Tag: Mental Health

Podcast – The Beautiful Mind of Contemporary Artist Nicole Little

The Beautiful Mind of Contemporary Artist Nicole Little

Hello, my name is Michael Bolé and I have high functioning Aspergers.

It took me years to acknowledge this to myself and therefore accept myself for what I am. I have come to learn that it isn't a drawback, it’s a trait that allows me to be an artist because when I trigger it right I can hyper-focus.

#KnowThyself #LoveThyself

It's more akin to having a mutant power. Imagine one day you’re living your life and suddenly laser beams shoot out of your eyes; fire everywhere. It's considered a mental illness because society doesn't necessarily know how to deal with anything that doesn’t conform to “normal” standards. Though there has been a greater emphasis on starting the conversation in the past decade; empowering us to come out and talk about it. Society today wants us to be one way but we're not. 

Some of us shoot laser beams out of our eyes, others absorb the essence of people by touching them, others have blue furry skin, and then there are mind readers.

Introducing Artist Nicole Little

When I look at a person and define them as beautiful, it’s with the understanding that beauty isn't just the physical form; it's something within them that pours out. Like a glow; that glow comes from deep within our souls. The positive energy shows through the way we carry ourselves, the things we say, our cadence, mannerism and most importantly our passion.

Insight - Hierarchy of Minds: 4 kinds of mindsets

Our presence can affect the people around us, it’s like a present. 

Nicole Little is a beautiful person and in this episode of the podcast, she takes us through a journey that articulates what she is about. An artist with ADHD, balancing the world of being a mother, and a wife. Through the podcast, we talk about her creative process, dealing with her mental health, free speech and how the internet pushes ideas forward. She also brings up the Cindy Crawford Theory of perfection.

Nicole Little is a beautiful soul because we talked for what appeared to be 10 minutes and if it wasn't for time constraints we'd still be talking. It wouldn't matter what we're talking about because the journey is timeless.

Well, at least for me it was timeless, and I hope it'll be the same for you

Enjoy the podcast

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How to Use Your Energy Wisely Running a Business


Spending time on social media is enjoyable until you realize time doesn't stand still, and you didn’t finish what you originally set out to do. What did you achieve?

What about all the times you avoided planning and organizing your business? Instead, there’s Netflix, reading, friends, the mall, online shopping, to name a few. You don't have to spend every waking hour operating your business. Rather, you want to spend the limited day-to-day energy you have, apart from art-making, on business priorities. What is the most pressing issue in your business? Selling art is not the answer by the way, because before that you need a marketing strategy, awareness and engagement. Here we tackle the question, how can you open up space so you don't spend your energy carelessly and indiscriminately. Where are your energy leaks?

Your energy is your currency - when time passes you don't get that back. If you overexert your energy and place it anywhere and everywhere this will impact your ability to tackle what really needs to get done this week. This can then affect your confidence, your decisions, and your future goals - these are all interrelated. Where do you even start, you might be wondering.

Your energy is your currency - when time passes

you don't get that back.


Do you want to make sure you understand exactly what needs to get done? Or, are you asking how to do something better? We all want to work smarter, and not harder, but in a hyper-capitalistic and productivity-driven world, this hamster race can be difficult to hop off of. Before diving into the deep end of the business, the biggest issue I see owners struggle with is time management, which is also another way of saying energy management, or self-steering. If you're the captain, first mate, gunner, sailing master, and all the other roles of a ship (aka your business), then you're responsible for self-steering your energy and talent towards reaching your destination.

Where is your Energy Going Exactly?

How does your energy flow with your day-to-day life? When is it low, or high? What are you doing? Which foods are you eating? Who are you hanging out with? This isn't a question of just productivity, but it's about your lifestyle, and living in a way that nourishes who you are, and the art you want to create. In other words, you want to invest your energy in ways that bring you joy and success, however, you define them.

