Recently something has become very obvious to me.  I have been in the online business game for a while now and what I see is a little disturbing.  It generally runs something like this.

Person decides that they need to go ‘legit’ with this business they are in.  Thus, they need a website.  They also need to do a business course or two to get a handle on the mechanics of ‘how it’s done’.  They look around at how others are doing it and see if there is a mould and method out there that might fit theirs.  And then the go about replicating it – with, of course the stamp of  ‘me’ on it.  Then they open up for business.

Now some people really hit the nail on the head, and business flows immediately and builds momentum.  But what happens to the vast majority is the deafening sound of crickets as they launch their blog / website / business to the world.  That online store that took months makes few sales.  That consultancy business brings in one or two clients a week max.  A lovely start, but nowhere near enough to make the ‘full-time’ income they were hoping for.  No matter how they tweak it, they just can’t quite hit their stride.

And then people become stuck.  They feel like they have done all that they can do and that it hasn’t worked, so maybe they are a failure.  Maybe they are not meant for their dream.  This is a confronting and heartbreaking phase to go through, I know, I have been there, and if gone unchecked can lead to the self-fulfilling prophecy of giving up and closing up shop.

What is really called for in this situation though, is not giving up, it’s simply giving in.   Giving into the idea that something hasn’t worked, and that is ok.  Giving in and allowing an openness to occur in you that will help you to see the way forward.

You see, I think we can spend our entire lives looking for ‘how to’ formulas to pretty-much everything.  We can get lost in thinking “if I can just figure out how Jo Blo made this happen, find his angle, then I know I could ‘make it’.

And yet, I think that this is the greatest mistake of all.  While how-to formuIas can be helpful, I truly believe that running an art and soul-based business is an predominantly an act of resonance.  We create such businesses not just because we are trying to earn a living, but because we want the path we are on, that inspired way that we lose ourselves in, to become a more major part of our lives.  We want to test the bounds of our creativity and see if we can create a living from it.  We want to feel like we are on a path of destiny, that we are giving something to the planet that is unique and purely ours, and that the planet nourishes us in return.

We want this kind of beauty and this kind of flow, and then we proceed to try and shove that flow into a marketing formula.  No wonder it rarely works.

The truth is that art and soul-based businesses that powerfully resonate are remarkably unique in the visuals and voice they put forward.  There is a wholeness and a harmony to the way their vision comes across, and a clear and distinct sense of the journey that it has taken for the person to get there.  It’s what is meant by that oft bandied-about word ‘Authenticity’.  There is a palpable and unapologetic presence of their vulnerability in the equation and a calm, steady flow of “I’m going to do it my way.”

There is also a sense of rituals and practices in the lives of people who run those businesses.  Clear signposts every now and again of how these individuals find and continue on their true north, again and again.  Very personal, energetic ways that these individuals rediscover their resonance time and time again so they may continue on the path that is being broadcast to them on the airwaves of the universe.

For this is what I believe is really happening with such people. They are, simply put, masters of intuition.   They resonate and they do not question the resonance with silly phrases like “maybe I just made it up”.  They trust it.  They trust the symbols and signs and the unique meaning that they given them. They understand their internal GPS system that connects them with their destiny and beyond that to the divine. They resonate with the path before them and continually give to that path and consequently, over time, that path becomes lined with beautiful glowing white pebbles that continue to light the way.

I once saw a brilliant painting at the Modern Art Museum in Sydney.  The painting was of what you see when you are driving in the deep country at night in a car with headlights on.  All you can see is the scrappy piece of road immediately illuminated in front of you.  That is all you can drive into.  And most of us somehow manage to find the courage to drive these roads, trusting that the road will continue to appear in front of us.  And magically, it does.

DrivingAtNight

I think that we need to run our art and soul-based businesses a little more like that – on the faith that the road will continue to appear in front of us. But we need to do it using the map of our internal GPS, our intuition, making decisions based on what has the greatest resonance for us, and with the willingness to take a sharp, sudden left.   Because when we listen to resonance, embody the feeling of resonance and attune ourselves to our ability to ‘know’, only then can we make clear and beautiful decisions for our businesses that are absolutely aligned to our purpose.  That, my friends, is what true authenticity is.