Spotlight: Laura Sinclair– Violist, Educator, and Speaker

This month’s Spotlight interview brings me immense joy and pride. Not only is our featured artist amazingly inspiring, but she’s also a long-term client and friend. Laura Sinclair has created the artist’s dream life, with her ideal balance of performances (because one really shouldn’t have to choose between playing chamber music around the world and subbing in the pit for the national tour of Hamilton!) teaching her beloved and close-knit private teaching studio, and running her peer-coaching program, The Stress-Free Studio (more on that later!) AND speaking about the intersection of music teaching, child development, and neuroscience at conferences and private events.

Laura is taking the world by storm, revolutionizing how people teach–from a more fulfilling way to build their studios to the way they can better understand children (and parents!) She has a truly remarkable story, and I can’t wait to share it with you today.



TFTL: At what age did you start playing the viola? Did you start on the violin? Were you naturally drawn to it, or was it something that someone suggested you try? 

LS: I started playing violin at age 7. I was always drawn to musical instruments, so when the violin-shaped notice arrived in my mailbox (in my tiny Canadian fishing village) inviting me to take lessons at a neighbor’s house for $5 a lesson, we jumped at the chance. The viola entered my life midway through my undergraduate degree when my violin teacher thought it would help with some of the physical tension in my body, as well as satisfy my love of inner voices in chamber music. As it turns out, a bigger instrument was a perfect fit and I’ve been playing both ever since. 


TFTL: What prompted you to start studying neuroscience and child development? How do you see this added layer helping your students/parents? 

LS: I gained firsthand experience working with children from all backgrounds through my work in a  Title I public school while building my private studio. What struck me the most is how much I didn’t know. As teachers, our tendency is to teach how we were taught, but it wasn’t working for me. The behaviors and deep emotional worlds of my students perplexed me, and I felt wholly ill-equipped to help with the challenges of modern childhood. This led me on a deep dive to learn as much as I could about the brain and how it learns, emotional regulation, and attachment theory.

This has been hugely beneficial for me as a teacher and parent educator in decoding behaviors in lessons and classes and providing insight for the parent into a child’s internal experience. Often what we see as “bad” behavior is simply the child trying to communicate something, be it a need for connection, a lack of understanding of what is being asked, or a basic need like needing a snack!


TFTL: You have a lot of different balls in the air! A thriving teaching studio, an active performance schedule, AND you’re a coach and speaker. What is a typical day like for you? 

LS: Keeping my week as routine as possible has been key. Every weekday starts with a workout with my strength training small group. From there, I begin my day with journaling and digging into any creative work that needs to get done, like practicing and writing. I try not to make appointments or take calls in the morning so I can put my personal work first. Early afternoon typically brings around coaching calls with clients or my own coach. I teach my students Monday through Thursday.  My performance work often has me traveling, but I’m typically able to teach from the road or limit the travel to the weekends. 


TFTL: How have you found balance in your career/life? How do you keep from burning out? 

LS: After years as a workaholic, it has been challenging and exciting to embrace the concept of doing less to do more. Now, I recognize that I bring my best to the table when I have blank space to be creative, have time to nurture my personal relationships, and only accept work that aligns with my long-term goals.  Keeping those things in balance allows me to avoid burnout, and I now have a system of accountability in place to not return there. 



TFTL: In your Stress-Free Studio coaching work with other private teachers, what do you see them struggling with the most? 

LS: I see a lot of them struggling with the business side of teaching. It’s not a subject that is discussed in music school, because the professors teaching us have little to no first-hand knowledge about how to be successful at it.  My aim with my coaching work is to help teachers conscientiously design their offerings to highlight their strengths, and automate their business practices so their energy can be devoted to delivering high-quality teaching while not feeling consumed by it.


TFTL: What does success look like for you? 

LS: Success to me is having a career that allows me to live my values. I know there’s magic happening in my work when it reflects who I am and what I hold dear.


TFTL: Who have been some of your role models?

LS: I have had many incredible teachers in my life. Dr. Terry Durbin has been a key influence in how and why I teach, and my curiosity about brain development. All of my conservatory teachers helped me recognize that a musician must become both a car mechanic and an artist to be successful.

Often, I find a lot of teachable moments in getting myself into situations that don’t align with who I am, or leadership that didn’t offer me what I need to do my best. From the narcissistic boss to the administrator who just didn’t know how to support me, to the wedding gig catastrophe, I am eternally grateful for having those moments in my life to light up my intuition and cause me to course correct.


TFTL: What is the best piece of advice someone has given you? 

LS: If you don’t build your dream, someone will pay you to build theirs.  It really made me realize where I was allowing the work for other people to put my work on the sidelines.


TFTL: Practicing: Love it or Hate it? What do you find is the most challenging aspect of it?

LS: It’s definitely a love-hate relationship for me, because to this day, setting aside time to practice (especially when there isn’t an IMMEDIATE performance to prepare for) feels like a selfish act. Now, I do best when I apply the principle of routine to my practice and create space for it in my day. Ultimately, it’s that daily maintenance that keeps me pursuing bigger and better performance opportunities.


TFTL: What is your favorite thing about attending (not performing in) a classical music concert these days?

LS: As an active performer, I really enjoy not being in the hot seat sometimes! I value thoughtful programming and concert experiences that are intimate and personal to the artist. My goal this year is to see the Emerson string quartet while they are in their farewell season. 


TFTL: What is most important to you these days? 

LS: Making sure I am spending my time conscientiously, and helping others do the same. This means prioritizing music I want to play, students that fit into my studio culture, clients that are excited to create big changes through small changes, and time for friends, family, and travel.


TFTL: Where can people find you? (website, Socials, etc.) and what is the best way for people to show their support for what you are doing? 

LS: The best thing people can do is pass on The Stress-Free Studio to that musician in your life who needs a helping hand to become a brilliant teacher–whether they are just starting out after graduating, have recently moved to a new city and are faced with starting over, or are feeling overwhelmed by the logistics of maintaining a private studio.  Follow me on Instagram and join my mailing list to stay up to date on my varied offerings and musical adventures. 

TFTL: Thanks so much, Laura! 


Where is the Line Between Self-Acceptance and Complacency?

Many of you know I’m currently working on a book, and the subject is Potential. Defining it, Striving for it, Reaching it. 

And it’s brought up a lot of questions for me. One of which is this: At what point does striving toward what we perceive to be our peak potential create more stress in our lives than it’s worth? 

In other words, how does one achieve greatness without having to give up, well… a life. 

