Hey! That was my idea

“I thought of that years ago.”

“I was going to do that.”

Have you ever noticed how possessive we can be of our ideas? How we’ll feel robbed when someone else acts on them?

Why the heck are we like this?!

I guess it has to do with the fact that we call them our ideas. As though they belong to us and no one else could have thought of them.

However we probably came up with the idea for the thing (product, business, song, painting, book, etc…) because we felt the world needed it—a solution to a problem or something to fill a need people have—and if that’s the case shouldn’t we be happy that it’s out there improving people’s lives, even if we weren’t the ones to make it happen? Shouldn’t we take it as a signal that the market’s ready for more of whatever the thing is?

Why instead do we feel all kinds of resentful and jealous?

I mean, we can’t do it all. We can’t act on every idea we get. We have to intentionally choose which thing we’re going to work on right now. That means letting some of our ideas go and that’s OK. Someone else will have the idea and run with it (because no, our ideas aren’t unique), maybe even doing a better job with it than we could’ve. Or maybe we’ll come back to it down the line…

Who knows!

Point is, we need to let go of some ideas (and not feel so damn guilty about it) so we can put all our energy towards the ones that matter the most to us right now.

The whole, “you can do anything once you stop trying to do everything” platitude.

A little New-Year-newfound-desire-to-do-all-the-things thought for you…

Why yes this little riff was inspired by Elizabeth Gilbert’s take on ideas in Big Magic.

Photo taken at The Met this past fall in during a day of gallery wandering in Manhattan. Because museums and galleries are a breeding ground for, “Hey! That was my idea.”

2017 was the year you… What?

PSA: It’s September.

Meaning there are four more months of 2017.

Yep, four. That’s it.

I’m not bringing this up to guilt trip you into feeling like you haven’t done enough this year, because if you’re anything like me you’ve got that more than covered.

I bring it up because September feels like a good time to check in with, you know, life.

With how you’re spending your time and your money. With where you want to go and where you currently find yourself.

When you look back on 2017… what are you going to think of?

The year you did what? The year you learned what? The year you changed what?

Four months is actually a lot of time. Plenty of time to build a new habit or break an old one.

Bit by bit. Day by day. What could you do?

View from the dock my pale butt was parked on this Labour Day weekend. It was lovely. 

Yes, you can

A quick and largely unoriginal New Years thought for you…

I’m not big on New Years resolutions—January 1st doesn’t feel extraordinarily more promising than the start of any other day—but I do like to reflect on the year that’s passed. (Unoriginal already, told ya.)

This little shift in thinking has had the biggest impact on my life recently.

I pay attention to all the things that make me think, “Well I can’t do that.”

“I can’t make videos. I’ll look like a fumbling idiot.”

“I can’t do Crossfit. Have you seen these noodle arms?! Remember when you mentioned it to an Ex and they responded with a crushingly animated eyeroll?”

Instead of letting these thoughts float past and cement in the back of my brain, I catch myself…

What do you mean you can’t? Says who?

Either you want this or you don’t. You’re going to make time for it or you’re not. All perfectly fine options, but using “can’t” as an excuse isn’t.

We all do it.

I can’t join that rec soccer league because I’m not good enough.
I can’t start investing because I don’t have the money.
I can’t do ‘x’ because I’m too young, too old, don’t have the resources…

We collect these cants over time—maybe they came from something a parent or partner said, a bad experience, or other people’s fears. You’d be surprised how young some of these beliefs start.

(Don’t worry, we’re not going to dive into your childhood. That’s between you and a qualified therapist.)

My point is…

Awareness is powerful. So is choice. 

Exercise both.

Those two cants of mine I mentioned earlier? Well, *casually brushes dirt from shoulder*, I recorded my first video tutorial a few months ago—an experience I loved that’s opened up a world I’d previously written off—and I started Crossfit last week.

I might not be the best at either but I show up. That’s all it takes.

It’s cliche advice for a reason.

I (you!) most certainly can.

P.S. In lieu of a somewhat-passably-relevant stock photo… Please enjoy this snap I took at the top of Whistlers Mountain in Jasper, Alberta. I think the whole clouds-mountain-top thing qualifies as inspirational. 

Starting somewhere is better than starting nowhere

Can I confess something?

I’m having a heck of a time starting this blog.

Last March (oh man has it been that long?) I got it in my head this needed to be a thing. I’ve had a craft blog for a few years, but there are other topics I wanted to explore. Topics that needed a different home. Like why are we so bad at teaching people about finance? and how can artists use growth hacking! and what does your money look like if you never want to retire?

So I began jotting down post ideas. Anytime a podcast or advertisement or conversation sparked one. I’d write rough drafts in Evernote when I was in line at the grocery store. It was exciting!

But I didn’t publish much. Or I’d post it only to take it down. I even started a few anonymous blogs.

What gives?

Well… I’ve had it in my head that if you’re going to touch topics like money and marketing, you’d better have it together. You’d better be a voice of authority, an expert!

People want to read actionable How-To’s, not random observations of an unknown twenty-something.

They want answers, not questions. Conclusions!

