Thursday, May 31, 2012

Illuminating Blogger Award

How exciting! CJ from Food Stories has nominated me for the Illuminating Blogger Award.
I have to say I was quite chuffed to be nominated, as it means that CJ considers my blog 'illuminating' and that's pretty much what I'm going for. I really do believe we have unlimited potential and I'm so happy to know that at least one person has found my blog inspiring in this way.

I am always on the look-out for fellow bloggers with much the same attitude and would like to make my own nominations. These are blogs I find incredibly interesting, touching, and inspiring.

The Art of Non-Conformity - A fantastic example of loving what you do and making what you love how you make a living. He has just recently published a book and is on tour in the UK.

300 Pounds Down - This blog is brilliant. I love this woman because she is an example of standing up and taking control of your life. She knows that enacting change is scary but necessary and in the end, completely worth it because you'll be stronger for it.

How To Work From Home - This is a fabulous resource for the self employed. It's a collaborative blog so there isn't a single author to credit but many thanks to Judy for setting it up.

Wired to Worry - Christine is an incredible psychologist and very talented cartoonist. Her blogs are both entertaining and thought provoking.

An Accident of Hope - 'The Artist in the Office' is a fantastic resource and Summer's blog is an extension of that and so much more. She's a polymath and a fantastic example of creating a life you love.

I'd like to thank all five of these bloggers for sharing their insight by nominating them for the Illuminating blogger Award.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Katzenjammer - Kait's Mixtape

I made a new musical discovery recently and as a result I've added a few tracks to my OCD playlist. My OCD playlist is graced with music that I find energising, inspiring and addictive. Hence the 'OCD' bit of it. I can listen to the tracks on there ten times each in a day and not grow tired of them. In fact, they seem to become more and more enjoyable with each playing. 

It's a great list and it changes and grows as I discover new stuff - like Katzenjammer. This is a Norwegian band made up of four incredibly energetic and creative women. They each have their own style and they play dozens of different instruments. In fact, when they perform, they rarely play the same instrument for more than two songs in a row. 

Their latest album has just been released and whilst I am delighted by pretty much every song on there, one song in particular has become my own personal anthem at the moment. 

As a life coach and on a personal level as well, I believe that opening up the choices available to us is essential to living a contented life. 'Rock-Paper-Scissors' is a brilliant song because it totally expresses this abundance of choice and our freedom to take and make them. 

"You can be the sun and the moon and the stars
Or the bass or the drums or the lead guitar"

Here are four women with incredible talent who made the choice to play whichever instruments they wanted. They are an incredible example of living what you love, loving what you do and making as many opportunities for yourself as you want. 

The choice is up to you and whatever you choose, you're going to live it. So why not choose a life you love? 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Some creative, spontaneous writing

