April 2016 – Page 2

We all have a call to answer.

We knew it when we were kids. We understood we were here to do something, and we didn’t doubt for one moment that we could do it.

But then something happened.

We grew up. We began to feel the struggles of life.

That ancient part of our brain, the amygdala – the reptilian part of us – the lizard brain – began to swoosh its big tail around, warning us, threatening lack and attack.

So we began to play it safe. Play it small.

But, in order to play it safe, we have to refuse the call.

We turn away from the gift we were given, that belongs to us uniquely, and only we can give back to the world.

It becomes the thing that we always wanted to do or to be, but then Life happened.

We are presented with a series of false choices.

If you can’t make your living doing it, it’s not worth doing.

If you can’t make any money from it, it’s not worth doing.

We become efficient with our time, devoting it solely to activities where we can see the actual value. We want a return on our investment.

There is an intrinsic value we don’t factor into this equation. That value is the joy we feel when we turn in the direction of our calling. We gain a sense of personal fulfillment and joy that is priceless.

When we refuse our calling, our life feels a little empty.

We spend a lifetime acquiring things to pad our nests in order to build our security, but something is still missing.

We remember the dreams we had for ourselves when we were young, but:

  • We’re not good enough
  • We’re too old
  • We don’t know enough
  • We don’t have time for that
  • The list goes on

The lizard begins to swish around again, asking, “What are you sniffing around there for?”

Another false choice presents itself:

You can’t work a fulltime job and also pursue your dream.

The ugly inner voice begins to whisper, “Why are you wasting time doing that?”

You’ll never get picked.

Because that’s what you’ve been waiting for.

You want a gatekeeper – a publisher, a record company, an art gallery – to say yes to you, to give you the nod and validate you.

You want someone to wave their magic wand and decree you to be a writer, a musician, an artist, a creator of your own universe.

But here’s the thing.

You don’t need the gatekeepers anymore.

The Internet has changed everything.

Now you can pick yourself.

Sounds daunting, I know.

That’s because this is hard.

That’s why you haven’t done it yet.

It’s also why you need to do it now.

So now that the Internet has levelled the playing field, in a world where you can self-publish your book, where you can create a platform and market yourself and sell and distribute your art (whatever that is) all over the world, why aren’t you doing it?

If the gatekeepers aren’t in your way, what’s holding you back?

The simple answer is fear.

We’re afraid to put ourselves out there.

We’re afraid we’re not good enough.

We’re afraid to take risks.

We’re afraid of the uncertainty.

We’re afraid of judgment.

These are the emotional gates that you must pass through when you embark on the creative journey. These are the challenges we must face when we decide to go for it.

We are hardwired as humans to stay safe, and our culture reinforces this by expecting us to conform and fit in, so we inhibit the thing that makes us different or unique because it is impossible to fit in and stand out at the same time.

Are you afraid? I’ve spent most of my life being afraid. Afraid of making mistakes, afraid of standing out, afraid of making a ruckus. I’m afraid right now, worried that I won’t be able to say exactly what I mean to say.

Big things worth doing are scary. They should be because they are important. They matter. That’s why you’re afraid. You don’t want to mess it up.

But that thing you want to do – that you were meant to do – you are the only one who can do it. The world is counting on your unique contribution.

It doesn’t matter if you can or can’t make money from it.

It doesn’t matter if you went to school for it or for something else.

It doesn’t matter if you are the best or if you aren’t. (Keep doing it and you’ll get better)

What matters is that you do it.

It’s your calling. Only you can answer it.

Going into the unknown is what the creative journey is all about.

The gates are wide open.

Are you going to walk through them?