If you started today…

I recently was coaching a girl who absolutely loves her part-time gig. It’s a really part-time gig and it might be more appropriate to call it a passion project. Call it whatever you want but she freaking loves it and wishes it were her full-time job. This is where I come in. I am all about helping people rock what they love for a living.

You might be sitting there thinking she should just go for it. You wouldn’t be alone in that either. Of course that’s what I want her to do it. To just go for it! But, the truth is aside from the logistics there are often obstacles we put in our own way that keep us from doing what we love for a living.

  1. There are no short cuts! Stop trying to figure out a way to make something happen as quickly as it can and find that way to do it correctly. She has some of the education she needs to do her passion but not enough to make a living off of it. She could continue to do things the way she is but she will not get as far as she wants. At some point she is going to have to go back and do it the right way. That someday might as well be now.
  2. Money, time and other excuses: Sure doing something you want to do might take more money, more education, more time and more of something you think you don’t have. Realize that these are just excuses for why you are not doing what you need to be doing. It’s fear based too. You know what’s behind door number one. You are doing it. You may hate it but it’s safe. Door number 2 is full of unknown and fear of the ‘what if’s’. Ask yourself a bunch of “how” questions instead. How can I make this happen? How can I get the education I need? How….
  3. What if game: Instead of playing it with fear in mind play it with excitement. What if you did the things you needed to do to do the thing you want? What if it works out? What if you had all that you needed to rock your world? Isn’t that exciting?! Now, go back to your “how” game and ditch the excuses once and for all.
  4. Ask for help: Seriously, you are your own worst enemy. So, maybe asking yourself for advice on the matter is not the best thing. Ask someone who is doing the thing  you want to be doing for advice. You may not like what you hear but at least you’ll have a better basis to go off of.
  5. Do the thing! Seriously, what is the worst that is going to happen? It doesn’t workout? Ok, at least you tried. But, I bet it does workout because its the thing you most want in life. It’s the thing that makes you happy. If it doesn’t workout that’s part of the journey too.

My client is busy putting the dates she needs to take off in 2017 in her calendar. She’s cutting back on her groceries and other bills that she can and she’s asking for some help from others. If she goes along with the plan in one year she’ll already be doing the thing she wants to do for a living! Time is already flying we might as well take advantage of it and get started today!

xx~LL

5 Ways to Jump Over Life’s Hurdles

Today, I went to tap class and at the end of it I felt like a total idiot and I wanted to cry. There was a simple step I just couldn’t do. The teacher even stopped class and slowed the step down to a beginner pace. I just couldn’t get it. And I should know better. It’s an easy step. A freaking Waltz Clog with an extra shuffle! Ugh. And my normal shiny, bright, Pollyanna self just can’t get over the berating. So…here we are.
After walking a few saddened blocks post-class, I stopped in Starbucks to get myself a treat to cheer up–it’s a simple dance step. I’m in line thinking: I know I’ll get it. I know my learning curve with dance and I know it takes me longer than some. But the straight “A” student in me ALWAYS gets frustrated when I can’t do something–let alone something that I used to be able to do or that I’ve already struggled with and overcome.

But life isn’t like that. Once you get over a hurdle, if you forget about it or let it lapse, that hurdle will come back around and trip you. You’ll trip hard. On your face. In the mud. In front of important people–it never fails.

In reality, my brain is embarrassed and very angry at my feet for not retaining the information–because my brain has it. My feet, however are not so quick to remember.

So my lovely teacher, has now stopped class so I can pick up the step–that isn’t hard, it’s just a challenge. And somehow after picking up so many steps and changes, my feet are just done and don’t want to participate. And I’m upset by this.

Ugh. These crippling adult thoughts. “I should be able to do better because I have done this before.” “I’m smarter and more talented than this.” “I’ve been doing harder things than this, why is this difficult.”


Well–from the outside you look in and say: Clare, it’s ok. Just practice. Your body is out of shape. This was your 4th tap class in 7 years. Life will go on. No one is mad at you or thinks less of you for this moment.

But I’m still down.

