Creative Juice: A Dozen Key Lessons for Creative Dreamers

By Suzanne Falter

Lesson One: The Hallmarks of Genius
Lesson Two: How Sex and Creativity Connect
Lesson Three: How (and Why) to Be Patient
Lesson Four: How to Manage Rejection
Lesson Five: A Great Way to Cut Expenses
Lesson Six: Avoid Creative Anorexia

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1  Lesson One: The Hallmarks of Genius

Recently, I had the great fortune to spend the day at the Vermont recording studio of a jazz musician named Chuck Eller. Chuck recorded my new Discover Your Soul Purpose meditation CD, and offered to provide some background piano music as well.

From the beginning, I knew the meditations needed some kind of scoring, but exactly what and how eluded me. There are no entries in the phone book for “Composer – Mystical, Healing, Background Stuff”.

Charles EllerFurthermore, I had no idea how I was going to ‘direct’ such a musician. (“More… creative. No! More … uh … uh … inspiring?”) The whole thing was loose enough to be almost frightening.

Meanwhile, the clock was ticking and the meter was running.

Enter Chuck. From the moment he sat down to play, things rolled magically. I’d say, “OK, Chuck, in this part they have to be in a wildflower field.”

He’d think for a minute, and then just start playing the most quintessential wildflower music you’ve ever heard.

Then I’d say, “Now this part is warmer — like The Waltons.” And suddenly we’d be rocking on the front porch with John-boy and Grandpa. Chuck was able to play these musical inserts totally spontaneously (nothing was composed in advance.)

And he ended at just the right spot almost every single time, without even knowing how long the music should be. He did this a remarkable 23 times!

The best part was listening to Chuck fool around on the piano between each recording we made, as he probed around for good musical ideas. We began to fade into the background as he went deeper and deeper into his creative trance. Almost sheepishly, he finally looked up and said, “You know, I could just do this all day.”

Working with Chuck got me thinking about how accessible his ‘creativechannel’ was for him — and how many people we call geniuses share this trait, along with some other distinct qualities.

Just for fun, I thought I’d catalog some of those characteristics that belong to geniuses – qualities many of us share in varying degrees.

(By the way, these hallmarks can apply to geniuses across the board in business, science, etc.. I’m simply using artistic geniuses here to illustrate my points.)

[Photo from Charles Eller Studios.]

1. The Creative Channel is on all the time. They simply have to tune in, and boom — they’re off in that wonderful, rich creative place where inspiration lives.

2. They feel things deeply… and need to express it. I notice this particularly around my friends who are actors… their emotions run so freely and powerfully, that they feel everything twice as intensely. Furthermore, they let you know it.

> See multiple posts on Intensity.

3. They have natural empathy. Geniuses tend to know how you’d feel at any  given moment, so they have a need to give away their feelings. An interviewer once asked Broadway composer Steven Sondheim if he could write a song about anything, and he replied, no — but that he could write about anyone, as long as he knew who the character is.

4. They find beauty in unlikely places the rest of us miss. I’m thinking of the 19th century French artists Toulouse-Lautrec and Monet who found enduring beauty in common haystacks and down at the heels prostitutes. True geniuses love the bittersweet, the forgotten, the simple.

5. They’re not afraid to cry. The creative genius knows that tears are the juice of life, whether they are tears of happiness, despair or simply deep relating.

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“I’m very sensitive in real life. I cannot not cry if someone around me is crying…even if it’s not appropriate. I have that thing in me, a weakness or sensitivity.” Jessica Chastain

[She earned Academy Award nominations for Zero Dark Thirty and The Help.]

From post: Jessica Chastain and High Sensitivity, Crying and Creative People

[By the way, high sensitivity is a personality trait, not a "weakness" or disorder.]

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6. They’re different and often pay a price for it. Creative geniuses often have childhoods marked with ridicule or isolation. And those tough times can continue right on through adulthood, though modern times have made such non-conformity more acceptable.

I’m thinking of people like Oscar Wilde, Frida Khalo, Orson Welles, Michael Jackson, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Andy Warhol.

7. They are brave. Many a genius is trained by social ostracism to be brave and strong in standing up for their work. They know their work is valid despite what the crowd says, and they stick by it steadfastly. And public opinions can sway, often long after the artist’s death. Think of Vincent Van Gogh, who only sold two paintings in his entire lifetime.

