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Your body of work: the greatest gift for transition to a bright new life

February 22, 2018

Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.

George Bernard Shaw

Leaving an organisation where I have worked for over 30 years, I reflect on this transition and the gift of learning from my body of work over time.


body of work

Leaving a long-term job role

Today marks an auspicious day when I leave an organisation where I have worked for over 30 years. It’s not without sadness. And it’s been a strange conclusion in many ways. I’ve been on leave for some time caring for my mother who recently passed away after a long battle with terminal cancer. So not being in the workplace as I leave, the usual farewells have not been part of the process. It’s as if I have disappeared off into the sunset on another journey.

This is in part very true. I realised about two years ago that I no longer enjoyed my job or working in the organisation. The organisation had changed and so had I. It was time to get back to my long-harboured creative loves and pursuits that lingered in the margins of my days. The books and creative inspiration I craved and hung onto as I made a long commute to work by car and train became key. This liminal time became a passage of transition as I sowed the seeds of my leaving into the stitches and seams of my days. I realised my heart was no longer in it as I applied for jobs I didn’t really want.

In truth, this leaving had been a long time coming and at this stage, I had already started to move on and transition to another life. The one I really wanted to be living. You may know that feeling – your heart has left the building, or relationship or place. And you walk in the door each day feeling so empty dragging yourself through the day until it’s time to leave. So you make a plan to leave for good to create a new life.

transition

The greatest gift

My time in the organisation – a large government department focused on adult vocational education, TAFE NSW – was not without great joy and opportunity. The greatest gift of this transition has been to reflect on my body of work over time to plan a vision for a new life.

It’s so easy when we feel the sadness of moving on to devalue the past, all that we are and all that the organisation and its people have given us. The opportunities, the connections, the people, the learning, the vision, the strategy, the excitement – it can all get snowed over in a narrative of loss. There’s a tendency to risk losing the good and the valuable continuing threads with all of these feelings.

Pain is a player in this scenario too as we may feel undervalued. In my situation, I’ve been made ‘redundant’, my job ‘deleted’ in a restructure I am no longer a part of. The language itself is a challenge to deal with, not exactly creating the best of feelings. We can tie our self-image to this boatload of emotions and feel ourselves being towed behind it, awash with anger. In this, we can risk losing focus on the valuable gift of the resources of such timing.

But the greatest gift hidden in all of these experiences is what Pamela Slim calls our ‘body of work’ – the thread that ties our story together. This is the story we have been crafting and creating from our desires, our dreams, the opportunities, the interactions, the people we worked with, the projects envisaged, the products created and the services delivered. Therein lies the seeds of so much wisdom.

transition

Your body of work

It took a painful experience for me to realise all of this and to start to move on. A chance gut-wrenching workplace experience one day was the catalyst that made me realise I could no longer stay. I had to make changes. The next day I reached out to my friend, Victoria Smith, a life-coach and inspiration, someone who’s been down this road before me, to help me track a new path.

I’d reached a low point and I knew I could no longer navigate this time by myself. My coaching series with Victoria became the blueprint for a new life. A conversation about Pamela Slim’s ‘Body of Work’ in that coaching series was a pivotal piece that helped to tie my transition journey together.

The trick with a wise transition is to reflect on the driving force and heart of your work over time. What really drives you? Across all the job roles you have done, what are the recurring passions? What makes you come alive? Which themes occur in various ways again and again?

Pamela Slim says that her motivation in writing the book was to:

find a set of “new” skills for the world of work in the twenty-first century that would provide options, flexibility and freedom to workers across every mode, in every industry.

Her work enables us to do just that by identifying these core elements:

  • defining your roots
  • naming your ingredients
  • choosing your work mode
  • creating and innovating
  • surfing the fear
  • collaborating
  • knowing your definition of success
  • sharing your story

transition

My body of work in transition

As I’ve moved through this time of transition, I have worked through all these areas. You will see these themes woven through my blog posts, as I’ve shared my story along the way. I have realised that the key threads that tie my story together are:

  • making a difference (always a motivator for me, sharing skills and knowledge to help others);
  • teaching, coaching, mentoring, blogging (different forms of empowering others and sharing knowledge, skills and experience);
  • creativity (innovating, leading it, fostering it, writing);
  • leadership and self-leadership (leading others means leading yourself first);
  • being a reflective practitioner and knowing myself (a constant search for self-understanding, professional development and reflecting on experiences in work and other life roles);
  • writing (the authentic heart of it all, being a writer, becoming a teacher of writing and weaving it as a strategic and professional superpower in my life);
  • introversion and intuition as key strengths and gifts as an INTJ, the captains of my personality ship I needed to learn to work with; and,
  • in all of this, being wholehearted in how we live and work, not bringing parts of ourselves to the door of any workplace or relationship.

Bringing all this together in a new way into a new life and business is exciting but challenging work. It’s taken consistent work towards my vision sustained over time. And it is about hard work and not luck as Kerstin Pilz reminds us in this beautiful piece, ‘Why luck had nothing to do with my self-directed life.’

Making a path for my transition

So finding myself feeling half-hearted, experiencing a ‘loss of heart’ as Lynn Hanford-Day describes it, a kind of burnout, I shifted to a job-share arrangement 18 months ago to plan a new future. Coaching with Victoria helped me shape this new path and I knew the ingredients for the future, based on the key threads of my past and taking them forward.

I set my goals of:

  • becoming a Beautiful You Coaching Academy life coach (achieved July 2017)
  • becoming a certified Jung/Myers-Briggs personality type practitioner (achieved December 2016)
  • working with my Introverted Intuition preference as a key compass especially via tarot and oracle card tools (achieved via courses, personality work and ongoing practice in 2017)

Setting and achieving these goals has been the backbone of my transition journey, with key learning milestones stepping the way.

authentic heart

Core desired feelings as guides to transition

My core desired feelings are at the heart of everything I do. I want to feel and convey being:

creative, connected, flowing, intuitive, poetic.

Connection especially has been a theme now and finding new kinds of networks. Not being in a traditional workplace can mean a loss of connection. At a time of leaving the workplace, I’ve developed rich connections with a beautiful community of fellow life coaches. We support and inspire each other. I’ve also had the chance to develop deep connections with valued coaching clients who have honoured me through sharing their journey.

Via social media, especially Instagram, I have found the most amazing kindred creative souls. Through Quiet Writing, women have shared wholehearted stories of transition inspiring me and others as we reflect on and initiate change. The hallmarks are startlingly similar across the stories, though they play out in different ways. I am meeting more and more online friends in real life in the most incredible encounters where we share our stories. The personality type community is another tribe of people where I feel a strong connection and source of learning and growth. And I know I will reconnect in different ways over time with many special people from the workplace.

Creating your story

As we move through times of transition, we can create our story, as George Bernard Shaw reminds us. The special ingredients of our body of work, our drivers and passions, are the greatest gifts and teachers on the journey of change. Painful as it might be at times to feel redundant, rejected or no longer belonging to the team, it’s an opportunity to create ourselves anew.

This time can be an opportunity to interrogate what Steven Pressfield calls our ‘shadow careers’, where our lives are an imitation of the real thing we want. He suggests in ‘Turning Pro’:

If you’re dissatisfied with your current life, ask yourself what your current life is a metaphor for.

That metaphor will point you toward you true calling.

So now I move full steam into a new career focused on being a writer and a personality and life coach supporting women to create their wholehearted story at times of transition. I know the ingredients of my body of work. Writing, creativity, making a difference, coaching, teaching, reflecting, sharing knowledge, leadership, self-leadership, introversion and intuition are the threads taking my story forward in support of others.

Distilling all of this brings me to the focus of this transition and new phase of life:

choosing to journey deeper into your wholehearted story

This is the theme of my journey and body of work. And it is what I offer to you through my writing, this blog, my coaching and personality type work and my intuitive tarot work. My deepest threads weaving together into a new story to inspire yours.

Thank you for your support on this journey. May you find your true calling, bringing together all the elements of your body of work forward into a new life. I look forward to sharing my newly formed self-sustaining creative life with you in all its guises in support of your own.

If you’d like to find out how to work with me, you can find out more here. I’d love to work with you!

transition

Image of me by Lauren of Sol + Co

Thank you

With gratitude and love to my family and all my key influences, special friends, life coaches, teachers, coaching clients and fellow travellers on the journey this past year or so, especially my dear friend Victoria Smith.

Thanks to TAFE NSW and all my colleagues for our time together. It is a time I treasure and one from which the deepest friendships and connections have come. I’ve been blessed with inspiring leaders and mentors who have taught me so much about leadership and self-leadership.

Much love too to my beautiful mum, Shirley, who supported my journey transition generously and with the greatest enthusiasm even as her journey was coming to a close. This truly is the greatest of gifts for which I am forever grateful, her body of work being the deepest love of family.

Keep in touch & free ebook on the ’36 Books that Shaped my Story’

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transition wholehearted stories work life

Breakdown to breakthrough – my wholehearted life

January 31, 2018

breakdown to breakthrough

This guest post from Lynn Hanford-Day takes us on her journey from breakdown to breakthrough and finding new ways to connect and create a wholehearted life.

This is the sixth guest post in our Wholehearted Stories series on Quiet Writing. I invited readers to consider submitting a guest post on their wholehearted story. You can read more here – and I’m still keen for more contributors! 

Quiet Writing celebrates self-leadership in wholehearted living and writing, career and creativity. This community of voices, with each of us telling our own story of what wholehearted living means, is a valuable and central part of this space. In this way, we can all feel connected on our various journeys and not feel so alone. Whilst there will always be unique differences, there are commonalities that we can all learn from and share to support each other.