And I’m at Starbucks. And as the Universe would have it, I’m not the only one struggling today. A blind lady walks in before me. She’s not too much older than me, but she keeps bumping into things. And there is confusion for her as to where the line is and if the barista taking orders is really talking to her. She finally places her order and heads over to the pickup bar. I order and make the move to the pickup bar as well. The barista behind the machine is struggling, too. He is on an island of espresso–making all the drinks on his own, and it seems like his first time alone making the orders. And in the mass produced individuality that is Starbucks, it’s not an easy task. Or it is easy after you find the rhythm, or the steps.

My lovely new blind friend’s order is finished and she cannot see the cup, so I gently guide her hand to it. And the barista gets some help too, getting another barista to help him fill orders. My drink came. I grabbed it and was on my way.All three of us, the blind woman, the barista, and me are just having a moment. Struggling through. But when shown other people’s hurdles, I realized my hurdle today comes in many forms and visits often.


Today’s lessons:

1. Believe in yourself. Know that you are smart enough, good enough, strong enough to get it/figure it out/live through it easier next time.

2. Forgive yourself. If you lose the skill, it is a new combination of skills, in a new place, or new speed–it won’t be perfect.
3. Practice. Even if you were perfect once, unless you keep up the practice, you’ll lose the skill.

4. Ask for help. I have moments where I’m better and worse at this. There are people who are more experienced, who can see, who can help. Let them. It’s ok to take a couple extra minutes now so you don’t keep struggling later.

5. Don’t be upset at help. Most of the time the people assisting you are doing it to help YOU. So, try not to snap at them in the moment. And make sure to say thank you at the end–a thank you goes a long way.
The struggle IS real. But it’s also something that you can overcome. The barista is probably making coffee faster after it becoming more mechanical, the blind woman can probably navigate the same Starbucks store a little easier now that she knows the layout, and I can do the step now that I’ve stopped thinking about it.


Remember, hurdles are just hurdles. You run at it with all you can and jump. Sometimes you get over it and sometimes you have to practice, ask for help, give yourself time to adjust. You’ll get there. I believe in you.

Clare

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How I Survived Spin Class

I deserve a sticker. Or a shirt that says “I survived…” Or something shiny or yummy.  I went to my first spin class!!
Ridiculous and over-dramatic, probably. But in all honesty, my third largest fear is group fitness classes at fancy gyms. I’m 100% serious; and when you figure out how to convince a small child that there is nothing under the bed, you can come back to me and my irrational fear of group fitness.

If I were analyzing myself, I would say that I probably am still suffering from some trauma(s) in a group fitness class in middle school or high school–teenage girls are mean. Something about even if you start on a level playing field in fitness, you’re still going to have lots of different abilities and levels… And because I’ve always been tall, people assume I’m athletic or want to be. Nope.  Always have had my muffin top, though.

Anyway, my Anum Cara, my soul-friend, has in the last year, transitioned his career towards group fitness-which I support 153.76%. However, I personally DON’T like working out when it feels like exercise. Take me on a hike, ice skating, swimming–no complaints. Group fitness–unless it’s seniors water ballet–count me OUT. There is something about the pressure to be “enough” in a class that my brain hates and tosses out the flight response, forget the fight–something in my past has told me fighting isn’t worth it.  I avoid group fitness classes like they’re a disease.
However, I love my friend dearly and he is amazing at supporting me, so I knew it wasn’t a choice when he turned my words against me one day and basically made it a “friend assignment” to attend one of his classes. And stay for the whole thing.


I tried to cheat. I tried to take it back. I tried to turn his words around. But, I knew I would feel guilty for the rest of my life if I didn’t TRY a spin class. And no one has died (yet) from taking one. “Yet” being the operative word I hoped didn’t pertain to me.

Here’s my timeline.
A month before: I accidentally say I’ll go to a class.
I recount the conversation to my mother, my friends, my boss, LL…none of who have the appropriate response: to pity me or to tell me that I shouldn’t go–in fact the opposite happened. Everyone told me to go; most told me I would probably die.

Two weeks before: I commit to taking a class, sending a confirmation text to my friend on Sunday. Class is Wednesday. Monday and Tuesday are brutal at work. I have not had a response text that I can take the class. In the middle of my happy dance that I was off the hook, my friend texts and says he can’t wait to see me in class the next day. Ugh. DOUBLE GUILT. I beg off promising I’ll come the week after the holiday break. Thinking I’ll go off to the beach, swim a lot, be more fit which equals less chance I’ll die. He says ok.  I breathe a huge sigh.  Maybe bad weather will ground me in the Dominican Republic and I’ll never make it home.


