No More Me Me Me

I am always banging on to my clients about learning to love themselves first. I show them how and their self-esteem sky rockets. What you don’t do when you learn to love yourself first is don the bitter cloak of Narcissistic self obsession. When clients first tip toe onto the ice of self-love they are terrified of appearing Narcissistic. Indeed as children we are told not to boast, not to push ourselves forward ahead of others, not to sing our own praises or stand centre stage. Loving yourself first is not about showing off or navel gazing or self-aggrandising. It’s about listening to your needs, protecting yourself with healthy boundaries, not attacking yourself with barbed words, giving yourself plenty of quiet pat on the backs for jobs well done, giving yourself space when you need it and not working yourself into an early grave. It’s about feeding yourself with food that is good for you and being in tune with your body through exercise, rest, breathing and meditation.

build-foundations

To further allay fears of slipping down the slope into Narcissism you need to know what to avoid doing when you are setting out on Project Love You. Non-Narcissism is to cultivate empathy over solipsism (the quality of being self-centred or selfish). Self-compassion over self-absorption. Confidence over inflated Ego. Self-perception over blaming others. It’s about turning “It’s all about Me” into “It’s all about Loving Me first so that I can love you and you can love me in a symbiotic and healthy, balanced way”.

Self-reflection can only happen when the Narcisstic self has its ear to the ground. Only then will it hear and acknowledge the difference between LOVE ME ME ME and I Love Me and therefore I can love Others. The Narcissist cannot take criticism. Getting offended over the slightest imagined whiff of attack in work or relationships is pandering to an Ego that’s grown too big for its boots. Get over yourself by listening carefully, and taking on the fact that there is always room for growth. The Narcissist will quieten and eventually step aside to allow the true you to blossom and bloom.

Here comes Spring! And a Spring Offer of 10% discount on my 4 session coaching package as long as the whole programme is taken up by May 1st. Brighten up your Spring by learning to stress less & love yourself more.

My Solo Soho Show of abstract paintings is on at The Farm Post-Production HQ, William Building, 8 Marshall st, London W1, from 9th March to 30th April

If you don’t have wall space for original paintings but love art you can see my new clothing collection printed with designs from my paintings at SHOP VIDA

Or just fancy a daily inspirational boost? Follow me on Twitter @createlab  or Instagram brave_newgirl

FEARLESS FESTIVITIES

7 Ways to bravely reclaim Christmas

1.No more People Pleasing. Be brave and reclaim Christmas as your own. It’s lovely to make other people happy but not at the expense of your emotional wellbeing. If pleasing others cripples you financially you’re on a hiding to nothing but anxiety and stress-related illness somewhere down the line. Showering your toddlers with an entire cuddly toy department or your teens with every new techno gadget out this year is not going to make you a better parent. Taking the brunt of the cooking is not going to make your family love you more. Driving the length and breadth of the country in order to visit every relative in hierarchical order of importance will not get you gold stars. There will be someone, somewhere at some point who will take offence. No matter how hard you’ve tried or how much you’ve spent. Take it easy. Visualize what would make you happy at Christmas and start with that. Which doesn’t include Catastrophizing.

2.Catastrophizing. When you find yourself imagining in August Cataclysmic Christmas Crises in a family remake of Apocalypse Now, you know you need to get a grip. Present buying for instance. How much ‘stuff’ do we actually need? How about going for experiences? My partner and his family bought his 90 yr old Grandma a hot air balloon ride one Christmas. She loved it. There’s only so many lavender bags and talcum powder an old lady can use. Another year we shot an exercise video ‘Wrinkly Workout’ starring Grandma as Rocky, as a present for the whole family. She’s no longer with us but her video is on Youtube, forever more.

3.Procrastination. I used to work in a woman’s boutique and on Christmas Eve it was amusing to see boyfriends and husbands running in wild eyed, darting from rail to rail desperately seeking something. Anything. Fear was palpable. It’s got to be right, whatever IT is. Of course they’ve procrastinated out of fear of getting it wrong. But 4pm on Christmas Eve, you’re cutting it fine. Of course we’d step in to help. They’d develop Tourette’s as they stuttered through their panic “Anything white, she likes white, I think. Or did she say, anything as long as it’s not white?” “Candle! Can’t go wrong with a candle. Or did I give that to her last year? Did I come in here last Christmas, can you remember what I got her?” That sort of thing. Give yourself time to think about the person you’re buying for. So you can avoid blunders. Last minute decisions can be disastrous. Practical is rarely good. One friend’s husband gave her a de-humidifier. Another friend received anti-cellulite cream from her mother-in-law…

4.Compare and Despair. When everyone’s gone to bed and you’re frozen in sheer exhaustion on the sofa with a faintly mad look in your eye, as you sit amongst the debris of disguarded wrapping paper, empty chocolate boxes, a mountain of washing up, and you switch on the TV only to see the movie classic White Christmas playing with all its crooning, smiles and nostalgia, turn it off. Remember Movies aren’t Real. Probably the only person able to provide the perfect Tinseltown Christmas is the Queen because she lives in a palace and has diamonds and servants. She doesn’t have to do it all herself. And neither do you. Declare your household a communist enclave where all is equal including the present buying, wrapping, cooking and clearing up.

