Building a Creatively Made Business | The Art of Practicing

I was volunteering at a local high school enrichment program and I had the students all day.  We were going to start with sketching and then create sculptures based upon our sketches.

I had my supplies out, sketches taped to the wall and supplies at each of their spaces to begin.

As they started filtering into the room I started to notice the mumbling of some of the students. There were words coming past their lips like, “I can’t even draw a stick person”, “Mine is going to suck”, “I don’t do art” or “I am not an artist”.  I was a bit surprised at first but then after listening to them for a bit I knew what they were doing. They were protecting themselves and announcing to the whole class that they would fail just in case they later felt like they failed. They were announcing to themselves and the class that they were afraid of doing something new.

As I looked over the room, their squiggly bodies and unsure expressions I asked them to raise their hand if they had NEVER played the piano. Hands went up over most of the class.  There was an old upright piano in the corner of the room that I had noticed earlier and it would serve me well over the next moments. I pointed to one of the boys that had his hand raised and he confirmed that he had never played the piano. I then asked him to come over to the old piano and play a little Cold Play for all of us. He looked at me a little perplexed but with this new position as teacher for a day I was surprised that he slowly got up from his seat and made his way to the piano. He reluctantly sat down at the bench and just stared at me.

“Go ahead and play something”, I said.

“I can’t. I don’t know how”, he responded.

“What do you mean? Why can’t you play something?”, I asked.

“Because I have never taken lessons”.

“Exactly”, I said as I smiled and told him he could go back to his seat.

The next moments of our class were as much of a lesson for me as they were for all of those teenagers.

Do you remember when you were little you used to run up to those that loved you in your life and proudly displayed your art? Those simple marks you made on the page but you couldn’t wait to share? Around the time we become more self aware (7-9) you may have found yourself creating one day and casually looking over at your classmate, friend or sibling making art.  It may have been the first time that you noticed that someone was better than you. You looked back at your work possibly ashamed and embarrassed. It wasn’t as good. You crumpled it up, threw it in the garbage and for many people that would be the last time they freely made art.  Maybe this didn’t happen for you until you were in high school or even college. You saw someone better and assumed they just had more talent than you. Maybe they did. BUT maybe were doing something they you weren’t. Practicing.

For someone to ask you to play an instrument well when you have never played, taken lessons or practiced would be ridiculous but we expect perfection, excellence and quality in ourselves every day in different areas of our lives without ever showing up and putting the time in. And often when we don’t instantly see the results we want we give up too soon.   When it comes to gardening, cooking, painting, dancing, sketching, photography, running, singing, running a business and so many other examples…we think if you are not naturally gifted in these areas that we are not good in these areas and we give up.  What we are missing is comparing our non practice with those that practice.

So what happened with all of those students in my art class? Well, once they were told it was OK not to be amazing the very first time they tried something they all let out a collective sigh of relief and practiced. They sketched, they learned and then most of them made sculptures for the very first time in their lives. They had FUN.  They were even surprised in themselves and proud of what they created.

Maybe you have no interest in sketching, painting or sculpting but this is not about the area of practice but about practice. Don’t give up on a skill or yourself when you haven’t even begun to show up and practice. Don’t let fear push you away from the places in yourself that you want to discover. I won’t lie. It is hard work. It is choosing the uncomfortable over and over again. BUT with practice the uncomfortable starts to become comfortable, freeing and beautiful. Dare I say…fulfilling.  Imagine that! A life that feels fulfilling because you did hard things to learn hard things. Not everything you try will be for you but just think about the areas in your life that will change with PRACTICE! Kind of exciting isn’t it?!

coursedividers

If you are interested in building or growing your business I would love to talk with you. I have a small amount of consulting openings each month and would love to share my rates with you and help you build your own creative business. You can contact me at contact@jeanneoliverdesigns.com.

