Don’t Wait!

We are entering the New Year,

And there are those who strive for change,

But their long-established actions,

Will not easily be exchanged.

 

 

No switching of the calendar,

Or dawning of the day,

Will bring to someone’s actions

A new template or pathway.

 

Don’t put off the desired action,

Don’t forgo the lessons you’ve learned,

If transforming is your desire,

Act now before the day has turned.

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I Am Next

I had been struggling with the ideas attached to writing. With each paragraph I tried editing, the weight of the outcome poured harder and harder against me. My confidence shook.

I wrote this poem to help me gain perspective and reevaluate how things are going.

I AM NEXT!!

There is a part of me still fighting,
Even when I know the truth.
Here I am scared of simply writing,
Ignoring the passions of my youth.

It’s as if the knowledge compounds
All the fears and dread of rejection.
My ears relate the softly spoken sounds
Rebounding in my mind an internal reflection.

Do I now lack the strength I had?
Is my confidence at an all time low?
I read my prose and assume that it’s all bad,
My confidence fades like shining a light toward a shadow.

But I’m not weak, it is a trick of my mind,
I make mistakes and hold the weight like a brick.
The failures push me onto a brink, but I find
It’s not the end of the road or ramblings of a lunatic.

With each blow of the fist thrown my way
I am hurt, yet I am still on my feet.
My dreams aren’t over this is but a short delay,
I will taste victory and it will be ever so sweet.

I speak to you though directed to myself,
You must persevere and bring your thoughts to text.
One day your book will be on the shelf,
And a new author will see it and say ‘I am next.’

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To Deliver a Powerful Message, Use Storytelling: by Meg Konovska

I’m excited to present this post by Meg Konovska. I had the amazing privilege to meet her in a Facebook group started by Jeff Goins. She’s an enthusiastic patron of the arts, seeking every opportunity she can to meet other artists and encourage them in their work. Meg is originally from Bulgaria and is currently living in England. Despite English being her second language, her storytelling shines through as a thing of beauty. I am glad that I have the opportunity to learn from this amazing storyteller.

Want to Deliver a Powerful Message? Use Storytelling!

Ever wondered why some of the greatest teachers of all times used stories? You know, remarkable people like this fellow Jesus Christ telling his parables; or Greek philosopher Plato with his allegories and metaphors; and don’t forget your grandmother and her bedtime stories!

Why, because stories are one of the most effective methods to deliver messages! 

Why are stories so universal?

1. Stories originate from ancient times.
Imagine a dark night… in front of the fireplace of a prehistoric village where the Tribe gathered at the end of a long exhausting hunt. They are tired. They are sweaty. They are hungry. And what are they doing? Sharing stories! Or at least this is what we believe today.
Stories are with us from the end of times. They are our safe place – in front of the fire, away from the dark, protected from the claws and fangs of wild beasts. They give explanations of all unexplainable – of the lightings tearing the skies because of the fury of Gods; of the raging ocean waves frightened by the Red Bull; of the sunrise brought by the fiery chariot of the Sun God. You can explain everything in a story.
 

2. Stories make you stand out. Or not 😉

Your story makes you unique. While all stories fall into 7 basic archetypes ), the mixture of details can make a huge difference.
Did you know that all people have 99.9 % identical match in their DNA? It is the rest 0.1% which forms the amazing variety within the mankind! The same applies to stories.

This means all stories are both different and the same at the same time!
Subscribe HERE to receive an amazing report how to use storytelling for enhancing your brand. It is developed by expert brand storyteller Charlie O’Shields whom I had the privilege of interviewing.

3. Stories serve as examples which we can relate to our own experience, and take some moral from them.
One of the tools of Law masters is case studies (Person A did X, Y, Z and this is what happened for these and these reasons). Stories are more or less case studies, providing patterns to apply in daily practice.

A story is not limited just to a sequence of events, facts and figures. It also illustrates social norms, interpretations and possible scenarios which can affect us emotionally.

4. Stories have the power to imprint the messages in our subconscious mind. Eventually they form our belief system, and our belief system leads to what manifests (mostly) in our life.

Do you believe that Good always triumphs over Evil?

Or that all real artists are starving, miserable and lonely?

Or that good people fall victims to injustice?

These were all passed to you thanks to stories which surrounded you. A lie repeated 1000 times becomes perceived as a truth. Or, as my mom loves saying:

If you are told 100 times you are a pig, at the 101-st time you start grunting
.

However, you must remember you also have the power to choose what to believe and whenever possible – choose to be surrounded by storytellers who inspire you and empower you rather than belittle you.

5. A story is a mirror of our current situation.  We can see in a story only what we have in us.

Stories do not reflect Reality itself but our perception of reality.

I will use a story to illustrate my thoughts:

One evening in the street twilight there were the silhouettes of two people embracing each other.  As people were passing by, they all had different suggestions about the couple:

“These are a mom and a dad” – thought the child.

“These are two lovers” – thought the romantic girl.