Intentional Energy Use

  1. Reflect - Where are you spending your energy? What are you doing that is not fulfilling your goals or your purpose? Look at your life through what you do, how you think and how you behave. Is there self-sabotage or low confidence at play? Do you feel you don’t deserve success or that you might fail? How can you lean into these emotions and non-identify with them? Have energy check-ins frequently until you establish new habits.
  2. Plan - If you want to invest your money in profitable stocks, you have to plan and research carefully. Think about what matters to your business today. What do you need to know?  This might include better time management, a business plan, a mentor or marketing help. Maybe you need a calendar, or an invoice app, or a better workspace. Research and eliminate things that are not working.
  3. What do you value? - Being able to make good decisions about where to spend your energy requires you to know what actually matters to you. What is your definition of happiness, of work, and success? It shouldn't be your parent’s or society's definition. Knowing how you want to use your energy towards what you want, depends on how that makes you feel. Focusing on other people's perceptions is misspent energy.
  4. Eliminate distractions - What are pointless ways you’re spending and draining your energy? Are you hanging out with unfulfilling friends every day? Do you rely on external validation? Are you expecting your parents to give you confidence and the go-head? Addicted to social media? Is your house a mess? Do you expend a lot of energy getting into arguments and judging people? Where are the energy drains? Write them all down, and start tackling them in the upcoming weeks realistically. Don't take part in what triggers you until you resolve the issue in a way that matters to you. The time you spend bouncing back from energy drains is also a leaky area, and we don't want this ship to sink.
  5. Good enough move forward - The perfectionist in any artist might have them convinced things to need to be 'just right' or even perfect. This can be counterproductive. You need to focus on progress over perfection and good enough, move forward. You can iterate and refine as you go, otherwise, you will stay stuck where you are, an anchor weighing you down.

If you're spending the time reflecting on a consistent basis (mark it in your calendar) and intentionally making a choice to do think, know, feel and act differently, you're holding yourself accountable to change and growth. Welcome that new energy.

Pivot and Adjust

As you pivot in each area you will get better at developing positive habits over time. Genetically you have some power to alter, i.e. turn genetic expressions off and on through concerted effort. Even though traits can be passed down from generation to generation such as stress, you can still adapt and resolve them over time - this requires focused energy and the right environment.

This does not happen in one day, nor is it the same for every person. You will still pick up that phone to play Wordscapes. Social media will distract you. You will still binge-watch entire seasons. You will have emotional peaks and valleys. But you need to be aware in order to change those behaviours over time. You must ask yourself, what will happen 5 years from now if you look back today and did nothing?

If you want to be an intelligent investor of your most valuable currency, you must understand who you are and where you're spending your energy. Don’t lose the opportunities in front of you when you’re creating your own life's purpose this doesn't always happen twice – keep your talent alive.

How To Stay Motivated In Your Business

How To Stay Motivated In Your Business

Loss of motivation is normal, but trying to get it back and sustain it is like Draymond trying to remember if the Warriors had any timeouts left in the NBA finals. What will affect you is when you have a setback, someone says no, or you compare yourself to others.

When you’re Feeling Demotivation

Damaging thoughts, feelings, or barriers that prevent you from persistent action can cloud your decisions. What direction should you take next? But first, you need to understand yourself and those feelings more closely. Essentially, you have to know why you’re unmotivated and why you want to be motivated.


What will happen if you do not act on your goals?

Starting a website, learning about budgeting, or just starting a new goal. Yet, you haven’t started. Motivation is the reason you feel or have for acting, achieving or completing a goal or task. Motivation is when you keep pushing through, the barriers or pain, even though it gets tough. It can feel like you're behind, dragging behind your opposition, but you never really lose if you went after your goals. The point is you need to differentiate between what you want to do, and if you don't do it. Fast forward ten years in the future, looking back, ask yourself would you have done things differently? Would you have given up on yourself?


What do you feel unmotivated about most today?

Most of the research on motivation confirms it’s not extrinsic rewards motivating people such as money or awards, but intrinsic ones. Internal drives such as a specific goal. For example, supporting your kids and saving for their college, or partaking in something because you find it fascinating. In other words, are you following a trend, to gain social status, or do you want to trust your intuition to create something unique that’s long-lasting? Do you create to gain fame, or do you create because you enjoy the process? First, uncover what you do and do not want, and then answer why.

Kick start your motivation with the tips below. Knowledge is your currency if you have a goal in mind, just make sure you can see the goalposts.


Knowledge Needed to Stay Motivated

  • Know yourself - what connects you to your goals, your likes, dislikes and what you’re good at. Assess where you’re strong and where you’re weak in order to grow yourself and your business. This includes everything from energy, skills, to wellbeing and knowledge. Why do you really want that career or goal? Try the Igaki Venn diagram.


  • Minimize distractions – what are your distractions right now? Friends who call you as you sit down to work - learn how to say no.  Social media, Netflix – use it as a reward after you finish your tasks. Discipline and sacrifice mean you know what your priorities are.


