Fucking hell. I think I literally just figured out the key to everything and “exactly” what it is I really want to do.
I’ve been thinking even more than usual of late about being an artist. It’s a word I’ve used about myself for a long while but I’d say I only really took ownership of the truth that an artist is who I AM not something I ‘do’ within the past 12 months or so.
I know this will sound arrogant, but when I re-read my best pieces of writing I feel like there’s almost MAGIC in there. It’s like the right ingredients for the PERFECT dish somehow got thrown in and you could never ever again replicate that exact dish no matter how hard you tried to box and ‘recipe’ it but it was the best. dish. in the world. It was perfection. It was poetry. It SANG with how beautiful it was.
I know, right? Arrogant much?!
This is what it’s all about.
This is what YOU are all about.
Fuck, this is what LIFE is all about and in that moment of pure perfection or honestly ONENESS with what you’re creating the entire world could come crashing down around you and you wouldn’t know and wouldn’t care.
The truth is for me, if I’m being honest with myself, I’m an artist before I’m an entrepreneur or coach, and maybe I’m not even those things at all. Leela Cosgrove wrote a great article about this a few weeks back, about whether you’re actually an entrepreneur or whether what you really are is an artist. I identified with it right away and I realised – wow. I am an artist. I mean, I knew that, I’ve used that word a lot about myself like I said, but I’ve never really stopped and said THIS IS WHO I AM.
And for me? My art will ALWAYS come before my business.
The best example that springs to mind on this is when I deliberately walked away from a 40-50k per/month income stream in my business because it just didn’t FEEL right for me and it didn’t allow me to show up the way I love showing up, with my writing and speaking. So I walked away, and basically deliberately put myself in a position of having NO income coming in for months on end while I chose to instead sort and figure my shit out. Basically I had reached a point in my business where I felt that I’d followed the rules of (what I then knew) about online business, I was making MONEY, but I wasn’t in flow and it just WASN’T WHAT I WAS CALLED FOR.
And I wasn’t happy, you know?
Something I’ve realised about happiness lately, and this sure as hell doesn’t just apply to business, is that it doesn’t have to be ALL BAD for it to be ALL WRONG.
And I think for a long while, in business – and I see myself do this in life as well, in certain areas – I have this weird belief that as long as it’s not incredibly fucking awful tormenting my soul makes me wanna scream BAD, then I should shut up and put up.
Or make it work.
Can I tell you something?
You can’t patch the holes in something that is inherently broken.
And usually? If it doesn’t feel right, if it feels forced, or pushed, or like this never-ending uphill struggle and you can NOT find the joy in that struggle and if you wouldn’t want to DO IT FOREVER, and I know that’s extreme but this is how I feel, how I do business, how I do life, how I do ME, and so therefore that’s what I’m going to write about –
Then it’s inherently broken.
So for me, when I walked away from ‘all that money’ I was walking TOWARDS finally laying myself fully on the line to create the business and ultimately the life of my dreams.
And what I wanted, what I’ve always wanted or for at least as long as I can remember, what I STILL want, when all is said and done, is to make money from my writing.
To make money as an ARTIST.
Many times, I’ve ‘sabotaged’ or deliberately destroyed aspects of my business that impinged upon my ability to do my art, to feel FREE to do my art, to have the SPACE to create my true work. I’ve done it when it’s cost me money. When it’s cost me clients. When it’s cost me connections – boy, I’ve done that one a lot! Not actively ruined connections or online friendships with successful people who would be ‘good connections’ but just not PURSUED them because I just … can’t.
With all that BUSINESS stuff.
You know? I just don’t have the attention for it. It doesn’t consume me. And so try as I might for a while, it ends up boring me and then I forget. I forget to show up, participate, connect, to learn about All the Things I should learn about in the online world.
And what I do, instead, with that time and space and freedom I’ve taken back?
I sit here, and I read stuff that inspires me, and I journal a little, and I daydream a lot, and I brainstorm and I write out what I want to create and what I expect in my life, and then I write.
Right now it’s my first morning waking up in Saigon (Ho Chi Min City, Vietnam) and here I am – in a Coffee Bean. Writing. I could care less what’s happening in Saigon until I’ve done this, my writing is my food, it’s my fuel, it’s my BREATH, it’s my everything. And ONLY once I’ve released my art each day do I care about the rest of the world, and yes I’m including my kids in that.
I wrote a blog once, about the struggles and guilt I have around mothering, called For Me, Work Always Comes First. But what I now know? Is for me, ART always comes first. And it might only take me 20 or 30 minutes but THAT’S WHAT I NEED FOR ME before I can even be PRESENT for the rest of the world.
Being an artist means (if you embrace it) that you will live a life of extremes, mayhem, chaos. You are the nutty professor who doesn’t really exist in the real world, doesn’t know what’s going on, and doesn’t care. ‘Normal’ things about business and life bore you and frankly you just don’t NOTICE them a lot of the time. You are irrational, infuriating, you make no sense and no apologies. Nothing matters, as long as you get to create.
These are just some of the things I see in myself and my artist clients, of which I have many.
But here is where it gets tricky, treacherous even, being an artist who is also presenting as an entrepreneur, a leader, a revolutionary fucking leader perhaps!
You are driven, ambitious, you want to win, and you want to succeed at ALL your dreams. You’ve always known you were born to both MAKE and also IMPACT millions, and every day you’re out there batting away towards that goal.
So you put your business hat on and you figure out what it is you need to say or do or make so you can market and brand and sell.
You package and you position and you primp and you preen.
You put yourself OUT there, and you tell people how you can help them. How you can TEACH them, usually. How you can show them the way.