Sometimes when I’m walking through London it feels like my city. Not like my home. Not like the connection I have to Calgary, where my roots were grown and stretch down deep, but like I know the city through my feet. 
I’ll be listening to a song and as I weave through the crowd I connect to the pulse around me. My feet know exactly where they’re going and my eyes can just take it all in. From Covent Garden, down past Leicester Square, the shops dissolve into theatres and the theatres turn into art galleries and historical buildings. Suddenly I’m in Charring cross. 
And still I move, the scent of thousands of cigarettes, spilled drinks and vomit coming up from the concrete beneath me. The smell of the sea coming off the river as I get nearer and nearer. And then there is the Eye, looming up into the sky, across the river. I climb the steps and cross the bridge, letting the sea air fill my lungs, fill my belly, fill my heart. 
The view is surreal, almost like gazing at a painting. The Houses of Parliament reflect the colour of the sky and the sky reflects the colour of the Houses and everything is golden and light. The tourist stop to take photos or watch street performers. The lovers stop to gaze at the setting sun. The commuters don’t stop, knowing the route they are on and that it is home that they seek. 
And still I go with the flow and feel that pulse pulling me forward and onward. The ground is familiar beneath my feet and, as I look at the double decker buses and the red phone booths and the vendors selling pasties, I think about how these things aren’t just symbols of a city as seen from afar. They are associations with the place I’ve lived for two and a half years. They are the stuff the city is built on. The epitome of what makes it what it is. Just as the diversity of languages and cultures defines it. Just as the familiar sound of a train on underground rails is distinctly this place. Just as the giant billboard ads for books make it what it is. Just like the crowds on Southbank on a Saturday are what makes Southbank what it is any other day of the week. 
And in the distance the dome of St. Paul’s looms large and in a moment - in a twenty minute walk, a walk I know, a walk that is familiar - I have also seen Trafalgar Square and Nelson’s Column and crossed the Thames and seen a dozen other things which these tourists are taking in for the first and maybe only time. 
But for me these places are now familiar. Familiar and yet still amazing. Still inspiring and able to fill me with awe. 
And this is London as I know it.
 And it’s dirty and cramped and the crowds rarely pay attention to the individuals within them. 
And it’s glorious and full of history and the past speaks from the buildings and the monuments scattered throughout. 
And it’s sleek and modern and moving forward and full of opportunity. 
In the distance the Shard, nearly complete, juts high into the skyline. Already it is becoming part of the pulse of the city, just as I have become a member of it. Just as I have come to find it familiar and identify as a Londoner. 
I am still Canadian and I’m still a Calgarian but I’m also a Calgarian, Canadian Londoner because I know the colours of the tube lines off by heart. I know the way to London Bridge from Covent Garden without checking a map. I know where the crowds will gather and where I’ll be able to walk unhindered by the throng. I know it, in my bones, in my pulse, through the concrete beneath my feet. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Know Your Worth

The quality of this image isn't very good. I don't have a scanner so I took a picture of it with my little point and shoot.

It says: "Library Management Structure" but the sentiment of this can apply to almost any work place.

At the top of the pile is Winnie-The-Pooh, acting as Chief Librarian (Or CEO, Executive Director etc.) Pooh says, "I am the Chief Librarian. I serve committees, direct policy and plan future developments. Without me there would be no library service."

Under him is Alice in Wonderland, acting as the Library Manager but representative of 'upper management' in general. She says, "I am the Library Manager. I manage the staff, set standards, implement new developments and carry our policy. I am essential to the library service."

Holding up Alice is the Mad-Hatter, who plays the part of the Assistant Librarian, or 'lower level management'. He says, "I am the Assistant Librarian. I bring my professional skill to bear on difficult enquiries, supervise staff & maintain standards of stock and service. The library could not manage without me."

At the bottom of the tower, quivering on his tiny legs, is Piglet. Piglet represents the Library Assistant. He could be the office assistant, the secretary, or the administrator. Piglet says, "I am the Library Assistant. I issue, discharge and shelve books. I answer the phone, send out over-dues, type letters, repair the stock, take book requests and deal with what enquiries I can. I am not really very important."

And then Piglet walks away and the entire pyramid collapses.

I worked in a library once, very briefly. I have to say this is an accurate reflection of my experience there. But it's also an accurate reflection of my experience working retail, not-for-profit and in charity. From talking to those in the corporate world, the story is the same. This happens a lot.

What is it, exactly, that's happening? Well, there's clearly a rift in communication and a lack of understanding regarding the role of everyone within the business, be it a corporation or a charity. I have had some phenomenal managers and the key characteristics of a good manager are an ability to listen, build rapport and effectively support all members of the team in the specific ways they require.

I've also had my fair share of really rubbish managers. People with little or not respect for the people who keep the cogs of the system running every day. People who are hopeless when it comes to listening or understanding the needs of the business and of the people running it. People who think there is a 'trick' to dealing with people and that everyone can be painted with the same brush. People who micro-manage.

You can't pick your managers and sometimes you'll have good ones and sometimes you'll have dreadful ones and sometimes you'll have some that manage to be pretty O.K. Regardless, if you're going to work for someone else you're bound to come across all sorts and we all know you can't change a person.

