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The Secret Weapon of #Creatrix Leaders: Community by Alexandra Jamieson

Martin Seligman, one of the founders of positive psychology, developed a five core element of psychological well-being and happiness. Seligman believes that these five elements can help people work towards a life of fulfillment, happiness, and meaning.

P – Positive Emotion

This element is, perhaps, the most obvious connection to happiness. Focusing on positive emotions is more than smiling: it is the ability to remain optimistic and view one’s past, present, and future from a constructive perspective.

E – Engagement

Activities that meet our need for engagement flood the body with positive neurotransmitters and hormones that elevate one’s sense of well-being. This engagement helps us remain present, as well as synthesize the activities where we find calm, focus, and joy.

M – Meaning

Having an answer as to “why are we on this earth?” is a key ingredient that can drive us towards fulfillment.

Religion and spirituality provide many people with meaning, as can working for a good company, raising children, volunteering for a greater cause, and expressing ourselves creatively.

Unfortunately, the media worships glamour and the pursuit of material wealth, impacting many people to feel like money is the gateway to happiness. While we do need money to pay for basic needs, once those basic needs are met and financial stress is not an issue, money is not what provides people with happiness.

A – Accomplishments

Having goals and ambition in life can help us to achieve things that can give us a sense of accomplishment. You should make realistic goals that can be met and just putting in the effort to achieving those goals can already give you a sense of satisfaction when you finally achieve those goals a sense of pride and fulfillment will be reached.

Having accomplishments in life is important to push ourselves to thrive and flourish.

R – Relationships

Relationships and social connections are crucial to meaningful lives.

Too often, the pursuit of happiness has this Western bias of “individuality” where each person steers their personal happiness ship to shore. This is not realistic. We are social animals who are hard-wired to bond and depend on other humans. Hence, the basic need for healthy relationships.

We thrive on connections that promote love, intimacy, and a strong emotional and physical interaction with other humans. Positive relationships with one’s parents, siblings, peers, coworkers, and friends is a key ingredient to overall joy. Strong relationships also provide support in difficult times that require resilience.

Basically, our pain centers become activated when we are at risk of isolation. From an evolutionary perspective, isolation is the worse thing we could do for survival.

These activation centers are like fire alarms in the body, discouraging people to continue feeling this pain, and ideally, reconnect socially with someone or a group. We need, neurologically, to know that we belong to a group; it helps us feel safe and valued, and has for millions of years.

This led me to think a lot about the kinds of communities we need to achieve our own goals and growth, including professionally and personally…

I read a lot and have seen hits on this Creative Community idea from many different successful artists, creatives, and entrepreneurs.

 

In her hilarious and illuminating book on thriving as a working actor, Jenna Fischer preaches “be a joiner!” 

 

I couldn’t agree more...

 

In her first years struggling to get acting gigs in Hollywood, before she became famous as Pam on The Office, Jenna worked day jobs and tried to get auditions while her roommate took a different route:

 

He joined a theater company and volunteered for behind-the-scenes work in “the biz.”

 

While Jenna watched a lot of movies alone at home, her roommate was always busy, building community, learning how the business worked, making connections, and creating side projects with other actors.

 

After getting lonely and feeling isolated, Jenna realized she needed to join in, volunteered at a theater, and began making community and connections.

 

She credits her new friends and community with supporting her and keeping her going on the long, tough road to success.

 

In my own career, it is the friends and connections I’ve made through coaching programs, conferences, retreats, and classes that have given me the strength and inspiration to keep going during hard times when I didn’t believe in myself or when I was trying something new and risky.

 

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“You think you’re alone and thought this up yourself, you know, and you’re not; you’re part of an interactive web of twentieth-century thought. 

That is, to me, incredibly lovely because...it’s just less lonely.” 

~ Laurie Anderson

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On Trying To Be The Solo SuperWoman

 

Being a creative entrepreneur (AKA Creatrix Leader) can be a meaningful, healing, spiritual, and deeply satisfying way to make a living and a life. At its best, we do it in the company of others, with a balance of alone time. 

 

There are a few instances of Creatrix leaders who do it all in solitude, create great work, and have the inner fortitude to manage the mental and emotional challenges…

...though, I don’t know any personally.

 

Out of all of the long-time, successful creative entrepreneurs I know, I see a common trait amongst us:

 

We continue to seek out community, get support, and ask for help. We set aside time to go away together and brainstorm strategies. We make space for creating our ideas into reality. We put money, time, and resources towards this work. We commit our full selves to the process, again, and again, and again.

 

Creative Leaders (AKA Creatrix Leaders, AKA Creative Entrepreneurs) DO require community:

 

  • We need the stimulating conversations about topics most of our family and friends just don’t “get.” The questions, experiences, and heartfelt support of peer Creatrixes are like nourishment and fuel.
  • Professional writers work with editors, co-writers, or join critique or coaching groups where they come together to share and read their work. They also get accountability and meet with like-minded (and similar-souled) people who understand what they’re trying to do.
  • Our coaching or critique groups help us improve our work, and help us see things that could be made better or richer. 
  • They also help us practice our boundaries and independence as we notice aspects of our work that we prefer to preserve. 

 

My own community of support is made up of writers, coaches, artists, entrepreneurs, actors, filmmakers, and more.

