Posted in Attitude, Design, Personal Life, Psychology, Uncategorized

The Inside vs The Outside

I recently took some ‘glamour shots’ for my professional profiles thinking it was no big deal – but the feedback was really interesting and spurred on this analysis:

It wasn’t until I was around 25ish I started to come in to my own look and just go with it. I realized it was much less dramatic than I thought it would be – actually, downright boring. I was addicted to the struggle, the fear, the anxiety of trying too hard. In a morose way, I liked the drama of obsessing. When I decided to say, “Okay, I’m just going to do this and trust the process.” No beating myself, no self loathing, no constant comparison to other people, no standing in the mirror over analyzing every bit of extra flesh. Just cause and effect. I toned up, extra weight fell off, and there was nothing left to do.

The most anti-climactic win Ever. 

Then what? I’ve always gotten compliments because I smile all the time, so compliments were nothing new. I felt better in my own skin, but after about a week I was over it. It was Extremely disappointing to not have habitual goal to think about all the time. I knew I didn’t want to lose more weight or build muscle because I had done that before and didn’t like it. Chest bones are not pretty. And then you go from compliments to people openly saying rude things like, “Eat a sandwich.” So I had found my happy medium. But now what? I missed the drama, the obsession about a process.

Success is less dramatic than the journey there – and sometimes, even the journey there is boring. I believe this is part of why so many people don’t achieve their goals – especially physical goals. It can be highly disappointing when you get to the top and find there’s no where else to go, but down the other side.

About the age of 30, I decided beauty wasn’t all it’s cracked up to be. All you really get with being beautiful is compliments from the outside world and being confident in yourself (okay, so, that last one does help quite a bit!). I realized that unless I was going to be a model or something where I’m in the spotlight, good looks is really inconsequential. And I want to be more than just a pretty face. 

The process is the real treasure. Developing attributes like Patience, Will-Power, Focus, Resilience, and Determination. These ideals are easy to transfer in to any area of life once you have an area to relate.

Coincidentally, around the time I was having this epiphany- I took a challenge to do 2 weeks of live videos on Facebook saying one thing I’m thankful for. And I realized, I do Quite enjoy being in the spotlight! I don’t believe looks are completely under our control, a lot of it is the genetic lottery – so I can’t take credit for most of it. But I also don’t believe in squandering gifts, so I’m working on ways to incorporate where I already have my confidence to other places I’m working on building up. 

Turns out, looks do matter in this world despite how unimportant it can seem, so it’s good to be wise about it. And just like how you dress and look can attract/repel certain people in your personal life, the same is true when making a portfolio. I realized the “Look” of my portfolio doesn’t appeal to those projects I really want to work on. So, I’ve decided to re-design my portfolio. And no, the irony isn’t lost on me that my mind is still focused on the look of things. I’ve just re-routed the means and the end goal to be a marketable skill.
In creative fields (and other fields that use the mind as the main tool), there’s no ‘top’ to reach because imagination is endless and always growing.

A few years ago, I would have thought that would be disheartening, but now, it’s encouraging to know there’s no disappointment at the top and the journey will never end. 

A man’s reach should exceed his grasp. – Robert Browning

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Posted in Attitude, Design, Uncategorized

NOTEvember 26: It’s not a Fail if you’re still Trying

Notevember is MUCH more challenging for me than Inktober was – Obviously.
But as usual, even though I’ve fallen far, far, FAR from my goals – just aiming my intention towards a specific direction has brought me a lot of clarity.
I’m experimenting with quite a few different shops to see which one has the best user interface + best prices for customers.  Society6, Design By Humans, Teepublic, RedBubble, Customized Girl, and Threadless
(Some of these don’t have anything on them yet…Patience. Use it.)
And, I’ve decided to split my spider loving self away from my Hello Holly business self – which means a lot more work for me, but a lot less confusion for everyone in the long run! Now if I can figure out how to split myself into more people to manage it all…hmm… 
I’m fortunate to have a lot of people in my life supporting me. I looked at the people I feel I know best develop some ‘Market Personas’ to determine which style of design goes on which T-shirt site.
Here’s the breakdown: 
Persona: Christy (Sister)
Style: Quotes, Typography, Illustration
Site: Threadless
Store: Spiderluf
Persona: Rachel (Stepdaughter)
Style: Glamorous, Elegant
Site : Society6, CustomizedGirl
Store: Spiderluf
Persona: Dad (Male)
Style: Masculine, Quotes, Typography
Site: RedBubble, Teepublic
Store: Hello Holly
Persona: Mom (Female)
Style: Hippie, Whimsical, Colorful, Gypsy
Site: Society6, CustomizedGirl
Store: Spiderluf
Persona: Brian (Husband)
Style: Superheros, Comic book, Fantasy
Site: TeePublic, RedBubble
Store: Hello Holly
Persona: Jamy (Music Enthusiast Sister)
Style: Whimsical, Abstract, Geometric, Ethereal
Site: Design by Humans
Store: Spiderluf

