Hold On To Your Hat

Wearing too many hats Sometimes, life gets crazy. You know what I mean. We artists have to wear many hats. Of course, we want to stop the “Glorification of busy.” It seems to have become either a disease or a badge of honor in our society to be “too busy.” Well, I say, “Poop on you people.” Are you the same grouchy, inflated, overworked egos that don’t have time to enjoy these beautiful spring blossoms or take a moment to swing at the park? Please, please, don’t get so busy you forget how to be civil or have a run of fun now and then.

Seriously, this week I’m busy…mad as a hatter. I’m in the middle of moving a studio, preparing for a couple art shows, an open studio event, and I have an April vacation scheduled, so I can’t drag my feet. But, 

Today I picked up the keys to my new studio space. The professionally crafted sign was picked up. I scored a cool wall decal, compliments of my friend, Tony. Everything is going to be very nice…then…I noticed the walls. Being an “art studio” the walls were full of holes, and scabs where they had been repeatedly patched. They were dirty. I’m preparing for a studio warming in this space. What’s a girl to do?

After much, well, some, no, a little thought, this girl added ONE MORE THING TO THE “TO DO” LIST. (click to Tweet)

That’s right. Tomorrow morning, I’m painting; because presentation is everything. Remember – quality of work should not suffer for an overcommitted schedule?

What is your work as an artist?

Wearing many hatsCertainly the medium of your choice is your work. You wouldn’t produce shoddy artwork and expect people to respect you. But, your work involves so many aspects beyond your art. As I said, we wear many hats. Your work includes the presentation of your art, how you manage your “Gallery” in your studio and online, how you handle monetary transactions, how you follow up purchases and handle commissions. Your work includes marketing, research and getting your tax receipts together…yes, it’s March 21st and yes, I did say that. (If you’ve already file – hats off to you!) Your work involves photographing your treasures, cataloguing them, managing your inventory and keeping an eye on the calendar for upcoming events and submissions. You are a project manager, a program analyst, a public relations expert and an accountant. Your work includes the environment you provide for people in your space (event planner) – while you may or may not agree, it does. Your work includes the quality of interactions you have with potential collectors and gallery owners (sales guy/therapist).

If you cannot afford to hire someone to do the tasks above for you…responsibility for that work falls squarely on your Studio beforeshoulders. Are YOU busy yet? By the way, if you’re having an open studio see my tips and make it an “event.” If it’s old hat to you, don’t bother to read it.

Sure, spring fever has me tightly in its grasp and I’m dying to don my sun bonnet, but because I produce my best art, I must show it in the best way possible. I must practice the same diligent eye for detail I have in my artwork with the rest of my business. It doesn’t take a lot of money, just some attention and <sigh> time.

Sometimes you just have to suck it up and go the extra mile…because it’s the right thing to do. In the meantime, the swings will have to wait and I’ll sniff a bloom or two on my way to grab the paint can and roller.

It’s beginning to feel like old hat now, 

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Michelle Andres is a writer, artist and coach who nudges, nay, shoves, her clients in the direction of their dreams, Writer, Artist, Coachhelping them to overcome non-productive behaviours and enjoy more success in their lives. 

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Endings and Beginnings

(Note: This may be the least humorous, most content rich post I’ve ever written. I’ve provided links to previous posts as resources for you.  I hope it helps you create a blueprint for making your dreams come true in 2014…should you choose to create one! Please, as you link to the other posts, feel free to comment on them and share them…Thank you for helping The Art of the Well Lived Life GROW! I am grateful for your readership.  ~ m)

I’m feeling a lot of pressure this time of year. It’s all good stuff, but it feels like none of the balls should be dropped, lest they shatter New Beginningslike a delicate Christmas ornament and shatter to pieces the dreams of a hopeful child…yep….pressure.

The fact that time marches on and I’m smack in the middle of the path has me a bit concerned (click to Tweet). Nature calls…not like THAT, silly! The moon was full the other night, so I felt the need to have a final, good, scrubbing for 2013 and not track any dirt into the pristine promise of 2014. Here’s more about how I journal in accordance with the moon.

