Back in 2015, author Elizabeth Gilbert shared this on Facebook, and it was so good, I felt I needed to pass it along. She wrote . . .


Dear ones,

My friend, pastor Rob Bell, once gave me this beautiful piece of advice, which I will now pass on to you.

He said that, whenever he starts to beat himself up for not being good enough at life, he simply writes this on his hand — STUDENT — and reminds himself to look at that word several times a day, and to meditate upon it.

He said that that one word — STUDENT — is his best defense against self-abuse, shame, perfectionism, failure, and regret. Whenever he fails himself, or falls short of his ideals, or doesn’t know how to handle a complicated situation, he just looks at that word — STUDENT — and then gently allows for self-forgiveness. Because we are all just students, after all.

We are all new at this.

We’ve never been here before — in these bodies, in this lifetime, in this world. We don’t always know how to handle things in the best way. We don’t want to suffer, but we don’t always know how to avoid it. We long for closeness and peace in our relationships, but we haven’t necessarily learned, yet, how to find it. We want meaning, but lose sight of it. We want revelation and transcendence, but don’t always know how to reach for it.

But we are learning.

We are always in the process of learning — and it’s not fair to expect that people who are in the process of learning should automatically always get things right. Nobody always gets things right during the learning process.

Elizabeth Gilbert

That’s okay.

We are merely students, after all, and students –by definition– are not masters. We will be students for as long as we live. We wake up every day, and take a deep breath, and go back to school in the world all over again. That’s what dedicated students do. Every. Single. Day.

This morning, I felt like I really needed the reminder.

So, I got out a Sharpie, and wrote the word across the palm of my right hand — my stronger hand — which I can then lay across my heart throughout the day, with hopes that the message will sink in: “It’s okay. You’re doing your best. You’re still learning.”

Onward,

Liz Gilbert


When I was a little girl, I wanted to be an Artist when I grew up. I loved to draw, to color, to paint, and to make up stories. My Dad was a sketch artist for the local police department, and my Mom always loved to do crafts, doodle, and design, too. So, I came by this creative spark naturally.

However, when I was in grade eleven, I took an independent learning course in Graphic Design. And when I handed in a particular drawing project, my teacher sent it back with the comment that I “draw like a 2-year-old“. Being insecure enough already, I took that comment to heart, and I let it squash all of my dreams of pursuing a career in the arts.

I went on to take Office Administration in college, then got married and had kids, very shortly thereafter. As such, my art got pushed mostly into the background. I still liked to doodle, but it was no longer my focus (my kids filled that role).

Around 2015, with my kids getting older — both in their teens — I started finding more time for myself, and I decided I should start seeking out others who also love to be creative.

I ended up seeing a flyer at the local library, advertising an upcoming Art Journaling class for women, and I decided that’d be a good place to start. So, I signed up.

At first, I’d thought it was going to only be the one class — a 2-hour gathering. As it turned out, however, the class was once-a-month for the entire year!

My creativity was going to be renewed!

Through that Art Journaling class, I discovered that I love sitting down to be creative — painting, drawing, doodling … even Zentangling! I can lose myself for hours in my creative messes.

(my art)

Each month in the class, we had a “theme” word — for example, Magical, Courage, Imagine…

I really enjoyed that class, and loved getting to know the artsy ladies in the group, as well. I even got invited, by one of them, to go speak on creativity to her quilter’s group! So fun!

I would love to know . . .

DO YOU MAKE TIME FOR YOUR CREATIVITY? HOW SO? WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MEDIUM, SO FAR?

As a new entrepreneur, back in 2013, I really had no idea what I was doing. So, I sought out all of the information I could get my hands on. I followed all the “experts”, so I could learn how to be successful at doing business online.

I certainly learned a lot. Yet, something always felt “off”.

In 2017, my friend, George Kao, published a short –but, wonderful!– eBook called, “Authentic Content Marketing“. It’s full of practical tips for how to let go of the usual methods of marketing, and for how to adopt authentic marketing practices.

Upon first reading George’s book, I absolutely loved it, and his ideas deeply resonated with me. I 100% bought into what he was saying — at least, in my heart. Yet, in my head, I was skeptical.

I feared that if I didn’t do what the mainstream marketing ‘experts’ said to do, I wouldn’t be successful, nor would I make the money I so desperately needed. As such, George’s method was just too risky for me to try; I needed a “safer” option.

But here I am, 3+ years later, and I’m little better off than I was.

Am I saying the ‘experts’ are wrong? No, not necessarily. I’m simply saying that it seems what works for them doesn’t work for me.

I’ve tried their methods. I’ve watched the webinars, signed up for the trainings, read the books, watched the videos, and I’ve done my best to implement what I’ve learned. That is, until recently…

I’ve been diving into why I have so much resistance to certain things. And I found my answer: These “traditional” marketing methods just don’t fit with my values and my preferred way of doing things.

So, I’m giving them up, and I’m opting for a more intuitive and organic approach. No more scarcity, or fear-based marketing. No more sales funnels designed to lead people to a purchase. No more cleverly-designed opt-in “freebies” used as bait, just to get an email address for my mailing list.

