Hey, welcome back to the CreatiVisibility Podcast. This is me, this is Bret Shuford, your Creative Life Coach. And I am so nervous to actually talk about this episode because it requires some vulnerability. But it's also something that I've not been that shy about. Because I honestly think that it's important when something is life changing, when you have discovered something about yourself, it's very easy to want to hide some things out of fear of how people will perceive it. You know, in my experience, especially coming out in high school, when you keep secrets, they build shame, and they can be dangerous, right? Shame is if you listened to Brene, Brown is can be toxic, not only emotionally, spiritually, but you know, even physically. And that's one of the reasons why I tend to be very vocal about things because I have learned that discussing openly, things that I might have are perceived as shameful releases the shame. And I think it's Oh, important for us to be able to really get honest with ourselves. And this isn't necessary to be honest with other people. I mean, I think it's helpful. I think it's ethical, I think it has integrity, but getting honest with yourself, which can be scary. And I want to acknowledge that, you know, if you are struggling in any way, know that there are ways to get help. I am not a therapist, I am a certified life coach. But I highly suggest therapy, I sort of think of therapy as like the way I go to the gym for my body, I go to therapy for my mind, it exercises those skills, and helps me get objective points of view on things that sometimes I can be really in the weeds about. So if you're somebody who is struggling with addiction, or any emotional mental health issues, call someone call 911. Find a therapist, I found my therapist through the actress fund. So if you're in the performing arts community, the actress Fund is a wonderful resource that is easy to access. They're there to help people in our community. So now on with the show, what is your personal development plan? Have you ever thought about that? You know, I never really thought about personal development as a skill, I always thought we are growing up. It was not something my family highly prioritized. What most people growing up in my history of the South, their personal development plan was praying that Jesus would make it all work out. That didn't necessarily mean that they learned how to, you know, have their own thought processes or critical thinking or learning how to trust their instincts or listen to their gut. Knowing that my family taught meditation, we did pray, and we went to church. And that was about it. I do remember very vividly watching. My parents use alcohol as a coping skill. You know, whenever things would get stressful, and they did a lot, you know, I had a brother with special needs. He was the oldest. And then there were three of us, including me and my twin brother, and we're all less than two years apart. So it was a very stressful home for particularly my mother who was home the most dealing with four boys. And I recall, you know, the beer and the booze and I remember the liquor cabinet. But for me learning how to take care of myself in my adult life was really the first step to my creative success. Like I said, I was winging it for most of my early life. But when I made the decision, I was 25 when I made the decision to get sober one day at a time. That was when things really unlocked for me. I found the 12 step program and maybe it's not for you. But the 12 step program, I think is a wonderful program that most spiritual or personal development coaches, they almost all are based on the similar processes, right. So whatever your program is, you know, for me 12 step recovery was really where it started in.
It wasn't until I made that decision that I actually booked my first Broadway show. And I want to talk a little bit about why I think that is and how you can maybe even create your own system whether you decide to go and find meetings. or find other help. But what you have to have, I believe, and I have seen this wholeheartedly, having some sort of personal development process in your life is going to increase your success tenfold. You know, so maybe you're not an alcoholic, or drug addicts. But I want to help you learn to put self care first, so that you can actually get the success you've been waiting for. So this isn't just a podcast on personal development. For me, this is a confession. I had struggled with addiction, I struggled with alcoholism. But now I thrive as a successful artist and entrepreneur because I took care of myself. But I only am able to do it one day at a time. More on that in a minute. So maybe a personal development plan doesn't require you to go to meetings, or to give up this thing that you love to do. But I tell you something, it cannot hurt sobriety for me previous to getting sober. I really had no coping skills, I grew up in a very codependent household. And a lot of things were done for me, I think we see a lot of that happen, especially my generation where the parents did a lot of things to help their kids. And it's really based out of love and wanting to support them. But what I hadn't figured out how to do was pay my bills or prioritize health like eating healthy, or, you know, I had no control. It was like, if I had an impulse to do something, I just did it. Because I was like, I'm just gonna go for it. I'm going to try it. And perhaps that's privilege. But that was really where my life was. But a big part of that was, like I mentioned earlier, growing up, we prayed and went to church. But when I came out of the closet, I had been taught for most of my childhood that being gay was against God's will that it was wrong. And when I came out of the closet, I pretty much abandoned my spiritual life. And everything that I had been taught around self care, which was based on church. And so I did not have a sense of belonging, or spiritual life, I kind of let it go. I abandoned it because I felt abandoned by it. Right. And I think so many people in the LGBTQ plus community who maybe have grown in a conservative background probably feel the same way. So what did I do? I immersed myself so hard in performing and which is easy to do when you're in college, and you're taking dance classes all the time, you're in all the shows. Even in the summers, I was doing summer stock and working professionally, that when I graduated college 911 happened almost three months after that, and I was living alone in New York City, and I had no coping skills. And at that point, I was a total pothead. I love smoking weed. I haven't smoked weed in 17 years, but this is how I know I'm an addict. I still fantasize about it. I still just think about it. It's like that's my one. Vice. I speak about that, honestly, because I know that that's a gateway for me. So I was total pothead. And then also, like, if Pete fan went to a party I just wanted to fit in, I wanted people to think that I belonged there. So if I went to a party, and there were drugs, or if I went to a club, and somebody offered me a powder or substance, I would just do it. I had no boundaries, because I really hadn't learned how to take care of myself. And I remember it was you know, for me, rock bottom was, I was months behind on my rent, I had no food. I had plenty of red wine and weed. And that was a problem, right? With I wasn't performing. I didn't not know who I was. And I felt like especially gay men in the gay community. And this was 2001 Things have evolved and changed in 20 years, but at the time, I felt the only one to one thing. And I felt like and that was only worth that. So it was a self esteem. It was self worth.