Also, Solstice is peeking her head around the corner and I adore her! It’s tomorrow! *LET THERE BE LIGHT! * Days will get longer. Hope springs from light and warmth and new growth. Many consider solstice the dawning of the new year. Whether you celebrate December 20th or January 1 – it’s staring you in the face! In the midst of all the celebration and fervor, have you considered what you want to do with your 2014? It’ll happen, whether you plan some audacious strides or not.(click to Tweet).

new pathI encourage you to take this time to consider what their ideal year would look like. This may easily consist of more than your business goals…you might like to review the Life Balance Wheel and see if you have any gaping holes that will swallow your best laid plans like a sink hole in Central Florida. (Of course, you aren’t planning a sink hole! I mean swallow the PLANS! Never mind…)   Once you know which areas you’d like to bolster,  create a list of the things you’d like to do next year to make it happen. Make your goals S.M.A.R.T. – if you don’t, well, that’s just not smart, and I don’t want to call you stupid or anything…you’re an adult, you  can draw your own conclusions.

There are lots of ways of backing those goals into your calendar. Identify and engage  resources and support groups to help you achieve your goals, or hire a coach to help you find your way and overcome your demons (hint, hint). I have some screaming deals on artist’s coaching packages (click to Tweet).

And FINALLY, because so much is about attitude…don’t forget your “Nutshell” word. That single, guiding word that will be your compass for the upcoming year. Where are you in your journey? What do you want to express? For example, last year mine was “joy.”

Just a few things to think about between baking, wrapping, traveling, finishing the year end books and anything else that may be on your plate. Don’t forget – when it’s all over it will just be you…and 365 days you’ve been given to make your dreams come true. Manage your time wisely.

Cheers!

To New Beginnings!

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Michelle Andres is a coach, writer and artist who nudges, nay, shoves creatives in the direction of their Writer, Artist, Coachdreams by helping them improve productivity and cultivate good behaviours while eliminating poor ones.
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 Ready for some creative fun while pursuing your dreams for the new year? I’ll be having a Beginning Mosaic Workshop called ” Magic in 2014″ in January. Register or  learn more!
 

 

Play Grounded

Play GroundedLately, I’ve been a bit wonky. Does that ever happen to you? I know I’m off kilter because I get stressed by things that wouldn’t typically bother me, feel rushed, overcommitted and generally out of balance. It’s about life balance.

Life is like a teeter totter, it’s fun when everything is working, but if the counter balance abandons you, your bum hits the earth with a heart-stopping THUD and that HURTS! (click to Tweet)

I’ve been on this playground before. I’ve ridden the little pony merry go round, got dizzy and thrown up.  I’ve found cat turds in the sandbox, been pushed around by bullies and gripped the monkey bars so tightly my hands blistered (click to Tweet). Finally, I learned when to take a seat in the shade of the big tree and gaze at the clouds. Given my vast playground experience, I can recognize the warning signs and change activities  before I become a publicly raving idiot…um…. or is that what I’m doing now?

So, how do you know when you’re at the edge, getting ready to take the precarious tip off the corkscrew slide and do a face plant in the itchy cedar shavings?  It helps if you can recognize it before you start up the ladder.

Here’s what I look for (your warning signs may be different):

  • Things aren’t as funny as they used to be
  • Things aren’t as rewarding as they used to be
  • Things aren’t as relaxing as they used to be
  • I get bothered by things being out of place
  • I feel OBLIGATED
  • I feel empty
  • I start to forget details
  • It starts to not feel so fun

Grrreat. What can I DO?

I normally go to my coaching “Life Balance Wheel” and take a little assessment. I rank myself between 1 and 10 on each section, 1 being very dissatisfied and 10 being completely satisfied. I’m not ranking what I think I should be doing or how much effort I put into each section. I’m ranking how satisfied I am with that part of my life RIGHT NOW. I know it’s an “old” tool, but it works. It covers the major areas of life satisfaction and will immediately alert the “assessee” of where to get the most bang for the buck. For the record, I include spiritual development in the personal growth category, but that is highly personal and up to you. Hint, start with the low scoring areas first, and calendar some activities to support that part of your life.

