The Artist’s Way at Work

28 04 2013


I started a group in January based on the book “The Artist’s Way at Work”. I posted last week about the tribes in my life. This week I realize a new tribe has been created.

The Artist’s Way at Work is a 12-week process book that is divided into methodical steps to self-discovery. There are two keys to the book, one is to get up every morning and to hand write three pages of stream of consciousness. The other is to, every week; bring yourself on an artist date, to do something fun, just what you want to do. Take yourself to an art opening or to a movie or wander in a used bookstore, whatever interests you. Someone described the group as a creative Weight Watchers, that by committing to meeting as a group, we hold ourselves more accountable to reaching our goals.

The book focuses on your work life, but once in the process you’ll discover that your creative life is not limited to just your job, but to every aspect of your life. There is real truth to the sentiment that if you do what you love, then you’ll never work a day in your life. That journey, however, to learning what it is that you love is the road that most of us find ourselves on. The other reality is that we still have to pay our bills while we are on this road.

We realized no one wanted this group to end, as we met for our last official meeting and wrap party. A very real bond has been formed among the new tribe. Several have had big life events happen to them in the few months since the group formed—divorce, job changes and job challenges. This group has been there to support each other for our large and small, ups and downs.

We came together with some of us knowing others in the group, but no one knowing everyone. We formed because we all had a void in our work life that left our creative life unfulfilled.

We discovered that we could find our answers within, if we allow quiet time in our life. That we have to nurture ourselves if we want our spirit to thrive. That sounds so simple, but as we live busy lives, those simple things are easy things to let go of. We learned that we all have self-doubt, but that we can control that doubt. And we learned that when we look at ourselves and see our flaws, others look at us and see our beauty and strength shining through.

It is in these morning writings and doing something our heart desires that serendipitous things happen. Getting out by ourselves has led to meeting people and making connections that take our lives into new discoveries and often to new jobs and careers.

This Artist’s Way at Work group has officially ended, but it feels like a beginning for me. I know there will be future groups that I will facilitate. I envision this group of new and old friends staying in each other’s lives, with others joining us. I have learned over the course of this program that our creative journey is our own to forge and that we have the skills within us to find our way. But to have the support of others is truly having the wind at your back as we move forward on our creative journey.

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Self Doubt

5 03 2013


I just accomplished a goal. I traveled to give a workshop. It’s the first time I’ve been asked to present my Creativity and Innovation workshop out of town. It was also the largest audience I’ve ever presented to. Since it was a regional women’s conference, it was not filled with familiar faces.  I did great. I’ve presented this several times, so it’s been fine-tuned. I had good involvement with the audience, they laughed when I wanted them to and a few lingered afterwards to talk. Immediately after I had that speaker high from the knowledge that I did well.

So the surprise came on the daylong drive home. I did well, but I asked myself,  “Was it good enough?”  I know I was not as good as the keynote speaker.  I’ve got no future bookings.  I’m really a fraud.

Wow! Where did this negative self speak come from? I’m immersed in what the creative process is. Not only is it what my workshop is about, I’m also facilitating An Artist’s Way at Work group and we’re halfway through the 12-week program. Even my professional club’s last speaker a few days ago was on the Creative Process.

I was experiencing the very thing I talk about—negative self speak. I know this can be roadblocks to creativity, if we allow it.

My club’s speaker said something that put it all into context. It’s that yes, self-doubt is part of the creative process (at least for many). We all experience it somewhat differently. When it happens, simply recognize it for what it is.  What’s important is to know your own process.

AH HA! So for me, this self-doubt is part of me pushing my own boundaries. That doesn’t mean to stop moving forward.  This happened after I gave my presentation, not before, which is when I expected the emotion.  So, I must be gentle with myself and not let this emotion stop me.

I’ve also leaned to recognize the gifts the universe sends me. In the middle of all these negative thoughts, I get an email. I’ve been asked to be a conversationalist at the upcoming TEDxLSU . I respond immediately with a big YES.  I don’t even really know what the duties of the job entail, but I figure they know I can talk to most anybody. Me being a talker, of this I have no doubt.

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