Active Life Choices Are The Key To Making Changes In Your Life

by Richard Furleigh

Conversations with different important people in my life combined with my own recent frustrations with not feeling like I’m creating as much as I want have led me to a deep reaffirmation of the following: anything you want to do has to start with an active choice.

When I say an active choice I do literally mean something that is an action (or lack thereof) in your life. Putting on your shoes and walking around the block, eating a carrot instead of chips, not buying that new game that just came out, putting pigment on that brush and applying it to the canvas. As long as it is something that physically moves you toward your final objective that is the crucial first step. It shows that it isn’t impossible to start, that accomplishing small tasks as part of the whole is do able, and even if it’s as small as going on that walk to start your diet you can point to it and say “I did that, and I can do this”

Recently I’ve been struggling with feeling like my time has constricted itself to the point that I have no time to be creative, to really create new content and art that I feel is important. So I’ve made two changes that I know will help me. First I’ve looked at other things that I have done this semester. I may not have made any “art” per say, //giphy.com/embed/RI6uwElqPErrq

A silly little thing I made, I call it “Penguin Execution”

but I have broadened my horizons with blogging, and making the couple videos for other classes. These are still very valuable skills to have in creative creation and framing that in that way has helped me feel a little better about it. Second I’ve decided that I will begin writing or editing a piece once a week for a minimum of 30 minutes without interruption, which means no cell phone! This is my actionable goal, and honestly I have to stick with it, just to get things down. I’ve told myself I’m not shooting for Shakespeare here, just getting words on the page is important because especially in the creative process sometimes you don’t know what you’re putting down is good until after it’s already there. I could also just write utter crap, but that could be the crap that spurs the golden thought, or the groundwork for a great scene after editing it. Honestly it doesn’t matter, just getting something done to progress my goal is the key to get things going.

When it comes to life and our choices it really does boil down to “if you always put in what you’ve always put in you’ll get in return what you’ve always gotten.” If you want to change something about your life then find one thing, it doesn’t even matter how small, and start there. Maybe you’re trying to write the next big movie script but can’t seem to get past character and world development. Cool, just writing even one line of dialogue a day is a start. The key here is to make a change that echoes across your life, to pull the trigger on something that is actionable to you.
So what is it that you have been putting off because it seems too daunting? What is that thing that you know you should do but just haven’t got around to it yet? Well, this is the time to do it. I’m not asking you to plan every tiny detail, but get a rough idea on where you want to go and start with one item. One task that will move you in the right direction. Once your done with that one, make another, and another, and…. But for now, just one, small, task, to finish is all you need. If someone needs a little advice, help them out, share this with them and offer to help them be accountable for their task. We can help each other grow and learn too. Until next time Pengminions!

Follow us on
Twitter: @findingfurleigh & @richardfurleigh
Instagram: @findingfurleigh
Facebook: @FurleighFotography

Advertisements

Using Fear and Anxiety

Kristen and I don’t exactly live in the best part of town. As mentioned before, this is a conscious choice to save a lot of money each month on rent. Walking my dog outside last night I saw a man about 100 feet from me walking through our little parking area with something that resembled a large shop broom. I won’t lie, I felt a twinge of anxiety despite the fact that the man wasn’t particularly close to me nor had he even looked in my direction. He made his way along as Oliver stood there, peeing in the grass, and as I headed inside.

I thought back to other similar experiences when I was younger and how I wasn’t affected in quite the same way. I thought about the naivety that youth gives to us and how it empowers us to make bolder choices in life. I thought about how I’ve gotten older and sometimes that isn’t there in the same way. This seems to be a universal thing for people, and at least for me I think it has more to do with coming to terms with the reality of our world. We never know exactly how much time we have left so we become trepidatious, reluctant to pull the trigger on risky situations in life.

So how do we take this nervousness and make something positive out of it? In my  acting classes we talked about this often since we actors actually do get nervous. As well, in “The Originals” by Adam Grant, we get very similar advice on controlling it. Simply put, DON’T control it! It’s exceptionally difficult to stop a speeding car so instead of pumping the brakes in vain, redirect your energy. The best performances I’ve ever done, the best interviews I’ve ever had weren’t because I’m a zen master who can control his heart rate and cortisol, but because I was able to funnel the energy into focus, into excitement instead of fear, to embrace its chaotic nature and use it in a way that worked FOR me instead of against.

