Investing In Creativity

I’m picking up the pieces of last year. Well, more than that, I’m juggling recovering from yesteryear with reinventing this year and beyond. It’s not easy picking up the pieces, but it’s something we all understand because it’s something we’ve all had to do or will have to do.

For me, it started with grieving. I lost a friend, a pet, and my security when my home was robbed. Grieving morphed into hours spent on Pinterest. For the record, Pinterest is more addictive than social media games that seduce you into buying fake candy and harvesting fake corn at two o’clock in the morning.

As a trained life coach, there’s extra pressure (from myself and others) to practice what I preach, which is of course a double-edged sword. But there’s also value in the proven practices I use to help others assess where they are and determine a plan for where they want to go.

A lot of people ask me if it’s just positive thinking. I’d like to say that just positive thinking is a social cliché and that what matters most is the plan to move forward. The truth is, positive thinking is a key element. We have to believe in a brighter tomorrow to be willing make an action plan to get there.

So right now, I’m combining positive thinking (which for me includes meditation and prayer) with a solid action plan to move forward and reinvent my life. It’s why I’ve been silent on my blog for three months. Time allows for perspective.

Part of my plan to move forward includes making time for my work as a food photographer. I just returned from Maui where I shot a new Hawaiian menu for Classic Events. And in a few weeks, I’m headed to San Francisco for more beautiful food shots. I launched my food portfolio on Instagram and Twitter @PNWfoodPhotog earlier this month. If you’re a foodie, you’ll be in heaven on my IG @PNWfoodPhotog Just browsing it cheers me and I’m the one who created it.

It turns out that investing in creativity is a sure way to smile more and worry less. My creativity is flowing again and I can’t wait to see where it takes me in 2018! Join me if you like. Let’s support each other investing in nurturing creativity and experiencing more joy in 2018.

Energy Awareness and the Seven Levels of Winning

We are all made up of and surrounded by energy. Most people accept that. But as a life coach, one of the things that most impacted me, early in my training, was the realization that understanding energy levels and how to recognize and alter them actually gave me access to a tremendous reservoir of power I didn’t know existed.

To better understand energy and differentiate the possible outcomes, consider a gradient that divides this spectrum into seven levels of winning, which I’ll get to in a minute.

But first, it’s worth asking: Why does your energy level matter? Or more importantly, why does knowing your energy level matter? There are a lot of answers to this, but the most important one is that being aware of your energy level makes you the most powerful person in the room, circle or community as it relates to you.

It’s like having a mirror to make sure everything is where you want it to be. Imagine going into an interview with a tear in the back of your shirt. If you don’t know this, it might detract from the image you want to present. If you do, you might change your shirt or respond in a different way.  In life, everyone has people or entities that control them to some degree: bosses, creditors, the government, a partner, commitments to children, etc.  Knowing your energy level and having the tools to adjust it through the practice of reframing prevents the people you don’t want to control you from impacting your emotions and experiences.

Here are my seven levels of winning, or seven energy levels, if you will.

  1. I lose. I am losing.
  2. I win, so therefore you must lose.
  3. I win, and hopefully you win too.
  4. You win.
  5. We all win or no one wins.
  6. We always win.
  7. Winning and losing are illusions. (With which no sports coach ever agreed!)


Taken out of context, these seven statements mean absolutely nothing. Taken out of context, there are clearly better levels and worse levels. But because this is energy, and not a football game, every level has a purpose and a place. Every level is equally important. For instance, in grief (about anything), it’s very normal to experience, acknowledge and even sometimes accept losing. Whether you lost a purse, a pet, a game, or a person, failing to experience Level 1 Energy equates to lacking the capacity to emotionally connect. You have to connect to grieve. And you have to connect to give and receive from others within the context of a relationship.

While self-preservation is critical to help ourselves and others (which is why flight attendants reiterate, “Secure your own mask first,”) anyone who has volunteered to help someone or chosen to serve others, understands that serving others supersedes the need to care for themselves. If you’ve ever served food to the homeless or the needy in a food kitchen, or at a company Thanksgiving celebration, you are exercising a classic Level 4 Energy where your goal is to experience the Level 4 Energy of Winning: You Win. It feels good to help others win!

The most important take-away is recognizing that every level of energy has its place. Every level includes distinct advantages and disadvantages – and knowing where you are, gives you the power to continue or reframe your mindset and energy to project the message and give off the energy that will best serve your goals in any given situation. Find thorough explanations of each energy level and what it means to your personal or professional life on the Olive Press Coaching Facebook page.

Respond, Recover, Rebuild

Part of what makes natural disasters so crushing and overwhelming is the magnitude of them – the number of people impacted, in both the short-term and down the road. As we look at Houston, in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, it’s difficult to quantify the mass devastation. Our hearts ache as we see person-after-person and family-after-family who have lost everything. And while as observers we care, and demonstrate that concern by sharing money, prayers and other resources, and while many of us are glued to news sources, sometimes for weeks, eventually, life outside of the area returns to status quo.

The thing is, we all have Harveys in our lives. Sometimes we hide them from the world and sometimes due to circumstances, they are on display for the world, or our community, to see. And the question is: How do we respond to the Harvey in our own lives? How do we respond, recover and rebuild? How do we show up?

In life coaching, we do not look back. We look at where we are, and the client determines where they want to go. Often, they don’t know right away, so we ask key questions, to uncover true desires. Respond. Recover Rebuild. Generally, the first response comes immediately. Recovery comes with time. Rebuilding comes after we catch our breath and ask, “What now?”

The world is responding to Houston, through the Day of Giving and other channels that people are using to help those who have lost so much. We’ve seen it before on a large scale with 9/11 and Katrina, with school shootings and towns devastated by tornadoes or fires. We’ve seen it locally in our communities – families who have received a life-threatening medical diagnosis, suffered a fire, or lost loves ones in an accident, or betrayal, only to be surrounded by support and love of those they know, and sometimes complete strangers. We know that difficult times bring out the best in humanity – and in ourselves.

What are you recovering from? Where are you in your journey to rebuild? Most people know what it feels like to question hope. Most of us have asked why at least once in our lives. That’s normal. It’s healthy. It’s also healthy to find the courage to rebuild and stand back up even when your legs are weak. If you’re still in a place where you need to reflect and look back, consider talking to a therapist. When you’re ready to move forward and face the world head on, one step at a time, a life coach can help you build your plan.  Dad house fire