What’s it like to show up each day for your creative work? Are there certain distractions you’ve learned to avoid, dismiss and totally tune out? Or is it a losing battle to gain focus?
Truth is, when you are your own boss (part-time or full-time) you learn a lot about yourself. And that self-awareness turns into the “Yeses” and “No” decisions that help you jive, get in the zone, stay in flow, and align with, dare I say… your bigger purpose.
Integrative Health Coach, Marissa Boisvert, calls this “bringing awareness into your artistry.” She taught us how to do this through her WANA presentation at Essential Edge Live 2015.
In this interview, Marissa shares what the WANA project is, and how she was able to use mindfulness to bring the project to life.
What is the WANA project and how does it help artists?
Marissa: WANA is an acronym for Where Awareness Nourishes Artistry. The mission of the project is to protect and cultivate creativity during a distracted era. With mindful practices at its core, the WANA project is framework to ensure artists are creating fulfilling work, collaborating and staying well in the process.
With opportunities to learn, share, and collaborate, the project is helping each of us do and think about artistry in a new light. It’s about being human, without getting stuck in the suffering. It’s about learning how to fully accept at each level of one’s creative success. It’s about staying connected to who you are and what you need to do.
What was the turning point in which the WANA Project started to gain momentum?
Marissa: Not long after the Essential Edge LIVE 2015 retreat, things really came into focus. I knew WANA needed to evolve into “the WANA project.” I knew what needed to happen next, and from there every single person the project needed appeared. A couple of key people I met at Essential Edge LIVE.
When I spoke live at Essential Edge LIVE, the energy of the audience created a major shift in me. In the weeks that followed, it became very clear that I wanted to create more live opportunities, connect with a bigger audience, and build community. Thus, the WANA project was born.
The focus of your work is mindfulness and awareness. How did your own awareness of your professional journey help you re-direct when you needed to?
Marissa: I’ve found that the more self-aware and tuned in I am, the less time I waste. Things are clear and I’m able to discern the difference between discomfort and when something just isn’t right for me. I recognize when I’m creating distractions as well as external distractions that are disguised as opportunities.
It’s allowed me to be a lot more flexible and receptive. And things keep getting better! I don’t have to apply my energy towards finding the right people and opportunities. They present themselves more and more. I work hard but nothing feels forced. And if it feels forced, I don’t do it or take the opportunity.
How did speaking at and attending the retreat impact you as an arts entrepreneur?
Marissa: Tremendously. I was a dancer for over 20 years so the stage is not a foreign place, but being on a stage and having to use my voice and share my ideas was very nerve-racking. What I discovered while speaking was that I fed off the energy of a live audience and the importance of working with our fears. I’m so glad I accepted this opportunity because it was a game changing experience for my idea and my personal growth.
As an arts entrepreneur, the connections I made and relationships that have been built since have not only contributed so much in the development of the WANA project but we’ve also build an Essential Edge Live community. We’re there for each other and we all recognized that it was a great group of people. This is priceless.
Face the fear and meet the moment. You’ll be amazed how this action changes so much. — Marissa Boisvert
TWEET IT TO THE WORLD!
What would you say to someone balancing all that goes into being a creative business owner?
Marissa: You have to do what works for you. And you figure that out by being very honest with yourself about what you’ve got going on. Everyone has a different capacity and different responsibilities so you can’t look at what the person next to you is doing.
You have to be tuned into your energy levels, the amount of time you have for your business, and to other commitments. There are crunch times when you have to put more attention on your business. Sometimes you have to burn the candle at both ends but what that also means is that you also have to plan for time to recharge. The constant burn is unsustainable.
If you take the time to do this, you will be able to communicate and set realistic expectations. Everyone’s happy, healthier, and ultimately, you’ll attract more opportunities.
I‘ve heard you say that public speaking is a bit outside of your comfort zone. So, what would you say to someone who wants to get out of their comfort zone but is afraid?
Marissa: Be more compassionate. I think it’s really important to remind ourselves that everyone has fears. We don’t want to resist them. Acknowledge them and they lose some of their power.
Face the fear and meet the moment. You’ll be amazed how this action changes so much.
Any mindfulness advice for artists who feel pulled in different directions or are managing multiple projects or revenue streams?
Marissa: Pay attention to your energy levels. Be realistic about how much time you have by considering all of your personal and professional commitments. Plan ahead, prioritize. Then water what you want to grow.
You have to communicate, set boundaries, and establish doable expectations from the start. If you do those things, you’ll feel way less frazzled and all of your projects and any clients will also benefit.
Thank you to Marissa Boisvert for sharing mindfulness tips and the WANA project. For more information, visit www.theWANAproject.com.