reconnected with our values. For Part Two, we created a vision from those values, and now we want to make the goal list that will move us in the direction of that vision so that we can start 2022 living with intention.
For Part Three, we want to download all the goals we have in our heads, big and small. List out all the things you want to achieve. Don’t filter yourself because next week, we’ll do an edit of those goals.
Reference your vision for some ideas and just put whatever comes up on paper. Don’t worry about the how during this process. Let yourself write all the things you want to do, accomplish, and experience this year.
What goals and dreams would you be ecstatic to accomplish in 2022 and beyond? What would you do:
- If you knew you would succeed?
- If you were not worried about the future?
- If money was not an issue?
- If you didn’t care what other people thought?
You can also ask yourself what you no longer want.
Your goals could be related to health, career, lifestyle, relationships, creative pursuits. Write it all down with zero feedback from the critic in your brain.
You are the only one who matters in this exercise. Don’t say, “Yeah, but….” That’s not allowed in this exercise. You don’t need to justify anything that comes up to anyone, not even yourself.
I would pause this Tiny Talk and do the exercise before moving on to what I share next.
Now that that’s done, I’m going to throw you a curveball. I’m going to share the first goal edit so that we can focus on choosing your one Big Goal next week.
It’s essential to know the difference between a goal and a project. The reason I’m telling you this after you’ve made a big list is that I don’t want you to get hung up on the concept during the goal download exercise.
So, would you say these are goals or projects?
- Build a website
- Write a new screenplay
- Finish my rewrite by March 30th
- Write five treatments by March 30th
- Learn a new skill by taking a screenwriting class
- Create a network of 500 people
All of these are projects.
What about this one?
- Write the first draft of a screenplay by July 29th.
Still a project, albeit more specific.
Reframe it as a goal like this:
- Write a screenplay that will be ready to market and be optioned by July 20th.
The statement “Write a new screenplay” is now accountable to something.
The key difference is that goals are accountable to a result.
Goals, you don’t have as much control over. They are a little more stressful than projects. A football team’s goal is to win the Superbowl. It’s accountable to the result.
Projects go underneath our goals.
With projects, you have a lot more control over the outcomes because they are focused on the resources you apply that determine their completion. I should add that if your projects don’t have a deadline, then you may want to get clear on why you’re doing them.
Underneath the projects are the actionable processes and tasks required. You have 100% control over these via scheduling, learning a skill, evaluating, and elevating. You are in control of if you sit down to write for two hours every day, and you can control if you show up to practice for the Superbowl every day.
The projects, processes, and tasks are what gives us the confidence we need to get the result we’re after, which is the goal.
If we only have a bunch of projects that are not accountable to a goal, we’re just doing busy work. You’ll never know where to focus.
So, to recap:
- A goal tells you why you are doing the project. Your goals are accountable to a result.
- Projects tell you what you’re going to be spending your time on. Your projects are accountable to a deadline.
Goals and projects can often look the same, but remember that a goal has the why and an outcome that is usually not certain, and because of that, it needs the projects underneath it to make the outcome more likely.
Projects can make you feel busy and like you’re doing all sorts of worthwhile things, but if you’re not producing results, it’s just busy work.
Knowing the difference between goals and projects and how they work together is a powerful concept. It might take a while to wrap your head around it all, but you can see how this approach changes the game when it comes to performance and productivity.
So, this week, do your goals download and then go back and separate the projects from the goals, or restate some of the projects as goals if you have to.
Hang on to both the projects and the goals because we will use those in the next step.
If you’re having trouble with this concept, feel free to send me an email. I love talking about this stuff!
So, here’s a torture tip for a character.
Make her a foodie who loves movies, books, and documentaries about food, and whose screenplays always involve a pretty big food connection.
She loves food so much that she wrote the editor of Saveur to break up with them when they went full-on digital.
No more hours sitting with the magazine sipping wine, looking at the lovely photos, and reading about all the wonderful cuisine explorations of its writers. That activity, that glossy magazine of perfection was on her list of “Ways to spend time if I had only 24 hours to live.”
Then, let your character have it.
Give her the worst gallbladder attack of her life and send her to the ER where she has to wait for a bed and be scheduled for surgery on Thanksgiving, of all days. With no Saveur Magazine.
Have her wake up to this:
The Jell-O is kind of festive and sexy-looking, yes?
If you haven’t guessed, this is a true story.
I’m just getting ready to head home from three lovely nights at the hospital, where I eventually had to say goodbye to my gallbladder.
Not asking for sympathy, but feel free to send some virtual love my way. I’ll take it. Just hit Reply and tell me how your turkey dinner turned out…I love hearing food stories.
Then take some time to be thankful for every dinner. They are all precious and special.
Food is not only nourishing, but it’s beautiful and creates special moments between family and friends. It also teaches us so much about culture, tradition, and how we connect with our world.
Food is a teacher, a lover, an art form, a connector, it can also be an enemy.
It really encompasses all of life. Food is life.
It’s my turn to celebrate and appreciate you. I have a special holiday offer; it’s my way of saying thank you and to cheer you on to a wildly productive 2022.