5.Breaking bad beliefs. How many times have you blown your budget because you’ve gone overboard in Asda on Turkey and literally ‘all the trimmings’. Or find yourself ‘doing Christmas’ for the tenth year in a row because you believe that you personally are responsible for keeping the entire family happy even though you have a two up two down and you’re working full-time until the day before and you’re still paying off the debts from last year’s bloat-fest. One friend actually broke a shopping trolley not just her bank account in her desperate attempt to purchase enough provisions for the feeding of the five thousand. Break the belief that the world will end if you strip-down the festivities to what your emotional and financial constraints can withstand.

6.Get Creative. With so many fractured and re-integrated families you could do what we do and make your Ex-mas a fancy dress theme. So far we’ve had Mex-mas (Mexican), Tex-Mas (Cowboys) and SFX-mas (science fiction). This year is to be Brex-mas. (We love Europe & I may come as a Eurovision Song Contestant).  Because our extended family now resembles the legs of an octopus, we can’t possibly fit everyone in on The Day. So we have Ex-mas Day a week before. Changing the date for the big day lowers skyscraper expectations. We relax, we have fun, we take it in turns to host it year on year. Christmas is what you want it to be, not just a date in the calendar. Some people go help Charities by giving Christmas dinner to the Homeless. Some escape the entire thing by heading to the hills/Barbados/Isle of White/Timbuktu. Some invite in waifs and strays. One year we invited a guy who ran our local chocolate shop, to join us as he was going to be on his own. As my partner, my ex and myself struggled with the turkey (it was the first time we’d hosted Christmas) Chocolate Man stepped in, announced we had it upside down, told us that he’d been trained as a chef at the Ritz and asked if we’d like him to take over. Invite in random people, you never know what they might bring to the table.

7.Healthy Habits. In Denmark they love a tradition. And they are reputedly one of the happiest nations in the world. Tradition plays a big part in that happiness. As a child my best friend had a Danish mother so I witnessed tradition at the coalface. In the weeks leading up to the 24th I joined in with the making of paper decorations. White and red woven strips that we turned into hearts and hung on the tree. We helped make little (Danish) pastries and treats. My friend and her siblings received little gifts each day throughout December, and on Christmas Eve they danced around the Christmas tree emblazoned with real candles, had their main pressies and gave thanks. As much as we Brits are attempting to embrace all things Hygge, we don’t have to take on the full Danish Christmas, elf like dances and all, but we can start our own traditions. Why not dream up your own healthy huggy Hygge habits? Be Brave and create a fantastic fearless festive season this year and for every year to come.

BRAVE NEW GIRL front cover

Lou is an artist, author, filmmaker & creative life coach. Her gift book of inspirational illustrations ‘Brave New Girl- How to be Fearless’ is published by Orion Spring and is in all major bookshops and available on Amazon

BNG will be at W4 Love Books Chiswick for her Book Signing Event on Tuesday 13th. Doors open at 7pm

10% off Lou’s Life Coaching Package if you sign up before December 31st for a Brave New You in 2017 Code: BNGXMAS

 

 

merry-christmas

 

 

Lou’s One Woman Show of Paintings “Freeze Frame” opens in January at The Farm Post-Production Facilities in Soho London. If you would like to be on the Guest List for the Launch Party please email: Lou@createlab.co.uk

This painting “Arctic Plain” 3ft x 3ft is to be exhibited at The Discerner Magazine Christmas Exhibition at their HQ in Mayfair from 7th December. Please CONTACT Celine for details

School’s out for Summer

Summer slows everything down, people are away, there’s a sense of school holidays even if you’re not a kid and don’t have kids, the evenings are long and light and when you can you’re lapping up your year’s supply of Vitamin D.

