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Never Quit Your Passion Project for this Reason

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Recently, I was at a conference and got into a conversation with a woman who was inquiring about the work that I do. I told her I help creative entrepreneurs finish what they start, in other words follow through with their passion projects.

“Oh, that’s interesting!” she exclaimed, “I bet they need help with starting too, huh?”

I shook my head, “They start too much. That’s the issue!”

Except that as I sit here to write for the next 45 minutes, that’s not entirely truthful.

Chronic ‘starters’ do have trouble starting when they are aware of their history of quitting either too soon or too late and not being able to follow through with their passion projects.

They feel shame with the Instagram posts, “NEVER QUIT!” when they get that feeling in their stomach that they want to stop.

They want to feel fearless in their pursuit and continual commitment to their passion project, and if it doesn’t work out, they want to be able to stop without guilt.*

When the resistance to continuing your passion project gets thick--and it will--you have to decide whether or not to follow through . This is when you will ask yourself these two questions:

  1. Does My ‘Why’ Still Work?

Your ‘WHY’ in this instance is why you started your passion project in the first place.


Example: I’m starting a live course for writers to finish their passion project because writing consistently is my EVEREST. I have half finished poems and blog posts hanging around like strings that I won’t cut and I think it will be the MOST USEFUL course that I can offer that will help the MOST AMOUNT of people in my readership, including me!

The values it most honors by continuing is growth, financial abundance, and creativity.

Also, if your purpose shifts and you’re no longer aligned with your Why. Lose the guilt around it! It’s a phantom feeling, maybe because you are used to feeling guilty when you quit. But guilt comes from being out of integrity with your values and obligations. If your why isn’t true for you. Then leave it on the steps of your Project Exit and don’t look back.

2. Am I Quitting in Fear or Love?

Create unconsciously until quitting time. Then quit consciously with no guilty conscience.

Make every choice a conscious one. The decision to quit should be no different. Recently I heard in Conversations with God - An Uncommon Dialogue by Neale Donald Walsch that there are only two emotions: fear and love. If you apply these emotions to choice as it pertains to quitting, it becomes quitting based on fear or quitting based on love.

Do not, I repeat, do not quit based on fear.

Ninety percent of people do. You will know because the fear will resemble resistance and your internal ‘gremlin’ takes over your mind with thoughts like this:

I don’t know enough to write about this.

I quit every, single time. Why would this time be any different?

This is garbage and I know it.

Who do I think I am putting garbage into the world? My target market aren’t trash collectors!

These questions are not coming from your higher self. And they don’t appear when you’re in your Zone of Genius--aka, that space where you are creating the passion project you love to do that also brings you joy and/or paychecks. They come from it getting really harrrrrrd (whiny resistance voice) and from when you were a kid and you got picked last in gym class and so it’s your mind’s way of protecting you from being embarrassed ever again. It was learned and ingrained. It happens to the best of us. Excuse me, it happens to ALL OF US.


Promise yourself that you will only quit in love.


This means quitting if it will help you better serve yourself and the people on whom you want to create the biggest impact.

Is continuing this passion project harming my health or wellbeing?

Does continuing this passion project limit or infringe upon my growth in an area that is TOP priority for me? Spiritual, financial, etc.

Is there something else that feels more aligned with my core values that I am being called on to pursue?

If you answer “yes” to any of the above questions, then by all means, quit.

*A note about guilt*

Merriam-Webster defines guilt as feelings of deserving blame especially for imagined offenses. [Insert thoughtful, chin-tapping emoji here.] Imagined offenses include “letting yourself down” by not seeing your passion project through to the end. If you must quit, at least commit to quitting without guilt. It didn’t serve your mother and it’s not serving you. When guilt does show up, acknowledge its presence, but don’t let it set up shop. Show yourself some kindness and then show guilt to the door.

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5 Powerful Intentions for an Expansive Conference Experience

 Taking note at Priya Parker’s keynote at the CreativeMornings Summit 2018

Taking note at Priya Parker’s keynote at the CreativeMornings Summit 2018

People attend conferences for two main reasons: 1. To connect with others 2. To expand--intellectually, emotionally and creatively. Why not create powerful intentions to design the best possible conference experience you can imagine for yourself?

Gone are the days of the run-of-the-mill trade shows. Today, entrepreneurs and freelancers plan their travel schedules around immersive experiences in unique destinations like HATCH in Bozeman, Montana, or the CreativeMornings Summit summer camp that I just attended in the scenic Catskills of New York.  These multi-day conventions are jam-packed with activities like ‘Powerful Intentions Setting’, talks from industry experts, breakout sessions and bootcamps and it can be overwhelming, even for the most extroverted of us (hand-raise-moji).

Before you arrive at your next conference, I invite you to go inward and create a few powerful intentions of your own to better curate the experience you wish to have. Adopt one or more of the five powerful intentions below will allow for inward expansion that in turn will attract the people you are meant to meet.

Powerful Intention #1:

I will put my mission to the test--how can what I learn here allow me to be more specific in what I strive to do and who I do it for?

Before setting foot on the cobblestone path that led to the cabins at CM Summit camp a few weeks back, I was vacillating between 2 ideas for my group coaching course that I will be launching by year-end 2018. However, after prolific author and marketing master, Seth Godin took the stage, he urged us to “seek to serve the smallest possible audience.” After mentally eliminating the idea that was too broad, my mental picture of how I will serve my ‘polyamas’ became evermore clear and colorful.