On one hand, we’re being told to rest, meditate, take time off, and avoid burnout, and on the other, we’re being encouraged to shoot for the stars, to achieve our wildest dreams. 

I was relieved when I was listening to a re-released podcast episode with Brene Brown and Tim Ferriss and they brought up this very question. 

Where is the line between Self-Acceptance, and Complacency? How do we go from “Meh, my life is just fine the way it is” to “I can achieve my wildest dreams” without completely losing ourselves in the process? 

I think part of it has something to do with the 1% rule. 

You know the one. Where we aim to get 1% better each day (or week, or month) coined by Darren Hardy, author of The Compound Effect, and doubled down upon by James Clear in his Atomic Habits

Getting 1% better, or moving 1% closer to your goals each day allows you to enjoy your current life. Truly appreciate all that you already have, while pointing your nose in the right direction. 

What does that look like in the wild? 


1. Dream: To become financially independent

Goal: Get 1% closer to being financially independent each day. 

Reality: every day, spend a little less, make a little more, and learn a bit more about investing. Become more financially literate each day. 


2. Dream: To Become Principal of a major orchestra

Goal: Get 1% closer to winning that audition each day

Reality: every day, work on excerpts, have lessons with members of that orchestra, study the sound of the orchestras, play mock auditions, work on your technique, learn and study scores, become a better sight-reader, and work on your craft. 


3. Dream: To speak 5 languages fluently

Goal: To get 1% closer to fluency in a language every day. 

Reality: Use duolingo, join a meet up group where you get together and speak a different language, travel, read literature, and watch TV shows in that language. Anything. But if you learn 3 new words a day, you’re doing great. 


Photo by Andre Taissin for


So this is the question I have been asking myself each day now. As I’m writing this book, I’m thinking more deeply about my own potential, and what it would look like to reach it. And if I were to point myself in that direction and make 1% progress each day, what would that look like? Sometimes it’s super easy and quantifiable. 

Q: How many words need to be written per day to get 1% closer to my finished book?

A: 700



Sometimes it’s not quite as quantifiable: 

How do I become 1% better at gardening? I trust by doing it every day. I’m assuming my knowledge and experience are compounding themselves. I feel like I’ve done the same things in my gardens for years, and yet—they are better every season. 

How do I get 1% better at my marriage? My friendships? my leadership skills? Are there metrics? # of times I compliment my husband? # of times I text my friends to check in and say hi? 

It’s hard to say, but I suppose we need to look for the small mini-leaps and make as many of those as we can. And here are 3 small and subtle mindset shifts that I think can help us out along the way. 

1. Reframe Self Acceptance

Instead of thinking: “I’m perfectly fine just as I am and I don’t need to change” you can think: “I am an ever-evolving human being. I accept myself for where I am at this moment, and appreciate who I will be tomorrow.” 


2. Stay in the present while being mindful of the future. 

I can be fully present while I am setting up the coffee machine before I go to bed at night. It is part of my routine of putting the house to rest at the end of the day. And…bonus…Future Kate has a hot pot of coffee waiting for her when she wakes up. 


3. Make growth part of your current identity. 

If you see yourself as someone who runs, you’re not thinking. I’m lazy, so I need to improve myself by running. You just run. It’s who you are. If you consider yourself a ‘lifelong learner’, then you’re not seeking out knowledge because you weren’t smart enough before, it’s just part of you. The side benefit of that subtle identity shift is that you are experiencing constant growth in a direction that aligns with your potential. 



And it truly is both a subtle and profound shift in thinking. I think we all recognize the difference in the student who practices consistently, eager to try new things, improve their skills, and learn new repertoire, and the one who is only chasing after a goal–beating themselves up to be “good enough.” It’s the first one who finds success. 

The one who was both accepting where they are, AND refusing to be complacent. 




P.S. If you enjoyed this blog post and want more insider info on how to thrive as a creative, be sure you get on the list to receive my Friday “Weekend List.” Each one is loaded up with additional tips, tricks, and things to think about, including a new curated list of articles, books, podcasts, and things that I think you’d enjoy.  Click Here to Get the Weekend List! 

The No-Yes Spectrum

When someone asks you to do something, and I’m talking about the whole gamut of asks, here: from “Wanna grab some dinner after rehearsal?” to  “Mom, can I sleep over at Molly’s house on Friday?” to “Can you perform all 6 Bach Cello Suites in a private concert next Saturday?” What is your usual default reaction? 

Do you always start with “No” and then find reasons to justify it? Or do you say yes to everything and then regret it? 

I think one of the biggest signs that someone has the potential to be successful is where they stand on the “No-Yes Spectrum” (I totally made that up–consider it trademarked)

Say yes to too many things and you can get overwhelmed, spread yourself too thin, and not have the capacity to do really good work on anything. 


Say no to too many things though, and you get stuck, rigid, stop taking risks, and avoid growth. 


I think most people, whether they do it consciously or not, generally default to “No.” Our brains have been sold a thousand reasons why we cannot do certain things. Seth Godin calls it our “Lizard Brain”, Stephen Pressfield writes about it as resistance in his book “The War of Art” and Scientists will start talking to you about your amygdala and why it keeps saying “No, because”  over and over and over. You can also blame your parents, teachers, and general surroundings for your knee-jerk reactions to new ideas. 

  • Can you be a doctor? No, because medical school is expensive and takes forever. 
  • Can you live in France? No, because you don’t have an EU passport. 
  • Can you make millions of dollars? No because we’re not “those” people. 

You get the idea.

More often than not, we are defaulting to “No” as a way to keep ourselves safe. Avoid the risk. As creatives, we are geniuses at coming up with reasons why we should say no–even when our heart is saying yes. 

Whether it’s about taking an artistic risk (I can’t play it that way because people will hate it) or a career risk (I can’t enter that competition because I’m not ready) or a tactical risk (I can’t work with a coach because I don’t have the money). 

We rarely ask ourselves if that No is serving us in the long term, or whether it’s just keeping us safe and comfortable at the moment. Sometimes, the no is stemming from a long-held belief in what is possible and what is impossible for our lives. 



Photo by Yuris Alhumaydy


My friend Jason once worked as the General Manager of a big organization. He was a wonderful guy that everyone got along with outside of work. In his role, he was in charge of the budget and, more importantly, making sure the organization stayed within that budget. He was also in charge of 6 very hard-working staff members, and he took it upon himself to make sure that they were happy, fulfilled, and not overworked. 


Like I said, great guy. Except that he said “No, because…” to everything. 