8. They are prolific. Typically, creative geniuses are always creating. It’s simply what they do. Cole Porter, for instance, wrote more than 800 songs. And he wrote them wherever he went: on luxury cruise decks, or weekend jaunts to the country. Porter, who was notoriously stoic, said he finished one of his songs while waiting for rescue, after his legs had been crushed by a horse.

9. They simply can’t do a half-baked job. Look at all the geniuses of the world, like Michelangelo, who literally changed the world because they refused to settle for less. In fact, Michelangelo was famous for literally eating and sleeping with his work, yet never being completely satisfied. About his work in the Sistine Chapel, he said; “I am no painter!”

10. They love their work deeply. For this example, I turn to my own father, John Falter, who was an artist. A friend asked once what he’d do if he could do absolutely anything in the world. He replied, “I’d go up to my studio and paint.”

For some artists, this love is the big one. Michelangelo, who never married, said: “I already have a wife who is too much for me; one who keeps me unceasingly struggling on. It is my art, and my works are my children.”

> Related article: The Complexity of the Creative Personality

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Lesson Two: How Sex and Creativity Connect

This summer while working on various performance projects, I got some interesting new insights into the creative process. Specifically, I learned that it really is all about sex.

It’s like Deepak Chopra said in a lecture I attended years ago: “Creativity is ultimately sexual – I’m sorry — but it is!”

I couldn’t agree more. I’d always had this sense that self-expression, passion and the stirrings of your soul were intertwined. But it wasn’t until I spent a few months involved in Chicago, a show that was all about the bump and grind, that I really began to see the deep connection.

When I am performing or writing, and things are really going well, I find myself slipping into a wonderful, surging sea of release. The pure stream of expression coming out of me is so unscripted, free and authentic, that I could stay right there for hours, doing only that. I feel brilliant and strong, and wonderfully alive – as if I’m just exactly what I should be.

And, of course, the same is true about sex. Communication happens at high, peak levels. It’s all perfectly sacred and profound, yet – at the same time – the most normal thing in the world. I am happy and complete.

Here are some interesting parallels I’ve found between sex and creativity:

1. It’s all about surrender. The more you can get out of your head, and simply let go, the further into your process you will go. And the grander the result will be.

2. The real communication is entirely beyond words. When an actor gets up to deliver a monologue, or a poet composes a sonnet, the words take you only half the way there. The rest happens between the lines, in the emotional truth with which it’s delivered. Same with sex. And without that emotional truth… well, it’s all a lot of hooey.

3. The spiritual usually comes into play. My belief is that all of this gets handed to us on that big Universal platter. And your choice is to accept or decline. So truly authentic creative or sexual endeavors can’t help having a mystical or divine underlayer.

4. You can’t do it unless you really, truly want to. OK, sure. You can fake your way into bed with a relative stranger, or stumble along writing a book you don’t care about. But you’re not going to sustain it. The sex will be cheap and easy; the manuscript will sputter and die. Why? Because you don’t really, truly want to be there.

5. Both require bravery. Deep connections make us passionate lovers, and fearless communicators. We act from our most vulnerable spot; the little piece of ourselves that’s most hidden and protected, yet full of the greatest power and truth.

6. Lust makes you stupid. But love makes you wise. I saw this little quote on a therapist’s bulletin board, and it is so very true. When it comes to creating, the lust for glory and fame makes us do silly, inauthentic things we later regret.

It’s the same with lust for inappropriate people. On the other hand, when we get it right – boy, is it right! Authentic relationships and creative endeavors are fine, powerful teachers who leave us much wiser, and much stronger.

7. You’re not going to be satisfied until it’s over. Not pursuing that book, or business, or creative project that keeps bugging you is like walking away from sex mid-act.

Beginning may be awkward; you may feel shy and vulnerable.   But once you get going, the passion to continue takes hold and you simply cannot stop until you are complete. (On the other hand, you can walk away easily from half-baked acts of love or creative projects. That’s how you know when it’s the real thing.)

8. The more you give, the more you get. You’re not going to have a knock-out painting exhibition if you hold back with the brush. Nor are you going to get Lover of the Year if you lay back and simply wait to receive. Both require energy and the desire to give.  9. Both make you feel much more alive. Enough said.