“I don’t know but here’s a thought…” isn’t good enough. Not decisive enough.

And what if my writing is too casual? Or formal! What if I come across as judgemental or wishy-washy (what a great word…) or as a know-it-all when I’m just trying to start a conversation? What if my content is too scattered—isn’t blogging 101 to pick a niche? What if a future boss/client doesn’t want to work with me because of something I’ve posted?

What if! Oh, screw it I’m just going to watch Netflix instead.

… See what’s happening here?

Nothing. A whole lot of nothing.

I’ve got to figure I’m not the only one who finds themselves in this delightful storm of overthinking-meets-perfectionism-meets-inaction. I can’t be the only one with ALLTHEIDEAS! and nothing to show for it.

Being the season for reflection and resolutions, I’ve spent some time doing just that. And I thought I’d share with you the interwebs a little realization that’s helping me in a big way.

Ready for it?

Starting somewhere is better than starting nowhere.

Producing bad work is better than producing no work.

So just… Start. Somewhere. Anywhere. You don’t even have to share it! But you do have to consistently show up and do the work.

Promise the world won’t end if you make something less than perfect.

Noted? Noted.

P.S. In lieu of a somewhat-passably-relevant stock photo… Please enjoy this snap I took in the middle of the SK-5 on my way from Saskatoon to Preeceville last summer. It’s seriously beautiful out there, FYI. 

You only have to do one thing today

You know what sucks? Ending the day and feeling like you’ve accomplished nothing. Especially when you were busy all day (Hi, emails).

You know what’s worse? Ending the week, month, or even the year *gulp* feeling like you’ve accomplished nothing.

I’m all about the to-do list. ALL about it. And I’ll have days when I’m ripping through that list at an admiral speed, but I’m not actually working towards things that really matter to me. The things I’ll look back on in 5 years and go, “2016 was the year I ran a marathon. I’m so glad I did that!”

By babying my to-do list I’m hiding behind a false sense of productivity. I know that because I’ll look back on yesterday, or last week, and struggle to think of what I accomplished. Like what the heck did I actually do on Wednesday?! Have you ever had that? Totally sucks.

It’s a real kick in the confidence to feel like you’re constantly moving, but not moving forward.

So what I’ve started doing (on the advice of some podcast, and surprise, I can’t remember which one) is nominating one thing I want to accomplish each day. One main task. Maybe it’s a step towards a bigger goal, or maybe it’s finally finishing those socks I started knitting months ago… whatever. The rest of my to-do list will have to fit around it.

There’s something about saying to yourself, “This. Today if nothing else I’m going to do this,” that makes you much more likely to do the work. Especially if you’re having a crazy day or feeling down, it gives you direction and a place to focus your energy. And then when you do it, when you get it done, you go to bed with this cool sense of check-me-out-getting-ish-done-all-functional-like.

It gives you permission to feel like you’ve done enough, that you’re enough. It’s trackable proof that you’re working towards the life you want. So the next time you’re feeling low and that voice pops up saying you’re useless and going nowhere you can be like, “UM, NO. Let me direct you to all the things I did last week it was great and I’m great!”


But seriously, it’s good stuff people.

Try it.

P.S. In lieu of a somewhat-passably-relevant stock photo… Please enjoy this snap I took of a boat in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. It’s all kinds of beautiful out there.

Is procrastinating a procrastination hack?

Now I haven’t been experimenting with this for very long, BUT, I think procrastinating might actually be a procrastination hack.

Hear me out.

I’m in the kitchen making my 11th tea of the day (I have a legit problem) and my brain hits me with remember-the-thing-you-promised-yourself-you’d-finish-every-morning-for-the-past-week-and-you-haven’t-yet-because-you-suck-geeze-what-a-loser-you-can’t-get-anything-done-you’re-hopeless.

And I’m faced with two options.

A: Do the work.

B: Grab some cookies to dunk in said tea and proceed to YouTube to figure out once and for all how to build a capsule wardrobe.

(I’ll give you one guess as to which I that’s-right-Option-B)

But what about an Option C? What about, “OK fine. You don’t have to do the work. You don’t have to write that article. Instead, you can choose from any of the following pre-approved procrastination activities: read a book, go for a run, paint something, cut out that dress pattern you’ve been meaning to sew” etc.

You’ll notice ‘watch YouTube haul videos’ is not on that list. The key here is differentiating between what I’ll call ‘healthy’ and ‘unhealthy’ procrastination. The former is legitimately good for you and works on a skill. It’s probably a hobby you wish you did more often anyways, like running. The latter is whatever your personal brand of procrastination looks like. For me that’s YouTube, Instagram, Netflix, and obsessively cleaning and organizing. (I know that last one seems like a good thing but trust me, me with a duster is flat out procrastination.)

This will, of course, look different for everyone. I like to think of healthy procrastination as things you’d find on your list of New Years resolutions—read more books, run a 10K, learn how to code, start meditating because the NY Times says it’s what successful people do… and so on. Organize my desk isn’t resolution worthy for me because Lord knows I don’t need a reminder to do that more often.

