Brave Enough To Try

Conversation with Artist Michelle Schultz | We talk navigating creative burnout, releasing the pressure, honoring the season you're in, weeding out the noise and tapping into what you really want.

July 13, 2023 Cindy Moore
Brave Enough To Try
Conversation with Artist Michelle Schultz | We talk navigating creative burnout, releasing the pressure, honoring the season you're in, weeding out the noise and tapping into what you really want.
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, Michelle shares tips on how to navigate creative burnout.  We go over things like:

  • Releasing the pressure - Don't try to attain someone else's version of success. What's meant for you will find you and more.
  • Honor the season you're in - Become mindful of your experiences and your journey and more.
  • Weed out the noise - Focus on the one important thing, instead of all the things and more.
  • Tap into what you really want - Make the time to pursue your craft, small pockets of time are better than none and more.

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Speaker 1

On this week's episode, we talk about navigating creative burnout, releasing the pressure. Honoring the season. You're in weeding out the noise and tapping into what you really want. Hey, it's Cindy and you're listening to the Brave enough to try podcast, a show created to provide you with helpful life and small business tips as well as encouragement and inspiring conversations with friends that I've made along the way so that you can be inspired to be brave enough to chase

after your wildest dreams. Hey, it's Cindy, your host of the Brave Enough to try podcast. I am so glad that you are joining us on today's episode. We have a very special guest. Please join me in welcoming Michelle Schultz. Michelle is a painter based in Bend Oregon. She has earned an art degree from the University of Georgia and began the first three years of her artistic career, exhibiting work in Wellington, New Zealand. Her work is influenced by her Lebanese heritage and roots

in the American South. She has been creating acrylic paintings, exploring female empowerment by capturing the intimate moments within her own spiritual journey. Vivid colors, communicate the sensitivity and emotion in her work through paint. She creates a channel for the viewer to connect to one's own sense of self. More deeply Michelle. First of all, I'm a huge fan of your work and I am so excited that you are on the show today.

Speaker 2

Thank you so much, Cindy. I'm so grateful to be here. So, thank you.

Speaker 1

The very first thing that I wanna ask you, We usually start every podcast the same way is we ask our guests about their journey. So my question to you is how did you end up here as an artist if you could give us maybe a quick timeline of how that came to be?

Speaker 2

Yeah, definitely. I've always drawn and painted and stuff ever since I was a little kid. But it wasn't until college when I really just dove in, I graduated with a painting degree. And right after that, I saw a lot of people who stopped painting immediately and I was like, I'm not gonna do that. I just want to like work in a bar and be a painter at night.

So I moved to New Zealand straight away and just kind of dove in trying to build a network, build a business. And I actually ended up when I moved back to the States. It was about eight years of not really painting much. I would just do some stuff here and there. But to me, it was like this huge thing of starting over. So I had like this long gap in my career and all of a sudden when I was six months pregnant with my third child, for some reason, I just got the creative passion again and I

started painting like crazy. And then from there, there was one week I sold three paintings in a row. And I was just like, this is a sign like it's time to get going again. And since then, I just haven't stopped. I've been learning as much as I can about business and practicing my craft and just trying to up level, I love that.

Speaker 1

Oh my gosh, I didn't realize that there was such a big gap between school and then having your family. And then I love that you said you're pregnant with your third child and then it kind of just like the magic came back and I love that, you know, it just proves that it's never too late, right? The spark is always there. We just got to find that thing that ignites it. I love that.

The next thing that I want to ask you since obviously you're pursuing your craft full time and you're really embracing the journey that you're on. I'm sure that it has come with its challenges. So I'm curious to know how if you have, how do you define burnout as an artist and of course, as a mother too and, and just as a being trying to dive into this journey full time.

Speaker 2

Yeah, I think I've definitely had a lot of challenges also, like with that eight year gap and then recently this past December, I kind of hit this burnout. And for me, that means I just kind of shut down completely, probably like in all parts of my life because I'm so overwhelmed I can't paint. I hate painting. Like my brain feels foggy, like I just feel like almost like my eyes are foggy.

