The value of values // Plus a 7 step creative exercise for you to know yours..

vision day jan 2017-17

 

I’m not a fan of cheesy clip art. But for the sake of illustrative purposes, this one does the job!

Vector-BoatIf our goals are like the sails on a sailing boat, then the keel is like our values. The keel is the central axis which helps to keep the ship afloat and provide ballast. In choppy waters, it’s the keel which will help to bring the boat back to upright (note addition of choppy waters in said illustration!) Same too with our values- they act as weights and axes around which we can centre and steady ourselves, and keep ourselves true to our intention and truth.

However like the keel, our values are below the surface, which is why they are often hard to identify and to appreciate the role that they play in our decisions, actions, and outcomes. And yet, deep down, it’s our values which help us sense if we are on the right path and feel aligned or congruent with our sense of self- which is why making a conscious effort to identify them is so important.

Getting clear on our values helps us to design our lives, businesses, interactions and projects with more clarity and intention. They help us have better relationships- personally and professionally. When it comes to business they can help us to design customer or client interactions. And importantly, when we hit choppy waters, they help to keep us resurface and stay afloat.

Trust. Integrity. Honesty. Quality. Joy. Play. Freedom. Leadership. Creativity. Adventure. Responsibility. Kindness. Compassion. Authenticity. You’ll have a set of values unique to you, some more prominent or stronger than others.

vision day jan 2017-4

How can you identify them?

Well interestingly we often sense them most clearly them when they have been breached. If trust is a really strong value for you, and someone breaches your trust, you may feel the reaction at a very deep, visceral level. If professionalism is a value and you attend an event which is so poorly run, you may feel a personal affront and anger at the low quality of service. Or if kindness is a value and you witness someone being unkind to another it can alter how you view and in turn value that person. We can also identify them by recalling times in our lives in which we felt a consistent happiness, aliveness or sense of pride. It is likely that your values were being honoured and amplified during these times.

Our values shape the quality of our collaborations too. For instance, understanding where values overlap and where values differ is critical to successful collaborations and so learning to have open conversations with our partners and collaborators is vital to thriving interactions.

We often assume that we hold similar values to those around us, but it’s surprising how much variance there actually is, especially when we see how people individually prioritise those values. If one business partner has a top value priority as ‘freedom’, for example, and another has ‘safety’, then there is a potential clash zone. Maybe the ‘freedom’ person is more likely to take risks in the project and wants take big leaps than the safety person, who values gradual iteration and growth. If you are thinking of going into partnership with someone, doing the values identification exercise below is a great way to tease out potential synergies, challenges or even clashes in advance.

vision day jan 2017-3Plus, when we get explicit about our values it can help us to figure out what to do when we are stuck in a rut or facing a challenging decision. Let’s say you have listed ‘integrity’ as a value, then, when you need some inner direction, you can ask yourself (or your team), ‘What would integrity do now?’ Or if creativity is a value, ‘What is the best use of creativity here, or what is the best creative solution for now?

So, you can see, not only do are values act as stabilisers, they act as propellors too!

(Herein ends the cheezy boat/ ship/ sailing/ choppy waters analogy. RIP clipart)

 

 

……………………………………….


How to identify and prioritise your values: 7 Step Process

Below is a 7 step value identification exercise, developed as part of the Thrive School curriculum. This exercise can be done alone, however it works best where there are at least 3 other people in the room working on it, as it gives you a chance to compare notes and learn together in conversation towards the end.

Time: Initially 45-60 mins. With a 5 review one week later.

Needs: Sticky notes. Blank wall space. Pens.

 

The Process:

Step one: The big list

Write out as many values as you think you have, each one on a separate sticky note. Give yourself about 10 minutes.

A good way to accessing your values is to think about times in your life when you were most happy, and most proud. It is likely that your core values were being honoured during these times.

Or maybe you can recall a time when one was breached? You’ll know if you felt it at a really deep level and it may have been hard to let go of the experience or build trust again.

