5 Steps to More Creativity in Your Life!

Do you have a burning desire to express, be free, and create?

Often times in our pursuit for “more” we search for happiness in a better job, in fixing our current relationships, or seeking new relationships. We try to eat our way into happiness, purchase our way into happiness, and overwork our way into happiness.

And I’m pretty sure you’ve heard many times that true happiness comes from within. Right?

So what does “finding true happiness from within” mean to you?  How do you do that? “Within” can look and feel differently depending on our mood, state, and health. It’s not stationary.  Actually, within is constantly moving, swirling, forming, changing, and creating. After all, we are energy. There is not a one-size-fits-all formula for finding our happiness within.

But I’m here to share one way for you to start.

Get Creative.

What do I mean by “get creative”?  I mean to let go of problem-solving, structure, and strategy mode. Give your mind a break.  And instead, create time to physically and emotionally move your energy from your head into your heart and be here. Create time to let go of the reigns and tune into your inner leader. She’s in there waiting to make your day lighter, happier, and more creative if you let her.

So here are some ways to start getting creative.

Draw it out

When you start feeling overwhelmed, stressed, bored, and unhappy, put your thoughts to paper. Take a thought, any thought that’s not serving you, and if you aren’t able to let it pass, draw it out. Putting your thoughts to paper separates you from them.  You can then see them in a different way. Challenge them and let them go. And you create space for thoughts that will move your forward. It’s freeing…and fun.

Write to open

Take time in the morning, before you do anything else, to tap into your creative self.  It’s easy to get lost in the shoulds of the day and social media when you first wake up. Keep your phone off and take time to breathe, move into your heart, and listen to your creative voice. Write down everything that’s on your mind and open up space for your true, authentic ideas and desires to come through. Start with 10 minutes of your time, move to 30 minutes, and when you start seeing the results you’ll be waking up early to spend 60 minutes simply being creative. Just keep writing.

Dance!

That swirling energy within wants to feel supported and wants to be free.  When you move your body you create pathways for new energy to form and for old energy to release.  Dancing literally gets your creative juices flowing.  So put in your headphones, but on some Bishop Briggs, and dance with your creative self like no one’s watching. Actually, maybe even close the door…

Get outside

Get creative by being in the moment and appreciating the beauty around you. Smell the flowers, hug a tree, sit in the grass, put your hands in the dirt, immerse in the water, and take some deep breaths (I’m clearly a tree hugger). Start to nurture your body, heart, and creative mind by connecting to nature and the moment.  Even if you are not a self-proclaimed tree hugger, nature calms, soothes, and opens.

Let your imagination run free

You are busy, you have a lot on your mind, and you don’t feel like you have time for imagination. But what if you did? What if you paid more attention to what makes you feel alive? What if you were more intimate with the details of your ideal? Connecting to your imagination moves you closer to manifesting the career and life you desire.  It allows you to tap into the creativity moving through you to take inspired action. What’s your ideal vision of success? Who do you want to be in 1 year or 5 years? How do you want to spend your time? Your inner leader drives imagination. So let go of the control and let her take the wheel. Be guided.

So when you’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or doubtful then it’s time to get creative. Because you now know that these symptoms are an echo of your creative voice telling you that it’s time to check in. All you need to do is take 10 minutes to invite a burst of happy, creative energy into your day, right now.

And if you do this consistently you will become a pro at accessing your inner happiness when you need it the most.

Make creativity your new normal. Here’s to more drawing, writing, dancing, getting outside, and connecting to your imagination. Have fun!

Set yourself up for success.

This post is about you, your desires, and action.

It’s about setting yourself up to create and receive the success that you want in your career and in your life. And I’m writing this because we often think that success is to come, so we put ourselves in the waiting game along with the majority of others. We wait for promotions to happen to us, we wait to have the right conversations, we wait until we have enough money, we wait until we have the confidence, we wait until our children are grown, we wait until we finish the project, we wait until we become the expert, we wait until we’re perfect, we wait until we have the time.

