Tag Archives: Creativity

Summer Camp and Living a good life

27 Sep

I went to summer camp as a child. We didn’t go too far from home but we were without our parents. It was a good exercise in learning how to reach out to strangers for help. We also were continuing to learn how to connect well with others (something I relearned as an adult from Scott Dinsmore’s Connect with Anyone course at WDS).

Summer camp as an adult is much the same to me. Yes, I did say summer camp for adults. You haven’t heard of such a thing. If it wasn’t Camp GLP, I’m sure there are others.

I usually pick and go to events for a sense of connection. I seek to be around other people that are doing amazing things. I want to connect with others I can learn from and grow with. I also seek those with similar values and beliefs. The older we get the clearer these get (in theory and hopefully in practice). That’s not to say our values and beliefs don’t change but they do hold more importance than when I was 10. I have less tolerance to be around people I don’t believe in or that don’t believe in me.

I went to Camp GLP this summer and it was fantastic. I met so many awesome people and there were so many more that I’m sure were just as awesome that I didn’t get to connect with. I laughed a lot. I cried multiple times. I co-created art. I listened. I sang. I talked till I was hoarse. I exercised. I broke down some of my walls and barriers. It was a very vulnerable and raw experience and I loved every minute of it. The one thing I didn’t get was a lot of was sleep.

Why did I choose to go to camp as an adult?

Some very good friends of mind encouraged me to go. They told me that for them it had been life changing. I have similar values and interests to them. The price seemed like a good investment so I signed up. Then slowly I met more and more people online and in person that would be there. It just kept getting better and better. Although, I still felt a bit like I was coming to the party a little late since this was year two. But the more people I met the more I knew I belonged.

We were going all day long, from six in the morning till after midnight each day. We had speakers, workshops, group exercise, meditation, meals and a whole lot of other activities to occupy our mind, body and spirit. It was a different kind of “conference”. It wasn’t just about the speakers or the content, in fact that was my least memorable part, it was about living a good life in mind, body and spirit. We learned new exercises, meditation practices, how to be more vulnerable, new ways to connect with people and show up. We learned how to be more grateful to ourselves and connect with others on a much deeper level than you do outside of camp. It’s like you are in a bubble of love and you never want to leave.

If you are the 5 people that you most surround yourself with, you must pick wisely.

What did I learn for business at camp? 

The most practicable, actionable, content came from Derek Halpern on how to launch a video course. Will I be launching one? I’ve seriously considered it even before camp so that may be happening. When? I’m not sure since I just launched my new website (most blogs posted there now) and my first ebook. I have so much I want to do! So much I want to give to the world.

At camp, I also learned how to have more confidence, how to have better relationships, how to get in my writing groove and so much more. But mostly what stuck was how to show up with my authentic self and really, deeply, truly connect with other people. Something that is so important to me. It’s a big value. Just like vitality. To live life now, because tomorrow may never come.

What do you want to be remembered for?

P.S. I wrote this post before I learned of Scott’s passing. I can’t believe the impact he had on me and so many others. He is all over this post and I didn’t even realize how much until I re-read it to post after his passing. I am in shock learning of his death.Without Scott I would have not some of my best friends that I have been in a mastermind group with ever since we started his passion course over two years ago. Thank you Scott!

I hope you all know how precious life is. Do something that matters…and remember to look up.

10 tips for better photos

1 Sep

Here are my top 10 tips to help you take better photos

1. Avoid distracting elements such as too much light / dark, light / dark elements. Try to set either a light or dark tone for your overall image.

2. Eliminate distracting elements that draw your eye in a bad way. Examples: If things are too close to the edge they will create unwanted tension because your eye wants to close the small gap. If there’s red in a picture it usually is the brightest element and can draw your eye even if it’s not what you wanted the viewer to focus on.

3. Don’t center things, it creates more interest when things are off center. Asymmetry moves your eye around the image more than if things are exactly centered. When things are centered rather than in thirds, your eye just looks and rests only in the center.

4. If you want to really impact people with your work. Think of how to photograph the subject from a different view (physically or emotionally).

