How to Stop Holding Back and Achieve Your Potential

It was a rainy evening and I had a few hours to work, so I settled myself in at a local restaurant with wifi. I love restaurants with wifi. There was this personality assessment I’d been wanting to take for a while, but it cost $47, so I avoided taking it, sure that I could look at their graph and figure out where I fit. I had my Fascinate® archetype all-but-framed when I finally bit the bullet and shelled out the money to get the report. I sure hoped it would be worth it.

The assessment was surprisingly short, so I knocked out the 23 questions in a few minutes and then clicked, “submit.” In just a few seconds the report came back and I did a double take. It couldn’t be right!

How the World Sees You

Bare with me for a moment as I explain the Fascinate® concept (or skip this paragraph and watch the 1 min. video at the bottom of the page). It was developed by Sally Hogshead, an internationally award winning copywriter and hall of fame speaker. She’s really good at coming up with words for marketing. She wanted a way to make it easier for small businesses who can’t afford big ad agencies to identify the best words to use and tone to take when marketing their products and services, so she created a little quiz. Well, that quiz turned into a researched assessment that has now been taken by over 1,000,000 people and is used with huge companies and individuals, to help them identify the voice of their brand. (And if you haven’t heard me say it before, every person has a personal brand. It’s what people think of you when you aren’t around.)

There are 7 Advantages. The assessment pairs your top two Advantages to create your archetype, as displayed in this graph.

Well, before taking the assessment, I was sure of my spot on the matrix. I knew I had to be a Catalyst: #1 – Passion (the language of relationship) and #2 – Innovation (the language of creativity). But when I clicked “submit” and my assessment came back, Passion wasn’t my number 1 advantage. It was number 4! I was shocked and a little taken aback, because though Innovation was #1, my #2 came out as Power.

“Power?!” I thought. My stomach rolled a little. I shrank back and took note of my response. Power is the language of confidence. Power is something I’ve never wanted to convey. I’ve seen Power play out before, and it’s not always pretty. “Surely the assessment is wrong!” I demanded.

But then I read the name and description of my archetype, The Maverick Leader:

You lead with a bold and unconventional vision

You are unafraid to take the lead and happy to propose a new direction for a product or market strategy

You’re always full of new ideas, and almost a little restless. You definitely make sure there’s no dull moments in your meetings

If something starts to feel familiar, you’ll probably start experimenting to see whether higher goals can be achieved

“Oh. Well, maybe they’re onto something here. Because all of those bullet points fit me like a glove.”

Your Greatest Potential Lies BEYOND What You Already Know About Yourself

Upon further reflection, I had a huge revelation: “I’ve been calling my ‘Power’, ‘Passion’ and trying to hide it all my life!”

Let’s just take a moment and read that again.

“I’ve been calling my ‘Power’, ‘Passion’ and trying to hide it all my life!”

That’s right. All my life I heard things like, “you’re so passionate” or “you’re so deep.” But no one ever said to me, “you’re so powerful.” So I never associated power or confidence with my intensely passionate responses. When I read the full description of my archetype, I knew that the assessment was right and I’d been so afraid of displaying my intensity and confidence that I hid it. Why? Because I didn’t want to alienate myself from other people. I didn’t want to stand out. I didn’t want them to be annoyed with me or think I didn’t care about them when I shared my opinions or insights. I worked to develop my relational advantage so I could speak that language with people instead of just shooting off my opinions whenever they came up in me.

It sure seemed to me that “powerful” people got what they wanted sometimes, but if they achieved their objectives by using shame, judgment and sheer force, they didn’t get to people’s hearts and souls where change really happens. I knew. I’d found myself in that very position before – on both sides of the exertion of power. I didn’t want to be like that. I didn’t want to be compelling in an aggressive way. I wanted to be compelling in an invitational way.

But seeing power as an Advantage, I realized that maybe it wasn’t not all bad. Maybe power was just like any other trait or gift. It’s most helpful when fueled by love, and truly dangerous when fueled by fear and stress.

Since that rainy night in October, I’ve determined to step into my own “Power Advantage” and explore it. Maybe I was created this way for a reason. Maybe I’m supposed to be more bold.

And so I’m trying this power thing on for size. I’m leveling up my game and doing bold things like asking big-time entrepreneurs and leaders to be on my podcast. And they’re saying yes. The crazy thing is that I fully expect them to say yes when I ask.

I’m realizing more and more that all I’m doing is stepping into who I’ve been created to be. I’m not trying to become more “powerful” or “successful.” I’m trying to figure out how to best steward the gifts I’ve been given.

