creative energy

Are you holding back from self-promotion?

By Kate James

Have you ever noticed that some of the most clever, creative women are the ones we don’t see enough of?

In business, they often hold themselves back from self-promotion and they’re too humble to tell you how good they are for fear of overstating it. They’re the same women who are brilliant at what they do but they have a tendency to be super hard on themselves.

If you’re someone who holds herself back, you’re probably also aware that at the heart of the issue is self-judgement. We judge ourselves harshly because we don’t want to appear full of ourselves and we definitely don’t want to come across as too pushy.

Reign in your self-criticism and build your confidence by working through the following six steps.

1. Tune in to your self-talk

This takes a bit of practise so it often helps to start by writing down your thoughts. Over the next few days, try doing this for fifteen minutes when you first wake up or just before you go to bed. Your thoughts are likely to go something like this: “There are so many great designers / coaches / makers out there. How am I ever going to stand out from the crowd?” “Other women are so confident. I wish I could be as articulate as them.” “I wish I was prettier/ taller /thinner /smarter /funnier/ more interesting.”

2. Make peace with your flaws

Don’t feel that you need to force those negative thoughts away – it’s almost impossible anyway – but rather, adopt an open, curious mindset as you observe them.

Start to be interested in the validity of different thoughts. Some of your self-criticisms may be accurate but it helps to remove the judgement. For example, it would be true for me to say to myself, “I’m overly sensitive at times.” I know this is part of who I am. But instead of making this a harsh judgement, said in a tone of criticism, I can choose to say, “I’m a sensitive person” in a kinder way. Then I can start to think about how I want to manage that sensitivity in practical ways.

If we use this technique with any of our flaws, we create an enormous amount of compassion for ourselves. What if it were true that you are not as witty or as confident as others? What if it’s true that you’re ageing and carrying a few extra kilos? All of us are imperfect, but those imperfections won’t stop us from getting out in the world and doing what we love.

3. Balance the negative self-talk by actively engaging in positive self-talk

For many people, this is difficult. Because the negative bias of the brain, you’ll find yourself drawn back to self-critical thoughts time and again. However, with practise, it gets easier to create some balance. Write a list of positive statements about yourself that feel believable (this is really important so that you’re not going to immediately negate them). If you find it difficult, ask a few friends what they believe are your strengths (or take this strengths test if you’re not comfortable to do that). For example: “I’m a great listener.” “I have a good eye for colour.” “I’m intuitive.”

Set a reminder in your calendar to look at your list. This may sound contrived but remember it’s going to take this kind of repetitive practise to balance the way you think. Repeat at least three of the positive statements during your day.

4. Learn to be your own best friend

Most of us rely on external feedback to boost our self-esteem and to feel good about ourselves, but we need to learn to do this for ourselves. Next time you find yourself in negative self-talk, replace criticism with kindness and instead say whatever you’d say to a good friend who was struggling: “You did ok, even if it wasn’t perfect.” “You might not be your ideal weight but you still look great in that dress.” “You may not be the wittiest person in the room but you’re generous and kind.” Or maybe most importantly, “You’re not perfect and that’s ok.”

5. Take baby steps outside your comfort zone

Changing our thinking is one thing but even more important is that you start to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Remind yourself that there are people out there who need what you have to offer. Your job is to let them know you’re here – and how you can help.

Create a simple plan for self-promotion (regardless of those niggling doubts) and make it happen this week. Submit a guest post to one of your favourite blogs, share a win on social media or reach out to other women who share your audience and talk to them about collaborating.

6. Embrace other women

Take the time to learn from the women who are confident with marketing themselves. Seek out common ground and celebrate their successes so you see them as new friends rather than competitors.

Enjoy being in the presence of amazing women and recognise that you’re one of them, rather than feeling that you don’t belong. 

Kate James is an author, coach and mindfulness teacher who helps her clients discover authentic, creative and purposeful lives. Kate draws on 14 years experience with clients in her latest offering, the Life Purpose Programs.

