Sunlight Penetrating Tree's Branches

How to find your calling as an artist

Several people have mentioned recently that they know they have a calling in a creative direction but that they aren’t sure where to start to figure out what it is.

This is something I specialize in — helping you get clear not only about your life purpose, but also honing in on the specific expression of your life purpose that you can do in your daily life.

Life purpose versus the specific “thing” you do

For example, if your life purpose is to be a “Messenger” or “Mass Communicator,” the specific expression of that might involve being a broadcast radio announcer, a book author, a keynote speaker, or a journalist.

Similarly, if your life purpose involved “Creative Expression in the Spotlight,” we’d want to get clear about whether you’d rather be a stage or movie actor, a painter doing studio exhibits, a creative writer, or a dancer, for instance.

Most coaches will tell you that the way to do — once you know your broader life purpose — is to figure out what you are passionate about.

The problem with starting with what you are passionate about

The question of getting clear on what you are passionate about is one that fascinates me.

Why don’t we just know what we are passionate about? Is it simply that it’s been drained out of us by our cultural programming? Are we numb to the world because of the pressures we face and the constant onslaught of choices and information?

A while back I said that I think we might be asking the wrong question, to ask what we are passionate about. I say that because — particularly in the business coaching industry — there’s a kind of “well, all you have to do is what you are passionate about and all your problems will be solved” mentality. *blinks brightly*

No pressure there.

I mean, people come to coaching to find their life’s direction — if they knew what they were passionate about they’d already be doing it. And just point blank asking, “What are you passionate about?” triggers a bunch of remote answers that don’t have a lot to do with anything meaningful and makes people feel like they’re just stupid or blocked.

Which they are.

Blocked, I mean, not stupid.

Here’s the funny thing.

Deep down, some part of you that you’re not tapped in to — your soul — does know.

And it’s your job — just like it is for each one of us — to learn how to connect with that deeper inner wisdom and guidance that’s available to you and listen to it.

Listen to it like your life depends on it.

It does.

But wait a minute, Jenna, I can’t hear that voice!

I know. It’s hard to find, right?

It takes practice. Patience. Quiet time.

Journaling.

Listening.

Make space in your life for that deeper voice of wisdom to speak, and you will hear it.

And yes, you are avoiding it by numbing out, being so busy you can’t think, and constantly being online. Those things don’t help.

Go outside. Touch the ground. Make something REAL. Put your hands in that big planter filled with mint and breathe the scent.

Look at the sky and let your soul touch the clouds.

And do it again.

And again.

Then tell me what you found out.

xx

Your turn

I’d love to hear what you think! Your comments are always welcome.

Warmly,

 Jenna

 

Coming Attractions

 

~> April 19th, 2012. Last day to register for my next Life Purpose Breakthrough Group on May 17th. Only 1 spot remaining. These groups consistently sell out, so if you’d like to join me, reserve your spot ASAP. Register here.

~> April 19th, 2012. Teaching a live webinar for Writer’s Digest, “10 Practical Tips for More Consistent, Productive Writing.” Register here.

~> April 25th, 2012. Second date, same class, different graphic, different venue! A live webinar for The Writer’s Store, “10 Practical Tips for More Consistent, Productive Writing.” Register here.

~> May 1st to June 5th. My new Spotlight Study Group for sensitives, artists and hermit types who are ready to take their call to the spotlight more seriously and clear up the obstacles getting in their way. Details.

 

What I'm Up To

~> Ongoing. Writing in the ProSeries class at ScreenwritingU. I have a fancy marketing campaign printed out and on my wall now. It’s a thing of beauty!

~> Sacred writing time. Early mornings and Fridays.

~> Still reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire with my boy. Can’t watch Downton Abbey right now since it’s backlogged on Netflix. Up to other things in the meantime.

 

 

future

Are you protecting yourself from your dreams?

In a creative destiny planning session with a client the other day, we discovered that she was holding herself back from what she truly wanted with her creative work because she was afraid of being disappointed if it didn’t come true.

Does that sound familiar to you?

So many of us, myself included (!), tend to vacillate between wild dreams of incredible success and being afraid to admit to what we truly want for fear that we won’t get it.

We even hold ourselves back from knowing what we want, as if staying confused will keep us safe.

