Are you Addicted to Collecting Tools?

And I don't mean the kind on the workbench that go into a toolbox, I am referring to the "tools" necessary to recharge your life. Things like self-help books, classes, workshops, videos, exercise classes or supplies for new hobbies.

If a person wants more joy or purpose in their daily life, one of the first things they often do is start something new. However if they only get as far as collecting the things to start a new hobby, or move in a new direction--  but never actually begin anything, they won't see much growth. They will simply be a tool collector and end up with more "stuff".

Let's say you have decided you need a creative outlet.  You start by buying all the materials needed to paint. It can be exciting just to research something new, and the trip out to buy those new supplies increases happiness levels. (A combo of shoppers high and a temporary sense of purpose.) What I find much harder, is mustering up the courage to actually use the paints.

For years I thought/said/believed that I had no creative talent. Spending 30 years in a field where I was surrounded by artists of all kinds didn't help me feel confident in my own limited abilities, and being highly critical of myself made it scary to even try. 

A few weeks ago I bought myself watercolor painting supplies and I actually dared to use them. I had so much fun creating "paintings", in truth they were more like scribbles, but I didn't let that bother me, I actually found myself smiling and happy the whole time. It was so freeing to paint and not care what it looked like when I was done. In some strange way it was mindless fun -- and it gave me the space to let some things I had been thinking about gel. As a result of my creative painting, I got clarity from within on something I do have some talent in, my writing.

While I have found it is easy to collect tools, using them is definitely harder. 

So I'm challenging you to do something that moves your spirit forward. Try making some time to read those self-help books you've collected and then be inspired to go do something out of your comfort zone. Take a step in a new direction, volunteer somewhere, join a group of people with a common interest, or sign up to try something you've always wanted to learn more about. You never know where one small step can eventually lead you. This I know from experience.

Question of the Week #51 / What Is One New Thing You Could Try To Get Out of Your Rut?

In case you didn't realize this, it's okay if the something new you try turns out to be something you don't like, or that you eventually lose interest in. It is even okay to stink at that something new and to be disappointed or embarrassed by what you consider a failure, the truth is, it is all part of moving forward and growing up.

If you find yourself liking the something new, you might also want to prepare yourself to be super energized and possibly a little impulsive about what comes next. Some things that I've tried lately have led to such positive energy, new ideas and good karma they've inspired me to take leaps not steps.

My advice: start with a step, but be prepared to leap. Comfort zones are not all they are cracked up to be.