Life Balance

Generally, if I work too much, my recreation and family life suffers. That doesn’t feel so good, so if I take specific measures to connect with those parts of my life, I feel much better. If I play (recreate) too much, my work and finances suffer. The prescription then becomes to focus more heavily on earning behaviours…like work. Easy! The trick is to have the wheel balanced. You want it to roll nicely…no flat places or huge dips (like the teeter totter) cuz we want to save our bums.

I have a few personal triggers that will stop me in my tracks…clutter. Yep, if my surroundings are in disarray, I won’t be able to think straight…so better straighten up so I can get some breathing room and make the next steps count. If you need ideas how to deal with clutter check out this post.

Feel free to use this wheel. Are there areas you could focus on to improve the satisfaction level in your life? What are your early warning signs you’re off kilter? You don’t want to do a face plant in the itchy cedar shavings. Take some baby steps, know when to give yourself a time out and you’ll be squealing with delight in no time!

Play Grounded,

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Michelle Andres is a coach, writer and artist who nudges, nay, shoves creatives in the direction of their dreams by helping them improve productivity by helping them form good behaviours and eliminating poor ones. Follow her on Michelle Headshot plushy coatFacebook on Twitter

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The Urge to Purge

Clutter 2Clutter

You have it. That “stuff”  you leave in your wake, the constant reminder there is unfinished business, loose ends, a mess, you’re not perfect.

Well, guess what? You’re not perfect. I like you that way. I like me that way, too. We are proof of the human condition (click to Tweet).

That clutter, though…it blocks the creative spirit. It clogs the flow of new ideas, prosperity, harmony. Clutter sucks. It comes in various forms. There’s the physical clutter…on your desk, your dresser, the kitchen counter. It’s unsightly and makes you feel….ick. Too much makes it hard to breathe.

Clutter also comes in the emotional form. The figurative toilet paper you drag around on your shoe. Worries you have about what you can’t control. An off handed, insensitive comment someone made. Comparison to other people, their work, their accomplishments, their opportunities, their opinions, their stuff. Their CLUTTER! Clutter envy…gawd! (Click to Tweet)

Gutter clutter. That’s right! In. Your. Gut. From the movie popcorn, late night ice cream, stress cheeseburgers. You know you do it…occasionally. You clutter your God given temple with junk…to make yourself feel better. To relieve the emotional clutter. And it stays. Fatty deposits on your thighs, hips, belly. You pollute your body the same way you do your office, your studio, your mind.

Clutter 3There are so many types of clutter. Concept clutter. Financial clutter (better known as debt). Obligatory clutter (say “no” much?). Clutter occurs when we fail to take care of OUR business as we should. We do not make it a priority to keep our lives, bodies, environment clean. Guilt is clutter…so, please, don’t feel guilty about this. You’ll just add to the clutter. And as cluttered as we are, we certainly don’t want to be, ahem, HORDERS!

The clutter is okay. We are human. We clutter, but we also organize. Ewwww, that’s a bad “O” word, isn’t it? But, for the pain organization causes, albeit temporarily, organizing also creates a freedom. A clarity. A knowing – especially a knowing of where we put stuff!

So, how to manage?

First, make sure you have the tools to do the job. It depends upon what you aim to declutter. You may need file folders. A therapist. A nutrionist. A coach (I am one). A personal trainer. A dumpster. So, decide what you’re cleaning up and get the right tools. Create a system. Identify a “Home” for your stuff, a home where you’ll be able to find it upon demand. Create a system you LIKE. This is important. If the system is too complex or laborious, you’ll avoid using it.  Got it? Good!!!