So it's just this almost depression, like state of not being able to create and do the things that you once loved. So I've kind of been on a journey recently of making sure that doesn't happen again by just honoring myself and what I need.

Speaker 1

Yeah. Being self aware, knowing, knowing when it's coming on and and about to take over your life because for me, whenever I start to experience lots of, of burnout, I mean, it takes over, it takes over my whole personality. So I'm kind of like self aware because I think both in the artist world and the creative world or in the small business world. I mean, I think they're really all inter intertwined because we're all trying our hardest to up level or, you know, move forward with our

dreams. Do you have any examples of how the demands and pressures of being an artist have led to your burnout? Was it, you know, it could be anything. Was it just too many projects all at once or just balancing too many responsibilities? What are some examples that you can share with the community?

Speaker 2

I think one is just being an entrepreneur in general. It's about you're just on 24 7. So, and especially if it's something you enjoy, you're just like it's midnight and I'm gonna keep doing this. They're like, I should be resting and having a nap while the kids nap. But I'm gonna work on emails or something. So it can just feel like you're fine while you're doing it. So I have to be very mindful of that.

Speaker 1

Yeah, because it, like, trickles in sometimes. II, I definitely understand what you're saying because I will be working till 10, 11 o'clock. And my husband's like, what are you doing? I'm like, it doesn't feel like work to me because I, I genuinely enjoy it. or in the morning, you know, I'll start painting or I'll start doing things that I'm working on for a project and he's like, really, like, you haven't had breakfast yet or I'm like, it's just, it's constantly on my mind, you

know, it's like, it, sometimes I tell him it's like having a love affair because I can't help it. It's just such a big part of me. But I also have to be really self aware that it can't be my whole entire life, you know, because I still have the responsibilities of being a mother and, and being a wife and being all of these things. So, yes, I definitely relate.

Speaker 2

I definitely, it's just too late when, when you've already burnt yourself out because you were.

Speaker 1

Yeah, it like trickles in slowly. It's just, you don't realize it's happening until you're knee deepening. You're like, wait a minute. This doesn't feel right.

Speaker 2

Yeah. It's easy to not take days off and stuff like that. And then another thing that feels is something that makes me burn out is so many opportunities. I'm always trying to pitch myself or to apply to things or maybe I'll see something like pop up on social media that there's some online show to apply to. So I just feel like I'm seeing all these things or getting ideas of a new collection and then I wanna pitch it to this place to have a show and it just is so many things that I can't do

because I just don't have enough time and I have to play so many other roles. So I think that's another thing that I've had to learn how to really know which opportunities are going to move me forward in my career and which ones I can save for later as something that can come back around.

Speaker 1, Speaker 2

Maybe in a better time and space, right?

Speaker 1

Something that maybe is more aligned to you at a different part of your journey. Yeah. No, I, I love that you said that because I think we've had a lot of listeners send us messages about feeling overwhelmed. Like that's the number one feeling of them experiencing burnout. They're like, when do you know, you're becoming overwhelmed? And a lot of the times we, what we share is, you know, you're becoming overwhelmed when it becomes too much.

Like there's just too many things you wanna do. And the piece of advice that we always give them is what is the most, what is the thing that is most aligned to you? What is the thing that's going to reach, help you reach your goal, that, that your true goal, not like the thing that you think I have to do because everyone else is doing. But the thing that lights your heart on fire, the thing that you are saying this is where I want to be and I know that things are the things that are going to get

me there because I think it's so easy to get caught up in all the noise. You know, it's so easy to get caught up in all these opportunities and you're like, I want to do them. But I love that you said that you're becoming mindful about it and you know that if they're meant for you, they'll come back around and, and you can, you know, you can do those on the second time around.

