Creative Badass Challenge – A Year Later?

 

Wow. It’s difficult for me to believe it has truly been a year since I posted about this challenge. It has also been a year since I put it on hold (that was the month of my husband’s cancer diagnosis and he is, so far, still cancer free). I decided to go back to it, see where I left off and get the ball rolling again. What a shock for me to discover that the challenge has disappeared from the web. The only consolation I have is I kept every email sent out and, thankfully, Dave Conrey did not delete the private videos from his You Tube channel. I am thoroughly disappointed that he chose to set that challenge aside, especially since it took very little effort (at least on the public side) to just park the entire project and let people discover it on their own.

On the other hand, look at me and what I have done. I have spent so much time over the past few years trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. I have grown a lot but throughout that time, I have kept the majority of these changes private (unless you are my friend on Facebook). A while ago, I shared that I am a student and a teacher. Well, what did that mean? What does that have to do with “the price of tea in China”? That’s what I have been working on and I finally discovered what that meant to me.

I started by getting a real URL: www.brendanolen.com. I cleaned up my website a bit (it is still hosted on a friend’s server). Then, I thought I would start a business making things for people. I made some crocheted and knitted items but I also sewed some quilted bags. With each project, I learned more about my skills. Then, I got physically tired. For me, it is extremely tedious doing the exact same things over and over again. I got tired of counting and my hands got very angry with me (carpal tunnel). So, someone suggested the real money is selling supplies, not the finished product. There is no way I could ever compete with Hobby Lobby, Jo Anne’s, or Walmart, so I thought I would create patterns.  Well, guess what? I have to crochet or knit each size of each pattern to make sure I wrote the pattern correctly!  Didn’t I just say doing that made me tired?

So, I put all of that aside. I have had an idea for a book for a while (all it took was for my son to say one sentence and that sent my brain into a dance of ideas). While that idea was percolating, that’s all it did. I did nothing with the idea until about a month ago. That’s when I decided I needed to get busy and take this writing “thing” seriously. That involved (which it always does with me) extensive research. I have absolutely no formal education in the art of writing. I thought about taking a college course. Have you seen the price of community colleges today? WOW! So, I turned to my favorite research tool, Google.

I have been a podcast listening/webinar watching/information downloading fool! I have also begun my book (which became two), almost finished a compilation of some public domain works that I have fallen in love with, and have about 6 more books percolating in my brain.

The best thing about this process for me is realizing I don’t have to focus on one subject. I can publish whatever I want about whatever subject I want! Isn’t that fantastic? With all the knowledge I have gained over the years on a wide array of topics from low carb eating to cooking to crafting to business to surviving this life, I am so relieved I do not have to solely focus on one topic and cast aside all the other knowledge I have swirling around in my brain.

I will be sharing about what books I publish here (and my other two blogs if they are too subject specific). If you would like to be emailed when I release my book(s), be sure to join my email list. I just wanted to warn you that this blog, right here, is truly the heart of who I am and will encompass every aspect of me.

In the words of Cartman (from South Park): “Whatever! I do what I want!”

So, have you figured out what you want? What you are going to do about it? Let’s get busy!

Advertisements

Stress

stress

You know, sometimes, things are going so well.  Everything is running smooth, the creative juices are flowing, I’m focused and on target and then BAM!  Something smacks me upside the head and somewhere in the back of my mind, this small thought takes shape, “What the hell do you think you are doing?”  Today, with everything else on my plate (that I have, I think, been handling pretty damn well), something else reared its ugly head.  It wasn’t just one thing, either.  Then, for about 30 minutes, I just sat here, mentally throwing my hands in the air and quitting.

So, I walked outside.  I took a deep breath.  I looked up into the sky and watched the hawks catching the breeze.  I spied two Chinook helicopters (OD Green with three large red crosses on the side) and thought, “Heck, maybe I shouldn’t have joked yesterday about going to war.”  See, yesterday I heard a Chinook fly by then a couple hours later, a Russian mig flew over (there’s a guy here that owns one and takes it out for a joy ride occasionally).  I joke to hubby about war breaking out.  This ramble does have a point behind it.

