What's Your Line in the Sand?

We’re all accustomed to setting goals. A finish line for where we’re going — an ultimate dream that we keep moving towards. But we don’t necessarily spend enough time talking about what we need to let go of in order to get there.


It’s one of the scariest parts of committing to life as a creative — the letting go. Specifically, letting go of what is no longer serving us as we move toward our goals.

How can you expect to book paid work if you are constantly saying yes to unpaid projects? How can you grow your own business if you’re managing someone else’s business full-time? How can you commit to writing your novel if you’re burned out ghostwriting someone else’s book?

Don’t get me wrong; survival jobs serve a powerful purpose, and by all means keep them going if they are working for you. However, it’s a delicate balance, and it’s your job to stay attuned to when that commitment is no longer serving you, and trust your gut when the time comes to move on. Ultimately, you have to be willing to take the leap in order to commit to the life that you envision.

Which reminds me of this great quote:


If you’ve ever coached with me, you’ve heard me say that acceptance means not wishing for anything to be different — trusting that everything you’ve done up until this moment has set you up for what you’re about to do. So, take a moment to reflect on the commitment that you’ve now outgrown. Let it go with intention, and focus forward. The lighter you travel, the faster you’ll get to where you’re going, after all.

One more suggestion: dress for the job you want. It’s advice that is good both in theory and in actual practice. Physically presenting yourself as the person you want to be — and ensuring that your schedule reflects that — is as much an exercise for getting you in the right mindset as it is is a tool for teaching the world how you want to be seen. Get into action on this by taking a moment to do our Line In The Sand exercise, below.


Line In the Sand Exercise

  1. Take a moment right now to close your eyes and visualize one of your goals. Got it? Write it down.

  2. Identify one thing in your life (or your schedule) that is currently holding you back from achieving this goal. Write it down.

  3. List three ways in which this commitment has served you.

  4. List three ways in which letting go of this commitment will make space for your goal (and not just physical space like actual time, but it could be emotional/mental space as well).

  5. Draw your literal line in the sand by completing the following statement:

chalk line.jpg

6. Commit to one action step you can take this week to draw your line in the sand.

Bonus step - set up accountability by sharing it with us here and letting us know how it goes! Use #capescoaching and #mylineinthesand on instagram so we can see it.

Creative Self-Destruction: Which One Are You?

It seems like 2019 has been an incredible year for self-reflection. Everyone I know is turning inward to self-analyze. Sometimes in big ways (we love a productive therapy session.) And also in little ways (aided, of course, by Google.)

Horoscopes, Myers-Briggs, Enneagram — you name it. We’re all looking to figure out where we fit in, and how to best utilize the assets we already have. While these broad classifications refer to different personality types, they can often apply to the way you work creatively, as well.

Capes Coaching Creative Types

In both Private Coaching and the The Path Course, it’s a joy for me to work with so many different kinds of artists. The amazing humans I’ve gotten to coach over the years span such a wide range of disciplines. But across the board, there are incredible similarities in the way that creative people approach their work.

Creative Working Types Capes Coaching Path

Coaching for as long as I have, I’ve begun to recognize the patterns of when and how these traits — and roadblocks — appear. You probably don’t need me to tell you which one applies to you. But I can tell you that I’ve seen The Path Course be a success time and again for artists who struggle with perfectionism, procrastination, cynicism and self-care. And I’ve done my research to find the tools to help my clients (and myself!) bypass these roadblocks and get to work. Below, I’ve included some of my favorite articles as they apply to each of the four working types — and to back up my argument that the Path WILL work for you, too!

perfectionism why the perfectionist enemy of creativity capes coaching

THE PROBLEM: “If it’s not going to be perfect, then why even bother?” This is the most common pattern of self-destructive thinking I see among my coaching clients. And it’s virtually impossible to be creative under the stress of “getting it right.”

