This is true especially when it comes to kids and clowns! Thank you, Jack “Polyester”, for sharing this delightful photo!
These are the images we need to keep in mind every time we step out the door. Yes there may be a kid, teenager, or adult who thinks they are afraid of clowns. But for every scaredy-cat, there are thousands of people who need our joy, our smiles, and our love for life!
God Bless you all and keep up the good work!
A Clown’s Purpose
We all need a purpose. It is easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle and daily grind of our daily lives and forget that we all have a purpose here on this earth. We are not just ants crawling around doing busy work. On the surface, an anthill looks like chaos. But in reality it is a well-organized machine. Each ant knows his job and does it, or else he ends up as lunch.
For us it is a bit different. It is so easy to feel like what we do as clowns is not important or doesn’t really matter because we are not performing on a big stage. Don’t be fooled by these random thoughts. All of us as clowns have a great purpose: to make people smile and forget about their troubles. We just need to take the time to figure out our individual purpose. It is never too late to improve your perspective. No matter your age or how long you’ve been clowning, there is always a new chance to start over or be better. Don’t continue a bad habit; avoid regret (click the link to read my article about that)
It always stops me dead in my tracks when clowns tell me what they wear or what they do “isn’t that important because they are just volunteers.”
…Seriously?!? Gee, I wonder what the folks they volunteer for would think if they heard that!
Alright, I think I know what they are trying to say. Most of us start as volunteer clowns to gain experience and get out there. If you say you are “simply” or “just” or “only” a volunteer, then you may be saying you are unsure of yourself and that you are not trying to put yourself out there as a professional performer. Okay, I get that.
So your purpose is to make folks smile on a parade route, nursing home, or hospital. Great! — Now how will you achieve your goal? How will you take it to the next level? That is how you define your purpose as a clown.
Take the time to put some thought into what your purpose is as a clown. Ask yourself these questions:
- What do I want to achieve with your performance?
- What do I get out of it?
- What am I willing to put into it?
Three simple questions that have different answers for each one of us.
It helps to think about how you can be the best clown you can be right now, today, this month, or the next time you put your make-up on. That could mean something as simple as polishing or cleaning your clown shoes, or organizing your props. I have seen many professional clowns fall into the rut of not taking care of their tools of the trade. I can only guess they were putting so much effort and time into their performance that they neglected their appearance.
How do you eat an elephant?
Answer: One bite at a time. The same principle applies to achieving your dreams and goals. Being the best you can be happens in SMALL steps. We take the extra time to practice a new routine. We clean our wig. We add a coat of paint to a prop. We make a phone call to check out a possible new performance opportunity. All these little things help us define our purpose to be the best clown that we can be. Make a list. Set some goals in realistic, attainable terms. Enlist the help of a clown friend or mentor. What will you do to move forward and to define your purpose as a clown?
Modify Goals, Change Focus
If you have been clowning awhile you may find that your purpose may change. At one point in my life I had to make the decision as to whether I was going to perform for a living, or teach and sell costumes. I really could not do both at the same time and do either of them justice. When I taught, I found that I was still performing –- except now it is in front of clowns instead of kids (hmm…is there really much difference??)
I found that focusing on clown education was rewarding for me. I still got to perform here and there, usually in a staff show at a convention or camp. It was enough; it served my clown purpose. When I perform, I can reach only the immediate audience in front of me; but when I teach others to perform, I reach an exponential number of people because those students are now going forth to spread joy. My purpose shifted from circus clown to home-town clown, and again to clown arts educator and costume designer. I was much happier once I figured out my purpose and committed myself to it.
Facing a Challenge, Taking Risks
Finding your own clown purpose involves taking risks, trying something new, moving out of your comfort zone.
When I invite clowns to attend Mooseburger Clown Arts Camp I get a variety of responses. Some act as if I have suggested they get a seat on the next space shuttle launch! People from all over the world come to camp, people of all different ages and experience levels.
Just because they have never thought about doing something beyond their own back yard or outside their comfort level, the idea seems crazy. It is about taking a risk. What folks find out at Moose Camp is that it is not that big of a risk after all because there is a dedicated staff there to assist you and guide you every step of the way. Also folks find out that there are 99 other people just like them taking the same risks. What a wonderful wild ride!!!
Lend a Helping Hand
Giving back is also part of finding and defining your purpose. It is important to give back to other clowns. When was the last time you went to your local clown club meeting? I am not saying you have to be president of the organization, but going to a meeting is good for everyone.
Whether you are new to clowning or an old shoe, we all have something to offer when we gather together even for one evening.
You’re never just a “JUST”
Take the time to think about your clown purpose and how you can achieve it in full measure. You may be pleasantly surprised at what you find. Don’t ever think about your clowning in terms of “I’m just a volunteer” or “I simply do meet & greet”. Your efforts are worth more than those lowly thoughts. No matter what you do, do it terms of fulfilling your purpose as a clown.
Set goals, work on them one bite at a time, and see where it takes you.
If you live your life wanting plan A, but working for plan B…Don’t be surprised when you get plan B. Achieve your purpose by working towards plan A!
Mooseburger Clown Camp can help you work towards your goals. Please consider joining us this summer for a life-changing experience!