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Cat Rose Astrology

Cat Rose is on a mission to explore the big questions in life, and encourage you to do the same. This is a podcast for those wishing to deepen their understanding of traditional western astrology, discover why they are here and what path they are being called to walk in this life. Cat Rose is a practicing astrologer who specialises in the personal daimon. She has authored two books, and you can find her work at https://www.catroseastrology.com/
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Now displaying: 2018
Dec 31, 2018

Hope you've had a lovely holiday break, whether or not you choose to officially celebrate any or not, I assume the majority had some kind of break from work or your regular routine.

Whilst I did enjoy time with my family of origin, and my friends, I'm quite ready to get back to regular life again. I just want the world to go back to normal - with regular opening hours so I don't get thrown out of my favourite coffee shop at 3pm. 

That said, I do like taking the weird limbo between xmas and new years day to really do some reflection on the year that's past. It's easy to just keep on moving from one thing to another without taking some time to stop and smell the flowers, as in: reflect on what worked, what didn't, what you've learned, what you loved over the past year.

In many ways I group 2018 and 2017 together, because these were my Brighton years. The years I've spent away from London, the place I've called home, and attempted to basically start a life from scratch, relying only on the work I do online.

Which is quite funny in hindsight because it was in the past two years I learned the value of what comes from offline life. Meeting people in real life, and learning to manage my energy when doing so. Speaking to audiences from a stage, not just on the podcast. Creating community events in physical locations, not just on Facebook.

I learned a lot, and was definitely challenged as an introvert with mild social anxiety and a tendency to stay in my comfort zone behind the screen. Anyway, next year I've got plans to both utilise the magic that is an online business, and experiment even more with being location independent as I do quite a bit of travelling starting very soon. Whilst also embracing what comes from the real world, living more of my life offline, without relying on the comfort blanket of my laptop and phone.

I'll share more about my plans for 2019 on Thursday's podcast, but for now - I thought I'd talk a bit about GOALS. I've harped on about goal setting before, you might know how fond I am of this process. Or at least, how fond I've been in the past. I've started to soften up my approach to setting goals for myself, and in doing so I hope I can help more of you who have a less... easy relationship with the G-word.

I'm going to read a short chapter from my new book, The Creative Introvert: How to Build a Business You Love on Your Terms, which is officially released tomorrow - just search for "The Creative Introvert" on Amazon - as this is all about tackling the issue of goal setting - and finding an approach that works for you.

I tried to do as much of this 'choose your own adventure' in the book as possible, taking into account multiple different types of creative introvert that I know are out there, my intention being that you find the very best path for you to accomplishing just about anything you want, at least in terms of your creative career.

Enjoy the show!

 

POWERED BY PATREON

This podcast is made possible only by means of my generous supporters on Patreon. Thank you! Supporting the Creative Introvert podcast also gets you lots of goodies, from a Monthly Ask Me Anything to a copy of my soon-to-be-released BOOK, The Creative Introvert: How to Build a Business You Love on Your Terms. Hitting milestones also funds future projects, and ideas guided by you, my supporters.

BECOME A SUPPORTER

Dec 20, 2018

I’ll admit I’ve been a bit stuck on Year of Fun happenings to share with you for the last fortnight, and that’s not entirely because my life hasn’t had fun in it… but nothing is exactly big enough to write home about – or, make a podcast about.

After nearly a year of this weekly fun, I’ve learned a lot about what I need in my life, what I consider to be fun, and what I definitely don’t need. I’ll be sharing my round up properly next week, but for now I’ll share one last hurrah, one last look at this introvert’s idea of fun.

So what I thought I’d do is give you a full day of fun activities – actually it’s mostly eating – but a fun day that one could spend in Brighton, the city I’ve been living in for the last 2.5 years.

Seeing as I’ll be waving goodbye – for a while anyway – to Brighton and Hove in the new year, it seems like an appropriate way to round up my time here and celebrate what this quirky seaside shore offers.

Full disclosure: I haven’t done all of these in one day… but I have done all of them at different times, and am pretty sure you could do this all in one day without feeling overly drained.

 

How to get to Brighton

Arrive by train at Brighton Station. I say this because driving and parking in Brighton isn’t fun, so I’ve heard. Lots of one way  systems and very expensive car parks – and with a direct train from London, you’re probably better off getting here by train. And do check the train updates before you leave – if you’re not familiar with the issues we have on this particular line, then… beware.

Brunch at Cafe Coho

Ok so you’ve arrived, yay! Ideally, you want to get here by 10:30/11 am, which is hopefully doable – and it means you’ll be in time for brunch, my favourite meal of the day.

Cafe Coho is right outside the station on the main road that leads to the sea, and they have some mighty fine brunch options. I recommend the sweet potato hash.

Window shopping in the lanes

Once you’ve had your fill and digested a good brunch, head down Queen’s road for a few minutes – before it gets too grim, which it will – and turn left down any of the side streets. This is where it starts getting ‘proper’ Brighton. The North Laines: lots of windy streets, cobblestones, street art, cafes and kooky, esoteric shops. I love it.

A tip I learned when I went to Glastonbury with two of my chums, is to window shop first, spot what you want, then go and do something else before coming back to buy. This is great if you have strong impulsive tendencies, and are likely to regret purchases later, like me.

So for the time being you’re just window shopping. My favourite shops are all on Sydney Street, more or less. You’ve got vintage clothing, comic books, second hand books, crystals, beads for jewellery making, a new stationery shop called Papersmiths and so much more. Definitely head to Sydney street.

The Royal Pavilion

At some point you’re going to have to whip out your maps app on your phone, because by now you may very well be lost down some odd side street. Type in ‘The Royal Pavilion’ because that’s where we’re heading next.

To be fair, you could just ask someone because everyone should be able to tell you where it is, it’s kind of a big deal in Brighton, but as you’re a fellow introvert, I’m guessing you’ll go with my first option.

So, the Royal Pavilion! If you heard episode 30 of the Year of Fun then you’ll know I love this place, and think it’s well worth an hour or two on your visit. Everything from the gardens around it, the street performers, the outside of the building alone is worth a visit.

Inside, you get the full extent of the decadence that the Prince Regent insisted on, and the weird mix of East and West in the designs. Go there, take some cheeky pictures though I’m not sure you’re allowed, and digest it all in the gift shop, which ain’t half bad either.

Before our next stop, make sure to head back to any shops to pick up anything you spotted earlier when you were window shopping, and make any purchases you still actually want/can even remember wanting.

Coffee + Cake + Games

Now you’re going to head south, roughly, down to the sea front. It doesn’t matter how you get there, but if you can wind in through the South Laines – do. Though I take no responsibility for you getting lost and distracted there.

Once you’re on the sea front, stop, take a look around at the Pier, admit to yourself it’s garish and probably very loud and annoying with all those seagulls stealing chips – but quite charming in its own way.

Then swiftly head to the east of the pier, finding some steps to take you down to a little strip where you’ll find C:\Side Quest, a games bar/cafe which has made it’s way down from London and has proved quite a hit.

This is one of my more recent discoveries and I just wish I had found it sooner. For one, when I went on a weekday afternoon, it was pretty quiet. Plus it’s bigger than most spaces in Brighton, so even if it was busy you’ll likely find a spot to sit.

Order a coffee, tea – or maybe something stronger. They have cocktails with very ‘punny’ names, which I appreciate.

Then you’ve got the option to play a game, there are board games, and loads of classic video games and big comfy seats to spend hours there, if that’s what you’re into.

OR you can just take a seat by the window, and look out at the view of the sea. A weird fact about Brighton, or at least an opinion I have, is that there are very few spots along the sea front that give you a good view and that are not totally cheesy rip offs. So for the view (and vegan donuts) alone, C:\Side Quest is well worth a visit.

Take a trip up the i360

Now this is a controversial one, but I recently embraced it and I’m really quite glad I did. The i360 is this strange beast that was erected when I first moved here, and it’s basically a tower with a pod that takes you up and down, giving you a decent view of the city.

It’s a tourist attraction sponsored by British Airways, and most Brightoners will tell you it’s an eyesore. But then, that’s what they said about the Eiffel Tower… It’s basically Brighton’s Eiffel Tower.

It does cost a bit to get into, so I’m not saying it’s a MUST do, but if you’re with someone and you have an hour or so to burn, go for it. By this time, assuming you’re doing all of this in the winter when I’m recording, you’ll catch a nice sunset or night sky, which is ideal because the city will look much more twinkly and magical then.

Pre-prandials

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the insane amount of pubs and bars in Brighton, and whilst I’m not the biggest boozer these days, I will give a couple of recommendations if you’re looking for a pre-dinner drink somewhere.

So if you want a pub, check out the Black Lion or the Walrus, both nice and pubby, the Black Lion also has a decent beer garden for warmer weather. If you’re in the mood for something harder, maybe check out the Plotting Parlour or Bohemia for cocktails. And finally if you want a wine bar, it’s got to be Plateau.

And she says she’s not a big boozer…

Dinner

If you make it out of your pub in time for dinner, I’d strongly recommend Terre a Terre, a mostly vegan and vegetarian restaurant that has blown my mind every time I’ve been. It’s a little on the pricey side, so if you’re not feeling that, then I’d say Franco Manca, serving the best sourdough pizza in town, is worthy of your custom too, and super affordable.

Comedy at Komedia

Finally, if you’re in the mood to end the evening with some entertainment, head to Komedia on Gardner Street. You might have to pre-book depending on when you go, but there’s usually something on, usually comedy, that you can turn up for. I love a good giggle (as demonstrated in episode 17), and I’ve always been impressed by the comic standards at Komedia, though I do have friends who will tell you it’s hit or miss.

 

Few! I think after that you’ll be running to get home and into bed, because I’ll admit – Brighton can feel a bit full on, especially if you’re an introvert and/or an HSP.

But I love this city, and all it’s quirk and the people here are second to none on the friendliness level (especially for the South of England, not the warmest part of the world.)

Ooh and don’t dilly dally – the last train home to London is around 11:30 and I have had the joyous experience of being stranded here in my youth, so – check your train times! And I wish you a lovely day in Brighton.

Fun rating: 9/10

 

POWERED BY PATREON

This podcast is made possible only by means of my generous supporters on Patreon. Thank you! Supporting this project gets you lots of goodies, including a copy of my soon-to-be-released BOOK, The Creative Introvert: How to Live a Life You Love on Your Terms, monthly Masterclasses and much more. Hitting milestones also funds future projects, and ideas guided by you, my supporters.

Dec 17, 2018

I'm a massive fan of 'best of' lists, especially when it comes to books, and I figured it would be a nice way to start rounding up the year.

For the first time, I was pretty consistent this year in keeping track of what I was reading, averaging about 4 books a month - but I will admit I finished probably half of them. I'm a big believer in putting a book down when it stops interesting you. There are too many good books out there.

All but one of these are non-fiction, so apologies if that isn't your jam, but if you listen to this podcast you'll likely be interested in most of these topics anyway, so fingers crossed you find at least one book that piques your curiosity.

I'd also love to know what your favourite books were this year, I'm always up for recommendations.

 

1) Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss

I've been an embarrassingly big fan of Tim Ferriss for many years now, his books and his podcast - and this book kind of combines both. It is basically a reference book Tim created for himself, asking his world-class most expert buddies for advice on some of his most pressing questions. Questions like:

How could I be kinder to myself?
How could I better say “no” to the trivial many to better say “yes” to the critical few?
How could I best reassess my priorities and my purpose in this world?

I love the concept, of seeking council from the best, and if you have the contacts - you might as well use 'em. And if you don't well you can read this book.

 

2) Shrinking Violets by Joe Moran

I stumbled upon this author at a talk he gave in Brighton last year, and I knew I had to have him on the podcast. Fortunately, despite being a shrinking violet, he said yes. This book is a fascinating and really quite sweet look at what it means to be shy, and as someone who often avoids the subject of shyness because I don't want people to confuse it for introversion, it was an important read for me.

