The Bravery Block

Confidence or courage?

Which do you need to be a writer?

Let’s start with some definitions

Confidence, according to google is a sense of self assurance arising from a belief in ones own abilities or qualities. Courage is defined as the ability to do something that frightens you.

In practice, you need a measure of both to take ideas out of your head and put them in to words, and then put those words out into the world with the express purpose of their being read.

It seems like an act of arrogance doesn’t it? To believe that your words and ideas are not only valuable, but also sought for and needed by others. To act on the belief that you do indeed KNOW and that your knowing is worth the paper and ink used to print it, not to mention the money that might be paid by your readers for the privilege of owning them.

As writers, we believe these things about ourselves at some point along our journey (ok, at many points along our journey, let’s be honest) but I want to invite you to stop and consider the words of your most beloved author. Do you believe them to be arrogant for putting their ideas into words, onto paper and out into the world? Do you begrudge your having had to pay money for the privilege of owning their work? Quite the contrary. I know that there are some works that I have read that have been positively life changing for me and I am floored by the courage I believe they must have had to create them with the intention of other people reading them, and maybe even changing their lives.

So why do we doubt our own value? What stops us? In the beginning perhaps it is confidence. We have no track record, and so we are doing something we are entirely untested at and the gremlins GET LOUD in an effort to stop us doing something that is potentially mortifying. The etymology of that word is fascinating, obviously rooted in “death” with the root mort. Our subconscious is keeping us safe, or it’s trying anyhow. It knows that in order to become the writer you are, parts of you have to “die”. We fear death. Helloooo lizard brain. Oldest and most primitive human emotion – FEAR.

This is where courage comes in. As you start to put your words down and out, you will need to call on courage. You’re afraid. That is a GOOD THING. It means you are on to something that is going to foster growth. Being afraid, doubting yourself, is not a shortcoming, but I really am beginning to believe that failing to act because of it IS.

As you move through the fear, you begin to carve new neural pathways into your amazing brain. This takes energy and effort, and feels like fear and resistance. Push against it. Lean in. Every time you do this, you will get stronger, and your confidence will grow.

In the end, the answer to how to create confidence is to have courage and act. The more you do, the more confident you will become.

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Fear is my Super Power

Everyone asks successful people, what’s your secret?

The secret is we are scared ALL THE TIME.

It’s not a weakness.

In fact, it’s the only time I can be brave.

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I talk about this all the time. So many people claim to value courage as a quality, and yet fail to recognize that courage is not a lack of fear, but action despite it, maybe even fuelled by it. It influences the courageous action. Note that it doesn’t LEAD, but it fuels.

Like the combustion in an engine, the driver leads. We lead. The fear is the fire in our bellies driving us to create the momentum that is moving us forwards.

Feel the fear, and do it anyway.

Fear is my superpower, and it just might be yours too. If you feel the fear in your belly, and are terrified to take action in the direction of your dreams, light that shit up and get moving.

What are you afraid of doing? Tell me in the comments, and let’s shine some light on this truth.

Xo – S.

Why TEDx Windsor 2019 is a MUST ATTEND.

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TEDx Windsor 2018, the first event of it’s kind in our city, went down last weekend. Here’s why TEDx Windsor 2019 is not to be missed.

At TEDx Windsor 2018 we had the chance to;

  1. Connect with amazing local Thought Leaders

If I didn’t see you at last weekend’s first annual TED x Windsor event, you missed out. Our city has been quietly evolving from the bottom up and this even is just one little sign that we are on our way to becoming a brand new city for a brand new Millennium.

From six time award winning cinematographer Sarorn Sim to renowned cancer researcher Dr. Lisa Porter, podcaster and speaker Heather Chauvin to teachers driving innovation in education Jeni Van Kesteren and Laura Briscoe, among many others, the line up of speakers will blow your mind. You are guaranteed to walk away with new questions, people to follow on social media and an excitement for the future.

