Wake Up

I’m working on an oil painting.
A portrait of a client.
I’m creating it from a photo.
One shot casually and… stealthily.
As I paint, I naturally refer to that image.
A source of inspiration that no one has ever seen.
Nor will ever see.
And yet, I find myself curiously constrained by it.
As if someone is watching me and judging my creation.
I used to feel a similar, dream-like self-consciousness.
Early on in my professional speaking career.
I felt the need to be… perfect.
As if everyone in the audience held a copy of my speech.
And would be assessing my performance.
Thankfully, it finally dawned on me.
There is no script!
I woke up to the fact that no one has a clue what I am going to say or do.
So there is no reason to feel anxious or self-conscious.
The same goes for you and your work.
We are not here to play a role in other people’s dramas.
By staying “in character.”
Trying to gauge their expectations and assessment.
We’re here to improvise and uniquely express ourselves.
We’re here to move people.
Emotionally and intellectually.
We’re here to change things.
To bring a spark of inspiration and joy to an increasingly complacent and hostile world.
So let’s try something new (it can’t hurt).
Let’s wake up.
Let’s forget about how we appear to others.
Step out of our stifling roles.
And live our truths, from the inside out.
And let’s do it with no expectations.
For as John Lennon made clear:
“When you do something noble and beautiful and nobody noticed, do not be sad.
For the sun every morning is a beautiful spectacle and yet most of the audience still sleeps.”
Have a wonderful holiday season.
And be a beautiful spectacle in 2018.

There is no passion to be found playing small—in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.
— Nelson Mandela