Did you know that you can flourish NOW while still pursuing your creative dream? Kerri Ho — singer, vocal coach, and founder of TheSongbirdTree.com, has this to say about how we can, and why would should, be sure to make this happen.
Have you ever received encouragement about your creative work only to be left feeling more discouraged than ever? “Your day will come,” well-meaning friends say enthusiastically. OR…”I bet you’ll make it big someday,” they say awkwardly because you’ve just told them about the 19th rejection of your book submission to a publisher.
You’ve told yourself the same thing: “Someday my artwork will be recognized for what it really is…” “Someday I will land a record deal that will change my life…” “Someday my business is going to grow exponentially…” “Someday…”
I am absolutely all for being optimistic and working hard to pursue dreams of breakthrough success. But I do see a problem with this ‘someday’ mindset. ‘Someday…’ is just a bit far away. It’s somewhere in the unknown future. It’s a place in time that’s ‘way out there,’ that I can’t see tangibly now. I’m not there, I’m here. I need to know that there is a way to make something meaningful of my art NOW. I don’t want to just endure today on the way to ‘someday’. I want to enjoy the ride on the way to ‘someday’. Don’t you want that too?
When you signed up for the creative work life, I bet you didn’t sign up for drudgery, discouragement and constant disappointment. You signed up because you love what you do and want to make a difference.
Having ‘big hairy audacious goals’ and ‘over-the-rainbow’ dreams is a great thing. We should be shooting for the moon and aiming high. But we cannot compromise the quality of our work now because we’re so focussed on that ‘some- day’ breakthrough. Our work – Your Contribution – to the world matters too much to let that happen. Instead, we need to embrace where we are now in our creative endeavours and commit to not just surviving in the uncomfort- able place of obscurity, but to truly thriving in it. We need – the world needs us – to flourish NOW.
So today I’d like to give you three simple points that you can apply to help you flourish NOW – even while you’re still pursuing your creative dreams.
1. Whatever you have in your hands, grab it and do it like your life depends on it.
Are you a writer? Write. Are you a singer? Sing. Are you an entrepreneur? Start something. You don’t have to be in Someday Land to keep doing meaningful work. Meaningful work starts today, right where you are. Remember it’s not always about what you do, it’s why you do it that matters most. Why does your work matter to you and why does it matter to others? This helps us remember that it is such a privilege to live and work creatively. It is an honour to create the art that we do. So let’s not see it as a chore simply because we’re haven’t yet reached Someday Land.
2. Let yourself become who you are in this season.
Whether we realize it or not, our lives are a constant work in progress. We are always evolving, and creatively, our work evolves with us. Although you may not be now where you ultimately want to be, if you surrender to where you are now as being the exact place you should be, you will surprise yourself as to how much is happening inside you to help you become better. I used to be a corporate chick who longed to work in music. As I look back now, I realize that that time was not wasted at all. It gave me many skills that I use today in my creative work and was amazing preparation for the difficulties I would battle against. Though I hated working in the corporate world, I do not regret it because it helped shape who I am and, therefore, fuels my work as a creative professional today.
There is great opportunity in your current circumstances to shape who you are, and your work, in deep and pro- found ways that will impact generations to come. Isn’t that exciting?
3. Reinvest in yourself – grow your gifts and passions.
Let’s face it, creative work is hard work! It takes many hours of discipline and concentration to produce remarkable work that you and others can be proud of, and sometimes that can leave you feeling burnt out. So I encourage you to reinvest in yourself. Remember how fun it is to create and do that thing you love. What is the thing that you love to do? What is that thing that, when you do it, you lose track of all time and forget to eat? What is that thing that, when you do it, your heart shows up and you feel fully alive? This can either be related or totally not-related to your work, as long as it fits the answer to the above questions.
If your work involves your art and creating on demand, I encourage you to make time to create just for fun. No agenda, no pressure. Just create because you love it, and let yourself play like a child. Give yourself permission to again be that inquisitive kid who grabs a box of crayons and just starts doodling. Don’t ask if it’s good enough! Just play!
Invest in yourself by taking a course or reading a book that will inspire you to be more remarkable in your creative work. Spend time with someone else who shares your passion. You can create together for fun or just talk through your journeys of creating and encourage each other. It reminds you you’re not alone in this!
You may have another gift or passion that has nothing to do with your work – and I strongly encourage you to take some time to fill your well of inspiration by investing in this for a while. It will fuel the work that you are currently doing and propel you forward towards your creative breakthrough. It will enable you to create and give from a place of fullness rather than from an empty tank.