Finding possibilitiesIf there are keys for getting from where you are now, to where you want to be, one of them surely is ‘noticing the difference.’ (click to Tweet)

Noticing the difference is like peeling an onion. Differences, nuances of shades, exist on so many levels. Sometimes, for me, the awareness is fleeting. I get a glimpse of where I want to go and then it fades, that’s how I know I have so much more to learn. Other times, in areas where I have more experience, it’s clearly noticeable. Finally, when we’re accomplished at something, the difference shows up as a fact; the level of competence or mastery easily discerns the level of the novice. I’m not just talking about art. This “difference” also shows in how we behave in personal relationships, leadership situations, golf or any sport, even parenting. Not that parenting is a sport…though sometimes, I guess, it can actually feel that way.

Initially, my awareness of my “difference” became apparent as I was wiggling in my insecure skin. I needed to get a portfolio together for an event, but was unable to commit to a direction. Does this sound familiar to you? I needed everyone’s opinion and approval – a tripwire laid perfectly in the jungle of my ego. Now, I’m sure this wishy-washy, apprehensive, psychological grappling is typical of newer artists and if it’s not, don’t tell me…I would like to think I’m one of the typical black sheep in the herd.

I know what I would tell you about this…but I just couldn’t seem to take my own advice.

After a full chastising by my mentor for hitting this psychological black ice, I put my head down and went back to the studio to paint. Just me…expressing myself…never caring about the outside world…riiiiight.

You see, there’s a point where you notice the difference in how you are doing something and how you want to do something. That awareness, and the ability to identify the details, can drive to you to the next level…and it can also seduce you to feel insecure about where you currently stand.

And it goes even deeper.

As we peel the onion, we might not only notice the “difference” but the “why” behind it. For example, Noticing the differencethere’s a level of skill and a level of passion that co-exists on my righteous path. It may or may not be the same for you…but you have to honor both of those things, or you can’t get to the next level.

I realized the power of the passion when a friend asked me, “If I wanted to be a poet, I would need learn the forms and read a lot of poetry, right?” As I pondered the question I realized, the technical aspect seems to a part of the whole, but more in the role of a supporting character. Mostly, you need to write poetry…lots of it. You need to get intimate with the words, feel the passion and express yourself. Sure, you have to be able to spell and know the language…but, I believe it’s more passion than technique. The same is true for my husband’s golf game. He’s been swinging that club for YEARS – there is an element of “feel” that will get him to the next level of the game. Passion follows the fundamentals. The value of passion cannot be dismissed (click to Tweet).

I’ve written before about the uncomfortable middle.   There is no way around but through. The same applies to the “middle” of the process of creating, as well.

I always feel better when I listen to Ira Glass, who says it so well in under 2 minutes.

Feel free to leave your thoughts here on this blog. Share your experience. It feels better to know we are not alone. We learn from one another. And, as you read and write the comments –

Notice the Difference,



Michelle Andres is a writer, artist and coach who nudges, nay, shoves, her Writer, Artist, Coachclients in the direction of their dreams, helping the to overcome non-productive behaviours and enjoy more success in their lives. Contact her for a sweet hand holding or a good ass-kicking.

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Michelle will be teaching a “The Painless Business of Art” workshop, March 14th at Blue Line Arts, in Roseville, CA. Join us and focus on creating a personal brand that is aligned with your authenticity as an artist. We’ll work on artist statements, portfolios, how to work with galleries and more. Register HERE.

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