On Change (caution: very long post)

So, one of my RENAISSANCE themes/ojectives this year is "I" — meaning, me. I don’t believe anyone can experience a true renaissance if they are overly focused on themselves, so this "I" thing is not really a selfish kind of "I" so much as it is a deliberate attempt at a greater awareness of who "I" really am. I want to be more conscious of what I think, what I say and what I do and then explore why I think, say and do these things, so that I can get where I want to go.

My editor’s note in the Jan/Feb issue of Simple Scrapbooks issued a challenge to readers to capture "I" statements throughout the year and then use them to see patterns, of what I call constant change. I have learned as a scrapbooker that life is constantly changing, at what seems to be a faster and faster rate. I have also become more aware and grateful for the things in my life that can stay constant if I choose to nurture the constancy. For example, my relationship with my husband will change and evolve, but my love and appreciation for him can be a constant if I nurture and care for it. I can expand my understanding of spiritual things and the universe, while still keeping constant my faith and trust in God. And, I can grow and develop my creativity, as I realize and prioritize those rituals and routines that keep constant the flow of inspiration and ideas. I hope I haven’t lost you (and I might I just add here, that I really appreciate the chance to think out loud and attempt to express things inside of me on a blog. Seriously, how cool is this?)

I have recently been reminded that I am the type of person that likes to find meaning in EVERYTHING (more on personality types coming soon) and so I’ve assigned a cosmic reason to the loss of my post last Saturday morning. Snicker if you want, because as we all know in the logical side of our brains, it had more to do with my internet connection and nuances in the function of my blogging service than it did with anything cosmic – but, losing that post has caused me to contemplate what it was I really wanted to say, but didn’t. I spent an hour creating a post that was a highlight of things, when what I really wanted to do was go deep, and truly explore this topic of change and some of the dots related to change (and especially personal change) that I’ve been connecting lately.

I listened to a podcast from Fast Company magazine, interviewing the author of a book, titled Change or Die.
I was fascinated! The author reminded us of the things that cannot
change us — things that can be summarized in the categories of facts,
fear or force. Examples he gave, smokers know the facts about smoking,
and yet they continue to smoke. Drivers universally fear the
possibility of an automobile accident and yet they still exceed the
speed limit — and then of course there’s the parental attempt to force something with a teenager and how very ineffective that generally is (I’m
abbreviating these so I can get to the good stuff) … So, if facts,
fear and force cannot change us and we truly want to change, what is
the secret? The secret to change lies in behavior itself. I hate to
over-simplify something that can be incredibly difficult, but if you
want to change, the trick is to identify the behaviors required by the
change and start to implement them in your life.

OK, this is HUGE.

author of this book said of all the case studies he researched and
shares in the book, the one that most profoundly affected him was a
project called Delancy Street, in San Francisco.
Delancy Street is a very different and very effective rehabilitation program that was founded by Mimi Silpert, who’s family came to
American as immigrants. When they landed in San Francisco harbor, a
family that had been here three years gave them some very important
advice – essentially that if you want to be an American, you’ve got to
start acting like one. Mimi has built Delancy Street on the same
principle. To admitted, you must have hit rock bottom (substance abuse
and prison record) and be willing to participate and work with one or
more of the businesses they run (restuarant, flower shop, book store,
moving company, etc..) Delancy Street doesn’t offer psychiatric
counseling to explore or try and explain your past, they simply teach
the behaviors of middle class America and expect you to do your part. I
hope you’ll take a few minutes and follow the link — it really is an
amazing foundation and story.

So, what
does it mean for us? So many things in life are a process and yet we
often want to skip to the step or steps that are most fun, or seem most
productive, initially. And you can do this for awhile, but when you haven’t
invested time and energy into steps and routines that build a
foundation for the fun stuff, you will end up eventually feeling
overwhelmed and dissatisfied — or you will be ineffective in meeting
the demands of yourself and others. The scrapbooking industry as we
know it is about 10 years old and I think one of the challenges we face
today is that of sustainability – how do we (as publishers, manufacturers, educators, retailers and consumers) keep our energy and
enthusiasm stoked for the long haul. Our efforts have been primarily
focused on output (ideas and instruction for the end result — pages
and projects) when in reality it isn’t more ideas or projects that we
need, but a shift in focus from output to input. We need to determine
and implement the behaviors that will sustain all the parts and pieces
(steps) that contribute to the process of creative expression. The
reason my Library of Memories system works is because it is a system.
Things like uploading, selecting and printing digital images is a
regular behavior (routine) of mine that keeps pictures flowing through
my system so that I remain acquainted with and inspired by my life. I
received an email from someone who had purchased Photo Freedom. She
said something along the lines of …

this is going to take a lot of work — I was hoping you had the secret
quick fix to my issues, but I can tell, I’m just going to have to dig
in and get working.

