Cynthia Gregory, MFA

journal me this

This just in: Journal Camp Workbook! Based on my virtual Journal Camp Series, this workbook captures prompts to inspire, challenge, and uplevel your writing practice.

Get a free pdf of Journal Camp Workbook by writing me at coachcynthia.gregory@gmail.com with Journal Camp in the subject line. In return, you’ll get this powerful writing tool delivered straight to your inbox.

Happy Journaling!

just: no

There’s a lot of noise out there. Phone calls. Emails. Texts. Social Media, friends, strangers, clients, would-be-clients, former clients, frenemies, all needing just a little piece of you. Maybe a medium piece, maybe the whole enchilada. How do you prioritize the time you spend filtering the noise from what really matters? My totally favorite filtration method of choice relies on using one very small word as often as possible.

If we were raised by good, God-fearing people, we were raised to be nice. Be kind. Be responsive, congenial, generous, reciprocal. But all of that accommodation can leave us exhausted. Nice is alright, but what if its inconvenient or blows the budget or doesn’t actually get you what you want?

Last year I joined an organization specializing in network marketing for small business owners. I didn’t actually draw a lot of business from the group, but I did learn a LOT about how to be an entrepreneur. What I found especially fascinating was the insistence on specializing. The theory is that by excluding 99.999% of potential clients, you are better able to attract and serve your ideal client, your 1%. The entire learning experience was a case study for saying NO to get to YES.  It seems counterintuitive, but in fact, it works.

2020 is the beginning of a new year and it marks the end of a decade. Gratitude has become a platitude, but the concept is still golden. What are you grateful for from 2019? From the entire last decade? As a writing coach I might suggest a great journaling exercise would be to schedule an hour to journal about all the wins, losses, gains, journeys the past decade has given you, and how it shaped the person you are today. As you say goodbye to 2019, tally up the experiences and people for which you are grateful. Love them or hate them, they made you who you are today. What can you say goodbye and thank you to? Where did you say NO…and where could you have said it more?

As we take a day off and take a collective breath before beginning the last year of a significant decade on this amazing little planet spinning at roughly 1,000 miles per hour through the darkness of space, do you know what is most important to you in 2020? Do you know how to create it, nurture it, protect it? As you journal about what to say YES to this coming year, what will saying YES require you to say NO to? Think about it. Write about it. Review that plan each 90 days and measure your progress.

Personally, I plan to say YES to publishing my next book. Of necessity this means saying NO to procrastination and a whole lotta distraction. By saying YES to this outrageous goal, I’m expecting that opportunities to say NO are going to break all land speed records.  So feel free to check in with me around April Fools Day and ask how that book project is coming along. It may take a few days to get back to you because I’ll be busy with my YES work.

Happy 2020!

self + confidence

One of my amazing clients asked me for a “confidence cheat sheet” the other day. How brilliant is that?

We’ve all heard the old chestnut: “fake it till you make it.” But faking it only goes so far. Besides: who wants to build confidence from a bogus foundation?

A far more powerful way to build confidence is to speak the truth about what makes you so remarkable in the first place. Truth will not only reinforce your self-image, it will also emphasize how you’re already kind of killing it…and only getting better.

I’ve been studying Nonviolent Communication recently, and in a blinding light bulb moment not long ago, I realized that nonviolent communication start with the person in the mirror. Oh, snap!

Here are 8 things you can do this hot minute to build a habit of calling out your total awesomeness:

1.   Celebrate small wins daily. At night before falling asleep, make a ritual of honoring how you showed up in the world. Count your wins. It takes curiosity and hutzpah and about a thousand kinds of courage to simply show up in the world. Sometimes just lifting your head off the pillow is a win. If you wake up in the middle of the night and your minds starts to spin, repeat the process of counting your victories until you drift off again.

2.   Write all the achievements you’ve racked up in your career on small slips of paper. Keep those slips in a handsome container on your desk and pull one out when you’re feeling less than 1000% and you need some self-recognition. Brave and lion-hearted? You bet.

3.   Help others celebrate *their achievements. All acts of kindness are, in a way, self-serving because they always provide bonus points to the giver. Don’t’ believe me? Try doing something nice for someone else and see if it doesn’t give you a glow.

4.   Keep an inventory of steps taken toward a goal. If you’re like some of the high achievers I work with, you often skip over giving credit to your own rock star work ethic, then go on to beat yourself up for not doing more, faster. The truth of the matter is: you don’t get to the top of Mount Everest without strapping on your boots. So go ahead, track your progress and celebrate it. 

5.   Write down what your inner critic tells you about yourself and then read back those words in a funny cartoon voice to really emphasize how ridiculous the critic sounds. We almost never question the nonstop voice in our head, but maybe we should. I personally make it a policy to never accept disapproval from a cartoon character.

6.   Do something that scares you. You win extra brownie points for doing something that makes your knees quiver a little. It doesn’t matter the outcome. If you petition your boss for a raise and she shuts you down, honor the fact that you reached beyond discomfort and asked for what you wanted. (And then talk to your coach about why you work for someone who can’t appreciate your value.)

7.   Practice gratitude. Appreciation starts with self and when you can see and grasp your own worth, confidence takes hold.

8.   When your sense of self-worth feels wobbly, finish this sentence: “I am awesome because….”

Sound silly and self-serving? Not a bit. This is authentic work, and there’s nothing fake about it.

Want to explore confidence and self-care with a free Discovery Session? Email me at coachcynthia.gregory@gmail.com

write: now.

Sign up for Journal Camp: Memory to Memoir and save enough cash to buy a spanking new journal. You’re welcome.