While I am still on this roll with creative confidence - I want to confess one of my own biggest creative mindset blocks.
It's one I’ve been grappling with for the past several years. But in this last year, it really created some havoc in my business and I had to grapple HARD with it.
Tell me if this sounds familiar to YOU:
Find a big, luminous, new idea or project emerging in your work.
Allow the idea/project to expand in your mind. Fall so in love with it that you:
Decide that this idea is the Next Big Thing for your work - or that it's the ONLY interesting way to proceed - and BEGIN as SOON as possible. Trust that it will somehow all work out. (note that I haven't mentioned strategy or planning here - other important parts of the creative process.)
Avoid all inner or outer suggestions that there might be wisdom in waiting or slowing down.
Generate excitement and intrigue in your community for the amazingness that is about to ensue.
At this point, it’s going to go in one of two ways, as big risks usually do.
It's going to be a big success. You were right. It was hard work, but the idea took off. You are so glad you committed to the risky thing and saw it through long enough for it to work - if you listened to your doubts, you would have kept this thing of beauty in hiding, to your - and the world’s - detriment. Celebrate!
It's going to fail. Either you are going to spend a lot of time building it and then realize its not as fulfilling, fun, or not as excellent in quality as you envisioned it to be; or you spend a lot of time building it and can’t sell it, or even worse, you DO sell it and it doesn’t bring the value and results to your client/customer/students that you wanted (ouch).
There’s a lot to unpack here.
It could be that the failure route was a result of you not committing to the project long enough so that you could make the tweaks and refinements it needed to be successful. Quitting too early is a major creative mindset block!
Or, as in my case this year, it could come down to capacity.
I committed to a couple of risky, experimental, big vision projects, without a stable enough business to ensure that I could leap and have enough air under my wings to fly.
It lost me money, put stress on some relationships, and did harm to my business.
I do tend to want to create the wind by flying -- rather than stay attuned to the wind that’s coming and LEAP at the moment that the air itself will support and propel me.
In the Creative Confidence Communiqués, I encouraged you to ACT and then learn and act again - to engage in a creative process that will lead you to your goals, not sit there waiting for a bolt of inspiration lightning to strike and deliver to you your entire painting, program, business, or book idea on a silver platter. THAT kind of waiting never works.
But it doesn’t mean you should overcommit yourself and exploit your own resources, financially, physically, emotionally - in the service of a big vision.
Our job is to give our big vision roots AND wings.
Today I leave you with not only THIS question:
Where do you wait for too long or too much? Where do you hang
back from taking the small steps, risks, leaps that will allow the
creative process to develop you and your work?
but also this one:
Where do you leap too soon? Throw yourself into something big without the support, resources, and capacity to take good care of yourself, the idea and your business while you do it?
And what does the balance between these two states look like?
Those are the questions driving my 2019 plans, which I’m going to outline in another post soon.
Enjoy the January day, dreamer and doer.