The thing that is so
cool, that you won’t realize until you do invest time and energy into
supporting behaviors is the personal payback — my system isn’t perfect
and it isn’t 100% up to date all of the time, but I can seriously go
downstairs to my studio, put my hands on pictures and create at the
drop of a hat and I have, as suggested by the title "photo freedom" –
I’m free to act on inspiration and free to create.

So, long post. Here’s the take away …
can change.
Whatever it is you want to be or have — identify the
behaviors required to get you there and start implementing them as
often and as well as you can and the rest will take care of itself.

and please, share your thoughts …


  1. Another version of “The Secret”? This is amazing. It is so true that to change you must believe it and, more importantly, “act it”. Wasn’t it Ghandi who said that we needed to BE the change we wanted to see in the world? I love this post. It encourages me to continue believing in the positive and to aspire to the changes I want in my life. Thank you so much for sharing! You are that “happy” lady and I am encouraged by your happiness!

  2. Thank you for sharing and giving us and insight to your work. I love your blog!

  3. I’m going to have to read this over and over until i fully get it.You see, I have no CLUE who I am. I am going to be 32 this year. I’m married but no kids…yet. I feel like that’s my next step in life-to become a mommy…but I am having trouble becoming preg b/c I don’t ovulate on my own.Soon, we are going to try fertility intervention…but I wanted to lose some weight first,and be healthier for myself and a furture baby, if there is one. But, dealing with my weight issues has proven to be a battle..and my progress toward having a baby,has slowed down. The change thing you were talking about, is true..and reading it over and over again will make me realize that I have to do the hard work,in order to get to where I want to be. In the meantime, I am still struggling with figuring out who I am…besides a wife, a daughter, a business owner. I am completely confused and frustrated.So, anyways, thank you for this post and sharing your thoughts :)
    ps-in search of finding myself, i jumped on the chance to taking the class “the art of becoming more”- i am hoping to have some clarificaton at the end of the class. :)

  4. Julie Johnson says:

    Thank you for being YOU! You so readily share your insight in a world where many often hide their knowledge in fear that others may be “one up on them.” Does that make sense?! Thank you for giving me a “wake-up” call, as you do nearly monthly with your columns, and your books. I read Photo Freedom cover to cover on Monday and brought my disc of printing to Sam’s that day. That was huge for me! I’m ready to dive in and take the steps necessary to “photo freedom.” I can’t wait to be sharing our story with my family again. The industry zapped me for a bit….thanks for guiding me back to the “big picture.” Have a good one!

  5. Tracy B (inAlberta) says:

    There (unfortuantely) is no “magic-pill” for weight loss. There are no ‘magic-pills” for anything that take time, hard work, committment and dedication. Whether it’s scrapbooking with a new system, getting a better job, being a better person. It all comes down to the willingness to change and and letting go the natural instinct to fight that change. Change it’s like a bad word that people are afraid of. But once you embrace it and go with it, change can take you to wonderful places.

  6. You are an amazing woman and I love this post!
    thank you

  7. I used to do a lot of work with Delancey Street in SF and it is seriously an amazing place. You feel it as soon as you walk in the doors. We can all learn so much from what they are doing there. Thanks for the great post.

  8. I know you get a lot of responses to your posts but I love love love your blog – you are just a really COOl – down to earth gal – who realy “sees” it…..thanks for this post – very inspiring and encouraging – feels like a pat on the back….thank you.

  9. Stacy, you made lemonade out of lemons (the cosmic reason for losing the post). These are very profound words, but so hard to live up to!

  10. We’re doing a Change Challenge at Scrap of Faith. When you get a change, come and see my devotion and lo. The post is:
    Abundant blessings to you!

