When this photo was taken of me, I was 38 weeks pregnant and elbow-deep in art classes while seeking my Art Education degree. My life was everything I could have dreamed of – I had a new home, a new baby on the way, and my dreams right under my fingertips. Little did I know, 8 months after this was taken, I would be denied entrance into the art program. I protested. I cried (or sobbed, really). I became angry and bitter for a few days. I screamed at the world ‘How will I ever be an artist if I can’t get into art school?!?!’ when the world, with the voice of a couple dozen friends, said ‘Um. Shai. You don’t have to have a degree to be an artist…just an art teacher.’
Oh, yeah. That.
You become an artist by practicing. So, I practice. More importantly, I’ve taken that little bit of genius and applied it to all areas of my life. I don’t have to go to culinary school to learn to cook. I don’t have to have a degree to land awesome opportunities and grow my business and blog (and, consequently, my name). I don’t have to have a piece of paper to be successful. I just have to practice! So that’s exactly what I do. I practice, build my resume, and opportunities are knocking my door down so often that I’m having to turn them down, not because they aren’t amazing, but because I’ve taken so many already that I don’t have time for anymore awesomeness in my life. What kind of an incredible problem is that to have? I am offered internships, marketing positions, ‘blogger expert’ opportunities, leadership spots with amazing eco-friendly networks/companies and peace organizations, because I practice – I do the work even without the degree – and they see my ‘portfolio’ and want me. It’s humbling, and overwhelming, but so rewarding.
And, I’ve applied this to all areas of my life. Instead of burying my head into a book, I just do – over, and over, with much trial and error. I’m becoming a better cook, a better writer, a better artist, a better business owner…because I practice, not because I took classes that gave me a piece of paper saying I could do all the things I can do anyway. I’m taking classes because, one day, I want to teach. I have to have a B.A. to, one day far away, get into grad school.
Day by day, I’m building my own path. I’m not caring what I ‘should’ be doing, or wearing, or how I ‘should’ be presenting myself. I am being 100% myself, and putting myself out there in the world. By doing so with confidence, and ambition, the world is accepting me and walking side-by-side with me to great places. For the past three years, I’ve taken on a new ‘word’ for the year. The year this photo was taken, my word was ‘strength’. I was about to be a newly single mom with two kiddos, school, and no job. Strength needed, indeed. Last year, my word was ‘courage’, because I needed the courage to step into myself and put myself ‘out there’ in a way I never had. This year I decided to try something different – something so positive, it’s almost cheesy – and claimed ‘celebration’ as my word. When I did this, I didn’t have much to celebrate. But I thought, or knew, that if I claimed this as my word I would make things to celebrate. I mean, it can’t be my word if I don’t do it. And, one by one, the reasons to celebrate have appeared right at my door.
Why? Because I made them. Because I acted. Because I made it happen. And, you can make it happen, too.
So, there’s my feel-good message of the day. Put down your ‘How to have a successful business’ book, even if just for a week, and do your business. Quit reading, studying, and waiting for people to love your resume or find your blog, and just get out there and do it.
You never know…you may surprise yourself!