Life is ebb and flow, there’s time for speed and a time to slow down. Think of a garden; you don’t plant a seed and expect to see a tree the next day. The art of patience allows for a natural pace, the need for speed forces artificial pressure on a creative process. Think of Genetically Modified Foods. They grow quick and taste of nothing. In the film industry we use the three pronged model: quick, cheap, good. You can only have two of the three. Quick and cheap, but not good. Quick and good, but not cheap. Cheap and good but not quick.

Have dreams

Illustration by Lou Hamilton

Even instant gratification takes too long” Carrie Fisher is quoted as saying. But she has Bipolar Disorder. “I would get really impatient. I was going faster than everything else around me, and it drove me crazy. You feel out of step with the world” She has achieved a lot, being talented and manic. Her 1987 book Postcards from the Edge hit the New York Times bestseller list and won her the Los Angeles Pen Award for Best First Novel; and she’s published three bestsellers since. More recently she’s turned her memoir Wishful Drinking into a one-woman play, as well as an HBO special.

But you don’t need to be Manic to achieve a lot. I’m from the School of Plod, you do a little and often and you can incrementally produce a large body of work. The art is in consistent application. It’s like saving money. You put in 3% of your wages and over time you have built up a substantial nest-egg. It’s called Compound Interest. Day one you put in £1, Day 2 you put in another £1 and you’ve already doubled your money. Day 4 you’ve quadrupled your initial deposit. The same with writing a book; two hours a day or 1000 words and in 80 days you’ve got your first draft.

where's your hideaway

Illustration by Lou Hamilton

Carl Honore wrote In praise of Slowness, a book on the need to slow down. He speaks of how we have added speed to everything; speed-reading, speed-walking, speed-dating. He even passed a gym in New York offering speed-yoga. We believe ourselves to be time poor, so pack more in, we run faster and we feel like we have even less time than ever. We do nothing properly, we leap frog from one task to another. Marinade, savour, mull, languish, ponder, wander, contemplate, peruse, explore, lie fallow, are words we have ejected from our vocabulary and left to curl and wither under the heat of our soles pounding tarmac.

When you slow down you simply do things better. Eating, sleeping, making love, creating, inventing, designing all become better when slowness is your modus operandi. Understanding this has created the international Slow Movement, which started in Italy but has slowly spread around the world. Slow Food, growing, consuming in an organic sustainable way that celebrates pleasure and health. Slow Cities where people slow down, smell the roses and connect with one another; slowing traffic, putting in places for people to sit, read, take a breather and decompress, green spaces, art works for contemplation, poetry on the underground.

The Scandanavian countries are showing that you don’t need to work at the speed of light in order to have a kick-ass economy. They work reasonable hours and they are now among the top six most competitive nations on earth. They understand that in order to be more productive people need to be able to work fewer hours, to unplug, to sit in a quiet room. In order to be creative we need to switch off and re-charge on a regular basis.

So take timeout over Summer, use it as an opportunity to kick back and let your creative mind take over. Day dream, chill out and enjoy the view. Then in September you can come back to life and hit the ground running.

If the thought of September scares you, if you are wanting to get out of the rat race but don’t know how, I can work with you to find another way. Lou@createlab.co.uk

If you are coach and want to take your practice to the next level join us on our Quantum Coaching Bootcamp workshop. Warning: It’s not for the faint-hearted

Motivational Mondays: Using Intuition

Intuition is our body radar, picking up signals to give us inside knowledge on which to base decisions. It is an instinctive response not an intellectual or logical one. It’s a feeling. When we listen to and follow our gut instinct, things usually turn out well. It is our animal instinct. We often leave it dormant.

Doodle by Lou Hamilton

Doodle by Lou Hamilton

Intuition is a sense; it relays information, be that of danger or fortune. It gives an inkling of what might be ahead, behind or out of sight. It is what we do with the information that determines the path we carve for ourselves. Our creative nature responds to intuition, so the more open we are to the intuitive sense the more creative we can be. But we can only tap into it if we choose to stop and listen, for it is a subtle and delicate sense that can be easily drowned out by the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Doodle by Lou Hamilton

Doodle by Lou Hamilton

It takes patience, awareness and practice. Take time to pause, to notice moments of insight and flashes of inspiration, to watch patterns of events unfolding and evolving around you. Similar occurrences start to appear in different areas of your life and you can begin to make connections. You notice avocados are pushed to the front of the shelves in the supermarket, then someone recommends avocado oil, then you read that avocados are a superfood. Your week starts to pop with avocados and before you know it you are eating them every day and putting avocado oil on your salad and making face masks from the flesh. This is an example of how something slowly creeps onto our radar until it is multiplying across all our senses and we decide to act upon the flashing message in our brain: “avocados are good for you, eat more of them.”