  11. This reminds me of some of the same type of philosophy mentioned by Flylady, and Dr. Laura.
    Flylady because she advocates practicing behaviors on a daily basis that all fit within a system about homes.
    Dr. Laura because of her book Bad Childhood–Good Life where she maintains that it doesn’t matter what was in the past, in order for life to change, your behavior has to change.
    It also is proufoundly spiritual in the sense that when we realize our true identity, we make decisions about our lives differently.
    For example, if I want to be healthy, what do truly healthy people do?
    If I want to be spiritual, what do spiritual people do?
    If I’m truly a child of God,with a royal spiritual heritage, how would knowing that affect my current behaviors?
    Thanks for sharing a beautiful post on bypassing all the psycho “fluff” in the world, and getting down to basics where simple behaviors, with a pure end goal in mind, are what truly change our spirits and character.

  12. Stacy I love this post! It aligns very much with things that I have been thinking over very much for the past few months.
    Its all well and good to delve into why we do things and spend heaps of time and effort on the psyche etc, but nothing will change until we just get out and start doing whatever it is we want to do.
    Remember the old Nike advertising line “just do it”. I really think that making change in your life is all about getting out there and just “doing” it.
    Thank you!

  13. Love that you shared so much of what is on your mind in this post. I think the scrapbooking industry is in the middle of change – it is always evolving – because we the people involved in documenting are changing and evolving. I love your Photo Freedom book and concepts because they help to add structure and constancy to my processes – and in the middle of a very rapidly advancing/changing hobby that is a very welcome thing!

  14. Nicole Z says:

    OK, Stacy, I totally needed this post in the worlds worst way! We are going through lots of changes right now, and I have always resisted and feared change. You have inspired me to embrace these challenges we are facing right now and to practice to become who I want to be.

  15. Nicole Z says:

    Wow Stacy – I needed this in the worlds worst way! We are going through so many changes right now, and I have ALWAYS feared and resisted change. This post is one I will print out and read often. You have encouraged me to embrace these challenges and to practice to become who I want to someday be.
    THANK YOU!!!

  16. Wow, great post! I am just now heading out for my walk, and I’m so glad I read this first. I will be chewing on these thoughts the whole time.

  17. Wow, great post! I am just now heading out for my walk, and I’m so glad I read this first. I will be chewing on these thoughts the whole time.

  18. Nicole Z says:

    sorry for the (almost) duplicate comments – I got an error the first time.

  19. Wow! Lots to think about. I will be printing out this post so I can examine it more closely and work on some changes myself. Thanks.

  20. Marta Valdes says:

    That was amazing, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. WOW! I know a lot of people have a hard time with “CHANGE”, but we all need change in our lives. Right now I going through a lot of changes. I have to adjust, rearrange, and cope, but I welcome it. I know it will bring new and interesting things in my life.
    You are amazing woman, don’t ever change (LOL).

  21. I love that you talk about SYSTEMS. My husband and I attended a seminar last fall on how to do our jobs better with less effort and one of the big take aways from that seminar was systems. Since the seminar we’ve been implementing systems at our office and things have gotten much easier. I know that implementing and maintaining systems in this hobby of scrapbooking will make it easier and the output will get better with less effort. BTW have you read the E Myth & the E Myth revised? Also, there’s a book out there & I don’t know what its called but its about the “transformation” economy or something like that – its all about how we used to sell ingredients for, lets say, cake, then then put it all together and sold cake mix, and then they sold the birthday cake already made, and then they sold the birthday experience (ala Chuck E Cheese) and the next thing is to sell the transformation experience. I’m probably paraphrasing wrong but you kinda get the idea. I haven’t really read any businessy books since the 80s (S. Covey was a favorite of mine too) but I think there’s a whole new batch of great books on business whose which can be translated into life stuff & into scrapbooking stuff. Thanks for the thought provoking post! I think you’re definately on the right track w/ teaching about the input rather than the output. Thanks!

  22. Stacy,
    I have had little ‘jabs’ my whole life about doing so many things. Always taking classes, delving into new ‘jobs’, teaching myself new crafts, and so on. Alot of ‘you must not be happy’ comments. What I have learned after 50 years of this, is that I am happiest learning. These steps have taught me who I am. I am deep in your LOM class, and have found myself frustrated, but have taken that lemon, if you will, and have learned some more about me. Your blog is so right on track, acutally your thoughts are. Thanks for sharing them, and encouraging us old folks to keep moving forward, and learning the steps needed to do so.

