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Honor the quirk

With all the filters and editing software, it seems we are trying to do away with imperfections. Yet quirks are magnetic. Quirky elements are relatable and endearing — what stops a scroll and captures attention.

This post is an ode to the quirk. A reminder that something is worth doing even if it isn’t exceptional. That art can be created without the goal of perfection. That the greatest entrepreneurial attempts are often imperfect and messy when they begin.

Quirks can be fun and inspiring and a platform for something great.

Just for today, follow the quirks. Embrace them, and look for ways to use quirks in your favor.

Prompt: What quirks have unexpectedly served you? Tweet me @redheadlefthand.

10 strategies to break out of a writing rut

If something keeps getting in your way when you sit down to write, you’re not alone. These moments happen (often), and it’s part of the work to know what you can do to show up anyway. It doesn’t matter how you crawl out of a non-writing writing hole, but the important thing is that you do. You can. And you will.

Here’s a list of 10 ways you can help yourself out of any writing rut:

  1. Write for one. Stop thinking about an entire audience. Write for one person. Think about what they want to hear, what they are excited to read about, what they need to succeed.
  2. Test something. Observe your blogs, social media content, and emails. Which stories fail? Which aspects get results? Use a variety of writing tactics and watch what lands.
  3. Show up. Instead of striving for “A” work, let yourself pass with a “C.” It doesn’t need to be pretty or good; sometimes the best work evolves from something subpar.
  4. Get personal. Let your feelings and emotions guide you. Follow whatever threads of excitement and curiosity you can muster.
  5. Choose a lane. And stick to it. Seth’s Lifeguard Hack is helpful.
  6. Just go. Push forward, regardless. Set a timer for ten minutes and write. You can leave when the alarm goes off.
  7. Distract yourself. Write something else. Not the thing you’re wanting to write, something else entirely. Play with lists and incoherent phrases. Write a story. Get creative then come back to the task at hand.
  8. You good? You good. Remind yourself how fabulous you are. Write down all of the things you know you do well, projects you’re proud of, accomplishments, battles you’ve fought through, and goals you’ve reached.
  9. Say no. Saying no to things that zap your energy and impact your boundaries will create more energetic space. Say no to tasks that take you away from writing.
  10. Create structure. Using your calendar in a purposeful way can help you feel more empowered and focused so you can get work done. Structure your day into manageable chunks, or dedicate a specific day of the week for particular tasks.

Creating movement in one area can unlock momentum in another. What tricks do you use to get unstuck? Tweet me @redheadlefthand.

Silence as a medium

Silence can be uncomfortable, and it can be tempting to rush to fill “dead air.” When silence falls upon a meeting or lands abruptly in conversation, it can be unsettling and anxiety-provoking. You may question the efficiency of communication or worry that your message has been misunderstood.

But silence is one of the most powerful communication tools we can use. When harnessed, silence allows room for focus, self-reflection, empathy, and introspection. Sometimes, silence is exactly what is needed for a creative storm to follow.

The next time you find yourself in a silent standoff with a friend or among colleagues… pause. Invite silence into the space and watch what blossoms.

“Everything that’s created comes out of silence. Thoughts emerge from the nothingness of silence. Words come out of the void. Your very essence emerged from emptiness. All creativity requires some stillness.”

Wayne Dyer

Embrace mess

Side steps. Mistakes. A missed call. Broken code. Messes are often where innovation is found; the places we release control and let go of “perfection” is the space the unexpected is allowed room to breathe.

Julia Margaret Cameron’s smudgy photographs became her hallmark. Navajo rug weavers intentionally left imperfections in their work. Wabi sabi ceramics celebrate imperfections. Silly Putty wasn’t meant to be entertainment, and Potato Chips were the result of a complaining customer.

The next time you feel like you’ve made a horrible decision or dropped the ball, see if you can reframe the moment as an opportunity.

Have any of your mistakes worked in your favor? Tell me @redheadlefthand.

The tribes you build

The life you want to create, the type of person you want to become, the parts of yourself you’re most excited to cultivate will attract people who will help you get there.

Your relationships are catalysts — the foundations you need to squeeze wisdom from experience and failure. Authentic connection is expansive: the right relationship at the right time are wings to freedom.

Even at your very worst, you were someone’s pride and joy. Remember this when you forget the best parts of your being. Because somewhere in that fog of confusion and longing, we can help each other find laughter and gratitude. Your highest highs and lowest lows are different than mine; the value lies in sharing and discovering what these experiences were like for each of us.

Our mutual appreciation for life — the ups and downs, the hard lessons and the easy ones — might not happen at the same time. Your up might be my down; but no matter, when we do find ourselves together, we can share which lessons that made us better.

The point is to build tribes so that we can elevate and push each other to succeed.

When we collaborate, our ideas become richer. Like a prism, the perspectives we uniquely offer brings treasure. It’s our gift — and our duty — to find it.

Modified from What connect us, posted August 2013.