A few years ago, I visited the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition with an artist friend – and I went again two years ago, with another friend. Both times, I joked about submitting a piece of artwork or a photo. But I did nothing about it.

Last year, when I started painting more regularly, I thought about the Summer Exhibition again, and decided to challenge myself to enter one of my paintings.

So on 4th January, when registrations opened, I registered my details on the Royal Academy website and purchased an Entry Form for submitting artwork to be considered for the exhibition!

And then… I ran away.

Or, to be more precise, I signed up for a two-week online photography e-course. That kept me busy, and prevented me from painting. To make matters worse, the photography e-course was challenging – so I ran away from that too!

Eventually, though, I got over myself and completed the photography e-course (you can see the results for “Shine” – Week 1 and “Shine” – Week 2 here).

Since completing the “Shine” challenge, I’ve been getting down to some painting. I’ve got until 15th February to submit one piece of artwork – and I already have a painting in mind, if I don’t come up with anything spectacular in the next 9 days!!

I’ll let you know how I get on. ๐Ÿ™‚

Being an introvert, I need time to mull things over

Around this time last year, I was having a bit of a wobbly about delivering a talk at the Polyglot Gathering in Berlin. I had been quite bold in proposing a topic for a talk, and then I… umm… ran away.

Is it just me who’s starting to see a pattern here?!

The problem was that, as usual, I had jumped into a potential challenge with both feet, without actually having any kind of plan of execution.

So when the deadline loomed, for sending in a summary of the talk, I panicked because I didn’t feel I had prepared enough of the talk to be able to summarise it.

For example, I hadn’t had many responses to the questionnaire I posted on Survey Monkey, to know whether I was going to get any meaningful data that could be included in the talk. So, rather than embarrass myself, I decided to drop out.

The relief I felt, when I “dropped out” was short-lived though, because – deep down – this was something I very much wanted to do.

I had simply given in to my own resistance – which is always at its peak when I’m considering doing something that’s really important to me.

So I’m glad that I was given a second chance to submit the summary – and also that I went to Berlin and delivered a talk about introverts as polyglots at the Polyglot Gathering! ๐Ÿ™‚

“The Way You Do Anything Is The Way You Do Everything”

It’s been interesting noticing how I handle the challenges that I create for myself – because it’s also how I handle the challenges that Life throws at me. As people are constantly telling me: “the way you do anything is the way you do everything.”

When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008, after the initial shock I started researching complementary and alternative therapies online.

I also turned vegan for around 6 months, as a way of communicating to my body that I had received the message loud and clear, and was trying to figure out what it meant, and what to do with the information.

Turning vegan was a huge challenge for me, because I have never particularly liked vegetables – but I realise now that it was simply something to do, to distract my conscious mind from getting caught up in negative thoughts and panic.

When I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in the spine in 2014, and in the brain in 2016, I spent a month watching television in my pyjamas.

I mostly watched old films and re-runs of programmes I had previously enjoyed, which dealt with creative challenges such as converting an old water tower into a comfortable family home.

The three key elements were: creative, uplifting and/or funny

My sister said she was amazed that I managed to find so many programmes to watch – but that wasn’t the point. It didn’t really matter if I watched the same thing several times over.

The point was to distract my conscious mind while my unconscious / subconscious mind could figure out what to do next. And as long as what I watched was creative, uplifiting and/or funny, it sent positive messages to my unconscious mind to reinforce my self-belief and my determination to get well.

It’s a form of hypnosis. That’s all hypnosis is – distracting your conscious mind, while implanting positive messages via your unconscious mind.

So the next time I take on a creative challenge, I shan’t be surprised – or upset – if I get distracted doing something else for a while, to give myself a chance to figure out how to deal with the challenge.

As long as I don’t get too distracted… ๐Ÿ˜‰


How do you handle challenges – either the creative type, or ones that Life throws at you? Are you like me, or do you have a completely different strategy?

2 thoughts on “How Do You Handle Challenges?

  1. Christine

    You have done an amazing job of managing your diagnosis and continuing to take part in opportunities. You can sidestep all you want. You are an inspiration in all that do and even in what you may run away from.

  2. Julia Barnickle

    Aww, thank you Christine. What a lovely comment. I was saying to someone earlier today that I want to inspire people to find their own truth, so your comment means a great deal to me. <3

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