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The Transformative power of being Authentic


AI Generated image of a retro-future artist in the style of Da Vinci

"Things change when we start exposing our own excuses, denials, and justifications... Creativity cannot be cultivated from falseness"

 

The power of being authentic should never be underestimated. As a creative professional, you are no stranger to the inner struggles that come with pursuing your passion. The path of an artist is often filled with obstacles, both external and internal, that can hinder your progress and stifle your creativity. But perhaps one of the most significant barriers to genuine artistic expression is a lack of honesty – with yourself and with the world around you.

 

The quote above from my book Artrepreneur: A Field Guide for Creative Professionals is something I stand and live by. The importance of authenticity in creative pursuits, and the need to confront the ways in which we may be holding ourselves back, need to be emphasised.

 

One of the most common ways that creative professionals sabotage their own progress is through excuses. It's easy to blame external factors for our lack of productivity or success – a busy schedule, a lack of resources, or unsupportive loved ones. But the truth is, these excuses often mask deeper fears and insecurities that we may be hesitant to confront.

 

For example, a writer who constantly puts off working on their novel may tell themselves that they don't have enough time or that they need to do more research before they can start writing. But beneath these surface-level justifications may lie a fear of failure, a worry that their work won't be good enough, or a reluctance to put themselves out there and face potential criticism.

 

Similarly, an artist who refuses to show their work to others may convince themselves that their art isn't ready yet, that they need to perfect their technique before they can share it with the world. But this denial of their own abilities may stem from a deeper insecurity, a fear of rejection, or a lack of confidence in their own creative voice.

 

To truly thrive as a creative professional, it's essential to recognise and confront these excuses, denials, and justifications honestly. This process of self-reflection and honesty can be uncomfortable, even painful at times. It requires a willingness to look at ourselves and our work with a critical eye, to acknowledge our weaknesses and fears, and to take responsibility for our own creative journey.


AI generated image of a woman looking into a mirror

 

The rewards of this kind of honesty are immeasurable. When we stop hiding behind false pretences and start embracing our authentic selves, we open up a world of creative possibilities. We allow ourselves to take risks, to experiment with new ideas and techniques, and to push past our own self-imposed limitations.

 

Moreover, honesty in creative pursuits is not just about confronting our own inner demons. It's also about being authentic in the way we present ourselves and our work to the world. In a culture that often values artifice and self-promotion over genuine expression, it can be tempting to curate a false image of ourselves as artists, to present a polished and perfected version of our work that may not reflect our true selves.

 

That's why I try and remind us in my book, "Creativity cannot be cultivated from falseness." When we try to create from a place of inauthenticity, our work suffers. It lacks the depth, the vulnerability, and the raw emotion that makes art truly powerful and transformative.

 

True creativity requires a willingness to be vulnerable, to share our innermost thoughts and feelings with the world, even when it's scary or uncomfortable. It means being honest about our struggles and our triumphs, our doubts and our dreams. It means letting go of the need to be perfect or to please others, and instead focusing on creating work that is true to ourselves and our unique vision.

 

Of course, this kind of honesty is not always easy, especially in a world that can be harsh and unforgiving to those who dare to be different. Creative professionals often face rejection, criticism, and misunderstanding from those who don't appreciate or understand their work. It can be tempting to retreat into the safety of our own inner worlds, to avoid the challenges and disappointments of the outer world altogether.

 

There is also a cost to not pursuing our creativity honestly and authentically. Whether it's the economic cost of not being able to make a living from our art, or the personal cost of feeling unfulfilled and disconnected from our true purpose, the price of inauthenticity is high.

 

AI Generated image of a female artrepreneur in the style of Gustav Klimt

That's why it's so important for creative professionals to find ways to stay connected to their inner selves, even in the face of external challenges. One way to do this is by cultivating a practice of self-reflection and awareness, whether through journaling, meditation, or simply taking time each day to check in with ourselves and our creative process.

 

By noticing our own thoughts, feelings, and behaviours, we can start to identify the patterns and habits that may be holding us back. We can begin to recognise the excuses and justifications we use to avoid taking creative risks, and find ways to challenge and overcome them.

 

Another way to stay connected to our authentic creative selves is by surrounding ourselves with supportive and honest people who believe in our work and our vision. This might mean seeking out mentors or collaborators who can offer guidance and feedback, or simply building a community of fellow creatives who understand the challenges and joys of the artistic life.

 

Embracing honesty in creative pursuits is about more than just improving our work or achieving success in the outer world. It's about living a life that is true to ourselves and our deepest values. A life that allows us to express our unique gifts and passions in a way that feels meaningful and fulfilling.

 

As we navigate the dual worlds of being a creative professional – the rich inner world of imagination and the harsh outer world of reality – honesty and authenticity are the keys to finding balance and thriving in both realms.


Confronting your own excuses and denials. Embracing vulnerability and self-awareness. Stay true to your creative vision.


Then, we can cultivate a life and a body of work that is truly our own.


Delve even deeper. My book is available in paperback or Kindle on Amazon.


A cover image of Artrepreneur: A Field Guide for Creative Professionals

 

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