Looking back, it wasn’t a big leap.
Instead, I said ‘yes’ to a series of small steps.
First, I said ‘yes’ to something new. Something nobody in my family had tried.
Then I said yes to learning more. This was humbling.
I said yes to uncertainty. Financial and emotional.
I said yes to trust. I had to trust my creative skills even though I was unproven.
I said yes to my capacity. I couldn’t yet make what I pictured in my head- but I knew I would get better, faster, the more work I tried.
It was hard to say ‘yes’ to working in collaboration. But I said yes to partnership, even though it’s less scary to work alone. It opened doors and gave me feedback right away. This most of all made me take on fantastic, unusual projects.
And I said yes to focus. This is the unglamorous part like working late or keeping deadlines or getting paperwork in order from the very beginning.
It was an unusual decision for me to leave stability. It was a great job: a full-time position at a fantastic non-profit organization. My coworkers were great (hi folks!). The position was challenging. The cause was personally important to me. I had been working towards a job exactly like this for a very long time.
But I found that more and more, I was spending more time on art-related projects. Weekends and vacations working for clients. I asked for a reduced work week. I found a happy outlet managing freelance work, I was proud of the results and at the same time – it felt selfish to be drawing. I could be reading another report for work, or researching granting guidelines.
So before I made the shift – I had to say ‘yes’ to one more thing.
Yes, creativity matters. Creativity helps solve problems. It’s a skill that shows up in communicating, sharing messages, and building teams. Creativity is foundational to work that helps build a better world. It’s not unique to artists – it’s everywhere. It helps non-profits do as much as they do with as little money as they have. And it helps me get up and make a drawing or tell a story when I didn’t have an idea to start with.
Creativity is the magic glue. It’s the change catalyst. Creativity is how ideas + audience + social and environmental problems + compassion = change.
So 18 months ago, and 12 months ago, and 6 months ago, and yesterday – I took a leap. I found another way to be part of the change. It turned out to be another way to say ‘yes’.