There are times in life when, as Kristen talked about earlier, that overcoming these fears is critical. So I add to that, embrace the fear, make it your tool rather than an anchor. It is not a perfect system, and I can tell you that there are times when it wins, but this is one tactic in my arsenal that I know works for me, and I hope it can work for you too.
Do you have any tricks for pushing through stresses and fears? Let us know down below, and if you know someone who has something big coming up (or maybe you do!) share this with them so they can have a little help too. Until next time Pengminions!

Follow us on
Twitter: @findingfurleigh & @richardfurleigh
Instagram: @findingfurleigh
Facebook: @FurleighFotography

Importance of Getting Outside Your Comfort Zone

by Richard Furleigh

Wake up, drink coffee, shower, work, lunch, work, meeting, home. Routines breed comfort in your day to day life, and in some ways they can help regulate your life and help keep you on task. Simplicity in some aspects of your life (like Steve Jobs’s obsession with jeans and black turtlenecks) can help bring creativity to other aspects of your life, but venturing outside of that from time to time is vital to helping your mind stay agile and flexible.

If you’ve ever run across people who can never seem to change anything in their life there is a reason for that, and needless to say those people are often not the most inspired people in the world. In the tech world I see this all the time and essentially it boils down to voluntary ignorance. There is something new to learn or try yet somehow this inspires fear; this isn’t limited to any age, position, or anything else. Last week I wrote about a friends company who is making them do cold calls to drum up business. As a fortune 100 company this would be embarrassing for me to ask my employees to do. Yet those who are in charge at these stoic institutions refuse to use the same time that they are wasting with the antique to work on a new outreach and cultivation program that they could implement.

This serves as an example in the workplace but there are times in our personal lives we need to break out and do something different as well. It’s colloquial, but the phrase “if you aren’t moving forward you’re moving backward” does have a lot of weight to it. One of my professors is fond of saying that entropy will kill all systems that do not reinvent themselves. Now it’s not about reinventing the wheel every day, but simply finding new ways to work your mind so that you don’t find yourself completely stuck into patterns that will eventually sabotage you.

If you find yourself stuck in a loop here are a few really easy things that you can do to help break out of it:

  1. Dress completely different than your normal style: This may seem like a small thing but I know that how I’m dressed can affect my mood and how I feel about myself and can get you thinking a little differently.
  2. Go take a walk around in a park or space that you haven’t been before: The new surroundings may inspire
  3. Get food at that new place you’ve been meaning to try: A different experience may bring a fresh feeling to the rest of your day. Just don’t get the safe option for your meal.

This may be a simplified list, but it usually doesn’t take much to kick start your creativity and move past those blocks we construct in our heads.

My challenge for you is simple: do one out of the box thing this week. Go sing karaoke, drive the LONG way to work, something that is more than a little weird even. Just see where that decision takes you! If you have some fun with it, or have any other ideas for ways to break out, let us know! We’d love to hear about it in the comments. Until next time Pengminions!

Follow us on
Twitter: @findingfurleigh & @richardfurleigh
Instagram: @findingfurleigh
Facebook: @FurleighFotography

Finding Furleigh: It’s more than a blog!

~Kristen Furleigh

In my previous blog I talked about Furleigh and how it came about. Since changing our name, which if you would like to learn about our process in changing our name please message us we would be glad to share with you, it has been an interesting journey. Come to find out taking a new name and making it your own is no easy feat. Especially for two who never thought they would go by anything other than who they were named at birth.

Finding Furleigh epitomises that for us as a trifecta: it’s a journey in finding who we are as individuals, who we are together, and where you can find us along the way. Whether it be in our everyday lives or off on another travel adventure we hope to encourage you to join us on our exploration of ourselves and this vast world. It is an ever evolving process that never ends as we grow and change over time. Our goal is to continue to hold each other accountable to this continuous work.

I caught myself just the other day writing Burleigh when filling out paperwork and it’s been almost three years since we changed our names! It is easy to fall back into old habits especially when you have held them for a long time. Writing the wrong name is trivial it is true, but falling back into the old and comfortable and staying there doesn’t facilitate long term growth. It takes making a correction even if in another direction entirely to find where you need to go. Exploration is key and that takes action, it takes doing, and it takes accepting failure along the way. Sometimes mistakes can give us just the fuel we need to keep pushing forward.

What our name does for us is it helps guide us. We found Furleigh and we will continue to find Furleigh as we explore the meaning and how it may change as we continue our lifelong journey. What guides you? Share with us your inspiration and your motivation. Let’s keep each other accountable! Til next time Pengminions! 

Keep up with us @findingfurleigh on Twitter & Instagram!

What’s in a Name?