  • An exciting new project! “No, because we don’t have the time to plan it properly.” 
  • A new opportunity to collaborate with the perfect partner! “No, because everyone is already maxed out.” 
  • Some fun swag for our volunteers? “No! Because there’s no money for it.” 


It’s hard to argue with that. Those are all valid reasons. But it wasn’t long before everyone around him, from his staff members to the CEO, were utterly frustrated with him. He was not to be swayed. According to Jason, It was everyone around him who was the problem. “They want the moon,” he’d cry “and they don’t see how impossible it is!” 

After a few years, the organization, sitting dead in its tracks, had been outperformed by the competition. Other groups were doing more, had more visibility, more collaborations, and better initiatives. 

But Jason’s budget was balanced! Problem was, It was the exact same budget he had been working with for 3 years. There had been zero growth. 

His replacement, Terry, brought a different attitude. Instead of answering “No, because” to everything,  they responded to each request and idea with “Yes! If….” Sometimes it would be determined that the “if” in question either wasn’t feasible, or wasn’t worth the effort at the moment, but often, it opened the door for creative thinking, a more engaged team, and exciting new projects. 

  • A new summer initiative? “Yes, If two of you are willing and able to take on some extra hours over the next 4 weeks. It’s a tight turnaround, and we are already short on available work hours. But if we can find an extra 10 hours a week, we can make this happen.” 
  • A new collaboration? “Yes, If the other partner has the necessary manpower available, we can contribute our space and do the mailings. Our staff has its hands full with current projects, but we can make this work”
  • Some fun new swag for our volunteers? “Yes, If we can find a corporate sponsor to donate it.” 


Terry knew how to turn the Impossible into the Possible. It didn’t mean the team would decide to act on every idea, but thought and input was given. They could look for creative solutions and then decide their next best step from there. 

Suddenly, the whole world opened up. They experienced tremendous growth AND the budget remained balanced. 

Terry was scoring high on the No-Yes Spectrum. 


It takes a lot of courage. 


It’s far easier to reason ourselves OUT of doing something new, risky, or challenging.  We justify the no with perfectly valid reasoning (usually having to do with a lack of time, resources, or money) and then feel a sigh of relief, knowing that we don’t have to figure anything out. We got ourselves out of doing the hard work (preparing for the competition, cutting back on spending, or planning the trip) 


Unfortunately, we’ve also cheated ourselves out of the potential reward. Winning the competition (or even just the knowledge that we could, in fact, get ourselves prepared enough to do well) Having the coach, or the new instrument, or the studio space we needed (and hey–by not going out for meals for 3 months to save the money, your cooking skills got a serious upgrade!) Experiencing a new country in the best possible way


Photo by Brett Garwood


So every time you hear your Lizard brain’s amygdala start to utter the phrase “No, because”,  call up your inner Terry and flip it around. Instead of the “No, because” default, you look for the “Yes, if” possibility.  


  • Can you be a doctor? Yes, if you put a plan in place to cover expenses while you’re in school and look for some great scholarships/financial aid. 
  • Can you live in France? Yes, if you married someone with an EU passport, or if you get the right visa. 
  • Can you make millions of dollars? Yes, if you create an offer or product that people want and serve them well, you can be both an awesome human being AND a millionaire. 


Give it a shot.

Take something that you think you have to say no to, and ask yourself “What parameters need to exist in order for this to be a yes?” 

Are they feasible?  Is the reward worth the risk? Will you experience the kind of growth you are looking for? 




P.S. If you enjoyed this blog post and want more insider info on how to thrive as a creative, be sure you get on the list to receive my Friday “Weekend List.” Each one is loaded up with additional tips, tricks, and things to think about, including a new curated list of articles, books, podcasts, and things that I think you’d enjoy.  Click Here to Get the Weekend List! 

The Possible vs. The Impossible

I heard a story several years ago on a podcast about a kindergarten teacher who asked her students to draw a picture of what they wanted to be when they grew up. Most of the kids drew pictures of doctors, people in suits, firefighters, ballet dancers…the usual. But the teacher grew concerned about one boy who had drawn a picture of what looked to be a guy delivering pizzas. 

The teacher called the student’s mother, who, after a deep exhale, explained that the boy’s father was in prison. His older brother had died of an overdose, and his uncle was in a gang, but he had one older cousin, James, who wasn’t in a gang, didn’t do drugs, and had never been to jail. He was currently working as a pizza delivery guy to pay for some community school classes, and her son thought he was the most amazing and successful person in the whole world. He wanted to be just like James when he grew up. 


We can only aspire to what we can see. 


Photo by Lucian Alexe on Unsplash


Growing up, it was made clear to my brother and me that there was an expectation that we would go to college. Both of my parents made the choice to go to college–a choice that was NOT expected of either of them. In fact, my mother had to hide the fact that she had applied to college from her overbearing father until, with bags packed, she simply announced to him that she needed a ride to campus. 

So I grew up knowing that I came from an educated family, and getting a college degree was just what you did. It wasn’t until I got to high school (in the very affluent Chicago suburbs) that it became clear that choices and decisions like these are all relative (literally!) For my friends’ families, not only was it assumed that they would go to college, it was assumed that they would go to A Very Good College. Most likely Ivy League.


Photo by Vasily Kolada


Sometimes, we are aware of other choices, but external opinions and comments dictate whether we see them as “Possible” or “Impossible.”  Maybe everyone around you blasted artists and musicians as irresponsible, substance-abusing, MORONS. Making your desire to be an actor seems like an impossibility. 

Or maybe it was the opposite. It was successful (read: Wealthy) people who had their priorities messed up. But getting a degree in English or going to Music Conservatory? Those were worthy pursuits.


Creative, Artistic, Humble. Possible. 


I knew at 15 that I wanted to be a cellist. All of my friends were great musicians, and most of their parents were professional musicians. Good ones–not just your average freelancer, but they were in the Chicago Symphony, or in world-renowned string quartets, and were highly respected pedagogues. That was my world.

And in my world, going into music was just what you did. It was possible. Playing at a high level? Possible. Getting into a top conservatory? The best festivals? All Possible. 

Someone asked me once at a post-concert Q&A, why I had chosen to become a professional musician, and my answer was “because it’s the only thing I actually know how to do!” tossed off with a laugh. 

In hindsight, I realize that wasn’t true, but being a cellist was the only thing that I knew was possible for me. 

My 8th-grade teacher told me I’d make a great US Senator (and back when I was in 8th grade, that was a compliment!) I thought about it for a second, but when I told my dad, he laughed and said “Nah. Politicians are all corrupt. You don’t want to do that!”  and that was the end of that idea.


