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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

On Facing Fears - Sometimes you just have to dive right in

Put me in front of a large audience, whatever size, and ask me to dance and I have no problem at all - I always feel confident, exhilarated, and have mastered being able to transform nervous energy into positive. Of course the numerous years of training and experience have helped in getting me this far. 

Now ask me to speak and give a speech in front of an audience, and I freeze up. Palms sweaty, heart pounding and I feel like I'm going to gag.  Sure I've done some talks and have appeared on some shows but I have honestly never committed to building these skills or mastered my nervous energy the way I have with dance. 

I decided to face my fear once and for all and just dive right in. I forced myself to my first Toastmasters meeting today after years (and years) of having it on my 'must-do' list.  I tried not to think about anything on my way over and if I did, I leaned towards my positive visualization tools instead of drowning my head with the most horrible thoughts.  It worked. Kinda.  I was just going as a guest anyway so I could just sit back and watch. No pressure. 

But nooo...little did I know that guests had to get up in front of the room and talk about a random (table) topic on the fly.  There goes that damn heart pounding thing again….I kept shaking my head in refusal but the group wasn't letting me off the hook so as one of the last to go up, I stumbled my way to the front of the room and made it happen somehow. It was alright. I guess. 

Well you can imagine my complete surprise when the group did a drum roll at the end of the night and awarded me with the "BEST TABLE TOPICS' ribbon award. What in the world? Who even knew this kind of thing existed? I went up and accepted my ribbon and thought to myself, Oh shit - do I have to say a speech? lol. 

So needless to say, lesson learned.  Face your fear because you never really know what can come out of it and in the progress, you definitely grow and learn about yourself.  

Now shopping around for the best Toastmasters club in the city to master these skills. Or maybe I could get into that sewing design class once and for all...or maybe brush up my my locking finally... 

Whatever it is, I'm sure as hell gonna dive.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Don't Be A Creative Hoarder: How to get that project started (you know which one I'm talking about)

 I was having a chat with a friend the other day and she said something that has stuck with me.  She confessed that she feels like a 'creative hoarder' surrounded by a growing pile of half-finished projects and ideas and yet none of them turning into anything more than scribbles on a page. There could be some serious gold mines within these pieces of information and yet no one would ever know.  I thought about this and realized that so many of us are in the same position  - holding on to our creative ideas and not really having the courage to start or even investigate them further. The dust accumulates and we go on about our day.  Many of us may not even know where to start or if our ideas are worthy enough.

Stuck in the same predicament many times myself, here are some ways that you can get started on your creative project and get your idea out of your head and out into the real world. These have worked for me in the past when moving forward on particular projects. 

1. Focus on that one idea
First of all, as creatives we have millions of ideas swirling around in our minds every second of the day.  But there are only a few that pull at you, tug at you with a vengeance where you find it impossible not to react.  Start there. The others will remain in your 'someday' pile for now.

2.  Move from pen to paper
Once you know which project you want to get started on, write it down so you can see it outside of your head and gain some perspective on it.  By writing it down, it begins to actualize and gives the idea some life.

3. See where it fits
See where this project fits into your life right now.  How much time are you realistically willing to invest in it based on your already-committed responsibilities and duties? Do you see this project as a part-time creative outlet or a budding business idea that has potential to be very lucrative? Sometimes we don't take an honest look at this and get ahead of ourselves and start projects that don't fit into our daily schedules. 

4. Gather the goods
Research and collect stuff that inspires you.  Create a folder or box and start filling it with pictures, articles, symbolic items...anything that you come across that you think fits your project.  In the process, start to observe who is already doing it and notice what you like and dislike about how it's already being done. 

5. Put it in the corner
Set your project aside and give it some time to marinade. If it pulls you back, then you know it's definitely time to keep going. The time off will give your mind a break and other information will appear that will eventually be used to fill the box.  

6.  Talk to someone who's doing it already
Begin to seek help from someone who already has the know-how of your project and who can possibly offer some ideas/feedback on how to get it off the ground.  Schedule an information session (I love these) to pick their brains and gather insights. 

The key is taking small actionable steps.  You owe it to yourself (and the rest of us) to give the proper attention to the idea that constantly tugs at you.  Give it space to unfold and run its course.  The good news is that whatever happens to the project, you gain valuable knowledge that you wouldn't have gained otherwise.

So please, don't let the gold mines lay around for much longer and get started today.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Success or Failure? Doesn't Matter. Keep Creating.

One of my favorite authors Elizabeth Gilbert just released her latest TED Talk.  In this talk, she describes her successes and failures coming out of her best-selling book "Eat, Pray, Love" and why it's important for her to identify with the younger unpublished writer that she was years ago in order to keep going.

"I had to find a way that my creativity survived its' own success."

"I"m not going to quit. I'm going home."

"Find your way back home again as swiftly and smoothly as you can. Home is whatever in this world you love more than you love yourself."  

