Saturday Morning Inspiration

Happy sunny, Saturday friends! That's if you're in Ontario I guess but if you're like me, you are SO freakin' happy it is sunny and warm. This delayed Spring has been so hard to deal with but I think it is safe to say that Spring may finally be here to stay.

Before I spend the rest of the day outside enjoying this fresh air, I had some creative juice to get out this morning. So to my computer I went to write...

I don't know about you, but I always need to be in a creative mood to write. We all need something to stimulate us. And while I've been bad here on the ol' blog of only blogging when that creative spirit is in full force, I'm continually reminded of this message:

Writing is like a muscle, you must work at it to get stronger.

One thing I've tried to do in the last little while is create habits around fostering creativity especially around my writing deadlines. For anyone who designs, wordsmiths, brainstorms or works in the creative/marketing/communications field, we all know that being in a creative mood helps to make the words and ideas flow easier. Or a glass of wine or rye always helps too ;)

And of course when deadlines are impending, that is when creativity usually decides to take a hike.

That's when habits come in to handy.

One of these habits I've been trying lately is creating 'mood boards' to help me visually get into the creative spirit. Sourcing photos from fellow bloggers, things I find online or social and capturing my own photos has certainly helped me at referring back to these mood boards whenever I'm in a rut and need inspiration. You could also call these vision boards. Here is an example below of the cottage vision board I created when I knew I'd be tasked with the interior design for our little cotty :)

I had mentioned this idea of mood boards/vision boards to a colleague a while ago and she loved this idea and asked that I share an example here on the blog. So voila, here is a spring mood board above I created just this week that may help inspire you as well, like it has for me this morning.

Let's be serious though, just waking up to this sun and warmer temps this morning was enough inspiration itself. Thank you Spring for making your very late entrance to the party, regardless, we are so happy to see you!

{tulips/robins eggs/split leaf philodendron/coffee/wisdom begins in wonder}

Processing Random Thoughts

I've found this week to be draining for some odd reason. I alluded to this yesterday on Instagram.

I'm not sure if its the lingering hangover from Daylight Savings time or a flurry of ideas that are sitting in my brain. Regardless, that aching feeling of wanting to get the ideas out is enervating. I shared the photo of paint splatter as a way to try and capture what I {think} my brain looks like on the inside right now. I was glad to hear from other on instagram who could relate.

And so, to find a solution, I figured I would share some of these random thoughts. The thoughts that are swirling around in my head. Expect some blog posts to come from these:

Positivity. This is the basis to the world functioning better. There can't be enough of it in the world and I'll admit, some days, the realist in me sets in more than the optimist. I'm not sure if research supports this (send me any papers you find if it does!!) but am I wrong in saying that millennial's seem more positive than baby boomers (cue the tomato throwing now, I'll duck). It is so refreshing (regardless of age) when you sit down at a table and have a meeting or conversation and sharing of ideas when it is all positive. Positivity, or the lack there of sometimes, is why I sometimes question if more millennials are not pursuing careers in the sector I work in, Agriculture. So many thoughts on these two ideas - millennials being more positive and positivity within the sector I work in and how millennials view it.

Millennials. In keeping on this same topic, I am one. A millennial. I talk about them a lot here on the ol' blog. And they seem to be a conversation starter. Scratch that, its all people have been talking about for the last 5 years or so, since it became apparent that we as a generation weren't going away. When people recognized that we're going to leave a profound impact on this world and not to mention, we have surpassed baby boomers as the largest generation now. Well, at least in the US according to this article. Millennials seems to be at the forefront of many of the conversations within my social circles and network recently for some reason. Especially when it comes to career conversations. Things like the role of millenials on Boards; what millennials value that differs from baby boomers; and is the workplace ready to evolve to these values. Either way, I have lots to say from my experience (both professionally and personally) so look forward to blog posts upcoming!

Motherhood. Is it OK to feel that you want to go back to work earlier than expected once you realize your baby can now breathe, eat and sleep on his own and perhaps doesn't need you like he use too? Blake's crawling away from me tells me that he is going to be just fine come May (his first birthday). Also child care, why doesn't anyone talk about the beast that is finding child care? :S

Personal Brand. Ok, one more millennial thought. It seems that every millennial has or wants too establish their own personal brand along with maintaining their role/jobs within a company in their 9 to 5 job. This can be done, but with a bit of sacrifice on the millennials part and the company depending on expectations. Where previous workers/generation were so loyal to their company's brand, are workplaces ready for this millennial "selfishness" as I've heard it called? And even more, are workplaces OK with millennial's side hustles perhaps taking the spotlight away from the work millennial's do in their 9-5's?!