A day before:
I made it home a day ago. I realize I’m an idiot for promising to go this week. I didn’t get as fit as I would have liked, was on a bit of a detox, and mom was leaving at 3am the morning I was taking class…so I had two 4 hour naps.

Day of:
At 3am I help mom down the 4 flights of stairs to my apartment and into a car to the airport. When my second alarm goes off at 8, I limit myself to one cup of coffee because the less awake I am, the less I will feel pain. And my impending death-by-stationary-bike. I try on two different workout outfits–why? Because I was going to a fancy gym and I didn’t want to look out of place. I can fake a lot of things, and I’ve learned a good costume will get you far.
I wait in the lobby, hands shaking (I’m not being sarcastic or funny, my hands were shaking) while texting my friend to get further instructions. I felt like a needy jerk at this point, and was terrified. He texted back to sign in and make my way to the classroom. I think I hid my terror pretty well when I signed in and handed my coat to coat check.
Trying to take deep breaths and not panic while I was descending the stairs, and also wondering when life would start to flash by my eyes.
I got to the room to find it almost full-I hate being late. Luckily a bike was reserved for me. But my panic starts to overwhelm me.  I turn into a giant needy baby, just trying to control the shaking in my hands.  Looking back at that moment, my friend the instructor, was lovely, and adjusted my bike and talked me through putting my feet in the straps–seriously, he had to give me step by step instructions on how to put my feet in stirrups. The struggle was real.

5 minutes in: Head down, listening to the music, I pedal.  Hands are still shaking.  I’m sure everyone is judging me.  If I don’t make eye contact with any of them, I can pretend they’re not judging.

10 minutes in: Life is still not flashing before my eyes, and my hands have stopped shaking. I’m not happy, but I’m surviving.


20 minutes in:  The older ladies who are at least twice my age are doing better than I am.  I can’t stand on the bike for more than 15 seconds.  I want to cry.  No, worse: I want to jump off the bike and run out of the room.  I seriously contemplate leaving.  The only thing stopping me is that I KNOW it would be upsetting to my friend.  So, I woman up, and keep pedaling.

35 minutes in: I’ve slowed way down.  I’m still trying not to make eye contact with anyone, especially my instructor friend.  I’m telling myself that if I don’t cry I can have a donut after class.  (SERIOUSLY who puts a donut shop next to a gym?!?–someone who knew I was coming apparently.)

38 minutes in: for the last 3 minutes we are told to go as far as we can.  I pedal.  With a minute left, I’m not far from a mile… so I push, and right as 3 minutes ends, I hit a mile.  WOOOHOO!


We cool down.  I stretch. I feel like my legs are tied to cement pylons.  The pain in my legs and the pride that I did a mile at the end make me forget about all of my insecurities.  Shaking has moved to my legs now, but I’m sure that is healthy muscle stuff.  I walk up to my friend, when my legs allow me.  My lack of coffee leads me to answer way too bluntly when he asks if I had fun in class with: “NOPE.  But I’m sure I’ll remember it fondly.” Whoops.

After class I get my donut and coffee and head back across town to my apartment to meet up with LL to take pictures for the blog.  I suddenly become happy because I now have a whole different realm of conversation to have with my instructor friend AND LL!  My badge of honor is the ability to complain about the pains of working out for AT LEAST the next 48 hours.  Everyone tells me they’re proud of me.  No one is surprised that my toosh hurts.  For two days.

Somewhere in the following week, I somehow get talked into taking a second class… from a few people, several offer to go WITH me.  I never thought THAT would happen.  UGH.  Here we are again.  The cycle (no pun intended) starts over–I think to myself. Hopefully, my hands won’t shake when I enter the class.

Last week, as it happens… I went again.  This time, I got there early.  I adjusted the bike myself.  The instructor friend had to put my pedals on for me, though.  And I’m happy to say I made it to 32 minutes before wanting to cry, and at no time did I want to jump off the bike and run out of class.  AND, bonus, my toosh didn’t hurt at all this time.

My fear of group fitness classes is far from being quelled, but I’m no longer afraid of my friend’s spin class.  I might even go again.  (But, maybe don’t tell him…it will be our secret for now.)

