Three Things to Remember When Life Does Not Go as Planned

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

A long-time fan of bestselling authors and coaches Marc and Angel Chernoff, I look forward to reading their emails and blog posts. Here’s an excerpt from a recent email:

1. Do not let what is out of your control interfere with what you can control. Use your frustrations today to motivate you rather than annoy you. You are in control of the way you look at things. Truth be told, there is an opportunity in almost every difficult situation to understand yourself more deeply, and also to improve your life.

2. When life’s struggles knock you into a pit so deep you can’t see anything but darkness, don’t waste valuable energy trying to dig your way out. Because if you hastily dig in the dark, you’re likely to head in the wrong direction and only dig the pit deeper. Instead, use what energy you have to reach out and pull something good in with you. For goodness is bright; its radiance will show you which way is up, and illuminate the correct path that will take you there.

3. When you can no longer think of a reason to continue, you must think of a reason to start over. There’s a big difference between giving up and starting over in the right direction. And there are three little words that can release you from your past regrets and guide you forward to a positive new beginning.

These words are: From now on…

Again, you are NOT in control of everything, but you ARE in control of the way you respond to life. And in your present response is your power.

Note: I highly recommend subscribing to Marc & Angel’s website.

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On Becoming an Artist

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

Award-winning author Terri Trespicio shares this inspiring and entertaining story in her recent release, Unfollow Your Passion:

There’s a scene in Irving Stone’s The Agony and the Ecstasy, the famous historical novel about Michelangelo’s life, that I love.

The great sculptor is fourteen years old. He has been released from his painting apprenticeship and admitted to work in Lorenzo the Magnificent’s sculpture garden, which is where he’s been dying to be.

One of Michelangelo’s peers, a kid named Soggi, suggests they ditch this gig.

“Michelangelo, let’s you and I get out of here,” he says. “All this stuff is so…so impractical. Let’s save ourselves while there is still time…They’re never going to give us any commissions or money. Who really needs sculpture in order to live?”

“I do,” Michelangelo responds.

Soggi then lays out an argument that is as real today as it was in the 1400s. He says (I’m paraphrasing), Oh yeah? Where will we find work? What if Lorenzo dies? What if the garden closes? Who the heck needs a marble cutter? We can’t feed ourselves with that! It’d be much better to trade in pork or wine or pasta, things people need.

Michelangelo declines, of course. He says sculpture is not only at the top of his list; there is no list. That’s it.

Soggi quits. Their teacher, Bertoldo, says he knows people like Soggi, people who aren’t driven by love or affinity for the work, but by “the exuberance of youth,” he says. “As soon as this first flush begins to fade, they say to themselves, ‘Stop dreaming. Look for a reliable way of life.’”

Those people should leave—because the very fact that they see the work as optional means they’re not really there to do it.

“One should not become an artist because he can,” says Bertoldo, “but because he must.”

Source: Unfollow Your Passion, pp. 136-137

Know Your Own Worth

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

A long-time fan of bestselling authors and coaches Marc and Angel Chernoff, I look forward to reading their emails and blog posts. Here’s an inspiring story from a recent email:

Once upon a time, a father guided his daughter into their home’s garage and said, “You just graduated and I want to give you something special. This is a car I bought a long time ago, and it’s very special to me. But before I give it to you, I want you to take it to a car dealer in the city and see how much money they’d offer you for it as a trade-in.”

The daughter came back to her father a few hours later and said, “They offered $1,000 because the car looks really old and can’t easily be sold in their showroom.”

The father replied, “Hold on to it until tomorrow and take it to the used car dealer near your apartment when you get a chance.”

The daughter returned to her father the next afternoon and said: “They only offered $500 because it’s a really old car, and it needs a new paint job and some other mechanical work the sales guy said.”

The father smiled and then asked his daughter to take a short drive with him in the car, to show the car to a passionate automobile club he used to belong to when he was younger.

When they arrived at the automobile club’s weekly meet-up, two people in the club immediately offered the daughter competing bids of $75,000 and then $80,000 in cash. Because, as one of the club members told her, “It’s an extremely rare car that is in good condition for it’s age, and super difficult to find in working order.”

Then the father turned to his daughter and said, “I just wanted to let you know that you are not worth anything if you do not know your own worth, and if you are not in the right place. So, whenever you are feeling unappreciated for a prolonged time, do not be angry; that simply means you are in the wrong place. Don’t stay in a place or situation where no one sees your value. And most importantly, don’t stay in a place or situation that prevents you from seeing your own value.”

Let this story sink in, and keep reminding yourself…

1. Giving up doesn’t always mean you’re weak, sometimes it means you are strong enough and smart enough to let go and move on to a better place.

2. Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.

3. When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you.

4. Crying doesn’t indicate that you’re weak. Since birth, it has always been a sign that you are alive and full of present potential.