You can purchase my Rewrite Screenplay Coverage and get a second one free to use anytime in 2022!
Here’s what’s included :
- Page-by-Page Notes on your script
- Two Additional Reads of Your Script
- Basic Coverage 8-10 pages
- Scene entertainment rating on a scale from 1-10 + updated after the final read
- 14 – Point Script Elements Scorecard + updated after the final read
- Marketability Scorecard + updated after the final read
- Two 30-Minute Consultation
Times all that by two! How’s that for incentive to get it done?
The price is just 375.00
Offer Expires November 30th!
I also want to celebrate you for trusting me to work with you on your projects. I don’t take that lightly and I enjoy it so much. My whole end game is to see you succeed and get your projects out into the world.
Take good care of yourself!
P.S. For my final act, I’m going to ask my nurses Jacob and Abby if I can use their names in my next screenplay. Those names go together beautifully.
The doctor that performed the surgery his name is Rush. He’s long gone, so maybe I will name Jacob and Abby’s puppy– Rush.
If they ever saw the film they would never figure it out? At least I’m getting some inspiration out of this little side trip to hell!
P.S.S. For those of you who listen to Tiny Talks I will resume next week!
This week’s Tiny Talk is Part 2 of my series, Creating an Intentional 2022.
Last week in Part 1, I talked about reconnection with your core values. If you haven’t listened to that one yet, I highly recommend doing so before listening to this one. The exercise I will share in this Tiny Talk is all about creating a compelling vision based on those values.
If your vision is not based on your own values, what often ends up happening is you create from the energy of obligation, people-pleasing, or from a place that is out of alignment with your truth.
That is not an inspiring vision for your life.
“A vision is not just a picture of what could be; it’s an appeal to our better selves, a call to become something more.” – Rosabeth Kanter
I will share a few different methods you can use to create your vision for 2022 and beyond, but first, I’d like to offer the idea that a vision is never set in stone. It’s not a roadmap or a blueprint or a picture of what your life will look like.
Your vision is your compass. Without this compass, your life is on autopilot. That’s great…if you want to make sure you brush your teeth or live your life just getting by.
Parts of your vision will be fluid, some of it might get stale in three to six months, other parts of it will grow stronger and more clear. It’s a work in progress.
Your vision should challenge you, comfort you, and have the ability to make a huge impact in your life and in the lives of others if you choose. This is why it’s wise to use your values to inspire your vision.
I once heard someone describe their vision as scaffolding and they let the universe fill in all the holes. I love that image for a vision.
A long-term vision keeps you motivated and provides you with direction. It’s the springboard from which you create your projects and goals.
Above all, creating your vision is being intentional but not attached.
If you want to really get what I’m talking about here, I highly recommend watching the show or reading the book The Lost Kitchen by Erin French. The show is currently available on Discovery Plus. It’s about the owner of a renowned restaurant called The Lost Kitchen in the tiny town of Freedom, Maine. The only way to get a table in this restaurant is to send a postcard via mail and have it be chosen lottery-style by the owner and staff.
Erin French embodies this whole idea of creating your life intentionally, having resilience and grit and the commitment to keep going, holding a vision and honoring her values no matter the cost. It’s a beautiful real-life story and an example of the essence of what I love to talk about here on my podcast.
I just ordered the book to read, so I think I’ll do a review when I’m done reading it. That would be fun! You can get a signed copy of the book directly from her website or find it on Amazon and Audible.
So, let’s talk about a few ways you can approach creating your vision.
You can do this separately in compartments of your life or create an overall life vision. I like to focus first on my overall vision for my life. I start with a five-year long-term vision and then do one for three years and finally one year, but there are no actual rules.
I suggest giving yourself at least an hour to work on this. Do it in a setting where you can relax and daydream.
You can start this process with some powerful prompts and questions. Just start writing what comes to mind.
Prompts to Find Your Vision
- I love to do:
- I love to be in these environments:
- I love to be around people who:
- I love to read:
- Wouldn’t it be great if…?
Questions to Ask Yourself
- What do you want to accomplish in 3, 5, 10, 20 years?
- What’s important in your personal life?
- What’s essential in your life?
- What’s important in your career?
- What problems do you want to solve?
- What do you want to experience?
- What do you want to create?
- How will you spend the remainder of your time here on earth?
- Are you currently doing things because you think they are expected of you?
Write Your Own Eulogy
To be honest, I’ve not tried this one yet because the thought of it gives me claustrophobia. But hey – it might be super motivating for you. My guess is that it will force you to dig deeper (no pun intended) and stay closer to your truth.
- Write the eulogy of the life you have already lived.
- Write the eulogy of the life you would have loved to live, the one that fulfills all your goals and dreams.
- Compare the two and write about which inspires you more and why.
- What insight does this exercise give you about the meaning you want out of your life?
When I Am Old…
Imagine yourself as an old man or old woman sitting on your front porch looking back. How do you want to remember your days? What would put a smile on your face or cause you to raise your glass to the heavens and say, “Well done, well done!”?