What about you? Do you wonder if there are untapped resources inside of you, just waiting to be explored and used for the good of others?

Get ready for the Voice of Influence podcast, coming in April! Whatever you do, I encourage you to keep growing in self-awareness. Because the greatest potential for your voice lies beyond what you already know about it.

(Voting for podcast art is taking place now!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh – and if you would like to find out your own Fascinate Advantages®, [ CLICK HERE ] to get your report for $37 (instead of $47).

Like a Little Girl in a Candle Store

Last weekend I let my daughter and niece spend as much time in Bath & Bodyworks as they wanted. It was Amelia’s birthday weekend away and my mom and I enjoyed watching the girls do big girl things and delight in their time with each other. I watched for 45 minutes as they meandered around the store, sniffing randomly chosen candles, lotions and sprays. They each had a little money to burn and they wanted to find the perfectly scented treasure to bring home.

It was pretty darn cute. But I took note of their pattern. They didn’t methodically work their way around the store, they just smelled something, reacted to it, then set it down and wandered a few steps before doing it again. It was only when they began to get hungry that they finally made their decisions so they could go to lunch.

Decisions, Decisions.

Being on this journey to figure out what the heck I’m trying to accomplish with my book, blog and business feels a bit like wandering around, sniffing all of the scents, trying to figure out where I should commitment. I’ve been told that everything changes once you really know who you’re writing for and what you’re offering those people, but I don’t want to decide! I want to grab all of the candles and bring them home.

But as Marie Forleo says, “if you’re talking to everyone, you’re talking to no one.” Ugh.

Sometimes I wonder if I have what it takes to actually make a decision! I’m constantly thinking of ways I could contribute, so much so that I get lost in the mingling aromas of the ideas and don’t even know what I’m smelling anymore.

But that’s part of the dilemma creative people face. The world of possibilities looms so large that it’s tempting to freeze right in our tracks. We often need community and mentors to guide us in our decision making processes. So I sought out help.

Podcasts, online courses, articles, books and great conversations have stretched and challenged me to hone my message so it aligns with who I am and makes a significant contribution to the world. And just as I’ve said from the beginning of my blogging journey, and as evidenced in my book, I want to help you do the same.

I see creative, sensitive, empathetic people hold in their thoughts and lock their voice in like I see with timid singers and it pains me. These people have insights and perceptions that could make a significant impact in their relationships and the world, and yet they stay quiet for any number of reasons. It’s quite a bit like this little movie clip I love so much.

Maybe that’s you. Maybe you don’t share your opinions because you don’t want to make other people feel as you’ve felt in the past – run over by someone else’s agenda. Or maybe you don’t share your wisdom because you’re worried people would think YOU think you’re full of yourself. Maybe you hold your voice in until you can’t hold back anymore and it explodes. Maybe you just don’t think your voice matters that much.

What if?

But what if you developed your voice and let ‘er rip like these kids?! Wouldn’t it be amazing to move with more confidence, humility and power instead of holding back? What if you’re voice has more potential than you realize?

Well, that’s why I’m here. I may still be sniffing around a little, but I’ve found a good stopping point for now. Just as I used to help singers find their authentic voice and develop as a singer, I always have and always will do what I can to guide others as they find and develop their voice of self-expression so they can make the difference they are born to make.

Do you believe your voice matters when you use it? Do you feel completely confident every time you step onto any stage in life, knowing that you know exactly what you want to say and how you can deliver your message so the people listening will be moved by your words? If so, you don’t need to waste your time on this website because you’ve already got what I have to offer: compelling communication strategy.

But if you know you have more to offer than your voice is delivering, you’re in the right place. If you have something you want your loved one, your team or the world to hear and yet you can’t seem to get it to come out right or it just doesn’t seem to be making the difference you know it could, stick around.

 

 

In April I’ll be launching a new podcast entitled “Voice of Influence.” It’s been a year in the making and the name of it changed recently when I had a massive breakthrough about the message and focus of the show. The podcast (previously “Brand Revelations”) will feature interviews with experts and leaders who share the story of their own voice of influence, as well as practical advice based on their area of expertise. I will also have short segments where I bring you into my “voice studio” and share actionable insights that you can apply, one at a time, to make your voice matter more.

Read more about the Voice of Influence podcast here. The interviews I’m lining up are truly amazing and will offer actionable insights to help you develop YOUR Voice of Influence even more.

If you’re really interested in the podcast, I’d love to have you join the launch team. I have some really cool thank you gifts for the 25 people who commit! Apply for the Voice of Influence podcast launch team here! Apply by March 21st.

