My Mantra

If you couldn’t guess already I think a lot about life. I love self help books and self improvement. Probably (definitely) a little too much. I just want to be the best Deidre I can be =^.^=

In one of my favorite books ever, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, it has you write a mission statement for your life. It is both scary and simple; forcing your to think about what you have accomplished so far and what you have yet to do. But don’t be intimidated by the title of the book; it’s not about how you can squeeze in more meetings or be more productive- the key word is effective for a reason.

He encourages you to be effective in life. That means in your relationships, community, and contributions to society. How do you want to be remembered by your friends and family? It could be as simple as being remembered for always showing up, or for bringing the best cookies to the bake sale, or for volunteering in the community. It doesn’t have to be groundbreaking- I actually think it is better if it isn’t, because then you’re not paralyzed by the pressure of trying to become rich/famous/super innovative.

I really believe that small things add up, and if you are known to your friends as being generous, who knows what kind of impact that could have on the world? Maybe you inspired your circle of friends to be a little more generous too, and their generosity inspired even more people.

~Back to the mission statement~ other than keeping me on track, this exercised has helped me become a more grounded, decisive person. If you know what your values are, no one can question that. So here is the recipe for how I try to live my life:

  1. Always grow. I think this started because I always felt like I had to overcompensate for my quietness and femaleness. But now, growing is essential in redirecting the course of my life. Also, what else do I have to do with my time?
  2. Fail Brilliantly. In order to actually do anything with my Etsy shop, I had to fight my perfectionist tendencies and be okay with messing up sometimes, because failing is better than being inaction caused by fear. Launching a Kickstarter was the most stressful thing I did this year- the first one didn’t quite make the goal, but the experience I got was invaluable, and my second Kickstarter went much better. It didn’t matter how many articles I read before I launched, failure was the best teacher.
  3. Try. I will try most things. I attribute this to my dad daring me and my brother to eat the strangest thing on the menu whenever we went out to eat. Also, who wants to miss out on things? Try and it could be great! Try and it could also not be so great, but then you have your answer 🙂
  4. Include others. My heart pangs when I see someone being left out. You can just tell in their face. I may be quiet, but I will talk to anyone.
  5. Be choosey. As an artist, I felt like I had do to every creative endeavor. I painted, I did photography, I sewed, I sculpted, I made candles. I did a lot of things. And I am grateful I tried all of them. But now that I am focusing only on illustrating, I feel relieved. I have more time to excel in one thing, and ignore the things I still enjoy but am less passionate about. By eliminating things, you are actually freeing yourself to work what you love most.
  6. Be inspiring. By working on myself, I hope to inspire others to do the same. I know it’s no fun to be in a dark place, and I want everyone to know it is possible to pull yourself out.
  7. Have faith. Life is weird. Life is confusing. Why are we here? I don’t know. But I accept that there is probably a higher purpose, and as a human I will never be able to mentally or physically comprehend what the bigger picture is. So I have faith that life is good, life is worth it, and it will all be ok in the end. And that makes me happy.
  8. Be brave. In order to make things better, you have to be brave. Your quality of life depends on how brave you are willing to be, and how many difficult conversations/situations you are willing to have. You can do it. It is scary to change a job, it is scary to have a conversation with your boss, it is scary to share your innermost thoughts on the internet. But, my life has improved each time I’ve done something scary. It’s a necessary and rewarding part of life.

Whew! That was a lot for a Saturday morning. This time, I’m drinking Chocolate Truffle pu erh tea while writing this post. I think it will replace my chai for a bit 🙂 so, what is your life mantra? Or, if you prefer something lighter, what is your favorite warm beverage?