10. At their best, both are all wrapped up with love. Both sex and creating require the generous, uninhibited sharing of your heart. And the more you can open your heart and let the floodgates open on your soul, the more profound will be your experience. And your impact.

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Lesson Three: How (and Why) to Be Patient

Today’s essay is all about waiting patiently. Before you roll your eyes, stifle a yawn, and keep on scrolling, hear me out… for there really is a marvelous benefit to all that patience.

Namely, you get to live your dream.  We all know that dreams take time to develop and fulfill. You may find yourself waiting for years for something that may or may not ever even happen.

That’s just the way it is when it comes to dream pursuit – and it isn’t always easy.  Perhaps you recently flung yourself down on your bed, sobbing, because the fortieth rejection of your novel arrived.

Or you might have decided to live on your credit card for six months while you try to get a break as an actor, and now creditors are calling.   You could even be the person who just can’t stay awake long enough at night to  get your new business plan written… so you’re convinced your dream just plain  won’t ever happen.

Yet, I am here to say it will. AS LONG AS you are supremely patient, and remember these few basic truths about successful dream pursuit.

1. You must grow into your dream. Believe it or not, just because you have the dream and are busily pursuing it, doesn’t mean you’re capable of living it yet.  That only happens when you’ve become comfy enough with your personal power to fully inhabit your dream, and do what it requires.

The sometimes slow process of fulfilling your dream actually trains you to do hard things, like handle rejection, take risks, become more intimate with others, and use your full creative powers. Meanwhile, the Universe will kindly protect you from receiving all that good stuff until you are ready.

2. Stop being patient and have fun, instead. This is the only real reason there is to pursue your dream. Because the work feels guided, somehow, and personally validating; because it feels as if this is what you were born to do.

And so, such work becomes one of the most fun and compelling things in your life.  Concentrate on doing what your gut tells you to do, and dig into the process with relish. That takes your mind off the calendar, and then your work no longer feels so pressured.

3. Drop your expectations. Life is only really fulfilling when we let it surprise us. And dreams can do so wonderfully well. Yet, in order to be surprised, you have to let go of the clenched urge to know just how things are going to turn out.

You have to give up control; you cannot, nor will you ever, be able to predict results. Heavy expectations usually leave you disappointed, not to mention creatively constipated.

4. Keep the faith – and stay open. And yet – sometimes bad results happen. Still, those can take you in unexpected directions that yield even greater rewards.

Remember the story of Michelangelo’s first job as an architect, on the façade of San Lorenzo (he got fired!) This brief setback actually led him to an entirely new career designing St. Peter’s in Rome, and the Medici chapel, two of the greatest artistic achievements of that period.

5. Don’t treat your emotions as facts. On a cold day in February five years ago, I lay on my bed, sobbing, convinced I would never publish my self-help book, reach my readers, or find my way out of an ill-suited temp job that I hated.

I soggily asked my husband if I should just chuck it all, and go back to work doing this very thing I hated full time. Fortunately for me, he told me to stop being hysterical and keep plugging away on my dream.

Five years later, I really am living my dream full time, simply because I didn’t treat my momentary upset as factual proof that my dream was kaput.  Remember – emotions are emotions; only facts are facts.

6. Don’t compare your progress with anyone else’s. Your dream is not a test of your self-worth. Instead, it is the playground of your soul, as well as your spiritual mission in life. So treat it as such, and stop playing the big shame tape every time someone else you know accomplishes more than you do.

In fact, another person;s achievements have nothing to do with your path, your dream, and your karmic lessons in life. Assuming that they mean anything is simply a trick of your mind. So stop comparing, and get back to work.

7. Remember how little you know. I contend that our dreams are here for us to seize in small, digestible chunks. If we could really see the larger picture, and know where we’d be in five, ten or twenty years, we’d become overwhelmed instantly.

So take what information you do get, and humbly stay your course.  Just because it seems like nothing’s ever going to happen DOES NOT MEAN that nothing ever will. It just means that today, that’s how things look.

In other words, remember… you haven’t got a clue how this dream thing  will turn out, and you can take all kinds of comfort in that, especially if you’re busy having fun!

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> Related post on emotion:

Actor Gloria Reuben said: “The thing I love most about acting is that while I am doing a scene, I am allotted all of the freedom to feel. Sometimes, actually I find that most times in life, one is not able to fully express what one feels. 