 Ascend Live 2018 with Melissa Pharr

Ascend Live 2018 with Melissa Pharr

Powerful Intention #2:

I intend to stay fully present to what is showing up for me emotionally. Whatever comes, I welcome and acknowledge it with radical consent.

“Participate to the point and extent that you want.” Priya Parker, author of The Art of Gathering and master facilitator at the CM Summit told the crowd that fully encircled her on the field house bleachers. She defined this as radical consent, and I might offer that if you are feeling something that prevents you from campfire crowd crooning your lil heart out, honor your emotions and take that space. Sometimes the best powerful intention you can create is the one where you honor yourself fully.

Powerful intention #3:

I will treat this experience as a mirror to show me what is beautiful, what is ugly and what is true of me.

It’s not always kumbaya and kombucha at these things or as CM says, ‘hugs and high fives.’

After several impactful keynotes on Day 2, I had to step out.

I found my way to a hammock with my journal and a hot, heaving, heavy chest. I felt like a child about to throw a *major* tantrum. One of those upsets that as a child you allow the emotional storm to rip through your whole body, squirming and screaming, face twisted in aggravation in the unfairness of it all. I was envious in the most altruistic way (friendvious?)

“I want to be the one on stage! Why aren’t they listening to ME? I want to be the brilliant one facilitating transformational change!”

The feelings weren’t pretty, but I allowed them to set up camp in that hammock that overlooked the lake-facing cabins.

It felt beautiful to accept the truth that I couldn’t not facilitate transformational change until I felt it first. And how could I not be grateful for that hard-hitting dose of empathy!?

Powerful Intention #4:

I will pay attention to my energy and how certain people, nourishment and experiences ‘fill’ vs. ‘drain’ me and note them accordingly.

One of the greatest gifts of practicing presence and self-awareness is that you become keenly aware of how your energy shifts. The higher we resonate, the more creative and expansive we are and the more we attract opportunities and similarly high-resonating people our way. It can be very easy to abandon your self-care practices when in a new, exciting environment, but doing that can cause you to burn out quickly. Keep the ones that allow you to show up fully present, whether that is getting your morning meditation in or keeping an alcohol-free spree going.

 Tina Ross Eisenberg, found of CreativeMornings takes the mic

Tina Ross Eisenberg, found of CreativeMornings takes the mic

Powerful Intention #5:

I will get weird.

Fellow Austinites understand that weird is a euphemism for being unapologetically authentic and simply doing you. Try bypassing small talk and getting real with your fellow comrades by asking off-the-beaten path ice breakers like “What are you interested in to the point of near-embarrassment?” or “What’s your go-to dance move?”

Making out-of-the-ordinary connections make them more memorable, and is a trick that memory masters use with mnemonics. If one of your reasons for attending a conference is to meet amazing people, make meeting them memorable for everyone involved!

Do you have a go-to powerful intention that has worked well for you? Please share in the comments below.

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5 ‘W’s to Win the Year - Mid-Year Resolution Review (As Seen on CBS Austin)

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By the time December hits, only nine percent of people who set New Years resolutions report feeling successful in attaining their goal (Statistic Brain Research Institute)

However, you can win the year STARTING NOW with these 5 W’s--no matter when the year ends!

See the full segment on CBS Austin below:

1. WHERE are you now?

Check in with yourself. Take some space and be honest with where you are with your goal. If you haven’t made it tangible, create it via a SMART goal—Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relavant and Time-Bound.

2. WHY do you want this goal?

To make an impact in the lives of others? To look better in yoga pants? How does it align with your CORE VALUES? Write it down on your WHY card and put it where you can see it everyday--mine is on the front of my laptop!

3. WHAT NOW – What really needs to shift to make this a reality?

Drop other activities that don’t align as closely. How often will I be checking in with myself and what are my benchmarks for success? Write these down too!

4. WINS!

Make a list of all the fun things that you’ll do when you hit your benchmarks. Get whatever you need – like dance shoes or a suitcase – for when you inevitably hit those benchmarks.

5. WHO is keeping you accountable?  

Recruit someone who cares about you – a coach or friend and send them a recurring calendar invite with your goal as the name.

What are your favorite tips to keep on track with your goals?

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"What is a Life Coach Anyway?"

  AKA Is it like therapy / mentoring / consulting / etc.?

AKA Is it like therapy / mentoring / consulting / etc.?

In November 2015, I hired an online therapist. I was anxious about the upcoming holidays, ‘cause I had just left a job that paid, and was about to move ¾ of the way across the USA where I prayed I would find an occupation, friends, tacos and sunshine on December days.

I knew that this was what I wanted to do, but I still felt fear. And I wanted the ear of a professional near as I steered my life in this new direction.

I remember my calls with, let’s say Amy, and they consisted of me gushing about my week, complaining about how hard it was to keep my morning routines. And once the fog of the holiday lifts and I Lyft it from the airport to a new city with suitcases in hand, what was my plan? I asked her questions sometimes. Because she was a specialist of the mind. She had to know something I did not.

I learned did not matter what she thought. Because I wanted to move through the strife to get my brand new dream life. What was the homework I needed to do to make the stuff in my visions come true?

“Homework?” she asked. “We don’t really do homework in therapy.”

Hmm. In her practice this was an atypical approach. What I realized I wanted was a life coach.

"So what is a life coach? Is it like therapy?"

