Cutting a Path to an Authentic Vocation

A guest blog post today from Lisa Mc Loughlin who has reclaimed her passion for the creative and now offers her services as an ‘Artist for Entrepreneurs’. Her forte is understanding what inspires you and what you have to offer the world and then creating the artwork you need to express yourself and the heart of your business. Here’s her story:


It all happened in 2010. Without a roadmap, I left my old life and took on an adventure into the terrain of Lisa McLoughlin…

I had almost burned out, when the discomfort of staying in my ‘Surface Happy’ life became worse than the discomfort of leaving. At the time, I had a fabulous husband, home and a successful career as a physiotherapist. But, essential ingredients were missing. What though?


Things needed to change. I was soul searching, but somehow not daring to look deep enough inside for the answer to the question of what I really wanted to do with my life. There was too much fear amongst the shadows. On reflection, if only I had dared to shine a light on those scary places, been honest with myself and listened to my inner voice and intuitive nudges sooner, wisdom would have been uncovered.

I asked: How do I change my life? But obliterated the light of ‘What do I really want to do and Why? ‘

I spent so many years people pleasing and seeking counsel outside myself. No wonder I was a confused mess by the end of it. The person who really serves the best interests of my best future self is actually ME… I just had to pay attention and get to know who I really was. It wasn’t that easy. To trust myself took a mammoth amount of courage and a bucket full of hope…especially when people surroundering me thought I was losing the plot.

Whispers inside me said ‘You deserve compassion…You deserve to feel heard and loved with your vulnerabilities and not in spite of them…You can live a life doing things you enjoy…You can have connection with people and nature… The clues are in your flow times and being in the moment.’

But, this was all too painful to address, as it involved changing the whole of my life!

courageIt happened in 2010, I had to leave and create space to breathe and listen. I could not spend another day in my old life…no matter how surface-lovely it was.

I summoned the courage and listened to my intuition. I did not have a plan in mind, but I did leave my home and my husband.

(On reflection, I feel this drastic measure was not required if I could just find the courage to accept how I felt and communicate it as compassionately as possible….much sooner…patiently and with persistence, with less turmoil and upset.)

Part of my transformative journey has been about acceptance and honest communication with myself and others, taking back my control, adopting a growth mindset and taking little intuitive steps to make a change.

People and things could not make me happy unless I was happy with myself. I had to feel it inside and compassionately honour my own needs in order to shine and blossom in my life and with others.

I could not have done this transformation alone. But, I was surrounded by judgements, criticisms, naysayers and doubters. It was the worst environment for a seedling of an idea to grow. That is why I had to leave.

A happy turn of events is that I hired a coach and started to unfurl and uncover answers deep within myself. Open questions and space to think and answer within a non-judgemental space was just what I needed: the compassionate buddy I had always craved.

healthI was so taken with the process that I even trained to be a coach myself. But, after 18 months I realised this was not what I really wanted to do. But, surrounding myself in a hotpot of lovely coaches and healers provided me with an environment for me to know myself.

Through meeting this community, I discovered that my best future self was whispering to me and asking me to step into the artist I have always been. It has been a passion of mine since I was a child but my creative dreams were squished when I was 17. My college/home environment was telling me that I was ‘too brainy’ to be an artist.

The people pleaser in me continued from then on and I spent years lost at sea doing what I did not really want to do. But, the 17 year old me was absolutely right. I knew way back then what my soul was searching for. If I had listened to myself who knows where I might be today?

 A coach suggested I give myself permission to be an artist for a week and I have not looked back. The lid flew off my life and everything made perfect sense for the first time in my life.

I live a very simple life now. I do not have my own home (yet). I have an unpredictable career, but I am surrounded by compassionate and loving people and I am communicating and doing what I really love to do.

I feel richer and more blessed than I ever have. I express gratitude every day, as I truly believe that things will be okay now: I know myself and am no longer afraid to be me.

wisdomI invite you to have a look at my website and see if my passion and light shines through!

Take little steps towards your valued goals…have those difficult conversations and stand in your power. Your best beautiful version of your future self deserves and depends on it!


5 Responses to Cutting a Path to an Authentic Vocation

  1. Lisa McLoughlin November 5, 2013 at 9:44 am #

    Thank you Sally for giving me the opportunity to share aspects of my story.

