Have you ever thought about your life as an ongoing creative project?
Even if you don't self-identity as a "creative," I feel certain that you are, simply because you are reading this. You take initiative. You seek growth. You want to learn, change, and prosper. You want to be fulfilled, not just by the typical standard of living, but in a deeper way.
What does this mean for your work and your life?
You Create Your Limits
What is your biggest obstacle?
What about your life, your body, or your career do you feel like you can't control? What keeps you stuck?
We are limited by many forces: trauma, catastrophe, mishaps, other people, mental patterns, personal hurdles, random chance. What can we do in the midst of all this thrown at us?
We set our own limits. There is power in discovering the balance between what you can control and what you cannot control, then living to the upper limit of that balance. We can acknowledge the greater forces at work and forgive ourselves for being limited. Meanwhile, we can step into our power and set ourselves up for success by taking control of our thoughts, our patterns, and our personality.
You create your limits. Be mindful about them. Acknowledge them. Expand them. This knowledge is powerful. Expand what you think you can be and do. Expand what you think your personality makes you suited for. Expand what you imagine your dream life to be. At the same time, acknowledge there might be setbacks. Acknowledge you may not be able to take everyone along with you. Acknowledge you might need time to get past certain struggles or to create bigger things.
You Create Yourself in Spirit, Mind, Heart, and Body
Your spirit needs nourishment. I ignored this side of myself for a long time, especially in my days as Marketing Director for a law firm. There was no room for idealism there; I found myself more and more cynical by the day. Now, I am more and more in touch with my own spiritual perspective. What does this mean? Find your stance. Where are you in relation to the universe? What is the source of your power? What is your sense of the unknown? What is your sense of proportionality in the world? What is your sense of things greater than you?
Your mind thrives with constant upkeep. Learning is a lifelong process. Read good books, invest in valuable courses, and find uplifting mentors. Challenge yourself never to be past your prime. I realized the other day that I haven't been reading and taking in enough information, so I plan to stop working early today and pick up some David Foster Wallace. Think about how far you've come in your understanding of the world, and recognize how far you have to go. Thrive in the process. This is where creation happens.
Nurture your heart by helping others. Volunteer, reach out to someone who is hurting, lend your experience, stories, and ideas to those who might relate. Be kind. Be generous. Be forgiving (of yourself and others). One of the reasons I started a creative business is to increase the amount of time and resources I have to give back to the causes that weigh on my heart.
What about your body? How can we reframe our relationship to our imperfect bodies? First of all, let's face it. We all have imperfect bodies. We are all aging and changing. We grow, shrink, weaken, strengthen, sometimes across seasons, sometimes across relationships, sometimes across moods. I find beauty and progress within the space that I can control. I can control how I think about my body. I can control the amount of love and joy I give to my body. I can (mostly) control the amount of sleep and food and exercise I get. Think about the abundance your body gives you. It gives you movement, energy, strength, and sensation. You can dress it up or down, create a unique look, and be a part of the world in a physical, aesthetic way. So get a tattoo if you want one, dye your hair or don't, wear what makes you feel great. Disconnect your identity from your bodily imperfections and be gracious to yourself. This body is you in many ways, but it is a work in progress. Create the body you want, but acknowledge the place you are at right now, because it is a good, abundant place.
You Create Yourself With Time
We all have bookends of birth and death, and in between we have time. Time is a shared experience. We all share this version of fate. What will you do with the time in between? You can use your limited time to become more narrow, stubborn, and damaged. Or you can let this shared experience of time make you more open, optimistic, and healed. Everyone is dealing with time in their own way. No one knows exactly how much time they have. Recognize that every single person has these same limitations, and let that inspire you to be mindful about your time.
Some things take time. Be patient with yourself, but move forward, even a little bit, each day. Take the big leaps when necessary.
You can apply all of these ideas to your work, too. What part does your job have in the ongoing creation of your life? Does it fit into your dream life? Does it move you forward in spirit, heart, mind, and body? Does it fulfill you on a deeper level? If it doesn't, what can you do with your time to change that?
In our lives and in our work, let's strive to reconcile the aspirational with the things we can't control. Let's not predetermine our fate by negativity. Don't predetermine misery or failure that doesn't need to be there. Acknowledge what you cannot control, but expand what you can.
Make space for the possibility of wild success.