5. Depth of field matters. You want to illicit emotion and movement of the eye. You want to focus on one subject and let the rest fall away / become the background. Your other option is to have everything tack sharp (everything all in focus). For sure, one thing in your picture has to be tack (meaning REALLY) sharp in the photo. Pick your focus: all in focus or only one element that’s focused really well, that will create your one emotion.

6. The fewer the elements, the stronger the composition. As you don’t need too many words in a sentence, you don’t need too many elements in a photo. It gets distracting. Have a resting place like the sky or the ground. Plus, if you have that space you can create images like this for your brand:

Light Our Own Way

7. Give scale by not all things being the same size. If everything was the same size in the photo it wouldn’t be as dynamic. Same goes for a headline in an ad. If it was the same size it wouldn’t draw you into the article.

8. When taking pictures of people, make sure that they don’t have a tree coming out of their heads.

9. If the photo is a close up picture of a person, make sure their eyes are in focus. That is the most important thing on the face to focus on. It will draw you into the portrait.

10. Remember that posture also matters a lot when taking pictures of people. You want them to shine in your photo, not look like Oscar the slouch that has no figure.


If you are trying to figure out what to do for your own head shot session, check out this blog post for tips.

If you like this post I’m coming out with an ebook very soon. It has expanded tips as well as example photos. Leave a comment if you want to know when the book is available.

The world doesn’t have enough I love you’s

25 Aug

Have you ever wondered what fills you up? Lights you up? What replenishes your cup? Well, I was challenged by Jonathan Fields of the Good Life Project to do just that and I thought I’d share some of it with you in case it helps.

The challenge is to fill each of these buckets: community, vitality and contribution. They just so happen to be three of my core values. Community and vitality are also two of my core desired feelings (from the Desire Map). How do I feel these feelings or do things that fill up these buckets? I wrote a list. If I am ever at a loss I can do something small on this list or something a bit bigger.

  1. Write a list of your closest friends, near and far. When you feel sad or lonely, write to one of them. Pick out a piece of paper or card and write something nice. Then pop it in the mail with a good old fashioned stamp. You’ll feel good and they’ll feel better having received it.
  2. Pick up the phone and call a friend. So often we think we should text, email or instant message them. This isn’t connection. It’s a farce. Social media can fool you about what’s going on in a person’s life because it’s filtered through them and through the channel itself (ever heard of Facebook algorithms…don’t get me started). By picking up the phone you can hear the tone in their voice. You can ask questions and you can listen to the answers. You can laugh or cry together. You can’t do that online. It’s not the same.
  3. Hug someone. They say that hugging someone for 20 seconds is really good for you emotionally and physically. Don’t believe me, here’s some proof.
  4. Tell someone you love them. Bonus points if you can also tell them one reason why you love them. Extra bonus if it’s in person.
  5. Write love notes to yourself or positive affirmations and stick it somewhere that you’ll see it on a daily basis. If you don’t like writing it yourself they sell cards or calendars that you can flip though or look at when you need to feel more awesome. Here’s one I like: The Present Moment: 365 Daily Affirmations
  6. Do something with a friend. It doesn’t matter what you do, just do something with someone. You’ll feel better if you listen to them, hug them or even tell them you love them while you are hanging out. There shouldn’t be any more of this stingy “I love you” business. If you love having someone in your life tell them you love them (in the platonic, I’m already married but you are an awesome friend sort of way).
  7. Get out of your head. Meditate and/or listen to some emotional balancing systems. It totally helps to clear out the clutter and try to have some quiet for a few moments every day. I know I feel like a better person when I do this.
  8. Do morning pages. If you have never heard of this check out The Artist’s Way. It teaches you about morning pages. They are pretty much a brain dump that you do every morning. It does help to make you more creative. So can reading The War of Art. Fight the resistance! Create more! Or as another friend of mine says: Make. Make. Make.
  9. Exercise. So often when I’m busy this is the first item that gets cut but it’s so beneficial for my mind and body. To me running is a form of meditation. When I don’t get my exercise in I can be more crabby. I don’t have all those happy brain chemicals that I need.
  10. Get out into nature. Nature helps you feel more grounded. I know that when I’m cranky, if I just go on a hike or go to a park I feel better. I feel more at one with the world. It’s not all woo-woo and it’s different than running though the city as I often do. Being in nature just works. I’m sure there’s a study on it too! I just didn’t look because I know it works for me. Try it.
  11. Treat yourself as a friend. This is a big struggle for me. I give the best advice to friends but am so hard on myself. Gosh darn it, I should be my own best friend. I should be treated that way. So instead of being hard on yourself, ask what you would tell a friend.
  12. Ask yourself what do you need in this very moment. Listen to the response. Your heart should help you answer. There’s some techniques to help you with this if it’s hard for you to hear the answers.
  13. Keep it simple. Sometimes all you have to do is do something simple for someone like pick up something they dropped, hold the door, tell someone thank you, smile, look someone in the eye when they are talking to you, listen when someone talks to you.
  14. Go on a date with yourself. What do you like to do? Go by yourself and enjoy the time alone.
  15. Join a community if you haven’t found one already. I’m a part of the WDS group and they are always ones to fill my bucket.
  16. Play. What is something that you enjoy that you don’t do enough? Or perhaps you can think of those things you used to do as a kid that lit you up. Chances are you’ll probably still enjoy those things today.
  17. Ask someone how you can help them. Just offer, even if they say no, they’ll appreciate it.
  18. Give a compliment. It doesn’t matter who you give it to, a perfect stranger or a friend. Giving compliments can change someone’s outlook on life. Believe me. I wrote blog post on it.
  19. Do something you’ve never done before. Be a kid again. I know I said this already, but it needs repeating (maybe just for me, but maybe for you too).
  20. Travel. Whenever I travel that fills my bucket for a long time. I’m over flowing. I do so many of the above things when I travel, especially when I head out of the country.