The origin story of Furleigh
-Kristen Furleigh

Growing up I didn’t give much thought to names. I had a name that I was given at birth that I just knew to be mine. For me it became a part of who I am. When I got to my teens I was finally truly aware of the reality for most women when they get married; their name changes. You become Mrs. name of husband. Why?

I’m sure that somewhere along the way I found out that not all women change their name when they get married but I am not sure when this exact moment was. I do remember asking my parents about their name change. My mom, like most women, took my dad’s last name. However I was shocked to find out my dad had actually wanted to take my mom’s last name but she wanted to take his and they ended up going the more traditional route. This got my wheels turning.

It was decided not long after, “When I get married I’m keeping my last name!”  And that was that, I thought. Come to find out my declaration was wrong yet in a way that I would have never imagined. When I did end up getting married we did something that no one we had ever met had done. We got creative and created a brand new last name! I know we aren’t the first in the world, but it was a pretty radical idea in conservative Texas where we grew up.

When it came time to make some marriage decisions Richard was completely OK with me keeping my last name and him keeping his, but something just didn’t sit right with me about having different last names even though for the longest time that is what I had wanted. So my wheels started spinning once again. At one point I ended up experimenting with different ways to smush together our last names that didn’t require hyphenating. I’m sure there was inspiration from somewhere that I just can’t recall. The idea simply fascinated me. Creating a new last name by blending together our old ones made sense to me. It is part his, part mine, and wholly ours. We are creating this new family where one is no more important than the other. Where two come together; not one to the other. It just made sense. It just fit. The hard part came next.

Convincing the other half to get on board with the name change. It took some time and soul searching and he finally came around to the idea. Change is no easy thing to do, so to make a decision that was something you had never thought of, much less seen done, can be unnerving at first. Over time he too found the significance in Furin + Burleigh = Furleigh!

In art, I believe strongly in the idea that we are not original. We get inspired by something or someone else and end up co-creating and modifying what we know to produce our creative works. In life and business we have got to be open to the influence of others to better serve them and ourselves. This idea of co-creation is extremely important. For Richard and I, our name, for us, is a symbol of that. It took thinking a bit differently about names and some influence, for me from my parents, to think that just because it’s been done a certain way for so long doesn’t mean that I have to do it that way too. If something doesn’t mean the same thing to you as those before you then that is your key to start your wheels turning as well!

What is your creative alternative to tradition and what does it mean to you? We would love to hear your story. Share it with us below! Have any questions for us, ASK! Thanks for reading. Til next time Pengminions.

Your morning coffee says more than you think

by Richard Furleigh

Think back to one of the last purchases you made, what were some of the reasons behind it? Was it a trendy piece of clothing that you got because it looked good, groceries you needed to stock up on, coffee at one of the many roastery options out there because you needed a pick me up? Think harder for a moment about why you  actually chose that particular item however and you may find that it has a little more to do with the influences of those around you than your own thoughts.

In exploring Living Creatively we repeatedly have to reexamine the reasons behind our choices, even the everyday answers to why we buy one product and not another at the store, or even what store we went to in the first place! Sometimes the reasons we make certain choices seems benign and inconsequential, but sometimes they are subversive and over time will hurt us more than we realize if not caught early on. Social influences on our purchase choices account for an astounding proportion of the reasoning for… Well…. Everything. Check out this article written by Dr. Ahmad Chaudhry talking briefly about the extent to which this is present.

Personally I will ask myself what is it I’m actually searching for in a product or service I can break it down and find the real reasons rather than allow how people may perceive me for my choices to affect me. When searching for a good quality mug for coffee and tea I came across the RTIC tumbler. Not as well known, but their stainless steel cups are identical to their much more expensive and popular cousin Yeti. The price difference for doing my research and choosing function over everything else saved me $28; for almost ¼ the cost of the Yeti my Earl Grey stays quite hot all day.

It can be choices as small as a $1 coffee at Mc. D’s vs $4 at Starbucks. The green mermaid has a certain status associated with her, but in more recent years McCafe drip coffees rank just as good or even better than Starbucks. So if you stop and ask yourself, if what you really want from your coffee is good taste then oddly enough you’d be better off going to McDonald’s for your daily dose of caffeine.

These may seem inconsequential, but it is small actions and decisions that will in the end add up to bigger and better changes. Questioning the small things in your life will build up into strength that allows you to look deeply into your own life. Everything from relationships, to your job, to your own purpose, to as a man changing my own last name when I got married.

Have you begun to question some small things in life or have some tips on other ways to make those shifts happen? Let us know in the comments below and get out there to make some positive changes in your life today!