Liz here today. I’ve been working as a creative designer and writer from home for just over a year now. I love the flexibility it allows: I can pepper baking or yoga classes into my daily schedule if I want, the commute is great (bedroom to office in 10 seconds!), and occasionally working in pajamas from my couch still hasn’t gotten old. On the other hand, there’s no such thing as a “snow day” anymore, and it can be isolating to work alone sometimes. Sure, I’ve got my coworkers from Braid to bounce ideas off of, tackle my to-do-list with, and fan-girl obsess with whenever Kanye / Beyonce / Gaga releases a new video. But the bulk of my days are spent at the mercy of my own choices. I think creatives have so many choices when they freelance, or become entrepreneurs, or even begin to just think (and go in circles) about going out on their own. And it can be so so hard to sort through all of them alone!
That’s why we’ve been talking more and more about coaching for creatives. Kind of like life coaching, but more of what you want that work + life to look like as a working creative. This has been a huge passion project of Kathleen’s; it’s like she’s become this creative-coaching Yoda in the last year or so. The Force has always been strong with that one – I think that’s why her personal blog, AndKathleen, attracts and repels all the right people. She can’t take any one-on-one coaching clients right now (if you haven’t heard, she just had a big change to her work/life scenario: a brand new baby!), but check back with us this spring if you’re interested.
In the meantime, I wanted to just share some of my favorite Coaching for Creatives posts and exercises from a series that she’s been sharing on her personal blog, from Get Specific to Do What You Want.
Sometimes I try to imagine if I didn’t work for Braid – would I sign up for creative coaching? I’d certainly be attracted to it (or maybe that’s just the Force), but I think I would be worried that it would be too “woo-woo” for me, or that it would be all talk and no action. The oldest-child Type-A Virgo in me craves exercises, and lists, and next steps! So, it’s no surprise that my favorite posts from Kathleen’s Coaching for Creatives series (which are a great introduction into the kinds of emails you’d get in the DIY Coaching, and definitely not too woo-woo), are the more grounded ones:
Get Specific is about, well, getting specific. So many creatives have these grand, sweeping dreams about what their life and work should be like – but have trouble making it real, because (as Kathleen puts it) their visions are made up of “vague words and little to no action.” How can you make something real, if you don’t know what it really is?
This post charges you with getting down and dirty with your dreams, and putting them to paper (or Pinterest, if that’s more your style). Wrap all of your senses around it – what does your ideal life look / smell / sound / feel / taste like? What are you creating on a day-to-day basis? What are you wearing on a day-to-day basis? What, and who, are you surrounded by? What does your ideal day even look like – how do you choose to spend each waking hour? Write it down. Draw it out. Pin it up. (Extra credit: see if you can incorporate small pieces of it into your current life, to make it that much dreamier now.)
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There’s something powerful about getting specific with dreams; it allows you, even subconsciously, to start manifesting aspects of them. It’s like your brain finally knows exactly what you want, and starts steering you towards it. It’s also easier to see / hear / feel when you’re making decisions that aren’t aligning with your vision, so you can stay on-course, and stay dreamy.
Do What You Want
I think both of these posts are two sides of the same coin. If Get Specific shows you how to use your mind to really map out the dreamiest future, then Do What You Want shows you how to train your mind to realize that you are in control of how dreamy your present is.
My main takeaway from the entire Coaching for Creatives series is that the words and thoughts we choose to surround ourselves with, create our reality. And we can either let them control us (which can turn into feelings of helplessness, obligation, and resentment), or we can use them to shape our reality – and in turn feel powerful, intentional, and positive. And who wouldn’t want that, right?!
So, this post challenges you to look at the kinds of language you’re using with yourself and others. Catch yourself saying, “I HAVE to…” a lot, and feeling resentul about all the things you “have” to do? Try replacing “I need to” and “I have to” to “I want to” and “I choose to”. Sometimes a little wording shift creates a huge perspective shift. For example, “I need to work to pay my bills.” becomes “I choose to work so I can buy groceries that feed my family.”
And if you’re still struggling under the weight of obligations and responsibilities, Kathleen offers some very practical tips for breaking up with, and batching out, what you can’t get around.
Now, all creatives are different. And what’s especially helpful to me, might not kickstart your dream-gears quite as much as something else. So here’s an overview of all of Kathleen’s “Coaching for Creatives” series so far – all designed to keep your head in the clouds and your feet on the ground:
How to get specific about your dreams and desires, so you can start manifesting them.
This Is It
How to practice awareness throughout the day, and stay aligned with your ideal-life vision.
A Good Morning
How to start the day off right: with intention (and as much coffee or tea as you’d like).
Is It True?
How to fight irrationality (and a victim mindset) with one powerful little question.
What Does That Look Like?
How to get specific (but still super-dreamy) about how you want to feel, as much as what you want to do.
Do What You Want
How to reframe your obligations, and reorganize your to-do list.
Be Who You Are
How to own your experiences, be your own authority, and give others permission to love (or hate) you.
How to give yourself enough time to commit, react to criticism, or simply gain perspective.
How to start off the new year (or new job, or new vision) with equal parts of past-reflecting and future-dreaming.
Let’s Talk About Fear
How to figure out what your fear actually is, embrace it, and then use it to propel yourself forward.
How to cultivate your own kind of confidence.
How to sit still (or move meditatively) with yourself.
Truth In Opposites
How to dissolve negative thoughts (about yourself and others) by exploring when the opposite is true.