I Thought I was the Star of My Own Show—Then I Learned the Truth

Get the word out!

My job was pushing a pallet through a meat and cheese warehouse filling orders. Occasionally I was in the office on the phone acting the salesman. But mostly picking orders and loading pallets for pick up or delivery by customers.

Then one day a call came for me. The call came to the cheese and meat distributor where I was employed.

It was the owner of the nearby printing company. He asked whether I would stop in on my way home.

Let’s just say that my life took a turn. My meat and cheese career quickly drew to a close.

It was the beginning of a new chapter. Design and creativity was finally set free. This may sound nerdy, but paper seemed to always turn me on. Now I was in paper paradise. Ink. Color. Design. Ideas. Freedom. My employer loved me. I enjoyed life.

As time went on and I felt freedom to express my ideas and began to put them on paper… well, let’s say, that’s where the rubber met the road.
I had good ideas but not all of them were good.

But I had a problem. They were my pets. I liked them. My ideas.

If you don’t like what I create I will get offended. You better like it.

It was during the printing company tenure that I was taught about becoming brutally honest. I was eventually able to move beyond the offense stage.

In the years that I have been in the creativity world I have learned a few things. I realized that I am simply helping others communicate using some kind of medium. I am in between the speaker and the hearer. Between the buyer and the seller. Between the author and the reader. Between the restaurant and the guest. Between the company and their customer.

I was the middle person. Oh, yeah, it really isn’t about me and my ideas.

I thought I was an end all. I thought I had THE good ideas. You need to listen to me because I have experience with good ideas.

Yeah, for some reason that doesn’t seem to work long term.

Are you telling me I can pour my soul into a piece of art and no one may ever like it. Yes, that’s possible.

That’s what I needed to learn.

Does this mean I should stop my art? Not necessarily. However, if I want someone to pay me for art then I need to make something that fills a need for them. It needs to have value to the buyer.

I’m really not called to being a creative island. Or a creative hermit.

If I have a thriving business it’s because there are multiple people who value what I provide and they pay me for what I give them. They enable me to continue giving and to continue growing.

Truth be told, I am not serving myself. I am serving others.

At the core of it all: I need others.

My employer was genius at telling the truth objectively. He taught me how to be honest and receive constructive criticism. Actually, he was good at giving kind and gentle direction.

I still contend that one of the best things a creative person can have is a good critic to guide and give direction.

When it’s all said and done, I’m here for others.

My tendency had been to stroke my pet ideas and protect them. Some of them never saw the light of day, of course. They weren’t practical.

I’m learning to let go and serve.

What do you need?

What can I do for you?

It seems this kind of spirit can make progress. Now we can work together.

It’s all a process of letting go.

I’m here for others. Let go. Let live.

Then repeat.

What have you learned about letting go and surrendering. Please comment below.

  • http://www.alexbarker.org/ Alex Barker

    Wow, that’s a really open story Arlen. Thank you for sharing.
    I had to let go when I started my blog. I really didn’t know what I was going to write about or who would read.
    Thru this process, I learned that the way to start anything great, is to take small steps to over come doubt. I let go of listening to my doubts. I connected my beliefs and my faith. Now I ended up with an amazing blog following, podcast, and mastermind groups. Letting go of my doubts ended up with rewarding, and profitable, results.

    • http://storiesmadepowerful.com/ Arlen Miller

      Thanks so much for your visit, Alex. That’s exciting. I’m glad to know the process you took to break through. All the best wishes. Thank you for your suggestion and share on my site. I appreciate it so much! You are making a difference, Sir.