5 Simple Steps to Owning My Career – Step 2: Who Am I?

ok, second attempt at this one, I’ve thought about it and I think I’ve got a better way forward. This is probably the trickiest of all the posts. mind you, I don’t know about the others until i try them.

When I have a challenge or a goal I throw myself in wholeheartedly. When I have a problem, or a crisis, if I am depressed or upset I will bury myself in work. I have always been a workaholic. now that I am physically not able to be a workaholic anymore, I often feel at a loss.. like that part of me is gone. but it isn’t – it just needs to find a new focus and that’s what it is all about.

I think I often set myself arbitrary goals and then push myself too hard into them. In the past this has led to depression and burning out. these days it can lead to so much more. I think I need to plan ahead and realize that baby steps are ok. I think if I push myself too hard these days I could jeopardize my career. probably more than baby steps could. I think realizing this is the most important stage. I always seem to overdo things. passion is all very well but it’s no good to me if I can’t do what I am passionate about. so I should work at taking it slow and work at not working so hard! whew!

Anyway, I am a person who believes strongly in symbols and metaphors. I often put things in my mind straight by using metaphors. I tend to draw strength from them and find ways to continue. When I was bodybuilding I gained inner strength with my muscles as focus. when I am troubled by my myriad body issues I doll myself up and wear my sexiest dresses and gain strength from feeling sexy (and getting.. positive feedback ;)). when I had to have confidence and be a strong corporate woman I wore expensive suits and gained confidence from the power and respect I gained. I realize most of these are superficial and a we bit shallow but I have always drawn on external sources for my strength. Now, as I am struggling through my disability and career change I realize quite how superficial all of these things are. how much I don’t know how to draw confidence from myself.

Art is a very difficult thing to create and a very difficult career to break into. It’s a highly subjective area where the artist needs to be as tough as stone. have cojones of steel. I need to build my confidence and my ego so that I can take the slings and arrows and keep on. I have to believe in myself and my work through everything. (which, for those of you playing the home game, is why I am doing all this- I got my first negative comment the other day and it almost broke me) I realize not everyone is going to like my work and the more success I gain the more nay sayers there will be.

So. how do I gain confidence and belief in myself? I think I have to work from the external to the internal. baby steps again. I realize that seems to be defeating the idea of building real confidence rather than superficial confidence, but let me explain. I think there isn’t anything wrong with assuming the qualities of a confident person on the outside if it helps me gain it on the inside. I need to gain confidence fast and I need to communicate that strength and confidence now. It will help me with galleries and sales if I exude confidence in myself and my works. I need to be comfortable with myself. I do believe in my work. I just need to believe in myself.

I am going to do something new with my external confidence boosters. Something deep and permanent. All of my previous confidence boosters have been temporary, even my musculature and physical strength is impermanent (as I have learned very well). I do intend to get some new clothes, to dress the way I like to, rather than dressing like my mother. plus I need a new wardrobe to fit all the weight I’ve lost! but I want something stronger than that. something that will stand the test of time and allow me to draw strength from it. something that is deeply a part of me. and something I’ve always wanted. I’m talking of course of a tattoo.

I have always wanted a tattoo. but the time never seemed right. I love the symbolism of wearing a work of art on my skin all the time. I love the idea of having a symbol of power and courage as part of me that I can always draw strength from. This isn’t an original idea, many people decorate their skins with reminders, or symbols for their abilities or the ones they want to gain. I have always wanted a dragon on my shoulder blade. I think the dragon would be the ideal symbol of strength and courage for me, lithe, sensual and strong. It will be the perfect symbol of my shedding my old life and entering my new one, of accepting the way things are and making my way forward into my new one. I feel that having a permanent reminder of this inner strength will allow me to start feeling it in myself and finally gain real confidence. I need to become the dragon.

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