How can you be more creative?

Hello gorgeous,

It’s probably no surprise to you that I love doing things with my hands, be it crochet, sewing and other DIY things (and writing!). And if I don’t do it for a while, I get itchy and I miss it!

Being creative is more than that, more than the DIY in itself, more than inventing new things. To me, it’s also about doing things differently, thinking out of the box, coming up with innovative solutions to a problem, etc.

However, sometimes, our creative flow gets blocked and we feel like we can’t get there anymore. Until some day something happens to unblock it! One of the best compliments I had from my first circle, back in December, was from one of the participants who said that she came home and immediately took all her DIY stuff, and starting crafting again. I loved hearing that!

But obviously, there are other things you can do to get back to feeling creative than coming to my circles (although you are more than welcome ;-)), so here are my tips for you!

  • The 1st thing is about headspace. When you are (too) busy with the day-to-day business and getting there only one day at a time, you don’t have any headspace, so no space for creativity either. So how can you get more headspace? Can you do less? Can you stop doing some things? Can you delegate anything? Can you spend less time on Facebook ;-)? Can you meditate more? I am happy that the holidays are coming, as it means a bit less work for me and more time for me 🙂
  • Make it a routine. In my Be Do Have list, I had as an item to do at least 1 day of DIY per month. And the only way to do that is to plan it in your agenda. And it helps to do it together with a friend… In my case, I plan time one month ahead with my friend Michele to do some sewing together. Even if I don’t get to do more, that’s already something that’s happening. And I write every week, to you, of course 😉
  • Start small. Taking your pencils and buying yourself an adult coloring book is already something you can do, and there is no time limit either way. If all you have is 10’, it’s already something! But know that if you start coloring, time might fly without you realizing it 😉 so set a timer! Another activity that does not take up too much time is to do a wild flowers’ bouquet. Go for a walk, gather them and arrange them nicely in a small vase.
  • Challenge yourself to look at things in a different way. If you look at your home, and you want some change, look at it as if you were discovering it for the first time. Then ask yourself if things could go at in different place, what could you add, what could you remove…
  • Don’t pressure yourself to “get there”. If writing is your thing, don’t expect from yourself that you are going to write the novel of the year in one go. On the contrary, what you need is to write regularly but for fun, for the pleasure of writing, so that you can let yourself go, and you will see later what you can do with what you wrote. If it’s painting, then just go and paint. For the fun of it. For being so much into the painting that you lose track of time…
  • Get in touch with beauty. Go for a walk in nature, observe the leaves appearing on the trees, the flowers wanting to bloom, listen to the rustle of the leaves, to the birds. Or go in the city and admire the architecture of the buildings, the brightness of the colors, the light of a sunny day…

Creativity is Intelligence having FunAlbert Einstein

Have a wonderful week! And let me know on the blog how it went for you!

Much love, Madeleine

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Why doubting is good for you….

Hello gorgeous,

I don’t think I ever met anybody crossing life without doubting, be it themselves or the others. And that feels pretty normal to me. Although it can be pretty annoying sometimes too 😉

Suppose you doubt your career path, maybe your next move. Well, you will not know if it was the right move or not until you do it, because we don’t learn from other people’s experiences as much as we learn from our own experience. And what is bad for one can be exactly right for another. And what is right at a certain point in time can not be right anymore after a while, because we keep changing.

What is the worst that can happen in that case? That you start a new career, a new job, only to realize you are not happy there. So what? It means changing again, but with more knowledge, knowledge about what does not fit you. For years, I wanted to move to an HR department, because I thought that was my thing. Well, that was only until I realized that it did not mean helping people or caring for them… But at least I tried, and I learnt…

Suppose you doubt your relationship or your partner. I think it’s quite healthy for a relationship to periodically “review” it together, to make sure you are still on the same path and looking in the same direction. Well it’s definitely healthier than waking up after all these years only, to realize you are now on 2 completely separate paths, isn’t it? As it gives you the opportunity to adjust where needed, instead of letting it fall apart. When it comes to doubting your partner, it’s a complete other story. Because I believe we all have antennas that get triggered sometimes – usually for a reason. Which means it’s high time to look at it together….

