— at least for now
For a long, long time, I believed that if I wasn’t making a career of teaching yoga, leading workshops & writing that I was somehow not doing justice to my art & my callings. I used to believe that I wasn’t being true to my heart’s deepest desires, that I was too scared to quit my job or had some weird insecurity about money… I tried and tried to talk myself out of those thoughts. I read, I researched. I reflected and went down some rabbit holes too. There were tears and hours of despair, lots of them to be honest.
And yes, even though in the moment it was hard, I am glad I am not a full-time writer or yoga teacher or coach. At least for now though I do hope that at some point I am. I am also confident that I am not a fraud or disloyal to my dreams because I don’t do that work full time. Yes, I have my fair share of fears and insecurities that I am exploring and processing but that means little about my relationship with my callings.
Here’s why I don’t want to monetize my art at this point in my life.
- Creative freedom – I can write what I want. I show up with more courage and more authenticity as I am not constantly thinking about writing “what people will pay for”. I write what I care about and how can I create value for others and I feel pretty good about this balance.
- Honing my craft – It takes practice, a lot of it to get good at what you do. There are no shortcuts to this whether it was teaching yoga, workshops or now my writing. As I wasn’t charging much for my yoga workshops, I could experiment and try out different styles, discover my own voice and figure out how to best create value for my clients while still speaking from my heart and not worry about pricing and all that my marketing textbook had to teach. With my writing and blog, I have invested very little time and energy into marketing and that is intentional. I know if I would have moved my hours, my work could have reached a wider audience, but I want to invest on honing my craft, on developing my voice and I appreciate that I don’t have to constantly be thinking of growing my subscriber list.
- Flexibility at this stage – As a mom with two little kids, my life is fairly chaotic and unpredictable and I want some sense of stability and some sense of creativity. For me, my callings help me manifest my sense of creativity and my day job keeps my life somewhat predictable. I appreciate this balance to not have to expect my writing to provide for this feeling of stability at this point in my life.
- Focus on the people – When I taught yoga a few years back, I earned very little sometimes even $5 for a 90-minute class, add some buffer and the commute time and the money was almost insignificant. However, it also came with a lot of joy of truly focusing on the people I was serving. If I would have looked at each person who entered my class and hoped for more to show up, so I could contribute to my mortgage, I know I wouldn’t have done justice to the people who were trusting me with their practice.
My calling truly has the power to nourish and nurture my soul and hopefully contribute positively to other people’s lives even if I don’t invest 50 hours a week to it. I don’t want this young inexperienced part of my life to bear the burden of paying my cell phone bills. Not to say I’d never want to monetize, I DO want to monetize and create a small business but at this stage in my life, this model works best. I want to amplify my message, reach a wider audience and find a way to partner with a non-profit to divert the funds for use in a developing country in education or domestic abuse. I hope at some point in my life I can find a way to divert some of the hours as a tech marketer into my work as a creative but so far this somewhat crazy but wholesome balance of my myriad identities is nourishing all parts of me.
Thank you for riding along with me on this journey!
P.S. – So much of this thinking is influenced by the wonderful work of Liz Gilbert and her book Big Magic, a book I’d highly recommend!