I’ve noticed something recently that was bothering me, that too many creatives are losing themselves or their passion to the industry and rhythms of chasing their dream. Kind of an oxymoron right? That following your purpose and your dreams would actually cause you to lose parts of your fire.
Yet, still there are a lot of creative minded visionaries being honest with themselves and reevaluating their relationship with their business and dream ventures.
Admitting that their days aren’t all Instagramed coffee shots, home office decorating, speaking engagements, and 10k months. You’ll even notice that some of the very same people and brands who were the face of these things are feeling the energy shift in their audience and their brand messages are pulling back and trying to be more realistic and grounded.
But, this season of question and reflection is healthy. Evaluation is key as you evolve in your creativity. You should always do a spirit check and make sure you’re following your dreams and not the the idea of them.
Are you doing the EXACT thing you need to be doing or are jumping on a inspired idea that seemed like a guaranteed path to a result you want more than the impact?
Because what you don’t want is to create a life where you’re waiting to make it and possibly not being present in beautiful life you already have happening and unfolding. Where the creative work becomes a burden and the sacrifices don’t become worth it, where the freedom evades and you find yourself trapped in a rhythm that doesn’t fit your soul.
The problem is that we have a new realm full of possibility where a lot old mindsets began to mix in and create a hybrid realm full of elements that mirrored the cliches and stereotype of high school.
What elements are these?
Cliques - There's a lot of talk about sisterhood and community over competition yet the actions of many, not all, but many in the industry are contradictory to the buzzwords being tossed around. It’s up to all of us to stop glorifying the BS and holding people accountable to their brand message. Support those who live it all the way though. There’s room for everyone and if you don’t agree with that you need to check your own insecurities and work through that and stop hiding behind the alliance and false security of being validated by what a clique brings you. Your network matters but some of creatives are getting lost in that.
Popularity Contents - The obsession with followers counts is ridiculous and clouding the intentions of what people share online. They share for the validation of others and not to add value. What they do in their real life to create what they share is sometimes even more ridiculous. The worst part is the way people judge each other based on follower counts. You don’t know how people got their followers and what it represents. Yes, follower counts can translate and convert but obsessing over them is childish. Make an effort to build an audience and have a clear strategy, but leave the popularity content mentality at the door. Step back and ask yourself why you even care or need it so much if it’s becoming a thing in your life. Why do you feel the need to be liked so badly by others? And, the next time you find yourself judging someones value on the size of their followers or the lack their of, just stop.
Calculated Agenda - Strategy is great, but having a constant underlying self serving agenda is annoying. And, people are starting to have a sense for it. People are tired of feeling worked over. It’s time to stop approaching the initiation of connections as a a game of stockpiling who you know and what they can do for you. Again, there’s value in your network but omg, can we please stop the weird stalking people and thinking that being next to them is going to make your brand pop off, you want to be in the mix just to be in the mix, not because you really want to get to know that person for real. It seems being associated has more value to people than actually getting to know people for who they are and letting any business connections happen naturally, if they were to happen at all. This also goes for trying to befriend people to use their skill. Making friends with a designer because you’re hoping to get free web design is tacky, taking that brand strategist out to lunch to hopefully prompt a free session as you eat is equally as tacky. It’s that behavior that has creatives putting their guards up, it’s what has them thinking twice about offering their help to people. Creatives are tired of being used. When you stop seeing others as what you can get from them, you drop the agenda. If you find yourself doing this, translate that energy into becoming a high value source of your own instead of trying to coast on the wave on someone else’s.
Ego - It is so sad to see people achieve a level of accomplishment and allow their ego to take over. I don’t care who you or how many figures you’re clearing a month, there is no excuse for ego. To justify arrogance or hang your hat on accolades, finances and attention is the weakest thing in the world to do. There’s always someone more popular, influential or wealthy than you so finding your validation and worth in those types of metrics is the quickest way to lost site of what really matters as far as character, morals and impact. Ego is the warning shot of low self esteem. Don’t feed into others creation of ego and make sure to always look for the signs of one developing below the surface of your own instincts.