Breaking things down this way helped me narrow down what to put where so that everything in a store looks the same. I’ve had problems in the past setting up a store because everything looked so dang different from each other and that irritated me! In keeping with my consistent avoidance of consistency, I want to try different styles – but putting them all in one place is super confusing for the general public.
It’s probably like someone trying to find something in my kitchen.
Posted in Attitude, Design, Personal Life, Psychology

NOTEvember 14: Aiming for Anything

Thanks to Inktober, I have a good bit of artwork to use for my tshirt shop! Two uploaded today and they look pretty dang good if I do say so myself. I already have plans for the second round which will feature watercolor elements to these designs.

I’ve noticed that when I’m trying to get one thing done, a whole lot of other things get done in the wake of anticipating that one thing.

Today, I opened my UpWork profile up for proposals again and within 5 hours, received 7 invites for projects. Business wise, it was a pretty good day all around. … despite me not making my 5 Design Goal of the day. 

This is what happens when I set my sights on something – I feel like I should be busy doing Something at any given moment – even if it’s not what I originally intended, I still get interesting things done.

This is probably how serendipity finds me.

And tomorrow I’ll try again to reach my goal.

Posted in Attitude, Design, Personal Life, Uncategorized

NOTEvember 13 : 01 Spiderlove

There are a Lot of online shop platforms out there.

And I have at least 6 accounts that I can remember : Zazzle, Society6, Design By Humans, Threadless, RedBubble, StoreEnvy, and Etsy.

There’s a lot of questions to ask when publishing to any of these: “What kind of quality is it?” “What’s the community like?” “What’s most popular in these stores?”  “What percentage do I receive?” “What seems to be most requested?” 

I chose to go with Design by Humans for my upload today because the marketplace is more ‘my style’…or the style I’m going for, at least.

Society6 is a close second favorite of mine – neither of these give very good pay outs… but, the ones that give better percentages either a.) are crappy quality or b.) terrible buyer/customer interface or c.) all of the above (Here’s looking at you Zazzle and Threadless!).

So…aiming for 5 designs uploaded was a bit ambitious when I hadn’t made my mind up about which store to go with… But I did get one up! The idea is to do a series of ‘Spiderlove’ featuring some of the artwork I made during Inktober. Check it out!

Let’s see if I can get 5 designs up tomorrow. …I’m not very good at setting ‘easily attainable’ goals apparently. But I’ll keep trying!

Which one of the online stores I mentioned have you heard of? Ever bought anything from an online independent artist shop? I’d love to have your input! Comment below!

Posted in Attitude, Personal Life, Psychology, Uncategorized

NOTEvember 12 : Weekend Bust

I mentioned before that I never get anything done on the weekends.
And what do you know?
No posts over the weekend. 😃

I did manage to fulfill my goal of 5 crochet spiders and they turned out quite nice. I’m still tweaking the design a bit since it’s a bit difficult to get them on the pencil.
Once I iron out the kinks, maybe they’re something I can sell through my site. …or give away. People always like free things.

Once I get in the zone of doing something, it’s very difficult to get out of that zone.
I crocheted all weekend and now have quite a few crochet spiders and a new cat toy. That made me think, maybe I need more than just a day to focus on something, maybe I need to ride the wave until it dies down.

Maybe I need to stick to a plan for more than 5 seconds! 

With all this Christmas stuff being advertised, I feel an urgency to get my shops up and going with new designs. So I’m going to switch focus to my online stores this week.

This weeks goal: 5 new designs in at least one store per day. 