I am honoured to have Lynn Hanford-Day as a ‘Wholehearted Stories’ contributor. My sincere thanks to Lynn for sharing her story and photographs and stunning artwork. Lynn’s wholehearted story tells of how she moved from burnout and a corporate HR career to working with sacred geometry and the divine feminine and crafting a multi-faceted career as artist, coach, facilitator and therapist working with women in transition and organisations going through change. Read on to find out more!

A heart attack of the soul

“You’re lucky.  Some people have an actual heart attack, and some of them die” said a friend.  His words really struck a chord in me. I may not have had a cardiac arrest yet I felt dead, lifeless, unable to function physically, psychologically, emotionally.  My heart was still beating and that meant I was alive, apparently.  I had flirted with burnout many times over previous years and had already read ‘The Joy of Burnout’ by Dina Glouberman three times. I had even done a retreat with her on the Greek island of Skyros for God’s sake!

But this was the big one.  It is five years ago this January I woke up unable to move.  I’d spent the previous three or four months feeling tired and by the time Christmas arrived, I felt utterly exhausted. I remember telling work colleagues I felt like I had run into a brick wall.  I thought I needed a holiday and all would be well again.  I never returned to my job as an HR Director, in fact, I didn’t work for another 18 months. During that time I gave up my job and I then had to sell my house because I ran out of money and following that I moved house four times in two years, thanks to the vaguery of the rental market here in the UK.

breakdown to breakthrough

In January 2013 I was told I had severe clinical depression and chronic stress.  I certainly had burnout of epic proportions. I spent three months in denial about this, and, paradoxically I began to recover when I accepted I was ill.  Just doing the washing up was a major event. Even now I find it incredible that I didn’t realise I was ill and that I’d been suffering from insomnia for months. That swallowing Nytol tablets by the fistful and glugging chamomile tea at 4am to help me sleep wasn’t normal and didn’t work.  I didn’t feel depressed, I felt exhausted and spent.  It was my body that made the decision for me to stop working and force me to lay down.  Most of the time I didn’t know if I was sinking or floating. Much of the time I felt I was in freefall, falling backwards down a deep, deep well, never knowing when I would land at the bottom.  I was being given a lesson in the art of S-L-O-W.   And even though I wasn’t busy on the outside I was very busy on the inside.

For me, burnout is about loss of heart.  There was no heart attack, but I was turned to ash and I wasn’t even sure whether there were some embers glowing.  My internal landscape was like those images after the forest fires in California, an apocalyptic scorched landscape.  Both my Doctor and my Counsellor said that this had been coming for many years, and looking back on my life I can see the truth of that.  They told me that recovery was possible, yet I wasn’t sure what would rise from those ashes.

Place, space and belonging

Sanctuary arrived in the form of a dear friend who had retired to Dingle on the west coast of Ireland.  ’Come and stay’, she said, and so I did, for a week at a time every few weeks. And so began my love affair with Ireland. I discovered the magnificence of the mountains, the sea and the sky and how I loved the sound of the wind from the Atlantic gales.  I stood on the clifftops and felt I could breathe.  All that spaciousness in the landscape and the seascape gave me peace.  And what a joy that no-one knew who I was. To the local folk, I was simply Lynn, and this was such a relief and a liberation as I no longer knew who the hell I was.  In my dead and drowning energy I began to feel glimmers of life in Ireland, and I felt a belonging to a place that was missing in my other life.  At some level the wildness of the land connected with the wildness in me.

breakdown to breakthrough

An unlived life

In the slow months of recovery, as I made my way back from the descent into the underworld, I realised that I needed to change my life.  I recognised my workaholism for what it was, the numbing of pain and unhappiness, and that for me to continue as before would be a massive act of self-harm, a suicide.  I developed a curiosity about the divine feminine and the archetypes that lived in me, about mid-life transition, and what Jung calls the shadow life or the unlived life.  I spent a lot of time exploring the transpersonal realm as I connected with my soul.  At some point, the following poem arrived in my life and its message became my guiding star.

An unlived life

By Dawna Markova

I will not die an unlived life.

I will not live in fear

Of falling or catching fire.

I choose to inhabit my days,

To allow my living to open me,

To make me less afraid,

More accessible;

To loosen my heart

Until it becomes a wing,

A torch, a promise,

I choose to risk my significance,

To live so that which came to me as seed

Goes to the next as blossom,

And that which came to me as blossom,

Goes on as fruit.

The slowing down of life gave space to the whispers of my heart and soul and I began to seek synchronicities and to just say ‘Yes’ to new people and new experiences as they presented themselves to me.

breakdown to breakthrough

On becoming an Artist

Very early in my illness, I found a class in meditative art, which I had never heard of, but it contained the word meditation so that meant it was good for me! In class, I kept drawing circles.  Another source of peace that quietened the incessant chatter in my head were colouring books, long before they became so popular. I would colour mandalas and kaleidoscopic patterns for hours and my monkey mind would sleep, much like it did when standing on the cliffs at the edge of the world at Dunquin in Ireland.  As I made peace with my body I became curious about sacred geometry and mandalas and looked for a class. I couldn’t find any so in 2014 I bought a book on sacred geometry and a pair of compasses and began to teach myself.  This interest became a passion and drawing mandalas became my meditation.

Later in 2013, my creativity called for more nourishment so I looked for an art holiday in Ireland and what I found was an art therapy summer school at the Cork Institute which included a module on Carl Jung and mandalas.  This really appealed as I had qualified as a psychotherapist in 2008 (I did my 4-year training whilst being a single mum and in a full-time job as an HR Director).  Then, on a visit to my local art shop, I saw a poster for the Central St Martins Summer School in London. I found a one week course in Expressive Art, which sounded like you didn’t need to have any experience as I was seeking art for non-artists.  breakdown to breakthrough

When I got there I wondered what on earth I had done!  I was the second eldest in the room, the one person older than me was the teacher who was 72.  The young woman next to me was 18 and waiting to get her exam results.  I had never used an easel and had no idea how to set it up, much like doing battle with a deck chair.   And then in September 2013, I heard of an online course by Flora Bowley in a ‘thing’ called intuitive art. A whole new world opened up as I was astonished to discover the quality of art courses that are available online.

Art was my salvation and brought me connection with my creativity and my intuition. Little did I know that these were my first steps towards becoming an artist.  If someone had told me in 2013 that in 2015 I would be exhibiting and selling art, would have a website and take commissions I would have laughed.  I hadn’t held a paintbrush since school and that was nearly 40 years ago. As for geometry, I hated that at school!  Now my protractor is my friend. And during 2016 I took a 10-month teacher training with Chris Zydel in California in expressive and intuitive art, which I completed in February 2017.

breakdown to breakthrough

Stepping into a new way of being  

Art has sustained me through a transition into a very different life.  As much as I tried to return to a full-time job in the corporate world, the universe was having none of it!  Reluctantly, I formed my company and became self-employed and then, out of the blue, two weeks later, an old work colleague contacted me to ask what I was doing workwise.   Within two weeks I was facilitating a team development programme which turned into an 18-month coaching assignment with eight people. I began taking personal clients for coaching and mentoring and using my training and experience as a psychotherapist and as a coach.  I trained others in facilitation skills and group processes.  And I took on consultancy contracts in Human Resources and change management.

This sounds easier than it was.  As my health recovered I also suffered a significant deterioration in another direction.  The sibling to depression is anxiety and during 2014 my declining bank account and constant uncertainty of the house rental market threw me into panic attacks.  In an attempt to escape the anxiety I became desperate to get a permanent job in order to give myself a sense of security and safety.  The constant stream of rejections made me feel even worse.

breakdown to breakthrough

From breakdown to breakthrough

My body closed down, my heart turned to ash and catapulted me into a new life and a new way of being.  I don’t recommend a catastrophic breakdown. Yet it is also true that for me breakdown was ultimately a breakthrough and I discovered I had an unknown talent and that turned out to be something I love.  Claiming the title *artist* was a tricky one!  As was wrestling with notions of identity and who I am in the world, letting go of an old self and an old identity.  You know, it was a couple of years ago I stopped myself from buying yet another self-help book about how to change your life when I realized I have done that.

My life is radically different to how it was in 2012. I earn my living doing the type of work I want to do.  I make a difference in the world by helping people change their lives.  I have a hobby that keeps me sane and brings me enormous pleasure, and much to my delight people want to buy my art.breakdown to breakthrough

My wholehearted life

For me, the wholehearted life is the opposite of an unlived life.  A wholehearted life brings fulfilment and contentment, an inner peace and when anxiety arises I know I am being given a message that I am out of alignment.  I now pay attention to my physical, mental and emotional energy and I follow my heart in saying Yes and saying No.  I have learned that saying Yes to the unexpected that shows up in life can bring the most amazing experiences, such as offering to write this guest blog post, which is another first for me.  A wholehearted life isn’t necessarily easy and I have to beware old habits.  In many ways it is about living a simple life, pleasure comes from being with friends and family, love is what really matters, and learning the art and act of self-compassion is a work in progress for me.

