Monday Motion: Where You've Been

November 25, 2013

Last week I was lucky enough to be in rehearsal for at least four hours of every day. It was awesome.

It was especially awesome because I got to be in my problem-solving element. Anyone who has either 1) made a performance or 2) planned an event know that the week before said event will inevitably be filled with a good handful of obstacles: things you forgot about, technical challenges, unexpected outcomes. I love this about tech week, and I loved this about the entire Blueprint Project process: it was a good puzzle.

(I don't actually like real-life puzzles with cardboard pieces, but I love a good project puzzle.)

Now, I was thinking this week about how tempting a total career change sometimes seems to me. Sometimes I think: maybe I should study graphic design. Or business. Or maybe I should become a teacher. These fields feel so certain and defined when it comes to building a career. Creative careers are more ambiguous. They are tough to talk about. Take the word 'CONSULTANT'. What the h*ll does that even mean? Or, 'movement artist'-- many people at last weekend's performance complimented me on the movement, but my approach to most performance projects, as Candy or anyone else who has worked with me knows, works far outside the realm of movement.

It's tricky: what do I call myself? A dot-connector? A puzzle solver? A guide towards solving creative dilemmas? A business coach?

I've been thinking about this a lot, because my primary interest is in helping creative folks talk about/share What They Do, and I believe that the key to this is in getting clear about Who You Are, and Where You've Been. And for me, past experiences like the Blueprint Project really help me clearly see what I'm good at, and where I'm going next.

And sometimes past experiences help us see where we DON'T want to go next, or where the gaps in our abilities are. Invaluable, all the same. I think of these experiences like passport stamps, if I'm going to stick with the whole mapping metaphor. Sometimes talking how your past experiences inform your career is harder than, say, talking about how your graduate degree informs your career. But I insist that the real-life experiences are just as valuable: they allow you to get a clear read on your skills, your interests, or even WHY you do what you do. Good stuff.
What past experiences inform your business or creative endeavor? What takeaways from these experiences can you use in your long-term plans?

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