 

3) Your Press Release is Breaking My Heart by Janet Murray

Another hero of mine, Janet Murray is the author of this next book and one I prescribe regularly to any of my clients or just people I meet, anyone who wants to get their work out to the masses via the press and influencers.

I love how detailed yet simple Janet manages to make this topic of PR and how she does acknowledge what it's like to be an introvert when you're trying to reach out to the press.

 

 

4) 12 Rules For Life by Jordan Peterson

If you've been listening to this podcast recently (or if you listened to the episode of The Seeker and the Skeptic on the book club we went to), you probably won't be surprised to hear this entry. Some of his ideas are questionable, yes, but there is so much wisdom buried in this book - which is basically a self-help book. But unlike most other self help books I've ever read, there's something about Peterson's words that hit me at a deep level, it kind of shakes your core - at least, it does for me.

Regardless of what you think of the man, I think it's worth giving this book a go, at least to understand what he's actually trying to say.

 

5) The Creative License by Danny Gregory

Another podcast guest, this book comes from Danny Gregory who has been a real inspiration to me. I read this book during the summer while I was feeling particularly uninspired and well, sweaty, and this was a reminder of all the possibilities that creativity holds, and how you can start super small - just putting pen to paper - and what a difference that makes.

 

6) The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron

Danny takes a lot of his inspiration from this legendary book by Julia Cameron, and I decided to read this for the second time earlier in the year. If you haven't heard of it, it's basically more of a course than a regular book, and Julia walks you through 12 weeks of 'artist recovery' - yes, it's based on the 12 Steps program and has a lot of God talk - but regardless of how you feel about that, it has some real gems that I think I'll be using for the rest of my life.

 

7) How To Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan

Increasingly one of my interests has become the use of plants and plant medicine for healing, both physically and mentally - and let's say it, spiritually. You might have caught the Year of Fun episode back in March where I talked about my trip to Peru, and my experience with plant medicine there.

Again, not for everyone - seriously not for everyone - but we are definitely at a turning point in our cultural attitude to these consciousness-altering substances, and I can't but help be excited for the possibilities they have, if used correctly. Michael Pollan is brilliant at explaining the why behind all this renewed attention for psychedelics, the history, the science and everything in between. One for the seekers and the skeptics.

 

8) Volcanic Momentum by Jordan Ring

One more podcast guest for you here, and like I mentioned on that show, I've read a hell of a lot of books on productivity and time management - but this was a truly great read. I flew through it, and never once felt patronised or like Jordan was trying to get me to do something unreasonable - this guy walks the talk, and I really clicked with his message. If you're looking to get 2019 off to a momentous start, then this one is definitely worth checking out.

 

9) Mythos by Stephen Fry

Oh my... this is the one I'm most excited about now because I'm still currently reading it. Since I picked it up, I basically haven't been able to stop thinking about it or how much I just want to be reading it. And it definitely sticks out of this list, because it's entirely based on myth - the Greek myths to be exact. And I've been interested in the Ancient Greeks since I was at school, but always felt frustrated when I tried to dig deeper. For one, there are a LOT of characters to keep track of. Plus, the stories are so nutty that when you read them without some of Stephen Fry's humour, they don't seem to reach modern minds properly.

Fry is the perfect person to retell these tales, in my opinion, and if you have any interest in archetypes, legends, bizarre stories and the etymology of words (which I am very much) I highly recommend this tome.

 

10) The Creative Introvert by... Me.

Awkward... Yes, I am putting my own book on my list of best books I read in 2018 because what kind of a message would I be sending to you otherwise?? Honestly, it took me a while of battling with this - it's been officially in the works since January 2018 but I really have been working on it for a good three years in terms of the ideas and activities in there.

It was only in the very last edits back in November that I started to LIKE this book though - which, if you've ever written or created anything you probably know how that feels. We're our own worst critics. And whilst there'll always be bits I'll want to change and update, I have come to the conclusion that this is the best I could do up to this point, in explaining to others HOW to build a business or freelance career in a way that not only works as a creative introvert, but specifically for YOU - a reference book that allows you to pick and choose what appeals to you, specifically. I don't know many people offering something like that, so I hope it provides a missing piece in the entrepreneurial creative self-help space. And I hope you enjoy it, should you choose to get yourself a copy.

 

And I'll mention the bonuses I'm offering one more time before the offer runs out on December 31st - basically, if you order the book BEFORE then, you'll get your hands on goodies worth around $700, including access to the League of Creative Introverts (my online community), a companion guide eBook and 6 months of book club calls that will begin in the new year.

Phew - all done. Hope you enjoy any of the books you pick from this list, and again - I'd love to read your recommendations too.

If you leave a rating and review on iTunes (here's how to do that) I will be as happy as a kitten playing with a laser beam (or sob into my pillow, depending on what you write.)

 

POWERED BY PATREON

This podcast is made possible only by means of my generous supporters on Patreon. Thank you! Supporting the Creative Introvert podcast also gets you lots of goodies, from a Monthly Ask Me Anything to a copy of my soon-to-be-released BOOK, The Creative Introvert: How to Build a Business You Love on Your Terms. Hitting milestones also funds future projects, and ideas guided by you, my supporters.

BECOME A SUPPORTER

Dec 10, 2018

It was a pleasure this week to have my first repeat guest back on the show, Martin Stellar (he's also the business and mindset coach I mention in The Creative Introvert: How to Build a Business You Love on Your Terms.

We discuss what Martin has been up to in the past couple of years, what it means to calibrate reality, and discuss how we can be better decision makers, how we can stop people pleasing and start doing what we're here for.

Connect with Martin:

 

You can leave a rating and review on iTunes (here's how to do that) and I will be as happy as a kitten playing with a laser beam (or sob into my pillow, depending on what you write.)

 

POWERED BY PATREON

This podcast is made possible only by means of my generous supporters on Patreon. Thank you! Supporting the Creative Introvert podcast also gets you lots of goodies, from a Monthly Ask Me Anything to a copy of my soon-to-be-released BOOK, The Creative Introvert: How to Build a Business You Love on Your Terms. Hitting milestones also funds future projects, and ideas guided by you, my supporters.

BECOME A SUPPORTER

Dec 7, 2018

Dammit - I promised myself I'd recorded my last woo-woo Year of Fun adventure, but here we are. Getting an astrology reading.

After growing increasingly curious about astrology over the past year or so, I figured it was finally time to see what it would be like to get my birth chart - the map of the planets at the exact time I was born - interpreted by a human. I know you can get your chart interpreted online for free (and I recommend this, if you're curious) but I also know the value in speaking to a real live human, and getting their spin on things.

I should let you know my beliefs around astrology, just to be clear. That said, I don't blame you for already jumping to the conclusion that I've lost my mind. I AM still skeptical about the value in attributing what's happening in our lives, and what our personalities are like based on the stars. I can see how nutty that sounds.

But... I also know that we don't know everything. We don't really know what makes what happen. Astrology has been around for a long time, and has existed in multiple parts of the world, across thousands of years.

If there's anything to it, I'd say it's much like the Myers Briggs personality test: YOUR interpretation, YOUR insights from the results and even from the questions - that's where the value lies. If I look at my birth chart and see my sun is in Aries, a fire sign, a bold, strong and somewhat self-centred sign: I will take what I want from that. I might think YES! This explains my fiery temper, my passion and intense drive. I might ignore the self-centred, egotistical tendencies OR I might take them into account and try to temper those aspects of myself, arguably for the better.

Of course there's more to me than those qualities and weaknesses, just like there's more to you than being an introvert or an INFP. But sometimes it's useful to have a helping hand in identifying those characteristics, and that's what Astrology - I believe - does. It's one more torch you can use to shine a light on yourself, and question what makes you, you.

OK, now that's out of the way I'll let you in on my first ever chart reading.

What I cover on the episode:

  • The setting
  • The personality of my astrologer
  • Diagnosis #1: an indigo child?
  • Am I a creative introvert, according to my chart?
  • Business tips (from the astrologer, not the stars)
  • What's in my future...

Fun rating: 9/10

I'd recommend this to pretty much anyone who has an open mind, and is not prone (too much) to blaming external events for their reality.

You can find out more about my astrologer here (spoiler alert: highly recommended!) and if you'd like to hear a much more in-depth podcast about astrology and a discussion with my skeptical co-host, subscribe to the Seeker and the Skeptic podcast. The show will air 1st Jan.

 

POWERED BY PATREON

This podcast is made possible only by means of my generous supporters on Patreon. Thank you! Supporting this project gets you lots of goodies, including a copy of my soon-to-be-released BOOK, The Creative Introvert: How to Live a Life You Love on Your Terms, monthly Masterclasses and much more. Hitting milestones also funds future projects, and ideas guided by you, my supporters.

Become a supporter

Dec 3, 2018

I thought it would be wise to share an excerpt from my very first book, The Creative Introvert: How to Build a Business You Love on Your Terms to celebrate it pre-launch. Well, it’s available for pre-order now and the reason you might want to order it before December 31st, is because of all the goodies I’m giving away to you early birds!

The pre-order goodies include:

  • Access to the Creative Introvert Book Club: 6 live monthly calls with live coaching, Q+A and a read-along for each part! (value $600)
  • Membership to the online community, The League of Creative Introverts for 6 months (value: $150)
  • A copy of The Creative Introvert Troubleshooting Companion – a self-coaching guide to work through any last niggles you might have in creating a life you love, on your terms (value: $11)

“The woman leaned over, smiling kindly as she offered me a fruit pastille. I graciously accepted candy from a stranger, as though in doing so the sugar would somehow absorb into my bloodstream and make life sweet again, rather than simply causing an insulin spike.
If this isn’t evidence of the kindness of strangers, I don’t know what is. To really set the scene: this was a rainy day in the October of 2010. I was still proverbially wet behind the ears, having recently graduated from the University of Reading with a fairly respectable degree in Graphic Communication and Typography.

I was three months into my internship at a small digital agency in London’s West End, and I had stormed out of the office in tears approximately 45 minutes prior. I was still sobbing, red-faced, as I sat on the train, urging it to leave the station and take me away from the hell of London Victoria as swiftly as possible.

Come to think of it, the kindly, sweet-bearing lady didn’t have much of a choice. You can’t really enjoy your fruit pastilles if you’re sat opposite someone showing signs of hysteria, increasingly turning as red as her hair by the second. Might as well offer her one.
So… what was the reason for the waterworks and the storming out, two hours before the day’s end? There were a multitude of reasons, from unfair salary to a narcissistic CEO, but what persisted – and what sparked this book into being – was the dawning of a discovery I wouldn’t fully grasp for another three years.

I left that sadistic internship the next day – yay – but the underlying problem causing my chronic distress and dissatisfaction followed me into my next job. There, I found a much more fair, friendly and above-board company to work for. Yet whilst my circumstances improved on paper, the storm brewing inside me did not.

Let’s piece the evidence together and see if we can diagnose the Cat of circa 2010–2013 with the real underlying problem:

• The highlight of her workday is the first hour. Quiet time to herself before the remainder of the office (comprising 30–40 individuals at any given time) clocks in.
• After this, she starts to exhibit signs of quiet distress. Her brow furrows, and grooves get deeper throughout the day, until 5:30pm comes and she resembles a raisin you might consider putting on your cereal.
• She is in a state of constant lethargy, despite the fact she spends approximately 80% of her day sitting.
• The kindly co-workers around her, who mean well with their table football and darts, just can’t understand why she is spontaneously crying. Is it something they said?

When I looked at these symptoms in the thick of my malaise, I assumed that I was fatally flawed. A broken human who couldn’t hold down a respectable job that plenty of other young graduates would have given their left eyebrow for.

I actually never figured it out whilst I remained (miraculously) employed there. It took a leap of faith and a holiday to Japan for me to finally pack it in and save my boss and colleagues the discomfort of keeping Mount Cat from erupting.

