My favorite part of creative living isn’t the spray paint, sparkles, or half-finished projects cluttering my office closet.
My favorite part of creative living is obliterating assumptions & long held beliefs.
What assumptions are hold you back right now? What liabilities are staring you down? What tired tactics are wasting your time?
Examine your own beliefs carefully so that you can engage, distill, or challenge them as necessary. There’s crazy amounts of courage & knowledge waiting for your on the other side of the examination. It’s so worth it.
Below, you’ll find a video (and transcript!) of an excerpt I did with my friend, Bridget Pilloud, where we talk about just that. Bridget is an intuitive life-shifter and all around good person to know. If you’d like to see the whole thing, make sure you register for the next session of The Art of Action!
TARA: So in a recent post you discussed engaging what you want as opposed to kind of trying to attract what you want, which is, you know, a popular part of the law of attraction. And I completely agree with your perspective. I think the idea of engaging what you want is awesome. So where do you find the courage or the gumption to create that kind of engagement before you even believe you’re a real success or even feel qualified?
BRIDGET: I love that question and I thought about it a long time this morning because I wanted to make sure that I answered it even just for myself. I think what we’re talking about here is finding courage to commit to our journey. And part of courage comes from proving that what you want is what you want, right?
So it’s one thing to want to attract things to us to interact with them or to have them be part of our lives. It’s another thing to make a commitment towards experiencing something. The aspect of commitment is daunting and scary sometimes. And I think the thing that stops us is a fear that we’re going to commit limited resources to an unproven idea. So the truth of the matter is we have far more time and resources than we think.
Just the other day I get this thing called “Who Have You Outlived”, which is this email that I get in the mail that says Bridget, you’re 41 and 200 days old today and you just lived longer than, you know, this guy who was a Bolivian revolutionary. So they died on the exact age that you were yesterday, is basically the email that I get.
And I think it’s pretty funny and interesting and it always sort of kind of moves me in the moment. So the other day it was actually I was 41 and 53 days old. And I thought how many hours have I been alive? And it turns out I’ve been alive something like 360,000 hours. And of those hours, over half of them have been as an adult. So 180,000 hours so far I’ve experienced adulthood. That is a hell of a lot of time. We have a ton of time and I want to make sure I see here, I have notes.
We have a hell of a lot of time. We have all this time and we actually have a lot of resource, those of us who live in, you know, first world countries. We have a ton of resources. So we get caught up in this idea, oh I’m going to invest in my life in this way and what if it doesn’t work out and blah, blah, blah. We’re using a very…even if you invest a year of your life it’s a very small amount of time over the big picture.
So if you start putting that concept of resource into perspective, of what you really have, that can take some of the edge off of that courage. It doesn’t really answer your question completely, but I think it’s a really important point. So one of the primary resources that we have is our experiences. And I feel like we are getting information all the time about what we’re good at. And we really need to pay attention to that and drink that in.
A couple years ago a woman stopped me and said something about something I was wearing and I said, “Oh, thank you so much.” And I just let it kind of glide off me and she said, “Why were my words not important to you?” and it just struck me that, like, she was actually giving me this gift of a compliment and I wasn’t taking it in and that I was also obviously not responding properly.
My point to this is if we don’t drink in the success that we have and recognize it in out day-to-day experience; we can’t later use that understanding of our success to give us that courage. So we need to pay attention to our day to day, not success, but our day-to-day understanding of our gifts I’d say.
TARA: And I think, aren’t we always bombarded with ways to forget all that stuff, too. You know, to forget all the things that we’re good at and to forget all the resources that we have. And, you know, going to back to I guess what we initially talked about, about shifting perspectives. In the blog space that I kind of operate in, you know, the design blogosphere where everything is beautiful and pretty and people are constantly reminded about how their domestic lives don’t meet up to everyone else’s.
BRIDGET: Oh my god.