You may want to schedule a business consultation if…

*You have been dreaming about a business idea and don’t know where to begin

*You are feeling stuck in your current business and want to brainstorm how to revive your creative business

*You feel overwhelmed by your current business and need to say no to some things so you can say yes to your true passions

*You want direction with blogging, your website or social media

*You want help creating a consistent look and feel within your brand

*You are not sure what your brand is and how to define it

*You just need fresh eyes on your business

*You have questions about collaborations

*You want to find out how to get published and how to get your work seen

*You need another creative who has been there and is there to bounce ideas off of

coursedividers

If you are interested in reading more in our Building a Creatively Made Business Series:

Your Business And The New Year

Celebrate Milestones

The Big Picture

Q & A

Say No To Say Yes

Creative Business Consulting

Building a Creatively Made Business | Say No To Say Yes

When you are building a new business or growing the business you have loved and expanded for awhile it can be hard to know what to give your physical, emotional and financial energy to.

You can read all of the books, take the business classes, talk to your peers etc. but when it comes down to it YOU have to make daily decisions that lead you into a creative life for your business.

I love that Elizabeth Gilbert states that a creative life is not if you are a gardener, painter, dancer, chef…a person that lives a creative life is a person that chooses “curiosity over fear” on a daily basis. Time and time again you choose to not let fear drive your decisions.

Have you ever thought about what fear looks like?  It can look different for each of us but it can be procrastination, perfection, settling, control, inability to make a decision, letting others decide for you and even saying yes to things you really want to say no to.

When you say yes to everything you are also saying no to YOUR gifts, dreams in your heart, goals for your life and creativity and time and energy for your family.  It can be a fear of missing out, the belief that because so many others are doing it that you should too or the desire to please everyone else around you.

I am contacted almost daily with beautiful offers and opportunities.  I have to say no to almost all of them.   Sometimes it can be hard but because I have some boundaries in place about how often I travel away from my family each year, how many online classes I will teach each year etc. the work and decisions are many times already decided for me. I have a very beautiful and full life that is rich with home, family, business, friends and creativity.  I do not say yes to many things I do not want to do. From little to big things I try to be honest with myself, family, friends and business.  I have learned what it feels like to resent saying yes, the energy that robs from me and the disservice that is to the other person.  I love and thrive with a full life but I do not like a busy life.

Sit down with the most important and trusted people in our life and come up with answers to simple questions like…How often do I want to travel each month?  What is my consulting fee? Teaching fee? etc.  You will be surprised with how much easier it is to say no to say yes when you have taken some time to already have answered some of these questions for yourself, business and family.  Once you have done that I would encourage you to take each offer and opportunity that comes your way and ask yourself some questions…

1. Do I even want to do this?Does this offer align itself with me and my brand? Is this collaboration authentic?

2. Do I have the time and energy to give my best?

3. How does this impact my family?

4. How does this impact my peace? Mental health? Physical health?

5. Will I resent saying yes?

6. Does it grow my brand, their brand or both?

7. Am I exposing my brand and business to whole new group of potential customers?  Is it worth the time and energy that this project/collaboration will take?

8. Am I doing this for others or is this the best decision for me, my creativity and business?

9. What can I say yes to if I say no to this?

****I try to never answer right away. Even when I want to jump up and down or when I have no interest I take the offer, go over the above questions and then make a sound decision and not just based upon emotions.****

What have you said yes to in business and in your personal life that you wish you would have say no to?  What can you do next time? What do you need to say no to in your life right now so you can say YES to what is coming?

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If you are interested in building or growing your business I would love to talk with you. I have a small amount of consulting openings each month and would love to share my rates with you and help you build your own creative business. You can contact me at contact@jeanneoliverdesigns.com.

vine

Building a Creatively Made Business 2.0 is an online course with over 80 videos full of information. This course is instantly available to work through at your own pace and at your convenience. We will cover our creative journey, getting started, websites, balancing your creative life with your home life, photographing your product, pricing, wholesaling, setting yourself apart, growing your brand, creating lookbooks, e-courses, markets and shows and SO MUCH MORE!

 

Come on over to our creative network and read more.

 
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