Lessons from little tots

The other day on the way to preschool, my son tripped, fell flat on his hands, and dropped his toys. After he stopped crying and we had a good hug, he said to me, “I was running too fast and I threw my toys.”

I thought about that for a minute and responded, “I don’t think you were running too fast, but sometimes we do trip and fall down.”

I wanted him to know that sometimes, things just go wrong, and we don’t necessarily want to: 1) blame ourselves, or 2) hold back overly from enjoying life because “something might happen”.

Making decisions to protect ourselves

We have all had experiences in our lives where we reach for what we want and don’t get it.

In our disappointment, we make decisions to protect ourselves from even wanting it in the first place, so we won’t get hurt again. We decide that it’s safer to aim low than to proclaim our dreams and be embarrassed when we don’t get them.

I’ve run into this with my creative work and my coaching work — setting my sights high, only to have it all come crashing down, and then deciding it’s not worth pursuing anymore.

In fact, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve given up on my creativity over the years to protect myself, like the time I dropped out after ONE DAY in art school because another student ridiculed my work, or how I decided not to be a writer when I was a kid because my parents told me I couldn’t make enough money that way.

What’s the right lesson here?

So while it’s true that we might be disappointed and sometimes we do aim higher than we achieve, is the right lesson to learn NOT to aim high? Is it truly better to be “realistic“?

I think we have to ask ourselves, “Which risk is bigger? The risk of playing small and holding back, never quite reaching for what I want? Or the risk of going for it, maybe falling hard, but maybe grasping that star I want?”

Let’s all agree to admit what it is we truly want, and to say to ourselves, “I’m going to give this dream the respect it deserves, and play full out to get it. After all, it’s something I truly, deeply want.

What’s your dream?

What’s your big dream? Tell us about it in the comments.

Here’s my dream: To have my writing be paid, published and/or produced.

For the sake of further exploration, next week I’ll write about doing things for the joy of them, even if they don’t “happen” the way we want them too. :)

Warmly,

 Jenna

 

Coming Attractions

~> Ongoing. My Protection & Grounding Jewelry is on close-out. Only ONE necklace is left. Is it yours? Find it here.

~> February 20th, 2012. The next session of my Writer’s Circle starts. Get my Free Writing Tips series too, and receive a coupon for a savings on your first 4 week session. Registration CLOSES TOMORROW, Thursday, February 16th. Sign up here.

 

What I'm Up To

~> Ongoing. Writing in the ProSeries class at ScreenwritingU, which was recently named the #1 screenwriting class by InkTip. They’re offering a free class called, “21 Steps to a Professional Rewrite” this Sunday if you’re interested. Details. It’s a great class that provides a ton of value for screenwriters and may be helpful for novelists too.

~> Daily and especially Fridays. Sacred writing time. The Do Not Disturb sign is up.

~> I loved watching Tales from the Script about real stories of screenwriting for Hollywood. Up next is Super Eight. Plus I’m in the middle of reading a bunch of books about screenwriting and reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to my son. He loves it!

 

Radically transform your life, a little bit at a time

Last week I wrote about aligning your day job with your creative destiny and there were a few objections about the practicality of such things in this day and age.

So I want to be clear.

  • I’m not suggesting that you up and quit your current job that doesn’t work for you without having something new lined up.
  • I’m not suggesting that work for peanuts and stress yourself financially in order to pursue your creative work.
  • I’m not suggesting that the only way to have a more aligned day job is to work part time or fewer hours (though that may be part of your solution).

I am suggesting that:

  1. If pursuing your creative destiny is important to you and you believe it is your true source of life satisfaction and ultimate success, you must make it a priority.
  2. In order to make it a priority, you may want to reevaluate the current things you are doing and consider changing them to be better aligned with your creative work.
  3. Many people mistakenly assume there is no other solution to their current circumstances, and/or they are unwilling to challenges the choices in their lives that keep them stuck.
  4. Many people resist making changes because it feels overwhelming.

IF you want to make a change in your current life or job situation, rather than doing it in one fell swoop, I encourage you to tackle it a little bit at a time.