I think my favorite item on the list (besides travel of course!) is to write a hand written letter to someone that means something to me and tell them something nice. I’m working on doing that at least 20 times before Camp GLP. But first I endeavored to make the cards. I wanted to be more personal. I think this might be a bit of procrastination. But I know it means something when you give something of yourself. Giving your gifts to the world is the best thing you can do. Just remember that you don’t have to be perfect with your gifts. It’s your imperfections that make you, you.

You are not alone, we are all in this together.


I sell prints if you want one. I can change the colors too!

P.S. You’re wonderful. Thanks for reading. You’d be wonderful even if you didn’t read this but you’re here so I thought I’d tell you how much I appreciate you.


Wisdom and inspiration from my WDS soul tribe

27 Jul Activate: Brave Bot

My journey to the unconventional life I lead now wasn’t long in miles (unless you count airline miles) but long in years. It took me a while to actually live the life I wanted to live. I always thought I couldn’t do it or I wasn’t ready. One thing WDS 2014 taught me was that taking imperfect action and starting before you are ready are the two things we all need to do more often. You learn so much when you just start. You don’t have to be perfect, you just have to start. You have to live the life you want to live before you can actually live it.

Sounds confusing, right?

It’s not. Let me tell you about my favorite lessons from this year’s World Domination Summit. Maybe it will help you live the life you’ve always wanted. I know it’s helped me already!

AJ Jacobs told us to be bold. To be experimental. To act the way we want to feel. If your body acts how you want to feel your mind will catch on eventually. At least, that’s what science says so it must be true. Acting how you want to live will start to be how you actually live. For me that means putting a smile on my face when I’m feeling down or frustrated. Not walking all hunched over but instead putting on my invisible cape and letting my enthusiasm lead the way.

You just have to fake it till you make it. And, it’s not really faking it, it’s just starting before you’re ready. Maybe you need to look in the mirror and give your old friend a pep talk about how awesome you are. I know I need this kick in the pants some days. (insert power pose here — that’s right stand up, do it…you’ll feel better)

Be bold. Be experimental. Dream. Do.

Jadah Sellner of Simple Green Smoothies, taught us that building a business is like building a relationship. The first thing you should do is say your dreams out loud. Doing that tells the world what you want and people will help you get there and it also means that you are really asking for it.