Step two: Viewing platform

Place all the sticky notes on the wall- take a step back and view. Are there ones that should not belong there? Are there any missing?

Step three: Identify patterns and clusters.

Start placing values which you think belong together in clusters. For example you may think that ‘ integrity’ and honesty should be side by side, or ‘fun’ and ‘play. You may find a clusters of values coming together. Review your clusters. Are there any patterns you see in your values?

Step Four: Prioritising values

vision day jan 2017-9Select your top value from each cluster and place them all together. Depending on how many clusters you had you’ll have a set of values. From these, can you keep removing or adding one until you have 5 values in this group.

Again take a step back. Are these your top five? Sometimes the arrangement of how you place your sticky notes on the wall can tell you something about your priorities. For example: you may have placed them all in a row and have given them all equal value; one may be in the centre and the others radiating from it like spokes on a wheels; or one may be above another. Look at the shape and the form which you choose to place the sticky notes in. Spot any patterns or does the formation give you any clues?

 

Step five (if you are doing this with a group of people)

Bring your top 5 values together as a group. Invite others to view them and ask you questions about your set. Why did you choose this one over that one? How does this one relate to that one? Why not this one? Spend a bit of time teasing out your choices in conversation with others. After the conversation review your set again. Are you happy with this selection?

Step Six

For the following week keep your list of top 5 values visible to you (post them on your bedroom door or beside the bathroom mirror to remind yourself). For the duration of the week track to see how you represent your values in day to day life. In what ways are they honoured? In what ways have they been breached? How have they helped you make decisions during the week?

Step Seven

After a week of tracking your top values take a few minutes to review them. Are you satisfied with your selection? Do you want to swap in one for another? Write out your values in a journal to come back to when you need a reminder.

Thrive School Support Image 2The exercise above is one of many clarifying exercises as part of the Thrive School curriculum.
Thrive School Dublin is soon to start on March 11th – a four month process which leads people through a process of value and vision clarification, into idea forming, through creative blocks and into action.
Applications are now open. You can find more over here. Application deadline is March 3rd.

Want to stay up to date? Sign up to my mailing list for more resources, updates and happenings. Sign up here


Listen to your own rhythm…. and why it is good for business.

IMG_8088

Our circadian rhythms chime at our own pace. What is morning for one, is not morning for another. What’s late to some is early to others. And yet, in the world of work, ‘time management’ is a thing and 9-5 productivity taken as a standard.

It is 22.44pm as I begin to write this blog post. It has been on my list all day to write it. But the weather was beautiful, there was music on the street this evening, and I wanted a walk with my dog. And so the writing got delayed, and delayed. But there was trust in my wandering ways too, for by now I know I am a night owl. As the evening descended and a beautiful silence with it, I knew the blog post would come. Writing has always been a night thing for me.

I’ve never been one for regular hours, which is why a regular office job hasn’t suited me. It is the same for so many of the creative and social entrepreneurs I work with- we do this work partly because it can fit in with our own clocks and pace.

Over the last few months, as I have transitioned into a new life in the South West of Ireland, I now aim for 4 hours of concentrated productive time a day; that is really focused time when I can work, move things forward, get things in motion. Whether those hours are in the morning or evening it really doesn’t matter- what matters is the quality of my output, concentration and productivity. Shifting my attention to the consistent quality of my relationship with my work has meant that I am getting more efficient, and having more beach time too. 

I get as much done in 4 hours as I did when I used to spend all day at a computer. The shift has been from managing my time, to managing and boosting my energy. I am enjoying life more, work more, and my body more. I take lots of breaks and go on lots of walks. I am cooking more too- enjoying planning my meals and turning off my computer when I eat. So when I do sit back down to do the work, my attention is clearer and more concentrated.

There are days when I do spend lots more than 4 hours working, but only if I am in flow and feeling productive. If I am just staring at a blank screen or hopping from one website to the next, I turn it all off, get up from the table and go for a walk.

