Today’s guest blogger, Bella Mahaya Carter offers inspiration with a “Priority Pyramid.” The following is an excerpt from her original post.
Last November, I worked with Dan Blank, author of Be The Gateway: A Practical Guide to Sharing Your Creative Work and an Audience. In his book, Dan recommends an exercise to help creative professionals get clear about their life and work priorities.
If you’d like to try this exercise, get fifteen index cards and write down one word on each card indicating what’s important to you. Then prioritize your cards into a pyramid, with your most important priority at the apex, and work down from there. These cards are a wonderful reminder of what matters if you lose your way. Each person will obviously have different words on their cards.
Here’s what mine looks like:
For me, a deep spiritual connection with Self comes first. When I lose that I’m like seaweed tossing in the ocean, and life feels disorienting, even painful. After that my priority is my family and also my writing. While the importance of family is obvious, it’s not always been easy for me to explain why my writing holds such a high priority in my life. The best way to describe it is to say that writing enhances my connection with my True Self. It helps me remember who I am.
Many of my students and clients tell me that writing is also foundational in their lives. It helps them navigate their days with greater clarity and grace, stay grounded, identify and release limiting thoughts, express joy, share stories, and reimagine what’s possible.
It’s useful to look at priorities independently, but also in relationship to one another.
I’ve added “I believe” statements to my “pyramid landscape” to remind me why I do what I do.
I believe in the power of writing to heal and transform lives, and I view publishing and book promotion as opportunities to deepen self-awareness, nourish meaningful connections, and delight in peak experiences while being of service.
I believe in authentic, creative self-expression.
I believe that we all have access to unlimited creativity.
I believe miracles happen when we consciously choose love over fear.
I believe suffering is not the price of admission to a creative life.
I believe that freedom and peace of mind are available when we look in the direction of our own innate wisdom.
I agree with Natalie Goldberg, who, in her book, The True Secret of Writing: Connecting Life with Language, says “you can anchor your mind with your breath, but also you can anchor your mind with pen on paper.”
But perhaps the most reliable “anchor” of them all is love, which, ironically, is also the ideal launching pad. The best of what gets created through us comes from love.
This index card—the oldest of my bulletin board relics which I wrote around age six—sat for years beneath a sheet of glass that protected my mother’s mahogany sewing machine table. Mom put in long hours there. It was a palace of creation and love—and so was she!
I had no clue when I wrote this all those years ago that as an adult I’d need to keep reminding myself to be guided by love rather than fear. Old habits may die hard, but they pass more peacefully—and lose their power over us—when we see them for what they are and let them go.
Love is patient and kind, and it allows us to start over and reinvent ourselves. Again and again.
As I sorted through the items I removed from my bulletin board, two of them went right back up. I wasn’t ready to clear these messages. One says, “Listen,” and the other says, “The only time is NOW!” I don’t know about you, but I need reminders like these.
I’ve also left a lot of blank space on my bulletin boards to create room for what’s coming.
Writing Circles begin January 29th. Enroll here.
I have two openings for private coaching clients. Let me know if you’d like to work with me one-on-one.
I wish you a new year filled with health, happiness, creative expression, and love.
Thanks for being part of my journey.
Blessings and gratitude, Bella
Click to read Bella Mahaya Carter’s original post.