Over the weekend, I visited the Museum of Modern Art. My husband took me to see Monet’s water lily paintings. Though we had talked about it for months, it took a rainy Sunday (and the fact that the exhibit would soon end) to make the trip. I was interested in going though I can’t say I was overwhelmed with excitement.
Once I got there things changed.
Surrounded by a room full of wall-sized water lilies was awe-inspiring. And I got to see in person THE painting that got me into my own impressionist landscapes (see photo.) It was an amazing experience!
I remember being 16 when my art teacher instructed us to find a style that we liked and paint an ordinary teacup that way. I took the assignment literally and put a teacup right on top of one of those water lilies. Today I still paint from time to time and have several paintings on display in my own gallery (my apartment). Maybe I’m not Monet but I find my attitude and aptitude for creative ideas improve when I paint.
I also learned the inside scoop on Monet’s approach. I was amazed at how much time and effort he put into each painting and into the gardens that inspired his work. It was relayed by the museum curator that Monet had several paintings going at one time and would add layers upon layers of paint to get the desired image. He would "water and tend to each painting just as he did his garden."
In hearing this I realized how our careers can be like a work of art. With each new experience, new skill, new idea, new connection, new decision, we can add another layer to the canvas of our career path. We can adjust and change our images and by doing so create who we want to be in the work world.
As he got older, Monet enjoyed the fact that his art would outlast him. It was his way of leaving a legacy. With our work in whatever field, we too can leave a legacy. By mentoring younger workers, by offering to help out a coworker who’s overwhelmed, or by just having fun and being pleasant to be around, we can be remembered. And even in today’s fast-paced world, we can make sure that the products, services and ideas we create are designed to be sustainable.
To create a work of art with your career, you don’t need to become a Monet overnight. Emerson said it best; "Every artist was at once an amateur." But you do need to get started. You need to invest the time and energy in "watering" and "tending to" the different facets that make you the productive and inspired individual you can be.
Maybe you’ve thought of your career this way. Maybe you see yourself as an artist crafting your career each day. If so, I’d love to hear your comments and perspective below. On the other hand, perhaps you don’t feel much like an artist. I’d love to hear from you too. Because even if you don’t feel you have talent, I can see it in you. Contact me and we will uncover your strengths!
With spring soon upon us, it’s the perfect time to turn your career into a work of art.