Doodle by Lou Hamilton

Doodle by Lou Hamilton

The same thing happens when we start to become more positive in our lives. We become more sensitive to negative people, the ones that drain our energy. Gradually we are so attuned that when we hear negative talk it feels like someone running their nails down a black board. Our intuition by now is so strong in that area that the moment we meet someone we instantly ‘know’ if they are good for us or not. Our intuitive sense is screaming at us to back off from the negative people, to shake off their cloak of bleakness. If we ignore this voice we can start to become depleted or even ill from the strain of propping ourselves up against the dripping effect of their toxic waste.

Doodle by Lou Hamilton

Doodle by Lou Hamilton

When an opportunity arises, our intuition responds first; a flutter of excitement or a sense of fear or dread. We then check in with all our other senses and background information. Our logic piles in with the pros and cons. We make connections, run the reel through our minds of what the outcome will look like in a variety of scenarios. Then the best thing we can do is walk away, sleep on it, distract ourselves with other projects. Our intuitive system takes over while our conscious analytical brain is distracted. It percolates the experience until it makes sense of it. Processed, it will seep its way to the surface of our consciousness and we are able to make our decision. Sleep helps the process, with dreams incubating and unraveling the issue, away from the meddling of our conscious mindset, until the intuitive feelings become thoughts that can be acted on. If we listen to the advice of the wrong people it can set us off at a tangent to our intuition, cast us adrift from what we instinctively know to be right.

Doodle by Lou Hamilton

Doodle by Lou Hamilton

We feel intuition through a physical change in our bodies, sweaty palms, a tightening in our chest, a flutter in our stomach. Scientists at the University of Iowa did a study to test for perspiration on card players’ hands. The players didn’t know that the deck was stacked but after turning over about ten cards they started generating stress responses with sweatier palms. But it wasn’t until they had turned over 50 cards that they began to suspects the cards were rigged and not until they had got to 80 cards that they were able to work out how the decks were stacked. Their bodies sensed something was up long before their conscious minds were able to make the connection. And another study in 2005 found that the brain regions associated to bodily signals and sensory processing in people who meditated regularly, had developed more grey matter. Meditators are better placed to listen to their intuition.

“We all process things that we’re not consciously aware of—it’s a feeling of knowing that uses an older brain structure,” says neuroscientist Beatrice de Gelder, PhD, who researches blindsight, a phenomena of blindness that occurs when brain is damaged but the patient is still able to navigate a course or detect a person’s facial expression even though the can’t see using their conscious vision. Because we’re so dependent on our sense of sight, she says, we’re not used to trusting our intuitive vision track. When we feel a sense of foreboding about something we must pay attention to that sensation.

In 1957 W. I. B. Beveridge explored the role of the intuition and imagination in science in his book The Art of Scientific Investigation. He found that the more people were able to listen to their intuition, the more open was their conduit to creative thinking. Anne Lamott‘s Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, agrees “You get your intuition back when you make space for it, when you stop the chattering of the rational mind. The rational mind doesn’t nourish you. You assume that it gives you the truth, because the rational mind is the golden calf that this culture worships, but this is not true. Rationality squeezes out much that is rich and juicy and fascinating.”

Albert Einstein: “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”

Steve Jobs: “The people in the Indian countryside don’t use their intellect like we do, they use their intuition instead, and the intuition is far more developed than in the rest of the world… Intuition is a very powerful thing, more powerful than intellect, in my opinion. That’s had a big impact on my work. Western rational thought is not an innate human characteristic, it is learned and it is the great achievement of Western civilization. In the villages of India, they never learned it. They learned something else, which is in some ways just as valuable but in other ways is not. That’s the power of intuition and experiential wisdom.”

When Picasso began a drawing he would hold his pen above the blank page, not knowing what he was going to draw. Then he would touch the nib to paper and let his intuition guide his creativity and the drawing would flow from his hand. Writers say that just the act of showing up at their keyboard everyday, allows the words to pour from a place they can’t intellectually tap into. But intuition doesn’t just belong to the artistic. Intuition and creativity are an integral part of us all. They are interconnected, interdependent and interchangeable from each other and from all our other human capabilities. The more we develop those aspects of ourselves the more everything else flows in a transference that quantum physicists like to call ‘instant information transference’. We make better decisions, we learn more easily, we understand more, we make more original connections, we are more empathetic, we see things more clearly, we gain a deeper insight into our own purpose and we find life more meaningful.