Speaker 2

Exactly. Yeah, I agree with that too because I've actually done a lot of journaling on what I want. And it's always changing. Like, what do I want in my life as an artist? Because some people want to be in museums or there's just so many avenues you can go through. So I just want to be able to paint and launch my paintings and be able to support my life doing something I love.

And I'm constantly going back and re evaluating that. So then I can really choose the opportunity that will help me get to that point. And there's always opportunities where I know I'm just like, I want to do this so bad. Like there's a show overseas and it's just not gonna work out, but I really want to do it. So there's part of me that wants to push that when I really listen to what's inside.

I know it's telling me no, and I'm just like, but I wanna do it. So it's been kind of a battle with that of just being like it. I have to listen to that inner voice and choose that over everything else because it's all gonna come in its own time.

Speaker 1

Yes, I love that. You're talking about listening to your inner voice. I don't think enough people do that. And I'm not just talking about like creatives right in the field or, or entrepreneurs, I think just in general in life. I think so many people don't listen to their inner voice because I think that they really took the time to sit with themselves. They would have the answers to a lot of the things that they're asking for.

Speaker 1, Speaker 2

They just, they just don't make the time and sometimes you don't want to hear the answer either.

Speaker 1

Oh, my God. When you were talking about how there are things that you really, really want to do. But then you're like, oh, but I, I know that it now is not the time I constantly feel that way. There are so many things that I want to do outside of the room that I'm currently in. And I have to just be honest with myself and I do talk to myself a lot. Like I'm just gonna tell you the truth.

There are a lot of conversations that I have with myself daily and then I remind myself that success looks so different to everybody. Everybody's version of success is gonna be so different for me. It's just helping people connecting with people and then spending as much time as I can with my daughter. So we home school her and that was like a huge big thing for me.

You know, I really wanted that and people were like, that's it like you don't, you know, you have opportunities to show your work in galleries like, you know, people and you have, and the thing is like, for me personally, that's not my version of success. My version of success is doing what I'm doing, helping creatives establish their business, really showing up and rallying for people and being their cheerleader because I think we need encouragement and we just sometimes

don't know where to look for it. So if I can be a cheerleader for someone that I want to be that for someone. And so I love that you talked about that because you just want like, you just wanna paint, you know, and you wanna be able to, to do the things that make you happy. And I, I love that you're sharing that with, with our, our listeners because a lot of them constantly feel like they have to amount to something else or to somebody else's version of success.

They are like, but I have to be in a show, I have to be at this market. I have to do these things. And I'm like, but why do you have to, well, because so and so is doing it and if I don't do it, I'm not gonna get my foot in the door. And so I really think it always comes back to what is aligned for you. What is your inner voice telling you?

What is it that you want to truly do with your life? If no one else mattered, what is it that you want to do? And I think a lot of the times we just don't listen to ourselves, we just don't tune in and just like you said because sometimes we don't want to hear the answer.

Speaker 2

Exactly. And I also think that with burnout it would just be so terrible for the world if us as creatives did get burnt out and gave up because I was feeling like I was getting to that spot. But I also see myself as an artist for my entire life. And I even knew that during that eight year break that I took like, I knew like, when it's the right time, I will be back at it.

So I didn't feel like I needed to put as much pressure on myself. And when I look at it as this overall thing in my life that there's not a time limit, you don't have to like have this instant success or have all these amazing solo shows. Like, immediately we can kind of build ourselves to that point in a way where we're healthy overall in our lives.

Speaker 1

Oh, yes, everyone's on their own timeline, right? Every everything will unfold as it should. I'm a big believer in that. And I had a conversation with another artist and Kira said some to me that was just, it really made me think. She said that a lot of people, especially artists are looking at other people on social media and they're seeing their stories as overnight success.

And it puts a lot of pressure on people who are just starting out. They feel like they're never gonna amount to that. And the thing is, it's not always overnight success, you know, social media is only gonna like highlight the highs and they're never really gonna highlight the lows. And so I think it's so important, especially with you saying that you knew that you were going to be an artist, you knew it was gonna happen.