That seems achievable. I’m lumping the whole week’s goals into one thing because… I hate thinking of a new goal every day. Maybe I’ll be more successful that way.
Posted in Attitude, Personal Life, Uncategorized

Notevember 9 : Optimistic Rationalization

The downside of eternal optimism is I can rationalize and spin just about anything in a positive way.

For instance, yesterdays goal was “Write in the morning so I would have time to think of/execute a goal”.

It’s 3:30PM now.

My first thought was, “Well, it’s morning Somewhere.”

When you rationalize everything, things get muddled very quickly. So, in my constant effort to clarify myself to myself, I wrote down a list of tangible goals I’ve wanted to accomplish for a long time:

  • Publish work I’m proud of on my Online Stores
    (I’ve opened and uploaded designs to several of these, … and then after a few months, deleted almost everything because I thought it was crap after letting it set there)
  • Make Physical Products (Mainly Crochet Spiders)
  • Bring life to my website (Active Participation and Updates)
  • Design a reservoir of graphics (Boring but helpful stuff to have around) and publish to Creative market.

I feel like I should designate a day to each of these, that way I won’t have to decide which one is the *best* to work on on any certain day.

  • Monday : Website
  • Tuesday : Graphics
  • Wednesday : Online Store
  • Thursday : Physical Products
  • Friday : Wild Card

I don’t ever get anything done on the weekends. Goal for today is : Crochet 5 Pencil Gripper Spiders

I grip my pencil way too hard. I used to use the little rubber pencil grips, but, even with those my hand would get sweaty and tired from gripping too hard. In my quest to figure out some way to make my crochet spiders have a function, I accidentally made a pencil grip and it’s super comfy to use, I don’t jab my thumbnail into my finger…I still have a callous on my middle finger, but hopefully that will go away soon. I’m still tweaking the design of these, but I think they’re a cute idea and might be useful to others with the same problem.

Posted in Attitude, Personal Life, Uncategorized

Notevember 8 : 2 Birds / 1 Stone

Amateurs create work when they feel motivated, but professionals create work on a schedule.” – James Clear

This is the quote I’ve been agonizing about. The words that started this whole obsession with schedules.

I want to create awesome things, but I get so lost in the weeds – and lately, it’s been driving me nuts.

Looking back, I have made a fair amount of improvement as a graphic artist with things I knew I needed to improve on :

  1. I can let things go
  2. It doesn’t have to be 100% flawless or fleshed out before showing a concept
  3. I can work super fast when necessary
  4. I’m able to hear out opinions and objections without taking it personally
  5. I no longer wait until the conditions are perfect to respond – short messages are better than nothing!

Everything I struggle with in business are the same things I struggle with in life in general : Avoidance, Perfectionism, Magical Thinking, Communication, Follow Through, and Consistency.

I knew this from the get go.

I’m a big fan of ‘Two Birds/One Stone’ method, so I thought, “Hey, maybe I can get paid to fix my life!” Nothing says, “I believe in you” more than a steady paycheck from a good client.

I feel like I’ve gotten out of freelancing, exactly what I put in so far – which is why I’m trying to step it up a notch.

My website is a step in that direction – a blend of personal and professional characteristics. It’s not perfect, and I’m still working on updates, but it exists and I’m happy about that.

Come to think of it, having my own website has been on my goal list for a long time : Check.

I’m going to make a very short, easily attainable goal everyday for the rest of Notevember at the end of every post. That way, I can get some momentum of setting/reaching goals.

Today’s goal is : To write my post in the morning tomorrow so I’ll have enough time to think about and put into practice an actual goal. 🙂

Posted in Attitude, Personal Life, Psychology

Notevember 6 : Commitment Issues

This happens Every Single Time.

I decide to start something new or try to do something – again – and I’m almost instantly hit with a “Commitment Check”. I start a new project/challenge and something happens to test just how much I’m Really Committed to it.
I’m pretty sure this is a common thing that happens with everyone so I’ll share my insight on the matter. This is how the pattern of events normally proceeds:

  1. On a whim, decide to take (or Retake) on a challenge 
  2. Excitement / Motivation die off
  3. Slow slide off band wagon
  4. Wave of procrastination/avoidance/exhaustion
  5. Timely reminders of habit changing and the benefits following through
  6. Stable-minded re-commitment to challenge
I’ve seen myself go through this process over the span of hours or months depending on how quickly I become aware of what’s happening. And sometimes, I’m completely aware, but entirely apathetic. It’s rare that I abandon a challenge all together, but it can be put on the back burner for quite some time.

