CSW 186: Getting Out of the Comfort Zone with Ania ArcherLike many of us, listener Ania Archer is an artistic soul. Ania loves photography and creating beautiful designs that allow her to express herself.

Ania was an early member of my Creative Sandbox Community, and I love following her on Instagram. Some weeks back Ania mentioned me in her Instagram Story, which totally made my day.

I sent her a message, letting her know just how much it made my day, and I shared her story to my story. Then she messaged me back, “I’m so happy I found you because without you I wouldn’t be where I’m at on my journey.”

Wow. Let me tell you, that made my day even more! And of course, I knew I had to invite her on the podcast to do a Listener Spotlight!

It turned out to be perfect timing because Ania has been working on getting out of her comfort zone, and being a guest on a podcast was definitely pushing her out of her comfort zone. Win-win!

As you’ll hear in our conversation, on her 35th birthday, Ania decided to challenge herself to create a new 30-day challenge each month. The challenges vary from creative—like learning a new skill, such as using color in her art—to self-care inspired—such as taking 10 minutes a day to do nothing. She documents her challenges and thoughts that come along the way on her Instagram along with her illustrations. She wants to inspire and help others to get out of their comfort zone like she is doing herself because “magic happens when you step outside of your comfort zone.”

Have a listen to our conversation, and let me know which parts resonate most with you, and what you plan to do to step outside your comfort zone.

In this episode we talked about:

  • Ania’s story & what she does
  • Her new 30-day challenge each
  • The importance of giving your brain a break
  • How The Creative Sandbox Way™ podcast has impacted Ania’s life
  • Learning to recognize the gremlins in order to fight against letting them control us
  • Letting go of the ideal of perfection
  • Playing in the creative sandbox versus creating on a deadline for a product
  • The value of letting yourself explore & play
  • What Ania has learned about herself through her 30-day challenges
  • Our something cools

Mentioned In This Episode:

The Creative Sandbox Way™

Melissa’s Something Cool: Melissa’s Something Cool: Pachelbel’s Chicken

Ania’s Something Cool: Hoopla

Connect with Ania Archer

Instagram | New Creative Challenge | Creative Market


“I am open to new opportunities and challenges.” – Ania Archer

“I never took the time to edit them [my photographs] or do anything with them so they were just on my laptop hiding away.” – Ania Archer

“When you see from the outside, we just see the facade. We have no idea what’s going on inside somebody’s head.” – Melissa Dinwiddie

“Anytime you are doing something new that’s outside of your comfort zone, the gremlins start going nuts, it feels impossible, it feels scary, it feels like there’s no way I can do that, and then if you just take a few little steps and a few little steps and a few little steps and you keep at it, eventually you turn around and go, ‘wait, I used to think this was impossible?’” – Melissa Dinwiddie

“That’s the secret. Just start.” – Melissa Dinwiddie

“I do find myself saying no to them [the gremlins] more than agreeing with them.” – Ania Archer

“I’m just going to explore and play and let them be crappy.” – Melissa Dinwiddie

“You can’t afford not to take that pure play, creative sandbox time. Your business will shrivel up and die if you don’t feed it with that creative sandbox exploration play time.” – Melissa Dinwiddie

“I just started playing with the things that I like and I discovered my own style.” – Ania Archer

“If you make enough stuff eventually you’ll make some stuff that feels like you.” – Melissa Dinwiddie

“Every time we were in Creative Sandbox and we were hopping on the calls, I always got something out of it.” – Ania Archer


Listeners Wanted!

Has the Creative Sandbox Way™ podcast made a difference in your life? Would you like to be featured on the podcast?

I love sharing listener stories, so if you have a story of how listening to the podcast has changed your life for the better in some way — big or small — I want to feature you in a Listener Spotlight.

Here’s how it works:

1. Just log into iTunes and leave a rating and review. (If you don’t know how to do that, you’ll find step-by-step instructions at creativesandboxway.com/itunes-review).

2. Then copy and paste what you wrote in your review into an email, and send it to me, along with why you want to be featured in a Listener Spotlight, and how the podcast has made a difference in your life. You can email me at creativesandboxway.com/contact.

That’s it!

If I pick you for a Listener Spotlight, we’ll have a relaxed, fun conversation, and the recording of our conversation will be part of a future episode! How cool is that?

Want a creative kick start?
Check out my book!

The Creative Sandbox Way: Your Path to a Full-Color Life, by Melissa Dinwiddie

What would change for you if you could totally revel in the joy of creating? You CAN, with The Creative Sandbox Way!

You’ll learn:

  • Melissa’s 10 fool-proof guideposts that have helped thousands get joyfully creating.
  • 5 reasons why creative play is good for you, AND for the world (it’s neuroscience, baby!)
  • Why “I’m not creative” is always a lie, and how to bust it.
  • How to turn creative blocks into friends.

AND you’ll get creating right in the book itself. 

ChrisGuillebeau“It’s one part field guide, one part creative practice—and I loved it. The Creative Sandbox Way is an adventure packaged as a book.”

~Chris Guillebeau
NYT best-selling author of The Happiness of Pursuit and The $100 Startup

Buy The Creative Sandbox Way by Melissa Dinwiddie - checkout with Amazon


Hear ye, hear ye! This is to serve as official notice that all links to anything for sale, be it books or courses, are likely to be affiliate links. What this means is that if you click through said links and make a purchase, although it won’t affect the price that you pay, a few coins will jangle into my coffers, enabling me to buy a packet of hard gluten-free biscuits to feed myself and my husband for another day, or perhaps a pen with which to create some artwork. Or perhaps they will contribute toward paying a fraction of my web hosting bill, so that this blog and podcast can continue to exist. Thank you kindly for your attention.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

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Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

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