Why You Should Never Give Up

{Random abstract watercolor painting I drew up with watercolor pencils and a paintbrush.}

We often hold back from our true potential out of fear. There is a small, but demanding voice that screeches at us and says, “No one cares about what you do. You’ll never be good enough. ” Like a mosquito, it buzzes in our ears, annoying even the most confident and successful amongst us.

It’s not that some people are just more talented, hard working or lucky. It is true that there are people who fall into those categories. But that’s not what got them where they are.

What gave them the ability to surpass the doubts and hurdles that overcome all of us is the belief they will eventually get there.

Even if their prose is so bad that it causes loved ones to swallow criticism in fear of hurting their feelings.

Even if their hours of work is not only monotonous, but heartbreakingly unproductive.

Even if you are not where you want to be.

Even if all signs seem to point to failure.

If you still are passionate about what you do, do not give up!

I realized after five years of writing professionally that there is a natural ebb and flow that comes with the territory. There will be moments when my ego believes, “This is it! I finally made it.” As if a single project could validate my existence. And there are equally moments when the jobs start to dry up that I begin to question my purpose.

None of that is important. These are mere external circumstances required to change as we do. If anything, they are there as lessons-inevitable opportunities to practice patience, faith and the type of unrelenting persistence required to accomplish big feats like finishing a marathon or that story you have tucked away in a drawer.

It took me a long time to realize that it’s not about proving myself. It took me years to realize that there’s no magic fairy dust that graces the head’s of only certain individuals. The way you make luck for yourself in life is to keep trying.

This means that I will pick myself up after every inevitable fall. It means that just because my rough draft sucks doesn’t mean it won’t sing after a dozen or more revisions.

What it means it that I don’t equate my bad days with the good of my soul.

It takes courage to meet our fears. But it’s the only way we’ll get there. And dear friends, we will get there, as long as we keep on going.

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How to Get Through Life’s Growing Pains

{photo by The Inspiring Bee}

Who we are is always in the process of becoming. Although we might not know it, there is room to grow even in the fullest of blossoms. That’s because sometimes growth means a death, a letting go of who we were in order to become who we were meant to be.

It’s not in easy process, but it’s a worthwhile one.

The difficulty lies in the awareness that we are not yet there. Just like the mountain that impedes our path on a hiking trip or the lack of experience that finds us interrupting our career, our ability to keep going is as necessary as breathing. If we were to stop, to turn back, to give up, that would also be a death, a silent lights out of our dreams.

There are ways we make the process harder. As Iyanla Vanzant said on Oprah’s Life Class:

“Comparison is an act of violence against yourself.”

I’ve done it enough times to know the self-inflicting pain that comes when you compare yourself to others. And it’s never to people who are worse off than you. It’s always to those reaping the benefits of their hard work. We rarely see the struggles people go through to become successful. We see their book deals, high paying dream jobs and easy lifestyle as gifts given to just a handful of people. But they were here too. It just wasn’t exciting enough to land on TV.

So I say to you now and to myself, this is our growing pains. This is not the end of our story. This is a small pebble on a beautiful, but lengthy path. There will come a time when we will celebrate too. But now’s not the time for rejoicing, it’s all about hard work. Moments like these beckon us to believe even when no evidence exists for positive change. It’s a call for faith.

Living in Hawaii hasn’t been easy. Writing jobs are sparse here and writers are aplenty. There have been many times that I’ve thought of giving up. But I remember what it took for me to start from nothing (no writing jobs, no contacts) five years ago and how far I’ve come. When you’re settled and you think you’ve got it covered, life will always hurl you a curve ball. It’s a sign you’re on the right path and on your way to self-growth and change. It can be an opportunity or it can be the beginning of the end of your career.

I’ve taken up watercolor painting recently. First of all, let me start by saying that I pretty much suck at it. But the process of learning it by this lady has re-taught me the importance of trying something even if you’re not good at it. It’s a reminder that we’re all students in this big class called life. Making mistakes, realizing your not good at it, dipping your paintbrush into something unfamiliar, these are all key life lessons. It’s not the end of the world when we fail, when we make a mistake, or when what we do doesn’t make us immediately successful. It’s believing what we’re doing matters and sticking through it even when it feels like it’s not working. True failure is the end anyway. If you’re still working towards your dreams, you haven’t failed yet.

So if you’re comparing yourself to someone more successful, stop right now. Come back to yourself. Be grateful for whatever stage your in. Know that what your doing is worthy and meaningful. And remember that the greatest gift you can offer the world is to genuinely be and give of yourself.

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Creative Friday: Got My Paint Brush On

I’ve been dabbling here and there with painting my own mini calendars. But I’ve been craving something more. So I devoted a whole night to enjoying the pure sensation of painting.

Although it’s no van Gogh or da Vinci, it’s still my own. And plus, I know you guys won’t judge (too harshly) right? Anyway, engaging in something creative feels healing to my soul. Here’s something I whipped up in a water color painting fury.

And for a fun sepia version:

It’s inspired by Sedona sunsets and the colors from my hometown of Oahu.

Have you been whipping up something crafty yourself lately?

I’ve been on a crazy crafting binge since 2012 and have stocked up 3 weeks of creative posts to share with you. But I’d love to know what you’ve been working on. If you’ve got it, flaunt it in the comments below.

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Good Idea Gone Bad

I was hesitant to post my latest painting. But it’s been awhile since I’ve had the time to do anything creative or crafty so I decided to show you what happens when a good painting goes bad.

Basically, I had a great idea to paint something for my office.

The pencil drawing actually came out better than I expected.

But that’s when I took a wrong turn.

Here’s a note for the future: Don’t paint when you’re tired!

My once not bad drawing came out squiggly and weird colored when I tried painting it with shaky tired hands.

I was going to toss it. But for now, it’s a good reminder about the importance of celebrating your inner creative muse despite its imperfections.

I’ve always had a beef with perfection. When I was a kid dreaming of being a copywriter one day, I wrote this as a jingle for a future commercial:

Imperfection can be beautiful.”

It was supposed to be a commercial on contact lenses.

But I digress.

I had such an issue with imperfection that I once tossed an art piece I did in elementary school. Like that crazy piano player on Sesame Street, Don Music, I would get frustrated when something I did wasn’t perfect.

Just goes to show how much things have changed.

It is now hanging up real nice next to a previous canvas that I did. Alls I can say is, next time I know better. But I’m grateful for the lesson in imperfection either way.

Ever have a painting that didn’t go exactly the way you planned? How about a project or an idea that you eventually gave the heave ho? 

 

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Ever Feel Creatively Called?

It kind of feels like a pull. A loud urgent desire to get something done. Sometimes it comes when I’m still and quiet and I hear the word, “Paint!” coming from deep within. Other times I’m biking while staring at the beautiful effortless architecture of a rose.

Usually, it happens when there’s not a tape recorder, camera or canvas in sight. So I pedal fast, memorize the phrase, capture the image, and pray that the lines of poetry, sparks of inspiration or visual of my next painting will stay long enough until I have the means to write it down or sketch it when I get home.

These days my infatuation has been roses. They are in full bloom now. And also there is something so enigmatic about them. In fact, their petals draw me in so much so that I have in the past been late for class because I could not resist sticking my nose in them, feeling the soft petals against my skin and inhaling their sweet scent.

I decided to buy myself some white roses at the farmer’s market this weekend and they have been a constant source of inspiration.

Here’s a close-up:

I also was inspired to paint using my new set of watercolors. This time I did it free-hand based on an image of a flower I noticed while biking.

Orange floral painting

Another shot:

Painting

What have you been creatively called to do lately?

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