An Artist’s Personal Constitution

10 Daily Reminders to Stay the Course of Authenticity

The author-artist hanging work for a solo show.

Start With a Self Audit

Today, though, is a little more personal. Because I can’t help but believe that the more we’re inundated with other’s successes, triumphs, and even failures, the more blurry the vision for our own lives becomes.

I’ve taken most of this month off of social media — popping on occasionally to share good news or a photo of me looking like the Seinfeld love child, and the longer I’m away, the more I’m realizing how infrequently we take time to come home to ourselves, to audit our lives (am I happy? what’s going well? where am I dissatisfied? why am I always so impatient/late/frustrated?).

It seems like we’re learning how to live only in the context of others, only in comparison to what’s happening around us. And I know this is true of myself — the more time I spend watching, consuming, observing my peers, the less I’m sure of my own trajectory.

And on the contrary, the more time I spend with myself, alone, or in close community with the people I trust to be a sounding board, the more I’m sure I’m moving right for my life, regardless of the chaos. Or, the more quickly I’m able to identify the things I’m not doing right so I can make adjustments without hesitation.

Begin With the End in Mind

Stephen Covey, in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, likens this concept to a blueprint and a house in his point that “all things are created twice.” If others’ successes, expectations, scripts, etc. are shaping how I draw my blueprint, then I’m going to build a house I hate.

But, if what I build or create is in alignment with my own values, desires, and vision for my life in the blueprint stage, then the house I build based upon it, I’ll love. I’ll be proud of it. It’ll feel like home.

So, today, I choose to rescript. I’m going to walk in alignment with my values, my beliefs, my vision, and my destiny according to the vastness and the beauty of the universe, so that the blueprint I draw can set the tone and provide direction for the house I want to build.

Let’s start with the end in mind.

Ask yourself: If I listened to what was spoken at my funeral, what would I want to hear? How would I want people to remember me? What would be my legacy?

(I’d respond, for example: Wise, patient, beautiful, brilliant. Loved, lovable, loving. Magnetic, captivating, awe-inspiring. Miraculously, ridiculously, wonderfully creative — in that I execute on all things with excellence and precision. Intentional in relationship — as a wife and mother, unparalleled in my ability to see and know and provide for and cover my family and friends and business. A woman to behold.)

With this in mind — the end — where do I begin? What am I doing today that positions me for alignment with — and fruition of — this vision?

My Personal Constitution: 10 Daily Reminders to Refer Back to

  1. Listen to your gut. Don’t ever listen to anyone else, and do not follow through on something even if you love the person giving advice. Nobody is on this journey of yours; nobody has your intuition. Pursue peace. Trust your intuition.
  2. Create opportunity consistently. Don’t sit and wait for it to come to you. Bring that sh*t forth. Be proactive — about relationships, friendships, communication, business opportunities. I beg you…go after it with everything you’ve got. Trust your anointing.
  3. Do less. Stop trying so hard. Is what you’re saying/thinking/feeling/doing/being in alignment with joy and peace and truth? (“Is it Sophie to do this?” I’ll ask myself.) Or are you reading off of someone else’s script for your life? Trust your talent.
  4. Be big. Go ahead and do it. Be big and wild and free and floppy and lovely and wonderful. Do not get to the end of this life wishing you had gone bigger. Trust your edge.
  5. Take your time. “In this day and age, it’s better to land with precision and intensity, than scatter resources on low reverberations easily forgotten” (I can’t find the source of this quote; please let me know if you know!). Trust the compound effect.
  6. Do nothing for the ‘gram. Create nothing for the sole purpose of sharing to social media. Trust that the world is more than the internet.
  7. Stay [Your Name]. Don’t worry about the vanity metrics, think not of virality. Do only what is truest to you. Trust the process…and stay the course. Trust your identity.
  8. Always, always, always come back home. If “home” is the Universe, if “home” is God, if “home” is the Source, etc., don’t forget to visit home on occasion. Infinite intelligence (and, as an artist, infinite creativity), is bigger than us. We just need to make friends with it, to open ourselves up to its offering. Trust what’s bigger.
  9. Finally: Stay adaptable. Come back to this and make changes as necessary. You are water, not a brick wall. Trust your growth.

If you don’t know me, hi! I’m Sophie, a Chicago-based artist and writer. Connect with me on Instagram or Twitter, or shoot me an email if you’d like to get in touch (sophie@sturdevantcreative.com).

Chicago-based artist-writer, talking about creativity as our greatest responsibility. Expert in copywriting for multi-million dollar brand launches.