It was put on the “Impossible” list.



And for most of us, that unspoken and unwritten list is something we’ve been carrying around with us without realizing. “Possible” on the left, “Impossible’ on the right, and we grow up understanding and taking that list in. It determines where we stand in life. How far our dreams are allowed to go.

For some, it’s an international soloist. For others, a Supreme Court Justice, and for others, a pizza delivery guy.

But now, knowing this. Seeing how arbitrary that list really is,  we can look at our life and make future decisions with clearer eyes.

Without any external input, what would you do? 

Without any expectations, what would you do? 

Without that list of Possible vs. Impossible, what would you do? 




P.S. If you enjoyed this blog post and want more insider info on how to thrive as a creative, be sure you get on the list to receive my Friday “Weekend List.” Each one is loaded up with additional tips, tricks, and things to think about, including a new curated list of articles, books, podcasts, and things that I think you’d enjoy.  Click Here to Get the Weekend List! 



Spotlight Interview with Jalayne Mitchell

You might know cellist and Seattle native, Jalayne Mitchell better as the brainchild of Classical Wellness, the brand and platform she created while studying abroad at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Scotland. With well over 60,000 followers on Instagram (@classicalwellness), her posts about the struggles musicians face in the practice room are clearly resonating with classical performers of all ages. 

I wanted to learn more about the person behind it all, why she felt compelled to call out the industry, and the kind of bravery and hard work that went into it all.



TFTL: At what age did you start playing the cello? Were you naturally drawn to it, or was it something that someone suggested you try?

JM: I started playing the cello in the middle of my 6th-grade year. I found out that I could waive PE if I took up a language or joined the orchestra, so I begged my counselor to let me in mid-year. I originally asked for a violin, because that’s the only instrument I knew of, but the teacher said there were no more. She said they only had cellos. I said OK without knowing how big the instrument was!



TFTL: What prompted you to start the Classical Wellness Account/Brand? Did you have experience in marketing and branding before, or have you had to learn it all as you go?

JM: I had to learn as I went. I followed lots of accounts that teach about Instagram marketing and I even bought small courses and guides to help me get the message out to bigger audiences. I wanted to start this page and scream the brand’s message from the rooftops because I saw a dire need for musicians to be validated. Musicians should be given a space to be open about the way they are feeling, good or bad. They should be given resources for affordable prices so that we can learn healthy ways to be musicians without having rich parents or connections. 

I saw so much struggle when I got to finally be around musicians. I didn’t start lessons until age 16, so I wasn’t really ‘in’ the music world until that point. Even then, I didn’t experience much with other musicians because I was so busy practicing and trying to catch up, I just had my own experiences. When I went to conservatory at 18 and actually got the experience of being a ‘real’ music student, I realized that if I was going to stay in this community, something needed to change. I didn’t see anyone else helping musicians (mentally and physically) on a big scale so I decided to do it myself. 



TFTL: As a recent graduate, what does a typical week look like for you?

JM: I graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in the summer of 2022. Right now, I am taking a gap year to focus on auditions for master’s programs. I am currently working remotely on all things classical wellness. This page is just like having my own business. There are lots of backend things that I need to constantly update and make sure are working correctly, and there’s lots of admin. Not to mention the posts that I create daily! 

When I’m not doing that, I’m practicing. I average around 2-3 hours per day, with many rest days. I spend time with my family and my boyfriend when I’m not working. Right now I am very happy with the balance between work/cello/social life. Ironically, I’m not in any structured program at the moment! 



TFTL: You have an impressive number of IG followers. Did that happen gradually or overnight?

JM: It happened organically, but in the early summer of 2022 (more than a year after I started) I started seeing a lot of growth. From March 2021 to May 2022, I had 3,000 followers. Something happened at the end of the school year last year that just made my posts run around the internet. There was a point when I was gaining 1000 followers a day. It was insane. I had always second-guessed myself, wondering if I was making a fool of myself by starting such a thing. When I first started it, some friends from school made fun of me and my silly tik tok videos (which I also cringe at, looking back). But eventually, I perfected my zone of creating, and musicians respond very well to it.  I’m really happy people resonate with the message. 




TFTL: What does your dream career look like? Do you think being a musicians’ wellness advocate will always be a part of it?

JM: Absolutely. I feel like my dream would be a mixture of speaking at schools, hosting my own music festival in the summer aimed at creating healthy practice habits, and being a shoo-in for orchestras on the side. I want to play cool music with cool people without the pressure of perfectionism or the high risk of injury (as many orchestra jobs have).



TFTL: Your messaging resonates with students and professionals alike. What are you talking about that no one else has been saying in this space?

JM: That musicians deserve breaks,  & that it’s okay for us to be tired. & it’s okay for us to prioritize other things in life. & that none of that means we are less dedicated or less passionate about what we do. 

(and that we need to make practicing more effective and efficient so that we aren’t tied to the idea that practicing 5 hours a day is the only way to success)


TFTL: Practicing: Love it or Hate it? What do you find is the most challenging aspect of it?

JM: Both. Love what it gives to me, but hate having to sit down and actually spend time working things out. Sometimes I’m excited to practice, and sometimes I’m not. But I’ve found that technique is a nice way to just start without having to figure anything out. The steps are already there. You just sit down and do it, and then after a while, you get motivated to think about how you want to work on your pieces. I’d say mostly I have to convince myself to practice unless there’s a deadline ahead or I am starting a new piece. Then I’m eager! 



TFTL: Who are some of your role models?

JM: In terms of cello: Alison Wells (cello faculty at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland), Anna Edwards (Founder of the Seattle Collaborative Orchestra, Saratoga Orchestra), Mika Takano-Armaly (my very first orchestra teacher in Seattle!) These women have paved the way for me to become an empowered musician. I am so happy I got to look up to these people as I ‘grew up’ in the cello world. 

In terms of big-name musicians: Yo-Yo Ma is one of my idols. The things he does around the world to bring people together with music are just extraordinary. He branches away from traditional classical music structure and makes it his own. That is something I really admire and respect. 




TFTL: What is the best piece of advice someone has given you?

JM: In regards to performing: express, not impress. Simple, but earth-shattering!


TFTL: And the worst?

JM: That I should be able to practice 4 hours a day from the start without many breaks or time off, and that if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be successful. It takes a lot of energy, time, and effort to create a system where you can healthily practice 4 hours a day. It takes even longer to do it when you have literally any other commitments in life.  People throwing this around with no guidance on how to actually practice healthily is very damaging for even the most passionate musicians.



