This is a copy of The Letter, a newsletter I send out to anyone who subscribes. I don’t usually publish these letters on my blog but I wanted to share this one on here as well. If you’d like to sign up for these personal messy behind the scene stories and thoughtful insights I share you can click here.
Last week I got this question, ‘How does one un-influence themselves from the people they are following and really look up to?’ via DM on my Instagram and I couldn’t help but think I have been there too!
It was a profound insight and I could hear the desire to own one’s own voice buried deep somewhere down there. How do you separate between yourself, your work, your voice, your approach and the people you look up to?
In my own personal experience, I end up following and connecting with people whose approach and world view fits perfectly with mine. Their work and their voice speak to me and my soul. There was a time when I couldn’t differentiate between what was noise and what was music to my ears. With time, I have developed a stronger sense of what does and what doesn’t resonate with me. It has come with a better understanding of my own self.
The desire to be uninfluenced comes from the need to be authentic. It shows how authenticity is important to you and my guess is between you and the people who you are looking up to this value is common. The authentic you don’t want to end up mimicking them in some way but the way they show up and share their work seems so perfect and now the line seems blurry between the authentic you and where it is them and their influence shining which can lead to making you feel a little bit lost.
In my opinion, the influencers who seem to have got it all and perfect in the way they show up and take up space to inspire us enough to take action in some way no matter how big or small; be the braver version of ourselves, give ourselves permission to try, experiment, fail and learn are the right kind of people for us to follow but…
My encouragement would be to dig a little deeper.
- How do they make you feel?
- What are their values?
- How do they show up in their work and life?
- What is it about them that makes you want to follow them in the first place?
I believe and really hope the answers to these questions can lead you somewhere beautiful – a little bit more closer to the authentic you that’s asking for some space to grow and trying to come out of its shell, grow out of the skin it already is in.
My advice would be to give yourself permission to practice some healthy breaks and a little distance from the people you think are influencing your voice. This way you’ll carve out some space for your own voice, your own approach and your own unique version to come to the surface. Breaks can be short or long depending on how long you need to make yourself feel grounded in your own intuition again.
Also, It stems from the belief that we are enough. We are worthy. Worthy of taking up space, worthy of claiming our voice, worthy of sharing our stories, ideas, and approach with the world. Also by believing that every answer we seek is already within us. Nobody knows us, our lives and our creative work better than us. Yes, we do need support and sometimes even gentle hand-holding to keep moving forward (and there’s no shame in that in fact, asking for help and support is a courageous act) but that doesn’t mean someone else can do our work for us, live our life for us or own our story for us.
Whenever I’m about to work on something that’s important to me and I’m conscious about bringing my best authentic self to the table, I often take some time off the content that I otherwise love to consume. I repeat the mantra, create not consume in my head.
The story of me recovering from an identity crisis in my work
– An example of what un-influencing might look like.
The reason why I think it is important to share with you is to show you (a) you are not alone (b) this is how much effort goes into building a heart-centered business. Also to share why it is crucial to listen to your intuition when you are cultivating a wholehearted and authentic creative work and life practice.
In my previous letter, I shared what I have to offer as a service. Sharing what I had to offer was a brave act in itself that I had been resisting for a long time – almost a year now to be precise but as soon as I mustered some courage to share it I went into an identity crisis. At that time I didn’t know it was an identity crisis which now I can say looking at it in retrospect. I thought it was just a panic attack mainly because I was feeling exposed and open to criticism. The reason why I thought I wasn’t sharing what I have to offer before was the story I was telling myself that I wasn’t ready.
But it turns out something with that offer was not in alignment. Something felt a bit off. After sharing I felt a bit exposed and vulnerable which was inevitable. In that vulnerability hangover, I went back in twice and changed the price points that I was offering out of sheer panic and a desperate need to get out of that discomfort zone. Even though I am and I was introducing introductory prices. Still, it wasn’t helping me feel like not an imposter.
After sitting with the changes for a couple of days, I was still feeling something was a bit off. I couldn’t really put my finger on what. I went back again and made a variety of changes switched from one single offering to three different options. Still, after a few days, something was not quite sitting right. At this point, I had a slight idea of what that might be. Maybe the bits and pieces of my offering are not in alignment with who I am and who I want to be in the world and maybe they are mimicking someone or something else. Not exactly a person I follow but more like the proven formula of what’s going to work. Instead of focusing on what I’m good at; creativity, the creative process and the mindset, I somehow ended up making it more like what I thought would sell better. I feel strongly against the businesses that are built on this ideology, ‘learn how I build a six-figure business’ but my offering also had a tiny hint of that and it was making me feel really uncomfortable.
This was pretty hard to accept as I had been working quite hard on the back end to get clear on what I stand for, develop my signature offerings and walking the talk. I tried to move things around to see if they will start to feel right for me. I had to take some time off and rethink it all before coming back and fixing whatever was there which was making me feel uncomfortable.
I want to apologize if you visited the page in the midst of all this happening and it didn’t make any sense at all. It’s will make you feel at home now and it’s better than it was before. The message and the offering seem much more in alignment with who I am and what I stand for. It is subjected to grow and evolve with me but for now, I am going to leave it there and see how it feels. I am also not going to fit myself in any kind of a box and I’m going to give myself, my work and my offerings to grow with me. Also, accepting this and making efforts to un-influence myself is the first step. Isn’t it?
I’m calling it Creativity Coaching, ‘Our Studio Time’ for now and it is much more focused on the things that stand in the way of you being as much creative as you aspire to be; the mindset, the stories we all tell ourselves, the fears that make us feel small and the limiting self-beliefs that keep us small. This is not focused for the aspiring creative business owners only but that could also come in and I can share what I have learned until today, what’s working and what’s not working for me but that’s not my expertise and I’m not going to claim what’s not mine to claim. Also, what I’m not here to claim. I’m a designer and I’m an artist. This is my story and I can help you in claiming your creativity too. I’m ready to share how I am making to the other side.
Not all of us want to have a creative business.
Some of us just want to live our truth out loud and that’s perfectly okay too!
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