“And I am the kind of person that feels so much that if I didn’t have acting (and music), I would burst from all of the emotion inside!”

From post: Regulating Our Emotions To Be More Creative

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Lesson Four: How to Manage Rejection

Every summer I indulge a particular passion of mine: appearing in a musical with our local community theater group. There is an entire pack of us women-over- forty-who-must-act (we call ourselves the “elder-babes”,) and these shows are one of the high points of our year.

This season’s production is going to be no exception: we are doing “Chicago”.  Now let me just say… I’m no dancer. Despite years of dance training in my youth, I tend to get up there and go left when everyone else is going right.

No problem, I naively figured. I’d been taking jazz dance classes for an entire year, so how tough was this going to be? I blithely pulled on the fishnets and trotted off to the dance auditions.  Four hours later, I crawled home, assuming the worst.

The routines had gone on for hours, every one of them mind-numbingly complex. Somehow, an entire legion of great dancers materialized out of nowhere, and whipped through each combination flawlessly.

Meanwhile, I hid at the back behind my friend  Leslie, a former Broadway hoofer, and tried feebly to follow along.  Call backs were the following weekend, and the ensuing week was pure, unadulterated hell.

I violated every last rule I’ve spent all these years preaching about: I assumed I wouldn’t be cast and whined ceaselessly to my husband about it.

Then I angrily decided I would rise up and quit the audition process then and there. (After all, if I couldn’t dance, what use could I possibly be to this @*%&$%! show?)

Eventually, I calmed down a bit, but only because my thirteen year old daughter told me to get a grip.  I was, in fact, wrestling in the trenches with that old, familiar beast, Rejection. And at this point, Rejection was definitely winning.

Its dark little mutterings were on pretty much 24/7, and it did its best to whip me down to the emotional size I was back at about – oh, maybe age twelve.

I was called back for one of the few non-dance roles in the show, and found myself fumbling through these auditions, too. I couldn’t hit the very low notes the song required; my acting seemed lifeless and forced to me. I went home with tears in my eyes, convinced that this would be the first summer I wouldn’t make it on stage.

The Rejection demons really moved in for the kill at that point. For the next two days, I dissolved into tears at the drop of the hat. I kept imagining all the great times the cast would be having without me.   I buried myself deeper and deeper in self-pity.

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“My life was crushed when they told me ‘No.’ But I was 17, it was a long time ago and rejection like that only makes you stronger, gets you asking — how can I better myself?”

From The Inner Actor site post:
Amber Riley on rejection: “How can I better myself?”

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It was as if I couldn’t turn off the ceaseless drone of my damning mind,  no matter what I did. Finally, in a single moment of clarity, I turned to self-help.  I did the emotional freedom technique, which combines eye movements, and tapping on certain key meridian points in the body with affirming thoughts and sentences.

I’d known of the technique, but had never done it before; still the time for it was obviously right.   As I did the eft process, I felt a curious calm descend over me.

“This is… weird,” I told myself as I tapped below my eye, and on my chin.  How could a little tapping undo an entire lifetime of vulnerability, humiliation, shame, and deep inner torment!?

When I completed the entire process twice, I became aware that I was suddenly ‘okay’ with the entire audition situation. It just plain seemed okay if I didn’t get cast. I started thinking about selling tickets each night with Bonnie, our fun ticket chair, or maybe just sitting in the audience for a change.

I started imagining a summer where I had plenty of time to laze around with the kids, or go on long boat rides with my husband. I started remembering how relaxed summer could actually be.  When I woke up the next day, the mood miraculously continued.

Now it occurred to me that there might actually be some small non-dance roles in the show that I could take. And that I could do this and STILL have a relaxing, nurturing summer AND even be in the show with the other elder-babes.

It struck me that I didn’t have to be the star to have a valid experience with my beloved theater family. All I had to be was there, one way or another.

Like all stories of inner torment, this one had its lessons, too. I got to get over myself with eft, which is now my new favorite tool for such.

And I got to remember why I really love my little theater company – not because of the big moments in front of the audience (though those aren’t bad either), but because of the whole theater company experience.

By the way, I just found out I did get a part… in the dance corps!   Not only must the Gods be crazy, they clearly have a sense of humor, too.

