Protecting and feeding your creativity
When you want to create something- a book, a show, a new business- there will always be a push forward and a push back. This polarity can be described as motivation and resistance. Part of overcoming procrastination to get it started, completed, or scaled up is about navigating this polarity. And this is often what we do in coaching.
There is much complexity to getting to manage this polarity, as we have to do the deep work of understanding where the resistance comes from, how we manage the self-critic
al voice, and where we formed this voice in childhood, as part of our adaptive response to stressors and trauma.
But I want to share two actions, or tips which are helpful to get you started:
1. nurturing our motivation to propel us forward and 2. overcoming resistance by protecting ourselves in a positive way.
1. Feed your inspiration- schedule weekly artistic dates and keep a morning journal.
I can't stress enough the work of Julia Cameron on how helpful the two habits above are to support your creative life.
It is so important that you allow yourself to have a weekly moment where you take in some artistic event, or learning, so you feel constantly inspired by other artists. You can not create in isolation and ideas are never unique, they are regenerative.
This applies to any business owner as well. You need to feed your inspiration- learn more about your products and services, and increase your skill set; look out for how other people who you trust model those skills, and attend events, or read books, that take you a step further in your field. You must keep learning so you don't burn out.
Be curious, be engaged, be open to growth.
Keeping a morning diary is the best practice of self reflection you can have. Every morning, for 20mns, the first thing you can do is write three A5 pages of your mental load- free flow. Hand write (yes, it matters) every single word that pops in your mind, without filtering. Let it all stay on the page, knowing no one will ever read it, but just write it all down. The insights you will gain, and the connection you will eventually develop to your intuitive wisdom, through this practice, is unparalleled. You must do it, for at least 90 days, to start seeing results.
2. Protect your art- don't show it too early and release yourself from expectations.
We have a tendency to want to share our art, and our ideas. That's fine because art is only art, until is shared. When not shared, it's a hobby, really. But doing this too early in the process, can be crushing, and self destructive.
The same applies for business owners- a business is only a business if there are clients/ buyers, otherwise, it is an hobby. But if you continually compare yourself to other businesses, you can get caught in a loop that overwhelms you, and leads you to inaction.
Be aware that sharing too early can have a negative impact on your confidence. Particularly, when we tend to show our work to people who are close to us: partners, parents and friends. No matter how well intentioned, their reactions and responses can be maximised in our mind, and we can misinterpret their message. When people who are close to you try and help, they may give you their opinions, they might show you examples of art similar to yours, or they simply might say that you are great; all of these may be misunderstood by the artistic child within you. This can lead to you feeling vulnerable and rejected instead of connected, which can then paralyse you and make you feel stuck. This can lead to grandiosity, false empowerment, or on the contrary, a sense of deficit and low self esteem. Either way this can limit you.
It can help therefore to not expose your practice at the very beginning to those closer to you. Art at the beginning stages is like a baby, keep it away from stranger's germs...
Having an objective person, like a coach or a mentor supporting you in the first phase of your venture will be more beneficial to keep you accountable and supported. A coach will help you reflect, deepen your awareness of possibilities, and maximise your potential. A mentor will guide you, provide you feedback and advice you on the next steps. Find a community of practitioners- you are only as good as the people who surround you. Make sure you are not the most interesting person in the room. Having other creatives around you to support and challenge you is paramount to keep you going and growing.