Firstly apologies, I honestly don’t know where April went! Since the children have gone back to school, it has felt very busy, getting used to new routines, back to the kids activities and finally getting out, out, with friends into lovely, local beer gardens! Plus, we have a lot of birthdays in April!
So, it feels a long time since I was last here. However, there has been a lot going on in the background too with The CCC which is exciting but more on that later (in part 2)!
But first as you will have seen, this is my 100th Blog in just over 2 years on the subject of Creativity and Wellbeing, and I am thrilled to bits that I have never run out of things to say on this fascinating subject! So I thought I would do things a bit differently and create a top 100 list of things I’ve either learned, read, listened to and the many people I have been inspired by which has got me to where I am today.
BUT, this post was getting so long that I’ve decided to split it into 2, over 2 weeks, so that it doesn’t take you all day to read!
So, throughout these 2 Blogs, I’ll include links to previous ones related to that particular topic, so that you can read further on it should you wish to – a kind of celebration of all that I’ve covered so far!
I’ll split the categories into 10 x 10, (5 today and 5 next week) so you can pick up and read whenever at your leisure and easily refer back to the key things you are interested in.
So here we go…
1 – Top 10 wellness benefits of finding your creative mojo
Now you know how good it is for you, don’t just take my word for it…there’s a whole range of experts out there, who understand how magical creative living is too.
2 – Top 10 Creative, Creative Business and Wellbeing Podcasts that will inspire you.
Podcasts have become an important habit in my life that never fail to feed my motivation and creative energy. See them as mini pep talks to keep you going, and especially good for dog walks! Below is a good, varied mix of creative artists, creative business coaches, health and wellbeing and interior design too who inspire me each week with their deep and wonderful conversations.
3 – The 10 thieves of creativity
I have gone into some of the below in detail before on this Blog, but I will also do another post on this, because these are all huge subjects in themselves. But if you recognise yourself in any of the below traits or thoughts, you are not alone, and there is rarely a perfect road to creative enlightenment without one of these bugbears showing up along the way!
The good news is they can all be pushed aside, ploughed through or kicked into the gutter, with some positive mindset and self-awareness work.
The undeniable truth is your thoughts, are just thoughts.
They are not facts, so it’s all about how you respond to what your pesky mind is telling you, and I know that is easier said than done sometimes, BUT IT IS POSSIBLE, so if you can accept that, you are half-way there and I’ll be discussing this more in future so watch this space.
5 -10 things you could try right now!
So, this is my first fifty learnings, tips, and processes and I hope you’ve enjoyed a little insight into the last few years of blogging experience and research!
Next week, I will cover my top 10:
Until next time, I hope you’ve enjoyed the Bank Holiday weekend and not long to go now before more restrictions are lifted! Bring. It. On! Have a great week!
Juliet, The Curious Creative x
Ps Main image and the other ones from the cabin are by Claire Wood for Prima Magazine where I was lucky enough to be featured in their issue this month! In shops now!
PPs I currently have a few spaces in my creative writing groups, click on the link to find out more.
Who doesn’t love to receive a hand written letter, and even more so when it’s sent through the post? Well this week for my turn on the Yorkshire Writers Lunch Blog, my piece is all about just that.
I’ve recently got involved with a really lovely project – Give a Few Words, and if you are a writer yourself or even if you just like making a difference to someone’s day, I urge you to take a look, because you can use your love of writing in a really powerful way.
But for now, I’d love you to read my piece as I get ready to write my first letter for the project:
I hope you like and I’ll be back next week with another creative Blog post and you can always catch up with me regularly over on Instagram – @thecuriouscreativeclub or @soothedbynature, if you are a nature geek like me.
Have a fab rest of the week, not long now to the next restriction lift! :-), I’m starting to get excited…
Until next time…
Juliet, The Curious Creative x
Hi everyone, apologies for the lateness of this Blog but the last few weeks have been quite a whirlwind, in a good way, as we all attempt a bit more normality now the kids are back at school.
At the end of this post I’ll share what I’ve been up to because it all links, but firstly let’s talk about your strengths and where this has all come from.