That night, I went home and made myself a deluxe grilled cheese with lots of butter AND bacon grease.  YUM.  And I don’t feel guilty one bit, because as Michael says at the end of every class: he doesn’t like good choices, he likes fun ones, so make some fun choices.


–Clare

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How to achieve emotional sobriety

Strength is something on which I’m often complimented. I exude confidence, and generally am fearless when it comes to what I want in life. I haven’t always been this way. And I will cry more often than I’ll admit, and I’ll admit I cry a lot. I’m strong because I have to be, but it has taken a lot of experience and painful situations to get me here… and I still don’t think I’m as strong as I would like to be. One of the things I’m experienced at is walking away from things that no longer serve me. Much to my chagrin, I’ve become good at it. Because, better than walking away from things that don’t serve me, I’m twice as good as walking towards and into things that are detrimental to me. If you know me in real life, you’re nodding and agreeing right now. I’m queen of trying out relationships that might not be great for me. I blame this on my curiosity for the human spirit, being a Gemini, being a theater person, and my need to have good people in my life.


Many times relationships work out in my favor, or at least I adapt to them. Adapting to relationships is also a trait I’m good at—but that is another blog. However there are times when relationships just don’t work out. Timing is wrong. Timing starts out right, but then life intervenes and pulls people apart. Sometimes the things that attract us to people turn out to be the thing that tears us apart. Sometimes you just have to walk away from relationships, like I touched on in Growing Out of Friends.

I’m often asked how I’m so strong in these situations. My reply is usually: because I have to be. Honestly, I’m strong because I continually tell myself that I’m worth much more than the way I’m being treated. Or if I don’t see it, I’ve surrounded my self with strong friends who remind me that I’m worth more.


In my recent frustration, I became close with someone who originally seemed to not be able to get enough of me, we will call this friend Mr. Green.  Conversations flowed, text messages filled my days, we continually made plans to hang out and saw each other once a week—which in New York City time is like daily anywhere else. (In New York City, unless you live with someone, or are dating them, you are lucky if you see friends more than once a month.) Anyway, Mr. Green and I both worked to make it happen. After several months, it seemed like I was the only one who was making it happen. Mr. Green seemed to disappear and I was upset because it seemed like I was the only one who was doing the work.

Years and many relationships gone south, I have had a vast array of advice. My favorite comes from my friend Melissa, who compares any relationship to a football field. You start out on the 50-yard line, and you give and take; sometimes activity is instigated on their side, and sometimes the action is on your side. Many times I like to give so much that I find myself sitting, just hanging out on the other person’s 80-yard line—which is frustrating. Retreat to your own 40-yard line, or even farther back, Melissa says, when you’re feeling like you’re not being treated well. And you have to stay there until the other person comes to your side. In other words, you have to stop allowing yourself to give too much in a relationship, and you have to back up and let them come forward.

Sometimes its a person.  Sometimes its a lifestyle–like LL wrote about Letting Go a few weeks ago.  I’m not going to lie—this is hard; this is painful; this takes time, and makes you want to tear your hair out while trying to make sense of it all. If you’re like me, you create stories and excuses for the other person, and try to make yourself believe that sitting and waiting is the absolute wrong thing to do. But it’s not. You have to back off to show someone your worth. Your heart may want you to dive in and move forward, but your brain says that you’re worth waiting for. Here is the truth: Your brain always knows better than the heart.


I’ve been watching a lot of Elementary  lately, a show based on Sherlock Holmes. For those who aren’t familiar with this version of the legend, this Sherlock is an addict, who in season three is questioning his continual upkeep for sobriety. I’m a big advocate in the thought that we are brought to things and ideas when we need them. I don’t want to be so gauche as to say that staying my emotional state is like maintaining sobriety—but it is. Staying emotionally sober is a difficult task. Not wanting to “use” or reach out to a person or situation that makes you devalue yourself is a difficult task. It’s so easy to pick up your phone and send an “innocent” text. But that one text will send you into a spiral that isn’t easy to get back out of. Like a diet, you have to stick to the steps, and that one chip or one candy bar will only lead to more. Just don’t give in.