And while we’re waiting we become tired, stressed, and overwhelmed. And while we blame our unhappiness on the busyness of the day and on others, we know deep within that we feel this way because we are not stepping up and creating the success we desire in our life, now. We are stressed because we are living a misaligned life and we’re not doing everything we can to make it aligned.

I have been called an idealist. And although at the time it wasn’t intended to be a compliment, I took it as one, because it’s true. I’m a realist too, but sometimes I tend to be guided more so by the ideals than the practical, by choice. And I believe that you do not always have to wait for your success. You do not always have to follow tradition and protocol. You do not have to try to interpret and follow the unwritten rules. As long as you are committed, fierce, and genuinely kind in your approach to life, you do not have to wait.

So this post is about you, your desires, and action, because this, with a dose of faith, is all you need to set yourself up for success.  Let’s take a look at each:

  1. YOU: To begin creating success in your life now first recognize that YOU are responsible for living and leading from your unique presence.  What makes you you?  What makes you tick? What gives you energy?  You create the space for you and then you fill it up. No more hiding behind working hard, no more staying small, no more pleasing others, and no more worshipping the fears. Be brave, remove the mask that has been guiding you into perceived safety, and become available for vulnerability and freedom.
  2. DESIRES:  After you drop the facade and create the space for you and your unique presence, your desires will become clear. And you now have the opportunity to unapologetically make them your top priority. Drop the guilt, smash the old beliefs that drive them away, and honor your desires for what they really are – your Truth. Accept them as part of you, because they are, and use any fears that surface as a catalyst for change.  Your desires are the foundation of your success, and without them, your success will continue to be in process and feel unsteady, and even nonexistent.
  3. ACTION: Take action to align your decisions, strategy, and energy with your desires. Become fiercely committed to using language that serves you. Say yes to aligned opportunities and no to the misaligned. Make powerful decisions at the moment that move you forward. Set boundaries that will support you on your journey. Stay committed to embracing the people, thoughts, and actions that will help you succeed.

Your success comes down to you, your desires, and your action. Take radical responsibility for your success, and then let go, and enjoy your journey.

Turn off the PowerPoint and Find Power in Your Story. 

I remember when I walked out of the conference room over a decade ago, I took a deep breath and thought, “okay, we got this!”. I had just led a meeting for a global initiative with a group of 11 men and women and thought for sure we were all on the same page. They seemed motivated. I mean they nodded their heads yes to the PowerPoint, so that must have meant they were ready to GO! But then there were crickets. I spent the next couple of weeks scrambling to get the results we desired. I was exhausted. Everyone was exhausted.

My leadership shortcoming at this stage of my career (one of them) was my reliance on logic to motivate others. I had all the facts, information, analysis, and reason summarized in beautiful presentations. People were informed, but they were not driven.

And then I tapped in. Way back when, I studied communication as an undergraduate, focusing on interpersonal and public communication. I lived for rhetoric and social constructionism! Yes, yes I did. I was fascinated. And when I realized I was not as effective as I hoped to be in gaining “buy-in” during my meeting, I remembered from my research another way of consciously communicating. This was a process that would require me to be more vulnerable and less scripted. I would need to dive in deep, become more self-aware, and let go of the doubt. But I was ready to show up differently. I desired to be a more versatile (and effective – let’s be honest!) leader, so I dove into the art of storytelling.

While we can use logic to motivate for the short-term (sometimes the very short-term), we can use stories to drive our people and our message for the long haul.

And here’s why.

Stories connect. 

Facts are a piece of the truth, but they do not tell the whole picture. When you present the facts and no back-story or potential obstacles, your audience knows there is more than meets the eye. They disconnect. Your story brings emotion, energy, and more reality to the conversation. It allows people to anchor into your truth and connect to why your message is important.

Stories bring humor to the situation.