Life coaches are partners that help you gain clarification around what you want and why and a plan for taking action towards a life you are exhilarated by. Coaches do this by asking questions that access the client’s truth. It is an empowering process to experience and teach; proof that sustainable evolution is within everyone’s reach.

It’s a little like therapy because we tend to “think out loud”; venting can be soothing too, and totally allowed. Also, some of the reasons we don’t have the things we want is our inner voice that haunts us. It whispers limiting beliefs about our world and ourselves that prevent us from taking action and put our dreams on the back shelf.

Coaching can help to give the voice a name and reframe our perspective, but some of these beliefs are deeply held and were formed at a very young age. There may have been trauma and abuse and there could be residual fear and rage. This is where therapy can help. Therapists can aid healing old scars and move patients to a safe place to approach coaching with a healthy mind space.

If you’re a car with a faulty engine, you’re not gonna get too far. Therapy fixes that glitch to make your motor run. Coaching is like that fuel injection that gets you to your destination faster and the ride a lot more fun.

"Not to be insulting, but isn’t coaching like consulting?"

No offense taken and it’s easy to confuse. Both are specialized professionals being hired to provide a service. But consultants are experts in a particular domain; they come with an agenda to complete a task or make gains towards mutually-agreed terms of success.

Coaches, on the other hand, believe the clients are the experts in their own lives. They strive to hit the goals of the session that the client sets. The client determines the success. And it is the coaches job to get there through their own process. Coaches are kinda like nocturnal scientists with a flashlight. specializing in discovery, uncovering motivations, patterns and clarity for the client to insight.

"OK, and since we’re on this tour, how is a coach like a mentor?"

Coaching can seem like mentoring because the coach is often an achievement queen or king despite the hardships they have overcome. The expertise they bring might be the thing that attracts the client to them in the first place. The difference is that mentors are usually older or more senior than their protege, and often advise what they feel is the best way to go. There is no monetary exchange in mentorship. On the flip side, coaches get paid and their place is not to give advice. The best coaches know that everyone’s path is their own--they ask the tough q’s so as to reveal the answers that deep down, the client has known all along. In my experience, working with a coach is the most sustainable efficient way to make change because it comes from deep within. The client makes the choice to turn the page in their own story. Both parties are highly engaged. There are coaches for clients of any age or stage in life.

A note here: while it is often the case that a client pursues a coach due to a particular specialty, it is not mandatory in order to have a glorious coaching experience. A well-trained coach can help a fully-functioning person work through whatever it is they want to. That being said, the upside to working with a coach in a certain niche is that they have tools that tend to scratch a special kind of itch. Want some help losing weight? A trainer may help you trim temporarily for that one important date, but a health coach addresses the issue at the source. They will work first not on your core, but the core thoughts and beliefs that will get you more lasting results.

"How do you know if a coach is legit?"

Because the coaching industry is largely unregulated, doing your research on who you work with cannot be overstated. Many pro service providers classify themselves as a “coach” when really they take more of a consultant’s approach.

Ask yourself: In choosing to work with a life or business coach, what is most important to me?

Some of the factors you will want to consider:

  • Fee

  • Experience (years / coaching hours)

  • Education & Training

  • Certifications (CPC, PCC, ACC, MCC etc.)

  • Specialty (Life Purpose, Transition, Executive, Corporate, Relationship, Health)

  • Service Offerings (1:1 coaching, group training, workshops)

A Note about Life Coach Fees

Coach fees vary considerably depending on the specialty, experience, service offerings, and the client. I’ve seen fees for as little as $35 to $1K per session or higher in the corporate realm. It is hard to know what a coaching experience is worth and it can trigger overwhelm. But here are some questions to ask yourself:

What changes do I want to make most in my life and what is it costing me financially and emotionally?

How would my life be different if I were to make those changes? What else might shift for me?

If I were to be able to make those shifts in the next 6 months, what would that be worth to me?

Getting clear about what you want to gain from the coaching experience is the first step to making it happen.

And while you’re at it, find out how you want to feel. Tap into it and you can make it real.

"OK, I’m curious about hiring a life coach for sure. What’s the next step if I want to learn more?"

Once you have an idea about the changes you want to make in your life, a great place to start is asking people in your circles that you respect and admire if they have ever worked with a life coach and who they might recommend you hire.

Then hopefully, they send you to me. Hehehe.

As a huge advocate for the impact coaching’s had on me, I am delighted to discuss it more in depth with you for free.

Googling also works and is free. Any great coach who has some interesting content to share will probably have a mailing list or an Instagram account. Sign up and follow them to see what kind of insights are there.

Lots of times they will have useful freebies in exchange for your info. And while we’re on it, you’re in for a treat, you can get Five Days of Focus for free just by signing up below. Thanks for investing your time with me here. I’d love to hear more about what you would like to know about coaching on social or in a comment below!

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Follow the Fear

Big-Question-Mark-Polyama

I felt that sting in my nostrils. I squish my nose.  It's like a fire right before my flood of tears extinguish it. 

I didn’t expect it, nor could I detect it even when at my Women’s Group, someone brought up the thought:

“What were you afraid of as kid?”

My mind first trailed to the negative knee-jerk self-talk I was trying to rid.

“I’m so stupid I say when I make a wrong turn, leave the house while a candle still burns, or any number of any non-intelligence related concerns. 

