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Fulfill Your Creative Purpose

Lesson 7 of 30

Your Three Fattest Failures

Ann Rea

Fulfill Your Creative Purpose

Ann Rea

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Lesson Info

7. Your Three Fattest Failures

Lesson Info

Your Three Fattest Failures

All right, welcome to lesson number seven year three fattest failures we just finished up with lesson six which is getting honest about your strengths and your weaknesses and now we're gonna look a little bit something maybe it very uncomfortable who knows? But I will say that your failures your biggest fattest failures the ugliest, most embarrassing humiliating failures are where you're most important lessons lie and that's why we're looking at not to torture you and you know um crack swanson co founder of creative life he made the sun may this remark to me about his failures they even though we're in this multi million dollar studio and he's got this huge organization around creative life they had to fail a bunch of times to get here and what he said about failing in his world when he failed personally and he failed professionally that he had an investment in that failure that it taught him a lesson. It yielded a lesson and he wasn't gonna make that mistake again so that that was it ...

and I thought that was a great way to frame it. What a constructive way to frame your failures because your failures could be this this albatross around your neck it can be something that affects yourself his theme it can you know khun do all sorts of damage but if you can reframe it and actually look deeply into the lesson takes the weight off of it so everybody at home this is an opportunity this is may be uncomfortable but you know what do it it's worth it really worth it? Um you're not gonna get out of this life without failing so you know, yield the benefit of a big fat failure and learn the lesson all right, so it's our greatest teacher and all right so what I want a studio class is to talk about guess one I'll start with mine okay? So that I'm gonna you know I'm gonna talk about what what I perceive is one of my biggest fattest failures and um I went to art school I went to a very prestigious and expensive art school it was a five year program um it took a lot of work it took away a lot of energy to pay the tuition I was working part time I spent five years going for the program it was not an easy program and um I would say within two years I wasn't making any art I went to work for design firm uh which was a great experience I actually majored industrial design uhm and then I got married that was another failure by the way we'll get to that later but um then I came to california and I just couldn't I couldn't find any work in my chosen field he needed a get a job um, I thought I needed a mortgage and a green lawn, so I took that path and I gave up they didn't make any art, I'd even draw or doodle anything for ah whole decade and I felt like a big, fat failure, and I thought, um, yeah, this whole idea of being an artist that was just that was a load of crap. I'm I'm giving up on it, and I suffered terribly from it because it my core, I'm a creative person, and I had absolutely no creative outlet available to me. I just completely shut it down, I didn't do anything, and I really I felt like a failure, a really, really big failure for so many years, so many long, hard years, and I was depressed and I was an anxiety. I had insomnia, I was just trust me, I have failed miserably at least my my perception, it was a huge failure all that time, all that money, and I wasn't doing anything with it, so but look, I am now, and actually I have to say that if I hadn't had that like big, long, dark walk in the desert that I did, I don't think I would have had the resolve to actually make myself moved to a strange city san francisco, where I didn't know anyone quit my job no family back up no no sugar daddy nothing right and just say I'm gonna I'm gonna make I'm gonna make this I'm going to make this work I would have not had that resolve so that was really the positive that came out of it but I felt like a big fat failure and I also felt like a big fat failure when I went to my corporate job because all these people had studied relevant topics like information technology or something or another and I'm like I don't know anything about it so I felt like I was I was a failure there too so there's a nice entree um the lesson for me we know was you know it just it wasn't so much a lesson it was more a resolve I think that I got a resolve from that all right um who shall we start with somebody in the audience think you're a big fat failure and reflect upon it I'm gonna start with you felix what do you feel with your biggest fattest failure when I graduated from college I went to new york city to to follow my dream of being a tv director so I didn't make it to cbs and I was I was hired as a production assistant it was fun exciting has learned because nothing and you worked with some big names yes I've worked with a lot of people in business martha stewart you know um and I I had a lot of fun, but it wasn't wasn't happy and I started to watch every year my actually pay rate go down rather than up and I actually saw people rise above me who were below me or on my level of, you know, the title with my work production system I watched people go and I thought, what am I doing wrong? Why am I not succeeding? And, you know, eight years I was a production assistant and I learned so much looking back now, but you saw that as a failure because people were going ahead of you in the ladder. Yeah, here I was felix graduating in a t com broadcasting journalism school and not really doing what I set out to do. Okay, so what was the lesson that you, you obviously learned something from that failure of not progressing along with your colleagues? What was the lesson the lesson was? This was not my path, it was not my true path, it's not where you were supposed to be, not where I was supposed to be a team or any longer right served his purpose and now okay, you're supposed to do we're doing now I was fired when you're fighting, I've never been fired before from a job it was devastating to me, right? And how did it make you feel when you're fired uh felt like nobody like this little I walked around new york trying to figure out what am I supposed to do in my life and actually for the first time in my life thought about maybe I don't belong here on earth that is when everything shifted you mean you were like feeling suicidal or who was watching the buses go by and just thought it could all end here but I didn't go that far but I just it just dawned on me for a split second which scared me because I've never had that before great so those rock bottom moments are really scary but they're also the spark of brilliant sometimes it's where like okay, this is diskant play with us and you went and you wake up you wake up tio this isn't a fit I'm not supposed to do this I'm not supposed to be here I'm not supposed to be with this person this boss is abusive this client from grade right? Okay, so the lesson you taught that was taught to you from that was that you weren't supposed to be there and you actually got some information about where you really needed to go from this following your purpose in your