All posts by Emmeline Chang

Would you give a Valentine to your creative work?

It’s Valentine’s Day, so to honor the energy of the day, I want to ask: “Do you love your creative work?”

Do you love every character and see their full humanity (even the minor characters and “villains”)? Do you love the sounds, the melody, the harmony? Do you love the movement and colors and textures and shapes? Do you love the people you work with?

Do you see the unique beauty and brilliance of your creativity?

Do you appreciate how your creativity is a gift to the world?

Do you give it your best, even when you don’t feel like it?

Do you give your creative work focused time and attention, just as you would give your family members?

Do you invest money so your creative work can reach its full potential, the way you would with your child?

Do you care for yourself as a vessel of divine creativity?

No judgment if you  answer no to any of these questions. Your answers just reveal where MORE LOVE and MORE LIFE can come in.

With love and compassion for your imperfections, you can take action.

How will you give love to your creative work?

 

Why some people do their creative work… and others don’t

Who are those people, those shining magical people who “get to” do their creative work?

Here’s what you might think:

They’re people who are born into artistic or literary families–they have connections and they grow up believing it’s possible for them, so they go ahead and they succeed.

They’re people who have more money–from their family, from a high-earning spouse, from a flexible day job.

They’re people who have more time–because they don’t have kids and family responsibilities.

They’re people who are more talented, hard-working, or driven.

Whoever they are, they’re not you, right?

Here’s the truth: You know who gets to do their creative work?

People who do their creative work.

That’s all. That’s it.

Everything else is just stories.

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I know people who come from poor families who’ve published books and made careers as writers (and people who come from wealth who languish, not doing their creative work).

I know people who have children who’ve made it. People who are primary breadwinners who do it.

Yes, even people with very little talent.

People who make generous livings from their creative work and people who make almost nothing (but have still achieved success in their field).

The one common denominator in who gets to do their creative work? PEOPLE WHO GO AHEAD AND DO IT.

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So, what if you try to do your creative work, but things keep getting in the way?

There’s something you’re missing: some belief, some support, some guidance, some action, or some way of doing things.

Sure, some people can “just do it.”

But, here’s the truth: If YOU could “just do it,” wouldn’t you have already?

The fact is, if you’re someone who ISN’T doing your true creative work, it’s because there’s actually a lot in your way.

To get to your true creative work, YOU have to tunnel through layers of family beliefs and admonitions (“people like us don’t get to do what we love,” “get a real job,” “be responsible”), stare down worries about money and financial stability, get past fears about letting other people down, AND handle all the logistical challenges of your everyday life.

And then after that there’s the oh-so-simple matter of doing your truest, most profound, most moving work.

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There’s nothing wrong with you: you just need guidance and support.

I have a program designed to help you do your TRUE creative work—and take a major leap in your creative career.

I’ve thought deeply about what it takes to do your true creative work. How to help you go deep to find the truths buried inside your work—the truths that will move people to tears, keep them turning the pages, have them recommending your work to everyone they know. The truths that will make your work a masterpiece that changes the world and lives on long after you’re gone.

I’ve taken a long, close look at the obstacles people face. I know how to unearth what’s REALLY in your way and help you move through it.

I’ve also discovered a very powerful process to help you download “divine guidance” for the exact steps that will catapult your career to a dramatically higher level.

Instead of slogging through a “to do” list that’s supposed to help your creative career (but is actually just busy work that tires you out and doesn’t get you much further), you’ll uncover what I call your “magic carpet”: the actions that will truly change your career.

These are actions and opportunities that ALREADY EXIST in your world—but are invisible to you now because of your own blocks, fears, or limited perceptions. When you remove the blinders, you’ll find the simple actions that let you take huge career leaps. You avoid the long, arduous route and soar straight to your creative goal.

In TRUE CREATIVE SUCCESS, you’ll bring out the TRUE work your soul is calling you do. You’ll break through the obstacles holding you back. You’ll get your truest creative work out into the world. And you’ll take a dramatic leap in your career.

What kind of leaps are we talking about? Going from the hidden talent who makes other people shine–to seeing your own work live, in film festivals and on TV. Getting an agent. Getting a book published. Working with celebrities and leaders in the field. Appearing regularly in The New Yorker.

These are real results that real clients have achieved.

TRUE CREATIVE SUCCESS is a high-level program for ambitious creative people who are committed to big, exciting results. If that’s you, email me.

“People like us” don’t get to do our creative work

“People like us don’t get to do our creative work.”

There it was. The belief lodged inside me like a knot, blocking everything.

My parents came from Taiwan, a country that was saving and sacrificing and working hard to climb to prosperity. They chose practical work. My father was interested in history but became an engineer.. My mother was musically and artistically talented but chose chemistry and later computer science. Coming to the US as immigrants made them even more practicality- and security-minded.  

“People like us” don’t get to do our creative work.

