I’ve been told twice in the last week that I “always look so busy”. The first time I heard it was from a good, but distant friend who only keeps up on Facebook and by an occasional email. He’s also single, which leads me to believe that if you put our schedules side-by-side, I probably would look pretty busy.
The second time was from a sweet new friend, Olivia. She’s the mom of a couple of small children, and she’s growing a business making handpainted signs. She is constantly posting pictures of new inventory and talking about custom orders she’s filling… so if SHE thinks I’m busy, I guess I really must be. She assured me that it was a compliment, and that it seems like I’m doing so much and doing it well. I laughed out loud and assured her that I am definitely doing a lot, but usually feel like I’m just barely doing everything well enough.
Olivia joked that I should offer people tips on how to be like me, which was ridiculously flattering and made me laugh again. I considered creating a Twitter account called “BeAwesomeLikeMe”, thinking it would be a great platform for some funny buy semi-serious advice about managing the crazy of life… but the name is taken (by someone who doesn’t appear to be all that awesome, I might add). Instead, I’ll share a list of tips with you! Don’t you feel special!??
Laurie’s Valuable Tips For Those Who Want To Be Like Me
- Do Unto Others. There are people in your community who would love to help you be successful. Seriously, there are. I have found that the more I reach out to support other local artists and crafters and writers in my sphere of influence, the more often I am offered opportunities to be on the receiving end of support.
- Take Notes. I carry a note pad in my purse at all times. The more I use it to jot down notes when I have and idea for a project or a blog post, the more easily those ideas come to me. Creativity is like a lovely creek through a wooded landscape (with dogwood trees hanging over the water, preferably). The water is always there, but you have to keep it flowing to appreciate the full impact it can have on the life that surrounds it. If it’s dammed up, it gets stagnant. It might take a little while to get into the habit of pulling out the notebook, but keep it on you anyway, it’ll happen.
- Be Ready. When an opportunity to collaborate with someone on a project or attend a workshop or take on a new task presents itself, sometimes the biggest obstacle to making it happen is simply that you’re kind of blindsided and feel ill-prepared to take advantage of it. You might end up saying no because you’re afraid that it could create a problem in your schedule. Or maybe you’re just not sure what you have to offer in the scenario that’s presented. Remember that if you are being asked to participate – no matter whether it’s something huge like speaking at a conference or just meeting a friend for coffee because they want to bounce a couple of ideas off of you – you have built yourself a reputation that you should be proud of. Be honest, be approachable, and be enthusiastic. Those attitudes plus your inherent talents will make you ready.
- Take a Break. No matter how flexible or enthusiastic or talented you are, you will need some down time. I try not to beat myself with a guilt stick too much when I get home from work worn out and brain dead, and just need to watch Dr. Who reruns and let the family eat take-out. Your sanity is an important part of your success, and being exhausted and stressed will only make decision-making and opportunity preparedness more difficult.
- Don’t Take Too Many Breaks.
- Let Some Things Go. I spent a good number of years wanting to work in theater and film. I blew my best chance to actually pursue a career in that industry in my 20s, but now a fledgling network of agencies and talent is really taking off here in NW Arkansas. I have been really itchy to get head-shots done and see if I could give it a go now, in my 40s. I have already let go of doing theater because the weeks of rehearsal involved simply would be impossible with all the other things that require my attention. But shooting a commercial… or doing some voice over work or a one-line role in a film… I’m still a bit conflicted about it.
- Hire (or barter) it Out. You don’t have to do it all. Really, you don’t. If you can’t pay for someone to do your yard work or clean your house, you could consider bartering for it. Trade your talents with someone who has different talents. Craigslist has a barter section, and there are a few other websites out there to help connect people who want to trade services. Try looking in the local paper for services people are offering as well, and contact individuals to ask if they’re willing to trade
- Just Get Up. You can make lists, buy supplies, search for inspiration on Pinterest, and read articles and books about making your life what you want it to be all day long for weeks… but until you get off your butt and start doing something, you’re not going to be like me. You won’t be busy, and you won’t have lines drawn through your “to-do” items. Get up and get BUSY.