Category Archives: Musings

Updated 2016 Goal Worksheet!

Need help planning out your 2016? A visual document organizing your plans and goals could be just the thing you need. Here’s the updated version of last year’s goal worksheet.

I hope it helps!

Download the template for your 2016 Goals here!

2016 Goals.png

How to beat procrastination… NOW!

procrastination

We all know how to get things done. You simply follow a set of steps:

  1. Determine what you need to get done
  2. Understand your motivations for getting it done
  3. Break it down into smaller sub-tasks if necessary
  4. Decide you are going to do it
  5. Do it

So why do we all procrastinate? Why do we allow ourselves to be distracted? Why do we put off doing something that we need to get done? 

Procrastination makes easy things hard, hard things harder. -Mason Cooley

There are a few common reasons:

1. Fear. Maybe it’s a fear of failure or success or simply the unknown. The most important thing to know is that you can do something to move through that fear. If a task seems difficult or time consuming, break it down into smaller tasks that are easier to manage. If there is a bit of unknown, focus on the positive good outcomes of getting this done rather than the negative or fearful aspects. Look for the joy in the task and hold onto that. 

2. Instant gratification aka laziness. Fix this by holding yourself accountable. Set your intentions on social media, get a buddy to work towards goals with, or ask a friend to help. Find ways to set and hold yourself accountable to your time frames.

3. Distractions. Set time aside. Meditate for five minutes to focus your mind. Use paper and pen instead of a computer. Turn off notifications, if you must use your computer for the task. Use a time-bound hack, like working for 30 minutes on something you need to get done, then rewarding yourself with 10 minutes of doing something fun, repeating this as often as necessary. Or try working for 10 minutes blocks at a time if something seems really overwhelming. Sometimes just getting started is enough to move past the distractions (and fears!).

4. Maybe you don’t actually need to do that task. Sometimes you have to say no to doing things. Is this task really important? Is it beneficial to you? Is it necessary for you to complete it? Sometimes the key to overcoming procrastination is identifying what does, and what doesn’t, actually need to get done.

Three ways to embrace your imperfect wabi-sabi life

imperfection

Wabi-sabi is the Japanese aesthetic of finding beauty and authenticity within imperfection and the natural cycle of growth and decay. It embraces the flaws and wear that come with time and use. It reminds us that everything is impermanent and we must appreciate it while it exists. This thought process can be applied to our lives in order to help us embrace and appreciate our imperfections.

  1. Accept yourself. Appreciate your strengths, your joys, your weaknesses and fears. They are part of what makes you – you. You can affect change in your life if you truly wish to, but first you must accept yourself and love yourself because of your imperfections, not instead of them. This allows you the freedom to make decisions from a place of love and strength. It also allows you to accept that everyone is imperfect, which fosters compassion and patience.
  2. Get perspective. Understand that the illusive definition of perfection does not exist. It is a relative and intangible concept. Instead, enjoy the beauty inherent in your imperfections. Embrace your own voice and style. Find confidence and let it shine. Your imperfections are what make you authentic and interesting.
  3. Happiness comes from within. If you are dissatisfied with life, you cannot buy satisfaction. If you want to improve your life, you cannot purchase your way to perfection. If you want happiness, you cannot get it from another person. That’s a slippery, unending slope that constantly leads to new levels of distraction and misery. The only way to be content with your life is to look inward and accept yourself as a flawed being. Once you can do that and still believe you’re “good enough”, you no longer need to feel disappointment about the fairy tale of perfection.

Five ways friendship improves us as makers

Infinite - Wall Art - ShawnCarneyArt.com

Friendship is about connections. It’s about genuine, personal relationships that bring us closer to each other and ourselves. It’s about honestly forging bonds with those around us. The habits we foster in our friendships can improve the quality of our relationships and enhance our lives. Those same habits can be applied to our business as makers.

  1. Connecting with other people allows us to be part of something larger. We share experiences and emotions. Nothing is insurmountable. Everything is possible. This results in a boost of creativity and unleashes a flood of possibility.
  2. Friendship highlights our commonalities. We are all the same in many ways. This unifying thread runs through humanity and ties us all together. We can build our art using those threads in order to connect with our audience in transformative ways.
  3. Friendship requires honesty and integrity. We trust our friends. We should put as much trust into our art, which will ground it in sincerity and authenticity. People connect with us because of that trust and respond to it.
  4. Being a good friend means being a good listener. That skill can be applied to our business and art by allowing us to understand what our audience needs from us. Being a maker is about sharing and providing, which requires that we listen so we know what is needed.
  5. We treat our friends the way we want to be treated. This level of respect and compassion is just as important in our business. Give your audience the best of yourself. It’s an investment in yourself and in the world around you.

