I have a sister, a brother and they together are my greatest encouragers. My sister owns two businesses, she has authored her own children’s book and is one of the most generous people I know. My brother is a high school woodwork teacher, a football coach and fiercely loves his teenage son.
Lately, I have been listening to some of my mentoring clients tell me horror stories about collaboration and creativity. It’s not a coincidence that I have been seeing the rise of the “pack mentality” grow online and confusion around how to participate in this sphere of entrepreneurial life.
One client said to me “I walked into this workshop and every person was wearing the same thing. I stuck out like a sore thumb. It was like I missed the memo, the dress code and then it dawned on me everyone was trying to be like each other.” It was a copyright disaster waiting to happen.
Have you witnessed messy consequences from creative communities who try to be like each other?
Have you ever felt disqualified from a tribe because of being different?
Where is the love?
The way I see it, the creative sisterhood can be surmised by lessons I have learnt from having my very own little sister. Comparison, competition and the expectations of collaboration can weigh us all down heavily.
Three thoughts about creativity, copying and tribe from my sister.
1.”Unity does not require Uniformity, just a heart that says yes to love.”
The Miriam Webster Dictionary describes love this way
“Unselfish, Loyal and Benevolent”
Benevolent is an amazing word that means to have concern for the good of another. What if creative tribes and the sisterhood of women was celebrated by the expression of our own unique voice as a powerful tool in empowering those around us to thrive. A thriving atmosphere is one that believes there is enough room for everyone at the table. As an older sister, I often spent my days trying out things that my sister had not yet experienced. There were some seasons when I revelled in this, but as I grew, as I matured, I realised that it was actually my role as a big sister to prepare the ground and create opportunities for my little sister to do things beyond anything I ever could. Imagine if families celebrated benevolence rather than created cultures of competition?
It is a very slight change in perspective, but creating space for those around us is a great sign of maturity.
Unity within the tribe does not equal uniformity. Sometimes we expect a uniform before we let others join the circle, but what if we drew the unexpected into surrounds and created encouragement circles. My little sister was always so different to me, but I never tried to make her like me. I celebrated her unique voice and contribution to the world.
2. “Find your own unique sound”
Have you ever had a younger sister?
Have you ever had someone close to you who wants to do everything that you do?
It can be tiring. As a writer I spend my days developing, discovering and refining my voice. I write and write and then write some more. Thousands upon thousands of hours have gone into the thoughts I have been refining. I think a big danger that we now have with the online world, is we can express our thoughts when they are still developing and it is in that place of vulnerability that chaos reigns. As we grow and mature we pick up different threads from different influence’s and it is in that place that we discover our voice and who we are. It is very easy though to watch and stalk the people that we are wanting to be like. However, in that place of emulation, we can quickly lose the true tone of our own voices because we mimic those we are following. As a writer, especially when I am in the seeking phase for new ideas, I don’t read many other blogs. I read lots of books, I journal and write. I think Pinterest is a shallow space for inspiration.
Inspiration needs to come from our own experiences, our own stories and our own voice. When we write something that connects deeply with our own experience it cuts through the noise of the online world and brings an authentic tone. Authenticity is not something that is taught, it is the difference between a real experience and doing something because someone else is or a formula says to do so.
If we are in a phase of learning and exploring, just like my little sister would tag along and watch everything, I mean everything that I did. There has to come to a stage, where you step out from the shadow of those that inspire you and step into your own voice. To sing your own song, to celebrate your own set of unique gifts and to find your own voice.
There is something so gracious about the gift of autonomy. My sister and I were known as the Powell girls growing up, but no matter the season we have gone through we have been extremely close but always allowed each other the gift of autonomy. Which essentially is the freedom to live our own journey and life.
3. “Follow people who are different to you”
Creativity begets creativity. Jump over to your social media stream after finishing here and slowly look through who you follow and ask yourself this simple question…
Are they all from the same genre? Do they all look the same? Who is different?
My sister and I had very different friends. Even though we grew up in the same house, with the same culture, we had extremely different taste in styles and approaches to life.
We are extremely different and our Mum never tried to make us the same. One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is to hang out with people who are different to you. And then when you do, don’t change to be like them. Celebrate difference, celebrate uniqueness and discover and then look inward into your own story again.
When you are looking for ideas, start with your own stories, your own inspirations and your own writing. Take photos, express your view on the world and begin with your story.
This whole area can be extremely tricky but there is so much about tribes that are good, that I don’t want the little annoying parts to get in the way. So if you have been struggling with this maybe its time to get off technology and write with paper again?
Maybe it’s time for you to stop scrolling for inspiration and sitting deep in a place of contemplation and prayer for your own journey?
And more than anything discover your own unique journey.
Your own unique voice and your own discovery of the lessons that are awaiting you in the future.
Express love for those who are in your creative sphere and make room for those who are coming. Also deeply create room and freedom for those to develop their own voice and expression. Unity does not equal uniformity, find your own unique sound and follow people who are different to you.
What lessons have you learnt from your sister?
We have just launched a local event to the Rockingham region called The Winter Creative Festival and bookings are going fast, come and check it out and collaborate with people locally who are really different to you.