Tag Archives: motivational

I said “no” and the Universe said “yes”

I said “no” to a major promotion.

This may not be such a big deal, but I’m still in disbelief over my own audacity. I mean, I got tapped on the shoulder by an executive and was offered to take on a major project, the likes of which my organization has not yet seen. When I wondered out loud about how I was going to manage this in addition to my already stressful job, the executive offered to backfill part of my job. There was a new title with “Executive” to be had and no doubt extra compensation, although we did not get to the details of that. The project was sure to propel me right up to the next step of the corporate ladder.

So I said “yes”.

Oh yeah, minor detail – I said “yes” at first, like a good girl, one that bites more than she can chew and then chews like hell. I said “yes” and then proceeded to stress for two weeks about what the hell I am doing, all the way to a panic attack last Sunday, complete with chest pains. Then, Monday morning I called the executive and ever so politely withdrew from the project. She couldn’t believe it at first, even tried to come up with some arrangement, where I finish a couple of major projects already on the way and then take on this one, but finally agreed that she needed someone here and now. I was relieved. Sad, because my damn stressful job won’t let me take on something cool and exciting, but relieved. I went to my calendar and cancelled several hours worth of meetings I no longer had to attend.

Then the coolest thing happened. The little bit of spare brain capacity got flooded with a creative tsunami the likes of which I have not experienced in months. Have a look – all of this happened within approximately 30 hours, which included some sleep and a few snacks:

          

Yes, it’s a ginormous Christmas card. It was somewhere between complaining about the heat and how I can’t imagine Christmas in 30-plus degree weather and admiring my coworkers’ zest for decorating that I came up with this idea. I did not know if I would be able to pull it off, I just knew I had to do it. I found a store that sells primed canvas by meter, taped a 1.6mX2.5m piece of it to my (now ruined) dining room wall and went nuts. Saturday night date night got cancelled and I had to make a mad dash back to the art store for more paint, but the next day I was sneaking into work to hang this up on the glass wall of my office. I have the Monday off, so don’t yet know how it was received, but it doesn’t even matter – I was high on endorphins all day. Thank you, Universe, for giving back my creativity.

Oh, and thanks again for something unexpected – my Twitter thread of progress photos almost went viral:

I’ve never had any of my tweets get so many retweets and likes in such a short time. I’ve posted excerpts from my books and photos of my portraits, which took painstaking days to complete, and they gathered some interest, but never like this. Dozens of people left comments, and I am now left wondering about why this particular painting provoked such an emotional response. Is it the season? Or the mood of it? Does it have something to do with it’s size? Or how quickly it was completed? If you have thoughtsd on this, please let me know – one thing for sure, I may stray away from the portraiture for another test.

So things are great. Except now I have to paint the entire dining room wall – and not with Dulax, but with a mural exactly like this painting, because Josh said so 🙂

 

 

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100 days of self-brainwashing: Day 1, Ted Talks

I’m in Cabo, y’all! Having a grand time – here’s the proof:

  

After the miserable Melbourne winter, the heat and the sun are doing wonders for my well-being, and I have even started writing again. It’s easy to do when you have all day to do what you want:

I wrote 1,600 words on the first day. I was elated. Then the next day I wrote 900, the day after it was 600, yesterday it was 260, and today I have written nada, if you don’t count this post. Why, do you ask?

I thought I was lazy at first. Too much sun, food, tequila, you name it. Everyone else around me moving at a snail’s pace. Wanting to savor every moment, as if the ocean would cease to exist the moment I stopped staring at it. All very good reasons, except in the back of my mind I knew it was more about the uphill battle of publishing this third book. It was more about knowing that I have not yet made back my investment into the first two, about how hard I will have to work to sell each copy, to get reviews, and above all to keep going against the grim odds. I could very easily just relax, keep working on my career, which is going gangbusters, and let this little dream die a quiet death, like the one in which I was going to be an actress (four years, forty roles, whole of career earnings: $2,000).

The only problem is, without a big, ridiculous dream, I feel like something is missing. I’ve been miserable for the past few months, partly due to that miserable weather I’ve mentioned earlier, and partly because I got myself locked into a routine of going to work, giving it my all, then coming home to collapse and recover just enough to put in another day. Sounds familiar? Where’s Ana from ten years ago, the one that went to Australia on a tourist visa, convinced against all odds that she was going to get a job and a work visa sponsor? The one that signed up for triathlons and kiteboarding and could run 10K every day? The one that was abused so badly by her manager, she decided to become a manager herself? The one that thought “I can write a book, start a blog, and publish against those very glum odds”?

That fit, excited, and energetic Ana had not only the big goals in mind, she truly believed that she could accomplish them. And after some pondering this morning, I’d realized that I started it all with self-brainwashing. I was living in the US at the time, and I was miserable. The weather was great in Florida, I can’t blame it, but my first marriage was hell, and I was caught in a corporate hamster wheel of produce-get promoted-produce some more. Then something miraculous happened. The terrible first husband insisted that we move out to the boonies, where he could safely smoke dope and shoot deer out the window. That’s not the miraculous part, by the way. The move resulted in two major changes: we couldn’t get cable TV and I had to commute almost an hour each way to my corporate hamster job. I was bored at home, and I was bored driving. So I started reading and listening to audiobooks in the car. For some miraculous reason, the local library had the entire Tony Robbins audio collection and after a few hours of Tony insisting that I could do whatever it was I wanted to do, I was hooked. At the time I thought all I wanted was more money, as if that could fix my terrible, terrible marriage, so I kept reading and listening, and reading some more. I got hooked on psychology, motivation, self-help, and anything that promised to grow my mind. After a few months of that self-brainwashing, I realised that I didn’t want more money. What I wanted was to leave – my terrible husband, my hamster job, and unfortunately the US. It was a huge gamble, but it has paid massive dividends since.

So that’s what I’m going to do again. Brainwash myself again. I have started today by listening to a few TED talks, because I could still stare at the blue ocean while various successful people told me that I could do it, whatever it was. This was my favourite one:

It’s also the one from which I stole the idea of challenging myself for 100 consecutive days. It’s too early to tell, but hey, this blog post is 775 words, which is a whole lot better than yesterday. I’ll come up with something else tomorrow and see what happens.

 

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The best way to predict your future

The best way to predict your future is to create it.

Abraham Lincoln said that. Dude was a genius and a visionary. Today I was reminded just how important it is to follow this motto.

It’s been two years since I’ve started this blog. On a whim, I’ve decided to have a look at my very first post. I had to read it twice, and I was completely overcome by the complex emotions that could only be expressed by “OMG!” and “no way!”

My dream two years ago was for someone to read my not-yet-written book, close it, and want to read more. This is exactly what has happened: I’ve finished a novel, I’ve published it, and, according to Amazon reviews and comments on this blog, people want to read the next installment. Exactly as I have wished for/predicted in that very first post.

Be still, my heart, I have another wish to make:

By 16 October 2017, I want to quit my corporate job and become a full-time writer.

There. The power of intent, and all that. Thank you all for helping make my first dream come true – I gotta go start working on this next one.

Big, big hugs.

 

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