    I am pleased to see my guest post on your website and honouring a service that I highly value.

  2. Sally November 5, 2013 at 11:21 am #

    My pleasure Lisa. I find it an inspiring account that I’m keen to share with others reading this blog.

  3. Jamie Robe November 7, 2013 at 8:36 pm #

    Wow… Thanks Sally for sharing LIsa with us. Lisa, I see the theme of releasing your energies by giving permission from within. Isn’t a crazy thing that we as humans build systems (family, education, government, business) that all seem to be based on directing and removing the permission path from everyone. That was obviously a powerful realization.

    I think it was Seth Godin in one of his books who open my eyes that we are so stuck in an industrial-revolution / factory mindset. Not that there weren’t plenty of other control systems in place before that, BUT the ‘factory’ doesn’t value artistic and creative (except maybe in the context of being successful ie making money).

    Has it been difficult for you to monetize your creativity? Even in the ‘technical creativity’ world I am in (programming, web apps), I find it hard to give myself permission to charge people. BTW, your website and work are terrific. Sally, maybe you can shine some light on this too? It seems a challenge to balance the many aspects of this, but you obviously have achieved that as well :)

  4. Lisa McLoughlin November 7, 2013 at 9:24 pm #

    Hi Jamie,

    Thanks for your comments and the excellent reference to Seth Godin.

    I think if I had just decided to be an artist for arts sake, I would be lost in a sea of amazing talent.

    There is a culture of thinking about the starving artist..

    What I have learned is the value of niching and really understanding the uniqueness of my tribe and being in service to people that like what I am trying to do.

    By doing market research and establishing what their wants are in business, I have been able to package a service.

    Pricing was tricky….a combination of hourly rate and also the realisation that I am providing a service that helps people make more money and be more effective in their marketing and products. I help people keep doing what they doing and people pay me to keep doing what I am doing.

    I just looked for the sweet spot where I can still be creative and indulge in painting, but commissioned. Eventually, I hope to do art for arts sake too.

    I think about my skills as being in service for others and they value it and understand that creating beautiful art is not one step-up from Fiver.

    I am in the early stages of business and most of my clients, so far, have been word of mouth and knowing my community. Most of my clients have been coaches and healers .

    It is 80% mindset and trust that my business model will work over the longer term??? But being an entrepreneur is a risk but, for me, it is worth it as I spent too many years deeply unhappy. At the very least I need to have tried. What’s worth doing even if you fail- Brene Brown ;)

    I really need to be an excellent marketer too…

    My partner is Paul Mackay @pmackay and he is a web and app developer in the area of sustainability and local communities..I invite you to connect with him ;)

    Hope this helps…

  5. Sally November 8, 2013 at 11:21 am #

    Hi Jamie. I would agree with you that balance is important and particularly in the beliefs we choose to hold. The internal conditioning of the Industrial Growth Society can be tenacious, but i think the key, as you and Lisa have highlighted, is to be willing to recognise this, own it in ourselves and take concrete steps to transcend it. Creativity, in truth, is so incredibly important. It’s a part of who we are and why we’re here as human beings, as far as I can see. We’re here to manifest in harmony with what is and each of us has a unique part to play in that. That doesn’t mean competing head on for a limited reward, financial or otherwise. it’s more about extrending ourselves to the world – in practice through using modern technology to express our authenticity. And, as Lisa has said, emerging a clearly defined niche. Another phrase Lisa has used and which I love is ‘being of service’. The new business paradigm depends on this idea and thrives on it. In sustainable business we work to the triple bottom line – People, Planet and Profit. When we take care of our relationships with the people we serve (our tribe if you like), couple that with working in harmony with the needs of the planet, the rewards (financial and otherwise) flow naturally. There’s a simple sum I often do with people: Attending to the people element increases our turnover, attending to the planet element reduces our costs. When we handle both of these things intelligently, then profit increases.

    I was struck by what you said about finding it hard to give yourself permission to charge someone for what you do. How much do *you* value what you do? I’ve noticed that often we don’t value what we’re good at because it comes so naturally to us that we can’t understand why others find it so challenging. But the thing is, others do find it difficult, which is why they need what you have to offer and why they will value it. You might like to consider chatting with someone you’ve served recently and ask them what it is they value about how you’ve helped them. What were *all* the benefits to them? You might be pleasantly surprised!

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