How do you maintain your emotional sobriety? You have to make a plan for what to do and what not to do. A friend, we will call her Ms. Peacock, is going through a breakup at this moment, and both people in the relationship are trying to hold on, and to reel each other back in to the relationship. It’s a spiral. Its psychotic. Ms. Peacock is stronger than this and deserves better. We sat down on my sofa and I outlined what she can and can’t do. A breakup is like a diet, if you make guidelines, its easier to follow an stay on track.  And just like a diet, you have to cut out all of the things that are bad for you at the beginning, and then you can build things back in, if you have the willpower.

1) Tell yourself you’re worth more than the behavior you’re receiving. Take a look at how much you’re giving to the relationship, and realize that you need to step back for a while, if maybe step away completely.

2) Get yourself a buddy, or a couple of them. Use them as TaB’s whenever you get the urge to text, call, or reach out.

3) Make yourself a plan. For me, when I do a diet, I have to give myself a little bit of a cushion. I cut out something completely, but allow myself a little bit of a “treat” or a “leash.” In other words, give yourself permission to do a little of something. The permission that my friend and I allowed her in this current break up:

–she can text twice a day in response only and she has to TaB first.

–she can talk to him as much as she wants to at work.

–If out, and he shows up at a bar or a location she is at, she can stay for 30 minutes and then she leaves (so that way she isn’t tempted to go home with him, and this way she can’t drink too much and make poor choices.)


4) As a friend to be a sounding board—you need an outlet and you need to be able to voice your feelings.

5) Remind yourself to be strong. Whether this is from other friends or from sticky notes you put on your mirror, remind yourself. You CAN do this.

6) Know that if you relapse, you have to start over. But every day you stand strong, you’re closer to it being easier, and the pain to be gone.

Maybe your relationship will rebound—mine did. I waited and Mr. Green realized it and started to reach out and even made plans. However, it doesn’t always happen–Ms. Peacock moved on in life without that significant other, and is out and dating, sadder but wiser–but definitely on the mend. Sometimes you get your person back and other times you don’t. No matter what, know that you’re worth being treated well.   A good relationship will acknowledge that.

–Clare

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How to Listen to Life Lessons

I’m of a very strong belief that life not only deals out lessons, but it deals out the same lesson until it is learned.  Sometimes these aren’t revealed as lessons or repeat until we get the smack down at the end where we’ve found out we’ve failed. Again. For the umpteenth time. Well, I shouldn’t say failed because no one is giving out letter grades for living life… I should say returned a result that was less than positive and definitely NOT the one I was hoping for.

hardlifelessons

Of all of the life lessons, it seems as if its the romance lessons that are continually repeated for me. I’m often attracted to the good looking, who flirt with me and seem interested, but for some reason, lack the desire to seek me out. So, I become the pursuer. Which, generally I hate. I’m a strong, confident woman, yes. But I don’t need to be strong, and generally am strong when it’s called for, but given the chance, I’d happily take the shotgun/ride along seat. That is not to say that I’m not willing to go 50/50 or that I want flowers and doors opened for me. I’m just saying that when it comes to the pursuit, it seems with these guys I keep finding, its up to me to make moves. Which drives me crazy from both the action and analyzation standpoints.

I’m currently in a situation where I am so very attracted to a gentleman who is my age, my height, is incredibly handsome but doesn’t always know it, and most importantly makes me laugh. We tend to ebb and flow into each other’s lives. And as of late we flow.  I’d like to tell you that my sensible head was winning for a bit–convincing my heart that he just likes the attempt—not even the chase, but just the attempt. Because I’m either REALLY obtuse or he never makes a move. So once again, I find myself in a position of adoration and in a holding pattern. I could reach out. I could ask him out–we are in the feminist age and women have equal rights. I could even hide behind text or social media. I’m sure you’re saying: just go for it Clare. I’ll tell you why I don’t. I feel that I’m worth being pursued. I’ve done my share of pursuit in other situations/relationships AND with this exact one. A lot. A little. A hint. A big message (yeah… I wrote it in the sand. The guy I liked at the time saw. Did nothing.) Often I wake myself up with thoughts and mull them over while trying to get back to sleep. I kept thinking that I just need to cut it off; be in charge; get up and walk away.  But, to learn a lesson you must be in a situation.  (And yes, I’ve already tried the walking away lesson with this exact guy. I’m back here again.)

sunflowerlifelesson

As I said, I am continually thrown this similar relationship situation and lesson. Apparently, I’m not learning my lesson because it is a repetitious one. It truly is driving me crazy because I don’t know if I should be more or less active in it’s progression each time. Every new rotation, I question my actions (or lack of actions) more and more. Like Bill Murray’s character in Groundhog Day, I seem to be getting it wrong, and am forced to relive it until I’ve figured it all out. I disprove the saying #yolo (you only live once), because I live this situation over and over and over.