  23. Stacy,
    WOW!! I am just truly blown away by this. I have been struggling for a couple of weeks now (just trying to make the “right” decisions for my family). What I come away with is this: it might not be easy, but in the end it WILL be worth it. Having a preteen in the house, this is HUGE (as you would say). In order to get her to respect me, I have to change my mindset of her being a little girl, which is NOT easy.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart for these words today. I have tears because I am so encouraged by your post!

  24. Donna Bettencourt says:

    Well Stacy Delancy Street is indeed an amazing place. I have been able to see it backstage (not as an inhabitant) but it sure is something and the restaurant is great! Ask Lisa about this…….she has seen the inner workings……..

  25. WOW Stacy! I have been an admirer for a long time. But today your words really touched me.I can see why now that they say you are such a motivational speaker. You are simply stunning TY.
    I have heard about a lot of scrapbooker’s giving up on the hobby lately or being totally blocked. I think you are 100%correct. It’s not about the new products or how many layouts you do or how fancy they are. It’s about plugging in to the emotions from the memories you have and getting that down on a page with photos as a representation of that memory. If you decide to decorate them in a creative way so much the better.
    So much to think about.
    I hope that I someday get a chance to hear you speak in person.
    Thank you!

  26. On a personal level this is something i’ve been looking for. Thank you Stacy (and all those that commented, was great to read them too!) and I can’t wait to check out the Delancy street link.
    bless you heaps

  27. Stacy,
    Long and short of it…
    “Change does not occur until the Pain of staying the same exceeds the Pain of change.” (I’m sure someone famous said it…or maybe it was just my very insightful husband that came up with the saying but it is so true!)
    Love your book “Photo Freedom”. I had already incorporated your ideas after reading “Big Picture”. Really enjoyed seeing the inner workings of your system.

  28. You are so stinkin’ awesome Stacy Julian! I’ve noticed something big with change, we have to really want to change to make it happen and get to the awesome end.
    I was in LOM last year and am so in love with scrapbooking again. Thank you!

  29. Didn’t I told you maybe there was a reason for you to have lost that post,we are constantly changing as scrapbookers at least I am however as humans is a lot more difficult and we pretty much change because of life lessons O because we get to a point on our lives where we feel the need for a change, thanks for the inspiration, I always enjoy reading your posts, hugs, Rosa.

  30. this may sound stalkeresque, but I recently read this book called The Wednesday Letters, and I completely thought…”you know this is a book Stacy Julian would love and recommend to all”…I don’t know if I’m right, but I think you should check it out!

  31. Thank you stacy, this post came just when I needed it, been thinking a lot about change lately… now it’s time to stop thinking & start doing, make the changes happen!

  32. Hi Stacy,
    I always enjoy reading your blog. I saw Kelli’s post up there recommending a book and thought, “Ok, at least I’m not the only one who reads a a good inspirational/self-improvement book and wonders if Stacy Julian’s read/ would like to read this one?” lol.. A good one I just read is Leadership and Self-Deception by the Arbinger Institute. Really made me think. I even mini-scrapbooked the key points I wanted to remember.

  33. I feel ungrateful if I don’t add my “thank you, thank you” here to all these others. You are so insightful and able to crystalize many deep topics into gems that really apply to life as we know it. Thank you so much for sharing that ability with the rest of us. One of my New Year’s projects was to look at some of the details in our life that needed improvement: Why was dinnertime not the happy family experience I was striving for? Why was our good-bye at the bus stop not the hugs & kisses experience I wanted to give, but a hurried, frustrating one? As a family we looked at what needed to change, and things are getting better. Getting those basic details working again has oiled the machinery of everything else. Thanks for your blog where I can read such inspiring materials, both from you, and your wonderful readers, too. Brooke in Saudi

  34. As always stacy, you are not afraid to open your heart and share, and God honors that…you wouldn’t know that He used you to talk to me about somethings that I have to change and don’t want too…but HAVE too. So its time to put on my big girl pants and get own with it…thanks…
    Leslie Frederick

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