That ramble right there got me out of my “poor me” funk.  I giggled (it’s amazing how easily I can amuse myself), came back in the house, and proceeded to make more quilt blocks (I’m teaching myself to quilt to see if I like it and if I do, maybe I can make something to sell).  And now, an hour later, I’m am back to my old self (but less crabby than normal).  The issues I must deal with, I don’t have to right now.  Right now, there isn’t a damn thing I can do about them so I am not about to ruin this day by wallowing in self-pity and worry.

Some stress is good but stressing (instead of preparing or planning) is a waste of energy.  If there isn’t anything that can be done right now to alleviate what stresses you then go do something fun.  That’s what I’m getting back to right now.  I hope you have a fantastic weekend!

Selling Yourself–The Art of a Winning ‘About Page’ with Melissa Cassera

http://www.amyporterfield.com/2015/07/about-page-melissa-cassera/

So, I have made some steps toward fulfilling my goal of figuring out who I am. See, in an earlier post, I mentioned I am a teacher and student. I love to share all the new crafty things I have been learning … well, no. I love sharing anything I learn, from how to fix your refrigerator to how to crochet this new-to-me stitch. I have also been a bit of a freak (for years and years) about business.

I have always had a voracious appetite for anything having to do with business. My interest was never in a specific business but business in general. I consume anything I can get my grubby little hands on that is even remotely related to business. This week begins a new chapter in my business education. I will be retooling everything. I have registered a new domain name, have come up with a business format (something I will truly love doing that is perfect for my Attention Deficit Disordered mind), and will (once again) be building a new website. I may also (though I’m not quite sure how the transition will happen) be consolidating this blog with one of my other ones and kicking that identity to the curb. I have been feeling that coming on for a long time, that need to break away from the identity I used for so many years on my website, forums and even online radio. I am no longer “Sustainablehome.” I am Brenda Nolen, happy to share who I am and what I have to offer with the world.

That’s where the link above comes in. I can’t tell you how many times I have stared blankly at my “About” page and had no idea what to type. Heck, despite just listening to this podcast, I still have not checked my “About” page here to see how well I did (that’s because that will distract me from my tasks for the day, so I will probably take care of that within the next few weeks).  You really need to listen to this podcast if you want to have a fantastic “About” page anywhere (whether it is your blog, web site, Facebook page, or just about anywhere you talk about yourself).

Who Am I Currently? I Am The Teacher And The Student!

So, through all of this self-discovery: looking deep within myself to discover who I truly am and what I truly enjoy, it basically comes down to two titles: I am a student AND a teacher.

As I’ve said before: I love to learn.  I am constantly on the lookout for some new idea to explore or some project to learn or some skill to master.  Along the way, though, I love to teach what I am learning/have learned with everyone who is willing to read what I type here (or on my other two blogs).

I just read an article yesterday “A Writer’s Dirty Little Secret” by Dan Wells that just clicked with me.  I do not want to teach, type up blog posts, fix my website, or share links for the betterment of my readers.  I do it for me.  I find it exciting to not just learn these new skills but to share HOW I learned those skills.  I love the challenge of discovering the proper wording to enable people to understand what I am sharing (without relying on my favorite go-to words like thingamajig, doohickey, or thingamabob).

