Have you ever had one of those moments where you just KNEW you were great at something, and you KNEW you were destined to do a particular thing. Maybe you already got some momentum at times DOING that thing. But then you found yourself feeling a bit like you were “stuck” in an in-between momentum moment?
There is this myth that exists within the entrepreneurial realms and the creative realms and, well pretty much in every Capitalist aspect of Western Society, that leads us to believe that we’re MEANT to be exploding out of our minds with success and momentum every moment of the day in service, if we’ve truly nailed the “have it all” doing what you love and doing what you were born to do picture. For sure, when you and a project hits its stride, when you’re in the peak of a launch exploding in a good way, your peak sales season of the year, your rise moment, and feel like you barely have 4 hours a night to sleep, let alone think, an in-between moment ALSO FEELS like a myth. And, given that THOSE moments equate to Capitalist marketing Gold, it can be easy to think from the media and social media at times that whatever is going on for the successful party, as publicly communicated, is the sum total reality of their existence in that moment…BUT…
But (I found myself reminding MYSELF of this again recently) if any part of you thinks that you’re MEANT to maintain non stop success and momentum ALL of the time and ever feels like you’re doing something wrong if you aren’t, try running that by Richard Branson in his early days or times since, where he was wondering if he’d have to start selling off planes today, or Elon Musk before the Space X launch that, if it didn’t work, they were out of funds, or the Founders of any other companies that, for their first few years, were in the multi million to billion negatives in debt to banks, begging for a break-even moment and living off Mentor’s and friends charitable gestures of support and encouragement. What it still at times seems to be taboo to talk about in the entrepreneurial realm, made less taboo by the challenges of 2020 that are clearing the air, are the in-between moments.
In-between moments are often loaded up with fear and shame. We might not want the world to find out and think we’ve lost our magic, or fear that supporters might withdraw their support, adding weight to our doubts and, we fear, costing us more momentum and sales, in a patriarchal, high performance, tall poppy culture that has in times past, eaten failure for breakfast, to the point where many are still terrified that, if any one should find out that they’ve “dipped” below their “A game”, the consequences will be dire. Instead, for the longest time, “keep calm and positively delude on and only tell your besties and closest, until you make it out the other side”, has been the high end business mantra. That and don’t give it energy and affirm it as “real” in reality. BUT
If you think that every one of us is MEANT to be successful and exploding and fully booked out every minute ever of your existence, my dear, please let yourself off the hook, take a deep breath and let that one go. Just because we’ve once had success, doesn’t mean that everything we try or launch thereafter is going to automatically be an overwhelming success or have equal momentum first time around, which is why so many successful entrepreneurs have multiple projects they’re trying at once (once they’ve learned how to properly give each one the right attention it needs, at the right times). Entrepreneur and Practitioner/Consultant wise, people go through phases and there are all kinds of reasons for that.
And creatively speaking, the number of Creatives, let alone entrepreneurs actually employed full time at any given time, is actually a lot lower than you might think in reality. And that’s precisely why, for today’s blog, I’m going to use Creative Artists as examples of how to maintain mental perspective in times of change . Because they’re often GREAT at talking openly about the in-between moments.
For example, Catherine Reitman had 4 years of envisioning, pitching, getting rejected, tweaking, testing, pitching various versions of Workin’Mums, before it ever became what you see it as today. She talks about it in her TED talk above (along with the myth that the majority of creatives are employed or meant to be 24/7 and how she personally coped with that.
Patrick Dempsey had a 10 year gap of auditions without ever getting a job between “Cant Buy Me Love’ and him getting his next big break as the “Dr Dreamy” on Grey’s Anatomy that many know him for, ahead of the 3rd movie in the Bridget Jones Franchise. In this interview that came out around the time of Bridget Jones 3, he and Renee Zellweger talk about how THEY handled their in-between moments and how other creatives do too.
[See 24.35 mins in, In answer to the question “what advice do you have for aspiring actors?”] In fact, back in 2000, when I was doing Performing Arts, they were telling us THEN, the key to our success in the coming decades would be becoming multi-modal to be able to make a living out of one’s creative talents.
This year, for me, I was hoping to make it a year where I would get some new footage again of me in front of big audiences again, whether as a Speaker, or Singing for public audiences again, because I SOOOOOO wanted to be able to actually get it on film and captured for people again the kinds of experiences i know I’m CAPABLE of creating for a room on a bigger scale, so that my show reel would be beefier with living proof and my marketing would have more “credibility” than just ME talking in good faith about some past thing I did. Then covid happened, we’ve all pivoted to webinar and video, and that’s now a goal for another time to come, where face to face gatherings are again a thing.
In the interim, I guess the world will just have to settle for little recordings like this you can use to decide whether I’m among “those who can DO or those who can’t and teach” as many still put it.
Yes this IS me singing. Though it’s just done on my iPhone, no fancy equipment or studios, recorded, among others, actually just for the purpose of me gauging, how much training I have to do to get my voice back to marathon “fit” again. This one is more me sitting in my heart and high range. Some of the others I recorded belting out things like Shallow, after a lot of time off proper practice in the way I used to, I hear my inner “The Voice” judge and former Lecturers voices saying “yeah, need some practice to better harness your control again and get out of thinking about technique and back in FLOW”. Despite all that mental chatter, my point though?
