You Aren’t Your Business
In August of 2015, there was a remarkably difficult decision made to disband the theatre company I had founded and ran for 6 years. It was like losing a family member. I had poured so much blood, sweat and tears into its existence and it represented the first sizable creative project I had ever taken on. Part of what made it so painful was my deep feeling that my company was me. Not only was I so sad to lose a creative outlet that I had put so much into but I also had an overwhelming sense that the communities that had helped to build “No Rules” would view me as a failure. The latter was not true… I was not my business.
One of the most difficult roadblocks that comes up in all of this work is our personal connection to just about everything. There is a great deal of worry around the actions we take because they seem so inexplicably linked to our person. Not only are we worried about how our actions could affect our day to day lives but we’re also worried about how we are being perceived every step of the way.
The inability to dissociate who we are as people from the businesses we run hurts many aspects of the work, rendering us simply unable to do the very things that will help us. It’s maddening though it seems important to recognize why these feelings make sense.
When we do not understand being an artist means we, by default, are entrepreneurs, we do not view our efforts as objectively necessary. Our feelings and fears taint these needed actions with an air of unwanted sacrifice, unworthiness and self-pity. Although every penny you spend, every personal resource you pull from and all the time you give are all invaluable resources to build your career, you may be wary to part with them. “Will this really help me?” “Is this money well spent?” “What if I dedicate so much time and nothing pans out?”
Fears like these have the power to ruin self producing ventures, future investments in needed equipment and necessary marketing efforts before they’ve even begun. But you aren’t your business.
Creating your own creative opportunities does not mean you have failed, that you are unwanted or that you are self aggrandizing. You aren’t your business.
Growing a community does not mean you are “using people” because we know the world is based on “who you know”and…you aren’t your business.
You are allowed to market what you have to offer and be proud of it. Why? Because you aren’t your business.
You don’t have to apologize to family and friends for spending time on your work when so many others play the sit and wait game. Because you aren’t your business.
At the end of the day, this is a mindset shift and there’s no on and off switch for that. Shifts in mindsets are habitual. Give yourself room to breathe through the discomfort and create a simple mantra when you feel your personal feelings creep up. This can be enough to help separate your sense of self from your business. The more you own this notion, the freer you become to build your venture, hone your art and live your personal life without worry. It’s a gift of a feeling. Take it from a girl who knows.