I always give a New Year’s message which is a theme to think about and carry into the new year. This year I’d like to talk about why are you do the things that you’re doing. If you’re a creator of some sort I want this year to be about celebrating yourself and sharing your story, but also checking what is driving the reason for doing it.
I’ve broken it down into 3 main categories that you sometimes mistake as a reason to do something, but then you realize that it’s not sustainable.
- You’re trying to prove someone wrong. There are people who are in your corner and no matter what you do they’re always on your side. So you achieving more or becoming famous doesn’t make them like you more, they already like you and they’re inspired by your work. Then there are those people who don’t get your work. So even when you win an Academy Award or get your artwork displayed at MoMa or have a New York Times bestselling novel, they’re still going to be like, ‘I don’t get it.’ Then there are people who don’t know you exist, which is always humbling. There are billions of people in the world that don’t know you’re alive and our artistic achievement are in no way going to be part of their lives. It keeps it all in perspective.
- The parents. A lot of times when you’re younger and starting out on our journey in the arts, I find that young artists are warring with their parents. Their parents are working from a narrative of linearity. A lot of times if they’re not creative they don’t understand a life in the arts. They want something that is traditional and safe. I think that the challenge with parents is that in their misguided love and support of you they don’t know that a life in the arts isn’t linear. And because it’s something that they don’t know, you are contradicting that and that causes a lot of tension and fighting. You want to honor our parents and yet, they’re living their unique individual lives and your purpose is to live yours. So you want to keep coming back to – you’re doing it for ourselves.
- Validation. Whose validation do you need? In the arts there is a transactional validation that occurs. If you’re an actor and you go into a casting office and the casting director hires you for the job, that is an external validation that is also the transactional aspect of what it means to be in this business. The irony is that even when you get those jobs, your first phone call might be to your friend saying “I thought I sucked.” Or you’re just thinking “Oh my G-d I don’t even know if I can do it.” So it’s interesting that even though they’re giving you the thing that you think you need out there, inside it’s still not quite aligned. And that’s ok, it just goes to show that it’s always an inside job. That’s something that you can manage with meditation and presence and mindfulness. Doing something because you want to create, doing it because the validation for yourself is intact by you telling your story. So if other people get it and compliment you by giving you the job or you making money or sharing your work, that’s a beautiful result of you trusting and listening to the callings of your soul.
I hope that this helps you in 2021 to be brave to continue to get out there and tell your story. I think that’s what is worth celebrating in such an interesting time that we’re living in. You do these things because you can. You’ve been gifted this opportunity right now to be celebrating your story. Keep brave and share it for the right reasons. Happy New Year!