motivational monday: community over competition

Community Over Competition

Did you roll your eyes when you read the title of this post? Sometimes I roll my eyes when I see people using this phrase on Instagram, and you can tell it’s not really coming from their heart, it’s just part of an image they’re trying to curate online. More times than not, those girls hashtagging this up have an exclusive group and only want to interact with people that they can tell are fan-girling and/or have a decent following.

We all have a secret skill, and mine is seeing through people’s facades. This can make it hard for people that can’t be real with me to become my friend. To me, when you build a facade, you are building a lie, and I don’t want to be friends with a liar. What’s the point? If your friend can’t be their real self with you, then you can’t have a real relationship, which to me is a waste of time.

What does all this have to do with “community over competition”? Well, if you’re building facades, you’re not having faith in your community to accept you for who you are. Your facade is also something you’ve built to make your life seem better than it is, this means your using your facade to compete with those you think have “it” better than you.

I love social media, but these unreal views that people create promotes more competition. I’m not saying that this is all social media does, though!

Twitter is my favorite social media outlet. I’ve made so many friends, learned a lot, collaborated with people, and have helped people in return. I’m slowly building a similar community on Periscope. These two places seem more real to me than Instagram. I love my Twitter community. There’s no drama in my Twitter community.

I’m also in some Facebook groups, and in most of them there’s a lot of drama (sadly a lot of the planner groups can be like that). That said, I LOVE the Louis Vuitton planner group I’m in. Some people think less of people that buy “luxury” goods, but this group is so full of positivity! Yes, we all have LV planners, but the inserts range in “price” from homemade to high-end, and no one judges anyone’s inserts. No on makes fun of someone when they have a DIY insert that is not super sleek. We’re all just cheering everyone on and sharing how we made them, or where we bought them (often off Etsy). It’s a great group to be a part of.

Sometimes I feel stupid for not understanding why anyone would ever choose to not be supportive of their friends or strangers on the internet. If your friend got a raise and is making more than you, celebrate her! Don’t try to knock her down. If your friend has more followers on social media, don’t be jealous, ask her for advice. If your friend’s business is booming, ask her to share steps she took to boost sales. Unless you two are making the exact same product, she is not your competition.

A rising tide lifts all boats

There are a lot of business coaches out there, many teach people how to become coaches themselves, they know there is room for everyone. I’m in several licensing groups on FB as well, and we all help each other out. We share resources, give feedback on art and contracts. I know I’ve mentioned before that I’ve helped some friends that are complete competition for me, they have a similar style and target demographic, but I’ve helped them anyway, and I will continue to help them any time they ask. The mark I want to leave on this world is of being helpful, that’s more important to me than fame or fortune.

I’m a believer that what you put out comes back to you. That’s not what motivates me to help people, but I’ve seen where selfish people have “paid the price” in their lives. You can’t fake your karma, either, your good actions have to come from the heart. I was recently jealous of someone. It lasted less than 24 hours, and then I decided to get over it, and go back to my normal helpful self. After I made that choice I felt so much better and was no longer wasting time thinking about that person in a negative way. We’re all going to feel jealous from time to time, the trick is to move past it, and keep putting out positivity into the world.

Isn’t there enough bad out there? We have the choice to help people out. If you’re one of the “good guys”, you’re out there raising everyone up and being supportive, try taking it a step further. When your friend or co-worker (you know the one, the one that lives for gossip and tearing others down) starts in, try calling them out (in a positive way). If this person is too difficult, any time they try to bring their negativity around just change the subject. That way you’re squashing the negativity. Every day we get to make a choice on the impression we want to make in this world. We own that choice. Maybe bad things keep happening to you, and you’re feeling angry and like you’ve been dealt a crappy hand. Last year was a very bad year for me, but I didn’t let all the crappy days change what I put out there. When someone is a jerk to you, you can control whether or not you take it out on the next person.

So what’s this “Motivation Monday” about? It’s about motivating you to constantly make the choice to help your community, and spread the energy to get others to do the same. For some this will come easy, for others this will be changing their habits. If you think it will be hard for you, have a buddy help you out. Together we can do so much.

Xx-renée

inspired: pretty in pink 30th anniversary

Pretty in Pink 30th Anniversary

Today marks the 30th anniversary of the 80s movie Pretty in Pink. On Valentine’s Day they had special screenings through Fathom events, and boy did I scoop up tickets as soon as I found out. This movie has had a long lasting impact in my life. To this day, that soundtrack puts me in a very productive mood. If you haven’t seen the movie, stop reading this post now, and come back after you do. Trust me, you’ll want to see it. If you have, let me share the ways this movie weaved through my life. Pretty in Pink inspired me to cut up clothes and rework them into new pieces, it made me want to work in a record store doing fun displays, it made me want a pink car, it reminded me not to let what people think change me, and the music, well, the music just ended up being my own life soundtrack.