Where does that come from? I need to go further back…

To a classroom. 2nd grade. Where I sat in the back. My 8-year old mind was so noisy with asks—I wanted to know everything! always! right now! My poor teacher probably struggled to stay on task.

One day, I arrived at school and she announced a new rule:

“Alison may only ask 3 questions per day.” If this was a joke, it was certainly cruel.

But no, a construction paper pocket to the wall was affixed. And ironically inside 3 tongue depressors— these would be my "Question Sticks." 

I was so humiliated, but was consumed by the thought: now I had to ask the other kids my queries and how the heck would I know if they were right or not? It felt so powerful to have the answers—to be the one that KNOWS. How would I get smarter? How would I grow?

I survived 2nd grade, made A’s and eventually got a degree. I changed careers from fashion to marketing, considered an MBA, but WHY when Google is free? I took speed-reading classes to get up to speed, consuming books, TedTalks, the bible of Fast Company

I did some self-exploration in that time too, and that’s when Polyama Project was born—which brings me to you.

I want to be an expert in multi-passionate people like you. I want to know everything about how I can help them DO. 

I want there to be more Leonardo Da Vinci's, Benjamin Franklins, Andy Warhols, and JLO’s. The accomplished gems that when the sun hits their facets, it’s a fricken light show.

And then I asked myself something—whats stopping me today?

"I don’t know enough. I’m not mentally tough."

I went deeper into that fray...

If had all the time and money in the world, what would I do to feel that I was doing this the right way…MY WAY? 

To help others find thier fullest potential, there had to be some rules...I would educate myself and learn the tools.

And that’s when I made the decision to go to certified coaching school.

This past weekend I started iPEC training, and learning what can't be taught online or on a shelf. I’ll be incorporating this into my writing and courses, and facilitating on a level that I could not have attained by myself. 

I can’t wait to share the insights that are revealed as I progress through.

Now, when it comes to getting curious around your fear, what questions ‘stick’ for you?

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Go To Heal

 Toya Devasya - "The Most Enjoyable Soaking Pool" - Bali, Indonesia

Toya Devasya - "The Most Enjoyable Soaking Pool" - Bali, Indonesia

I was terrified I was going to sprain my ankle. 

The terrain and sand yielded beneath my foot and already my Nikes and socks were filled with soot.

As tough of a climb on the way up in the dark, compared to scaling down this volcano? It was a walk in the park!

I dug my heels and hugged my abs, and put T. Swift on blast,

And soon I was sand-dancing and debris-skiing fast--past all the tourists, having a blast!

As the trail leveled into the Balinese jungle, my companions and I didn’t slow our pace,

we raced through and hopped over gnarled roots and I tried not to think about ending up on my face.

At the trail’s end we were high on the smell of tropical dirt, bruised, and laughing in hysteria.

First ones off the summit—GO TEAM ‘MERICA!

 Team 'Merica at the top. Possibly my most favorite snapshot, ever.

Team 'Merica at the top. Possibly my most favorite snapshot, ever.

The soreness set in as we got back to our car, and our driver’s suggestion to head to the hot springs would be the best by far.

After the entry fee of 180,000 rupiahs, equal to 13.5 USD, we opened the gates to the most beautiful place I will probably ever see.

Jewel-toned mosaic paths led to gardens and pools, purple elephants donning flower crowns since 'before they were cool'...

Their lilac trunks sprayed warm freshwater into mineral baths, and my words couldn’t describe the view were I Sylvia Plath...

The pool of infinity kissed Lake Batur beneath her namesake volcano which we had just toured.

Though we were closer to the sky at the top at sunrise, here was my hot, healing Heaven, every muscle revitalized.

I drank in the moments, luxuriated in the space, knowing in a few short hours I’d be leaving this place.

But what’s wonderful is knowing I can access this anytime...I can create the serenity inside my mind.

See our thoughts are forces of nature as well.

They can churn and burn like sulfur they can snowball and swell.

Treat your body and mind kindly and be sure to check in,

and speak to yourself the way you’d address your best friend.

Give yourself action, and romance, and flowers and rest,

And you will love yourself enough to be at your best.

See you don’t have to stumble into Heaven to go to heal,

you can create the space inside you to feel the way you want to feel.

Sure, minerals and meditation alone won’t mend bones that break,

But the vast majority of your experience is a choice that you make.

So I go to heal every morning before the sun crests

I clear a serene space in my mind where my thoughts can rest

There’s no purple elephants there or volcanic streams,

but I’ll save that excitement for my wildest dreams.

Toya Devasya Alison Bali

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Saying NO as a YES person.

How-well-do-you-know-NO

Do you know how and when to say "no" when you're a "yes ma'am" or man?

He looked at me sideways, quizzically. 

“Is there anything you DON’T like?” 

“Seriously?” I countered, “of course!” Does that question count? I thought, agitated. I hesitated. 

I had been enjoying an enchanted evening in NYC, dining with a man I glorified, but Lord, this man was no ordinary man. He was a “NO” man. He was the most successful and discerning man I knew. And in this No Man’s Land, the following activities are taboo:

  • karaoke
  • heights
  • poetry readings
  • any performance with “modern” in the description
  • an event that invites audience remarks
  • drinking alcohol
  • sparking up a joint or smoking of any kind
  • water parks

I don’t know...that last one might be a lie, but it seems like it could apply... 

