“But You Will Look Like A Man!”

Rachel McLish - The first woman I saw with muscles who still looked feminine.

Rachel McLish – The first woman I saw with muscles who still looked feminine.

I do not hear this nearly as much as I did when I first looked into lifting weights. I hope it has something to do with people being more enlightened but I’m pretty sure they just don’t want to be accused of gay bashing (or whatever). There are too many people out there who are either trolls who relish in stirring up controversy or the “eternally offended” who actively search for something to protest. Either way, I am tired of them all. And, since I am a female, I am allowed to say a bunch of stuff that will probably be considered sexist (or whichever -ist you may choose to embrace today).

The book I am writing is how embracing 9 virtues will make me a whole, well-rounded human being. While I have the 9 virtues separated into chapters and defined (and my whole “this is how I messed up and how I am fixing it” dialogue in there) I am trying to figure out how to explain the method I am using to fundamentally alter who I am. At first, I thought it was like embracing a new habit (so, I read a lot). It did fit the bill but then I began weight training again and that’s when it clicked. If you want to fundamentally change your life, it’s just like when you finally decide to get healthy.

If you want long lasting, sustainable changes, you don’t immediately throw all the “bad” foods out the door, get rid of all your sodas, and take up the same weight training program Arnold used to win Mr. Olympia. Not only will you get withdrawals, not have enough food to eat, and possibly hurt yourself (and other people with your wild mood swings), on your first “cheat day” you will scarf so much food you will not be able to walk for a week. Then, you will beat yourself up for being so weak-willed, and, after resupplying your pantry with all those “bad” foods, you will throw them all out, and repeat the pattern over and over again until you just decide you will be happier unhealthy.

No, the key is to start small. Change your sodas to diet sodas. Then, add some water to your drinking habits (which I did by bribing myself, “I can have some more coffee when I drink this water”). If you are going to reduce your carbohydrates, have 2 instead of 4 pieces of toast at breakfast but add an egg or slice of bacon. Do that for a while, then change another small thing. After a while, once you have altered your food intake enough and done it long enough, your tastes will change and your new dietary habits will now be normal (I now feel physically ill if I eat a Hostess cupcake, so I haven’t eaten one in 6 years).

If your goal is to write a book (and you haven’t written a dang thing outside of a school essay), the same thing goes: write 500 words a day, whether that is a blog post or a journal entry or your book (for that, do research and find out exactly how to write the kind of book you want). Write some letters or emails to people. Just write, then add words every day. After a while, your day will not feel complete until you have written.

And when it comes to improving myself, like the 9 virtues I am implementing within my life, I am taking each virtue, defining it, and changing each aspect of that virtue that I am not embracing or I did not fully understand. Once that change is implemented and fully embraced, I am moving onto the next aspect.  Through this process, I am taking copious notes about what has worked, what hasn’t, and that is the basis for my book. It is taking much longer than I expected. I thought I was a pretty decent person before I began this process but sheesh, was I wrong!

 

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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!

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).

Kick Fear In The Face

So, while doing my daily You Tube regime, I decided to actually take a look at one of my favorite person’s channels, Dave Conrey.  Well, it turns out he did a series of very short (3 minutes or less) videos, titled “3 Minutes To Freedom” and the first one is what I’m working through right now (but I’m much better than I was just a few months ago), “Kick Fear In The Face!”  Check these out!

Personal Branding – Who Am I? – Passions

This is step 3 (Defining Your Passions) from Defining Who You Are from The Complete Guide to Building Your Personal Brand and this is where my A.D.D. really kicks in.

Here’s the straight-up, actually written on paper list of what my passions are (I will elaborate on those passions that require it):

  • My husband
  • Business
  • Graphic Design – All Things Digital/Computer Related/Internet
  • Education
  • Self Improvement

Now, for the elaborations.

Business: I have been a total geek for anything related to business (in general) for as long as I can remember.  I love just about everything about the topic of business (except taxes).  I even have a diploma from a technical school (which is worth less than the paper it’s printed on but cost me $5,000) in Small Business Administration (I learned Lotus there … yes, LOTUS lol … in my defense, it WAS 1992).  From day to day administrative duties to marketing, I love it (heck, I even loved working with one office manager to develop the standards and practices that enabled the company to become ISO certified).

Graphic Design: So, the other day I stumbled onto this wonderful podcast (that I obviously can’t say enough about) Fresh Rag.  I began to browse through the podcasts when I noticed a theme (yeah, I’m a bit slow sometimes): The site focuses on artists (anything creative)… then he mentions Graphic Artists.  I decide to look up exactly what the term Graphic Artist is and that’s when I hear the angels sing.  🙂  Just about every area of interest I have falls under that category!  Take a look at the courses offered at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh and you will get an idea of what I’m talking about.  I really had no idea that everything I’ve been learning (or wanting to learn) fell under one category!

Education: No subject is safe from my interests.  Anywhere from fiber arts (knitting, crocheting, weaving, etc.) to rebuilding a car engine, I have learned it and will continue to as long as I enjoy doing it.  This past year, I have strayed from my typical “only if it’s practical I can learn it” education to pushing more creative pursuits.  I completed (framed and hung) my first ever water-color painting and now that I’m sitting here, contemplating creating a logo that represents me, I guess I should learn to draw (I currently can draw a mean stick figure, though in high school I once read that the human hand was the most difficult part of the human anatomy to draw correctly so I spent months on that one subject).

My First (and only) Watercolor Painting

My First (and only) Watercolor Painting

Self Improvement: This really could fall under the subject of education but this is more personal.  We all have issues/hang-ups and if we do not learn to overcome them, we will never move forward in our lives.  So, looking at this more in-depth, I have been on the quest of “Personal Branding” for over two years.  I’ve been working on breaking through the self-built walls in my life, pushing past my comfort zone, and learning to embrace not only who I am but who I can (and will) become.

So, that’s where I am today. Step Four of Defining Who You Are from The Complete Guide to Building Your Personal Brand is Identify Your Ideal Traits.  This should be fun!  I will begin this today so, hopefully, it will be ready to post tomorrow.  This will be posted today.