If you haven’t picked up the book Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert (author of the incredibly popular memoir Eat Pray Love), you should run to your local bookstore or add it to your next Amazon order swiftly. The subtitle for this book is “Creative Living Beyond Fear,” and while it’s grouped under self help, the context and depth of this book will leave you cheering and wanting more. When I saw that this was a self help book, I was actually hesitant to pick it up. However, with the topic being a creative life while overcoming fear, and the author being someone who’s written word I enjoy, I decided to order this book anyway, and I’m glad I did.
“Creativity is a crushing chore and a glorious mystery. The work wants to be made, and it wants to be made through you,” says Gilbert. And here within the early pages of this book, we learn that we all have the power to live creatively and we all have that magic within us. It’s simply what we choose to do with it. This article will focus on 3 lessons learned (that can be applied to business and life) from spending some time with Big Magic.
Courage is defined as the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery. Gilbert writes from the premise that we all have hidden gems within us, awaiting the opportunity to be revealed. But, in order to do so, we have to be willing to be vulnerable, and to put ourselves out there, so as to create the environment for their appearance.
Any business owner can tell you they had to have courage to start their business. Anyone who has ever achieved a life goal (think of anything, from marriage, to home ownership, to travel), had to step up and separate themselves from the crowd to make it happen. A leap of faith is necessary, as well as an honest look at what you want to accomplish. Sure, it is easy to look at someone else and think “oh, this person must have it so easy,” but little do we know the journey they embarked upon, the battles they fought and the path they took. There is an element of courage that must be present, consistently so, in order to bring your light into the world.
What Makes You Come Alive?
A simple enough question, and yet this same question can produce some complex answers, backed by deep thought and time with self. What makes you come alive? What keeps you up at night? What do you dream about? What are you here for? This may not always relate to what you’re paid to do, what your job is or what your business is. But it should directly relate to how you spend your time on this earth, with every passing day. There’s no one answer, there are several. You can be passionate about animals, people, and your community, which is why you foster puppies, host monthly dinners with friends, and organize a clean up in your community. Your creativity is tied to what sets your soul on fire. If you find yourself in a rut, or not quite sure how things add up, you can always go back to what you’ll find at your core. Your actions, your motives, they need to come from that place first.
This is a tough one. We all have fear. In fact, collectively, when we think of some wild and crazy idea we have, our first thoughts are all the things that can go wrong instead of all that can go right. Our fear is often times bigger than it seems, in other words, it can talk a good game and is bluffing all the way. Our minds seem to either be on auto pilot or high energy. Fear loves to play in that high energy space, making us jump to conclusions and think irrational thoughts. On a business level, this can be related to a proposal you just sent out, or a big contract you’re negotiating. On a personal level, this can have to do with your relationships, your responsibilities, your aspirations.
In these moments of mental fight or flight, we have a choice to pause and do neither. We have a choice to stop, to breathe, to process, to take our time and remember why we’re doing what we’re doing in the first place. It’s a chance to process the moment, while still living in it. Put your hand on your heart and remember why you’re here.
The fear you feel can be an indicator that you are in the right place. Move forward, perhaps more aware and slowly, but move forward still. Where the comfort zone ends, is often also where the magic begins.