Your Voice Matters, But You Can Make It Matter More

I nearly floated out onto the stage as the crowd put their hands together in an audible wave of anticipation. “This is where I belong. On stage, moving the audience with my voice,” I thought.

But then as I glanced at the red curtain and the dimly lit auditorium, I had a strange sense that I’d been here before. My stomach began to make its way to my feet. Music played and I took a breath. Just as the first note began to roll out my lips, I realized I didn’t know the song at all. Attempting a professional moment of pulling it together, I looked down and then realized in horror: I was completely naked!

A cold shriek came out instead of the first note of the song and shame ran me off the stage where I grabbed the curtain to shield myself from view. Moments later I opened my eyes find myself sitting up in bed, wrapped in blankets, breaths coming in rapid succession. I had indeed been here before, in this recurring nightmare.

That’s when the weight of the moment hit me: I might have a voice that can get me in front of an audience, but it is insignificant and even wasted if I don’t do the work to prepare.

Your voice matters, but you can make it matter more.

I know I have what it takes to move an audience with my voice, but when I overestimate my innate ability and experience, I end up spending an insufficient amount of time and effort in preparation to use my voice effectively. My voice matters, but I can make it matter more if I take the time to develop it and learn the song in my heart – the right song for my voice.

The same is true for you.

You may be or want to be someone who influences others with what you do and say, but trust me. It doesn’t just happen. And the truth is that many people think they are making a difference when all they’re really doing is exposing themselves and pulling out a reaction rather than truly moving their audience. If you want your voice to carry the weight of significance, you need to develop your voice, your message and the way you deliver it.

Your voice matters inherently because you are a human being. However, your voice can matter more when you take time to prepare and develop your style, your message and your strategy. You make a bigger impact on every stage in life when you carry with you a Voice of Influence.

Your Voice of Influence

In April I’ll be launching a new podcast entitled “Voice of Influence.” It’s been a year in the making and the name of it changed recently when I had a massive breakthrough about the message and focus of the show. The podcast (previously “Brand Revelations”) will feature interviews with experts and leaders who share the story of their own voice of influence, as well as practical advice based on their area of expertise. I will also have short segments where I bring you into my “voice studio” and share actionable insights that you can apply, one at a time, to make your voice matter more.

This podcast is for men and women creative leaders who care about the people they serve at home, work and in the world and want to make their voice matter more. I will be publishing the podcast audio and transcripts here on the blog and you’ll be able to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes, etc.

In order to be sure I show up on this podcast stage prepared and focused, I have been quiet on my blog and social media in 2017. I’m ironing out the look, sound and feel of the show with the help of a little team. The goal is to spread this message far and wide, so the strategy is to invite as many downloads, ratings and reviews on iTunes as possible when we launch in April.

The Voice of Influence Podcast art is in development – this is just something I created.

I am already booking incredible interviews with New York Times Bestselling authors, Internet marketing gurus, leadership experts, entrepreneurs, speakers, psychologists, etc. But these amazing interviews won’t see the light of day without your help. If you’re interested in helping, there are three levels of involvement, outlined below. I’m taking this very seriously, so I’m offering a thank you package to the launch team level (LIMIT of 25 PEOPLE) that includes a big bonus!

3 Levels of Involvement

I’m guessing you already feel some kind of nudge to help out if you’ve read this far. Take a look at these options and identify which one fits you. Then share in the comments below or on the Facebook post.

  1. The “Interesting, I’ll have to check it out,” option. Follow me on social media or subscribe to this blog so you know when you can listen to the podcast. Thanks for the interest!
  2. The “I want to support you” option. Simply promise to subscribe and leave an honest rating and review on iTunes in April. I will explain exactly what it takes to do this so it takes very little effort on your part.
  3. The “I want to be a part of making this podcast a huge success” option. This is the Voice of Influence podcast launch team. I’m offering rewards for participation in the launch team, but it requires filling out an application by March 21st and will be closed when we reach 25 committed members. PODCAST LAUNCH TEAM APPLICATION

Voice of Influence Launch Team Member Thank You Package

(Value: $250 – Limited to the first 25 Accepted Applicants)

  • Insider knowledge when I book and record interviews with celebrities, leaders and experts. 
    • I already have some amazing people lined up and as soon as you’re in the launch team, I’ll let you know who!
  • Insider knowledge about the process of starting and executing a high-quality podcast, including a cheat-sheet of my podcast process from start to finish.
  • A Fascinate® Advantage personality assessment that gives your primary and secondary communication advantages and your archetype.
  • A high-quality, special training video from me (a Fascinate® Certified Advisor), explaining how the assessment works and how your results can transform the way you communicate at home, work and in the world.
    • If you know me, you know I’m OBSESSED with personality assessments. Well, this is my favorite assessment to help identify and develop your voice, so I promise, you’re getting something amazing.
  • I will create HIGH quality, individual coaching videos for each person who completes the requirements for the launch team between March 31st and April 28th. This will take your Fascinate® results to a very practical and personal level, addressing your individual communication struggles and potential. You must apply for the launch team by March 21st to be considered for the launch team and receive these rewards.
    • I will be discussing this assessment some on the podcast and I have a coaching package in my business for this, so it’s truly exciting to offer this as a thank you!