Like everything, learning to focus it is a practice, one which I am constantly trying to refine. I am easily distracted so I’ve needed to put some ground rules in place to help me stay on track.

So as learn this practice, here are a few things I have found helpful along the way, and offer a question to you ask yourself too….

IMG_9711

Go with the flow

Working in ‘peak hours’- these are the hours when your natural rhythm is heightened. On occasion when I am in ‘the zone’, and when time does not seem to matter, I just roll with this. If energy is flowing, ideas are flowing and creativity on the go, I allow the work to evolve. My peak hours are early afternoon and late evening. Knowing this, I don’t schedule meetings or skype calls before 10am.

*What are your peak hours? 

Move every twenty to thirty minutes

More and more I find it increasingly difficult to sit for long periods of time. I have taken to standing when writing emails, and every 30 mins or so, I try to either do some quick chair yoga stretches while sitting, or I get up to shake my legs.

*What can you do to remind yourself to move on a regular basis?

Create blank space

So, it  while may look like that I am not ‘working’ all that much at the moment, but my daily walks are essential blank spaces. They are my idea generating/ incubation spaces. My walking time is time to think, process, plan, digest, innovate. It is time to be curious. It is often when I am walking that a solution to a problem will come, or an idea will pop. I usually have a journal with me to jot down any ideas along the way, I take some phone notes, or even record a voice memo into my phone. Sometimes I choose to take a particular client on an imaginal walk with me- thinking through some of their issues or challenges, and then seeing what resources, ideas, or solutions arise when I think about them- ideas I’ll later email. So as I get to exercise, my dog gets exercise and my clients get exercise too!

*What does blank space mean to you? How can you create more of it in your daily schedule?

Schedule and structure time

While there is a lot of white and open space in my week, I am also becoming a lot more structured with how I use the remainder of my time. I have found ‘chunking’ meetings to be really helpful- scheduling them in blocks and around other meetings or appointments which I have. So when I need to go into the town or city I try to keep as many meeting together as possible. This has become even more important now that I am living in the countryside and don’t want to be spending all my time driving from one meeting to another.

*What blocks of your work can you chunk together? 

Block weekly regular activities

Monday is always the day I do banking and send invoices, Tuesdays and Thursdays are Thrive School days. Wednesday has a two hour study time block and is my preference day for booking in private client calls. Having this rhythm to each week sets me up. Within each day there is a lot of flow, but each day has a weight and intention to it, which helps to keep me focused on the tasks at hand. It also helps my clients know when they may hear from me.

*How might you ‘weight’ your own week? What intention can you give to each day?

One touch method

It is a simple premise: if you touch it, finish it.

This is about linking single tasks as chunks and as much as possible following individual tasks to an end. Picked up a dirty cup? Wash it there and then. Needing to process photos? Upload, process, export and send all in one go. I’ve written more about the method here.

*Think through a few task which you could apply this method too. Give it a go for a week and see what you notice… 

Tune into what fuels you

Naturally there are days where the slump hits (it happens to us all). So, rather than battling it, asking, ‘What will nourish me now? What will fuel me?’. Depending on the day, weather or season, this can vary greatly. Sometimes it is a conversation with a close friend, sometimes it is a walk by the sea, sometimes it is heading to a coffee shop with my journal or sometimes it is as simple as having a glass of water…

*Make a re-fueling list. What are the simple things that you can incorporate into your daily schedule which nourish and sustain you?

Have the right conversations

Carving those four hours of concentrated time can require some upfront work or conversations. I don’t have a designated office space at the moment, so I need to communicate with those around me when I don’t want to be interrupted, why, and when they can ask me any questions. Depending on the work I am doing, it often means needing to turn off the internet for a period of time so I don’t get distracted by online conversations.

*What conversations do you need to have to create focused time for yourself? 