These past 6 days of slacking/overthinking were the Commitment Check Effect.
And, as usual, I had the timely reminder of how and why to get myself back on track. This time it came in the form of a podcast from The One You Feed. Of course the first episode I listened to was a mini-episode about how Avoidance drains you of all energy – which complimented the habit building tactics of the next episode. One major point was to deconstruct big tasks into smaller manageable ones. But by the time I think about how to deconstruct the main goal, I need a nap.

I’m going to take a concentrated stab at schedule making, yet again. But this time, with a second back up routine for when I can’t do something when it’s normally scheduled*. Some things in my schedule I already do – but I reach a point of “what now?” and get tired thinking about what I should do next. I figure this is the perfect spot to implement routine things.

Goals: 

Eliminate Decision Fatigue
Accomplish Daily Tasks
Incorporate Small Consistencies
  • 5AM : Feed Cats / Make Coffee / Check Email / Write Blog Post / Work Projects
  • 10AM: Clean Kitchen / Catbox / Crochet 
  • 2PM : Waste an Hour**
  • 4PM : Go for Walk
  • 7PM: Draw
  • 10PM : Edit Website

Backup Plan!*

  • 10AM : Feed Cats / Make Coffee / Check Email / Work Projects
  • 4PM : Go for Walk
  • 7PM: Draw
  • 10PM : Write Blog Post
*Backup Plan is not an “I don’t feel like doing it right now, I’ll just do it later” plan. This plan is for those days when things just don’t go as scheduled
**Why would I schedule a “Waste an Hour” on my routine list? Because this gives me the opportunity to relax and not feel bad about it.

So, here we go again! If at first you don’t succeed – Try, Try again.

Posted in Attitude, Personal Life, Psychology, Uncategorized

Notevember 2 – Goal Setting

I have the lifelong habit of biting off more than I can chew. Mom’s gentle warning “Your eyes are bigger than your stomach!” was foreshadowing for the rest of my life – my ambition is more than I can physically handle. 

So, what then? Do I lower my sights? How can I make things manageable enough to actually complete?

“How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” My sister said as she was helping me with my multiplication tables – this entire scene feels significant. Like a dream chock full of subtle clues about my future.

The theme of setting small goals to accomplish big things has been a constant in my life – however, I’ve never liked this way of doing things. In fact, I’ve stubbornly resisted this method with every ounce of my being – but, it seems to be just as stubborn as I am because it keeps reappearing.

In school, I had a ‘goal card’ I had to make fresh with new daily and weekly tasks to accomplish a long term goal. The start of each day was to evaluate what was done yesterday and was the aim was for the day in context of what needed to be done that week – month – year.
The stinging irony of my schoolbooks being named “PACE” isn’t lost on me either. 

But, that’s all so dreadfully boring and unmagical if you plan things to happen and then they happen. It’s always more exciting if things just serendipitously fall together!

This is a prime example of having the answer screaming at you and trying to find ‘another‘ answer because you don’t like the truth. “I don’t know” starts out as an excuse, and then with maturity, becomes a blatant lie to yourself.

I realized that I’ve been looking at it from an all or nothing mindset – It’s either routine or spontaneity – not both. But this isn’t true at all. In fact, my love of winging it can be incorporated when things can’t go as planned. Maybe, the solution is in the problem.

So here we go again, with the daily/weekly/yearly goals – but with an attitude adjustment and foresight of how to deal with the boringness of it all.

Goal for today : Make daily / weekly / yearly goals for next post

Posted in Attitude, Design, Personal Life, Uncategorized

Welcome to #Notevemeber

Inktober was so much fun and breathed life into the idea of having rituals and routines to make something happen, I decided to follow it up with Notevember.  This is a popular event among writers with a whole bunch of rules and guidelines.

As with Inktober, I won’t be following any of them 😃 Instead, my goal is simply write a note every day about things I’d personally like to improve in and how to go about it.

So, here we go!
And yes… I know it’s November 2nd. Time management is on my list of topics to come. 😃