We’ve been talking a lot about this in our WOW Wednesday Membership as a crucial part of doing the background work that makes the upfront work a whole lot easier. So that includes all the things I’ve been talking about so far in the Blogs this year, like working out what your values are, the direction you want to go in and using guiding words and creating a vision board to help that process.
So why is it important to work out your strengths?
Digging deep into this may feel awkward and maybe even a bit icky, we are not great as humans at celebrating ourselves, especially in the UK, it’s just not the British thing to do BUT it is a hugely important piece of work if you want to grow and move forwards.
In simple terms, if we don’t understand what are strengths are, how are we going to utilise them in our lives and the work that we do? It’s like working out what tools you have to assist you in climbing a mountain, one step at a time.
It can take a lifetime to figure out our strengths, I’ll be honest, it’s only in the last 4 years since I’ve left corporate life and tried new things that I now know the direction I want to go in and what my real strengths are.
And that’s why giving yourself permission to experiment with new experiences is also key to this discovery work, because you may find strengths that you never knew existed when you stretch out of your comfort zone and test yourself.
So how do you discover yours?
Some may seem obvious to you (hopefully!), such as qualifications and jobs that you have that validate or increase your skills plus family and friends appreciating and telling you! But there are other ways to discover your strengths too, through the clever questions in personality questionnaires. These then pool the answers and shine a light on your key personality traits, including your top strengths.
I’ve found a few to be particularly useful, and you may have done some of these already, but it can be useful to go back and do again after a few years, to see if anything has changed, as we grow and adapt through our life experiences.
The first one is the Myers Briggs, or 16 personalities quiz. This one is the most in depth I think, and of all the people I know who have taken it, seems the most accurate as participants gasp as the end at their collated results, usually exclaiming ‘Wow, that is totally me!’.
What I like about this quiz is that it gives you some direction, such as careers you may flourish in, how to approach relationships, or thing to look out for that may not suit you.
I’m an INFPA type, or Mediator as it’s otherwise known, and we are one of the rarer types of the 16 personalities, making up just 4-5% of the population. Everything about its description is spot on for me, and knowing what your strengths and weaknesses are, gives you a more insightful view of your future. Once we are aware of our strengths, we then know where to channel our focus and efforts for the most personal, and purposeful success.
The Four Tendencies Quiz – Gretchen Ruben
Understanding how you work and respond to outside influences and expectations is an absolute game-changer in terms of motivation. Taking part in this quiz brings shows you how to use your tendency to get things done, the different types being; Obliger, Rebel, Questioner, or an Upholder.
And this type can change throughout your life. I used to be an Obliger, especially as a marketeer working towards deadlines in my previous career, but now I’m more of a questioner. Gretchen writes that Questioners wake up and think ‘What needs to get done today and why’ and only tend to take direction from people they respect – yep that’s me to a tee!
Meanwhile my husband is a Rebel, and boy does that bring challenges, but knowing his ‘tendency’ armours me with the knowledge of how to approach things and find a compromise – the key with him is making him think it was his idea all along as they don’t like to take direction from anyone else but themselves! – see there are definite benefits understanding the different types!
Which brings me to the last quiz – The Love Languages Quiz! There are 5 love languages apparently:
How you rate these in terms of importance to you, helps you to find your ‘love language’. Now if one of you is speaking in a ‘thoughtful words’ way whilst the other is reciting ‘acts of service’ then it’s going to take some learning to communicate, but at least by knowing this we are all less likely to take offence if we feel like our partner doesn’t care – they may just be speaking their ‘love’ in a different way. Taking this quiz, may just save your relationship.
Understanding all these things about yourself can only help you to move forwards and identify what you truly desire in life and where your passion and purpose lays. Truly knowing your strengths inside and out builds your confidence too, because for once you believe it about yourself. Knowing your strengths helps to eliminate doubt, it simply becomes fact and the more you believe it, the more others will too and so it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
And that’s not being big-headed, we all have strengths, and we all have weaknesses, but the key is to not let your weaknesses undermine your strengths and let them take over – easier said than done I know – i.e., go away imposter syndrome!