Now for kicks, let's take a look at what's at the top of my FUN list:

  • karaoke
  • slam poetry
  • spicy margaritas
  • pun competitions
  • anything involving audience participation
  • rowdy dog runs
  • anything with big salt flecks
  • Jimmy Fallon’s lip synch tête-à-tête
  • aerial yoga —> have actually never done but looks beautiful and fun
  • conversations with people I enjoy so much that I hold my bladder till its about to explode, then awkwardly and quickly shimmy to the commode...

That list could go on forever. It is WAY easier for me to supply things I like to do than don’t. Probably because I’ve stopped feeling that sinking feeling saying no to things that don’t float my boat. So there is seldom a time when it’s on my mind. For the most part, I’ve arranged to be consistently in an environment that pleases me. My 2-mile commute to work is minute, I love my bedroom’s fuchsia wall. I’m a creatively thoughtful optimist which is just semantics—I’m a romantic

And yes, perhaps I see the world through rosy-hued lenses, but I’d like to think they lend to my thoughts and maybe thinking pink ain’t so bad. Or drinking pink, for that matter. My fave mocktail is club soda + bitters and a lime and it’s refreshing taste and pale crimson color gives me joy every time.  

Some might even call me a Pollyanna, defined as an excessively cheerful person and being perky has it’s perks. But if your chin is high, you will nod off eventually. It’s gravity, and being a YES human is depleting. Because you’re opening doors, they swing both ways so a lot can escape when you live in ‘yay’. Knowing if you are a YES person foremost, helps you preserve your energy where you need it most.

Here are some characteristics of YES people:

  • lots of energy
  • extroverts
  • curious
  • open-minded
  • involved in many activities
  • a desire to be physically moving
  • risk-takers
  • have trouble with boundaries
  • talkative
  • attract others to them
  • "life of the party” personality
  • can't hold their bladder (ok maybe that's just me)

YES people are who you call when you need a 'plus one.' YES people are who you go to help cheer you on or when you need a hug. They are human spark plugs. But if they’re not careful, YES people will burn out. They are like those fabulous roman candles that burn burn burn across the sky—the mad ones, according to Kerouac.

 Image credit: Scott Cleary of CargoCollective.com

Image credit: Scott Cleary of CargoCollective.com

I know what it’s like to be on a YES binge. I thought I was making everyone’s lives brighter if I gave my light away and stayed super busy, but it just made me dim and extremely dizzy. Seriously, I got vertigo and couldn’t see straight for 10 days. Click here to hear more about burnout and the price I paid. 

So how do you be the best of both no and yes? It’s being self-aware and taking care to only do what’s important to you.

Success to me means knowing when to say no and having full control over YES.

This means—saying YES to things that fall into your YES-ZONE. 

The Yes Zone aka Derek Siver’s Hell Yeah” = items in your “prior rights.” Prior rights are well, you guessed it—priorities. 

So here’s what you can do to get there—this is taken from Day 2 of the #5DaysofFocus (Click here to get all 5 days—it pays dividends, my friend).

Try writing out your Prior-Rights THIS WEEK. The following make their way into my ‘zone', use them or write your own:

  • Income - Full or part-time income
  • Health/Wellness — Meditation and physical exercise
  • Environment— Home / workspace that’s habitable
  • Relationships — Friends / Lovers / Family
  • Creativity— Creating / Taking in beautiful / inspirational / thought-provoking stimuli like art, theatre, literature, comedy
  • Spirituality—Worship practice
  • Growth—Expanding your mind, adding additional skills to your arsenal

Now date it. Number them. No more than 7. And you can Yes the Hell Yeah outta these. Anything that doesn’t fit into one of these buckets this week, you have full permission to dump. Next week you can re-evaluate—in no way are these set in stone. Does giving yourself control over YES make you feel closer to success? Tweet and tell me @alisonperrie what’s front and center in your YES zone.

#100DAYSOF - A Tactical Guide

What if I said in 100 days you could create major change in your life? Here’s how to pull it off with minimal strife in an hour or less. We address your #100DaysOf project one step at a time.

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100 DAY HABIT - 5 TIPS TO NOT QUIT

 Creative Journey map by Lena Umezawa / TheyDrawAndTravel.com

Creative Journey map by Lena Umezawa / TheyDrawAndTravel.com

Habit is a GOOD servant but a BAD master.
— Gretchin Rubin

Got a bad habit to be late to the life you want to create? Make a habit of the behavior you'd like to emulate. Start by doing something small to progress every day and you will be well on your way to being the writer/author/speaker/teacher/genius that you already are. 

Want to hear more about Why 100 Days Matter? Read this. Otherwise, let's get to it. Maybe you want to start drawing again. Or write everyday. Well, let me be the first to congratulate you for committing. Now commit this to memory-- you're gonna want to quit. The following are 5 tips to keep you IN IT when the shit hits the fan.

I tell you the facts that no one told me when I embarked on my project, #100DaysOfCopyThat. It  would have been nice to know what to expect and find ways to not fight but dance with Resistance. Resistance is the force that will always show up whenever you attempt to level up in life. Pursuits in creativity, education, health, and career will undoubtedly stir up resistance, i.e., fear. So let's not stumble over the hurdles that it as well as life throws down, let's RUMBLE.

No. 1: LOSING STEAM

SOUNDS LIKE: “Ummm…::staring at blank screen:: this is hard and I think I have last night's dishes to clean...

YOUR MOVE: Push through. Trust me. Or tweet me. I’m happy to help keep your creative engine running. ’Cause after around day 28, the inspo will START FLOWIN’ and it WILL feel great.