When I was in high school, I took a creative writing class.  One of the assignments was to write out instructions, teaching someone how to brush their teeth, while assuming the person had never seen a toothbrush or toothpaste.  It was illuminating, discovering the need to dissect terminology which so many of us take for granted when they have been performing a skill/trade/job for years. I know you have run into it before:  How to manuals or websites that have you looking up the definition of words just so you can understand what is required of you just to complete the first step (I have even run into that in many of the “For Dummies” set of books, which did a lot for my self esteem at the time).  I have always done my best learning with simple instructions, whether those are from someone I am learning from or I am giving them (especially at the start of a new learning adventure).  I learned that quickly when I was an adult, helping jewelers (over the phone) fix a computer problem.  🙂

So, now that I have discovered this about myself, it’s time for me to share something I’m currently learning about myself.  Stay tuned!  🙂

Brenda

Public Speaking – Coursera

Since I know I want to make You Tube videos and/or podcasts (still don’t know what the subject will be) I decided to take this free course through Coursera:

https://www.coursera.org/learn/publicspeaking/

It’s a self-paced course that does not offer Verified Certificates but it’s a start.  See, there is a disconnect between my brain and my mouth.  When I’m typing, it’s almost like channeling an intelligent entity.  When I speak, I stumble and resort to wording that typically is not meant for the general public. 🙂

I’m REALLY hoping to be able to purchase a video camera soon, so hopefully by the end of the class, I will be able to post an awesome video with no “uh”, “um”, or (my latest term for a person’s name who I really don’t want to work to remember) “whatshisnuts”.

Speaking of Coursera, I am kicking myself in the back side for not taking advantage of more of the courses when they first started.  Then, they were all free and most offered certificates of completion.  Now, I have noticed, you must pay for most of the courses that offer certificates (if you want that certificate, which would be nice to have).  See, my formal education is pretty sparse.  The only proof I have that I know certain topics is my word (or to show examples).  Those pieces of paper would help immensely if my word/examples are not good enough for a potential employer.  I’ll figure something out but in the mean time, I will be loving every second of every free (appropriate … can get easily distracted on the website) course I can get my grubby little paws on!

Personal Issues – Tests

Victim Or Victor-2

I set forth on this journey to discover who I truly was and “who I wanted to be when I grew up”.  I was positive and excited.  Now, a family issue that occurred a little over 10 years ago is rearing its ugly head again and I’m stumped.  I feel like it just happened all over again and I truly have no idea what the outcome will be.

When this incident occurred, there was a victim.  Through family connections, there were others who, legally, were also considered victims.  I was one.  Now, the legal system has changed its mind so, here I am, stuck, trying to get those without the required authority to understand what I went through all those years ago and reliving this incident has been trying.  I was considered a victim then and there is no record of that decision, so I am liable (again).

I played no part in the incident in question.  I had no knowledge of it before it happened, did not participate in it nor did I knowingly allow it to occur, and once I was made aware of it, did everything I could to ensure justice would be served.  I did what I thought was right and just, despite the fact that this ripped my family apart and almost cost me my marriage.

Now, for some reason, this incident (and all the emotions associated with it) has poked its head up like a meerkat searching not for danger but for weakness.  This week has been an emotional roller coaster but I will not give in.  I will do whatever I can legally to remedy this situation and if that does not occur, then I will look into the alternatives I have.  Talk about reliving a trauma to learn to cope with it!  At least no one can say my life is boring!  🙂

Tim O’Brien on Personal Branding – CSUN

I’m a huge fan of video/audio presentations.  So, while sitting here, recovering from a night of insomnia, I decided to add to my You Tube channel (actually, tailor it to this blog).  I found this presentation from 2012, given by Tim O’Brien.  He is an expert who helps people develop a successful personal brand. This is an informational presentation he gave to Business Honors Students at California State University, Northridge.

So, what makes this one any different than the websites/courses I’ve already shared?  This: “Your brand is the word or phrase people think of when they think of you.”  Well, my immediate thought was a smart-alack comment (which probably is true in a lot of cases) but I have no idea otherwise.

So, watch the video.  I love it!  I’ve also turned the video into an audio file (below the video) so it can be downloaded and listened to at your convenience.