TFTL: What 6 people (dead or alive) would you invite to your ideal dinner party?

JM: Barack Obama, Jennifer Coolidge, The main character from the Apple TV show Severance, Yo-Yo Ma, my boyfriend Felipe, and Errollyn Wallen (UK composer)



TFTL: Where can people find you? (website, Socials, etc.) and what is the best way for people to show their support for what you are doing?

JM: I have a website,, where I have some resources available for purchase and download, and this year I am launching a podcast where I go in-depth on all the juicy topics I talk about on my page. I hope it will be available on all listening apps, but keep an eye on my Instagram for the launch! 

The best way to support me is by sharing my posts in some way, so those who need it can find the page. It’s very important that everyone feels supported, and that starts with people spreading the word! 

TFTL: Anything exciting coming up?

JM: Yes!

Spring 2023: HOW TO PRACTICE Video series (memorization, remembering what you’ve learned, learning patience for the slow practice, practice techniques that actually work for things like fast passages, lyrical passages, technically challenging passages, etc). Your one-stop shop for all things practice strategy! 

Summer 2023: Classical Wellness Podcast (where we dive deep into the toxic culture of classical music, and dismantle the unhealthy societal structures that keep us unwell)


Thanks so much, Jalayne! 



P.S. If you enjoyed this blog post and want more insider info on how to thrive as a creative, be sure you get on the list to receive my Friday “Weekend List.” Each one is loaded up with additional tips, tricks, and things to think about, including a new curated list of articles, books, podcasts, and things that I think you’d enjoy.  Click Here to Get the Weekend List! 

Feeling Pulled in a Million Directions? Try Zones

Do you ever feel like you’re being pulled in a million different directions? There’s a lot to do in a given week, isn’t there? 

We have our work, our personal life, our social life, family, and the household. Laundry needs to be done, groceries bought, house cleaned, plants watered, gardens tended to, lightbulbs replaced, and let’s not forget that we ourselves, need to be somewhat groomed and fit for public viewing. 

Oh, and kids. A lot of you have kids. Apparently, they come with a whole slew of responsibilities as well.

How does one stay on top of it all? 

Last week we talked about time-blocking, which is how I divide my schedule up to make sure I get my work done, without being too boring and anti-social. 

This week I want to dive even further into my methods, and I want to talk about Zones. 


There is ALWAYS something that needs to be done.
Photo by Carl Heyerdahl on Unsplash


I first heard about the concept of zones in a gardening context. My favorite garden YouTuber, Laura from Garden Answer, was explaining how she manages to keep her (very) large property and multiple garden areas looking great all the time. 

She said that she divided the property into 5 zones, and every morning, M-F, she would head to that day’s zone and prune, dead-head, plant–and basically clean it up. Larger infrastructure or planting jobs were added to an ongoing list for afternoon and weekend projects. But by using zones, she knew that every area would be tended to at least once a week. 

I started with the obvious–doing the same with my garden. My land isn’t nearly as extensive, but I do have multiple garden areas. I don’t have a ton of time to devote to the gardens during the week, but if I wait until the weekends, there’s just too much to do. 

So, Mondays I go down to the front terraces. Tuesdays I tackle the back garden, Wednesdays are my houseplants day, Thursdays I do the front of the house and the verandah, and Fridays I deal with the succulent garden. I’m in and out in 20-30 minutes max, between walking Tango and having my breakfast, and it worked like a dream! 


Dividing my weekly chores into daily zones helps me stay on top of things.


In fact, It worked so well, I decided to divide other parts of my life into zones as well. The next one was household chores. Mondays, I do a clean sweep (pun intended) After 2 days of my husband being in the house over the weekend, well, let’s just say he’s not a firm believer in the concept of “putting anything back” 30 minutes later, the clothes are picked up, the dishes, 100’s of cups of half-drunk tea, and various books, papers, tools, and pretty much anything you can think of has been dealt with. 

Tuesdays I clean out the fridge. Buh-bye leftovers that didn’t get eaten, tubs of sour cream that are starting to turn *interesting* colors, the last of the lettuce that will spend it’s final days in my compost bin. Wednesdays the housekeeper comes every other week, but on the weeks she doesn’t come, I change the sheets and clean the stove and the microwave and do a quick wipedown of the bathrooms. Thursdays I do laundry, and Fridays I try to get to the fish guy and the grocery store. 

I found that there is no end to what you can divide into zones. From grooming: Monday hair washing and Friday manicures (and everything in between happening on T, W, Th) to zoning my social media: Check out my feed and you’ll see a clear M-Th posting design. It’s all about the zones. 

The final frontier for me was to zone my work tasks: Mondays I have discovery calls, do some basic admin work for the week, and trainings for my Creatives Leadership Academy program, Tuesdays and Thursdays I see coaching clients all day, Wednesdays I do writing tasks, and Fridays I do my money things–contracts and invoices, proposals, stats, banking, and a general tying up of loose ends. 


There isn’t much you Can’t break up into zones.
Photo by Brooke Lark by


But friends, you can zone anything! 


  • Practicing? You can put a different focus on every day: Vibrato, Left Hand, Right hand, shifts, intonation, speed, memorization, sight reading, and repertoire exploration. 
  • Cooking? You can assign a broad “kind” of food for each night. Soup night, pasta night, fish night, etc. 
  • Workouts? Keeping in touch with friends/family? What you wear? Anything. 


I’m obsessed. Here are my top 5 takeaways:


1. It ensures that I can cover everything in a 7-day period

Nothing gets neglected for too long. 


2. It keeps decision fatigue at bay

No more: What should I take care of today? When everything needs doing, we tend to shut down and do nothing at all. 


3. It all becomes much more efficient

Since I’m only focusing on one thing, and that same thing every week, the choreography of it sticks. On Tuesday mornings, I walk to the fridge and get to it. It’s fast, it’s easy, and because I do it every week, it really doesn’t take very long. 


4. It’s easy to switch around if you need to.

Rain on Tuesday? I can water and clean up my houseplants that day instead, and do the back vegetable beds on Wednesday when it’s cleared up. 


5. I have a deeper understanding of each task

Cleaning out the refrigerator each week keeps me aware of what we have, what we’re running low on, what needs to be used up in the coming days, etc. Far more so than if I did it as a part of a whole kitchen blitz. I’d be speeding through it, trying to get through it and on to the next. When you do one thing each day, it sticks with you. 

Okay–what about you? What can you divide into zones this week? Keep me posted!

