To do the thing you love, do the thing you love

A few years ago I was wanting to bring art making to a more central place in my life. I felt like it was important to me, but that it somehow lurked in the corners and recesses of my life rather than front and centre. I tried a number of things over this time to honour my interest and to begin to share this part of myself with others. This process was at times terrifying, and involved lots of tiny mountains, almost imperceptible to the naked eye, but each one requiring courage, optimism, grit and encouragement to climb.

  • There was the time I put in an application to have work in an exhibition at a humble, community scale gallery (terrifying!)
  • There was the time I decided I would turn my artworks into greeting cards and sell them to bookstores (terrifying!)
  • There was the time I first joined an online art group to share works (exhilarating!)
  • There was the time I first started making art to give away to strangers and did so, with the support of an online group (inspiring!)
  • There was the time I signed up for the face to face art retreat and spent two days elbow deep in paint and plaster and stencils and hair dryers (amazing!)
  • And many more!

Each small steps led in it’s own way to making me feel more able to do the next. I think this was for a few reasons.

Firstly, doing more of what I loved, and being bold (in tiny doses), helped reveal other possibilities. It created connections with people, who were role models, peers and encouragers. It kept me ‘in the loop’ about new events or networks. It opened doors, and revealed already open doors that I hadn’t previously seen or thought to step through.

Also, by doing more of what I loved I needed to talk with my friends and family about it. Many times I was bolstered and encouraged by the kind words of a friend or colleague, coach, gallery owner or online moderator. Every time someone treated me like this was a perfectly natural, understandable and normal thing for me to be doing a tiny part of me shifted to also believe this.

Lastly, it helped build a body of work that honed my skills and the tangible outputs at each stage helped demonstrate to myself that I am actually doing this thing that I love, and that I have developed some skills in it.

Taking an eagle-eye view, I see that many of these actions I took involved finding like minded people and connecting with them (tribe), finding people who already do what I would like to be able to do (role models), sharing and ‘owning’ my work (recognition), and learning and developing new skills in a safe and encouraging environment (learning and technical accomplishment). These are some of the areas I encourage coaching clients to try if they are wanting to pursue or nurture an area of interest in their life.

I see steps like these as using and growing our creative courage, resources and supportive environments. The journey is never over, and what we did for the first time last year may not have the same fearful charge for us, but chances are some next step does. By doing more of what we love we position ourselves to be ready for the next step.