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A Mental Prep For Leadership... Do you spend your life working in a collaborative environment which holds you accountable to other people via the decisions you make? You may derive income or it may simply be your life passion. Either way, in some way, you are a leader. Leadership is not really about amounts of pride or ego. It’s not developing some kind of social 'code' and shunning all who don’t abide by it. It’s actually a lifestyle which requires constant negotiation with the world as you see it. It requires you to be kind to others and never fake yourself to cover tracks. It’s tough. Building strong fundamentals can help you navigate its demands, cos sometimes… it’s a downright mindfuck. First things first! Pressure Is For The Privileged There are 27 million people living in slavery in the world today. A whopping 80% are women and girls. 'Privilege' is the fact that you are a) alive, and b) not one of them. Own it. If you happen to be one of the lucky people in this world with internet (only 35% of the world actually has it), and a cool creative job/hobby too which keeps you busy/engaged daily with inspiring people, and sometimes it gets overwhelming and tough… then you are in a great place to start anything. Try this: wake up to your day being grateful for that. Gratitude Develop a wake up routine where you spend time being grateful for what you have. There are many resources online. I personally like Ayurveda Morning Ritual but working across timezones doesn’t mean it’s always possible to adhere to. Sins wrote an article recently on the Pentagram Ritual which might suit you. Point is, take time to be grateful every single day. If I’m particularly stressed, I’ll write down everything I’m grateful for. This action focuses an irritated mind. Meditation If you’ve never tried meditation or yoga before, then I urge you to get started. It keeps you grounded and focused by relieving stress. You can DL so many “guided meditations” online for free. All successful people develop this tool because it works, is free, takes 5 minutes (or as long as you want) and over time, changes your life. Live In The Question Understanding this was a turning point in my life. We’ve all heard of the law of attraction. Break it down into steps. “Now I have a concept for a show, where are the artists I want involved?” – Manifest it, work it, find it. “Where is the graphic designer I need for my website?” or “How do I face my fear of approaching such-and-such for a job?” The trick is to know what question you should live in, but the secret is you can live in any question you like. Be careful what you wish for! Define A Workspace …and respect it. Make it respect you. You shower every day right? (Well I hope you do). Your workspace needs to be presentable too. Buy/acquire equipment you need. Get a good chair. Use favorable colors, patterns or textures with your stationary. My desk is at a window so I made beautiful curtains. I made a space for my cat knowing she sits with me. Give the space love so you may sit at your workspace and feel an immediate sense of accomplishment. Keeping it tidy can help you feel ready to go. Understand Basic Law The more professional you become the more the reality of basic law will dawn on you. You should have a concept of your rights, the rights of your participants and the most basic obligations you have under law (eg copyright). Break every rule if you want but at least have some kind of dummy knowledge in your skull. Lines blur in the arts especially on the net. The culture is social and diverse. Be aware of things that leave you wide open. The biggest thing I see out there is discrimination and as norm as pop culture makes it, under any circumstances it’s not ok. You never have that right. Get savvy, develop minimum standards. If someone crosses your boundary, give them a chance and politely tell them you’re offended and why. In grey areas, the law always sides with the people who attempt reconciliation. Being a professional means you get that. Invest In Yourself Keeping yourself current and updated is an investment in yourself. In a fast-paced world there’s not much room for stuffy old-school values. Also, deal with the fact that being organized can cost money. Do you run a project? Get trained on how to manage or at the very least Google “what is a good manager?” There are so many tips online. For example, how to be professional or basic business plans or interviewing techniques - whatever it is you are actually doing. Many people out there are doing it better, so keep yourself educated if you want to stay relevant long-term. Eat Well Seriously, eat well. We all indulge but mostly, simply eat well. Don’t eat fast food more than once a month. Like, honestly. Also, stay away from genetically modified food. Some transhuman science dudes did a study with mice and determined that it’s not the mice or the mice’s children who start to internally deform with GM; it’s the mice’s grand and great grandchildren. What a lovely way to cover the effects up huh? Shift them a couple of generations. Get wise when it comes to food. Avoid Band-Aids A leader co-ordinates a bunch of stuff and identifies problems to develop objectives and find solutions. If you run a project of any sort, never blame your collaborators for issues of bad flow. Solutions must be found based on managing the flow. This means problem solving and effective communication from the top down. That job is yours, which is why you are in charge. If there is an issue, deal with it asap with clear outlines -then check they are understood. People are 99/100% fine if you politely tell them what’s up. Don’t ever let shit bottle up. You will create unhealthy vibes and will be the only person who understands it. Know the difference between placing a band aid over a situation and dealing with it efficiently, with kindness - but head on. You’re Not Alone We all feel overwhelmed by how social the world is; over-engaged and over-stimulated. We all feel like we are the busiest people on earth. We all get sick of the onslaught of contact, and start to imagine every man and his dog wants a piece of us. Fiction. And anyway, so what? Welcome to life. It’s up to you to pace and organize yourself. Paid or Unpaid The choice is yours. You are accountable for yourself. Being commercially feasible may go against your aesthetic or value system. Maybe you just feel lost or feel developing a strategy is too convoluted for your style. Or maybe you honestly don’t enjoy hard work. That’s all fine. At least be honest about it. Perhaps you have a job in the creative industry but it means increasingly less freedom creatively. It hurts watching others do what they like. But you don’t wanna change your lifestyle to accept less income and you’re not motivated to start your own project. Whatever your stitch, own it. There will always be people in your sphere richer and poorer than you. So what? Making money from art isn’t a crime and if you don’t want to, then don’t. It’s that simple. Cut and Paste Mentorship In any way you can, find Mentorship. If it’s a stable person in your life, a grants-based program, a book, or seminars on YouTube, it doesn’t matter. You don’t have to agree with every single thing said. Who gives a shit if they are Christian, Muslim, Wicca, sporty, hipster, wealthy, poor or a damn bag of dropped pies. No one’s making you convert but hey, if they know something helpful; listen. Never be embarrassed about it either. I was once told by this dumb-ass fake guy I had no place in the underground because my parents are middle class. WTF. What a load of shit. This kind of mentality rots a community. Also, be careful of those who ‘groom’ you over time to get ‘in’ with you. Chances are they are fame-seeking and you should aim for more integrity than that. If you need wisdom, all you gotta do is figure out who to ask. All that glitters is not gold, so don’t rely on people who stuff you full of “OMG you’re so amazing.” Take proper time to figure it out for yourself. Last but not least, be kind to yourself.