Growing up I was convinced I possessed not a single creative bone in my body.
Got average grades in art classes. Didn’t really care for the traditional creative mediums we all are exposed to in school like painting and drawing.
When I started to fall in love with graphic and web design, I was pretty dang shocked. As my creative journey continued to unfold, random memories would come to me affirming that indeed the creative inclination was always there (and I would argue is there for everyone, it just unfolds differently in each person).
When I was maybe 8, I loved the movie Pocahontas. There was something about her spirit that drew me in and now I can see it was because she’s a total badass. Strong, peaceful, confident. She was a subtle force and I looked up to her. I remember watching it one day and I paused the movie when it was a close up on her. I grabbed a paper and pencil and tried to sketch her.
It didn’t go so well so I resorted to putting the paper up against the screen to trace her which I think probably ended with me getting a quarter of her face and that was pretty much it. Although in the moment I felt like it was a failed project, looking back now I can see glimpses of a future Clare, finding inspiration around and trying to bring it to life on “paper”.
I’m sharing this now because when that memory popped up for me a few days ago, I experienced a whole wave of creative inspiration and identity grounding all at the same time. I remembered who I was as an artist. I remembered not only how much I love art and creating, but also what fuels me and motivates me. It reminded me of some of my first design projects that were just for me. I loved doing illustrations... mostly of women, some more real, some abstract... all probably having something to do with my forever search of who I truly am at my core and what I want to represent... peace, strength, calm, timelessness...
It’s really easy as we get farther and farther into our business journey to go off on tangents, to shift, to make changes… usually for the better… but sometimes not.
Sometimes we get easily influenced by what our competitors are doing and we let our desire to “keep up” get the best of us or maybe we feel like what we have to offer isn’t enough so we try to add more and more. It bums me out seeing brands get watered down because they want to grow their following or stray away from their true authentic mission and values because they feel like it’s not cool or trendy enough.
Needless to say, we are all susceptible to straying from our core values. The practice of going back to the beginning can remind us what those are and help us get realigned. Ultimately we have to think about what we really want. What’s behind all our work?
I really believe that for fellow conscious entrepreneurs, it’s so much more than increasing our following or paycheck… it’s about connection. It’s about connecting more deeply with who we are at our core, in our most true version of ourselves, and then to connect with others. We want our message, copy, visual identity to communicate who we are effectively so our ideal client can find a “soul business” to connect with.
A couple years ago my husband and I walked into an antique store and started chatting with the owner who happened to be a local artist...
His genuine love for what he did came across with no filter in the best of ways. It made him magnetic, hospitable and ready for connection. The visit ended in a tour of his private art studio and open invitation to come whenever we’d like. We left not only with a beautiful green antique bench but also feeling like we had somehow connected more deeply with ourselves as we connected deeply with this stranger simply because he shared his values and passions clearly, simply and authentically and they resonated with our own and immediately there was a profound connection.
I had found what I like to call a” soul business “...
kind of like a soul sister or soulmate but in the shape of a business that I just totally and utterly connect with and want to be a part of. What if he had filtered or altered who he was because he wasn’t sure his message would land on welcoming ears? What if he had gotten caught up in the other antique stores vibes and changed who he was to fit in better?
He chose to stay true to who he was at his core and because of that, he will attract soul clients… like me. Who will not only respect him and his work but become a total fan in a matter of seconds.
Maybe that first moment of creative spark in front of the tv watching that epic Disney movie was about so much more than me finding my creative identity, it was really about me trying to find out who I was and what values I wanted to embody.
Isn’t that ultimately what art or any passion or mission does for us? It allows us to move inside a world that we get to fashion, create an existence beyond the black and white one in front of us and break boundaries so we can be free and joyful and fulfilled.
That moment along with so many others allow me to understand who I am and give myself permission to attract my soul clients… and be on the whole a very satisfied and fulfilled entrepreneur.
This is something I hope for you. That you’ll take a step back. Go back to your roots. Look at old work, revisit your first client, catch up with someone who was part of your beginning.