  • Label your emotions – anxiety can be useful to a certain extent, but not when it’s overwhelming. Anxiety is useful before a performance or during planning because it’s a signal you need to provide your very best effort and to be aware of what may happen or to rethink the approach. Likewise, boost positive emotions. Listen to your hype song, dance, use meditation music or have a positive mantra taped to your bathroom mirror. Use your emotions as fuel, understand them better.


  • Identify your rewards (they’re not what you think) – extrinsic rewards such as money, friends, status and moving up a ladder do not sustain motivation as research confirms. Instead, intrinsic motivation helps – what’s the emotional reason behind your goals? Is it the A+ or are you curious to learn? You don’t want social cache; rather you want to highlight an important issue. Do you feel great when you’re sketching or taking photos that you zone out and lose track of time? Continue to focus on Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's concept of flow.


  • Get Inspired – sometimes we get stuck in our own bubble. Writer’s block or no new ideas landing? Do something completely different. Read a good book, go for a walk, hang out with friends, go to a local gallery, go support your friend’s business, meditate. Slow down and trust that your intuition will lead you back to yourself and the ideas and inspiration will appear under less stress. The point is to keep moving.


  • Work Schedule – it’s hard to get motivated if you don’t know where to start or what to work on. List all your tasks, make a schedule, and plot them for the week. I like to prep the night before and plan only three priority tasks I need to get done for the following day (I also work 9-5). It’s top of mind when I go to sleep and wake up. Do you need to update your portfolio online? What are those pieces? Who do you need to email? Break it into manageable pieces.


  • Failure & Success – if your failure is real, you need to change your behaviour, but if your behaviour is imagined (for e.g. imposter syndrome), then you need to change your thinking. Retrain your negative thought patterns, find your support system, meditate, or to a greater extent assess if you need to seek a therapist. Challenge your interpretation of failure, fear, or doubt because the opposite of failure is resilience - to bounce back even better because you learned what you didn’t know before.


  • Progressive Approaches – we no longer live in a hunter-gatherer world (though it feels that way sometimes). We're living in a time of collaboration, curiosity, open-mindedness, and discovery. If you always approached things one way, try a new way just for fun, even if you’re not going to marry it. In a world where people embrace their multiple interests and gifts, be a ‘multi-potential’ don’t risk remaining small. Be okay with cooperation, community, and understanding yourself, over scarcity, individualization and thinking no one understands you. If you show up, you haven’t failed.


  • Buddy System – accountability goes out the window when it’s me, myself and I. You don’t really have anyone to disappoint, but yourself. Find a like-minded friend or a mentor. Building a responsibility mechanism can give you a boost because there’s healthy pressure to complete something (in a way that’s realistic), or for someone else to review or give you feedback. If you don’t have someone, join a community, or share your work with friends: ‘website launching end of summer,’ and hold yourself accountable to that date.


Progress is a marathon, not a sprint and you have to define your own destination. This process will spark motivation in the direction you want to be taking. Over time, you will sustain the momentum around what fuels you, and overcome what does not.


Bringing it all together, the research on behavioral psychology behind motivation points to the mind-body connection, if “your brain doesn’t understand both the costs of inaction and the benefits of action, you won’t feel very motivated” (Medium).


To sum it up, this is a mental game. You’re not failing you’re always learning. You're not lost, you're curious. You can be demotivated today, but tomorrow is a new day. To improve your motivation, understand what does and does not motivate you as carefully as to how you create your art. Do all of this until it becomes second nature.

Call To Artists – 100 Toronto Artists Talk: Isolation, Homelessness & Mental Health

100 Toronto Artist Talk Isolation, Mental Health & Homelessness

  • We're looking to ask 100 artists about #isolation, #homelessness, and #mentalhealth in the art community through our #ArtistoftheWeek interviews. The interviews will be published on video, through our network and our marketplace on CreativeUTO alongside your art and links back to your store.
    Our goal is to use the information from the interviews to spread the word, help with research and push for solutions in the creative community

Participate - Click this link to start publishing your interview (publishing is free)

Our goals for 2020

  • Interview + publish 100 artists, coders, creators and developers (in 2020)
  • Publish at least 1 artist interview every 2 to 3 days
  • Present 100 artists for #100artgiftideas #TO by November 2020


The Artists of the Month

  • Artist of the Month is determined by the artist that generates the most volume (volume = sales, shares, comments, views & likes).
  • It ranks your popularity amongst 100s of other CreativeUTO published artists
  • Volume is the name of the currency built in to the CreativeUTO community
  • Volume is rewarded based on activity
  • We use data, metrics, analytics from Google, Facebook, and SMARTERai
  • Artist of the Month receives a free unicorn membership
  • Artist of the Month wins a Unicorn Award for that month

Publishing cycle

Artist of the Week will be announced and published between Monday and Tuesday.

