It's no secret I love anything creative. So when I saw that MasterCard was sponsoring the Grow Your Biz contest for small businesses and the mode of entry was a video, it called out to me. Yet, I still faltered. "Do I really have time to create a video on top of work and family responsibilities?" "What's the likelihood I would be selected as a finalist let alone win the grand prize of $25,000 for my business?" It wasn't until I mentioned the idea to my super sweet, supportive sister-in-law a week before it was due and her unhesitating support and affirmation of "You should totally do that!" was exactly what I needed to hear to take action.
My son was thrilled when I told him his own tinkering with stop motion movies is what inspired me to create my own for this contest. In the most well-meaning, concerned voice he could muster he told me, "That's really cool, but I don't want you to get your feelings hurt if you don't win."
Now that little word "but" completely deflated the support his statement intended. "That's cool, but ..." As much as I thought our family was sending clear messages about practicing a growth mindset, having grit, and having fun with the process, we were obviously missing the mark when it comes to creating. And why would my son have picked up the message that adults can and will create for the sake of creating? Yes, I love creating things, but rarely have I modeled creating for its own sake. I haven't finished an oil painting in almost a decade, the sewing machine gifted to me nearly two years ago still sits untouched, I haven't written poetry unless it was part of a larger curriculum. The times I have created anything artistic it's always been as means for a different end goal, whether it was part of a professional training or as a gift to one of my kids such as the murals on their bedroom walls, amateur attempts at fancy birthday cakes, or homemade Halloween costumes.
I realized this has always been my story even though I'd rather it not be. As a freshman in undergrad I took one art class to fulfill a general ed elective. I was still debating between majoring in psychology or social work when the art professor of that class had a serious talk with me about majoring in art. "What? Me? But I could never make art my career." My professor replied that was beside the point and added I had some skill, could learn, and had an obvious love for art. That's all it took, a completely open, supportive statement that challenged the way I had thought. Thank you Ed Charney. I double majored in psychology and art. I cannot tell you the endless ways creating and experiencing art has enriched my life.
Even still, there were times in undergrad I felt as if I was not a legitimate art student, I knew this was not going to be a career for me. I felt like an impostor. Those messages never came from my amazing art department peers or the professors, they came from inside me. There were other times, usually late in the evening working in the studio and I would lose track of time. There's something truly magical about getting lost in the creative process, reworking new solutions, pushing limits, expressing ideas, creating something that was not there before, and ultimately feeling connected to others and to something larger than myself that I've never been able to put into words.
Thank you to MasterCard for the excuse to create something wonderful. Last week I would never had thought to make a one minute video about my business and how I hope to grow its contribution to my community. Don't get me wrong, I hope to still win the grand prize 'cause that would be AMAZING. But no matter what, I know the time and effort I spent on this project was well worth it. I got lost in the creative process; got clear on my purpose and mission, enjoyed my kids' support as they sat by my side helping roll out Play Doh and forming simple shapes. I modeled for my kids the idea that it's acceptable and might I dare say even admirable to put all your heart and effort into creating something that might not go any further. This project helps me feel hopeful about the future of Creative Counseling for Healthy Living, and more connected to the community and my support network from my sister-in-law's encouragement, my husband's willingness to take over virtually all parenting duties as I took pictures of Play Doh on a letter board for hours on end, my brother's assistance taking pictures of me for the intro as well as the warm and supportive reception I have received from the people who have taken the time to watch my little video. Thank you.
Please let me be one of those voices that are unhesitating, affirming, supportive. Go create! Let this supportive voice be louder than the recordings of self-doubt or Debbie Downers that may play in your head. Create because it's fun, because you like it, because the process is AMAZING. It doesn't matter if the end product turns out exactly how you envisioned it, or if anyone else likes it, or pays you money for it. Create for the sake of creating.