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This Months Birthstone

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I Dare You - Shimmerlings Creative Courage Challenge Jan 1, 2015

‘The world has the habit of making room for the one whose words and actions show that they know where they are going‘ – Napoleon Hill

Well, here it is….the first week of the New Year, and the week we begin building our courage, as Artists as Creatives and as Individuals.  This will be a fun train, a challenging, interesting, bi-polar ride! We will have differing tasks to complete from simple to difficult, and we will have a full week to accomplish each goal…only once if we feel that’s all that’s necessary or multiple times if we dare to dream!

My own experience has shown me that we can read as many books and blogs, listen to people speak at conferences, hire life coaches, and banter with friends…but unless we actually DO something, we will not grow, we will not learn and we will not accomplish our goals.

SO to that end, I’ve created an outline of mini Acts of Courage (Or Creative Courage Builders) that we can accomplish one week at a time that will help us work, develop and grow our courage … in small baby steps.  Things that are challenging of course, but not so intimidating that we won’t do them – hopefully.  The main point is to DO the tasks, not to simply read them, but to DO them….it is our actions that make what we do possible.  Reading, saying it sounds good and you are going to do it – it way different than actually taking the time to accomplish, and flex our courage goals.

Shimmerlings Creative Courage Challenge  I Dare YouI must admit that I am the perfect example of, hmmm…lets just say it out loud shall we…LAZY….if a thing appears too difficult from the star or requires too much effort initially, I may lose interest half way through or not even attempt it.  My goal here is to start slowly, to work our courage muscles a little bit at a time so by the middle or end of the year we will look at a more difficult challenge and say “Really? Come on that’s so easy!”   There will be funny silly challenges sprinkled all over the place,  so please don’t give up and don’t give in to the lazy naysayer of your ego!  This is for everyone! I am especially gearing towards Creatives and Artists, because we often have trouble with courage outside of our art, but I can guarantee that all of these tasks and accomplishments are for everyone, everywhere!

Its so common place to second guess ourselves when we are trying to do something totally new and generally beyond our comfort zone. Its natural. Yet once we are used to our creative process, and build our courage…just as with any experience, it becomes more familiar – we begin to notice certain milestones and recognize what is happening at various stages of living our dream and exploring our passions! With familiarity of course comes comfort…and our comfort zone is autonomously and actively enlarged!

It takes great courage to commit to our projects, our dreams, to explore our passions, our art – our creative process – don’t give up just yet. In fact, the fear that you are experiencing is actually a good sign. When we begin our creative process on any level, or when we commit to a project – often after the initial excitement, folks sometimes begin to experience  fear (even paralyzing fear) that can stop us in our tracks, and it makes us question whether this is something we want after all.  I urge you if you feel this fear at any point in this project, that you push through it, experience the fear….”Feel the fear and do it anyway” as one of my favorite business books from the 90′s quoted constantly!!

This is a convo from a movie that you may or may not have seen called “Three Kings”….the scene is a quick one between Major Archie Gates (George Clooney) and a younger solider Conrad Vig (Spike Jonze)  there is a plan of attack, that has some of the team has doubts about….

Archie: You’re scared right?

Conrad: Maybe

Archie: The way it work is, you do the thing you’re scared shitless of, and you get the courage AFTER you do it, not before you do it.

Conrad: That’s a dumbass way to work. It should be the other way around!

Archie: I know.  …. That’s the way it works.

It’s a scene in the movie that goes so quickly if you weren’t looking for it, you might miss it, but also pivotal in the action of the movie. A soldier was motivated to go beyond himself when he was impossibly frightened, worried, scared, concerned,and doubtful about what was about to happen and the outcome of those actions.  The dialog though was particularly spot on.  One never ‘gets’ the courage to jump off the high dive, they climb the ladder scared inside regardless of what they show on the outside.  We only gain courage AFTER we accomplish the act. The more often we practice what we fear, the more courageous we become – which is why I suggest doing the tasks more than once. It gets easier and easier as our courage builds and grows…..THAT is exactly what we are going to do this year!! By the end of 2015, you’ll look at your unfinished business plan, your website, the world… and say “What was I so scared about!”

Shimmerlings Creative Courage Challenge  I Dare YouAll of the mini things that we blow off on a regular basis, thinking they are no big deal… well, we are going to accomplish, conquer, and take advantage of all those things this year.  We are going to use that rush of adrenalin that fear brings about as FUEL to accomplish what we want!!  We are going to slowly build what needs building, so that we can improve ourselves, our craft, our business sense, all of it! By the end of this year you will not even recognize your artist courage, it will simply be part of who you are!!

