The Novel Turtle Logo Picture

Today is The Novel Turtle’s birthday!!!

It has been one year since I posted my very first blog post on my website. Like a lot of us do on New Year’s, I’ve been reflecting on everything that has happened over the last year.

Growth has happened on every level.

I’ve learned how to set up a website from scratch, set up an email list, and write blog posts. With the encouragement of several people – Will Higley, Jeremy Janus, and Mark Borella specifically – I’ve started doing more videos and I’m learning all about video editing.

As time goes on, I have no doubt that the learning process on all of these things will continue. The funny thing is, that excites me to think about. Continuing to learn more and more about the process is something that I look forward to.

I also look forward to finding new ways to put content out into the world that will encourage people, and inspire them to create their happiest lives.

The biggest growth that has happened has been within me.

When I first started this website, I didn’t even want to put my name on the posts as the author. Not because I didn’t believe in what I was writing, but because I didn’t believe in myself. I wasn’t sure that I could accomplish what I was setting out to do, so I wanted to hide. In my mind, if I didn’t put my name on it then it wasn’t really a failure if something went wrong.

After a large amount of introspection (and doing a lot of Qigong) I came to realize that I am the one that determines my success or failure. Even if my name isn’t on the posts, I still know that I wrote them. If I don’t do what needs to be done to succeed, then I will still have to live with that. That part isn’t about anyone else but me.

That’s not to sound arrogant, or like I’m the only one doing things. I have plenty of help when it comes to the website. My husband helps me with some of the pictures, with computer questions, and is a sounding board for all of my crazy ideas. He’s the one that drew, and then altered, the turtle in my logo. I have friends, and people that I’ve never even met, that encourage me, help me to learn new skills, and inspire me daily.

One of the best lessons that I’ve learned, and sometimes the hardest thing to do, is to be true to myself in everything I’m doing. Not just with the website, but throughout life in general.

If I’m doing a project or a giveaway, or a video, and I try to do it like someone else does, or like someone else wants me to do, it doesn’t work. I end up feeling stuck and the project feels forced. I’m always open to ideas, and constructive criticism, but if I take too much of myself out of things, they fall flat.

Several people have given me great advice, and I’ve taken it, and applied it with my own spin. Because ultimately, every person out there is just a little different. Just because something works for one person, or one business, doesn’t mean that it will work for everyone.

On the flip side, I try to remember that we can learn something from every person we meet, whether good or bad.

Just because you don’t agree with someone, doesn’t mean that you can’t learn something from them. Listen to what they have to say, take what resonates and leave what doesn’t.

Take advice from those around you. Be open to changing things, or moving things around. But only if it works for you and what you’re doing. Don’t shut people out and say, “no thank you, I know it all” because this makes things just as hard as trying to be someone else.

There’s a balance between listening to others, and being ourselves, and we all have to find it for ourselves.

One of my favorite quotes is this: “It’s not just about creativity, it’s about the person you’re becoming while you’re creating.” – Charlie Peacock

I wholeheartedly believe that everyone is creative in some way. There are people out there (my Grandmother is one of them) who don’t believe that they have a creative bone in their body. They think that because they can’t paint, or draw, or make crafts, they aren’t creative. But when something needs to be done, and no one knows how to do it, they are often the ones that step up and figure out a way.

Creativity shows up as so much more than just making something with your hands. It’s in the way that we decorate (from Thoughtful Gifting’s definition), in the way we express ourselves and our ideas (from the Q&A with Joanne Sternburg), and in the way that we solve problems when they arise.

The importance of acknowledging this creativity is that it opens more of the world up to us. When we see how creative we can be, we see the possibility of a happier life. This, because our eyes are opened to the fact that, if what we want to do and be in the world doesn’t exist, then we can create it. If a way to do what we want to do doesn’t exist, then we can create a way.

This is one of the reasons that I ask everyone I do a Q&A Session with, “what is your definition of creativity”.

Everything that I put out there, is a lesson that I’m learning, or have learned. It’s something that has helped me, and others around me.

I want to give others ideas about how to make their lives easier, how to be happier, and how to help the people in their lives. If I can help just one person to feel better about themselves, show just one person that they aren’t alone in how they are feeling, or save one person from struggling through some of the things that I have over the years, then it’s all worth it. Maybe some of you will have an ah-ha moment from something I’ve said.

Because overall, I want what I’m doing to help people, to encourage people, and to shine a light in this world. Not everyone will agree with everything I say or do, and that’s ok. Hopefully though, I can make most people that come across my website, or my social media, smile.

If I can do that, then I consider myself a success.

Thank you for being part of my journey!