Life Lessons and Illustrations

For the past 6 months I’ve been completing what should have been a 5-day inspirational plan titled How Do I Find My Calling? Although I’ve skipped a month here and there between each devotion, today I finally reached the last activity. The devotion starts off with what appears to be a simple question. That question enabled me to dig deep within and reach the surface of my insecurities, doubts and character. Today’s plan was a much needed soul cleansing. I’ve decided to share the plan AND my responses in hopes that my own discoveries may motivate someone else.

Question: If you could do anything you wanted to do, you had unlimited time to get further training, unlimited money, and you could not fail, what would you do?

My Response:

  • Be a writer/journalist
  • work/own magazine company/ publishing company
  • Own a storefront

Task/Assignment: When discerning your calling, it is helpful to give a thoughtful examination of your life. Note what you have enjoyed doing and feel like you have done well. List at least three illustrations in each period of your life: grade school, junior high, high school, college, post-college.

  • What kinds of challenges trigger your motivations.
  • How and why you are motivated to learn.

MY RESPONSE: I realized a common denominator throughout my entire life is CREATIVITY and more importantly using CREATIVITY TO EXPRESS MYSELF when faced with turmoil. My CREATIVE side is my soft interior, the place where I escaped hardships in my childhood and adulthood; my safe place.

  • Always kept a diary/journal (6th grade-now)
  • would draw around the age of 5-6th grade
  • would read at least 2 books a day around the age of 13 (8-9th grade)
  • Played sports. I was exceptional at track but didn’t fully realize my talents (6-8th grade). I wasn’t as good at basketball but loved being part of the team and with the cool kids (9-10th grade)
  • Direct Study/Minor in Biology (2006)
  • Attended Art Institute of Charlotte; Associates in Graphic Design (2006-2007)
  • Received bartending license (2007)
  • Began painting acrylics and refurbished furniture (2009/2010)
  • Collected/Purchased prom dresses to provide for free to those who couldn’t afford one (2009/2011)
  • Began selling thrifted items on eBay (2009/2010)

The numerator within my life is BUSINESS. My business side does not necessarily equal success. I have attained success and happiness from my CREATIVE side as well, however historically I do not commit long-term to my CREATIVE side. The BUSINESS side is my hard exterior. It is where I am no-nonsense, forthright, bold and determined. It’s the driving force within me; it’s my strong side; it keeps me alive just as much as my CREATIVE side.

  • Teachers, Guidance Counselor and adults would constantly tell me I should major in business/saw that strength
  • Completed every business course offered at high school (received special certificate)
  • President of Future Business Leaders of America in HS (2002)
  • Double Majored in Business-Marketing and Human Resources Management (college; 2004-2006)
  • Obtained Master’s degree in Public Administration (Spring 2013)
  • Began Doctoral degree in Public Administration (Fall 2013); dropped out of program Spring 2015 despite completing half of program and having a B average.
  • Current Position/Career-Grants/Quality Manager

My Final Conclusion: So often I feel torn between my CREATIVE side and my BUSINESS side. I know realize that they work together and are more complementary than opposing. When work and life is overwhelmingly stressful I cope by immersing myself in a CREATIVE project. The idea of Ella Bea was created during a time when I was severely depressed after visiting my grandmother and dealing with her own state depression.

As I review my illustrations in each period of my life-the CREATIVE things I accomplished were all while I faced personal challenges-displaced as a child, awkward teen years, losing my virginity, devastating break up with college boyfriend, unsure of what to do in life after college, unexpected pregnancy, devastating divorce, threat of homelessness, backstabbed, betrayed, moving over 1,000 miles away, fear of failure…….

This assignment led me to stand face to face with my triggers. When I am obsessively pursuing my creative side that is a warning for me to stop and ask myself “What are you running from/avoiding?” What’s the matter? What challenges are you facing?” Sometimes we have to check on ourselves and more importantly our souls.

In the end, I’m grateful for today’s plan. I was personally struggling this past month with increased duties at work due to a promotion and increased duties in life as I felt the need to be there emotionally and physically for my grandmother and family after the passing of my uncle. In this moment, I know that I have the strength to balance both my CREATIVE and BUSINESS side. I also know that they need each other. The events that happened and will happen in life whether good or bad aren’t what defines my character. I am defined by my resilience and perseverance illustrated by my creativity and business focus.

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