Life lessons and their annoying repetition are frustrating. Especially when you have no control over what is in store, or how fast something is to be taking. Here at LiveClareLesley we are frequently reminding you to go out and do things. Better yourself. Occupy yourself. Make friends. Celebrate friends. Learn new things. While you’re doing this, the thing you’re focusing on will sort itself out. Not one to shirk my own advice—well, actually Lesley won’t let me shirk my own advice. So. I’ve started going out once a week and make it my job to meet new people. Whether this is the lesson I’m to learn, who knows. That will sort itself out eventually. Or maybe, I’ll wake up tomorrow and it will be Groundhog Day. Again. The important thing is to know that “this time I need to get it right” is NOT the right mindset. Instead when you find yourself in a similar situation over and over, take a deep breath and buckle that seat belt and get ready to learn. Make mistakes. Make choices. Take chances. My favorite scene in Groundhog Day is toward the end when Bill Murray has the perfect timing and is everywhere to save everyone and be everything for everybody… and it still doesn’t end up well. With these life lessons that are being repeated, even if it is with different people, keep trying things. Sometimes patience is the answer, but I’ve found that taking action is a much better route.


Make mistakes. Make choices. Take chances.


Update: since I wrote the above, I’ve gone out now, twice to a bar… with no luck, but I’ve had some fun conversations with people. I also got up the nerve and texted the man of my pursuit and flat out made my intentions clear. He took a day to text back and gave me an unclear answer. After deliberating over it for much longer than I should have, I’ve decided to walk away completely. This man, who I’ve known for almost three years, isn’t really worth even being my friend. Honestly, I don’t know if this is the answer to the life lesson or not. However, I’m standing up for myself. As Lesley told me in a pep talk phone call—once you see what you’re worth and demand that others see it, you’ll get what you really deserve. It might not be the exact lesson I’m supposed to learn, however knowing your own worth and demanding it is always a good lesson to learn and practice. It’s a difficult one to swallow, but it really is worth the work.

–Clare

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Competitive Progress

I’m writing a novel. It started out as a journal response to a break up, and then blossomed into a much bigger entity. Its been a slower process, because, it takes a LOT of time to write a book, especially when your life isn’t focused around it. It takes a lot of time to do anything if your life isn’t focused around that thing; raising a child, advancing your career, becoming better at sports, getting a performing career regulated. I was also in final rehearsals for a show I was about to open. One of the gentlemen in my cast was on his computer a lot while not on stage. At one point, I teased him about taking notes on other actors in the show, and he responded that he was working on a novel. I asked questions and was an appropriate level of excited for him and interested, outwardly. Inside, the competitive streak awakened. I mentioned that I was working on a novel as well, and shared a little about mine. We have a similar amount of page numbers, so I felt around his same level. But something was ignited in me. I felt competitive, and something inside me seemed to take a starting position, ready for the starter pistol to fire. Although his book is a completely different subject than mine, and really outside of rehearsals, I don’t know his life… As in, his book could be a culmination of writing from the last 10 years, or it could be that he has lots of free time that he can spend on it, or maybe he’s just much more regimented than I am. Also this is his second book—whereas this is my first large work. Instead of coming home from a long day of rehearsal and just relaxing, I opened up my computer and tried to dive into writing again. Why did I do this? Simply because I saw someone else writing, my brain thought: oh, he’s getting ahead of me in the Race of Life—I have to hurry up and catch up with him! Which, frankly, is a really dumb thought. However, I have it all the time. All. The. Time. Why? Competitive progress.

