One year and over 50 clients later, my first year as a creative coach has taught me so much about what it really means to make things happen in our lives and our work along the way.
I’ve seen my clients quit their day jobs, launch booked out services, create podcasts that cultivate raving fans, build websites that make people pay attention, and create content that resonates with the people they’re aching to connect with. But so much more than that, I’ve seen them overcome the fears and mindsets that have been holding them back for years, and truly take ownership of their gifts, strengths, and creativity along the way.
For me, making things happen is about cultivating a creative livelihood that is impactful, fulfilling, and sustainable along the way, and it’s been a pleasure and a privilege to work alongside purpose-driven creatives this past year to help them do exactly that.
Today I want to share with you seven of the biggest lessons I’ve learned this year about making things happen, from both my own journey and my clients too.
1. It all starts with a choice
The choice to show up. To choose more. To push ourselves. To know that we are capable of building the life that we truly want to be living.
The choice to embrace a path that is challenging and scary almost every step of the way, and a path that has no guaranteed outcome and instead relies on our ability to really make things happen for ourselves.
It’s a choice we have to make every single day over and over again, as this path tests and challenges us in ways we may not have even been prepared for. It’s a choice that we must remember the “why” behind if we’re able to keep moving forward even when it’s tough along the way.
2. Discipline and commitment are the foundations for doing the work and doing it well
Making things happen is the work we do when no-one is looking. It’s the quiet, disciplined, purposeful commitment to doing what it takes to build something that is impactful, fulfilling, and sustainable along the way. Sometimes it’s work we love, other times it’s more tedious tasks too.
It’s about choosing to use the time we have available to us to do what is most productive and purposeful for our business and our life. It’s about knowing that we can’t ask anything of our creativity and life if we’re not willing to do the work that it takes to make it happen.
Nothing will help you move forward in the messy middle of making things happen better than discipline and commitment to your craft, your work, and your creativity.
3. Our creative journey comes in seasons
I've found that our creative and business journey comes in seasons: hustle, struggle, and rest.
Hustle is when we’re doing the work and moving forward - it’s the season when we’re creatively energised and really engaged with our brand, our work, and the process along the way. Struggle is when something outside of our control is making it hard for us to move forward, or when our business isn’t growing in the way we hoped. Struggle is negative energy; we either feel like we’re stuck or moving backwards. Struggle is when it feels like an uphill battle with no end in sight. And seasons of rest are when we choose to slow down and refill the tank, and these usually follow a season of hustle or struggle when we’ve built a buffer of space for rest, or we’re burnt out and in need of some recovery time.
We have to be okay with these seasons and learn how to listen to our energy and our business so we know what season is best to currently embrace, and then build something that is sustainable, fulfilling, and impactful so seasons of struggle are far and few between.
4. There is no such thing as going backwards
Almost every client I’ve worked with has this fear; the fear of going backwards. But what I’ve found is that making things happen isn’t always a straight and clear path along the way.
Sometimes the fear of going backwards holds us back from making the most purposeful decisions along the way. For example, one of my awesome clients recently quit the freelance gigs that were leaving her uninspired and creatively drained so she could take on a part time job she would actually enjoy so she could then channel all of her creative energy into the creative business she actually wants to build.
On the outside, going from being self-employed to taking on a part time job may feel like going backwards, but for her this was the most purposeful use of her time and energy moving forwards. Being able to see that has allowed her to move forward in a way that will truly enable her to build a business that is impactful, fulfilling, and sustainable, and it was a strong reminder for both of us that there really is no such thing as going backwards when we’re making purposeful and intentional decisions along the way.
It's a journey. We're always moving forward, even when we have to take a detour. We will always be able to make the most out of the time we have available to us when we're moving forward in the most intentional and purposeful way.
5. The best thing we can do for our creativity is block out the noise
Something I’ve seen so many of my clients struggle with this past year is being stuck in a place where their creativity and best ideas have been stifled by all the noise in their industry online.
They’ve been crippled by all the “shoulds” and “how-to’s” that they haven’t made space to develop the confidence and trust in their own ideas and decisions moving forward.
My biggest advice is to block out the noise: choose 1-3 thought leaders in your industry that really speak to you and your values and help move you forward in your work, and then ignore the rest. Consume outside of your industry - and even better, consume outside of the internet.
You have incredible ideas inside of you. Your creativity already knows what to do, and even though there is advice and strategy out there that will be able to serve you, what you need most is to truly make space for your best ideas to come to life.
6. Never underestimate confidence and clarity
The two main things that I see holding my clients back are lack of clarity around their brand and lack of confidence in their ability to make things happen.
The secret is this: clarity and confidence are developed best when you do the work. This is why I always encourage my content coaching clients to create while they’re digging into the purpose and intentions of their content, because creativity cannot be nurtured without also flexing the muscle while we're spending time with the bigger picture.
Know your why. Know your purpose. Know who you’re here to serve. But don’t be afraid if you don’t have a grasp of everything straight away. So much of the work I do with my clients is helping them to put their brand at their core - for them to just intuitively know what their message is, what their purpose is, and how it is they serve people best. This then leads to the confidence to show up with their clients and do their best work, to create content that truly resonates and connects, and to evolve and grow their business in the most impactful, fulfilling, and sustainable way.
Clarity and confidence take time; they are muscles that need to be nurtured every single day.
7. Making things happen is ultimately about choosing to always be moving forward, even when we’re afraid
It’s always, always, going to be about showing up and doing the work. Making things happen will always be about being brave and giving ourselves permission to choose and fight for more.
This journey is a mountain that we climb over and over again. And the more we do it, the more we build up our stamina to keep on going. And sometimes we may feel broken and beaten from the journey and need some rest, and other times we may have to change paths from the one we originally set out on; the trick is just to keep on moving forward. To keep on fuelling ourselves and our creativity, to keep on being brave even when we’re afraid, and to keep on making smart, intuitive, and purposeful decisions along the way.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned this year? There is no one-sized-fits-all strategy out there to help you make things happen. There are tools you can develop, skills you can hone, and growth you can embrace, but ultimately it’s about truly understanding your vision, your values, and your brand, and moving forward and paying attention every step of the way.
And most of all? Enjoy it. Because there’s something pretty damn special about making things happen on your own terms, in your own way, and by your own rules.
I’m rooting for you!
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