Take imperfect action to achieve your dreams. You don’t have to know everything you are doing because you will learn along the way. All successful people have failed, you just might not know it, but I’m sure if you ask they will tell you about it. In fact, why don’t you do just that. If you are having trouble reach out to your mentors. Ask them how they got there.

The last thing you need to do is learn to let go. You can’t do everything to be successful in business. Learn what you are good at and do that. Hire professionals for the rest. Also, let go of those dreams that just aren’t working out. It’s ok. You’ve got other dreams you can work on. Don’t forget that in each of us is a 5 year old that has many dreams. Always be dreaming and doing…

I'm Melissa Jones and I am somebody

Michael Hyatt taught me that there are three kinds of life we can be living or maybe we’ve been living each of them at different points in our life. I know I’ve been in all three, probably just this week! There’s the drifting life where you are just floating and not really engaged or knowing what’s going on around you. You’re just going through the motions. I know I’ve been in this phase when going through a really rough patch in my life, I called it the fog. I didn’t know when I was in it till I was starting to climb out.

If you know that the drifting life isn’t for you, then you may be on the opposite side of the spectrum, leading the driven life. You are overcorrecting and trying to never drift. You’re trying to always be in control of everything. You aren’t letting go of anything but good health because you are stressed all the time. This is me when I let go of my self care (running, time with friends, time away from my computer). When I’m working so hard during the week, I don’t take any time for me. I feel horrible. I’ve forgotten what I want my life to be like. What’s work for, if you can’t play too?

The third life is the intentional life, it’s the desired life. You are doing the things that are important to you and focusing on how you want to be remembered. You are leaving your mark on the world and being a better person because of it. You are doing what matters to you. You are putting on your own air mask before assisting others. You can’t help others if you are dying. Wake up! Stop drifting and overcorrecting. Life is short. Here’s my story about waking up!

Go outside your comfort zone and live.

Elise Blaha Cripe, was a last minute addition to the WDS speaker list and one that really resonated with me as an artist. She was another that spoke to the theme of dreams and saying them out loud. She was also a huge proponent of breaking down your large goals into actionable to do lists. Doing this makes achieving your dreams more manageable. You just have to focus on step one. Then step two. Not looking into the future, just focusing on the here and now. The one step you have right in front of you. I’m so guilty of messing this one up. I can get really bogged down in my to do list without focusing on one thing at a time. When I do this, often called multi-tasking, I’ve screwed up everything I’ve been working on to some degree. When I do this, I have to remember to slow down and focus. Turn off my distractions and really prioritize. I really need to start going for a walk. I need to be clearing my head and remembering to put on a smile (and a cape if needed) before starting work again.

If you don’t know where to start ask someone that’s been there, they’ll tell you the steps. Take bold moves or you’ll never achieve anything beyond what you’ve already done. Speak your dreams out load and get on board with your own ideas. Get others to hold you accountable or help you when you get stuck. This works! Do it and do it often! If the thing you want to do has never been done before, do it. If you make something for you, chances are others will benefit from it too. If not, your life isn’t over, move on to the next dream. It’s ok to fail, that’s how we learn to succeed.

Find your tribe, if you haven’t already.

Start a mastermind, resource circle or accountability group. I’ve had a group of four ladies that I’ve met with online for the past four years. WDS 2014 was the first year we were all together in person. It was amazing! And it all started because I asked for some accountability friends for a course we all signed up for. They answered the call and now I have three friends for life! Who knows what more you can have in your life if you just ask. That reminds me of last year’s speech by Jia Jiang. Take risks, make the big asks…stop being afraid of rejection.

We’re all in this together. We’re all family, really, just look at our family tree.

WDS is truly my soul tribe, the place where I belong.

 I'm Melissa Jones and I want to change the world!

Make good choices! — John Jantsch

 Are you a maker or afraid of your own ideas? I know I’m a maker that’s afraid to ship…sometimes!

Get comfortable with the uncomfortable. Jump! — Scott Berkun

Read more about my leap into helping awesompreneurs “full time”. My jump into the intentional life.

 I help awesompreneurs!

WDS is all about inspiration, adventure and service to the world! Let’s do this!

Full speed ahead!

How can I help you today?