For those who generally need the quick fix, who don’t want to wait a full year to build your courage muscle….trust me when I tell you that it will NOT take a full year to feel it…I’ve just planned a full year of tasks…you will begin to feel the effects fairly quickly, depending on how strong your courage muscle is now and how often you are willing to complete the tasks – so stay with us – it’s entirely in your hands how hard you work! By the end of the year, I’m hoping you will be able to accomplish that “BIG” task you have always thought was too big…but really isn’t!

Those of you that think it may be too much…please don’t worry, I’m here with you!  I’m not a life coach that has accomplished every success I’ve ever planned and telling you how to do it from experience…we are doing this together! This is a life experiment that I fully believe and am invested in.  I have done some work with these steps, and KNOW it is the right way to work with most Artists and Creatives.  I’ll be working with you and accomplishing these goals the same time you are….I’ll be scared and worried and intimidated the same time you are – or maybe at different times.  My point is that I’m not just writing this…I’m WORKING this! We are working this together!!  So let’s do it!!  We’ll keep each other going!!

Shimmerlings Creative Courage Challenge  I Dare YouRemember that even the most confident of people always feel an element of fear when they step outside their comfort zone. Always!  Try to think of anyone that you can imagine that is successful, anyone from the POTUS to your current next door neighbor who has a beautiful garden…that person has felt fear, but they faced it and gave it a go anyhow! Use your fear to build your confidence!  We are all a little (or a lot) afraid of roller coasters…that’s what makes them sooo exciting!! But we get our ticket, and we wait in line and we get on the ride….despite the fear…because the pay off is about 30 seconds of extreme fun we can not get elsewhere!  Well, I urge you to get your ticket and get in line, because you may feel fear here, but the pay off I promise will be waaaay more than 30 seconds!!!!  Ha!!! Let’s get to our first challenge!!!!!

By the by….as you read the post through the next few weeks or months, I beg of you not to give in when you feel as if  …”I can do that already, I don’t need to accomplish the challenge” or “that’s too hard, I’m not doing it”…

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy!”  ~Dale Carnegie

And if you feel as if you don’t have time to work the weekly challenge, as if the opportunity will not arise, because you are not leaving the house, studio or whatever or you’ll be on vacation, whatever….when you don’t feel as if you need to actually DO the challenge, (don’t forget I am a Creative too…and I know how you think!) when you think that you don’t need to actually DO it, that just reading about it will be fine, and  if a situation comes about that’s great, but just READING about it will help you to understand the meaning of it…I implore you, I beg you, I am on my hands and knees telling you….you need to actually DO the challenges, regardless of how silly or difficult they appear on the web! : ) You need to actually make the effortdo the task, accomplish the bullet point.  Please don’t just “know” you can without making the effort…you will only lose the lesson, and that doesn’t help anyone!

“Nothing builds self-esteem and self-confidence like accomplishment.” ~ Thomas Carlyle

I’ve also decided to give you a list of the challenge items or blog titles for the bulk of the year…I believe that I’ve already bloggidy blogged longer than I wanted too.  Too much information is not always better….as all artists know… “Part of art is knowing when to stop”….so I will stop, give you your challenge and I will see you next week!

Our first task is going to be to take 20 mins for ourselves as creative people and artists, to gain some perspective in the minds of other creative people. I would like you to please watch/listen to this inspiring video, in which  Elizabeth Gilbert, who is the best selling author of Eat Pray Love.  She shares her thoughts and insight on the creative process and has an incredibly interesting and amusing thought process.  The challenge is to actually LISTEN to it, WATCH it, listen.  Don’t have it on in the background while you are cooking or working on paperwork.  Actually take 20 minutes (which isn’t very long) and allow an incredibly creative person to join you on your journey.  I believe the part that got to me and made me giggle the most is when she talks about how creative people across all genres have a reputation for enormously mentally unstable!   Well, duh! LOL

”Observe the wonders as they occur around you.  Don’t claim them. Feel the artistry moving through and be silent.”— Khalil Gibran

Truly, take the time and ENJOY the next 20 mins….and let me know if you’ve ever “brushed up against that thing”!

JeaneMargherite Meria McMahon Schintgen (yep, that’s my name, don’t wear it out!)


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