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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!!

How–and why–2019 can be your best creative year

“I said I’d finally break out of the commercial work and do my real creative work—but I didn’t.”

“I never thought I’d be this old and still not have my novel done.”

“I keep saying I’ll finish my TV pilot, and I never do.”

“How is it that this whole year, I only finished two pieces?”

If you look back on 2018 and feel down about yourself and your creative work, I have something to say to you. 

The truth is, you CAN turn your creative visions into reality.

There are just a few reasons people don’t reach their creative goals:

#1: They don’t know what to do or how to do it.

For this one, all you need is information and guidance–someone to listen to what you want and help you lay out the steps. (Sometimes this lack of knowledge is the problem and you don’t even know it—you just feel intimidated or uncertain, and you’re holding back.)

#2: They can’t get through the blocks

There are basically five kinds of blocks that can stop you.

* Physical blocks, like not having enough time, money, energy, or space to do your creative work.

* Emotional blocks, like fear, anxiety, or self-criticism.

* What I call “energetic blocks”—not having the courage, determination, passion, or “fire in the belly” to get it done.  

* Mental blocks, or beliefs like “I can’t do it,” “I can’t be an artist and a good parent,” “It’s impossible to make money as a writer/musician/artist,” and “People will laugh at me.”

* Spiritual blocks: Not trusting yourself to make decisions, or not knowing how to listen to your inner guidance.

All these problems can be solved. They can seem overwhelming when you consider them all at once, but for each problem, there is a healing process, strategy, or action step. Even the blocks you’ve had for years, the ones that seem like octopuses with so many waving tentacles, are things you can get through. Truly.

#3: They don’t have the right support—someone who can guide them through the blocks and help them keep going when “stuff comes up.”

Support is the #1 factor that separates struggle from success. Personally, I could not have gotten where I am (in my creative work, business, and life) without a LOT of support. These days, I work with at least one coach/mentor, and often up to three or four at a time (because different coaches have different strengths, and I’m a big believer in getting all the support I need). I’ve spent well over $100,000 on my own personal development and training, and I attribute a huge part of my success to that.

Without coaching support, it’s easy to get stuck in your own limitations. We all have them, and unless we identify them and find ways to grow beyond them, we tend to repeat the same patterns over and over, with the same unsatisfying results.

I’ve been helping people do their creative work for years, and I can assure you of two things: 1) you’re not alone, and 2) you can get past what’s blocking you.

The truth is, what blocks you is similar to what blocks everyone else—and these blocks are things you can get through. (Yes, what gets in your way is yours alone because you’re a unique person with your own individual history and soul, but all blocks have common elements—and solutions.)

Other people have gotten through obstacles like yours. They’ve started doing their true creative work—and thriving. And you can too. You just have to decide—truly decide, like a commitment to your soul—that you will.

 

Why you MUST do it

Why? Because how long will you let yourself suffer? It feels horrible to go on, month after month, year after year, decade after decade, with your dreams never happening.

You feel awful about yourself. You know on the outside you look successful, but inside you feel anything but. You feel ashamed when you think about how long it’s been and all you haven’t done. At college reunions, you either feel embarrassed when talking to people who’ve really gone for it… or you feel like an imposter because despite your outward success, you know you haven’t achieved what you really want.

Why? Because the truth is, if you’re miserable about your creative work, your misery is poisoning your marriage, your parenting, your friendships, and whatever you do for money.

You think you can push it down and be a good wife, mother, husband, father, employee, friend… but your frustration leaks out. You get irritated at small things. You’re depressed and emotionally unavailable. Even though you try to be your best self (and you do!), you’re stewing in your own dissatisfaction, and you’re missing so many small moments of love and beauty. (And often, you don’t even know you’re missing them.)

Why? Because what else are you going to do? Give up and continue to feel this way your whole life? You know even if you give up, it will still eat at you deep down.

(You’ve actually given up before—either consciously or unconsciously. There have been long stretches where you let it go because you just couldn’t do it. But here you are, still wanting, still feeling bad that you don’t have it, right?)