Creativity overload. As a creative entrepreneur, how do my fellow CE's quiet your thoughts? How do you stop, or should I say, harness, the creative ideas waterfall that can come on the most random days? Do you write everything down on paper and pen? Put it in your iPhone notebook? How do you orgnaiz the thoughts? How do you tell your brain right at bedtime to stop thinking and put the ideas to rest? Literally. I would love to hear your tips!

Productivity. I am almost done this book and it is hands down, one of the best books I've read in a while. An easy, simple yet thought-provoking read, it has calmed my mind as a women but also fueled my motivation to want to do better, but in a more efficient way. Grab your copy, you won't be disappointed!

[Photo Source]

Airplanes: A Destination for Silence

There aren't many places where you can now fully disconnect. Places where you can't access wifi and be hooked to the internet and your smartphone. Places where you can totally be #offline.

Thinking back to my first trip to Europe in 2009, I couldn't call home on my cellphone, let alone get a wifi signal to use my cell (notice I called it a cellphone not a smartphone, that dates me already!) That was less than a decade ago. Oh how technology has advanced in such a short period of time!

While in Europe, I had to go to Internet cafes or use pay phones with calling cards to call home to let my parents know I was safe and sound. I remember taking photos with my camera here and there at the most memorable tourist attractions but I couldn't be bothered with documenting my entire trip through the lens of my camera. I wanted to experience it all in person. And let's be serious, even if I wanted to document it all through the best filters and apps, my flip phone didn't even have the capabilities to take photos. God, I really am dating myself. 

Fast forward almost a decade later, and you can now connect almost anywhere in the world at any time of the day. They even now offer wifi on some planes which seemed like the last place we'd ever see access to internet introduced. I always thought it interfered with the airplane signals?! #GuessIwasWrong

On most flights where they now offer wifi, they at least have put a price tag to access wifi. Its a hefty price tag, but I am glad they put the price high so it discourages me to pay for internet. 

Here's why....

Airplanes are one of the last places where we can put boundaries or restrictions on using our smartphones and accessing social media. Its one of the last remaining places where we are guaranteed silence. Where we expect to be left alone. Its one of the last places where we are forced to sit alone with our thoughts... scary I know.

Its where you can read a book quietly or watch a movie... with no dings, no alerts, no vibrations.

On airplanes, I get some of my best ideas. Its where my creative juices get a flowin'. Its where I pull out pen and paper and write down blog post ideas, work on my editorial calendar, brainstorm content for upcoming presentations, process ideas and thoughts and let my mind wander. 

Its one of the best feelings.

I've come away from my recent trip visiting my in-laws in Manitoba with many blog posts written and random thoughts documented. Some samples from my most recent two hour personal brainstorm session plane ride?

  • Agriculture faces a re-branding challenge. I tweeted about this idea this week. Its one of the biggest challenges I believe we face in the industry I grew up in and love to work in. I'll be elaborating on this thought later this week when I serve on a Co-operators ag panel.
  • On the topic of agriculture, it just recently dawned on me that for the better part of my political career, I have been the minority. Working in agriculture in downtown Toronto, surrounded by consumers who don't know much about agriculture and farming is where I've realized I'm not the majority. When I was a kid growing up, I just naturally assumed everyone knew about farming because hey, that's what everyone did right?! Do those who work in agriculture sometimes forget, including me, that we aren't the majority anymore in the circles we need to be selling our industry too?! And are we comfortable being the minority?
  • Social media is changing the operational functions of customer service departments for companies and businesses. Both good and bad. I talked about this at a presentation I gave earlier this week from a customer service experience I witnessed on Twitter recently. Blog post written on this = check.
  • A 'Someday File' - we all have one. Places we'd like to travel too; things we want to buy; books we want to read; things we want to learn. What holds us back from doing any of it?! After reading more of Mark Manson's 'The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck' it got my mind racing on so many topics he writes about and my own 'someday file' and why I keep making lists but don't DO alot of them.

So many thoughts I know for a two hour flight :P So much writing, so little time. Also, here is to our first successful trip and plane ride with Blake. Thankfully it was a smooth ride and experience. Thanks little man for making this mom feel like she hit the baby jackpot #MotherWin