One of the advantages of being an artist and working for ourselves is that we get to call the shots on how, when and where we will work.
The only limitations that we have are those that we place on ourselves.
Creative entrepreneurs work very hard, often 80 or more hours a week, usually by choice. But, we also have the freedom to take time off when we need to.
When a monumental event happens, good or bad, there are employed people who claim they can’t take time off of work to attend to it, because their boss won’t let them. But then many entrepreneurs claim they can’t take time off, because their business won’t let them!
The truth is, we all get to choose what is important and then we arrange our business and lives around that.
Sometimes we don’t even think about what’s most important to us; we let everyone else tell us, through their expectations of us. And then, as if we are sleepwalking, we just go along with it as if we don’t have a say in our own lives. But we do!
I once had a boss tell me, when I said that I had to go home early to help my family with a problem, “No, your work comes first, then your family comes second!” Of course, I didn’t last in that job!
Often, we are so used to the idea that we HAVE to be somewhere and that we HAVE to do things, that we forget that we can call our own shots, simply by making a choice.
Here’s the simple formula for calling your own shots:
1 – DECIDE what you want to do
2 – DECLARE it to everyone impacted, letting them know you’ve decided (when you tell someone “I’ve decided“, it’s a signal that it’s final, and they can’t change your mind).
3 – DO IT.
With this freedom comes a magical vortex of resources, swooping in to give you the things you need to pull it all off, usually at the last minute! (Read “When One Commits, Providence Moves” to see how that works.)
This winter, this sense of freedom came in handy for Drew and me.
In November we got word that my father in law was sick. It was sudden and serious. One day Dad was golfing and hanging out at the beach, and the next he was diagnosed with stage 4 liver cancer.
There was only one option for us; to go be with him in his final weeks.
So we packed up Drew’s art supplies and planned our 2,550 mile drive across country, to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Right before we left, we got a call from the giant tech company, Western Digital. They had a project for us with a quick deadline. It was a wonderful thing, because we needed a way to cover some of our expenses while we were gone! (We were gone for 2-1/2 months.)
During the 5 day drive across country, I worked on the proposal. I sourced what we needed for the project. As Drew drove, I had my computer in my lap, working up numbers and typing up a proposal. Numerous emails and texts and phone calls later, we had a deal with Western Digital!
They commissioned Drew to paint a large mural that would be displayed at an event in Las Vegas. They also had him designing t-shirts and posters and painting giveaway skateboard decks.
The day we arrived to Drew’s parent’s house in Myrtle Beach, Drew transformed their garage into his painting studio. In between taking care of Dad and helping Mom with things, Drew went to work, stretching the canvas and sketching concepts.
I hired a photographer to capture the painting process, so that Western Digital could have professional photos for their social media ads.
It wasn’t easy, doing all this away from our own studio. But we were spending quality time with Dad.
Some days we would bring Dad into the garage so he could watch Drew paint. On cold days Drew would bring the skateboard decks into the warm house and paint in the living room while Dad watched.
It was the last painting project Dad got to watch his son paint. Dad died on January 4th; we held him as he took his last breath.
I feel honored that I was there for the last few weeks of Dad’s life; and I am grateful that we created a business structure that allowed it.
Though it was stressful and chaotic, running our operation while on the road and dealing with the sadness of losing Dad, we pulled it off. We put our family as a priority, we chose that for ourselves. We called the shots on what was important to us. And we showed our 12 year old son a lesson in life and the importance of being there for family.
This is what I love about the business of art and working for myself. We make up the rules as we go, and nothing can hold us back from what’s near and dear to our hearts; our family.
I hope you are making up your rules as you go, too. Let nothing hold you back from what you think is most important.
Please, share in the comments, how you are making up your own rules and the freedom that being a creative entrepreneur brings to you!