This is a difficult thing to write and publish on my blog right now, but it’s how I truly feel and I’m not sure why. I’ve had the best year in business ever and my family life couldn’t be better. Yet I sit at a crossroads of what I know to do and knowing what I want to do. They are similar roads but also very different.
Design and art is something I’ve always loved. From my earliest memories, I always had a pencil and paper in my hands. Drawing was also an escape from the challenges I faced as a child. I created because I wanted to. I never did it out of obligation or for monetary purposes. My artistic pursuits were always filled with joy, excitement, and passion … and the greatest rewards were always when I poured my soul into a masterpiece and the people in my life loved the end product. Making people smile was extremely gratifying. When my work became more commercialized, the passion started to change. Eventually those awesome days of creating because I wanted to, became the days of creating because I HAD to.
It can be easy to only focus on the here and now. It can be easy to just go through the daily grind and never look ahead. And we all know there are times in life where we have to keep our heads down and push forward regardless of what we feel like doing. But there may also be a day when we decide to look up only to discover that the weeks and years have passed by unnoticed. All of a sudden we see what we’ve been missing and our soul begins to feel empty. Maybe we realize that we’ve been living on autopilot and have only been going through the motions. Perhaps we come to understand that we’ve not painted a masterpiece in a very long time or that we’ve not painted at all!
The yearning for passion filled work comes to all of us I believe. It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman, I think we are all called to do something that makes us feel significant and that gives us true joy. And this feeling cannot be denied. We might be able to suppress it for a while or hide it, but eventually that feeling becomes so strong that we can no longer ignore it. There comes that day where you are standing at a crossroads and you have to ask yourself if you should keep going the same direction or take a brand new road. I’m standing at this juncture today.
I’m not sure why I’m here.
It could be because of the great conversations I had with Jason Schuller of Press75 and Shawn Hesketh of WP101 at PressNomics recently. It could be the thoughts and challenges issued by some of the speakers at the conference or that eventually we all must answer our own calling. Regardless I am being called or summoned by something I don’t fully understand.
No more going through the motions.
I’ve been on autopilot far too long. In the business and design world, this will eventually lead to complacency and mediocrity. Work will become standard and stale. Personally I don’t want this because it’s not good for myself and it doesn’t serve the client. I’ve always said if I can’t do my best work for the people who want to partner with me, then it’s time to get out or to say no. It’s come to that time.
While there is no possible way that I can deny what is in my DNA – being creative and entrepreneurial – I can definitely shift my focus to the things that resonate with my soul. This means saying “no” to projects more often and letting go of anything that is not a great idea to pursue. This might not sound like a big deal to you, but for me it is. Turning away work isn’t easy for someone who has struggled to build a business and that has come out of poverty. There’s always that fear of famine or the memories of what it was like to live off of MREs (Meals Ready to Eat). Losing everything sucks, but even so, sometimes losing your soul sucks more.
I am redefining my life to only do work that serves a greater purpose. I’m not sure how that all looks right now but one thing I do know is that this new road must be taken. There will be changes.
What about you?
What do you feel about pursuing and finding passion through your work? Have you struggled with just going through the motions? Will you make changes in 2013 that allow you to begin work on your masterpiece?