TEDx inspiration

12 May

I went to my first live TEDx event and it was fabulous. All the inspiration you get when you watch the talks online but you also get the comraderie of seeing these talks live with 200 other people.  Plus, you get to network with those people. They are potential friends, business partners and future collaborators.

My highlights from TEDx ConcordiaUPortland:

When you don’t know what to do, do something. Don’t just sit there and do nothing. It’s one small thing that will take you on a path to the next thing and then pretty soon you are that much closer to your BIG goal. All big goals should be broken down into smaller goals anyway. It helps make them more achievable. Dream big. Have adventures…it makes you smarter, stronger and more attractive.  — Tyler Tervooren

I should have taken a gap year! Something you don’t learn in school in the U.S., I feel. You learn that you should graduate high school, then you need to go to college or get a job. No one really helps you find yourself. That’s where a gap year can come in handy. You get to live a dream and explore the world, all while trying to figure out what you want to do for the rest of your life. In case you don’t already know, you can’t absorb a culture from a book. You must go there to really experience it. Connecting with others in their culture is magical. It’s worth every cold shower and lizard on the wall. Trust. If you don’t, you’ll live in fear. — Rita Golden Gelman

If you make a lot of things, it makes it clear what matters. Making a lot of small things, really does add up to something big. You need to be determined to prove that voice in your head wrong. It’s not your job to judge your work, it’s your job to make the work. People never agree on the crap and the greatness. You should be more afraid of making nothing than making something bad. The collective is always better than the individual pieces or steps. — Jolie Guillebeau

Everyone has a disability in their life whether is’s temporary or permanent, noticeable or not. — Catherine J. H. Miller

Community is formed around a pint that is changing the world. — Ryan Saari started the first non-profit pub.

Treat others how you imagine they dream of being treated, including yourself (I don’t know about you but I need more practice on this one!). When you are hard on yourself, you are hard on others. That’s the Golden Rule 2.0 by Ryan Wines.

Know your true goal. Follow your passion. Begin with Balance. Entrepreneurship is just a tool to build the life you want. Don’t sacrifice balance for a big payoff. All you need is a teaspoon of passion to work on something. Don’t kill your biggest passions by turning them into a business. It will take the fun out of it. Build a relationship with work that suits your lifestyle. — Michelle Rowley

Far too often when we are trying to think of something creative we start looking at what others are doing and we don’t look to our own natural filter first. Take the golden moment and think abut your own expertise and originality. Stand up, move around, take a walk, take a shower. Your idea will come if you foster this creativity inside yourself. — Michael Curry

Love yourself first. Then love your neighbor. You can’t offer someone else a drink if your cup is empty. How about you exchange full cups? Respect each other. Treat yourself as you would treat a friend. Look in a mirror if you have to. — Saeeda Wright


If there is a local TEDx event in your community check it out. Other great events in Portland are Pioneer Nation and WDS. All great communities with amazing people!

Feel free to share or comment. I love having conversations about inspirational ideas, amazing events and great people!


PDX Pioneer for life

4 Apr

Pioneer nation is a small, intimate gathering of people running their own businesses or having an idea of something they want to start. It’s about bettering ourselves, our business and making the world a more awesome place. It’s about having conversations and making connections.

I’m now part of the tribe that says, “Chris G picks my friends.” Chris Guillebeau tends to bring the best and most interesting people together in one place. I’m happy to have these people as my tribe, the place I belong. Thank you Chris for all that you do! And thank you to everyone on the team that makes WDS and Pioneer Nation happen. You rock!

Some of my biggest takeaways from Pioneer Nation are in the “slogans” I heard.

Here are some of my favorites and what it means:

You are not alone. — Stop doing it all. Ask for help. We aren’t good at everything and you can’t succeed on your own. You can try but I’m pretty sure it’s impossible. I mean, really, do you want to be your own plumber, cook, gardner, mechanic, accountant, lawyer, business partner? Need I go on? I think you get the point. We all specialize and we all need other services that people specialize in.

Your heart is your compass. — If something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. If you don’t want to finish the movie or book you started because you don’t like it, you don’t have to. Find something else you like better and do that. If something feels good, do it…all within reason of course. You don’t need to drink the whole bottle of wine or drive like a race car driver on the highway. Be kind to others. Come from a place of kindness but also with intention.

