How to find your calling as an artist

Several people have mentioned recently that they know they have a calling in a creative direction but that they aren’t sure where to start to figure out what it is.

This is something I specialize in — helping you get clear not only about your life purpose, but also honing in on the specific expression of your life purpose that you can do in your daily life.

Life purpose versus the specific “thing” you do

For example, if your life purpose is to be a “Messenger” or “Mass Communicator,” the specific expression of that might involve being a broadcast radio announcer, a book author, a keynote speaker, or a journalist.

Similarly, if your life purpose involved “Creative Expression in the Spotlight,” we’d want to get clear about whether you’d rather be a stage or movie actor, a painter doing studio exhibits, a creative writer, or a dancer, for instance.

Most coaches will tell you that the way to do — once you know your broader life purpose — is to figure out what you are passionate about.

The problem with starting with what you are passionate about

The question of getting clear on what you are passionate about is one that fascinates me.

Why don’t we just know what we are passionate about? Is it simply that it’s been drained out of us by our cultural programming? Are we numb to the world because of the pressures we face and the constant onslaught of choices and information?

A while back I said that I think we might be asking the wrong question, to ask what we are passionate about. I say that because — particularly in the business coaching industry — there’s a kind of “well, all you have to do is what you are passionate about and all your problems will be solved” mentality. *blinks brightly*

No pressure there.

I mean, people come to coaching to find their life’s direction — if they knew what they were passionate about they’d already be doing it. And just point blank asking, “What are you passionate about?” triggers a bunch of remote answers that don’t have a lot to do with anything meaningful and makes people feel like they’re just stupid or blocked.

Which they are.

Blocked, I mean, not stupid.

Here’s the funny thing.

Deep down, some part of you that you’re not tapped in to — your soul — does know.

And it’s your job — just like it is for each one of us — to learn how to connect with that deeper inner wisdom and guidance that’s available to you and listen to it.

Listen to it like your life depends on it.

It does.

But wait a minute, Jenna, I can’t hear that voice!

I know. It’s hard to find, right?

It takes practice. Patience. Quiet time.



Make space in your life for that deeper voice of wisdom to speak, and you will hear it.

And yes, you are avoiding it by numbing out, being so busy you can’t think, and constantly being online. Those things don’t help.

Go outside. Touch the ground. Make something REAL. Put your hands in that big planter filled with mint and breathe the scent.

Look at the sky and let your soul touch the clouds.

And do it again.

And again.

Then tell me what you found out.


Your turn

I’d love to hear what you think! Your comments are always welcome.




Coming Attractions


~> April 19th, 2012. Last day to register for my next Life Purpose Breakthrough Group on May 17th. Only 1 spot remaining. These groups consistently sell out, so if you’d like to join me, reserve your spot ASAP. Register here.

~> April 19th, 2012. Teaching a live webinar for Writer’s Digest, “10 Practical Tips for More Consistent, Productive Writing.” Register here.

~> April 25th, 2012. Second date, same class, different graphic, different venue! A live webinar for The Writer’s Store, “10 Practical Tips for More Consistent, Productive Writing.” Register here.

~> May 1st to June 5th. My new Spotlight Study Group for sensitives, artists and hermit types who are ready to take their call to the spotlight more seriously and clear up the obstacles getting in their way. Details.


What I'm Up To

~> Ongoing. Writing in the ProSeries class at ScreenwritingU. I have a fancy marketing campaign printed out and on my wall now. It’s a thing of beauty!

~> Sacred writing time. Early mornings and Fridays.

~> Still reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire with my boy. Can’t watch Downton Abbey right now since it’s backlogged on Netflix. Up to other things in the meantime.



What does it mean to be called to the spotlight?

Being in the spotlight means having your creative work witnessed and responded to by an audience.

It means being read, seen, heard.

Being in the spotlight means having an audience.

Whenever our work is seen, we are seen.

  • If you’re a novelist, you’re in the spotlight when you publish your work, whether you publish it online or in print. Writers are in the spotlight through their books, articles, on their websites, at public readings, and in interviews.
  • If you’re a blogger, you’re in the spotlight every time you hit the publish button. People are reading your words, thinking about them, and responding to them.
  • Artists are in the spotlight whenever you share your creative work, and receive feedback on it. Think of gallery showings, exhibits, and studio tours. Or website galleries online.
  • Actors are in the spotlight when you are on stage, on the big screen, or on television. And celebrity actors are in the spotlight anytime they are in public.
  • Screenwriters are in the spotlight when the movies you’ve written play on the big screen or when someone reviews your writing publicly.
  • Poets, journalists, public speakers, radio broadcasters, and many more professions are seen, heard, and read.