What next? As we enter 2018 I have chosen my word of the year to be Nourish.  My mum died of pancreatic cancer on 2 November and death brings a renewed focus on life in the way that it always does. Grief and loss bring me to another transition and another opportunity to care for and nourish myself whilst I continue to shape my wholehearted life.  I want to develop my mindfulness practice and train as a teacher of self-compassion.  I want to be more consistent with my creative pursuits, to write and to paint, to hold more classes and workshops.  I want to host my Renaissance Woman retreat which I couldn’t do as mum was dying. I want to develop my coaching practice and run more women’s groups. I want to feel the sun on my face and the warm water and soft sand on my toes.

breakdown to breakthrough

About Lynn Hanford-Day

Lynn Hanford-Day

 

 

Lynn Hanford-Day is an artist, coach, facilitator and therapist working with women in transition and organisations going through change.  She is especially interested in creativity and intuition, positive psychology and strengths, helping people to access and express their inner wisdom.  She helps women discover clarity and confidence, path and purpose.  Her art and more about her as a coach can be found at www.sacredintuitiveart.com

 

 

Read more Wholehearted Stories

If you enjoyed this wholehearted story, please share it with others to inspire their journey. You might enjoy these stories too:

Embracing a creative life – a wholehearted story

Becoming who I really am – a wholehearted story

Finding my home – a wholehearted story

My wild soul is calling – a wholehearted story

Our heart always knows the way – a wholehearted story

How knowing your authentic heart can make you shine

Keep in touch + free ebook ’36 Books that Shaped my Story’

You might also enjoy my free 95-page ebook ’36 Books that Shaped my Story’ – all about wholehearted self-leadership, reading as creative influence and books to inspire your own journey.

Just pop your email address in the box to the right or below You will receive the ebook straight away as well as updates and inspiring resources from Quiet Writing on personality type, coaching, creativity, writing, tarot, productivity and ways to express your unique voice in the world.

Quiet Writing is on Facebook and Instagram – keep in touch and interact with the growing Quiet Writing community. Look forward to connecting with you and inspiring your wholehearted story!

transition wholehearted stories work life

Embracing a creative life – a wholehearted story

December 30, 2017

creative life

This guest post from Jade Herriman is all about embracing a multipassionate, creative life as the key to more wholehearted living.

This is the fifth guest post in our Wholehearted Stories series on Quiet Writing. I invited readers to consider submitting a guest post on their wholehearted story. You can read more here – and I’m still keen for more contributors! 

Quiet Writing celebrates self-leadership in wholehearted living and writing, career and creativity. This community of voices, with each of us telling our own story of what wholehearted living means, is a valuable and central part of this space. In this way, we can all feel connected on our various journeys and not feel so alone. Whilst there will always be unique differences, there are commonalities that we can all learn from and share to support each other.

I am honoured to have Jade Herriman as a ‘Wholehearted Stories’ contributor. My sincere thanks to Jade for the contribution of her story and the photographs she shares from her work. Jade combines the creativity of art therapy with coaching to help people see themselves and their situation in new ways. Her wholehearted story tells of how she came to embrace the multiple dimensions of a creative life. It is a really valuable reflection piece as we end a busy year and many consider changes in their life for 2018. Read on to find out more!

Building and leaving a career

This is a story of building and leaving a career. It is the story of tasting burnout, choosing healing and moving toward a softer more creative life. Most importantly this story is not finished, it’s still being written.

These days I love the mystery and watching it unfold, without a firm and clear plan but rather trusting intuition and the accumulation of small choices to lead me somewhere new.

Over 15 years I worked hard in various jobs related to environmental management and sustainability. I had been keen on science and environmental issues since I was a kid and wanted to get in there and make a difference. From starting out after uni with no clue about how to apply for work and very little useful work experience to ending up in a senior role in a research organization managing large projects, I had a steady job with long-term career prospects. On the face of it, I was achieving what I had set out to do – so why was it feeling so hollow?

After a while, I began to feel sick of the professional mask required to work in these roles, the way that people came together to speak about work issues but often not what was in their hearts. I felt like the workshops I was running with professionals from different industries were sitting at a very surface level, all about the mind, but rarely about what mattered most to people. I longed to help facilitate more meaningful connection. I wanted to create spaces where people could be honest and share their hopes and fears as well as their competency and their ideas for work.

Over time I started to have a yearning to do something more creative. Our work was deeply creative in a sense – we were always designing and innovating, but I yearned to do something that involved the visual arts and making things. I started studying art therapy, part-time, on my weekends and days off, just in case one day I might find a way to use it.

creative life

Burnout helped me take the leap  

I had always been quite competent but not very confident, terrified on the inside of all that was required of me, but reliable and seemingly calm. I liked doing well and getting lots done but at times the burden of what I was carrying felt too much, and I would eventually buckle under the weight of the stress.

Burnout was a hard teacher. Finally, I learnt that my body had limits and that I could not be in stress mode indefinitely without it affecting my ability to continue. Burnout taught me that downtime is important to balance the busy periods. It taught me that constant worry about the future is not helpful. It also taught me that I still exist without work, without a title, without ‘outputs’.

In art therapy, we often talk about the hero’s journey and the descent into the ‘nadir’. This is the challenging place at our lowest where we feel that part of us is dying a symbolic death – before our ascent back into the ordinary world refreshed, wiser and more enriched by the journey. Burnout was this for me – the worst fear realized and endured – the catalyst that helped me leave my job and past career and take baby steps in a new field.

Feeling my way as an art therapist and coach

When I decided to start my own business, I gave myself permission to try things to see what I liked. In some ways work for me had always been doing ‘what was needed’ or ‘what I had been asked to do’. This was a chance to ‘feel’ my way through life – what actually felt satisfying, enjoyable and absorbing. Without stress fuelling my actions, with time and space to do and not do, I was able to observe what tasks I was able to do joyfully without much effort.

I had to adjust my pace through the first year especially, as my body was still quite exhausted and recovering its energy. I dialled back my expectations and allowed myself to have days that weren’t very productive. More and more I listened to the quiet voice of my body and less to the fear-driven voice of my ego. It felt like Persephone, a popular archetype for the wounded healer, spending time periodically in the underworld before returning to the productive harvest of summer aboveground. I embraced yin and yang, light and dark, productivity and rest.

Starting again wasn’t always comfortable. It was a brand new area of work and rather than being an experienced practitioner, I was a beginner all over again. I had to adjust to no longer having big and fancy projects to talk about or other trappings that made my ego feel secure. I had to sit with grief, loss, self-doubt and feelings of failure that came up sometimes. A book that resonated with me especially at this time was Wild Creative by Tami Lynn Kent, a love song to a life lived intuitively and in tune with our physical selves.

creative life

Bringing together my passions and loves

What my new work brings me is a chance to sit with people in honesty and create a space where all feelings are welcome. In art therapy groups, we speak about all aspects of life – and there is often a bittersweet tone to the conversations, about loneliness, about challenges, about grief, loss, trauma and mental illness. But there is also joy, sweet playfulness, and heartfelt connection between participants. There are shifts and development for individuals on the most humble of levels that are also quite profound – as they stretch their windows of tolerance, as they develop confidence in themselves as a creative person, as they practice speaking and being listened to with respect. In coaching, clients navigate self-doubt as a step forward towards long-held dreams.

I love that my work involves art now – helping other people make friends with art, playing with art materials, attending client exhibitions, making art myself, facilitating spaces where people make art together and reflect on the insights it has for their lives.

It also involves design and creativity in terms of thinking of new workshops, new programs, new writing that might be helpful for my clients. I love problem-solving and brainstorming with my coaching clients. I love the way that each session draws on all that I have to offer and there is a requirement to be in the moment, fully absorbed and focused with that person, responding to the mood, situation, communication styles, needs and more of each client.

creative life

Embracing my scanner self and a meandering path

Another big part of the journey towards a more wholehearted life has been embracing the part of my personality that is enchanted with learning and novelty. After discovering Barbara Sher’s work on scanners (multipotentialites, multipassionates, renaissance folk), and especially her book Refuse to Choose, I have found it easier to be kind to myself about my moving passions. Beyond just kind, I also approach my multiple interests with more respect and curiosity. I look for underlying patterns between the things I am interested in and know that to be happy I must do what I love.

How wonderful when we can give ourselves permission to do what we love, and not be wracked with guilt about being ‘selfish’ because we realize that people doing what they love benefits us all.

I went on to train to become a coach with Barbara Sher. This was face-to-face training over five modules all held in Germany! Geez, that was a lesson in following my instincts to do what I love even if it ‘makes no sense’. Since then I have been honoured to work with amazing multipassionate people around the world as they take steps to bring their dream projects into being.

What this insight into my personality has mostly given me is lightness in holding onto whatever it is I’m working on now. So for example, while my creative life at the moment looks like being an art therapist and coach, I no longer define myself entirely by my roles. Instead, I give myself permission to always be learning about how I can contribute my skills in the world, and what configuration of work feels good to me. I know that this will change over time, and I am less attached to having a CV that ‘makes sense’ to others than I am committed to listening to my inner voice, my curiosity and my fascination to see what might be the next thing for me.

creative life

What is wholehearted to me?

Becoming more wholehearted has been about embracing my softer side, my fearful side, the side that needs rest and can’t always ‘produce’, my intuitive and heart connected side.

It has been about living through and beyond perfectionism, overwork and burnout. It has been about creating a more gentle and caring way of working that plays to my gifts not just my skills.

In some ways, it has been about letting go of control and being okay with not knowing how the river of my work and life will meander. As a keen gardener, I like to imagine my life as a creative garden, which might be replanted frequently and feature a different mix in the years to come. In part, being more wholehearted has also been about stepping back from work, and having it take up a smaller part of my life, and unhooking myself from the wheel of achievement as a primary driver.

