How are we all? I hope you’re well.
This week I wanted to answer a question that Tracy Frowde asked me. It was, what if I don’t know who my true self is? I thought it was a great question, so I’ve answered it here for you.
Feeling lost
There were many times in my life where I didn’t feel aligned. I remember being in my twenties and just feeling so lost and not knowing what I wanted to do. I always felt like there was something I should be doing but never knew what it was. I just knew I wanted to help people.
Going back to when I was feeling very lost in my twenties, and even in my thirties, I was taking all these different courses, flipping from one thing to another, doing various jobs, I couldn’t hold anything down. I was searching for something I loved, and at the time, I had no clue. Looking back, I was desperately searching for answers.
With having ADHD and dyslexia, I struggled with lots of things and finding things I was confident in and felt good doing. I’ve learnt when you make many decisions, they are either from your head or heart.
What do I want to do? 
I wasn’t listening to what I wanted to do. I was comparing myself to others and thinking about what I should be doing. Every time I made these choices, I was still unhappy and searching for the next thing as it wasn’t lighting my passion. I was still following my head.
What I realised was, I wasn’t asking myself, ‘what should I be doing?’ It was when I started asking this, and I found out about my ADHD and dyslexia, where I had a pivotal moment. I started listening to my heart (most of the time). It was here where it clicked into place, and my eyes started opening up to the creative world.

What I realised was, I wasn’t asking myself, ‘what should I be doing?’ It was when I started asking this, and I found out about my ADHD and dyslexia, where I had a pivotal moment. I started listening to my heart (most of the time). It was here where it clicked into place, and my eyes started opening up to the creative world.

What I realised was, I wasn’t asking myself, ‘what should I be doing?’ It was when I started asking this, and I found out about my ADHD and dyslexia, where I had a pivotal moment. I started listening to my heart (most of the time). It was here where it clicked into place, and my eyes started opening up to the creative world.

I needed to be in a creative environment and to be creative. It suddenly dawned on me that I’d suppressed this. So, I started doing art courses and I actively started being more creative. Once I turned 30, I took my sabbatical from work and did my fine art degree. I loved every aspect of it!
Making art!

When I started making art, I made it every day for six years, selling bits of it. It was amazing. I’d started to feel like I’d found my passion. However, when I graduated, I still didn’t know what to do. I remember people saying to me, do you regret doing your art degree? From this point, there has been one quote that has always stuck, and I still use it now when I need it. It was from Jeff Walker’s wife. In her book, she said, “when people lost their way, it’s because they’ve lost their why.”

Even now, when I don’t feel aligned, when I don’t feel like I’m going on the right path, not feeling happy, I always turn back to this quote. Follow your heart, and not your head. Search for why you get out of bed in the morning. Why are you doing this? What matters to me? These questions will help you find your why.
Reflection 
If you struggle with answering these questions, reflect. Reflect on what you’ve enjoyed doing in the past and what you love. Combine this with what’s important to you at that moment and who is important. You can try closing your eyes and imagining yourself in five years living your dream life. Block the noise out and dream.
After finishing my degree, and after having my children, I found myself thinking, I don’t know who I am anymore. I’d given everything to being a mum, and I’d lost me. What I did was, I went back through all these exercises. What do I love doing? What makes me happy? What do I want my life to look like? I knew I wanted to be around for the children, and I wanted to surround myself with creative people.

I had no clue all of this would lead to United ArtSpace.

I silenced all the doubt, all the negative questions and thoughts that surround me and created a little board. Freedom was the keyword. That is where I started. It was a great starting point and any negative thoughts that crept in, I just silenced them away, and that is how I got United ArtSpace off the ground all those years ago. I still have to pinch myself now.
Being an artist
The same goes for art. You may not have a clue who you are as an artist. You might not know what art to create. Just remember, it all comes down to your why. It’s the same process as I just listed out when making your decisions:

 

  • Why do you pick your materials up in the first place?
  • Why do you like making art?
  • What does art mean to you?
  • What art did you enjoy creating in the past?
  • What kind of artwork are you making?
I would recommend creating a vision board with all your favourite art things on; colours that you like, patterns, textures, styles, other artists you love. Build it all together, and that will be your why. You can then return to these boards when you need some inspiration, a pick me up or reminding. Get back in touch with your creative side, and you will connect with who you are.

Steve Jobs once quoted “so all the things that I’ve done and all the crazy things that I did and all the courses that I took have somehow amounted to the person that I am today”. This is so true. Trust in the dots, listen to your heart, and the dots will eventually add up.

Don’t worry if you think you’ve got it wrong at times. It’s a skill to learn how to know when it’s your head and your heart talking, but you can grow with that skill. Once you’ve got it, it will never go away. When you do get those waves of excitement about something, feel that passion, let it go and grow with it!
A note from my little boy
I just want to leave it here with this, from my little boy. He started karate last week. He’s only 5, so obviously he was scared. I could see him on the mat paralysed by fear.

Five minutes in, he started slowly getting up and 10 minutes in he was smiling, kicking and loving it.

Afterwards he told me he had two people in his head. One was a superhero and there other one was a villain. The villain was holding the power, telling him not to get up as he would look silly. As soon as he listened to the superhero, who was telling him to get up and do it. Be brave. He told me he loved it.
I was proud he could articulate this at such a young age and it’s not too dissimilar from the mind of an adult. We all have these thoughts. We believe it’s just children that are scared, or who should be scared. Grown-ups feel fear as well. They feel it every day. The villain never goes away, we just learn how to give the superhero more power, so the villain is silenced.

Much love,

Michelle x

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