Its been a couple of days…my summer’s been marked by depression, change, growth, seeking, finding, wanting to give up and run away…and moving forward, starting here:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” -Theodore Roosevelt
Brene Brown Opens her book “Daring Greatly” with this quote and continues by saying:
“I carry a small sheet of paper in my wallet that has written on it the names of people whose opinions of me matter. To be on that list, you have to love me for my strengths and struggles. You have to know that I’m trying to be Wholehearted, but I still cuss too much, flip people off under the steering wheel, and have both Lawrence Welk and Metallica on my iPod.”
I’ve been in the arena for a long time. While I could probably manage on my own, I’m so thankful for my people, who are in there with me, back to back. A small circle of warriors. As I began my rumble with the changes in my life, looking for a full time job, while holding down the fort freelancing, working part-time jobs, and teaching. I’d like to say that I handled all of these commitments gracefully, but it was more like a poor vaudeville act featuring me rushing around the stage trying to keep spinning plates in the air as one by one they began slowing and falling on the floor. Luckily, not many of them broke, I think.
Then, at the end of June I did the Death Ray Print and Comic expo in Fayetteville, AK and spent the whole weekend talking about art, illustration and teaching…and connected with people in a way I haven’t really done at a show in years. I’m not sure what changed, what was different…maybe it was just that I went to enjoy the time and the money was secondary. I really don’t know. The why almost doesn’t matter though, because I came home excited to get back to work. I came home excited about the work again, but my stage was groaning under the weight of all those plates…but the universe had nudged me.
Shortly after that, one of my students in my Sketchbook class said something about my teaching style that I hadn’t thought about before and that ended up setting the stage for a series of epiphanies.
“I came into this class expecting to be taught by rote how to draw. You totally disarm us though by taking away any ability to do a good drawing with your exercises.”
Up until that moment, when I thought about teaching I’d always say I wanted to teach skills and give students the resources to do good drawings on their own. That comment though reframed the whole story of my teaching though. I realized that I don’t want to teach them how to draw, I want to teach them to learn to love drawing. Then weirdly ideas about how to structure parts of my classes to teach things that I’d been struggling with explaining fell into place alongside it.
The universe had really decided that I’d spent enough time working through things and gave me a hard push towards the end of July. The girls decided they wanted to start working on a YouTube channel about making and doing things with me, at the same time that a new friend pointed out that I was a person that was willing to take risks without being reckless about it. An entrepreneur. She told me that it sounded like I loved teaching and that I could create online courses, and continued by asking me if I had three wishes for my career, what would they be?
1. I wish to be a subversive educator- I do want to teach people how to do things, but more than that, I want to change the way they think about what they do. Teaching people to not be risk averse by teaching them that the potential for failure is part of the process.
2. Passive income – To have enough revenue streams that require only a little maintenance to allow me to focus on the act of creating instead of the act of producing.
3. Time – To be able to use my time and resources to play and expand my experiential bubble through trips and interactions with friends, family and the world. Then dovetailing that play time back into wishes one and two, strengthening them.
These three wishes came so easily, and standing back from them I realized that they’re the same career goals I’ve had for years…but had forgotten about them. It was like waking up and seeing everything fresh. Things are looking good right now and I’m looking forward to sharing with you and continuing to grow with you.
Until next time, take care and be good!