Have a great week! 



P.S. If you enjoyed this blog post and want more insider info on how to thrive as a creative, be sure you get on the list to receive my Friday “Weekend List.” Each one is loaded up with additional tips, tricks, and things to think about, including a new curated list of articles, books, podcasts, and things that I think you’d enjoy.  Click Here to Get the Weekend List! 

Time-Blocking: The Creative’s Best Friend


You know how “the experts” are always telling you to think about the thing that seems completely obvious to you, that other people aren’t doing, and then go out and teach that thing?

Well, for me, one of those “things” is Time-Blocking. 

Clients sign up to work with me in order to create dream projects, take their careers to new levels, and re-vamp their lives and careers in pretty major ways, and then they ask me to teach them how to do time-blocking.

Every time, it takes me by surprise. As creatives, as musicians and artists, as freelancers, as multi-passionate people,




Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash


Time-blocking: “A popular productivity technique that involves dividing your day into specific blocks of time, during which you work on specific tasks or projects.”

For us creatives, this technique can be especially useful in helping to stay focused,  manage our time more effectively, and actually achieve those goals we set out for ourselves. 

The thing I love most about time-blocking is how it drastically lowers the heat on my to-do list. I’m sure you can all relate to the feeling of having your entire week’s to-do list on your mind at all times. You’re sitting in a rehearsal remembering that you need to pay that bill or go renew your driver’s license, or register your kid for camp. And it seems insurmountable. Your brain is screaming at you:

“But I’m in this rehearsal until 4, and then I’m racing over to teach, and then I have to go home and make dinner and then…and then….and when am I EVER going to get all this done! It’s too much!” 


Cue Major Burnout. 


Don’t worry, Time-blocking is here to help. By dedicating specific blocks of time to working on specific tasks or projects throughout the week, you’ve given each task a slot. It can be as specific as “Wednesdays from 10-11 I go through my kids’ schedules and handle whatever needs handling” or as broad as “Fridays from 9-12 I work on admin stuff.” 

But that way, the conversation goes more like this:

(In rehearsal, thinking about all of those to-do items) “Yep–they’re in the calendar. I’ll do my driver’s license on Wednesday morning, register the kids for camp on Thursday before teaching, and pay those bills when I get home from teaching this evening. It’s all written down. No problem. Now, about this 7/16 measure….”


Time-blocking makes sure you have time in your life for the important things.


Another great benefit of time-blocking–especially for creatives–is improved time management. By planning your day in advance, you can prioritize your tasks and make sure that you’re working on the most important items at the right time. This helps you to avoid wasting time on those less important tasks and ensures that you’re making steady progress towards your goals. And, by setting specific deadlines for your mini-milestones, you can stay more accountable and motivated.

Time-blocking can also help to reduce stress and increase work-life balance. By dedicating specific blocks of time to work and specific blocks of time to personal activities, we can make sure that we’re not sacrificing our health and well-being for the sake of our work. By making time for the activities we enjoy, like exercising (wait, we enjoy that?), gardening, and spending time with friends, we can reduce stress and improve our overall sense of well-being. 

So, those are some of the main benefits of time-blocking.  Here’s a glimpse at how I do it in my own life:


1. I’ve got my planning time set aside

Every Sunday, I sit down in my sunroom with my gel pens and my planner (I use an Aug-July Ink& Volt planner).


 2. Start with a list

I start by creating a list of the tasks that need to be completed that week, or goal-posts I want to hit that week on longer projects. I also decide on my Top 3 Goals and Tasks that need to happen that week. 


3. Block out the regular (immoveable) things (like lessons, coachings, rehearsals)

I block out the times that I have coaching clients, my Creatives Leadership Academy Training, and my Office Hours in one color. My teaching times go in with a different color (I don’t differentiate between local cello lessons, faculty meetings, Bridge Online Cello Studio lessons, or Chamber Music coaching–at this point, I know where I need to be when) and I write in my morning routine with my different Zones for Gardening, Housework, and Personal tasks. Any  inflexible, but irregular things (like a dentist appointment, or board meeting) get written in Black 


Block out a specific time for your practicing each day.


4. Divvy up the rest based on that master to-do list

With the remaining blank space, I decide how I want to divvy it up based on any deadlines I have, workflows I have set up, or whatever is going on. At times there were large portions blocked off for practicing. Right now, I have 30 minutes blocked off each morning for social media posting, and I have the times between coaching clients and teaching blocked off in my “work” color. Within those blocks, I write in the specific tasks from my master to-do list. Everything gets a spot. Wednesdays are my writing day, so the whole day between the end of my regular 9 am meeting, and when I start teaching at 3:45 is dedicated to writing my newsletter, blog posts, social media captions and content, and my book.


5. I allow myself some flexibility

I am flexible with my schedule to a point. Sometimes, unexpected things come up and I need to adjust things. If a friend messages me and asks if I want to grab lunch? If I am working on one of my Top 3 for the week and I’m on a deadline, then no. But if it’s non-urgent work that I’m just “getting done?” I’m going out for lunch. I try to strike the balance between enjoying the freedom my career allows me, and well, getting shit done.

If I don’t get to something–either because something took longer than expected, or I took some time to socialize, or because I was waiting for something out of my control,  I just find a new spot for it. 


If I don’t schedule my workouts, they won’t happen.
Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unplash


6. I throw in some pink

Speaking of social things, I write those down in pink. It stands out, and it’s easy for me to look at that week in my book and make sure there is a bit of pink sprinkled throughout. If not? I’ll see where I can steal a bit of time, and make plans to meet a friend for breakfast, have a zoom catch-up, or go for a walk.

8. I keep things fairly consistent week to week. 

I aim to be really consistent with my schedule and I try to stick to it as closely as possible, even on days when I don’t feel like working. On one hand, as a creative/freelancer/owner of my own company, I have the flexibility to do whatever I want, but I also know that, at least for me, consistency goes a long way in reaching my goals, and keeping the stress to a minimum. 

I hope this helps. Time-blocking is a huge game-changer when it comes to staying focused and keeping on top of the myriad things we have going on as creatives. Remember, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution, so be open to experimenting and adjusting to see what works best for you. It works with both digital and paper planners/calendars, and there is a method for everyone. 

Have a great week!



P.S. If you enjoyed this blog post and want more insider info on how to thrive as a creative, be sure you get on the list to receive my Friday “Weekend List.” Each one is loaded up with additional tips, tricks, and things to think about, including a new curated list of articles, books, podcasts, and things that I think you’d enjoy.