Doodle by Lou Hamilton

Doodle by Lou Hamilton

Intuition and creativity help build our intelligence and guide our behavior, whilst creating a fertile field for making innovative progress. Our brains are plastic, always ready to be stretched, molded and developed. All we have to do is get out of our own way, pause, listen and learn from that quiet inner compass and gradually our mind expands, our intuitive voice gets stronger, our ability to think creatively and make connections grows and our intelligence becomes alert, responsive and boundless.

To develop our intuitive strength

  1. We must learn to become to attuned to our intuitive sense

  2. We must learn to interpret what we tune in to

  3. We must learn to act on what we have connected to

Learn to use your intuition and creativity by working with me as your creative coach, and create a richer life for yourself. Email me to find out more: Lou@createlab.co.uk

Doodle by Lou Hamilton

Doodle by Lou Hamilton

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Motivational Mondays: Small Wins, Big Progress

Life can be one helluva ride. Cloud nine one minute, wallowing in the annals of knock-backs the next. It feels like the control desk has bust and we are fire-fighting from one crisis to the next. By the end of the day we flop into bed exhausted, stressed but unable to sleep, worrying about what disaster will befall us next.

illustration by Lou Hamilton

illustration by Lou Hamilton

How can we make this rollercoaster smoother and more controllable? We need to take a back seat and watch what is happening. With a little distance we can monitor how much is going wrong, and when things are actually going right. It’s all too easy to sweat the everyday bumps and bruises and bypass the mini-victories. But when we give head space to the face-plants and ignore the triumphs we are doing ourselves a great disservice.

illustration by Lou Hamilton

illustration by Lou Hamilton

Celebrating success isn’t about ‘bragging’ or showing off or being self-obsessed or narcissistic. It’s not about shouting from the rooftops about how marvellous we are or shoving our trophies in the faces of those around us. It’s not about being loud, or smart-alec or self-promoting. It’s about quietly acknowledging to ourselves every time we have ‘done good’. It’s about patting ourselves on the back and building up our self-esteem. Goodness knows we have many failures, disappointments and set-backs; it is imperative that we counteract them with a healthy approach to our small successes. It makes us self-reliant; free of needing approbation from others.

illustration by Lou Hamilton

illustration by Lou Hamilton

In the book The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins To Ignite Joy, Engagement And Creativity At Work, by the wife-and-husband team of psychologists Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer, they investigate the positive effects of acknowledging all the small wins we make in a day. By collecting diary entries from 238 people at seven companies, the authors generated 12,000 person-days of data on moods and activities at work. The striking conclusion is that a sense of incremental progress is vastly more important to happiness than either a grand mission or financial incentives – though 95% of the bosses didn’t realise it. Small wins “had a surprisingly strong positive effect, and small losses a surprisingly strong negative one.”

In Coaching we always break big goals down into smaller achievable chunks but what is important, is to celebrate each one of those small wins and to try and do that throughout the day. What Amabile and Kramer’s findings emphasise is how disproportionate the relationship is between the size of an achievement and the happiness it delivers. A breakthrough accomplishment that’s a thousand times bigger than a “small win” doesn’t make you feel a thousand times better, or happier for a thousand times longer – and won’t outweigh the effects of countless small setbacks you’ll encounter en route.

illustration by Lou Hamilton

illustration by Lou Hamilton

The more we focus on the small wins than the small setbacks, the greater our sense of self-esteem and ability to feel in control of our lives. The mini-triumphs give a regular happiness-hit. You wouldn’t give a dog a whole box of chocolate drops in one go but you make him a happy puppy with the odd one every so often. We humans aren’t so very different. Every drop of achievement gives you a spritz of dopamine, the feel-good chemical linked with motivation. Better still, a series of small wins …guarantees a constant supply of dopamine, which is released during goal orientated behaviour and upon achieving that goal,” says Psychology Today blogger Christopher Bergland.

illustration by Lou Hamilton

illustration by Lou Hamilton

So feeling like a champion isn’t just for Olympians and Oscar-winners, each of us can shift our focus to tune in to our daily trophies of accomplishment. David Allen, a coach specializing in productivity, recommends the ‘two minute’ rule in his book “Getting Things Done”. It entails ensuring you crack on with the tiny tasks first thing in the morning or in small windows of space in the day. By nailing these you build up a momentum which energises you to tackle the bigger jobs, and pumps you full of mini-hits of dopamine through the day.

The more we can approach our lives with attention to the tasks at hand, engagement in the bigger picture and an intention to commit to working hard at what we are doing, the more we feel we are progressing. The more positively we approach this, according to Psychologist Barbara Fredrickson, the more we broaden our thoughts and actions and the more liberated we are to see the wood for the trees. Our sense that we are moving forward in turn increases our creativity, our productivity, our commitment and our ability to work well with others. Conversely, negative emotions constrain our progress and hold us back, making us less creative and therefore less productive.