About Jade Herriman

Jade Herriman

 

Jade Herriman (Dip TAT, BSc and MSocSci) is a creative business owner, art therapist, artist and certified Barbara Sher life coach based in the Inner West of Sydney. She loves using art therapy and coaching to help people see themselves and their situations in new ways, and helping others create, connect and work towards their dreams. For more information, go to www.jadeherriman.com

 

Read more Wholehearted Stories

If you enjoyed this wholehearted story, please share it with others to inspire their journey. You might enjoy these stories too:

Becoming who I really am – a wholehearted story

Finding my home – a wholehearted story

My wild soul is calling – a wholehearted story

Our heart always knows the way – a wholehearted story

How knowing your authentic heart can make you shine

Keep in touch + free ebook ’36 Books that Shaped my Story’

You might also enjoy my free 95-page ebook ’36 Books that Shaped my Story’ – all about wholehearted self-leadership, reading as creative influence and books to inspire your own journey.

Just pop your email address in the box to the right or below You will receive the ebook straight away as well as updates and inspiring resources from Quiet Writing on personality type, coaching, creativity, writing, tarot, productivity and ways to express your unique voice in the world.

Quiet Writing is on Facebook and Instagram – keep in touch and interact with the growing Quiet Writing community. Look forward to connecting with you and inspiring your wholehearted story!

personality and story work life

Personality skills including how to be the best you can be as an introvert in recruitment

October 27, 2017

This article is a roundup of recent Quiet Writing guest posts with a personality skills focus. This includes: how to be the best you can be as an introvert in recruitment; leadership and self-leadership; and introverted and extraverted intuition.

They all reflect the focus in Quiet Writing on wholehearted self-leadership and knowing our personality and how to work it.

personality skills

Learning about recruitment as an introvert

My guest post, This is How to Make the Most of the Right Recruitment Opportunities as an Introvert, is featured on WorkSearch.com. It explores the challenges and opportunities in presenting yourself strongly as an introvert in recruitment processes.

This article on personality skills in introversion and recruitment stems from my leadership experiences, observing and supporting others going through recruitment. It is shaped by my developing practice over time as an applicant and an introvert. And it’s informed by my professional understanding as a personality type practitioner.

There have been three key influences in shaping my practice and experience as an introvert in the recruitment space:

  1. Working with a coach and mentor over time – I worked on my skills over time in coaching and workshop contexts with executive coach, Nick Greenhalgh, from Career Innovations. In partnership, we developed skills in leadership and recruitment in staff members. This was so they could present themselves in their best light when applying for positions.
  2. Understanding quiet influence skills via Quiet Influence: The Introvert’s Guide to Making a Difference – This book, by author, speaker and executive coach, Jennifer Kahnweiler features in my 36 Books that Shaped my Story. Through it, I learnt to value and deploy the natural introvert skill-set for influence and impact. Importantly, I learnt how to apply it for maximum effect in recruitment situations and leadership roles.
  3. Developing my practice as a professional in Jung/Myers-Briggs personality type – It’s one thing to know you are an introvert and what that means. But I wanted to dive deeper and use my knowledge to help others. I knew the difference this self-knowledge made in my life, so I was keen to share this light with others. So I’ve trained in personality skills and type assessment, adding this to my professional leadership and self-leadership skill-set.

Sharing skills learned as an introvert in recruitment

Based on this input and background, in this article, I share my feelings and experiences about being an introvert in recruitment contexts. I have invested significant energy in my skills over time both as an applicant and leader. I share my learnings and key resources from this experience in personality skills to guide you.

Whilst this piece focuses on introverts in recruitment, the skills are valuable for all going through recruitment. You might be more extraverted in preference and so able to think quickly on your feet. But skills like thorough preparation, achievement mapping, knowing your case studies and writing well will only complement your natural strengths, making your claim for positions stronger.

I hope you enjoy this article honed from my personality skills knowledge, leadership and self-leadership skills. I’d love any feedback and thoughts on your experiences and on the article itself.

This Is How To Make The Most Of The Right Recruitment Opportunities As An Introvert

Leadership, self-leadership and solitude

You might also enjoy my other recent guest post on WorkSearch.com, How to Become the Heart of Successful Leadership: This is What You Need to Know. It was based on the book, Lead Yourself First: Inspiring Leadership Through Solitude by Raymond M Kethledge and Michael S Erwin. My personal experience as a leader, introvert, life-long learner and committed autodidact influenced my thoughts and reflections. Leadership especially as a quieter person and the value of solitude for all leaders are highlighted in this piece.

How To Become The Heart Of Successful Leadership: This Is What You Need To Know

Personality, wholeness and intuition

I naturally focus on introvert areas as an introvert and because I know the difference this knowledge made to me. Learning to work my introversion was a light-bulb moment for me and many of my coaching clients and Quiet Writing readers relate to this. But in my personality work, I’m interested in promoting balance, wholeness and acceptance of others, whatever our type. It’s great to understand our own personality type. It’s also valuable to learn from other preferences.

So, it was fascinating to deep dive into intuition from both an introverted and extraverted perspective in guest posts over on Life Reaction recently. If you haven’t already read them, you can find them here:

Introverted Intuition: Learning from its Mysteries

Extraverted Intuition: Imagining the Possibilities.

To make intuition a strong practice, it’s worthwhile to review the different modes of cognitive processing and comparing these different ways in which intuition plays out in the world.

personality skills

Personality skills and wholehearted self-leadership

I hope you enjoyed this round-up of Quiet Writing guest posts on introverts, recruitment, leadership, personality and intuition.

These guest post pieces reflect the heart of Quiet Writing. Two key themes underlie Quiet Writing: one is being wholehearted and how we create our stories; the other is self-leadership and how we work towards being wholehearted through taking personal action.

The key to taking action and knowing which actions to take are:

  • knowing ourselves and what we value and desire
  • learning to listen to our inner knowing
  • understanding our innate personality, including its strengths and what is challenging for us
  • seeking out, incorporating and acting on influence and inspiration from others.

My thoughts on wholehearted self-leadership stem from being a leader in the workplace and learning from this experience. The leadership of creativity and my impact on others’ ability to be innovative has been a key theme in my life’s work. I’m interested in how this lens can now be applied more broadly so self-leadership is a way of promoting self-driven approaches to more holistic career and creativity.

The key aspects I have chosen to focus on in Quiet Writing are:

  • Life Coaching – for wholehearted self-leadership
  • Writing – to discover our wholehearted stories and how we strive for creative lives and careers
  • Personality assessment and exploration – to be able to explore our personality skills and stories through Jung/Myers-Briggs frameworks and other perspectives to help us in our quest for understanding, accepting and knowing ourselves.

I look forward to exploring these themes further at Quiet Writing and in writing, personality and coaching work.

And my sincere thanks to WorkSearch and Life Reaction for featuring my work on their platforms as part of a growing body of knowledge on personality skills, leadership and self-leadership.

personality skills

Keep in touch

Keep in touch – subscribe via email (see the link at the top and below) to make sure you receive updates from Quiet Writing and its passions in 2017. This includes personality skills, Jung/Myers-Briggs personality type developments, coaching, creativity, writing and other connections to help express your unique voice in the world. You will also receive my free ebook 36 Books that Shaped my Story – so sign up now to receive it!

Quiet Writing is on Facebook and Instagram – keep in touch and interact with the growing Quiet Writing community.

If you enjoyed this post, please share via your preferred social media channel – links are below.

You might also enjoy:

Shining a quiet light – working the gifts of introversion

How to know and honour your special creative influences

Being a vessel or working with introverted intuition

Overwhelm, intuition and thinking

Intuition, writing and work: eight ways intuition can guide your creativity

All images except personality books via pexels.com and used with permission and thanks.

personality and story transition wholehearted stories work life

Our heart always knows the way – a wholehearted story

July 30, 2017

heart

Frustrated in the quest to find work and a life you love? Don’t despair, the greatest truth is that our heart always knows the way. 

This is the first guest post in our Wholehearted Stories series on Quiet Writing. I invited readers to consider submitting a guest post on their wholehearted story. You can read more here.  

In essence, Quiet Writing celebrates wholehearted living and writing, career and creativity and I am keen for a community of voices to be telling their story of what wholehearted living means here in this space. In this way, we can all feel connected on our various journeys and not feel so alone. Whilst there will always be unique differences, there are commonalities that we can all learn from and share to support each other.

I am thrilled to have my dear friend, Katherine Bell, as the first ‘Wholehearted Stories’ contributor. Katherine and I met through an online course, The Introvert Effect, created by Katherine Mackenzie-Smith. When I talked on a group phone call about my planned transition to a more wholehearted way of life, Katherine reached out to me afterwards, sensing a connection in our stories. We have been firm and amazingly synchronistically connected friends ever since, supporting each other and sharing a love of books and especially of David Whyte, who features in this story.

I hope you enjoy Katherine’s story, poem and exquisite photography. My sincere thanks to Katherine for her beautiful contribution to Quiet Writing.

Starting out on my journey towards wholehearted life and work  

This is not a romantic story. Certainly others found it inspiring to start with—a quest towards a better life is something we can all relate to … for a time. But when the initial 12 months I had planned (what was I thinking?) grew into 18, then 24 … then five years and there were no tangibles like an impressive job title, a book, or the usual manifestations we take as evidence that someone has a successful life … well, cue crickets chirping and tumbleweed rolling down the deserted street.  

Not long after my 39th birthday, with my life in a dire mess, I checked myself into a psychologist. I naively approached this as I would manage a work project, and estimated that I would be fixed before I turned 40. I was about to learn that inner work—deep inner work—is nowhere near linear. My biggest challenge was that I didn’t know what I wanted, despite recognising that I was desperately unhappy. I also felt that something was wrong with me, as the kind of prescribed life my partner of nearly 20 years had envisaged for us—and that everybody else seemed to want as well—was just not me. I felt like the Ugly Duckling, I simply didn’t belong.  