Click Here to Get the Newsletter! 

Easing Into the New Year

If you’re reading this in real-time, we’re waking up to week 2 of the new year. Now, I love any excuse for a fresh start–be it January 1st, the start of a new quarter, the 1st of the month, Mondays, or even my 5:30 am alarm, lol. 

As my friend Ari used to say, it’s a brand new day, and we haven’t F’d it up yet! 

But of course, there is the temptation to launch into a new calendar year with all of our hopes and dreams ahead of us. We have burned our past year’s failures one by one–written on tiny pieces of paper and tossed into the NYE bonfire. 


Photo by Ashim D’Silva for Unsplash


And so we swear to run 5 miles every morning, eat all organic food, and have the perfect practice routine that will carry us to our big wins. 

And then we get tired somewhere around day 4. 

There is something to be said for easing into things bit by bit. I’m a big believer in the idea that before we can master a habit, we have to build a habit. 

So my “Run 5 miles every morning” has turned into “put your shoes on and go to the gym every day and move around.” I give myself permission to get off the treadmill after 10 minutes if I’m just not feelin’ it. (funny thing is, after going through all the effort it took to put the shoes on, I can’t be bothered to get off the treadmill, so I just run.)

And maybe “build the perfect practice routine” starts with “take the instrument out every day and play a bit. Maybe one day it’s a serious practice session, and the next day all you want to do is play a little Bach” take notice. Were they different times of day? Did you get different amounts of sleep? Were you more (or less?) distracted? 


Photo by Bruno Nascimento for Unplash


We can use this first month of the year to test the waters. This is a time in nature when most animals are cozied up in deep slumbers. They have zero intention of cracking open that  “New Year, New You” book until spring comes. I’m impressed that we are all awake and wearing actual clothes (I see you, Becky in your comfy sweats! You made a good effort though with that sweater.) Should we try to do a little bit better when it comes to building habits and meeting goals? Yes. But maybe you can stroll the organic produce aisle a few times before you toss out the entire contents of your fridge. Start with some broccoli. 


Here are a few things I do in order to ease into a new year while also establishing some new habits. 


1. Figure out the End-Game 

Ask yourself what the ultimate dream is for you in this area. Keyword: FOR YOU. I’m trying to run more. I have friends who do ultra-marathons. I have zero desire to ever do an ultra-marathon. No matter how great a runner I become, no matter how easy it feels, I have different things I’d rather do with my time. Hell, I don’t even (really) want to do a marathon. I just want to be able to run a 10K without killing myself. That’s my End-Game. 


2. Determine Your Starting Point

I’m not quite starting from the couch. I’ve been running on and off for most of my adult life–just never consistently enough to make much improvement. What about your practicing? Are you an “epic procrastinator”? Are you “pretty good, but would like to be more consistent”? Are you a “burnt-out over-practicer who wants to learn to ease up a bit”? 


Photo by Veri Ivanova for Unsplash


3. What do you KNOW you can do without any suffering? 

I can get up early. That’s easy for me. 5:30 am and I are very good friends. And I know that I can always, without fail, manage 30 minutes. I can’t yet run for that whole 30 minutes, but I can be on a treadmill for 30 minutes without getting cranky and wondering if I can go yet. Maybe you know that you can probably sit quietly in a room with your eyes closed for 10 minutes. It’s far from the hour-long meditation you’re after, but it’s a starting point that doesn’t pose any threat. 


4. Commit to less than that. 

Make it a no-brainer. Make it so easy it’s almost enjoyable. Make it so easy it’s silly to say you can’t. My rule? I have to do 10 minutes. (Spoiler alert: I have yet to leave after only 10 minutes). BUT I COULD IF I WANTED TO, and that’s what gets me out the door when I don’t feel like it. The 4 hours of practicing you need to do is a big emotional lift when you’re tired and stressed out. Tell yourself you only have to work and focus for 15 minutes? Easy. It gets the instrument out of the case. It gets you going. Before you know it, it’s been 2 hours. 


Photo by Isaac Smith for Unsplash


5. Track it

I’m going to do a longer post on the benefits of Tracking stats soon, but for now, I’ll just say this: Peter Drucker was right. “What gets measured, gets managed.” Tracking it keeps it on our radar screen, and as artists, we are naturally a little bit competitive–especially with ourselves–so the natural inclination is to want to improve the stats. Whether you do it on an app, in a bullet journal, or with a piece of graph paper taped to the wall, keep track of whatever data is going to be helpful to you. 


6. Repeat with any and all areas you’d like to improve. 



Again, if you’re reading this in real-time–or at any point in the month of January 2023, we are starting a new Thrive-Fest TODAY! Join us if you’d like to get multiple areas of your life organized, tidied up, and better managed. I’ll post a bite-sized task each day (M-F) that we’ll all do, and at the end of the 3 weeks you’ll find your home and your habits all gussied up. You’ll hit February 1st feeling like you are not merely surviving, but you are Thriving. 

It’s free to register, and you’ll find the daily prompts each morning over on the Tales From The Lane Facebook Group. You’ll get all of the (very simple and easy) instructions when you register. 



P.S. Interested in a 2nd weekly dose of creative motivation and inspiration? Grab a copy of my free workbook “10 Habits of Successful Artists” and/or sign up for my weekly Friday newsletter: The Weekend List. See you soon!


Your New Year Reboot

Happy New Year!

This break has been such a gift. My husband and I both had 3 weeks off from teaching, which gave me a week of normal coaching work, plus additional time to prep for the holidays, 1 week with my family visiting for Christmas, and now a week where I am jumping into my Q1 Stay-at-home Retreat. AKA Bliss. If you missed my first retreat roundup, you can read about it here

I’ve also been finishing up the last of the 2023 Strategy Sessions that I offered. They’ve been so wonderful, and have brought about so much clarity for those who did them. One very interesting thing came through loud and clear from almost every single person, though, and I was a bit surprised. 

In narrowing down the values and areas they wanted to focus on, nearly everyone listed “Community” as one of their top 3. One could argue that it’s because of the pandemic that people are feeling lonely and isolated, but what I kept hearing over and over again was the opposite. That during the pandemic, they felt a STRONGER sense of community. With everyone at home, we had to be more intentional about who we were going to have those zoom cocktails with. People had neighbors and close friends with whom they would sit around fire pits drinking hot chocolate in zero-degree weather. And people talked about their online communities. FB groups, coaching cohorts, online classes, and virtual festivals. All of them creating close-knit communities of people going after a common goal. 