So you kind of just took that pressure off and it, it happened so naturally for you so organically for you, you know, you, you, you with your third child and you finally got that spark back and, and now you're on that journey, but you always knew and I think that's such a beautiful feeling to know that what's meant for you is gonna find you and you released that pressure and now you're getting to do it full time time and you're getting to do, you know, pursue it.

And I'm sure that that's such a gift for you because it, it just reaffirms your belief that you had in yourself when you, when you got out of school and you're like, no, I'm going to continue to do this, you know, I want to continue to do it and then now you're getting to do it. So I'm sure that that's just such a great feeling to know that like you were never worried about it. You knew it was happen and it just the time wasn't right. Maybe then and, but the time is right now.

And that inspires me because I think a lot of people feel like their time is up or maybe it's never gonna happen, but you're proof that it's never too late and it really isn't. And if you really, really love this and you have a dream, it is very possible for you and you just gotta have that faith and that, that belief in yourself, that it's gonna happen. So, yes. Thank you for sharing that.

Speaker 2

Yeah, it's the taking the pressure off and everything as well. It makes it not be burnt out as, as long I feel like because then you can give yourself grace to a point where you get back to it. And then also as artists, we have to live our life and like experience things. So I feel like those times of where you're just in it and alive and experiencing are what you paint about.

So if you're always constantly painting and constantly inspired, which I don't think anybody is, then you, you don't have things to draw from. So seeing it more as this constant cycle, I feel like makes the burnout not long. So it's just something that you can accept a little more.

Speaker 1

Yeah, you're, you're living from your experiences, you're taking what you are surrounded by what you're living through and you're being inspired to put that into your, into your work. And I'm gonna relate that back to some of our small business owners that are listening, who maybe are not in the, in the field of, of artistry. But what I have come to find is that when they are blocks or when they are just kind of going with the flow, they're learning things that they didn't realize

were important and then they apply it and they're like, I'm so glad that I went through that because now I know what to look for in this. And I think it's the same way as creatives when you are experiencing bouts of just life in general, you're surprised at what comes out of it. You know, because sometimes you don't realize what the lesson is until you've gone through it.

And then you're like, I can appreciate it for what it was and, you can use it as fuel for your creativity, at least that's what I do, right. You know, you take your experiences and you're like, ok, I'm going to use that as, as ammunition to get me to the next to the next step. So, but I, I do, I love having this conversation with you about taking the pressure off because I think that's going to help so many people.

I don't know why, I don't know why we are just so driven to have this insane amount of pressure on us every single day. And I know that it's probably everything that we see and everything that we hear and, you know, we constantly compare ourselves to, to everybody and to everybody's journey. But it's so nice to hear somebody just say it's ok, you know, take the fresh off.

It's all right because I don't think we have enough people saying that. I think in fact, we have the opposite. I think we have a lot of people saying no, if you want to get it done, you gotta get it done like now. So it's really nice just to hear you share, you're just very calm and very nurturing and I'm really enjoying having this conversation with you with something else that I want to go in. And I wanna ask you is many artists and creatives struggle balancing their artistic pursuits

or their, their hopes, their dreams, their goals with responsibilities, right? Because we all have responsibility, disabilities. How do you find the time or how do you carve out time for creativity and art making amid, you know, a busy schedule or your competing demands? Like, how do you make it a priority for yourself to find the time to be able to work on your craft?

Speaker 2

I think part of it, I made a decision that this is something that I'm, I'm really gonna work towards. So I know it's gonna be one of my top priorities along with my family and even when it's something small, like I have my paints in the kitchen and when the kids kind of are in a zone playing, like maybe it'll be like 20 minutes. I have it all there. I can just start work on something for a little bit and at least I got something done that day. Right now. It's more, if I have to paint after

bedtime, it's always changing. with things I need to do or maybe the kids will be watching a movie and I can send out emails or work on that kind of stuff all the behind the scenes. So it's always just little pockets that I find of time and not feeling like I have to have a whole day for it. Just that's how I'm balancing things. But I also, I feel like I was watching a documentary on Andy Warhol and they said that he only painted two hours a day and he's like this incredible famous artist.