Launch Team Requirements (March 21 – April 28th):

  • Fill out an application by March 21st here: PODCAST LAUNCH TEAM APPLICATION
  • Subscribe, rate and review the podcast on iTunes the first week of April.
  • Share your enthusiasm about the podcast with your connections on social media a handful of times though April and May.
    • If you’re on or willing to get on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram during the launch period, that’s even better.
    • This could mean anything from re-tweeting/reposting my podcast posts to sharing an insight you gained from an episode you loved.
    • I will have certain requests in the month of April, but they will be related to sharing things on social media.
  • Join and participate in the Voice of Influence Launch Team Facebook group
  • Recruit/encourage others to subscribe, rate and review the podcast on iTunes in April.

I’m so excited to share these amazing podcast interviews and actionable insights to empower you to know what you want to say and how you want to say it in relationships and in your creative contribution to the world!

Thank you for all you do to amplify my voice so I can help others. I am sincerely humbled and grateful.

Why I DON’T Think You Should Be Vulnerable

Do you hear people talk about “vulnerability” as though it’s something we ought to be? I used to, but I’ve changed my perspective on vulnerability. Listen to this audio explanation or read the transcript below. Do you think you should be vulnerable?

I recorded this audio for you. You can listen to it by pressing play here, or read the transcript below.

Basic Transcript:

You know, people talk about being vulnerable quite a bit, as if being vulnerable is something we should aspire to do or be. And as if it’s something scary.

I want to talk about vulnerability because my perspective on this has changed slightly over the years. As I’ve come to understand vulnerability, it’s not just about sharing things that are raw or hard. The idea of vulnerability means that we are susceptible or open to attack. If I show you that I’m bad at something and then you take advantage of me, I’m vulnerable to you.

Most of us don’t want to share things that we’ve done that are wrong or weak – failures – anything that we perceive that would make others think that we’re bad or whatever. That’s when we feel vulnerable.

“If I share this with you, you might not like me anymore and that would hurt me.”

“If I can be hurt by you in a real way, then I am making myself vulnerable to you.

I’ve got a little something to say about that.

My idea of vulnerability in myself in the past few years, has changed dramatically. Two years ago I started blogging and for the first time in a long time, I shared weak things about myself – experiences I was nervous to share. Just the idea of putting a blog post out into the world and waiting to see if anyone would pay attention – it felt very vulnerable. Because, “what if people reject me? What if people ignore me?” Either way, I was vulnerable to their response because I knew they could hurt me by rejecting or ignoring me. I knew they could hurt me by thinking worse of me – by thinking bad of me.

What I’ve realized since then is that the more I put myself out there, the less vulnerable I feel when I say what is true about myself – to share a story or “put myself out there,” if you will. Because I’m not as concerned about what other people think. I’m not going to say that I never care, I’m not going to say that I’m never worried about it. But, I tell you what, it’s way different than it used to be. My vulnerability now has more to do with my parenting or things that are really, really close to my heart. Ya, I’m vulnerable to one of my children or my husband getting hurt. Caring about – or loving people makes me vulnerable to getting hurt.

But at the same time, there is a certain level of…of knowing that I am going to get hurt. And when you can look at life and say, “I know that I’m going to get hurt and I am going to grieve and there are going to be really crappy things that are going to take place. But I’m not going to let the fear of those things keep me back – hold me back…”

I am so done with that.

I’m not going to let the fear of man – the fear of women – the fear of judgement and people looking down on me or whatever…I am so tired of worrying about that. It’s not worth it anymore.

When I act like that, when I’m really taking actual risks with what I’m saying and who I’m saying it to – when I speak boldly and passionately, knowing that sometimes I’m going to screw it up – sometimes I’m going to be wrong. Sometimes I’m going to say it really powerfully and be wrong and I’m going to have to eat my own…junk. I mean…for real.

That’s just the way it is.

And when I feel like that, I am less at risk. I’m willing to put myself at risk, knowing that I’m going to get hurt, knowing that I’m going to feel pain. And saying, “I can take it because this world is not my home…I can take it because I am loved, no matter what, by God. I can take it because I know my husband is standing with me.”