Illustration by Lou Hamilton

Illustration by Lou Hamilton

If we don’t prime ourselves with praise at our micro-progress then what happens is that each day, everyday the negative impact of our tiny failures starts to erode our sense of well-being and bonhomie. In fact, the effect of setbacks is two to three times stronger than any small win. “That’s a common finding in psychology—that negative events and negative things tend to get people’s attention more and tend to have a stronger impact on people’s feelings,” Amabile explains. So we have to make an extra effort to acknowledge the small successes. The best way to stamp those wins on our brains is to perform a physical function in response to the triumph; a high-five with a mate, a punch in the air, or writing it down in your success journal*.

Years of habitual negative acknowledgements have a deep-rooted effect on our happiness and effectiveness. It takes guidance, support and encouragement to change your mindset, to start allowing yourself the pleasure of noticing your daily achievements. It has been proven in Amalie’s study that reviewing and writing down your accomplishments of the day, however small, and reflecting how they made you feel, coupled with a mini-plan for what you would like to achieve the next day, works wonders on building your sense of purpose. There is comfort in knowing that with the right set of tools you can make meaningful progress by helping yourself and others to live more happily,

Illustration by Lou Hamilton

Illustration by Lou Hamilton

To help break the set-back trap invest in a Creative Thinking Coach and learn to feel happier and more fulfilled. You can also try journaling in a copy of my *“Creating Success in Daily Life” book. Email me to find our more on Lou@createlab.co.uk

Testimonial from a client on making progress: “I remember the first day I went to meet Lou. I think at that point I was feeling as bad as I thought I ever could. I booked a few sessions in the hope that it may relieve some of the pain of what I was going through. From the first session Lou inspired me with her amazing positivity and the journal that she gave me made me seek out positivity in everyday life which helped me from week one. I found it amazing how quickly she managed to change my mindset from constant dwelling on the past to thinking about a future and actually being excited about it. Lou taught me not to beat myself up about having a bad day, and not seeing it as a relapse into old thinking habits, but a dip in a graph that is constantly going up. I honestly don’t know if I would have made it through the year without her. She has been an incredible coach and a friend.Zoe C. Student

CREATING SUCCESS cover for pic post

Motivational Mondays: No to Naysayers

‘Who do you think you are?’ is the name of a TV series getting people to trawl through their family history to unearth new information about their forebears and cast a different light on who they are on the back of it.

road less travelled

It implies you are the sum of generations rolled up and reincarnated into a model of baggage and inherited personas. Think of your hang ups. Do you procrastinate, doubt yourself, live in fear, pray for the end of the week, compare yourself negatively with others, put up with naysayers, people please, put yourself down, etc etc? Wherever all that stuff came from (blame the ancestors if you like) it is certainly not helping you now. Is it possible to cast off the shadow and reinvent a new you?

Head in the clouds

Imagine not feeling those things? Imagine waking up in the morning and saying like President Obama “Yes I can?” With New Year’s Resolutions we promise ourselves a mental make-over, but unfortunately sheer will power usually isn’t man or woman enough for the job. You need to get creative to upscale your mindset. Creative thinking will trick your deeply entrenched resistance into shedding the shackles of years of self-sabotage.

Inspiration is everywhere

How does it work? Well it’s basis is in anti-logic. The usual solutions haven’t done the trick, so you have to get cunning. Resistance thinks ‘can’t’- creative thinking does something out of the blue, beyond the pail, something ridiculous or subverted or upside down. It spins our brain and our patterns of behaviour and our damaging beliefs, out of orbit and into a place where ‘Can’ is actually possible.

Light changes everything

The two words we coaches hear more often than anything (yes to our ears they are swear words! ) are : “Yeah but…” When we hear them we know that person is wallowing in the mudflats of misery and will bat you away with the deftness of a hippopotamus’s tail swatting flies.

“Yeah but I’m not creative, yeah but I’m no good at that, yeah but I’m not qualified, yeah but I’m a woman in a man’s world, yeah but I’m too old, yeah but I’m working class, yeah but I’m not clever enough, yeah but I’m shy, yeah but I’m broke, yeah but…” The yeah-butters are very creative in finding reasons to not change or transform themselves even when they say they want to. The yeah-butters put their energy into the treadmill of resistance. What they are really saying is “I have decided it is not possible”.

