Money Can Crush Your Creativity. Here’s How to Beat It.

Money can crush your creativity.

Not that money is crushing.  But the fear, the stress, and all the frustration that can come from money can be overwhelming.Mindfully Alive Retreat

I used to be right there.  Counting every penny.  Stressing if we were going to make it.

No one wants to experience the anxiety of wondering, even though you are okay today…will you be okay tomorrow?

Creativity isn’t the only thing that suffers.  Relationships get difficult. And the self-talk…Ugh.  The worst.

Have you felt that?

This is the topic we dive deeply into at the Mindfully Alive Retreat.

Here’s the trailer for our conversation.

What Is The Mindfully Alive Retreat

My friend, Julie Merrett, artist, Occupational Therapist and coach, is offering something to combat that. I’m honored to be a featured speaker, alongside other experts, and we’re coming together to give you our advice on becoming unblocked and living mindfully so you can create more than ever.

You’ll walk away with the clarity you need to effectively make the changes that lead to your freedom and fulfillment.

Julie has experienced firsthand the struggle to leave her secure job, start her own business and make a living as an artist. She struggled for 12 years to make that leap, and now, she runs a successful creative coaching practice supporting new creative entrepreneurs and sells her art internationally.

When you go to the Mindfully Alive Retreat and sign up to join us, you’ll learn which steps to take now to be mindfully creative and manage your stress so you get the freedom you want and deserve

Join The Conversation

When you sign up for the Mindfully Alive Retreat, you’ll be able to see the complete conversation.  I share a lot of what was going on for me, and how my family was struggling because of my personal money stress.

Some of what we talk about are a few ideas of how artists can start making money quickly.  Today.

That can be useful for creative businesswomen, like us, getting our business started.

Join us at the Mindfully Alive Retreat.

And shine on!


How to Improve Your Communication Skills.

How to build trust and communicate
How to build trust and communicate

This one lesson has dramatically changed the way I communicate.  Take the lesson.  Practice these skills. You find yourself able to build trust and enjoy excellent communication with those around you.

In other words, this, my dear, is a game-changer.  You are in charge of the level of communication and connection with those around you. When you have better communication, you have more trust.  When you have more people trusting you, you have more influence.   And influence is leadership.

20 years ago I was with a group of missionaries at a restaurant.  We were talking about working with people and building trust.  One of the guys, reminded me more of a skater than a well-spoken man of God, started drawing hearts on his napkin.  I thought, “Hmmm… there’s a dreamer if I’ve ever seen one.”  Had I known he was going to completely impact my life I would have paid much more attention.  I think of this lesson almost every day.

Good communication doesn’t just happen.  Connection comes from trust.  You don’t fake trust.  You build trust.

It all starts with the questions you ask.  There are only 5 kinds questions we use.  Learn how to use these wisely and you will see  how it can build bonds with those people important to you.  And with complete strangers.

This won’t take much more time out of your schedule.  You’ll simply be adding to your level of influence in all capacities of life.

Before I explain, couple of caveats:

  • You can use this model to manipulate others and try to build false trust.  Don’t.  It was only work against you in exponential ways.
  • Only use this model if you are willing to listen and try to completely understand the speaker.
  • The level of trust used here creates empathy.  Use empathy to improve your influence.

How You Can Build Trust and Improve Your Communication Skills

The most important part of building trust is: Ask the right question at the right time.  This one skill will help you: open doors, create quality relationships with those around you, and increase your level of influence.

And really, isn’t that what we all want?

I have this on a one page Cheat Sheet + Infographic. The visual image helps me remember to build trust as I meed new people.  If you would like to have it for future reference, sign up here. 

As you build on the levels, you can always go back a level and find out more information.  You have surpassed that level of trust.  You can easily maneuver between the levels.  This is like a dance, the other person shares some of himself, then you share some more of yourself.  It’s a beautiful dance of trust building; a give and take in nuance.

The mistake people make is when they try to jump ahead a level.  There’s not enough trust to ask too deep of a question.

You don’t jump to a new level until trust is built. When someone jumps to a new level too soon, you’ll find yourself in one of those situations.  You know, the ones where eyes are wi-i-i-ide open and everyone stares at each other until someone sings, “Awkward.”

We’ve all been there.  Don’t let that happen to you.

