On Day One of the Creative Freedom Challenge, we're taking a hard look at the biggest reason you're still stuck in energy-draining work, instead of getting paid well for doing what you love.
And it's not what you think.
Most people think the reason they're stuck is because they haven't made enough money yet to make the leap. If you're just getting started and stuck in a day job, that may be true. More on that in a minute. You can be several years into your career as a creative entrepreneur and still find you've created a "job" for yourself, doing things that aren't fulfilling - like putting out fires or picking up dropped balls.
In truth, "not enough money" is not the biggest reason you've stuck with your "job" for so long.
The real reason you're stuck is lack of clarity.
Lack of clarity often shows up in one of two areas:
1. Who you really are and what really matters in your life and Great Work (that's what we'll cover today).
2. How you want to show up in the world (we'll cover that next).
Amy Oscar is a friend and colleague. We met at a conference back in 2010, and she was kind enough to write the cover quote for my book, "The Secret Watch." Amy's building a global following on the back of her book "Sea of Miracles." Her Soul Caller program has evolved from a weekly free twitter chat into a series of courses, programs and retreats. She also does private sessions as an intuitive guide and healer. Amy has thousands of fans and followers around the world (some of them pretty well-known), and yet, with all those clear signs that she was on to something, she still hadn't quit her day job.
For more than 15 years, Amy was an editor for a national women's magazine. She LOVED her job, but as her Great Work through Soul Caller started picking up steam, she still hadn't let go of her day job to focus on her Great Work. Here's what Amy told me:
"I sensed that I'd put an important part of my soul in deep freeze."
She then told me how it took her months to untangle what was going on inside her. Ultimately Amy realized, when she considered her job versus her Great Work, the truth so many creative entrepreneurs face:
"One was always going to have me hiding behind someone else's glitter cape. I didn't just have a message. It was MY message to deliver. So many people are telling this story and each voice matters. Each story resonates. We need them all. Mine was different and it had to be heard."
Do you make the leap or let it go?
Making the choice to pursue your creative calling can be complicated. It's not always easy. That's why clarity is so important.
Clarity comes from accepting your truth with what I call ruthless honesty: no judgement. Just seeing the facts for what they are.
Here's how Amy described her watershed moment:
"I was afraid to stand alone. It was never about the money. It was about my willingness to trust the world to love me when it could see me. And not just as a cog in someone else's wheel... It's about the willingness to come out of hiding. To stand in the light and be seen loving what I love. Being what I am. Which doesn't fit into anyone else's idea of what I could or should be or how I might serve their vision. It's about the willingness to step into the image I hold inside of my own heart of what I am.
"I realized that if I was going to be happy - and live a fully engaged, fully present life - I wasn't going to live a normal life. And I finally accepted that. I quit my job because the Soul Caller work was more important to me than a paycheck."
Amy got clear on the life she wanted to live, the Great Work she wanted to bring into the world, and who she would become in the process. When Amy got clear on who she was and how she'd outgrown her day job, she was ready to embrace her "own message to deliver" and share it with the world.
Amy's truth is a common one: more than the ability to make good money at it, the real issue behind making the shift into creative entrepreneurship is a lack of clarity (and perhaps a fear of being really seen).
In order to get paid to be you, you've got to BE YOU.
Look, if a guy can earn a living wage making youtube videos about playing video games or unboxing action figures, there's no reason that you can't get paid well to do what you love, too. But you have to have clarity on who you are and what really matters to you before you can stake your claim on your Great Work and share it joyfully with the world.
Then, you've got to show up that way consistently. Sure, try it on and see how your Great Work can not only serve others, but also yourself. Once you've got clarity on that, you've got to have the confidence to step up and own your message in the marketplace on a regular basis.
But that's the next part of our challenge. 🙂
Today, spend a few minutes thinking about what REALLY matters to you - in your life and work. What are your non-negotiables? When I work with clients, we use what I call the 5 Key Areas of Success as the model for defining success on your own terms. Here are additional resources to help you get more clarity on what really matters and how you want to show up in the world:
- Raving Fans Toolkit - a free gift to all my subscribers, which walks you through all four elements of building a Noble Empire.
- Creative Freedom Entrepreneur Type Quiz - A free tool to help you uncover your blind spots as a creative entrepreneur.
- Dreamblazing - my fully customizable planning tool that helps you not only get clarity, but make a plan to achieve your dreams and goals.
- How The World Sees You - a great book by Sally Hogshead that helps you see "your highest value through the science of Fascination"
- Strengths Finder - Tom Rath's assessment and book that illuminate your strengths and abilities.
- What Are Your Immutable Laws? - this post is an oldie, but a goodie, from Mike Michalowicz.
Believe it or not, you already ARE a success. It may not feel like it right now, but it's true. Success is a destination, not a journey, and you're already here. Everything you've done (or failed to do) has led to this moment. Until you have clarity on what success looks like for your unique situation, it's pretty dang difficult to feel successful.
Are You On The List?
If you want to get all the updates in the Creative Freedom Challenge, along with a copy of my Raving Fans Toolkit, you can sign up right here (that box at the top of the page works, too).
How do you define success?
What resources would you add to this list? Share your comments below and let's be a rising tide for everyone!