The Path to Creative Business Success
After I wrote that post, the Just Give Up Already Creative Dream Monster showed up to do his Monster Dance all of over my dream. Part of his dance is to throw all these reasons-to-quit at me.
His purpose is to get me to give up before I've really begun.
It was a rough few days.
I am mega-grateful for the Un-Sticking Station in the Creative Dream Circle, which is a space to transform whatever is in your way - fears, doubts and inner critics as well as outer obstacles.
As I worked through this process, I found there were 2 different things happening:
- The inner process of learning to TRUST the PATH is the process of letting go of the outcome and choosing the path to choose the path. Secretly I wanted to choose the path more for the destination, and also hoped that if I chose the path for the right reasons, I would be rewarded by getting what I want.
- In order to fully commit to choosing the path, I had to meet with all of the parts of me that don't want me to do this (fears, doubts, inner critics) and do the inner work of getting them on board with my plan.
I was tuning into my mission and aligning myself with it - physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually.We usually want to rush past this step but without it there is no hope for success.
We want to rush past it because it can get very uncomfortable. Depending on how much inner work you've already done around your dream, this part can involve a lot of tears, grief, anger, confusion and doubt. Or it can be all epiphanies and healing and YAY! DREAM! I LOVE YOU LET'S DO THIS!
For me, it was a mixture. A quiet, gentle deepening into my intention.
Some of the kinds of questions I was exploring:
Why am I doing this? REALLY why am I doing this? What do I want to get out of it? Are there better/easier/funner ways to get that? Is this REALLY what I want or is this what I think I'm supposed to want? What parts of me don't want it? Why? How do I want to feel when I have it? How do I want to feel while I'm on my way to it? What am I NOT willing to do to get it?Which lead to all sorts of other questions. Many many many pages have been filled in my journals.
And after a few days of exploring this, I spent Friday at the mineral spa - soaking in the mineral hot tubs and steaming in the aromatherapy steam bath and unwinding. Opening up space inside of me for everything I explored to sink in and solidify inside me.
In the end, even the part of me who is all "DUDE! You don't have time for this "inner work" bullshit! Get to work! REAL work!" had to admit that doing all of this untangled everything for me.
Last week when I thought about what it meant to bring all of my attention and energy and creativity into building my business - my brain would get all tangled, my body would kind of tense up, and I felt like a deer in headlights. I didn't know what to DO.
This week, I feel a little nervous but mostly inspired. I feel sure that this is what I want to do. I feel solid in my commitment to do it. I feel super inspired about all the things I want to DO to grow my business with creativity + soul. I feel grateful that I get to choose this as my path.
The nervous part comes from my decision to share the journey while I'm in it.Most pros say you should NEVER do this. You should go through your struggles and trials privately, and then when (IF) you emerge on the other side all sparkly and victorious - THEN you share the story of how you got there.
I think that's bullshit.
How inspiring is it that you didn't trust your path until you had safely arrived at your destination?
So I am committed to sharing this adventure - no matter where it leads. This is the kind of faith I have in my Creative Dream Processes. I know that if I stay in the process I'll get to exactly the right place at exactly the right time.
At this point, the hard part is figuring out WHAT to share - after days and days of meditation and journaling, I learned a lot of cool stuff... like:
1. How hard it is to be 100% committed to any dream, because of this: If I really, truly, honestly give it my ALL and then I fail - that would break my heart so bad I would not be able to recover. (I'm going to write a whole post about this one)
2. My Inner Starving Artist does not accept that I am where I am today. That I can have a gorgeous brand new loft condo and a car and this creatively, spacious, flowy lifestyle. I show her my bank account and show her how I pay for all of this with my creative work and it's like she can't see it. Her life was very, very different.
I have more work to do, bringing her out of the past and into the present. (I'm using the Transform Your Inner Critics, Fears + Doubts Kit for this) I know that working with her to transform her energy will give me a fantastic energy boost for my mission - she is highly creative, determined and hard-working, it will be great to have her on my team.
Getting to the Next PartI went back to the Treasure Map and asked it for my next step. (I'm using the CrazySmart Wisdom Council in the Creative Dream Circle to get these genius answers)
The new steps are:
- Deal with Freakouts (inner critics, fear, doubt) Ha! At that point I had already done that, but it was nice to get re-assurance that that is an important step.
- Find The Places of Clarity
Find the Places of ClarityIt feels like I am taking forever to actually, like DO SOMETHING about all this. But the more time I spend creating a smooth path inside of me, the easier it is to walk the outer path.
So I took my journal out for coffee to explore what Find The Places of Clarity even means.
I wrote out my response to the prompt and quickly narrowed in on one idea... I'm not sure I know how to find the places of clarity. But I as journaled about that a question came to mind that felt important: What Do I Like?
So I made a list of things I like about my business. Things I like to do, things I like to have happen, things I am glad that exist.
Then it all became clear.
Not surprisingly, a lot of the ideas that I have learned about how to build and grow an online business did NOT end up on that list of things I like.
What if I just do what I like? Officially move all the other things somewhere outside of my world. I'd already decided to not DO those things, but they're still there, in my brain. There's still this part of me thinking that eventually I'll have to just bit the bullet and DO THEM, or find a way to make them be fun.
What if they could just cease to exist for me completely? What if I was left with JUST THE FUN STUFF?
And a tiny voice asked: What if I let JOY be the fuel for this adventure?Fireworks went off in my inner world.
One tiny inner critic has her arms folded tightly across her chest and is all "OMG NO! YOU HAVE TO BE SERIOUS! YOU HAVE TO DO THE RIGHT THINGS! IN THE RIGHT ORDER! OR ELSE YOU'LL FAIL!!!"
Looking back on all the things I've learned in this process so far, it was pretty easy to calm her down.
See, in the midst of all of this journaling and exploring I wrote a blog post about How To Draw Mandalas (And Why You Want To). I put more effort into writing that than I usually put into blog posts, and did what I could to make it as helpful as possible.
This is exactly the kind of thing I didn't have time for before, when I was focused on my programs.
One day later: that post has been pinned to Pinterest 62 times (and that's not counting when people re-pin those pins!) and has 92 Facebook likes... so it's on Pinterest and Facebook, bringing new people in. And as a result: web traffic is up, email sign-ups are up.
And it was an absolute delight to write and share. I LOVE drawing mandalas! It is fun to share that love!
What if I did that every week?
Even my inner critic had to admit: that would be very good. Even my inner critic wants to not do The Things That People Say You Have To Do That I Just Don't Like Doing and even my inner critic can see that Maybe This Fun Stuff Actually Works Better For Me.
So I Found The Places of ClarityIt's OK to proceed and follow the path of most juice: joy, inspiration, light. I feel like I have more internal permission to do that now.
In the last few years of developing my work I have learned that it is more effective to PLAY your inner work that it is to "WORK on your stuff".
It feels like now I am learning now that it is also more effective to PLAY with your business instead of WORK on it.
I look forward to where this is taking me...
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