path for the people around me at work actually encouraged me to take the leap okay all right jen fattest failure what was it so one of their a couple but one of is um so after college I was temping for like two years and I finally got a full time job for a nonprofit in development department doing some great writing and organizing events and after six months I got demoted and they wanted me to be a receptionist for another department and either I take the job as the receptionist for another department or when the contract came up for renewal in a few months they were going to renew my you had to accept the demotion or you're gonna lose your job altogether and you felt how about that at the work that I felt like this is a mask what if my dad oh my god and oh uh it's sort of it's sort of now and it's kind of almost defines who you are and all you're worth right? But it's not true but it's not really true so what did you learn from being demoted so there was a great lesson because I took the job is receptionist and actually two things happened one is you know, what I originally wanted was to learn how to do some grant writing and maybe organize events I ended up in a seniors department doing social work and so the being of service is actually what I love most about it I mean that was my and I wouldn't have applied for a job like that and I loved it okay? So it's like a the bonus surprise and it was a gift because you got to actually do work that was more meaningful yes and and also I realized that when you love what you do like that cause you're being of service and you like the people you're working with, being a receptionist doesn't really matter because in a couple of months I was promoted to something else like that was actually, you know, and I didn't recognize that with the other department I didn't recognize the way it fit with the people, right? Like I was so focused on what the job title wass so this is a reminder because there might be some people watching her sort of in the middle of it right now in the middle of a struggle in the middle of a failure it's not going to stay that way it's not going to stay that way, and everyone here so far has reflected back and said that big fat failure was actually a gift you know actually works out you're in the middle of it, it feels like it's an eternity and it's never going to end, right? Especially the worst failures. So just if you're watching at home, just pause and and if you're in the middle of it there's just keep keep going and understand that everything changes that's the one constant we can count on is that everything will change eventually and you, you will be able to direct a new direction. Yoni. So tell us. Fattest failure. Worst awful. Um, I worked for two different companies when I was young that were both japanese companies. And I was sexually harassed and unaided against repeatedly. I know that one. Yeah, and it was very commonplace in the culture then and also especially in japanese company. It was permissible in that culture. Absolutely sort of haddock uncultured sort of had tolerated. It was like, just there until I need a hill. Clarence thomas. So at the time I was, you know, just trying to deal with that. But then when, um I was overlooked for a promotion, I got really angry, and I left, and people thought I was crazy because this was, like, the job to have, you know, but I I think what I really wanted to do was not that. And yet I wasn't brave enough to move on. But, you know, because I felt like I had, you know, just couldn't succeed there. How you failed in that one will fail, fail to stand up to my superiors, okay? I want to make it an issue. I didn't know I had the power to do that. Okay and so I looking back on it I see it is I could have done something about that and maybe change that culture a little bit but instead I just chose to leave maybe you would have changed it maybe you would have not changed it but you would have voiced the truth right? You would have actually stood up for yourself even cycle here yourself and that's what I've learned to dio but it when I realized you know, coming out of it um I wasn't following my true calling, you know, I was doing sales and marketing and I wanted to be a photographer and so the sales and marketing or yeah, but you can also tell me of a dog lover you can do the creative side to race. I wasn't doing anything with photography exactly. Well, I was working for photographic companies, but but not your own yeah photography at that time exactly. Okay, so it it you know, out of the failure to stand up for myself, I learned to follow my true calling and stand up for myself. And has this been been an ongoing theme and ability that you required to have a new superpower to stand up for yourself now much, much better definitely and I also think it comes with age you know the confidence and it does and the culture changed because of what happened in the nineties yeah, the culture did change and I can relate to that experience I've um when I was an industrial design student I was one of few women it was a very hostile environment um when I graduated and went to work for design firm it was um I was the only woman in the design right that was good and I would go into the bathroom and see pornography intentionally displayed for you right um so yeah yes and I was I was an inspector on a construction site when I was twenty one yeah is the only woman with hundreds of construction work this was a pretty male dominated industry to john is now laughing at that, but this is actually well and I want to talk about this because there there are biases and they're very, very challenging um whether they're, uh, racial, religious sexual bias is they're very challenging and so the failure wasn't with you and that the failure was in the culture and where you felt the failure was their failure to stand up for yourself, which frankly sometimes works and sometimes doesn't, but at least you have the inner peace, okay, so who else have I talked to john? I can't talk about my biggest failure okay, please do I have so many but one that jumps to mind is uh a side project I took on so I've been running a company for ten years was my main business and it's going fine and well and everything and I've always, um sometimes I'm approached by people who want to do a startup and they have an idea or they have and they want me to help market it or something like that and uh one of these came along and I got very greedy and we there is, um a significant amount of angel investor money that was thrown into this business and my job was brought in as a founder and my job is to market and sell a product when I agreed to join this company is in exchange for equity so I wasn't being paid cash up front, which was not very smart we're going to use the cash to sell the product basically and I was told that we were allowed legally because this is a food supplement type product I don't say too much but that we would be allowed to make a certain claim and if we were allowed to make that claim I thought we have a decent chance of selling this product sounds like a good product right? And right before we launched our big marketing campaign which was going to reach uh three million people, we realize that the claim we had to change a couple of words that made it almost unsellable and when we reached out