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Warming up to a nice bowl of borscht and sipping a green smoothie made with my new bullet mixer, (thanks Santa!) I’m skipping the eggnog and getting right down to some of the top creative lessons of this past year.

Creative Butterfly Formula Photo by ArtsyBee via Pixabay

In true Dave Letterman top ten fashion here’s my list of lessons learned in a creative year.

10. Morning rituals can be just what you’ve needed..

Emerson is often misquoted as saying “consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds..” when in fact the actual saying is a “a foolish consistency is..” BIG difference, right?

For me I’ve avoided rituals and meditation for a long time. So, it’s been the biggest shift for me to finally tackle these, and I found both in Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning.

While I have to admit that I’m still not an early morning riser, developing a morning ritual was a game changer. You can read more here..

9. Curiosity vs Passion

I’ve struggled with the typical “follow your passion” advice. For the longest time I thought there was something wrong with me. Even after connecting with Emily Wapnick and the Puttytribe, I still wondered this.

Slowly, I realized that it’s not only okay; it’s something essential I needed to develop - or what I now consider the most important skill in business.

8. One Thing Done Well Can Pay Dividends

This is something that developed over the past few months. I started recognizing how much can come out of a few interviews. For example, after interviewing one guest like Kyle MacDonald.. I’ve created a YouTube video.. plus, highlight clips.. plus, a podcast.. plus, blog posts.. all from one interview!!

7. Out of Our Darkest Moments can Come Some of Our Greatest Opportunities

On a recent interview Dana Parker shared how she suffered from fibromyalgia. Things got so bad that at one point she could barely move - much less get out of bed. Through different techniques she learned to regain movement and even now dances tango.

After losing my car, I was really struggling myself. But to be honest I’d probably still be doing my previous work driving up and down the coast. So, sometimes what seems like a curse may be a blessing.

6. Creativity - Muscle , i.e. idea machine

This past year I spent a good part of my morning ritual doing the Ideal Machine lists by Claudia Altucher, and while I wouldn’t say that I’m the perfect writer and that words flow 100% effortlessly, the change has been pretty awesome. My word count has gone up to nearly 1500 per hour and generally hovers around 900.

5. 80/20 Rule is More like 90/10 for Your Efforts

By now you realize that busy work doesn’t necessarily translate into results. Here’s what I’ve also discovered. Most of us have heard of the Pareto Principle where 20 percent of our efforts yield 80 percent of our results. (Who doesn’t want to just figure what that 20 percent is, right?)

In reality it’s closer to 10 percent of your struggles and often this can be like trying to find that pony in the manure.

4. Relationships are Built on Trust over Time

There’s really no substitute or “hack” for this.
Here’s Brene Brown’s “BRAVING” model ..

B – Boundaries
Respecting boundaries are essential. When we’re not clear about what’s okay and what’s not, we need to ask, and it’s okay to say no.

R – Reliability
Boy, this is a big one. So simple yet sometimes so hard sometimes. Do what you say you’ll do. Talk is cheap; it’s time to saddle up pardner! “Money talks, bullshit walks.”

A – Accountability
Sure, things happen. But you better own up as soon as you can, apologize, and do what you can to make it right. How you recover says a lot about what you really think - of me, our relationship, and what it all means to you.

V – Vault
Circle of trust, man, circle of trust - you are in, or you’re out as Robert DeNiro says in Meet the Parents. Can I trust you to keep what we share in private confidential?

I – Integrity
What do you choose when no one’s looking? Do you choose courage over comfort? Do you choose what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy? What choices do you make over time?

N – Non-judgment
Can we each ask for what we need without fear of being judged?

G – Generosity
Do you assume the worst? Giving the best meaning possible to the intentions behind the words and actions of others is a way of giving trust to get trust.

3. The IndieCreative Entrepreneur’s Journey is the Hero’s Journey

It's a journey of transformation. I’ve often shared this Matthew Winkler TED video because it’s the most amazing capture in 4 minutes.

It’s not just what you learn or do along the way. It’s not only who you connect with to help you on your path. It’s about who you become.

What I like to say now is “Who you were got you to this point, who you’re becoming will get you where you want to go!” (click below to tweet)

Tweet: Who you are got you to this point, who you’re becoming will get you where you want to go! @jycmba

2. Your Surroundings Reflect Who You Are.. literally!

We’ve heard of this idea by Jim Rohn that “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.' Well, I’ve been reading up on the power of mirror neurons. So it turns out that there’s actually scientific basis in this principle. Go figure!

1. Keep Going

I’ve been blessed to have interviewed creative entrepreneurs this past year and they echoed what some of the best business mind I’ve worked with have said. Sometimes you just need to stay the course.

Unmistakable Creative podcast hot Srinivas Rao talked candidly about how he nearly quit and something told him to keep going.

That’s the thing that I’ve heard again and again - from successful writers, musicians, film makers and other artists. Keep writing, keep singing, keep shooting.. keep doing what you can’t stop doing even if you fail.

As Jim Carrey said, “I learned many, many lessons from my father, but not least of which is that you can fail at something you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance doing what you love.”

I wish you and your loved ones all the best for a fantastic holiday! Here’s to even more inspired creative awesomeness in the new year!

Happy Creative New Year!



#IndieCreative entrepreneur Dana Parker was able to recover from a crippling condition where she could barely get out of bed to dance tango again. Now she's on a mission to help others reconnect with their bodies and other dancers.
via John Chang's Sound Cloud

via Creative Entrepreneur Blog
Creative Entrepreneur

The holidays offer an opportunity to reflect on why we’re grateful. Besides reconnecting with our loved ones and celebrating our successes in the past year, there are some key reasons why this is important for creative entrepreneurs.

What are you grateful for these holidays? Photo credit - Pixabay

When people succeed they tend to party but when they fail they tend to ponder - Tony Robbins

As I shared in this LinkedIn post on gratitude, I took my friend Chef Chris Hill’s words to heart. He talked about how it’s one thing to be thankful for the “good” things that happened. It’s another to be “grateful” for all that life has to offer.

For creative entrepreneurs this is especially important because of some things I’ve learned about creativity and the process of working on your craft.

Being Grateful is More than a Feeling

Being grateful isn’t just about feeling positive about things in your life, it’s also a way to intentionally create space for more of what you really want.

Too often we tend to focus on what we don’t want. Have you ever driven around the block a few times wondering why there aren’t any spots? Next time make a small shift and look for the open spots. If you wrote that off as the same thing, you missed the point.

When We Focus on Being Grateful

Whatever gets more of our attention and energy grows. Now this may seem pretty esoteric and out there. But consider this.

When someone put an idea into your head about getting sick, what happens when you think about not getting sick? Like it or not, you ended up in bed nursing a cold.

So therein lies the danger. Even if we focus on what we don’t want, we will get more. That’s why it’s so important to be intentional with our focus.

As I’ve written about how to avoid writer’s block, one of the most important parts is to clear the deadwood from your creative muscles. It’s how pruning rose bushes prepares the way for new buds and what allows the spring blossoms to bloom.

This past November I’ve taken on Nanowrimo. Unfortunately, I didn’t complete 50,000 words but I did learn some key lessons in the process that I’ll share on another post. So I’m grateful for the opportunity to have experienced this.

With the year winding down I’m wrapping up projects, but I’m also taking time to reflect on what I am grateful for. Most of all being intentional about what I want to focus on in the months to come.

How about you? Where do you want your creativity to go in the months ahead?