  • Begin thinking of yourself in a new way (e.g “What would it look like to put my writing first?”).
  • Take a look at what’s working and what’s not.
  • Get creative about new ways to approach what’s not working. What could you try that you’ve never tried before? (Getting up early to pursue your art?)
  • Brainstorm what your ideal scenario would look like.
  • Resist deciding there are no alternatives that might work better until you’ve thoroughly explored the options.
  • Open your eyes, heart, and mind to new possibilities and solutions.
  • Take a active role in pursuing those solutions.
  • Start making changes a little bit at a time.
  • If something big falls into place, go for it!

For a long time, I believed that running my busy coaching business meant I couldn’t write. As I wrote last week, I had to shift what I was thinking and believing first, and then shift what I was doing to make a change in my life. And now it’s happening, bit by bit.

The mistake I kept making was not believing it was possible, so I kept waiting for something to happen to make it possible, rather than making it possible myself.

Your Turn

What about you? What’s the first small adjustment you can make to bring your creative work to the forefront of your life? Let us know in the comments.

 Jenna

Coming Attractions

~> Ongoing. My Protection & Grounding Jewelry is on close-out. Only a few items are left. Find them here.

~> December 26th, 2011. The next session of my Writer’s Circle starts — come rain, come shine, come holidays! Sign up here. Get my Free Writing Tips series too, and receive a coupon for a savings on your first 4 week session.

~> February 2, 2012. Start the new year fresh with your life purpose clear in your mind. My next life purpose breakthrough group session in on February 2. Details. Registration deadline: January 5.

 

What I'm Up To

~> Ongoing. Writing in the ProSeries class at ScreenwritingU.

~> Daily and especially Fridays. Sacred writing time. The Do Not Disturb sign is up.

~> Getting ready for some time off with my family over the holidays.

Align your day job with your creative destiny

Being trapped between a “day job” and your true creative destiny can be awkward.

It doesn’t have to be.

All too often, having a “day job” or “support job” looks like doing work you don’t enjoy in the name of paying the bills, while you pursue your true creative calling on the side.

In a more optimal scenario it looks like doing work you enjoy, ideally closely akin to your creative work.

For a long time, I’ve wanted to be a “real” writer. You probably know that already. *grin*

And for a while it felt like my coaching business was preventing me from doing that.

What I’ve since learned is that I was the only one stopping myself from pursuing my creative writing, and I had to make a few adjustments to change my relationship with my business to make my writing life a priority.

Inner & Outer Adjustments

Here’s what I mean:

  1. I had to start seeing myself as a writer and believing that my creative destiny and future success lies in that direction.
  2. I had to reorganize the structure of my days and life around my writing.
  3. I had to start thinking of my coaching business as my day job — luckily one that I like very much, and fully intend to keep doing — but one that is not the only center of my universe.
  4. I had redesign my business model to be more in alignment with my writing so it didn’t feel like such a departure from my own creative work (hence my Writer’s Circle and my focus on creativity over sensitivity, though that’s still part of the mix).

Ideal Support Job Alignment Checklist

Some things to take into consideration:

  • Make sure your support job pays well. Support jobs are Good Things, because they give you breathing room, usually financially, so you can pursue your creative destiny free from needing to rely on it to keep a roof over your head. (Not setting it up this way = a recipe for feeling creatively blocked if I ever heard one. I made this mistake when I first started my coaching business.)
  • Make sure your support job leaves enough time and energy that you feel like you have the bandwidth left to pursue your creative work. Support jobs are Good Things only when they work for you, so check to make sure your “day job” is truly supporting your creative work. If it is draining and deadening you, it’s time for a recalibration. Having a good support job that feels good to you can make all the difference in the energy, spirit, and passion you’re able to bring to your creative work.
  • Ideally, make sure your support job is aligned with your creative work. In an ideal world, your support job will match or resonate with your creative work. If it’s not, can you make any adjustments? Your spirit will be so much happier.

Your Turn

What about you? If you have a “day job,” is it working for you? How well is it aligned with your creative destiny? Are you inspired to anything shift about it? Let us know in the comments.

 Jenna

Coming Attractions

~> December 26th, 2011. The next session of my Writer’s Circle starts — come rain, come shine, come holidays! Sign up here. Get my Free Writing Tips series too, and receive a coupon for a savings on your first 4 week session.

~> January 26th, 2012. Start the new year fresh with your life purpose clear in your mind. My next life purpose breakthrough group session in on January 26th, time of day TBA. Details. Registration deadline: December 29th.

