In this issue ~~
Let's face it. Original, creative people are different. We have a unique vision for our work and for our lives. What's disheartening is that often, the people around us don't have a clue about what we're up to. When we let them know what we're thinking and planning, we get strange or concerned looks. They may even try to talk us out of it, citing all the obstacles we're likely to encounter.
When you get a new idea for something you'd like to do, it's not unusual for it not to be understood by the people closest to you. Creative people are, by nature, innovative; and innovation, while necessary and desirable, is not readily accepted at first. Cutting edge artists like Jackson Pollock, or pioneers in any art or science, break the mold. Until their genius is recognized, they often face opposition.
It's not just in the arts. If you're pursuing a nontraditional career path or find yourself in a relationship with someone outside your social circle, you may not get a lot of support. Your new choice may be sending you into a new life, and the people currently in your life may fear losing you. They may not understand why you would put yourself at risk. Or they may have had a similar idea themselves and rejected it, for fear of taking such a risk, and you're an uncomfortable reminder of what they thrust aside.
The easy way out for us would be to join the others and forget our dreams. The problem is, we can't. There's something in us that compels us to follow our calling, whether it be a creative vision or new career or life path. If we don't listen, we suffer, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
But following our vision also carries a price. It can challenge us in many ways. We may feel like an alien in our hometown. We may feel isolated, not knowing where to turn or who to turn to. We may not know how to get where we want to go and feel confused and overwhelmed.
But all is not lost. There are 3 things we can acquire to help us follow through on our dreams: a map for our journey, companions along the way and the courage to hold our vision.
The tricky part about finding a map is that each person's journey is different. But we can get useful guidance from a coach or mentor who's traveled their own path and can point us in the right direction and help us anticipate and navigate the obstacles. They can offer us hope and optimism. We can also take classes and read books that will help show us the way, not to mention the plethora of information we can track down on the Internet.
Once we get on the road, we'll meet fellow travelers. The best companions are other people who share your vision, or a similar one. Writing groups are a common way of finding this. You can find a local or virtual group, or create one of your own. Some people prefer a support group with various types of artists, so that there's less direct competition and more enthusiasm in supporting each other's successes. If you're moving into a new career, you're more likely to find support from the people you're meeting on that road, rather than the ones you're leaving behind. Go to professional meetings or take classes where you can connect with such people.
The courage to hold your vision will come from seeing possibility, even if it's never been done before in quite the same way. Along with the support of your kindred spirits, this may come from gathering information, creating a strategy that excites you and taking steps. As you connect with people, find the ones who are positive and optimistic. Also, utilize whatever supports you personally, such as a spiritual group or practice, or even going to the gym or doing yoga to stay in a good state of body and mind.
One last piece of advice: When you get a new idea, be selective about who you share it with. A new creation is like a delicate seedling; you don't want anyone trampling on it. It may feel strange withholding such information from your loved ones, but many an idea with great potential has been abandoned due to negative input when it was still fragile.
Oh, one more thing: I suggest that you not take out your frustration on those around you who don't get you. If they haven't experienced it themselves, they may not be capable of understanding what you're going through. If a quantum physicist began talking to you about superstring theory, you'd probably have no idea what they were talking about, and you might even think they were a little nuts. Remember that, be compassionate with those who don't get you, and don't judge the choices that they make. At the same time, don't let them stop you.
Give value to your dreams and creative ideas. You may feel your dreams are inconsequential, but they're not. If you've been given an idea or an opportunity, there's some reason for it that you may not be able to see yet. Each of us has the right and the privilege to follow our hearts and go where they lead us.
Our creations can take on a life of their own, and we have no idea where they will lead or who they will impact. They can take us into some unfamiliar territory, and we may feel alone in the wilderness for awhile. Have faith that you'll find new ideas and new traveling companions along the way. It will be challenging, but it's well worth it. The joy and excitement of seeing your dreams come to fruition will sustain your hope and create new possibility for future creations and opportunities.
Have you felt alone with your creative idea or new life path? Where can you find like-minded people who will understand your vision and support you in following through? Find at least 3 organizations, groups or individuals, and make contact with them.
“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”
“We need people in our lives with whom we can be as open as possible. To have real conversation with people may seem like such a simple, obvious suggestion, but it involves courage and risk.”
“We don't always know what makes us happy. We know, instead, what we think should. We are baffled and confused when our attempts at happiness fail...We are mute when it comes to naming accurately our own preferences, delights, gifts, talents. The voice of our original self is often muffled, overwhelmed, even strangled, by the voices of other people's expectations. The tongue of the original self is the language of the heart.”
“Self-trust is the first secret of success.”
(click on the book graphic to see a description at Amazon.com)
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