As a multifaceted creative, I’ve grappled for years with the idea of finding my voice. Often we find it hard to become the people we were meant to be because we grow up in environments that constantly compare us to each other. No two snowflakes are alike, yet no one ever says, “I like this snowflake better than the other one.” Each of us is like a snowflake—unique and beautiful.
Well into adulthood, I finally realized how much I love creating. So I dove into poetry, writing, painting, singing—with little or no formal training. At first I was afraid that I wouldn’t measure up to people who had formal training or far more experience in these areas. But I have come to realize that my goal is not to be as good as other people are, but to be the best that I can be.
Vincent van Gogh, a 19th century impressionist painter, said, “If you hear a voice inside you saying, ‘You are not a painter,’ then by all means paint… and that voice will be silenced.” That quote—and finding out that elephants could paint (what?!)—inspired me to attempt new things, including painting.
It’s not about who thinks you’re a painter or who doesn’t. It’s not about how many albums of your music you can sell or how much you can sell them for. It’s about whether what you are doing brings you joy, even if no one else likes your work. It’s about giving yourself permission to explore things you’re passionate about and room to come up with original ideas.
Take some time to list a number of things that make you come alive. Then ask yourself, “Am I doing any of these things?” If you’re not, what’s holding you back? One of my mentors, T. K. Henderson, recently said to me, “If you’re not walking in your purpose, the world is unbalanced. Don’t let fear hold you back.”
It’s your time. Become who you were meant to be.