  1. Meet your new tribe 

Do you ever find yourself craving to meet new people who are pumped to talk about big ideas rather than the latest gossip? This crowd is for you. Meet people that will enliven your tribe, challenge your thinking and enrich your life. This event attracts thought leaders, big thinkers, and change makers from every layer of the city. Passionate about innovation in education? Connect with the dynamic duo from London, Ontario who are pioneering curriculum blending from Math and Art, creating the program “The Art of Math”. Geeked about the power of gratitude? Hook up with Keka DasGupta and disrupt the world with gratitude.

  1. Connect with people who are into big ideas 

Big ideas, innovation and seismic shifts are going to characterize the world of tomorrow. Meet the people who are hatching those ideas now and get on board with the latest ideas, groups and movements in the city and across the province.

  1. Find new big ideas to groove on.

Disillusioned? Bored? Losing hope? This event is guaranteed to light you up and get you out of your funk. This year we learned about Hugging Fearlessly, Disrupting the World with Gratitude, and Dandelion as a superfood just to name a few. Next year is sure to bring it to the next level.

  1. Learn the stories behind some of your favourite thought leaders

Love a local thought leader and want to know more about them? Recommend them to speak at the 2019 event! An avid follower of a local thought leader? Come hear them speak live and get the chance to chat face to face during the breaks and at the after party.

6.  Two words – Axe Throwing.

Learn how a music theatre student went from west side story to masterminding a chain of Axe Throwing Leagues across the country.

7.   Got Cool Free Stuff

Did I mention the red bag full of cool, free stuff from the sponsors of the event?

8.   Supported Windsor’s Evolution From Blue Collar to Thought Leader. 

Windsor was once a blue collar town, proudly manufacturing the cars that moved the modern world. Then 2008 happened, and that all changed. Be part of the emerging new city as passionate Windsor Lovers work to help us evolve into a green, grateful, sustainable thought leader for the new millennium.

TEDx Windsor 2019 isn’t scheduled yet, so keep your eye out for announcements and calls for volunteers, sponsors and speakers. Don’t miss your chance to be a part of this game changing day of Ideas Worth Spreading.

** Brought to you by the tireless efforts of Tina Huynh, Jacques Berge, Megz Kubis and Tracey Pistagnesi, **

Follow TEDx Windsor on Facebook and Instagram for updates!

The Truth Is…..

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We cannot create message without a little mess.

Your passion will piss people off. In fact, you will WANT your passion to piss people off. There is a saying – the truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off. If you are pissing people off, that means you have gotten their attention. Underneath anger is fear. It’s ok to piss people off, in fact, I encourage you to embrace it. You cannot wake people up or lift people higher without pissing a few people off. And sometimes, it’s those people that you piss off that need your message the most.

Be afraid to piss people off.

And then do it anyway.

Maybe even with a little bit of glee.

Because what is magic without a little bit of mischief

xo, S.

Your Pet Neurosis

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I am an avid meditator.

If you have been reading my blog for any length of time, you will know this. I have been cultivating a daily sitting practice for about four years now and let me tell you this shit has changed my life.

I have worked with a variety of different kinds of practice, primarily a silent, seated, open eyed method which is my favourite. I read and listen to whatever I can get my hands on about practice, as I am always eager to find news ways to deepen mine and cultivate more goodness from it for my own benefit. It’s really all about me primarily. Yes, it helps my husband and my kids have a better mom, and it improves my writing practice as I am able to see my creativity more clearly, which helps my readers as I am able to produce better content, but the truth of the matter is that I practice for myself.

I headed out to kill the second half of my exercise minutes this evening and I was listening to The Rich Roll Podcast episode where he interviews Dan Harris, the author of “Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics” and an anchor on CBS news. A lovely and enlightening conversation as usual, and towards the end Dan mentioned something that was suggested to him by one of his associates Jeff Warren as a way to create space between yourself and your neuroses, which incidentally you become very familiar with the longer you cultivate a meditation practice. He suggested naming them after the people that they remind you of. So, for example, I have a worrywart in my head that shows up pretty regularly. I could very easily name her Elenor for my beloved Nana who was a world champion worrier. My anger I could most certainly name after my Dad (Hi Dad!), and the list could go on.