  • All artists are notified of their publish date.
  • We publish 3 posts focused on the #AotW
  • We heavily promote it on Facebook and Instagram by paying for ads and sharing posts manually
  • We use videos and picture ads
  • Artist of the Week gets featured in our weekly art pop-up at CSI Annex (valued $60)
  • 2 month membership with CreativeUTO (valued at $60)
  • Business canvas model workshop, a sales funnel hierarchy (1 hour per class 4 hours) ($160)
  • A free table at the next Annex Art Party ($45 per table)
  • Gets automatically entered in our #100GiftIdeas 2019 edition for the holidays.

Our Network

  • We use our growing network of creative entrepreneurs which includes an E-mail list of 352 users, a Meetup group 500+ coders, a Facebook Group of 236 Unicorns with videos that have over 1,000 views (within a few days) each, and an Instagram page with over 1,700 followers and over 1,000 views in 7 days (as of March 24th 2019).


Between March 5th and April 28th we had a 4,655 post reach on our Facebook fan page, about 155 views per day, up 56% from the previous month they consisted of

  • 52% women
  • 44% men
  • 71% between the ages of 25 and 54
  • 53% between the ages of 25 and 44

The FMiMBranding and CreativeUTO continues to grow daily with our posts consistently ranking on the first Google through our mastery of SEO automation.

Extended Network reach

  • We buy advertisement from social media to extend our reach
  • We use their engines to place your art in front of the people looking for it NOW

Shop – Creation, a Healing Process for Art in the AM

Shop - Creation, a Healing Process for Art in the AM

Who are you? (Bio)

Art in the AM: I’m a self-taught artist with a constantly evolving style, through which I experiment with contemporary and surrealist expressions. My work imbues meaning with thoughtful symbolism and eclectic archetypes into every single piece.   

Why did you get started?

Creative expression helped me recover from anxiety, insomnia, manic depression, and self-harm, which I’ve suffered with for a large portion of my life. Healing has become a strong inspiration and focus of my work, as art helps me overcome personal demons by harnessing the energy and transforming it into constructive positivity.

What do you do? (or what service do you provide?)

I create original works of art, mural design, tattoo design, album and book cover art, character design. Some mediums follow as: gouache, watercolour, graphite and charcoal, acrylic paints, and more. Presently, I offer products such as threaded patches and art prints – with apparal as a future goal in mind.


I am very open to new projects of any kind and love a new creative challenge! Generally, I work through traditional mediums, but I also like to experiment and develop new methods and styles.

What are you working on right now?

In order to show my work at galleries and exhibits I have beendeveloping a portfolio, with great care, highlighting themes such as mental health, personal and community growth, and rediscovering strength through passions. As a side project, I am developing comics that explore concepts of depression, which I d hope to publish and sell as books in the near future.

Drawing and creating have always been an inherent part of who I am. From the moment I could hold a crayon I have been creating. I developed mental illnesses from a young age and art became my Savior. Creative expression  is my greatest asset and helps me communicate in a healthy manner. I also simply love to create. Art is my passion, and an extension of my being.

What is your Instagram (or Portfolio) Url? *




RnD – Chess To Cure Mental Health

Leveraging Skills Think Tank

I'd like to prefix this message by explaining the workflow of this think tank. We can leverage each other's skills, organizations, resources to work on each other's projects. When we post an idea here, we can participate at any of the phases.
These phases are:

  • gathering,
  • development,
  • Beta & Launch,
  • Critical update + support
  • and closing (rinse and repeat)

RnD - Chess To Cure Mental Health

With that said I am currently in the gathering phase of a video game tournament that I'd love to launch before the end of fall
Because licensing may be difficult we can also make this a chess tournament to raise funding for mental health. $60 to enter, $1,000 for the winner, portions go to charity. And profit can be infinite. The tournament will be hosted online with the playoffs hosted at a venue where we sell tickets to get in. The event's Social media channels can be used to broadcast. This includes Twitch, Patreon, and Youtube because they add a stream of revenue.