Keep the vision alive

Why do you do what you do? What it is all for? What will you use your earnings on? How is your work impacting the world? Keeping the ‘why’ alive is a motivator, and helps with focus. Pinterest is a great tool for vision boards, as too working with an accountability buddy to keep having conversations about your dreams and visions. Connecting in with a vision is like keeping the gaze directed. As such, actions can follow.

*What is your why and how can you keep is alive in your day to day activities? 

So there are a few of my own tips. Got any of your own? Feel free to share in the comments below…

 


Creative Islanders: Fiadh Durham

Fiadh Durham Lead Image

 

The Creative Islanders is a new interview series showcasing some of Ireland’s brightest creative talent and enterprise. It is about people who are stepping into their dreams, purpose and possibilities and embracing their one wild life. 

The interviews give a rare ‘behind the scenes’ glimpse into creative practice, motivations and mindsets- shining a light on what makes people tick, and how, collectively, Ireland is alive with creative possibility.

There is such an allure in textile design and weaving for me. Seeing a manual loom in action seems like I am travelling back in time to something ancient and wise, and hearing the loom heave back and forth has a meditative lull for me. I’ve never studied weaving but have much admiration for those who can spin myriad treads into such wondrous patterns while making sense of the what looks like a complex piece of equipment.

It was with such lure I was drawn into Fiadh Durham’s shop in Dingle last summer. Fiadh had been mentioned to me by another friend but little did I realise that she had her looms on view and makes her beautiful textiles there also. Greeted with warmth, I was immediately impressed with Fiadh gentle touch and her passion for both business and weaving.

So it is with great pleasure that we head to West Kerry for this next instalment of the Creative Islanders series with weaver, maker, and creative entrepreneur, Fiadh Durham….

thumb_DSCF2308_1024

What keeps you in Ireland? 

So much!  The people, the craic, the scenery, the towns, the clean air and of course it is home. I have always loved to travel. The list of places I want to see gets longer rather than shorter with each trip. When I was younger I had this idea that I would pursue my dreams as a designer abroad, somewhere much more exotic and different to Ireland but the more places I explore the more I appreciate living in Ireland. There are so many opportunities here, it is up to the individual to make it happen!

What makes you tick? What motivates you? 

It depends on what what element of my life or work I’m thinking about but in general I love a challenge, having something exciting to work towards. I love the idea of kind of custom designing ones own life, doing it your way, its not always easy but a major driving force for me is the thrill of the unknown. It keeps life interesting!

What do you do just for the love of it? 

One is listening to good tunes and another is being outdoors, whether it is running, surfing or just going for a creative ramble with my camera and headphones… soaking up ideas fresh air! I suppose we all have that thing we need to to get head space and these are mine. Growing up, I think we spent 90% outside and I think that has stayed with me.

What does the creative process teach you? 

Sometimes I might question the amount of time the creative process takes and I forget how important it really is in relation to my designs. For me, following a creative process teaches me patience, discipline and it allows for design development to happen naturally. I think good designers are problem solvers and you need time for that.

Why do you do what you do?

I love what I do. I don’t think it would be possible if I didn’t. I love designing and making (textiles especially) and I think in the back of my mind I always wanted to run my own business. Its only been in recent years that I have built up the confidence to realise that I can actually do it. The rewards of your worked being loved and appreciated outweigh the many headaches of running your own business.

thumb_DSCF2405_1024

What were some of the key moments along your own journey that helped you to get where you are today?

Making the decision that I was in it 100%. Full time. It had to be done. Another thing for me was realising that I was in Dingle because I chose to be and not because I ended up here. It’s a dream place to live if you can do what you love.

I have been so inspired by successful creative artists and craftspeople over the years but funnily enough I’ve also been inspired by others who have not managed to make it work and if forces me to ask why and how will I do it differently.

How do you get unstuck? Any secret tools? 

A bit cliché but I’d say believe in yourself and what you love.

Where do you find inspiration? Any hidden gems? 

