Here’s an example: You’re a great writer but are having trouble getting that novel published! Have you ever thought that maybe non-fiction or essay writing would be a better fit for you? Have you ever thought about sharing your love for writing in other ways, such as becoming a teacher or translator? All sorts of great ideas for you here!
MM – 550 – Experiment with Your Craft
Hello, everybody, and welcome to this week’s episode of Motivate Me!
It’s Me! Time here on Motivate Me! and we are working on coming back from flat.
Before we start, let’s get into the right headspace. Let’s engage in the idea that this is time where YOU are the priority. Let’s take two slow, deep breaths to get us centered. Just follow me.
Today’s focus is: Experiment with Your Craft
I’d like to start off this episode with a favorite quote, it’s a Buddhist proverb that says: “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.” Some people feel proverbs have one specific meaning, but that’s not the way I look at it. I feel they’re like songs and poetry: we connect to them in our personal way, and our interpretation of them changes over time as we evolve.
Here’s what I mean, my first experience with this proverb was when I was in college to become a teacher. As a teen, I was much more focused on my social life than school, so I got off to a slow academic start, and I didn’t go to college until I was in my 30s. So when I first saw this quote, “When the student is ready, the teacher appears,” I felt like it was speaking to me.
At that time, I took it to mean that until a person (the student) is ready to learn, the teacher is just not visible. And no matter how hard or long the teacher tries to reach the student, until the student is ready, the teacher might as well be trying to get a tangible hold on something like smoke or water. It’s impossible.
On the other hand, when the student is ready to learn, the student will seek out the teacher, and they’ll go to great lengths to do their learning. Which is what I did when I was ready.
From my first year of teaching high school English on, this quote has always had a place in my classroom. Of course, the irony is that I’d gone from being the blind student to the teacher who was now trying to grasp in my students what isn’t, necessarily, tangible.
What I did do is try to help my students see what I couldn’t at their age, and I did that by enlisting them in my process. The reality is, I learned more from my students than they did from me, which is the second experience I had with this proverb. I came to understand that we’re all students and we’re all teachers. I let them know that I was learning from them, and in doing that, I empowered all of us.
My third and final experience with this proverb is its connection to the ego, that to be an authentic student, one must shed their ego. And that’s a really humble, vulnerable, and daring place to be!
I’ve spoken about ego on the show many times before. Ego is what controls our feelings and inspires our action or inaction. It’s our mind where all that thinking and overthinking comes from.
The ego’s intention is to keep us safe and keep us comfortable, but it does that through keeping us afraid. Afraid of failure, afraid of looking dumb or silly, afraid of physical harm, afraid of risk. Our ego is what keeps us inside our comfort zone.
So what does all this have to do with experimenting with our craft?
We have to allow ourselves to become the vulnerable student again. We have to give ourselves the freedom to “try things on for size.” We need to broaden our perspective: Am I in the right niche of what I’m doing now, or can I use what I’m good at in an entirely different field?
You may be someone who’s already aligned with your passion, or you may be someone who’s trying to figure out what your talent is. Either way, how will a pastry chef know if he should be making and decorating cakes unless he experiments? How can a novelist know if they could also be a poet if they don’t try it? How will the corporate attorney know that they’d rather be a public defender if they don’t explore? Or how will the science professor realize she is better suited for cancer research if she never considers it?
I always think about country music star Darius Rucker at times like this, do you know who he is? You probably know him as the front man for Hootie and the Blowfish! He went from rock a sensation to a country sensation. That took guts.
What’s most important about this is that experimentation doesn’t just breed creativity; experimentation creates who we are and the life we live. And as far as your ego is concerned, it will be on this journey with you, and you will either let it limit you or you will limit it.
So, if all of this is so important, why do so many of us choose not to explore when it comes to our gifts and talents? Why do we stay pigeonholed where we are or never take chances?
Here are some basic reasons why people choose not to experiment with their craft:
– we’re afraid we won’t be good at it
– we’re afraid of what others will think about us
– we don’t want to look dumb or silly
– we fear we’re letting other people and their expectations down
But, here’s the thing: exploration is a process, it’s not a permanent decision. It is no harm, no foul to envision yourself taking your gifts and talents and using them in a new way. I put together a list of seven simple tips that will help you take your craft to the next level – or to a different level.
7 Tips to Help You Level-Up Your Craft
* Read and watch movies (about others in your field – learn about their life and work)
* Play (without having expectations of the outcome of what you’re creating)
* Take yourself less seriously (let creativity in)
* Take yourself more seriously (believe in yourself)
* Let go of judgement (your own and that of others)
* Practice positive self-talk (You’re the best, baby! Say it with me!)
* Invest the time it takes to better your craft (beauty is painful!)
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I am going to leave you with some truth talk from me to you: We take ourselves and the opinions of others too seriously. We take life too seriously. Leave your ego at the door, envision other ways you can utilize your talents, and then experiment. Our goal is to get our head and heart back in the game, to reclaim our passion, what if the reason you aren’t all in is because you have been missing the target? Find the target and you will find yourself again.
Remember, you Motivate Me!