A beacon of hope 

It wasn’t until a friend passed a copy of David Whyte’s ‘Crossing the Unknown Sea—Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity to me around the same time that I recognised a voice like my own for the first time, and dared to hope that there was another way for work, relationship, life— a way that fit with me, instead of my feeble attempts to contort in ever-increasingly painful ways to fit with it. I can vividly recall the night I started to read it. I was in the bathtub (my Fortress of Solitude in those days) again feeling like the Ugly Duckling. But this time, the experience was akin to the duckling’s heart both leaping and aching when he looked up to see beautiful swans—his own kind—flying overhead. I recognised in David Whyte a kindred other who lived at depth, even though I did not quite know what living at depth was at that time.  

heart

This simple, profound recognition was enough to start me on the journey of my own unknown sea. Here, finally, was someone else who had crossed that sea, I recognised his voice, and I knew I belonged in some way to that pilgrimage. Fast forward to the present day, and with a small, knowing smile I say that the recognition was of my own voice. The best gift of David Whyte’s words have not been their beauty, nor their inspiration (as profound as both are) but the validity, the permission, they gave to my own words, my own voice. There was nothing wrong with me after all, I was not a duckling, I was a swan. I had simply been surrounded with voices that did not recognise mine.  

With that first heart-leap of recognition, and the simple permission given by the Wonderful Mr Whyte, I took the plunge into the unknown sea towards work, life and relationship that was wholehearted. I tackled the problem in the only way I knew how to at the time, which was to leave my job, home, partner and city in the same week (not recommended) and take flight to the other side of the world for six weeks. My entire known life was in storage, ready to be dealt with when I got back.  

In this way I jumped into my own metaphorical boat with not a clue (thankfully) of the squally territory that lay ahead, or that I would feel at sea for several years. I say “feel at sea” as in reality we are never truly lost, or alone, it just feels that way, and part of our quest is to be able to endure the inevitable crises of discomfort, discouragement, or despair. It’s a riding out of the storm, knowing that it will eventually pass.  

Allowing our heart direction to emerge 

I think the trip was the only part of the plan that made sense, in hindsight. It gave me the relief and spaciousness I needed—both literally, staying in remote parts of the English countryside and roaming open fields, mountains, and wild clifftops in the rain, and metaphorically, in starting to thaw out from what had been a fraught existence, both at work and home, for long years at a stretch. I felt like I was emerging from a coma and needing to learn what was real again. This was in the smallest of ways to begin with, an almost imperceptible turning of my head and simple noticing of what elicited a positive reaction in me, like surprise at hearing the unfamiliar sound of my own laugh.    

heart

It was a significant shock when I returned to Australia without a home, job, partner or any structure to my life and needed to take the first breath of my new life. I moved to a regional town near my family, embarking on a series of experiments to find work that worked for me. Work, for me, is of central importance, and my experiences with it not working have been as painful as any of my life’s challenges. David Whyte elevates work to the status of a marriage in his book “The Three Marriages: Reimagining Work, Self and Relationship” and I agree with it being given this priority. This is especially so for those who are creative types—there is no divorcing ourselves from our work, they are one and the same entity.  

In Crossing the Unknown Sea, David Whyte talks of “having a firm persuasion in our work” (p.5) and that has certainly been the crux of my quest, taking precedence over relationship for a time. I have grappled with finding work that is heartfelt and resonant, and what has looked like foolishness to others from a financial perspective has been a dogged determination to settle for nothing less. I certainly miss elements of my former lifestyle, but in resolutely setting my sail to my own course I can say I am at peace and happy.  

My golden rule is that as mine is the only head to hit my pillow each night, I’m best qualified to set that sail, as long as I am staying aligned to what is true for me. It has, however, been stressful in needing to hold out far longer than I envisaged, yet the alternative—the life I used to live and the work I used to do—is no more an option for me as running a race if I no longer had legs. As Whyte’s friend Brother David said to him “You are only half here, and half here will kill you after a while. You need something to which you can give your full powers” (p.132).  

Discovering my work  

The only idea I had about what my right kind of work looked like was that I wanted to write. Knowing that I wasn’t interested in writing fiction was at least a start. I stumbled through exploring writerly activities such as creating a blog, writing poetry, entering writing competitions, and applying for a writing scholarship. However, apart from the cathartic blog and poetry, it felt as though I was contorting myself again into a shape that wasn’t quite right. Thankfully, as Rumi says, “what you seek is seeking you”, and I soon had an opportunity presented to write for a research organisation, work which I found I truly loved. All my clumsy attempts and experiments had in fact been my apprenticeship to the kind of writing I love. In revisiting an earlier journal I discovered the prophetic words:  

“My work will be a melange of my heart – not just one thing, it will be a blend of all the things that make my heart glad: writing, thinking, researching; the alchemy of ideas”. 

Here was evidence that my heart had known all along, I had just not been in a place to hear it, let alone respond to it. 

heart

The benefit of hindsight 

Hindsight shows us that all experiences—even the most painful—prepare us for our own particular work. Some experiences are definitive (like David Whyte’s influence on me, foundational stones to the structure of the work which only we can do) and some are transitional, forming the scaffolding we need to emerge ever so slowly until ready to stand and reveal our work to the world.    

If I could rewind the clock and give myself some advice to make the journey easier, it would centre on the following. 

  • There is no timeframe in matters of the heart, especially when needing to find a way back to life after being metaphorically dead as I was. It will take as long as it will take, even if you are just a little lost. Don’t try to plan and control it; it will only cause additional pain. I think one of the most important things is that any emotional or psychic recovery needs to be given the same credence as a physical injury. I have had to constantly adjust my expectations of the timeframe of recovery, likening it to having every bone, muscle, ligament broken and undergoing extensive rehabilitation, and learning to live again being more than a little changed.    
  • Be kind and patient … with yourself. I wish I had cut myself some slack along the way; I was really doing the best I knew how to at any given point, as feeble as that was. 
  • The truth is not that everything will be OK, it’s that it already is. Time and time again I have had to remind myself “all is well”. Even in the darkest moments, the truth is that everything is working for us when we are aligned to our hearts, not against us.   
  • It’s not a journey with a destination. I’m still not there, and I don’t think I ever will be. As David Whyte says, it’s a ‘continuing conversation’. The important thing is that we keep showing up, open-hearted, looking for the Hansel and Gretel trail that leads us ever homewards, crumbs as clues left behind by an engaged and benevolent Hand (whether we understand that to be our God, our Higher Self, or whatever language we use to give meaning and shape to our spirituality). 

From the time I first recognised David Whyte’s voice (and ultimately my own) in the bath all those years ago to now, I trust my little boat, metaphor for my heart, to carry me ever onwards. I have nothing to fear while I’m aligned to it. My only request is that after several years at stormy sea, I’m soon taken to safe harbour for a little respite, perhaps where I can feel the warmth of the sun of friendship and community on my face. Then, as it is now, all will be well.  

Postscript 

This reflective journey has led me back to a poem that I first started to write as I walked the clifftops in England all those years ago, with my own unknown sea stretched before me. Whilst not originally written with the intention of sharing it, it seems to fit so beautifully into my story that I offer it here.  

 

After

It turns out (in the end) that I am far
stronger than we all thought.

Surprisingly,
I chose to be brave at morning’s first light,
however grey and dim it appeared then.

Turning towards the east
to walk ever closer to the Ocean of Who Knows What,
throwing my face and caution
to the biting wind of my vulnerability,
stripped of all pretence and belief
for better, or for worse:
Strengthened
or at last, Ruined.

In angry defiance
—or quiet acceptance?—
I signed up, took the gamble,
declaring “See here?
This, this is my Mark,
my Consent,
my Line In The Sand
of how I will live and be in this world.
And if I die at this brutal hand
well …
at least I felt the sharp slap and bite of the wind,
the driving rain that hurt my eyes and became my tears,
and the aching weight of loss
after loss
—how will I bear it?—
but knowing at last,
This was Me
I had reached Land’s End,
And I refused to go into hiding again.

Standing on the cliff buffeted, yet
Resolute, watching
the cruel sea
Relentless against captive rocks,
I thought “Poor things, they’re just like me…
—pounded and near-drowned”.

Then pounded and near-drowned some more.

In years to come I will know that in
choosing to live
at risk of the Open Sea
I breathed
walked
and dreamed
Awake
Alive
in this beautiful and vicious world
that sometimes despised,
sometimes loved me
(I never knew which it was).

crossing the unknown sea

 

About Katherine Bell 
Katherine Bell
Before turning to the quieter world of writing, editing and research, Katherine worked for 25 years in the corporate sector across multiple industries in senior administrative and strategic project roles. Making a tree-change from Sydney to regional NSW several years ago, Katherine is passionate about promoting research that translates into real-life outcomes. She is currently working on forming an alliance with other corporate escapees who share her passion for making the workplace more humane and sustainable, particularly for those who are introverted or highly sensitive. Co-founder of  The Edit Bureau she also assists academics in Australia and overseas with getting their work published.

Keep in touch

Subscribe via email (see the link at the top and below) to make sure you receive updates from Quiet Writing and its passions in 2017. This includes MBTI developments, coaching, creativity and other connections to help express your unique voice in the world. My free ebook on the books that have shaped my story is coming soon for subscribers only – so sign up to be the first to receive it!