I am constantly being charmed by stunning colours and patterns around the Dingle peninsula especially but if you look hard enough I think you can find beautiful combinations in the most surprising places. I remember a speaker in art college once say that when you work as a designer that you see design in everything, everywhere you go, that doesn’t switch off. I wanted that to happen me and I think it has, so trick is catch the bug.

DSCF2043

How do you get through tough times? What sustains you? 

I try take a step back, get a bit of space from it all and then look at the bigger picture, it may be one bad day or week but things have a way of working out. Especially if you want it to, you just have to stay positive and keep going but be realistic about what is achievable too.

What key lessons have your learned about doing business or being a creative practitioner along the way? What have you learned from your ‘failures’? 

First thing for me is timekeeping; you need to be disciplined. Make out a plan and give yourself deadlines if someone else doesn’t. I’m not naturally organised so I have to really put the work in to these areas, it good to have what need to happen in the next day, week, month and so on.

I had to write a detailed business plan when applying for funding and I would advise anyone setting up a business to do this.

Do you have a morning routine? Or other creative habits or rituals? 

My routines always change but I do find it really helpful to have them, it keeps me grounded and healthier.

What books have inspired you?  Or what websites do you turn to? 

I do like to read books, especially when I’m on holidays but the things that really inspire me are more visual. My favourite weaving book is ‘Mastering Weave Structures: Transforming Ideas Into Great Cloth’  by Sharon D. Alderman

Designers and websites I am into at the moment:  margoselby.com, habutextiles.com, giveirishcraft.com, irishdesignshop.com, makersandbrothers.com

 

DSCF1342

What advice do you wish you had received as you were stepping onto your own creative path? 

I would have liked to have more mentors in the beginning, so many things that would have been easier if I networked a bit more. You have to put yourself out there. In saying that, you have to have the confidence in your instinct. Take some advice but also know when its not right for you.

And what advice would you give to your future self? 

Find a way to have a good work/life balance. I am a hard worker but I feel that surely its only all worth if if you have a healthy personal and professional life.

What is coming up next for you? 

I feel that my business is at the brink of being properly launched so the next year will be all about getting Fiadh products to a much wider reach. I have big plans for online trading but the thing I’m most excited about is the new designs to come. I am investing in a multi-shaft computer aided hand loom and I will use this to create limited editions of more complex, dynamic designs. I’m so looking forward to getting stuck into that in the new year.

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 19.42.30

Thank you so much Fiadh! I look forward to following the growth of your business and talent. Clare x

Fiadh’s website is over here. 

And her Etsy shop is over here. 

 

 

IMG_4811

 


Creative Islander: Naomi Fein

Naomi Fein Creative Islanders lead image

Photo: Clare Mulvany

The Creative Islanders is a new interview series showcasing some of Ireland’s brightest creative talent and enterprise. It is about people who are stepping into their dreams, purpose and possibilities and embracing their one wild life. 

The interviews give a rare ‘behind the scenes’ glimpse into creative practice, motivations and mindsets- shining a light on what makes people tick, and how, collectively, Ireland is alive with creative possibility.

I first met Naomi about five years ago at a dinner in Cork. I remember her telling me about her move to Ireland from Israel and her love for animation. At the time she was teaching animations skills to kids. Next time I met her, she spoke to me about an idea for a business, and boom, before I knew it Think Visual was born and booming. Naomi Fein is certainly one to run with an idea, but as she will say herself, it has taken passion, perseverance and a whole lot of trial and error.

Think Visual, based in Cork, is a visual design consultancy offering graphic recording, harvesting, and visual tools for making knowledge actionable, shareable and memorable. In a world of so much data and stimuli, Naomi is always seeking ways to make information more accessible and meaningful. How can complex problems be solved when the information about those issues is presented in complex ways?. It is questions like this which drive her business.

