Friday was an emotional roller coaster. Somehow, several big lessons were packed into one relatively short span of time (see also my motherhood-centered post about this past Friday HERE). I started the morning in the Montrose area. I grabbed breakfast and some coffee since I was out early and waiting for Creative Mornings Houston to start. While waiting in line for coffee, a nice gentlemen named Tim complimented me on my dress. We made some small talk and ended up waiting longer than both of us had anticipated. I’m fairly in tune with who I am. I try to be intentional in my interactions and authentic in my conversations. BUT, I also have anxiety. While I can physch myself up to speak in front of a room of strangers without much issue there are certain times when “small talk” makes me completely nervous. Friday was one of those times. Although Tim was as pleasant as could be, when our conversation turned to being happy because it was Friday and the work week was coming to an end, I panicked. I saw his badge and since he worked in a hospital I figured he worked long grueling hours and could not possibly relate to my more freestyle – though demanding – entrepreneur work life. I should not have assumed that. Regrettably, instead of tell him what I was thinking – that I purposely worked for myself so that I did not have to live only for the weekends – I played along and pretended I was looking greatly forward to 5 ‘o clock. It seemed relatable. It was easier. And in my nervous state, I shrunk back from who I really am to make easy small talk. I felt horrible about it right away. Instead of dwelling on the mistake in a negative way though, I decided I would commit to doing better. I thought my word for the week would have to be the opposite of shrink back – since that’s what I felt I done.
The coffee helped once I got it. As I drove toward Asia Society Texas, for the Creative Mornings event, I decided my word would be “SHINE”. This was my third or fourth time attending a Creative Mornings event and I really like the community. If you are not familiar, CM is a worldwide event series for creative people. There is a theme and a breakfast event once monthly in cities from Amsterdam to Zurich. The topics, attendees and format of the events all feel easy and welcoming though carefully curated. It’s always and inspiring morning for me. September’s theme was Compassion. The speaker in Houston was Dr. B Craven, owner of Modern Therapy and founder of Human HQ. Surprisingly to me, her take on Compassion was aimed inwardly. It felt like such a timely message. Here I was feeling disappointed in myself about my short coming earlier, and the insightful Dr. was encouraging the audience to show ourselves some kindness. She touched on several important topics including intuition – which I am ALL about – telling us that we should keep listening to what vibes even if we are not exactly sure where we are going. Dr. B also identified “The Gap” playing for us a cool video featuring audio from Ira Glass. In that audio, Glass describes the gap creators experience when they have the “taste” to know that what they are producing is not as good as they would like for it to be, but don’t yet have the experience to achieve their desired level of quality. Dr. B reminded us all to be particularly compassionate to ourselves while we are in the gap, which Glass said the only way out of was to keep doing the work. the idea is that a volume of work will eventually allow your quality to catch up with your taste level. It is a slightly more in depth and grown-up version of “practice makes perfect.” To a creative who has to work to separate their personal value from the things they create – as Dr. B pointed out we should be careful to do – it can be a profound singular thought that can make all the difference.
Mindful Awareness, the practice of identifying what we are feeling and then creating a healthy space between ourselves and those feelings, was one of the tools Dr. B said would be helpful to all of us on our journey. She also suggested we make it a point to be more kind to ourselves; saying that we should be able to count on ourselves as a true and solid friend. “Might as well have your own back,” she laughed. I was glad to see the example of a woman fiercely going after what she believed in and setting her own course. Her sharing the ups and downs of journey reminded me of myself and further stoked my commitment to being authentic me in every possible moment. Being me doesn’t have to be flashy, but a diamond would not pretend to be glass just to make others comfortable. So, as often as humanly possible, I will SHINE.