If you’re a person of faith, ask your higher power for guidance and trust that you will receive it. You may have to look for signs to the right path.
A more light-hearted option is to do the Ideal Day exercise. It’s just like it sounds. Write out what an ideal day in your life would look like – start from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to bed.
Put aside the “how” and the inner critic and just have fun with it. It doesn’t matter how ridiculous or far-fetched it might sound. There will be gold between the lines. Consider:
- What time do you wake up?
- Who (if anyone) is beside you?
- Where do you live?
- What does your home look and feel like?
- Do you have children?
- Who do you spend your time with?
- What do you talk about?
- What are you wearing?
- What does your closet look like?
- What is your dream wardrobe?
- How many hours do you work each week?
- What is your work?
- What do you read?
- How do you spend your family time?
- What’s your relationship like with your partner?
- What are your thoughts about your life?
- How do you spend your evenings?
- What kind of music do you listen to?
- What do you watch on television?
- How do you spend your leisure time?
- What is your bedtime routine?
- What are your last thoughts before you go to sleep?
Once completed, some might be tempted to cross-reference their vision with their current reality but that makes the whole exercise pointless. You want to cross-reference it with your core values to make sure your vision is in alignment with them.
Most importantly, have fun with it!
Next week, will move on to Part 3 of Creating an Intentional 2022: How to choose your one Big Goal. This will be the first year that I actually give this idea of choosing just one big goal a whirl. So, I hope you join me next week to tackle that one!
How to Create an Intentional 2022 Series
Part 1: Revisiting and Connecting with Your Core Values
I thought I would spend the next few weeks of Tiny Talks setting up a framework to create an intentional 2022.
I’m going to share the process that I’ll be using, and you are, of course, welcome to use it or modify it so that it works for whatever you want to create in 2022.
Why is it important to take the time to work on this? Because if we don’t, we’re just going to continue living in a state of reaction as the world comes at us.
Here’s what you’ll learn in this series:
- How to reconnect with your values
- How to create a vision that’s inspired by and woven together with those values
- How to choose just one Big Goal for the year to move you into your vision for 2022 and beyond
- How to decide on the objectives or projects to take on to reach your goal
- How to schedule and implement those objectives
When we get to the goal section, I’ll share an analogy that my coach shared about why choosing just one goal at a time is a good idea. But this week, we’re going to revisit and focus on our core values, with the end goal of picking out our top five.
Your Values and the Role They Play
Your values are what you stand for, what’s important to you, what’s acceptable, essential, and valuable in your life.
Reconnecting with your core values will keep you on track to pursuing the most important projects, relationships, and opportunities. Your core values will keep you from being constantly derailed by fear, anxiety, and shiny objects.
Being aligned with your values will help you produce your best work in the world because your values are at the deepest, most personal level of who you are. It’s where your truth, your unique voice, your gifts, and your superpowers reside.
I like to think of my core values as the non-negotiable standards in my life that allow me to live into the best possible version of myself.
Your values should inform everything in life – the projects you choose, the big decisions you make, and the small things that impact your day-to-day life. They are the scales used for weighing all the opportunities that present themselves to you.
If you ignore your values and make decisions based on other people’s values, you’re going to be miserable. You’re not going to create the feelings that will motivate you to live and take action on the things in life you want most.
Your values are your beacon. They create a well-lit harbor, and if you steer toward them, no matter what is thrown your way, your values will never let you run aground.
When challenges and tough decisions show up, you always want to check to see if your response aligns with your core values and not someone else’s. When you live your life in alignment with your values, you feel good about your decisions and don’t end up doubting or wishing that you had made a choice other than the one you did.
Aligning with your values is the same thing as having your own back.
To sum it all up, your values help you define what a meaningful life looks like and are the very essence of what it means to have your own back no matter what comes your way.
Finding Your Own Values
Some of my core values are autonomy, beauty, learning, creativity, achievement, joy. I’m going to revisit them this week and see if there might be another value that has surfaced in the past year that I might be overlooking or suppressing. I encourage you to do the same.
Here are a few questions you can ask to figure out what some of your core values might be.
What are some of the biggest highlights of the past year? How about highlights spanning your entire life? What are some of the lowest moments of the past year and in your life?
The chances are that in the highlights of your life, you were living according to your values. In the low moments, you probably were not.
What is good about your life right now? What do you love about it?
The answer should reveal to you what values you’re already in solid alignment with, things you are implementing right now that may not need to change.
Who do you admire and what values do they embody?
These are often signs of your own core values that you might currently be suppressing.
So, the mission for this week is to come up with your top five core values before we move on to next week’s topic, which is creating a vision for 2022 that is woven together by our core values.
At first, you may find yourself circling 25 to 30 of them, but you can’t prioritize that many values in your life. Keep working to pare them down to your top five most important core values. Look for the ones that are non-negotiable or at least darn close to it.
Have fun reconnecting with your values; I know it will make a huge difference, not just in the upcoming year but in the very moment you reconnect with them.
I hope you’ll join me next week as we create a vision for 2022.
