Why it often takes half a lifetime before people change
Many of my clients have just left their job situation or previous career, or are planning to leave it soon. They dedicated most of their working life to corporate jobs and careers they chose a long time ago. Choices due to either parental expectations, or, mainly, financial security.
Most of them left their inner creative spirit behind in childhood and adolescence. Or when their job required them to step up into management and stuff got busy.
The happy child who was always drawing, the teenager who wrote deep poetry, the kid who loved spending hours making and crafting things. It’s only years later, when they can no longer ignore their inner voice and yearning, that they feel ready to face what has always been waiting inside them. And that can be scary.
In nearly all families, parents want what is ‘best’ for us, and pass on the doom and gloom message that “you can’t earn any money with that”. And that’s the end of the happy, artistic child and her dreams to turn the world into a place full of glitter.
They choose ‘safe’ over something that is truly in alignment with their true self. And what do we know at that age? Our parents’ messages and advice, in most cases, come from a place of loving fear. Loving, because they want to protect their children from pain and misery. They mean well, but it is the result of many generations of scarcity. The idea that their creative child will end up in poverty, is something they want to prevent at all cost.
Parents want what is best for us, and ‘best’, unfortunately, in their eyes, is mostly linked to financial success, not joy. It is a common story, and whether my clients grew up in the US or in Italy, it is also a universal story.
So they choose ‘what’s best for them’, finish a degree in law, business administration or nursing, and start their careers. They don’t really think too much anymore about their previous joy and passions, and any creative activity now gets shelved, moves into the background, or, in the best case scenario, is continued as a hobby. Work takes over. Long hours. Stressful times. Perhaps they receive a promotion to keep them going and give them a feeling of being successful. Making mum and dad so proud.
But as the years go by, and often after entering parenthood, the feeling that something doesn’t feel right, creeps in. What have they been doing all those years, chasing a career that gave them money….but very little joy?
What was it all for?
Where’s the glitter?
Things start to shift in them. Some end up in a burn-out. Some go through other crises. Call it a midlife crisis, perhaps, but it brings up some pretty profound questions about their true values and what is important to them. “Who are they, deep down, and what do they really want out of life?”
In modern-day society, we step onto the crazy rapid hamster wheel as soon as we enter school age 4. Work, assignments, projects, after-school activities to be ferried to, tests to do, exams to pass, diplomas to get. Peer pressure. Parental expectations.
We race around like maniacs, without ever getting the time to learn about the true meaning of life, and honouring who we are deep down. We often don’t get to know ourselves properly until we’re hitting the midlife crisis. Nobody takes the time to let children figure stuff out.
Most children are naturally creative, and drawn to working with their hands, but instead maths, physics and languages are regarded as the most important subjects in the curriculum. Art often gets stuffed into the week as a frivolous afterthought and a tick in the teacher’s box. They get the pupils to copy some Pinterest example and stick a couple of googly eyes on a toilet roll. Job done. Back to the maths.
The inner creative will never leave you; go and give her some love
But no matter how hard you try to ignore your creative, wacky ideas in adulthood (because you have a serious job and a reputation to keep up, right!), it’s like a weed, it will pop up in your life. because it is who you are, and what you always were here to do. This deep yearning will especially knock at your door at times when you feel down and miserable about your current situation. That is when ideas sprout.
“I’d love to run a tea room one day,” you suddenly think. Or, “I’d love to run creative retreats in a beautiful sunny place.” A seed gets planted.
And the more you think about it, the bigger it gets. Some people keep ignoring the inner voice, and save their plans until retirement. Others, who are braver, take the bull by the horns and decide to go for it.
When do they feel ready to become a creative business owner? Usually after coming out of a burnout. Or when they lose their job. Or become a mother. Or move abroad. Life changing experiences that turn them upside down, shift their reality, and offer opportunities for radical change.
This happened to me too; I opened my own vintage design store 8 months after becoming a first-time mum, 10 years ago. Everything was so different already for me with a baby, plus I had no job to go back to, that I felt less scared to take the leap.
But ready, well, no, nobody ever feels 100% ready. But when the excitement is bigger than the fear, that is when the magic happens. You’ve got to really, really want it. That doesn’t mean those brave souls then live happily ever after, though. Because, as we all know, the choice to go into entrepreneurship comes with a lot of challenges.
Running your own business is not easy (but – Oh – the freedom!), and in that respect our parents were right: the road to financial success as a creative business owner can be a little bumpy at first. But the most powerful thing about taking this road, is the incredible personal development that comes with it. And for that alone, it is worth it.
It is like taking off the veil, opening your eyes to your own truth, and getting full permission to finally be 100% yourself. The playful, creative child inside of you finally gets heard. No more expectations of others, it is now you who calls the shots, and you can be as creative or as wacky as you like, building your emporium.
I am ready when you are
As a creative business coach, I get former professors calling me who want to start creative retreats. Ex medical practitioners who dream of writing funny self-help books and running workshops. Former teachers who retrained as a life coach. Lawyers in the process of launching an quirky event business (see case study!).
Clients call me with heads bursting full of ideas, and an eagerness to finally move forward and transform their lives, and that of others.
I help them clear the chaos in their heads and focus on the first important steps; fine-tune their niche, define their audience, and formulate their message. Often times mindset is a big part of the work we do together, to overcome those pesky self-limiting beliefs (thanks, parents!!), and step into our new creative entrepreneur shoes with full confidence and focus.
Whether you have a clear idea already about what you want to do, or you’ve been running your business for a while already, or you feel stuck between a number of different possibilities; as a creative business coach, I help you find clarity and confidence.
Having that outsider’s pair of eyes on your situation can support you in finally becoming who you want to be, and doing the work you were always meant to do. You don’t have to be 100% ready, but you will feel a lot more ready and confident after working with me.
You have everything inside you already, so let’s bring it to the surface. You are awesome.
Book a free 30-minute call if you are ready to transform your life, and build your creative business with me. We’ll have an informal, no obligation chat to see if we are a good fit.