As time has moved on, I still am, and do desire to continue to be, an artist. The level and notice that comes my way always changes. Absolutely fine with me. I am an artist creating daily with words, with ideas with love, and with my life.
Many years ago I allowed the Matrix (corporations, people, religion, and more) to convince me that I was not an artist or someone wired with a lot of imagination and creativity. It whispered ever so softly that I needed put the "art" away and remember the importance of security. It almost worked, but I wanted and got my life back. I write the following with great emphasis:
Get your life back! Whatever you must do, get your life back.
Now, here are the lessons I've learned in this motion picture:
Go slow and start small. One more time, go slow and start small.
Most people are not going to like you beyond the surface. Your life is not about the surface, so get on with it.
Ask for help.
Know what's most important to you, not to anyone else, as be commited to those things.
You can't make people happy or ok, even those you love deeply.
I am actively engaged in the land of Google+. If you're a subscriber to the Epic Living blog and would like to connect there, send me an email with your information (email address) and I will forward you an invite.
I've only read parts of Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. The cruel reality of tipping points is they often are not seen until after the train begins its departure from the station. Good or bad, happy or sad we've seen this many times in our collective lifetimes.
In America, we're living in a post-tipping point place. Our government is now exposed for what it truly is, organizations are now truly competing on a global playing field and the idea of a work-life contract is no longer a theory. I know many in the middle part of America (other areas might be similar) who seem to be waiting. In waiting, I mean waiting for the past to make an encore appearance in their lives. This is rooted in desiring certainty and security. In other words, what I knew before is much better than this unknown place I find myself in today.
I've counseled before that "known" things once were unknown. And that life is full of multiple processes of moving from known to unknown and unknown to known. We often resist this. I'm sure it's rooted in our childhood and what we witnessed. No blaming and judgement here, but if you had an example of "better to conform" than to take a risk at losing something, then you probably lean toward conformity. Risking embarrassment or the pain of failing will be like the plague to you.
There is hope.
Up until 4 years ago, exercise was like a nagging wife or mother to me. I consequently leaned toward fitful starts and stops for way too many years. It wasn't until I decided that life was a gift to be nourished and treated well, did I make a decision to do the rewarding and hard work of exercise. I've applied this in virtually every key (8) area of my life. I haven't regretted it and my life is better for it.
Regardless of your circumstances, there will always be a road after the tipping point. Some harder (reinvention, changing habits, etc.) than others, but always a road that leads to breakthrough. Can you see it?
Ok, I've taken the dive with Google +. There are many out there who are wondering if we need another social network. I asked myself the same question this afternoon and came to the following conclusions:
We do need more social networks. That doesn't necessarily many another Facebook or Twitter. Maybe it's in your community where you live or a cause you're passionate about. It's right as breathing.
If you're taking the bumble bee approach to social networking (online or otherwise), then you need to reexamine your motivations. Take a hard look at who you are or who you were before you drank the kool-aid, and then order your social networks around that. You've got to do this.
Google + is rightly placed. Google has such a huge influence around the ordering of content and flow, that for them not to be involved would be silly. I'm not gushing over with Google fan-love when I write this. Google is like Churchill or Edition; what they created and impacted was bigger than who they were as influencers.
All of this flurry on social netowrks and the experiements, ventures and such created have produced good strategy and tactics for me. Lord knows, you need good strategy and tactics for your brand (personal or business) these days. I'd be overwhelmed if I didn't. For example, I know why I interact on Brazen Careerist versus why I interact on LinkedIn. By the way, strategy and tactics will also lead you to learning the art of saying no and turning off things that have a button.
If we were living in the industrial age, then Google +, Facebook and Twitter would be nothing more than eye candy and entertainment. Since we are no longer in the industrial age, you should start acting differently. Differently in that you think like an entrepreneur, even if you're far from it in form. If you don't start acting differently, you may wake up and find yourself in a ghost town of one.
A wise friend once told me a long time ago that my life would be made up of multiple lifetimes. I think I just nodded and went on.
Welcome to the future.
It's very clear that most people look into their personal crystal ball and define what they see accordingly. The future. In my case I saw one long run on Broadway. It was uninterrupted by life or the circumstances therein. No shock here, but things often changed and I became good at navigating. Sometimes the navigating was done by the stars.
In our time we are a culture of second acts and encores. Reinvention is the norm. At first glance for some this brings sadness. Many were counting on things playing out as one show, one performance. But reality set in and we were told the curtain was coming down. We looked over our shoulder and saw someone younger, prettier and certainly cheaper lying in wait. It was the end.
Or was it?
When our eyes are opened and things are clear we can understand a forgotten truth. The truth of second acts and encores. We are continually experiencing them. And it is a good thing. Call it the width of life and not just the length. Those that have decided that security and stability are to be worshiped will not understand this. I recommend you expect and embrace your second acts and encores. Savor the opportunity to fashion a wonderful ending or a song concluding the performance. Just don't linger too long over the empty auditorium. This will take a little getting used to.
I have had friends, family, money, jobs, business ideas, and more that lasted for only a time. Some ended sooner than I would have liked, others seemed to drone on and on. But all were a part of forming the painting that is my life. It is a strange dichotomy that we crave things that will ultimately hold us back, while rejecting the things that open up doors to our dreams. I fear less and my grip is now a little less firm because I want what's to come to just come and set me forward to the next act. Is the alternative really a better option?
Here are some things you should consider for the road ahead:
Second acts and encores are happening whether you participate or not. Everyone gets the chance to perform or leave the audience wondering what's wrong.
Since the second acts and encores are in motion, why not prepare? Have a song list, rehearse how you will exit.
Don't romanticize your past. It wasn't as great as you think it was.
If you're a rugged individualist, "self-made", a do it on my own type, then stop. Life was not meant to be a solo journey.
In our work with individuals and businesses in the realm of total life management, we sometimes encounter the roadblock of pain. I’m referring to the type of pain associated with issue avoidance. This post from Runner’s World is very compelling illustrating what I mean. You can apply it to running, a fractured relationship or a workplace experience it doesn’t matter.
The gift of life does not reward us when we avoid issues in our 8 spheres of living. They only stand to either be a slow decay or an Achilles Heel in our time allotted here. Interestingly enough, my daughter asked me this morning whether I was sad about my older brother. My brother is a heroin addict and has been a substance abuser for the majority of his adult life. I explained to her that on a basic human condition level, I am sad for him. But I made a decision some years ago to not allow the crippling sadness (the type where my life was being sucked away and damage was being done to others I care about) be a part of my life. I did the crippling sadness routine for many years and it didn’t work.
We often look for things to cover up what we would like to avoid. Before my eyes were opened, I used my career and the success that came with it. By no stretch of the imagination do I have a problem or stress-free life, The breakthrough is found in that I don’t avoid the issues that come, or the pain associated with them.