Only When We Are Brave Enough to Explore the Darkness

Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness - inspiring words from Brene Brown on Lesley Myrick Art + Design (Image: Freedom by Maris Sits)
I'm likely the last female on earth to have embraced the writings and teachings of author Brené Brown - after all, her TED talk on vulnerability has been viewed over 16 million times - but I'm grateful I finally did. (Early adopter, I am not.)

I've been devouring a borrowed copy of The Gifts of Imperfection while also listening to the audiobook of Daring Greatly, and have been inspired by the way she speaks of vulnerability and authenticity. The idea that vulnerability is actually courage and not weakness BLOWS MY MIND. It's so backwards from what is commonly accepted, yet so true. Taking risks, putting yourself out there, and moving forward despite your fears are admirable feats that should not be downplayed. These are courageous efforts that bring great rewards.

So why am I sharing this today? As silly and trivial as this may sound, I've been scared to start blogging again. As a perfectionist (who works hard not to be but still struggles with it internally), taking an unplanned but necessary break from blogging during the last few very busy weeks has thrown me off of my groove. I lost momentum. I'm sure I lost readers. I lost inspiration. I feel like I've lost the "why" of blogging.  And worst of all, I feel like a failure.

I pondered on more than one occasion during the past month if I should shut my blog down, but knowing that I do often feel joy from blogging outweighed the lack of joy I've been experiencing as of late. But then the internal critic started rapid-firing in my head:  If I'm going to start blogging again, where do I start and what do I write about? How do I return gracefully from total radio silence? Will I be judged for not posting for weeks when other "real" bloggers post daily? 

And then the voice shifted from an insecure "I" to a critical "You": You've been blogging for 10 years and never become "big", so why bother continuing? You're not unique and there are thousands of other artist/designers/bloggers out there, so is it really worth even trying when you're never going to be the best? You don't make enough art and your business isn't big enough. You're just pretending. You don't have anything of value to add to the conversation, you're just borrowing ideas from others. 

As you can see, my internal critic was thinking waaaay beyond the issue of getting back to blogging. That nasty little creature was poking at all of my insecurities and fears and vulnerabilities, stirring them up to the surface to bubble out and create a barricade to keep me trapped in darkness.

So today, thanks to the inspiring words of Brené Brown, here's what I have to say to that voice:

Fuck you.

"Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy - the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light." - Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection

I may not be unique.
I may not be the most talented.
I may not be the superstar blogger that posts every day.
I may not be the artist that is constantly inspired to create.
I may not ever "make it" as a blogger or an artist.
I may not ever be a success in the eyes of the world.

But I want to live my life doing what brings joy, meaning, and fulfillment. 

So I'm going to blog.
So I'm going to create. 
So I'm going to work smart. 
So I'm going to get it done.
So I'm going to be present more.
So I'm going to be on social media less. (Especially you, Facebook.)

And I'm going to do all of these things whether or not anyone is watching, or praising, or judging, or caring.

Darkness and perfectionism be damned. Here's to being vulnerable and living in the light.

Image: Maris Sits

Hello + A Little Life Update

Photo shoot styling on location in Los Angeles by interior designer and stylist Lesley Myrick
Hello! I've missed you!

Life has been just BANANAS these past few weeks. The good kind of bananas, though. Work has been jam packed! I'm styling the first catalog for 55 Downing Street, and it's been a few weeks of constant shooting, running around prop shopping, and coordinating the logistics of shooting on location. We spent two days last week shooting at the home above - isn't it insanely gorgeous?

My apologies for the blog silence, but after a looong work day when the choice is between spending time with Nate and Ford, resting, or blogging, you can probably guess what takes priority. Family and self-care first, y'all. 

The catalog shoot is still happening for the next couple of weeks, so until things quiet down I'm not sure how often I'll be able to pop back in here with links, great art, quotes, and other goodies. So please be patient with me!

In the meantime, here's a quick snapshot of what's going on with yours truly...

Watching: The Grand Budapest Hotel. Nate and I had a stay-home movie date on Saturday night, and it was lovely. Such a great flick - I love Wes Anderson movies

Listening to: Podcasts. I drive a lot. Both Sawbones and My Brother My Brother and Me are hilarious and I can't get enough lately. 

Eating: Cupcakes. Too many cupcakes. There were leftovers from a couple of photo shoots, and I'm powerless to resist...

Loving: My sweet little Ford. He's sitting up, bouncing, giggling, and just generally being adorable. This mom thing is pretty alright.

Dreaming of: New products for my Etsy shop. A friend gave me an idea last week and it's been cooking in my brain ever since. 

What's been keeping you busy lately? Tweet me @lesleymyrick and let me know.

Hope you have a wonderful week!