Are you called to the spotlight?

Being called to the spotlight means feeling drawn to being seen. To expressing yourself in some public forum.

You can be “called” to the spotlight by an inner draw to it, but you may not realize you have the call — at least not consciously — until you see it written in your hands.

Are you a “hermit” in the spotlight?

I’m surprised to discover how many people have “Spotlight” markings in their hands when I analyze them, often in direct contradiction to their earthy, “hermit” heart lines; watery, sensitive hands, and their personality traits that have them strongly preferring peace, quiet, home, and solitude as a general rule.

Many artists, actors, introverts, sensitives, empaths, and writers much prefer the solitary life, but still feel some pull to sharing their work and being seen, read or heard in some way.

Having contradictory feelings about it does not mean you don’t have the call.

Until I was told I had an Apollo Star gift marking, I was never able to totally reconcile the appeal of being seen by audience and my desire to cocoon myself. I’ve come to think of myself as a “Hermit in the Spotlight,” writing away to my audience of over 4000 readers, and sometimes speaking to them as well.

Does audience size matter?

If only one person reads, sees, or hears it, is that being in the spotlight? Is that an audience?

It’s a good question.

I think the answer is, not yet. Not quite. But soon. With your next witness, yes, it’s starting to grow.

What fascinates me is the low level of frustration I can experience if my audience “isn’t big enough,” and by that I mean, it doesn’t satisfy my inner barometer of enough people.

(This is partially connected to my “Impatient Visionary” streak — more on this in a future post.)

When it has truly felt like “enough” have been the times I’ve spoken to over 100 people at a given time on a conference call, at a speaking event, or over a live streaming broadcast.

Do you feel reluctant to be seen, heard, or read, but know you want to or are supposed to be in the spotlight?

Despite having the call to the spotlight, and maybe even having a passion for it, we have to be conscious of not allowing our sensitive selves to always run the show and keep us playing it safe. Sometimes we need to stretch ourselves by reaching for more and a greater connection with our audiences.

As my teacher Sonia Choquette always says, “Don’t let your big Buts stop you.” :)

Your Turn

Are you called to the spotlight? How do you feel about it? What are your biggest challenges? I’d love to hear from you in the comments on this post.



As sensitives, how can we be more comfortable being seen, heard, and read in the spotlight?

It isn’t always easy, but we can learn to be more comfortable in the spotlight. That said, being 100% comfortable isn’t the ultimate goal — it’s about being comfortable enough to take the risk of being seen.

Here’s what you need to understand:

  • The pitfalls empathic sensitives tend to fall into when engaging with others, especially an audience.
  • How an introvert’s brain works, which can make you feel intimidated about speaking in public.
  • Why sensitives may not perform well under pressure, and what we can do about it.
  • The hand analysis gift marking that points to being “in the spotlight” and how to identify it.
  • How to deal with “tomato fears” (the fear of having rotten tomatoes thrown at you) and other creative expression challenges.

I’ll be teaching these solutions and answering your questions on this topic in my upcoming teleclass on March 27th at 3 p.m. Pacific Time (4 Mountain, 5 Central, 6 Eastern, Midnight GMT), called “Sensitives in the Spotlight: How Artists, Writers, Hermits & Introverts Can Navigate a Call to the Public Eye.

The fee for the class is $39. When you register, you’ll have an opportunity to submit your questions for the live session, so I’ll be sure to answer them for you. Register here, or find out more here.


Coming Attractions

~> March 15th, 2012. Last day to register for the next session of my Writer’s Circle session starting on March 19th. Get my Free Writing Tips series too, and receive a coupon for a savings on your first 4 week session. Sign up here.

~> March 27th, 2012. My teleclass, “Sensitives in the Spotlight: How Artists, Writers, Hermits & Introverts can Navigate a Call to the Public Eye,” will be held on March 27th at 3 p.m Pacific Time (4 Mountain, 5 Central, 6 Eastern, Midnight GMT). Find out more and register here

~> March 27th, 2012. Last day to register for my next Life Purpose Breakthrough Group on April 24th. Only 4 spots are available and these groups consistently sell out, so if you’d like to join me, reserve your spot ASAP. Register here.


