Today’s blog guest is beloved Julia Elmore, artist and creator, who has made my gorgeous Abundance videos and is the genie on the 30 Day Challenge. Here she is in her own words.
My name is Julia Elmore. I am drawn to all things colourful, unusual and uplifting. As an artist, mentor, mother and seeker, I help women of school aged children live more joyful lives through creativity and gratitude. I find inspiration everywhere and I am often to be found, where I am in my element, making beach art with whatever the tide has left behind.
I launched my website BeCreativeDaily.com in May 2012 as a way of documenting my personal creative journey. I had committed to a whole month of making art every day as a way of finding a path back to a regular creative practice, but what happened was that my idea of being creative expanded and it was not long into this brief period of experimentation that I realised I wanted to run workshops, teach art and encourage others to carve out their own creative path.
The past couple of years have been very much about finding my own creative voice through exploration and experimentation and sharing with others what has worked for me. Sharing my journey has enabled me to build a small, but connected tribe of women. Most of them had, like me, lost their sense of self having had children. As their children grew, started school, found their freedom and discovered their areas of interest, going to clubs and learning new skills, these women felt the need to re-connect with their own creative side and (re-)discover their passions.
I teach art, but not in a traditional sense. I like to introduce my students to unknown, untrained artists. I take the chairs away, encourage movement and experimentation, group participation. Everyone is creative and it is my mission to give people the confidence to explore their potential. As you find your creative voice and express yourself through art, you gain the clarity and confidence to speak up in other areas of life.
I also run an online creativity course, 21 Days of Creative Freedom, which encourages playful art-making in a variety of situations and steers people away from the constricted ideas of art that may have developed in their youth, towards an expanded view of creativity as a form of fearless self-expression. It feels so liberating to be able to express your thoughts, ideas and emotions through mark-making and colour and the growing confidence in people as they step outside their creative comfort zones and begin to share their art is a pleasure to witness.
Gratitude has been one of the vital pieces of the puzzle of putting myself back together after losing myself in working for others, becoming a mother and the subsequent separation from my husband. My gratitude practice grew as a result of reading Brené Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection and experiencing a spontaneous act of kindness by a stranger on a bus. What started as a personal practice expanded into an online course where I now support others in creating a gratitude practice that fits into their lives.
During the 21 days of my Gratitude Daily course, I send daily emails to participants and we connect via a secret Facebook group. It is a joy to celebrate with people as they share their good news; to support them as they experience challenges and to witness the transformative power of gratitude in others.
Many people love the engagement and connection that a supported course offers, whilst others are capable of going it alone and like to work at their own pace, so I am in the process of creating self-guided versions of each course as well as ebooks for those who like to work under their own steam. This will bring in some passive income, an area that I would like to expand.
Who wouldn’t want to make money from their passions whilst they sleep? I feel privileged to be able to make money from my passions, but it has been a conscious decision. Investing in myself and getting the support I need with Judith as my mentor and enlisting the help of other experts felt like a big leap at first, but it has paid off as I have progressed faster and feel more supported that I would have alone.
Having an internet-based business allows me the freedom to work from home or out and about on wifi if I wish and the flexibility of hours enables me to work round my boys and be there for the school run at the beginning and end of each day. Working from home also means that I do not have to do the dreaded commute and instead take a little detour on my way home from the morning school drop off.
This mindful walk through the park sets me up for the day as I take in all of nature’s details whilst stretching my body and as I step out of the park and walk up my road home, I consider my intentions for the day ahead, ensuring a focused start when I sit down at my desk. I sometimes meet another artist friend for a quick lunchtime walk as working solo from home can feel a little isolating at times and stepping out to connect and refocus at midday leads to a more productive afternoon.
One of the best things about working for myself and running courses online is that I am able to build relationships and connect with people all over the world and engage with women who I am not able to meet in person due to location, but with whom I have a lot in common. I had not expected to make so many new like-minded friends this side of 40! There are so many inspiring, creative women carving their own entrepreneurial path who I have had the good fortune to connect with and learn from and alongside.
I enjoy the variety and freedom of working for myself. I am always coming up with new ideas and I like that creating courses that run over a period of several weeks allows me to bring lots of ideas together and share them under the umbrella of one course.
I have been surprised what a roller coaster this entrepreneurial journey is… the highs make me feel so joyful and incredibly blessed and the lows make me feel like throwing in the towel. I have now experienced both ends of the spectrum often enough to realise that when I feel like giving up, pushing on through is the answer as that is the moment when I am on the edge of a breakthrough. This has happened time after time.
Some of the most important lessons for me have been to embrace the unknown; to expect the unexpected and not to give up on an old idea that keeps resurfacing. These days, I play out my ideas by following my intuition and doing things I love. If I enjoy something and find it inspiring, the chances are others will too, so I am currently living the life I want to sell to my tribe; leading by example and embracing new challenges.
What happens in my personal life spills over into my business and vice versa and this can be a good thing. The experience of learning to sail this Summer pushed me outside my comfort zone and gave me enormous confidence which gave me a boost with my business and having witnessed my entrepreneurial journey, my children have started to come up with business ideas of their own. My 5 year old son has already earned a few pounds from an idea he awoke with one morning.
The thing I am most looking forward to is seeing where I am in my business and my life one year from now. This time last year, I would never have imagined that I would have learned to sail, run three successful online courses and be planning to roll out my Inspiration Days in London for women who want a grown up play date to explore art. The possibilities feel endless and I can’t wait to see where another year of following my passions, listening to my intuition and sharing my inspiration will lead me.
Follow Julia on Twitter: @PinkInsect
And Like Julia on Facebook: Facebook.com/BeCreativeDaily
Julia is a member of my Coaching Club 100. Join Club 100 during August and save 50%. Become one of this fabulous group of women for a very affordable £100 a month. Prices rise to £150 per month on 1st September 2014 so now’s the time to join.