But how about doubting yourself, your capacities, your orientation, your decisions etc. I would answer here that it’s about maintaining a healthy balance. It’s ok to doubt, as long as it does not prevent you from acting. Of course I can doubt about my financial success as an entrepreneur, I can doubt my abilities sometimes, but I am still moving forward with everything I want to do and accomplish. Because I choose to trust that things will turn out for the best (I know, sometimes, we can’t see it that way immediately, only after a while ;-)) and to trust my ability to always be able to find a solution and to manage whatever happens.

And as much as I love exchanging ideas and masterminding with my peers, I am the only one who needs to do the work and I am the only one who can decide what is good for me. I can always ask for advice, but I will take my own decision.

“Doubt everything. Find your own light.” ― Gautama Buddha-2

I also don’t think it’s healthy to never doubt anything. To me, being too sure is as unhealthy as always doubting everything… As Voltaire once said, “Doubt is an uncomfortable condition, but certainty is a ridiculous one.”

Have a wonderful week!

Much love, Madeleine

5 tips for finding balance

Hello gorgeous,

After 2 weeks into a new part-time job (on top of my other activities of course), I am still busy finding my own work-life balance, as I have the impression that I am constantly juggling. I recently read somewhere (can’t remember where, sorry!) that there is no such things as balance, there is always going left and then going right and then left, but there is never one point of equilibrium in the middle, we are constantly moving (a bit like a GPS that adjusts its course all the time). And maybe that’s true indeed. Finding balance seems like the Holy Grail…

But equally, when your life is forcing you to review who you are and what you stand for, you will most probably be looking for a new equilibrium, and going left and right a few times before settling somewhere in the middle.

I think it is important to keep the following in mind:

  • We (well, actually, everybody on earth ;-)) are work in progress, and we will always be. And that’s a great thing! Because it gives hope! Remember, “the only thing constant in life is change”, said Heraclitus a long time ago… Consequently, we never gonna get it right, because we will always want more, or something different, so we’d better be at peace with that upfront!
  • Our priorities change, our taste changes. What you want today might not be the same tomorrow. When I review my Be Do Have list, I adjust it, I remove and I add things on my list. The basis might be the same (I am still an avid learner and I still want a new car ;-)) but things that had priorities a few months ago don’t have the same now. So take time to regularly review your priorities!
  • Let’s take one day at a time. In any given day, do you have enough things that give you energy, versus things that drain your energy? Or maybe you have more, because you took a day off and it was all for you ;-). And if you don’t, how can you still balance this day with something positive and dear to your heart?
  • Life is testing us. Every. Single. Day. Don’t you get that feeling too? You declare you want something, and then something else is coming, like: are you sure? How about that instead? Life is proposing new lessons every day, and new quizzes too! We get to choose whether we want to learn this lesson today – or not. If not, the opportunity will come back at another time. So if learning it today is too much to ask, it’s ok to leave it for later…
  • Do not compare, I repeat, do not compare yourself to other people. You will always find someone who can do more, better, quicker etc. But comparing yourself to others is a killer, as you will never be satisfied that way. You may, however, compare yourself to who you were before, as long as it’s in your favor 😉 Yes, we get older, maybe we can do less than we used too, but my God, look at how much wiser we have become and all the things that we have accomplished!

There is no such thing as work-life balance. Everything worth fighting for unbalances your life.” ― Alain de Botton

Have a wonderful week!

Much love, Madeleine

3 tips for managing your energy level

Hello gorgeous,

I can’t emphasize enough the importance of knowing yourself well. Because knowing yourself is also knowing what you want and what you don’t want, and it allows you to respect your boundaries as well as to expand your wings when you decide to. And if there’s something that’s not working for you anymore and you recognize it, then you can do something about it.

We all have a certain amount of energy available to us. It’s how we function. Some have more (I have a girlfriend who really impresses me with the amount of energy she has ;-)) and some have less. Sometimes we are having a dip and have a lot less than normal too. Some things that we do give us energy (when we love what we do, we could just go on forever…) and some take up our energy (like negative people, or not liking our job, or pushing ourselves to do something that just doesn’t fit us etc.)

Obviously, ideally, we would always be aware of that and make decisions based on our own energy barometer. But we are only human and sometimes we get too ambitious (planning too much in my agenda – that’s me) or we forgot how negative those friends are and how energetically drained we are after meeting up with them (oh the joy of being an empath…).

