The Courage to Trust Yourself

In my late 20s I started working in the scenic shop in the theatre department of a San Francisco community college. Initially, I was excited to learn a lot of building skills and how to use power tools. But as time went on, I noticed my desire to work there was waning. I had an increasing sense of heaviness, and I watched the clock regularly.

I finally realized that I only really loved the painting aspect of set building- I was glad I now had a bunch of construction skills and know-how under my belt, but I had been drawing and painting since I was 6 and that’s where I needed to put my energy. Although I didn’t have another job to go to, I knew I couldn’t keep tanking my energy at this one.

I was scared, but I knew I needed to bust a move. So, I summoned up my courage and decided I had to tell my boss. I explained to him that although I was grateful at having learned so many construction skills, I really only enjoyed painting the scenery. Fully expecting his response was gonna be to tell me I needed to find work elsewhere, to my shock and amazement he said he would do his best to delegate the building to others and the painting to me!

I was ecstatic! This was the first time in my life I had ever actually stood up for what I wanted and needed in a job, and I did it clearly and calmly, hoping for the best but prepared for the worst. What a victory! Not only did my mojo improve after that at work, I started attracting painting jobs from regional Bay Area theatre companies, and went on to launch a wonderful career as a well-respected and talented scenic artist!

I hate to think how slowly things might have progressed for me, if at all, had I chosen to suck it up and tolerate a job that was draining me. Mustering the courage to speak my truth without attachment to the outcome was powerfully transformative. It paved the way for me to further trust my inner guidance, cultivate certainty, and go for what I truly desired, resulting in a fulfilling career as an entrepreneurial professional artist for well over a decade.


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