The path of creating our own livelihood is certainly not easy, but it’s worth it. Your first year or more is spent trying things out, testing, and trying some more to see what will work. Whether you’re a writer, designer, artisan, or mystic there are some lessons you may or may not learn on your own about how to balance this out while also being true to your nature. Without strong resolve, it’s all too easy to get swept up in the information overload that comes with blazing your own trail.
I want to pass on some of the wisdom I’ve gleaned so far that helps me get through every single day and week without pulling my hair out and wanting to give up.
Blend work and life, they are no different
Get out of the confines of the office. This is the model that was imposed on us growing up under the guise of productivity. When do you remember having an inspiring brainstorming session? Probably on a hike over the weekend or just luxuriating with friends and you felt rejuvenated to get back to work. It didn’t happen when you were hunched over your computer for the 7th hour.
Make an effort to go do your work in a different location. Make it as mobile as you can so it’s never an excuse. Get a small laptop, or put together an away-from-home version of your workshop so you always have options of where you work. The best inspiration comes when we get out of our day-to-day routines and force ourselves to navigate the world in different ways.
Pick a new coffee shop, read educational books on the beach. Listen to a podcast in the mountains. Take in both types of education at once. Which leads me to…
When seeking answers (or a better set of questions) get out in nature
Hands down my best advice when a creative tells me they are over worked, stressed out, or unable to see the bigger picture is “Have you taken a walk lately?”
Much more than just a way to get movement into your life, putting your human self into it’s natural surroundings is a definite way to plug back into with where we came from. Don’t try to ponder too much or ask yourself the same questions you did at your desk or work station. Just walk, listen, see, take it all in. Sometimes it takes a good 10 minutes or even an hour to disengage from our routine life, but then when you do, you’ll know what you came there to find.
Cultivate your connections and nurture them
I’m as staunch an individualist as anyone, and you may be one too, but I’ve learned this: while you can do many things on your own and take immense pride in that, we are made to commune and create together. Don’t expect that everything will happen from the confines of yourself. Find the people that really speak to you and understand you when you talk. Create something bigger than you could on your own. Propel each other forward in mystical union of mind, heart and soul.
Haven’t found them yet? Wander your city and your favorite places and just strike up conversations. Learn to talk about what you do in an easy manner, and you never know what kind of connections will form. You can also reach out to authors and other creatives online and just tell them you like what they’re putting out there. I did this with Rachel of Aeolian Heart Readings at the beginning of the year on a whim, and now we’re friends and collaborators!
Nothing that is worth anything is ever easy
If it seems the odds are stacked against you, but you’re passion is stronger than ever, keep going. I whole-heartedly know that the amount of work and struggle whether physical, mental, emotional, or philosophical directly correlates to the beautiful place you will find yourself in the end.
If you are doing everything you can and nothing seems to be working or paying off, take a step back and focus on re-calibrating your approach. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your livelihood or prosperity for that matter. It takes tenacity and a certain amount of grit to break through to the other side, and the truly prosperous ones of us are reaping the rewards from a place of stable strength rather than getting “rich” quick and fading into the background.
Get away from the crowd by being YOU
With the explosion of entrepreneurs online touting their skills and credentials to help other entrepreneurs, the playing field is akin to a huge river flow after the floodgates are open. Instead of going with the current like everyone else, get out of the water and onto the stable ground.
Uncover what makes you distinctive and don’t confine yourself to a pre-prescribed set of skills (that’s the conditioning we grew up with yet again). I have my clients do an exercise where they list 3 interests they have outside of their “business.” Then during the branding and content shaping process, we incorporate these into how you present your talents and skills to the world online.
You can get back to basics and uncover the essence behind your brand by going through my free email course, Your Creative Business, Up & Running.