"Rodney Washington Fall 2012 Graphic"By Rodney Washington

My path to becoming a full time artist, entrepreneur and mentor to creatives truly began as a child. I was always attracted to artistic expression and deeply longed to express myself in creative ways.

From a very early age, I indulged my creative passions through different mediums, from cooking and fashion design to painting, writing, graphics and web design. Finally, I launched my photography business in 2005.

Even though I dabbled in so many mediums, I consistently questioned my creativity. Over time I found it difficult to believe that my dream of being rewarded financially for my creative expression was possible.

For example, as a teenager I seriously believed I was destined to be a famous New York fashion designer, until I became consumed by serious self doubt. Around age 20 I made a regrettable decision that the world didn’t need any more fashion designers so I shelved my dream.

That early “decision” set the tone for many of the future choices I would make as I grew into adulthood.


The Catalyst

The catalyst that shook me to my very foundation happened many years later. It was at a time when I was experiencing a “dark night” of the soul. My self-worth, to put it bluntly, was in the toilet. But it all came to a head on a bright sunny afternoon in Los Angeles where I was living at the time.


On that unforgettable day an altercation between two young men would forever shift the way I viewed life. Unfortunately one of the young men lost his life. It was in that moment I realized that my experiencing such a tragedy was no accident. That day was my wake up call.

What I know to be true, if you’re not living from your purpose, if you continually question and doubt yourself, refuse to express yourself and take chances on your behalf by sharing your gifts with the world, your life won’t have much meaning.

That fateful day taught me an invaluable lesson about life and the finite amount of time we have on this earth. I understood on a very deep level that my existence would be about three things: learning to value myself, expressing my gifts and holding space for others to do the same.


The Success Alchemy of Valuing Your Gifts:

It took many months of hard work and self reflection to get to a place where I felt safe enough to embrace this new direction. But doing so has ultimately led to my becoming a mentor and support system to creative entrepreneurs.

In order for me to be on the forefront of transformation it became imperative that I value myself, honor my gifts and be willing to step into the role of a true mentorship.

That meant I could no longer hide. How could I teach something that I was not? I had to learn to step into the doubt, step into the fear, step into the insecurities and know that my life and all its imperfections could actually be of value to someone else.

My decision to be an entrepreneur presented an opportunity I was not willing to back away from, as I did with my dream of being a great designer. That commitment for me is the foundation of the Alchemy of Valuing Your Gifts.

To read the entire article check out WE Magazine for Women PDF Version