Run your business your way, and show show show your work

Let’s talk about being true to thine own beautiful sovereign kick-ass self.

Time came to write a post today, and in the parched landscape of my tired mind and sick body, there were no ideas to be found. Thank you internet, for leading me to the sweet sips of inspiration delivered to me from Austin Kleon (author of Show Your Work) and Sonia Simone (the wise pink-haired marketer from the Copyblogger team) for inspiring me today.

Here’s what I’ve got.

Your business — do it the way that works for you

I got an email recently, a call for artists for the Berkeley Day of the Dead festival.

my ancestors altar

Now, I’m a big Day of the Dead woman.

Of all the sacred holidays on the Wheel of the Year, this day is the one that calls to me in the deepest way. Partly because it’s also my natal birthday, and since my parents died, I’ve felt very close to my own soon-to-be-ancestorhood (some call it realizing that you’re now in the “terminal generation”). Partly because I always feel connected to my own beloved dead, and the Mexican rituals around Day of the Dead have always resonated for me. I usually travel into San Francisco to see the ofrendas (altars) on display. One year I went to Oaxaca and celebrated in the graveyards. Once, about seven years ago, I even got to help build an altar with two other women — but not my design.

So I replied to the call. Of course, I was sure I wouldn’t get chosen. They asked for lists of my shows. I had nothing to share. Well, not true. I have had two art shows, but I had no info about them to send. I did however have my blog, and when I searched “ancestors” I found many links to share. Which I did. And I got chosen!

Did fear come up then? Yup, you bet!

You know what that fear sounds like, right?

  • I’m not good enough
  • My idea is weak / cheesy.
  • It’s so much work!
  • Yadda yadda yadda!

Thanks for sharing, inner critic, but I’m doing it anyway. I like my idea for this.

The idea: I went and got some graveyard dirt (yup, just like it sounds, from a corner of the cemetery). My table will be draped with skull fabric and decorated with my figures and candles (see photo above). I’m going to fill a box with the dirt and provide paper and markers. People will be invited to write the names of their own beloved dead on a strip of paper and drop the paper into the dirt, which I will ritually dispose of the next day.

I’m going to be a Yes to this invitation, show my art, show my heart, despite that inner critic, that one who would have me do nothing, and take no risks. I’m taking all the risks: in art, in business, in relationships, in love.

About doing it your own way and showing your work

I think I’m supposed to be spending all my time on launching the Deep Dive retreat.

You should hear that harpy’s voice in my head! Oy.

Yoni of GuadalupeBut this…

  • I am drawn to making art and took some time to do so today.
  • I’m sick — again. My health is claiming a big chunk of my attention.
  • I know that my clients old and new will be happy to read about the retreat when it’s ready, and when I’m ready.

It’s my business, yo. And this is the way it works for me.

Showing you this maybe not yet finished piece even though I worry that I screwed it up.

It’s called the Yoni of Guadalupe. And it may have gotten away from me. You can’t really see the yoni shape any more behind the feathery pubes I put in yesterday. And yet, it’s kinda gorgeous, isn’t it?

I’m showing you my piece that seems to have developed a mind of its own, because (and I learned this in the 12-step rooms) once I stop keeping it to myself, and bring it out of the dark scary closet where my secret fears and failures live, it’s in the light, and I can release all the stories I’m telling myself about fucking it up.

Talk to me, gorgeous. Did you catch a whiff of inspiration from my rambles today, something you can use in your business? Think I’m completely nuts? Bring it! Let’s talk in the comments.

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Sue

I’m a barely tamed hippie, sage, seasoned, sarcastic (not all the time any more, but still). I’m a mom, a daughter, sister, a neighbor, and a friend. I’ve been on this meandering journey — like you, probably — seeking a better connection to and experience of peace, harmony, and fun in every bit of life. I’m single, quite good at it, and mostly love it. I’m here for the conversations I get to have with you, which these days center on exploring the mystery and beauty of life, work, health, aging, and creative expression. Want to know a little more about me and my journey? Explore the site. Read the blog. Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

Join the conversation!

  1. I love this – I think it’s so easy to think you have to do things just one way in business but if it doesn’t feel right we shouldn’t do it!

    • Heather, welcome here. I’m so glad we’ve connected. So much bravery and wisdom in your words. Listening to that inner voice; go you!

      xoxox
      Sue

  2. Thanks for this post! It can be so easy to see big personalities online and think that we’ve got to do it their way, but in reality when we do things our way, that’s when the magic happens.

    Also…I LOVE the Day of the Dead!!

    • Holly, I know exactly what you mean! I feel so much more ease when I try to be me, instead of someone else.

      Are you in the Bay Area? Please come see my altar in Berkeley on 11/2 if you are.

      Love and magic,
      Sue

  3. I think it’s great that you chose to follow something that’s so clearly calling to you. Just posted your lovely piece on my Pinterest authors and artists board. Beautiful.

    • Andrea, thanks so much for pinning this.

      And thanks for the powerful example of following your heart that you and my other bighearted biz sisters set for me.

      Love and light,
      Sue

  4. It’s lovely. You know me, I’m all about creative play and imperfection. So go for it! I haven’t done any real shows with my art yet, but I will be submitting work for the Twitter Art Exhibit at least.

  5. Love the invitation to create, play, express, Sue!

    I awoke this morning–after a night of especially vivid, wild, crazy, complex dreaming–and was full of creative ideas for getting past a particular stumbling block in my current business model. Your post resonates with the spirit of excitement and play I’m experiencing today. Blessings!

  6. Hi Sue, this is amazing, I’ve just written a post “Am I good enough?” today 🙂 what a lovely inspiration, no “ramble”, totally makes sense to me. You’ve touched a nerve. Enjoy the Day Of The Dead. Since my dad passed away in 2012, my whole attitude towards this topic has changed, too. Your post is so full of joy and creative thoughts, thank you very much for lifting spirits.

    • Jutta, welcome here, I’m so glad we’ve connected and I’m loving what you do in the world (checked out your website).

      I appreciate your kind words. Thank you.

      Love and magic,
      Sue

  7. Hey Sue, so interesting that today I posted about life lessons and here you are sharing some of your best life/business lessons! Your creativity always shines through. I think perhaps the Universe is working overtime to empower women – listen up sisterhood!

    • Kimba, thanks so much. And I am grateful for your take on this — it’s clear to me too that the Divine Feminine in all of us is being empowered. Lovely to read your words.

      Blessed be,
      Sue

  8. Love this and have reserved Show Your Work from the Library. What synchronicity as I finally am starting to share my work . Oh the inner critic or gremlin……. xxoo

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