TAKE ACTION: As a Perfectionist, try to allow trial and error to have a place in your process. Step by step thinking will help you be gentle with yourself. In The Path Course, we break down seemingly daunting tasks into bite-sized manageable chunks. Sometimes it’s just about recognizing how much you actually have accomplished that propels you to the next step.

THE RESULT: “...getting it done — whether that’s a decision you have to make or work you have to do — will leave you more satisfied than if you had agonized over the task in the pursuit of perfection."

READ MORE: (Like the quote above!) It’s Never Going to Be Perfect, So Just Get it Done

procrastination creative not lazy stop procrastinating capes coaching

THE PROBLEM: Being a Procrastinator doesn’t mean you're lazy. Yes, you heard that right. This type of artist is usually a perfectionist in disguise, unable to begin because of an all-consuming case of imposter syndrome. It’s incredibly easy to put off long-term daunting goals when they’re just that — larger than life and seemingly far-fetched.

TAKE ACTION: When we put things down and create a serious plan — with serious deadlines — we can actually measure our progress as we go. In The Path Course, you’ll reverse engineer a plan for an entire year, and leave well-equipped with a toolbox for getting through the “hard” stuff.

THE RESULT: : "Motivation follows action. Get started, and you’ll find your motivation follows." I know and you know that the first step is the hardest, but once you get going, productivity creates a snowball effect.

READ MORE: (Like the quote above!) Why You Procrastinate (It Has Nothing to Do with Self-Control)

cynical cynical stop the inner critic capes coaching

THE PROBLEM: Being critical and cynical about our own work before it even happens. Rejection is a fact of life for artists, and there’s certainly less if we never put ourselves out there. But being a cynic stunts production and vitality. Cynicism is simply fear masked in attitude.

TAKE ACTION: Shake off your inner-critic, and put down the burden of being a Cynic. In The Path Course, we aren’t afraid to work with our inner-critic — accepting that we will always be toughest on ourselves. When you look your own fears square in the face, you can acknowledge their existence and MOVE. ON.

THE RESULT: As Stephen Colbert says, “Cynicism is self-imposed blindness, a rejection of the world because we are afraid it will hurt or disappoint us. Cynics always say no. But saying “yes” begin things. Saying “yes” is how things grow. Saying “yes” leads to knowledge.” The world is open and available for you, and it’s time you make the same room for it!

READ MORE: Fighting the Cowardice of Cynicism

caretaker selfless selfish capes coaching commit to you

THE PROBLEM: I’ve noticed that one of the hardest things for many creatives to admit is that being an artist isn’t selfish. As a Caretaker, you often find yourself putting the needs and comfort of others before your own (right, parents?) leaving little time to stoke your own inner fire.

TAKE ACTION: Put 2-hours a week aside to re-commit to YOU. When we put our art and our passions at the forefront of our lives — committing to being our most authentic selves — we inspire others to do the same. Taking The Path Course is an act of self-care in itself (and we’re offering a Friday section, just for Moms!) You’ll find tools and techniques to conquer work-life balance and reframe your thinking — self-care isn’t selfish.

THE RESULT: "We are no use to anyone if our energy is depleted because we have given every last bit of it away. Self-care is an antidote to stress, as it builds resilience so we can better cope with challenges."

READ MORE: (Like the quote above!) Why We Put Ourselves Last & Why Self-Care Should Be a Priority

No matter what your strengths or weaknesses, there is always something to be gained when we put a clear plan in place. We are more likely to succeed when we pave our own roadmap to success. We are here to support you with goals, action-planning, accountability check-ins, and tangible accomplishments you can measure, so you can power up and sustain your career long-term. Ready to get to work?

The Great Procrastination Game

A couple of nights ago, I put my daughter to bed with the intention of heading into my office to get work done. I caught sight of the clock half an hour later to realize I’d done literally everything but go back to my office. Social media scrolling, clean dishes, paid some bills and two snacks later, it’s like I’d had a procrastination blackout!