to three million people we sold one unit of prada oh and we wasted a crazy amount of money and it created you say you since you're not naming the company can you say how much money was wasted in that effort that you were part of? I don't know if I can say many many tens of thousands okay, maybe more who what was the exacting personal failure? The personal theory? What was your contribution to the failure my contribution to so the failure of my failure isn't that the business failed right? My failure wass I would never have started this business on my own I got greedy and my failure was vanity I was excited by the idea of a startup being recruited by a company that had all this money and meaningful investors behind it and I appeal to my ego when I would actually I wouldn't use the product myself it wasn't something that I believed in so my failure was that was a good example of selling out okay, so you and failed so you participated in adventure that didn't feel like it was an integrity in your purse wasn't congruent with my values ok? It wasn't like a bad thing it's just not so what was the what was the lesson blessing was on ly do things in terms of work and just in everyday life that I really believe in and that was a few years ago and it it cost me several months of time which was like the biggest expense was lost so so it's interesting to look at how when we compromise our values or when other people compromise their values what happens? I mean people get fired um people get to moded people you know, like all sorts of bad stuff happens and so there's a reason why we're reviewing our personal values in this course everything and it's a strange thing because some people think well you can't you know there's like this bias I can't add um when I'm talking about making money and I'm talking about values somehow these air oil and water and actually when you look at examples of ventures large or small when their values or compromise that's where things fail good employees air lost performance fails um you know, it doesn't go well so operating from integrity is actually a very profitable move and I will take it my brother a little plug he actually wrote a book called integrity is a growth market that's translated into many languages it is people are attracted to you know good good behavior or did you miss anybody? Did everyone someone fat failure? Okay, no one of mine one of your um wasn't early marriage I was married right when I turned eighteen okay? And I had no self esteem and I, um didn't really have any plan for life I had a great job but um I didn't I needed somebody to take care of me and loved me and he was attractive and he was attracted to me and um we married and it was a completely disaster was just a complete disaster the marriage was a failure from lack of maturity or in many any other reason but so was your what was the lesson that I he was very abusive and I found that I was allowing that so I had no self esteem had no self worth I was just again back to the beginning of why I was even attracted to him because he was attracted to me right so how did you find your way out and you realized I don't know how but I know that I did you did and I finally did and when I did so many great things everything in my entire life changed everything changed because I had to grow some self esteem I had to she finds himself worth in order to actually survive in the literal sense so and when I did um I was then attractive to the right people write my current husband would have never looked at me twice had I been that kind of week needy person right? So um you know, we're on our twenty fifth year of marriage and it's fabulous and it's for all the right reasons that's wonderful so thank god that failed thank god that failed on dna and thank god it happened right right because it would have felt you so the lesson was that that that painful experience and that painful failure forced you to gather resolve and finds himself his theme and I know that I had resolved to gather yeah okay yeah I just I was a you know pretty mushy person back then I didn't really mean that goes way back you know childhood all that stuff but um yeah it's all good so everybody here has hades really suffered some serious failures and we're only I'm only asking you to choose you know to share one um are for everyone listening I'm ask you to at least look att three you want to go deeper go right ahead you can um you might discover there some patterns maybe you keep choosing relationships that are abusive and maybe they're not just with romantic partners maybe there with clients or maybe they're collectors are who knows you might discover some pattern so there's from usefulness to this and but don't meditate so much on the failure itself you know what this is? What I like you to do is just kind of bush out your failures and sleep on it you know just just list them all and then sleep on it to get some perspective and with that perspective then you can go back and ask yourself the lesson that you learned but take a brake in between and give yourself so this is does this was this helpful for you guys did you get did you was this did you gain new information new data when you did this exercise did this occur to you before? The other question I have for you is when when typically when we look at failures it kind of hurts right? Behold it in a painful context but when you actually lean into the lesson the failure doesn't hurt so much it doesn't smart so much you can actually talk about it freely the other people and not be all embarrassed and humiliated and feel shame because it sound like I didn't learn anything you learn something, you're not gonna do it again like craig side you have an investment in it now you're not gonna do it again you're gonna let someone, uh, make a blatant, horrible sexist remark two I didn't think so no you wouldn't you wouldn't john which you, um get involved another venture that was ah a little dicey a little I've turned a huge project since then that we're like going to be in that same thing never sell out like that again okay all right so you learn something alright guys, you did a great job um so that was lesson seven are three fattest failures but not just the failures, the lessons and we're gonna go on to lesson number eight is going to be next. Where's your mess. But I want to remind you there are three action items I'd like you to take these all about action. I know it's. Just crazy. Good viewing. But it is not that's, not the point. We want you to actually take consistent action every day if you have to skip one of the days it's ok, but just take action. So get out your book. Find your place. Um, mark your progress schedule in your calendar. Uh, our next broadcast. Um and find yourself a friend. Don't do this by yourself. Join join dot artists who thrive dot com asked to be a member of the mastermind group. Reach out to someone you already know. Ask them to hold you accountable or checking with you. Even if you're not taking this course, they can still say hey, how's it going, how's that course going. Are you gaining any insights? Are you shifting your perspective? Are your goals a little feeling a little bit more attainable? So I want you to take those steps, so join us next for our next lesson lesson number eight, which is, where is your mess, thank you very much.