When I know that those closest relationships are solid, when I know that I’m loved no matter what, then I’m not vulnerable! I’m sharing real things like emotion, things that look weak to other people (but that to me it’s just human), I don’t feel vulnerable.

In fact, my biggest concern is that I’m going to hurt somebody. My biggest concern is that my kids will grow up resenting this part of me. Yet, at the same time I don’t believe that.

But the point is that you are only vulnerable to the extent you give other people the power to hurt you. Not just hurt but to the extent to which you think you can not get past the hurt.

I feel so different than I did three years ago. I just can’t even begin to describe it. Because I was hiding. I was hiding so much that I felt incredibly vulnerable. I felt like I was going to get attacked and if I said anything at all, I might get hurt. And so therefore I kept holding it in.

And I tell you what, it was rough. When you hold stuff like that in, all kinds of stuff goes on in your mind and heart that’s just not healthy. I mean, feeling like I was stuck inside my head and that everything I was thinking and feeling was stuck inside me and all I wanted was release. All I wanted was to get it out of my head, and yet I felt like I couldn’t because if I did, then I would get hurt. If I did, then people wouldn’t like me.

(laugh) And now I’m just thinking…

The reality is that sometimes I’m going to screw it up. I’m going to mess relationships up and I’m going to apologize and try again. But the truth is that I’m not as vulnerable as I once was. And yet I’m sharing more, I’m putting more out there than I ever have.

So the question for you is, are you vulnerable? What makes you vulnerable? Where are you giving other people the power to hurt you and hold you down? Maybe they don’t even want the power, but you’re giving it to them. You’re giving it to them because you’re afraid of what they think. You’re afraid they’re gonna reject you. You’re afraid that they might ignore you.

But I tell you what, the more you put yourself out there, step by step by step, the closer you come to feeling less vulnerable. You’ll realize you’re OK and you’ll be OK no matter what. I’m saying that on a philisophical level, but seriously. How vulnerable are you?

If you’re feeling really vulnerable right now, you need to take a risk that actually puts you in a place of being vulnerable to other people where you can take a hit. You need to take a hit.

If you’re feeling vulnerable, ya, you need to toughen up. And you toughen up by putting yourself out there and taking risks – going ahead and taking a few hits and realizing YOU can STAND BACK UP and you’re OK.

So, my friend. This is it. This is your call. I’m calling you out. If you’re feeling vulnerable, put yourself out there. Take a few hits, stand back up again and realize that you don’t have to be vulnerable.


If this post rings true to you or moves you, please share it with others. Your voice (likes, comments & shares) on social media matters. Big time.


 

Do this Before You Kick 2016 to the Curb

The other day I did something I’ve been wanting to do for months, possibly even a year or two. But fear and lack of technical understanding kept me holding back; and you know how I feel about holding back. You see, I’ve been hiding behind the written word for the past couple of years. In a way, writing was a wonderful way to allow my voice to emerge, but it’s time to up the game.

I do not consider myself to be a writer. I’m a thinker. A strategic activator. I want to share ideas and begin or further the dialogue. I want to call out your deeply authentic voice because I want to hear it and I believe it matters. A couple of months ago I started offering more videos, and I will continue to do so. But I also want to try audio. So I started recording audio and today I’m going to share with you an edited transcript of that audio, along with the opportunity to listen. Just press play – or read – or both. Whatever works best for you. Then let me know what you’re going to bring to 2017!

Own 2017

I understand why so many people are discouraged with 2016. It’s been a doozy! Between the bloodshed around the world, the US presidential election and the loss of so many pop culture icons, let alone your personal pain and loss, I completely understand why you might be ready to move on.

But if you are ready to kick 2016 to the curb, please don’t throw your hands in front of your face, turn away and then say, “I hope you treat me well, 2017 because 2016 sure didn’t.”

I get it. Truly, I do. Some circumstances can leave us feeling frozen as victims to our circumstances. But I would be remiss if I stayed right here and didn’t call out the deeper, stronger YOU.

Who Are You?

In 2016, WHO YOU ARE didn’t change. WHO YOU ARE came out more powerfully because of what happened in 2016. That’s what’s going to happen in 2017, as well. Whatever happens in 2017, it is going to call out the depths of who you are and ask, “How are you going to meet me?” 2017 doesn’t have anything to say about who you are, but it will definitely call you out.

Most likely, you’re not a victim to 2016. Because WHO YOU ARE doesn’t have to change based on your circumstances.