And I know I’m not alone on this one — sometimes we all get caught in a vicious cycle of put-it-off-til-tomorrow. But fear not! As annoying and frustrating as this sort of mentality can be, there are a few great tools you can give yourself to combat the feeling of “I just can’t do it yet.” In fact, this New York Times Article was brought to my attention yesterday (thanks Susan Bowen & Randall David Cook) and explains why procrastination is hardly a sign of laziness, and instead has more to do with the way we treat our to-do lists… and ourselves.

Instead of procrastination being linked to laziness or lack of motivation, it’s really about our own emotions. It’s brought on by the feelings of negativity we ascribe to a certain task over time. Perhaps, it’s our fear that we might fail that keeps us from even beginning the task. 

 In a 2012 study examining the relationship between stress, self-compassion and procrastination, Dr. Sirois found that procrastinators tend to have high stress and low self-compassion…self-compassion doesn’t require anything external — just a commitment to meeting your challenges with greater acceptance and kindness rather than rumination and regret.”


 In the #path class, we talk a lot about ways to handle our inner critic and find joy around each step of our goals. When we start to reward ourselves for doing the things that actually help us toward our goal, we start to get more done.

 Everyone who works with me knows that I firmly believe self-compassion is essential to long-term growth and happiness. But self-compassion, alone, won’t get you moving. We also work hard while we #pathitout to set up new and effective habits to combat negative feelings and make productivity practically a thing of muscle memory! When we put up roadblocks for our bad habits (however good they might feel in the moment) and replace them with feel-good habits, we change our workflow and our mentality for the better.

 Now, I’m going to go delete my social media apps from my phone and leave it out of the office for a while. If you’re ready to kick some old habits, swing over to the Path page on our site and be sure to join us this April for the LAST in-person Path class of 2019.

Eat A Frog, We Dare You

Mark Twain famously said, “If the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long.”

And I totally agree. When I look at my action list for the day ahead, I’ve gotten into the habit of starting with the task I want to do THE LEAST. The one I’d just rather wait to deal with because it holds some type of emotional weight or it just feels plain hard - like sending a particular email I’ve been putting off, or working on a section of a lesson plan I’ve been avoiding because it’s not the easiest to tackle.  Let’s face it, most of the time, we’re gonna go right for the easiest or most pleasurable task on our list, first. Because, hey, we’re human.

But, I have to say when I start with "eating the frog" (doing the task I am avoiding/procrastinating), I can’t tell you the relief and pride I feel once it is behind me! It’s like a 10-ton weight lifted off my shoulders and all of a sudden I am breathing easier.  You know what I mean, right?


When I was teaching the Frog lesson in the Path Course a while back, one of my students suggested we name the pleasurable tasks “chocolate donuts,” which stuck.  So, now we have the counterbalance to frog-eating - a chocolate donut (or, fill in the blank with your treat of choice). And how much better is eating a chocolate donut — one of the tasks that delight you — once you’ve already eaten that frog?

One of the pillars of working the Path is committing to eating at least one frog per week (tackling one challenging task from your to-do list each week). You will be surprised how invigorating it can be, and how much more gets accomplished! 

[Click here to read more about Eating Frogs.]

And if you’ve been meaning to sign up for the Path Course — putting it off and leaving the website tab open in your browser? Well, then, this is it, YOUR first frog. Simply signing up for the Path — putting those first crucial steps of your plan into action is a huge win.

But don’t take our word for how good it’s going to feel once you’ve hunkered down an eaten the thing. Check out the links below from interviews we have done with Path Alum over the years — frog-eating experts. Our Artists in Action are working their paths every day, and it’s working. They’re working.

First Broads of Comedy, Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson took the Path Course while working on many different projects, including their Youtube webseries, Broad City. Months later it was picked up by Comedy Central.