Now to give specifics on all of that. In middle school my best friend and I would get together and swap clothes, I always used the clothes I got from her to cut up and mix with my clothes. I didn’t know how to sew then, so I would staple, safety pin, and tape pieces together. No one knew that I did that, but people always asked me where I got what I was wearing, and there was no better feeling than getting to say I made it. It felt amazing knowing something new I pieced together was well received.

In high school I did my first choreography dance final to Shellshock by New Order (featured in the movie).

In high school I had decided I wanted to own my own record store. In order to do that I thought I should get a job at a record store. After I graduated I worked in several trying to learn as much as I could, and often getting to work on displays. I even did a variation of the record display in the movie at one of the record stores I worked for. Once I started working for Tower Records, it was then that I learned of art departments in record stores, and doing that became a new goal. One of my favorite jobs ever was when I was in charge of signage, displays, marketing and events for a record store, it was there that I was really marrying my two loves; being creative and music.

Perseverance is a strong theme in the movie. Duckie, Andie, and Iona kept pushing forward and having a strong sense of self. It was inspiring, it made me feel like I could hold my own no matter what.

I still haven’t owned a pink car, but that’s next on my list. 😉

What do you think about Pretty in Pink? Are there any movies that have inspired you? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Xx-renée

wednesday wisdom: it is what it is

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I happened upon this simple, beautiful typography print from Etsy seller Coco And Dee, and was inspired to share a little bit about a topic on which I’ve been working in my personal life recently: acceptance. Accepting the world around us isn’t always easy, and accepting ourselves is often even harder. “It is what it is,” is a statement I’m known to use often when discussing external situations or problems, but applying that same understanding to myself has been a significant challenge throughout most of my life. I know I’m not alone in this; many people experience the same difficulty and it holds us back from being our best, most satisfied selves. A few moments of digging online will produce an ample selection of resource options, though, so there’s definitely hope for us!

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” – e.e. cummings

Accepting oneself does not necessarily mean approval of where one is in life right now. You can still recognize area for improvement, have goals and ideals, and have a plan in place to help you achieve those goals (which, of course, means changing something about where/who/what you are), but you don’t have to beat yourself up along the way. Acceptance simply means no longer struggling against your reality, which will actually make it easier for you to attain results and make lasting changes.

In a Tiny Buddha post on the topic of self-acceptance, author E.K. Bradley explains, “No one can attain happiness if they are hung up on what is lacking; we must transcend the need to compare ourselves to others and let go of our apparent flaws and shortcomings. This frees us from self-imposed judgment and the need to fit into society’s standard of what we should look like, be, act, and do.” (The site has lots more great content on acceptance, by a variety of writers, FYI.)

In acceptance lies empowerment, happiness, and freedom. Be kind to yourself and consider your weaknesses, without making excuses, when beginning a new journey to improvement. Making small, realistic, quantifiable actions toward your chosen goals will help you achieve lasting lifestyle changes — but don’t forget to love who you already are along the way.

You are who you are. And it is what it is.
xo
-Jen

wednesday wisdom: teamwork

When people cooperate to achieve a common goal, amazing things can happen. Even for those of us who prefer solitude to being around others much of the time, the benefits of connecting with fellow humans — both in personal and professional contexts — affect not only the group, but also the individual in positive ways. (Of course, if you are an introvert, this may require a little creativity and a pretty thorough understanding of your boundaries, but there are tons of innovative digital resources these days that make it easy to collaborate with a team on your own terms.)

Working together, at home as well as work, boosts morale and yields higher efficiency when each person focuses on his or her contribution to the whole by offering their respective strengths. Even better? Practice makes perfect, so practicing a specific task diligently (as opposed to handling a whole project on your own, spreading your attention thin) will ideally create new, stronger strengths for you. Practicing teamwork also teaches improved conflict resolution and communication skills. According to research, cooperation can even make you more intelligent!

Together. It’s a powerful concept. We are stronger together than apart, and history has proven the power of organized groups of people passionate about the same causes.

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In my personal life, I’ve begun implementing team-building practices into our household routines, and am continuing to seek solutions that seem fun for the kids and easy for me to maintain. The goal is to encourage generosity, solid work ethic, social skills, and balance. We’re still attempting to design the perfect chore chart for my family’s lifestyle, one that makes it easy to keep track of goals and how/when/how much each member acts in the interest of achieving them.