Ready to get to work? If you’re a heavy clutterer, try one step at a time. It’s kind of like a 12-Step program for clutterers. If it’s easier for you, 15 minutes a day of decluttering. Start with the most obvious clutter. Seeing progress will be encouraging and you’ll gain momentum. If you’re bringing in reinforcements, like a professional organizer, a therapist, or a nutritionist, they can help you work this through.

If you’re the warrior type, you may choose to simply plow through the clutter. I tend to execute this way. Just take your medicine. It’sOrganized 7 a bitter pill, but it CURES! (Click to Tweet). I find plowing easiest because the process is fast. I don’t linger over each “object” and its fate because I build some momentum, which drives the process. Put on some rockin’ tunes, put your head down, GO!

If you’d like a specific model for executing each piece of clutter, please click here. You’ll get a lovely, simple document that helps you keep it simple – just for joining the “Tribe.” As you touch each piece of clutter, you’ll have an automatic, pre-ordained answer.

As a general rule, if you haven’t used something for over a year, it’s junk. UNLESS IT’S TAX RELATED. Keep business documents in a banker box…you know…just in case.  Label it with the year. Also, clutter that is not emotionally charged is easier to deal with. Address that stuff first. If you’re dealing with emotionally charged or “memory” clutter, the plow method works to build some rhythm. That way you won’t agonize over each object – at least not as much as you could.Organized 4 ever

Clean house! It feels good. It creates a path for new possibilities, mental clarity, abundance. It leaves you light and free. It creates a harmonious space for your to relax, enjoy life, employ audacious creativity.

Afterwards – Now, you have a system, please use it EVERYDAY to maintain your clutter free life. You may slip from time to time, and that’s okay. You’re human. But take care of your business – you deserve this! Embrace the urge to purge!!!

Keep it Tidy!

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Michelle Andres is a coach, writer and artist who champions others to follow the path less traveled; the path that leads straight to Coaching pic  - Version 3their joyful hearts.♥

Find her on Facebook or Twitter

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Bloom Before You Go to Seed

Disclaimer: The following content is not a judgment. It’s a musing…a simple observation of how life reveals itself in recurring themes, curtains of consciousness that run parallel and present occasional opportunities to transfer learning from one “universe” to another. I hope you enjoy the read.

There’s a restaurant I go to on occasion. I’ve noticed there’s some dynamic action, mostly around the bar, especially on group-of-people-with-drinks-at-nightclub-barThursday nights. I call it the “30 Something Death Gasp” phenomenon. Thursday is the night, kind of like a vampire calling, when all the 30 something singles go out in hopes of making their lives what they had expected, but haven’t yet created.  Well, at least they appear to know what they want.

You can hear the TICK TOC of the biological clocks. It smells like the place in in rut, but it’s the best fire roasted chicken in the world, so I continue to go and witness the “30 Something Death Gasp.”  The roasted artichokes are to die for, and well, let me be honest, I’m fascinated by watching this dynamic. The patrons at the bar seem to have identified their niche and are executing their PLAN.

Recently, at a business networking meeting, I was asked about my niche. Geez, I’m sort of a renaissance woman, you know? (Hahaha!) I do a little coaching, some corporate facilitations, write a bit and work in my studio, doing my art. Occasionally, I teach a mosaic workshop spiced up with some soul searching for the participants. It seems like everyone has a great time, but niche? I really can’t put my finger on it. I do know I have a PLAN. Several, actually. I know what I want — I want to create and to help.

I’ve watched people who’ve denied themselves the privilege of experimenting with new ideas, new mediums, new skill sets. They second guess their choices, wonder if it would have been different had they followed their calling. AND, what is their calling anyway? It has come to my attention I may have defined my niche in the chicken restaurant. I am the coach, the writer, the artist, the teacher for the 30-50 something “gaspers” that are looking for their calling, segueing into something of more substance, trying to embrace their purpose. I’m the coach for the “starting overs,” the “doing it differentlies,” the “it was always my dream to’s” that are looking at the acts of their lives and not wanting to be crying during the curtain call.

