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Be Who You Want to Be

This week's theme is permission. Each day we will explore what we need to do to get it, who can give it out, and how we'll know when we've received it. Should be fun, and if we do this right, permission could be the very thing we need to change everything in our creative careers.

We've traveled around a lot over the years. Built in to these ex-pat jobs abroad is the notion that people are only in a particular post for a handful of years before they move on. Sometimes visa restrictions require people to move, and other times it is due to company or agency policies. Still other times we global nomads just get itchy after a few years, and need a new start. While this lifestyle has some drawbacks, there are also some perks to short term, gig, employment.

Each time we left our job abroad, we realized that who we were abroad was really quite different from who we were at home. We were different people depending upon our location. Then, when packing out internationally for a new job assignment, we were able to reinvent ourselves over and over again... until we crossed paths with someone from a previous assignment.

What occurred to me at the time was that with each new assignment, I could create a new beginning. I could try to be someone new. Of course there are some limits to that freedom, but largely it was a positive feeling of freedom. The second realization was of course, that I didn't need to clear that change with another living soul. I didn't have to ask permission. I could be any type of person I wanted to be.

As creatives, I think many of us feel as though we somehow are cheating in life, particularly if we've made the jump to a freelance career. We're afraid of what others will think of us. We secretly are afraid that we're bums, lazy, and not working as hard as others are. We feel a little selfish, self-absorbed, and therefore isolated. We have to keep to ourselves, because if we don't, our secret will be revealed.

And it's not that we're just paranoid. People really are watching us, and making judgements about us all the time. We've been home now for over two months on this pandemic lockdown, and daily my sweet, elderly neighbor asks a version of the same question; "I'll bet you guys can't wait to get back to work. Right?" Or my father will call from across the street and say: "What are you doing?" I tell him that I'm painting, and he responds: "Great, can you go to the pharmacy and pick up my pills?" Neither of them has anything but love for me, but neither thinks I'm in any way working.

Then we were taught in school that, in order to be professional, we need to have the "proper" training and credentials before we can call ourselves an artist, or a writer, or an actor... I'm all for education, but you really don't need any more training to be an artist that you do to be a parent. It just sort of happens, and you get better and better at doing it. But the imposter syndrome is present even for those who HAVE done all the work, gotten all the degrees, and carry the correct credentials.

So luckily, I ran into a Leprechaun this morning, and I was granted the power to make five wishes come true. So as I raise my magic wand, get ready, because my first magic spell will be to give you the permission you need to become whomever you want to be. That's it. The smoke has cleared and I'm sure you can feel the energy surging within you. You can be anyone you want to be. Just like that. If anybody gives you any grief, just send them to me. I'll sort them out.

How does it feel? What will you do with this newfound freedom? Who will you be? Jot me a note in the comments below. I'd love to know. And don't forget, I still have four wishes to go.

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John Bishop ; Instagram: @johnmbishopfineart                                                                  Patreon Business:                                  Facebook: Twitter:

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