Overcoming Obstacles – Just Ask

We all have things we want to accomplish in our lives. Write a novel. Learn to paint. Travel Europe.

pottery shelving

Studio storage

But for every accomplishment, we often have one or more obstacles that keep us from getting there. “I don’t have the time.”  “I can’t take time off work.” “I don’t have the money.”  Many times, these obstacles are false obstacles caused by our fears.

For the longest time, I longed to spend more time in the studio.  The longing was intensified whenever I would spend time with a studio potter.  I never thought I could spend my days throwing pots, because work was too consuming.  If I got six hours a week in the studio I was lucky.

I had a long list of reasons I “couldn’t” spend more time in the studio. Work. House work. Money.

But a few years ago when I had the opportunity to apply for a residency, my outlook changed. I really wanted that residency. I wanted the artistic freedom and control a residency brings so I could have room for my work to grow. However, I worked 60+ hours a week and the residency required a minimum of 25 hours a week in the studio. Yicks.  How was that going to work?  I could have walked away, but instead, I sat down with paper and pen and sketched out a sample week to see how to make it possible.  The only way it could work is if I went part-time at work – no more than 30 hours at a desk.

Pottery storage

More shelving

As if in a fog, a few days later, I found myself having lunch with my boss and asking him if I could move to part-time.  Luckily, I was so nervous I had stopped eating, or otherwise I would have choked on my sandwich when he said “ok”.  Two months later, I was sitting at a desk 30 hours a week and sitting at a potter’s wheel another 30 hours (albeit at a different studio since the first residency didn’t pan out).  I was still “working” 60 hours a week, but was happy, satisfied and feeling more balanced. I had jumped the hurdle of my own obstacles and landed safely on the other side.

This was a huge lesson for me.  I was never very good at asking for help or going after what I wanted with singular purpose. I could never imagine asking for the “impossible.” Maybe it was age that made me throw caution to the wind, or the strong maternal pull of the clay? I can’t know. And it doesn’t really matter.  I left this experience knowing that I just had to get out of my own way in order to make the rest of my dreams come true. Now when I spend time with a studio potter, I don’t feel a longing. I am living with clay and loving it.

What obstacles have you overcome?


About Claytastic

Health coach. Writer. Teacher. Artist. Living an amazing life with MS. Interested in bringing peace and beauty into people's lives.
This entry was posted in Journey Toward My Passion and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Overcoming Obstacles – Just Ask

  1. Heidi says:

    Wonderful post Laurie! You are dead on when you say our biggest obstacle is ourselves.

  2. Angela says:

    Congrats Laurie! Your story is inspiring and made me smile. I’m still dealing with my own obsticles, but working on balancing my life. 🙂

  3. Great post Laurie. I totally agree that we can set obstacles in our path by not learning how to follow our heart. I remember working on a degree that I had lost my passion for, and it took me another year and a half to set it aside so that I could pursue what I really wanted to do. Sometimes the decisions we made months or years ago no longer seem as persuasive, but it takes a huge effort to overcome the momentum we have already built in that direction. We have so much invested in doing things this way that breaking out of the pattern is a serious test of willpower and desire. Habit can so easily reinforce itself.

    I’m glad you had the courage to move in the direction of your desire. The world is a better place because of the art you have added. Keep up the good work!

  4. Connie says:

    Hi Laurie
    Wonderful post!! I am a public school teacher in a district of 50 + art teachers, only 2 of us work as professional artists. I hear all the time; well you can do that because you don’t have kids. Well, I have a child now, and I’m busier than ever. (in art, work and life) but I still make time for my art. I get really frustrated when people tell me that I can be an artist because I don’t have the same time constraints as the rest of the world. But I do and I choose not to watch T.V. and other time wasting activities. I really do love T.V. and I do miss it. But it doesn’t give me any sense of satisfaction, instead I go to the studio and work, and then I juggle and worry and juggle.

    Before I started my teaching career I wasn’t producing art. Because of my students and all the creativity I see in my classroom it gave me the energy to get back into my studio and work. So I thank my 13 and 14 year old students who give me the power to be a professional artist!

    • Connie,

      Thank you for this response. I can so relate to this. First, I am so impressed how you have shunned the skeptics. Yes, you can be an artist.

      Second, I relate to the sacrifices. I often get people asking me how I can do all that I do (day job, making pots, maintaining 2 blogs, writing for a third, going to school and launching a coaching practice). How do I do all this? I don’t watch TV. I don’t do a lot of other time suck, non-productive activities. My “free time” is spent studying, writing blog posts or marketing copy or course proposals. Am I unhappy about that? No way. I’m working toward my dreams. What could be better?

      I’m so happy you are living your life the way you want. The world is better for it.

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