“If you’re having difficulty coming up with new ideas, then slow down. For me, slowing down has been a tremendous source of creativity. It has allowed me to open up–to know that there’s life under the earth and that I have to let it come through me in a new way.”
When I first connected with Chelsea Johnson a few months ago, I knew I had met someone special.
Our initial conversation, meant to be a quick meet-and-greet, lasted over an hour and a half and I left feeling energized, motivated and oh so positive about myself, my work and my life!
Because that’s what Chelsea does – she’s a dynamic actor and singer, lifestyle entrepreneur, and the creator of Cue to Cue: The Performer’s Podcast – and she’s made it her mission uplift and inspire artists to embrace their authentic talents and live their most creative lives, day in and day out, no matter the situation.
And let me tell you, it only takes a few minutes in her presence before you realize that she’s really good at this. ????
For Chelsea, her enthusiasm for life comes from a deep commitment to always trying to better herself and to embracing the curve balls life throws at her – even if it means shaking things up in a big way.
In fact, a few years ago she took the big risk of stepping away from performing entirely, a moment which she now looks back on as one of the most important in leading her to where she is today.
“As a performer, I found myself doing gigs that I was not finding creatively or artistically fulfilling,” says Chelsea. “I decided to take a step back from pursuing my artistic career…It was a very hard decision to make, but for who I was at the time, it was a necessary adjustment.”
Even though it felt necessary, the shift still came with a lot of worry. Concern that others would judge her and see her as a quitter kicked in, and Chelsea struggled with the fear that she would lose her sense of identity as a creative person if she no longer performed.
But it was in this space of wrestling with herself – of who she was, the work she did and how creativity fit into it all – that Chelsea’s thinking shifted.
She began to realize that even though creativity was an “undeniable driving force” that propelled her forward, her ability to be creative didn’t have to be restricted to working on productions. In fact, she could apply her creativity to all aspects of her life, even to how she managed her career as a performer.
She started asking herself questions – When did she feels most creatively fulfilled? How could she take control over her career as an artist? How could she create strong and genuine relationships in the business?
It was in diving into these questions that she rediscovered her artistic inspiration.
“I knew that I didn’t have all the answers,” Chelsea says. “It then became my mission to go on an inquiry to find and sit down with other creatives to see what they have learned along their journey…and to share my discoveries as I learn and grow.”
And with that, Chelsea launched herself back into performing and Cue to Cue: The Performer’s Podcast was born.
This time, back in the performing world, Chelsea approached things differently.
Taking time away and working on herself allowed Chelsea to become deeply connected with her intuition. She had learned to trust her instincts, even when they went against the mainstream of the industry. She now felt confident and powerful in asking for what she wanted, speaking her truth and taking on projects that truly resonated with her.
More importantly, this trust in herself allowed her to let go of her fear of failure – one of the biggest things that holds artists back from fully embracing their own strength and creativity.
“Changing your relationship with success and failure can be the catalyst that enables you to step into your most powerful self as an artist,” Chelsea says.
For her it meant valuing the process of a creative endeavor, rather than focusing solely on the result. It meant knowing that even if the project was not the most financially or critically successful, that there were still valuable lessons to be learned that help grow you as an performer.
This helped her take the pressure off each creative venture, allowing more room for play and discovery. “I no longer feel the pressure that everything I do needs to be brilliant and there is great freedom in that,” she says.
Chelsea also learned to view her fear of failure as a useful tool, it’s a clear indicator that she cares about the project. Seeing things in this light helps dissolve the fear, allowing her to trust her instincts and skills to guide her through the work.
Ultimately in re-framing her relationship with creativity, Chelsea was able to reconnect with her confidence, which has allowed her to move forward in her career with strength and ease.
Now, Chelsea hopes that her work and podcast can inspire other performers to embrace their creativity and take chances, so like her, they can discover the rewards of taking these risks.
“I believe that creativity is a ‘yes’ force in the world. When we connect with our creativity we are actually at our most powerful.” she says.
For proof of this, there’s no better example than Chelsea herself.
Be sure to subscribe to her podcast – Cue to Cue: The Performer’s Podcast. You can catch a great conversation between the two us featured on this week’s episode.
This blog is a part of my work with Five Winds. It’s a space where I share thoughts and insights on performing and wellness, and offer tips and ideas on how to stay balanced and healthy (body, mind, emotions and spirit) while living the life of a performer.