Unlike toilet paper when the need is most severe, you will never run out of excuses why you can’t do your 'thing', m'dear. But if you’re like me and had ‘phone it in’ on speed-dial in the past then maybe JUST MAYBE you’re finally fed up with NOT getting anywhere than actually putting in the miles.

 The Enthusiasm vs. Time Line Chart for a 100 Day Project

The Enthusiasm vs. Time Line Chart for a 100 Day Project

No. 2: DISTRACTION

SOUNDS LIKE: “Hmm Is that [Insert Ex’s New Girlfriend’s Name] in those Maui pics? Is she a model?” Click, click click.

YOUR MOVE: Distraction-proof to prove you mean business. If you are writing, log into the ‘Guest’ account on your Mac if you have one or 'safe mode' in PC. Your attention is expensive--do not give it away for free. If you're social media prone, block it by using StayFocusd--a plugin for Google Chrome. A recent study by Digitrends puts checking social media feeds 17 times a day or more--so that's where a lot of our time is going--in my case, I have an Instagram 'bedtime' for sure.  At 10PM nightly, my alarm persists--stop flipping through Stories and give it a rest!

We can not prevent pitfalls or other peoples’ spills, we can not prevent fires--unless they're the forest-kind. Some we will always have to put out, although try and wait and let someone else use their water spout. What I'm saying is, when new habits emerge, they take time and energy and let's be real--there are VERY FEW REAL EMERGENCIES.

There are, of course, more important things in life than having a fully-activated creative mind. …like the health of your kid. I don't deny that and there may be legitimate reasons why you can't do it one time--just don't commit Habit treason. Miss a day? Add one on to the end, friend. And don't dawdle or worry...BTW your ex's new gf is not really a model. And by the way, by the time you look through all of her vacation pics on Facebook you could have been head down authoring the footnotes for your fabulous book. 

No. 3. DELIVERING LESS THAN WHAT YOU DEEM QUALITY WORK

SOUNDS LIKE: “UGH. It's 11:49PM my work sucks and I'm pissed. I AM NOT putting this out into the world--not like this!”

Oooooh..yeah you’re right. Don’t put that out there. Blank stare... 

JUST KIDDING. In the words of Sheryl Sandberg: “Done is better than perfect.” Done will always be better--it's sustainable. Perfection is less than realistic--it's downright unattainable.

During my 100-day project, I copied something--with credit given--or added copywriting to an image for 100 days. Sometimes my posts looked like they were copied left-handed late at night. They were, except that's my dominant hand. I just couldn't get it down right. Others show the smudges, the trenches, the stenches of work-in-process. Even though it’s far from pristine, that’s what makes it interesting.

 #100DaysofCopyThat / Day 27

#100DaysofCopyThat / Day 27

Some artists even go as far as to make the journey their end product. Cy Twombly's work is seen internationally, but I first saw it at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. Many of Twombly’s pieces are scrawlings of math problems, colorful chicken-scratched color tests, corner doodles of faces with haunting smeared expressions. I was not sure if was his original intention, but the entire process was his work. The pieces were enormous, raw, wrenching and loud, and the coffee stains and punctures are narratives that rupture throughout. I try to keep Cy’s work in mind as I’m creating knowing that there is a way to show the behind-the-scenes without it going in the direction of teen center craft night, but sometimes shit happens and you still gotta ship it.

Think about it. When is the last time that you put something out there, work related or otherwise that was devoid of error, and pristine, the output exactly as you had imagined it? Yeah, that was likely a dream. There will always be the folly of time and human error, so might as well bare it.

OH, and important to note — no one’s looking at you. Very few will care (sorry). But you’re not doing it for them, nor likes hearts or shares. Which leads me to number four:

No. 4. NOT GETTING THE LOVE/SUPPORT YOU DESERVE

SOUNDS LIKE: “REALLY? SEVEN Likes? I just made the fricken Mona Lisa out of spaghetti!”

YOUR MOVE: Yes You did and it’s pasta-tively awesome. But before you go scratching your noodle about why you’re not receiving the kind of virtual love that your project should get, JUSTSTOP and keep going. You will keep making regardless. Hearts are not your fuel. And for God’s Sake, turn off the notification pop-ups--it's just cruel.

BUT, #protip: Do add the appropriate hashtags, especially the #100daysof[projectname] so that you are searchable and so that you can keep daily track of the game.

There is an exception to the silly-hearts rule and it's rooted in accountability. I started #100DaysofCopy that in the midst of my typography class, and my instructor was badass book cover designer, Jason Heuer. For at least the first half of the project, Jason ‘hearted’ every single one of my project's posts. Sometimes it takes just one person looking to help you through. That one little double-tap once a day did wonders for my confidence and resolve to continue.

Also, when you first begin and start talking about it, people will have either one of two reactions, “Oh hey, that’s cool.” Or “Good luck with THAT. I/person-I-know tried something like that before and lasted 2 weeks.” Yes, but they were weak--that isn't you. There will be resistance from the people you talk to. We as a species are resistant to change. But a funny thing happens when you are 1/3rd of the way in...at this point, you have proven that you’re surious, and have no plans to leave the race. Suddenly you start to accrue a little crew of cheerleaders--sometimes and only including your mom--that really like what you got goin’ on. Use the momentum.