One of the many things I admire about Naomi is her willingness to try things out and learn by doing.  So while she has this natural instinct for creative entrepreneurship, she also knows that the skills can be developed and all the more when you surround yourself with excellent mentors and colleagues.

A couple of weeks ago Naomi and I met in The National Gallery of Ireland. She talked, I took notes, and together this interview was born….

….

What keeps you in Ireland? 

Space. It is the outside space; the fact that I can lift my head and see green and sky. I did not have this in Israel. And it is the personal space which people give you. In Israel people do not give each other so much internal space- so people enter into each other’s mental space/ emotional space all the time, and I think in Ireland we give more room to each other.

And the friendliness here. Simply put, the people are nice, and it is a pleasant experience to interact.

 

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 09.42.34

Graphic by Naomi Fein

What makes you tick? What motivates you? 

Seeing my colleagues grow- I get so much energy from that. So when you see someone take a confident step and own their learning is inspiring and motivating. Like Gracie, who came to Think Visual as an admin, and is now designing and delivering programmes, and is proud of her work. It is mindblowing, and something I am proud of too.

Think Visual is where I am focusing me creative energy at the moment, and it is building connections, real connection, with people. That motivates me too. I love supporting people to find their potential and clarity. When people have clarity of vision, you can see results in their outlook and actions- I love that. I just want to use all my skills and gifts and try to have a positive impact on the world. I suppose that it the true motivation.

What do you do just for the love of it? 

I draw. I actually can’t stop. Like right now, I am on the iPad. I draw a lot! I listen to stories too- podcasts. And I talk business. I absolutely love it- chatting to people about what they really want. I want to hear their dreams.

SoloTime

Image: Naomi Fein on Paper App from Studi0 53

What does the creative process teach you? 

Slowing down is really important, and if you build a good base it comes. So for example, asking a lot of questions in the beginning and not jumping into the making too fast is so important. There is always the urge to jump into an idea, but the creative process has taught me to ask the right questions, poke around in the corners and then let things fall into place naturally and effortlessly.

Listening to yourself and the feedback which is coming back to you is also really important. There are many signs which are very subtle but if you know how to listen to them you get a feeling of when you are off or when it needs refining. So it is working with your whole experience- a body sensation, or feeling, or a word which keeps coming back to you. It can even be the breathing of the person next to you. So constantly listening to the feedback which is coming can teach you so much.

How does taking a creative approach to running your own business influence you? 

I am a fan of the collaborative approach. Creativity is not exclusive. There is magic when you celebrate that creativity to come from all people- whether they are labelled ‘creative’ or not. So, the engineer in a meeting, or the accountant, may come up with the best solution- but you need to be willing to listen for that. So it is a partnership approach. People are intrinsically creative.

I always wanted to play in a band, and now this is how work feels for me. We are all the instruments and the music or magic is in the interaction between all the diverse elements.

Why do you do what you do?

I want to have global influence. It is a feeling I have had since childhood. I live in the big picture, and have a global perspective. I really want to play my part and have a good time on the way. I love connecting with like minded people and people who want to use their power and passion and gifts.  Connecting to people who feel powerful and working together- it just feels so right.

0899 0358

 

What were some of the key moments along your own journey that helped you to get where you are today?

The things which come to my mind are the darkest moments. Feeling totally isolated, being in a severe depressed and anxious place but finding that I could find my way out of it. So there are not specific moments, but  I have had this mental shift to know that I can survive. I found a way to get out of that dark place.

I did have one moment which really informed this though. I was 21. I was in India and suddenly I felt that everything is OK and I don’t need to do anything. I realised that I did not have to fix the problem, instead I was able to just feel that there is a bigger picture, bigger than my personal story. That is a base or foundational moment that I go back to. Interestingly I was not practicing meditation at the time- it was quite spontaneous and I was not looking for it. In fact I felt that I had been working really hard up that moment, but in that moment it was effortless. It was not passive but I knew that if I let the reins go, I can be part of whatever is happening without stressing about it. I had a sense of flow and the kind of energy it takes to sustain it. It does not mean I can’t work hard- I am working very hard- but it not in a forceful way. If I feel I have to push something, I know it is just not the way it should be.