5. No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.

6. When other people treat you poorly, keep being you. Don’t ever let someone else’s bitterness or ignorance change the person you are.

7. Spend more time with those who see your worth, and less time with those who you feel pressured to impress…

And whatever you do, don’t wait around too long for things to change. New paths are made by walking, not waiting. And no, you shouldn’t feel any more confident before you take the next step. Taking the next step is what gradually builds your confidence.

Note: I highly recommend subscribing to Marc & Angel’s website.

Be Daring

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

I highly recommend reading When You’re Ready, This is How You Feel by Brianna Wiest. Here’s an inspiring and thought-provoking excerpt:

If fortune favors the brave, then it also prefers the bold.

Not only do you need to have a strong vision about what you want to create next in your life, you also need to be ambitious. You need to think beyond the limits of your current perspective. You need to be daring.

This isn’t just because aiming higher inevitably raises your expectations overall, but also because boldness often tells you what you’re actually capable of, though you might not yet believe it.

If you’re willing to believe that something might be possible for you—it already is.

The virtue of you even being willing to consider it means that it’s somewhere within your realm of possibility already. It’s just a matter of first realizing it, and then acting on it.

Source:When You’re Ready, This is How You Feel, p. 114.

No Negativity Today

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

Here’s a thought-provoking reflection from international speaker and bestselling author Joyce Meyer:

Have you fallen into a rut of negativity lately? Perhaps you are tired or dealing with a situation that causes prolonged stress, and you feel your joy is at an all-time low. I want to encourage you to take life one day at a time, so just for today, determine to get your joy back by thinking positively about every circumstance in your life.

You can begin to stir up your joy by realizing that any situation could be worse than it is and knowing that you are not alone in your struggle. People everywhere face challenges, and some are dealing with circumstances far worse than anything you or I could even think of.

Next, in everything you face today, ask yourself, “What is one good thing about what I am going through right now?” Or, “Where can I find just a little bit of joy in this situation, just for this day?”

I do understand that some situations are intensely difficult, sad, or emotionally draining. In those cases, simply whispering “God will never leave me or forsake me. He is with me” will help turn negative thoughts to positive ones. Whatever your circumstances are today, decide to think positively about them—and watch your joy increase. Tomorrow is another day, and you can do the same thing all over again.

Source: Strength for Each Day by Joyce Meyer

Stay Consistent

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

A long-time fan of bestselling authors and coaches Marc and Angel Chernoff, I look forward to reading their emails and blog posts. Here’s an excerpt from a recent email:

Even when you’ve had a rough day. Even when you didn’t get much sleep last night. Everyone has tough days. Why do some people suck it and smile, while others feel the need the broadcast their pain and despair? This kind of inconsistency isn’t only harmful for the people who interact with the individual. It’s very harmful for the individual herself/himself.

Inconsistency is destructive, and you will find it leads down many different roads that you don’t want to go down. It can lead to a feeling of victimhood, it can lead to broken relationships, and it can lead to a feeling of being out of control, tossed by the waves of chance and life, really not making your own decisions. But when you start choosing your behavior, when you start intentionally being consistent, you’ll find your outlook on life changing.

Note: I highly recommend subscribing to Marc & Angel’s website.

Taking the Risk: To Live, to Write

I’m happy to welcome West Coast author K. L. Abrahamson. Today, Karen shares an inspiring post about risk-taking and her new release, Trapped on Cedar Trails.

Here’s Karen!

I used to work with young offenders. We’d worry about their ‘risk-taking’ behaviours—drinking, using drugs, unsafe sex, and so on. We wanted those youth to take fewer risks so that we could keep them safe. On the other hand, we often see overprotective parents remove all risk from their children’s lives. The result is children who have very little understanding of adversity or the skills to overcome it.

To me, a certain level of risk taking is normal and necessary to our human development—after all, so much in life requires us to take a risk. From leaping into the old swimming hole, to changing a job or career, to taking a chance on love—all of them require a certain level of risk. You put your trust in the rope swing over the pool, in the new job being better than the last, and you put your vulnerable heart out there.

I enjoy adventure travel and I usually go on these adventures alone. Every time, before I leave, I go through a few days of feeling a little sick to my stomach with trepidation. Am I doing the right thing going to a place I’ve never been? Inevitably my life has been enriched by each adventure. I just have to get through that period of doubt.

Writers take a risk each time they sit down at the computer (well maybe not Stephen King or Norah Roberts, but the rest of us).We might have a brilliant idea for a new story or novel, but the risk is whether we have the writing chops to pull it off. What’s the old saying? You need to write a million words before you start to pick the right ones? It’s a pleasure when things go well when we write, but we need to keep taking risks and trying something new or else we’ll find ourselves mired in a rut of safety, and writing the same old, same old, again and again.