A word on weaknesses – yes we have them too
Knowing your weaknesses is a strength in itself, so long as it doesn’t belittle your confidence by dwelling on them. Understanding what you are less good at, just allows you to be more efficient, AND may give others a sense of purpose and confidence by you allowing them to help you.
For example, I am useless at most things numbers and forms related, they are like my kryptonite and bring me out in a cold sweat, BUT because I know this, I seek help, from the people who have this in their skillset, so what does that achieve?
Well, it means the person I ask feels good that they can help me, and it won’t take them long to do because they are highly skilled at it, which saves precious time. I am eternally grateful because I can focus my time on what I am good at, and working together in this collaborative way helps both of us and boosts our relationship. Meanwhile there may be some written website content or creative skill I can help them with, it’s a win-win all round.
USP – Your uniqueness is your diamond, make sure you polish it – as Holly Tucker (MBE) always says.
If you are creating a business that is a personal brand, Holly recommends selecting 5 unique things about yourself that then becomes your brand heart – and these are the parts to share on social media to be consistent. You can easily use your strengths as part of this exercise too.
Think about the main aspects of your life and which parts are uniquely you, this could include where you live, the materials you use in your work, your worth ethic, so many different things. All about what you’d like to be known for, and the values and strengths you represent.
For me it would include these topics and features I think:
These are all the things that I regularly talk about and share images of via my social media, so it becomes consistent, and my followers know what to expect from me and what my strengths are.
What would be the components of your brand heart? I’d love to know.
Once you know all this, what next?
So that brings me to the next part. Once you know all this stuff, it makes life so much easier, including the things to say YES to and the things to say a ‘firm’ no to.
Which brings me to what I’ve been busy with lately, the new writing groups I’ve set up. Pre-lockdown and pre-cancer, I used to run writing workshops at a local café, and they went down really well. Since lockdown and everything else, I’ve really missed this challenge, coming up with prompts and ideas to fire up my participants imagination, and watch their stories take off on the page as they beaver away writing.
That was until some of the WOW Wednesday members asked me to consider doing a regular online writing group. I set the first one up back at the beginning of Feb, and 2 weeks ago a second one. And this is how you know when you are in your lane and using your strengths because I absolutely LOVE doing it. And here’s why:
I gain so much from running these groups, and that’s why it’s so important to understand your strengths, because it can bring you so much joy when you use them wisely. If people hadn’t known that this was a strength of mine, they would never have asked and trusted me to set up these groups, that they now belong to.
The more you use your strengths, the more you are polishing that diamond and finding your passion and purpose.
So, take the time to discover yours, via your own thoughts (trust your gut, it’s rarely wrong), those closest to you (if in doubt ask 5 close friends / family) and the personality tests I’ve suggested.
Then write your strengths list and start thinking how to use them to your advantage, and go get that happier, more fulfilled life you desire and deserve.
Until next time…
Juliet, The Curious Creative x
Ps If you would like to register your interest for one of my writing groups, please click here. There are just 2 spaces left on the Friday eve session – 6-7.30pm but if that time doesn’t suit, I’ll add you to the waiting list for the next one.
PPs If you are local to Huddersfield, I’ve now started selling my needlefelt pictures and art cards at the newly opened Joys Coffee House in Kirkburton. They are open 8.30am – 4pm most days for take-aways for now until restrictions lift, serving breakfast, brunches, lunches, cakes and hot drinks, pop along and support local :-).
And finally have you noticed the stories I’ve been putting on my Instagram to support Shannon of @mockingbird_makes #makemarchmagic project? Each day a creative small business (31 in total) is sharing a unique offer, so keep an eye out each day and I’ll be sharing my offer too on the 31st of March!
Hey everyone, hope you are well. It’s been another busy week and the weeks seem to fly by, which is good because it means the kids will soon be back to school!
Helping to keep me distracted until lockdown is over and busy in my work, is our accountability group WOW Wednesdays. During this difficult time, myself and Clair who founded the group are constantly looking for ways to keep our members motivated and happy as they navigate the daily routine / Groundhog Day in lockdown, whilst still trying to move forward with their goals.