Well, you can't change other people. There is one person you can change. You see that little Piglet at the bottom? If Piglet were to reflect on his role a little bit, to consider everything he does, he would see that there is huge value to his position. He is essential to the team. As essential as anyone else in the system. And if Piglet truly saw it and truly believed it then he would have an incredible gift.

Change the way you think. Think about what you're worth. When you're working for someone else you are giving them your time. What is the value of that time? Is your time any less important than the person who manages you or the person who manages them, and so on, to the top?

I'll give you a hint, the answer begins with an 'N'.

No. Your time is just as valuable as anyone else's. Piglet matters just as much and if he knew his value, if he knew his worth, he would be able to see that the structure needs him just as much as it needs any of the others.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


I am an open book...
I'm a big fan of Summer Pierre. For those of you not familiar with her, she's a blog-writing book-publishing art-making music-loving polymath. She wrote the very fabulous 'Artist in the Office' which, as a Coach, I feel is an incredibly useful resource for any creative individual who feels 'trapped' in a day job.

She keeps this brilliant blog and recently she published an entry asking for feedback from her readers. Blogs, like anything and everything in life, evolve a lot over time. My blog, for example, was begun as a way to document the progress of my developing career as a Creative Specialist. Since it's inception it has also acted as a travel journal, review forum and most recently has become a place for me to share my view of why life is awesome and how I can help you with my Creative Life coaching.

I write because I love it. To me, writing is akin to breathing, and this blog is yet another outlet for that one passion which has followed me since the beginning of my memories. So no matter what, I'm going to write. But I'm curious to know what the appeal is for my readers. 

Which is where you come in. I want to know what it is about my blog that speaks to you. Which posts have you enjoyed the post? Which ones have kept you coming back? Which ones have sparked your interest and made you want to learn more?

Please post below in a comment or, if you'd rather keep your responses anonymous you can send an email to kaitlyn 'at' creativelifecoachlondon 'dot' com.

You are also invited to post feedback on my Facebook Page or you can send me a tweet. I'm genuinely curious to know what you think.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


“The mind is everything. What you think you become.”

- Buddha

Regardless of whether Buddha said it or not, it's quite true. Our thoughts translate into our actions, words, and beliefs and these are the things which make us up. 

But here's a different thought. What you think of other people defines who they are. 

At first this might seem ridiculous. If 'what you think you become' then obviously other people's thoughts define them. But the way in which we view the world is an extension of our thoughts. The way we view another human being is by how we think of them, which means people are who we believe them to be. 

For example, a stranger on the train. They are dressed in jeans which have glitter on them. They have on sneakers that are black and have a design painted on one side. They are wearing a t-shirt with a print of a tiger's face on it. They have long hair with green and red streaks in it. 

I may look at them and think: "What a quirky, artistic individual." 
Or I may think: "What a funny, unique person." 
Or I may think: "What a freaky weirdo." 

Is that person any of those things? My description was purely factual so any 'feeling' I have about who they are and what their personality is is based purely on my thoughts which are based on my own experiences and perceptions. 

So what about someone you "know"? I put it in quotes because the argument is, can you really know someone when what you think colours how you see the world? 

Try describing a member of your family without using a storyline. By a storyline I mean any embellishing words or descriptions which are not indisputable fact. If you're not sure or are having difficulty then go ahead and write down your description as you would but then cross out all the things which cannot be 100% verified as fact. 

An interesting result, isn't it? We cannot truly "know" someone because how we see a person, no matter how close to us they may be, will always be through the lense of our own thoughts, ideas and experiences. 

That being said, how might this change the way you think about other people? Please share your thoughts below. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

If you could do anything

One of my favourite things to ask a person is "If you were to be offered your ideal job tomorrow, what would it be?" 

I recently asked it on this blog, in fact, in response to my own thoughts on what would count as the best job offer someone could make me. The answers I got were fabulous. Not because of what people listed as their ideal jobs, but because so many people who responded were already doing things to make that offer happen for themselves.

