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New (prickly!) addition to our family

Meet our new Hedgehog family member, because why not.

Sometimes life takes very unexpected turns, and right after my last post my life took an unexpected & delightful one. Also? A little prickly.

A pet hedgehog who was abandoned by her owners outside was found in someone’s front yard and taken the the Winnipeg Humane Society. She had been starving for a little while because she never learned to hunt, and was in need of a forever family. My sweet friend Holli sent me a link to her posting, and I adopted her first thing the next morning!

I love animals, and I grew up reading Wind in the Willows and Beatrix Potter, so hedgehogs and rabbits are among the animals I can’t help but picture in a waistcoat or making tea. I’ve always been fascinated by them, and a hedgehog fits into our family perfectly.

Sometimes fate is pretty darn adorable.

So, friends? Meet Ramona.

Likes:

  • Treats
  • Napping in the crook of my arm (She PURRS!)
  • Running in her wheel like she’s qualifying for the olympics
  • Snuggling inside of my hoodie, where it feels very safe
  • Cuddling with our dog Mal, the moment he realized she was an animal and not a toy, but was still using self control to contain his barking

Dislikes:

  • Noises other than Kyla’s voice
  • Movement that is unexpected (see: most movement)
  • The veggies that accompany her food, which she mostly doesn’t not consider food items
  • Mal’s barking, which started the moment he realised she is a new animal in the house & didn’t have to use self control to contain himself anymore

Ready to break out of negative thinking?

One of the things that I find the most frustrating about day to day life is that I’m constantly beating myself up or being a downer.  I don’t even mean to, I quite like myself and my life is (mercifully, at the moment) pretty friction free. But even with all the luck in the world, most times it’s hard to stop the negative thoughts that run through our minds when they’re left undistracted.

How to break out of negative thinking (at KylaRoma.com)

Sometimes the negativity is hard to miss, and my doubts and insecurities will announce themselves with trumpets and fanfare, shouting and pointing fingers like lives hang in the balance… when I’m only making dinner.

But often it’s more subtle. I’ll be doing something normal, that’s not even unpleasant, but that stands between me and the rest of my day. I’ll be cleaning, and I’ll realize that while my body’s working and getting things done, my mind has drifted and my inner monologue was taken over by a sulky teenager who can’t believe I’m forcing her to do this.

And, on principle, she refuses to do anything without my knowing that how unhappy she is.

Us and our sulky teenage brains.

This is why we can’t have nice things.

I realized this about myself last year when I was trying to get back into working out. “Trying to get back into working out” is one of my perpetual hobbies, and for most of my life I’ve really, genuinely resented having to exercise. But last year, for the first time I got curious about why that is, and started to parse out exactly what it was about it I disliked.

When I thought about it, I saw that I don’t mind sweating, I don’t mind being active, and I actually really like feeling accomplished, strong, and having an endorphin rush after working out.

Counter to what I’d always thought, my experience showed me that I like the process of working out and I like how I feel after I workout… so what was going on here?

Once this dawned on me, I decided to try working out while being aware of my thoughts… and what I found shocked me. I don’t like exercising because while I’m doing it I whine and moan about how hard it is, no matter what I’m doing. I watch the clock and amplify every negative part of the experience, just out of habit.

I realized that I wasn’t actually avoiding exercise, I was avoiding spending time with myself when my thoughts are so negative and miserable!

Negative thinking is a hard habit to kick. It’s hardwired into us and is key to our survival. As humans, we still have deep-seated prey instincts in us. The only way to keep ourselves safe when we lived in tribes was to identify who was with us and who was against us, as quickly as possible, preferably from a safe distance away.

So we look for differences. That one piece of food that looks a little different from the rest? It could kill us. New people we haven’t seen before could turn our lives upside down. Having ancestors who were really good at assuming the worst, or at least being on the look out for it, is a huge part of how you and I are here today.

So we actually have sulky teenage caveman brains that have been with us since the dawn of time. This should be easy to fix, right?

Here’s what has helped me:

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1. Say, “Hello, Sweetie” to old habits, instead of goodbye

Just because we have a habit doesn’t mean it has to rule us. The simple act being aware of our inner monologue is a huge toward stepping in a new direction. Instead of being swept away by a negative thinking pattern, when you notice it happening, take a deep breath and say hello to that pattern.

I literally say “hello, sweetie” in my mind when I slip into negative thinking, which is a Doctor Who reference that delights me, and that moment of delight helps stop me from beating myself up. When it stops delighting me, I’ll choose something new.

2. Do some heart math & fear busting

If you’re out of the practice of positive thinking, it might be difficult to start, and you will probably feel a little awkward and strange about cheering yourself on. But to counteract the habit of name calling or internal grumbling, you will need to go further than to stop thinking negatively, because there’s probably a slight chance that you won’t stick the landing perfectly every time. At least then, you’ll still end up with a net positive.

