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How to stay grounded as an artist

Sheila Chandra - Thursday, October 18, 2018

You don’t have to live in a bubble or isolate yourself just because you’ve chosen a creative career. Artists can live a fulfilling life while and keep their feet on the ground. Here are some tips for how to get grounded in your creative career. 


What grounds you?

A comedian can’t always be funny all the time. There must be an “off” switch. As an artist, you need people who’ll let you fall into the background when you need to. You also need techniques and activities to give you a grounded and secure feeling. Find what makes you feel grounded. Is it meditation? Spending time with friends or family? Your dog? Being in nature? It could be exercise, eating healthily or even reading. Find out what works for you and do it as often as you need to.

Being grounded requires balance

There’ll be times when you’re working intensely, and conversely, times when you’re waiting for work. Working in the creative industries can be unpredictable and like riding a rollercoaster. How can you be grounded when things are either moving at a rapid pace or not moving at all? The key lies in learning how to balance things. Being grounded is about balancing the highs and lows to create a deep sense of security for yourself.

Use budgeting to ground your artist career

One practical way to do this is to make sure you set yourself a budget for living and ‘pay’ yourself that wage only. That way you won’t splurge just because you’ve had one of your bi-annual payments come in. another is to build up a ‘cushion’ of 6-12 months’ worth of savings. That way, when payments come in late, you won’t have to panic because you’ll always have at least 6 months’ worth of wages at hand.

Family instantly grounds you

Your identity as an artist is only one part of you. You’re also someone’s daughter, husband or mother. Stay connected to your loved ones and spend quality time with them when you can. The contrast of entertaining a large crowd of people compared to listening to your child talk about their week at school is instantly grounding. Your glory moments in your creative career will always be there to talk about, but moments with family are precious.

Getting support to ground you

Being surrounded by other artists can be inspiring. But, being known only by your creative identity can be frustrating too, especially if you want to talk about things unrelated to your creative work. Having friends who know you outside of this context can have a very grounding effect on you. Cultivate friends from your childhood and friends you can trust not to gossip can ground you. Even if you’re alone on the road touring, an email or a text from an old friend can instantly put you in that deep and secure place.

Working yourself into the ground

There is nothing grounded about workaholism. Being addicted to work is common with artists. It’s almost expected in certain creative industries, and to make matters worse, technology makes us available 24 hours a day. There’ll always be certain periods where you work intensely to meet a deadline. But you need to have clear boundaries about work time and personal time. Try making sure that you get a couple of days off a week and plan family holidays well in advance. Put social days or events into your diary well in advance so that you always have some social time to look forward to. Don’t let your social skills wither – as you become established you’ll need them more and more.

Workaholism can destroy families and friendships. You’ll have a great body of work to show for it, but it’s no use if you’ve constantly sacrificed family and friendships for it. Being grounded means you know the value of taking time off from your creative work. If you can’t see the value, then seek outside help. Otherwise, your mental and physical health will suffer. You’re not a machine – however much those benefitting from your work might like to convince you that you are.

 

Do you need help finding balance and getting grounded in your creative career? Consider working with me to help you find your feet. Contact me for a free coaching consultation at sheila@sheilachandra.com

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