LIFE (AND BIZ) IS A JOURNEY. SHARE YOURS!
By the time you read this blog, I’ll be on the road. I’m in the final stages of packing now, hiking boots and all.
My destination? The Blue Ridge Mountains and Asheville, NC – one of my favorite places! I’m heading down to host my first Big Magic retreat at my friend Suzanne Armstrong’s studio. I’m so grateful and excited that this day is almost here.
Of course my fears have popped up, telling me, "you'll be boring," "who do you think you are?" "this is too much for you to handle."
And I know how to address those fears. That's what I teach my clients to do, and yes, I need to apply those lessons to myself too, because I'm human. We all get to give ourselves permission to be human.
So, I’m looking forward to a day of fun, play, and going deep to uncover the truths of our lives – and working through those things that block us from fully living these truths. My favorite material!
We’ll be exploring Elizabeth Gilbert’s themes from her book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear: Courage, Enchantment, Permission, Persistence, Trust, and Divinity. These are key ingredients for living a creative life.
What does that mean, to live a creative life?
To me, it means, feeling free to fully express myself.
It means embracing imperfection and sharing who I am, flaws and all.
It involves an understanding and acceptance of PROCESS, not just product.
In my work, I help my clients apply these principles to their marketing. Women shouldn’t feel pressured to lock their truth in a closet in order to market their business.
In fact, here’s a little-known secret:
truth-telling is a smart marketing strategy.
We get to be ourselves! What a relief! We don’t have to construct a false persona to hide behind. We get to share our stories, the stories that demonstrate our passion and life journeys that brought us to the work we do.
And THIS is the stuff that draws clients and customers to us.
Because our life journeys aren’t easy. They contain detours, U-turns, and road blocks. And we find ways to get through them. And these details demonstrate our resolve, our resilience, and our creative fire.
For example, here’s my truth right now: running my business was stressing me out more than was acceptable to me. The lack of consistent income was eroding my confidence. So I got a part-time job doing marketing communications for a local non-profit. And I’m feeling a weight lifted off my shoulders.
It’s okay to do what you need to do to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
You may hear business coaches out there telling you that getting a job to support yourself as you grow your business is a cop-out. You’re either all-in, or you’re out. But I’d like to present a counterpoint to that argument. Sometimes getting a side job helps you be all-in. It gives you a chance to come up for air. It gives you a foothold as you climb the mountain.
As women, we carry so much on our shoulders. We don’t need to be shaming each other for doing what we need to take care of ourselves.
Creating a business, like creating a work of art, is a PROCESS.
In Big Magic, Gilbert makes the point that we shouldn’t demand that our art support us financially. And I would argue that applies to entrepreneurship too. When we’re growing our businesses, we shouldn’t demand that they support us financially right off the bat. We often need to give ourselves time to figure it out. We need to give ourselves breathing room so we can –dare I say – ENJOY the journey.
It’s a bold step to start – and run – your own business. Whether you’ve been in corporate for awhile and you can’t stand it anymore, or you’re ready to take your venture to the next level, please, please take good care of yourself. Get the support you deserve.
And don’t worry – my part-time job still leaves me PLENTY of room to continue serving my clients. So if you’re thinking about taking your next step and your want your marketing to reflect who you truly are, let’s talk.
If you'd like, you can follow my hiking (and biz) adventures on my Instagram page! Just click below to check it out.
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Do you know a creative woman entrepreneur who would enjoy this blog? You have my full permission to share it with her!
I'm having a blast this Spring leading book study/writing circles based on the book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, by Elizabeth Gilbert.
This book is a primer for anyone who wants to awaken their creativity.
Our theme this week was COURAGE. We talked about how to recognize the voice of our fear, and see it as a separate voice from our own. We also talked about the importance of listening to our fear - giving it a fair hearing - then telling it to take a back seat while we take the driver's seat our life.
To anchor this idea, we began by listing things our fear says to us when we're about to take a risk. (Mine always hits me with "you're getting too big for your britches," and "people will hate you, and you'll be all alone,").
Then we listed adjectives to describe our fear's personality. There were some surprises here. Several women in the group shared my realization that our fear isn't just MEAN, it wants to PROTECT us.
Then, we wrote letters to our fear. Some chose to try a twist and write a letter from their fear. Either way, the key here is to separate ourselves from our fear. To give you an example of the power of this exercise, here's mine, in its raw and unpolished form:
A letter to my fear
Hey fear, I see you. I feel like we’ve been hanging out lately. I know we always hang out. But I’m sensing us walking alongside each other a little more. And I sense that I’m taking the lead a little more.
