The past 3 months have felt like 30 years! A lot has happened and shifted, for all of us, in incredibly significant ways.
The past quarter has undoubtedly been tough for most – in many different ways – and, for some, much much more than others.
If you know me, you’ll know that it’s in my nature to always look for the silver linings. Despite all the grief we’ve witnessed and experienced, I see these past few months as having been a time of clarification like never before.
We’ve had to confront where we’ve collectively fallen short as a global society. And we’ve had to look at where we, as individuals, need to grow.
In this post, I’m sharing 9 things that contributed to my personal and professional growth and wellbeing, in the past quarter. My hope is that you may find something useful or inspiring here too.
Purpose: the beginning of everything
At the beginning of my experience of the COVID-19 pandemic, I shared some thoughts about soulful branding through a crisis. What began as a thought in that blog post soon became a workbook to guide others through checking in with their purpose.
And with every passing week, I’ve appreciated, more and more, just how crucial it is for us all to take time to reflect on our purpose so we can be guided by it, in everything that we do.
I keep coming across different flavours of this message:
“Your pleasures will point you to your purpose” – @sister.is
“You won’t be distracted by comparison if you’re captivated with purpose” – @jasminestar
“Ground your platform in purpose” – @joi.knows.how
Indeed, the past few months have really helped me to get clearer and clearer about how to connect my purpose to my work. If you need a place to begin your investigation on how to do so, check out my free workbook.
Making business work
I read The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It, by Michael E. Gerber. Now, one of my top two goals for the rest of 2020 is doing all the homework from the book.
I’ve long been a believer in the importance of systems but, this book took things to a new level for me. Bonus: it’s such a good, entertaining read.
And what do you know? Grounding everything in your purpose is something he advocates strongly for too!
New income streams
I will sometimes listen to podcasts while carrying out design or illustration work. On such an occasion, sometime in May, several thoughts and ideas in my head suddenly came together!
I’d gotten clear that I wanted to focus on serving other creative businesses and practitioners. I’d gotten clear that I wanted to share with them all the things I’ve learned in my 10-year journey. I’ve been knowing that I want to set up more passive income streams in my business.
That day in May, I finally realised how I was going to bring all these things together. The catalyst was this episode of Amy Porterfield’s podcast, featuring special guest Stu McLaren.
A membership was the answer. And Stu McLaren’s founding member launch strategy was how I was going to go ahead and just start!
A few weeks later, I had announced Free to Create and today, I’m supporting 40 inspiring creatives on their journey to thriving.
New income streams are, understandably, a hot topic right now. If you’re thinking about one, I encourage you to find a way to just start. The sooner you test something, the sooner you can improve it or toss it out for something that will work better. If you need some ideas, here are 31 income streams for creatives.
I’m not your typical technology geek but I do get super excited about tools that make my life and work easier. The latest thing I’m gushing about is Kajabi, the platform I chose to host my Free to Create membership on.
I love that you can host websites and landing pages as well as digital products including downloads, courses, memberships and online communities – all in one place, with one account. Customisation is easy, without any special technical knowledge, and their support is stellar.
The feature that possibly tipped me over the edge, was the “people” section. You can see the platform history of everyone who’s interacted with your business on Kajabi which allows you to add even more value to their experience with you.
Monthly habit reviews
Tracking my wellness practice habits is something that brings me so much satisfaction (and I’m getting borderline obsessed with tracking in general!). Last quarter, I came across James Clear. He’s the author of Atomic Habits which, I haven’t read yet but, upon perusing his site, I came across his annual reviews.
I was inspired to put my habit-tracking to use in this way! So I started a Google Doc which I’ve been updating at the end of every month. Seeing all the months in one place is already helping me to reflect on: what went well; what didn’t go so well; the reasons why; and how I can do better.
I can’t wait to look at it all at the end of the year.
Rest and worthiness
The connection between work and worth has been such a hot topic in these past few months. World events have compelled us to rest and it’s been very difficult for many of us (me included)! We’ve had to confront why and appreciate how our feelings of worthiness are all tied up with our productivity.
Our Afri-love Connection Club webinar on the subject was so enlightening and empowering. Understanding some of the historical contexts of this struggle helped me to better understand why my parents and grandparents also have trouble resting. And why there is a sort of cultural disapproval of not being busy all the time.
Our webinar guest, psychotherapist and systemic coach, Michelle Mashonganyika (who I highly recommend), gave us some great tools. For additional rest – and ultimately self-love – inspiration, check out the Nap Ministry and Yasmine Cheyenne.
I have a keen interest in holistic healing systems so Ayurveda has always been something I’ve wanted to know more about. I started to delve into Deepak Chopra’s book, Perfect Health, a few years ago but, I always wanted to see a practitioner in real life.
This past quarter, I saw a post on the Provisions Instagram feed, talking about Ayurvedic consultations with Jess Thimm. The timing was right!
I’m thoroughly enjoying learning more about Ayurveda, in general, and implementing balancing practices for my particular constitution. Some practices were already part of my regime and this new dimension of knowledge has been motivating for me to keep doing and prioritising them.
The world experienced an historic civil rights moment, with the Black Lives Matter protests in the past quarter.
Of course, this inspired a myriad responses. One of the most affirming ones – black joy. I want to highlight two things for you to check out.
An article by Imani Perry: “Racism is Terrible. Blackness is Not.” Written with such beautiful language that begged to be hand-lettered (see above).
The second is an episode of the Uproot podcast, “Black JOY Matters.”
We know creativity has the power to change the world and we’ve really been seeing this in action over the past few months. Rallying people together; informing and educating; affirming and providing solace.
I’m always concerned with what contribution my creative work is making to the lives of others. It’s an internal battle that this past quarter has helped me to deal with in various ways.
A whole new level of appreciation, of the value of facilitating joy, is one way. Another is: a reminder to release any fears of fully being myself, in my expression.
I love this “Recipe for Creative Resistance (a contemplation guide)” from teen activist, Haile Thomas. I’ll leave you with a tiny excerpt from the guide:
“Remember, NO ONE can create and express like you. Don’t let fear or discomfort tell you that your voice/perspective isn’t valid or won’t be valued. Share your light and heart anyway…”
Onwards to another amazing quarter!
… no matter what is happening in the world. We have the power to build our resilience and to nurture our creativity.
The hand-lettering art in this post will be available as printables, in the Lulu Kitololo Studio online shop, very soon.
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