Quiet Writing is on Facebook – Please visit here and ‘Like’ to keep in touch and interact with the growing Quiet Writing community. There are regular posts on intuition, influence, creativity, productivity, writing, voice, introversion and personality including Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

If you enjoyed this post, please share via your preferred social media channel. The links are below.

You might also enjoy:

Creative and Connected #6 – how to be a creative entrepreneur

How to make the best of introvert strengths in an extraverted world

How knowing your authentic heart can make you shine

Creative and Connected #4 – the wholehearted edition

coaching creativity planning & productivity work life

Creative and Connected #7 – how to craft a successful life on your own terms

July 28, 2017

Once we trust that we are giving it 100%, then we can trust that every day 100% looks really different.

Jen Carrington

successful life

Inspiring resources to keep you creative and connected – this week with a focus on how to craft a successful life on your own terms.

Here’s a round-up of what I’ve enjoyed and shared this week on various social platforms on crafting a successful life on your own terms. This includes looking at how we structure our working week and how we define our success.

Imagining a different lifestyle

I started a transition plan for a new career and working life one year ago now. I worked with a coach and identified my professional development goals including Life Coaching. Shortly after, I shifted to a part-time work program. My beautiful mum was diagnosed with a serious illness just as I started on this journey. It’s been challenging time as I negotiate a life transition and provide important care and support.

A key part of this journey has been imagining a different lifestyle. This involves balancing self-care and care for others. It also means learning how to craft a successful life on my own terms through:

  • working on what I love, centred around my passions of writing and creativity;
  • enabling a self-sustaining creative lifestyle;
  • making a difference via teaching and Life Coaching, inspiring and sharing resources and learnings from my whole life, not just my work life;
  • having writing and Life Coaching as the twin hearts of a creative, flexible working week; and
  • changing my definitions of success.

I’ve just completed my Life Coaching training this week and am now a Beautiful You Coaching Academy Life Coach. This was the key centrepiece of my year plan. I’m working with pro bono clients at present and hope to start working with paying clients later this year. I also see writing as a stream of income into the future.

My learning over the past year has been about crafting a successful creative lifestyle. In fact, I’ve been preparing for a long time on how to be a creative entrepreneur.

In this post, I dive deeper into this theme of crafting a successful, self-sustaining creative lifestyle. A key focus is how we manage our time and structure our working week and how we might define success differently.

Podcasts on crafting a successful life on your own terms 

Creating your ideal working week, with Jen Carrington on Sara Tasker’s Hashtag Authentic

This podcast is a fabulous conversation between Sara Tasker and Jen Carrington, coach for big-hearted creative business owners. I recommended this podcast in 6 Inspiring Podcasts for Creatives and Book Lovers post and I listened to it again today. It’s such inspiring listening.

It covers:

  • the intuitive work week – learning to work differently as a creative, self-employed person;
  • self-care as self-employed creatives;
  • working in ‘ebb and flow’ and in seasons, of hustle, rest and struggle, knowing we can’t always be ‘on’ all the time;
  • learning how to define success in different ways from the traditional work ethic model and managing what Jen calls ‘work week baggage’; and
  • women as self-employed, creative breadwinners.

Both Sara and Jen are successful creative entrepreneurs and their learning is based on experience. It’s so heartening for me to hear young women having conversations about living a successful, creative life on your own terms.

You can also listen to Jen’s podcast episode Redefining your work week, which explores the intuitive work week and scheduling an ‘impactful, joyful and productive work week’. It encourages self-employed, creative people to look at current schedules and how to get in the flow and be more productive. The concept of ‘work week baggage’ and the stories we tell ourselves about work is also discussed.

Jen’s The Intuitive Workweek course is an awesome resource and e-course for deeper personal work on this theme.

Money, Writing and Life – with Jane Friedman, on The Creative Penn, also explores creativity as a ‘proper job’, and specifically, business models for writers and being an author entrepreneur. This is a way of living a successful life on your own terms as a writer.

Books and reading notes

I’ve continued reading David Whyte’s Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity on work and identity. I’m savouring this book in a slow, delicious read. In the flip side (or precursor!) to some of the creative business models above, David talks about ‘the haunted house of insignificant success’:

The house I had built from my work was busy, but in the way a haunted mansion is busy, full of wails and rattling chains. All the time, I refused to acknowledge my core work, I was turning into a ghost on the surface. (p126-7)

We’ll be exploring this book next week on Quiet Writing, so stay tuned!

I finished the audiobook of Joanna Penn’s Business for Authors: How to be an Author Entrepreneur. It is a comprehensive overview of how to be successful as an author. It’s recommended reading for learning more about operating as an author and business person. It also shows how living life on your own terms as a writer is possible through self-publishing.

I also started reading The Writer’s Guide to Training Your Dragon, by Scott Baker as an audiobook as part of my self-development and sustainability as a creative entrepreneur. I so love writing by hand and especially with my fountain pens and Japanese inks. But being able to write more and without pain is definitely a long-term goal I’m investing time in.

successful life

Blog/Twitter/Instagram posts and interactions:

In Defining your own success, Sara Tasker discusses success and how women are defining new ways of working based on creativity, community and connection. She announces that her husband is leaving a secure job to become a member of Sara’s team. In reflecting on this, Sara says:

So I guess that is what success means to me: the freedom to choose, and to keep choosing, and to craft whatever kind of life we want. To be so blissfully contented in those choices that we don’t even care what anyone else is measuring us by, or give it a second thought.

In How I intentionally schedule my week as a creative business owner, Jen Carrington provides an update on learnings from her experiences. These include:

  • working outside the home more
  • making client days more fun
  • personal development as a daily habit

Successful entrepreneurs are more likely to have these two personality traits highlights the role of intuition in entrepreneurship. This is a theme I have found weaving through so many of these podcasts and reads. Intuition is a personality trait I rely on more as I work to live a successful life on my own terms.

I wish to give a huge and grateful shout-out to the awesome Beautiful You Coaching Academy as I successfully completed my Life Coaching training this week. Beautiful You is dedicated to training heart-centred life coaches who can build the unique business of their dreams. The number of highly successful businesses that the Academy has spawned is testament to the excellent quality of the program and the inspirational leadership of Julie Parker, the CEO, founder and lead trainer. Julie is a shining example of how to craft a successful life on your own terms.

successful life

I will write more soon about my experience in the course and what it has taught me. Beautiful You has fabulous resources for creative business owners interested in living a successful life on their own terms. And really, life coaching is all about encouraging and supporting people to do exactly that! For example, How to breakthrough negative core beliefs and build the business of your dreams focuses on building a Life Coaching business. The advice is transferable to anyone looking to build a self-sustaining, creative business and focuses on mindset.

On Quiet Writing and Tarot Narratives

My post on Quiet Writing, How to make the best of introverted strengths in an extraverted world, explores ways to work and influence as an introvert to make the best of natural strengths.

My Tarot Narratives on Instagram have continued to be a rich source of inspiration and insight for my creative journey. Thanks for all the creative interactions. On crafting a successful life, in a recent post, Eleanor Roosevelt in ‘You Learn by Living’ reminds us:

Maturity also means that you have set your values, that you know what you really want out of life. What are the things that give you great satisfaction?…To be mature you have to realise what you value most. It is extraordinary to discover that comparatively few people reach this level of maturity. They seem never to have paused to consider what has value for them” (p72)

And here’s the beautiful orchids continuing to come out in my garden. We’ve been blessed with a bumper crop through no great effort for which I am grateful.

Have a fabulous creative weekend!

successful life

Creative and Connected is a regular post each Friday and the previous posts are below. I hope you enjoy it. I would love any feedback via social media or comments and let me know what you are enjoying too.

Feature image via pexels.com

Keep in touch

Subscribe via email (see the link at the top and below) to make sure you receive updates from Quiet Writing and its passions in 2017. This includes MBTI developments, coaching, creativity and other connections to help express your unique voice in the world. My free e-book on the books that have shaped my story is coming soon for subscribers only – so sign up to be the first to receive it!

Quiet Writing is on Facebook – Please visit here and ‘Like’ to keep in touch and interact with the growing Quiet Writing community. There are regular posts on intuition, influence, creativity, productivity, writing, voice, introversion and personality including Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

If you enjoyed this post, please share via your preferred social media channel – links are below.

You might also enjoy:

Creative and Connected #6 – how to be a creative entrepreneur

How to make the best of introvert strengths in an extraverted world

How knowing your authentic heart can make you shine

Creative and Connected #5 – being accountable to ourselves and others

love, loss & longing transition work life

Finishing on a high note – closure, letting go and moving on

May 25, 2017

 Some of us think holding on make us strong;

but sometimes it is letting go.

Hermann Hesse

 

moving on

Finishing on a high note is important. As one thing ends and we cycle into new beginnings, it’s vital to pause and reflect on closure and tie up any loose ends. And depending on the situation, it’s also a moment to restore, forgive, show gratitude, bed down our learning and celebrate what we have achieved.

Here are some thoughts on unfinished symphonies and opportunities for ending on a high note and shifting into a positive journey in moving on.

Unfinished Symphonies

The beautiful ‘Unfinished Symphony’ card from Colette Baron-Reid’s Wisdom of the Oracle deck has popped up for me a few times in the past weeks. Each time, it’s reminded me of the power of appropriate closure and reflection on what has passed before moving on.

closure

The first time it appeared, it prompted me to focus on some administrative loose-ends – paperwork, small things I’d been putting off that were hanging over my head and stopping my forward movement.

The next time, it was about finishing off an e-course that was very valuable to me that I was close to completing and hadn’t quite finalised. It was a reminder to thank the creator personally for what they had given me through the process and to take the lessons forward and integrate them fully into my life.