You’ll find Kate’s books, Believe in Yourself & Do What You Love and Be Mindful & Simplify Your Life and info about her services at totalbalance.com.au. Join Kate’s community on Instagram and Facebook or drop her a line on email.

Why Entrepreneurs Can’t Afford To Ignore Their Brilliant Body

By Dr Shirley Piccarreto

The pressure is on. It always is. You’ve chosen to live with risk. To embrace your own impressive self-imposed deadlines. To get comfortable with being vulnerable.   You have debt, doubt, dreams and desire. You’re a budding entrepreneur and you push, push, push, yourself around the clock. And then some.

Your body protests though. There’s a price to pay embracing this wildly stimulating entrepreneurial life… and it’s not always financial.  Your sleep is restless. Your moods are chaotic and fiercely intense.  Your family protests. Fear drives you at times. Your frequent headaches annoy you and your sex drive has been driven away by the constant attention and focus your business needs.

You have created yourself a mountain of responsibility but, hey it IS your own damn mountain, right? This is good and much to be proud of.  As self-made business folks we do get to manage ourselves.  We choose our days, struggle with our struggles and push on when loss of motivation peaks or despair sets in. Most times alone. Who can we really talk to about our own perceived weakness?

We also ask and expect a lot of ourselves. We desire loads of energy to get our focus on and our websites Marie Forleo perfect. We want to sleep solid but wake up at 3am experiencing Instagram envy. We beat ourselves up and sign up for another shiny webinar. At times we’re drained, anxious and depressed but the show must go on. It has to.

We sit and stress or sometimes we just sit in a daze staring at our blank screen mesmerized. Rapid heart rates accompany us throughout the day. Most being coffee, Coke or anxiety induced. Being a boss entrepreneur can be exhausting or exhilarating. Again, we get to choose. And it’s not just attitude. It’s the action. Your daily health routines or lack there-of are directly affecting your bottom line. Directly affecting your ability to be creative, focused and inspired. To win and win big.

Successful entrepreneurs choose health. Always. They take meticulous care of their precious selves. Their yoga, Zumba, meditation and gym times get marked on the calendar. In ink. Look at Tony Robbins’ indefatigable energy or the dynamic Richard Branson who answers “Being fit and healthy” when asked “what’s the one thing that makes you come alive?”

If we’re going to demand our body continually juggles our crazy mental and business needs, we’re going to need to feed it, nurture it and love it up. Give it more. Treat it better. Honor its life force. Naturally. Here are a few of my favorite ways that help me keep myself in tip, top physical and mental condition and itching to take on my fabulous business every single day.

A few questions for you: Are you often awake from 2:00 – 4:00 a.m.? So awake that you could write that blog or chronicle your expenses? That’s liver time according to your circadian clock and if you are up then, chances are your liver is stressed and overloaded. Are you quick to anger, easily frustrated or lacking patience? Do you have skin eruptions, bad breath or feel groggy every morning? How is this hurting your business or hurting you? Doing a liver cleanse will lift your mood, clear your skin, tighten your focus, balance your chi and help you to sleep solid every night like a very good baby. You’ll also remove tons of toxic overload that can hold you back from being your vibrant self. I cleanse about four-five times a year and every time I travel.

You can also add in some melatonin at night to balance your sleep cycle-3mg should do it. Melatonin peaks at age 8.  Herbal sleep aids like hops, passion flower and valerian are nervines. They feed and calm your business busy brain at night helping you to let the day’s worries fade away until tomorrow. Do you have any light in your room? Any sliver of it goes straight to your pineal gland to wake your body. Checking your phone at night? The blue light of it arouses your nervous system and will keep you awake for horribly long stretches. Discipline yourself and you will be rewarded with a full night’s rest. You’ll wake refreshed, re-energized and quite excited to master your day.