Now, I still believe in learning from others, obviously — I do it all the time! Yet, there comes a point where you know enough (the basics), and you just need to do what works for you.

And, part of this is trial & error. I had to try the other methods in order to know what does and doesn’t work for me (and, in the process, I found my own North Star!).

When you align what you do with who you are, business (and marketing!) becomes joyful, and you begin to really come alive!

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I’ve been an avid reader since I was a teen. For a while, in my twenties, I was even known to most online as “MizB” (short for “Mizbooks”).

I started off being mainly a fiction reader (stories). In 2005, however, my tastes started shifting over to non-fiction… and now, I really don’t read much fiction at all. I soak up knowledge like a sponge! I love personal development, Christian living, heath & wellness, plus books on marketing and small business.

Yet, something I am beginning to realize is that consuming knowledge isn’t enough. We have to actually apply what we’ve learned — otherwise, what’s the point? If we consume, consume, consume, but never apply, how is that really benefitting us?

And worse still, aren’t we, in some ways, robbing others of the insights they could have — via our unique viewpoint — regarding what we have learned? (These are the kinds of thoughts that run through my head, anyway).

So, how do you go about applying what you’ve read to your everyday life? Well, here are a couple of ideas:

O1. | SHARE IT!

Ray Higdon, a business owner and marketing expert, says, “Invest. Learn. Teach.Invest in your own “education”, via books, trainings, etc. Learn from those things. Then, turn around and teach others what you’ve learned — from your own perspective, using your own words.

You can write blog posts, make YouTube videos, record a podcast, or create your own eCourses or workshops. This is how knowledge spreads.

02. | USE IT TO UPLEVEL & GROW

Say you’ve read a business book, and it’s taught you some new ways to market your business. Pick one of those new methods, and start actually putting it into practice in your own business. Maybe it will benefit you, maybe it won’t. Either way, you will have the benefit of growing from the experience.


We cannot truly grow and change if we aren’t willing to step outside our comfort zone and try new things.

Again, this whole topic of applying what we learn is something I still, personally, struggle with. As such, I will be taking my own advice!

. . . . .

Which of the 2 ideas, mentioned above, will you commit to trying? Let me know in the comments!

As a creative and free-spirit, I’ve always found it really difficult to do entrepreneurship the way the experts (or “gurus”) say you should do them. I’ve learned from them, of course, and I’ve tried to implement a lot of what I’ve learned. But eventually I feel restless, and need to shake things up.

And, I’m learning an important lesson — that it’s better to find what works for you, than to try to pattern your business off of what everyone else says is “right”.

You are unique. So, what works for others may or may not work for you. There is no one-size-fits-all plan for self-employment.

Sure, there are “best practices”. And I do believe it’s important to still learn what those things are. But, you then need to go through a trial-and-error process in order to really know whether or not these practices will work for you and your business.

So many people, I believe, are scared to venture off into doing things their own way. What if it doesn’t work? Will you not succeed if you don’t follow the “rules”? Won’t people fail to take me seriously?

I’ve been there and had those doubts, so I get it.

The truth is that you are less likely to succeed — at least, in the long-term — if you try to be something you’re not. You will always feel unfulfilled, maybe restless, and you will probably face burnout.

Whereas, by truly allowing yourself to release the shoulds and step into what feels right for you, things will flow much more easily, and you’ll be more likely to love what you get to do with your days.

So, go ahead, free-spirit! Let yourself be free to do what works for you!

It can be so difficult to fully be yourself — especially when this world is constantly trying to shape us into something we’re not.

Yet, just because something is difficult, doesn’t mean it’s impossible. It simply means we need to be more intentional … more aware.

I recently had the realization that, for far too long, I’ve allowed myself to be dragged along by the “shoulds” — I “should” do this, or be that, if I want to have a “successful” business.

And in the process, I forgot who I am.

Thanks to nudges from the Spirit, I’ve been reminded of the real me, and I’m working at bringing her out of hiding.

For example, instead of being so tightly wound and trying to control everything around me, I’m releasing my grip and surrendering to the flow. Instead of being driven by others’ “shoulds“, I’m asking myself what works best for me.

I truly believe — at my core — that we can be successful (more so!) by being fully ourselves . . . doing what works for us, as individuals, rather than copying others, or conforming to some societal standard.

What works for someone else isn’t necessarily going to work for you.

And this is why it’s so vital that you understand yourself fully. After all, how can you decide what does or doesn’t work for you if you don’t even know yourself?

So, where do you even start?

I started getting to know myself through a mix of personality quizzes (Myers-Briggs, Enneagram, etc.)*, journaling for reflection, and asking God to show me who He created me to be.

*[Note regarding personality quizzes: No one test is ever going to be completely, 100% accurate in describing you, as we are all unique. However, I still find it extremely valuable to take a handful of these tests, as it helps you start to see patterns, and realize what really is true of you].

All in all, don’t let society drown out the real you. Stay alert to its influence, and get to know all of the facets of what makes you, you, and then be intentional about remaining true to yourself.

Life is a lot easier when you know who you are!