Ilana says:

“… you can plan to get from point A to point B, but you  may end up in some place you never expected, or you may take a detour that gets you to some other great place. The point is — plan and prepare for greatness, and you'll find it some way. But the Path Class actually does accomplish specifically what it sets out to do, every single class — empower artists to create their own path and to know that their career is in their hands.

Abbi says:


There are many many ways to be successful and satisfied in this industry. It doesn't happen the same way for everyone. When I took The Path class, I was still in the mentality that getting on a house team at the theatre was the way, the only way to get seen and heard. There are so many ways and if you find your own way it can take you places you never could have imagined."

Comedian and former SNL cast member, Sasheer Zamata recently mentioned The Path on Don Fanelli’s Need to Fail podcast:

“At the end of [the class] I was full sobbing… for the first time I was like, oh my god this is helping me organize my thoughts and my goals and my dreams and it’s making it very clear to me and very attainable.”

Actor, director, and composer Randy Redd says;

“I had surrendered my biggest dreams. I needed the vital tools that Path provides to dig my way out of my own fortress of fear, crippling self-doubt, and flourishing ambivalence.”

Comedian and Writer, Doug Moe, set the goal to write his book when taking the Path Course. He discovered he already had all the tools he needed, and yep, the book is published!

“I wish I knew back when I started that you already have the tools you need to get started. It’s so easy to feel like other people are holding you back when it’s actually more about you working from what your current resources are.”

Still have Path questions? Don’t let this frog eat you! Sign up for a free 15-minute Path consultation, HERE. This may be the last in-person Path class offered for a while and we don’t want you to miss out.

Featured Artist In Action: Randy Redd

Featured Artist In Action: Randy Redd

I LOVED having the opportunity to work with Randy in the Path Course a few years ago for so many reasons, one of them being how honest and real he was in his approach to the course work.  When he hit up against a block in the work, he didn’t run away.  He also didn’t rush past it. He sat with what was hard and listened long enough to learn something valuable about himself and his process.  “The best way out is always through,” really does prove to be true.  The work we do in the Path Course can wake you up to a lot of things about your life and career that aren’t working, as Randy describes when he says “I had surrendered my biggest dreams. I needed the vital tools that Path provides to dig my way out of my own fortress of fear, crippling self-doubt, and flourishing ambivalence.”

Featured Artist In Action: Caitlin Kunkel

Featured Artist In Action: Caitlin Kunkel

Today’s featured Artist In Action is Caitlin Kunkel, who is here to share about her path as a writer and how private coaching has supported her along the way, especially as she published her first book last month!!  This is a great insider’s view to how personalized the private coaching experience can be, and we hope you enjoy learning more about coaching from Caitlin’s perspective. Oh, and do yourself a favor and get her new book asap – it’s the perfect holiday gift for your feminist friends.

Coaching myself through an "I don't wanna" goal

Coaching myself through an "I don't wanna" goal

I always tell my clients and students, I’m in this with you — working along side you (not above you) to reach my goals as well. So here I am to fess up — my LinkedIn profile page is shit. I have felt little to no interest in updating it in the past and honestly haven’t ever needed to for the success of my business — meaning most of my potential clients aren’t looking for me on LinkedIn, they are hearing about me through word of mouth.

As I was coaching a client on stepping up her game with her own marketing materials, she said that she believes if she cleaned up her LinkedIn profile page it would 100% help her get the valuable side-hustle job that she trusts would support her writing career for the next year or so as she works toward a career as a full-time writer. 

Featured Artist In Action: Andrea Jones-Rooy

Featured Artist In Action: Andrea Jones-Rooy

As my regular readers know, our Featured Artist in Action posts are my favorite to share with you. Not only do I get to check in with some of the fabulous artists whom I've coached either in the Path Course or in Private Coaching, I also get a chance to see how the work that I've dedicated my life to has impacted others. It's an immensely fulfilling experience.