People want to laugh. They want to feel light-hearted. Your stories alleviate anxiety for tense situations and also from the busy and overwhelming lives of your audience. They can be humorous and strategic.

Stories inspire.

Your audience desires to be part of something bigger. They will see themselves in you when you speak your truth and bring your energy to the table. When you tell stories about what have overcome, and are honest about where you are coming from and where you desire to go, they will feel more inspired to take action and be part of the journey.

Stories keep you aligned.

As a woman leader rising in influence, you can become quite familiar with the overwhelmed state of mind. Overwhelm happens when there is misalignment. Use your story as a way to communicate to ground you in your truth, keep others connected to your why, and to bring you and your values into the conversation. Your story allows you to stay aligned with your vision, rather than spiraling into the overwhelm.

Facts are valuable. However, they have limitations when not shared with a story that connects to the emotions of your audience. People want to connect to you as a leader. They want to connect with others. And they want to emotionally connect to the outcome.

Connect with story.

Two steps to successful time management.

Still feeling rushed?  This post is a continuation of the last two and it is all about taking back control of your time. We first looked at assessing your Logistical Container as step 1. Sometimes an easy tweak to your schedule is all you need to stop being late and start being productive. But when it’s not, tap into your Inner Leader as Step 2, because far too often even when you are the Queen of your calendar, you can easily disconnect from your vision, and your thoughts where decisions become misaligned.
 
So, what happens when you are working your calendar, you are listening to your Inner Leader, and you still just don’t have enough time? You’re late, you’re rushed, and you’re frustrated because you just can’t seem to get it all done.
 
This is where I found myself after starting my business. I felt organized, I felt like I was finally living my purpose, yet I still couldn’t find the time to get everything done. And I was frustrated.
 
And then one day during a workshop, I was asked a few questions that changed my perspective on time.  Through these questions I realized my beliefs around time were holding me back; it wasn’t my circumstances, but it was my mindset. I knew other successful people also had children, families, appointments, commitments, obligations, a cold, a headache, or a bad night sleep, and they were still getting amazing results.  My excuses were just that. 
 
So, I dove in deep to Step 3: Shift Your Mindset.
 
My excuses were based on beliefs that were no longer serving me. And until I took time to examine my thoughts, continued making decisions based on my limited perspective. A new perspective shifted my mindset.

The first step to shifting your mindset is to become aware.

Here are 14 questions to gain awareness about your relationship with time.
Get specific, get detailed and think of examples when answering the questions below.

  1. Where do you spend most of your time?
  2. If time were a person, how would you describe your relationship?
  3. On a scale from 1-10, with 10 being most often, how often do you feel like you do not have enough time?
  4. On a scale from 1-10, with 10 being most often, how often do you feel like you are rushing around? 
  5. If you answered 7 or above on question 4, what are you rushing around doing?
  6. How does rushing around make you feel on the inside?
  7. How are you perceived by others when you are rushing around?
  8. On a scale from 1-10 with 10 being most often, how often do you feel like you are late to appointments? 
  9. If often, how does it make you feel when you are late for appointments?  
  10. On a scale from 1-10, with 10 being most often, how often do you get sidetracked from the tasks at hand?
  11. Where do you desire to spend your time each day?
  12. Pretend you have a free day to do anything you would like. Break out your day hour by hour. 
  13. Pretend you have the ability to design your workday so that it worked for you. Break out your day hour by hour.
  14. What are your beliefs around time in general (and that came up for you during this exercise)?  

Next turn your negative phrases into positive ones:

Once you are more aware of your relationship with time, determine what beliefs are no longer serving you and turn them around. As you know, I believe your thoughts create your reality. What you think is how you behave and how you act. You can change your mindset with consistent positive self-talk. Go to question 14 and look at your beliefs about time. If they are negative, turn them into positive statements.
 