So, in essence, if you are not enjoying it- find another way to do it!

How do you get unstuck? Any secret tools? 

I talk! I am extroverted thinker and I need to hear myself talk about the issues or the stuckness. So I look for people I can learn from. Who has done it before? Who has connected to this? If the problem is a visual thing, I look at other people’s work. I look for something that has inspired me. Pinterest boards, google searches, Paper App. I assume that someone has tried to solve that problem before and then I ask for help.

I start with ‘What am I really looking to do?’. If I am stuck, there is something lacking clarity. I use this approach with my clients or colleagues too, asking, ‘What part of the process are you stuck on? Are you jumping steps?’ So it helps to reflect on the process and ask if you are missing information or starting at the right point.

image-2

Photo: Clare Mulvany

Where do you find inspiration? Any hidden gems?

Pinterest. 

Ira Glass! (Oh my god!)

I really love Anna Sale from Death, Sex and Money podcast. 

Visual wise- paper app of Studio 53

I have really good colleagues. Eleanor, Gracie, Alfreod, the Georges (we have two!) and Carol are an endless source of inspiration, each one in their unique way.

My brother and my sister.

I also love a Mexican artist Ado Crusher I found recently online.

Carol Dwek (Mindset)

Dan & Chip Heath – they write about business books, they talk about what makes stories stick and how you make sustainable change with people and decision making.

The 5th Discipline with Peter Senge. 

And my grandma – she is remarkable. She is an artist and creative person. She is 95 – she can’t really see or hear well but she just redesigned the guest room. She re-painted the door to suit the new design, the mattress was too big for the room for bed, so she cut it. There was a hole in the wall so she got cement and fixed it. She is an innovator – and even though she is house bound, she always finds a way. She has such a positive outlooks.

There’s inspiration all around us! Having a positive outlook is a thread linking all these…

What key lessons have your learned about doing business or being a creative practitioner along the way ? What have you learned from your ‘failures’? 

So many! That is a whole new blog.

I just gave a talk on it!

The biggest learning in the business is managing people. I have had to let go of so many people because it just wasn’t working out. But I have been learning to take small successful steps. Small successful steps- they are key.

As a creative person I can see an idea, and people invest their emotions and energy into that idea.  But I have learned that you need to test the ground, and do it in a safe way so that you take calculated risks together… so small and successful steps. Then you build on each small successful step and evaluate as you go. Is it working for you? What are you learning? How can we do better? Are we each taking responsibility for our actions? I believe in supporting people in the right place so that they can set goals which are attainable and build upon that.

Space - 12

 

Do you have a morning routine? Or other creative habits or rituals? 

I am bad in routine! I think it is because I live a lot in my head. But when I am more in my body I am more inclined to keep a routine. But I do walk with my dog every morning in nature. Most of the time I will listen to a podcast and get my dose of stories for the day.

What advice do you wish you had received as you were stepping onto your own creative path? 

Be kind to yourself. It means slowing down. It doesn’t have to be painful. If it started with ‘I have to scratch my wounds, I have to bleed, you have to be a starving artist’. That is bullshit! It is not true… we can enjoy the process and it does not have to be all pain.

What is coming up next for you? 

This year has been about finding the team- finding my colleagues.

What’s coming us is taking us as a group to the next stage. It is interesting place because I don’t have a strong vision for the company but it feels so full of opportunity but we are going on a journey together. We are planning our first big party! I am really looking forward to seeing what will come for us.

There is something that became more quite for me personally too, and I am meeting people at a deeper place. I am settling. I don’t have itchy feet. I don’t know exactly what is emerging, but I am looking forward to  finding out. It feels good quality so I am not worried. I know I am attracting the right people around me, and what they bring is good.. and everything else will be OK.

