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The 12 Habits of Highly Creative Women: Chapter 3

It's Friday again, so time for another round of discussion regarding Gail McMeekin's book, The 12 Habits of Highly Creative Women as part of the Next Chapter, an online book club for bloggers.

Last week, we looked at  Finding Inspiration. Week 1 focused on Acknowledging Creativity. Today the group is discussing Chapter 3: Following Your Fascinations.

Jamie Ridler, the leader of this incredible group, asked us to examine 2 major things: to discuss what encourages us to give us staying power and the next is to step outside our comfort zone and take a step-be brave.

Each week that I read this book, I feel myself evolving even more--tapping into my creative energies even more than I normally do.

Ways I Find Encouragement

I get encouragement from many sources, but no one is a greater source of encouragement than my husband, Tom. He has been incredibly supportive of my passions and my dreams since the day we met. I've spoken about what a logical thinker he is. He's logical, numerical, and orderly--my polar opposite. Yet, he continues to find my creativity refreshing. He never once has said, "You're not going to make it." He has never said he thought my ideas have been hair-brained or ridiculous. He has expressed his opinions as a rational and logical thinker, but he has never once made me feel badly for an idea I have had.

His unconditional love and support has rallied me at times when I've felt like giving up on creating-on continuing with my business-on following my own path. 

I also find my customers to be an incredible source of encouragement for me. When I turn on the computer in the early morning and open an email from women (and, on occasion, men) who use my products and have a story to tell--about how the special note enclosed perked a customer up on a particularly bad day, or how having good skin for the first time in years has improved how someone feels on the inside--well, those things mean the world to me and encourage me every single day to do what I do.

I really think I have a unique relationship with my customers. Unlike going to a chain store, I get to know my customers--we joke around, sometimes instant message one another--I am actually close friends with some now after "knowing" them over the net for quite some time. It is a blessing -- how often does the owner of a company get Christmas cards from its his or her customers? I know I don't send Danny Wegman a card and I am a frequent customer--it's about the relationships we take the time to build and nurture.

My readers right here at Chic & Green are such a unique audience as well and through their comments and emails, I am always encouraged. Our household has been overcome by the nasty stomach virus this week so I haven't been on posting as often and comments and emails with a quick "I miss you" or "Feel better" are just so wonderfully encouraging. 

While I am writing this, I need to acknowledge two other wonderful sources of encouragement for me: City Girl from City Girl Lifestyle and Liz from Wickedly Chic, both of whom have encouraged me in many ways over the past couple of years. I owe them a special "thank you."

I am a lucky woman because I do have encouragement from family and friends..

It is truly a great support system!

To be brave, you must believe.

I truly and wholeheartedly believe that in order to step outside your comfort zone and take that next step, that you must believe in yourself. I make the piece pictured above as a way to remind myself of this.

In this chapter, we talk about making that phone call, submitting that piece of writing--going into unchartered territory that makes you feel a bit queasy to even think about. To follow your fascinations, you have to be brave. You cannot sit and be still and wait for things to happen. You have to plug away and work hard and go after your goals.

I am a MOMMY above all else. It has been my goal that after both boys are in school that I continue to stay home so I can go to school functions and volunteer. I can do this because I have continued to plug away and work hard. I have been knocked down before. It hurt, but I got back up, dusted myself off, and continued to do what I know and what I love. I did this because deep down --even though it's been tested-- I truly believe in myself. That's why I decided to start offering my facial products once again after taking a break. 

I persevered, plugged along, and have accomplished many of the goals I set for myself, including being featured in one of my most favorite magazines, BODY + SOUL from Martha Stewart. Through good luck and an editor doing some Etsy browsing, this came true for me. I didn't step outside the comfort zone, that one just happened, which I know is very rare.

I still sit here at times and have moments of self doubt. Many of them, actually. Do you know what, though? We only live once and you never know how long you will have in your life to do what you love. A wise man once told me that all he ever wanted was for me to do what I had a passion for--clearly, that wasn't a 9-5 kind of job at a desk. I know that never would've worked for me. He told me that it is a gift if you can go to work each day and love what you do.

That man was my father. Now, he really loved what he did. The news was in his blood. Two weeks before he died, he sat at a meeting with the Senator from his state and the Attorney General. He was tired, sick, and he was there because he loved his work and didn't want to miss out on the meeting. The important part, though, is to make sure you keep a balance between work and family so you have no regrets later on as he did. He believed in himself enough to be incredible at what he did, but he had self-doubt as well, even though he'd never say it aloud like I am now. 

His passion for news was much like my passion is now for what I do. It is in my blood. After Tom is asleep, snoring and keeping me up, I settle in trying to sleep while my mind works overtime thinking of new ideas and improving existing ones. I think about my goals--what success for me ultimately means.

Taking a step, being brave for me means letting go of any hang ups about failing. We all fail sometimes, but the ultimate failure would be to never take risks. There are goals I have that sometimes seem silly if I say them aloud, for example for me to be on QVC in 10 years with my facial products. It might seem silly, but it is a goal I plan to achieve. I have a goal of having a newspaper column similar to Chic & Green. This is a major one for me. I know I need to step outside my comfort zone for both to happen, but I also know that I can make both happen with determination, perseverance and faith in myself.

Acknowledging my goals on paper/here/out loud is a major step for me--and one outside my comfort zone.

I look forward to talking about Chapter 4 next Friday!