> Related site: The Inner Actor

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TRY THIS: HANDS-ON EFT

Want to experience the power of the emotional freedom techniques for yourself? A fellow named Gary Craig, who put this technology together, has an excellent, resource-crammed site, with lots of free articles and reasonably-priced trainings, videos, etc. http://www.emofree.com/

There is an even more concise, easy to work with technique, which is similar to EFT, called BSFF (Be Set Free Fast) at Joan Sotkin’s Prosperity Place website.

I’ve tried both, and I like this one just a little bit better. Joan’s website also has a free sample to try from her home page at http://www.prosperityplace.com

> See articles on Emotional Freedom Techniques

> Visit site:  The Tapping Solution

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Lesson Five: A Great Way to Cut Expenses

One of the biggest challenges creative dreamers face when it’s time to make their dream their livelihood is regulating cash flow. Typically we have lots of new business expenses, without enough income to meet them.

One easy solution is to spend less – something many of us in the US, at least, find hard to do. And yet, it must be done. If that’s you, read on; I think I’ve stumbled upon a great solution.

Recently, I decided to tighten my belt and start spending carefully for a change. Which for a relaxed, what-the-heck spender like myself was the equivalent to going into the desert for 40 days and 40 nights.   In the past, such measures always dissolved in a puddle of good intentions.

Even though I knew this was important and good to do… I just couldn’t stick with  the program. But this time, I’ve found a trick that works.  The first month, I simply tracked my expenses on two file cards in my wallet (one for business, one for personal.)

Then last month, I paid my regular bills by check as usual. I also determined just how much cash I needed to live on each week, based on my previous tracking, and withdrew such from the bank on an appointed, regular day: Wednesday.

I also parked my credit card and my debit card in my desk drawer, so they’d be out of circulation. Then I carefully monitored as I spent.  As the month wore on, the cash ebbed and flowed.

Some weeks I spent less than my weekly sum; some weeks I spent more. And now, at month’s end, I found I actually kept to my budget quite well – and can donate the rest towards savings and my business.

The reason this works, I think, is because parking the plastic and paying cash is radical. Initially, I was pretty sure it wouldn’t work. (“What about emergencies? What about last minute things for the kids? What about… impulse buys?”)

But I was so sick of financial ambiguity and sloppy spending that I did it anyway. And I was amazed.  The physical act of paying cash really does govern what you spend. When you have to pay $120 for groceries, you start thinking about whether you really need that extra large bag of premium potato chips, or the case of designer water.

When you have to pay cash for the dentist (two fillings: $220) it occurs to you that you can actually shop for a dentist. Paying cash has a wonderful way of keeping you honest. And it makes you super conscious of details which previously might have left you cold. Last month I found myself not buying things which in the past had been bought without a second thought.

This was power saving!  Paying cash is a great way to save money, which helps you meet financial goals like paying down a big credit card balance, or establishing a six month emergency savings fund to help you leave your non-dream day job. (Both steps I recommend taking in my new book, Living Your Joy.)

At month’s end I feel empowered, and gung-ho for another month of cash-only adventures.  One final note: my 9 and 13 year old children who’ve traditionally hit me for snacks, toys, and endless pairs of skin tight jeans (yes, I am the ‘soft’ parent) have stopped expecting handouts.

And I’m proud to say, they’ve started working on their own ways to earn and save money. So there is a marvelous trickle down effect.  All this financial freedom takes is some commitment on your part, and the willingness to try doing things differently — as an experiment, or even a game.

Try it, and you may find your dream gets funded a lot more quickly and easily.  PS. Don’t forget: unless you finance your dream adequately, you can’t reach the people you’re here to reach. That’s the power of your financial decisions.

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A related article: Thinking big could be making you FAIL! By Robert Maurer, PhD

“If you’ve ever tried setting goals to get to the next level in your career … a budget to save money … a diet plan to lose weight … or going cold turkey to quit a bad habit — and it DIDN’T help you achieve the life change you were aiming for — then you’ve ALREADY experienced it! But if you have just 30 spare seconds a day, you can make ANY change, transform ANY behavior, and achieve ANY goal you can think of — using a potent yet little-known Japanese technique.”

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Lesson Six: Avoid Creative Anorexia

Do you really believe you can have what you want? Or do you tend to operate with your feet in two camps — one that says, “I’m going out there and pursue my dream” and another that says, “I’ll also hedge my bets by doing something I don’t love that much, just in case the dream thing doesn’t work out.”