Our characters also need to be risk takers because who wants to read about the person who chooses safety again and again? If the character does choose safety, then there must be consequences for that choice. I think of my decision to leave a well-paying government job after seventeen years. All of my coworkers said they wished they were as brave as I was, but they chose safety, a pension, and the grind of a job they didn’t love, while I got uncertainty and freedom to write and the ability to choose my own direction. Choosing to take a risk, or choosing not to, comes at a price. Our characters may take their risks with less trepidation than we do in real life, but we still help them take their big leap—because that’s where the story generally is. The price is what comes after.

With writing, unlike real life, when things don’t work out, we can simply throw the manuscript out. Or rewrite.

We don’t find ourselves halfway up a Burmese mountain dealing with food poisoning.

Of course I lived through that little episode, too.

Blurb

The discovery of a woman’s body trapped in driftwood off a small, west coast town turns a five-day photography class into a nightmare for Phoebe Clay, her sister Becca, and Phoebe’s niece Alice.

The specter of murder hangs over the family as they join the other students at an isolated fish cannery guesthouse. On their first night, Alice spots ghostly figures outside and on the first morning, Phoebe finds a dead grizzly bear with parts removed. She doesn’t want to get involved, but there’s something wrong at the Bella Vista Cannery Guesthouse, and someone is not who they say they are.

Against her better judgment, she begins quiet enquiries. When Alice decides to pursue her own risky investigation, events take a sharp turn, revealing an insidious plot that threatens all their lives.

On the run on the cannery’s treacherous, rain-soaked, night-shrouded cedar trails, Phoebe and her family will face brutal foes determined to ensure the family doesn’t survive to reveal the cannery’s secrets.

Available here.

Excerpt

From this position by the water, there was only the still water, the mountains and mist, and the blue sky above. Ahead, gulls squawked and wheeled and a huge bald eagle circled overhead, then swooped in low, scattering the gulls. The eagle disappeared around the end of the point and didn’t reappear, but the wind brought a whiff of something unpleasant.

Carrion. Eagles and gulls were both scavengers, regardless of the esteem with which the eagles were held.

Stones creaking and crackling under her, Phoebe approached the headland cautiously, not sure what she’d find and not wanting to disturb the birds. Out on the water a lone sailboat coasted the blue-black water ahead of the breeze, toward the white-capped peaks of Tweedsmuir Provincial Park.

She reached the point of land that was partially blocked by fresh driftwood and stepped up on a log to see what waited on the other side. It took her a moment to understand.

A flurry of black raven wings beat in the sun. The eagle lifted up from the shore and settled again on a huge hump in the sand, sending the ravens scattering.

Ravens.

The huge black birds also liked carrion.

Phoebe squinted against the sun’s glare. The hump sorted itself out into a furred mass of dark brown with tawny flecks.

Bear. Except that there was only a vacancy filled by ravens tearing at bloody flesh where the head should be. Another gust of wind brought the stink of rotting flesh and she swallowed back the rebellion of her stomach.

Author Bio and Links

West Coast author K.L. Abrahamson writes mystery, fantasy and romance. Her short fiction has been shortlisted for the Derringer and the Crime Writers of Canada Award of Excellence.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

On Fighting Back

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

In her book, 13 Things Mentally Strong Women Don’t Do, psychotherapist Amy Morin shares the following inspiring anecdote:

In 2008, Barbara Corcoran landed one of the highly coveted spots as a shark on the ABC series Shark Tank. But shortly after she signed the contract accepting the position, she received a call from producers saying they had changed their minds. They had decided to cast another woman in the role.

Rather than walk away with her head down, Barbara fought back. She wrote an email to the show’s producer, Mark Burnett. She didn’t demand the job, though. Instead, she asked for a chance to prove herself. She also didn’t complain or play the role of a victim. She painted herself as someone who was able to bounce back and beat the odds. And she outlined the reasons why she was the best person for the job.

In the message, she gave him three reasons why he should consider inviting her and the other woman to audition:

1. I do my best when my back is against the wall.

2. If you have both ladies in L.A., you can mix it up a bit and see which personalities make the best combination for your show.

3. Last, I’ve known from the get-go the shark role is a perfect fit for me.
Barbara went on to say she’d booked her ticket to L.A. already, and she hoped to be headed to an audition.

Her email worked. She was given an opportunity to prove herself, and she landed the job. She’s gone on to become a fan favorite.

While begging for an opportunity will make you come across as desperate, telling someone you would like a chance to prove yourself shows you feel confident. Of course, you might want to think twice about calling someone who rejected you for a job or someone who rejected you for a date. But there may be times in life where it’s worth saying, “Even though you don’t believe in me now, I’d like a chance to show you I’m up for the job.”

Source: 13 Things Mentally Strong Women Don’t Do by Amy Morin,
pp. 211-212