When you’re sick, you are not working on your business. And that’s going to cost you. Getting colds every winter is not “normal”. You can’t cure the cold as the cold is the cure. Your body creates excess mucus to carry out bacteria and viruses. If you cleanse your body of toxins every fall you most likely won’t get sick in the winter. Also, no one can “give you” a flu or cold. It’s your immune system and your responsibility to keep it strong. Ingesting just 75 grams of sugar at a sitting (maybe a soda and a muffin?) will shut down your NK (natural killer) cells for five hours. Connect with an ill person after that little sweet snack and you may indeed “catch” what they have. The sugar needs to go business pro.

You’ve worked months on your website. You’ve designed your logo, chosen your colors, friended the world, set up your Periscope, created on Canva, Tweeted away and invested in Lead Pages…but you still can’t figure it out. Your newsletters are ending up in everyone’s spam, you have money you need sitting in PayPal and it’s taken you four hours to write a simple blog. The days are going. Your anxiety is rising. The pressure cooker of entrepreneurship puts you in survival mode on a daily basis.

This is stress. High stress. Long term stress that burns up your B vitamins, depletes your magnesium and alters your heart rate. Stress constricts your blood vessels, puts you at risk for cancer, distracts you from good sex and can cause you to grind your teeth-which is actually a lack of magnesium. Our adrenal glands fire off cortisone which then shuts down our immune system. When there is too much flight or fight going those adrenal glands become weak and adrenal fatigue sets in. Now our body is ripe for full on panic attacks. No thanks, right?

To cruise through the wild ride of being an entrepreneur, you’re going to need to be your very best vital self to create the success you really want. It’s in your power. It’s all your choice. Eat real food. Meditate. Juice. Get outside. Cleanse your body. Social. Take supplements. Have sex. Travel. Workout. Drink a ton of water. Celebrate. Love your life. Love your loved ones. Love yourself.

Now go create that beautifully successful business…you deserve it!

Dr. Shirley has been helping people all over the world get well naturally for over 30 years now. A Doctor of Naturopathy with a BS in Health and Wellness Counseling, Dr. Shirley empowers and inspires women daily. Her signature program "Fit, Healthy, Lean and Sexy Any Age" A 28-Day Transformation Intensive launches in January 2016. Her book of the same name will be published early 2016 as well. Dr. Shirley lives in New York with her partner of 11 years Mark Donadio. You can find her on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and her website

The Power of Online Community

By Ange Hammond

In my line of work, I often hear people’s opinions about social media and they’re not always positive. I get it; social media can be time-sucking, energy-draining and can leave us feeling that it’s not really worth it. It’s not always quick to show its value. I see many soulful entrepreneurs give it a go and then after a month their posts become fewer and fewer until eventually their Facebook or Instagram account lies dormant… and I can’t help but think of the opportunities to connect with current and future clients that have been missed.

Social media helps your business to branch out to a wider audience, reaching more of your ideal clients. This form of marketing takes time, dedication and inspiration. For me, Instagram is a favourite and to this day I'm still blown away by the community spirit, support and connection that can be built over time.

One example of this is my long-term connection with Tea Coup. I came across Fehreen's Ayurvedic Teaologist Instagram feed a couple of years ago and instantly fell in love with her style of posts. They were colourful, tea-inspired and full of life. I instantly followed her. She followed me back. From then on, we've mutually liked each other’s posts and on occasion also commented on photos that particularly moved us. Without meeting Fehreen in person, I felt a special connection of mutual respect and shared inspiration.

I couldn’t resist; I did have a look at Fehreen's website from time to time and the thought kept coming to me, "I would love to redesign her website". Her professional photos of both her teas and of her family were beautiful and in my mind's eye I would create her new website. It showcased those photos and her obvious passion for all things tea. For those of you who know me well, I’m a huge fan of tea, so it only seemed natural for me to work together with Fehreen. Maybe… some day.

