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!

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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!

Problems? We All Have Them.

Now, with this new branch of my learning/growth, I’ve also discovered something else that I need to share and be more open about.  My life (the good and the bad).  No matter who we are, it’s not the problems in life that define us, it is how we have overcome them that shapes our lives and who we will become.  I have tried to keep mostly positive, never sharing when I’m having a rough time of it.  Well, I am currently having a rough time.  Just about a month ago, I found out someone I dearly love has cancer (my step mom).  It was a shock to everyone.  After processing everything and getting into a more positive place, BAM!  Not only does my husband have a gluten sensitivity (not sure yet if it’s celiac), he has to have surgery.  See, he went in for a colonoscopy, the gastroenterologist said everything went well, then two days later I get a phone call from a surgeon.  They tell me we were referred to them by our gastro and they would like to set up an appointment for a consultation. BAM!  It feels like Wile E. Coyote just slammed a huge hammer on our heads (by the way, this phone call was June 3. 2015).  Thankfully, the gastro called a bit later (thank you so much for the warning), stating it’s not cancer but still, this was a huge shock.

Now, these are not the only problems we have experienced.  We have been together for 16 years (married for 15) and have lived through some incidents that I would not wish on anyone else.  But now, I’m older and in a much better place spiritually than ever before.  So, I would like to share my insights as I learn to deal with these.

If you are human, you have problems.  Period.  It does not matter if you are the Dalai Lama or me.  To be human is to experience problems and deal with them (or not … it’s your choice).

How we deal with these problems that surface will define not only who we are but how successful we will be in all aspects of life.  No matter what the problem is, never (ever) say to yourself (as a form of comfort), “Well, it could be worse.” Worse for who?  This problem is yours and how big or small of a role it plays in your life is defined by you and your circumstances.  If someone else would react differently, saying to yourself, “Well, so and so had this happen and they didn’t get upset at all” is a way to blame/shame yourself for having an emotional response.  We are not computers, the Borg, or Vulcans (bet you can’t tell what genre of movies/shows I like).

You are allowed to be upset.  You are allowed to cry.  You are allowed to be sad.  You are allowed to get depressed.  You are allowed to be angry. 

Suppressing any of that will backfire down the road with the next challenge/problem you face.  All those suppressed emotions will build up each time you stomp them down into that hole you have created until, one way or another, they will explode.  Whether that explosion is in the form of a rage-filled temper tantrum or health issues (just think about where you feel it when you bottle up those emotions: your gut.  Do you think it’s some magical coincidence that so many people today have acid reflux disease and/or ulcers and/or intestinal issues?).

So, what are my favorite ways to release my emotions?  Lately, I’ll be sitting here and all of a sudden want to cry.  So, I let myself cry.  There have even been some evenings recently when my husband asks what I want to do (it’s usually a choice between watching a movie/television show together or playing a video game).  My answer is: “I just want to cry.”  And he says, “O.k.” and waits.  Then, I’ll usually pick a movie with lots of testosterone (Action/horror) or we’ll sit a kill demons (Diablo 3).

My ultimate favorite way to release these emotions, though, is to scream/yell.  Seriously.  I just stand outside and just let loose (I’ll do this inside if it’s too late so I don’t disturb the neighbors).  Have you ever watched the movie, “Full Metal Jacket”?  Let me hear your war cry.  I do it as long and as many times as I can until I think I’m done.

Let me hear your war cry!

So, what’s next.  Breathe.  I’m serious.  I take a long, deep breath then let it out slowly.  It’s amazing how little we breathe when we are upset.  We usually take shallow, quick breaths when we are too upset to think straight.  It usually only takes me a few breaths until I can think a bit more rationally.

Now, I ask myself:

Is there anything right now I can do to remedy this situation? 

  1. If my answer is yes, I make all the plans necessary to do it, then do it!  I don’t wait or dwell, worry or fret, I get busy (depending on the situation, Google is great for this).
  2. If the answer is no and there is nothing I can do right now to remedy this situation, I figure out a way to let it go, mentally, for the time being.  This is especially difficult if it is a health issue.  If it is, for the love of yourself and everyone around you, DO NOT CONSULT DR. GOOGLE!  That one “innocent” search could take you from having a minor ulcer to colon cancer in three clicks.