Most recently, it was about honouring my skills, my body of work, as I reflect on my next steps in my career and vocational life. Skills are transferable and we develop many in our lifetime. It’s so easy to close the door on skills that are valuable as we shift into different roles or environments. It’s important to take stock of all the varied knowledge, experience and values we bring forward as we recreate ourselves again and again in career and vocational roles and through our own businesses.

Closure, completion and finishing off

As we shift to the end of something and into a cycle of completion and restarting, it’s so easy to rush forward and forget the reflection phase, the opportunity to pause and integrate what’s just happened.

As the Guidebook for the Wisdom of the Oracle says for the Unfinished Symphony card:

Take inventory so that emotional and psychological closure can occur and the answers you seek will be found. You can’t move forward if you are leaving things unfinished. Reflect on what has passed so that the symphony can finally end on a high note.
Page 37

We might be leaving something or somewhere because we choose to. It might be retirement or the end of a relationship or a move of location. Other times, it may not be through our choice. It might be a case of  redundancy, betrayal, just not fitting in any more or circumstances beyond our control.

Whatever the situation of finishing up or leaving something behind, it’s valuable to reflect on how we can leave gracefully with wisdom and a sense of completion. We can move forward with a spirit of reflection and learning, and with a practical attitude of taking what will serve us well on the onward journey. It’s important not leave loose ends, unfinished business or pieces of ourselves behind.

Ways to finish on a high note

Here are some practical ways to finish on a high note:

Tie up the loose ends

As Colette Baron-Reid says: “Tie up loose ends so you can move forward with surety, knowing you’re on a prosperous path.” It might be paperwork, it might be some difficult task still to be done you keep putting off, it might be picking up some special belongings from somewhere where they no longer belong. But this symbolic tying up and finishing can be a powerful way of stepping through into a new purpose.

See things through to completion and celebrate that

If you’ve created something valuable and special, see it through. Finish it, see how it can be developed further, update your CV to reflect your achievement and apply your learning in practice for positive outcomes. See where whatever you have created can shine brighter. Publish it, write about it, adapt it, finish off its potential and bed it down into the fabric of the world. Celebrate your part in it and let people know what you’ve achieved.

Say thank you

If you’ve finished a course, a book or time in a job role, say thank you to those who created the circumstances or the work. Finish the work, then round it off with appreciation and gratitude, sharing the joy of what you learned, what will take you forward and why it was important. The end of your cycle will help fuel your own and another’s journey.

If it’s a challenging thing like a relationship ending, the thank you might be in the form of an unsent letter or journalling, but still take the time to realise the benefits of what was given to you. Don’t lose the good in the shadow of the bad. Even if you feel bitter, it’s better to brainstorm the positives about what the disappointment or betrayal taught you than to drown in the juices of your anger. Find the pieces to take forward and let go of what’s not helpful.

Forgive

Danielle LaPorte’s White Hot Truth has wise advice on forgiveness. When you’re ready, it’s a powerful thing and it’s often as much about forgiving ourselves and our perceived complicit involvement as it is about others. That’s where a lot of energy is being drained away as we carry it unnecessarily:

As Lady Ninja of the Light put it to me: “I see forgiveness as releasing congested energy that’s not needed by the energy body. No stories, no players, simply time to release and move on to brighter ways.”
You stop letting past hurt affect you in the present. You rinse down the story, you take what you want, and let the rest go up to the Light so it can be put to better use. You give yourself forward.
Page 119

The ways we forgive can be many and varied and don’t always need to involve the other party; sometimes it’s just not possible anyway. But diluting the negative impact of that story and releasing the energy is so important in moving on.

Take what’s valuable with you

Don’t leave what’s valuable behind and take what you can with you into new circumstances. Reflect on the transferable and portable knowledge and experience you can carry forward.

You might have been in an organisation for a while and suddenly there are changes which mean that they no longer value your skills and experience. But you can. Identify the ingredients, skills and experiences that make up ‘you’, your brand, that you can market to a new employer or use to build up your own business.

As Pamela Slim says in Body of Work:

No one is looking out for your career any more. You must find meaning, locate opportunities, sell yourself, and plan for failure, calamity, and unexpected disasters. You must develop a set of skills that makes you able to earn an income in as many ways as possible.
Page 4

Cycles, abandoned success and the Eight of Cups

The Eight of Cups tarot card has reappeared many times in the past year as I negotiate a time of transition and reflect on endings and beginnings. It’s a deep card that speaks of abandoned success and choosing to walk away but it’s also a reminder not to leave pieces of ourselves behind.

closure

The Rider Waite image of the card shows a figure choosing to walk away from the cups. As Benebell Wen describes in it in Holistic Tarot:

There has been an abandonment of past fruits, the Eight of Cups is about a soul-searching journey; ascending to emotional higher ground. The Seeker is leaving behind something he or she spent much effort and care to nurture and develop. There was disappointment in a past undertaking and this the Seeker has abandoned his or her previous work.
Page 167

There’s a suggestion of leaving on our own terms, but there’s that future we imagined, our identity we shaped there that we feel we are leaving behind. So there’s sadness and a kind of grief. As Jessica Crispin explains it in The Creative Tarot:

And it’s not just our work but our actual selves that we pour into what we do. Leaving it, admitting that the end result is no longer worth it, is difficult.”
Page 195

So there is often a sense of loss even if we are choosing to do the leaving or the finishing. Everything is so inevitably bound up together.

The stunning and wise Art of Life Tarot Eight of Cups reminds us that in each ending there is a new beginning. So let’s start as fresh, unencumbered and as energetic as we can, taking the positive and valuable learnings and leaving any baggage or drag on our energy behind.

closure

Resilience is as much about letting go as it is about moving through. Whatever the circumstances, let’s finish our personal symphonies as positively as we can, on a high note, with gratitude and reflection, bringing it home with the brightness of a new song.

And your unfinished symphony?

Would love to hear about any unfinished symphonies you can work on or are working on as you move forward into new times. Share in the comments below or via the Quiet Writing Facebook page or on Instagram so we can support each other as a community to move ahead positively.

Keep in touch

Quiet Writing is on Facebook – Please visit here and ‘Liketo keep in touch and interact with the growing Quiet Writing community. There are regular posts on coaching, books, tarot, intuition, influence, passion, creativity, productivity, writing, voice, introversion and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

Subscribe via email (see the link at the top and below) to make sure you receive updates from Quiet Writing and its passions in 2017. This includes tarot, MBTI developments, life coaching and other connections to help express your unique voice in the world.

If you enjoyed this post, please share via your preferred social media channel – links are below.

You might also enjoy:

Movement, stillness and navigating challenging times

Shining a quiet light: working the gifts of introversion

Intuition, writing and work: eight ways intuition can guide your creativity

Healing with words of gold: The Empress, Kintsugi and alchemy

Featured image by Roman Samborskyi via Shutterstock and used with permission and thanks.

inspiration & influence introversion work life

Shining a quiet light – working the gifts of introversion

May 15, 2017

quiet light quote

As a proud introvert, I am keen to promote quiet voices speaking in the world.

I’m sharing a piece here that was originally published in Issue 1 of The Introvert Effect Magazine in February this year.

Just because you are quiet by nature, it doesn’t meant you can’t speak out and influence. You might do this a little differently to what feels like mainstream approaches. And it can take a little while to learn how your skills can best be played out.

My piece is an account of how I learned to understand and work the gifts of introversion. I hope you enjoy it and I welcome your thoughts especially if you have had similar experiences.

The second issue of The Introvert Effect Magazine – the Energy Issue – is out and is available here. The magazine is by introverts for introverts and this issue has some great tips for managing energy as an introvert.

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Shining a quiet light 

I’ve always been aware of a sense of feeling a little different, a bit quieter, slightly outside the mainstream. Not necessarily in a bad way, but enough to feel at a distance from what was happening at times and to not say as much as I wanted.

As a young adult, I was drawn to the work of Carl Jung, to his visions, dreams and insights and to his writing on symbols, synchronicity and personality.

I found some of his Collected Works volumes with images of mandalas that I would gaze into as if they held something secret.

I became a teacher of adult literacy and then over time, a leader in adult education, heading up large work groups, honing the vision for my teams and business area, delivering educational programs that made a difference and developing the people that worked with me.

I’ve always been interested in personal development and creativity, mine and other people’s. Learning to me is paramount and even if the terrain is tough, there’s knowledge, experience and strength from that. I incorporated and shared these lessons in my work as a leader and in more personal writing on my blog.

With all of this, it wasn’t until I worked through my Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality type with a coach that I began to truly understand myself and the key to how I work.

I identified as an INTJ personality type – Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Judging – with a very strong preference for the I – Introverted.

I remember a single moment in the debriefing conversation when my coach said to me:

“Do you ever close the door?”

I can remember my stunned silence.

It seemed so obvious and still does. But the words were like a permission slip that I clearly needed to be authentic in my work in the world.

Leadership in our 24/7 world, filled with social media and electronic devices, implies always being available and accessible. These simple words about closing the door as my source of power and learning to respect this, ironically, opened the door to so much.

After that, I did start to close the door briefly and found it so valuable in getting peace and focus. I still do whatever I can to breathe, to collect my thoughts, to envision, to put the pieces together in a mind-map, to research, to craft words and to prepare for the next interaction.

A few years later, I read Susan Cain’s ‘Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking’. It was another watershed time and I understood myself more deeply as the words unfolded.

