Stress is a creativity killer. The secret to living in abundance is learning the art of making positive life choices. While meditations, exercise, and vacations all have the potential to reduce negative stress, you can lie on the floor all you want and relax, but if your relationships are lousy or you hate your work or your creativity is being stifled, you will remain stressed out.
Your life choices, positive and negative, determine your wellbeing. Negative life choices steal your peace of mind and compromise your potential as a creative conduit. True Positive Priorities living means productively resolving the problems in your life and activating life choices such as living where you want, doing work you love, surrounding yourself with mutually fulfilling relationships, and taking care of your mind, body, and spirit. By learning the art of making positive life choices, you can resolve the stressful challenges in your life and free your creative energy.
Loving What You Do
Writing coach Marcia Yudkin, for example, chooses not to do unappealing business writing and says, "Business writing is more lucrative than just working with writers, but there are certain kinds of business writing I know I would hate. It'd be a kind of slavery to me and life is too short."
When I asked Marcia how she manages stress and keeps her life in balance, she also had an enlightening reply: "It's not that hard because I enjoy what I do. So it's not like I'm doing something terrible and I then have to balance it with something that I like. Except for brief periods when I have a deadline and things get kind of frantic, my time's my own. Most of the time I get to do what I want."
How To Eliminate A Lot of Stress & Strain
Loving your creative work eliminates a lot of stress and strain and the need for what I call "work anti-dotes," which are things you need to do to recover from work that poisons your soul. We've all had jobs like that, with insane bosses, too many rules, or no options to participate in the decisions that impact our work lives. These kinds of inhumane workplaces steal our lives away. Most of the women in this book have been unwilling to work in these kinds of organizations and instead choose to purify their relationship with work, their creativity, and themselves.
Photographer Alison Shaw made a great comment about creative work and clock watching. Now that she gets to photograph what beckons to her, she finds that her days aren't long enough: "My whole relationship with the clock and the calendar, in terms of work, is wanting more time. I look at the clock and feel stunned that it's 5 o'clock when I wish it was only 1 o'clock. I choose to feel that way about my work."
In my days as a management consultant and trainer, I heard many horror stories about unhealthy workplaces. In fact, when I would go into a company to run a Positive Priorities workshop, in just a few hours, I could tell you what was wrong with the place. It became obvious, for example, that the managers hadn't been trained, no one communicated honestly, or that people were unappreciated.
These dysfunctional work environments undermine people's creative spirits and their joy of living. But, by building a life of Positive Priorities, you can more easily manifest your creative goals.
Your Life Enhancers
CHALLENGE: Write down ten things you'd really like to do in your life. Don't censor — just write.
Look over your list. What is stopping you from experiencing these dreams now? No one else can grant you a fulfilling life.
You are the author of your own story. Is it an adventure story or a tragedy? You can redirect the plot at any time. By ensuring that you add your ten life-enhancing Positive Priorities to your life experience as soon as possible, your tale will have a happier ending. Commit to your ten goals and set up a timeline with target dates and action steps. No one else can do this for you.
Use your life enhancers as a starting point to turn your life into a creative work of art. For example, just by adding in a week at a health spa every year, Suzanne, a successful entrepreneur, felt much more in control of her destiny. This year she relishes experiencing another one of her life enhancers through building a greenhouse in her backyard to cultivate organic vegetables.
Instead of thinking about where you are,
think about where you want to be.
It takes twenty years of hard work
to become an overnight success. -- DIANA RANKIN, WRITER
The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women: A Portable Mentor
by Gail McMeekin.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher, Conari Press,
an imprint of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC. www.redwheelweiser.com.
©2000, 2011 by Gail McMeekin. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Gail McMeekin, M.S.W., is the founder and president of Creative Success, LLC, where she helps creative professionals and entrepreneurs turn their passions and unique ideas into prosperous businesses. She is the author of The 12 Secrets of Highly Successful Women, The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women, and The Power of Positive Choices. She is a national executive, career, and creativity coach as well as a licensed psychotherapist and writer. (Photo credit: Russ Street.) Visit her website at: www.creativesuccess.com.