You Are the Artist of Your Life

Thinking of life as art, I believe serves as a powerful guiding metaphor for us as we lead our lives. As the artists, i.e. the creators of our lives, we realize certain maxims or truths. I believe that some of those maxims are:

1. Artists take responsibility for creating their art.

2. Artists are on a quest to continually perfect their art.

3. Artists know that they are always free to create again in the moment.

Each of our lives is overflowing with potential and possibilities. Let’s see how we can use that metaphor of life as art to create the best possible life that we are capable of creating. Looking at the first maxim that artists take responsibility for creating their art, simply means that the power to create lies with the artist and their vision. In other words, each of us is ultimately accountable and responsible for our lives. On an intellectual and intuitive level, we know that this is true. Yet at times, we tend to forget or blatantly disregard that the power to create the best life possible resides within us.

We blame external circumstances, our upbringing, other people and our past conditioning to abdicate taking responsibility for how our lives have turned out so far. Real maturity in life means accepting the fact that if we want to have or continue to have a great life, it starts with having a vision and a purpose. If you can consciously be accountable for your choices and actions, you will see a change in your attitude. You realize that you are responsible for your own happiness or…. the way that you react to your own challenges in life.

Now I’m not totally naïve and I’m not saying that life is not very challenging or difficult at times. Bad things do happen to good people and each of us have had our share of loss and heartbreak to contend with in life. And sometimes through no fault of our own, we are forced to deal with the bad choices and actions of other individuals that have long lasting repercussions on our lives. What I am saying is that if we ever hope to create or continue to create the type of life that our heart truly desires, a life that is meaningful, the difference is the accountability factor. Be a true artist and take responsibility for the art i.e your life that you create.

If future posts, I look forward to discussing the two other maxims that artists are on a quest to continually perfect their art and artists know that they are always free to create again in the moment.

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The payoff of living in the past or the future is you never have to do your work in the present.
Steven Pressfield – Author, Turning Pro

The monk glimpses the face of God not by scaling a peak in the Himalayas, but by sitting still in silence.
Steven Pressfield – Author, Turning Pro

Confront Your Fear of Judgement

The fear of judgement is a fear that looms large for some people. The fear of not being good enough is why people are scared to speak in public. They fear being judged for who they are. Is that the case for you? Does the fear of judgement stop you or prevent you from presenting in front of an audience? The majority of  us want to appear to be competent and credible in front of others, especially in front of our family and peer group. We don’t want to lose face. In other words, we don’t want to lose our authority and credibility.

When you speak in front of a group, there is always the risk that things may not go according to your plan. There is always an element of risk and unpredictability. Such is life though. You can never predict or have full control over events or people. The minute you start putting yourself “out there” in the public domain, you’ll be judged.  Now the degree to which people judge others may vary and while it may be a spiritual practice for some people to reduce that tendency, the reality is that judgement is a fact of life. We all have our preferences and expectations. When people don’t conform to our preferences and expectations, we judge. Also realize that when you are in the public domain, you’ll be the recipient of people’s projections on to you, both good and bad ones.

As a public speaker, you’ll be judged for both who you are and your message. Hopefully, the majority of your audience members love your message; however, some may not. Some of your audience members may not like your views or even the way that you look. As a public speaker you must learn to get over this fear of being judged by others. If you are spending an exorbitant amount of your time focusing on what people are thinking about you as you present, this will detract you from delivering the best possible speech that you can.

When you believe in your core message and care about delivering value to your audience, what you will find is that the majority of people will be supportive of your speaking efforts. There will be some people who won’t agree with you and won’t be receptive to your message and  thus will judge you for a variety of reasons. The best way to counteract the fear of judgement when speaking in public is to: prepare in advance as much as possible, have a great speech, believe in your message and deliver as much value as you can to your audience members.

Don’t allow the fear of judgement whether it be in public speaking or anything else prevent you from stepping forward into actualizing your full potential. How have you learned to overcome the fear of judgement?

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Say NO to Being a People Pleaser!

Too many of us live our lives as if they are not our own. Instead of pursuing our goals with passion and determination we stay on the sidelines of life. There are many reasons why we do this including fear, procrastination and not having specific knowledge to move forward. Sometimes, it boils down to being a “people pleaser.”

There are several reasons why we feel the need to seek the approval of others. Acceptance and approval are primal needs that go back to when we were very young. If our parents or caregivers did not fulfill their role sufficiently in terms of meeting our needs when we were young, some of us may grow up with low self esteem or a challenged self concept. This in turn may translate into the need to excessively please people in order to feel accepted or to gain approval.

If you are putting other people’s needs and wants above your own and relegating your dreams and goals to the “someday” pile, I encourage you to rethink this strategy. It is good to help people whenever you can. In fact, being of service and helping people is what life is truly all about. It is our relationships and contributions in the end that really matter. If you are constantly putting other peoples needs and wants before your own this can become problematic and can lead to both stress overload and burnout.

If  we are honest with ourselves, sometimes we are more interested in having people like us than in pursuing our goals and dreams. If you continually people please by responding to other people’s needs and wants before your own, you may start to feel resentful in that you are not being true to yourself. This is detrimental because your dreams can be put on the back burner. For example, instead of continuing to write your book, you are continuously at the beck and call of a friend or family member who always seems to be in some sort of financial or relationship crisis. Maybe it’s time that you tell him or her that they need to seek some type of assistance from a professional who can help them with these issues instead of always  relying on you.

