I have been receiving lots of positive feedback from my recent presentation as a part of the Underground Arts Initiative. I'm so glad that members of the Art Nurture community signed up to participate in this amazing event and were able to not only hang out for my presentation, but were also introduced to many whom I admire in the field as well!
One of the main focuses of the Underground Art Initiative was gaining professional momentum with your creative work. What was truly unique about this event, was that it was chock full of some seriously amazing business savvy, but at the core of all of that was the necessity of authenticity in the work you are doing.
Without authenticity, it doesn't matter how great you are at building a website or marketing or networking or whatever other business/work-type thing you do, your message will be unclear and it will not reach those with whom you want to work. It also doesn't matter how many creative ideas you have, if they are not truly authentic to you.
Authenticity is clarity within yourself. Once you have clarity within yourself, you are able to share your true gifts with others, for work, for art, or (yes, it's possible) for both!
I received a ton of emails in the last week about finding that clarity within from some trying to find their focus in their art, or their business , or their work life. First of all, I want to say that I am truly honored you would reach out to me and ask my thoughts on these matters. Thanks for your trust and support. Secondly, you all have really got me thinking!
So here is what I have come up with...
4 Simple Steps to Finding Authenticity in your Creativity, Work, and Life
1) Get real with yourself about your values
Authenticity comes when we are clear with ourselves and then we make choices based on that clarity. When we live and make choices in line with our deep values, we are able to find that authenticity. Most of us struggle at many different points in our lives with that clarity when we move out of alignment with our deeper values. When this happens we feel confused and foggy and we simple need to re-evaluate where we are at both internally and externally.
What do I value when it comes to my creativity? (new ideas, adventure, self-expression, problem solving)
What do I value with my work? (stability, freedom of time, freedom of place, making a difference & what does that mean to you)
What do I value in my life? (relationships, feeling valued, a lovely home, social outings)
2) Get honest with yourself about how you want to feel
How do I want to feel when I am in my "art"?
How do I want to feel when I am at my "work"?
So much of our life we think we are chasing results (being successful, being wealthy, being admired, being fit, etc.) but really we are chasing how those results or things will make us feel (happy, valuable, worthy, loved, free). When we are honest and authentic with ourselves about how we want to feel in our work, our lives, our creativity we can move into alignment with authentic choices.
3) Evaluate where you are at right now.
Be gracious with yourself on this one, it is a necessary part of figuring out whether or not you are currently living in your authenticity.
What am I doing now?
Does it match up with my values?
Does it make me feel the way I want to feel?
Is this taking me where I want to be?
Grace, grace, grace for this one. Just be honest, but don't use it to beat yourself up, ok?! It's called an Art Nurture Journey...yes, that's right, Journey, for a reason!
4) Envision where you want to go, who you want to be, and what you want it all to look like!
What do I hope to gain from engaging in my "art"? (and it may be a different art or different hopes depending on your season of life)
What do I want my life to look like?
What do I imagine my contribution to the world to be?
In what type of work/life situation would I be the healthiest and be giving my best?
Take some time to write it all down. Dream and envision, but put it on paper as well, what your authentic life looks like. Most folks don't get their authentic dreams because the dream doesn't show up unless you do...authentically....so, get real and make it real by writing it down.
A story about me, bumbling around, finding my authenticity...
For me, for a long time, all I knew was that I wanted to make visual art and I wanted to help people in some way. The two seemed really divergent to me for a long time. It seemed that my desire to make visual art was sort of selfish.
I thought I was spending all of this time working alone and it's not like my painting was going to solve world hunger, ya know?!
But, over time, and through my own trials, experiments, confusions, etc. Art Nurture was born. It came through years of trying and failing and feeling a little lost.
But then one day it hit me, I was actually helping people by being an artist. People's lives were enriched by seeing my work, even if I made it in solitude. And I have found a way to work with people all over the world through my writing and my message.
I thought for a long time that my introversion was a detriment to my helping others, but I realize that it is not, that we each have our own unique sets of gifts & talents and that the world needs that diversity. That we need the introverts as much as we need the extroverts. We need all different kinds of people to feed and nurture the world in their unique ways.
A story about folks living outside of their authenticity ...
I know some folks who always said they wanted to travel the world and have adventures and that was their value, freedom of place. But the first thing they did was get a house and mortgage and a job they didn't really like and they felt a loss of a sense of themselves and they felt really listless. But it may be because their choices didn't line up with their core values. It wasn't authentic for them at the time. Perhaps downsizing and renting would have afforded them more freedom than home ownership.
It's really all about what lines up with you.
Trying different things and seeing how it shakes out.
Focus also changes at different points in life. And sometimes, what was once our focus 5 years ago, is no longer. We have to re-evaluate and move forward from there.
Re-evaluating our focus and our values and then making choices to be in alignment with those as we grow and change will help us stay in line with our authenticity.
Want more on this?
I have an upcoming opportunity to continue this conversation...
Art Nurture presents
The Poetics of Work Project
Let's keep this momentum going!
Join myself and poet, James Nave', for our very special workshop,
The Poetics of Work Project.
This live online workshop takes place Tuesday, March 3rd at 7pm and I would love for you to be in attendance.
The Poetics of Work Project will prove to be an amazing experience, asking important questions and seeking simple & authentic approaches to getting it all (work, life, art, whatever!) done.
For more information click here or go ahead and get your ticket to attend The Poetics of Work Project Online Workshop here!
I want to hear what you think!
Please join the conversation by sharing your thoughts in the comments below!
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As always, keep nurturing and cultivating,
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"Court has a knack for supporting others in tuning into the artist within..."
"If preparing to work with Court you should know that you will be challenged to be your best self and you will be given tools for how to do so.
You may also find yourself realizing dreams and vocations that may have been easier in the short term to keep hidden, but overall will allow you to embrace this creative part of yourself and live more fully." -Faith Josephs