Thursday, June 17, 2010

Who Are You?


"I am what they are not" - Esther David

"I am what I am" - Ani Di Franco



Most of the artists I work with beam when they talk about their creative journeys. To hear them describe their experiences singing, dancing, and acting feels like witnessing Christmas morning or a surprise birthday party. The wonder in their eyes is both captivating and intoxicating.

The journey isn't all performing, of course. In addition to the magic of their artistry, there is the need to stay at the top of their creative learning curves as well as position themselves in their respective marketplaces. Even those that have achieved enormous success must continue carving out their niche, lest they become irrelevant and obsolete.

Unfortunately, there is something that happens to so many creative people when they are asked to address these aspects of their art. The passion and talent that come through on every channel all but dissipate when they consider where and how they 'fit' into their fields. The proud, declarative 'this is me!' all too often shifts into a frustrated and confused 'who am I? who should I be?'

This is a common tendency not only of artists, but of entrepreneurs, company owners, and frankly, anyone not living in virtual isolation. The struggle to swim against the tide to the shore of self-distinction necessarily brings us face to face with those around us from whom we are trying to individuate and stand apart. It is a meeting more often of confrontation than communion.

Yet in focusing on and comparing ourselves with whom and what we are not- rather than on our unique contribution and value- we are splitting our energy and focus; we are dividing, rather than conquering. By nurturing the perception of competition between rather than our personal and proud creative process of, we remain in an endless struggle for position, rather than allow a distinction born of true value to emerge.

This value is meant to fuel not only your creative pursuits, but the business plan that supports it as well. Strive therefore in your positioning- as in your art- to be your most wholly authentic, entirely genuine self. Pour your energy into and prove nothing other than how much meaning, contribution, joy, and learning you can pack into your work and relationships each and every day. When you do, the 'Who I Am' of your voice and passion will resound throughout your entire being and rise like the inevitable Phoenix... a rising and distinction that people will be inspired to see and go to great lengths to share.

There is no better marketing strategy.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Dominick Cicco said...

Popeye said "I am what I am" long before Ani.... Very good article Jennifer. The perils of comparison are easily understood on an intellectual level, but in practice, comparing yourself to peers or mentors or glossy people in Entertainment Magazine is almost as natural as breathing. Awareness is a good way to dissipate the affects of seeing yourself in a sea of anonymity, while the rest of the world prospers. But even then it's very difficult not to fall prey to the great illusion of separateness and isolation. I once had the experience of feeling a deep jealousy for someone I worked with. I remember asking god(or any facsimile of your choosing) how to eliminate this green monster. I suddenly heard a very clear voice(no, my name's not Berkowitz) saying "concentrate on your own life". It made sense and it still holds true for me.
That's my 2 cents. I hope you're as well as you are beautiful. Dominick

June 29, 2010 at 11:10 PM  

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