This is a Calling

 

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Welcome to the Follow Your Dreams Like a Realist Series!

You have heard people say this, or maybe said something like this yourself recently:

“I should really write that story.”

“I love the guitar. I wish I played more often.”

“I used to draw, but then life happened.”

Is there something in your life that keeps showing up? Maybe there is something you’ve always wanted to try. Perhaps you love something you long ago put away. Maybe there is something that repeatedly pops into your mind when you least expect it.

That still, small voice calling you to create something, to be a creator? That is a calling. Your art is not just a neglected hobby or a forgotten diversion. It is a calling upon your life, put there by a divine creator.

Pursuing your art is not a waste of time. It is not selfish. It is answering a divine call to use your gifts for the benefit of the world.

What happens when you ignore your calling?

At first, nothing.

Nothing happens.

Nothing feels pretty safe.  There’s no struggle. No sacrifice of time. No battling fear or rejection. Life goes on as planned. Nice, safe, nothing.

What else happens when you ignore your calling?

Like Hughes’s raisin in the sun, your gift dries up. It vanishes. Without light and air, it withers and dies. Not using the gifts and creativity you’ve been given causes your soul to shrink. Your ability dissipates. A calling, ignored, turns to a dull ache that makes everything feel dull. Off. Like your whole life is a step to the left.

I’ve been in this place. In the years I spent Not-Writing, I thought about writing. I read about writing. Instead of actually writing, however, I watched a lot of TV and ate a lot of food so I didn’t have to think about the fact that I wasn’t writing. My phone was easier to face than my life. I was killing myself through distraction. My heart hurt. My body hurt. My mind didn’t hurt, but it was too numb to notice that anything was wrong.

Your gift, unpracticed, becomes another heavy thing to carry through this life.

But there is a better way.

The way to grow in your skills is to practice them and freely share them with the world. Holding on to, saving up, or hoarding your gifts is the fastest way to kill them.

Creating is more than just using your gift. It is answering your divine calling. Using your gifts opens you to light. It provides room to breathe. It is a step to the right path, a place in which everything makes sense again.

Practice your art. Share what you know. Offer your gifts freely to the world.

 

Photo by Eddy Klaus

3 Quick Ways to Reduce Stess

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Welcome back to the Follow Your Dreams Like a Realist Series!

I am not a naturally organized person. I am a type B. I’m “forgetty.” I couldn’t tell you how old my kids are. I can’t even tell you how old I am. Because my brain tends more toward “creative,” than “organized,” I had to find some coping techniques for keeping my time and stress under control. Here are three life-changing time management and stress coping techniques.
Continue reading 3 Quick Ways to Reduce Stess

Podcast University

Welcome back to the Follow Your Dreams Like a Realist series!

One of my favorite speakers, Zig Ziglar, always talked about “Automobile University.” He used his time in the car to learn from tapes. Whether he was learning a new language, or listening to motivational speakers in order to be a better at sales,  Zig never wasted time in the car.

car

Continue reading Podcast University

Building A Bridge, Not Burning It Down

Have you ever seen a movie about the girl who’s having a terrible, awful, no-good day and then decides, at the drop of a hat, to jump on a plane and start a new life? Or maybe you’ve heard a great country song about telling your boss EXACTLY where he can put this job.

While slamming the door on your way out of a job makes for a fun story, it is simply not a great thing to do in real life.

Let’s talk about how to be your own boss, the smart way. Continue reading Building A Bridge, Not Burning It Down

How to Actually Make Money Online

Welcome back to the Follow Your Dreams Like a Realist Series. If you missed it, here is Part One. In Part Two, we looked at how to know if you’re ready to quit your job. This week, we are looking at how to *actually* make money online.

Money is the thing no one wants to talk about. It is simmering under the surface, but we are JUST TOO POLITE to bring it up. Let’s change that. Knowing how much people made from their online businesses is what gave me the courage to quit my job. It really IS possible to make a living online. Let’s see how.

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Continue reading How to Actually Make Money Online

Am I Ready to Quit My Job?

Welcome to part two of the Follow Your Dreams Like a Realist series. When this conversation started, one of the most common questions was, “How did you know you were ready to quit your job?” The first step to any big change is to define what “ready” means to you.

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Here are three questions to ask to find out if you’re ready to be your own boss. Continue reading Am I Ready to Quit My Job?

Follow Your Dreams Like a Realist: Part 1

I just quit my job in order to be my own boss! I have had this crazy dream, ever since I was fourteen, to run my own writing and editing business. This week, it became real; not a crazy dream anymore, but something I’ve been working toward for a long time.

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A lot of people have been asking how I did it. Instead Continue reading Follow Your Dreams Like a Realist: Part 1

10 Ways to Kick Fear in the Face

10. Sign up for something you’re not ready for. A half-marathon in six months? A conference where you’re sure to be the worst in the room? A weekend kayaking training trip? Yes. Do that.

9. Ask a stranger for a thing. Anything. Look for rejection until it stops feeling personal. Learn from Amanda Palmer and Jia Jiang.

8. Spend five minutes writing out action steps to take toward something that scares you. Take it out of the daydream. Write it down on real-life paper.

7. Hire a coach. Find someone who will hold you accountable to take action.

6. Start a conversation with the next stranger you see.

5. Read this every single day:

Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.
Steven Pressfield, The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles

4. Ask yourself, “What’s the worst that could happen?” Follow all your fears out to their logical conclusions. Ask if you can live with the consequences. “If I pitch to this client, and they say no… then what? Then I’ll still be alive AND will have gained some valuable pitching experience? That’s not so bad.”

3. “Share something small every day.” – Austin Kleon

Show the work in progress. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Show the steps. Inspire other people to be beginners, too.

Austin Kleon Show Your Work
via http://lisacongdon.com

2. Dance like an idiot.

1. Take a deep breath. Walk around the block. Spend a few minutes alone. Face the day. Face yourself. Face the rest of us. BE BOLD!

What Does the Dream Look Like?

The dream looks like watching, waiting.

The dream looks like staring into the water, watching ideas flow in, flow away.

(photo by Steve Carter)

The dream looks like remembering little hints along the path. The dream looks like remembering words from a  thousand years ago, nearly forgotten plans, hints and reminders from surprising sources.

The dream looks scary and unthinkable… until it doesn’t any more.

The dream looks like small actions, taken each day, over consecutive days, that begin to add up to something.

The dream looks like sacrifice, decisions, choices, intentional plans. The dream looks like  “hustle and flow.” And soon even the hustle starts to feel like fun.

The dream looks like giving up on SAFE for something better. Safe no longer feels better. Safe feels like fear and fear feels like loss.

The dream feels like courage.