I thought maybe I could use my flirtation and my body to have a career perhaps. But I was struggling. I would miss out on auditions. I would oversleep I was just like it was irresponsible. So I remember I got a therapist, and I'm still with this therapist to this day. Hilarious enough. I cannot believe that he feels like family to me now. And I would go to therapy once a week, I was able to find him, like I said, through the Actors Fund, and he was doing at the time, a sliding scale. So I was able to afford it. And I would go in and be like, I blacked out again this weekend. I just don't know why that keeps happening. I would have blackout roughly once a week, I would get I'm not know how I got home, or I'd wake up and be like, What happened last night? And he's like, Do you have a drinking problem? I was like, No, it's not the drinking. I everyone I know drinks the way I do. It was codependency it was anything but. And he said, Well, if you don't have a drinking problem, money, you stop drinking. I was like, Oh, that's good point. And I couldn't do it. So then I started going to meetings. And it was there that I heard people speaking very honestly and openly about their lives and their feelings. I'd never heard people speak. So truthfully. And it was shocking to me. And I realized how much I was afraid to be honest. I was afraid I was going to abandon my family, I was afraid that I had abandoned my family, I felt, you know, so that struck a chord with me, that willingness to just be transparent, that willingness to show up one day at a time. And that was a big lesson. For me, it was somebody I said, I don't know if I can stop drinking forever. And they said, You don't have to stop drinking forever. You just have to get through today. Can you get through today. And that lesson of one day at a time was something I never thought of I had been living my whole life, trying to get to the next four years, right? If I could just get out of high school, I can be gay, if I came out of college, I could be on Broadway, you know, it was like, I hadn't thought of my life past that. And it was through there that I learned about service. And you start doing these step by step right, the 12 step program. So that and learning from other people and learning that other people can connect with you. And it doesn't require any sort of sexual or flirtation or any things I like, my worth was more than that. And I really learned how to have self esteem and do stainable things and ask for help, and offer help and be of service to others. And it wasn't just about me. So that personal development plan that really kind of set the wheels in motion. That's when I started reading more books, and I done self help books. And you know, I love the artists way, which if you don't know the book, the artists way, that is a great place to start. For many creatives, the system set up in the artists way, which is a book by Julia Cameron, it's an 12 week, ironically, 12 weeks 12 steps, basically workbook to help unlock your creativity. But there's some great exercises in there, including morning pages and artist dates, that can really help you if you're wanting to just get those basics. But some things you might want to consider. If going to, you're like I'm not willing to admit I have a problem or go to a meeting. That's fine. You don't have to, but do have something in place. One thing I've found really helpful is some people love Tony Robbins, a lot of Tony Robbins stuff. And you can, he's a great salesman, so don't get too caught up in the sales of like paying for his major courses. He has some great audio books that teach those things. Brendon Burchard, has a great audio book about the habits, about creating habits. But again, great salesman, he will try to upsell you, I just want to and not that there's anything wrong with that. Like if you had the money, you want to purchase those things, go for it. But I do find sometimes those guys can be a bit overwhelming in the sales department. But it's also kind of aspirational and inspiring. But I want you to think about how can you take better care of yourself physically, emotionally and mentally. For me physically, I just have learned about myself, I will not show up for myself physically to work out or anything like that
if someone else isn't there to hold me accountable. So I learned very over the years, I need to go to a class where there's a teacher I've paid and a teacher is waiting for me. If I've paid and invested the money, I will show up. If someone's waiting for me, I will show up. If I have to show up for myself. I just won't do it. That's just me being totally honest. So I need to figure out how can I afford for me when I was working in my last Broadway show, I would go to my yoga studio twice a week and I would go to Barry's boot camp three times a week. It was an investment so I had to budget that in so that I knew that I was putting my physical health as a priority. I also need I also wear really tight clothes and that shows so I needed to like look good, but what do you know about yourself, and are you willing to admit it? First off? And then can you set up a system so that you're like, you know what, I know this about me. So I'm going to set this up so that I can be successful in this emotionally. Like I said, I think having a therapist having meetings are great, because you can put your hand up and you can share and you can talk about your feelings. Mental health is just as important as physical health. And I don't think we all prioritize that enough. Can there are ways to afford mental health, you don't need to fork it out and pay for the most expensive therapists, there are online programs. Now you can call organizations like the actress fund your local community, especially for LGBTQ plus people, most major cities