Little did I know that a Canvas and Cocktails event would change the trajectory of my life. I joined a group of 40 women for a team-building activity the evening before an all-day retreat. Each of us created a grove of aspens. Here are mine.
I’d been searching for a hobby when painting found me. Then I was off to Michaels, coupon in hand, returning with a beginner’s supply of paints, brushes, and canvases. My love for color continues, yet my style has evolved notably.
What has painting taught me? I give myself permission to make mistakes, experiment, create a mess, and be in the moment. Some paintings are easy, others not so much. That lesson was aptly applied to writing my book Differentiated to be published in 2021. Chapter 7 put up a fight. My initial efforts with the opening story didn’t convey the lessons I needed to tell. I reworked the draft and started over many times until the story emerged in plain sight.
What has artmaking given me? Unbridled joy, the experience of flow, and an expanded capacity for risk-taking. It also led me to discover Differentiation Zone®. Hours spent painting created space for that breakthrough. It was up to me to do something with it, working through the messiness of start-up mode to produce something uniquely valuable for you.
This year is teaching us to give ourselves permission for joy and mess-making. At a time when personal agency often feels out of touch, a creative practice places you in the center of your own story.
Give yourself permission to create. Let go of labels and images that hold you back. You wouldn’t say to the ten-year-old version of yourself, “You aren’t an artist.” You’d say, “Hey, that’s terrific. What else can you make? I’d love to see it.”
The New Year will demand original approaches.
My suggestion? Be the artist, the creator of your own story. Let me know how it goes. Better yet, share a photo of your latest creation.
Together we will see beyond what is as we learn to get out of our own ways.