Since it’s become a membership group, we provide several new benefits, such as prompts through the Facebook group, our accountability meetings have moved online, we’ve created a monthly newsletter and we’ve added in specialist sessions, all to support out members at whatever point they are in their journeys.
We have members just starting their new businesses, changing their direction due to the pandemic, building on what they’ve already achieved or simply setting life goals that they are aiming towards – it’s a diverse bunch of people who all support each other too with their vast knowledge and skills.
And this brings me on to today’s post because this week we delivered the Vision Board workshop. We did this last year too, but obviously face to face and it’s always a popular session. I always think February is a good time to do something like this, as you are through the January fug, and starting to think more about what you want to achieve that year.
You may have also chosen a Guiding Word for the year and perhaps have started mapping out some plans. If not, this may help you with direction for your vision board, find out about the selecting a guiding word process here.
Creating a Vision Board is an ideal way to get all those dreams and ideas down visually, creating some action around all those wishes and thoughts and begin the journey to bring them into reality, whilst having a lot of fun doing so!
So, how can it help support you in everyday life?
To find out more about the benefits, and tips on how to create one, click here (otherwise this post would end up being half a book!). Plus there are some extra tips below, taken from a Breathe Magazine article a while ago.
And if you want to see how my last vision board worked out for me, then you can read all about that here – it is spookily spot on in a lot of areas!
My 2021 Vision Board – Manifesting as much magic as possible after the year we’ve had!
After delivering the session, I was keen to get started on a new VB for myself and so yesterday, surrounded by magazines, I started tearing out the images I was drawn to and that I could relate to my goals and dreams for this year. The only issue I have, is knowing when to stop!
Thankfully, I’d chosen a slightly bigger board this year, but it still ended up pretty crammed, which I always think sums up how much I want to do!
So, I thought I’d talk through my new board to give you an idea of the kinds of things that can go on there, and why I have chosen the things I did.
However, please remember, your board is personal to you, so you need to be led by your heart, your own personal plans, and dreams, and not worry about what you think ‘should’ be going on there.
Go with your gut, what images you are instinctively drawn to and what you feel passionate about.
The beginning of the process
The first thing I did was find a suitable board -which is actually just part of some-packaging, and a nod straight away to one of the things I want to do this year which is to reuse and recycle more. The shape also lent itself to what I wanted to do, which was to place my guiding words down the middle, – always a useful reminder to have it/them on your vision board too.
Next it’s about finding some quality time, alone and searching through a pile of magazines, and selecting images that speak to you, link to a dream you have or resonate with the direction that you want to take this year.
Originally, I wanted to group certain aspects together, which may appeal to you if you like things in an orderly fashion. Some parts worked like this and naturally went together, but then some shapes simply didn’t fit together well, so it became more about how the images would balance each other out across the board – see my guiding word ‘Balance’ is infiltrating the task at hand again!
From left to Right – my images and why I chose them.
The quote – I am not afraid – I was born to do this.
I chose this because one of my lovely writing group members said I was made to do this (the writing group), which really boosted my confidence but it’s also because when I am doing that group, I am not afraid at all, not even nervous, and that is always a sure sign I think when it feels such a natural thing to do, so it’s a reminder when something feels that good and second-nature to run with it.
It’s okay to shine in your own way – postcard.
This is one of my own designs and a reminder to get my wellbeing postcards out into the world more. I created a set last year, but haven’t put them anywhere to sell yet. Plus, the message is an instruction to stay in my lane and not compare myself to others.
The number 400
I’ve never set myself a money target before (which is probably why it’s not been a focus), but this year I’ve set a simple low target per month as more income streams to my work come onboard. I’ve changed my mindset on money lately, in a good way, as a way to support me moving forward, i.e paying for Coaching training further down the line for example.