Although recently winning the Business Woman of The Year award was great! We are getting good feedback… and people have been so kind and heartwarming and supportive. It is empowering! Very empowering…

 

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 09.42.22….

Who would you like to see interviewed here on Creative Islanders? 

Got suggestions? Please leave a comment below. 

Clare. x


Blessed Momentum

h42BkyM9BSPX9AwxvZPQuygsr-_yaKJAXoc5HYzQhow

 

There are days when it is hard to stay motivated in business, and in life.

As a freelancer, juggling many projects, with so much up and down, things can get messy. It is an ever fine tightrope walking between feeling the upward swing or edging into a downward spiral. And so often we are led to think that business, and life, is a linear process. But is so not.

In fact the more I do business, and life, the more I realise it is clearly not so. Labyrinths seem more appropriate images to enlist and yet still we are continually barraged into thinking in linear patterns: growth, scale, expand, produce, exceed; growth, scale, expand, produce, exceed, succeed. Again.

But the labyrinth has led me elsewhere.

Having launched this website earlier this year, alongside a new business- Zen Hen-, while also keeping my photography business, yoga classes and my own art and yoga practices on the go, by August a deep part of myself just needed to wander. I headed out to the West of Ireland, and then to Morocco and Turkey. It was magical. It was filled with love and connection. My eyes landed on newness. It was abounding in beauty and elegance. I am so glad I went.

But coming back into the flow of daily life here, things need my attention. So many things. And all week I have been almost paralysed by the sense and scale of it. ‘What next to do’? I have had the guilt trip, kicking myself for feeling I let my foot off the pedal.

But that serves no one; not me, or not you, dear readers, dear friends.

The fierce reality of all of this entrepreneurial lark is I am still figuring it out- how to run my own business while not running out of steam, how to keep finances in flow so that I too can thrive, how to deeply serve the needs of my clients from a place of integrity, love and openess. This is a work in progress. I am a work in progress. We all are.

And so the learning is in this process too, and so we must proceed.

 

IMG_8088

 

I believe in honesty and truth telling, which is why I am sharing this now. So lovely folks, I don’t have a Creative Islanders interview for you this week and I don’t have my new e-course ready to launch yet either (which I had planned for a Monday start)… But I know they are coming. Why? Because they are in my heart, because they have energy of their own, because I know they are serving a need, and I know they want to emerge. I’ll get there. I know I will. It is just taking me a little longer than I originally hoped. And so I’d love for you to bear with me while I figure out how to steer this ship.

The funny thing about labyrinths is that just when you think you have reached a dead end you turn a corner to realise you are right at the centre of things, into the heart of what matters, and you were never actually that far from it in the first place. The entrance and the centre have a proximity which the path belies.

So often we look at other people in business, in life, and think that they have it all figured out and that things come so easily for them. I am as guilty of this as others- looking at my own role models and wishing, wishing… but behind the scenes we are all struggling with what we need to learn; our challenges lead us to our growth areas, our labyrinthal path is our very own training ground; tailor made to meet our own twisting and turning trajectory.

It turns are that we are really all just seeking our way to the heart of things. 

And so I am grateful. Yes, grateful for it all. For this opportunity, for the not knowing, for the knowing, for the detours and mostly for the people I meet along the way.

In fact, each morning as I wake up and put my feet on the ground, I say to myself, ‘I am grateful for this day’. Even on the days that are hard, even on the days that I want to turn in on myself, ‘I am grateful’. That alone helps to start the day on better footing. ‘Whatever comes, I am grateful for this day’.

It took me about a month to make this little act a habit but it feels like it is there now- the moment my feet touch the ground, ‘I am grateful for this day’.  And that feels like a good place to begin, with pause, with gratitude for it all, over and over and over again. So I can take myself by the hand an lead myself to the next step, and then the glorious next step. For this is the labyrinth of life continuing with its own blessed momentum towards the heart of the matter. Always.