My plan was to simply take a shot at this thing called freelancing, for the six months of savings I had. I can honestly say I had no idea what I was doing: I just had to test my hypothesis; that the 9–5 office grind was not a match for me. It turns out, I was on to something.

Overnight, I discovered energy I hadn’t had in over three years. I woke up without the need for an alarm (and several snoozes), eager to open my laptop, inspired to start creating and refining and emailing and tinkering each and every day.

So what changed? What was it about my newfound lifestyle and work day turned me from Sourpuss to the Cheshire Cat? Did I just hate people? That didn’t seem fair: I liked my colleagues very much. Plus, the more ‘difficult’ clients hadn’t disappeared: I was still dealing with some of the same people and arguably some even more prickly characters now.

Was I just spoiled with years of schooling and university that sheltered me from the grind of commuting each day to an office full of diverse characters and pressure to demonstrate initiative? But I’ve always been highly conscientious, hard-working and tolerant of rigid routine. Again, this didn’t add up.

Eventually, discussing my confusion with a friend, he casually diagnosed me.

“You’re an introvert, then.”

“An introvert?!” I balked.

I could admit that I was a shy child, and had my own share of social anxieties, but on the whole I’d made huge progress in my social skills and increased my confidence over the years. I couldn’t be an introvert!

Then he explained what the original definition of introvert is, coined by Carl Jung, Swiss psychoanalyst, and later expanded upon by Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers.

The confusion I had over my work history – and much of my school years – started to vanish. When I understood this new (old) definition of what an introvert really is, a whole world of self-knowledge and understanding of others opened up to me.

An introvert, defined in this book is:

• Someone who gets drained by socialising in groups and recharges by being alone.
• Someone who processes information slowly and deeply.
• Someone who is NOT necessarily shy or quiet!

Newly armed with this information, my fascination grew. I started to understand why networking was so exhausting. I realised why in-house freelance contracts were not ideal, why I couldn’t stomach networking, why I grew tired long before my more extroverted friends at the pub. I started to shape my business around remote work and clients who could accommodate that. I started turning to more strategic ways of getting my work in front of people. I started letting my friends know why I had to pull an ‘Irish Exit’ so often.

The biggest relief was knowing: I wasn’t broken. I wasn’t a freak. I was in the 30-50% of the population who also fell on the introverted side of the spectrum. A real ah-ha moment came as I started to see a correlation specifically between the creatives I knew and my newfound self-diagnosis. I was finding that the vast majority of these creatives; illustrators, animators, writers, even musicians (who I had assumed were all extroverts if they performed on stage) were also introverts.

We lamented, over tepid pints of dutch courage, how much we wanted to relax into a hermit lifestyle and commit to our art. Self-promotion, social media, talking about what we do, pitching clients and agents… that was the drag, the painful side of our creative path we would do anything to avoid.

I felt this pain acutely. I also felt called to doing something about our conundrum. I committed myself to first working out an introvert-friendly way to make a career that suited my personality type and preferences, then to helping my fellow creative introverts. I committed to finding a way we could have our introverted cake and eat it too. In this case, our cake is creating work we love, and eating it is… well, making a living from it without selling our soul to our extrovert overlords.

This became my obsession, the one that kicked off the Creative Introvert blog, podcast, the League of Creative Introverts and the book you’re reading.

Are you a creative introvert?

There are a plethora of tests online that will give you your introvert diagnosis, but really it’s very simple. Do you identify with more than three of the following?

• You restore your energy when you spend time alone.
• You generally dislike being at the centre of attention.
• It takes you some time to get involved in social activities with a new group of people.
• You usually find it difficult to relax when talking in front of more than one person.
• You prefer to express yourself through writing or other non-verbal forms.

Well my friend, you’re an introvert in my books!

Misconceptions about introverts

Common misconceptions about introverts are that we’re all shy and socially anxious. Whilst these traits do overlap, and it is very common to be both an introvert and shy, I do want to clarify that these are separate traits. Even if you consider yourself shy, you probably recognise that your shyness is situational: it depends on the context.

Introversion however, is less fickle. I can’t control whether or not I feel my energy drain after a few hours in a large group situation. I can’t control how my brain processes information and how long it often takes me to find the right word when I’m speaking (especially compared to when I’m writing.)

In addition, this isn’t a book about becoming more of an extrovert: that isn’t my goal and I don’t believe it needs to be yours either. Nor is it a simple description of what it is to be a creative introvert, and an excuse to rant about our struggles.
Instead, you’ll be given tailored, experience-based and evidence-based guidance on building a thriving creative career, taking into account your introversion.

Now to define creativity… oh my.

This is a little trickier to pin down than introversion. Unlike personality tests, I’m less fanatical about ‘creativity’ tests that get you to think of multiple uses for a pencil, and decide your creativity based on that.

I’m a believer in creativity being in the eye of the beholder. You can feel creative in a niche area like flower arranging, whilst regarding yourself as unmusical, a terrible painter with two left feet. Creativity comes in myriad forms and outlets, and more than anything it’s a description of how we connect the dots, how we generate novelty, and how we play.

I’m not going to ask you to take a test to bolster your belief in how creative you are: I’m going to take a guess and say that you ARE creative. How you utilise that creativity and bring it to fruition is entirely up to you, and I would love more than anything for this book to reveal how you can best do that for your specific personality type, preferences, skills and desires.

If anything you’ve read so far about introversion and creativity resonates then there is a good chance this book is for you. The clincher is this: have you experienced challenges in your career ambitions? It might be communicating with your boss or coworkers. It might be feeling exhausted in an open plan office space. It might be clarifying your target market and building a coherent body of work.

All of these challenges – and many more – you might face as a creative with a degree of career ambition will be explored in this book.

The difference from other career advice books is that this will take into account your introverted nature. It will take into account your preferences for alone time, rich conversation with one person at a time and other subtleties that make being an introvert different. You’ll learn how to use your introverted strengths in your creative career and mitigate the blind-spots that you might experience.

If that sounds like something that might help you, then this book is most definitely for you.

How to make the most out of this book

This book is divided into six sections: the key areas I’ve identified in working with hundreds of creative introverts in coaching and teaching settings.

They are:

1) Prepare: Learn what you need to be at your best

This section shows you how self-knowledge, mindset and positive psychology are foundational to creative career success. Without this foundation, taking action and applying all the nitty-gritty strategy will likely fall flat; you’ll run into all sorts of sticking points and tie yourself in knots, if you don’t have these firm foundations.

You’ll find out what you need in order to thrive: to be at your creative best, both internally and externally. There will be multiple quizzes so you can identify more about your own personality type and we’ll explore the various routes to learning more about yourself, and how to apply this knowledge.

2) Plan: Get the clarity to move forward with confidence

Next, you’ll learn how to break down the daunting tasks of planning a career shift, starting a new project or building a creative business from scratch. You’ll be guided through a process specifically tailored to creative introverts: including a new take on business planning that is not going to induce sleep.

You’ll gain clarity on what kind of life you’re carving out for yourself, and how to remove the overwhelm from that grand concept, breaking down any size of dream into practical, actionable steps. This section will include helpful worksheets which can be filled in online or downloaded to print.

3) Produce: How To Actually Get Things Done

If you’ve ever struggled with the procrastination gremlin, you’ll be relieved to know that the battle ends here. You’ll learn strategies and tools you can use in any situation to finally get it DONE. Regardless of your old habits and limiting beliefs, this section will help you find a way to make strides in anything you set your mind to: on your terms.

4) Promote: Time To Get Your Art Out!

This is the section that many creative introverts will be most challenged by: but I promise you that this is where the biggest rewards lie. You’ll learn how to market your work without feeling sleazy or pushy. You’ll learn how to identify, attract and sell to your dream clients or customers and get the exposure you so deserve. Plus, you’ll do it all in a way that suits your introverted nature.

5) Progress: Taking Stock and Correcting Course

Throughout this book you’ll find an emphasis on experimentation. This section is where this scientific approach comes into its own. You’ll learn how to run your own experiments that will show you exactly what you’re doing that is working, and what you need to tweak. The point is to have fun: this is more like the Mento and Diet Coke type of experiment than the Hadron Collider type of experiment.

6) People: Introverts Need Them Too

Just because we’re introverts doesn’t mean we can do this all alone. People are on every corner of your creative journey, and learning how to manage these relationships effectively is going to be the make or break difference in your success. This section delves into collaboration, communication and energy management.

Note: This is not a straight-forward how-to guide book. I encourage you to find your own formula. All I can give you is ingredients (Tips + Tools) and recipes (Action Steps) that myself and others have tried, and have found helpful. This is a bit of a ‘choose your own adventure’, in that I want to give you as many options as possible to find what works best for you with your personality type and preferences.

This was the good news I so badly wanted to be true when I started to understand myself better: that just because something that works for someone else didn’t work for me, does not mean I’m a lost cause. It just means there is another way to get there. This book aims to show you the other way.

If you’re ready to get started and finally build a successful creative career that fits you like a tailor made glove, then let’s get going!”

Excerpt From: The Creative Introvert: How to Build a Business You Love on Your Terms 

 

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This podcast is made possible only by means of my generous supporters on Patreon. Thank you! Supporting the Creative Introvert podcast also gets you lots of goodies, from a Monthly Ask Me Anything to a copy of my soon-to-be-released BOOK, The Creative Introvert: How to Build a Business You Love on Your Terms. Hitting milestones also funds future projects, and ideas guided by you, my supporters.

Nov 29, 2018

Another esoteric experience for you today, my trip to a float tank.

This was my third visit to a float tank, though the first at this particular venue.

For those of you who don't know, a float tank or a sensory deprivation tank, is basically like a big bath tub filled with very salty water. Oh and the bath tub has a lid. So you're in total darkness and the water and air are heated to what should feel like exactly human body temperature. The effect should be that you're floating in... nothingness.

If you've seen the film Altered States, you may have slightly high hopes for float tanks, and if you've heard some people raving about them, you would probably understand why people like myself are shelling out quite a bit of cash - £50-60 is standard in my area - for an hour in a lukewarm bath.

Fun rating: 7/10

This wasn't especially challenging or exciting, but it was relaxing at least.

 

 

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Nov 26, 2018

Like so many fellow introverts, our podcast guest today grew up struggling with a deep lack of confidence and limited social skills. However, proof that these limitations are not permanent, Zach has since travelled to Asia, spending five months without staying in a single hotel- his social skills “paid” for accommodations.

I was super excited to talk to Zach, especially since I'm a big fan of solo travel and am currently planning a year of this for 2019. That said, I know travelling alone as an introvert has it's challenges, and thankfully Zach has given me lots of great advice - which you'll hear all about on today's episode.

 

Links mentioned:

Connect with Zach:

 

You can leave a rating and review on iTunes (here's how to do that) and I will be as happy as a kitten playing with a laser beam (or sob into my pillow, depending on what you write.)

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POWERED BY PATREON

This podcast is made possible only by means of my generous supporters on Patreon. Thank you! Supporting the Creative Introvert podcast also gets you lots of goodies, from a Monthly Ask Me Anything to a copy of my soon-to-be-released BOOK, The Creative Introvert: How to Build a Business You Love on Your Terms. Hitting milestones also funds future projects, and ideas guided by you, my supporters.

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Nov 23, 2018

We've got a bit of a repeat Year of Fun adventure today, but only in that I went to another book club earlier this year, but that was (1) ages ago and (2) a very different type of event.

What made this particular book club different is... that it was at someone's house. Which is definitely a push for many introverts - rocking up at a virtual strangers house, in order to not only discuss a rather meaty book with them and their other high-brow friends, but also to dine with them - and not make a fool of one's self.

So as you can imagine, I was pretty apprehensive about this. Thankfully, I had a fellow introvert to drag along, so I wasn't going alone. I will note that we'll be doing a much much more in-depth podcast about this event on my other podcast, The Seeker and the Skeptic.