The abstract Painting – Jessie Ford
This is a new type of art I want to try as I’ve never done it before, and I love this particular one by an artist I really like. It’s also close to the next image, because ideally, I’d like to create a piece for the bedroom, so that gives me a focus to practice! I’m also inspired by one of our WOW members Charlotte @charlotte_balderstone, who has recently got back into her abstract painting and has created some brilliant pieces for her home.
The Pink Bed
Re-decorating the bedroom is our next big project in the house! In an ideal world I’d love a pink bed like this one, but I can’t see that getting approved by the hubs, but we are getting a new bed, and wardrobes which will instigate the whole room re-design. I’m desperate to get some @hannahnunn wallpaper too, which I’ve had a crush on for years!
Quote – The Sky is the Limit – you never have the same experience twice.
This is just a nod to all the new experiences I want to have when lockdown is over. I was always one for new experiences anyway and throwing myself in, but when I’m released back into the world, well the world better be ready!
The Tree growing out of rocks.
This tree I tore out from Country Living, and is not too far from me so I want to visit it, but also, it’s a reminder of how much things can grow out of difficult circumstances (i.e., the rocks) plus, you know I’m a tree-worshipper!
The woman in a swimming costume
One thing I’ve really missed since my diagnosis is swimming. With treatment involving a pic-line, I couldn’t go and then obviously during lockdown the pools all got closed too, so I’m desperate to go swimming again.
The woman above in the pink jumper and skirt
I’m so bored of lockdown style. My friend Claire of @myhousecandy still dresses up at home and looks v cool and glamourous, BUT I’m always so cold in Winter and walking the dog so it’s jeans, joggers and leggings and warm layers for me! I like this jumper and skirt style, but probably with some trainers, I want to be braver with new style options this year.
The black and white image of the woman leapfrogging.
Sometimes I can get so engrossed in my work, I forget to be daft and have some fun with the kids, so this tells me to be more playful now and again.
How I got published
This is a section that is always in Writing Magazine and I’m using this to future manifest! I want to be the one featured in there with my none-fiction book that I am writing – I HAVE to finish that this year!
Friends drinking wine.
The most obvious one, but the thing I most crave right now. It’s been 15 months so far for me, since I’ve been out for meals, and drinks with friends, because of my treatment and lockdown. I AM DESPERATE for a good night out!
A job that connects me to a friend, art and nature is a joy.
That statement sums up where I want to work really. There are so many options with this that I still want to develop, retreat days for one – I would LOVE to set these up once Covid is over.
The black woman smiling.
This image reminds me of Nicola Rae Wickham of @lifemoreinspired (she has a similar style) who I’ve been working with this year through her ‘root and rise’ membership. She’s someone I deeply admire for her passion, voice and how she runs her business and so is a role model for me.
This last year she has particularly used her voice, speaking out against racism, and I also want to use my voice more on issues I am passionate about, because it’s just so important we don’t ignore it and bury how we feel. I’m currently reading ‘Speak your truth’ by Fearne Cotton and it’s interesting to understand how we are silenced though the years, in so many ways. I also want to listen to more diverse voices and their stories, and so this is a reminder to do this.
The woman gardening.
I enjoyed more time in the garden last year, so this year I want to build on that, get out there more, and add some plants around the Cabin area decking too.
She believed she could, so she did – Jesse Ford.
Another piece of artwork by Jesse and this is hung up in my home. I say it a lot to my daughter, and it’s a reminder to always boost her confidence and promote women doing their thing, especially in small businesses, I always want to support women more, it’s so needed, and to set a good example to my daughter.
The artist by the edge of the sea
This lady paints outside close to the sea to capture the energy of the waves and be immersed in the process. I love this and want to paint or draw outside more, it’s such a joyful experience.
Suzy Walker and Loraine Kelly
Both women I think really embody being confident in themselves later in life. Can you believe Lorraine is 62? She’s a consummate professional, stands up for things she believes in and I’d love to be on her programme one day promoting my book!
Suzy is the editor of Psychologies Magazine who I worked with last year on an interview and the series of ten Lives I did. She’s so creative, lives on a houseboat (which I think is very cool) and is just incredibly talented, I’d love to work with her more.