Peer Pressure - Peer pressure looks different now, It may have been a drug or drink back in high school but now it’s a course or a lifestyle. The tactics of peer pressure is subliminal alive and well within the blogs, feeds, pinterest board, and every other outlet of media. It’s not all bad but how you let it influence and affect you is what matters. Peer pressure only has a negative power when you allow it to. If you find yourself making decision out of wanting to keep up or the fear of missing out, it’s time to check your guiding decision making factors and be honest about what’s influencing them. Peer pressure is a strong sales tactic and now that being an influencer is an actual job title, just be aware of it’s effect on your own life decisions and worldview.
Now, you may not be able to get rid of the realties of everything I just named, but you can develop in the spiritual health and emotional intelligence skills that counteract the energy of them. Hopefully a byproduct of that is it will begin to transform the marketplace but until then, it will transform your day and your own life experience. What areas of development do this?
- Maturity -That personal understanding from deep within about realizing what matters and having a strong sense of priority along with it. It’s knowing the world doesn’t revolve only around you and how it affects you. It’s thinking beyond yourself and how what you do triggers things in the world. Which leads me into number two.
- Leadership + Service - Realizing that leading is less about attention and more about responsibility and outreach is everything. It requires taking the time to intentional understand other peoples perspectives and be available to pour your energy in solutions and initiatives that uplift.
- Faith + Purpose - Your relationship with God has to be at the center of everything you do. It will confirm what you need to put your efforts to. Your faith will help you be available to God’s positioning in your life. When you having a deeper driving force, you remain centered and not distracted by trends and foolery. You trust the development God is guiding you through, you trust the plans and wisdom He downloads because you know He knows what’s ahead better than anyone in the world. That trust transcends everything else.
- Self esteem + Confidence - When you’re sold on you, you stop seeking others for validating your legitness. When you feel fulfilled within, you’re not filling voids or allowing the need to fill them become your motivation. You’ll also find yourself communicating more transparently because you’re not overcompensating out of fear or fraudulence, you own the situations and realities in your life and theres a freedom in that.
- Discipline + Tenacity - aka Self control and self motivation. This piggybacks on purpose, but when you trust your own abilities you’re less likely to rely on other to be your guarantee. You have to learn how to overcome and continue through challenges, to see them as teaching moments. Stop waiting on others to motivate you or cosign on what you’re doing, stop letting the first time you hear no become the end of your story. Cultivate a focused unstoppable energy and see where it takes you.
So, that all sounds well and good but what’s the everyday application look like? What’s the best way to apply these skills?
- Be in the lane God wants you to be in.
A lot of things happen when you feel jealous, intimidated, left out or that you’re underachieving, you get desperate without realizing it. You start taking on angles, approaches and strategies that aren’t meant for you.
We have let strategy justify overruling aligning with the will of God for our life purposes and talents. We hope God fits into our plans instead of consulting Him on what His plans are for us. Then we wonder why things don’t work. God is not going to let you go down a path that isn’t for you, easiest way He can ensure that won’t happen? Block the progress for your protection. This isn’t a fail proof guidance since God can do whatever He wants but it is a great flag to perk up your own perspective and seek Him for guidance when it happens.
You can NOT separate your business and spiritual life anymore. They need to be intertwined and they need to reflect the wisdom and strategy of both realms. God needs to be your mentor, CEO, business partner, investor, PR agent, and coach. He wants to be. He is using the experience and entity of your business to spend time with you and grow together as well as help you personal development into who you are becoming. It’s not always about sales and metrics. When you’re ready for that from the inside, He will bring it.
- STOP rushing development.
We all have got to see that the real success lies in niching in. It’s not so much about the niche itself its the process it takes to get you there. When you spend time seeking your truth, learning, development, practicing and mastering before you ever launch a website, you work a lot of the truth kinks out. You see what parts you actually like and don’t. You can like an aspect of an industry but not the relating ones, Well good news is you’re allowed to offer things you truly excel at doing.