Are you ready to start putting your work out in the world? Whether you have a big project or a bunch of small ones, if you’re making a creative career pivot, writing a book, making a movie, producing a play, or taking any other big step in your creative life, and you need an accountability coach, I can help. I’m currently enrolling six-month and annual coaching clients for 2022! You can book a free consult so we can chat about how I can help you see success in finishing your work and getting it out into the world.
Are you willing to allow people to have critical thoughts about you? If not, then you’re using other people’s thoughts as an excuse to not do your own life.
So what if people are going to be confused by you?
Are you willing to have that happen for you to do your life’s work? And if not, how do you think that is showing up in your craft?
Quit putting the things you most want in life on hold for other people
P.S. Are you ready to start putting your work out in the world? Whether you have a big project or a bunch of small ones, if you’re making a creative career pivot, writing a book, making a movie, producing a play, or taking any other big step in your creative life, and you need an accountability coach, I can help. I’m currently enrolling six-month and annual coaching clients for 2022! You can book a free consult so we can chat about how I can help you see success in finishing your work and getting it out into the world.
Are you waiting for the new year to get a clean slate and start fresh?
I’ve got one question for you: Why not start right now?
What if you just decided to give yourself a fresh start every week, and instead of calling any setbacks along the way “failures,” you call them “experiments”?
If you begin using the tool I’m going to share with you right now, by the time January rolls around, you will have had eight fresh starts already! (This assumes you started using it when I published this article, which would be the final week of October 2021.)
Just think of the momentum you will have toward your big dream or goal come New Year’s Eve.
This practice is super simple and not new. There are actually many different versions of this. The one I’m going to share is the one that is built into the planner I’ve been using for the past couple of years, the Full Focus Planner. The main trick to making this work for you is committing to using the tool.
It’s called the End-of-Week Review and Preview and it is specifically designed to give you a fresh start every week. It also helps you shake off any yucky feelings or interactions you might have had during the past week so you can start with a fresh slate. Here’s how it works:
- Celebrate and acknowledge your wins.
Start by writing out your wins for the week. Come up with at least three. When you celebrate, it releases all those feel-good endorphins that help reinforce how we show up to accomplish our big dreams and goals.
What happens when we don’t take time to celebrate? We train our brain to believe that whatever we’re striving for must not be that important or exciting. This might eventually cause us to lose interest in the projects and dreams we once felt so fired up about.
- Write down what worked, what didn’t, what you will start doing, and what you will stop doing.
When I do this step, it refers to my weekly “big three,” which are the three objectives I wanted to accomplish that week to advance toward my bigger quarterly or annual goals.
I look at what I will keep doing, improve upon, start, or stop.
Keep close tabs on your inner critic on this step. You don’t want to use this as a tool to beat yourself up. Rename anything you consider a failure and call it an experiment instead. So, instead of “That didn’t work; I failed,” it becomes “That experiment didn’t work; time to try again.”
Be okay with any missteps or resistance during your week that show up in the subtext of your answers to these questions. Remember that nothing has gone wrong. The resistance and mistakes cause some discomfort but will ultimately make you stronger. Think of it as weight training for your mind.
- Write down a weekly overview of your upcoming week.
Write out important events, deadlines, and tasks. I make separate lists for my personal life and my business.
- Write down your weekly big three.
These are the next three objectives to advance your goals and projects. You can even write down just one main thing if that works better for your situation.
- Add these to your calendar.
You want to aim to schedule your big three first. It’s the same strategy as Stephen Covey’s BIG ROCKS example. Put the big rocks in the jar first and then pour in all the little pebbles. If you fill up the jar with all the little pebbles first, there will be no room for those big rocks – the important things.
Tips for a More Powerful Practice
Make this a ritual you look forward to. Do it in a setting that inspires you and makes it fun. I like to listen to classical music or lo-fi beats with a glass of wine and the planner I told you about. I give myself a full hour, but you can totally do it in 15 minutes.
Another tip is to keep your big three or your one main thing visible during the week so that it does not become another victim of out of sight, out of mind by Monday night.
So, why wait for New Year’s Day to give yourself a fresh start? Do it now and do it often; it’s way more effective than just writing down a bunch of “new year, new me” resolutions.
I realize everyone’s life is different. Though I may have made this process sound easy, some people may find it challenging to fit into their lives. If that is you, book a free consultation with me. I would love to help you come up with a process that will help you move forward every week.
Why do so many people stop themselves from experiencing happiness, fun, and joy?
From the book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying by Bronnie Ware, number five was “I wish I had let myself be happier and enjoy life more.”
We tend to live our lives thinking we have to experience burnout, prove ourselves worthy, reach the goal, get to the next milestone, put in the time, and check off all the things on the list before we are allowed to experience any fun or happiness.
We mistakenly believe that we have to earn happiness and joy when these are things that are available to us right now.
Notice in that dying regret the person didn’t say, “I wish I had more happiness and enjoyed life more.” They said, “I wish I had let myself….”
Living in a state of joy is not a reward or something you earn. You’re not a circus animal doing tricks for treats.