Here are some examples of negative beliefs that drive our actions:

  • Time management does not come naturally to me
  • I’m terrible at time management
  • Successful people are busy
  • Time is never on my side
  • I’m an awful planner
  • I never have time to do what I want 

The turnaround: 

  • I am naturally talented at managing my time in all areas of my life
  • Time management feels effortless
  • Successful people spend their time where it matters most to them
  • Time is on my side
  • I’m in control of how I spend my time
  • I always have time for the things I want in my life 

Right now, these phrases may not feel real for you. However, stay committed to the process. Think about how each statement is true for you in at least one way. Put them on sticky notes and read them as frequently as possible. Begin reading your statements in the morning and at night (and during the day if you can).  Try this process for 3 weeks and stay consistent.
 
Time management is a foundational tool for thriving. When you are in your power with time you gain clarity, you feel more confident and you positively connect with those around you. Time is all perspective and when you shift your mindset at the subconscious level you can let go of the drama around time and instead have time on your side.   

To your Success,

It’s time to take back your time!

We send messages with every word we say and action we take.  The way you say hello, shake someone’s hand and even wave goodbye lets others form opinions about you.  The same goes for how you treat time. Whether you arrive early, on time or late says a lot about who you are and how you approach life.

So in the last blog post, we talked about Step 1: Assessing Your “Logistical Container as a way to have more control over your time.  Sometimes an easy tweak to your schedule is all you need. However, sometimes you need to poke a bit deeper.  If you have the structure set up, but you are still feeling rushed, listen to your Inner Leader.

You Inner Leader is that voice within who knows you all too well. She knows your strengths, standards, and your vision. She’s listening, absorbing and taking notes on the real you every step of the way. And when we are not tapped into her we can easily end up over thinking about what could have been and what should be.  And what you think becomes your reality.

When we are aware of our inner leader, and we listen to her, our thoughts are more aligned with our goals and our vision. We set boundaries that keep us on track. And we are more intentional with the way we interact with others. We stay out of the overwhelm and the drama that causes us to be late and feel rushed.

So how to do you tap into your Inner Leader so you send the right messages with more ease?

Connect to vision. 

 Your vision is your compass to step up as a leader and influence, as well as to be led and influenced, without veering off track. It is your destination for success.

And when you have a clear understanding of the success you desire in your life – both personally and professionally – you will more easily understand what it will take to get there. Not having control of your time is not an option when unapologetically moving toward your vision.

You may not have control over others’ opinions, but you do have the power to spend your time productively by living life aligned with your vision.  When you are in alignment, the messages you send will be too. Your inner leader will guide you if you let her.

To Your Success,

Christy Venza

Tired of Being Late? Then take this step first.

I hate to admit it, but for the majority of my life punctuality and I were not on the same team. And I found myself apologizing even daily for showing up late.

And then I read an article a few years back claiming that running late is actually a sign of creativity and optimism. Man, if only I could have embraced this perspective and went on with my merry lateness! But I couldn’t because my lateness was not very merry.  I was rushing and stressed, and I knew that there were others relying on me.  If I were late for my own date, maybe I could have embraced my optimism!

But, the truth is that there are others involved and my lateness was affecting their time as well as how I was showing up and being received.

Time-management is so critical to effective communication because it affects our clarity, confidence, and connection. When you rush you are more apt to lack the focus and presence you desire in meetings and conversations. And when you are late your time appears more valuable than everyone else’s time, which leads to distrust and lack of connection.  Everything we do creates meaning and stories. The same goes for being late.

And so I set out to change my ways. I made not being late a non-negotiable, and I began a process that changed my perspective on time, not even knowing that I had one.

So are you tired of being late?  If so, here is the first step to consider when thinking about changing your ways.

Step 1: Start with Your “Logistical Container.”

Work from the outside in.

Going “within” is all the rave these days. And I’m on board. However, I also believe there is an inspiring practicality to starting on the outside and taking a look at what structures are working and which ones are not.  Sometimes small changes can have big impact.

Quite possibly there are a few structural tweaks you can make that will change everything. Here are some to consider.