Sometimes just the idea that you’re going to overcompensate for negativity with positive thoughts can bring up a lot of uncomfortable feelings. Please know that it’s fine to feel that way. Your inner teenage cave-person is trying to keep you safe, but there’s no danger here, no one can hear your thoughts! It’s even fine if your negative thinking starts asking, “What’s next, finding out when mercury’s in retrograde you hippy?”. You can respect mercury’s privacy or be all up in it’s charts, but consider this an experiment and see how it goes for a 1 – 2 weeks. You have nothing to lose, and procrastination is all about fear. Call it’s bluff!

3. Invent a positivity trigger

The most important list I’ve ever made

Sometimes making plans is asking for trouble, and as a relentless planner part of me is always tempting fate. Last weekend, after feeling off for a few days, the unexpected happened and my depression flared up with a vengeance. It’s always frustrating to have your plans derailed, but to have them derailed by a tidal wave of hopelessness and exhaustion is even worse.

The weekend was hard, but I finally discovered what had thrown me off balance: I’d been taking cold medicine that interacts with my medication. (How boring is it to have your “kryptonite” be decongestants?) Thankfully, by the end of the weekend my energy was on the rise, and I was feeling more and more like myself.

A Never Ending Feast at Table for 1200

Paintbrush - Table for 1200, Winnipeg

How often do you get to go for dinner with 1200 of your closest friends? Maybe your social life is more expansive than mine, but for me the answer is not often!

Table for 1200 was held on Saturday, May 31st and it was exactly what it sounds like: dinner for 1200 people, at one giant table! The location was top secret until hours before the event, and everyone was to come dressed in all white to make it even more of a spectacle.

The event was centered around conversations about design, architecture and local food, and my friend Amy and I were excited to volunteer as table captains so we could decorate a table for the event.

Here’s what it looked like:

Thumbtack and painted peach table runner, in progress. (Table for 1200, Winnipeg)

Thumbtack and painted peach table runner, in progress.

Menu - Table for 1200, Winnipeg

The menu was fabulous, and there was lots to eat (even for vegetarians like me)

Table Decoration - Table for 1200, Winnipeg

Our table’s finished look! Coral & gold table runner, silver placemats and flowers with peach, coral and gold fabric tied to the chair backs.

Podcast Recommendations for Creatives, Small Business Owners, Bloggers & Pop Culture Lovers

One of my favourite ways to stay focused on my passions is to keep my head in the game. No matter where you work or what you love, it can be hard to make that your full time work- but that doesn’t mean that you can’t live your passion. How do you do it? Find new ways to explore your passions!

Podcasts for Bloggers and Creatives on KylaRoma.com
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A simple way to live your passion is to start seeking out media that’s focused on the things you love.

Podcasts are on demand radio shows that you can download and then listen to while you’re on the go. You can listen using an app, like the built in podcast app on Apple devices or using Stitcher on almost any device.

These are some of my favourite  podcasts that I’ve found over the years, and my suggestions for starting points to make this part of your life…

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Podcast Recommendations for Creatives, Small Business Owners, Bloggers & Pop Culture Lovers

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Blogging & Business

After The Jump
Design*Sponge blogger, Gracy Bonney talks design, blogging, and what it takes to keep a creative project going over the long term.

Glambtion Radio 
Women business owners who pull in six figure incomes (and beyond!) are profiled and share their stories, best decisions, and what they would recommend if they were starting today. A motivational resource to get you thinking big!

The Smart Passive Income Podcast
Interested in making money online? This podcast has details on affiliate programs, selling online, content marketing, and everything you need to know to make your blog into a money maker.

Elise Gets Crafty
Elise Blaha takes readers behind the scenes in blogging and small business. A great resource for bloggers and crafty ladies who are starting out in online business.

The Tim Ferriss Show
Business junkie/genius, New York Times best selling author and blogger, Time Ferriss is a has just started his own podcast! He interviews people and offers insider insight that’s hard to come by and tested on a huge scale.

Small Business, Big Marketing
Interviews with business owners about how they got where they are, delivered in Australian accents.
Content Warfare
A new podcast that focuses on creating content. It’s great for bloggers & business owners

 

Lifestyle

Kyla Roma
(plug alert!) My monthly podcast is delivered by email, and talks about creativity, productivity, living well, and having a life that you absolutely adore from the moment you wake up.

The Art of Simple
Simplicity blogger and mama, Tsh from The Art of Simple talks with friends about blogging, living simply, and making life work. This podcast is great for parents, and for anyone wanting to tone down the busy in their lives.

How to Take Better Photos for Your Blog

How To Take Better Photos For Your Blog

Whether it’s a personal run down of your life lately, or the landing page of your virtual knitwear store, your blog is your visual scrapbook. Your ability to write is put to the test on your blog, but so is your ability to piece together a fully-fleshed story.

Are there visual cues?

Burning Down The House That Perfectionism Built

Kyla Roma - Burning Down The House Perfectionism BuiltLook out, perfectionism. We’re coming for you!

Today I’m excited to share a podcast interview that I did with Sarah from The Sarah R. Bagley Podcast: A Recovering Perfectionist’s Guide to a B+ Life.

