Interview with Sharonne Park: Creating Success On Her Own Terms

Like a lot of professionals, Sharonne Park works a traditional nine-to-five job.

Monday through Friday, she leverages her experience and Masters-level education to make a living.

But when she recently went through a health scare, she allowed a dormant love of art to come back into her life.

By opening herself to grow into this unexpected direction, she speeded her recovery, became more confident and found her voice.

When you create your #art, you’ll find your voice. (click to tweet)

Perhaps most importantly, Sharonne created success on her own terms.

Early Years

Born in Israel, Sharonne’s earliest memories are of being a happy, confident, and creative child. But, a later move to the United States “killed her spirit.”

Though she was creative growing up, she later pushed art away to focus on academic studies. Eventually, she chose a “practical” career path, becoming a senior environmental scientist.

Work Was Her “Everything”

Driven by a strong sense of responsibility and a deeply ingrained work ethic, Sharonne put all her energy into her career.

It was, she says, her “everything.”

Yet, like a lot of professionals, she struggled with maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Work was often difficult and stressful.

Although she was newly married, work consumed her thoughts and life. Eventually, her health suffered and she ended up in the hospital. 

As so often happens with sudden health changes, it was a wake-up call.

Inspired by Frieda Kahlo

“I love the story of Frieda Kahlo and how she found art,” Sharonne begins.

Following a devastating streetcar crash, Kahlo began painting while recuperating at home.

“She discovered that art is healing and cathartic.” Sharonne says. “Likewise, I started to create art to heal myself.” Eventually, creating art also transformed her mindset.

Create your #art, and you’ll transform your #mindset. (click to tweet)

She began with colorful and whimsical paintings of animals and insects and posted them on Facebook. Friends and family responded with surprise, enthusiasm and encouragement.

 Artwork and photo courtesy of Sharonne Park

Artwork and photo courtesy of Sharonne Park

She experimented with other ways to create and her skills and techniques got better. Soon, the idea of creating a book began to form.

“It’s A Fact!” Gives Back

“I wanted to give back to the community and I chose to focus on animal welfare issues,” shares Sharonne.

Fueled by this combined love for nature, animals and art, she collaborated with friends and her father to write, illustrate and publish a children’s book.

 Artwork and photo courtesy of Sharonne Park

Artwork and photo courtesy of Sharonne Park

Her art has given Sharonne more than the experience of bringing a beautiful book into the world—and earning the coveted title of “children’s book illustrator” although that’s pretty cool.

She now recognizes that she’s more than just her work and found fulfillment beyond her office walls.

Your work may fill you up, but you are more than just your #work. (click to tweet)

Sharonne reflects on how art transformed her life and identity:

“Art has provided more meaning, fullness, happiness and satisfaction to my life. It has increased my confidence and allowed me to express myself – essentially giving me a voice. When I share my art and see others smile, I know that I have added a wee bit of joy. This direct positive impact makes me happy. I’m now grateful for all that I have in my life. This makes me want to give back to others especially those who don’t have a voice, such as animals.”

>> How has creating art redefined your relationship to your work?

“I used to spend 100% of my time and energy on work. I let it consume me. Over the last several years, I realized that my quality of life was suffering because of this. Now, with confidence gained by being more creative, I set boundaries around work so that I can make time for other priorities. I’m more empowered at the office and with my colleagues. I feel successful. And I did it on my terms.”

>> What’s next on your path as an artist?

“Now that the book is ‘out’, I simply want to relax, reflect and get back into the groove of doing art during my spare time. When I do art, I become saturated with a sense of bliss and harmony; I get a natural high and become lost in time. And at the end, I feel refreshed, recharged and empowered.”

>> What tips would you offer someone who wants to be more creative?

“If someone wants to be more creative, that they should just do it! There are so many tools out there to guide everyone on their artistic journey. I believe everyone is an artist although a lot of people feel insecure about expressing themselves via art. One of my favorite sayings is from Franklin D. Roosevelt: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” My suggestion to others is to not let fear get the better of them. Doing art can provide one with an incredible amount of well-being and emotional health benefits. It is therapy and healing at its purest form.”

Don't let #fear stop you; do your #art. (click to tweet)

Summary

Sharonne knows now that her work and career isn’t her only priority—her art is a key component of who she is.

By realizing this, she’s redefined her relationship to her work and recognizes that her job doesn’t have to be “everything.”

Through art, she found her voice and feels more successful and in control than ever.

Yes, making a “practical” living and bringing in a paycheck is paramount, but her health and living a balanced life is now way up there, too.

Now, how about you? What changes might YOU make to find balance and fulfillment outside of work? We can all grow from a broader conversation on bringing more life to our lives. Please share in the comments below!

Additional Resources:

Sharonne’s website: http://www.spark-illustrations.com/

Buy her book on Amazon: http://amzn.to/29d2LIH  [All net proceeds from art and book purchases go to animal welfare organizations.]

Sharonne’s Etsy Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/SharonnePark

 Sharonne Park

Sharonne Park