Today's Featured Artist In Action is the multi-talented Andrea Jones-Rooy, who first took the Path Class in 2014. Andrea's journey is an absolutely fascinating one (that spans the globe!). Additionally, Andrea's answers to my questions were so in-depth, that I realized they offered a true insider's view into the entire process of how the Path Course curriculum applies to someone's life on a practical level. If you've ever wanted to know how it all works, here are the goods. Let's turn it over to Andrea.

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy

This is the phrase I have found myself repeating unconsciously after hearing my 5-year-old daughter say it enough times: "Easy peasy lemon squeezy." It's basically another way of saying, "No big deal."

Things that used to be tough for Zoe that now fall into the “easy peasy lemon squeezy” category: 

  • Zipping up her coat
  • Writing her full name 
  • Drawing a picture of mommy (one of her masterworks →)
  • Getting dressed all by herself 
  • Scooting down the NYC streets like she owns them (while I slowly hold my breathe)

Mysteries Around The Corner

Mysteries Around The Corner

After what has been a fulfilling summer where I was able to find some moments to unwind, just like you (probably), I am returning from summer plugged into my device way more than I want to be — focusing on the news, my calendar, work, and preparing for the general whirlwind that is September. Thankfully, though, I got a wake-up call over the weekend that reminded me just how important it is to pay attention. And I don't mean to your phone. I'm talking about your surroundings.

Striking The Balance

Striking The Balance

Let’s face it, the summer months require us to let go of any expectation for maintaining our routine.  I love my routine, but I have to admit I also love taking a break from it! As we enter August, perhaps you are returning from vacation or gearing up to travel some more before Labor Day. If you are like me, you are back and forth all summer long, splitting your time between work and travel, which can be wonderful and/or stressful, depending on your experience. However you see it, here are some tips to help you strike the balance this summer between making the most of your vacation time and being productive while at work.  

Featured Artist In Action: Doug Moe

Featured Artist In Action: Doug Moe

I am proud to be featuring a long-time Path Alum, Doug Moe, as our Featured Artist in Action this month. Since Doug took the Path Course back in 2010, he has continued to use the tools and do the work. I always tell folks at the end of the course, this work will be all about your commitment to it, and Doug is a true example of what can happen when you stay committed to using the tools and working with accountability partners, no matter how crazy life gets. Doug and his fab accountability partners have been meeting weekly for years now! I get to meet up with them every 6-12 months for a group session to check in on their progress and do some coaching. I always leave so inspired by this group and what they are creating for their lives and careers! This is what commitment looks like, and yes, it DOES produce results. Doug just published his first book (!!!), Man vs. Child, which he will tell you more about below – and we are super thrilled to see what's next for Doug. Enjoy his interview!

The virtues of practicing

The virtues of practicing

Remember that old saying, "How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice." It's so true — one doesn't just decide to become a master musician and then waltz into Carnegie Hall. It takes years (and years...and years) of practicing one's craft to get to that place in the music world. And it's not just musicianship that requires that kind of dedicated practicing — it pretty much applies to any area of life that you want to excel at.

How full is your energy tank?

How full is your energy tank?

Energy is everything. You get that, right? If I told you that your ability to reach your goals was greatly dependent on how you invest your energy, would you be willing to examine HOW your are spending your energy each day? Good. Because you should. I see this constantly with my private coaching clients and in the Path Course. Which is why I created a simple tool for you to gauge your energy called the Energy Evaluation. In just a few minutes, you can take stock of how you're managing your energy and put yourself in a more powerful place because of it.

Goodbye 2016!

Goodbye 2016!

2016. What a year! I've heard so many people (personally and in the media) say that this is one of the worst years in recent memory. And, while 2016 has undoubtedly been a chaotic one (particularly from a social/political POV), I don't want to blanket-statement it with "worst year ever." Like many others, I'm happy to welcome in 2017, but I also have some fond memories from the past year, both personally (watching my daughter grow into this amazing little person) and professionally (I can't tell you how many times I've come out of a coaching session feeling energized and inspired by my clients).