Sky high dreams

But there is very little that you can’t get around somehow, if you choose to. Beethoven had gone completely deaf when he wrote his 9th Symphony. The great photorealist painter Chuck Close was paralysed so badly by a blood clot on the spine that he couldn’t even pick up a paint brush. He had his paintbrush strapped to his wrist and he developed a new technique in paintings. His work became even more successful than before.  I bet no one heard either Beethoven or Close say “Yeah but…”

Fling open your doors

And then when you’ve won the battle against yourself, you run headlong into the frontline of Naysayers who hide behind the shields of “we don’t want to see you fail, we’re only thinking of your best interests, we don’t want you to get hurt, we’re only trying to protect you, we don’t want you to humiliate yourself.” The list goes on. If they were people who had become immensely successful and happy on the back of this fearful approach, then by all means it would be ok to listen to their concerns. But they’re not. Do you think Richard Branson took any notice of Naysayers proclaiming that setting up an airline was madness? I imagine the only voices he listened to were the ones saying “why the hell not?” And now he owns an Island in the Carribean. I doubt those Naysayers are his neighbours.

Houston we have lift-off

If those negative voices are your own or someone else’s put up a big STOP sign and work on some creative strategies to turn around the yeah-buts and discard the naysayers:

7 Ways to “Yes!”

  1. For every yeah-but write down 10 reasons it could work out
  2. Write down the consequences of staying the same
  3. Think of the people you admire who have achieved great things, imagine the naysayers they met along the way and what yeah butting things those naysayers would have said. Write them down and then do what your hero did and throw them away.
  4. Research 5 successful people and find out how many rejections they had along the way. Make a colourful collage of all the rejections you’ve received and turn it into a Mandela for never giving up.
  5. Spend the day pretending you are already doing thing you want to do or being the person you want to be.
  6. Put yourself in a different context or with different people. It shifts your perspective.
  7. Focus on what you love doing and are happy to apply yourself to day in and day out. That is the only way to get good at something. Naysayers will have a hard time stopping you from doing what you love.

‘A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do’ Bob Dylan

If you need some help transforming your thinking or you are stuck in a groove, get yourself a Creative Thinking Coach. Email Lou@createlab.co.uk

For my daily photo-quotes & drawings follow me on Twitter @createlab Instagram create_lab Facebook Lou Hamilton

Hideaways gestate ideas

Queen of Dreams

When we’re trudging to work on a Monday morning in drizzle, traffic or overcrowded tube it’s hard not to see the freedom of the weekend slipping away into the fug of oncoming doom and overladen desktop.

Dream Big

Dream Big

Dreams are for the mildly insane we think, or at the very least best kept to the hours of midnight to 6am before reality kicks in with the jangling of the alarm clock. Who has time to fritter away idle precious seconds dreaming of wild adventures, best selling novels, Oscar winning performances, incomes sailing way above outgoings, picking up a Nobel peace prize, winning the Derby with your own steed, building a space rocket to take passengers into space.

Dare to walk on the wild side

Dare to walk on the wild side

We tell ourselves, as we neck back that treble strength expresso and launch into the Monday mayhem of demands, deadlines and office squabbles, such thinking is for the likes of Richard Branson and JK Rowling. The rest of us mere mortals have mortgages to pay, kids to feed and bosses to obey. Our wages barely get us through the month as it is so why would we take any further risk and go it alone into the mine field existence of entrepreneurial endeavour or running off to join a circus?

What new beginnings can you create?

What new beginnings can you create?

However, if you listen to JK Rowling’s Harvard Commencement Speech you’ll hear the words of a woman who had nothing but the dress on her back and a bunch of dreams that she had the courage to weave into the wild and wonderful adventures of Harry Potter. The rest wasn’t quite history. She tells us her path was paved with failure upon failure and she got used to picking up the pieces of shattered hopes until with perseverance and determination she cracked the code and her dreams took flight.

Her message to embrace failure spoken to young academics unused to failure is on one level amusing- these people will undoubtedly continue to sail the winds of sweet success, marry beautiful people, own big houses and cars and collect a substantial golden package on retirement. But what if they harbour secret dreams that don’t fit with their specified career trajectory, what if they really want to be a stand-up comic or invent the natural organic alternative to Botox or save children in Syria? Well then JK Rowling’s words will awaken the giant within because they will be faced with a choice, relative security of the known or the roller coaster ride of pursuing the dream.

We all dream, we all have choices but will we choose to do what ever it takes to manifest those dreams or will we stuff our dreams away until our knees crumble under the weight of a lifetime tied to a desk we wish we hadn’t chosen?