That unconscious belief had shaped all my actions: How I chose to support myself. The way I froze up when an editor expressed interest in my manuscript. The tiny daily choices about how I spent my time.

Even though I’d achieved a certain level of success (MFA from a top writing program, “prestigious” literary magazine internships, successful writing biz, VP at a Madison Avenue agency), when it came to writing and my writing career, I was always pushing a boulder uphill.

(Yes, you can have this unconscious belief EVEN IF you have a creative career, and EVEN IF you’re successful.)

This belief can put a huge roadblock in front of your real creative work–and the kind of success you really want.

If you UNCONSCIOUSLY believe “people like you” don’t get to do your creative work, here’s how it can show up:

  • You give most of your time and energy to your creative day job or your “commercially viable” creative work.

(It’s the safe thing to do, since you’re not going to be successful at your true creative work, right?)

  • You procrastinate about doing your true creative work.

(It’s scary to keep facing down the belief that you won’t succeed with it; so of course you avoid it!!)

  • You sabotage yourself when opportunities come up.

(You freeze up when you get the chance to show your manuscript to a well-known editor, present your work on a big stage, or meet an industry leader you admire.)

  • You hold back in subtle ways even when you do pursue opportunities.

Maybe, while others gush with excitement about their own work, you hesitate to say too much because you’re afraid of being a braggart. Or you don’t go all out when you perform. Or you say, “Oh, I’m not ready,” when someone offers you a big break.

  • Without knowing it, you signal to the outside world (agents, editors, curators, buyers, readers, audiences) that you’re not ready for success.

 

The good news is, you CAN transform this unconscious belief.

(And, if you’re reading this and relating, then your soul is sending you a message: IT’S TIME.)

Those unconscious beliefs are NOT THE TRUTH. They’re just fears passed down by generations of ancestors. Leftover furniture from lives that aren’t yours.

In my program, True Creative Success, we uncover those unconscious beliefs about what you get to do as a creative person–and replace them with the TRUTH: That you love to do your creative work. That it’s fun. That you are a powerful creator. That your creativity is a gift to the world.

And when you GET those truths, deep down, magic happens.

Instead of the pressure to give all your time to your day job or commercial work, you’ll have breathing room–and easily find time and space to do your own creative work.

All that self-sabotage? Replaced by SEEING those previously hidden fears for what they are… and the courage and ability to CHOOSE your creativity instead.

The procrastinating perfectionism? Replaced by the simple joy of just doing your work.

The subtle holding back? Replaced by a simple, pure ability to share your enthusiasm for your work.

Plus: A new level of success finds you–because instead of subtly signalling (without realizing it!) to the world that you’re not ready and don’t believe in yourself, you show up.

It’s no longer a big deal to be enthusiastic about your own work, or share it widely, or reach out for opportunities: it’s just a natural outgrowth of who you are and what you do.

You let your love and talent and creativity be the beacon they are. And you draw in the success.

Is it your time?

If you’re ready, email me and let me know.

Life lessons from Ruth Bader Ginsburg

I just watched On the Basis of Sex and RBG. Learning about Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life, I was inspired and took away so many lessons.

Ginsburg didn’t found and shape gender discrimination law just by being smart and hardworking. She also did it by working a childhood connection to the ACLU, lobbying an initially hostile lawyer to get involved in the cause, flying to Colorado to persuade a potential client to appeal his case, making the crucial decision to hold to her convictions when opponents and even allies were telling her to drop it. She didn’t become a Supreme Court Justice just by being brilliant and hardworking and waiting for people to notice and reward her–her husband and people she knew lobbied, using every connection they had to get Bill Clinton to consider her. (And THEN her brilliance and way of thinking about the law sealed the deal.)

So here are some lessons from her life:

  • Act even when you’re uncertain:

It’s easy to look at Ruth Bader Ginsburg now (on the Supreme Court, at the pinnacle of her profession and now a cultural icon) and think her life was a straight line leading clearly to success. But here’s the important thing to remember: SHE DIDN’T KNOW what would come. Early in her career, she didn’t even know if she’d be able to practice as a lawyer. (Because she was a woman, no firms would hire her, despite the fact that she was top of her class at Harvard Law and Columbia Law). She had to make decisions and take action without knowing if she would ever succeed. You can do the same.

  • Keep the faith, and keep going:

When she was in law school, her husband was diagnosed with testicular cancer and given a 5% chance of surviving. She attended her classes, helped him with his classes and papers, and took care of their toddler daughter, only getting two hours of sleep a night. (Marty survived to celebrate 56 anniversaries with her.)

  • Don’t focus on the obstacle. Focus on the goal:

When you don’t get what you want, build opportunity from what you have. When no law firm would hire her, Ginsburg found other avenues forward: she did research, went to Sweden to author a book, and then became a professor at Rutgers, where she built taught courses in women and the law. When a case that could change the landscape of gender discrimination came up, she pounced. She was determined to take it on even though she had no previous litigation experience.   

