Find the art in your hustle

When you think of famous introverts, who comes to mind?

I immediately think of actors like Robert DeNiro and Johnny Depp. On-screen, they are incredibly convincing as the various characters they portray. Many people find it hard to believe they are both introverts… until they see them in an interview.

Have you seen either of these guys in an interview before? They can be awkward to the point of making you feel awkward just watching!

Robert DeNiro has been rather successful at avoiding interviews for this reason. Johnny Depp has stated numerous times that he hates fame and tries to avoid it (though it’s kind of hard when you’re that talented!).

For most introverts, it’s hard to imagine that selling could ever become easy. But that’s so far from the truth. Selling can get easier. Will you ever be perfect at it? Of course not. We rarely achieve perfection in anything we do, but with practice we can get pretty darn close.

I’ve been an introvert my entire life. Back in the day, I didn’t have any of the few extroverted tendencies I do today. I was extra quiet. But people who saw me dance or perform would never believe it.

Why is that?

Because dancing was my craft; my weapon of choice. It’s the art I chose to explore, perfect, and challenge myself with. I competed to win, and I performed to get paid.

Freelancing is no different.

When you decided to start your own business, you chose your craft: your weapon of choice. Freelancing is the art you chose to explore, perfect, and challenge yourself with. You play to win, and you perform to get paid.

When an introverted creative begins to see her business as an art, she does much better.

Suddenly foundation, principles, training, and creativity make sense when we do things like selling. Practicing our sales pitch, negotiating skills, and prospecting becomes worth the emotional investment.

Strangely enough, we start finding the uncomfortable challenges of selling to be somewhat fun! And of course, it’s rewarding when we become better at the business side of things–especially when our bank accounts show it!

Do you want to know something?

The feeling I got right before my first big dance performance is the same feeling I got right before my first big sale. It’s the same feeling I got right before I knocked on my first prospect’s door when I was 17 (before I knew about niching!). I reckon that it’s the same feeling I’ll get right before I speak at The Freelance Conference (like how I sneaked that in there? If you want to attend and get your tickets at a discounted price, sign up to their mailing list asap).

It’s the same feeling you had right before you sold your first project. That’s what happens to artists, performers, and athletes: we get that scary and uncomfortable feeling, and it somehow fuels and empower us. Sometimes, we even become addicted and start to seek it out to get a fix. It makes us feel alive.

Do you feel like that about your work?

If not, could it be because you don’t see your work as your art and craft? Have you forgotten about the masterpiece you’re painting every day you hustle? Most importantly, have you thought recently about why you started your business in the first place?

Time and time again, I’ve seen introverts perform at levels that don’t correlate with their introversion. They become the best at what they do, even if it’s outside their comfort zone.

How does this happen?

This is the part where you expect me to break down some how-to’s and steps so you can take yourself to the next level, right?

But you know what? I’m not writing this article to teach you the how-to’s yet. I’m writing this article to remind you about your craft: creative hustling.

We can talk about different ways to get to the top, but that won’t help you long-term. Instead, I want to go deeper, and remind you why you started your business in the first place.

Many of you started creative hustling because you wanted freedom. Some of you started your business just for the love of the game. Others started it to impact lives (directly or indirectly). Personally, I did it for all the reasons above.

No matter your specific mix of reasons, together they must be big enough for you to own your craft.

Many will say, “Don’t mix personal feelings in with business. It’s not wise.” I say, you should go ahead and follow that advice if you want to be average.

Think about the artist. Does he produce art without feeling or expression? Of course not. A true artist knows that the key to good art isn’t just strategy, principle, or training (though of course all of that matters). The key to good art has to do with the personal feelings and expression an artist injects and weaves into his masterpiece.

Think about the athlete. Does she play her sport without an urge to win? Of course not. She bathes herself with motivation every day she trains. A true athlete knows that the key to winning isn’t only perfecting form, reaction times, and strategy (again, all of that matters, of course). The key to winning has much more to do with mindset, commitment, and discipline.

What’s a song without emotion? A painting without expression? A sport without a challenge?

Your creative hustling is your art, craft, and sport.

Own it. Don’t be scared to get personal with it. Express yourself through it, and accept the challenges. It’s yours, and at the end of the day your business and results will reflect you, your mindset, and your feelings about what you do.

Own it just like Robert DeNiro, Johnny Depp or any other of your favorite famous introverts—even if you feel somewhat awkward offstage. Onstage, give yourself permission to create, express, and be the best.

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