And then, there’s the need and the will for expansion, for growth. Entrepreneurship is a really good school for that, as it seems it forces us to grow all the time. But you don’t need to be an entrepreneur to get opportunities for growth, life will no doubt give you enough of those too. When they are there, on a silver plate, it’s up to you to look at them, and accept them gracefully and decline politely. And if you are feeling fear when looking at an opportunity to expand your range, it’s ok; it’s probably your ego trying to keep you safe ;-).

I’d like to finish by giving you a few tips:

  • Before making a decision, always ask yourself: will this give me energy / drain my energy / have a neutral impact on my energy level? If the answer is drain, say No, and if you feel you can’t say No, ask yourself how you can compensate, for instance by doing something else that will give you that energy back (a good laugh, watching a movie, a walk in nature, a nice phone call with a good – and positive – friend etc…)
  • It’s ok to change your mind. Yes, it is! If you have taken on too much and you feel you can’t cope anymore, it’s ok to cancel some things and simply admit that you planned too much, it does not make you a failure… After all, if you don’t do that, your body will remind you later and it might not be so subtle when it comes…
  • If you have friends that are – nearly – always draining your energy, there are different ways to go about it: stop seeing them (a bit radical I agree), see them less, protect yourself before going to meet them (for instance by visualizing yourself in a light bubble where nothing can come in). If you saw them and you are exhausted, a quick 5’ dance session (even though you just feel like crashing on the couch) will shake off that negative energy so that you will feel again as yourself.

I'm not lazy, I'm on energy saving mode-2

I would love to know if you have other strategies, feel free to share them here!

Have a wonderful week!

Much love, Madeleine

Harmony, self-care and egotism

Hello gorgeous,

You might think it’s a weird combination of words I am using today… And you must know as well how much I recommend self-care and self-love, because it all starts with our selves…

Self-care and harmony:

I believe we can’t have a harmonious relationship with an other if we are not properly taking care of ourselves and of our needs. Taking good care of ourselves means that we are the ones to fulfill our needs and that we are not expecting another human being to do it for us. Let me give you a few examples:

  • So if we need a good belly laugh, how can we give it to our self? Maybe by watching one of our favorite comedians on YouTube, or that comedy that we like so much and laugh at every time again?
  • If we need tenderness, can we maybe find it in a good cuddle with our pet, or in a big hug with a friend, or by resting or our couch wrapped in a cozy blanket?
  • If we need to vent, whom can we call for that? Or can we maybe write it down on our journal to get it out of our system?

You see, it’s not about being able to give everything to ourselves, but it’s about knowing what will give us what we need and acting on it, thereby not expecting anybody else to know what we want or need without saying and to be able to foresee our wants and needs.

When we get to that place, any relationship will automatically be more harmonious as we are not expecting them to fill our holes; we have no holes to fill…

And from that place of inner fulfillment, it’s also a lot easier to give and to take care, to be nice and gentle for others, as we are already being taken care of.

Self-Care and egotism:

That’s where it gets tricky. When does self-care become too much, when does a healthy dose of self-care become egotism? How can we discern between the two?

Here’s the dictionary definition for egotism: “An excessive regard for one’s own talents or achievements; conceit, self-importance; acting with only one’s own interests in mind.”

It is, as always, when it becomes excessive that something is not so healthy anymore.

So how can we stop before, and can we even?

I am not sure, let’s say it does take practice… Mostly, we won’t recognize it before it’s done, before we said that thing that was not so nice, that felt like we did not care about the other, because we were so much busy with our self. With a bit of luck, the other person won’t hold it against us (for too long) and will let us know of our selfishness. With less luck, we will get it back like a boomerang… But when that happens a few times, I guess we should then start to notice and pay more attention to what we say and how we say it, to not let it happen. As I doubt that’s really who we are and what we want… Here’s a quote that sums it up for me:

“Never allow your ego to diminish your ability to listen.” Gary Hopkins

And I want to ask my friends: if I am ever guilty of egotism, please let me know so that I can correct my course immediately 😉

“You are only afraid if you are not in harmony with yourself.” ― Hermann Hesse

Have a wonderful week!

Much love,

Madeleine