have a community center that you can get some resources, there's group meetings, so don't be afraid to ask for help. Another thing you should think about is what are things you love to do, and maybe even things you used to love to do that you haven't done in a long time? I always like to when I'm working with one on one with clients, they're especially clients who are maybe you're feeling caught up in the industry or their business, and they're like, Okay, what else do I need to be doing? I usually go, Okay, you need to do something fun and creative, that has no result at the end, it is just because you want to do it. And that could be coloring. By the way. If you've never downloaded my CreativeMindsetReset.com Right of mine, totally free. I built this whole free mindset training that has coloring pages with coloring Broadway, which is they take Broadway lyrics and they make beautiful coloring pages that you can color. But we have free downloadable pages, you can print them out and color them yourself. Super fun way to help center yourself. But back to this, like I know for me, I loved painting. As a kid, I love doing crafts, like me a quick trip to Michael's arts and crafts store to buy a couple things that I can spend an afternoon making, or even decorating for Christmas, I just had the best time decorating our house. While you know you may spend a little bit of money, it's such a great reward on the soul to be able to do things you love to do just because not because they're going to make you money or make your career take off. How can you take more time for yourself so that your creativity doesn't just get suffocated by the demands of everyday life. So taking time off, I say this all the time, doing nothing is doing something, when's the last time you just sat on the couch, didn't even watch TV just like breathe in the air went for a walk, you know, go to the park. I know for me, sometimes I feel like if I'm not doing something I'm not being productive. But the opposite is true. It's that time in between when you're resting, that you actually can let the universe or God or whatever you believe, do the work that you've set into motion. And again, you might need accountability around this, you might need somebody that you say hey, what are you doing Thursday, let's set a date, let's go sit in the park, let's do nothing or let's go to museum or whatever that is, do it, I promise you will be rewarded on the other side of that in ways that you don't even know. Take time off doing nothing is doing something. So I'd like to share with you some simple exercises that I found really helpful in my own personal development plan your PDP, how do you put your PDP in place? Like I said, the artists way is a really great place to start. But you do want to just start by acknowledging things that might be getting in the way. journaling. The artists wait talks about mourning pages, which is just three pages of journaling.
If you don't like to write, can you do a voice memo? Just talk? I mean, here I am talking on a podcast to you spilling all the beans. But don't censor yourself, find a place where you feel safe to be able to share all of who you are, and get those thoughts out of your head. Because sometimes we can get a little bit foggy in the thought processes. Have you spent time really thinking about your values? Steven and I literally just last week, we're driving the car. And so let's have a discussion. We had a we drove up to Dallas for a hotel stay. We were put up for two nights. And it's about a three and a half hour drive. I was like let's have a conversation about values. What are the things you value and we picked our top five values and for me it was integrity creativity, we both value adventure which is very evident if you follow us on Instagram because our lives are constantly in some sort of adventure. I love to have to be playful and funny and if you follow me in Instagram, you see my reels, that's pretty evident. And then I also really love achievement, I want to feel like I've accomplished something on the other side of things. So what I really thought about your values and written them down and looked at how are you displaying your values and what values are less evident on a day to day basis for you, and can you put some more emphasis on them, I start with most of my clients, we start by talking about creating a vision board. So once you've gotten really clear about your values, and really clarifying the vision of what you want your life to be, create something that you manifests that vision in physical form that you can look at on a daily basis, every day, you want to be able to train your brain to believe that it's possible. And if every day you're not reminding yourself of your values and your vision, your brain is going to automatically train itself towards the negative. So you have to train it towards the positive again, download the app, creative mindset reset.com. That's a great way to start help getting your your brain trained in the right way. And then lastly, just make some time each day for some form of self care whether it's exercise, a meeting, going for a walk in nature, unplugging turning the phone off, turning the computer off, really look at what are the things you know, everything we talked about here, what are some things you can do on a daily basis to help yourself physically, emotionally and mentally. As always, make sure you subscribe to this podcast, especially leave a review. If you got some value out of this. Let me know in the show notes. There's a link you can click there to let me know what content you would like to hear or discussions you'd like to have here. Or maybe even guests you'd like to have on the creative visibility podcast. And don't forget to keep being the courageous creative that you were meant to be