 

What I'm Up To

~> Ongoing. Writing in the ProSeries class at ScreenwritingU. Still critiquing (and learning tons!)

~> Daily and especially Fridays. Sacred writing time. The Do Not Disturb sign is up.

When “One Size Fits All” Doesn’t Fit For You

If you’re an artistic type — a writer, painter, poet, songwriter — an empathic, spiritual healer type, or a scanner with lots of passions and interests, you’re not one who’s likely to thrive with a “one size fits all” approach to developing yourself and your work in the world.

Personally, I’ve found that as an artistic, empathic, sensitive, creative being, I do best when I have the opportunity to work with a coach or mentor who will find ways to work with me rather than expecting me to fit inside a specific box or program.

There are so many opportunities out there right to grow and develop your work, it can be overwhelming to decide how to invest your precious time, energy, and money.

Here are a few suggestions I’ll make:

  • Look for people to work with that you admire on a deep level. It’s easy to be swept up in the glamor of what people SAY they are doing. Use your intuitive radar to look beneath the surface to look for a match on integrity, honesty, commitment, and forthrightness in the people you choose to work with as well as looking at what their previous customers have to say about them.
  • Look for mentors who “get” you. There’s nothing more important than working with someone who understands you, what makes you tick, and your vision as much as possible. For me, that looks like working with a mentor who understands what it’s like to be highly sensitive and empathic, who truly likes me and what I stand for, and who “gets” what it’s like to be bright and creative with a million ideas a minute.
  • Look for mentors with expertise and a proven track record in what you are wanting to accomplish. You’ll have a much better chance of success when you work with someone who has been where you want to go. Your mentor only needs to be a few key steps ahead of you to make a valuable difference in what you are up to.
  • Invest at a level that is high enough to motivate you into action but not so high that you put yourself and your future in jeopardy. I’ve seen so many of my colleagues and friends over-invest in high level programs that don’t pay off as fast as they hoped they would, and while some will tell you that investing highly can stretch you into playing a bigger game, it can also be paralyzing if the investment is too out of reach for you financially. Also keep in mind the long term value of the investment in your life as you make a decision.
  • If you work privately at a higher level with someone, choose a mentor who will craft a custom-designed process or program for you that addresses your specific concerns and challenges in a way that feels accurately and highly aligned with what you are facing. Especially at a high-level, “one size fits all” is rarely the right strategy. We are all at different points along the path to our creative destiny so it doesn’t make sense to start at the same place as everyone else.
  • If you choose to work with someone in a group program for cost reasons, make the point to choose a mentor you have a strong resonance with and who has their feet on the ground, not with someone who is promising you the stars. Look for carefully selected groups that kick off with everyone being at about the same starting point.
  • Be willing to dig deep. It’s easy to want to jump to implementation (as I know all too well!), but spending time on the essence and deep think of what you are doing will save you time in the long run. Choose mentors who will go deep with you, hold you to that deeper truth and the big vision, as well as support you to put in the elbow grease and take the nitty-gritty, practical implementation actions to see it through to the end.
  • Last, don’t invest in anything unless you are seriously committed to making it happen. Spending the money does NOT guarantee the results. It won’t do a lick of good if you don’t have the time, energy, and discipline to see it through.

Your Turn

I’d love to hear from you about:

  • What this sparks for you?
  • How can you apply this in your own life?

 

Coming Attractions

~> July & August. Doing Creative Destiny Assessments with visionary creatives ready to claim their creative destiny. Details coming soon.

~> August 4th. My next Life Purpose Breakthrough ‘Big Vision’ Group. There’s ONE spot left. Details. If you’re interested in the next group (probably in September), email my team here and we’ll add you to the list.

~> September. Beta-testing my new writer’s accountability system with a select group. Stay tuned for more info.

 


~> MONDAYS. Right Brain Business Planning with my buddy Kris Carey.

~> FRIDAYS. Sacred writing days. The Do Not Disturb sign is up.

~> Daydreaming about going to Comic-Con next week and getting an autograph from Nathan Fillion. #imsuchageek

~> Re-reading the entire Song of Fire and Ice series by George R. R. Martin so I’ll remember what the heck is going on when I get to “A Dance With Dragons” (can’t wait).

~> Vacationing with my family in August (at least part of it!).