Take those crazy bets! — Crazy bets are the ones that pay off the most. If given an opportunity, take it! What’s the worst that will happen?

A shot of Fernet can lead to a lot. — You’re sitting next to someone in a bar. Maybe you should talk to them. Maybe you should buy them a drink. You never know where it can lead unless you start that conversation. Maybe they become your best friend or your business partner but you’ll never know unless you approach people as potential friends. Don’t be nervous. We’re all in this together. We all belong. We all offer value of some kind.

Hurry up and fail. Fail more often. — Successful people have failed a lot. You just don’t know that about them. They’re known for their success and you can be known for that as well. So, the faster you fail, the faster you can succeed. Make it. Ship it. Fail. Try again until you succeed.

Power pose it up! — If you don’t know what this is check this out. It really works! Try it every morning. You can also check out Cold Shower Therapy. Great for getting comfortable with the uncomfortable. Nick offers daily wisdom to help you along the way. Things to think about in life and in business to make you better. Who knew you could get this from the shower?

Mostly I just rip off other people’s stuff. — It’s all been done before but you are what makes you and your offerings unique. Give your business your own personal style. Make it yours. Give your business a personality. Your personal brand. If you need help, call me. Ok, well I’m not really going to give out my phone number to everyone on the web but you get the idea. I’m here for you. If not me, find another designer that likes what you are doing.

I have nothing to lose. — What’s the worst case scenario? You fail? We’ve already covered that above. So, you’ll try again or they say no. Ask someone else. Refine it and try again. You only lose if you never enter the race.

Fail the fu*k out of life! — Again, fail. Fail faster. Fail a lot. If you don’t fail, you’ll probably never succeed.

Think big, talk small. — You may have grandiose dreams for yourself and your business but if you don’t talk to the people that are actually using your services (or products), you’ll never know what you’re doing right or wrong.

Do no harm. Use your powers for good. — As stated above, you don’t need to harm others to do good in the world. There’s room for all of us to succeed. In fact, your mentors will probably help you if you ask.

Say yes!! Say no! — Kind of another way to say some of the above. Say yes to the things that excite you or that feel good. Say no to the things that bore you. You only have one life (I know this is debatable), make it a good one. Make every day count!

Don’t survive, THRIVE! — Don’t just sit back and survive or be a passenger in life. Go out and do things, take action, create things and live your dreams. If you aren’t living outside your comfort zone, you aren’t really living, you’re surviving.


Whew! I think that’s a wrap. For now.

So thankful for all my new wisdom and all my new friends. #pdxpioneer for life!

Roux Roamer tweets

Some live tweeting from PN

For more tweets and awesome adventures follow me on Instagram and/or Twitter @rouxroamer!

For more about WDS 2012 and 2013.


24 Dec

The holidays are here again. It’s always hard around the holidays when you’ve lost a loved one. The holidays are never the same.

I struggle to be happy and cheerful at the holidays because I feel pain for my loss. I struggle to know what to do. What are my family traditions? Why are they important? What do you want to do for the holidays? What do you not want to do? I have struggled to answer these questions for the past three years. I have not felt like celebrating but this year as the fog lifts things are becoming clearer. I want to honor my mom and carry on with the way things were when she was alive as Christmas was her favorite holiday. She was like a kid in a candy store when it came to Christmas.

When I was a kid we had so many lights on our Christmas tree and our house that you needed sunglasses to look at them. We had Santa Clause and 9 (four foot tall) elves that graced our yard and candy canes that lined the driveway. All of these items were hand made by my mother. She was pretty handy with a jigsaw and some paint, although she never considered herself creative next to me. I wish she would have known just how wonderful and creative she was. Her love of Christmas brought joy to so many faces. Our street would be lined with cars looking at the Christmas decorations every year. Each car was filled with families that were amazed by the lights. The hard work was always worth it to her so she and everyone else who drove by could enjoy it.

Thank you mom for showing me joy. I miss you this holiday and every day since you passed.

I wish everyone the happiest holiday they can have!