This week, I am writing my blog on a Sunny Friday morning at a beautifully restored country home in Madoc, Ontario. I feel blessed to have an opportunity to enjoy the quiet surroundings while I figure out what I’m writing about today :)
Normally, my blog would already be written by now and would only need some final touches before publishing but it seems that my blog writing is now competing with my new passion for painting. Even though I originally thought that I could do them both on my creative day, it turns out that a) once I start painting I don’t want to stop and b) if I paint before I write, I end up being so much in my right brain that the process of writing seems much more effortful. So, this week, I decided to spend all day Tuesday painting and figured I would just have to find another block of time to write, later in the week.
The art assignment for this week was to bring a photo of ourselves and create an abstract self-portrait inspired by elements of the photo. However, once I started on the sketch, I got a bit carried away and ended up doing a realistic representation of my photo instead. Even though it’s not an abstract, I’m pretty excited about it. I absolutely love figurative art… faces in particular… so the fact that I got the chance to explore my own figurative “style” is quite an amazing feeling. I’m not sure I would have connected with my “style” the same way, had I been in a traditional portrait painting class. I think the freedom and experimentation that is encouraged in Suzanne’s class is exactly what has allowed me to discover another aspect of my previously underdeveloped “inner artist”.
Self-Portrait: Mixed Media on Canvas, April 2014
To be honest, I was so excited by this self-portrait that I could not wait to get feedback. I immediately posted it on Facebook, texted it to a few people and added it to one of the pages on my website. I was fairly obsessed with it the rest of the day and my kids must have thought I was crazy because I just kept randomly smiling and pointing to the painting saying how much I loved it.
To some, it may sound somewhat self-involved or egotistical of me to be so impressed with my own skills, especially since the object I’ve created is, after all, an image of myself. Others may worry that if they were to openly show excitement and self-appreciation for something they had created or accomplished it might be met with disdain, judgement or criticism. Believe me, I totally get that. That is precisely the kind of thinking that has kept me from experimenting with things I’ve always dreamed of doing. What if I screw it up? What if it’s awful? What will people think? Will they laugh? Will they no longer see me as worthy of being in their “club”?
We’ve all been there. It takes courage to put yourself out there and do something you have no experience with or feel you’re no good at. And if that isn’t challenging enough, here’s what’s even more uncomfortable… letting the world see that you are actually enjoying the process of experimentation and taking genuine pride in something you’re beginning to get the hang of. It’s pretty unbelievable to think that, in our society, we’re taught to be humble to the point of self-deprecation and it’s all because we don’t want to look like we are full of ourselves or are afraid to make someone else feel “less than”. Amazing, isn’t it? We will choose to put ourselves down or keep ourselves small just so another person can feel okay.
I suppose that’s a theme I’ve been exploring for a while from a psychological standpoint but now that I’m actually “doing” it and putting myself in new arenas which I’ve felt intimidated by in the past, I’m noticing how the possibilities for expanding into new personal and professional arenas are becoming more real and seem more “do-able”. Even so, I still manage to get overwhelmed when I start to think about how much effort and time it will take to realize some of my dreams. It’s not that I don’t believe I can do it or that I don’t deserve it, It’s more about wanting to ensure I can maintain the balance I’ve created as I expand. I’ve just begun to appreciate how good it feels to have more freedom to travel and pursue my creativity and I definitely don’t want to give that up. And yet, at the same time, I am passionate about my work and I really do want to reach a larger audience… so how do I achieve one without sacrificing the other?
The answer to that question began to get clearer last night when my Madoc host and I were discussing the idea of “leveraging” myself and my professional skills in order to expand the reach of my Self-Love message and the Principles and Practices that I’ve been discovering and developing over the past 18 months. My host is an extremely savvy businesswoman and has spent the past 25 years developing her highly respected brand and building it into a world-class business. She’s tremendously skilled and courageous and yet had never learned how to balance her perfectionistic work ethic with “rest & play”. Like many of us, she habitually put her needs on the back burner in favour of the needs of her business and she eventually became depleted.