This is what Persephone Zill, a coach I’ve worked with, would call “indirectness”  and I’m here to say that it doesn’t work.  I’ve spent a lot of time in life hedging my bets under the mistaken illusion that this is mature, business-like behavior.

The real irony is that seldom have these supposedly businesslike ideas ever produced income or other results that I thought for sure they would.  The urge to hedge your bets often runs contrary to everything your gut instincts scream at you to do. For instance, say you want to be a teacher.

Your instinct says ‘Quit the job! Go get licensed! Be a teacher kids never forget!”

Meanwhile, you hedge your bets by dedicating most of your energy to work that doesn’t feed your soul, and taking a course here and there that never really moves you any closer to the dream. You justify your lack of action by insisting you can’t afford to quit or alter your job, or deciding you don’t want to change your lifestyle and live on a teacher’s salary.

And yet … what do you want?  Do you want the excuses, or do you want the results? Do you want a life that’s halfway, but never all the way, to the dream? For a lot of us, the excuses, and the half-baked life are all we think we deserve.

We don’t focus on getting what we want because somewhere along the way, we decided we don’t deserve that much happiness and fulfillment. I trace my own inclination to think that way back to a pivotal lunch with my mother back in my senior year in high school, when she asked me what I wanted to do with my life.

As I was about to answer, “Be a singer or a writer,” she pointed a finger at me and announced triumphantly, “Communications! You’re going to be GREAT in communications!”

Whereupon I promptly burst into tears, and went on to spend 18 years in advertising,  ‘communicating’ and hating myself all the while.  Seeds get planted that should not have been allowed to grow; ideas get listened to that should have been ignored.

We cast about looking for anyone else but ourselves to give us direction — and yet, WE are the only ones who can give us the permission to really, truly, honestly create what we want in life.  We can do what we want, but only if we are brave enough to seize the initiative — even if it means not listening to Mom and going it alone.

The urge not to provide ourselves with what we need in life is a sort of creative anorexia, deprivation that is all about a distorted picture of who we are and what we deserve.

The real irony is that seldom do the contingency plans and hedged bets work out. During my entire career in advertising I never made half the salary that my other, more eager co-workers made. The simple fact was that I didn’t want to be there, nor should I have been.

Consequently, I couldn’t produce the results that were expected of me.  Perhaps the road to what you want won’t be fast, easy or lined with gold, but it will be one hundred percent honest. And that provides riches you can’t even begin to count.

So get out there, make a transitional plan you can stick to, and begin to do  what you want. I’m here to say that you do, indeed, deserve it.

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“Gifted adults can be misunderstood. Those who read books like Jacobsen’s The Gifted Adult often feel relieved: “Finally, someone understands where I’m coming from!”

“Gifted adults often face unique career challenges. Job environments rarely reward creativity, a hallmark of the gifted, and frequently punish anyone who threatens to color outside the lines. …

“And when gifted adults seek career guidance, they must filter feedback they receive from friends and consultants who are not familiar with their situation.

* “Whoa! You’re trying to be a jack-of-all trades and you’ll end up a master of none.”

* “Wow! I’ve never seen anyone move as fast as you do. I’m sure you’re going to be a success.”

* “You’re going too fast! Slow down or you’ll fail.”

* “Focus on one thing at a time.”

From article: Career Planning for Gifted Adults.

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TRY THIS: What do you think you deserve?

To learn more about how much (or how little) you think you deserve, here are a few questions to answer. (Scoring is at the bottom of this section.)

1. When offered a sumptuous dessert after a great meal in your honor, you

a) insist you’re full, even if you’re not. (All the while watching everyone else eat it, wishing you’d said yes.)

b) sit in tortured indecision about the dessert, until you finally pass it up because that’s what everyone else is doing. (Later, you think about it with a pang.)

c) decide the diet can go just this once – and dig in, gratefully, knowing you can work off the calories with extra exercise tomorrow.

d) automatically decide that since you never eat dessert (even though you love it), you’ll miss this one, too.

