Recently my friend Leah Shoemaker shared a video of herself playing piano and singing an original song she wrote. It was so good! I wrote her an email to tell her so, and to just catch up.
Her reply astounded me though. She thanked me, but then said, “For the most part, I hide singing.”
Then she told me this story from her childhood:
When I was 8, I have this memory of being the lead in our 3rd grade Christmas play (I was Santa.) I was obsessed with being a “singer.” I have a tape full of songs I wrote and sang when I was 6 and 7. They are all love songs, some to my teddy bear.
My music teacher brought me in front of the class to practice singing my solo, I was so excited.
When I was done, the teacher said, “Maybe we will all sing it together.”
It could have been for all sorts of reasons, but I acknowledged it as “Leah should not sing in front of others.” That was literally a changing point in my life where I felt I wasn’t good enough to share my singing.
I have rarely shared my musical side with anyone since. It’s pretty wild how social expectations can stop people from simply doing things they love.
This story just blew me away for two reasons. The first was how familiar it was. So many writers and artists I speak with have a challenging time giving themselves permission to create. The other reason I was so taken aback is because Leah is such a wildly creative person.
This is Leah, hooping with a hoop that is literally on fire:
You can watch the full video here, it is just incredible.
Creating is complicated. Sharing is complicated. Not just for reasons of craft, but for deeply human reasons.
For the past three years, I have been running these little groups that I call the Creative Shift Mastermind. The goal is to take a leap forward to get unstuck and ensure that your creative work — your writing and art — has an impact on the world. To share your singing. Your stories. Your art.
What I have found is that there are four essential ingredients to making a creative shift in your life:
- Get radical clarity on what you create and why.
- Develop strong creative practices.
- Understand how your work can change someone’s world — that it truly connects authentically with those who will love it.
- Create a support system to ensure you stay accountable and on track.
The other day, someone said to me, “You dress like you are on vacation.” This is what I was wearing:
I kept thinking about that comment. I work for myself, so I dress how I’m comfortable. Why wouldn’t I?
But I suppose many people don’t have that freedom. Instead, they dress for the expectation of others.
My days are spent with writers and artists, helping them make more room for their creative vision, and have more freedom to be who they want to be, regardless of the expectations of others. This is not some great act of rebellion. It is about the ability to choose your own path. To make space for creative work. To have your voice heard.
What is one action you can take this week to ensure your creative voice is heard?
P.S.: Could you do me a favor? If you know someone who may benefit from my Creative Shift Mastermind, can you share it with them? It begins July 1st. Thank you, that would mean a lot to me: http://wegrowmedia.com/mm/