A while back I led the The Next Chapter book blogging group through The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women: A Portable Mentor. Little did I know then that I would come to know Gail and even have her on my podcast! When I was offered the chance to chat with Gail about her new book, 12 Secrets of Highly Successful Women, The: A Portable Life Coach for Creative Women, I was delighted! And not only do I get to share this great interview with you but Gail’s also been incredibly generous in sharing a giveaway! More about that after the interview.
Interview with author Gail McMeekin
Gail, I’m so excited to get a chance to chat with you again about your new book, The 12 Secrets of Highly Successful Women. It was such a joy to have you on the podcastand I stlll have so many questions for you!
First, as a creative woman yourself, what’s your definition of success?
Success is simply a positive outcome, but we put all kinds of judgments and projections onto it. I like to talk about heartfelt personal success where we create the life of meaning that expresses our values, our creativity, our talents, and life purpose. The stereotypes for women, and men, are crumbling, and people are creating life on their own terms as we live longer and the global economy is challenging everyone to use their creativity to get an edge in the marketplace. To me, success is being an entrepreneur and being well paid for my creative work and my coaching/mentoring with amazing clients. I am married to my soul mate and have precious relationships throughout my life. Freedom to do as I wish is essential to my happiness. Health continues to emerge as a high priority as well as loving new organizational systems and ongoing creative projects. I feel blessed to be doing work that I am passionate about and have a strong dedication to empowering women and girls everywhere to claim their creative power and use it for good in the world. I am immensely grateful to Conari RedWheel Weiser Press for helping me to get my messages out all over the world and for turning my words into such beautiful books! I also have to mention kindness to others. I come naturally to it and I try to surround myself with others who have that same compassion for others.
Why do you believe it’s important that we express our creative gifts?
Everyone of us is an original with creative gifts to share with the world. If we don’t share them, then the people around us miss out. But, most important of all, if we don’t express our creative gifts, we often feel unfulfilled and restless. Pent up creativity can give rise to unwanted drama, sadness, and even addictions in our lives and interfere with our feeling free to just be ourselves. Many women who are caretakers for long periods of time begin to feel resentful or depressed if they are not painting, writing, inventing, or building something that they long to do. This resentment can poison their relationships with others and interfere with developing high own self-esteem. We also know that creative expression is a key element in healing and staying well.
What role do you think self esteem plays in our creative lives?
Highly creative women who organize their lives in such a way that supports their creative work/lifestyle value themselves and their gifts. In order to create, we have to trust that we have something to express that is new and meaningful. Part of owning our creativity requires healing our wounds from the past. Almost every client I have ever seen in my coaching practice has a story to tell of a time that she/he was criticized or shamed for an original idea. Unfortunately teachers, parents, even mentors, are not always careful and may say ghastly things to children and young people that leave scars. We have to let these assaults go and learn to have faith in ourselves and find an inner circle of trusted others to support us on our creative journey. Also, we need to be willing to start at the beginning and invest time and energy in building our skills and the intuition we need to create at a higher level. We need to give our creativity top priority in our lives and focus on being the best that we can be. The acts of creative mastery help to build our self-confidence and empower us to take our creations out into the world.
In all of your research and conversations, what would you say is the most prominent block or challenge you see in creative women?
Fear is the biggest hurdle for creative women to overcome. To go deeply into our own creativity we just be willing to be scared and uncomfortable, take positive risks, commit to intentions and follow through, and learn to deal with criticism, judgment, and projections from others. Successful women who are passionate about their work and feel they are serving the world have an easier time dealing with the fear, as they are tapped into a higher purpose. But there are always bigger challenges to conquer. It takes courage to invest in our work, complete it, and then share it. One of the reasons I created the Creativity Courage Cards iand have written extensively about fear is to help people feel brave in the face of challenge and adversity. One of the women I interviewed for this book wrote an excellent book and had 40 great Amazon reviews posted by her fans. But some nutcase wrote to Amazon saying that she made all the reviews up herself, as she is a marketer, and they should all be taken down. She had never even heard of this guy and was devastated. But cope she did, as we all have to deal with criticism and/or controversy. Sometimes fear causes women to hide behind their busyness or caretaking responsibilities so that they don’t have to face their mistakes as they learn to improve their “art”or be exposed as they try to sell their service/product in the marketplace. This repressed creativity and self-disappointment can be toxic in families. Women need to negotiate for what they need to be creative and “train” the folks around them to be supportive or make other choices. Most of the women I have interviewed in my books will not tolerate partners/associates who do not back their dreams. One woman actually disowned her mother as her mother was shockingly cruel and abusive. This was a positive choice that took tremendous courage.
What helps them overcome it?
Passion is the best antidote to fear, followed by practice. We have to drop this idea that people are going to like us all the time–it’s a fantasy. Chellie Campbell, financial stress expert, talks in the book about her former need to be a member of the 100% Club. She would be at a party and everyone would be warm and friendly and she would chase after the person who was the most distant to try to win him/her over. She no longer plays that game. We need to find our own “tribe’ of folks who love us for who we are and stand beside us as we experience the ups and downs of a creative life. Releasing perfectionism and people pleasing frees us up to take the actions that our intuition guides us to take to advance our creative goals. I tell my clients to acknowledge their inner critics. but to send them away to the North Pole, until they are ready for feedback and critique. We must clear our creative channel of stress and saboteurs, past and present, in order to zero in on our own brilliance.
What’s the one most essential thing that you want women to get out of your book?
Permission and hope to move forward. Creativity is about experimentation and failure is part of the path. Successful women fail and fail again, but get right up, note their lessons, and keep moving forward. These 12 Secrets give you a roadmap to resolving many barriers to creative success, as well as real life examples of women who can serve as mentors.
I know in the book you encourage goal-settting. What are your top goals for 2012?
Jamie, I am so enjoying your book Wishcasting as I put together my new goals for 2012. My number one goal is protecting my health and building in more “dreaming time” as Pele Rouge calls it. I also want to support my family, especially my folks who are 89 and 90, and my husband, who has some surgeries coming up, and is an incredible support to me, as well as talk on the phone more and/or spend with my friends, old and new, and colleagues, like you, that I enjoy! Thirdly, which fits with my newest book, The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women Journal, I have reached a magical place with journaling myself and have shifted my schedule to allow for much more journaling time. Doing a regular journal process actually saves me time as it helps me to get clarity quickly and focus my ideaphoria into my priorities and more easily release what needs to be postponed or discarded from my mind chatter. And lastly, I have a new book idea which I am working on, and I just found a new watercolor teacher locally too!
I’m sending you lots of love and support for all of your goals! Thank you for being such a powerful guide on the journey to creativity and success. May all of your dreams come true, Gail!
Gail McMeekin Giveaway!
Share your own definition of success below and you could win the 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women book and journal combo or a copy of 12 Secrets of Highly Successful Women. Deadline for entry is midnight EST December 5th.