Lovely Web Links: Issue 102

Lovely Web Links by Lesley Myrick - Issue 102. Throw out 100 things challenge from Jess Lively; Taza's guide to the Village in NYC; the #partypartyapp from A Beautiful Mess; Inspirational Cat; Hipster Dinosaurs; and more.
It's Friday! And let's be real, after an awesomely productive week at work you want some fun stuff to keep you entertained over the weekend, right? Well somehow there are no indie business or productivity links in today's Lovely Web Links - just dinosaurs. And babies. And Photoshopped celebrities. You're welcome, internet.

+ Could you throw out 100 things?

+ Oh how I miss New York City.

+ I hired an assistant! (Kidding. But he's cute, isn't he?)

+ I wish I were savvy enough to Photoshop celebrities into my party photos.

+ This new photo app looks like lots of fun!

+ 4 great babysitting tips. (Sidenote: we really need to get a sitter and have a grown-up date night.)

+ I would be so happy if Inspirational Cat showed up in my office.

+ #5 is TOTALLY ME. 13 things homebodies say.

+ Yes. Yum.

+ This cracked me up. Hipster Dinosaurs.

Happy weekend!

Lovely Web Links: Issue 101

Lovely Web Links by Lesley Myrick - Issue 101. Featuring Michael Hyatt, Alexandra Franzen, Sarah Von Bargen, We Are Branch, Co Schedule, The Better Together Fitness Project, The Oatmeal, Clients from Hell, A Beautiful Mess, and Death to the Stock Photo.
Last week's Lovely Web Links didn't happen due to a gnarly head cold that unexpectedly knocked me off my feet just in time for the long weekend. I'm here to make it up to you - so why don't you grab a cup of tea and get clicking?

+ Are you guilty of any of these bad email habits?

+ If you bill clients hourly, here's how to better estimate your time for a freelance project.

+ How would you behave if you were the best in the world at what you do?

+ Interesting for graphic designers! How to easily find major brands' style guidelines on the web.

+ What makes up a brand identity?

+ Did you see this free printable yesterday with great leadership tips?

+ How to find your voice and brand yourself on social media.

+ Do you struggle with a scarcity mentality?

+ Check out my friend Cori's gorgeous black and white home.

+ How to practice self-love (without all the glitter and sparkles and rah-rah-rah).

+ Oh, selfies.


+ Love this simple braided updo! Not that I have enough hair to pull it off, but still...

+ What would you choose - a baby, or a PhD?

+ My baby wearing a hat. Arguably the cutest baby picture EVER. I just want to smooch that little mouth!

+ I love the sarcasm in this article: How to Breastfeed Appropriately.

+ Two gems from Clients from Hell: about Hitler, and about Jesus.

Happy Thursday! Hope you're having a wonderful week.

17 Hard Things You Have to Do to Be a Great Leader

17 Hard Things You Have to Do to Be a Great Leader - leadership and success tips from Lesley Myrick Art + Design
Every summer, my church Mosaic hosts the SHE WKND - an inspiring weekend retreat for women. I wasn't able to attend this year; however, my friend Hillary did, and I loved the information she shared in her recap. Each of the women in attendance was given a handout with the 17 hard things you have to do to be a great leader. I'm not sure of the original source of these tips (if anyone knows where it's from I'd love to give proper credit), but ooooh boy, this is an inspiring, kick-your-ass-into-gear list:

+ You have to make the call you’re afraid to make.
+ You have to get up earlier than you want to get up.
+ You have to give more than you get in return right away.
+ You have to care more about others than they care about you.
+ You have to feel unsure and insecure when playing it safe seems smarter.
+ You have to lead when no one else is following you yet.
+ You have to invest in yourself even though no one else is.
+ You have to grind out the details when it’s easier to shrug them off.
+ You have to deliver results when making excuses is an option.
+ You have to search for your own explanations even when you’re told to accept the “facts.”
+ You have to make mistakes and look like an idiot.
+ You have to try and fail and try again.
+ You have to run faster even though you’re out of breath.
+ You have to be kind to people who have been cruel to you.
+ You have to meet deadlines that are unreasonable and deliver results that are unparalleled.
+ You have to be accountable for your actions even when things go wrong.
+ You have to keep moving towards where you want to be no matter what’s in front of you.

How to be a great leader  - 17 leadership tips. Free printable! Click through for the link.
Not only are these great leadership principles, they're just 17 things you have to do to be an awesomely successful human being. Print these inspiring words as a reminder and hang them somewhere you'll see them every day. Download a free hi-res printable here.

Happy Wednesday!

PS. If these leadership tips speak to you, I'd so appreciate if you would pin the graphic above to Pinterest and share the love with other creatives who might need to hear these words! If you're on the blog, simply hover over the image and a Pinterest button will appear. If you're viewing this post in a reader, click here to visit the post.

© Lesley Myrick Art + Design All rights reserved. Template © Blog Milk.