Do you feel frustrated that you are doing everything you CAN for your career and you are just not where you want to be?
Do you feel like your To Do’s to be a successful Artist have taken over your life?
I mean, what is the deal?
You are posting on social media.
You are putting yourself and your work out there.
You are doing ALL the things you are supposed to….and yet, you feel stuck, spinning in circles.
I imagine that is incredibly frustrating!
Watching your peers step into their success can be difficult when you know your talent is just as good.
So, what is the difference?
Why are you stuck and they are moving?
This was a question I had running on a LOOP in my head for years when I was a performer, and what stopped it really surprised me.
I’ve always been highly disciplined. Growing up in a military household definitely set the bar high, and I was determined to meet it.
So, I practiced my violin every morning, did my classwork, was valedictorian, and placed very high value on
completing tasks, and having order in my life.
After all, that was what I was taught to do.
I remember when I was in my career, and had a running To Do list. As I’ve always enjoyed cursing like a sailor, I decided to call it the F***ing To Do List. It made me laugh, and also motivated me.
Get it DONE!
That was the mantra.
So, I did, and I did…..and I did, but I hit a ceiling in my career and couldn’t figure out why all my hard work was not landing me my Broadway show.
I was at first annoyed, and then angry, and eventually devastated. I started to believe it wouldn’t happen, and even worse, that something was wrong with me.
And then my whole life fell apart, and for the first time in my life, I actually LOOKED at my life, and instead of it being through a lens of judgement and “what is WRONG with you?” it was through a lens of compassion and curiosity.
There was wisdom to be had here…..and I was ready to truly learn.
When I first found Zen and did their Intro to Zen Training weekend, part of the weekend was called Care Taking Practice. During this 90 minutes, we were put in a group, and given a task. This task was to be done in silence so you could just be present to it, and was some form of “taking care” of the monastery and their programs.
I was assigned to helping with the Prison program and organizing correspondence to the inmates who were mailing back and forth with the monastics.
Tasks completed with care.
I dived into training with Non Violent Communication, a process for supporting partnership and resolving conflict within people, relationships and society. The teacher, Thom Bond was telling the story of recognizing the reason he kept his home so clean and neat was it actually met needs for self care.
As soon as I heard this, it went through me.
I looked around my little apartment in Queens and saw the order I had created. For so much of my life, I had labeled myself as OCD, or been called that by others, or called myself controlling. But what if this was actually self care?
What if how I was in my life with discipline was actually care taking?
That day, I went into my F***ing To Do list and changed the name.
I changed it to Care Taking.
And from there, I was able to create this successful business and rebuild my life. I was able to go Full Time, because I wasn’t being so hard on myself, and was actually clear WHY this work mattered to me.
Nothing was wrong with me….I was actually coming into contact with my heart and my desires.
And now I could actually take CARE of them, not punish myself.
Does this sound familiar?
How do you speak to yourself?
What have you labeled yourself?
True sustainable growth happens through support and love.
I imagine you can think of a teacher who really tore you down. While there may have been some short term growth out of anger or fear, ultimately I imagine you stopped using them, because it just felt awful to be belittled so much.
Tearing someone down just damages them, and the same is true for self talk.
We all have different processes for our work, and really it is about finding what works for YOU.
And then taking CARE of this process.
Taking CARE of you so that you can show up FOR the process, for your Art, and for your beautiful life.
Practice is essential for development of our craft AND we can approach this practice and building the business of our passions from a place of care.
Energy is everything. I can look back at my younger self with so much love, and know she was doing the best she could, but truthfully, she was being waaayyyy too hard on herself and the taskmaster was running the show.
Now, it’s the care-taker, and what a difference.
So, what needs CARE in your career?
What needs CARE In your heart so that you can show up for your career?
Create systems that work in your career not because you should but because it will take CARE of the work that matters most.
Whenever you are in doubt, love is the answer. Every time. You are a shining light and deserve your own love and affection.
Care for your life, and watch it grow.
Photography: Caitlin Cannon Photography