Over the past couple of years, I have had the privilege of helping her on her Self-Love journey and she is learning, like I have, that making Self-Love the foundation of our lives is what makes everything else possible and sustainable… not the other way around. I’m so happy that my Self-Love philosophy and practices have been able to help her cultivate more balance in her life and now, as is often the case, I have something to learn from her.
She now has a renewed sense of “fun” in her work and because she understands that loving herself is the foundation on which everything else must be built, she has discovered how to truly capitalize on what she calls her “core genius”.
Core Genius…I absolutely love this concept.
Here’s how author Jack Canfield describes it:
“I believe you have inside of you a core genius… some one thing that you love to do, and do so well, that you hardly feel like doing anything else. It’s effortless for you and a whole lot of fun. And if you could make money doing it, you’d make it your lifetime’s work.
In most cases, your Core Genius is directly tied to your passions and life-purpose.
Successful people believe this, too. That’s why they put their core genius first. They focus on it—and delegate everything else to other people on their team.”
A-Ha! That last line was the kicker for me… “delegate everything else to other people on their team.”
Delegate? Team? Huh?
As a recovering perfectionist, these are things that I have always found challenging. Each time I imagine recruiting people to help me to grow or lighten my load, either personally or in my business, here are some questions and limiting beliefs that I come up against: a) How do I communicate my vision and what’s in my heart to another person? b) How could they possibly understand? c) Even if they did understand, how can I trust them to get it right? d) How can they learn to make it look and sound the way I would or do it the way I would do it? e) If I let them do it, it won’t be “mine” anymore – I become irrelevant (oooh, that’s a biggie!) f) Managing a team is too much trouble. And, of course, the one we are all so familiar with… g) It’s easier to just do it myself.
And, with that, the cage door slams shut again…
If you have any kind of perfectionistic tendencies or control issues, I’m sure you know exactly what I’m talking about. These are the “gremlins” that chatter away at us and keep us trapped and prevent us from moving forward.
But here’s what my inspiring and courageous host discovered…
Recently, she hired an assistant. It was a decision which, she says, “is one of the best I’ve ever made.” It has freed her up to do things that she never would have made time for or even prioritized in the past. Some of it is much-needed “rest and play” and some of it has to do with growing her business and realizing the larger vision of it that, for some time, she had no energy to invest in. It has allowed her to recognize what her “core genius” is and to “put it first” and “delegate everything else to other people on her team.” The “core genius” concept has also allowed her to recognize that she does not have to “do it all” and that, when she builds her team with others who can fill in those spaces with their own “core genius”, her business and her life begin to flourish in completely new ways.
So, what does that mean for me?
It means that focusing on my “core genius” and leveraging myself so that I can reach a wider audience while maintaining the balance of “rest & play” in my life is the direction that I need to take. It starts by deciding what I want to achieve, professionally, and then creating a team to support me. I’ve already managed to put everything in place to allow myself to expand further into speaking, workshops and writing so my first “team member” needs to be a part-time assistant who has excellent writing skills, a background in marketing and PR and a passion for what I do. He or she will be responsible for getting the word out, promoting my work, making the bookings, updating my various media platforms, proofreading what I write as well as performing various other administration duties, leaving me to be the Visionary and the pursuer of my own Core Genius.
And what is my Core Genius, you ask?
I think it’s this:
1. Living, experiencing and being “witness” to my own life
2. Cultivating and practicing Self-Love
3. Gaining insight & wisdom through my own “process of illumination”
- Telling my story (through writing, mentoring, teaching)
- (Hopefully) inspiring others to do the same
- Mentoring others to deliver/teach/pay forward the message of Self-Love
And that is how I will serve my higher purpose.
So, this is me, putting it out to the universe that I’m ready. Ready to take it to the next level. Ready to expand. Ready to let go. Ready to let my “team” reveal themselves to me. Ready to step into my new, updated role, whatever that may be. Ready to have fun. Ready to trust. Ready to believe that I can make a difference and be relaxed, free and happy…all at the same time.
I’m grateful to and inspired by my host and I’m also validated by the support I have been getting from her, and others like her, who are encouraging me to take my work to a new level.
It takes a village, right? And I count all of you as part of mine. If you, or anyone you know has the “core genius” that is ideally suited to be a part of my “team”, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Once again, Daring Greatly!