Recently, Michaela Christallo, a fellow blogger and creative I have much respect for, nominated me for a blog chain challenge. The challenge, you ask? To answer the question: Why do I do what I do?
This kind of reflection is exactly the kind of dialogue I enjoy having with you on Artist Strong. It’s important for my creative practice, not to mention my personal and professional development. So really, how could I say no? Today, I’m answering that question with a story. Part of my story.
I came into the world of blogging in 2010 while I lived in Dubai. I can credit two people (who never knew me in person) as being my instigators, or my triggers: Everett Bogue and Tammy Strobel. I started reading about this thing called minimalism. The topic fascinated me, and still does, but I was equally intrigued by the ability of these people to reach out to and connect with so many people!
I became a teacher because I wanted to reach as many people as I could and support their developing interests in the arts. And while I am fortunate I’ve worked with hundreds of kids in my 9 years as an educator, I had started to feel like it wasn’t enough. I was not doing enough. I wasn’t reaching enough people. Discovering bloggers who not only shared resources, which were the products of their personal creative endeavor, they made a living from it. This idea ignited a fire inside of me I didn’t know I had.
An entrepreneur was born.
I blogged for years with only the aim to connect with creatives and spread my message. I knew people could make a living doing things like this and the more I engaged with the blogging world the more convinced I was of the internet as a teaching tool with what feels like infinite reach. No more classrooms of 25 kids. How about reaching that number multiplied by a hundred? Or one thousand?!
My other career continued to develop and grow. Being an art teacher has given me a constant stream of ideas and content for Artist Strong. Then I discovered our assistant principal was leaving. I’d earned a masters in educational leadership and had a very supportive admin team who encouraged my leadership. I applied. Again, my desire to effect change in a community drove my decision. What about my art? I’d make it work. It was all about balance.
It was a year of new challenges when I accepted the role. I learned so much from my year of being an assistant principal. SO much. I also learned my desire to help others was not sated. It wasn’t enough.
Sapped of energy from the new role and its many challenges I grew very ill.
Sometimes it takes our health to realize we don’t fit; that we are in the wrong puzzle.
In the middle of a particularly hard day at school I looked at my teammate and colleague, a person I hold in much esteem, sighed, and said, “Sometimes I wish this was taken out of my hands.” We joked a bit, and I returned to my office to navigate a difficult discipline issue. Sitting there, trying to catch my breath, my husband-to-be called. He never called me at work.
“I’ve just been offered a job transfer to Muscat.”
I’m not into the woo the way other people are… I don’t believe everything happens for a reason. But when my man told me the news I heard a voice I’d quieted inside myself speak. It said, “It’s your turn.”
On that day I decided Artist Strong was my future.
Why do I do what I do?
The arts are a vehicle for personal change. I want to help people. I want to reach as many people as I possibly can and impart knowledge, skills, and offer encouragement so that everyone can utilize the arts to better their lives.
So many factors in our lives can lead us to our whys.
I completed that school year a changed person. Not only was I stronger for each and every discipline issue I faced, the role made me take a good look at myself and what I value, and what I want. In many ways, leaving the role was taken out of my hands; there was no way I would remain for my contract and be separated from my husband for an entire year. In all honesty, I’d probably be an assistant principal today if my now husband’s job wasn’t transferred. But I am changed. No matter where we move now, I know what I’m meant to do. The country can change, but my heart has found home.
Artist Strong can help foster this change.
Thank you, my readers, for being WHY I do what I do.
Listen to this post:
Consider joining the rest of us in the land of email. Sign up here and get a free coloring book for adults that I drew based on my adventures in the Middle East.
BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: Why Do YOU Do What You Do?! It’s a great exercise in reflection for your creative practice. Give me 3 words that explain WHY you do what you do. Share them in the comments below.
Now, for my nominees. Check out their websites in the next week or two to see how they answer the question: “Why Do I Do What I Do?”
I introduce to you:
Jackie Johansen is a writer and soul seeker. She is passionate about how our stories have the capacity to create huge, positive change in ourselves and others. She writes at Finally Writing, where she combines personal development with actionable writing strategies to help you write the words that will inspire the world. If you are ready to unleash your inner writer and get writing from the inside out, head over to Finally Writing for inspiration, strategies and some freebies.
My work includes identifying creative blocks and fears, then helping clients find ways to tune into their unique “inner creative”. My 14 years of experience as a professional writer and creativity consultant, combined with my intuitive gifts and training as a Reiki Master and healer, enable me to guide clients through personal development challenges, while offering clear explanations of what’s happening and how to shift it.