Post Note – Up Front: Because this post highlights the incomparable Molly Gordon, one of the best Self-Employment coaches ever, I wanted to make something very clear right away. Molly has been a strong supporter and keynote speaker the minute the gates opened at my annual smARTist Telesummit. Her work is based on solid and smart practices for how to be self-employed that includes multi-levels of self-awareness.
Now…let’s get personal…
Way back in 2007 I made a critical mistake in judgment that has affected my business practices ever since – I listened.
Don’t get me wrong. I consider listening one of the finer skills in life. I like listening, especially to you—my merry band of artists.
You tell me what’s working, how a smARTip helping you, what you want me to cover at the next Telesummit, sometimes a thank you for featuring your art here on the blog. Listening is a smARTist way of life.
In this case, however, I listened to the wrong information. Worse yet, I constructed the information to fit an emotional agenda that has been pointing me away from who I really am – and what I most desire to share. It’s like I’ve been dancing with the reflection of my deepest truth via smARTist, my coaching, my tweeting, my embrace of this wild and precious life.
The Back Story
Right after my first 2007 smARTist Telesummit, when I was most vulnerable as a start-up art career resource, one of the participants sent me a long, thoughtful email telling me much value he’d found in the conference, but how offended, as a Christian, he was to what he called Molly Gordon’s New Age (not a positive term) approach to her presentation The 3 Inescapable Laws of Selling Art.
He wrote a credible, rationale for how many artists I would unintentionally exclude from important art career information if I continued to invite the Molly Gordons of our world (like there’s more than one?).
What Happened Next
His email was a home run as soon as I read: exclude. I knew all about being excluded (shy, only child in 12 different grade schools by the sixth grade) and that was the last thing I was ever going to do!
On the other hand, I love Molly. Love, love, love everything she does and stands for: authentic promotion. Come on! What could be more important for artists, whose ongoing mission is the very essence of authenticity, than to know that authenticity could also be true for the essence of their career path?
I was caught, as they say, between a rock and a hard place.
I didn’t want to exclude my Christian artists. I didn’t want to exclude Molly. So I did the next best thing: I excluded myself.
It’s always a bad idea to exclude yourself because you show up as only that reflection of self I mentioned earlier.
It’s also bad for business.
When you are not showing up as yourself, there’s no way to find your tribe or for your tribe to find you. Or, they get a glimpse of you and stick around hoping for more – but not forever.
So Here’s The More
I have made it very clear, in my opening smARTist Telesummit remarks each year, that I believe we do our best work when we are clear about, and intentionally cultivate understanding, of two domains: the internal landscape of self, and the external world we live in.
What I have not said openly is that my work, and the work I bring my artists, is based on my very personal understanding of the whole human: mind, body, psyche and soul.
From now on, I pledge…
… to address each of these levels directly. No more dancing with my reflection. If I have something to say that is spiritually based, is a little New Agey and this feels offensive, or doesn’t resonate, there’s that cute little “unsubscribe” button at the bottom of all my emails. Go ahead, hit it.
Or you can come here and speak up on the blog. Respectful disagreement is always welcome because difference is the chili and cinnamon of our lives. Yum.
And for the rest of you who have seen me peek around the corner, hang on. It’s going to get a lot more personal around here.