If You Challenge the Process

“To the artist, art is a verb”

~ Orland Bayles in Art & Fear – Observations On The Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking, p. 90

Background: I participated in a program about a year ago, The Sloop Institute for Excellence in Leadership. One of my takeaways was a place card which listed the particular techniques that would best suit my leadership skills in order for me to most effectively hone them. There were 5 of them. Here is the second.

Part 2 of 5: Challenge the Process

Being an artist: It’s so predominantly focused on the process. This is both good and bad. I say this because the predicament of practicing one’s craft is so often wrought with a deafening silence in that post-process stage. It is a silence that has perhaps pushed many a creator to an outright breakdown one time or another. Sometimes criticizing attention is better than no attention at all. What is the trade-off when it comes to effectively conveying the value of what one has created? Why should there be a trade-off to begin with when the universal desire is to just be heard, to do what one loves uninhibited by necessity or the need for approval?

When I have found myself stuck in that rut of yearning for everything that goes against my personal philosophy, I have stop to begin with and begin reevaluating that very same philosophy. I need to look at my art. Art is about doing, and doing is an evolving verb in itself. (Click to tweet that!)

Without challenging that doing, without stepping back to see the results of that very same process, it’s all a dead and insane cycle. The artist remains nothing more than someone simply doing something. To what avail, though?

Okay, let me reexplain that: Had not been stepping back myself, stopping to reevaluate, readjusting and then pressing on…I would have never started this website, let alone the Sitting down on Sundays blog series.

To constantly be asking the question of ‘Why?’ is so critical; and for so long, I felt that these moments in which I would pause (for lack of a better term) seemed like such a waste of time. They seemed like time-sucking hesitations, thinking about things as opposed to just getting them done!

I talked about vision. And I further to add–

“Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

Proverbs 29:18

Pausing allows me to stop and open my eyes to the process in a fresh way, be it how to go about creating a new project or a handcrafted gift or another installment to my blog. Every time I do this and see the world beyond the front door of my own homepage, I remember the blessedness of listening, I remember that we are designed for relationships and connection, and most of all I recall that I have displayed a profuse amount of aptitude in these as well as many areas.

That is my ‘Why?’

The ‘Why?’ is a question asked by many artists and other great contributors to the fabric of society, whether they are conscious of it or not. I thoroughly believe, furthermore, that the ones who delve deep into this question of ‘Why?’ are the ones really stretching their own unique processes to their maximum potential. They are the ones who see breakthroughs, they see healing, they thrive, they create problems into opportunities-they are beginning to model the way for revolution.

Positive questioning-considering the ‘Why?’ that is-should not be confused with doubt but rather the antidote of it. The reevaluation provoked by the ‘Why?’ is a good checkup to the energetic immune system of leadership potential. All the infectious harsh self-criticism, bitterness, low self-esteem, negative influences and many other doubt-causing factors don’t stand a chance against this question.

So, keep asking ‘Why?’and remember that you are valuable and worthy of conveying your way-no trade-off necessary. Above all, keep living like you’re freshly pressed and, in the meantime, tell me:

What do you think your process is? What is your ‘Why’?

Is challenging your own process and thinking about your ‘Why?’ something you have mastered? Or does that habit still need work?

Share in the comments!


Did you miss the first installment? Get caught up!

1. Inspire a Shared Vision

If you liked this, you might also like these as good sources of inspiration:

Fear Of Being Exposed by Lauren Barnhart

Why I Write by Harper Faulkner

What’s In a Title? by OpD

4 Unsuspected Masters of Wisdom, Love & Patience on ModernLifeBlogs


11 thoughts on “If You Challenge the Process

  1. Wonderful article, very inspirational! Thanks for the ping back, also!

    Might I make a suggestion as to your theme – go for a lighter background colour maybe? Something along the lines of #f6c28f. Of course, it’s just a suggestion. 🙂

    • Awesome and it was my pleasure! As for the background color, I COMPLETELY hear you 😀
      I couldn’t sleep last night very much, and one of the things I kept dwelling upon was ‘…gosh…that orange…’ So thanks for the feedback for sure.

      • Definitely not I need the feedback for sure. It’s actually a good thing you said something because I am designing my newsletter and some people have been interested in signing up. The template had the same color as the website, but perhaps I will just keep things white for the most part and keep the background color neutral. In fact, I’m going to test out your suggestion now!

  2. The “why” for me, is that writing is a necessary process for growing in understanding of life. Everyday, it allows me the possibility of seeing something from a new angle, or understanding someone else’s point of view. All of the art I witness lines up in synchronization with whatever I’m doing, showing me that this is what I was meant to do. Verses when I don’t write, and I take on some lame job, and try to be someone I’m not just to get by, and everything falls apart. I’ve learned to put writing first, and when I do, the rest falls into place. It’s my one true thing.

    • I could just read that comment again and again, Lauren. You actually foretold the next installment, Model the Way. I was just thinking about how things tend to get silent and often messy when one gets so inwardly focused. The next blog this Sunday will address that predicament for sure.

  3. Great thoughts here on the process. The “why” works for all areas of life, I think, from parenting to work to art. Digging deeper instead of simply going through the motions of status quo in uninspiring and any vision once there fades to a dull gray. We fall into ruts and grow bored.

    Thanks for making me ask “why”!

    • I appreciate your feedback and shared insights, Ann. I don’t want to be bored. I think people like you and me are forever and incessantly challenging such a status quo in order to live in a richer, more fulfilling way.

  4. You are much further along your journey than I was at your age. I admire you and the goals and challenges you have set. Let me recommend a book to you: Writing the Natural Way by Gabrielle Rico. As you read through the book, think of it as not only a way to write, but a way to live. Here’s what I mean: allow the little things to grow into the big ideas. There are a billion starting points and each one will take you on a different journey. Explore those starting points and things will open in an amazing way. All joy today. It’s really important! HF

    • Thanks so much! That means a lot. I am currently going through a PR program and just enrolled into Marie Forleo’s B-School so it’s a bit packed for me. I love reading and expanding my knowledge, though. It’s really important for me to remain teachable. For right now, I’ll add to my wishlist 😉

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