Photo Credit: Photos by Elena & Jim
Recently I read a guest blog posted on Virgin’s Creative Matters blog where Dr. Pragya Agarwal, the creator of The Art Tiffin, stated that there are notable similarities between artists and entrepreneurs, including the desire to create something unique. I agree wholeheartedly more so now than ever as a result of creating my company Fearlessly Deliver and the Fearless Art Projects.
It is hard to believe my company Fearlessly Deliver will have been in business for five years this November. Additionally, this blog is the start of the eighth Fearless Art Project and the fourth Art of Fearlessly Doing Business series. The biggest lesson I have been blessed to learn from linking my physical art to my socially responsible business is that without a doubt; art is business and business and philanthropy are art. The skill set it takes to make something meaningful out of a blank canvas is the same skill set that is takes to build a successful business or charity; both derive from a deep relentless desire to solve a problem.
I learned a few very deep and humbling lessons from my last project, The Art of Fearlessly Giving Back – WebPT. The largest of those lessons was that there are only twenty-four hours in every day for all of us and we all have limits. When I got in my car and drove up Route 17 from Phoenix to Cave Creek after the AoFGB opening was over; I was to my very core exhausted like I have never been before (which is really saying something). I knew without a doubt that the years I have spent pushing professionally and personally were taking a significant toll on me mentally, spiritually and physically. It was time to slow down and regroup, and I knew it.
I have spent the past weeks taking a very deep look at my personal life, my business, my art, and my philanthropic goals. I asked myself once again not only what makes me happy but what REALLY gives me JOY.
After this period of introspection, the following five lessons have become very clear to me.
1. Take the Load Off!
By circumstance and necessity, I have been driving myself extremely hard. I have always been a very driven person, and even when I am at 10% I push more than most. I get that about me and I know that my drive is by far one of my biggest assets. However, even drivers need to rest. If we wait too long to take a big brain dump we burn out, and then we have to take even more time to recharge so that we can be maximally productive again. I am not being critical of my last big push. I know that given how life rolled out, I had no choice but to forge forward with my chin up. However, the first chance I had to safely R-E-S-T, I did.
I have spent the past eight weeks taking the load off myself. I have taken weekends completely off with absolutely no time blocked on my calendar. I have gone to bed early, slept in as long as I could and taken naps. I have forced myself to keep my computer off, leave my phone out of physical reach and put off making any big fearless decisions. I have taken long leisurely drives, walks and swims. I skipped a few work outs and notched back my intensity level on the workouts and yoga practices. I have spent time in person and on facetime with my soul family. I have gotten massages and taken saunas. Most importantly, I have sat very still with nothing in my hands but my own heart while I watched the sun rise and set while simply breathing.
I don’t believe it is “better to burn out than fade away.” I believe it is best to show up for the world the best we can and leave a meaningful legacy behind us. If I do not take better care of myself and continue to keep myself out of harm’s way, I will miss the point of my being here on this planet. Me not continuing to become the woman God put me here to be is not an option.
I have committed to myself that somehow in my next push I have to incorporate complete un-plugged down time into my schedule no matter what! Period. End of Story.
The bible and many other spiritual books tell us that pruning is necessary to truly grow. Every excellent gardener knows that pruning is part of the deal. I found in this quiet time that there was some stuff that just needed to go. There were some old thoughts, stories, behaviors, ideas and quite frankly people that simply needed to stop taking up time and space in my mind, both personally and professionally. Snip, Snip, Snip.
3. Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes
When I was in grad school I read, “The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century” by Thomas L. Friedman. Written in 2005, it is a book that thirteen years later I still have found to be right on point. One of the things that Friedman states, which I am paraphrasing here is, people who are going to make it in the new economy will be those who are able to change on a dime.
This fact has been the one constant for me – the one thing that we all can count on today more so than ever is change. My life and my career are examples of this fact. When we learn something is not working or could work better we need to learn lessons, turn the page and APPLY the lessons to the next chapter.
As the saying goes: Nothing changes if nothing changes.
4. Re-Focus Grasshopper
Having rested and pruned; I realized what had to change. I stood in front of my “Burning Desire” white board and my good old-fashioned wall calendar with my colored dry erase markers. I erased what no longer served me, restructured what was working and updated my goals accordingly.
Bottom line – Rest is good but, one cannot stay still forever. Eventually if we are to reach our goals we have to take lessons learned and re-focus grasshopper!
5. Gratitude is an Action
Before I created the fearless art projects all the work I created was either as a processing tool in my own personal journal meant only for my eyes or they were made as gifts to those I love and/or appreciated. I have been creating for others my whole life with no intention of monetary reward.
In my heart, I morally reconcile selling my work in two ways. First, I consciously create awareness of charitable action through my projects by shining a bright loud light on worthy organizations that focus on lighting a fire for good in the community. Secondly, I give minimally ten percent of all work sold to said worthy charities.
To me, gratitude is absolutely a requirement for a well lived life and it is without a doubt an action! If we keep on hoping to be blessed with good things, people and time off; we have to actively and clearly say THANK YOU!
Over the past five years there have been so many people to thank. In this series, I am actively featuring seven fearless entrepreneurs that have gone over and beyond their call of duty partnering with me on the past four fearless art projects in one form or another.
This project is a metamorphosis of lessons learned from the previous four fearless projects. My approach for this effort is comprised of the following elements.
- NUMBER of INSPRIED BLOGS
I am only featuring seven as opposed to my usual thirteen entrepreneurs.
- BLOG & SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS
I am allowing more time to make the work between series. Most blogs will post every two weeks as opposed to weekly.
- YouTUBE VIDEOS
All the interviews will be recorded online via ZOOM as opposed to shot in person.
There will be several pieces inspired by each entrepreneur not just one. One of the pieces will be gifted 100% to the featured entrepreneur. The other(s) will be for sale with minimally 10% of the proceeds benefitting this year’s charity – The Phoenix Art Museum. I may increase the percentage of sales that I am gifting in this series depending on the square inches work that I am able to produce for this show in comparison to past shows.
- SHOP ONLINE
The Fearless Redbubble Store went live in my last series. The Fearless Art Works eGallery will also go live by opening night and I will be adding a limited Fearless Zazzle Store. So heads up – both original work and Print on Demand (PoD) retail will be able to be purchased online as of opening night for this series.
So, there you have it! After a long, very much needed break, the fourth Art of Fearlessly Doing Business series has begun.
Keep your eyes open for the next blog on or about August 7th!
AoFDB IV – The Gratitude Series
LOCATION TO BE ANNOUNCED
I am currently interviewing business owners in the North Valley
to host the series from November 16 – December 24th.
It is my hope that I find an empty commercial space
willing to host a Fearless Pop Up that will feature this work
and potentially include other artists’ work for the holidays.
When I have the opening location secured I will update you all!
In the meantime, please tentatively:
SAVE THE DATE
November 16, 2018
Phoenix Art Museum
Entrepreneurs and inspiring stories of all kinds are FEARLESSLY DELIVER’s muse and focus. As an artist, a business woman and a visual journalist Michelle Micalizzi paints with a purpose. The FEARLESS ART PROJECTS are collaborative social practice art engagements that connect art + business + community.
THE ART OF FEARLESSLY DOING BUSINESS (AoFDB) is an unprecedented and unique social practice project that celebrates the fearless entrepreneurial spirit by highlighting the stories of unique and fearless business leaders!Ten percent of all retails sales are donated to an art or business related charity every year.
AoFDB IV features seven fearless entrepreneurs that have gone over and beyond their call of duty partnering with me on the past four fearless art projects in one form or another.