TARA: Yeah, right. And my initial thought while you were talking about that is that, you know, while I hear from so many people that oh, my house doesn’t look like all the houses on Design Sponge and my jewelry doesn’t look like all the jewelry that you show on Scoutie Girl or something like that.
I think we can use those things instead of reminding ourselves how little we have or how few talents we have, we can use those images and those reminders to remind us that what we have can be beautiful too. And what we do can be beautiful too.
TARA: Yeah, and I think that’s…
BRIDGET: Right. Why do we look at the success of other people and assume that we can’t have that?
BRIDGET: Because somebody else has that, we can’t. Why can’t we take that and go wow, there’s somebody who has that. Like, so they have it so maybe I could have it. Oh they have it so I can’t have it. Why? That’s stupid. And yet we all do it. I do it.
TARA: Oh totally.
BRIDGET: I do it with other people in my industry space all the time. I’m like oh, that person’s doing so great and they got a book deal, and me, me, me. I don’t do that often, but I do it enough. And, you know, why does that make me assume that I couldn’t have one? Why? That’s silly. And so if we can sort of…okay so here’s the way I think about it. We don’t know what other people are experiencing. We only see what they show us.
In the online world I’m sure everybody who has their apartment photographed on DesignSponge. If you pan the rest of the room you would find something where you went ugh, you know, or gee, when are they going to clean that. I mean, we all have mess in our lives. So we get stuck on the perfection that we see and we assume that there isn’t mess. There’s always mess.
The other part of it is, oh I just lost my train of thought. The other part of it is that we don’t necessarily know what they’re experiencing or how they got there. And so we assume that we can’t do that. So what I do, if I want something, if I want to experience something or if I want to be a certain way I visualize what that experience would be like. So right now I’m mulling over writing a book.
And so I’m looking at other people who have written books who are really successful and I am doing a lot of visualization of the different steps and aspects of writing a book. And then where I don’t know what the experience would be like, you know, it just looks like there’s a big blank space, I try to do one of two things. I might say, okay, let me see what this could look like. I’m just gonna ask for information about what this could be like in my visualized space while I’m visualizing.
I’m going to just ask how could this work out and see what plays. Because often when I do that I get ideas that I’m not cognitively picking up on my own. Then I also ask the question, what are the questions that could bring me through this space? Who do I need to ask about being in this space? I know people who have been in that space, whatever that space is, let me go ask them what their experience was. And then let me use that information to propel me forward.
TARA: Yeah. So not only are you kind of utilizing resources you didn’t know you had in yourself, but then through those visualizations you’re also opening yourself up to using the personal resources that you have, like in your network.
TARA: Through the visualization and kind of digging deeper into that place of abundance, you’re finding that perspective shift, that courage, that you need.
BRIDGET: Yeah, well I think it’s more like I am making the space to ask the question and assuming that there’s an answer.
And that the answer’s not going to be oh Bridget, you suck. Oh Bridget, never mind. You know, I never see my scene sort of…I never ask a question like how could this be and then my seeing sort of crumples up into a ball and I see this scene like fall into a waste paper basket.
That doesn’t happen. I would assume for everybody that that doesn’t happen. I mean, I’m not going to go play Michael Jordan in basketball, but that’s also not a dream I have so it’s okay. For most of us, our dreams are tied to our purpose and our purpose is relevant and we have the skills to meet it. We may not know how, but we know people who do.
Yeah, let’s talk about visualization. One of the most important things, I think, for people is understanding their gifts and their skills and then visualizing different ways that they could use them. We get set on our track of what we want to do a long time I think before we really need to.
And so if you have more space around your gifts, you can sort of iterate better towards a really great career, right? But when I think about my visualization process I have two steps to it. And the first step is something I don’t think most people do and it makes a huge difference in my life.
The first step that I always do is I feel my feelings and I let the difficult things sort of ebb away. Because if you’re going into a visualization process and you have, you know, anxiety, anger, sadness, frustration, anything that you would label as a difficult feeling, it’s going to be hard to tune into your visualization and your process. People in our country are afraid to feel. And that’s sad.
