Estimated reading time: just under 3 minutes.
Do you ever look back at things you've done and wonder how on earth you found the courage? Or if you had to do it over again, do you wonder if you actually would?
One solo vacation in Hawaii when I was in my twenties, I decided to take a few tours to make sure I saw more of Maui than the beachfront of the condo I'd rented.
I knew how to ride a bicycle and I love scenic views from heights, so I started with Cruiser Bob's Haleakala Downhill Sunrise Tour, a bicycle tour from the 10,000 foot summit of Haleakala over a circuitous 38-mile course down the steepest highway on Earth.
The mini van picked me up at 4:00 a.m. with hot Kona coffee and a warm cinnamon bun to take the edge off of getting up so soon after going to bed.
We drove in the darkness for couple of hours so I had no idea of the terrain. When we arrived at the top of the peak before dawn, it was really chilly, so we donned warmer clothing and yellow rain slickers against the mist.
The sunrise from the top of Haleakala was spectacular and removed any residual sleep from my eyes.
Time to select our mountain bikes, put on helmets, shirts, shorts, and sunscreen.
Then our tour leader gave us a serious talk about safety, sticking together and especially not crossing the solid yellow line in the center of the road. The mini van we came up in would follow us back in case anyone needed a lift.
Our fearless leader was a contortionist who seemed to effortlessly ride, hands free (so he could give us signals about what was ahead) and backwards downhill (so he could keep an eye on all of us.) He made balance on two fast moving wheels look easy and as natural as breathing.
Did I mention that this ride included 95 s-turns and 95 hairpin turns on a two-lane road that was shared by tourists in cars (with good gears and brakes)?
A few people opted for the four-wheel ride, once they saw what was involved. I considered joining them because I'm not an extreme sports type.
But I like to finish what I start.
Besides, the only way to get the t-shirt was to complete the ride under your own power. You had to pay with courage instead of money.
I almost gave in when we passed through a swarm of bees - it was challenging enough to stay in line and on the move, but I followed instructions, blessed my helmet visor, kept my head down and pedaled as fast as I could. I didn't get stung.
We were the first tour up the mountain, so we were half way back down when we came to a full stop. The leader asked us to line up single file close to the mountain wall and away from the descending view. Someone from the second ascending tour had crossed the line into oncoming traffic and was taken to hospital in an ambulance.
The rest of the ride and was somber and quiet. We now fully understood the importance of all of his instructions, his attention to every one in the group and his mastery of the tour experience.
Would I do this today? Probably not, but I am so glad I did it then. I know that I have it in me to get past my fears when I really want to go for something more than a t-shirt.
Art careers have a lot in common with this ride.
- You thrill to the idea of the heights you can reach.
- You have some of the skills you'll need and will learn the rest on the way.
- You join groups of like-minded people to reduce the isolation.
- You ride up a steep career path without really knowing what lies ahead or what to do on the downhill.
- You have no idea (really) of all the twists and turns you'll take on your path.
- You encounter obstacles and the sting of rejection without the option of avoiding them and with determination.
- You experience the delight of opportunities you did not create intentionally.
Fortunately, art careers are not life threatening and there is no ride to a hospital if you ignore a few signals or make a mistake.
But there are balance issues and they are more complex than riding a mountain bike on tricky terrain.
You juggle multiple roles, goals, responsibilities and relationships - and not just as an artist entrepreneur. Since you alone are in charge of your results, it often feels like pedaling a unicycle on a tightrope between creativity and business.
It's not easy, but neither is it impossible. And a lot less dangerous than riding backwards down a volcano.
P.S. Want to join my guided tour d'artistes? Let's talk about juggling and balancing while you ride your art career.
The Artist's Journey to Conscious Juggling.
Wednesday, June 18th, 2014from 5:00 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. Pacific; 8:00 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. Eastern.
There is no charge for this group call, other than your long distance carrier fees.
Sign up and I'll send you the telephone access numbers.
We'll have a practical and life-affirming discussion about how you can juggle art, life and marketing with less effort and more ease. Please make sure to tell me what you are juggling and what you'd like me to talk about that could help you keep the right balls in the air.
After we've shared stories and suggestions for 45 minutes, if you can stay for a few more. I'll also tell you about the new A.C.T. coaching program "Balancing Art, Life and Marketing."
If you can't make it, no worries, you can set up a personal call with me to learn more at a time that works better.
Read more like this:
The demands of making a living as an artist and having a life.
Balancing Art, Life and Marketing