Battle Your Demons in 3 Simple Steps & Take Back Your Power

 

demon 2

An artist told me that one of the best things his chiropractor ever did for him was to tell him to ask one question whenever he felt stressed.

“Ask for something.”

What you ask for can be something you probably don’t think you have the right to ask for.  In his case, it was time.  He was at the beginning of his career and said yes to almost every project that came his way, even if it wasn’t the right thing for him.

His fear of missing out on an opportunity or not knowing how he was going to pay his bills was a relentless anxiety that drove him to the point of becoming so stressed with pains in his body  that he went to see this chiropractor on a steady basis.

Many people are paralyzed by options.  Rather than be completely present in the choices they have made, their eye is constantly on the horizon wondering if they made the wrong choice or worse, they say yes to everything because they don’t know how to say no.

This will inevitably result in overwhelm and a good measure of self doubt that can often trigger physical pain and discomfort.  

When we’re anxious and stressed, it’s easy to look at all of the tasks that lie ahead of us and become overwhelmed. At times, we’re stopped in our tracks and completely shut down. We have reached our breaking point. At this point, anxiety is very high, and our ability to cope seems very low. The good news is that we have the power to prevent ourselves from breaking.  Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC

Big stress

demon-1

When overload hits, it feels like the walls are caving in on you.  Despair and helplessness usually follow and if you are like me, the knot in your stomach can make you crumble.  Left alone to our already overworked imaginations, we picture a scenario that grows bigger and darker with no way out.

At this point, your fear can really do real harm to your mental and physical well being and the one person who is allowing it and who has the power to stop it is – you.

Which is why the question the chiropractor recommended is so important.

Ask
“It’s not the load that breaks you down; it’s the way you carry it.” -Lena Horne

This artist asked for more time.  He was drowning in deadlines.  He could not possibly deliver high quality work at the promised times and he needed more time.

When he did ask, it made a tremendous difference.  In fact, it changed his world.

He realized it is OK to ask for help.  It is not a sign of weakness or amateurism or anything bad he had imagined in his head to ask for what you need.  In his case, people were willing to give him the time to complete the project because they believed in him and they were invested in the success of it as much as he was.

Something else changes in your relationship with your fear when you raise your hand to ask for help.

You are no longer a powerless victim.  You have taken one step to overcoming your gremlin.  You have claimed your agency to changing the power dynamic.

Once you have done that, you can take another step.  And another, until you have taken back your castle and banished the gremlins.

Make a list

demon 2

You will need a lighthouse to guide you out of the storm.  This is something you can do by sitting quietly, taking a few good deep breaths and writing yourself a list of just 3 things you can do to make things better.  Not 5 or 10 things, just 3.  It is more important to give yourself momentum with a few small successes in the beginning.  Cross each thing off your list as you do them and really celebrate each one.  You can add more things once you have completed your first 3 if you need to.

Why this works

The combination of putting out a request for help to the world and building your lighthouse changes the energy of your situation.  

You are attracting people to rally around you, not as a helpless victim, but as someone who is pushing ahead with a goal.  People are good about being helpful and actually want to be part of a bigger goal if you ask.

Having your list of things is a powerful weapon in your hand you can wield against the gremlins beating you up and your path to success.

Do this

I recommend you follow these steps as soon as you start feeling stressed:

  • Acknowledge the gremlin

“Ah, there you are,”  you say to the demon pushing the walls down around you.  “I see you and I know what you are doing.”

Size up the gremlin in practical terms without allowing your fear and imagination to make it bigger than it is. Once you do that, you will know exactly what you are up against and what you need to do to overcome your challenge.

  • Ask for help

 

Remember, people are helpful by nature.  Let everyone around you know what you need and how they can help.

  • Make a list

Write yourself a short list of 3 things you can do right way to solve your problem.  Completing these things will get your momentum going and restore your confidence in your own power to change your world.

Life is full of gremlins.

Untitled

But they are no match for you, your people and your list.

 

You Are Not Alone: 5 Ways To Find Your Tribe and Flourish

It’s lonely in your atelier, isn’t it?

You want to hear the music play, you want to be part of life’s cabaret.

There are thousands of people like you who have a deep desire to do something they are passionate about.

To paint, to make a film, to write the Great American Novel, to be a successful artist.

So, you huddle over their kitchen table to work on your painting, your screenplay, your book.

Maybe you have space in your home or have rented a studio.

But you are alone.

And after hours of working on your art, you wonder, “Is this any good?  Who else is doing what I’m doing?  Does anyone care?” Who can you ask?

Your mom will love everything you do.

Your neighbor might lean over the fence and nod appreciatively but does he really know anything about what you do?

You need to talk to creative people who are passionate and excited about their work.  You need people who care about what you are doing.

You need to get out and hear the music play.

 

What you really need

50FD229ADA1240A99DDAC222F6EC22FB.jpg

– American poet Charles Bukowski.

You need your tribe.

The members of your tribe are your allies on your remarkable journey.  

Your tribe will lift you up, help you grow, recharge you, inspire you to go after your goals and pursue your dreams.  To celebrate with you, and be in your corner when you need them.  

The need to belong is one of the most fundamental human instincts.

Abraham Maslow, a noted psychologist, identified it as one of the five basic needs.  We want to be part of a group and to feel loved and accepted by others.

That is, we want to be a member of a tribe.

But how do you make that happen?

 

20140604_182532.jpg

Michelle Handelman, Elisabeth Subrin, moi, Sue Vaccaro, Mel England

 

I was part of this year’s Women & Fashion FilmFest, an organization whose mission is to give voice and to create opportunities for women and girls and invited to be on a panel with really smart people for Disruptive Filmmaking in NYC: a discussion on opportunities in NYC for independent filmmakers.   

