I have decided that this year is going to be a year of breaking rules – of rewriting old stories and doing things I have never done before. I figure we dodged the bullet on that end of the world thing, so what have we got to lose?
Here are a few ways I’m pushing on the boundaries of what I know…
Finding inspiration in unexpected places
Believe it or not, I get some of my best ideas when I’m washing the dishes. Something about the warm water running over my hands just takes me to faraway places. I remember things from long ago, people I’ve been meaning to contact and ideas that I thought went dormant. If I put on music, I’m liable to start writing poetry…
Listening to music
In general, this is a way to get my creative juices flowing. Music is my first love. From the early days of 4-song cassette tapes played on my portable deck, to my first record player and then on to years of training as a classical flutist, the school chorus, live concerts, being a dj, a singer in bands… it goes on and on… Sometimes music affects me so deeply it just sends me into an instant reverie, and I can’t concentrate on anything but the dreamy images it conjures. It’s not always good for “work work” but it sure is good for reminding me that my dreams are possible, and that it would be damn fun to do whatever I can to live inside some of those songs again…
This is the year that I abandon whatever vestiges of shyness I may have been harboring and just reach out to anyone with whom I feel I’d like to connect. Why not? What have I got to lose? I’ve made some great friendships just reaching out to people on Twitter. It’s a great model for life. If you have something significant to say to a new person in your life, keep it short and sweet, never spammy, and see if you get a response. Why not?
I’ve put out requests to connect on LinkedIn and then suddenly, nine months or a year later, out of the clear blue, I get a note back with an acceptance of my offer. Well shoot, look at that. Sometimes things just don’t happen on my time frame.
I have to throw so much spaghetti at the wall to see what’s going to stick. I’m a freelancer, so that’s just a way of life. Anyone who’s in sales, or who is involved in some sort of creative endeavor – you know what I’m talking about. Some stuff works, and some doesn’t. You have to be willing to give it a try, and not be too attached to results. Oddly, sometimes the less you hold on, the more good stuff comes back at you. I swear it’s true. I wouldn’t lie.
Paying attention to random connections
The oddest things happen when you least expect them. A friend of a friend on Facebook recently contacted me to tell me that we had the same last name (she uses a stage name), and wondered if we were related. Well, not obviously, but it does turn out that our families do hail from the same eastern European city. So you never know.
When I base my decisions on fear, I feel like crap. I expect the worst, my sense of hope and happiness just dries up, and I get very cranky. On the other hand, when I take chances, when I just go for it, I feel like anything is possible. I’m pretty sure that bravery is one part not being afraid of pain, and one part not being afraid of what people think about you…
Here’s a little story… once when I was in my early 20’s, I went on a weekend road trip with some friends who had a three-year-old daughter. On our second day together, this little girl and I were hanging out in a field of flowers, just the two of us, and she was quietly picking little blossoms and putting them in my hair. At one point, out of nowhere, she looked up at me and said, “It’s OK, you don’t have to worry about what they think.” I was speechless. Straight from the mouth of this innocent little child, there it was.
We all have this profound wisdom in us. It’s my year to rock. I’m taking her advice.