You’re an amazing human being who has things you want to accomplish and create so you can live a beautiful, meaningful, fulfilling life.
Rest, fun, and joy are required to create that life.
What is your personal desert?
Dave Crenshaw, who wrote The Power of Having Fun, notes that there’s an area between where we are now and where we think we should be before we allow ourselves anything that resembles joy. He calls it “the desert” – an extended period of deprivation in your life that may or may not also feel chaotic.
The desert in your life is created by a culture of WISH, which stands for “worth it someday, hopefully.”
A personal desert might look like these kinds of statements:
- “When I become famous, I’ll celebrate.”
- “When I retire, I’ll have some fun.”
- “When I finish my screenplay, I’ll reward myself.”
- “When I finish raising the kids, I’ll have my own fun.”
It’s easy to believe that someday, if you just keep trucking and exhaust yourself to death like everyone else trying to cross their own deserts, it will somehow, someday, maybe bring a payoff so big that all of that suffering and martyrdom will have been worth it.
In the book, Dave also reveals the antidote to the culture of WISH; he calls it the culture of WIN, and this stands for “worth it now.”
We want to start scheduling things you love to do every day, not as a reward or because you deserve them but because they are vital to your creativity and motivation. Your success depends upon having scheduled moments to recharge and have fun every day of your life because your life is worth it right now. Don’t wait for when you finally burn out from exhaustion or start having mental problems.
So, how do we start to bring more fun, joy, and happiness into our lives every day?
Create Your Fun List
Write down a list of small, medium, and large things that bring fun, relaxation, and joy and that help you to recharge. One small note: Don’t put things on this list that you are addicted to or that are harmful to you or others. This is to build you up, not tear you down.
- Read a book on the beach
- Have lunch al fresco
- Play your favorite video game
- Get a massage
- Have a special treat
- Play your guitar
- Try a new recipe
- Buy that kitchen gadget you’ve been wanting
- Take a bubble bath
- Watch a favorite show
- Plan quarterly retreats
- Flip through a magazine with your favorite beverage
- Work on a hobby
- Connect with a friend
Once you have your list, categorize it into how long each will take, and you can also put an estimated cost for each activity.
Under 15 minutes would make it a daily thing you could do. If it takes more than 90 minutes, you could make it a weekly or monthly thing. If you have some things on that list that take more than a day or two, schedule them yearly.
Of course, these are just guidelines; everyone’s list is going to look wildly different.
Remember that these are not rewards but necessary things to schedule daily, weekly, monthly, and annually.
Schedule Pockets of Joy
I like the way Dave describes this in his book – it’s scheduling an oasis or pockets of joy throughout your day, your week, month, year.
Take your list and schedule in one of your pockets of joy that is 30 minutes or less. Pick a time like right before you start on a big project, before or after a meal, right before or after work, or right before bedtime.
Next, schedule a weekly pocket of joy. This would be an activity that would take an hour or more. Schedule that activity on your calendar.
You’ll want to check in after about two weeks and evaluate. Did the activities you chose work out? Did they give you energy? Did you give yourself enough time to do them?
Make adjustments and swap in a new activity. It’s an experiment, so you can’t do it wrong.
Create the Feeling You Want
Fun is actually a feeling and it’s your thoughts that create your feelings. This means you get to choose thoughts that produce the feeling of fun for you.
What is the payoff you believe is on the other side of your personal desert?
I would love to spend a month in Tuscany. Can’t do it right now but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy Tuscany right here at home.
I can certainly create the feeling it would bring me through watching travel and cooking shows, trying some regional recipes myself, living like an Italian. I remember when planning my first trip to Italy, it was so satisfying and gave me such a wonderful feeling and if I’m honest, in a lot of ways it was even more exciting than the actual trip was.
Bring the Fun With You
When my daughter was in the children’s hospital for a month, there was fun scheduled every four hours. Not by me but by the hospital itself. They had some form of entertainment, a clown, visiting pets, an art room, a magician, or some other fun activity that the kids could enjoy and get a little break from all the needles and nurses.
I was really moved by this, and though I hated seeing my daughter in the hospital during the holidays, there were a lot of joyful moments because of how they built in fun and joy as part of the treatment and healing process.
When I was in community theater, we had work parties where everyone came to the theater for half a day to help build the set for the upcoming play. We would share pizza, stories, music, and then then all go out for appetizers and a drink afterward. Work parties are a great way to bring the fun to bigger projects.
Try these tips and you will most likely find that having more fun makes you smarter, more creative, and improves your health, mental wellness, and relationships.
Don’t be one of the people who leaves this world wishing they had let themselves experience more joy and happiness in life.
If you want to really dig into this topic, check out Dave’s book, The Power of Having Fun.
If you’re ready to rewrite your script I’d love to help you! Check out my one-on-one rewrite coverage and coaching programs here.
I recently spent some time on a couple of introvert forums on Facebook, and I noticed that the conversations seemed to be focused on how to shape their lives around being an introvert so they don’t get triggered or pushed out of their comfort zone.
