How to Flourish NOW (While You’re Still Pursuing Your Creative Dream)

Blackboard with the word later crossed out and replaced with the word now

Image by Minerva Studio via BigStock

Have you ever received encouragement about your creative work only to be left feeling more discouraged than ever?

“Your day will come” – well-meaning friends say enthusiastically.

OR…”I bet you’ll make it big someday,” they say awkwardly because you’ve just told them about your 19th rejection of your book submission to a publisher.

You’ve told yourself the same thing:

Someday my artwork will be recognized for what it really is…”

Someday I will land a record deal that will change my life…”

Someday my business is going to grow exponentially…”

Someday…”

I am absolutely all for being optimistic and working hard to pursue dreams of breakthrough success. But I do see a problem with this ‘someday’ mindset.

You see, ‘Someday…’ is just a bit far away. It’s somewhere in the unknown future. It’s a place in time that’s ‘way out there’ that I can’t see tangibly now. I’m not THERE, I’m HERE. What I can see tangibly in front of me is where I am today.

So I need to know that there is a way to make something meaningful of my art NOW. I don’t want to just ENDURE today on the way to ‘someday’. I want to ENJOY the ride on the way to ‘someday’. I need to know that I can flourish NOW.

Don’t you want that too?

When you signed up for the creative work life, I bet you didn’t sign up for drudgery, discouragement and constant disappointment.

You signed up because you love what you do and want to make a difference.

Having ‘big hairy audacious goals’ and ‘over-the-rainbow’ dreams that we’re hoping to realize is a GREAT thing. We should be shooting for the moon and aiming high. But we cannot compromise the quality of our work now because we’re so focussed on that ‘someday’ breakthrough. Our work – Your Contribution – to the world matters too much to let that happen.

Instead we need to embrace where we are now in our creative endeavours and commit to not just surviving in the uncomfortable place of obscurity. We need to commit to truly THRIVING. We need – the world needs us to flourish NOW.

When we do, not only are we more in-tune with who we are as people, but our work takes on a whole new dimension that will be a huge positive impact for others. When we commit to Flourishing now – exactly where we are – we will be an inspiration. Isn’t that a huge part of why we entered into our creative line of work in the first place?

So today I’d like to give you three simple points that you can apply to help you flourish NOW – even while you’re still pursuing your creative dreams.

1. Whatever you have in your hands, grab it and do it like your life depends on it

What is it that you have in your hands to do right now? Ok, so it might not be that mega deal you’re dreaming about. But what do you have in your hands to do right now?

Whatever that is, grab it with both hands and do it like your life depends on it.

Are you a writer? Then write. Are you a singer? Then sing. Are you an entrepreneur? Then start something.

You DON’T have to be in Someday Land to keep doing meaningful work. Meaningful work starts today, right where you are.

Remember it’s not always about WHAT you do, it’s WHY you do it that matters most.

WHY does your work matter to you and why does it matter to others?

This helps us remember that it is such a privilege to live and work creatively. It is an honour to create the art that we do. So let’s not see it as a chore simply because we’re haven’t yet reached Someday Land.

2. Let yourself ‘become who you are’ in this season

“What if I start to become who I am instead of who I want to become”

Ben Lee (singer/songwriter)

Whether we realize it or not, our lives are a constant work in progress. We are always evolving as people. And creatively, our work evolves with us. And though you may not be where you ideally want to be now, if you surrender to where you are now as the exact place where you should be, you will surprise yourself as to how much is happening inside you to help you become better.

Where you are now is preparing you for where you want to be.

I used to be a corporate chick who longed to work in music. And now as I look back, I actually realize that that time was not wasted at all. It gave me many skills that I need today in my creative work and was amazing preparation for the difficulties I would battle against. Though I hated working in the corporate world, I do not regret it because it helped shaped who I am and therefore fuel my work as a creative professional today.

There is great opportunity in your current circumstances to shape who you are and your work in a deep and profound way that will impact generations to come.

Isn’t that exciting?