  • Schedule your meetings or time blocks for 50 minutes opposed to 60.
  • Schedule in 10 minutes of prep time for each event.
  • Set 30 minutes the night before or in the morning to prepare for the day.
  • Have your materials ready to go for each meeting or event for easier transitions.
  • End your meetings on time and communicate your hard stop to everyone involved.
  • If based on past evidence you know a meeting will run over and it’s out of your control, plan accordingly.
    • Let the facilitator know that you have a hard stop, or
    • Don’t schedule anything immediately after this meeting, or
    • If you are going to be late to your next meeting, let the people affected know about it as early as possible.
  • Take a look at your calendar and see whether you can time batch or time block. Align your tasks and meetings so there is more flow.
  • Communicate to your team when you are not available so you can focus your time and increase productivity and be fully present and available during scheduled times.
  • Take time to organize your office and clear your space.
  • What can you eliminate, delegate and automate so you can free up more time for what matters most?

This is step is about becoming aware of how you are spending your time and what changes will bring more clarity and flow to your day.

Next week I will be sharing Step 2 and we will start to dive deeper because after all, effective time-management is a process. Sometimes our beliefs around time go a whole lot deeper than our calendar and our space.

To your success,

Christy

Be the savvy leader of your business.

I help women step into their full potential and become the leader of their business by getting intentionally productive and confident about the decisions they make. I do this because I have seen, first hand, the power of an inspired and committed woman and the positive change she can create. Given women’s history and the present day messaging we still hear and receive today, the fact that women are able to overcome, fight, and achieve their dreams, even when their journey feels impossible at times, is amazing, but not surprising. We are women, after all.

I know it’s not always easy. In fact, it can feel downright hard at times.

I know, because I have experienced the valleys. And at times my business has felt hard. However, I also know that not radically working toward my dreams would feel a whole lot harder, and it’s not an option for me. So I choose to climb and move forward. This is my life and this is the time to play it big for my husband, kids, my parents, for kind and determined women and men, my clients, our planet, and for me. I hear this from my clients too; they want to live this life to the absolute fullest. And they realize it’s up to them to do so.

I recognize that there are external barriers holding us back. And I know there is a reality to our circumstances.  But I also believe in the power of an inspired woman. And I can confidently say that living out your potential to it’s fullest is up to you. So I ask you to be your biggest supporter. Trust your decisions. Believe in your mission. And commit to your vision. Be certain that you have what it takes to achieve your dreams because the moment you doubt you will open space for perfectionism, people pleasing, and procrastination to take the lead on your journey.

Allow your adventure to begin, on your own terms.

Be the leader by trusting your judgment, tapping into your powers, and knowing you have the sense, intellect, knowledge, and faith to make it happen. This is what makes a savvy woman leader. Now it’s time for you to take the reigns and be the savvy woman leader of your business.

Be a leader at work! 3 steps for creating the time to step up.

Are you ready to position yourself for leadership in your organization and industry? What about taking your leadership to the next level to be part of something bigger and have more impact?

If yes, then go for it!  We want to see you thrive and reach your highest potential in your career. We want to see you lead. The world needs intelligent and brilliant women, like you, to have a voice at the leadership table and create positive change within and outside your organizations.

But I get it. You catch a glimpse of your success, but at times it seems impossible to get there. You have children to care for, you are barely keeping up with your current responsibilities, and you don’t want to sacrifice more of your time only to be more overwhelmed and stressed out. I get it, believe me!

So this post is for those of you who are 100 percent committed to your success as a leader, and on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the most committed, you are a 10 to playing it bigger in your career and life and making a substantial difference in your organization and beyond.

If this is you, take radical responsibility for defining what success looks like to you, and then finding the time to MAKE IT HAPPEN.

Here are three steps to help you create the time for your leadership (and life) success:

Eliminate the Non-Essentials

Think like a leader and lean into lean practices. Become unapologetic about letting go of the things that are not aligned with your strengths, interests, and vision. There is no time for people pleasing and making assumptions about your leadership journey. Evaluate what you have going on in your day and ask yourself whether it’s needed.