“These are two friends who haven’t met for a while” – thought the lonely man.

“These are business partners who’ve just made a great deal” – thought the business man.

“This is a mother hugging her long gone returning child” – thought the mother.

“Who knows why, the heck, they’re hugging” – thought the annoyed man. 

Everyone thought what they already had in themselves.

All interpretations developed from a different perception of the same situation.

6. Stories can be told in many mediums to fit different tastes.

They can be visual, verbal, musical, performing, mixed… Narrative options are endless! A movie can tell a story as effectively as a book does. It all depends on your personal preferences.

7. Stories can empower you to accept your story.
Have you seen the movie “Angel-A” by French director Luc Besson? In case you haven’t, I totally recommend you to go and watch it ASAP!
Here’s an episode from it (avoiding spoilers 😉 ) which gives a brilliant example of this aspect of stories:
When asked by the protagonist Andre where she came from, Angel-A told him a story of her being very poor and starving before she got to her current position. Our hero expressed his compassion, only to see his beautiful companion giggle and confess:
“You are so naive! This is not true. I was a spoiled and nasty girl who got everything she wanted, before I got in a car accident. All I wanted was my father to think of me in the day of my funeral.”
Andre looked confused:
“Which of the stories is yours?”
Angel-A replied:
“Which of the stories will help you bear YOUR story?”

Now I invite you to share in the comments one of your favourite stories!

What messages did you take from it?

How did it influence your beliefs?

I would love to hear your thoughts.

And now go and make your most beautiful story happen!

About the Author:
Meg Konovska. “I’m a professional artist, designer, and author (to keep it short). I help professional creatives connect the dots on their Journey and achieve better results while living a fulfilled life. Follow me on Twitter @MegKonovska. See my art and design works on the Facebook page Meg Konovska Art And Design Or explore Just How Cool Is That – the website for creatives to learn and share about the Journey and the ways to be a successful creative.

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The Dirt Road

One of my favorite aspects of life is familiarity. You know- going to the same barber every month, taking the dogs for a walk every morning and evening, and even the annual visit to the dentist’s office. It’s comforting to know that the same thing will happen over and over again. We don’t have to think about it. We don’t have to make decisions. We get to mindlessly act.

But there are problems that can breed from familiarity. Complacency, discontent, or just a lower level of living. We follow the road we have paved all the way to boredom and an unfulfilled life.

I realized that I was doing this with the Holy Spirit. I complained that life doesn’t change the way I expect it to, but yet I found myself doing the same thing over and over again. The Holy Spirit would speak to me through my wife or a gentle nudge, and yet I often ignored this for the familiarity of the paved road.

Then, completely out of my control, the Holy Spirit decided that enough was enough. He put up a detour in my life, causing me to blaze off the path I had become familiar with and travel along a dirt road toward a different direction.

I began to learn three lessons: Let go, show up, and have grit.

Let go:

It was difficult having to address the new surroundings I found myself in. I was supposed to be a published author by now, but here I am going to work on a daily basis to paint houses. Sure, I love the people I am working with- but this isn’t what I wanted.

I had certain expectations for myself by this point in life. I should have become a successful writer. I at least expected to find myself in the position of paying other people to paint my house– not leaving my apartment at 6:30 in the morning to do this for someone else.

But I had to let go of my own expectations and specific hopes for what I wanted to happen. This simple idea allowed me to be more open to my circumstances. I knew that I was on a different path than I had planned and that in order to succeed I needed to let go of my own expectations and…

Show up:

So how exactly was I supposed to show up? I was listening to an interview on Dave Asprey’s podcast, bulletproof radio (Interview with Jim Kwik), where Jim Kwik mentions the presence of former President Bill Clinton. Jim said that Clinton maintained a powerful presence wherever he went and to whoever he spoke with. Clinton often remembered people’s names, as well as focused on each person he spoke with in that moment– instead of thinking about other conversations or people in the room. Jim Kwik ultimately decided that Bill Clinton’s ability to have a powerful presence came from his ability to be powerfully present.

So, I needed to let go- then be powerfully present. That’s all. How hard could that possibly be?

For those who know me, I have a tendency to sometimes interrupt (even my own train of thought). This is the exact opposite of being powerfully present.

But I sometimes get it right, and when I get it right I am able to display the only one of these three characteristics that I have consistently exhibited…

Have Grit:

Over the course of three separate books which I have attempted to submit to literary agents, I have received over 400 rejections (that doesn’t even include those who just didn’t respond). But I’m still here, attempting once again to submit my newest book to literary agents.

Why? Because if I didn’t show grit in this area, I would have given up long ago. This blog wouldn’t exist and my novels would never reach the public eye. My personal determination is easy, despite all of the times that I have been rejected. The all too famous line from Edison comes to mind, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” To me, each rejection is one closer to the person who will decide to take a chance on me.

