Anyone Can Be Lucky!

Anyone Can Be Lucky!

Today with shamrocks everywhere I am thinking about luck. Do you believe in luck?  For me, the answer is yes and no.

I believe we make our own luck. We make our own luck by working hard, by producing good work, and by being outgoing. We make our own luck by networking to meet new people and nurturing our business and personal relationships. And we make our own luck by always being ready to talk about ourselves and our latest project in a compelling way. We make our own luck by being open to new possibilities and opportunities. By taking risks and trying new things. 

No matter how it looks from the outside, there is no such thing as an overnight success. People may seem to come out of nowhere and suddenly be at the top of their game, but we don’t see the years of work behind the scenes honing their craft, practicing, and always striving and improving.  That is how we make our own luck.  

Be ready when opportunity knocks, and when it does, be sure to answer the door with a smile.

That’s a picture of my dog, whose name is Lucky and who brings me lots of luck! Wishing you a day filled with luck and joy this St. Patrick’s day.

May your blessings outnumber the shamrocks that grow. And may trouble avoid you wherever you go.

Irish Blessing

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The Genius of small changes: they add up

The Genius of small changes: they add up

A couple of weeks ago I bought myself some toast tongs. What are toast tongs, you may ask.  They are small bamboo tongs for getting your toast out of the toaster safely.  (I am prone to burning my fingers on hot toast.)  Every time I use them I think genius! How did I ever live without my toast tongs?!  This simple gadget has changed my life.

It got me thinking about how small changes can become big changes. Whether it is making a small adjustment in your workflow, discovering a new gadget, or changing your approach or a point of view, small changes can bring huge returns.

Here’s an example from my creative life.   I dictate the first draft of these newsletters. I never thought that would be part of my creative process. For me the flow always came through my fingertips as I typed. But once I got my dog and started walking him daily, I would think of the first few sentences of a newsletter. I discovered that dictating made my writing process go much faster because I just spoke my thoughts. Keeping it simple, I use the dictation function in Word.  I haven’t tried dictation for my fiction, but lots of authors swear by it.  It is especially helpful for people that have bad carpal tunnel or other injuries.  This is a great example of how experimenting with something new can lead to unexpected benefits.

Here are some places to try implementing small changes:

New Tools: Is there a new tool you can try for your creative process?

What about using a scheduler for your social media? Have you tried ChatGPT or other AI to help you brainstorm? Or using a scheduling tool to keep your calendar? I use  Acuity * for scheduling and it is a game changer. It saves so much time and back and forth emails when trying to schedule appointments with clients.

New routines: Is there a a tweak you can make to your routine?

What about changing the time of day you workout? Maybe carve out 10 minutes a day to read for fun. Or for research? Or limiting yourself to checking e-mail once a day? Or forgoing all social media? I check email once a day and social media once or twice a week. This habit has increased my productivity and focus.

New environments: Should you change up the space where you work?

Try flipping your desk to look out the window or towards the wall. If you work at home, try a coffee shop. If you work at a coffee shop, try a new place.


Overall, the key to making small changes is to be open to experimentation. Be willing to try out new things and see what works. Sometimes the things you try won’t work out, but that’s okay. The important thing is to keep experimenting and find what works best for you.

I encourage you to experiment with some small changes in your life and see where they can take you. If you have some suggestions or ideas that have worked for you, hit reply and let me know.

P.S. The other thing my toast tongs remind is that you can find inspiration anywhere if you are open and curious.

*Affiliate link. I recommend products I love and use. I get a small commission at no extra charge to you.

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Professionals Don’t Need a Degree

Professionals Don’t Need a Degree

As you know,  I love British cozy mystery shows . I was watching an old episode of Father Brown the other night when he said this gem.

Professionals built the Titanic; amateurs built the Ark. 

Father Brown

When the constable told him to mind his own business and not investigate the crime, Father Brown answered with this wisdom. It got me thinking. A lot of us are still stuck in the 20th century mindset that we need a school degree to prove our expertise to ourselves and the world. When in fact, today’s professionals are people that make a living at whatever they are doing. 

I had a friend a while back who was a good writer.  She wrote nonfiction essays that were inspiring, and she had wonderful ideas for screenplays. I always encouraged her to write, but she said “I didn’t study screenwriting. I don’t know how,” and so sadly she never wrote a script. That thinking that we need a degree to make something, create something, or start a business can stop a lot of us. But it is an old mindset.

We are in the 21st century.  There are no gatekeepers.  We don’t have to wait for permission to do what we love.  Unlike past generations, we have access to unlimited information on the Internet. We can watch how to videos, read blogs and books, listen to podcasts, and take online courses to learn all kinds of new skills, hobbies, and fun facts that support our creative endeavors and can turn into businesses.

Everything is figure-out-able

Do not let anyone tell you don’t know what you’re talking about because your lack of a degree.  (This tactic is a favorite of internet trolls.)  Don’t let others’ limiting beliefs stop you from learning, creating, and doing. This judgmental attitude is outdated and irrelevant.  The line between professionals and amateurs isn’t just blurry, it might have disappeared. We have citizen journalists that are breaking stories.  Indie publishing income is now the same size as a big 5 traditional publisher. People shoot movies on their phones. You can teach yourself to code and learn how to write a business plan on YouTube.  Anyone can start a Roku channel.

