Denise Sam

Mais oui, mon cheri!

120

5

Finding my Yellow Brick Road

Activity #1:  Reflection. 

This was a great way to start the class.  I really appreciated being encouraged to remain present and reflect on where I am RIGHT NOW (and ultimately where I want to go) and not necessarily on the things that have brought me to this point.  It's wonderfully positive to appreciate the 'right now' of things, even if they appear to be temporarily stormy.  

As my 'before' photo, I chose a photo of a stormy sky with a person exhibiting freedom and arms-wide-open joy.  Ultimately, we can still find joy even though things may appear temporarily darker than we desired.  Hope springs forward!  Presently in a season of big change, this class is JUST what I needed.  

What I am hoping to get out of the class is a sense of clear direction and a baseline of determined vision.  I am simultaneously reading "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen R. Covey.  It really falls in line with some of the self-discovery in this class.  A nice parallel.   

I have also bounced much of this off of a trusted source and it proved to be a valuable conversation.  

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Activity #2: Values

Listing my values was an interesting exercise.  It has really been quite some time since I have put these things to paper and I am finding this mental ejection to be very liberating!  I already feel more organized lol. 

I vacilated slightly on the values that I found to be at the top of my list, moving the cards in and out to see if they 'felt' right.  Some are on par with others, while there are a few that distinctly stand out as being the things I value most.  I found that I felt increasingly more grounded and confident throughout this exercise.  And I, in fact, appreciated myself more.  I could read my values.  They were all there in front of me and I liked what I saw.  I think that's a pretty decent starting point!  lol.   

I especially liked the exercise in listing the things that other people do that piss me off.  I had a good chuckle and a few eye-rolls.  I thought it would be a bit rude to post them, but it did line up with being the opposite of my values. 

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Activity #3:  Strengths

I wasn't sure how to approach this part, since there are many different aspects to my life and different personal strengths rise to the occassion at different times.  I decided to do a quick brainstorm, then take the recommended VIA strengths test, then ask a trusted source to answer the requested questions from the video.  The results were not what I expected.  

I am a singer, calligrapher and artist.  I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend.  I am stubborn and tenacious and wasn't sure what would come of my confidant's answers.  They were as follows:

1.  What are my top three strengths?
Counseling
Thought leadership
Detail minded - analytical thinking
Determination

2.  What conditions bring out the best in me?
Challenging environments - not limited to people but also task initiation and completion

3.  What attributes do you consider quintessentially ‘me’?
selfless, giving, caring, consoling, particular about details and essentially living colorful with no limitations

4.  What positive qualities would you use to describe me to others?
Tenacious
Consigliere 
Compassionate
highly analytical

Needless to say, I was flattered.  

In the VIA test, my primary strength was LOVE.  Well geeze, at this point I wanted to give MYSELF a hug, for crying out loud.  We should do these reflections everyday - they are good for self-esteem! 

Here are the results of my own portion of the exercise: 

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Activity #4:  Success

I initially decided to expand on the suggested 1-3 word answers in order to get it all on paper.  This helped me take a good look at what reccuring themes were coming up with each question.  It really helped me narrow down my definition of success.  I might return to this and refine it.  As it stands, my answers were:

To encourage growth and balance;

To master practicing gratitude;

To create and collaborate;

To listen and counsel;

To prioritize personal relationships.

This is to have succeeded.  

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Activity #6:

I was terrified that I wouldn't be able to clearly articulate my mission statement (even as a draft), but it was very easy when plugging in the answers from the previous activities. 

Here it is:

My unique purpose is to encourage growth and balance utilizing thought leadership and love (complassion/kindness) 

I will accomplish fostering integrity and hope by fulfilling my purpose. 

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Activity #6:  NEEDS

I feel like I want to flex my muscles of awesomeness and fist-pump someone at this point.  Having daily mantras has been a very important part of maintaining perspective in my life lately.  Working throug the 'needs' activity and articulating these affirmations has been equally positive:

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Activity #7:  Milestones

I woke up this morning with purpose.  I literally got out of my bed thinking of how I was going to refresh my life plan - how I was going to fill in a lot of the blanks that I had been avoiding in the following exercises.  It felt pretty good.  So if anything, I have certainly taken away at least a sense of organization from this class. 

