Over the past couple of years, I’ve been engaging in an experiment. I thought I’d try playing by the rules, conforming to the standards laid down by the herds of advice-givers, experts, and self-declared Cognescenti that inhabit the world of creativity.
I had been searching for guidance, for help in navigating the unfamiliar territory of entrepreneurship/publishing, daily plumbing the depths of Googledom for online articles that could point the way to the magic formula for internet visibility and book sales. I read articles in industry magazines and books by millionaire success gurus. And I began implementing a number of prescribed solutions: I blogged; I created a “social media cloud;” I joined groups and associations and took on a ton of busy work.
I learned a lot from all of the available wisdom, and with each article I read or instructional video I viewed, I came away with a checklist of “dos” and dont’s and “should’ves” and “wish I hadn’ts.” And I began to take action, working furiously to fulfill the ever-lengthening checklist.
The payoff from all this effort is something I discovered, or rather, rediscovered a couple of days ago, after a mild anxiety attack: I’ve got the magic formula for my happiness and success. I can achieve anything as long as I believe in myself, in my intrinsic worth. All the resources at our fingertips exist to support the creative spark, the rebel genius, and the ability to think outside the box.
After researching all the rules, admonishments and exhortations, I’ve discovered the number one rule…there are no rules. Sure, guidelines, signposts along the way are essential, and I’m grateful for them. Rules add structure and backbone to our efforts, however, once you learn the rules, breaking a rule or two or three can produce delicious results. Don’t get bogged down in the “dos” and don’ts” and the “shoulds” and “musts.” Your creative spark will lead the way.
Live, celebrate and embrace your joy and inspiration, and love the journey. Never allow yourself to be intimidated so that you shrink back from the spark and the gifts that you alone can contribute to the human conversation. It’s so easy to go through life thinking that one person can’t make a difference, but that’s a mistaken belief.
I am convinced that the work, the real process, is in accessing the present moment, finding the power, the universal energy, the essence within ourselves. Too much advice, education, training, regimentation or rule-setting will bludgeon the last bit of juice out of any creative endeavor. Believe in your voice, your personal power, and then after taking that stand, thoughtfully review the wealth of advice and instruction and sift out the pieces that most benefit you.
Once we access the power of the present moment and get in touch with our own unique gifts, it is commitment and consistency that drives the Brinks truck to the bank. Hang onto your rebel genius and it will carry you further than you dreamed possible. The emphasis is on finding what works best for you, and then applying it with gleeful celebration, an attitude of fun. If it’s not fun, it’s not worth it.