I can hardly even say the word--how can I be it? (My lesson in being a badass.)

A year ago, my husband and I did a road trip of Washington state. That week’s trip changed my life in ways that I’m still coming to understand. In addition to fueling inspiration for many of my abstract and landscape paintings in the past year, the trip took me to a little independent bookstore in Winthrop, Washington, where two brightly colored books stood out on the shelf to me. I tend to be drawn to a good book cover like a magpie to something shiny, so I picked them up.

Shiny Books!

Thus began my journey with Jen Sincero’s You Are a Badass and You Are a Badass at Making Money. If you haven’t read her books, Jen is all about getting out of your comfort zone and going for whatever it is you really love in life.

I’ve read similar books—even done a lot of workshops with that theme—but there was something about Jen’s wit and irreverence that really spoke to this 50-year old. I had been doing a lot of the same things my whole life—dreaming of being an artist full-time and yet not doing that. Jen’s books were a key part of what inspired me to take The Leap into my life as a full-time artist that begins in just a few weeks.

My Boubella BADASS (yes, that's the word!) Tee Shirt

As an ode to Jen and the impact of her work on my life, I bought my BADASS tee from Boubella, a start up clothing and lifestyle company co-led by a dear friend, Amanda Bouza. For me, it was one thing to read a book that said badass on the cover—it was another thing entirely to wear a tee that said BADASS outside of the house.

Getting Out of My Comfort Zone

See, I don’t think of myself as a badass. The word makes me feel really uncomfortable (it's even hard for me to say!). It says 'bad' and even has a cuss in it. And I don’t, for example, ride motorcycles, or go skydiving, or surf. I’m just a middle-class, middle-aged lady who wants to paint things that bring people joy, coach artists to be successful in their art business, and make sure everyone has a chance at a decent life.

But one of the things I have realized in all this is that to do those things, to make those things happen, I have to get out of my comfort zone. I have to grow my confidence and practice getting uncomfortable to make those things happen.

Being a Badass at the Market (well, sort of)

So I gave myself a challenge to wear my new Boubella BADASS tee to the market. It was so interesting to see what happened. I’m used to being sort of invisible at the grocery store, but when I wore the Boubella BADASS tee—people moved out of my way, looked at me and nodded, or stopped before stepping in front of me. It was kind of magical.

And while I don’t see myself riding motorcycles or skydiving any time soon—maybe surfing?—I can, in the meantime, keep wearing my Boubella BADASS tee and keep practicing getting a little out of my comfort zone so I can make some good happen in the world.

And as always, remember to look for joy. I promise it is there.

 

That’s me. Trying to be casual, taking a selfie in the veggie aisle with my BADASS tee.

That’s me. Trying to be casual, taking a selfie in the veggie aisle with my BADASS tee.

Fear or Excitement: Who Decides?

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"I'm so nervous about doing this."

I hear that a lot as an Artist Coach. In fact, I hear about it so much I wanted to write to you about it because we all have those moments in life when we feel scared of what's ahead or where we are at.

Excitement or Fear? A Tool

Over the years, I've picked up a tool that's really helped me when I'm nervous or fearful about doing something and I wanted to share it with you.

So here's the secret--fear and excitement feel roughly the same physically. Our breathing is more rapid, our heart might pound a little, our nerves feel nervy--I even have a weird metallic taste that comes up whether I'm really nervous or really excited.

What we do with that physical response can affect our perceived reality. When I feel those sensations, I’ve started doing a quick analysis of the situation. If it’s not life or death and if I’m not in actual danger, I’ve been saying to myself, I'm so excited about this!” Suddenly, instead of being subject of my fear, I am agent of my own adventure!

Agent of My Own Adventure

As agent of my own adventure, I’m making a choice to do this thing (whatever it is)—from open sea kayaking, to a sprint triathlon, to leading an artist’s workshop, to traveling by myself to visit my Mum and a dear art friend to see Hilma af Klint's breakthrough art show in New York City (where the photo up top was taken).

The tool--labeling the fear as excitement--gets me over the hump and out the door to my adventure. And oh the rewards of doing that--being able to stand in front of the world's first abstract artist, Hilma af Klint. Seeing porpoises swim 30 feet away as my nephew and I kayaked together. Being a part of my workshop participants' journey to increased self-expression. Even tiger paddling my way through the swim leg to PR in my bike leg and run respectably and not finish last in my first sprint triathlon. Taking that first step to see what I can do has meant having experiences that make my life richer, more fun, and more filled with joy.

So try it out. Next time you are feeling nervous about doing something and thinking about maybe not doing it, try saying to yourself "I'm so excited!" and take that next step.

Courage

Courage is not the absence of fear, but feeling the fear and doing it anyway. This tool is one you can use to help you take that first step.

Have a great day. And remember to look for joy. I promise it is there.

Joyfully,
Sarah
Sarah C.B. Guthrie, MFA
https://www.artistgu3.com/

Oh and here's a little Joy for you--"My heart flutters" 12"x12" Acrylic on paper. Click here for more information about the piece.

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