So there are only two choices: Try, or give up. And giving up just means more of the same. So all you can do is try.

So will you? Will you finally make this the year you break through?

The year you do the creative work you’ve been longing to do. The year you write the novel you really want to write. The year you finish the screenplay. Get an agent. Sell your work at top dollar. Break through. The year you stop being the “best kept secret” and start being who you really could be.

Will you do it for yourself?

*

P.S. Get started now. Take this quiz to find out what’s REALLY been stopping you–and get a personalized ritual to jumpstart your creative work. (Click here.)

Bad year for your creative work? READ THIS (part 3)

Maybe 2018 was a disappointing year.

Whether you’re upset at yourself because you failed to finish your novel (again), you didn’t get up the nerve to do your REAL creative work (you’re still playing it safe with a “commercial” version of your art), your performance tanked, or any number of miserable-feeling reasons, 2019 can be totally different. (Read about why in part 1 of this series.)

Actually, 2019 has to be different. Because you CAN’T go on like this, waiting for your creative goals to happen, feeling the disappointment seep deeper into your bones every year. (Part 2, here.)

You can’t take more of the same.

So this year, let’s do something different.

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 busywork 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.

It’s your year. It’s your time. Make it so.

Bad year for your creative work? READ THIS (part 2)

So, if 2018 was a tough year for your creative work, it might be hard to trust yourself enough to “go for it” in 2019.

Maybe you failed to finish your book… again. Or your screenplay is still a mostly-empty document on your laptop. Maybe your promising exhibit tanked, or your performance got awful reviews, or you’re STILL doing “commercial” work that’s safe–while your real creative dreams languish unfulfilled.

Maybe you’re telling yourself you’re not good enough, not disciplined enough, not talented or connected or hard-working enough… or you can’t do it because you have a family, you don’t have enough time or money, you have too many responsibilities, you’re too old…

The fact is, these stories are NOT the truth.

You CAN reach your creative goals.

In part 1 of this series, I talk about why. (Check it out here if you missed it.)

Now I want to talk about why, even if you’re feeling bad about yourself and your creative work, you MUST give it your all in 2019.

(Mostly I don’t believe in “should”s. But we’re talking about your soul’s imperative here.)

 

Why you MUST do it

Why? Because how long will you let yourself suffer? It feels horrible to go on, month after month, year after year, decade after decade, with your dreams never happening.

You feel awful about yourself. You know on the outside you look successful, but inside you feel anything but. You feel ashamed when you think about how long it’s been and all you haven’t done. At college reunions, you either feel embarrassed when talking to people who’ve really gone for it… or you feel like an imposter because despite your outward success, you know you haven’t achieved what you really want.

Why? Because the truth is, if you’re miserable about your creative work, your misery is poisoning your marriage, your parenting, your friendships, and whatever you do for money.

You think you can push it down and be a good wife, mother, husband, father, employee, friend… but your frustration leaks out. You get irritated at small things. You’re depressed and emotionally unavailable. Even though you try to be your best self (and you do!), you’re stewing in your own dissatisfaction, and you’re missing so many small moments of love and beauty. (And often, you don’t even know you’re missing them.)

Why? Because what else are you going to do? Give up and continue to feel this way your whole life? You know even if you give up, it will still eat at you deep down.

(You’ve actually given up before—either consciously or unconsciously. There have been long stretches where you let it go because you just couldn’t do it. But here you are, still wanting, still feeling bad that you don’t have it, right?)

So there are only two choices: Try, or give up. And giving up just means more of the same. So all you can do is try.

So will you? Will you finally make this the year you break through?

The year you do the creative work you’ve been longing to do. The year you write the novel you really want to write. The year you finish the screenplay. Get an agent. Sell your work at top dollar. Break through. The year you stop being the “best kept secret” and start being who you really could be.

Will you do it for yourself?

*

P.S. Stay tuned for part 3, where I talk about exactly how you can reach those long-desired creative goals in 2019.

(But, if you’re champing at the bit, skip the wait and email me to talk about how we can get your creative career going NOW.)