When it comes to art and business, I find myself doing my best work with a team, despite not considering myself much of a “people person.” I’ve found many ways to create awesome things that are integral to their projects without being confined to an environment in which I’m not comfortable enough to thrive. I paint theatrical set pieces in solitude, usually while rocking out to 80s-90s music and getting quite a workout, which are then combined with the fruits of the actors’ and theatre staff’s labor to produce wonderfully entertaining shows. I make custom accessories at my desk at home for clients who are overseeing team-powered projects and events of all kinds, and am always thrilled to see the finished product, once it’s all pieced together. Being an important little part of an awesome bigger picture is exhilarating and inspiring to me, so there’s an effect on my momentum going forward as well.

Even for this blog, Renée and I each contribute posts that highlight our individual interests and areas of expertise. We both have busy daily lives, and have each experienced our share of significant family and personal obstacles that serve as setbacks on the path to some of our professional ideals. If one of us is overwhelmed when life gets in the way, the other always tries to make certain the ship stays afloat.

Knowing we have a caring support system helps soften life’s blows. Having a cohort who shares your vision is an invaluable resource, making it more likely that we’ll get back on track after we stumble. I know there are areas in my life wherein I’d like to be a better teammate, and wherein I’d love to influence those around me to do the same.

Do you manage a team or a busy family? If so, what tips and insights would you say have been particularly motivational or helpful? Leave us a comment below!

-Jen

inspired: home office

Office Inspiration

I’ve been on a house cleaning spree, focusing mostly on the home studio/office. As my show display inventory has grown, I have not kept up with having an easily accessible way to store everything in-between shows. I also didn’t really unload old displays I don’t use anymore. Having the beginning of the year free of planning for a series of shows is allowing me time to sort and purge through everything.

Since my focus this year is shifting to keeping up with online/computer activities, like keeping the online store stocked (leading to more order processing), returning to pattern designing, blogging more, client work, etc. I have been sprucing up my desk area little by little. I carry my favorite writing utensils with me all the time, but I ‘d like to get a pretty container that I can dump my pens/pencils/markers in when I “get to work”, and I think those gold vessels would be perfect. The magazine holder would be so nice for my current magazines, weekly order form processing, and mail. I don’t have a clock in the studio. Maybe if I had a clock, I’d be more inclined to “clock out” at a certain time. I always have candles burning, and those candles have gorgeous containers that I could re-purpose to hold paper clips or pens. If you are familiar with the This Creative Life line for Robo Roku, then you know I’m a huge fan of inspirational quotes (we’re re-stocking our prints this weekend- yay!). It’s so nice having something upbeat and motivational to read everyday.

I love the beginning of the year. The cool, crisp air and promise of exciting adventures awaiting me just gets me so energized. Add in purging and organizing, and I’m in OCD-geeky-girl heaven. I don’t really come down from this feeling until summer hits. I’m thinking about having a temporary online shop to sell my cute and useful (in good condition) goods for cheap, just so my friends can get dibs. We’ll see how this weekend goes. I may just get in a frenzy and bag everything up for donation, that feeling is pretty awesome, too. Do you have any new year routines you get excited about, or am I just too nerdy?

PS – Click on the image to find links for everything.

geeking out: 2014 Pantone color of the year, Radiant Orchid

With the new year now well underway, there are all sorts of inspiring images and blog posts surfacing wherein the main event is Pantone’s new color of the year: Radiant Orchid 18-32224. It’s a rich, vibrant, feminine color that’s bound to appear in many a fashion or decor collection in 2014.

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Clockwise, from top left: Pantone swatch for Radiant Orchid; “I Love Pretty Things and Clever Words” print poster by Amanda Catherine Designs via Etsy; OCC Lip Tar: MATTE in HOOCHIE; wall frames by Ela Lake via Etsy

Design, cosmetics, art, even superheroes and other fictional characters. And, of course, actual orchids. We’re seeing this color everywhere and are not complaining about it one bit.

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Clockwise, from top left: DC superhero Black Orchid, seen here with Batman; Macarons! (Duh.); art print by Hopscotch Digital Designs via Etsy; nail art by Flails and Nails

At this point, I’m really energized by it and can’t wait to make some Radiant Orchid art and handmade jewelry for my Etsy shop. It’s going to be a challenge, as I typically work in reds and teal/turquoise, but many of my designs will probably work well in the magenta hue. We’ll see how that goes.

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Clockwise, from top left: beautiful orchid finish guitar!; Cumulus Consonance Study I painting by Scott Naismith; portable manual typewriter from El Granero via Etsy; fuchsia fabric flower earrings by Inspired Greetings & Designs via Etsy



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