We put the blame on 2016 – circumstances – other people – God – whomever. And we say, “It’s your fault that I feel so crummy.” And there is some truth to that because we are effected by one another. But we have a choice about how we’re going to respond to our circumstances.*

There is something really critical about the moment that you realize that you feel oppressed. Because in that moment you can’t be complacent anymore. It’s that moment that you look at yourself in the mirror and say, “Am I going to fall to my circumstances or am I going to rise up? Am I going to let other people tell me who I am or am I going to tell other people – show other people – who I am?!”

Are you going to let other people and tell you that your voice doesn’t matter – that your contribution doesn’t mean anything? Or are you going to look at them and say, “But it does. And I’ll show you how.”

Find Your Grit

Grit says, “Ya, knock me down, but I’m going to get back up and keep going.” You can choose to lay down and give up. I’ve certainly done that before. But the thing is that most of us have a choice. There are people in this world who are seriously oppressed. But that is not most of us. Most of us have choices. Most of us could rise to the occasion. Most of us could get up and look at our circumstances and say, “I’m going to keep going.”

I look at 2017 and I’m nervous. But I’m also excited. I want to keep pressing on and moving forward, no matter how many people pay attention.

What does it mean for you to show grit in 2017? Are you going to blame 2016 for everything negative thing that happened to you and to your ideals? Or are you going to look at 2016 with grit in your teeth and say, “thanks for the experience. It’s time for me to show 2017 WHO I AM.”

Remember who you are. Own it. Keep moving forward and build momentum as you head into 2017. How? Be sure to listen to the voices that help you do so and use discernment to tune out the ones that don’t. Subscribe to this blog, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and/or SoundCloud. I plan on being a voice that helps you remember WHO YOU ARE.

*If you truly have no voice in your circumstances, whatever they may be, I want to encourage you to seek out help from someone who will listen to you and possibly help you move out of them. I know it may be complicated, but know that I’m for you.

7 Gifts that Help Creative Leaders Overcome the “Frozen” Feeling

You’ve felt it before. It’s the feeling that you experience when you have so much going on inside your mind and heart that you can’t say or do a thing to express yourself sufficiently. Being frozen in self-expression just might be the most frustrating and lonely feeling a Creative Leader must cope with on a regular basis.

I know.

For about six years I felt as though I was locked up inside my own body. I was stuck in my own head and I didn’t know how to come out. The sad thing to me was that I’d tasted the sweetness of creative self-expression before, but I just didn’t have the time or emotional energy to connect what was going on inside of me with words or actions on the outside. So what did I do? I distracted myself to avoid thinking or feeling. And all the while, the pressure in my subconscious world built up, leaving me ready to burst at any given moment.

After taking care of my physical need for chemical balance in my brain and my spiritual need for restoration of my relationships with God and people I loved, I decided to tackle the problem analytically by researching the gifts and curses of creativity. Here is what I found.

Your Gifts

The gifts that most Creative Leaders possess or have the potential to cultivate can either help or harm your ability to express yourself well in what you do and say. The key is to play those gifts like a fiddle instead of letting them play you. Let’s take a look at a few.