"It bombed. And I was fine.  Actually I kinda felt bullet proof.  Because I knew that I had broken the spell and I had found my way back home to writing for the sheer devotion of it."

"I'm writing another one now. And I"ll write another book after that, and another, and another, and another and many of them will fail and some of them might succeed but I will always be safe from the random hurricanes from outcome as long as I never forget where I rightfully live." 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Hi everyone!

I've been working away on a new website inspired by one of my latest blogs "How to know when to give up on dancing".

In the last decade, dance has taken front and center stage in mainstream society and and we've seen a surge of dancers attempting to pursue professional careers.  The competition has been high and fierce.  Some are just passing by temporarily, participating because it's 'the thing' to do right now, getting involved because their friends are doing it, or recklessly chasing the fame train.

And yet others are in it to stay.

I wanted to create this space to offer more motivation and inspiration for those who believe dance is their calling but along the way, have gotten confused, frustrated, tired, or knocked down.  The site aims to share and explore real-life stories of people that have experienced these things but continue to persevere and transform their identities along the way.

I invite you to check out the site and let me know what you think in the comments below!

"Forever A Dancer (FAD) is someone who sees dance as a lifelong, never-ending, always evolving constant in their lives.  They see dance not just as a form of entertainment, but as a form of therapy; as a way of living; and as a way of expressing a deeper human need. They've experienced 'a calling' at a young age and it has never truly gone away." 

How are you FOREVER A DANCER (FAD)? Watch the video below and submit your story to be featured on the website!

It's in you. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

What to do when people don't support your dreams

Most creative people live in a world of the imagination of "what could be", of possibilities, of thinking of stuff that doesn't exist but if they got their hands on it, you better believe it would.

When it comes to dreams, creatives have many.  But why is it that when you tell most people your dreams, they get really uncomfortable? All of a sudden, their expression changes and they are at a lost for words.  Maybe they are worried that you might get hurt, maybe they don't think you can achieve them, maybe they wonder why they don't have dreams themselves? Whatever the reason, at that moment they crystalize into someone that either supports you or doesn't.

What do you do when people don't support your dreams?  You dig deep and ask if you believe in them yourself. Because the reality is that no one will wake up fighting for your dreams, no one will believe in you, no one will care. But that's okay.  As long as YOU are your own #1 supporter and you stand by your cause even if no one else does, this alone will take you farther than you think.

From there, it is understanding that actions speak louder than words so instead of telling people your dreams, just show them.  Be courageous and do the work. Stop turning back to wait for other people's approval or to see if your thing really made a difference. Just keep going. By taking action, we silence all of the voices around us and within.

And lastly, surround yourself with other positive and spirited dream chasers who are just as crazy and passionate as you are. This combined energy can move mountains.

Remember the best service you can do for yourself and for others around you is to pursue your dream and to live from your highest potential. Now go on and get started...

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Dear Lazy

Dear Lazy,

I'm tired of you holding me down...of you saying that it's okay to just chill...that 'don't worry, there will be tomorrow' and that anything I do doesn't really matter anyway.

I've grown sick of you keeping me at bay, convincing me that going full force won't get me anywhere so why even try? You have kept me fearful of failure, even more fearful of success, and have essentially held me hostage to my greatest potential.

Hard work is coming for me and she's not letting me down, she's not letting go, she's pulling me hard this time by the strands of my hair and holding on for dear life to take me for a ride - a ride to a place where you've never taken me before; a place where dreaming and reality blur together as one; a place where I'm no longer tempted by your comfortable softness.

Staring at my reflection in the mirror, you slowly diminish and I'm not sorry to see you go.  I know there are millions of others that will continue to join you, honor you, and fill your space and time. They will feed you and make sure you're happy.  I can no longer do that.

All this time you knew hard work has been around, waiting in the wings, initiating bursts of energy but never sticking around long enough to really get to know me. How could she? You always crept up before she could even try.  It's okay though.  Hard work knew I wasn't ready.  It wasn't my time and she would silently and gracefully make her exit.

But she's back and hard work knows that I'm here to stay - that I'm committed; that I'm willing to engage, to give, to sweat, to push further, to live longer, and there is nothing more that you can do for me.  Hard work will keep me up at night, will wake me up in the morning, and will consistently reveal to me what I'm truly capable of.

When I was with you, I sat around thinking too much, over-analyzing, self-sabotaging, not caring, but I see now this has been a huge waste of time.  Hard work says her most important lesson she will teach me is about ACTION and that obstacles, fears, and any stumbles I experience along the way are my friends. You deemed them as my enemies. And I believed you.

I'm sorry to sound harsh but all this pent up energy is pouring out! Who knew I had so much to say?! One thing I will say is that without you, I would never know what hard work really is. So for that...

Thank lazy.
It's been real.

Hello Hard Work.
Let's dooooo this!

Yours truly,
Awakened Mind 

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