I've had the honor of coaching and connecting with some amazing women in my Big Magic groups these past few months, snd a common theme I noticed is this:
We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be "original."
The shame associated with "copying" the work of others lingers with us from grade school, scaring us away from even considering jumping off from an existing idea.
Somewhere deep in our psyches, a false belief has been planted:
You must re-invent the wheel. Every time. Or else...you suck.
And this keeps us from even beginning a new creation, a new idea, or a new angle for our business.
But listen. I'm here to tell you it's OKAY to use pre-existing ideas, structures, and concepts for inspiration. It's okay to borrow and blend.
As a graphic designer, I'm trained to follow templates. And I've had great success (and saved a LOT of time) using them.
A template can box you in,
OR it can or provide a structure from which you break free.
It's all in how you look at it.
Templates can be a starting point for you to find your own unique spin. They can be blended to create your own unique recipe.
For example, I use a template when coaching my clients to write their marketing stories. It's called the Story Arc, and it's a universal storytelling device that works really well as a jumping off point.
Why would I want to reinvent that?
Instead, I work with my clients to add their spin and their voice to the mix, and the result is a story that's uniquely and powerfully theirs.
Elizabeth Gilbert writes about originality vs. authenticity in Big Magic:
“The older I get, the less impressed I become with originality. These days, I’m far more moved by authenticity. Attempts at originality can often feel forced and precious, but authenticity has quiet resonance that never fails to stir me.”
It's true. The pressure to be “original” will stop you in your tracks. Aim for authentic instead.
Authenticity gives you permission to borrow, blend, and benefit from what’s already out there. And remember, it’s okay to use templates as starting points. From there, you get to add your own spin, in your own voice.
The result? Something that’s uniquely YOU!
Think about this as you approach your marketing and brand storytelling.
Need help getting started with your brand story arc? I’m just a click away!
Book a complimentary Brand Clarity Call and we'll get started.
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Did this article spark anything for you? I'd love to hear what you're going to borrow or blend for your next project!
As exciting as it is, spring can also be a crazy time. The crazy wind and shifting temperatures often mirror our inner state of being. I'll share an example with you. I woke up today feeling FRUSTRATED by all the items on my to-do list. I felt like tasks and goals were floating around my head, like leaves swirling in the wind, each competing for my attention. Write more blogs. Develop new programs. Reach more clients.
I was more focused on the gap between my accomplishments and my goal, rather than the accomplishments themselves. This frustration began rising and morphing into anger, followed by beating myself up. Why didn't I get out of bed earlier? Why can't I muster more productivity?
Does this sound familiar to you? It's tough, because creatives and entrepreneurs like us have an open-ended space to get our projects done. When structure isn't imposed on us by an external force, each day challenges us to create a framework to work within. This can leave us feeling overwhelmed.
But here's some good news: it's possible to trick our over-active, problem-solving brains into a place of gratitude and flow. I want to share a proven tool with you that does just that. I've incorporated this tool from two of my mentors, Jill Badonsky and Christine Kane, and it gets rave reviews from my clients each time I offer it. It's called a Credit Report, and this month, I'm offering it to you, my dear subscribers, as a free download.
If you're currently buried in your to-do list, I encourage you to download this tool right away and take 5 minutes to complete it. That's all it takes – 5 minutes.
The Credit Report is a powerful tool that shifts us from a feeling of lack to a feeling of abundance. In essence, it's a to-do list turned upside-down. Instead of listing everything you need to do, you list everything you're glad you've already DONE. This can be anything from "I brewed a cup of tea for myself" to "I got my taxes done."
It's amazing how this takes us from a "cup half empty" to a "glass half full" state of mind. The effect multiplies when we share it with others, so I am offering an option for you to share yours, if you want to. Simply click below to access your Credit Report worksheet (PDF format). You can print it out, or type your list directly into the spaces provided on the document.
Then, I invite you to share your list in the comment feed at the end of this post. I'll be sure to give you a big high-five, and I know others who read it will, too.
Interested in more tools to lift your spirits and boost productivity? Download my FREE e-book, Progress Without Pressure: 5 easy tools to help you get on track with your creative project – RIGHT NOW."
My friend Dawn and I had both been working very hard. We needed to push the reset button. What better way to push the reset button than through play?
We live many miles apart, so we scheduled a virtual play date. We met via phone and brainstormed about something playful we’d each like to do. We agreed our play date would last 23 minutes. Why 23? No reason, other than it’s a random number, not commonly used as a time increment, a number borne of adventure rather than thought.
I decided to color a page from my Spongebob coloring book. Dawn had a household task she wanted to infuse with a little fun to make it more bearable. Next, we sprinkled our play with a little magic, in the form of a small question.
A small question is a powerful tool. A small question can be brought into a play (or work) session by writing it down, then letting it simmer and bubble while we engage with the activity at hand. Simmering and bubbling occurs in the non-thinking, creative part of our brain, allowing the answers to arise in surprising ways.
Small questions don't have immediate answers. They can start with phrases like:
How can I…
Taking a cue from the playful mood, my small question was a fill-in-the-blank style:
“Feeling carefree, I get to _________ more often.”
As I colored Spongebob, words began bubbling up. I wrote them in the blank spaces on the page.
hang with friends
Glow. That final word had a ring to it.
It spoke to me as something I wanted more of. To spread light from within: a soft, gentle light.
“Feeling carefree, I get to GLOW more often.”
GLOW doesn't apologize.
GLOW doesn't need permission.
GLOW is a natural state of being alive.
I realized I may have stumbled across a theme to carry into the New Year, all summed up in a single word.
As our 23 minutes came to an end, Dawn and I brought our play date to a close by sharing what we discovered. That was 23 minutes very well spent, all in the name of PLAY.
Thank you Dawnbob and Spongebob. I enjoyed riding the Play Train with you. Having a buddy to play with makes all the difference.
I invite you to book a virtual play date with someone. Think of a small question to bring into your playtime (or feel free to borrow mine). I’d love to hear what bubbles up for you. Please share about your experience in the comments below.
Author and Branding Consultant
I am passionate about helping women write their truth and share their message. I offer
personalized coaching programs designed to help soulful entrepreneurs tap their inner wisdom, write the stories they need to tell, and build a business they love.
My memoir, What I Gave to the Fire, is available in both print and Kindle formats on Amazon.com.