There are several tenets I try to live my career by including:
- Go out of your comfort zone
- Create multiple income streams
- Play to your passions
About a month ago, I wrote up my 6-month plan and one of the goal areas I focused on was my art. This is something completely unrelated to my primary work in career clarity and resilience, but it's another passion of mine that I've been reluctant to really dig into as a potential income stream. It's very personal and it's felt a lot safer to just have my art be something I do for myself.
I decided, though, that if I want to experience what it's like to REALLY stretch myself and to go into a place where I feel like a complete beginner--something that all of us have to get better at doing to develop our resilience--taking a risk with my art was a great place to start.
I'd already begun this journey back in January. I started small, really small--hanging my art in my own house and posting images on Facebook. I revived an art blog I'd had years ago and started posting there, too. Then I had business cards and post cards printed up of my art and started sharing those with people.
These were initial tentative steps at putting myself out there as an "artist," an identity I'd never really claimed for myself before. But this is the work of career resilience--exploring and claiming multiple identities as part of claiming and clarifying your passions.
By the time I was sitting down to write my 6-month plan, I felt ready to take it to another level. I posted my art on Society 6 (where I've sold a few pieces) and was recently accepted to have a month-long show in November at a local coffee house. I've also submitted to participate in a local art show and sale in December. These felt like do-able things for me to begin to test the possibility of making money with this passion.
These steps have been a lot scarier. Now I'm moving beyond "hey--here's something I enjoy doing" into "hey--pay me for this thing I enjoy doing." But this, too, is another step in the journey of resilience. You have to see where there's an intersection between what you bring to the world and what the world wants and needs from you. I want to test if my art is something that can bring in income. I also just want to have the experience of trying (and potentially failing) at something I've never done before.
Now I may never make a lot of money selling my art. It may always be a small part of my total income pie. But that's OK, because it's also something I love doing and for me, making money on it is gravy. On the other hand, of course, it could transform what I do for a living, taking me into realms I never really imagined for myself. I don't know, of course, until I take the risk.
I share this story with you as a reminder that we all need to challenge ourselves as part of developing our resilience. We don't learn our true strengths and our true ability to cope and grow unless we put ourselves into situations that ask us to stretch and to consider that we might be someone beyond who we've thought ourselves to be.
One of the most important things you can do to develop your resilience is to devise for yourself the experiments that allow you to explore and test your passions and see where they will take you. Put yourself out there. Test what you can do. You may be surprised to discover what happens.
Want some guidance on creating your own experiments and challenges? I'm running two Virtual Retreat this fall and both of them will include an opportunity for you to develop your stretch opportunities. More info here.