I have also discovered that my personal grit has stood out in crowds, and this has benefited the need for networking. Thanks to persevering, I bought the book Real Artists Don’t Starve by Jeff Goins. This early purchase allowed me to join a Facebook Group he had started, which in turn got me in contact with some amazing people. The Tribe Builders Network is an amazing group led by a kind-hearted man named Frank. His guidance, as well as many others in the group, have proven to be a huge asset in this whole field of networking.

But I would have never found this group if I had lost my grit.

So here I am on my journey, attempting to listen to the Holy Spirit as I am reminded to let go, show up, and have grit. I’m blazing a new trail, currently just a dirt road, and I am going to try and enjoy this new journey.

But I need to be ready because eventually this dirt road will be well traveled- and I might find myself in a place of being stagnant due to familiarity.

One more thing, before I go. I mentioned the awesome Tribe Builder’s Network, but I also want to give a specific shout out. Danielle Bernock has just written a new ebook which she is giving away for free, Love’s Manifesto. A quick description from her, “Love’s Manifesto is a small eBook about becoming your true self through the power of love.” Please click on the link and take a chance to support this wonderful author.

If you enjoyed this post please like, comment, and share. Also, if you want to hear more about my journey, storytelling, the Holy Spirit, or prayer, please subscribe. Have a wonderful week.

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Michelangelo, Jeff Goins, and Me

For much of my life, I have had the faith that eventually my writing and storytelling would become my full-time job. I worked hard to make that a reality, studying the craft of storytelling and diligently (or so I thought) attempting to improve my written prose. I was so confident that I had it figured out– all I needed was the skill to back it up.

But I wasn’t even that close. While listening to podcasts by Jeff Goins and eagerly awaiting his new book coming out, Real Artists Don’t Starve (RADS), it occurred to me that there were other pieces of the puzzle missing. Once the book came in the mail, I read it as quickly as I could. In the book, Jeff continually used the example of Michelangelo as an artist who understood that he could thrive with his art. He went further explaining what exactly Michelangelo did- taking advantage of presented opportunities and allowing himself to be teachable.

And this is where I make my first definitive statement with this blog- I am going to work diligently to listen to those who know more than me and to act on the opportunities presented when that happens.  I am looking to the examples set before me in both of these great men, Michelangelo and Jeff Goins, and I will search for a way to share my stories with the world.

Michelangelo, Jeff Goins, and Me

But there’s this struggle I can feel bubbling up. Some who know me personally know how hard I have been working at this. They’ve seen me try and fail at many ventures- some artistic, some business-minded. These individuals have encouraged me, despite the many struggles I have had along the way. For those people, I want to say thank you. Your encouragement has helped me get to this place where I am now starting a new blog, Story Focused Life.

With this blog, I plan on posting in three main areas. Truth in the areas of storytelling, the Holy Spirit, and being a person of prayer. I am defining success for this blog as consistently posting, even if I receive no subscribers.

However, that success doesn’t guarantee that I will be a thriving artist. If Michelangelo was content with just creating, he would not have shown the diligence and listening skills which were required in order to impress Lorenzo de’ Medici, his first patron. He had already proven tenacity by demanding a paid internship under the famous artist, Domenico Ghirlandaio. Then he was teachable enough to listen to some words of wisdom by an individual observing his work. This individual turned out to be Medici, who hired him after being impressed by Michelangelo’s skill AND teachability.

The story doesn’t stop there, both Jeff Goins and Michelangelo have seen the importance of working with others. It seems clear that many artists struggle with the idea of having to rely on others, often wanting to be considered a solo artist. But I’m tired of that struggle. Michelangelo received help from patrons and teachers, and I intend to do my best to follow suit. So with this, I’m going to work smarter, not harder, and take advantage of opportunities presented to me.

I have been reading Jeff Goins’ book, RADS, since it came to my mailbox on June 6th. Immediately I was caught up in the frenzy of what I could possibly do in order to become a thriving artist. The book brilliantly sets up the juxtaposition between a starving artist and a thriving artist. Frequently it references the habits which both types of artists perform, and why these habits produce continuous expected results.

Unfortunately, I realized most of my habits were in line with those of the starving artist, and I am not thriving solely based off of my art because I have not yet put into practice the necessary habits in my life.

In my opinion of the book, Jeff gives the equivalent of a Master’s level class on what important habits an artist must use in order to succeed on a financial level. He uses Michelangelo as an example of someone who refused to be a starving artist.

But the lessons don’t stop with one successful artist in history, referencing individuals from Elvis to the Inklings (the group C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien were a part of).

After pouring over the book three times in the last week I realized I need to change some of my perceptions, my habits, and my network if I truly wanted to thrive with my storytelling. If you’re an artist who wants to see their work reach others without having to ‘starve’ in the process, buy and read Real Artists Don’t Starve- It has 96% 5-star rating on Amazon for a reason.

And if you’re interested in following me on my blogging journey, sign up to get the latest blogs as they post. Depending on which blog you end up reading, I’ll be covering my approach and belief in storytelling, the way the Holy Spirit works in our lives, and the power of prayer.

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