This week has been truly amazing for me! I’ve been pinching myself because being in the room with a group of incredible artists working on my original play is beyond any experience I could have imagined about what fulfilling work as an actor and writer would look like. This is my first workshop rodeo and I’m being stretched in so many ways. I’m exhausted and enlivened in equal measure. I’m learning to create in the moment, to be deeply responsive, and what it’s like to be a full time artist.
And yet, I’ve had very real grapplings with the fact that my coaching business isn’t growing as fast as I’d like it to.
In the old days, I would have pushed and forgone sleep to try to keep all of my figurative balls in the air at the same time but …
Trying to juggle a lot of projects at the same time rarely got me any results. All it did was keep me busy and prevent me from having to feel my emotions or listen to any of the insecure voices in my head.
Now, I recognize that there is a time for everything and celebrate that my play is in full Emergence after 3 years of being “stuck” in the Fertile Void.
Arriving at this place where I could put a project “On Hold” or in a space of less urgency for a while has been a gradual process that began with allowing myself to slow down.
By slowing down, I was able to get really intimate with my interior life (emotions and thoughts) and befriend them. They still show up but it is now pretty rare for them to knock me off course.
So this week, as I was spending 6 hour days in the studio and another 2 or more hours working on rewrites and production work, I quickly realized that now wasn’t exactly the right time to push forward with some of my plans for Cultivating Empathy Coaching.
Not everything can be in Emergence at the same time!!
So, you’re probably wondering what I mean by Emergence, so I’m going to backtrack and tell you a bit more about the Cycles of Creativity.
These are roughly based on the female reproductive cycle as well as the cycles of the moon and based on the work of Kate Northrup. (If you’re not female, it doesn’t matter, because we all need to move through these cycles with any creative project.)
Phase One is the Fertile Void – This is a state where there isn’t much doing and there’s a lot of resting. In nature, this is Winter and for us menstruating humans it coincides with your period. This is the place where you fill up your cup of inspiration. In theatre and film, this is Pre-Production.
Phase Two is Emergence – In this phase, you begin to imagine what you’re creating, plan, and plant seeds. In nature, this corresponds to Spring or the Follicular phase. This is the phase when you create the foundation that will later grow into your full vision. In theatre and film, this is when you are in rehearsals or filming a project.
Phase Three is Visibility – In this phase, you are on. You are at peak creativity, production, and socialization. In nature, this corresponds to Summer or Ovulation. This is when the project reaches its peak. In theatre, this is when you are in performances and film is when you get your premiere and are on the festival circuit.
Phase Four is Culmination – After the project has reached its peak, you have this time where you wrap up all the loose ends. You reflect on the project, what worked, what didn’t and make space for the next Fertile Void. In nature, this is Fall or the Luteal phase. In theatre and film, this is your Post-Mortem.
The phases are important because we have a tendency both as a culture and as individuals to favor the Visibility phase, but Visibility can’t happen without all of the other phases before it.
And the bigger the project, the more important it is to gather our energy in one place rather than spreading it out over many projects. If we are working on multiple projects that are new, the dilution of our energy can be even more of a problem.
So as you are beginning to plan for 2023, recognize what phase your various goals are in. Choosing 3 goals that are all in the fertile void might prove to be particularly draining and hard to work on at the same time.
On the other hand, choosing one goal that is in the Fertile Void while leaning into others that are at a later phase in the cycle may prove to provide a better balance.
If you find yourself in a place where every goal that excites you is in the Fertile Void, that is 100% okay as long as you enter into that agreement from a place of compassion and patience towards yourself as you embark on these big projects. You’ll find them to be a lot more fruitful that way.
PS: Want more help setting goals for 2023? Sign up for my FREE 4 week mini-course Momentum.
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