Class Description

Find new avenues for creative expression and challenge old assumptions about your potential to make money as an artist – join Ann Rea on a journey to uncover your creative purpose.

Fulfill Your Creative Purpose will show you how to develop a profitable artistic enterprise and write your roadmap to financial success by doing what you love. You will systematically examine your values, beliefs, and talents and come to a clear and honest acceptance of where your artistic path leads.

Ann Rea will coach and inspire you through an interactive experience – yes, you’ll be doing homework – that will help you work through the barriers to living your true purpose. By the end of the course, you’ll master new skills and enjoy unparalleled clarity about your purpose in the world. 

You’ll know how to:

  • Identify resources that will help you advance your ideas
  • Collaborate with mentors and masterminds
  • Create an action plan devoted to you and your financial success
  • Move past unproductive projects and focus on priorities

You’ll hear from artists who’ve applied these changes and find out about the steps they took that transformed their lives. Ann will also cover the practical matters of caring for your studio, balancing your books, and defining your value proposition.

The stale old message that says pursuit of your creative passion will leave you flat broke and burned-out is outmoded and untrue. Tap into your creative self and find a wellspring of ideas, energy, and economic opportunity.

By the end of this series you’ll have a clearly defined mission and know how to make money by using your creativity.

Class Materials

bonus material

Discovery Journal

Alex Blumberg Interviews Ann Rea

Find Your Why

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


a Creativelive Student

I think this course is extremely helpful if you follow her steps and do the work. This course can go through some very intense emotional moments, but it is all towards the greater goal of refocusing you and helping you find your meaning and purpose and most importantly, taking action on that to help others. I had many breakthroughs, but one of the areas that most helped me was to be patient with the process and give yourself the emotional payoff along the journey towards your long term goals. There is a lot of psychology in this course and it is necessary to tie your emotions into the actionable steps to get you past your struggles and focused on what is really truly important to you. I highly recommend this course if you want to get unstuck, want a road map to making a living as an artist from where you are today, and want to fulfill the best life that you can achieve.

John Muldoon

I'm so grateful to be a part of this transformational course. I've gotten so much out of it already, and my vision for my creative enterprise has never been more clear. My thinking and vision have become much bigger, as well. I can see so clearly how to use my creative talents to create a profitable business that I can work in with passion and integrity.

Don Diaz

“Like all worthwhile pursuits, you will get out of this what you put into it” Ann Rea. I am having a positive life changing experience thanks to this class. Now, I am able to identify much more clearly that my hobby was only fulfilling me and was not providing a service to anyone, therefore it was not allowing me to obtain the financial success that I am after. I expect to continue to mature during this class. I want to thank you, Creativelive and Ann Rea for creating content that will allow us to grow and possibly succeed in life.