Fast forward to the start of this year and seemingly out of the blue I received an email from Fehreen and it had happened... the solid connection on Instagram had translated into a website redesign enquiry. I was beyond elated… I couldn’t contain my excitement at the possibility. Yep, that’s my passion shining through! I loved that this enquiry had occurred so organically, without any hard-sells, spamming or convincing... just a strong sense of "you're the one to help me" that can only come with trust over time.

And it did take time, just like a pot of tea that has been steeped to perfection. It wasn’t until July and I was in Glasgow when Fehreen made the final decision to have her website redesigned. Soon after, I continued my digital nomad journey to Ubud, Bali, where I worked on the website design, with the help of both the colourful Hindu daily rituals that surrounded me and the valuable feedback received from both Fehreen and her family. I arrived back in Brisbane last month and all the pieces of the website puzzle came together. Something truly beautiful was launched, on a full moon, the perfect culmination of energy, patience and inspired co-creation.

This is the power of online community. The time and energy that goes into composing Instagram photos and writing email newsletters for me is invaluable. The connections formed and nurtured reaffirm my commitment to following this path.

Here are some quick tips to help you create a powerful online community:

  • Find one or two social media platforms that feel right for you. Signing up to every platform isn’t necessary.
  • Be regular with your posts. For example, I try to post on Instagram every day and failing that, every other day.
  • If you’re posting photos, use ones that are striking and engaging.
  • Think quality, not quantity when it comes to the accounts you follow.
  • Be creative with your posts and have your online community in mind when posting.
  • Use relevant and popular hashtags to broaden your reach.
  • Engage with your community. ‘Like’ posts, write meaningful comments on posts and encourage your community to comment on your posts too.
  • Let your personality and interests shine through, so that your tribe can more easily connect with you.
  • Let go of expectations. Offer your posts as inspirations to others without expecting anything in return.

Not every connection formed on social media will directly convert into a client or sale, and that shouldn’t be the intention, but indirectly, your online community will sing your praises and offer word-of-mouth referrals to their community. The reach of your tribe is immeasurable, as is your own reach. Support each other like you would a bestie. Only good things can come from there.   

Ange Hammond is an inspired web designer and director of Resonant Imagery, creating beautifully vibrant and easy-to-navigate websites. She loves working with other conscious entrepreneurs who want to be positive influences in their community. Having just finished her digital nomad tour of the world, she’s embarking on a bold move to Melbourne. She is the author of Conscious Online Marketing, available on Amazon as an e-book and hard copy book. Connect with her on Instagram, Facebook and via email.

Photo Credit: Tea Coup

Puno Dostres of Made With Map // Behind The Blog Scene

As we kick off our month of #maybizmakeovers and help you fine tune and refresh your biz, we thought it was the perfect time to talk to our LA pal and all around biz boss, Puno Dostres, Founder of I Love Creatives and Made With Map. Puno has mastered the art of Instagram, growing her following in one year to over 95K and has a new online course she has just launched (in addition to a million other super cool side projects - the girl is BUSY!). I was lucky to grab a minute with her to pick her brain on all things social...

Describe your blog or biz in 3 words…
We love creatives!
What is your blog/biz manifesto?
It’s OK to be a slashie (i.e. designer/brand strategist/director). “Jack (or Jane) of all trades, master of none.” I appreciate mastery, but what if you want to try a lot of different things? With the right community and tools, we think it’s completely possible to live a Slashie life.
Top 3 biz essentials?
Aw man! Only three? I could go on forever about biz tools. :) Dropbox is a lifesaver. We use it to organize our editorial calendar for @madewithmap’s instagram. I use it for my freelance clients. If I ever mess up really bad on a photoshop file, I can just go back to the history and recover. I put all my screenshots on there automatically so I can send auto-created links. It’s the best.