Really really smart people.

The kind of smart that made me feel like I didn’t study for the spelling test.

In the Q & A that followed the discussion, aspiring filmmakers did not ask about things like how to get money to make a film, where to find a crew to work with or should they go to film school.

Here is their big question, “How do I find my place?  How do I find my tribe?”

My co panelists had great suggestions and personal stories about how they found their network of like minded creative spirits early in their careers.

Here are the top 5 ways to find your tribe that impressed me the most from that discussion:

 

1  Be In The Room 

Put down the knitting,
The book and the broom.
Time for a holiday.
Life is Cabaret, old chum,
Come to the Cabaret.

Go to that local film festival and meet the people doing cool and interesting things.

Congratulate the filmmakers and present yourself as a sincere fan of their work.

Sign up on their mailing list and follow them on social media.

Building a fan base is really important to a creative person. Believe me, they will remember you.

Chat up the other people in the room who are part of the event – the director, the actors, the tech crew, the musicians.

Artists work from project to project and who knows?

Yours may be the next one everyone wants to work on.

 

2  Connect With Your Council

This one I liked a lot.

Check out your local arts council.

I happen to run one so I can tell you that this is the quickest way to immerse yourself in local creativity.

Look for events that offer networking or an opportunity to share work with others like slide slams, open dress rehearsals or readings.

If there is an opportunity to volunteer for an event or activity, do it.

There is nothing more appealing than a pro active and generous artist.  More on this in #3.

 

3  Give Something Away 

I am on my way to an important meeting with a business owner.

She calls to say she needs to reschedule because it is her son’s 11th birthday and she is trying to get things ready for his party.  Not another delay, I think to myself.

“No problem,” I say cheerfully.  “His birthday is more important.”

I pick up a gift card in a video game store and drive over to her shop.

She is surprised to see me.  “Didn’t we reschedule our meeting?

I smile and say, “Yes, but I’m here to say happy birthday to the birthday boy.”

His eyes grow wide as I hand him the gift card.

His mother says, “That was really nice of you.  Thank you for doing that.”

I am thinking, “My meeting just got cancelled.  Let me be generous.”

Several weeks later, I have forgotten all about it.  But when I realize I need some extra help with a project, she immediately volunteers to do it.  No questions asked.

The Rule of Reciprocity

What just happened? What happened is the Rule of Reciprocity in play.

The Rule of Reciprocity states that we human beings are internally wired— even driven — to repay debts of all kinds. If someone does something for you, you do something for them.

Sociologist Alvin Gouldner says that there is no human society on earth that does not follow the Rule of Reciprocity.

Reciprocity is a deep and powerful principle that, under the right circumstances, is all but impossible to resist.

So give and give often.  Generously.

For extra impact, do something totally unexpected for someone.   blogger-image--217745408

Offer to create a short sizzle reel for a local dance group.

Or donate your services as a raffle gift for an upcoming fundraiser.

How about offering to create a unique one of kind award to be presented to someone?

When you start a relationship, deliver more than is expected.

And continue to give, before, during, and after every opportunity you can.

When you naturally apply the Rule of Reciprocity, the more you give, the more you will receive.

What can you give?

4  Share what you know

I know what you’re thinking:  What? What could I talk about in front of a roomful of people?

Let’s think about the psychology of this for a minute.

You want to meet creative and remarkable people who are doing things you want to do, right?

Chances are people like that are constantly being approached by people looking for something – advice, a favor, conversation. How do you stand out from the rest?

Volunteer to sit on a panel discussion about what you are interested in.

By being the expert, you have subtly changed the dynamic of the room.

Now people will seek you out as someone they want to connect with because you are the one with knowledge and authority.

Reposition the focus.

Rock this opportunity and not only will the audience want to meet you, the other panelists will be lining up for your card.

Marketing guru Seth Godin says that you create your tribe by helping others to achieve their goals.

How?

By connecting people you know who have common interests, by giving them information and resources that they need, and letting them know that you are there to help.

 

5  Own The Room

Come taste the wine,
Come hear the band.
Come blow your horn,
Start celebrating;
Right this way,
Your table’s waiting

 OK, this is the secret sauce.

What will draw the people you want to meet to you like bees to honey?

Your rock star reputation?  Your amazing sense of style?  Your uber the top good looks?

If you possess this one thing, all of those other things don’t amount to a hill of beans.

Own this and the power of attraction is yours.  Every single time.

images.jpg

Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit. – E.E. Cummings

Confidence.

Walk in the room knowing you have something remarkable to say.

Smile.  Stand tall.

 

Let people see how comfortable you are in your own skin, in your own story, in your success.

There is nothing more attractive than a winner.

It’s a Wrap, people!

Let’s go over this fistful of fabulous advice in finding your tribe:

  1. Be in the room – Get out and meet the people you want to know where they gather
  2. Connect with your Council – Local arts councils exist to help local artists. If you are in Queens, come by and say hello.
  3. Give something away – Be generous in spirit.  The more you give, the more you will receive.
  4. Share what you know – Become an instant authority by helping others achieve their goals.
  5. Own the room – Confidence is the most attractive superpower.

Start by admitting
From cradle to tomb
Isn’t that long a stay.
Life is a Cabaret, old chum,
Only a Cabaret, old chum,
And I love a Cabaret!  

 

 

Best,

Hoong Yee

2015-03-28 22.09.37

20140603_142704