Somehow by doing this, but letting myself procrastinate and work on something that might not feel directly related to the article I have to write or whatever it is I’m putting off, I actually start to gain confidence. I feel good about myself and after a while, I’ve built enough momentum that my brain is like OKAY might as well get crackin’ on the real reason we’re all here…

I can’t properly explain this Jedi mind trick just yet, and I’m sure it’s riddled with caveats, but the results so far are pretty freaking cool.

P.S. In lieu of a somewhat-passably-relevant stock photo… Please enjoy this graffiti snap I took of some alley in Kensington Market, Toronto. Man, I love that place. 

Whatever you’re scared of, do that

Ahhh the midlife crisis. Or quarter life crisis. Or this week crisis. (?)

We’ve all been there. And we’ll all be there again. That super fun feeling of being completely, utterly stuck and not knowing what to do next.

But you know what the cool thing is? You do know. You do know what you need to do next.

It’s whatever you’re afraid of.

It’s the thing you casually (or maybe not so casually) day dream about like running a marathon or starting a YouTube channel or selling something you made on Etsy. It’s the thing you get a rush imaging before you shut yourself down with, “I can’t”.

You know the thing you don’t think you can do because you’re not good enough or you don’t have the right connections or people will think you’re stupid? That’s exactly what you need to be doing.

And if you’re honest with yourself, you know it.

So look for that fear. Actively seek out what makes you scared and uncomfortable and do that. Not all at once, not all in one day, but start working towards it. Instead of dodging the idea (because you know it’ll just come back) lean into it. If you dream of running a marathon, start today by walking around the block. Because the littlest step towards a goal is better than no step, right?

Look for the fear.

And lean into it.

Photo taken at The Whistlers in Jasper, Alberta.

Procrastination is a habit we can change

Oh, what’s that sound? Just me eating my own words.

As it turns out, that stirring declaration I made about writing a blog post every day for two weeks (no excuses, Kate! It’s only 14 days, Kate! Everyone has 30 minutes, Kate!) didn’t stick.

My inner procrastinator found a friend in my perfectionist tendencies and, well, here we are a few days later. Sigh.

It’s never good news when those two get together.

Procrastination is a funny thing isn’t it, because it’s not like you don’t know how things are going to turn out. You know you’re going to regret it. You never surface from a Netflix binge, covered in chip dust, thinking, “Fantastic use of my time! Couldn’t be happier that it’s midnight and I haven’t started studying for tomorrows exam!”

You know what’s at stake. And yet…

The great thing here though is that procrastination isn’t some inherent trait you live and die with. It’s a habit, like exercise or being on time. It’s a self-fulfilling narrative. “I’m such a procrastinator. I’m always late. I never work out. I’m so indecisive.”

It comes down to habits, and habits can be changed.

How? That I don’t know (obviously) but I suspect momentum is key—because that feeling you get when you push through and do the work is always worth it.

P.S. In lieu of a somewhat-passably-relevant stock photo… Please enjoy this snap I took in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. Home of my future art studio.

Treat your life as a series of two week experiments

This. This I can do.

Committing to an indefinite lifestyle change is, well, daunting. “I’m going to start waking up earlier! I’m going to start running! I’m going to start eating healthy!” Somehow the larger the undertaking feels, the easier it is to keep pushing the start date.

“I’ll start tomorrow!” turns into months, or even years, and that’s when the shame sets in. And shame is a total confidence killer. The cure? Action. Stop think-hoping-wishing and start doing

Tim Ferriss was talking about this whole thing on his podcast recently (Can I find the episode? Of course not, sorry…). But hearing about it just clicked. It took the pressure off a few things I’ve been building up and putting off, prompting me to start my own two week experiment… blogging.

There’s no reason you can’t find 30 minutes (heck even 10) from the next 14 days to try something new. Packing your lunch, meditating, journaling… whatever it is.

Two weeks. Fourteen days. That’s it.

We’re not talking a lifetime. Make a commitment to yourself and honour it, knowing you can re-evaluate the whole thing when you’ve finished.

Think about it, we’re keeping the stakes pretty low here. What do you honestly have to lose? More importantly, what do you have to gain?

Thought so.

P.S. In lieu of a somewhat-passably-relevant stock photo… Please enjoy this snap I took at White Point in Cape Breton Island. Just your standard back yard… Sigh.

Just Start

Easier said than done, right? Don’t I know it.

I’ve had ‘write first post’ on my to-do list for months.

Here’s what I’ve realized—and it applies to a lot more than starting a blog—we’ve got to stop using the details as an excuse.

“I can’t start my YouTube channel until I have a proper camera. I’ll reach out to clients once my business cards are printed. I’ll start running once I buy the right shorts.” You’re just stalling. You don’t need a DSLR to record video, you can start with your phone, right? And the running shorts? Come on.

So in this case, what’s the most important thing? What’s the thing without which the blog couldn’t even exist? The writing, duh.

You know what doesn’t matter at this stage? Everything else. Themes, logos, colours, categories, about pages, twitter links… There’s plenty of time to deal with that later.

Because honestly, the perfect theme colour isn’t going to make you feel any less vulnerable.

Stop overthinking and just start.