You may be asking me, “O.k., smartass, how do I just let something like that go?”  Find something, anything else to occupy your mind.  I’m completely serious.  Just make sure whatever it is takes all your concentration.  So far, since finding out about my husband’s surgery consultation, I have cleaned my neighbor’s house (it’s my neighbor, so I had to concentrate and do a thorough job), listened to 4+ hours of interviews from Hay House’s 2015 World Summit, written two small blog posts (this will be my third and longest one), meditated a couple of times (this one was the most difficult to do), done my free weight lifting routine (if you have ever used a barbell while not concentrating, you know the consequences), begun physically reading two books and have started the Creative Baddass Challenge.

Now, I’m not telling you to just ignore whatever situation/challenge you find yourself dealing with.  Thoughts and feelings regarding it ARE going to pop into your head (and depending on the severity of the situation, this might happen quite often) but you can’t dwell on something that you currently have no solution to. Just acknowledge those thoughts, fears, or worries then let them drift right back out of your head like they are floating on a stream.

And that’s pretty much where I’m at now.  The thoughts float in, then I let them float right back out of my head (except this morning when I was trying to fix the @#$% wi-fi … that’s all I could think about, so at least I wasn’t dwelling on the bigger issue 🙂 ).

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

Respect for Elders

Those words (the subject line) actually popped out of my mouth yesterday while I was mid-rant to my husband.  They weren’t directed toward him (even though I AM older than him).  I was going on and on about an incident that occurred.  Now that I’ve been thinking about it (it’s been over 24 hours, so I’m much calmer now) it really isn’t about the disrespect shown to me because I’m an “elder”.  It was the disrespect shown to me … period.

See, if you are in my house, you are my guest.  I will do whatever I deem necessary to ensure a comfortable, pleasant visit.  That is the way I am, whether I like the person or don’t.  Why would I be that way to someone I do not like?  Because I respect the person who brought them.  That wasn’t the case, yesterday.  This person I actually liked but my reaction to the situation displays how much respect I have for the person who brought them.  Instead of my typical reaction, I walked away.

It took everything within me to turn around and walk out my back door.  I do not do well with being shown disrespect from those who I have welcomed into my home (and life).  I have a few examples I’m willing to share: When my boss got within an inch of my face, screaming at me, I squared up my shoulders and yelled right back.  When my eldest was a teenager, he made the mistake of calling me a bitch to my face and I slapped him, and when my youngest was a teenager and spoke to me the I was spoken to yesterday, I let him have it (vocally) with both barrels.  I even stopped being friends with one of my oldest friends for a much smaller showing of disrespect than what was shown to me yesterday … in my own house.

So, why am I writing about this today?  Because I’ve been thinking.  🙂  What does respect mean to me?  Respect doesn’t mean I bow down to anyone because I respect them.  It doesn’t mean that I follow anyone’s advice simply to show respect.  It means that I have enough respect in myself to either show restraint in certain situations or to defend myself and those I love.  Respect means that when you are in front of me, you will never know how much I like or dislike you (unless that is my intention).  I do not demand respect from others, I expect it if that is what I have shown you.

Quick Update – Coursework

If you are interested in speaking in any way, I highly recommend taking this Coursera course.  I am just about to finish the first module.  Once I finish the course, I will post an update and hopefully you will be able to see the improvement in my speaking abilities (as in giving a good speech … not just rambling).  As of right now, the videos are unpublished but I will include links with my overview of the course.

I have yet to share my good news!  I have a brand new computer (tower) that we did not have to build (for those of you who work on cars, it’s been like that for YEARS.  Constantly having to “look under the hood” and replace things.  It’s so nice to not have to worry about anything breaking any time soon)!  We went to Fry’s Electronics and it was actually cheaper to just pull one off the shelf.  I then traded my old tower for a laptop AND last week my son gave me his old phone.  So, I not only have video/photo capabilities now BUT a better computer to process them on!

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.