  1. Empathy. Empathy is the ability to feel what other people feel. It’s an incredible power you can use to connect and understand other people. However, it can be difficult to separate your feelings from the feelings of others. This might sound crazy, but you can choose what you will feel to a certain degree. What feelings are other people experiencing that you might be mirrorng simply because you’re around them? Are those feelings yours to own? Use your empathy to understand the other person, but then take a look at that feeling and decide if it is yours to carry.
  2. Sensitivity. Empathy and sensitivity are closely related. If bright light, being surrounded by certain colors or sharp/loud noises feels painful, you are experiencing sensory sensitivity to some degree. If chaos or commotion bothers you more than it does other people, you may be overwhelmed by sensory stimulation. Emotional sensitivity is related. When your nervous system is overwhelmed, your emotional equilibrium may be, as well. Sometimes, feeling emotional pain may cause you physical pain and vice-versa. The pain and overwhelm you experience could leave you feeling frozen or about to explode. Either way, sensitivity can also be used in your favor. When you become more aware of the things that overwhelm or cause you pain, you can choose to prepare ahead of time, avoid certain situations or, most powerfully, use your own sensitivity to understand when other people might be experiencing overwhelm. When you begin to take care of yourself, you can focus your efforts on helping others, releasing the grip of overwhelm.
  3. Intuition. This gift comes right on the heels of empathy and sensitivity. It’s that gut-feeling, not based on conscious thoughts. You just “know.” You might feel frozen because your gut is telling you it’s not a good time to speak for whatever reason. That’s OK! But sometimes what we just “know” is wrong. Intuition connects our past experiences and knowledge in non-linear ways. It is incredibly important to not only give yourself the opportunity to pursue good experiences and build a knowledge base that you trust, but also to be aware of what you are actually feeling in your gut and then ask if it fits with what you believe. Practice reflection on a regular basis to build your intuitive skills so you know whether that frozen feeling is irrational fear or wisdom.
  4. Idealism. Creative Leaders tend to be idealists. They see the world as it could be. Unfortunately, many people who begin as idealists may have been accused as being overly positive, irrational and not practical in their youth. As idealists experience the shame, injustice and disappointment of life, they may begin to question everything they previously stood for or believed. These kinds of situations can disappoint idealists to the point where they deflate like a balloon and feel utterly defeated. But that isn’t the end for you if you’re an idealist! Turn your idealistic demands into your ongoing idealistic vision. Let it fuel you as you strive to make the world a better place rather than depress you that it’s not what you thought it could be. When you feel frozen, find inspiration to tap into your idealistic vision and move toward it rather than letting disappointment overcome you.
  5. Initiative. You can be creative without utilizing initiative, but don’t call yourself a Creative Leader unless you do use it. Initiative begins with an impulse to do or say something and then it acts on it. Unfortunately, people punish or squash initiative all of the time because of the fear of failure and fear of the judgement of others. So what if we do something and it doesn’t work? Of course there are times when we need to heed wisdom, but Creative Leaders must be willing to stick their necks out by offering their ideas, service or art to the world in full knowledge that they might be rejected, ignored or shamed. Don’t let the shadow sides of empathy, sensitivity and intuition overtake the bright shining light you just might radiate if you act. Lead by being willing to appear less than perfect and you will not get stuck.
  6. Intensity. Emotional intensity is a powerful force, so be sure to learn how to use it for good. When you feel frozen, your emotional experience may be so intense that you don’t know how to contain it, though you think you should. You need release! The number one piece of advice I have for people experiencing emotional intensity is this: tap into your emotional core rather than living from your immediate emotional reactions. “Sad” is under “angry” every time. Give yourself permission to feel your sadness and possibly even cry. But don’t stay in that discouraged state. Find something that inspires you and open yourself up to how it could bring you out from your sadness or frozen feeling. Sometimes it helps to learn something new or be reminded of something old, but it is very difficult to will your heart to follow your head. Find something that speaks to your heart and don’t be afraid of the intense power within you. Use it!
  7. Problem Solving. Your ability to employ your creativity to solve problems is an incredible gift, but it is tempting to get stuck in a holding pattern where you keep trying to solve the same old problem. Unfortunately, for Creative Leaders, not all problems can be solved. If you find yourself frozen by the same old problem, it’s time to step out and gain perspective. Use those problem solving skills to analyze the situation. You might need to let go of the idea of solving the current problem and find a different way to look at your situation. Maybe you’re solving the wrong problem! Whatever you do, don’t allow yourself to obsess over the same problem forever. Keep moving forward in other areas and perhaps you will stumble upon the right solution at a different time.

Do you relate to any of the above gifts listed above? Which one feels most like a “gift” to you?

Unfrozen Self-Expression

I will say it over and over. Authentic self-expression is not about doing or saying whatever comes to mind in the moment. That’s reactionary self-expression. Authentic self-expression is based on a holistic perspective of who you are. It is awareness, reflection and action based on more than your emotions. That’s why I believe Creative Leaders need to go through the process of uncovering and refining their core message.

Align what you do and say with a robust understanding of who you are for clarity, confidence and focus. Download the Arrowhead Alignment PDF now.

Free Fall: Do this when you feel that sinking feeling

It’s days like today when I create something like this that I think, “you know? I think I’m right where I need to be.” I created this video based on the blog post I wrote yesterday. May you be inspired to take action!

Go find this video on (click these links) Facebook, YouTube and Twitter and like it. Share it. Comment on it.

I’m sending you a virtual fist bump.

Arise, my friend. Your voice matters.

~Andrea Joy

It’s days like today when I create something like this that I think, “you know? I think I’m right where I need to be.” I created this video based on the blog post I wrote yesterday. May you be inspired to take action!

Go find this video on (click these links) Facebook, YouTube and Twitter and like it. Share it. Comment on it.

I’m sending you a virtual fist bump.

Arise, my friend. Your voice matters.

~Andrea Joy

Do This When You Get That Sinking Feeling

Every time I try a new idea or offer a new kind of thing online or in person, I get this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. What will people think? Will it work? Is this going to meet people where they are? Will all of the effort be worth it in the end?