I don't have a release date for that episode just yet, but if you listen to the kind of stuff we've been doing so far, and like it, then by all means subscribe, and you'll get to hear the full low-down on the juicier aspects of the book we discussed, which was Jordan Peterson's 12 Rules For Life.

I'm going to focus on the atmosphere, the facilitation, the introvert-friendliness and of course the FUN of this event in this podcast. So, the first check box was how prepared I felt going for the first time. I was invited by an existing book club member, and had had some email back and forth with the host, John, a fellow introvert!

As an ISTJ, it's no surprise that he paid great attention to detail in making sure we were prepared, sending over questions we'd discuss in advance as well as an incredibly detailed summary of the book itself - so if you hadn't managed to read it, I reckon you could still have a really valuable evening.

I also understood the running order, and all round felt very prepared going in. And I don't know about you, but that's super important to this introvert. So if you ever feel extra nervous before going to an event, don't hesitate to ask for more information from the host. Luckily with John, I didn't have to.

So myself and Rebecca were a smidgen early, but we were warmly welcomed by John and his lovely wife, we chatted about books - including one of my favourites, The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin - and sipped wine.

The other guests started to trickle in, and I was pleasantly surprised I knew 4/5 of them! I guess I've done more networking in Brighton in the two years I've been here than I thought...

We sat down, plates loaded with delicious homemade lasagne, and started going through the questions. Again, this was all very civilised. Despite the book and moreover the author, old JBP, being somewhat controversial, we kept the peace. There were differing views sure, differing personality types (though nearly all of us were introverts) and everyone joined in.

I was a bit... awkward at times. I felt like my understanding of what Peterson is saying is a little more abstract than others, and that might come from me diving deeper into his overall work than some others had. But anyway, it gave me a lot to think about and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I didn't assume anyone was thinking I was saying anything totally stupid, and I felt like I could pipe up when I wanted.

I think part of this is down to my own passion for the subject, my own practise of talking in group environments (which does NOT come naturally to me) and John's excellent ability to facilitate a group and keep a lovely, safe environment.

Fun rating: 9.5/10

This had basically everything: challenge, entertainment, friends, dessert... it only lost points for me being my awkward self.

 

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This podcast is made possible only by means of my generous supporters on Patreon. Thank you! Supporting this project gets you lots of goodies, including a copy of my soon-to-be-released BOOK, The Creative Introvert: How to Live a Life You Love on Your Terms, monthly Masterclasses and much more. Hitting milestones also funds future projects, and ideas guided by you, my supporters.

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Nov 19, 2018

What the heck is confidence, really?

Your confidence is made up of three areas:

1) Self esteem

This is our judgement of how valuable we are, and how comfortable we feel being our self. So you can imagine low self-esteem statements are things like ‘I’m not good enough’ or ‘I don’t deserve this awesome thing’ and you can also see it when people reject compliments or self-sabotage.

2) Competence

Sometimes referred to as self efficacy, this is how capable we feel at performing tasks, solving problems and achieving goals. So low competence might exhibit itself as imposter syndrome - so not feeling capable of the task at hand, feeling like you need MORE training or MORE knowledge or MORE skills. It’s different from low self esteem in that with competence you’re focussing on the skills or knowledge required, which are of course learnable - whereas with self-esteem, the feeling is deeper - more to do with your inherent worth as a human being.

3) Belonging

This relates to how well we feel accepted by others. This is more outward focussed, more to do with how others perceive us and how we ‘fit’ into society, our community or even a small group like you might find in a workshop or classroom.

Masterclass

It’s quite common that someone who is low in one of these areas tends to be low in the others, but it’s also possible to have low self-esteem but have high competence and/or a sense of belonging.

For example, as a ‘recovering perfectionist’ myself, and having spoken to many others this combination can pop up frequently. Perfectionists may be overly-critical and negative about their personal traits (low self-esteem) and yet see themselves as quite capable in certain areas (high competence).

A perfectionist architect might consider themselves competent at technical drawing, but feel unattractive and uncharismatic as a person. It’s easy for this to happen, because we might get encouraged in a measurable, outward-facing skill early in our lives, so we continue to excel at that because of the encouragement and validation we’re given.

But, we might not have been given or might not recognise all the positive reinforcement from the less-measurable, less-tangible qualities we have. Unconditional love is just love for the sake of love, not for performing at a certain task - is something we all need, and that’s what boosts self-esteem. The problem is, even if we have it, whether it’s from a parent, grandparent, lover or friend - it’s harder to spot.

Someone with high self-esteem can show up fully in projects and engage with people because they aren’t crippled with fear of failure or rejection. Of course they still get hurt and disappointed when things don’t go to plan, but their setbacks don’t diminish their sense of self. They are resilient, open to new experiences and relationships, have a higher tolerance to risk, and are accepting and forgiving of themselves and others.

If we hear encouraging words from those key care givers early on, whether it’s encouragement in certain tasks (competence) or in words of unconditional love (self esteem) then we can develop a strong sense of belonging. This is the only element in the triad of confidence that I can’t see being cultivated from within. This really is dependent on those around us.

Which is a bummer if you’re a highly independent introvert. On the upside, I’ve seen a STRONG correlation between raising competence and self esteem (even if that’s generated from within) and a rise in belonging. Why? How? Well, the more competent and sure of themselves a person is (er, to an extent) the more likely others are to approve of them. That’s how our monkey minds work.

It’s hilarious really, when you think of some of the ‘guru’ figures out there. Whether it’s a rock star or some spiritual leader, they tend to have an abundance of self-confidence, and that alone attracts people. Even if those guru characters are full of hot air in reality.

I’ve been trying to analyse what it is that draws me to certain thought leaders, and repels me to others. Regardless of their personality type or their talents, I have to admit they all have an air of confidence about them. However, this also comes with a limit. Someone who is overly confident and doesn’t back it up with skills (so high self-esteem without the competence in an area I can measure or observe) I’m repelled.

The thing is, this is all relative. My judgement of someone’s competence says more about my tastes and values than it does about that person. And naturally, someone could look at my work and deem me incompetent, and therefore see any self-esteem I show as unwarranted, and therefore they won’t approve of me. Therefore, I don’t get rewarded by that sense of belonging from them - they’re effectively saying: I don’t want you in my tribe, thank you very much.

How to have confidence

For this reason, my theory is that consciously or unconsciously, many of us more thoughtful, introspective souls try to purposely lower our self esteem in order to match the lowest possible opinion someone might have about our work - our competence.

If I take my sporting ability - which is unquestionably my greatest weakness in terms of outwardly observable skills, it’s safe to say I have low competence in this area. But if I use this as a measuring stick to assess my self-esteem, I end up with low competence AND low self-esteem. So when someone from another tribe sees me, they’ll likely judge me as a bit lame and insecure, and probably won’t give me much approval and acceptance. So, I don’t get my sense of belonging either.

Let me elaborate: if you tie your competence with your self-esteem, you’re in for a lot of trouble. You could end up like a guru or a narcissist, full of hot air because they’ve overinflated their self-esteem, and it’s NOT backed up by their competence. OR you risk lowering yourself to one of the few things you’re not so good at - we all have them. Either way, you’re going to alienate others, and that sense of belonging goes unfulfilled.


So what’s the solution? What’s the right balance? How do you boost confidence using this funky little triad of opinions and beliefs?

Well, for starters know that your self esteem is NOT dependent on your competence. I repeat: it doesn’t matter a dam how good you are at drawing ponies or how crap you are at maths. Each and every one of us is 110% deserving of unconditional love. And you can tell from that percentage how bad I am at maths.

The good news is you DON’T have to depend on others for this esteem. The bad news is: it sure does help. Of course it helps to have someone tell you they love you unconditionally. However, if you go through life depending on others for that, you’re likely to run into some real obstacles along the way.

Finally, your sense of belonging is not set either. It isn’t dependent on how much your parents loved you or how many or how few friends you had at school. The bad news for us introverts is that to find a sense of belonging, we need to put ourselves out there a bit. We need to give others a chance to see who we are, what we’re about and form their opinions of us.

And that is fucking scary. Of course it’s scary to risk disapproval. It’s the same fear that our ancestors faced when they were trying to please other tribe members, or risk being kicked out and thrown to the wilderness.

But unlike what our ancestors faced, this is not a life or death thing. Twitter can make it feel that way, but really really: it just doesn’t matter if someone doesn’t ‘get’ you. Or that someone doesn’t see your competence, or that they’re jealous of your competence and want to tear you down to build their own fragile self-esteem (this doesn’t work by the way, not in the long run.)


Now I think we’re clear on what confidence is made up of - self esteem, competence and belonging, and we’re clear on what the elements of this triad are dependent on and what they’re not dependent on - I’m going to round this up with some things you might want to try that will give you a little boost in all these areas, without faking anything or using the dark arts to boost your confidence. Your confidence will be built on strong, stable and sincere foundations. From there, over time, your confidence will grow up big and strong and carry you through just about anything you do.

How to Boost Your Self-esteem

1. Mindfulness

I know it’s not the most original recommendation in history, but my LAWD is it powerful. The truth is, we can’t change something if we don’t recognise what we can change. By simply becoming aware of our negative self-talk, we begin to distance ourselves from the feelings it brings up. The practise of mindfulness lets us recognise these thoughts and feelings, but more importantly, lets us DISTANCE ourselves from them.

Without this awareness, we can easily fall into the trap of believing our self-limiting talk, and our self esteem stays down in the dumps.

“Don’t believe everything you think. Thoughts are just that — thoughts.”
~ Allan Lokos

I really recommend the Waking Up app, from Sam Harris. I find it non-cheesy, non-preachy, and suitable for the secular-minded. There are some really powerful though experiments there too, so be prepared to have your brain changed (for the better.)

2. Exercise

I told you sport is not my forté, but even I can’t deny the benefits of moving the old body. I’ve managed to find ways of exercising I do, for the most part enjoy, like yoga, walking and… well, that’s it. But even if these were a pain in the arse (and some days they are) I can’t deny how much better I feel about myself when I exercise.

I’ve left the days of using exercise to change how I look on the outside, and use it as a tool to feel better on the inside. And I don’t think it’s a placebo - many studies show a correlation between exercise and higher self-esteem, as well as improved overall mental health. It’s empowering to know you’ve done something good for yourself, and over time those little wins add up. Plus, the physical benefits like lower heart rate, higher happy hormones and better sleep, all help the self-esteem journey. You can’t simultaneously feel like crap when your body is telling you otherwise.

3. Share the love

David Simonsen, Ph.D., LMFT, says:

“What I find is that the more someone does something in their life that they can be proud of, the easier it is for them to recognise their worth. Doing things that one can respect about themselves is the one key that I have found that works to raise one’s worth. It is something tangible. Helping at a homeless shelter, animal shelter, giving of time at a big brother or sister organisation. These are things that mean something and give value to not only oneself, but to someone else as well.”

And it doesn’t mean your contribution has to be time consuming or expensive. Something i love to do is send random emails to people - authors, artists, podcasters - who have made some impact in my life, even if it’s mini, and I thank them. Weirdly, by boosting someone else's self-esteem, mine seems to receive an equal or maybe even greater boost.

 

How to Boost Your Competence

1. Assess yourself

As I mentioned earlier, you can’t change anything if you don’t know what you can change. Taking a kind of competence inventory is the first step towards this self-knowledge. This means making a list of the skills you have, as well as the skills you want to develop.

It’s worth noting that for each skill you want to improve on, note why you want that skill. There might be some skills you don’t have but have no real reason to improve them. So don’t! I have no ambitions to become the worlds first record-breaking 5’3” ginger powerlifter, so I’ll let that one go. I go through a process for spotting your Superpowers in the Masterclass for this month, Create with Confidence.

2. Make a mastery plan

Next, you can start to create your plan to improve on the skills you identified. If you’re feeling a little low in your competence at photographing your work, so you can post really gorgeous product shots on your Etsy store or Instagram, then google “product photography course.” I just dod a google search on that - and there are plenty!