 

I’ve just joined a small group of women who are my own mastermind group for 2020.

 

I cannot imagine where I’d be without the stimulating conversations, questions, challenges, and heartfelt support of these fellow creators and risk-takers. 

 

Brilliant event facilitator Priya Parker, author of The Art of Gathering, credits her creative community with keeping her inspired, focused, and finding her authentic voice:

 

“We figure out not only who we are, but who we could be, through our gatherings...birds of a feather flock together, but we have a choice of who we want our birds to be.”

 

You don’t need to be a painter, novelist, or poet to have a creative community. 

Women in my past mentorship groups have included:

 

  • A trauma-informed PhD candidate launching a new website and retreat series
  • A copywriter working on a novel, card deck, and creating independent coaching programs
  • A surgeon working on her website and planning a book launch while she built an authentic social media following
  • An established coach creating a new kind of coaching and retreats
  • A business consultant ready to launch her online presence while nurturing her local contact and network
  • A financial coach with a 7-figure resale business who finally got back into painting and launched her speaking series
  • A top sales woman in a tech company who aimed for and achieved a massive promotion, and is now planning to hike the Himalayas with friends...

 

… the list goes on and on.

 

These womxn realized that working with a coach and a small community would help them leap over their previous limiting beliefs.

 

Because when you get to know people, and let them know you, you can’t hide behind your excuses anymore.



“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”

~ Helen Keller




Even when you have the skills, plan, and commit to showing up to the creative work every day, it can take time. Success doesn’t happen overnight.

 

The community you find in mentorship groups are there to lend support and feedback, listen to you, hold you when you’re feeling down, and cheer you on as you bust through limiting beliefs.

 

The womxn you meet will be so inspirational, they’ll help you get through the struggle and doubt. And, by the way, you’ll inspire them to get their their hard times, too!

 

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And Yet, It Can Feel Scary To Join IN

 

There are perceived challenges to joining a group. We face additional fears: 

 

  1. It’s scary to be seen. When we allow people to truly know us, as we share our goals, vision, and challenges, we fear that they won’t like us. We experience:
    1. Perfectionism, and try to present a false image of what’s really happening under the hood
    2. Mean Girl Triggers, worrying we’ll be gossiped about and cast out like we were in our younger years that’s why in the Creatrix 2020 we aim to support each other, not compete with each other
    3. Social Anxiety, a whole host of physical sensations and worries that make it hard to relax and be present with others

 

 

  • Worry about picking the wrong group. That’s why it’s important to meet with or talk with the organizer of the group, to ask some questions, and get a real sense of what their style is. Consider it a two-way interview where you’re both getting a sense of each other. An experienced mentor will curate the group a balance of personalities, and ensure the group’s mission is a fit for the individuals.

 

 

 

  • Concern about the time commitment. We’re all busy. The secret of these groups is that the few hours you’ll give to the group will help you get so clear and focused you’ll spend less time on stuff that doesn’t matter, and have more time to use for what does. In my experience, mentorship groups will expand your capacity for your work, as you’ll feel more energized, inspired, and you’ll waste less energy to loneliness and worry.

 

The truth is “Human happiness lies in doing well what we are uniquely suited for,” The more you get to use your strengths to further causes you believe in, the better you will feel.

 

The best way I’ve found to handle these fears is to talk with people in a group, or apply to work with coaches who are creating a community like the Creatrix 2020 Mentorship, ask questions, feel into the possibilities, and leap toward the desires I’ve had for growth and connection.

 

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On Balancing Our Introvert With Our Desire To Connect

 

In Priscilla Long’s Handbook for creators, Minding The Muse, she describes the stages of a creative’s work, which I think parallels a successful Creatrix’s path:

 

  1. Making Stage: Experimenting, putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), building, etc. Usually solitary, though I do in-person co-creation in retreats with individual and groups. 
  2. Refining Stage: when you bring in an editor, share your work or ideas with a group, add, subtract, prune; when you invite your peers to take a look in put in their two-cents.
  3. Purveying Stage: enter a competition, launch your program, publish your website or podcast, send your book proposal to agents or publishers, etc. This is when having your peer-group behind you is especially helpful. With trusted friends at your back, you’re finally brave enough to take this step, which you may have been putting off for years.

 

“Writing is a lonely job. 

Having someone who believes in you makes a lot of difference.” 

~ Stephen King

 

 

 

I’ve always found this path to be a dance between alone time, group-connection-time, and “going public” time. The first few times you do this dance, it feels weird and uncoordinated. That’s ok - you’ll get better!

 

In the end, creating your work, with your unique voice and vision, isn’t just about making money, (though my passion is that we Creatrix Womxn get paid well), in the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will be touched and served by your work, and enriching your own life as well.

 

Some questions to consider as you get ready to find your community:

 

  1. Do you have adequate community? Are your people stimulating your work, your courage, your vision?
  2. Do you put yourself out there? Have you joined and paid attention to others’ work?
  3. Do you contribute? Have you engaged with other driven creatives and showed up for them in real time, which generates energy for you and the collective?

 

Applications are now open for the Creatrix 2020 Mentorship group, which begins January 24th, 2020. Get the details and apply here: https://alexandrajamieson.com/creatrix/




Direct download: creative_community.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 10:18am EST