Speaker 1, Speaker 2

So it's really cool to, to see like even if you have these small blocks, but they're like really important time that you get to work towards something as little pockets of joy throughout the day.

Speaker 1

Yeah, I love that. Yeah. So I think too, I think what leads to burnout is the not just the pressure that we put on ourselves but saying like, I have to dedicate a whole day to this and then not making time or room for, you know, accidents or emergencies or life in general. And so then we feel like, oh, it's just too much, I can't handle it. But if you just tell yourself I'm gonna prioritize making time for this thing that I love.

But I don't have to dedicate a whole day to it. Like it doesn't have to be my end all, be all. It can be a part of my day and it can be flexible and it's still gonna move the needle forward. But I don't have to put that pressure on myself. I think that you're, I think that what you're saying right now is really gonna give a lot of our listeners a permission slip to be able to still enjoy their life and still pursue their, their goals without having to put the pressure on themselves that they

have to get it done. Like right now in this moment because I think too, it robs them of the joy. I think, I know, I know when I'm like that. Like if I put a lot of pressure on myself and I say I have to get this done by, you know, yz it robs me of the joy that I have of doing the thing in the first place because I'm not really able to enjoy it right? Because I'm constantly thinking about, oh my gosh, what I have to do next, you know, I gotta check that off, check that off.

But the fact that you have made it a part of your day is so beautiful to me. I, I didn't even think about just having like paints ready to go. You know, I have my little kit and sometimes I gotta get it out, you know, and do the things that I, that I'm doing. But I'm also in the middle of homeschooling my daughter. And so I'm kind of rearranging my things, but I think it's such a great idea to already have it available to you.

So that when you do have little pockets of time, you can just like, let your creativity flow and you can, you can do the things that you need to do without feeling like you're bogged down to it and you have to do it right then and there, you know what I mean? So you, I love that, I love that you've incorporated it and infused it into your day. And I also love that you take the time to do it because I think a lot of people are like, well, I ran out of time today so we'll just have to move on to

tomorrow and you're like, no, I'm gonna, if I have 20 minutes today, cool. That's what I'm gonna do. And if I have extra time in the evening, then that's what I'm gonna do. And I think that that's so beautiful because that's just a testimony that if something's important to you, then you know, you'll make the time for it.

Speaker 2

Yeah, it's very true. And I feel like I, because I have those lists sometimes too. So being able to re look at your to do list of what you need. There are always things that you can just completely scratch off, you just, they're just not important. So being able to know this is what I need to do for the soonest deadline and then being able to kind of go down the priority list in that way. definitely makes it possible even when you have small time periods and stuff.

Speaker 1

But, and you know, when life happens, right, life happens, But that shouldn't be an excuse to not be able to make time for yourself or not be able to make time for the things that you enjoy. I have a friend. She always says, hey, messy action is better than no action. And I'm like, you're 100% right? Even if I only got like five minutes of something that I really wanted to do, that's better than not getting to do it at all.

Speaker 2

So I, I am a big believer in that when I heard that perfectionism is another form of procrastination that like, blew my mind because like, I always don't do things because it's just not done or I didn't have enough time to like, make it perfect.

Speaker 1, Speaker 2

But now I just put it out there and yeah, it's, it's amazing.

Speaker 1

It's amazing how much more you can get done when you're not hung up on everything that you think has to go with it because I think it comes down to like our idea of what it has to be versus what everyone else, you know, idea is. And you're so right. I have a friend. She's an actual recovering perfectionist and she used to say that it felt like it debilitated her.