It’s sad because people were saying things like “I could never do this or that because I’m an introvert – that would totally trigger me.” One person said, “I love my job, but it’s really not a good position for an introvert.”
They’ve put themselves into a position of constantly looking for evidence as to why they shouldn’t do something or pursue something, even if they really want to experience it, because it might trigger or amplify their introverted traits, as if it were a bad thing to get knocked out of their comfort zone once in a while.
Think about Meryl Streep, Leonardo DiCaprio, Elon Musk, Barack Obama, Julia Roberts, Gandhi…all of these people are introverts. If these people had created their lives around avoiding being triggered, or if they had chosen to live in ways that amplified their introverted personality traits, we would have all experienced a tamped down version of their gifts, or maybe not have experienced them at all had they not chosen to live their biggest, most daring lives despite being introverts.
In some ways, it may have been to their advantage to not grow up with the labels of “introvert” or “extrovert” so they couldn’t use that label against themselves.
I’ve lived my life through the lenses of being an introvert and a highly sensitive person, but like a lot of people with these personality traits before there was a commonly-used name for them, we were just considered shy, oversensitive, and socially awkward.
I would hide out at home, dread social events, dating, and particularly large gatherings. I hated talking about myself or having the spotlight on me at any time. I was the backstage person, always behind the scenes, and I still am. Fame has never appealed to me in any form. I love being by myself and I can be alone for weeks.
When I’m around a lot of people, I get exhausted easily. It feels like I’m inhaling everyone’s energy and as if I have to process it for them. It’s like being plowed over by many horses on a racetrack as opposed to just being hit by one big Mack truck.
So, I prefer small gatherings and even then, after about four hours, I feel the need to get out or be by myself. I will often sleep really well after a social event because it emotionally drains me, whether it was a good or bad experience.
Before the terms “introvert” and “highly sensitive person” became mainstream, I sincerely thought something was wrong with me, that these were defects and I was the only one who was like this. Come to find out, according to a Myers-Briggs global study, 54% percent of the population has preferences for introversion.
Yet, in many countries people feel pressured to behave in extroverted ways when it comes to showing up in the world.
I think this is why introverts and highly sensitive people struggle – they think that who they are is not good enough. This, of course, is simply not true.
Google “celebrity introverts” and you will find some very successful creative artists, entrepreneurs, and world leaders.
You’re not a hostage to your personality traits. You don’t need to tiptoe around them and they don’t get to determine how big and bold of a life you choose to live.
So what if you do get triggered? What is the worst thing that can happen? You might have to sleep in the next day; you might need to take some extended down time. You might need to spend a day in bed, reading inspiring books and sipping hot cocoa. How horrible!
The point is that you can handle the effects of being triggered.
You want to learn to manage being introverted so that you can live fully in the life you want to live, not twist your life around your introverted personality so you don’t get triggered.
It may sound a little like tom-ay-to/tom-ah-to, but just that small tweak of how you look at it could make a huge difference in the results you get.
If I’m twisting my life to suit my introverted personality by denying myself the experiences and impact I’d like to make in the world, it’s going to create results that are much different than if I look at life through a lens of how I can manage my introverted personality so that I can pursue and create and make the impact I want in this one life that I have to live.
There is nothing that is not available to you just because you’re an introvert. Many of us need to stop using these personality labels against ourselves.
Here are five tips for introverts to live a big, beautiful, creative life. These are actually great tips for any creative life.
Set a time frame for social outings. Here’s what I mean by that: If someone asks you to come to a party, a family gathering, to go out on a date, decide beforehand how long you’ll stay.
For me, two to four hours is usually my limit before I start feeling exhausted. Having set this boundary, I feel like I can then relax and really be present because I already have my exit time in place. In many cases, I find myself wanting to stay longer because I’m having such a good time, so I leave myself the flexibility to do that, too.
The beauty of setting the boundary is that you stop being obsessed with your exit plan and start enjoying whoever you’re with and wherever you are in the moment. Give it a try and see how it works for you.
Make your home a sanctuary. It’s the one place you can depend on to energize, rejuvenate, and recharge. If it’s dirty or filled with clutter and things you don’t use, it’s going to do the exact opposite and create unnecessary stress.
Your environment also consists of the books you read, the music you listen to, the shows you watch, the artwork in your home, your garden, the items you use or don’t use every day. It could be your neighborhood location, where you shop for groceries…it’s the container of your everyday life. Do your best to curate it with the intention of giving yourself the space and energy to revitalize and recharge and also to unwind, rest, and reflect.
Make Self-Care a Top Priority
Obviously, this is important for everyone. But if you’re an introvert or highly sensitive type, lack of sleep, eating too much sugar or processed foods, drinking too much alcohol, and even just being dehydrated could become devastating to an already-triggered nervous system.
Lack of sleep is probably my biggest trigger. Things always seem 10 times worse than they really are when I didn’t get a good night’s sleep.