  • Give yourself permission:

Ginsburg didn’t wait for permission to take on this case. When the ACLU refused to take it on, she was determined to take it on herself. She flew to Colorado to persuade the potential client to pursue an appeal–and to hire her to do it. She did this even though no outside person was clamoring for her involvement and even though she had never argued in a court before. And then she continued lobbying the ACLU to take on this case and other gender discrimination cases–until eventually she co-founded the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project.

  • Choose the people around you wisely:

Ginsburg’s career wouldn’t have been possible without her husband, Marty, who defied gender expectations at the time by believing a woman’s work was as important as a man’s. He loved her, adored her, campaigned actively for her, and supported her with concrete actions like encouraging her to go to law school, cooking dinner every night, and moving to DC when she was nominated for her first judgeship.

Warren Buffett believes your most important life decision is who you marry. And Sheryl Sandburg once said, “The single most important career decision that a woman makes is whether she will have a life partner and who that partner is.”

Make sure the people around you are those who love and support you. And if you marry, make sure you choose someone who loves you unreservedly, commits to you, supports you fully, and shows it through their actions.

  • Campaign for yourself and what you believe in (and let others support you):

Ginsburg didn’t become a Supreme Court Justice just by being brilliant and hardworking and waiting for people to notice and reward her. In fact, she wasn’t on Bill Clinton’s original short list for the Supreme Court. At 63, she was considered too old to be an ideal nominee. But, her husband and people she knew lobbied, using every connection they had to get Bill Clinton to consider her. Once Clinton interviewed her, he knew immediately that she was the one.

Too often–especially if we are women–we feel we have to hide our power, not take action for ourselves, defer to others about how to take action for the causes we believe in. But that’s not how to succeed–or to create a world we believe in.

When we trust in ourselves and allow ourselves to act from our full power, THEN we can succeed and make a difference in the world.

A call to action

Are you waiting for permission? Discouraged by setbacks? Letting fears stop you? Reluctant to campaign for yourself?

Are you holding yourself back from your dream?

It’s so easy for this to happen.

If you know it’s time to get serious about your big creative goals, email me and let’s talk.  

Find your theme for 2019

Want to make 2019 the best it can be?

Here’s what I recommend: find a theme for the year.

Your theme connects all your goals, resolutions, and actions by identifying one fundamental quality that will help you reach your goals. Possible themes include courage, gratitude, creativity, abundance, love, spirit, power, healing, persistence, clarity, laughter, ease, curiosity, respect, fun… and more.

Your theme reflects how you want to BE and FEEL as you move through your year. Once you have your theme, you approach each day and action from that theme. Achieving your goals follows naturally.

I first used a new year’s theme in 2012. I was recently married and had just found out I was pregnant. I knew there were big things coming that year: buying and renovating a house; moving; leading a team of copywriters in a launch; leaving my intense advertising job to start a coaching business; and of course, growing a baby, going through labor and birth, and becoming a mother. I knew it could be incredibly stressful, and I knew I didn’t want to push through it, straining myself and my health. I wanted it to flow easily. So “FLOW” became my theme for the year.

In everything I did, I tried to flow. And, even I was surprised at the results. I didn’t feel overwhelmed. I moved through all the transitions—and led a copy team in an advertising launch, finished a draft of a story collection, and launched a new website for my coaching business.

There was a lot to do, and there were hard times (including a complicated labor and tough postpartum period ), but through it all, I kept flowing through my life, connected with my heart and supported by the universe and the people around me. I hadn’t expected it to be so effective, but it was. My theme connected me back to the flow I wanted, and everything else flowed from that.

 

How to create your theme for the year

  1. What’s missing?

Look at the different areas of your life (career/life purpose, money, health, romantic relationship, friends and family, personal growth/spirituality, play and fun, physical environment). What is unsatisfying or missing?

  1. What do you want?

Now write down what you want in your life this year. What are your goals? Big or small—put it all down.

  1. How do you want to feel and be?

Ask yourself: What quality do you need to have to reach those goals? How would you like to feel as you move towards those goals? List all the words that describe how you want to feel and be in the coming year.

  1. Choose a theme for the year

Now, look over your list (from #3). Choose one word that calls to you and sums up how you want to be this year. Say your word aloud. See how it feels. Close your eyes and imagine yourself moving through 2019 with that quality. How does it feel? If it feels right, that’s your theme!

(Send me a message telling your theme for 2019. I’d love to know! :-))

  1. Live your theme!

Put your theme up where you can see it. Feel it in your body. If you want, you can dance it or create a vision board with images evoking your theme. Most importantly, focus on your theme as you move through each day—embody this quality and live your life from this theme.

Good luck, and may 2019 bring you all the blessings of your theme!!