Why Your Story Matters
What dreams call you in your art and life?
This summer I had a dream to speak on stage at an author event, Author Advantage LIVE, in Austin, Texas.
I was simultaneously exhilarated and terrified by the idea of sharing my message on stage in front of 400 authors.
A part of me resisted. The timing wasn’t good. I would be in Italy studying Art and Anatomy in Renaissance Italy with a group of Stanford physicians in the days leading up to the event and wouldn’t have adequate time to prepare.
Besides, it would take Herculean effort to craft a 2 minute audition speech, much less a 3 minute speech if I reached the finals. Then, there would be a 20 minute speech to prepare for the stage event with no guarantees I’d be chosen in any case.
Did I have the time? The energy?
I almost gave up.
But an insistent tugging in my heart said you must do this. No matter what. Whether you’re chosen or not, is not the point. You must do this.
And so, I did.
I ended up speaking on stage at Author Advantage LIVE (much of this due to YOU – thank you for your support, encouragement and comments on my Facebook page where I initially posted the audition video) and it was an unforgettable experience.
I’ll post the video from the stage in Austin when I receive it from the program. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Breaking Through Self Doubt
Through the years I’ve been fortunate to discover a few key things about breaking through the barriers of self doubt that hold artists, authors and creatives back.
At the very core of the essence of what guided me was one major theme: WHY YOUR STORY MATTERS.
Your story matters, because you matter
You have a unique story, a particular history, just as you have fingerprints and a retinal architecture unlike any other. You also have a unique lexicon of mark making, your own personal signature that threads through all your work.
Even as I write this I hear the Greek chorus of voices questioning the concept that you matter, that you’re good enough- indeed, that you’re more than enough.
We all experience, from time to time, the hyena of self doubt rearing up on its hind legs and howling.
Notice it, but growl back. Believe in yourself anyway.
As an artist, your story is meaningful and can help others.
This brings up the question: What dreams do you have for your art and life?
Think about this. Write it down. Document it. Speak it. Share it.
There’s power in bringing visibility to the invisible.
As an artist, you dream of being in your studio and creating paintings that astonish you…paintings that begin to get at the ineffable, the mysterious, the inarticulable aspects of your life.
You want to express your deepest feelings and experience and discover yourself in new ways.
Your art mirrors you- your dark nights of the soul, your mundane moments, your most astonishing revelations. All of these make up your life and are reflected in your expression.
This is about the unfolding mystery of YOU.
The Power of Mindset
How you think about yourself has far-reaching implications for your life. Psychology research shows us that your mindset plays a significant role in your achievements.
Mindsets frame the running account that’s taking place in people’s heads. They guide the whole interpretation process.
Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck’s groundbreaking work on mindset uncovers the differences between two types of mindset: growth and fixed and the value of cultivating a growth mindset.
With a growth mindset, you believe that you can learn, grow and evolve over time. Challenges and even failure are an opportunity to grow. Your potential is not set in stone by birth, genetics, lineage or age.
There’s a willingness to step into the unknown and try new things. You continually search and find your way as you stretch yourself and embrace new experiences.
You realize that you may not be great at first at whatever you’re tackling, but that you’ll improve with consistent effort and constructive action. This will further fuel your belief that you can learn to do whatever you set your mind to.
You believe that effort and attitude make a big difference in what you can accomplish. You’re willing to listen to constructive feedback and you’re inspired by the achievements of others.
In a fixed mindset, your inner dialogue focuses on self-judgment. It says that you’re either good or bad at something and if you fail, it reveals your limitations.
You feel criticized by feedback as if it’s a personal attack. You believe that your abilities and potential are set- they’re predetermined and there’s no way to improve them.
You’re likely to stay with what you know rather than risk trying something new. You tend to give up when you’re frustrated with not doing well.
You take this as a sign that you’re not talented or not good enough, throwing up your hands in resignation, further fueling a cycle of self doubt.
Imagine the far reaching implications of cultivating a growth mindset…
You can also access the wisdom of mindfulness and the sciences of positive psychology and cognitive psychology to understand that our thoughts are merely perceptions and that we can witness them, interpret them and ultimately change them.
As we challenge negative and self-defeating thoughts, we replace them with self reflection, curiosity and inquiry. We activate an attitude of possibility which eventually leads us from self-doubt to self-confidence.
As you strengthen your practice of self reflection, you’ll become more facile at noticing negative thoughts and challenging them before they become calcified into self-doubting beliefs.
As soon as you’re willing to recognize that you and your idols are no different from one another other than within the actions you take or the stories you believe about yourself, you’re able to break through into the unknown which is full of possibility.
For me, the possibilities came when I realized 3 key things….
Why Your Story Matters
Hey everybody! I’m Nancy Hillis- in case you don’t know me I’m the bestselling author of The Artist’s Journey. Thank you- I’m so grateful to you for being here!
I’ve got something really exciting to share with you!
I’ve been selected as a finalist to potentially speak on stage at Self Publishing School’s Author Advantage LIVE in Austin, Texas. #AALIVE
I’m so excited for this opportunity to inspire you to believe in yourself on your creative journey.
You’ve asked me how I became a successful author and artist.
Well, it started with pushing past self doubt and saying yes to my dream.
Like many of you, I have a dream of living a creatively fulfilled life.
I knew what I wanted to do but I just wasn’t sure how to do it…
And here’s what I learned…
There are 3 key things that make a huge difference…
- Belief: Believe in yourself and your dream.
- Uniqueness: You have a unique story waiting to be told.
- Meaning: Your story matters. Even if you help one person, you‘ve made a difference.
I didn’t do this alone.
Life is too short not to have mentors
I’ve stood on the shoulders of giants- and Self Publishing School is one of those- it’s been a game changer in not only teaching me HOW to write and craft my story, but most importantly WHY to share my message in the first place- and I’m so thankful.
Another giant in my life is Dante Alighieri, whose voice spoke to me across 6 centuries when I despaired of a meaningful life when I was 17.
Dante wrote about going to hell and back and I believe we all do this in our own way.
Something calls you.
You yearn for something…an experience of feeling alive. And yet, you hesitate. You turn your face away.
But your dreams simply won’t let go. And so one day you finally say yes…and you’re immediately plunged into perils as you face the unknown.
Like Dante, you realize that your deepest work lives at the edge of your struggle
This is the moment pregnant with possibility.
The journey of saying yes to your dreams is the work of my life and my book. My passion is to guide you to believe in yourself so you can express your deepest art and live your most meaningful life.
And so I ask you,
What is the dream that calls you?
The one you simply MUST say yes to?
With gratitude from my studio to yours,
P.S. Leave me a comment below and tell me everything! I can’t wait to help you start saying yes to your dreams!