Charting a Creative Course

Advisors, Directors and Trailblazers
By Elizabeth Cutright
© 2012 The Daily Creative Writer

I’ve always belived that one woman’s success can only help another woman’s success. Gloria Vanderbilt

I’m not going to lie.  It’s not going to be easy.  Not one bit.

But it’s not impossible.

Not by a long shot.

I’m talking about following your bliss…that little piece of hippy wisdom (though really the term was coined by Joseph Campbell) we often disregard and disparage.

“Follow my bliss?  Yeah…right.  I can watch it lead me right to the poorhouse!”

Probably like a lot of you, whenever someone asks me what I’d do right now – right this very minute – if money and time were no object, I tend to answer with some variation of a peaceful vacation by the sea.  Who wouldn’t love a sojourn in the sand, a mountaintop to wander, cobblestoned streets in a foreign land clacking beneath your feet?

Vacations and sabbaticals are great.  They’re essential in fact.  But following your bliss, living a contented life, is more about balance and about spending your time – all your time – on something meaningful to you.

And answering that question – what would you really like to do for the rest of your life? – is much, much more difficult to answer.

But once you get an inkling of where you think you might be headed, you’re halfway there.  And don’t worry – because I know you have bills and student loans and all the rest of it – the money will follow.

At least that’s what Sarah Ban Breathnach contends, and I’m inclined to believe her.

“John D. Rockefeller believed that the power to make money was a figt from God, which is simply another way of saying, ‘Do what you love and the money will follow,’” writes Ban Breathnach in Simple Abundance.

But, Ban Breathnach warns, the payoff might not arrive in the way you expect.

“Trust me,” extols Ban Breathnach, “doing what you love does eventually lead to the ATM.  But you might have a few detours before you get there.”

Why the detours?  Because while doing what you love may bring you financial security, it’s still not about money, “it’s about wonder,” says Ban Breathnach.  It’s about following your authentic path, taking leaps of faith knowing the right net will appear (even if it looks different than you imagined), and breaking patterns whenever you can – trying different approaches and different perspectives, until you start to see different (and better) results.

Ban Breathnach warns not to burden your bliss with expectation.  “We must not tell Spirit how the money should be delivered, when it should arrive, or in what denomination,” she writes. “This is not a ransom.”

Instead, what you’re doing is trading in your terrestrial boss for a supervisor of a more ephemeral nature – Spirit, Fate, inner strength – name it what you will, but it can lead you places you only dreamed about, and (probably) unlike the guy that currently signs your paycheck,  this superior  supervisor has only your best interest at heart.

“Essentially what happens when you begin to do what you love is that you get a new employer: Spirit,” Ban Breathnach begins, explaining that “Spirit always pays us in proportion to how hard we work.  It’s probably the first time that many of us will find ourselves being compensated fairly.”

But it’s not going to happen right away.  It takes planning, strategy and patience.

And a little help from your own Board of Directors.

Who are these folks?  I like to think of them as the trailblazers who are cutting a path before you.  These are the people you read about in a lifestyle magazine and sigh, “what a life!”  These are authors and artists who’s blogs you scan with eager, hungry eyes – “how are they doing this?!”  These are the website gurus, the prosperous freelancers, the graphic designers, the artisans and the independent business owners.  They are setting an example.  It’s up to you to follow it.

And take heart – because if they can do it, so can you.

Ban Breathnach advises “creating an imaginary council with a croup of ‘Invisible Counselors,’ composed of the people you most at admire.  At night, before you go to sleep, close your eyes and conduct success strategy sessions in which you seek the advice of your heroines.”  Why do this at night? Because crafting this imaginary council right before you drift off will leave your mind open to suggestion and more receptive to ideas.

“If your role models are alive and achieving, think of them as clearing the brush for you,” suggests Ban Breathnach. “Follow their tracks. Research everything you can about their personal journeys.”

“Someone laid down a path for you for you to follow.”

I think you can probably already guess who’s on my Board of Directors – women like Julia Cameron and Ban Breathnach and Anne Lamotte.  Lately I’ve become a big fan of Chris Guillebeau’s website, and I even pulled the trigger on two book purchases – Guillebeau’s The $100 Startup and The Four Hour Workweek.  As soon as Amazon plops them down on my doorstep, I’ll give ‘em a test drive and let you know how they’re working for me.

The year’s closing out – what did you fail to accomplish?  What still hasn’t earned a checkmark on you “to-do” list?  What are you still craving, daydreaming about, wishing and hoping for even while you secretly think there’s no way your true heart’s desire could evern come to pass?

To all that I ask – why not?  Why haven’t you achieved what you wanted?  What hasn’t worked?  What was so frustrating you just abandoned the effort?  What scares you or makes you doubt yourself or the possibilities available to you?

Nothing is impossible.  I really believe that.  But we have to be ready to receive what we want in whatever way it’s delivered.

And we have to be prepared to have our dreams come true.

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