She couldn't do anything in life because she was so hard on herself and everything that she did. She held herself to such a high standard that was honestly unreachable. And now that she is obviously coming out of that, which I'm so grateful for just for her personal journey. She's like, I just do it and I don't think twice about it and it's out into the world and I move on to the next thing and I always tell her and I, and I say this to everybody because I think people worry about like I'm

not gonna find an audience or I'm not gonna find clients or I'm not gonna find customers or et cetera. And I tell her the people that are meant for you will find you. Like the people that are truly meant for you will find you. Your super fans are out there waiting, the people that are gonna resonate with your art, the people that are gonna resonate with your words, the people that are gonna resonate with what you do, they're gonna find you and they're not gonna care if it's perfect,

they're just gonna care that you show up because they're looking for somebody to show up so that they can show up too. And I always, I really, I really, really take that to heart because things that I do, they're not perfect and it doesn't matter because I'm just trying to get it out so that other people can have the help and, and, and the encouragement and the motivation to do the things too. Because if we're not the prime example of messy action or we're not the prime example of like

doing it, even when we're scared or doing it, even when it's not perfect, then they're gonna be paralyzed and they're not gonna wanna do it. So I always encourage people that are, are that are in the position that we are in, you know, just to do it. And I love that you shared that quote with our audience today because I do think that sometimes they forget that I think they're so hung up on the details of like, it has to be a certain way that they're really keeping themselves pinned back.

Speaker 2

They're not able to, I had that with my website when I was building my website because it was so out of my realm of what I normally knew how to do. And I was trying to learn everything and it, it was something that was stopping me in all other sides of my business too. So I just had to put it out there and then keep working on it and upgrading it and always

constantly kind of going back. But at least it was something that I could move on to and then be able to do something that was way more fun than just website building or something.

Speaker 1

Oh, well, that's a great example right there. That's a great example. I think, imagine how many people who are just starting now are so focused on that one part of their business because we're like, I can't move on until the next thing and they're missing out on people. Yeah, they're missing out on connection and they're missing out on creativity time.

So I think that that is such a beautiful example because I do think that there's a lot of people in that boat right now, our time is getting ready to come to a close, but I'm, I'm really, really enjoyed talking to you.

Speaker 1, Speaker 2

So one of the last questions that I want to get ready to ask you and this is just a common question that I ask everybody and that's what's a piece of advice that you would give to our listeners right now who may currently be dreaming about diving into their creative practice full time in order to give them a little courage or a little encouragement to try, I think my best piece of advice would be to start sharing your passions just in any way, whether it's online or in

person or at markets, just any way you can to start building a community because that's what it's all about is those people that you meet and like who really connect with it.

Speaker 2

So putting yourself out there each time it gets easier and easier and just kind of don't focus on anything but the connections you make because that's what really builds your business.

Speaker 1

And you know, when you said share your, share, your passion, share your dreams, I think that also you can also start by just declaring it like out loud. I think, I think we have a lot of people who are scared to say what they really want out loud in fear of rejection or in fear of judgment or and and for you listening, like you really shouldn't be afraid of that.

Just declare it, say it out loud because the the faster that you believe in yourself, the faster that things will start to fall in place. Because I I'm a big believer that there's more than enough for everybody. So declare your dream, say what you want to do and start sharing because I do think that by sharing what a gift to the world to get to know what your gifts are and and how beautiful that journey can be just from the very get go in the beginning and then of course, building

community because really community is what it's all about, right? They're going to be the people who are going to rally you and support you and cheer you on and show up for you and hopefully purchase your beautiful artwork and hang them in their homes to love forever. So Michelle, I have honestly loved having you on the show. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much. If you'd like to connect with Michelle, please make sure to check out her website michelle Schultz studio dot com or

visit her Instagram at Michelle Schultz Art. I will actually link all of her information in the notes section of this podcast. So make sure to check it out so you can just click it and follow for all of our super amazing listeners. Thank you for tuning in and I will catch you on the next episode at Instagram at its Cindy Moore or at brave enough to try podcast.