I had been going through my usual mid-winter, end of year, I hate the holidays, etc. doldrums... I stayed up really late last night trying to "assess" the past year and prove to myself that I had achieved something and not just wasted another year. I eventually gave up at 2am and went to bed. I slept surprisingly well, but woke up feeling panicky and trapped by lawyers and publishers and ex-husbands. Not necessarily multiples of each one, but you get the idea. There was a crowd of unwanted voices in my head!
A few weeks ago, I alienated almost my entire group of business mastermind colleagues. While that's a very impressive and thorough feat, I'm not sure if I should include it on my list of accomplishments for 2012? It certainly wasn't my intention! I was trying to explain an inkling I'd experienced. Many of you have told me that you are on a similar quest to mine - how to figure out what the heck you should be doing with your life!!? I have proven to myself over and over that MONEY is not the "purpose." YES. I need money. YES, I want money. Lots of it. But that is so that I can DO things. It's not the reason WHY I do things.
I had had an experience where I was part of a group who experienced profound joy, happiness and pride... in someone else's success. It was the kind of feeling where you really feel like you might explode! But it wasn't just MY feeling. Almost everyone at the event was feeling it. It was shared - and magnified - and I didn't want it to end.
THAT. That feeling is what I want to build my career on. I guess it is crazy, but that's what I want.
In my usual fashion, I have been torturing myself trying to figure out how all the things I CAN do, can lead me to this goal. In short... I have NO idea what the heck I am doing. But I have learned that completing one of my own goals is not enough if it doesn't involve a success for others as well. For example: I have been sending off manuscripts to publishers since I was fifteen years old. When Totally Tangled was published by Design Originals, the real success, happiness, goal-achieving feeling came from the fact that there were other artists involved in the book. At the book signing, we were all yelling and signing each others' books.
My brain has been wanting to curl up in my studio for the rest of the winter, eat Cheetos and watch Vampire Diaries. Maybe draw something too. :-) But my heart and creative bits want to DO something. Get together with people. Make a difference. Help someone help themself. Create. Make friends. Get OFF the computer... I know I need to open The BeeHive already. Stop being so scared and just see what happens. Maybe no one will show up. This week. But maybe someone will come next week? Just start.
So why do I love the internet? Oh, there are SO many reasons, but today, it's because that's where my mentors and my tribe are. (I'm talking about YOU!) :-) When I dragged my brain out of bed (and the voices of the ex, the publishers, the lawyers, etc.) at noon and sat in front of my computer - there was a new post from Marie Forleo (my hero):
She not only encouraged me to just start already, but she shows how she started her MarieTV. And she shares a quote:
"Dissatisfaction and discouragement are not caused by the absence of things but the absence of vision."
I found myself yelling (in my head) "Yes! Yes! Stuff and money are not the POINT!" and "I need a VISION!" Of course, I realize that I have a vision. It's that thing that makes my heart feel like it is being ripped out when I don't know what I can do to help in certain situations. I had this strange sensation that if I could find a way to put that feeling into words, then I could start working towards my purpose and vision... goals, whatever you want to call it.
I wouldn't feel like my world was being cut apart every couple of years when I have to reinvent myself and my "job". The purpose and vision is always there whether I am an Egyptologist, an illustrator, a teacher, a store owner, an author... a mom...
These setbacks that we all have, some more than others, are clues, just as the little "inklings" are clues. Sometimes, we are so busy moaning about what's not fair, or hurting us, that we miss the quiet sparks of insights. There are clues scattered everywhere! All I've been seeing is the clutter.
In November, I had the chance to work with Ally Piper of Bright Eyes Creative. I enjoyed talking with her so much - her mind works a lot like mine. I asked her to come to my home studio first before our "real" meeting at the business studio. I wanted her to see all the things that no one else sees - my home is like my portfolio! When we were talking in the business studio - now called The BeeHive - we brainstormed and came up with lists of amazing ideas of all the things I could do. Later, Ally emailed me the list with all the action steps needed to be successful. Wow. You know what I did? Yep. Panic attack. Overwhelm. Not because of the list and all the work involved, but because of all the things that were left OUT! How screwy is that? What I realized was - if we had sat down in my home studio and made a similar list, it would have been ten totally amazing things that I could do, but completely DIFFERENT from what we came up with at The BeeHive. Oh dear. But now I know that this is where the VISION part comes in. I need to evaluate, eliminate, adjust all the good ideas to see what and how they can fit with my purpose and vision.
Ally is doing a group, online, business retreat on January 14th - it's called the Napkin Note Biz Plan.
And I'm going to attend. Now that I have a slightly clearer, well... less foggy... idea, I want to evaluate all my options and decide where I should focus my energy. You can look at the page for all the details, but here is a quote from the description that sums it up for me:
The process I’m going to share with you keeps me sane when my creative mind takes off in a million directions and I start teetering on the edge of overwhelm.Seriously, is that me or what? Yep. And how about you? People call creativity and imagination a "gift" but sometimes it can be a curse too. How about a class for learning to control your super powers? ;-D Cape optional.
I haven't written my official resolutions for this year yet. I'll take a shower first, procrastinate a little bit more... but I'm thinking I will be less specific than usual. Something to do with redirecting my energy. I realized this morning that my energy has been consumed by vampires in my life. Yes, I did invite them in. I'm naive, gullible, trusting. Alrighty then. No, I have no idea how to break free of them, but I've watched enough Vampire Diaries in the past few weeks to know that I can start by hanging out in the sunshine instead of the gloomy shadows!! The BeeHive is bright and cheerful and it will be open from 3pm-9pm starting this Friday. I'd love to hang out with you too!