To Thine Own Self Be True: Self Knowledge = Good Decisions

One of the main things I had to do this week was finalize my class schedule.  In doing so I had to do a little soul searching. I am continually amazed at how much a class I took last semester has helped me in making all kinds of decisions.  That class was Human Development 5, Career and Life Strategies, at El Camino College.  Rather than simply working on resumes and such, we spent most of the semester getting to know ourselves.

The main self-test we used was from the workbook Follow Your True Colors To The Work You Love by Carolyn Kalil & Don Lowry.  Of the four colors to choose from, I found out that I am a “Green”.  Greens have the following traits: place a high value on competence and knowledge, have a low tolerance for rules and restrictions, tendency to form intellectual bonds with people, desire to figure things out and improve systems, strong ability to analyze, interpret, and work with abstract ideas, a tendency to come across as serious and reserved,  and a personality that is composed, cool, and calm.

Through that class I received validation that art, especially painting, was a great career for me and why.  It allows me to work with abstract concepts, it is flexible and unpredictable, and it allows me to express myself creatively and intellectually.  I chose horticulture as a backup career because it is also a great match for my personality.  So, in considering myself and how I am wired, I was able to finally decide which classes to take and why.  I ended up with: tennis, African art history, life painting I, general horticulture, painting II, life drawing II, Ceramics II, and horticulture 42 plant propagation.  This thinking process can help anyone make any kind of life decision they may be facing.

Although class schedules are what I was dealing with, knowing who you are and what makes you tick can help you make decisions regarding career and relationships and can help you understand your friends, family, and coworkers.  In case you’re curious, I will give a very brief description of the other personality types.  And, by the way, we are all 4 colors, to different degrees.  The order of my colors are: Green, Blue, Orange, and Gold.

Blue: These people are highly sensitive and caring. They are motivated to help and encourage others, they are stressed out by discord and aggressive people, they want everyone to feel validated and nurtured, they are highly emotional and have a strong sense of spirituality and calm.  They tend to like careers like coaching, teaching, therapy, and ministry, and any job that allows them to work with and help people.

Orange: adventurous, loud, boisterous, life of the party, hate routines and restrictions, tend to be physical rather than intellectual, impulsive, late and unstructured, competitive, tend to like jobs where they get to perform, fix things, assemble things, talk, sell, build, entertain, and where they get to determine their own schedules and make things fun.

Gold: These people like their environments to be structured, orderly, and predictable.  They don’t like change or people who are late and/or don’t follow through. They like to control things as much as possible, maintain accurate records, organize things, create schedules for themselves and others, supervise, budget, etc.  They tend to like jobs that are very professional and predictable, where their job descriptions are clear, and where schedules and deadlines are maintained.  They are attracted to jobs like accounting, bookkeeping, supervisory, etc.

So… I hope you found yourself in these descriptions.  If not, I encourage you to read the workbook because it goes into much greater detail than I can here.  If you know yourself, then all the decisions you make will be filled with integrity and self-respect.  We are all great – exactly the way we are – but at the same time we all have our strengths and weaknesses.  The more familiar we are with ourselves, the more effective we will be in working with others and in finding our true path in life.

Have a great week filled with self-love and authenticity.  Now go follow your bliss…

The following are a couple of this weeks’ works in progress (my little camera phone is not the greatest but I’ll take better pictures once the works are completed):

Old People Actually Know Stuff

(pictures of work in progress at the end)

As a full-time student starting a second career I tend to see things much differently from my classmates.  Many of them are in college for the first time and trying to plan the rest of their lives.  My life drawing teacher, Mr. Storms, was attempting to tell one student in particular how stringent the requirements are for his first choice college, Cal Arts.  Since Mr. Storms knows both the student and the requirements for Cal Arts, you would think the student would have been taking notes.  Instead, he was basically blowing it off, nodding vacantly and interrupting – but clearly not listening.  Even worse, he hadn’t even started the application process, which is time-consuming to say the least.

In a separate incident, the same teacher was telling us about an art gallery opening featuring an artist whose work fetches up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.  He was trying to get us to visualize where we want our careers to end up.  Immediately the girl next to me rolled her eyes, made a dismissive noise and blew it off.  “You need to be realistic” was her only response, under her breath of course.  The odd thing is that the teacher was being realistic – he was giving us a real-life example.  The “reality”, though, is that this girl’s mindset will always make her play small. Negativity prevents people from even formulating a dream, let alone achieving it.

How many times do we do this in life?  We are so focused on our own perceptions of reality that we miss the gifts and opportunities that are right in front of us.  I think it’s important to take time out regularly to give thanks for what we have, which includes the wisdom of the people around us.  This may come from age and experience, but I have learned that old people actually know what they’re talking about.  Go figure!

Creatively Career-minded

My adventurous pursuit of a second career in art is still in full swing.  Every single week I learn something new.  I often wonder where art has been all my life.  It’s like meeting your soul mate after dating a series of duds.  Actually, I imagine that’s what it’s like.  My soul mate is in hiding and I’m still in the dud phase.  No, I’m actually in the nun phase (without the marriage-to-Jesus part).  But I digress…

This past week, we had a great speaker from ElCo’s career center.  He gave us the low-down on resume preparation, cover letters, and the all-important “30-second-commercial”.  I’m a little wordy, so my commercial is probably more like 45 seconds, but I’ll work on it.

We also divided up into groups this week and presented our portfolios to each other.  It was really fun looking at what other people had done.  It was especially exciting to see some of the work of students who have been at ElCo for a few years.   They’ve already taken some of the classes I hope to take next year.  A couple of women in our group had wonderful animated pieces and sample graphic design brochures.  A third woman had several high-school portraits of Janet Jackson and a mardi gras mask that was a lot of fun.

My own portfolio was modest indeed.  As a newbie to the school and to the world of art, I didn’t have much to show for myself.  But my drawings and portraits are pretty awesome and I was able to organize them in a very attractive and professional way.  I slipped a business card in at the beginning and a resume (anemic though it was) at the end.  Overall I am satisfied with my progress but keenly aware of how far I have to go.

Most of my art work this week has been playing with character-creation.  Although I feel pretty confident drawing realistic portraits in graphite, working with comic line drawings is different.  The shading is more suggested than actual, every line counts, and inking requires a lot more caution than graphite pencil.  In short, I’m out of my league.  But I’ve never been one to run from a challenge, so…it’s ON bitches!

Now go follow your bliss…