I am going to embrace this and experiment with it this week. I will let you all know how it goes 🙂 I am sure I will have a list of neuroses to introduce you to by weeks end 🙂

Check out the podcast here, it’s definitely worth a listen.

Xo – S.

Real Talk. 

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Growth is scary. Facing your shit is hard. Uncomfortable feelings are no fun. Staying small would be easier. And yet I continue to move ahead.

Ugly cry, splash some water on my face, get a decent nights sleep, slap on some lipstick, and get back to work.

It’s the work that I am called to do.

Have you ugly cried lately? If you haven’t then you’re probably not really doing anything that will move you forward in your life. If you have, good for you. A good ugly cry is an emotional detox that is good the the soul

I am learning that it is the price you pay to grow.

Ugly tears. Good sleep. Lipstick.

Rinse.

Repeat.

Rise.

xo – S.

What Does Stephen Hawking Have To Do With You?

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The renowned physicist Stephen Hawking passed away today at the remarkable age of 76.

That he lived this long is what some would call a miracle.

To me, it under scores the importance of clarity of purpose and stoutness of spirit.

For those of you who don’t know, Stephen Hawking was not supposed to out live the age of 23. He was diagnosed with ALS when he was 21 and given two years to live. He had just started his Ph.D. and was in the early steps of his pursuit of a Theory of Everything, a mathematical formula that could explain everything in the known universe.

He was brilliant of mind, and singular of purpose, and he outlived all possible predictions of his mortality.

What, you might ask, does this have to do with you?

Allow me to answer your question with a question.

How much doubt do you face as you consider pursuing your dreams? How often does this doubt stop you in your tracks?

How much work could you have gotten done already if you had dismissed those doubts out of hand and worked with a singularity of purpose towards making those dreams a reality?

This is what Stephen Hawking has to do with you.

Upon learning that his body was betraying him and would only carry his consciousness for another two years at best, Stephen did not descend into despair, give in to bitterness or cease his pursuit of his dream.

He, instead, got right to work.

He had no time for doubt, or despair. Every moment he had left was to be devoted to his goal. He had a deep awareness of his sense of purpose, and a drive to achieve  that surpassed everything.

It even defied the odds of mortality.

That he lived a further 58 years to pursue his purpose and enrich the world with what many would call his genius could be considered miraculous.

He overcame grim odds, dedicated himself to his purpose and never relented. Despite adversity, a mutinous body and what I am sure what a great deal of critical derision, he maintained his course and lived to pursue his work longer than anyone could have dreamed was possible.

Dedication to your dream is important.

A sense of humour even more so.

An understanding that showing up to the work everyday is not for the faint of heart, and a determination to show up anyhow.

I am sure he would not call this courage. I am certain that his dedication and discipline was simply a matter of fact, no other reality was possible in his mind. He could make no other choice.

I invite you to be so rigorous, determined and dedicated to the work of your life. Back down to no one. Let even death stare you in the face and not deter you from your dreams.

He was a hero.

You are a hero.

His journey has ended.

Yours will too.

Walk the path while it is still under your feet.

The world needs your genius just as it needed his.

RIP Stephen. Rest among the stars.

Do The Creativity Gremlins Tell The Truth?

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The Creativity Gremlins show up when you are close to a breakthrough, or are considering taking a risk. Risks are part of growth. If you take no risks, you earn no bigger rewards.

Let’s use blogging as an example.

You have set up your blog. You have a genius name, and you are are all ready to go. Then the gremlins start. “Why even bother? You can’t write. No one is even going to read it anyhow. Who do you think you are? Some kind of expert?! Ha! You can barely tie your shoes. Get over yourself. This will go nowhere.”

Sound familiar?

Just because you think these things doesn’t make them true. Strangely, many of us have gotten used to presuming that because we think a thing, it must be the truth, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

Questioning your thoughts is a skill that you can get good at, just like anything else. Now is as good a time as any to begin to apply this skill.