Letting go and finding independence

Shawn Carney Art - Fate

Many of us live our lives passively because we are afraid of change. We accept what happens around us, making slight course corrections when really good or really bad things intersect with our paths, but generally just going with the flow. But we are constantly being pushed and pulled by the forces of change. That resistance to change creates a conflict with our basic human nature to take the course of least resistance and results in an inner turmoil, a feeling of being at odds with ourselves.

We think we are sheltering ourselves from pain by not taking risks. We attach to things that are familiar even if they are transitive (which everything is) or negative. We put up with situations and people that limit our ability to experience joy. We isolate ourselves or expose ourselves, but we often feel empty and alone. Interdependence and interconnectivity with those around us is crucial. We are social beings. We have reliance on others and others rely on us. Independence comes by letting go of the fear of change, accepting risk as a necessary means of growth, while providing value and worth to ourselves and not expecting anyone else to give it to us.

Risk alone doesn’t cause pain. Risk is a catalyst that can facilitate change. We picture the definition of success and failure in our head and then we feel joy or disappointment based on the outcome we perceive. We build the stage for the emotions we feel. We are the writers, directors, producers and actors of our own play and we have the power to let go of what isn’t working for us and create something new.

Let go of the things that are hindering your joy. Embrace and seek out those that support and encourage you. Practice mindfulness and positive thinking. Accept risk and change. Embrace your independence.

Compassion starts inside

Shawn Carney Art - Open Hearts and RoadsIn a world that is rife with stress, obstacles, disappointments, and pain it’s often hard to find compassion when we need it most. Starting within and providing yourself with a generous level of self-love and kindness can create a transformative path through that suffering. It isn’t easy, but you can do it by consistently practicing these four steps.

The first thing to do is to take a moment and breathe. Don’t act, don’t react, don’t run, don’t lean in. Just focus as much as you can on your breath. Slow, steady, deep breaths.

Once you have your breath, look inside. Notice what you are feeling, physically and emotionally. Where is it manifesting? Your heart, your core, your throat, somewhere else? This often tells you something about the root of the emotion.

Finding the space to accept that emotion you are feeling, whether it is fear or pain, disappointment or anger, allows you to tolerate it. In that toleration, you can find acceptance. It is a feeling, it is not you. You move through it and it moves through you, but it is not you. Accept that it exists, separate from you.

Knowing this is a transitive experience that will soon pass can give you the distance to manage it compassionately. Most of the time, these emotions are remnants of old, ingrained patterns that are trying to protect you. Unfortunately, they are often so outdated that they cause you more pain than then prevent. Understand that it is trying to help. Believe that it has good intentions somewhere in its core. Speak gently to it and thank it and ask it to leave so you can make room for positivity. Being compassionate with your pain allows you to be compassionate with yourself, which allows you to be compassionate with the world.

Regular practice of these four steps towards self-compassion can help you to handle adversity with grace.

The 9 step process to transform bad habits into good ones

Everyone has bad habits. They’re usually a way for our subconscious to cope with stress or anxiety. Sometimes we slide into these negative behaviors slowly over time, sometimes they’re learned from others and sometimes they’re leftover remnants of the past. The good news is that you can transform bad habits into good ones!

visualize

Using a few simple methods, you can manifest the reality you want. Here how:

  1. Visualize the change you want to make. Consciously decide on the intentions for your life. Commit to this change and make it a priority.
  2. Decide on a substitute for the thing you are trying to change. Once you determine what you want to change and what you will replace it with, you’re ready to take action.
  3. Turn large changes into small steps. Trying to change something big takes time. You didn’t get where you are overnight and it’s going to take just as long to change those habits. Break down your plan into smaller, achievable steps that aren’t as daunting.
  4. Ritual and focus. Pick a time and work on your small step. Remove as many distractions as you can. This time is yours and it should be sacred.
  5. Join a group or find a friend who is willing to support you as you work towards this change. Declare your intentions publicly on social media. Find a way that feels authentic to hold yourself accountable to sticking with this goal.
  6. You can’t manage what you can’t measure. Your goals should be SMART so you can see your progress as it unfolds.
  7. Have patience and compassion with yourself. There is no need to punish or withhold, no need to be judgmental or negative. This is a process and you need to allow yourself the room to experience it while remaining positive.
  8. Accept your limitations and go beyond them. If you experience a setback or a failure, forgive yourself. Accept your defeats, reassess, find another way, and try again.
  9. Celebrate your achievements! One small step for today, one giant leap for your life.

leap