 

Click to listen or download: http://www.mediafire.com/download/3e69smu6tcvxkhm/Tim_O’Brien_Personal_Branding_(Unedited).mp3

 

Personal Branding – Where You Want To Be – Steps 1 and 2

9:00 am – I am so stuck on step one!  This is from http://www.quicksprout.com/the-complete-guide-to-building-your-personal-brand-chapter-1/, Where You Want To Be, Step 1 (Determine The Aspects Of Your Life That Have Been Rewarding).  I have this basic list of … generic “stuff” that I haven’t been able to narrow down.  I’ve had this list, in this form, since Friday and all I keep doing is staring at it, thinking, “And?”  I’m sure it doesn’t help that, in addition to this life-altering journey I have embarked on, I’m working my way to becoming a non-smoker (dealing with the emotional “needs” that have kept me smoking for 28 years without gaining back all the weight I have lost).

I did a search on Google for “break through” and this popped up. lol You can find this on Deviant Art http://magictrick5125.deviantart.com/art/Nerd-Break-Through-311479524

11:00 am – Well, would you look at that?  I took a nap (my body is not happy with me at the moment) and I’ve broken through!  I’ve whittled down my random thoughts into a list of 5 acts in my life that have been/are rewarding.  Not only that, I have completed step 2 (Narrow Down The Aspects To A Potential Vision) also (pretty much)!

So, what are these 5 acts that have been rewarding?

  1. Gaining and sharing knowledge that has improved my life
  2. Developing creative solutions to problems
  3. Nourishing others, mind, body, and soul (or doing my best to 🙂 )
  4. Sharing my successes and failures to help others
  5. Writing

So, the next step (Create An Ideal Career Ending) … well, that.  My brain has already skipped it (ooh, I can take writing classes!) so I will have to force it back a step.  I just took a look at the rest of Chapter 1 of The Complete Guide to Building Your Personal Brand and realized … this is just Chapter 1 and I’m not even half-way through!  I’ll work on the next two steps today and then move on (hopefully tomorrow) to Others Worth Emulating.

Personal Branding – Who Am I? – Traits

So, steps four and five of Defining Who You Are from The Complete Guide to Building Your Personal Brand is Identify Your Ideal Traits and discuss the results with family and friends. I looked at the list on that page and immediately thought, “Eh, I don’t know.”

But look! There is a link to a test that will tell you what your traits are! Here are my results: My Big 5 Personality Traits Results and here they are in list form:

  • You are somewhat conventional.
  • You are well-organized, and are reliable.
  • You tend to shy away from social situations.
  • You find it easy to express irritation with others (Who?  Me? Insert innocent face).
  • You are generally relaxed.

I can’t agree more with the results and I’m sure my family and friends would agree with these most of these results.  It turns out that I need to work on “well-organized” (I just found out my perception of me being organized is not shared by others) AND “shying away from social situations”.  See, there are many times when it feels like there is a disconnect between my brain and my mouth.  When I type, it’s like channeling a smart person.  When I speak, I feel like an ignorant fool (with a foul mouth).  That is what has held me back from speaking on any more radio programs/podcasts … the intellectual disconnect.  I stumble over words, have difficulty remembering proper terminology, and it comes out of my mouth as “that doo-hickey or thingamajig or whatsitsnuts”.  Then, I curse.  🙂

Working on organization will require me to get out of my own head: actually ask others for their opinions/help.  That’s not an easy thing for me to do.  I’m the kind of person who, when something needs to be done, dives headlong into a project.  I learn everything I can about how to do it properly and, if I get stuck, I just learn more (putting the project on hold).  When did this attitude first develop?  When I had a broken down car and every male who promised they would work on it didn’t.  I bought a Chilton’s and got going on it (it never ran again … contaminated fuel system) but I knew how to figure that out and realize what I could and could not do myself.  That’s when I first discovered that the only person you can truly rely on is yourself.

So, that’s it.  I’ve completed all the steps of figuring out who I am.  Now, I need to reflect on everything I’ve come up with.  That last sentence of the last paragraph kinda threw me for a loop.  I can see being that way then (single parent) but I’ve been married for almost 15 years and didn’t realize I still felt that way.  That’s not a reflection on my husband but on me.  Hmmm … need to think.