It's great when you can pin-point just what you want to do with your life, or with a chunk of it, or at least at the moment. But what happens when you feel stuck? What happens when someone asks you what you'd do if you could do anything and your brain pulls up a big, fat blank?
I just thought this was an inspiring photo.

First of all, that's totally O.K.  There seems to be one of those silly 'rules' that says you must know what you want to do with your life. Ridiculous! I remember when I was about to graduate from High School and it occurred to me that I hadn't really made a specific career choice. I knew writing was important and something I'd always do. I was sort of interested in social work at the time. I'd been volunteering in youth organisations and had an interested in being employed through those too, maybe. But my mind wasn't made up and I really wasn't sure at all.

That's the beauty of life though. Uncertainty breeds curiousity and curiousity can lead to the most helpful or incredible discoveries.

My first job involved working with youth living or just leaving care. It was great experience just dropped in my lap, and because I didn't have a narrow view of exactly what I wanted it was an opportunity I was open to. It also gave me a lot of insight in what being a social worker would be like and guess what? I realised I wouldn't want to be a social worker after all.

How fortunate was that? I was able to learn that it wasn't for me without investing a lot of time and energy into an education that I wouldn't have wanted to use.

The thing is, your mind will change. Certainly, there are some things which might never go away. I am still a writer. I love writing. In fact, I'm currently working on getting my first book ready to send to agents. That didn't go away and I doubt that it ever will.

I also used to be quite an activist. I was really passionate about picking a cause and immersing myself in it. I'd write letters and build websites and attend rallies. I'd make my voice heard and help others to do the same.

Now-a-days I still have a lot of things I've got strong opinions about, but I no longer feel the need to go out and join a rally. I choose to put my energy into different things now, whilst still adhering to a level of social awareness I came to appreciate from being such an involved activist.

One thing feeds into another. You may have no idea what you want right now. You may find yourself at a loss because for so long you felt that you had it sorted and knew just what you wanted. But nothing lasts forever and despite the 'rules', not having a clue is pretty normal, at any age.

The trick is keeping your eyes open, watching for those opportunities, and listening to your gut. You won't always be aimless. Something will come along, and trust me, you'll be ready.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

27 Things I've far

I've been neglectful of my blog lately. This was because April was a busy month for me (As I knew it would be) and it was one of the things I could neglect between working for someone else, working for myself and working on completing my latest creative project.

A few months back I started writing a blog entry called 'Things I've far'. It was inspired by two things:

1) I believe that learning is a never ending process. That life without curiosity and an interest in discovery is rather dull. I wanted to share that passion I have for expanding my knowledge of the world around me and within me.

2) I get really irked when people write someone off because they assume that when you're younger you lack wisdom and insight. I have learned some incredible things from people half my age. I have heard the most wise and intelligent and insightful things from children I've babysat or friends who are two, four, six, even ten years younger than I am.

I've also seen my fair share of people in their forties or fifties or even sixties and seventies, who do or say incredibly foolish things.

There is no order to life and no reason behind how or when we will learn a valuable life lesson. Some people will have the same experiences repeatedly and never learn from them whilst others will learn it the first time or learn it by observing what others have been through.

Regardless, we're all in the same boat and life is not out to get anyone in particular. Life is a brilliant opportunity and life is for living right now.

Six weeks ago I decided I was going to make an animation and I wanted it completed by my 27th birthday. I set up a light table in the corner of my room, positioned a tri-pod with camera over top of it, and set to work.

Every spare moment I've had has been spent drawing, sculpting, photographing, timing, planning, sorting and editing. This was in between working the still necessary day job and the developing Life Coaching job. This was between supporting over 100 fundraisers at a charity, working on design and layout for marketing materials, updating my blog (occasionally), being extremely ill for five days, working ten to eleven hour shifts during the London Marathon Expo, taking driving lessons and planning a birthday party.

But I'm organised and I'm committed and when I set my mind to something I get it done. It's how I roll.

Today is the first of May. Today is my birthday. So here it is:

27 Things I've Learned...So Far