This fact must be understood not only in the context of who I am, but also in the context of who is reading this account, for the following to make any sense.
This discovery, revelation, understanding took about 50 years to work its way to the surface of my psyche, and therefore it's generated an overflow of emotions as a result. If one is lucky enough to come to a true understanding of who one is, especially a bit later in life, then the rush to explore this new found reality becomes all the greater.
So, I'm a creative. What does that mean? For those of you reading this who are also creatives, you probably need no explanation, but humor me and those others who may not have come to this realization quite yet.
Essentially at its core, it means I love to create. To make something where nothing had been before. That can take on different meanings to different people. In my case, I love to write (screenplays in particular, but any creative writing will do.) I also love to provide voice-over narration to projects including, but not limited to, commercials, eLearning, corporate videos, and audiobooks - especially fiction! I happened upon the world of podcasting when I created my voice-over podcast, and that has extended to me now consulting with other podcasters on their creations.
I also revel in the creativity of others and have the utmost admiration for those who have channeled their creative passion into a lifestyle that is sustaining. Notice that I didn't say they were making oodles of money (although many are.) I said sustaining, because I believe the true determination of a valuable life is being with people you love and spending time laboring at a task that you love.
As elusive as that goal may seem, it is entirely possible!
I would also propose that once you come to the realization of what it is that truly completes you, your drive to pursue that fulfillment may indeed lead not only to sustainment but, in fact, riches beyond what you might have imagined - both monetarily and otherwise.
As a creative, I seek out those things that inspire me. An amazing book, a wonderfully written screenplay, an incredible movie with characters that are deep and alive, a jazz quintet riffing in perfect musical harmony, a commercial on TV or radio with a voice-over that melts in my ear and makes me shake my head in awe, a performer on stage making me forget everything else for a brief moment in time, or staring at a painting or photograph and being drawn in.
The medium matters less to me than the power of the moment. To bear witness to inspiring creativity is an honor, and giving myself permission to dive in and let it flow over me is a new-found revelation in my life.
So what? What am I or you for that matter supposed to do with this information? Well, nothing I suppose if you don't consider yourself to be a creative - and it's perfectly okay if you don't. I'm under no delusion that everyone on the planet is a creative, although I might make the case that there is at least a bit of creativity in all of us.
If you're not, no worries.
But if you are, especially if you've been keeping your creativity under wraps for fear of being judged, of not being good enough, of not having enough time, of failing, or of missing your chance, then let me encourage you to start...now.
Just start. Pick up a paint brush, take an online course, take a lesson, join a group, speak, sing, write, paint, act, carve, draw...
There is a quote that goes something like "the mistake that most people make is thinking that they have enough time." We are bombarded with the notion that money is the most valuable commodity on this planet.
The most valuable commodity is time - because we only get a little bit of it and we never know when we're going to run out.
I'm determined to spend the time I've been given pursuing my creativity, honing my craft as a professional voice actor, developing my podcasting skills, expanding my creative writing chops, meeting and encouraging other creatives and learning as much as I can from them.
This is as fundamental to me now as breathing in and breathing out.
All the best,
Mike Lenz is an entrepreneur, professional voice actor, audio book narrator, author, podcast host, husband and father. His ebook, Paid To Talk, is available on amazon.com, his podcast, Mike Lenz Voice – A Journey Into Voice Acting, can be heard on iTunes, and his online course, 5 Steps To Start (and Grow) Your Voice-Over Career, can be found at vosuccess.com. Mike also offers one-on-one coaching sessions for aspiring voice actors. Mike is passionate about sharing stories from amazing and inspiring people from all areas of the voice-over industry, as well as sharing his insights with aspiring voice actors around the world. Mike lives in Saratoga Springs, NY with his wife and 4 children (and 2 cats, 1 dog, and 4 chickens...)