What’s Next for You? The Danger of Success
After climbing uphill for what seemed like forever (in reality it had only been a matter of months) I had achieved a milestone in my business. I was at the top of the mountain. Looking around, enjoying the view. Taking deep breaths. The climb had not been without struggle.
Like anything that requires us to grow out of our comfort zone, it had been a battle of spirit and mindset. A battle fought in the landscape of my mind. My faith. My ability to increase my risk tolerance. My ability to keep saying no to fear and keep saying yes to being bigger and achieving more than I ever had before. And here I was, hardly able to realize that, yes, indeed, I had achieved it.
Then a Town & Country magazine arrived in the mail and a title on the cover couldn’t have jumped out at me any louder than if the editor herself had shouted:
“What’s Next for You?”
I couldn’t take my eyes off it. I had been so busy climbing a steep incline that I hadn’t had breath nor mental space to consider just what might be over the other side of the mountain. And now, staring back at me in big bold print were the words my spirit needed to hear, needed permission to consider:
What’s Next for You?
It wasn’t burdensome or results-driven or pressing. It wasn’t a don’t-stop-here-because-there’s-more type of thing. No, it was freedom. It was permission to explore beyond the confines of what had been the previous Great Big Dream, and the delicious realization that not only could I stop climbing this current mountain, I could choose to climb any other mountain that I set my sight on.
Expansion. Possibility. Life. The pressure of one Great Big Dream now abated. The wide open potential of another – of anything I could imagine – out there, before me.
It was deeper than ecstatic joy. It was personal. Not what’s next for your business, what’s next for your family, what’s next for your profession, what’s next for what everyone else expects you to do at this stage of your career – no. What’s Next for YOU. That meant ME.
And that’s the part we often lose track of as artists.
Ourselves. Yes, even in our creative professions as writers, actors, musicians, artists, we get caught up in the identity of being an artist and lose track of ourselves.
We start to climb mountains because those are the mountains people who achieve success in our professions climb. We start to set safe goals for our creative work. SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound). We mix up the results-and-profit-driven mandate of business with the process-discovery-say-something-that-means-something-in-this-damn-world calling of creative work. And our creative work starts to look not much different to us than any other profession. Yes, we may enjoy it more; yes, we find it fulfilling, but in the midst of it all… we are as at risk of “losing our souls” as any desk-bound, cubicle-dweller (forgive me, desk-bound, cubicle dwellers).
You sink too deeply into your identity as an artist and you start to go blind.
Blind to the massive power that lies within. Blind to the reality that the only thing that keeps us stuck is our inability to see that we can, at any moment, drop what we’re doing and change. That the confines we create around the body of our work, our careers, the expectations people have of us – are self-created and self-sustained.
We start to lose sight of our potential.
Is it boredom? No. It’s something more than that. It’s the false perception that once you declare yourself as an artist, and you’re good at it, you’re stuck with being that for the rest of your time here. It’s the false assumption that we should be stable, safe (even if “safe” means you’re the artist known for pushing the envelope), that once you reach a certain age or a certain level of success, you close the doors to what you could have been.
We do make choices, yes; saying yes to one path, means saying no to others.
Or does it?
“What’s Next for You?” is a powerful question. Powerful because it reminds us that we’re not limited. We’re not stuck. It may be humbling to find yourself back at the “who do I want to be when I grow up” question, but it is a necessary question. We need to keep asking it.
Change may not be the easy route, but it may be the necessary one to keep our souls aligned with who we really are.
And blessing the world with the gift we have to share. That gift is ourselves.
What’s Next for You is all about alignment. Being in the energies that light you up. Realizing that you are not replaceable. Sift out those things that anyone else could be doing and focus on the things that ONLY YOU can bring into this world. That’s where you find the answer to What’s Next for You.