3. Reinvest in yourself – grow your gifts and passions

Let’s face it, creative work is hard work!

It takes many hours of discipline and concentration to produce remarkable work that you and others can be proud of. And sometimes it can leave you feeling burnt. Especially when you’re in that awkward place between where you are and when your creative dreams come true.

So I encourage you to reinvest in yourself.

Remember how FUN it is to create and do that thing you love.

What is the thing that you LOVE to do? What is that thing that when you do it, you lose track of all time and forget to eat? What is that thing that when you do it, your heart shows up and you feel fully alive? This can either be related or totally not-related to your work, as long as it fits the answer to the above questions.

If your work involves your art and creating on demand, I encourage you to take time to create JUST FOR FUN. No agenda, no pressure. Just create because you love it and let yourself play like a child. Give yourself permission to be that inquisitive kid of 4 years old again who grabs a box of crayons and just starts doodling. And don’t ask if it’s good enough! Just play!

I also suggest you invest in yourself by taking a course or reading a book that will grow and inspire you to be more remarkable in your creative work. Also, spend time with someone else who shares your passion. You can create together for fun or just talk through your journeys of creating and encourage each other. It’s incredible how encouraging it is to meet kindred spirits who do what you do – it reminds you you’re not alone in this!

You may have another gifting or passion that has nothing to do with your work – and I strongly encourage you to take some time to fill your well of inspiration by investing in this for a while. It will fuel the work that you are currently working on and propel you forward towards your creative breakthrough. It will enable you to create and give from a place of fullness rather than on an empty tank.

So there you have it. Three things to help you flourish NOW on the way to your creative dreams coming true:

  1. Whatever you have in your hands, grab it and do it like your life depends on it
  2. Let yourself ‘become who you are’ in this season
  3. Reinvest in yourself – grow in your gifts and passions

Oh and you have to know that I totally believe in you and can’t wait to see you make your creative dreams come true. Keep going towards them and stay the course. Take one step at a time by committing to flourishing NOW exactly where you are.

What do you think?

What have you been currently working on that you have left for awhile due to discouragement that you can pick up again and approach with a renewed vigour?

What are some tips that you can share to encourage other creatives to commit to flourishing NOW?

In what ways will you reinvest in yourself to grow in your gifts and passion this week?

About the Author: Kerri Ho is a Singer, Vocal Coach and Creative Director who works with artists to release their creative talent. She is also the Founder of TheSongbirdTree.com where she creates helpful video lessons and writes articles to help singers Get Grounded, Take Flight…and SING!

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Responses to this Post

Comments

  1. Kerri, this is what I’m working on right now, enjoying the journey instead of focusing all my energy and attention on the destination.

    I’ve been working so hard to *publish* my books that I’ve stopped enjoying *writing* them.

    So I’m working on the process itself, learning to enjoy writing again. And the fun thing is, I know I’ll write better books because I’ll be enjoying the process.

    One eye on the horizon, one on the next step. They’re both important.

    (I called my book about self-publishing “Getting Your Book out of the Someday Box” because I know people think exactly like this. I’m much better at helping them than at helping me!)

    • Hi Joel, great to hear from you again! Glad you are enjoying the process of writing. It is funny how all of us artists seem to do this – we set out doing what we love but get to a point where we forget to love what we are doing. You put it perfectly ‘One eye on the horizon, one on the next step’, thank you for sharing!

      • “we set out doing what we love but get to a point where we forget to love what we are doing”

        Very nicely put. I wish I’d said that. ;-)

        • Somehow, I feel this is connected to the quote (can’t find the source now; a right smart PBS commenter whose name has vaporised) about how we start our art because our taste is good enough to appreciate the masters, but then our implementation doesn’t live up to our taste.

          I’m feeling there’s an opportunity for something helpful to struggling artists in here somewhere. I’m always looking for a way to build on “The War of Art” and help more artists make more art.

        • Thank you Mark – appreciate that – especially coming from a wordsmith such as yourself =)

  2. ‘Enjoy the moment’ is my Mantra…so I absolutely agree!!!!!! :)