I feel like when I give you a chance to have your say, you calm down a little. That’s all we really want, right? To have our say? To be heard? When our voice is suppressed is when trouble happens.
I’ve been learning how to bring both of our voices to the table. I mean, I really want to live a soul stirring life. I’ve been taking risks out the wazoo, not having a traditional J-O-B while also juggling adult financial responsibilities. DANG.
But I’m doing this because I have a calling. Sometimes I wonder if my helping other women express their stories and voices and creativity is a curtain I stand behind as a way to avoid my own creativity. But that also may be you talking.
So back to soul stirring. Yes, I want that. I want grand adventure. I want travel. I want variety. I want peace and beauty. I want to make a difference. I want to express who I am.
And you. You are ever so practical. You want me to be safe .You want me to be secure. You are here to preserve my life at all costs. You remind me of the shadowy hand waving over the tadpole tank*. All the time.
And I know I can’t just ignore your concerns. And I don’t want you to ignore mine either. So that’s why we need to work together, you and me. I’ll aim for soul stirring and you aim for supportive practicilaity.
That way when I am faced with a decision to take a creative risk, I get to ask myself “what would feel soul stirring AND supportively practical?
You are the safety net into which I can fall. But I’m not going to lay down in your net. I’m going to bounce up and out, knowing I can return to you, thankful for how you anchor me.
*this is a reference from Chapter 1 in Big Magic.
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Because I can't get enough of these transformative lessons, I'm starting a Big Magic Journeyers study group. Membership in this private Facebook group includes printable worksheets with writing prompts you can do in 5 minutes per week. Members also receive a private creative coaching session with me, which can be used to clarify your marketing message, dive into your brand story, or work through a creative challenge that is brought to your awareness through your study of the book.
Interested in joining my tribe of soulful creative women to experience a creative breakthrough? Contact me here to learn more and sign up.
Don't delay! The journey begins Monday, April 2.
Running your own business can feel like applying for a new job each and every day.
You put yourself out there in your best light.
You psych yourself up for the interview or sales call.
You do the mental and spiritual gymnastics required to slip into the a positive, hopeful mindset.
You work hard to keep the demons of negativity at bay.
Each and every day.
Zero days where you get to coast through the motions (and still get paid).
You've gotta be smart, savvy, and ON. All. The. Time.
But here's the thing.
Entrepreneurs can't AFFORD to be exhausted.
Exhausted doesn't serve our clients.
Exhausted doesn't let us create.
Exhausted doesn't pay the bills.
So now on top of being exhausted, you're STRESSED.
But rather than plowing through, here's a suggestion.
Rather than fight the exhaustion, why not listen to it?
Why not see it as a signal? A signal that it's time for a break.
Ignoring it will only make things worse. You'll get sick. You'll have a meltdown. It's inevitable: you will have a setback.
But if you listen to to exhaustion and heed its message for you (REST), you'll recharge your batteries and find a fresh perspective. And this is a wonderful thing.
So, what can you do to recharge?
Does crashing on the sofa feel too passive? (I get that).
How about a CREATIVITY RETREAT instead?
Creativity is a great way to recharge your batteries.
And it doesn't have to cost you an arm and a leg.
In fact, the possibilities are endless, ranging from simple, do-it-yourself options, to supportive groups, to destination retreats.
I'm fresh off a terrific experience leading a group of women entrepreneurs where we met weekly to discuss and reflect on the themes from the book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. Our class served as a mini-respite from the busy-ness and noise of the outside world. We began to treasure our time together, writing, sharing, and tuning in to our creative muses.
This group really illustrated a point for me. Entrepreneurs need support that goes beyond business strategy, branding, and marketing. We are not machines. We need fuel for our creative souls.
That's why I'm committed to helping entrepreneurs like you find nourishment and inspiration. Here are five ideas for creating your own retreat:
Which brings me to my EXCITING NEWS!
I'm offering a Big Magic retreat this summer in the beautiful mountains of Asheville, NC. Want to learn more? Click here. (Enjoy significant early bird savings now through 3/23).
As a creative and entrepreneur, I've been to burnout and back many times. And I've learned one thing: soul care is a requirement for the journey. Creative soul care has made such a difference in my life, and I am committed to sharing it with you. Won't you consider being kinder to yourself? Try one of my suggestions above, or do something that feels right to you. You'll feel better. I guarantee it.
From my heart to yours,
Author and Branding Consultant
I am passionate about helping mission-centered business owners share their message through compelling written and visual content.
My memoir, What I Gave to the Fire, is available in both print and Kindle formats on Amazon.com.