Guest blogger and acclaimed author of “Create Your Art Career,” Rhonda Schaller shares her wisdom for getting centered and creating a vision in mid-life.
Becoming an artist in mid-life is a great choice, because you are never too old to be who you are. As with any career course change, it requires that you take charge of your inner life and your outer life to make it a successful transition.
Being centered and aligned with your resources, lining up the right amount of support, confidence, and happiness in your process and target market is key to planning a move forward and staying the course.
In my view, career sustainability starts with self. What does starting with “self” mean? It means when learning to plan your career in mid-life, visualize your life and the meaning of your career, find its value and then take a moment to stop and breathe.
Ponder your choices and your decisions from an inner sense of you. A beginning place, no matter how old you are, where you can acknowledge and begin to feel the presence of what anchors you. Away from all the busyness and craziness of “I want” to “I am.” You are a creative person, a vision maker. And to be successful in the creative world, you need to cultivate the right attitude, you must make time for silence to feed your resolve and guide your product development as well as gain a sense of where your marketing initiatives should be aimed.
This is no small feat of course. Being present is a practice. Living your dreams as if they were present is how you implement this practice. Understanding your wiring and adjusting your plans as circumstances dictate, and not losing sight of your vision or mission is a life-long goal in this practice.
You can extend what you value into the world through your authentic voice as your career model in mid-life. But you need to make the time for silence to reinforce your capacity to stay on track, happily. If you fall off the road into vagueness, or find that your ideas become blurry without purpose, you will end up drifting. In my experience, when you lose your vision, nothing feels right. A successful career where you believe you can become a shining light at the top of the mountain (so to speak) takes dedication and vision.
Sometimes you feel you are not capable of making a commitment on any level to your creativity and vision. Other times you might feel stuck in what could have been and forget what can be and what to do.
Success is like that – it pushes our buttons and at times you might find that you drift into fuzzy non-action, sometimes shades of darkness and melancholy overtake you. That is natural. And when that happens, seek out the inner silence for resilience, and the outer support to reinforce it.
Ask for help to move through those times. Surround yourself with passionate and inspiring peers to help you move forward. If you tend to surround yourself with friends who support confusion and lack of action, you will not get past those times. We can undermine ourselves and let others diminish our dreams without even noticing that we are doing that, until it happens. To ensure your long-term survival as a creative in the world, especially when starting out in mid-life, your direction and validation must start from within, but it must be reinforced from your support system.
Remember life takes time. Understand yourself: your values, interests, skills, talents. The better you understand yourself and the more honest you are about it, the better you will be able to assess the opportunities that will come your way and those you need to create for your work.
Figure out what you really want. What should your future be like? Figure out how to get there. Create a plan, set goals, network, and research, reassess your goals. Build community, build relationships. Don’t let others define you or what success means to you.
Don’t miss Rhonda Schaller’s Create Your Art Career: Practical Tools, Visualizations, and Self-Assessment Exercises for Empowerment and Success called “the ultimate self-help book for visual artists who want to create and sustain a successful career.”