1 Brilliant Female Eco
Essentially what I want to be! Working by/for myself, but collaboratively with other creatives too.
Toes in bubbles
A hint on the self-care, I love baths but don’t have them often enough, it’s a sensory experience and a reminder to just chill and enjoy!
Kitchen shelf & Wallpaper
This was one of the first images I tore out, I just really like the wallpaper and the country flowers. Flowers in my kitchen make me happy, I just love the feel of the image and this wallpaper would look lovely in my kitchen!
Picture of Positano and the drawing hand
These go together because one day this would be my dream trip, an art holiday in Italy with friends would be my absolute heaven. Positano is one of my favourite places there but I’d equally like to go to @elenapellecchia58 villa in Tuscany, that I’ve been stalking and dreaming of for a long time!
Scallops, Amsterdam and Escaping
These images go together too, a few years back me and the hubs went to Amsterdam for the weekend, staying at The Dylan, a fine-dining hotel and it felt like we’d truly escaped from being just Mum and Dad. It was an amazing weekend, riding bikes around the city, visiting the Van Goff museum, and eating gorgeous food! We NEED another trip like this.
Okay we are getting into longer-term aspirational territory now. After watching a programme on an orangutan nursery, I’ve been wanting to go out and volunteer there, so yes this is on my board, but may not happen for a while…just putting the manifestation in place!
Cornwall Minack Theatre
Last Summer when we escaped t to Cornwall, we tried to visit this beautiful open-air theatre overlooking the dramatic coastline. Sadly, there were no spare tickets and so when I saw this picture with views from above, I felt a pull to go back!
You got this.
I have a mug that says this too, just a reminder that after the last few years, I can get through pretty much anything!
Hot air balloon over Masai Mara
A safari trip is something we all want to do as a family, before the kids get too old, I’m not sure when it will happen, but it WILL happen I’m certain and what an experience that would be!
Every day is a beautiful adventure – Jesse Ford.
Another piece of Jesses and a reminder to treat every day like the adventure that it is and savour the present moment.
The ‘shop small’, rising hand.
This covers many things! Firstly, it’s a ‘Not on the Highstreet’ advert, and I want to get my artwork on to an online shop, it may not be NOTH, but it’s a reminder to get it sorted.
NOTH was founded by Holly Tucker, another one of my female heroes, and this advert in particular is about celebrating female founders, which I’m also passionate about.
Finally, the fist rising feels like positive action and activism to me, being an active part of the female founder community, and celebrating its unique strengths, which of course I fully support and will continue to do more of through my social media channels.
Sunset and sea
Last year sunsets, views of the sea (on the Cornwall trip) and walks in the wood are what got me through some difficult times. These are my constants, every new day will come with different challenges, joy, and experiences. I savour it all and this is just to recognise the sun will always rise and set and tomorrow is a brand-new day, and if I can spend it staring at the sea, all the better!
So that’s how I created my board and I think some definite themes have emerged:
Now I just have to keep it visible, take action towards these dreams and let the board (and me) manifest some big magic!
So, I hope that this has given you some ideas about how to put your board together, but I hope most of all that it comes across as very personal to me, and that that is the most effective way to create one for yourself – it’s YOUR VISION, no-one else’s.
I’d love to know if you’ve created one this year or if this post has now spurred you on to get busy with the scissors! I do find a physical one works best for me, but if that doesn’t appeal, you could always create a board on Pinterest where you can search specifically for things you would like on there. You could then use that as a screensaver to make it consistently visible.
And consider getting the kids involved, it’s a great activity to do in the half-term holidays!
So long as it works for you, that is the main thing, so enjoy the process and set those intentional hopes and dreams off into ACTION, you’ll feel all the better for it, I promise.
Until next time…
TC Keep Safe,
Juliet, The Curious Creative x
Ps, If you would like to take advantage of the next offer to join our WOW Wednesday Accountability Group, for support to move forward with your dreams and goals, then please click here for all the details.
PPS, If you are getting increasingly bored in lockdown and would love a relaxed creative outlet, then please click here, to find out all about my new weekly online Writing Club.