The primary obstacle to expanding our creative life is way we view ourselves.
The actual language we use to describe the work that we do.
For the first two decades of my career as an artist, referring to myself with specific words like writer and performer and entrepreneur and agency creative and startup employee, those labels really mattered to me. And they served me quite well.
But once afternoon, my mentor posed an interesting question. She asked:
How do you hold your career identity in your mind?
After ten seconds of silence, she smiled and responded, well then, maybe you don’t, and that’s good too.
It felt relaxing to not have a label for once. Reminds me of a passage from a book about my favorite filmmaker:
The unfinalizable self is a person who cannot every be completely known, understood or labeled. Perhaps our path to expanding our creative life is viewing ourselves through that infinite prism. Stepping beyond all those old roles we played and becoming more solidly positioned.
There’s a groundedness there that’s hard put to words, but that’s the whole point. Whatever it is, it supports our ability to freely and safely express our inner resources in new and exciting ways.
A friend of mine is a multi talented creator who does everything from painting to stage acting to standup comedy to journalism to life coaching. And one of her clients recently said to her, forget about all those labels girl, you’re just a giver.
Isn’t that nice? It’s so simple and human, and yet, completely unlimited. Being a giver is far bigger and more meaningful than some category.
To quote the aforementioned filmmaker biography, your career is a a nomad education of movement that features a changing curriculum of your own making based on the passion and pursuit of the moment.
Who were you before the world told you who you needed to be?