The idea of living within your arch of creativity... Jeff Holt mentioned this idea in Watercolor at MTH. And its been on my mind a bit since then. Really, its been on my mind mostly because my studio needs a huge overhaul, but tonight as I sit in Atlanta and listen to the sound of clicking MAC keys and good music and share insightful conversations with Lara, Jeff and Sandi. I'm reminded that the idea of living within your arch of creativity is about so much more than surrounding yourself with beautiful things. Its about taking a holistic approach to your shaping your environment - and really surrounding yourself with people and things that inspire, empower and challenge you.
I'm in Atlanta for Making Things Happen tomorrow. I'm so honored to be a guest and to be able to share my story. Even more, I'm so honored to be able to hear and witness the stories of others. Its not that being around people who are just like me is comforting. That actually has very little to do with my arch of creativity. Instead, for the next two days, I get to be around people who make me THINK - who are engaging and outside-the-box-thinkers - who are sincere to their core. That. Sincerity. Is so valuable. And something I treasure so much.
I mentioned today that I love my sweet husband so dearly because he will call me out. When I am being ridiculous he will tell me. When he disagrees with me, he will tell me. He is my biggest supporter and fan, but when I need a little push, he's there. I love that "realness". He is a Lover, an Encourager and a Pusher. I'm learning that it is so important to surround yourself with different types of people. Granted, not all people are going to bring the same things to the table - and they shouldn't. This is just the world according to Emily, but I think you need a few of all of these types to not only allow growth but MAKE you grow as well.
The Lover is the person who is going to love whatever you do no matter what. Your clay pot may be tipping over on one side and with a giant crack in the other - but the Lover just loves it. "Its artwork," they say. "People pay big money for 'vintage' pieces like this." (Vintage, really?) The Lover is the person to turn to when you need a boost - always good for the soul when you need the positivity, but perhaps not the best when you need an honest opinion.
The Educator is the person who makes everything make sense. The person that is constantly learning and continually teaching in a way that is non-threatening - that is thought provoking. Think - professors in college who taught, yet encouraged you to explore your own curiosities and develop your own theories - who, even though they may not agree with your stand, encouraged you to TAKE one.
The Encourager is the person who reminds you the sun will come up again. This person always sees the glass half full and reminds you of your strengths when your weaknesses are all you can spot. The Encourager is great for those times that you need to be reminded why it is you do what you do in the first place. I've had these days and its okay to need this person. Remember to be there for the Encourager when the Encourager needs it in return. Sometimes we all need to be reminded how strong we are.
The Pusher is the person who pushes you to take that next step - to be bigger than you are in that moment. The Pusher sees your strengths but knows you have more left to give. This person sees that you've won a local competition and encourages you to enter a national competition next. The Pusher sees the potential you have and thinks outside the box. By doing so, they inspire you to grow in ways you may not have thought you could.
The Challenger is the person who pushes as hard as they can - sometimes this is consciously and sometimes not. This person may be your friend or colleague or it may be your direct competition. Regardless, this person challenges you directly. They are big and they challenge you to step up and be bigger. This person is great to have around when you need a kick in the pants. This person will fire you up so much that you HAVE to move forward.
Each of these people are important - and each have their special place in your life at the right time. You’ll have people who fall in between these definitions as well - those may even be the best. Overall, it is so important to surround yourself with an arch of creativity - not just with the art on your walls and the color of your paint, but with the people you allow close to you. These are the people who will influence your heart and in the long run - your brand.
I text messaged my husband when I was at dinner with Lara, Jeff and Sandi. I said "I feel so comfortable here” and he said "because you're around people who are like you and inspire you." So true. I grow so much when I surround myself with people who encourage growth within me – who push me to be bigger than I think I can be – who inspire me to think outside my typical realm of thinking – who challenge me to bring my A game every time.
Today I am making a promise to myself to expand my environment/my arch of creativity - beyond just the music I listen to while I work or the color of the walls of my studio - to the people I surround myself with as well - and not just those within my own inner circle, but those I admire and learn from - even at a distance - as well.