First let’s clarify something: Sarah’s ideas about living a B+ life aren’t about settling for something that’s less than great, it’s about living in that territory of “good enough” that can make a perfectionist’s skin crawl!

But we all know that when we can’t accept things as being “good enough” and move forward, that we become paralyzed.

Our creative work never sees the light of day, we beat ourselves up, and redouble our efforts to be perfect.

Or in Sarah’s case, you start talking to other people about how they’ve dealt with it in their lives and keep pushing past it!

In the interview I share:

  • What I love about living in Winnipeg, Canada
  • How I came to blogging and started working online
  • What perfectionism means to me, as someone who’s self-taught in their field
  • How I manage having Generalized Anxiety Disorder & Depression and working for myself
  • Where I’ve given myself permission to suck
  • How I deal with being open to online criticism (a perfectionist’s worst nightmare!)
  • How I’ve made ease into my top priority in life, and have learned how I can be a high achiever in a way that actually feels good to live!

 

Listen to the episode here:

 

And make sure that you visit Sarah’s blog and subscribe to her podcast in iTunes, and don’t forget to rate it if you like what you hear.

What I Learned (And How I Ended Up On Stage) At Pioneer Nation

Pioneer Nation LogoWhen I started working online, I worked hard. Really hard. But I didn’t work smart.

I tried to blog my way to success. I (wildly) undercharged. I wasn’t clear on my overall vision. And just for good measure, I invented flaming hula hoops for myself to jump through instead of just asking for what I needed. (Thank goodness you know better than I did!)

I’ve come a long way since I started working for myself full time, and as I slowly got out of my own way and experienced some success, I made a promise to myself:

“As soon as you can make it happen? You are going to a small business conference to learn from people who are killing it online.”

When I found out about Pioneer Nation, I knew that I had to go. My  obsession with passion for learning is only marginally edged out by my passion for getting things done. So a two-day, action oriented conference in Portland put on by the brilliant team behind World Domination Summit? It was the answer to my geeky prayers.

But for a long time? This was the stuff of my nightmares.

There are so many reasons I had never been to a conference like this before. Some of them might be running through your head now:

  • “I don’t know enough about business, and I’m going to end up looking foolish.”
  • “I’m an introvert!” */hides under desk*
  • “I don’t have a real business idea yet.”
  • “I’m just a blogger.”

Add to that travelling to a new city alone, depression and an anxiety disorder and (if I want to) I can find a solid reason to stay at home from pretty much everything.

 

And somehow, instead, this is what happened…

Pioneer Nation Kyla Roma In Class

I workshopped and learned invaluable lessons in classes along with my business heroes, like Laura Roeder.

I took notes on my iPad on everything everyone said, and made friends with the people around me

I took notes on everything, and made friends with the people around me in every session

I made a spur of the moment connection with one of the conference organizers, and suddenly Chris Guillebeau was introducing me to get on stage!

I had fun a chance connection with one of the conference organizers, and soon Chris Guillebeau was introducing me on stage!

I had the opportunity to speak in front of 300+ people and get business advice from attendees!

I had the opportunity to speak in front of 300+ people and get business advice from attendees!

Everyone thought I was winning and charming (may or may not be true, but you get the picture)

Everyone thought I was winning and charming.

Alright, I’m teasing you with the last caption, but it was such an incredibly fun experience that it pretty much felt like that.

 

What I learned from Pioneer Nation:

  • The internet is the biggest small town in the world.

I went to the conference without knowing anyone, but I ran into people who had guest posted on my tiny blog years before. I found people who I knew from twitter and didn’t know were attending. I had so much fun at one of the sessions that it had to be moved because we were causing too much of a ruckus! I ran into people I met at the only other, incredibly tiny, blogging conference I’d been to. There were connections everywhere, and everyone I spoke to seemed to be experiencing a concentrated kismet.

  • Being in a room full of committed, curious people is priceless.

One of the hardest things to tell when you meet new people or make a new connection, is who is going to follow through. Are you really going to talk after the circus as packed up? How do you know where to invest your time?

Kyla Roma Podcast: Make The Most Of Your Conference Experience

Make The Most of your Blogging, Business or Social Media Conference Experience (What to do before, during & after)That’s right, there’s a new episode of my subscriber only podcast!

I’m heading to Portland for a conference for creative entrepreneurs and it means conferences, travel and face to face networking are all on my mind.

Conferences are a huge part of blogging, online business and our normal 9 to 5 work lives – and they’re sizzling with possibility!

But they can also be stressful and be hard to bring your authentic self to.

In this episode I share my personal prep for attending a conference, and how to find sanity in the chaos of a conference.

I also share what you should never say to a border agent when travelling out of country to a blogging or business related event.

It’s an important secret that could save you dozens of hours, stress and lost income if you own your own business. And if you don’t have a background in human resources like I do, it’s a trap you could walk right into. Let me save you the trouble!

To hear the podcast, sign up for my newsletter:

The newsletter is the only place to get my podcast, and occasional insider deals and announcements classes that I’ve dreamed up just for you.

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