The Thing You Have to Understand Is That You Are Different

blog img_You are different

:: Not everybody wants to escape the 9-5 world. 

:: Not everybody who is deeply unhappy in the 9-5 world makes the leap to self-employment or any other kind of cubicle liberation. 

:: Not everybody wants to start a blog. Or launch a website. Or create an Etsy shop. Or write a newsletter for an audience of raving fans.  

:: Not everybody believes it’s possible to liberate themselves from unfulfilling work and build an online presence that sells their good and services, all while tapping into their innate talents and skills and abilities. 

:: Not everybody is comfortable sharing their art – whether that’s writing, graphic design, fine art, photography, business & marketing strategy, or any other kind of creative pursuit – in a public venue. 

:: Not everybody feels the fear and does it anyway. 

:: Not everybody chooses the friction of being visible over the much more palatable friction of being invisible. (Inspired by Mark Nepo

:: Not everybody chooses to feel utterly alive doing what they love to do, despite being terrified a crash and burn scenario could be imminent.  

:: Not everybody decides to take action on their dreams despite the naysayers who proclaim it’s not possible to do work you love and be well-paid for it.

:: Not everybody believes that creative sovereignty is a worthwhile and achievable goal.  

:: Not everybody keeps marching to the beat of their own quirky drummer when it would make much more sense to cave and get a job. 

:: Not everybody understands the liberating and undeniable joy of being unemployable. (I am full-time self-employed, but I consider myself unemployable.) 

:: Not everybody reads blogs like this one for marketing advice/how-tos/inspiration. (Thanks for that, by the way). 

:: Not everybody believes they have to ask permission from some kind of “gatekeeper” to do their thing, pursue their art, and sell it

The thing you have to understand is that you are different. Embrace it. Celebrate it. Revel in it. Fall in love with it. 


What would you add to this list? What do you believe/do/practice that goes against the accepted wisdom about how to earn a living or pursue your creative work? Please share in the comments!


  1. Congrats Kimberly!!! Oh I’m so happy you have finally, totally, and completely escaped (and super jealous too, but I must believe that I’m right behind you!)

    It’s so funny that you wrote this post… because people like you and I look at a 9-5 job and pity every poor soul in a cubicle. We assume that everyone must want to escape, but the truth is that most people are content in that little box. Hey more power to ’em… someone’s gotta do it.

    To you and I it seems like common sense to do what you love, because you only live once and 40 hours per week is a huge chunk of a life to waste.

    Thank you for continuing to inspire me every week!

    • Hey Rebekah, thanks so much for stopping by to comment! And for your lovely comment. : )

      I have friends who are happy and content in their 9-5 jobs, and have no plans to escape — God bless ’em — and some of them think I’m crazy for doing what I do. But, like you, my philosophy is, you only live once, and 40 hours a week is indeed a huge chunk of time to devote to someone else’s business/dream/agenda!

      Hope everything is going well for you!

  2. Yes, Congrats, Kimberly. If you can make it, do it.

    I wish I were in that boat. I’m working on it. I’m working on it.

    Thanks for paving the way for me and others like you. Whoo hoo!

    And yes, most people don’t understand it. They were taught one way of doing it and it’s hard to shift their mind to doing it differently.

    Thank you.

    • Hey there Melissa,

      Thanks for stopping by to comment, always nice to hear from you. 🙂

      Yes, I find it can take a while, even once you’ve made the decision to start the journey, to get to a place of freedom and doing your own thing and making a livable wage from your art, whatever your art happens to be. And to be completely frank, I also have days now and then when I wish I could just go to work at a job and not have to make 85 decisions a day and hustle all the time. But most days the self-employed life is worth it! 🙂

  3. Awesome post.

    I would add,

    Not everybody is able to have the self-discipline and self-control to show up at their studio/workspace and tell oneself, all alone in the room: “Do your job.”

    For me, a huge inspiration is my family. I have a picture of my husband and two kids in my studio. I love getting paid for my work (fine art painting) and when I do sell my work, it goes towards meeting material needs for the family. I’m not the main breadwinner (yet) but I am climbing higher and higher every day in my studio practice, in my craft, and my income, by SHOWING UP and doing my job! It feels Great.

    I’m right there with you Kimberly! We’re different we can celebrate that! Thanks for your beautiful post.

    Deidre Tao

    • Hi Deidre,

      Thanks for stopping by to comment!

      Oh boy, I totally agree that not everybody is able to have the self-discipline and self-control to show up and do the work daily, including me sometimes, ha ha. Although I “show up” physically at my desk & sit down in front of my computer each day, there are days when the work feels really challenging. But that’s normal, so I try to take it all in stride. 🙂

      I love that your family is your inspiration and that you have a picture of them in your studio — that is a great idea. And it sounds like you have the ideal mindset for achieving your goals, which is more than half the battle if you ask me. I wish you every success!!


  4. Thank you so much for this post, Kimberly. This is a hurdle I’m getting over right now, so the post is well timed. My husband loves the security of the cubicle enough to accept that it “isn’t the dream,” although that last part nags him and we talk about it regularly.

    I would add “Some people love expansive and dynamic thinking enough to put in the work and accept the uncertainly that goes with it.”

    Some people just don’t get that jazzed about it. But people who do, who love being creative and leading (even if you’re just leading yourself) can’t let go of that calling and it will bug them forever if they don’t act on it.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for helping me see the path forward!

    • Hi Jenny,

      Thanks for your comment, it’s so good to hear from you! It’s been a while since we chatted.

      I’m so glad this post resonated with you. Often those of us who trod a less well-worn path can feel like misfits among family and friends who choose a more mainstream path (not there’s anything wrong with that choice). Which can sometimes feel isolating, and make it harder to commit to the work.

      And oh my gosh, yes, there is often so much uncertainty involved! I experience that often. 🙂


  5. I always enjoy your posts! I think that there is a spectrum here… When I had my first child I decided that I would only work part time… that was 27 years ago and I never went back to full time. I worked in commercial banking at the time and then several years later moved to a B2B sales job which is mainly done over the phone and via virtual demos.. I have a job that provides me with such freedom. I work from home and I get my job done. If its busy I work, if its not I pursue my art. I have always believed that you don’t have to “work hard” in order to make a good living and I think that has created my reality! So I didn’t quit my corporate job I just got a job that lets me do what I want.

    • Hey Arden!

      Thanks for your comment. Sounds like you have kind of the ideal set-up. 🙂

      Agreed – you don’t always have to “work hard” in order to make a good living. I think it’s about finding that balance, as you mention, and working in your zone of genius. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, in fact. 🙂


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