OK so once you have some resources, decide how much time you’ll dedicate to that skill. An hour a day or a couple of hours a week? Or just a workshop next month? These are all little commitments you can make that will not only boost your competence - they’ll boost your self-esteem too because sticking to the promises we make with ourselves, is like rocket fuel for self-esteem.

3. Track your progress

On that note, to really get your moneys worth from all this skill development, make sure you keep track of your progress. I keep a yoga journal, since being told to for the teacher training course I’ve been on. I’ve noticed that writing about the classes I attend, what I’m learning, how I’m growing in my practise, is all really encouraging for my competence.

I feel like I’m making improvements, when I’ve kept a record. It means that if I have a day where I can’t hold Tree pose for more than a second, I can leaf back through my journal and remind myself that I am capable, I am improving overall, and it’s OK to have an off-day. Track your progress!

 

How to Boost Your Belonging

1. Find your tribe

I spent far too long as a freelancer without even trying to find my tribe. Ultimately, I created my own. You might have heard of it, or even be a part of it - the League of Creative Introverts. When I moved to Brighton, I started a meet-up group to meet other creatives, and co-hosted an event for other female entrepreneurs.

But I’ve also joined in with existing tribes. If I find something piquing my curiosity, it’s never long before I start looking on Facebook for a group around that topic, or for a podcast that delves into it. I recently found Yoga tribes, Astrology tribes, Digital Nomad tribes - and in every case, I’ve found like-minds who want to connect with others, and who embrace me with open arms, whether it’s in real life or on the interwebs.

Also, note that you don’t have to be super active or vocal in these tribes, especially not at first. There’s nothing wrong with being a Facebook group lurker in my books. What might help boost your connection to the tribe, is by contacting a few individuals, to warm up.

This also fits in my self-esteem boosting practise of emailing people I admire - this is a great first step to becoming friends with someone, telling them you love their work! As long as you mean it, that is. Or maybe it’s asking a question. Either way, those private 1-1 connections are not just more introvert-friendly, they’re also more powerful for forming real bonds, rather than superficial comments on an Instagram feed.

2. Get sharing

This means sharing other people’s work and ideas, yes - that helps people notice you and see you as part of their tribe. But… yes, it also means sharing your OWN work.

Stop protesting! If you aren’t doing this already, I implore you to start somewhere. A work in progress. Something you made years ago that’s never seen the light of day.

And please, whatever you do: don’t get discouraged if no one comments, or likes or shares. This isn’t an overnight thing. This isn’t a popularity contest either.

This is about the practise of letting yourself be open enough to the opinions of others - that means both their acceptance and their rejection - and over time, attracting your tribe.

Which doesn’t happen if you’re invisible.

3. Ask for it

Ask for what? Ask for feedback. Ask for shares. Ask for help. Ask for support. Ask for ideas. Ask for opinions. All of this helps the other quiet onlookers who might be your tribe, but who are also acting invisible, to pipe up and connect with you.

We need invitations. Kind of like introvert vampires. Your tribe are likely a lot like you. And if you don’t pipe up without an invite, it’s likely they won’t either.

The truth is, introvert OR extrovert, we like to take the easy route. I’m unlikely to spontaneously think of my friend who just released their book, and ask them to come on my podcast unless they’re reminded me and ask me if they can come on the show. I need prompting as much as anyone else.

I’ve got another post all about the Art of Asking, inspired by Amanda Palmer’s most excellent book.

In short: if you want a sense of belonging, you need to ask for it. And chances are, your tribe will be grateful you did when they find out what a badass creative introvert you are.


Before I go, I just wanted to tell you about something new I’ve created. It is a foundation on what we’ve been talking about today: the foundation of self-knowledge. It’s a Masterclass, which is made up of four mini-classes, all online + ready for you to consume at your convenience.

Each mini-class has action steps to go along with it, to really help you delve into the material and really start to understand yourself; who you are, where you are and what you want. From there, like I said, you can take the first steps toward making improvements, in the areas you decide.

Masterclass
 
If you’d like to know more about this Confidence to Create Masterclass, you can check it out here.
 
 
 
 

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This podcast is made possible only by means of my generous supporters on Patreon. Thank you! Supporting the Creative Introvert podcast also gets you lots of goodies, from a Monthly Ask Me Anything to a copy of my soon-to-be-released BOOK, The Creative Introvert: How to Build a Business You Love on Your Terms. Hitting milestones also funds future projects, and ideas guided by you, my supporters.

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Nov 14, 2018

Oh man. I have a tummy ache.

I may have baked cookies. Shortbread, to be more accurate.

And I may have eaten more than my fair share.

I'm really not a chef, a baker or a candlestick maker - which if you've been paying attention to my Year of Fun adventures, you'll know.

But I've had this bizarre and persistent craving for shortbread recently - buttery, crumbly, preferably warm, shortbread.

And each time I attempt to satisfy that craving, I get left a bit disappointed.

Without giving you my full food critic reviews on the shortbread I've tried, I'll just summarise that store-bought shortbread, the kind that comes in a packet and is filled with preservatives and all sorts of shite, is... below average.

I even tried some festive flavoured ones from Tescos, and they were barely tolerable. I choked them down.

I will say that the shortbread in Pret a Manger is one of the finest you can get that isn't homemade, so props to Pret.

But I wasn't prepared to make a bulk purchase from the coffee shop chain, in order to get my fix on the daily.

So... that leaves me with baking my own.

And this was actually in my original list of things to do on my Year of Fun, I've just delayed it because I'm such a baking fail. I just can't seem to follow instructions.

And this was no different. I found a recipe online that involved just 3 (technically 4, but of course I left out the vanilla essence because... does anyone ever really notice the vanilla?) and they also fit my low-sugar, low-gluten diet.

This may be the first - and the last - time I ever stick a recipe on the blog, but here I go.

  • 250g almond flour
  • 85g butter (salted - use Kerry Gold!)
  • 100g erythritol

Makes 6 big-ass shortbread cookies.

I was meant to 'cream' the butter and sugar substitute together before adding the almond flour, but that takes either a power mixer or elbow grease, neither of which I have.

So I used my fingers. What? It totally worked AND was super therapeutic.

I think that's the part of baking that appeals to me most: the hands on bit. The getting slightly messy bit. The lick your fingers, lick the bowl bit. The don't-think-about-the-washing-up bit.

And that was it. Pre-heat oven to 175 degrees C. Bake for 15 mins, depending on how thick you made 'em.

Get your kettle ready for a nice pot of tea for when they're ready. My patience was really tested here as they come out of the oven too soft (and scalding) to handle, so I had another good 15 minutes wait to tuck in.

But OH how good they are.

Fun rating: 7.5/10

I'd give it a higher score, but my mild tummy ache is telling me to be honest. Next time I do this I'll pace myself.

 

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This podcast is made possible only by means of my generous supporters on Patreon. Thank you! Supporting this project gets you lots of goodies, including a copy of my soon-to-be-released BOOK, The Creative Introvert: How to Live a Life You Love on Your Terms, monthly Masterclasses and much more. Hitting milestones also funds future projects, and ideas guided by you, my supporters.

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Nov 12, 2018

So I thought I’d read all the books I’d ever need to read on productivity, healthy habits and getting things done. That was until… I saw the cover and title of our guest today’s latest book, Volcanic Momentum. For whatever reason, it really spoke to me and I had to dive straight in - and have the author, Jordan Ring on the podcast today.

Jordan enjoys making weird faces, creating ridiculous videos, eating apples, and playing ultimate frisbee with his wife. He believes in taking action and taking accountability for his own choices, and has made it a life goal to help people reach their ultimate potential.

We’ll be talking about what he means by Volcanic Momentum - and how you can get some going in your life, as well as overcoming fears of paralysis analysis, fear of asking and how us introverts can maximise our energy to make our big dreams a reality.

I absolutely loved chatting to Jordan, and hopefully you’ll enjoy listening in on our chat.

 

Links mentioned:

 

Connect with Jordan:

 

You can leave a rating and review on iTunes (here's how to do that) and I will be as happy as a kitten playing with a laser beam (or sob into my pillow, depending on what you write.)

itunes

POWERED BY PATREON

This podcast is made possible only by means of my generous supporters on Patreon. Thank you! Supporting this project gets you lots of goodies, from a mention in my weekly Museletter, early access and previews of new products and access to monthly workshops usually reserved for members of the League of Creative Introverts only! Hitting milestones also funds future projects, and ideas guided by you, my supporters.

BECOME A SUPPORTER

Nov 9, 2018

This week I'm sharing my self-made writing retreat in Lewes that I took last weekend.

writing retreat lewes

I would say lovely Lewes, because I have - in the past - really enjoyed a little wander around the small town in East Sussex, about half an hour by bus outside of Brighton, where I am. But I will admit it let me down a bit on this trip.

When I was wandering around looking for a nice coffee shop to start my writing retreat, I was stumped. I could only find about 3 nice looking spots with seats, and they were rammed to the brim. The one place I found big enough to nab a seat, Trading Post, which also has an outlet in Brighton which I love, was filled with total jerks.

I remember watching one poor elderly lady hold a door open for about 7 people, without being thanked or relieved of her kind duty. At least she made a joke of it, saying something like 'I should get paid to do this!' but that was my experience too - a lot of miserable looking, rude people. Sorry Lewes, maybe I caught you on a bad day. Maybe Brighton has spoiled me with it's warmth and politeness.

Anyway, my thinking process was, when I chose Lewes as my writing retreat location, is that it's close enough to the countryside, the South Downs, that I could maybe take a walk - not the 100 miles I walked last year, but may be a brisk half hour jaunt.

That didn't happen.

I kind of messed up on my organising. The Airbnb I stayed in - which was absolutely lovely - was a little more on the outskirts than I'd have liked. By the time I faffed around waiting for buses that seemed to get cancelled or never arrive - I ended up walking to the house from Lewes town centre, and by that time I was too pooped to do any more walking. Silly me.

Next time I do this, if I do it again, I'll set off early, making sure I can check in my bags early, leaving plenty of time to go for walkies before I settle down to writing.

writing retreat lewes

The other mistake I made was that... I planned this earlier this year, thinking I wouldn't have finished my book, and that I'd need a lot more time to write.

I actually have finished my book, The Creative introvert: How to live a life you love on your terms - and now I'm just editing and sorting out the publishing part. Boring. Not exactly what I intended to be working on, but I suppose it was even better for me to be away from distraction in this lovely environment, so I could really crack on with that.

The Airbnb bed was also the most comfy bed I've ever slept on, hands down. And the host was so sweet - as were her two lovely labradors - and she even asked before I arrived what breakfast should she buy. How sweet! This is above and beyond what an Airbnb host needs to do, in my opinion, and I'm already thinking about booking again just for the change of scene.

Fun rating: 7/10

POWERED BY PATREON

This podcast is made possible only by means of my generous supporters on Patreon. Thank you! Supporting this project gets you lots of goodies, from a mention in my weekly Museletter, early access and previews of new products and access to monthly workshops usually reserved for members of the League of Creative Introverts only! Hitting milestones also funds future projects, and ideas guided by you, my supporters.

Nov 5, 2018
I’ve been wondering for a while now, whether this podcast and all the work I do as the Creative Introvert, is in the intention of self-improvement OR self-acceptance. 
 
Because, I’m a fan of both - I love experimenting with ways to level up, grow or become a better version of myself… but I also know the value of settling into who I am, and maybe even loving that creature.
 
The problem I come up against is… which is it? Can You have both? How?
 
How can I love who I am right now, as I am - and also want to change or grow in some way?
 
Maybe you’ve run into this same dilemma. Maybe you’ve flitted between the two. On the first of January, you’ve been all about the self-improvement. Come the 15th of Jan, you’re all about self love and self care.
 
You might scroll through Instagram seeing messages advocating self-acceptance, love at any size, shape, colour, ability… and in the next moment, you encounter someone living their best life, in impossible luxury, with absurdly ripped abs and looking far too happy with their fiancee. 
 