Now that the world has gone back to IRL activities, everyone is scattered, busy, running around from gig to gig, teaching, chauffeuring kids around, and too exhausted by the sudden increase in activity to socialize. 

I mean, I didn’t have “people missing zoom happy hours” on my BINGO card, but here we are. 

One of my favorite communities (online or otherwise) is this one. The musicians, artists, former musicians and artists, and all-around creative people who read this blog, get my newsletter, are in the TFTL FB group, or take part in my periodic Thrive Fests. 

It’s a community based on 3 things: 

1. Nurturing our creative work

2. Growing as humans

3. Balancing our artistic lives with our real-world commitments



As for the Thrive Fests, we’ve done a January Practice Cure, A Spring Clean, A Summer Practice Challenge, and a Holiday Edition. And whether you end up doing every single task every single day, or doing them sporadically as you have time, the comments, insights, and sense of community are always amazing. 

So I’m bringing it back! This one is a New Year Re-boot and will last 3 weeks. From next Monday, January 9th-to Friday, January 27th, I’ll post a prompt for a short, easy-to-accomplish task to be completed that day. On Fridays, there will be a FB Live Discussion/Q&A in the group, and I’ll email out the list of that week’s prompts including that weekend’s longer task. 

The Focus this time? Tweaking and Organizing, so that you can get on with your creative work, and maybe even have a bit of a social life. As creatives, our lives generally follow the Academic calendar, so we’re 4/10ths of the way through the year. Studios have gotten messy, our systems have lapsed (or we desperately NEED a new system) and our habits have, well, let’s just say they could use a Reboot. 



If you’ve participated in a Thrive Fest before, you KNOW you’re in for a treat. If you haven’t, I hope you’ll join us for this round. They are always free, and the comments are always worth the effort of logging into FB! In fact, this year, there will be prizes for most comments, funniest comments, most liked comments, sharing on socials, and bringing new friends in. 

We do love prizes. 

So join us by signing up HERE, and get ready to wake up on February 1st with purged closets, organized music collections, clean brushes, and feeling GOOD. Feeling invincible. Feeling…Thrive-y. 



Resetting the Thermostat On Your Life

When I lived in Boston, whether I was feeling broke or simply in one of my “I should save as much as possible” phases, I would decide that I could lower the thermostat in my condo, and cozy up in wool socks and warm sweaters (see my post on inappropriate clothing here). It would last about a week until one day, for no apparent reason, and somehow forgetting all about my new plan to wear layers and save money, I’d become desperate to hear the (incredibly loud) whoosh of my forced hot air system kicking on. 

This post is about that. It also has absolutely nothing to do with:

  1. Temperature 
  2. Money 
  3. Clothing choices

It is, however, about the fact that I am a human, and there is a weird dumb thing that we humans tend to do. 


Just when things are starting to go well, we do whatever needs to be done to screw it up. Look around, and you’ll see evidence of it all around you. 

  • Your student, who has been working so hard and sounding AMAZING. And then for no good reason blows off a lesson, and stops practicing the 2 weeks before an audition. 
  • The couple that wins the multi-million dollar jackpot, and files for bankruptcy 2 years later. 
  • The friend who finally finds themselves in an awesome, healthy relationship, tells you how happy they are, and then cheats–ruining any chance they had. 
Why do we do it? Comfort and Familiarity. 


Photo by Matthew Henry for Unsplash


Just as our bodies become accustomed to a certain indoor room temperature, we also get accustomed to seeing a certain amount of money in our accounts, and if we see a much larger sum in there, we find ourselves spending it as quickly as we can. Subconsciously trying to get back to our usual bank balance. 

Our poor friend might have gotten to a point where being lonely and miserable felt more familiar than being happy and in a relationship. (BTW–I am NOT implying that one cannot be perfectly happy as a single person! Nor that being in a relationship = Happiness. It’s just a 1-person example.) And so subconsciously, they messed things up so that they could go back to feeling those old, familiar, miserable feelings. 

The self-sabotaging student might not be able to even process the idea of winning, so they make sure they don’t. They DO know how to be disappointed–both with their performance preparation and the ensuing result–and they’d rather stick with what they know than risk the scariness of a new reality. 


And maybe you see that behavior play out in your own life. It’s okay. You’re human. We all do it. There’s no need to beat yourself up about it. 


Photo by Anthony Tran for Unsplash


The trick, of course, is to recognize it and to get things in place to keep us from putting the thermostat back where it was. We have to learn how to lean into that temporary discomfort until our bodies and our subconscious minds can adapt to the new setting. 

How? Well, here is what works for me. 


1. Feel the feels. 

If you’ve prepared well for an audition, and know that you actually have a shot at it this time? It means more is at stake. If you COULD win it, then NOT winning it will feel even worse. Acknowledge that being more prepared might make you feel more nervous at first, and then focus on the positive side of things. Being better prepared also means that you can relax into your playing and have more fun. 


2. Think through the worst-case scenario, and how you’d handle it: 

You’ve come into/won/made a large sum of money. More than you’ve ever had. Maybe the worst-case scenario for you is the idea that people will only want to hang out with you for your money. Okay. How would you handle that? Do you have a plan for your money? Can you set some boundaries? Maybe you can decide that you won’t spend a penny of it for 6 months. Whatever it is, think through it fully, until the fear dissipates. 

3. Ask yourself who you need to be in order to be comfortable with your new reality. 

We’ve already established that the old you is very uncomfortable with it. That’s okay. Lucky for us, change and growth are part of the long-term plan anyway. So, what positive shifts can you make as far as your identity is concerned? Can you start to see yourself as “one of the good players” amongst your peers? Someone to be taken seriously, win or lose? 

Or can you see yourself as someone who is savvy with money? What would that kind of person do? Maybe they’d read books on finance and investing, or maybe they’d have a financial advisor who could help them. 


Photo by Claudio Poggio for Unsplash



Gay Hendricks writes about this concept in his book The Big Leap, which I read years ago, and highly recommend for his thoughts on this topic. I think it’s something that creatives deal with on a nearly constant level. We put self-inflicted limits on ourselves, and the second we come close to expanding those limits, we will do something stupid to get ourselves back to what we are accustomed to. 

By being aware of the tendency, and using the simple thought tools above, you can set the thermostat to whatever you want, and know that you’ll be perfectly comfortable there in no time. 




P.S. Interested in a 2nd weekly dose of creative motivation and inspiration? Grab a copy of my free workbook “10 Habits of Successful Artists” and sign up for my weekly Friday newsletter: The Weekend List. See you soon!