And you build a business, one day at a time, that works.
That makes you money.
That makes a difference.
YOU are successful, because that’s who you ARE and have always been and you’ve never QUESTIONED that success would be yours so even when it’s not been working you’ve just kept going because you know that it WILL work, there’s no doubt in your mind, and so you do the work LONG after others have given up, fallen by the wayside, or been lost amongst the stepfordpreneurs.
Which is admirable, really. Being the epitome of doing what other’s won’t so you can live like they can’t?
Go you! Go me, as well; I’ve certainly paid those dues and I HAVE reaped the rewards.
But let me ask you a question:
This morning I was ready James Altucher’s monthly report (gosh I love that man and his writing!) and there is an interview based article about crazy successful You Tuber Casey Neistat in there. In the article James asks Casey what three or four tips he would give to an aspiring filmmaker who wants to achieve the level of success that Casey has, and Casey talks about persistence but that’s IT.
And it hit me –
That’s fucking it.
I mean I KNEW this, goodness knows I speak often enough about how I hate giving a system or a step-by-step process, and now DON’T do that with my clients and I’m also pretty open about my derision around those coaching or mentoring approaches which ARE based on a system for success.
Which is not to say that ‘business in a box’ can’t work, or doesn’t work. Obviously it works for those who avidly work it.
But it doesn’t fucking work for me from a WHO I AM and what I stand for point of view, I’d rather pull my toenails out with pliers and then fry and eat them then ever again try to based my business on a SYSTEM or ever again (God FORBID) try to TEACH one.
But today I really got it. It was like everything just fell away, and I thought, well of course this Casey dude could create an online course or 6 around how he’s become so successful on You Tube, and he could teach people the ‘step-by-step’ pathway to video fame, but he doesn’t because HE DOESN’T BELIEVE IN TIPS.
And because his success is not based on what he fucking did, it’s based on who he IS, even though sure, I’m sure he knows a helluva lot of STUFF about video marketing.
And that’s what it is. That’s why I resist so much when people ask me to analyse their launch process or give feedback on a sales page structure, and I just think –
I don’t fucking care. And why do YOU, because it doesn’t fucking MATTER, it doesn’t matter how you primp and preen and polish and package and position what MATTERS is what’s beneath which is DID YOU CREATE SOMETHING AMAZING?
And if you did, then that WILL shine through and you WILL be noticed and if you keep going and are TRUE then you WILL create the money and the difference you desire?
What about broke or starving artists?
What about them? I don’t know. I don’t care. I’m talking about what I believe, what I’ve done in my own life, and what I see my successful artist clients do. I’m not saying it’s enough to be an artist and pay zero attention to anything else, particularly to do with getting your art out there.
I’m also not saying that it’s enough to be an artist and trust that simply doing your art will make you famous, rich and free, if you don’t have a mindset of success and a conscious KNOWING that you WILL get there, and if you don’t also do what is NECESSARY to get there.
What I’m saying, is I am an artist who has always known she will become rich and famous and free, and both make and impact millions. I just never realised until recently that achieving that stuff would come from my ART rather than from a PROCESS.
Have I FOLLOWED a process? Well sure, I could list out the things I’ve done, or do, that ‘work’ from a marketing and sales standpoint for me. But that’s just what worked for me. It doesn’t matter. It’s not a SYSTEM. And I don’t want to teach you TIPS, because what I want you to do is figure out your own fucking tips because if you too are an artist who knows she was born for ALL the way big, and inside of you your ultimate success is a GIVEN, then the worst thing you can do is spend your time and energy trying to learn how to get rich and famous and know all the TIPS.
And if you are TRULY the woman leader, revolutionary, entrepreneur or whatever else besides artist it is that you want to CALL yourself at times, but ultimately if you are the kind of PERSON who ‘succeeds’?
Then you’ll succeed.
You’ll figure it out.
You’ll get there.
It’s not going to happen by putting aside your art, for another day, another week, another month, another YEAR, while you try and learn what works.
And that is exactly why my ‘system’ – and I know I said I don’t have one, but what I really mean was one about what to DO – is all about who you need to BE. It’s why I can’t bring myself to teach SKILLS or PROCESSES because I. don’t. care. And also I don’t BELIEVE in it.
What brought ME here, in the end, was not a process, a system, it was not what I DID, it was when I chose to be who I really am, and to just show up as that person.
To write every day.
Whatever was on my heart.
Even when it made NO sense at all and had nothing to do with business or my so-called niche!
And over time I even learned that in my PAID offers the most powerful way I could impact people was to create intuition-guided programs and mentoring around who you need to BE, not what you need to DO.
I can teach tips, sure. I can teach the things I know, and that have worked for me. But it’s just passing on information.
So my SYSTEM, if you want one (and you probably don’t, if you’re a true artist, but I’ll give it to you anyway!), is simple.
Fucking focus within.
Stop worrying about what to do.
About what you REALLY want, what you’re called to do, what your soul CRAVES.
And then DO THE WORK YOU CAME HERE TO DO.
No matter what.
And do the fucking work, the REAL work, that you were born for.
And if there’s things you then need to learn or know about getting that work out there you’ll LEARN it, but knowing it when what you’re producing means nothing, is nothing, doesn’t show an OUNCE of the truth that burns deep in your soul?
Is fucking pointless AND it will DESTROY YOU as an artist.
You have a choice every day.
Every day, starting today, when you get up, you have a choice.
Build a business.
Or be an artist who happens to make fuckloads of money and a helluva difference.
The choice is yours gorgeous, but one or the other HAS to come first, and what comes first? Is what comes always.
I didn't and don't actually want to build an empire. I just wanted and want…