Wednesday, May 30, 2012

give yourself permission for your passion

So many of my clients are incredibly creative.  They have great ideas, spend time thinking about them, planning for them, and dreaming about executing them, but when it comes time to actually make it happen, something always gets in the way. 

I work with dancers, writers, musicians, actors, directors, mothers, teachers, strategists, lawyers, business people, you name it.  I believe creativity is not a what, it's a how.  It's not the content of your job, it's how you execute it.  It's not the title that you have, it's the passion you bring to everything you do (and not just work).

So, given that I work with such fabulously imaginative people, why aren't they all -- and why aren't we all, every one of us -- totally fulfilled, living out our dreams?  Because when it comes time to do something about our dreams, there is very often a voice that says "it's not good enough" or "I don't deserve it."

To that voice I say (fairly unceremoniously), "I appreciate that you're trying to protect me, but now if you wouldn't mind, please shutthefuckupthankyouverymuch."

There is no permission slip for passion.  There is no rule that says you have to be accepted for what you do.  Think about the books you remember -- not all of them are the greatest books you've ever read.  In fact, some are the absolute crappiest books you've read, which is why you remember them. 

One of my favorite creative geniuses, Ira Glass, has been famously quoted as saying, "All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

Give yourself permission to write your stories, sing your songs, dance your dances, and dream your dreams.  If you don't, who will?

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