2. You tend to earn

a) just enough money to eke out a living, though you do rack up regular credit card debt

b) more money than you need… but you spend more than you should, so you end up with little at month’s end

c) adequate money for your needs, savings, investments, etc.

d) less than you’d like, but not dramatically so. At least some savings programs, etc. are in place

3. When it comes to finishing your creative projects, you tend to

a) work on them endlessly without the satisfaction of completion. (Darn things are never quite good enough.)

b) throw away or drop most every project you start. (Whom are you kidding, anyway?)

c) push through to the bitter end, even when the going is tough. You’ve even mustered up the courage to submit some of your work to professional venues.

d) always back off near the end, leaving the work hanging, unfinished. But you WILL get to it someday. Hopefully.

4. Your friends tend to be

a) few and far between. (Nobody really understands you.)

b) a competitive bunch with whom you’re afraid to share your most vulnerable feelings, dreams, etc. (You’d never ask them for support!)

c) honest-to-God allies full of support for your creative dreams and projects. You feel blessed.

d) divided between those who are critical and those who are soundly in your corner. Sometimes it seems the nay-sayers win out.

5. When it comes to your dreams in life, your spouse or partner is usually

a) annoyed most of the time, so you don’t mention them much

b) closed-mouth, but not vocally protesting all the time, either

c) squarely in your corner, taking actions that actively support your dream

d) worried you’re going to “take the leap” and change your life so radically they can’t keep up or adjust. But you haven’t really talked about it with them in earnest.

6. Your day job or main source of income is

a) best described as toxic – and there appears to be no way out

b) barely tolerable, but at least provides some pretty good money

c) a workable fit for your dreams right now, though it may change in the future

d) something you really have to change, but not until you’re ready – which isn’t quite yet

Scoring:  If you answered mostly a) or b), you’re probably putting up with a whole lot of “tolerations” as the late coaching guru Thomas Leonard put it.

Perhaps it’s time to redesign your life to really put some commitment into living your dream.

If you answered mostly c) you’ve already decided you deserve a lot – and have set up your life accordingly. Good for you!

If you answered mostly d), you’re on your way to a sense of deserving more, but still need to work on it.

Wherever you fall on the spectrum, believe it when we tell you… You ARE worth it!

~ ~ ~

  > Continued in Creative Juice: Part 2

Lesson Seven: Sure-Fire Creativity Inducers 
   African Drumming; Dance; Visual Art
   Performing; Meditation
   TRY THIS: The Do’s and Don’ts of Meditation
Lesson Eight: Take Your Dream to Lunch
Lesson Nine: Just Ask
Lesson Ten: What Skiing Can Teach You about Your Dreams
Lesson Eleven: How to Make a Comeback
Lesson Twelve: Protecting Your Dream at Dysfunctional Family Get-Togethers
   TRY THIS: The True Supporter Litmus Test
   TRY THIS, TOO: Finding the Ideal Dream Supporter  

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Suzanne Falter (formerly Suzanne-Falter-Barns) “is a best-selling self-help author, speaker, and singer who helps women at midlife find true joy and fulfillment. Her latest work, The Spiritual Diet, is a clarion call to women who want to change their lives – through a combination of personal growth work, spirituality and diet — to get back to the radiant souls they were born to be.”
http://www.spiritualdiet.com

Her books and programs include: 

How Much Joy Can You Stand : A Creative Guide 
to Facing Your Fears and Making Your Dreams Come True

Living Your Joy: A Practical Guide to Happiness

PUBLISHED! Magazine – Suzanne Falter-Barns and Jeffrey Van Dyk [Kindle Edition]
“Top authors and publishing professionals share their treasured resources, success secrets, and the defining moments that have shaped their lives in 80 pages of interviews, articles, exclusive writing tips and techniques each quarter.

“In this issue: Dr. Cathy Greenberg, Christine Kloser, Gay Hendricks, Ali Brown, Suzanne Falter-Barnes, Jeffrey Van Dyk, SARK , Dr. Roxanne Howe-Murphy, Dr. Judy Krings, Neale Donald Walsch, Jennifer Wilkov, Mari Smith, Kendall SummerHawk, Ellen Violette, Lorrie Morgan-Ferrero, Louise Crooks, and Michael Port.”

The Discover Your Soul Purpose Meditation [CD]

[Photo from her Facebook page]

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NOTE – photos and some quotes and links in the main body of this article were added by me – editor/publisher Douglas Eby. In this stimulating article, Falter refers to many of the topics and issues impacting creative people that are addressed on my multiple sites. I have linked to only a few of them – you will find many more by looking around and using the menu, and search box.

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