I haven’t publicly performed, anywhere other than in friend’s lounge rooms for years, and “professional” people might not be able to see this as a part of my present reality in the way I wish they COULD yet and have all these according judgements related to that based on what they presently CAN. BUT, does that mean I should stop using words in my inner dialogue like “talented” and i’m no longer entitled to call myself a performer or “singer,” because I wasn’t next to some famous actress or actor in a musical anytime in the last year? Should I now define myself “a failure” because I’m not making money off my voice right now 24/7?
Sometimes our views of ourselves and our abilities and what we’re entitled to do or not do with our lives, not to mention our definitions around success and capability, we can allow to be TOO dictated by the external world and we can get all messed up in giving too much weight to the opinions of whoever on the outside. Wherever they came from, and however qualified or unqualified the opinion holder.
Just because too, they’re aren’t 26 zillion people around you, or even 10, at any given second, screaming at you that “you’re amazing!”, DOES NOT mean your talents suddenly diminish or no longer have talent, or your work is not needed or wanted for that matter, in the absence of external validation? We have to be careful to see these things for how they really are in the total life long journey of our business or creative careers, within the simultaneous evolution of humanity. Not buy into our own, or others myths about who and what we are.
Entrepreneurship, in whatever form you’re doing it, has always been about finding the link between an aspect of your talent/what you know and or love doing AND a current, topical, sincere and urgent present need, or interest that some group of people in the world has. No matter what the state of the world, people will continue to have some needs that they will prioritise seeking support FOR, that your success lies in you positioning yourself and your offerings as a response to. Those things, over time, can change.
But learning to be ok with it if every single one of our talents isn’t immediately needed, in every single moment, 24/7 right now, is an important skill to learn.
Sometimes there are seasons and phases where they are, and then there are phases where maybe they’re not. Or maybe there’s another form in which that same thing can be applied instead. Other times, like when our clients or society grow and evolve or new technology comes, we’re asked to let go of roles we once had to play and create and embrace something new along with them. And at other times (like when you find you have a major health problem and find yourself waiting on some surgery for example, we may need to stop being so attention OUT for a bit and get ok with just doing YOU for a bit. A great question to ask sometimes too, if something is not happening, is do you actually even still want to be doing this one thing all time time right now? Or even part time? Or has a part of you actually already moved on and your mind is just trying to catch up? It can be something different ,at different times for us all.
The more opportunities we seek outside of ourselves (in line with our bigger visions) that are dependent upon the approval of other industry professionals for support or collaboration, sales, funding, contracts, use of spaces etc, the more it can begin to feel at times like the power of decision is out of our hands, when we’re on the receiving end of a lot of no’s or blocks.
Whatever external circumstances are dictating decisions about what we can and can’t do on the outside though, we always still have the choice to take the power back into our own hands, if we want to.
You can always choose at any moment to start or continue creating for yourself and putting your work out there on your terms, right now, at whatever scale you have the resources to create with, right now. To create your own content or programs or communities, either instead of, or while you’re continuing to try for “the next big vision thing” involving others in your industry.
For the sake of picking an example from the ones I’ve already used, Patrick Dempsey’s a great example of that. As Catherine Reitman said, acting or creative work, for the majority is NOT a full time occupation, it comes in seasons. In Patrick’s gaps between winning the next role, he was off doing endurance racing, organising communal bike rides and races and starting a cancer charity after his Mother died of Ovarian Cancer.
It’s key to NEVER let go of those things that you KNOW in your heart of hearts you were truly born to do, just because there’s not an opportunity to do MORE of it in this moment yet FULL TIME, or because your momentum has changed. And learn when NOT to quit on a good thing too soon, just because it’s not moving at the speed of light right now that you hoped it might. Or that other things once did.
A wise coach colleague recently said on an interview that part of the biggest part in his growth was when he let himself off the hook for having to achieve everything by yesterday and gave himself permission to utilise the length of his entire lifetime to achieve his bigger career goals.
I have to say, I agree, I feel like that’s the Wise Older Woman/Man archetype coming into operation in business- trusting in that there is an innate order to all things, that you’re not going to miss out if you don’t seize this one chance, right here right now. Knowing that the ‘right’ people will still be right there journeying with you over the long haul, even if you take different parts of the stream right now. And where not, on a planet with nearing 8 billion people on it, there’s a good chance at some point that you can align and rally to give some new version of a vision another go.
When we can see these moments for what they really are, it gives us so much energy back to channel our energy back into nurturing our purpose and future expressions and projects over time again, instead of losing our energy, investing in a story and a bunch of projections that may or may not even, ultimately really be true.
It’s so much more fulfilling playing the game where you think, and the world reflects back, that you’re STILL enough, right here right now, don’t you think?. Let’s play that game instead.
Until next time...
Nat talks about Self Expression, Heart Centred Communication and Lifestyle for Leaders.