All of us are living on borrowed time. It therefore becomes paramount that you make your needs and desires a priority. Not next year, next month or next week. Now! Now is the perfect time to revisit some of your goals and dreams that you have been neglecting and start pursuing them with a renewed tenacity. Look at the areas in your life that are either emotionally, physically or energetically draining  you or distracting you from your goals. Develop a plan to either eliminate them or minimize them. While the word YES is a powerful word, so is the word NO. If you tend to people please learn to employ the word NO more often, when it comes to people or projects that drain your energy and have no value to you. If this is a challenge for you consider taking an assertiveness skills or negotiation skills course so that you can say no authentically and powerfully while respecting the other person.

Share your insights into what strategies you have used to overcome “people pleasing” tendencies.

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The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.

Albert Einstein – Theoretical Physicist


When someone shows you who they are, believe them; the first time.

Maya Angelou – Writer, poet, lecturer

The Audacity to Be Seen and Heard!

Audacity. Say it out loud. Audacity! It feels good, doesn’t it? According to, the definition of audacity is intrepid boldness or bold or arrogant disregard of normal restraints. Now I would never advocate that someone be arrogant; however, if the circumstances are ones that have prevented you from pursuing your goals or you feel stuck in a particular situation perhaps that definition is worthy of consideration. Breaking the bonds of conformity and being truly who you are requires audacity.

Are you an audacious person? Is that you? Do you have the audacity to be seen, to be heard, for who you truly are? Can you own your brilliance? In other words, can you embody that boldness that is required to start a business? Or be vulnerable? Or to step outside of your comfort zone to speak in front of an audience to demonstrate your talents and expertise. There are studies that indicate that when it comes to public speaking, some people are more fearful to speak in public than they are of death. They are fearful of being ridiculed or of being judged.  This is unfortunate because speaking in front of a group about an important topic can be an enjoyable experience.

Speaking is the way that you express yourself, communicate and connect with others. On a one to one basis most people don’t find it too difficult to express their thoughts to loved ones, friends and colleagues. Yet to speak in front of an audience can be for some people, one of the most terrifying experiences that they will encounter.

This is truly unfortunate because if you don’t learn to become an effective speaker and effective overall communicator, you’ll miss out on many of life’s opportunities. This inability will hamper you both personally and professionally. Public speaking and communicating effectively are essential skills you need to learn in order to get your message out into the world. Commit to yourself that you will be audacious when it comes to speaking your truth. Being bold and having the audacity to be seen and heard  for who you truly are begins with knowing that you are worthy to pursue your dreams. In other words, it’s time to start owning your brilliance and the value that you bring to the world.

Today, think about (and share below) one way you can be bold or audacious in taking a step towards one of your goals. Know that you have value and you are ready to be seen and heard for who you truly are…in all of your brilliance!

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Guard well your spare moments. They are like uncut diamonds. Discard them and their value will never be known. Improve them and they will become the brightest gems in a useful life.

Ralph Waldo Emerson – Writer, lecturer and poet

Live Your Values Consciously

To live a meaningful life, it’s important that you’re aware of the values and the principles that govern your life. Knowing what your values are can help you to make good choices and decisions in life. They can also help you to prioritize competing interests and help you mitigate conflicts in your life. Do you know what your values are and the guiding principles that govern your life? It is worth the effort to take the time to know and understand why your values are important to you. Once you know what they are, as much as possible consciously try to live your values and principles everyday. That really is the challenge for all of us, isn’t it? How can we consciously live our lives according to our values on a daily basis.

Below, I’ve outlined some principles that I believe can be useful in helping you consciously live your values. They are:

1. Human beings have many facets or aspects to our beings. These facets include the spiritual, physical, emotional and mental or intellectual aspects of our beings. If any of these facets are out of alignment, success can be more difficult to achieve. I believe one of the keys in life is learning how to balance all aspects of our humanity. One of the ways that you can learn to lead a balanced life is by ensuring that you have an overarching vision for your life that includes these various facets or areas.

2.Each person has many gifts, talents, skills and abilities. To have a truly meaningful life, we need to learn how to use our gifts and talents to their full potential in order to serve others. One of the most fulfilling aspects of life is for each of us to actualize our potential through the gifts, talents, skills and abilities that we are blessed to have.

3.Find a way to spend time with those that you love everyday and do the things that you enjoy. Each person has people that they love and things or causes that they are passionate about. Doing the things that you enjoy and being with the people you love makes life more meaningful (and enjoyable).

4. Knowing your values and living them are important keys to life. It is important to know what your values are in order to feel fulfilled. If love, health, family, spirituality, financial abundance and service are important to you ensure that you are living your values daily to the best of your ability. If you’re not living according to your values, you can feel disconnected with life.

5.Knowing your priorities helps you keep your focus in life. While it’s important to know what your values are, it’s also paramount to be aware of the competing priorities in your life. There will be many competing priorities between your personal and professional life. Knowing how to prioritize them ensures that you are leading the best life possible. You can achieve your goals and fulfill your dreams according to your personal definition of success, if you learn how to manage your priorities.

6. Learn how to deal with life’s challenges. We all know that life is a beautiful gift. Each one of us have many blessings to be thankful for. It is good to have an attitude of gratitude. As there are beautiful parts of life, there also will be challenges. For the challenges in life that inevitably come our way, having support can make all the difference on how we deal with those challenges. Throughout your life, ensure that you are developing practical, emotional, financial and spiritual support systems that can help you deal with any challenge or issue that arises. Aligning with your spiritual or moral compass can certainly help you when life becomes challenging.

7. Life is ultimately about service to others. It’s wonderful to be successful and ambitious, especially when you’re pursuing goals that are meaningful. We all want good health, loving relationships and abundance in all areas of our lives. Service to others is one of life’s highest callings. Success and abundance is much more meaningful when along life’s journey we can be of service to others along that journey.

Today, take some to time to reflect on your personal values and operating principles. In a future post, I will look at the topic of values in depth. I would love to hear from you. How are you consciously living your values on a daily basis? Is it easy to do or from time to time, do you find it challenging?