Dehydration – this one took me a long time to realize. But it’s a game changer. Next time you feel tired or mentally exhausted, drink a glass of water. According to studies, approximately 75% of Americans are significantly dehydrated and dehydration is the number one cause of daytime fatigue. Just a 5% drop in your fluid level can lead to a 25% drop in energy. If you’re not a water drinker and can’t remember the last time you had water, this could be a life changer for you.
Introverts usually don’t have trouble getting inspired, but we do struggle to stay motivated and that is where having clear goals and intentions becomes important. Know what you want to achieve; have goals not based around being an introvert or an HSP type but around what you really want.
Take the time to really think about what you want to experience in this life and commit to going for it. Having a coach or an accountability partner or group can be very helpful in motivating you to move toward those dreams and desires that are important to you.
Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone on Purpose
Make a point of doing things that are out of your comfort zone every week. Start with small things like volunteering to help at an event instead of just attending the event, or taking a class on something you’ve been wanting to pursue.
When I first started stepping out of my comfort zone and really decided to stop hiding from life, I joined the community theater. Talk about discomfort, but it changed my life and gave me the courage to take a step and then another step into my creativity.
Write a list of all the things you would love to do without considering your personality or current set of circumstances. Pick a thing, no matter how outrageous, and break it down into the smallest doable steps. Do something every day or week from that list.
The point is not to reach the goal – that’s the icing on the cake. The point is to stretch yourself and become more resilient in your life so that you can live the biggest, boldest life possible. Because why not?
If you’re ready to rewrite your script I’d love to help you! Check out my one-on-one rewrite coverage and coaching programs here.
People talk about breakthroughs the same way they talk about waiting for inspiration – as if it’s something magical they have to wait for.
That’s simply not true.
In this Tiny Talk, I’ll teach you a process you can use to have consistent creative breakthroughs instead of waiting for one to randomly fall on your head.
What is a breakthrough?
It’s when you get new results by deciding something different and implementing it.
You can have breakthroughs in your old belief systems, ways of thinking, ways of creating, old thoughts and habits, the way you make decisions, the way you relate to others.
We do this in three steps:
- We make decisions about something we want, a goal, or a way of being or thinking.
- We implement that decision.
- We evaluate.
The more you go through this cycle and the faster you go through it, the more breakthroughs you will have. The more breakthroughs you have, the more growth you’ll experience and the faster you will get new results.
A lot of us get stuck in the phase of making decisions. We just can’t seem to make them very quickly because we’re afraid they might not work, and in some cases, we’re afraid they will work!
We start dramatizing all the choices and convincing ourselves we have to make the perfect decision because we believe that will get us to our goal faster.
The truth is you can’t get out of indecision unless you stop being afraid of choosing the wrong thing. In fact, you have to be willing to choose the wrong one.
Failure is part of the breakthrough cycle; it really is, and the ability to be okay with that is the fastest way to the end result you are seeking. Commit to having your own back no matter what.
When you make a decision, you want to do so from the mindset of a person who has already achieved the result. Of course, you’re not going to nail it right out of the gate, but the more you practice making decisions as if you have already achieved the goal, the closer you will be to getting there.
It’s going to be a bit of a struggle, it’s going to take practice, and it might be really challenging, and that’s okay. It’s how you get to the breakthrough.
People who try to take shortcuts end up right back where they started because they’re taking a lot of action from a place of zero growth, and it’s the equivalent of beating your head against a brick wall.
Choose a framework that has provided success in creating the result you want and use that to make the decision-making process more manageable. For instance, if you’re trying to do a rewrite or create a first draft, there are many ways you could do it. Find a process that is already out there that has been successful and make your decisions within that framework.
The second part of a breakthrough cycle is implementing the decision you have made within that proven framework.
It might sound exhausting to have to decide and implement constantly, but what’s really exhausting is making decisions repeatedly and continually questioning your decisions after you make them without the benefit of ever implementing them.
It’s indecisiveness that drains your energy.
Just making a tiny little decision that moves you forward is what is going to give you momentum and pull you into that breakthrough cycle.
Even if you don’t get the result you want, you will just make another decision and keep it moving.
If something doesn’t work, you try something new.
But just taking a lot of action is not the same thing as implementing. With each failure, you need to make new decisions from that place of someone who has already achieved the result.
The final step of the breakthrough cycle is evaluating. You look at what worked, what didn’t, and what you will do differently based on the result you got from the decision you did make.
Be as specific as you can so your next decision will be closer to that energy of deciding from the place where you have already achieved the result.
This might be difficult to process but I promise if you put it into practice, it will make complete sense and you will be living your life in constant breakthroughs, which means quicker and better results.
The best way to get really good at this is to have a coach or a solid process to follow to help you evaluate your decisions.
Practice; be okay with failing. It just means it’s time to make another decision and ask yourself where it is you need to grow, which will help you make the next decision.
Decide, implement, and evaluate = breakthroughs
90-Day Coaching Program
Making a habit of showing up for yourself is the most important benefit of any coaching program or course, and it’s the fastest way to build confidence in yourself as a master of your craft.
I’m very excited to offer this three-month one-on-one coaching package for those of you who want to finish up a rewrite or develop an idea into a first draft.