I love to help people identify and live their passion so they can BLOOM before they go to seed. I want to do it with humour, with fun and to be there to help celebrate the victory when the skies open and the angels sing (or whatever)!

How about you? Something you’ve always wanted to do?  Do you have a longing desire or calling? A strong, yet flexible plan? Go for it! It feels so good. Awaken and feed that passion and excitement. Even if you’re busy with other commitments right now, just a taste now and then can be oh, so satisfying (Click to Tweet). Someday soon, I hope you are able to sit down at the table and devour the feast – chicken, roasted artichokes, et, al!

Bloom….before you go to seed!

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Michelle Andres is a coach, writer and artist who champions others to follow the path less traveled; the path that leadsCoaching pic  - Version 3 straight to their joyful hearts.♥ Find her on Facebook or Twitter

 

 

 

 

 

 

Driven to Distraction – 6 Strategies for Creatives to Get More Done

Tick Tock Your Life is Waiting
Tick Tock Your Life is Waiting

 

I could move mountains if it weren’t for “distractions.” (Click to Tweet) I mean, really, the shiny things get in the way, catch my eye and I’m gone.

It’s become more challenging since I’ve become a corporate refugee, because now I’m doing creative work and am accountable to only myself. We are all creative beings, no doubt, but once you give yourself permission to be fully creative, you lose some of the ability to focus on getting stuff done. I think this is partially due to the fact that creativity is fostered by exploration and play. (Click to Tweet)  The three go hand in hand in hand.

I’m sure the “shiny thing” gets you, too. And it snowballs. One distraction can lead to another and soon the sun is setting and you haven’t done anything even remotely productive. Urghh!

What to do?

It’s all about – ahem – time management. And self discipline. Ick. Doesn’t that sentence just make your hair stand on end? Feeling resistance yet? Think of it this way:

Time is your asset. It’s the key to the kingdom. (Click to Tweet)

You aren’t going to get more of it, so have the self-discipline to jealously guard the 24 hours you’ve got. Identify what gets in your way – and take steps to secure it. Here are some easy strategies:

Your “To Do List” is your GPS – Creating a “To Do” list may sound cliché, but it keeps you on course, guides you and tells you cheerfully, “You have arrived!” Use a list!

Control TV, Email and Social Media – Set designated times to check and respond to email and social media. For most of us, three times a day will work. Morning, noon, afternoon. Having your mobile device firmly tucked into your hip pocket and responding to its every chime? That chime – that’s the sound of your time being sucked into a big hole!

Schedule your Day – Schedule your day…but not ALL of it. Scheduling 60% of your day is realistic, because it allows room for life to happen and keeps you from turning into a shrew. Schedule the stuff you must do, and the stuff you want to do.  Workout time – schedule it! Creative prep – schedule it! Even schedule recreational time. Remember to schedule some time at the end of the day to prepare for the following day. You can create some balance in your life and still move the mountain if you schedule it!

Create systems – Take time to organize in a way YOU can understand. If you can’t find it, you spend time looking for it, so take time to put it in its place in the first place. Besides, just admit it, if you’re looking though stuff to find other stuff you get DISTRACTED with the new stuff you find. (yeah, I wrote that all by myself).

Get a Handle on Procrastination – We all do it. If you really want to, you can get a handle on it. It’s not rocket science…if it were I would procrastinate for sure. Find the root of the procrastination and ferret out the resources, gumption or whatever you need to move through it…one step at a time.

Make Yourself Accountable to Someone Else – Research shows if you write down your goals you’re more likely to achieve them. If you write them down, tell someone you respect about them and make a commitment to report back to that person, your success rate jumps to 95%!

I offer a free gift to those who sign up on my mailing list. This published article is a “How To” for overcoming procrastination. Just “Join the Tribe” at the left and I’ll send it to you, FREE. Tell your friends to sign up, too….don’t procrastinate!

I once heard a wise woman say, “If you’re not using your time to deliver your own package, others will use your time to deliver theirs.”(Click to Tweet)  At first this self discipline may look like shackles to you. This is not bondage. Manage your time well and you will get to spend more time doing what you love to do…perhaps even move a mountain or two.