It’a a bit of a mindfuck if you ask me.
 
Are we destined to pendulum between the two? Or do we have to pick a side?
 
I’m going to be thinking out loud as I tackle those questions today, and hopefully by the end of this podcast, we will have worked out a way to find a balance between self-acceptance, and self-improvement.
 
The case for self-improvement
 
A realisation I had long before I picked up - and chuckled at - my first book on self-improvement is that if you are complaining about something you have to options: either stop complaining and accept the situation, OR CHANGE IT. 
 
For whatever reason, the latter appealed to me much more, in most cases. Feeling a sense of autonomy over a situation, and having something to create or enhance - not to mention the satisfaction that went along with knowing I’ve made a positive change in my life or others - well, that’s a really addictive pursuit.
 
If I’m feeling down in the dumps, or snappy or if I start getting sick, I take a look around. What have I been doing recently? Or not doing? What actions, or lack of, have led me to this less-than place?
 
If I was only to accept the way things are, things could not improve - that stopped happening after I stopped being entirely dependent on my parents to wipe my bum or feed me or whatever else.
 
We have a responsibility: our lives. We don’t have the right to complain if we haven’t even attempted to improve our situation. So with the example of me being in a crummy mood, I might notice I haven’t meditated in a week. Or I haven’t left the house all day or spoken to a loved one recently. I might try to change one of those variables, and see how I go.
 
That’s all self-improvement is. Paying attention to your state of being, to your actions, and adjusting accordingly. It doesn’t need to be a palaver.
 
But I’ll admit, it’s not always easy. And it has it’s problems…
 
The problem with self-improvement
 
What if you were to tell a child, over and over again, that no matter what they did - they were utter failures? That they were incapable, stupid, clumsy and overweight? Pointing out only their weaknesses, and never telling them how naturally wonderful they are?
 
I cringe to think about it, but I’m sure you can imagine this kiddo is going to give up on themselves pretty fast. Without positive encouragement, knowledge of their strengths and - ideally - unconditional love regardless of what they do - they have no incentive to grow, let alone get out of bed in the morning.
 
The problem with self-improvement without self-acceptance is that it’s quite easy to spiral into despair. If you’re treating yourself like that poor child, berating yourself for every misstep or misplaced hair - you end up with no motivation to improve. If you can’t please you, why bother?
 
The self-improvement world is wonderful when we’re on the up… when we’re checking all the boxes, waking up before our alarm, hitting the gym… but when we fuck up? When life happens? When we listen to our intuition that tells us: mate, you need some rest… how do we treat ourselves then?
 
Another problem with constantly striving for new heights, is that we often fail to recognise how far we’ve come. We never let ourselves stop and soak up the thing we’ve been striving for… we just keep on chasing. And whilst I do believe on some esoteric level we’re here to experience the new and to evolve… it seems a bit of a wasted life if we never get to look around at the view from each and every peak.
 
I remember when I was in Japan, climbing up some god-awful mountain on Miyajima island, just off the coast of Hiroshima, I was told that there would be this amazing view of the ‘floating Tori gate’ - an illusion that gets created when the tide is in and you look down from the mountain to see this epic red gate.
 
So I ploughed ahead, never looking back, just focussed on my destination which I believed was the top of this mountain, to see this epic view.
 
And when I got to the top, I was met with utter disappointment. The views were nice, yes - but I’d MISSED the view I wanted, which was further down the mountain. A view I might have seen IF I’d taken the time to stop and look around.
 
D’oh!
 
This also works for a handy analogy to this self-improvement stuff: remember to look around on your way.
 
 
The case for self-acceptance
 
Let’s start by defining self-acceptance, which I’ve come to see as fully embracing who you are in the present moment.
 
Acceptance is not only for the perfect parts of us - if indeed we can spot those - because perfection is irrelevant. Who are we to judge what’s perfect anyway? We’re lousy judges. What is perfect one day, can be pitted with flaws the next.
 
What I love most about self-acceptance, is that it’s honest. It takes stock of who we are, what we are and where we are. It isn’t looking to the right or the left, above or below - it isn’t playing the comparison game with our neighbour, colleague or friend.
 
In self-acceptance, we can find an honesty. It asks us to look inwards, and get really honest before making any judgement calls. We don’t have to fight against our flaws, or pretend we’re something we are not: we can literally accept ourselves as we are. We can be ok with ourselves, no matter what. 
 
And that is a powerful place to be in. 
 
The problem with self-acceptance
 
The biggest problem I see with self-acceptance is that some people confuse it with waking up one day and just loving every little thing about ourselves, every crack and every flaw. You might have been sold this possibility, and maybe shelled out money for products that make you think it’s possible.
 
Unfortunately, as nice as that would be - it’s really fucking unlikely. Drugs help, and I’m sure some enlightened beings do feel that kind of ecstatic self-love 24-7… but to maintain that level of self-love is quite unrealistic for the vast majority of us. 
 
On the flipside, self-acceptance can lead us to stagnation. If we pull the blanket over ourselves and disregard the world falling down around us, sooner or later, the house is going to cave in on us. Not good.
 
Danger lurks when we get complacent. If you’ve ever ignored a rotting piece of food at the back of your fridge, you’ll know what lurks one day when you come to face it. Self-acceptance does not mean pretending everything is fine and dandy, when it ain’t.
 
 
 
So…We’ve looked at both sides of the coin now… My conclusion? we need both, in the right doses. Taken to an extreme, neither self-acceptance nor self-Improvement are going to help us live the best, most satisfying lives we can.
 
In that case, what can we take from either side to create one, well-rounded practise? Maybe we could call it… Self-Acceptprov?
 
It seems that we need self-acceptance to take stock of our situation, and determine what we want to accept and what we want to change. From there, we can get our self-improvement caps on and get to work. Regardless of the outcome, we always have self-acceptance to rely on. It’s a warm base to come back to. Knowledge that we’re always going. to be works in progress, and that’s ok. Because the progress IS the fun bit. As long as we stop to take a look around, see how far we’ve come - we get to enjoy all of that. Warts and all.
 
How to balance Self-Acceptance and Self-Improvement
 
Lets end with a few tips to round this up:
 
  1. Get clear on where you’re at. Acknowledge what’s working, what you wouldn’t change for the world. 
  2. Now think of what parts of your world do you want to improve? What in your life could be better? 
  3. Next, get clear on what you’re willing to sacrifice for that change. It’s useful to think of this in terms of time, because that will likely be a factor in most improvements we want to make. Some sacrifices aren’t worth our desired outcome. Sure, I know that when I eat cheese, I get rewarded with a nice big pimple on my chin, approximately 24 hours later. Do I sacrifice cheese? Most days, yes. But occasionally, no. The parmesan is worth the pimple.
  4. Whatever you decide to change, make sure you take it in incremental steps. Too big a change, and you might run out of steam. And eat ALL THE CHEESE. But incremental changes, coupled with patience from accepting where you are at each step, really add up over time.
  5. Finally, remember to set reminders to yourself to stop, take a look around and acknowledge how far you’ve come. Accepting where you’re at, maybe even loving where you’re at. Maybe. 
 
We all have growth spurts and fallow periods in our self-improvement journey. What doesn’t have to change is our acceptance of the here and now, and our knowing that we can create meaningful change.
 
I’ll end with a quote from the Dalai Lama: 
 
“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.”
Nov 2, 2018

This week I'm sharing my trip to Cambridge with my dad, to meet 'the' dad: Jordan Peterson. 

Controversy aside, this was a brilliant experience - and I share some advice I got from my own dad at the end.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awTgtA3BuRY

Fun rating: 8.5/10

Oct 29, 2018

Today I had the chance to talk to the lovely Jennifer Corcoran, of My Super Connector. Jennifer really is a super connector, and despite being a fellow introvert, has built an incredible network for herself – and helps others do the same.

 

We discuss:

  • How to connect authentically at a networking event
  • How to ease nerves before networking
  • Using online tools to have an edge at networking
  • How to make social media less… hellish

 

Links mentioned:

 

Connect with Jennifer:

Oct 25, 2018

This is a bit of a cop out Year of Fun adventure, because I have technically recorded an experience with meditation earlier in the year.

But, forgive me! This one was different enough to warrant another podcast, at least... I think so.

So this was a lunchtime meditation session, just one hour, and a measly £5 to enter. It was held in the gorgeous grounds of the Bodhisattva Kadampa Meditation Centre, here in Brighton.

This is somewhere I've been meaning to go for ages now, having visited the other two main meditation or Buddhist centres in Brighton. This is the one with the most impressive grounds; it sits tucked away in a beautiful green area, and the inside isn't too shabby either.

In fact, this is the one centre which goes to town with the kind of ornate statues and devotional touches that I've appreciated in East Asian temples.

I don't know much about Kadampa Buddhism, but after some googling I've found that it was founded by Kelsang Gyatso in England in 1991, and may or may not be a CULT.

That dodgyness aside, it has the aim to make the Buddhist principles more readily accessible to twenty-first century living.

Which was definitely emphasised in the session I went to.

To set the scene, I was welcomed at the door, pointed to the place I could cough up my fiver, and then guided into a large spacious room, with about 5 rows of comfy chairs - and very few meditation cushions on the floor. No one chose the cushions, which is the complete opposite of the central Buddhist centre in Brighton.

I was relieved, to say the least.

Our guide through our practise was the very lovely, Caroline Dove, who certainly made me feel comfortable and that the point of today's session was to bring a practical, real-world approach to meditation.

We started with a very short, 5 minute meditation, which was pleasant enough. I felt very physically relaxed, even if my mind wasn't. I actually started to fret quite intensely that my bag containing my laptop, phone and wallet next door would be nicked by some passing opportunist. Gotta love the mind.

Then Caroline talked a bit, then we listened to a song, I guess it was a prayer... Which was a bit weird. It felt like verses that were originally written in Pali were translated then sung in a kind of awkward English. Not sure about that.

But Caroline then went into a talk about wisdom and Karma - but in a way that wasn't inaccessible or overly spiritual. It was quite matter of fact: whether or not you believe in past lives, we can probably all agree that our actions, our words and even our thoughts have some degree of impact on our wellbeing and the lives of those around us.

So I liked that. Then we had another 10 minutes meditation, in which we were encouraged to see our mind as a clear blue sky... it felt a bit like the kind of guided meditation you get on Headspace. It was nice.

To wrap up, we had a PARTNER session. Yeah: my worst nightmare. Turning to the person to your right or left and SPEAKING to them. UGH. I thought I'd escaped that possibility coming to a meditation session. You don't expect to have to speak in these things.

But Caroline was good at encouraging us, reminding us that meditation ought to be integrated, and talking about your experience is one way to do that. I have to - reluctantly - agree.

I must say I lucked out, because the person to my right was delightful and I had a really nice little chat. So I certainly left feeling like it was a worthy use of an hour, and I might even go again next week.

Fun rating: 7/10

Let's face it, meditation is never going to be a rollercoaster or a trip to a puppy dog, fireworks and candy store, BUT it is a bloody pleasant thing to do in the middle of the working week, and it's nice to be in the company of other likeminds... sometimes.

Oct 22, 2018

What is a multipassionate?

Let’s start with getting clear on what a multipassionate actually is.

Other words to describe this phenomenon: Multipotentialite, Polymath, Renaissance Man (or Woman or whatever you identify as), Scanner, or the more derogatory Jack of All Trades, Master of None.

Emilie Wapnik is my hero in this field, so I’m going to use her most excellent definition which applies to all of these terms:

"A multipotentialite is a person who has many different interests and creative pursuits in life.

Multipotentialites have no “one true calling” the way specialists do. Being a multipotentialite is our destiny. We have many paths and we pursue all of them, either sequentially or simultaneously (or both).”

My story

I am a hardcore multipotentialite - or multipassionate - whatever you want to call it - I’ve always been into a LOT of things. As a kid, after I decided I wanted to be a Coca Cola Van Driver, a Ballerina, and an Archeologist (I loved dinosaurs and was heavily influenced by Jurassic Park) I finally settled on Artist. But even then, when I had my #1 passion, I was always dabbling in other interests.