For example, design is aspect of branding, yes I can do design and make websites BUT I know from experience it’s not what I really love to provide. It took time asking myself, what part of the branding is the most effortless to you? In a meeting if the topic of branding were being discussed what would you feel the most authoritative and passionate about? What part of branding do you soak yourself into wanting to learn more about? And my favorite clarity prompting question? What parts of the process are you relived not to have to be responsible for? Answering that question can answer a lot for you and free you up to focus.
I knew I didn’t not want to study how to create certain masks graphic effects in Photoshop but I did want to study the consumer psychology of people so that I can effectively write in a way that connects. I always say inspiration is a callback to the truth God placed in you. Follow the path of passion, peace and intuition and you’ll be on path that may of course have obstacles but there will also be momentum and favor. Trust that. Don’t be afraid to evolve and don’t be afraid to take your time doing it.
- Keep your priorities and your “why" in order:
the worst thing is to step back and realize everything you’re doing and find yourself saying “for what” This piggybacks on the previous statement, if you don’t have a deep soul filled aligned purpose that is driving you, you will eventually sit back and say…why? if you don’t know you’re real why you’ll end up asking yourself “why" one day. You have to know that this is what you’re suppose to be doing, a good idea isn’t always what you’re supposed to be doing. It has to be the exact thing you’re called to do.
- Shift your mindsets
It’s time to graduate from high school. It’s time to leave all the insecurities and issues at the marketplace door and boldly live out your creative truth and let others do the same in peace. All the stuff I listed above all comes down to two things. It’s time to grow up and get over yourself.
- Make sure you’re not into the idea but not the reality of your dream.
For years entrepreneurship and being your own boss has been trendy. Statistically business is not going anywhere, children are being raised in a level of possibility we never saw, that will result in more innovation meaning more visions that need to be developed. But the trendy saturated idea that ANYbody can be in business and that passive income while sipping mojitos on the beach is the norm is going away… which is actually a beautiful thing, it will filter out wanna be brand wagon people who actually have a different call on their life.
Not everyone is built for business. It’s not a bad thing, they are built to make impact in different ways. You can have impact without having having a business or being the boss: You have to decide for yourself, do you love the idea of your vision or could you never imagine not doing it. So many people try stuff and can easily go into whatever looks like a sure bet, you have to be the person that couldn’t do anything else because THIS is what you do. It’s what you couldn’t not do. It’s what you would still do without a business label, it’s what you can’t help but be excellent in and known for. THAT is a guiding key to knowing you’re committed and where you’re called to be.
Overall, I’m afraid the industry and the human nature element of peoples issues tainted the reality for many and has caused some to throw in the towel or hate the process.
I say this because over the years of being in business there have been MANY days, weeks, months and overall seasons where i’ve been there, where it’s like omg, this industry is draining, corny and annoying and I’m over the politics of it. But, I don’t stop because I know my Why.
I’ve stopped letting money and standing determine the worth of my vision. I’ve stepped back and seen that what was influencing my feelings was just that, influence of preceded notion of success or legitimacy. I found i’m happier niching in so deeply that my clients become friends we fit so well. I’m happier charging less than I know I could because I know what it’s like have to choose between food and business investments. I happier not being on social media as much because i’m not exposing myself to a million feeling inducing images and concepts that do nothing but clutter my own life experience.
I’m happier taking the sparked relationships online offline and nurturing them for real so that I don’t have to live on social media to engage. I’m also happy blocking out weeks where I don’t schedule anything so that I can experience the quality of life I work so hard to access.I’m happier not feeling like I have to drown myself in every how to blog and course and knowing I can truly do things in a way that is authentic to me. I’ve learned you can have a presence without getting lost and without doing it everyone else way and it that right there helps recognize and guard yourself against all the distracting energies that inevitable come to cloud a beautiful process.
I pray that all of us continue to find each of our truths and what that looks like for each of us. If God is showing you new outlets for your gifts and talents that look different than you expected, trust it. If your spirit is feeling heavy and restless, be conscious of what you’ve been exposing yourself too and where the feelings are coming from and what it’s trying to show you. Everything is a teaching moment.