What I'm Up To

~> Ongoing. Writing in the ProSeries class at ScreenwritingU, which was recently named the #1 screenwriting class by InkTip. Right now we’re working on “Writing Great Endings.”

~> Daily and especially Fridays. Sacred writing time. The Do Not Disturb sign is up.

~> Still haven’t watched Super Eight! Goodness. But I’m having tons of fun reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets to my son. The other day he said, “Does he look like me?” I thought that was so sweet!

Is there a link between sensitivity and creativity?

Elaine Aron, author of The Highly Sensitive Person, says that “almost all HSPs have an artistic side they enjoy expressing … or they deeply appreciate some form of art.” She also says that, “almost all studies of the personalities of prominent artists insist that sensitivity is central.”

Todd Henry, author of The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment’s Notice, notes, “It’s not a rule by any means, but many creatively gifted people tend to display a natural tendency toward introversion. Perhaps the isolated nature of a lot of creative work is what calls many of us to our chosen profession to begin with. We love to get lost in the process of moving big conceptual rocks…”

(To be clear, while not all introverts are sensitives, all sensitives are introverts in the classic sense of the word “introversion”: meaning that we recharge our energy by having time alone.)

I think there’s a link between creativity and sensitivity due to the deep, rich, and imaginative inner life sensitives experience. While our vivid imaginations can run amok from time to time, it’s a powerful tool for venturing into new creative territory.

Similarly, our tendency to empathy gives us a great resource when it comes to exploring the emotional depths, which can also be a boon when it comes to creative expression.

Just the other day on Twitter, I joked about my screenwriting:

The challenges of sensitivity and creativity

I notice that the challenging aspect of both being sensitive and creative comes primarily on the audience side of things.

And ironically, I can’t tell you how frequently I analyze hands for creative, sensitive types who have “Spotlight” in their hands — it’s astonishing. So much so that I’m seriously considering doing a one-time class on “Sensitives in the Spotlight.”

(“Spotlight” is a shortened version of the expression, “Creative Expression in the Spotlight” for someone with a Right Ring Finger life purpose, and for the term, “Fame and Fortune in the Arts” for someone with an Apollo Star gift marking.)

As Elaine Aron puts it, “The difficulty, I believe, is that normally we artists work alone, refining our craft and our subtle creative vision. But withdrawl of any kind increases sensitivity — that is part of why one withdraws. So we are extra sensitive when the time comes to show our work, perform it, explain it, sell it, read reviews of it, and accept rejection or acclaim.”

Some of my private clients and I recently did some work on this topic of “being seen” and discovered the importance of being willing to fully receive acclaim and trying not to block the massive flow of energy that comes with attention from an audience, but rather allowing it to flow through us and around us.

I was also recently reminded through my screenwriting class of the power and importance of intelligent, quality feedback to help us to improve our work.

As Artists in the Spotlight, we must be engaged in the exchange of our artistic expression for applause, approval, and appreciation from our audience. It is exhilarating, and while it may appear to be purely ego-driven, it is a necessary part of the equation for artistic fulfillment, at least from a life purpose perspective.

So yes, Virginia, I do see a link between sensitivity and creativity, and I think it brings challenges all of its own.

Your Turn

What does this inspire or raise for you? Let me know on the blog.



Coming Attractions

~> Ongoing. My Protection & Grounding Jewelry is on close-out. Only TWO necklaces are left, and then they are gone for good. Find them here.

~> February 2, 2012. Start the new year fresh with your life purpose clear in your mind. My next life purpose breakthrough group session in on February 2. Details. SOLD OUT.

~> February 20th, 2012. The next session of my Writer’s Circle starts. Sign up here. Get my Free Writing Tips series too, and receive a coupon for a savings on your first 4 week session.


What I'm Up To

~> Ongoing. Writing in the ProSeries class at ScreenwritingU, which was just named the #1 screenwriting class by InkTip.

~> Daily and especially Fridays. Sacred writing time. The Do Not Disturb sign is up.

~> Still watching Castle, Season 3. Loving it!