I got through 10 brainstorming ideas.  This is a huge deal, I wasn't confident that I'd have even three, so hooray!

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Activity #8:  Actions

My big idea?  Finally getting my calligraphy and handlettering business up and running.  (eeek!!)

My big milestones:

For the year:  Set up website with materials and photography - have services ready to go. (this includes a variety of things, including packages to be mailed/delivered to local vendors/event planners/etc)

For the month:  Complete materials from the Modern Calligraphy Summit - which include business planning

For the week:  Organize priorities from the Summit and make a plan of action for completing everything.

Top 3 fears: 

1. Figuring out how to source the materials in Canada.  Currently all sources are international and I'm worried about the costs and timlines. 

2.  People not being interested in my work / the market being too saturated

3.  Being isolated, lonely and therefore unhappy.

Actions I could take this week: 

1. Start researching.  Get in touch with the local handlettering artists I've made friends with online and see from where they are sourcing their materials, etc.

2.  Research what other artists are currently doing. Make a few tangible drafts of my unique style and see how that fits into the marketspace.

3.  Start looking for other extracurriculars in order to meet some new people.

Digging into my happiness bucket list: (please keep in mind I have two young children, so this was very challenging because my time is rarely my own! lol)

1.  I daydreamed about acheiving my milestones - about what this might look like 1, 3, and 5 years from now.  This was very satisfying!  It helped me believe in myself.  It was a beautiful, positive experience and I felt very hopeful.  In my current readings, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Covey suggests always living with the end result in mind.  This was certainly in line with that exercise and it really removed any power that I had given to anxious thoughts.  This is such a good daily habit.  Keep the end in mind.

2.  I did not plan a social gathering, but I did sign up for two!  I'm heading off to a Home and Garden show with some friends that I have not seen in a long time - including my beloved sister-in-law - and registered for an empowerment conference called EveryWoman.  SO excited. 

3.  Tonight, we are baking goodies for our lovely elderly neighbours accross the street.  They love baked goods, and we love blessing them.  So this is a treat for everyone involved, really. 

Playlist?

hm.  

Like a Star, by Corinne Baylee Rae

Falling in Love with You, The Coors

La Vie En Rose, Edit Piaf

Max it Up, Destra

1,2,3,4 Feist

Ordinary People, John Legend

Daydreamer, Adele

Get to Me, Lady Antebellum

Lighthouse, Bethel

I could go on lol.  Playlists SO depend on your mood!!

Activity # 9: Routine 

Feeling organized!!!

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Activity #10:  Reflections

Activity #10:  Reflections

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Well, I did it!  I completed the whole workshop... with the exception of the side-ways selfie that I can't seem to fix lol.

My before and after:

When I started this workshop I was feeling terribly scattered; discombobulated, if you will.  A real head-banging-on-desk kind of life.  After making my way through the activities (and I really wrestled with a few of them), I genuinely feel more organized.  I was hoping to have some clearer direction and I have certainly acheived that. 

I will subtitle this my "ways to overcome unnecessary anxiety" workshop.   Working through everything and getting it all out on paper helped me untangle many fears.  I realized that I had many small fears that, although normal, became very big in my imagination.  Once I came to terms with them through the activities, the fears reduced in size and they became a peanut to my elephant potential. 

I am very glad that I committed to this workshop, in spite of a busy life.  We can always find reasons to avoid pursuing or completing things. But the more I learn, the more I realize that investing in oneself is the very best investment of all.  For how can I share all the good things I have to offer with others if I can't understand them clearly for myself?  Fill your love tank, feed your creative beast, honour your time and have integrity.  Then you will just have so, so much more to give.  Yep, this workshop was worth it. 

Great job, Kelly Jo!!

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