These words from Susan Cain spoke to me:

Everyone shines, given the right lighting. For some, it’s a Broadway spotlight, for others, a lamplit desk.

It’s true: I shine most brightly from the light of my desk or from the shade of trees at the beach where I sit writing, feet in the sand, staring out into the water and sunlight. All the incandescent ideas and visions flow from that inward space.

It’s not better than a Broadway stage, it’s just different. But it has taken me years to realise it’s just as significant a power as the brighter magic of a more extraverted and colourful performance. And it’s also taken me time to have confidence in this quiet strength as a source of expression and wisdom.

I’ve been told in my professional life, as I’m sure many introverts have, to “speak up more” and also to consider “voice coaching”.

There are times when this might be helpful and to some extent there’s truth in there. However, I gained the ability to speak up and influence more effectively through learning to work my introvert by sharpening up my practices of how I prepare, strategise, listen and write.

From this base, I can speak to large groups without undue stress and have impact in challenging negotiation contexts.

I can follow the flow of discussion in a meeting that meanders and then sum up the main ideas into a distilled message for future action.

I can listen in a very focused way and ask the right questions to help others move ahead. I can use my strategic writing ability to bring diverse ideas together to influence an outcome or argue for a position.

I have always had these skills to some degree. Over time, I have had to learn to recognise them as assets and to deploy them more appropriately and with confidence.

The linchpin has been the awareness of knowing the symbolic and practical power of the closed door and the lamplit desk, working from the wellspring of private moments however I can find them.

And it’s not that other people are not involved or important.

Connecting with critical others, listening to others’ ideas, engaging with creative communities and working with coaches and mentors are all part of the rich mix of input.

But it’s the quiet moment of distilling all of this knowledge and experience to its essence that is the vital catalyst for action.

We are all on a hero’s (or heroine’s) journey.

As Steven Pressfield says in ‘Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work’:

In the hero’s journey, the wanderer returns home after years of exile, struggling, and suffering. He brings a gift for the people. That gift arises from what the hero has seen, what he has endured, what he has learned. But the gift is not that raw material alone. It is the ore refined into gold by the hero/ wanderer/ artist’s skilled and loving hands.

You are that artist.

For the introvert, this important work of refining, distilling and reworking is more likely to happen if we can find space in our days.

And if there are silent walks along the beach, or elsewhere, collecting thoughts like shells.

And if we remember that the gentle light of ideas can be just as radiant as any stage performance, illuminating dark corners with presence.

The next step in my personal journey is to take this learning forward. As an INTJ, my dominant function is Introverted Intuition and I’m activating this power now with more awareness.

I’m combining my passions for learning, teaching, writing, Carl Jung’s ideas and MBTI tools to support people to harness their particular brand of brilliance to express their voice in the world.

Learning to work our introvert strengths to deploy our gifts ensures that the unique voice of what we love, who we are and what we have learned is not drowned out.

We can never know the difference our influence can make or the impact we can have on another’s life journey.

Recognising our abilities, crafting the raw material of our lives and then communicating the gold we find can be the greatest offering, enabling others to likewise shine.

shine a quiet light

Keep in touch

Quiet Writing is on Facebook – Please visit here and ‘Liketo keep in touch and interact with the growing Quiet Writing community. There are regular posts on introversion, intuition, influence, passion, creativity, productivity, writing, voice, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and tarot.

Subscribe via email (see the link at the top and below) to make sure you receive updates from Quiet Writing and its passions in 2017. This includes MBTI developments, coaching and other connections to help express your unique voice in the world. New probono coaching opportunities and special offers coming soon. Be the first to know!

If you enjoyed this post, please share via your preferred social media channel – links are below.

You might also enjoy:

Being a vessel or working with introverted intuition

Working your introvert

Background photo for featured image from pexels.com and used with permission and thanks.

creativity inspiration & influence work life

Passion – 17 inspiring quotes on doing what you love

January 12, 2017

 passion beach

PASSION was my word for the year for 2017 and was such an inspiring guide to getting back to what I love.

Here are 17 quotes about passion and doing what you love sparking me into action that inspired me to take big steps. I hope they inspire you too.

“Chase down your passion like it’s the last bus of the night.” – Terri Guillemets 

“Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress; working hard for something we love is called passion.” – Simon Sinek 

“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.” – Steve Jobs

“Absorbed in this world, you’ve made it your burden. Rise above this world. There is another vision.” – Rumi

“When you catch a glimpse of your potential, that’s when passion is born.” – Zig Ziglar

“I began to realise how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. If you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it at full speed. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good.” – Roald Dahl

“If you take responsibility for yourself, you will develop a hunger to accomplish your dreams.” – Les Brown

“There is no passion to be found in playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” – Nelson Mandela

“What makes you different and weird, that’s your strength.” – Meryl Streep

“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” – Oprah Winfrey

“Create the life you can’t wait to wake up to.” – Josie Spinardi

“One person with passion is better than forty people merely interested.” – E M Forster

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” – Steve Jobs

“I have no special talents. I am just passionately curious.” – Albert Einstein

“Respond to every call that excites your spirit.” – Rumi 

“Take your broken heart and make it into art.” – Carrie Fisher

“By doing what you love, you inspire and awaken the hearts of others.” – Satsuki Shibuya 

Share your thoughts

Which is your favourite quote from these ones? Or do you have another quote or thought on passion that inspires you? Would love to hear – share your thoughts in the comments!

I’ve also included a few quotes below you can tweet to share the inspiration and love:

Chase down your passion like it's the last bus of the night. Click To Tweet

When you catch a glimpse of your potential, that's when passion is born. Click To Tweet

Respond to every call that excites your spirit. Click To Tweet

By doing what you love, you inspire and awaken the hearts of others. Click To Tweet

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If you enjoyed this post, please share via your preferred social media channel – links are below.

You might also enjoy:

36 Books that Shaped my Story – Reading as Creative Influence

The unique voice of what we love

How knowing your authentic heart can make you shine

Ways to honour your unique life blend

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blogging work life

Blogging and work

October 21, 2012

There’s a bit of a brick wall between this blog and my work role and working life; maybe not so hard as brick, but a deliberate separation. Because I’m in a leadership role in a public sector organisation with a social media policy, it’s important that I keep a clear space around this blog about my creative self and my life other than work.

I don’t talk about work or my work role, except obliquely and generally in terms of how creative strategies for life may apply to work contexts and vice versa. Some work colleagues know about my blog and keep an eye on it; I blog under my full name so it’s not secret; it’s just not so connected, sort of like two parallel lives.

But of course, in practice it’s not quite that straightforward. It was interesting when things started overlapping more than usual recently when I started a new temporary work role in a different location. Once this new work role was announced, I noticed a sudden surge in my blog stats and people coming to the blog via searching for my name. People were trying to find out about me: just who was this person who was coming to lead them?

As I moved around to meet people in my temporary job role, a number of them said to me, “I love your blog!”. They were tentative and respectful, aware of some of the silent boundaries between the work role and the rest of life, but knowing that I was blogging publicly and out there for all to see. They mentioned my creativity, and how pleased they were to see that I had another life other than work. We discussed the links between creativity and leadership and the value of thinking in this way outside the work role. They loved the links in my blog posts and were interested to see what I was engaging with.

They didn’t:

  • express horror that I had a creative life other than work
  • focus on any negative aspects or details of my writing
  • pick holes, find fault, wish for more or otherwise find me wanting

They just engaged with my blog as intended as a space where I am out in the world, alongside my work role, complementary, mutually inspiring and whole.

This made me reflect on many aspects of where work and my creative self coincide, overlap and mutually benefit each other, and where there is further potential for this. It made me think also about whether these aspects are too separate and need to come together more. Some other bloggers have been thinking about this also.

In ‘Personal Blogging at Work Increases Productivity’, a recent article in Forbes.com, Susan Adams discusses the link between personal blogging and the workplace. She reports on a new academic study that shows that:

Along with sharing information about work tasks, blogging at work pulls employees closer to one another, builds relationships, and over time, increases productivity.

The study looked at people blogging in work contexts and found that blogging also about leisure interests and other more personal aspects of life increased engagement and then translated into real life connection. Adams notes that:

We’re seeing more data that shows what we already know in our hearts: when we connect with people beyond work, we work together more productively.

For me, it’s also about bringing your whole self to work rather than leaving key parts of yourself, especially the ones that are your own personal drivers, at the door when you arrive.

On a related theme of the work and personal coming together in the physical workspace, Victoria Smith in a recent post on ‘Beautility: Making the Useful Beautiful for a Magical Work Space‘, highlights the concept of how we can ‘beautilify’ our workspaces and work tools, to make them both practical and a reflection of ourselves:

Most of us spend about half of our waking hours at work and our surroundings have a huge impact on our happiness, creativity, ability to focus, and even our interactions with others…..There’s simply too much evidence about the increase in productivity when our work environments are more pleasing to the eye and reflect us as individuals for companies to ignore the benefits.

Victoria has many practical suggestions for bringing the two together that have certainly made me reflect about my own workspace and how I reflect my creativity and personality there (or not!).

On the broader issue of creativity and work, in a recent Huffington Post piece, ‘100 Reasons Why You Don’t Get Your Best Ideas at Work’, Mitch Ditkoff suggests that the barriers we create with our thinking about the two polarities may well be the answer to where the real issues lie.

So perhaps there is less of a need for a wall between this blog, my creativity and the job role, apart from the caveats of social media policy, and that the interplay between them may result in more productivity and creative ideas in both spaces.

Interested in your thoughts on blogging and work and the interplay between!

Excellent photo taken in Singapore by my daughter, Caitlin

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