No. 5. FIND YOUR HEROES

SOUNDS LIKE: “No way--there's an IG for farm-team athletic mascots? Jackpot. 

YOUR MOVE: Doing a project for 100 days gives you a reason to get in touch with people that are doing the kinds of things you’re into for way longer. They have experienced the hills and valleys of their craft and have battled resistance and made it back intact. Create a list on Twitter and keep tabs on them. Engage with them. Be useful to them, and you might find your future employer, client, or couch to crash on next time you’re in their town. Former living statue, musician, and author, Amanda Palmer notoriously has stayed in the homes of her fans while on tour. Throughout her chaotic creative career she has furiously dedicated devotees that will finance whatever endeavor she pursues next and will always open their doors.

Make things, ask the universe what is next, take notes, and share. This is a great way to live. Give this gift and receive humility, confidence, and find like-minds near and far. So now that you know what is par for the course, where will you go?

This is Part 2 of a 3-Part Series:

Part 1 — WHY 100 DAYS MATTERS.

Part 2 — WHAT to Expect on Your 100 Days

Part 3 — HOW to Find Your #100DayProject

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WHY 100 DAYS MATTERS

100DAYS
silence the bitchy whisperer [i.e. Fear] deep within you with your skinny jeans on that says: “pssssh…you can’t pull this off.”

I am an expert at trying ‘a thing’ on for size, twirling around in it, asking a few people their opinion, and then finding some reason why it’s not for me--too tight, too high-maintenance, not short enough, or not FREE. I was desperate for a self-inflicted project to which I could commit. I was so sick of getting excited about a project and then just dropping it. Just once, I needed to be acquitted of THE QUIT.

Do you keep your side project at bay? Is there a calling that you keep letting go to VM? Or, actually, for me it is more like a tugging at my pant leg that I keep kicking away.

And then there are those people that are DOING that thing you want to do too. The ones that spark *ENVY*. The ones whose work you see that make you say I wish that was me.’ Or, ‘I had that idea in 2,000fricken3!’ Or, that creepy/vulnerable moment where you hear someone’s words and something in your chest shifts and it resonates within the caverns of your soul. That happened to me within the first few pages of Elle Luna’s Crossroads Between Should and Must, given to me by my friend, Missy, whom I loved, and trusted. Elle alongside the Great Discontent ran 100-day campaigns to help creative projects GET 'SENT.'

I read the book which got my inspired thoughts churning but I put the project on the back burner.

A few months later, an art director, Catherine Casalino, came and spoke to my SVA typography class which would banish me from a creative rut. She was doing #100DaysinWonderland inspired by the Lewis Caroll book and the iconic NYC designer, Michael Bierut.

I was intrigued. A Google search revealed that Bierut was behind the FedEx logo and the Saks Fifth Avenue seal. He was also an SVA instructor and had his students embark on a 100 Days Challenge on 11/7/07. It was November 5th--8 years later when I read that bit. I had two days to plan my 100-Day Trip.

WHY 100 DAYS?

It’s memorable, for one. And Jay Papasan, and Real Estate mogul Gary Keller show us in The One Thing that it takes 66 days to make a behavior a 'thing'. As creative people, our drive and resolve to make is met with an indefatigable force that create painstaking delays in delivering our craft to the world. So, think of those other 34 days in your trip as an insurance policy against failure-to-ship.

There is also proof that the first 100 days in an era can dictate overall success in an endeavor. Case in precedence--the gestation period of the newly elected presidents. Michael Watkins, in his HBR article, Why the First 100 Days Matters, explains why this 3 1/2 months is so clutch: “[Leaders] entering new roles can stumble badly and still recover. But it’s a whole lot easier if they don’t stumble in the first place. And that’s why the transition period matters so much.” 

It can feel daunting to embark on something that can feel as though it would claim entire nights, weekends, or precious time away from family, friends, and your 9-hour workday.

But what if you committed just 20 minutes daily? That’s half of an already-shortened lunch break or two showers, sans shaving. Imagine the calories and water you’d be saving! Seriously, though, the length of time will vary, depending on your piece, and can be way shorter like Zak Klauck’s 100 posters-in-a-minute project. We will get to what kinds of projects make a good fit later, but first, the other less worthy reasons for starting a project (other than squashing your fear that is).

100 DAYS OF GETTING BETTER FASTER

Imagine that sensation of starting something new. Snowboarding, for example. Did you suck at it too? You can barely sustain momentum long enough to sneeze and lose balance. You used to have abdominal fortitude before you strapped yourself into a board and headed down what feels like an ice luge. Maybe you are with a few people on the slope that suck worse. That’s comforting for a minute but then WHURRRRRSHHHH….the pro’s whiz past you in a flash of color and sound. And they’re having the time of their lives. You? Dumbfounded. At least that is how I saw it when I tried snowboarding for the first time on the icy slopes at Hunter Mountain in NY with over-aggressive sunshine. Except those pro’s I mentioned before were actually 7-year-olds that come every winter with their fit European mum, dad, sis and bro. I could have phoned it in after my lesson as I had endured enough wipeouts on near zero-degree inclines to earn an adult hot chocolate in the lodge, fully reclined. That is where most of the other slope virgins in my class had gone. But what kept me from hanging with it and long after my comrades had hung up their bindings?

It was finding that feeling that when I did start coasting if only for a second, it was fun. It’s fun!

