Gracie completes her current work of art, a masterpiece on the chalkboard wall we have in our kitchen, and says “Mom, I hope I’ll be an artist.” She spends the time between getting home from school and supper in creation. Her best way to process her day and decompress is through art. She’s seven and a half years old and just starting to learn about who she is, who she wants to be. Right now, in this sweet spot of life, her mind is completely open to possibility. One day she wants to be a ninja, the next an artist and later still a fairy-mom-who-is-also-a-secretary. Likely you won’t be surprised that I’m going to encourage her to be whatever it is she chooses, and to let her know she can continue to choose again. She can be all things, in different times, if she decides. And that’s the biggest part around it
STEP ONE, to becoming an artist — or anything else — decide and claim it.
I know this to be true when I see the examples in my daily life. A friend who is a painter and has magnificent, bright, wild pieces of art; what she creates is not extraordinary, you too could likely paint a similar piece. What IS extraordinary, is that she simply came here to be an artist and never doubted that. When someone asks her what she does, she claims it time after time after time. Saying that an artist is what she is, is what makes her so.
When we decide that something is what we say it is, we in fact make it so. Our perception creates our reality. Wanting to be something and actually being something has such a small space in between, it’s the space of decision.
“Ok ok, Emmy”, you say, “so I am just going to simply say that I’m a snowboarding neurosurgeon and boom, scalpels, mountains, Red Bull sponsorship, paycheques and hospital scrubs appear?”. NO. But it will be the first step in the right direction.
This screams simplicity right? Most of you are looking at my adorable little graphic above [it’s printable!] and saying yup yup, got it, learned that day two of my life <insert eye roll>. This is a gentle reminder because you’re right, this is so simple! But many of us have been missing these steps for years. Can I ask you a few things?
If you currently work: Is the work you’re doing the fulfilling kind of work that you always wanted to do? Do you BOTH make a great income and do soul-filling work? Are you living the kind of life you always dreamed of?
If you don’t currently work: Are you finding passion in other ways that fill your soul? Are all your financial needs taken care of, maybe even exceeded? Is your life a version of what you always imagined it would be?
Do you believe that you get to choose and then choose again if the plan you set out didn’t end up being the right one for you?
Tell me if you answered NO to any of those questions. And then let’s revisit the graphic and go over this together. For the majority of people I know, we come up in this world with dreams and desires that hardly get a nod of recognition before we jump head first into becoming a responsible adult. Many have become so disconnected from the part of themselves that dreams and desires that even the first part, ‘desire to be something’, feels alien and uncomfortable. When is the last time you heard the whispers of your heart? Do you connect with them or do you brush them aside? Can you engage with the child-like dreamer you once were?
We live under the premise that following joy, passion, dreams, desires is fanciful and unrealistic. But I know these nudges are actually the purest and clearest form of direction we’re being given. So what if we listened?
Your dream is unique to you, it’s likely ever-changing and evolving. You might want to be an astronaut, a stay-at-home dad, a pro-skateboarder, a singer, an actor, a restauranteur, a CEO of a high powered company, a mechanic, an inventor, a writer, a photographer, a baker. Whatever it is that you are desiring, there is space for it. And there are actual steps you can take to becoming this.
Nothing is sadder than an unfulfilled life; to come to this earth knowing what you desire most and then to…not chase after it. Ugh. WHY? But why. We’re going to have to face some unpopular and unconventional thoughts here, but I want you to play with it. Use the next graphic and go for it. Let’s say you want to be an artist…
I have always wished to be an [artist], and so I’m deciding NOW that I’m going for it. The steps I need to take in order do this are [what kind of artist do you want to be? If you want to be a formally trained artist, do you need to take some classes?] and it will likely take me [how long will it take you to complete the courses you want in order to feel ready to do this?].
When I am done and can finally claim to the world I am [a watercolour painter], I will feel [accomplished, in alignment with my dreams, creative and purposeful!].
An artist is ambiguous — is there really anything right now stopping you from claiming that you are one besides the fact that you aren’t producing a lick of art? If you were to start making needle point family portraits and selling them on Etsy, would you now not be an artist? What limiting belief is standing in your way of right now claiming who you want to be in this life?
If it’s training, school, accreditation that you need, then let’s make that plan and go after it. You’ve always wanted to be a lawyer but now you’re 45 and working at the The Bay? Take your age off the table, luckily there are no caps on age for going back to school and learning, and stop finding every excuse you can come up with in order to stay within the life you currently live. Stop fighting for your limitations. Am I bugging the shit out of you yet? GOOD. Look it. Listen. Are you listening? Look it. (Please tell me you got that quote so we can be friends for all time) This is your life, your actual life is at stake here! It’s a life or death situation now; either you live the life you most desire or you die without having lived.
If you are working at The Bay and that actually has been your lifelong dream, to be in service to others, to have little responsibility, to enjoy the camaraderie of your coworkers, to see the new fashion and vacuums that come out each year; if that is congruent to your desires, then GREAT. More than great, AMAZING. You are doing something that most people will never accomplish, you are living the life you always hoped to. But if you’re working at something and wishing you were somewhere else every day when would NOW be a good time to change directions?
What’s missing for you? Really look at this picture. If your limitations are time, how will you create more of it in your day? If it’s money, where will you come up with it? If it’s FEAR, let’s blow through it.
Get clear on your desires, see what needs to be done in order to go after them, get all your ducks in a row, lean in through the fear of it not working out, and become what you’ve always dreamed to be.