I wasn’t one of those kids who knows what they want to do with their lives from a young age. I loved writing, reading, dancing, and drawing. I didn’t know any creative professionals, so it didn’t occur to me that those were things I could make a life out of. I grew up in a family business, but the business, lumber and building supplies, wasn’t interesting to me.
What I did know was I wanted out of my little town and to be independent, so I’d have to Get A Career. When I was 16, a combination of aptitude tests and high-school guidance counselling determined that I should become A Teacher. I didn’t like kids, had never taken to babysitting, and dreaded every day of the high-school semester that I spent helping in a Grade 1 classroom. But apparently there wasn’t much else a person could hope to do with my skill set. Plus, my Mom and two of my grandparents had been teachers, so it was familiar.
After the decision had been made, I remember two feelings: relief, and that I was standing apart from myself.
After the first year of a B.Ed. program, terrible anxiety in advance of my first practicum convinced me to switch programs to a B.A. It’s one of the wisest decisions I’ve made for myself. But, it confused the part of my extended family that I was then living near and I had to contend with questions like: “But what can you do with an English degree?”, “What kind of job can you get with that?”, and my personal favourite, “But what do you DO all day?” I had no answers; hadn’t realized I would need any.
I moved to the other side of the country. Far from home, I thrived in an M.A. program. Reading, writing, and thinking for the sake of thinking was awesome, but voices in my head began to question the purpose of it. I needed a break. (I also needed money.) So, I Got A Real Job, as a marketer in high-tech. A few years later, I opened a marketing and communications firm.
The success of my business depended on my left and right brains being equally capable; my ability to combine creative thinking with business skill. But overtime, my business became more left-brained than right, and it stopped feeling good.
Today, I’m looking for a better balance. Right-brain, Creator Maria wants back in. I’m making room for her and letting her guide me.
What’s your split?
When you were a kid, what activities did your mind and heart naturally engage in?
For what percentage of your time today, as an adult, are you actively engaged in those things?
How could you bring more of those natural tendencies into your life today?