Instead of having a collection of stamps or rocks, I had a collection of COLLECTIONS. Yep. This included plastic baggies - the kind you find buttons or drugs in - keyrings, stickers, erasers, used credit cards…

May be I was just into hoarding junk. But being INTO multiple things has followed me to this day. If you don’t know, I don’t just do the Creative Introvert. I’ve been designing websites since I graduated uni nearly a decade ago, I help clients with marketing strategy, I have another podcast (the Seeker and the Skeptic, in case you’re interested), I have an Etsy shop for my mandala art, I am learning to become a yoga teacher for crying out loud. Yeah. I have a few interests.

I always caveat this with the fact I have no children, hence the time thing.

But in any case, no matter what my number 1 focus is, I always have a few other things on the go - just to keep myself entertained.

 

How to know if you’re one

It’s becoming more and more common. Us millennials are increasingly switching jobs - the median tenure for workers age 25 to 34 is 3.2 years. Laptop lifestyles are also becoming more common than they were 10 years ago - with more and more ways to make a living online than ever before.

If you consider yourself creative, it’s quite likely you also fit the bill of multipassionate too.

Are you a multipassionate?

* You’re always coming up with new ideas, whether it’s in the shower, taking a walk, drifting off to sleep
* You keep a notebook at hand at all times to capture the latest greatest idea
* You feel pretty low and mopey when you aren’t buzzing with new ideas - something must be off
* You feel like there’ll never be enough time to get round to all your ideas - which can be annoying
* You sometimes struggle to finish the ideas you start
* Or you struggle to get ideas off the ground because - whoosh! There comes another idea right around the corner

Quiz: http://www.renaissancesouls.com/renaissancesoul/quiz.htm

As you can see, there are some highs and some lows when it comes to being a multipassionate.

 

#Multipassionate problems

One of the lows you might have experienced is, Multipassionate Guilt. It’s the guilt that comes when we’re reminded by some book or podcast that tells us that ALL successful people must focus on ONE thing and ONE THING ONLY! That we must put 10,000 hours into our ONE THING in order to be acceptable humans.

Can’t we put one hour into 10,000 things and still live a good life??

Then there’s Multipassionate Shame. Juggling multiple careers or hobbies or ideas can lead you to feel like you still don’t have things figured out. It makes the classic networking question “So, what do you do?” a nightmare. If you’re a teacher but also a freelance copywriter who dabbles in social media consulting on nights and weekends, what do you do, really? How do you wrap up your complex personal brand into a 30-second elevator pitch?

Oh and Multipassionate insomnia. This comes from having 20 different projects on the go or floating around in your head can feel plain overwhelming. Try sleeping at night when you’re juggling that.

We can’t forget Multipassionate Despair. This is the frustration that comes with feeling the urge to burn everything you’ve built down to the ground, just to have a clean slate and start again… is quite stressful.

But the worst, in my experience, is… Multipassionate Boredom.

It’s feeling like whatever awesome - or previously awesome - stuff you had going on is now about as interesting as a pair of old socks.

It’s like gum that you’ve chewed all the flavour out of. We’re left waiting for that next idea to come to us, something - anything - to help us feel that spark of enthusiasm again.


Why it’s actually an advantage

Before we get too down on our multipassionate luck, I want to shine a light on the - many - advantages of being interested in so many things.

1. It makes for a pretty impressive resume. Having a mixture of subject matter on your resume gives you much more to talk about than your competitors applying for the same role. In an increasingly competitive job market, bringing diverse skills to the table is only a good thing.
2. You have a plan B… and C…
3. You’re more interesting. You know those people at a dinner party or networking event that have the most fascinating stories or seem to know a lot about a huge range of topics? Following your weird and wonderful interests only makes you a more interesting person to talk to. Plus, it means you can move beyond that bloody small talk much faster.

 

Oct 18, 2018

This week is a part 2 Year of Fun adventure, a follow up from the time I made a bowl at the Art & Pottery shop.

If that isn't exciting enough (!) I also make a little announcement... Tune in to find out!

Oct 15, 2018

Today I had the chance to talk to the lovely Alex Pearson, founder of one of the World’s Greatest Bookshops (as voted by Lonely Planet guides) and the Yurt Academy, here in Brighton.

 

We discuss:

  • How to define creativity
  • What makes us creative
  • Does having a lot of passions help creativity?
  • The myth of the left brain vs. right brain
  • How to get ‘unstuck’ creatively
  • How Alex started a bookshop in China
  • How to overcome fear in new creative projects

 

Links mentioned:

 

Connect with Alex:

 

You can leave a rating and review on iTunes (here’s how to do that) and I will be as happy as a kitten playing with a laser beam (or sob into my pillow, depending on what you write.)

 

Oct 11, 2018

Oh boy am I hesitant about sharing THIS one: the one in which I visit a medium.

As in, someone who channels spirits.

Especially after last week's yoga one, or any of my other more New Age adventures... because this really takes the biscuit.

And at the same time, I'm certainly not judging anyone who wholeheartedly buys into this stuff, because quite honestly: I don't KNOW. I don't know whether it's possible to channel spirits of the dead, or whether there even is such a thing as spirit or soul.

But boy do I love to explore the question.

I'll preface this with a bit of an explanation: myself and a good friend (hi Rebecca!) have started a new podcast adventure, called the Seeker and the Skeptic.

If you hadn't guessed already, I'm the seeker! Yep, I'm the one standing up for a lot (though not all) of the weird things we investigate, from mediums to astrology to pyramid healing. You should be able to find it in your podcast player, just search the Seeker and the Skeptic.

Anyway, this trip to our local Spiritualist church was part of that investigation, and the plan was to go for something called a 'Demonstration of Mediumship.'

Sounded pretty harmless. I'd seen mediums on TV before, and as a kid, found it captivating... but I rapidly became suspicious. Because, logically, if I was a ghost, why on earth would I be hanging around these people? If I wanted to communicate with someone I loved, I'd surely send the message in the form of something likeable, like a cat or a donkey, not in some creep charging lots of money for the message.

Anywho, we went along, and did not pay a lot of money - it was £3 entry which seemed fair. The church itself looks very unchurchy from the outside, and any listeners from Brighton would likely recognise it's wavey concrete facade.

Inside however, it looked much like a regular church, or at least the entrance before you step into the main room... I'm sure there's a proper word for that but I don't know it. Bad Catholic.

OK so we sat down in a small room, a bit like a chapel, with 30 or so others. I assume they all came believing in spiritualism, or at least mediumship. So we were on our best behaviour: at least I think we were.

The medium was introduced, a woman with a very friendly face, a roundness I associate with a kindly aunt. She began by saying how nervous she was, which made me warm to her further - I know how nerve-wracking it is to speak to a crowd of expectant faces, but can't imagine how intense it is when those faces are expecting you to channel their dead relatives. Yikes.

Anyway, she got to it. She usually started with something like a letter, 'I'm getting an M' or something more obscure, like 'shoes' - though she's often say where the idea came from, like she said she couldn't stop looking at someone's shoes.

The first was a dud - the young girl she spoke to seemed to know nothing about the grandmother that was being channeled. But the next one blew me away in the accuracy of detail.

Whatever was going on, whether the audience were being nice and polite by agreeing with the medium's suggestions, OR there really were some spirits communicating - I did love that the medium always ended with a nice, sweet message.

'Just keep doing what you're doing' or 'Be brave, you are loved' that kind of thing. It can't hurt to hear nice, comforting words like this, regardless of what the source is, right?

Anyway, I had a lovely time - though I'm not sure my skeptic friend was convinced.

Fun Rating: 7.5/10

Do I recommend going to visit a medium? Um... not if it means investing your life savings, but I do think it's worth seeing these people in the flesh and judging for yourself before you make an assumptions either way. This is why I love skepticism: it never assumes, only questions. A healthy attitude to have in these days.

itunes

 

Oct 8, 2018

I have a bit of a personal one today, that comes from a lesson I’ve struggled a lot with learning.

See, some of the stuff I share with you are lessons I’ve learned fairly easily, I see a better way of thinking or doing or being and I change my ways, without too much fuss.

Others…

Well, others I’m still learning. And each time I think I’ve got it - I get thrown back on my ass again, like someone telling me to get back in the ring, we’re not done!

Anyway, this lesson is more on that side. A bit of a slippery one, I tend to forget… until I realise I’m feeling all the feels. Exhausted. Frustrated. Resentful. Even mistreated.

But in any case, the only one who is ever mistreating me… is, ME!

OK so the lesson is: It’s OK to NOT do it.

It’s a bit of a weird one, because most of the advice or lessons or ponderings I share with you are actions to take or ways of doing things - but this one, this one is about NOT doing.

It’s about… identifying what you really don’t have to do. Moreover, it’s about dropping the GUILT that comes from not doing the thing.

Let’s get into some real examples.

Going out with friends.

A job from a client.

A collaboration with a fellow creative.

A new morning routine.

In any case, if you were to consult your rational, thinking mind, you’d probably rest on the side of doing the thing, going ahead with it despite your resistance because there are perfectly good reasons to. It will benefit you in the long run. Or it will make someone else happy. Or it will make you money.

All good things!

Unless, you’re soul is telling you otherwise.

OK, I won’t go too far down the esoteric rabbit hole here, but I will admit I believe in some part of us - and it may only be the unconscious mind, parts of our mind that we don’t have conscious awareness of, emotional centres and so on - but whatever you believe, I think most of us have a sense of something that feels, but doesn’t necessarily think. It’s THAT part of me I want to pay attention to more.

Why? Can’t I just overwrite my feelings with my more modern, progressive, thinking mind (the neocortex?) Well, no. Sorry. No matter how advanced you think you are, you’re still subject to the older part of your brain: and ignoring the signals it’s giving you is unlikely to end well.

It usually ends up in the therapists office.

But the good news is, is that this part of us - the soul or the unconscious - is giving us clues about what we should and shouldn’t do. It gives us clues about how we really feel about that group of friends, or what time we should wake up in the morning.

I’m using the word ’should’ here, even though I’m not a fan. The only time I like to use it is in this context: because in my experience, the only thing we should do is pay attention to what ’s best for us - and I know that might sound selfish, but the result of NOT doing what’s best for you is that you are going to be less helpful to those around you, in the long run.

OK so back to these clues we’re getting.

What kind of clues show up when you’re trying to force yourself to do something you don’t, deep down, want to do?

In mild cases, you might just feel a bit annoyed or less joyful than usual when you think about doing it. You might - unconsciously - procrastinate instead of doing it.

You might lose sleep over it. You might feel resentful to people involved. I turn into a moody little bitch.

In extreme, cases that extend over time, you might become chronically ill. Yeah. I’ve read some evidence to suggest that this is the kind of thing that leads to chronic illnesses, and while I’m definitely no expert, I do respect those who are doing research into this and the connections our mental wellbeing and physical wellbeing have.

OK so, before I start scaring you shitless - let’s go through the protocol I’ve been using to help you STOP doing the things you don’t really want to do.

1. Identify what’s not working

So the first step in saying no to something is of course, to work out what that thing is. It’s also the part where you have to determine whether it’s truly something that you don’t want to do and isn’t in alignment with your most ‘true’ self - OR is it just plain old fear rearing it’s head.

I won’t pretend this is easy, and no one but you can know what’s best - so I’d steer clear of advice from others on this one, UNLESS you take all the advice you get with a very hefty grain of salt. All the advice you get is telling you about the advice GIVER - not about you, so you can see it’s usually irrelevant. However, if you want to gather advice from others - particularly those who have been in a similar position before or whose opinions have proved useful in the past - feel free to do so.

One thing that can be helpful is to ask someone for advice, then check your response to what they say. The resistance or relief you feel will be a dead giveaway.