Whenever I set out to do something, and I see someone else doing something similar it ignites the passion and competition in me. Sometimes this is a good thing, but sometimes, I sacrifice things so I can “keep up with the Joneses.” I didn’t sacrifice much but sleep last night, but sometimes that is enough of a sacrifice. I have this crazy notion that I need to finish because a colleague might get ahead of me—this is a completely ridiculous thought. So, the questions arise: Why am I letting someone else’s actions spur me on? Why do I feel the need to be competitive? And why does it matter if it inspires me to move forward with my goals and ambitions?

Writing happens for me in spurts, any project that takes time, I often do in segments. In between writing the above and now, I read an article about jealousy. I started questioning myself, was I jealous of my colleague who was making sure he devoted time to writing? In a way, yes, but I turned it into a positive. It spurred me on to do my own work. Jealousy is only jealousy if it turns you against another person and in a way against yourself. If you’re starting to feel a heightened emotion and feel badly towards yourself because of something someone else is doing: STOP. Make that into something positive instead of just sitting and bemoaning your life. Take that energy and allow it to be positive, and creative instead of negative and a vacuum. Do as I did—I saw someone else doing something that was similar to a project I was working on. I felt shame and a bit jealous that he had thought to work on his project when he had spare time. He wasn’t flashing it around, he was just being present in two genres of his life at the same time: rehearsing and writing.

First, take the ridiculous jealous feelings out of your brain, set them aside, and tell yourself that you don’t want to be negative about whatever achievements the other person is making. You just don’t. Refuse! You’re feeling this because you wish you had more time to work on something, or were more creative, or wish you had thought of it. Whenever you start feeling jealous, tell yourself it’s a natural need to create something. Start brainstorming.

Brainstorming and creativity can happen at anytime. You just need to give yourself the permission, and the outlet. Put down the game on your phone and give time to yourself instead. Once you start sneaking in the time to create, you’ll start making time for yourself to create. I now sit down every morning for an hour and work on creative things—whether it’s writing or working on my website or working on something creative or even just doodling or making lists on the creative ideas I have; anything that gets the ideas out of me and into the world.

Also remember, my dear snowflakes, that you are totally different than any other person. Your timeline is not the same as mine, and mine is not the same as Lesley’s or my cast mate’s, or the guy sitting across from me on the subway, or any of your “friends” on social media. I don’t have a baby, a 401K, or a mortgage like many of the people I went to school with. However, I have a blog, two almost-books, a burgeoning theatrical career, and an apartment in Manhattan. I will get to where I need to go, when I’m meant to get there. Things will show up in my life when they are meant to. My stories will get written when they do.

That brings me back to the blog. Last week I was looking at our blog stats. A few months ago we hit a record number of views in a day for us. It was so great. Lesley and I are asked for our opinions and advice all the time and we wanted to reach a greater number of people, so we started this blog/book/movement. I’ll admit that when we started, it was a lovely outlet to express my thoughts. When the momentous day happened ( it was our first triple digit day, so we got excited). Then, we seemed to dwindle back down to double digits. Like any other high in life, the fall out is hard. Especially when your hope and expectations are up. At times like these, the fall outs, you can do several things. The most popular being: wallowing in self pity, and giving up. However, if Edison gave up, we wouldn’t have the light bulb… or at least the version of the light bulb he created and as soon as he created it. Someone else would have done that, but not shared with the world some other gift… anyway… The point I’m getting around to is this: if I didn’t fail in life as much as I have, I wouldn’t have anything to share with you. I wouldn’t try as hard to write a book, tell stories, be an actress. Failing, or roadblocks that diverted my path from the ones I thought I wanted to take brought me to exactly where I’m supposed to be. Yes, it all might not be momentous realizations and creations, but instead encouragements and redirections. The blog not getting as many views spurred Lesley and me into figuring out other directions (and really at three months old, we’re doing GREAT at LiveClareLesley—I just want it to be 1000 views a day. Now!) If I hadn’t had the terrible relationship, I wouldn’t have started a novel. If I hadn’t seen my acting colleague working on his book, I wouldn’t have been spurred to write both my novel and our blog. We all have things to share. We all have gifts to give. We all want to make a mark on the world.

Stop worrying about the mark. Like all good acting/art teachers will tell you: be true to your art. Go out and create, be, live, do. Stop worrying about what others are doing. You’ll make whatever you want, and make it your own, on your own timeline.

Clare

(oh and if you’re interested, you can follow the novel’s progress at The Time Turner)