You can be an expert and a professional without a degree. How do you do that? By simply learning and doing. Take action. Figure it out. Try and try again, and soon you will be where you just dreamed of being even a few months ago.

A Bit of Inspiration

As I’m always saying, it is never too late.  Just start. This week’s reminder of it’s never too late is the story of the bestselling book Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. I got the book as a Christmas gift from my stepmom and read it in three days. It is my new favorite novel! The story is wonderfully unique, emotional, and gripping. Her writing style inspired me to start thinking about writing fiction again. And I felt even more inspired when I found out it’s the author’s first book and she’s 65.

What are you going to start creating today?

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Do These Four Things to Worry Less

Do These Four Things to Worry Less

I am a worrier.  I worry a lot and I always have. I know I’m not alone. The world in the past three years has gotten scary and everyone’s anxiety has skyrocketed. As creative people, it is easy to let our imaginations run wild creating the worst possible outcome.  I call this running out into the cornfield (named after the Twilight Zone episode about the evil little boy wishing people into the cornfield.)  Here are four ways to tame your worry and stay out of the cornfield.

Imagine the worst case scenario

Ask yourself what is the worst thing that could happen? Follow it to the absolute worst outcome.  Then think about what you would do.   When I practice this technique, often I realize that even if the worst thing happened, I could handle it. I could learn from it, and I would be okay.  

Plan for the worst and expect the best

Set yourself up for success by having a contingency plan if things go south.  This plan will give you more confidence and assuage anxiety.  At the same time, expecting the best will also keep you calm. 

Practice Surrender

Whether we like it or not, most things are not in our control.  Do your best with what you can control and surrender the rest.   Don’t worry about things you cannot control.  That is easier said than done, but once you start to practice surrender, you will notice your anxiety lessen significantly.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Reinhold Niebuhr

Embrace failure by cultivating curiosity

Fear of failure often stops us from trying new things and taking risks. As creative people, fear of failure is especially acute because when we share our creations, we are sharing parts of ourselves. If things don’t go your way,  try adopting a curious attitude . Curiosity reframes failure as a learning opportunity. Ask yourself questions. What worked here? What didn’t? What could I have done differently? What will I do differently next time?

Success is not final. Failure is not fatal.  It is the courage to continue that counts.

Winston Churchill

I hope these practices help you with your anxiety. If you have other tips to curb worrying, please comment below.  I am always on the lookout for new ideas.

Don’t let fear steal your funk. 

Marshall to Ted in How I Met Your Mother

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Why You Should Cultivate Curiosity

Why You Should Cultivate Curiosity

Curiosity is a powerful force in the life of a creative person. It is the spark that ignites our imagination and drives us to explore new ideas and possibilities.  When we are curious, we are open to learning and experiencing new things. This allows us to see things from different angles, which can lead to new insights and breakthroughs.

Be Permanently Curious

Tap into the power of curiosity by adopting a mindset of permanent curiosity. This means approaching everything in life with a sense of wonder and a desire to learn and understand more.  It’s important to practice the habit of asking questions and seeking new information. This can be as simple as asking a colleague or friend about their interests or reading an article on a topic you know nothing about.

Always be…

A simple way to practice curiosity is to always be…

Always be reading. Read at the level you want to write. Read the kinds of books, articles, and screenplays you want to write. Read about new topics and read about your industry. Know and follow the thought leaders in your business and the business you want to be in.

Always be watching. Watch the kinds of stories you want to tell. Watch short videos and documentaries about things you know and things you don’t.

Always be listening. Listen to podcasts about a variety of topics. Listen to podcasts about skills you want to improve or acquire. Check out scripted podcasts or listen to an audiobook.

Always be writing. If you are a writer, write every day even if it is just for 15 minutes. The more you write the more your writing improves. Even if you aren’t a writer by profession, practice writing clear and concise emails and compelling presentations. The better the writer you are, the better a communicator you are. And everyone no matter what they do, can be better at writing, speaking, and presenting.

Make curiosity one of your superpowers and exponentially increase your creativity. You will be surprised at the unexpected benefits learning and trying new things. By adopting a mindset of permanent curiosity, you can unlock new possibilities for yourself. So make it a habit to be curious, and see how it can transform your life!

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Don’t Make Resolutions!

Don’t Make Resolutions!

We only have a few days left in 2022. I can’t believe it! Instead of making resolutions this year which seem to inevitably fail, what about concentrating on forming new habits? With new habits you change your behavior and you get results. Building new habits is more powerful and more effective than making resolutions. James Clear’s classic book  Atomic Habit s is a new way at looking at habits that I found life changing.

Clear teaches how small incremental changes build up over time to big results. What is one small change you can make for 2023 that will build up over the year? Maybe is it walking around the block every morning. If you walk around the block every morning for a year, you will have walked a lot of miles and be in much better shape than when you started in January. Or if you stop putting sugar in your coffee, by the end of the year you will have cut out thousands of calories, maybe lost weight, and definitely see improvement in your energy and overall health.

Instead of thinking big, think small! Once you have mastered a new habit, move on to the next one. So often we get discouraged because we try to make too many big changes at one time, and we end up not accomplishing any of them. Celebrate your small victories and use that success to fuel your momentum. The more you are able to hit your small changes, the better you’re going to feel about yourself and you’ll get a snowball effect of success.

Comment and let me know what you’re working on. Have a very happy holiday weekend!

Next week we’ll be talking about some quick ways you can plan your projects for the year.

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