Avoid regrets in old age by making your dreams happen while you can

Avoid regrets in old age by making your dreams happen while you can

As a coach I help people find their big dream or manifest the dreams they already have. It’s about building confidence, fighting off fears, risk taking, and thinking outside the box.
I am helping my son, still at University, to build his new business SelvageLondon. His dream is to make people feel good through affordable bespoke perfectly fitting jeans. My daughter still in the middle of A Levels has just bought her own domain name RubyMayLondon and I am helping her develop a vlogging business in which she intends to encourage people to use safe homemade organic natural cosmetics (i.e. non-toxic).

I am happy that my kids have big dreams, are willing to take risks, collect their failures along the way and manage their own destinies. Running your own business is not for everybody of course but dreams come in all shapes and sizes and when you find one that niggles away at you, keeps you awake at night, gives you goose bumps and shivers of excitement when you allow yourself to think about it, please consider the option of diving in and making it happen. Life is too short not to.

If you need help making your dreams come true why not do a six or nine session (10th session free) coaching course with me and I’ll help you develop the right mindset to achieve the life you really want.

Believe you can make your dreams come true

Believe you can make your dreams come true

5 Top Tips to Making Dreams Come True

1. Write your dreams down

2. Give yourself a time-frame

3. Break the Dream into small manageable steps

4. Get a dream buddy or coach to keep you accountable

5. Find areas in your life where your dream is already showing up. This might be in a different way to what you imagine. Look hard- I have a belief that often what we search for elsewhere is actually happening in some way right beneath our noses. In this way act AS IF your big dream is already happening.

Embracing Change

Q: What have Film, Botox, Ego all got in common? A: Resistance to change.

In Cannes 2015 I went to a seminar by We Are UK Film on film distribution with BFI Head of Audiences, and Distributors eOne and Icon. They were discussing the impending change in the viewing habits of film audiences. Cinema-going is an expensive night out and people are increasingly attached to their own screens smart phones, iPads, computers & TVs for their movie gratification. The Hollywood Studios and Distributors alike admit that they are clinging to the old model but new technology is forcing the hand of change.

refecting possibility

For years Theatres refused to budge on changing from 35mm projection to digital. They said the quality wouldn’t be as good and audiences would turn away in droves. It took one film, Avatar, only distributed in 3D digital to change all that. Whatever the story, the visual spectacle proved the point and the result was a box office phenomena. The Theatres were right to be afraid. Digital did change everything and perhaps the writing is on the wall for the physical experience of movie-watching in the way that we know it. But maybe the best is yet to come?

What if we resist change?

La Croisette in Cannes is filled with horror-struck-Botox-fixed or surgery-stretched faces, attempting to defy the natural changes that come with age. The needles and knives try to put a halt to the inevitable and the frozen results are frighteningly museum-like; a sort of live taxidermy experiment. Resisting change can be a self-defeating prophesy. Afraid of annihilation we become entrenched in our own idealization, blinkered to the potential of other possibilities.

Our egos are steadfastly intent in getting in the way of change. I know that when I receive script feedback notes I have to read them fast, put them away for 24 hours while my ego dances the tight lipped fandango, performs back-flips of fury and grinds its teeth on its own enameled intransigence. But give it a day and it out-sulks itself into a corner and I pull out the notes again ready to get down to the work at hand; deciphering the feedback, taking the proffered changes on the chin and allowing them to evolve the script into a better piece of work.

sky no limits

Humans are stubborn but we’d still be living in caves if we didn’t have that itch in the back of our brains that tells us we’re more than the sum of a bear-skin and two flints rubbed together. Not ones to rest on our laurels, we thought our caves walls were dull in plain rock and set about decorating them with fine drawings decanting tales of derring-dos. We had an instinct to tell stories and we acted on that urge to move on from grunting to entertaining. We created the start of film in pictures with narrative. We could have been content with such raw cartoons but we forged on through the centuries never quite satisfied and we leapfrogged from one mode of visual story-telling to another, fuelled by our continuous un-satiated desire to disrupt the status quo.

So here we are on the edge of another visual revolution, unsure of what the future holds, waiting in limbo until the path clears and we see the way forward. It will take one or two films and the way they are distributed, to blast audaciously through the fear of the unknown and into the Cyber-Cinema of the future. Let’s enjoy the ride along our own red carpets and embrace the possibilities to Infinity and Beyond.

red carpet

5 Top Tips on embracing change

  1. Reflect on what it would be like to block the infinite possibilities brought by change.
  2. Acknowledge your instinct for safety but understand that the more we try to run from change the more it will come knocking.
  3. Know that nothing stays the same, it is the way of the world to evolve and grow.
  4. Decide to use change to create something better
  5. Take the leap into the unknown with an open mind and an excitement for what might be.