I have 10 spots for the final quarter of 2021. It would be an honor to help you get your projects out into the world where they belong.
Sign up by October 10th and get free page-by-page coverage on one of your projects. Find out more here.
I have found that my environment often represents what the inside of my brain feels like.
Sometimes it’s just a matter of cleaning up my external environment to obtain more focus and creativity. But let’s face it; it’s not always enough. That’s because sometimes it’s the other way around – my mind is cluttered and my environment is just reflecting that back to me.
You might struggle with completing your projects because you have so much clutter in your mind that you can’t think on purpose or in alignment with what you want.
That’s what today’s Tiny Talk is about: a simple process to help you clean up your mind so you can access your creativity.
Unless you have a full-time Musekeeper, this is one of the best tools to help you get unstuck, and move forward on your projects or any other area in your life.
A cluttered mind causes feelings of overwhelm, pressure, and stress. None of that is great for a creative life.
Creativity needs lots of space.
One of the most incredible things about being a human is that we can actually watch ourselves think. We can question our thoughts and we can create new ones and get better outcomes.
Think of your pets – they don’t ever question their thoughts. They just react to whatever is happening around them. They don’t have a conscious choice.
As a human, the ability to be aware and examine our thoughts is the most powerful tool available to us. It allows us to walk through life with intention and purpose, to think, believe, choose, and create the results and feelings we want in our lives. That is the ultimate freedom.
Before I share this process, I want to make sure it’s clear that there’s nothing wrong with having negative or undesirable thoughts. Nothing has gone wrong!
This tool will allow you to leverage all of your thoughts, both positive and negative ones.
I call this exercise “The Musekeeper.”
Step 1: Choose an area in your mind to clean up.
Think of your mind as a house. You could have a room for creativity, one for finances, health, relationships, leisure, learning, business.
Pick one room at a time because you can’t possibly clean a house all at once. The same is true for your mind.
Choose the room that feels most overwhelming or something that makes you want to procrastinate going into that room or avoid it altogether.
Step 2: Do a thought dump by writing down all your thoughts about that particular room in your mind.
You can also do a thought download on a particular goal, or an emotion, something you’re struggling with, or a new project.
Let’s try an example that many of you probably relate to.
One of the rooms in your mind might be “creativity,” and in that room might be several sections:
- Undone projects
- Disorganized projects
- Half-baked ideas
- Things that need to be marketed
- Skills to develop
Start with one “section” and do a thought download. Your thoughts can be good or bad, and they might look like pros or cons, but they are just thoughts.
Imagine you are just dumping them on the floor like an episode of Marie Kondo’s show where she had them take out everything in the closet and put it in one big pile.
My thought pile of “unfinished projects” might look like this:
- They will never be good enough
- I’m wasting my time
- I don’t want to spend any more time on this project
- I don’t feel attached to these
- It will feel good to complete them
- Someday I might want to revisit them
- They make me feel guilty
- They don’t count until they’re finished
- I want to let them go
- I got what I needed from them
- I’m going to finish them for the sake of finishing them
- I cringe when I read them
- What’s the point? They will never get made
- How will I know when it’s finished?
Step 3: Take each thought and run it through these three questions:
- Does this thought support me? If not, time to get rid of it.
- Would I choose this thought on purpose? Imagine someone gave you a big, huge book of thoughts and you could pick any thought you wanted. Would you pick that thought? If not, get rid of it.
- Does this thought belong in my future? Is this thought something that “future you” wants to be thinking? If not, get rid of it.
Now you can take the thoughts that are leftover and put them back into your mind intentionally, and even get some new ones from that great big book of thoughts that will serve you, support you, and will definitely belong in your future.
This doesn’t mean those other thoughts will never be back. I guarantee that they will. Nothing has gone wrong.
Just like with your house, dirt, mud, and life itself will track through your just-cleaned mind and you will get a few unwanted visitors. That is life and it’s all part of it. We’re not trying to get rid of the negative; we just need a process for cleaning it up regularly.
This process is what I do as a coach – help people examine their own minds to see what might be getting in the way of what they want to accomplish. If you would like additional help in this area, book a free chat with me. It would be my honor to help you with this.
Ready to get on the playing field? As a creative life coach and screenwriter, I can help you take your idea from concept to final draft so you can finally get your work out into the world where it belongs. Book a free consultation and find out how we can work together.
Are you stuck in a marketing rut or just have no clue how to start putting your work out into the world? I’m taking on 10-12 clients for my second One-on-One Marketing Mentorship workshop. You can check out all the details right here. Sign up before Oct.10th and get free coverage on your script!
I couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome of the Marketing Mentorship program. With Laree’s guidance, I developed a polished portfolio of marketing materials and a solid marketing plan tailored specifically for my manuscript. I enjoyed the individualized nature of the program and how Laree’ took into account my experience level, personal goals, and needs. It enabled me to approach the marketplace with confidence, target the right individuals resulting in multiple read requests and valuable connections. I highly recommend it!
~ Esther Shihabi