Here are three questions to ask yourself.  (Courtesy of “Loving What Is” By, Byron Katie.)

1.) Is this thought true?

2.) Can I absolutely know that it is true?

3.) Who would I be without this thought?

Let’s use a snippet from the above as an example.

“You can’t write”.

First, let’s make it first person.

“I can’t write,”

Ok, now let’s apply the first question. Is this true?

Well, not really because I know I can put words together out of letters, and then make sentences out of those words. I can make paragraphs out of those sentences and I can use them to communicate an idea.

So no, it’s not true.

You might get the gremlins starting here again with something like “But it doesn’t make sense to anyone other than me, and it’s not GOOD. Not like famous author good, so give up now.”

Ignore them, and apply the second question.

Can I absolutely know it’s true?

When you write, do you write for yourself? Or do you write for other people to read it? If your answer is, for other people, then how can you know if your work makes sense to them without taking the risk of showing someone else? Can you read people’s minds? No.

So the answer to this question is, no. I cannot absolutely know that it is true that I am not a good writer.

This next question is slightly harder. “Who would I be without this thought?” If you were to drop the thought altogether, like you had never even had it in the first place, what would change? How would your experience of life change? How would your path as a writer change? Would you have hesitated for as long as you have? Would you have spent nights upon nights ruminating madly in your bed about whether or not to start that  blog? Probably not. You might even be a famous blogger by now. You would feel more confident, you would post more regularly and you would take more risks.

Pretty awesome.

Now, here’s the part that really gets people.

Turn it around.

Take that thought “I can’t write.” And turn it around. Change the energy charge of the thought.

“I can write”, “I want to write.”, “I am excited about writing.”

Feel into each of these.

I guarantee you will be surprised at what you find.

The Work isn’t easy. Especially when you are new at it. Comment, email me or reach out and I would be happy to help you get started.

xo, Steph

** The process outlined in this blog is not my own. It was developed by a women named Byron Katie. You can find out more about The Work on her website. She also has published a few books, all of which are more than worth your time to read or listen to. Download it on Audible, and tell them I sent you.**

The Creativity Gremlins

I enjoyed creating last weeks audio blog so much that I did it again 🙂

One of the themes that came up in the #WriteNow group on Facebook is the fearful and frustrating self talk that comes with being a creative person. In this audio I address what that self talk actually is, who faces it, and what to do about it.

Thank you so much, dear reader, for listening. If you found this resonated with you, if you know someone else it might resonate with, please share this post. Awakening creativity and Inviting more people to the party means we are just that much closer to facing the seemingly insurmountable problems that are facing humanity at this moment in history.

xo. Steph

Published is Better Than Perfect. #WriteNow

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Procrastination is poison to creativity.

The meme you see all the time on facebook is true, “The biggest lie I tell myself is that I don’t have to write that down, I will remember it.”

How many of you have had amazing ideas in bed, or out at the grocery store or while cooking dinner that you didn’t write down? And how many of you have had the maddening experience of sitting down to write about it later and discovering that it has dissolved into the ether, never to be seen again?

My hand is up to, trust me.

Always, to the best of your ability, capture an idea when it occurs. Use whatever means necessary to do so. We all carry little computers around in our pocket’s these, so you honestly have no excuse. I will even use my voice notes app to capture an idea if the mood catches me.

Once you get to the keyboard, you have beaten procrastination. Way to go!

The next killer for creativity is perfectionism.

I always encourage my clients to write first, edit later. Editing as you go will kill the flow. There are no two ways about it. Let the flow come through you, and set aside a time later for editing.

Lastly, don’t ever be afraid to hit “PUBLISH”.

They created the edit button for a reason. No post is irrevocable. You can always edit it later if you find a spelling error, or a grammar error. No big deal.

Don’t wait for the perfect time. It never arrives.

Write now.

Edit later.

Publish frequently.

Xo. Steph