It wastes a lot of time avoiding feelings. So if you just feel them, but you don’t put the why or the story around them, you just feel them and try to feel the qualities of them—I know that sounds a little hippy—but if you do that it tends to ebb out. You get the information that you need from the feeling, feeling goes away, you don’t have to deal with it anymore. And then you can be in a pretty calm state to actually move forward with your visualization.
And then the second step…and that really breaks me out of that feeling of fear that seems to be the underlying current or tension that a lot of us experience. So then what I do is I start imagining scenes from the experience that I want to have. And I think of it in terms of experience, not attaining…or, you know, it’s not attainment.
I’m not thinking about what I’m going to gain, I’m thinking about what I’m going to experience. And then I will play a scene from it over and over in my head. And I’ll play with that scene and that’s where that blank sometimes comes in. So I’ll ask for information about how that blank could play out if there’s a blank in the scene. And then I just imagine it over and over again.
When I’m doing that yeah, it feels really good. I like a good daydream, but what I’m really trying to do is I’m trying to figure out what I’m going to feel around that so that I know that if I have emotions that could impede my process, I want to have what I need in place to manage and support them.
TARA: You have to be able to know what those feelings are that you’re trying to achieve bottom line before you can really hope to know that you’ve achieved them. Like, you may be doing something now or you may be almost there. And you might now know or you might not have that sense of accomplishment because you haven’t spent enough time identifying exactly what it is that you’re looking for.
You know, we fixate on we want more money, we want to travel, we want a bigger house, but we don’t tend to fixate so much on the less tangible results of I want to feel free. That’s the big one for me. I want a sense of real freedom in my life like I’m not tied down to the laptop, I’m not tied down to my house, I’m not tied down to, you know, a certain set of responsibilities. I want responsibility in my life, but the overarching feeling that I want is freedom.
And I’ve really identified that for myself in the last three months or so. And in knowing that it helps me to continually be moving towards a business model that provides that for me. And so I’m stripping things out of my life that hold me back and I’m embracing those things that give me that sense of freedom even if they seem a little weird to me.
BRIDGET: You have to know what makes you happy and what your brand of happiness is. The other night I was laying in bed and I was thinking about people that I know in my space who have really really made a lot of money and are really, you know, they’re down at their beach house in the Bahamas or they’re blah, blah, blah, you know really living.
I mean, I have one house, I do not have three houses. I have one house, right, and I drive a Scion XV. I do not drive a Lexus. I live a pretty standard nice, but standard lifestyle. I was laying in bed and I was like you know, I feel like I offer so much to the world and why, you know, why don’t I have that?
And then I had this moment where I thought my god, Bridget. You’re laying next to one of the most beautiful people in the world. Your partner is this amazing loving person. You feel loved every day, you have kids who are lovely wonderful smart beings who are really enjoying life. You have a lifestyle that allows you to, you know, take a weekend off when you want to. And you go to work every day and you enjoy your work. What in the hell are you complaining about?
BRIDGET: You know? I am really going through life most days being really happy because I have a happiness that fits me. I have the things in my life that fits me, I have the things in my life that fit. And when you experience that, I think it gives you a platform to then say this is all really great and what do I want to do to fulfill my purpose.
You start moving away from having your feelings and emotions gratified, which is really important. That makes sort of a foundation and then you move into spaces of self-actualization and self-realization and into spaces of integration and connection with the world beyond you. And if you don’t have that sort of relative level of happiness and freedom and if it isn’t a match, you’re not going to be happy and you’re not going to fulfill what it is that you should be doing or need to be doing or want to be doing.
Visit Bridget on her blog and follow her on Twitter. Oh, and pick up her button book while you’re at it. You’ll be glad you did.
Want more insight, inspiration, and focus like this? Check out The Art of Action.