And that’s how this step works: that’s how you identify what’s not working. You feel inside for what brings up resistance OR what brings up relief.

A question I like to ask myself is: how would I feel AFTER I do (or don’t do) this thing. If it’s relief, then I follow through. If it’s ickiness, then I do something else. Asking yourself how you’ll feel AFTER is often very different to how you’ll feel DURING the thing. If you’re only paying attention to how you feel DURING something, you’ll likely be steered by your fear, not by your true self.

For example, public speaking. 9/10 times during the speaking gig I feel like CRAP. Anxious, insecure, judged, sweaty - all of it. But after? I feel amazing. So 9/10 times, I know it’s right for me to speak, despite the fear I have before and during.

OK so take some time to identify the stuff that makes you feel ICKY.

2. Have the difficult conversations

Now you know what you don’t want to do, it might be you have to have some difficult conversations. It might be telling a client you can’t take on their crappy project.

It might be telling a friend you can’t go to their house party. It might be more serious than these things, but hopefully you get the drift.

In any case, I want to encourage you not to bottle out at this step! This is the one that might require face-to-face communication, and some seriously uncomfortable moments. But keep in mind: this too shall pass.

No matter how badly someone takes your news, please be aware that the good folk will stick around if they’re worth your time and energy. The people who aren’t good for you will fall away. But this only works IF you’re true to yourself. Speak your truth, take the fallout, and wait to see what (and who) sticks by you, regardless of your truth.

3. Set your boundaries

I’ve got a whole mini-course on boundaries in the Creative Introvert Academy, but to summarise: boundaries are basically mental agreements you have with yourself, and sometimes others, about the world around you. So, a boundary for me might be: I don’t work in-house for design agencies for less than a certain amount of cash or over a maximum amount of days.

You might have personal ones, like you don’t speak to your mum on the phone more than once a week because it takes over your life or makes you feel like shit otherwise. In some cases you’ll tell others, in some cases you won’t: be your own judge of that. The important thing is that you are aware of your own boundaries, and keep the deal with yourself going forward.

4. Find your rhythm

I learnt this one recently from Rob Bell, who has an awesome podcast.

He was talking about having a rhythm that for him is something like every 6 months of work, he needs a solid break, I can’t remember how long for but it’s substantial, a month or more.

And that just applies to work; a rhythm could also apply to socialising or exercise or other parts of your life.

For you, may be your party rhythm is once a week, or once a month - or if you’re me, once every blue moon.

This does take some tweaking, but once you start to spot your rhythm, knowing it is invaluable. I know I need social contact every 3 days because if I don’t, I turn into a genuine hermit: I find it difficult to form proper sentences, and my personal hygiene starts to suffer. Not good! but I also know that if I have social events back to back for more than 3 days, I become exhautsed and grouchy.

But when I figured that out, I made changes. I make sure to have some kind of social event planned even if it’s a yoga class or a coffee chat every 3 days or so.

5. Check in

Part of this process is making regular check ins with yourself, to figure out if you’re staying true to your needs, managing your energy and to remind yourself of what you’re learning. If you had a really exhausting week, reflect on that. What got in your way? What did you feel pressure to do? What can you change next week?

Your checkins don’t have to be daily, though I do journal every morning without fail, they could be weekly. And they don’t have to be in writing, you might prefer to talk to your cat or your partner or a friend about how you’re doing.

Or you could do this as a meditation: getting into your body and figuring out from there how you’re doing and what you might need more or less of.

6. Forgive yourself

This is a process - and often, a messy one. There might be some sleepless nights, difficult conversations, hurt feelings, misunderstandings, broken promises, and so on.

BUT. I promise you: this is worth it. Because - and yes I’m going to say it - YOU’RE worth it. You’re worth respecting! That means, YOU have to respect your needs.

That means: you might have to say NO, despite what others want you to do.

So. Just know it will pay off. You’ll feel so, so much better when you’re living from a place that feels true, authentic and leaves you feeling energised and empowered.

Ahhh trust me - it really does feel good.

OR you could ignore everything I’ve just said, because… I’t OK NOT TO DO IT, including what I’m saying!

 

 

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Oct 5, 2018

Oh yes, I will not deny this one is a bit left field. I mean, how often have I mentioned yoga on this blog or podcast, ever?

When I told some friends that I was going to be taking a YTT 200 - or a yoga teacher training course that leaves me minimally qualified to teach yoga - well, it's fair to say they were quite surprised.

They were polite about it, but I was met with comments like 'wouldn't that be like me, someone who can't speak Japanese, deciding to spend a few weekends learning and then start teaching?'

Which, is understandable. I'm not the kind of yogi you see on Instagram standing on their head, with the sun setting in the background...

But I have actually been practising for about 6 years.

Yeah. It's been a fair old while, and even though I hadn't considered the possibility of being able to teach until earlier this year, yoga has been a big part of my life.

In fact, it was the thing that I attribute to sparking my self development journey, and the thing that pulled me through the darkest times back when I worked in London at an office.

Anyway, I'll save the full story of why I decided to take the training for another day, but let's just say I was inspired by my trip to Peru to spend more time helping people face to face, then from behind my laptop screen.

I also believe strongly in cultivating group environments that are 100% introvert friendly - because I know how valuable this has been in my own life, and how I feel in a group that is NOT introvert friendly.

One of my Leaguers (in the League of Creative Introverts) Kesse Hodge is flying the flag on making yoga super inclusive and accessible, so if you are interested in more of that, do check out change.yoga.


 

Ok so let's get to the training! A quick overview, this course is going to take up 3 full days each month till January, which isn't a big time investment, but for those weekends: it's pretty intense for this introvert!

I haven't spent a full 9-5 with a group of strangers in a closed setting since... working in that office in London, which I left back in 2013.

So yeah, I was nervous about how I'd fare, energy-wise.

I was also nervous about my yoga ability. Yeah, I've been practising for a while, but mostly... from Youtube. Not exactly the most disciplined practise, though I do owe so much to Yoga with Adriene.

Anyway, I got my big girl yoga pants on, and went with an open mind.

And I was pleasantly surprised.

First of all, everyone on the course is bloody lovely. Of course they are - they do yoga!

And the teachers, of which there are 3, are all amazing in their own way. One of them is like a big sister, one of them is like a mum, and one is like the cool aunty who was likely a hippy back in the day.

So yeah, good people, a good start.

Then there's the learning.

I roughly break this down to anatomy - of which there is a LOT - so I have a newfound respect for yoga teachers, at least ones trained in anatomy. Then there's philosophy, which I was honestly VERY skeptical about. I mean, as soon as I hear the word 'chakra' in a yoga class, I cringe.

But I will say our teacher made the subject super interesting, regardless of what you choose to believe. Then there's the practical stuff: how to teach each pose, and actually doing yoga, of course.

Which it's fair to say I'm struggling with, but the more I do it, the more I love it and - I'm already seeing improvements now I understand the underlying mechanics of each pose.

Ugh! You guys: this is SO fascinating for me.

I've also been pleasantly surprised with how much of a loud mouth in class I am. I think part of this is coming from my own sympathies with the teacher. I know how it feels to ask a question in a workshop and get NO response, so I'm quick to raise my hand if no one else is to ease that pain.

I also think this has a lot to do with how comfortable I feel with the other people in the group, nothing like school where I did NOT feel comfortable. And then there's my overall passion for the subject: again, nothing like most classes in school.

Of course, I'm still thinking about my energy. I was wiped out after the first day, and could do very little when I got home. But I'm not feeling cranky-drained, so that's good. I'm making sure to get off on my own during the lunch break, which seems to restore my energy somewhat.

And I discovered a homemade Bounty bar that the cafe nearby makes, which is definitely helping with my energy ;)

There's only been one faux-pas so far: that was our first trial of teaching a class. Actually, we only had to teach a sun salutation A, which is like 2-3 minutes long. but I of course had to have notes, and insisted on reading them, quite blatantly. Teacher told me off, kindly, but enough to make me feel a bit shit.

I know I need to get over my fear of 'winging it'; I know I can teach without notes, I know I could do this podcast without notes but... still, my notes are a crutch and one I have promised myself I WILL work on.

We're all work in progress, and if I'm honest, I don't mind that. I like having something to work on, something to improve at, something to learn.

I guess that's why I'm having so much fun on this course.

So my fun rating is:

Fun Rating: 9/10

I'm hardly going to recommend all of you to go out and take a YTT course, but if you are into yoga already, may be consider going to a workshop or a longer class, local to you. It's amazing how learning more about the practise can really boost your enthusiasm for it.

I'll be sharing more of my yoga journey at YogisWhoShave.com and on Instagram at @yogiswhoshave

 

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Oct 1, 2018

In this week’s episode of the Creative Introvert podcast I talk to Cat Byrne of Gatto Web, someone who I have a lot in common with - and not just the name.

What we talked about:

  • How Cat got started in web design
  • Being forced into either the 'creative' route or the 'science' route
  • How being different forced Cat to carve her creative path
  • What happens when freelancing and burnout occurs
  • How Cat used referrals rather than social media to grow her client base

Links mentioned:

 

Cat Byrne

Connect with Cat:

Instagram

Twitter

Website

 

You can leave a rating and review on iTunes (here's how to do that) and I will be as happy as a kitten playing with a laser beam (or sob into my pillow, depending on what you write.)

 

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Sep 27, 2018

Last week I had the pleasure of attending a 3 hour workshop on Botanical Illustration with the Yurt Academy.

Honestly I was a bit nervous before I went, partly because I've never attempted a formal illustration class, though I've done a fair amount of life drawing. Also, botanical illustration is no joke! If you can picture a traditional botanical illustration, you know it's super detailed, highly realistic in most cases, and very delicate almost painstaking work.

Whilst I've always been a fan of detailed work, I'm not exactly the most patient when it comes to art - so never really got far with more detailed, delicate stuff.

So with my insecurities aside, I went along anyway.

Another thing that added to my nerves was our teacher, or Yurt Keeper - Cherry Denman, who is a proper real-life, full-time illustrator - who's published books and worked on a book for one of my favourite TV shows, Q.I.

The idea of embarrassing myself in front of her wasn't too appealing, but fortunately for me she was a lovely woman with a great sense of humour, super encouraging to all of us, and a damn good teacher in my opinion.

botanical illustration

We started the class with some simple (in theory) drawing exercises. The idea here was to show us the importance of looking. Trying to draw a bicycle from memory will do that for you.

Then we practised our pencil control - drawing cones, spheres, tubes, practising pencil pressure and shading - the lot.

It reminded me that no matter how long we've been drawing for, there's nothing like going back to the basics and getting warmed up again for taking your work to the next level.

OK so then we got onto our 'work of art'...

I selected a nice leaf, the name of which I've of course forgotten... it looked a bit like a fig leaf (to me) - anyway, if you can identify it - please let me know!

botanical illustration

We started by drawing, which was my favourite part. Actually painting it was another matter, but I was pleasantly surprised by the end result.

Cherry came around to each of us regularly to give us pointers and encouragement. The whole group seemed to be enjoying it, but I might have been projecting my own enjoyment onto the room - I had that much to go around.

I mean, when do we ever get a chance to sit down and really draw, or paint? Unless it's your job, but even then - you're making art on behalf of someone else. There's a point to it.

This felt much more like art for art's sake. Like what ladies of leisure would do in Victorian times. It was also nice to do it with others - to laugh about our mistakes and egg each other on.

If you can't tell, I had a very nice time. I definitely wasn't in my comfort zone to begin with, but by the end I had decided that I was going to take on Botanical Illustration as my next hobby... not that I need another one, but hey - it's good to have back up plans.

botanical illustration

Fun rating: 9/10

The perfect balance of challenge, pleasure and reward. I would highly recommend going to a similar art class if you have any local options, or even checking out some of the workshops offered by the Yurt Academy if you're in the UK.

Oh and if any of you are botanical illustrators, get in touch and send me a link to your work! I'd love to learn more about this beautiful art form.

 

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