Going organic

Don’t worry, I’m not going to start telling you that you need to eat organic foods and reduce your carbon footprint – many others are doing that far better than I could. No, I’m talking about my business, my career.

Lately, I’ve woken up to the merits of organic growth.

Note: this post will ramble and potentially make very little sense. I’m just kind of feeling these ideas out and seeing what I think. I don’t know what I think until I write it apparently.

It’s been on my mind for a while. I’ve been talking a lot lately about how I don’t like the traditional definitions of success, or planning my life and my business around goals. I know that really works for some people, but people vary, and that doesn’t work for me. It just makes me panicked, stressed and in a constant state of frazzled worrying.

Example: I did the live painting and auction on Wednesday. I had over 60 people watch over the course of 3 hours, had lots of lively discussions (so many great questions asked) and the painting eventually went for $320, which was more than I’d expected.

All good things right?

But right after all that, my computer pretty much gave up for the evening and I couldn’t keep promoting the auction to see if I could drive the bids up higher. So instead of feeling happy about what had happened, I just felt like a failure for what I couldn’t do – and my inner perfectionist had decided that if I had a good thing going, I had to ride that wave into the ground.

I know that I have a tendency to focus on what isn’t working. (I’m human. We all do it.) I also know that I’m a lot happier if I don’t create scenarios where that tendency is going to be harder to fight – like in goal setting and thinking I have to “get somewhere”. I’m much happier if I just do things for myself, because they make me happy and I’m obsessively passionate about them.

It was actually the live auction itself that made me realize what I didn’t want. A fellow artist, Nemo was hanging out with me most of the time on the live chat and we were discussing the difference between our artistic lives – he does art full time and is marvelously business-like about it. He is a man on a mission and he’s done really well for himself. I’m in awe of the amount of work that he puts in. He is determined to be rich and famous – no really. His blog is called The Soon To Be More Famous Artist Named Nemo (which is a fabulous title if you ask me).

It made me realize that it wasn’t the life that I wanted.

It’s also not a life that’s good for me or for my health. I can be high strung and I’m intensely passionate. I just get way too involved in outcomes and beating myself up over the “wrong” outcomes. I’m just too much of a perfectionist. It’s great for some things – I always deliver high quality work.

It’s not so useful for happiness.

Don’t get me wrong – this is not about giving up my art

Oh my god, no. I’m painting more than ever and that’s the way I like it. But that’s my point – when I try to be goal oriented and success mindset and “going somewhere”, the art falls behind. It gets forgotten. It loses it’s trueness, it’s authenticity, and I lose my passion.

I do not want to turn my art into a j-o-b. Because that’s what I’m doing.

I’m also not averse to hard work

I’m a hard worker. Possibly too much so. But I don’t think hard work is the point of life. And for me, riches and fame aren’t important either. They don’t get me jazzed up, they don’t get me out of bed in the morning.

But creating passionate, meaningful, wonderful artwork? Yep, that gets me out of bed with a spring in my step.

Sharing my story and helping others discover meaning in their lives? I’m practically panting.

So what would happen if I just made sure that every day, I focused on those things? What if I structured the rest of my life around my art and helping others?

And funnily enough, it’s kind of worked out like that. I do little odd jobs on the side that are enough to pay my bills, don’t stress me out and take up brain space and give me the freedom and energy to focus on my art. To do what I love.

It’s also not to say that I won’t pursue making money with my art, or take advantage of opportunities that arise, or follow these things with any less passion.

But for me, if I let these things grow organically, I don’t have some standard that I’m trying to reach & therefore don’t have “failure” to beat myself up with. I get to live my life from a place of joy, a place of happiness, because I’m doing what I love every day.

It doesn’t work for everyone. Most people like having something to strive for and that’s awesome. But I know myself well enough to know that it just doesn’t work for me – it just becomes another beating stick.

So I’m going to experiment for a bit

I’m going to play with this idea and see what happens if I stop being a total control freak and just let things grow the way they want to. Maybe I’ll make more money, maybe I’ll make less money. Maybe fame will show up on my doorstep. Maybe I’ll fall (further) into total obscurity.

But mostly I’m hoping joy will stop in for a cup of tea or two.

North Shore PEI © Sarah-Marie-Lacy 2010

North Shore PEI © Sarah-Marie-Lacy 2010 16x20 acrylic on canvas