Multiple Desktops + Google Chrome Users so I can manage multiple accounts! One day, I was complaining to the husband about how it’s hard to manage multiple accounts on Instagram. He told me about Google Chrome Users and I just about died that day. Died of joy! It’s amazing. Combine that with multiple desktops (and unique wallpapers to visually distinguish) and you’ve got mini portals to your slashie life. Cie la vie logging in and out!

Wacom Tablet - I’m on the computer a lot and the mouse just makes my wrist hurt. It’s a learning curve, but I highly recommend using a Wacom Tablet if you work on your computer a lot. Especially if you use photoshop or illustrator.

My biggest moment/milestone was....
Was when I quit my job. I was at Activision for three years and it really drained me emotionally. I loved the work, but the politics got in the way. I realized that most of my work was spent managing expectations and defending ideas. I was so unsatisfied with that slow moving boat.

My husband quit his job a year before and we knew that we wanted to do something together. It’s amazing how much we’ve learned in these past two years. It’s not easy and it definitely takes a type of person to do it, but if you have the discipline to be persistent and passionate for a whole year, go for it.

My dream collaboration would be?
NastyGal’s GirlBoss and ilovecreatives.

I would love to redesign the “Job Fair”. Nasty Gal’s GirlBoss Foundation help inspire and support a generation of young women to take their careers into their own hands. With the internet, jobs are being made up left and right! There are people that are looking for more interesting, creative jobs. There are people who are interested in freelance. I want to bring all of that goodness under one roof.
Right now I'm listening to…
I really dig this song by Birthday Boy:
Best piece of advice to a newbie blogger?
I’m actually not a blogger right now, but I was a food blogger for a stint. I couldn’t believe how well received it was. People don’t care how small you are.

I feel like ilovecreatives is a mini blog in that we produce content every week. The only difference is that they are in a form of an “ad”. Haha, I even used the Squarespace blog block.

If you are going to build a blog, I would definitely create a growth spreadsheet so that you understand the trajectory of your blog. Are you growing? If you keep going at this pace, what will your blog grow to in six months? A year? Understanding where you will be be based on your effort now makes the journey less overwhelming. The worst is when you’re up all night wondering if your efforts are going anywhere.
If I wasn't building a badass business I'd be...
Working for an Incubator helping founders build their business! Right now in my life, I love building businesses, but I am craving a trip to Alma too. :)
Behind the scenes of my biz looks like…
Emails, spreadsheets, and a lot of in-person meetings in the Arts District.
This year I'm most excited about…
Launching PeopleMap. My husband and I built it a year ago. We needed a tool to help us manage our outreach for @madewithmap’s instagram. I never thought that someone would pay for it. One day, I showed it to a friend who does Social Media marketing and they were like, “I needed that yesterday. When can I sign up?” I had NO idea.

We’re hoping to launch it end of May, but you can play with the calculator now. :)

Photos Credit: Sisilia Piring

Link Love // The Friday Files

friday-files-18-July

I had a crazy burst of creative energy last weekend, the kind where you jump out of bed and frantically start scribbling ideas in your notebook because you don't want the moment to pass or the ideas to be forgotten. Do you know the feeling? I wish I could bottle it. It was just the jolt I needed and luckily I've been able to keep that forward momentum going this week.

I've been able to set a few personal goals for myself and am finally taking the time to invest in making them happen (yeah!) I'm a firm believer that investing in your own growth is the best decision anyone can make so I'm encouraging you this weekend to do something just for you. I'll be resting up and taking advantage of a slow weekend to really delve a bit deeper into my goal list and soak up this creative energy like a sponge. I hope it's contagious. If you need a jolt of your own, these links will do it. Happy weekend...

  • I’m ready to get blog-hearted. Are you?
  • Confused about what exactly is original content? This will help.
  • SO excited about our next creative workshop – time for a bit of glam.
  • 7 friends every woman needs. Which friend are you?
  • Great career lessons I wish I had known earlier.
  • When life gets frustrating, just breathe.

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