Ever feel trapped in your own world?
The end of a calendar year, like the approach to a big birthday, often prompts a reflective period.
What were you doing this time last year, or this time in your previous decade?
What have you done since that time?
What’s different from what you would have anticipated?
Has anything happened that’s changed your perspective on life or aims?
As much as you might have carved out a career or life of your choosing, you as a human being continue to evolve. This thought brings to mind the saying, “change is the only constant.”
What then happens if you have a following of people who know you for something, yet you feel ready to move on and evolve?
While you might feel that there’s a box around you that defines who you are, it’s possible to free yourself and change direction. The challenge is often social: your actions have created an understanding of YOU in the minds of others. To change this requires YOU taking action, just like what you initially did to create others’ current understanding of your interests and passions.
This reminds me how it felt to move from Arkansas in the Southern USA to London, England, at the age of 22. Whereas I’d had a busy social life back home and everyone in my circuit had an understanding of the individual named ‘Susan’, suddenly I felt free to grow without limitations of how others viewed me. No one had preconceived notions of who I was, and therefore it was a fresh start.
What then to do when you’ve been focusing on a specific subject or profession, you’re ready to expand your wings and you’re not upping sticks in a reinvention of self?
Clarify the change to yourself first, and then invite others on the adventure with you. It’s advisable to firstly get your inner circle – ideally a supportive bunch who believes in you and challenges you to be the amazing person you have within you, to get behind the shift. This also helps to practice talking about changes and to learn what questions and concerns will commonly be presented, so that you’ll be better able to respond.
Consider this: I’ve known plenty of artists and curators who have been developing their creative hobby for many years who have become ready to start working on it as a serious career, yet have been petrified to confess their creative direction to corporate colleagues. It’s a perfectly understandable concern as it will change how others perceive you. Yet the reality is that work colleagues are typically wonderful supporters, and not even that, early clients.
This is akin to the artist who had been a massage therapist. As she started to professionally pursue her career as a painter, she presented acrylics on canvas in the treatment room and turned existing bodywork clients into art collectors. Why? They believed in HER, the person, who could grow beyond their original conception of her as being purely a massage therapist.
How do you feel boxed into your identity, and how do you want that to expand beyond the current boundaries? It’s worthwhile to be proactive and reflect upon this – no matter your stage of life and career, and make a plan of action to set yourself free.