Today’s guest post comes from a really inspiring friend of mine, Beth! She’s the kind of person who did exactly what you toy with in your head on a weekly basis: she quit her “everyday job” and went off and on to pursue her “dream job”. She’s my favorite person to follow on Instagram because most mornings she posts a photo of the sun rising with a beautiful quote. That alone gives me the courage to shake off the sleepies and get started on the overwhelming day that often lies ahead. Read on!
I find it interesting that my job title is User Experience Strategist. At least that is what I do to earn a living. I consider my “career”, or life’s work, to be an Artist. In my “day job” I make websites more useful. I help clients complete their visions and goals and help their customers have an easier time navigating the websites. I find the title User Experience Strategist can also help in my desire to be a full time artist – my desire to live from my creative space. After all, we all want to be a participant in a web of our own User Experience.
Recently, I was inspired by a talk with Jared Leto at the New York Times as he spoke of his multi-faceted career (link below). He spoke of all of the different things he had his hands in, from running media companies, to creating, directing and producing videos/films, making art, acting, making music, and finally, touring with his band, 30 Seconds to Mars. The list seems to go on. He is a true renaissance man for sure. But more than that, and the most inspiring piece of the interview for me was his openness about his doubts. When he questioned himself – where he thought he was and where he wanted to be, if his audience would get his direction, his creations, etc., he said (paraphrasing here), that in his times of doubt he did what he knew he could do. He sat back down, amongst the crazy thinking, and created.
There is power in going back to your golden thread of what you are here to do.
For Leto, it is making music or art. It is the core of what brings his other enterprises to the surface. For me it is making art and all of the process, seeking and discovery that goes into it. It is just a part of who I am. I recently returned from a month long trip to California and I have a deep desire to return. I fell in love with Malibu. I live on the beach here in south Florida and it has been my teacher so it is no surprise that I was pulled into the ferocious beauty of the Pacific Ocean. Since I left my job almost two years ago to do my own thing and consult, I have reconnected with a personal freedom that has been a huge source of energy. That energy comes in waves of good and overwhelming doubt. So I sit and do the work. Sometimes it is this blog, sometimes it is fixing my website, but mostly it is my art. It centers me. Makes me find my still point. And it gives me a sense of forward momentum. When I think I don’t deserve Malibu, or success in my art or the other myriad thoughts of doubt and incompleteness, I sit and do the work. And sometimes that is enough.
I wanted to share these thoughts and his video as I am battling my desire to head to Malibu (living in the future) and learn what s/he has to teach me there and my need to be fully present.
Each day brings a new layer of finding the dynamic between wanting to claw your way to “success” and living fully present in the now and being open to what is next – actively surrendering. Somewhere in between there is the calmness in doing the work.
One more thing to note about learning who I am. My friend says I should be more Sasha Fierce and I think I am more Lou Reed with a sprinkling of Ziggy Stardust. So maybe Sasha will show her way but I like the edge lyrics of Reed and the ironic flash of Ziggy. I am a Jersey girl, after all.
Video of Jared Leto and Times Talk –> Click Here
Beth Ortman is a visual artist that has a curiosity for the all things creative. Her writing focuses on the creative process and spirit. She is currently working on her first book of iPhone photography, Zen and the Art of the Sunrise. She currently lives on the beach in South Florida and is inspired by nature and travel. See her artwork and read more about the artists’ process on her website, www.bethortman.com.