These questions are always present, and for good reason. Because sometimes the new idea doesn’t work. Sometimes I have to go back to the drawing board and try to figure out what next new thing to try. And every single time I end up feeling like I’m free falling.

I’ve had to ask myself over and over, “Is it worth it?…Do I have what it takes?”

Sinking Feeling?

That’s why MOANA hit me hard a couple weeks ago. If you watched my video about it, you know that MOANA comes to a place in her journey where she fails at something so she takes the symbol of her calling and hands it back to the ocean.

Did you hear that? She hands back her calling.

She decides that the ocean chose the wrong person for the job and she simply doesn’t have what it takes.

It’s at that point in Moana’s story where someone special (her guide) comes back and says something like, “Moana, you’ve come so far. Moana listen, do you know who you are?” Moana takes a step back and remembers who she is, her family history and the moment that she knew the ocean called her. With renewed conviction, she rises again and completes her mission.

Dang.

I’ve gone through that very process *on repeat* for three years, especially right around the time when I try something new. Why? Because I’m always hoping that the next thing…the next offering…will propel me into an easier path.

If I write a book, the launch will be easy.

If I have a strong launch for my book, the blog will be easy.

If I create a course to help people find their voices, the launch will be easy.

If I make videos to share my ideas, creating content every week will be easy.

If I use the right hashtags, getting my offering in front of more people will be easy.

Lies. All lies. None of it is easy. Every bit of it is just as much a struggle as it is a joy. Every bit is just as disappointing as it is encouraging. So why do I keep going?

The same reason you do. Because…

We are stronger than we think we are.

Our messages are more powerful than we think they are.

People’s longing to connect is deeper than we think it is.

Our destain for wasting our lives is more potent than we ever thought it was.

We know who we are.

Do This.

Look, if you’re going to create stuff and offer it to others, there is always risk involved. Huge risk. Making something and then holding it out to others is about as vulnerable as standing naked in a crowd. That’s why you want to be sure that you KNOW WHO YOU ARE and that you’re doing it without holding back.

  1. What led you to this point in your journey?
  2. What is the point at which you felt called? How did you know?
  3. Who needs what you have to offer?
  4. What is the redemptive message you’ve been called to share?

This stuff is so important. If you want to live unfrozen and live as a creator, offering stuff that represents the message you’re called to speak, you’ve got to get used to that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach.

You have a choice. You can call it nerves or you can call it the thrill of the leap.

I am doing something new and exciting and totally risky. I’ve created an online course to help you begin the process of really finding your voice – your redemptive message – and then figure out how you’re going to use it. The course will run for 4 weeks beginning January 9th, 2017. I’m working my tail off to be sure you get way more than what you pay for. I believe that this course could be something that thousands of people could take in the future, but I’m starting at the very beginning and I’m looking for a few risk-taking creator-messengers to join me while it’s in infancy.

If you feel a tug on your heart right now in this moment, then I want you to follow that feeling and go read about the course right now: IMPACT By DESIGN: 101 Core Message course information (best viewed on a computer, but it works on your phone, too.)

But I have way more to offer you if you’re not quite sure if you want to take this leap (registration is only available through Wednesday, Dec. 14th) In the last video I made, I explained that if you’re someone who has all kinds of thoughts, connections and insight floating around inside, I GET you and I know exactly what I can do to help you decide what to say to find your most effective message.

You see, the problem isn’t that you don’t have anything to say, it’s that you have so much to say that your life-message is either spread too thin for great impact or you are paralyzed in indecision.

I can help you!

I’m doing a Facebook Live training about building the 5 layers of Arrowhead Alignment of your core message. On Tuesday, December 13th at 7:30 CST, I will be explaining this method of aligning your message with who you are for integrity, consistency, clarity, confidence and deep impact.

Download this freebie to see if you want to learn more. In it, I share the 5 layers of Arrowhead Alignment. I think this process could help you, otherwise I wouldn’t bother. I believe I’m called to help you find and build your authentic redemptive message, not just push you to say whatever comes to mind. #LoveEdits. That’s why I’m offering this to you.

*I do ask that you give me your email address so I can send you the PDF and share other resources with you. If you are already receiving emails from me, you can just click the link in the email I sent this week and you don’t have to keep registering your email address for stuff.*

It’s difficult and expensive to get a message out into the world. I want to help. And you can help me by engaging with this post on social media through your likes, comments and shares.

Kick 2017 off with some quality self-awareness and ACTION with me. Let’s do this together.

~ Andrea Joy

 

Download the Arrowhead Alignment guide [Here]