For a few weeks now I've had this creative itch, this feeling that I’m ready for the next step…whatever that is!
(Have you ever felt like that? Like you were on the cusp of something you just didn’t know what?)
So how the heck do I know what “the next step” is?! That’s all I kept thinking.
After getting curious about what this eagerness was trying to tell me, I finally realized that a lot of it has to do with my word for the year, CURATE.
I don’t know where you are in your business or life journey, but let me give you the quick rundown on how the past few years have shaken out for me:
Year 1 (2014) of my business was all about exploration and experimentation. I needed to try many, many different things to get an understanding for what I was good at, what people wanted, and what I clearly did and did NOT want to do. (If you are in this phase by the way, don’t let the uncertainty freak you out! It’s such an incredible time of discovery!)
Year 2 (2015) was the year of cultivation. I had spent my first year planting all these seeds of potential -- building an audience, learning new skills, finding my writing voice -- and the next logical phase was to cultivate those crops. This is when I finally started to feel the momentum pick up. I learned how much I love to teach and I was able to launch three revenue-generating projects in that time. I was starting to find confidence in myself to come up with a creative idea and make it happen.
Year 3 (2016!) is quickly becoming the year of concentration. (And no, I don’t mean just thinking really hard!) I mean concentration as in the convergence of all these various lessons I’ve learned. I mean bringing together all the things I’ve tried and tested and cultivated, and aggregating them in a more clear and potent way.
Just as my goal at the beginning of this year was to curate (to engage in the Essentialism-inspired pursuit of “less, but better” in all aspects of my life), I’m seeing that this new itch stems from my desire to better consolidate and synthesize all the various projects I’ve tried out into something more powerful.
As I was talking with my friend Steph from Art To Self about this the other week, we discussed the fact that as creatives (and especially as creative business owners), we often find ourselves in a never-ending cycle of expansion and contraction.
There are times when we need to cast our nets wide, to venture out and discover, to try and fail and learn. And then there are times when we need to reduce, to hone, to synthesize, consolidate and refine.
Like the expansion and contraction of a single breath in our lungs, our creative practice contains an equal life-giving respiratory rhythm.
It rises and falls in a never-ending cycle, and it’s the driving force that catapults our creativity forward.
And now, for me at least, it’s time to exhale.
It’s time to take all the life-giving force that I’ve accumulated the past two years and evolve it forward into a more refined vision.
Which is really my standard-issue long-winded (pun intended) way of saying… there are SO many fun things on the horizon, you guys!
While I don’t want to spill ALL the beans quite yet, I can tell you this much: Made Vibrant will still most definitely aim to be your go-to place for inspiring and informative content on becoming your brightest self in life, business and your creative spirit.
In fact, the plan is to have a lot MORE of that good stuff to go around so that you can continue to have an online space and community to fill your creative buckets each day, week and month. My goal will just be to deliver this content in a more tailored and impactful way.
In order to bring this vision I see fully into reality, I’ve decided I need to make plenty of space for myself. This has led me to the decision to take a summer sabbatical away from the Self-Made Society newsletter.
I KNOW! 😱 <-- That's pretty much how I feel even typing that! This was probably the hardest part of the planning process for me to swallow because while I know taking a break from writing each Monday will only serve to refuel and rejuvenate my creativity, it’s also impossible for me to imagine my Mondays without that letter to you guys!
Not only is it my favorite thing to feel connected through conversation to you, but I’ll admit it’s also become a point of pride for me over the years. I’ve now sent 118 of those weekly newsletters nearly every single week since the inception of Made Vibrant, and I know I wear that number like a badge of honor.
But the truth is, the number doesn’t define the work, and nor does the streak.
The most important thing is that I’m still writing content that resonates with all of you -- content that helps you stay mindful, that encourages your authenticity, that sparks your creativity, and that shares a real picture of what it means to build a creative business from the ground up.
The only way that I can continue to do that effectively and with quality is to give myself some... breathing room. Space for me to transition into this deep exhale.
So, here’s the rundown:
Next Monday’s Self-Made Society letter will be the last one before my summer break. Starting on Monday May 30th, I’ll be taking five weeks off from writing my weekly newsletter. (Ahhh! 5 weeks, I know!)
But don’t worry, I won’t leave you hanging! In next week’s letter I’ll have a download link for your free copy of A Year Made Vibrant: Volume II, which will include every newsletter from February 9, 2015 to May 23, 2016 in an easy to read e-book.
Whether you missed a few weeks or you’re new to Self-Made Society, you can spend those five weeks catching up on over 65 past newsletters to fill your Monday inbox blues.
Then, I’ll be back on July 11th with lots of new and fun content to share and some exciting announcements about what you can expect to see from Made Vibrant starting in August (and moving forward!)
PERMISSION TO EVOLVE
But… that’s enough talk about me and Made Vibrant; now, let’s talk about YOU.
I always like to share the thought processes behind these decisions because if there’s one thing I’ve learned from communicating with creatives of all shapes and sizes it’s this: we could all stand to give ourselves more permission to evolve.
As creatives, let’s face it, we are changing our minds all the time. Whether it’s because we get excited about a new idea, or we want the challenge of trying something new, or something inspires us so we want to give it a go, or we just get bored… we’re shifting and learning and changing all the time.
Somewhere along the line though we got it in our heads that this wasn't a good thing. We started to feel like we were "quitters" for this ever-evolving vision -- that we couldn't stick with something long enough to see it through.
Now, you guys know I’m a BIG believer in consistency (I’ve got daily and weekly and monthly projects coming out my ears!) but there’s a point where consistency stops pushing you forward and it starts holding you back.
We have to stay on the lookout for approaching that point, the point where we get so wrapped up in seeing something through that we ignore the signs telling us to change it up.
I've shifted the focus of Made Vibrant so many times over the course of the past three years I’m starting to lose count. First a design studio, then a brand design studio, then art and design courses, plus a blog, then a resource shop, then an art shop, and the list goes on and on.
All of that shifting doesn't mean that I don't have a vision; it means that I have an evolving vision.
That I give myself (first) permission and (second) space to mold my business to meet my ever-evolving sense of self.
That’s the beauty of running an authentic business -- a business that changes to support your unfolding life and spirit rather than one where you’re forced to change your life to fit some static version of IT.
The truth is, if you're a business that’s NOT evolving, then it’s likely you’re no longer meeting the needs of your customers who I can guarantee you ARE evolving and changing before your very eyes.
So whether you are in that first phase of exploration and experimentation and you’re not sure what road leads to where, or whether you’re like me and you’re still finding ways to concentrate and consolidate all that wisdom you’ve racked up over the years, the lesson remains the same:
Give yourself permission and space to evolve your creative business as you evolve.
There is no destination; only the journey. Keep getting curious about what that underlying creative itch is telling you. And if you find that it is indeed saying you're ready for the next step, dig deeper until you find out what that is.
Listen to the yearning in your spirit -- when it asks you to inhale and expand, invite inspiration in. And when it begs you to exhale and contract, let go of what’s no longer serving you.
This is the respiration of creativity. It goes on and on and on.
Keep an eye out for next week’s email with that newsletter e-book download before my summer sabbatical!
I’m literally squirming in my chair thinking about how much fun stuff is on the horizon this fall. I hope you’ll continue to stay tuned to this journey of mine as we keep pushing our creativity forward TOGETHER!