Level 1:  What Questions. Ask a stranger.

The first level of the heart is the outer shell.  This is the question you would easily ask any stranger on the street, “What time is it?”

If there is a loud noise in a public place, strangers look to each other and ask, “What was that?”

It is perfectly acceptable to be a sporting event, and if you missed the referee’s announcement, you can ask the stranger next to you, “What was that call?”

You are simply finding the facts to put information together.

Level 2: When/ Where Questions.  Use with daily acquaintances.

The second level of the heart is for acquaintances.  These are people you see daily but don’t speak with often.  When & Where questions are perfect to ask.  These kind of questions encourage the building of trust.

If a co-worker, the barista, or a Mom you recognize in the drop-off line, mentions a concert, it is perfectly acceptable to ask about the event.

“When is the concert?”   2 weeks.

“Where is it?”  Downtown.

Smart communicators wish them well and move on.

Remember, its a dance.  Don’t push.  Don’t intrude.  Be happy for the other and move on.

This kind of communication can make daily errands much more enjoyable.

Level 3: Who Questions.  Use with friends.

After a while you are at level three.  You have been small talking with this person and achieved a new level of trust: friendship.  This person has seen you in various situations and has had time to “feel you out.”  That is, they have begun to trust you.

This is a person that would sit down to break bread with you.  And they know they would enjoy it.  Even if you never spend time outside of work or the daily routine, the trust level there is valuable.

At the friend level, you can ask questions about who is in their lives.  Use these questions to open doors to new closer relationships.

Some “Who questions” to consider are:

  • “Who lives with you?”
  • “Who are you reading?”
  • “Who watches the kids when you go out?”
  • “Who has helped you with (insert a challenge they have before mentioned)?”

Who are they learning from. You are getting the bigger picture of the person. And they are of you.

Level 4: How Questions. Use with close friends.

Level four of the heart is a close friend.  These are those people we jokingly say, “Are in the circle of trust.”

When you ask a “How” question, you are asking about the processes that he is working through.  This level of trust is the understanding of how the person’s mind works.  A decision may look foolish on the outside, but when you ask how…you see the next step within the mind. Use the how questions to build stronger bonds between friends.

A few examples of “how questions” are:

  • “How did you come to that decision?
  • “How do you plan to make that happen?”
  • “How does that work for you?”
  • “How did you think that comment would be interpreted?”
  • “How will you know if you succeed?”

How questions pull people together.  They understand where the other is coming from and what to do to support them in the future.

How questions are powerful.

There have been times in our marriage where we fight and rush through to get to the next item on the calendar.  What we learned is that we were only communicating in level 1,2, and 3 questions.  We were missing the deeper level questions in our day to create that intimacy and harmony we needed.  So we started scheduling consistent date nights, just for that. During date nights we started talking not just about life, but what was going inside of us.  It really made a difference in our relationship.

If you are struggling to connect with someone close to you, ask yourself how your level of communication has been with him/her for the past week.  Or month.  Or several months.

Make the time and start to improve your communication.

Level 5:  Why Questions.  Use in high trust relationships.

Level five are the questions that asked by confidante, counselor, or trusted leader.

The “Why” questions are the final dive into the motivations and drive of a person.  The why questions take time to answer.  The why questions can repair relationships.  The “Why” questions discover thought processes, motivations, and inner drive.

Often, as you are in conversation, people will explain the how question to you.  When you ask, “Why?”  You need to be ready to put your focus and empathy into the conversation.  Go all in and watch how you connect with another.

A few quality “Why questions” are:

  • “Why did you think that was the right decision?”
  • “Why would you say that?”
  • “Why that one?
  • “Why would that impact you?”

Or, challenge the why. Say something like,

  • “Why not?”
  • “That sounds scary.  Why would that hold you back?”
  • “Why?”

Choose your questions wisely.

By choosing the right question for the event or location you are in, you are able to build your influence.  Great communication develops one question at a time.  Listen intently and learn more about the people around you.

When you do this, you will see others looking forward to your arrival.  They will want more from you- because we all love to talk about ourselves.  You will become a better leader.

Again, if you’d like the Communication Cheat Sheet + Infographic, click below and I’ll send it right to your inbox.

Tell me in the comments below, how do you build trust with new people in your life?