You feel a slight breeze. It’s thrilling and effortless; you forget that ache in your wrist and for a moment, you are in the flow and it’s bliss. It’s adrenaline, and pride, and excitation, and fear all served up in this flaming high-flying cocktail and you glide down the slope until BUMP, you’re down again. If only you could sustain that momentum for a moment longer, multiply it by 2, you just might make it down the hill before the trip is through.

It is similar with creative pursuits. You start making a thing, getting into the groove, and what you make isn’t that good at all. But you improve. It has good bones. And though you notice the Gap between what you’re making and what you want to make, the best way to get to where your heroes are is to JUST START MAKING. A lot. And the more you make on a consistent basis, the faster you fail and the quicker get to sucking less.

100 DAYS OF FINDING YOUR PEOPLE

When I left my job in September 2015, I did not know exactly what I was looking for next. But I knew who I looked to that were doing things I loved the best. And what do you do when you discover something--or someone--you love? You get to know it. You sign up for their mailing list and read and research. Watch Youtube videos and drink instant coffee in graphic PJ pants with your socks pulled up. And then you attempt to emulate it, despite the suck. I admired the sharp-tongued wit of copywriter Ashley Ambirge, the vulnerable hand-lettered poetry of Debbie Millman, design thinker. And the principles laid out by best-selling author, Austin Kleon, in Steal Like An Artist gave me permission to tinker. That is when my project, #100DaysofCopyThat was born. And along the way, I discovered so many amazing artists and writers that blew my mind with their creative contributions I felt so blessed to find. And suddenly, we were connected through a shared appreciation of funny coffee mugs, ambition to expresso ourselves, or really awful puns (not a typo above:).

100 DAYS OF IDEA MACHINERY

You will notice something strange when you start making every day. Inspiration starts to trickle at first...but then FULL-ON SPRAY. You can’t get the ideas down fast enough. And then the next day the mainline will be dry and rusted and you need to start scratching the surfaces of your swipe file. The swipe file is where you'll go when you start to pout that there is an idea drought.  Later, we will get into ways to safeguard your creative stash when this (and other pesky things called Life) come to pass, but I promise, the more you make, the flow will start to self-regulate.

If this revvs your engine to start your own 100 Day journey, stay tuned for the next installment — What to Expect, where I’ll lay out provisions to pack as you prepare for the days ahead in your creative trek.

Part 1 — WHY 100 Days Matters

Part 2 — WHAT to Expect on Your 100 Day Trek

Part 3 — HOW to Find Your #100Day Thing

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I refuse to let this fizzle.

It was a year ago that I bought the domain name... and started a Tumblr, since I didn't have a site yet. 

Here's what I wrote:

FIRST THINGS SECOND.

So what’s done first when you got a thing and a thought?

A domain name. But no, that’s actually second. The first thing is a name….

A name for a platform for multipassionate people to share resources and talk about their respective passions and expertise…

Polyinterested, Polypassionate, Multipassionista…(taken, and an interesting side story told at another time)…

Polyama? I wasn’t sold and it’s in the works, so I started an Evernote folder called Polyama Project.

I like poly ‘cause it means "many" and it’s a riff off of the name “Polyanna” whose origins come from a character from an Eleanore Porter novel from the 1900′s and had come to be synonymous with “irrepressible optimism evident in the face of even the most adverse or discouraging of circumstances.”

I like this. Indefatiguable. Like my most favorite successful people.

It also sounds like a warehouse party that polyamorous couples go to get away from their yuppie couple-friends and families on weekends who don’t understand/know about their alternative lifestyle. I’m ok with that. At least it’s interesting…

And written in cursive, the two humps of the ‘m" are written like two n’s paying further homage to the nomenclature.

And like most things that get started at all, it was the best thing I could think of and I bought the domain for $11.99 (and did not pay extra for security).

Bluehost was cheaper than Squarespace to host the domain (SS was $20).

And here's how I set up the rest of my website for less than $20 and 5 hours:

Cost: $17.10 ($12 to buy/map on Bluehost & $5 for Squarespace to host and $.10 for the bid for Google Adwords)

Time: 4.5 hours

1. Walked through annoying step by step process and FINALLY got the domain name for Bluehost to direct me to “Polyama Project.” (I followed Squarespace’s Step-by-Step Directions here.)

3. Signed up for Google Analytics account 

4. Put the UA number in there so it syncs up with your site.

5. Put in a bunch of keyword search terms in the keyword planner like “creative entrepreneur, multi-passionate, many interests, finding my one true calling,” etc. (this is a slim number of people actually googling that, apparently)

6. Put the bid at $.10 

7. Tried to frantically look for a 100 dollar discount for Google Adwords with 0 success. 

8. Put my credit card number in 

9. Walked away from the monitor confused about what just happened / what I just did / how much Google was actually going to charge me.

10. Chugged a bunch of water. 

11. Changed out of my pajamas. 

--That's where it ended. A year ago. And like the sites of those I googled to see if the multipassionate domain names were taken, the sites were there. With awkwardly misplaced icons and little pixelated buttons that were like windows built on interior walls. They went nowhere. Just one more project that this creative person tried to launch but just let it decay in cyberspace. Well, Polyama Project isn't going to be one of those things... and I'm gonna get meta, ('cause meta is 'betta') so get ready. I'm gonna launch my first online workshop in 100 days and I'm gonna take notes along the way. 'Cause my workshop's gonna teach you how to 'do your thing' in due time too and "FINISH HIM."

Finish_Him_Donut

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