What processes, beliefs, and things in your career and your life are no longer serving you?

Eliminate!

Delegate the Non-Serving

For those chores and projects that are no longer serving you and cannot be eliminated, delegate. Successful leaders do less better. They “make work work for them”, a saying I love from Martha Higgins, a mentor and former boss of mine. You do not have to sacrifice time with your family, time to yourself, or time in general to be a leader.  Step into your executive mindset and delegate so you can spend your time in alignment with your strengths, interests, and desires.

Here are a few ideas to get you moving:

  • Do you have members of your team and staff who would thrive working on a project that you dread?  Think about what projects would turn out better if you were able to pass the torch.  When you transfer responsibilities from a place of value and win-wins, you will get positive results and more time.
  • Is it time to add a staff member who can take on a piece of the workload?
  • How about a personal assistant who can help you at home?
  • How much time do you spend cleaning your house each day? One, two, maybe even three hours by the time you head to bed?  Hire a cleaner to clean and organize your home. If this seems overwhelming then start with one or two cleanings a month, and use your time to be present with your children, to take care of yourself, and to focus on advancing your career.
  • Are you trying to make dinner, pack lunches, and “be” with your children, (while trying not to think about work) in the evening?  Order a prepared meal service a few nights a week to free up your time.
  • Is it time to have a conversation with your partner or spouse to set your boundaries for your workload at home?

How can you delegate more to make work and life work for you?

Automate the Possibilities

Now, take a look at what you have remaining and consider what you can automate. Consistency is key to success.  Automating comes down to time batching and time blocking.  What tasks can you group together to get them done more efficiently and with more ease?  How can you block your time this week so that you can make your schedule as consistent as possible? When you are scattered and sporadic in your working habits you use all your energy on the little things. When you automate you will have the energy and the creativity to step up and in when it matters.

What tasks can you automate so you can keep your energy high and focused?

Tap into your executive mindset and begin to think like a leader by eliminating, delegating and automating, and “making work work for you.” This is your opportunity to not only master your time but to create the space for your new normal as a leader.

To your success,
Christy Venza

Do you wish you were more respected at work?

High achievers get the job done. They often work hard, make smart connections, and do what it takes to excel.

Yet, when my high-achieving clients come to me they are overwhelmed, scattered, and feel unfit for leadership. They don’t believe they have the right leadership skills and attributes to create impact within and outside their organization.

And, as a result, they don’t feel respected by others.

But they had a solution in mind. They hoped that with some more experience, expertise, and tenure they would then get respect. So they kept working hard, they did what they thought it would take to excel, and they waited, and waited, and waited. 

Because after all they believed that with more respect comes more influence and impact in our day and career. And I agree.

Respect is critical to positive long-lasting influence. And there are many steps we take with our clients to develop their character, competencies, presence, and leadership style.  However, healthy respect doesn’t come from proving ourselves to others and waiting our turn.  It comes from respecting ourselves and trusting our decisions. It starts with us. 

Do you respect yourself as a leader? Do you acknowledge your accomplishments, experiences, skills, and what you have overcome? This isn’t about boasting. It’s not about showboating. It’s about showing respect and not downplaying the person you have become over your career. 

If you don’t respect yourself as a person and as a leader, then others likely won’t either.

With humility and kindness simply begin to see your wins and acknowledge your abilities.  From having that difficult conversation, to receiving your masters or passing that exam, to intentionally saying yes (and no) to opportunities, to stepping outside your comfort zone. Or making the decision to spend more time with your children, to set your boundaries, stand in your truth, and trust your judgment.

Build respect for the decisions you have made in your career, and the decisions you make on a daily basis. This acknowledgment and celebration will take you out of the story that you are not respected so you can create the space to believe in yourself as a leader.

Respect starts here, with you.

And others will catch on fast.