Git ‘er Done!

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Michelle Andres is a coach, writer and artist who champions others to follow the path less traveled; the path that leadsCoaching pic  - Version 3 straight to their joyful hearts.♥ Find her on Facebook or Twitter

 

 

 

 

 

Is Darth Vader My Totem Animal? (and Other Questions from the Galaxy)

(This post was originally published last August. Today, in the studio, I was working on another piece…same topic…Vader. I had a repeat of this incident. I wasn’t resistant to doing this piece, not at all. However, I had the same visceral reaction. I guess sometimes the Universe really wants your attention. Still…I. Have. No. Idea. What. This. MEANS. Maybe Darth Vader is my totem animal).

What makes you happy at work? Lately, I’ve taken ownership of finding ways to pump up the the happiness factor at work for others. I’ve been excising little actions and shifts in thinking that can make being at work not only more bearable, but actually exhilarating and FUN!!! No one wants to be miserable all day and studies show many with jobs, in this tough economy, aren’t grateful for them…they’re stressed!

Well, the power of intention, living in alignment with your intentions and practicing authenticity came home to roost last week. As you may know – in addition to helping individuals and teams reach their full potential, I’m also an artist. So, this is the story of how I caught myself, completely unaware, doing the very thing that squelches happiness and joy from work. This is the story of a monsoon of realization, cleansing and awareness that jerked me from my obligatory place, back into joy and fulfillment. You might find yourself doing the same thing at work. I think there’s a cure.

I was in my mosaic studio working on a commissioned piece…a subject matter I’d never choose to do on my own – Darth Vader. I hadn’t taken “ownership” of this piece, not really. I couldn’t relate to it. Now, I strongly believe that my artwork should be created with joy. Art is something I do to connect with my joyful, authentic self. Did I mention I’m not a Jedi Master? Yep – I was going through the motions, get ‘er done, cut, stick – DEADLINE. All of that is fine, but I was missing an essential ingredient that made my art, MY ART. I was missing the abandon, the connection with self. I was missing the permission of the essential “meism” that is allowed to flow when I’m in the creating process. The piece was fine, but the magic was just not happening.

Of course, I wasn’t aware of the missing piece – pardon the pun – until some music played that sent an arrow right into the authentic core of my soul. I – the essential “I” – was not invested in this work. There was no reason for me NOT to be, but I wasn’t, and I was not privy to this detail.

The waterworks began. Why do I not love you, Darth? Why can’t I need see it’s not the “thing” but the journey that brings the joy, that creates the happiness? My dogs, who were sleeping out of shot of flying glass, quickly came to check on me. Weeping, bleeding (because you bleed when you do glass mosaic, or you’re not having fun) and open to the world. Dogs know such things about openness. They assured me I was back on the true path.

My Teacher - Darth Vader
My Teacher – Darth Vader

Darth, I do love you! Thank you for the opportunity to create, to open my joyful self, to be with you. Isn’t that how life is? Sometimes the best thing for you is not what you would consciously choose? The shift came upon me, I yearned to do my best, to make it beautiful, to please my client, to bring it all!

The difference was I was showing up. The real me. The me who wants to change the world through bringing happiness to workplaces, the wounded me who understands how hurtful toxic workplaces can be…I peeled away the layers, I opened to myself, there I was with Darth, and I was there…all of me.

How often does that happen at work? How dangerous would it be to show up, connect with your core, bring who you are and let it shine? How can you do that regardless of the “subject?” It’s a tough calling to be painfully honest with yourself. Once you begin to do it, you find it’s miles deep, vast, wide. It’s a rich field of possibilities…and JOY!

May the Force be with You

Be Brave and Be Happy!

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Michelle Andres is a coach, writer and artist who champions others to follow the path less traveled; Coaching pic  - Version 3the path that leads straight to their joyful hearts.♥ Find her onFacebook