Courageously Creative

December 4, 2012

Courage

So if fear kills creativity, then what must we possess to get past it? As a teacher of creativity, I see everyday this dilemma with students. Building confidence takes time, however we can have courage to move forward, taking risks even in the face of possible failure. The benefits are: we continue to grow our creative abilities; gain experiences through these awkward circumstances; develop processes that we can trust. That said it’s always healthy to be a little afraid or intimidated with every creative endeavor.

Being humble is the first step. In fact understanding this leads to parallels with other self help programs. Having a willingness to learn, asking for help or to seek outside influence can be the difference between being left behind or evolving with the flow of the creative world. These compared with the three benefits outlined above will be the path to success in overcoming fear and finding courage to be at our creative best.

As with any challenge that we strive to pursue, there is an opportunity for growth. Early in the learning process we face hurdles in process, technique and the mechanics of software education in today’s digital creative world. These fundamentals will be a huge asset to anyone that continues to take risks and tries to achieve new skills and abilities.

The cliché’ “once bit twice shy” comes to mind when referring to the second benefit of taking risks and just taking action in the midst of fear. If we are to move past fearful execution, then we need to achieve familiar experiences that provide more comfortable situations. Each experience will help us the next time we approach either the same circumstance or a new one. Building confidence to overcome our fear by past successes in the same situation.

Lastly, the place we want to end up after taking risks and dealing with fear is a new confidence and trust in our capabilities. Newly learned skills and experiences will have an impact on how we feel about our ability to succeed in the face of fear. The knowledge that a familiar process, many times proving successful, can safely guide us through unfamiliar territory. What was once frightening is now just part of the cultivation of new ideas and creative opportunities.

Once we are comfortable to collaborate, share strengths with other creatives, not to mention being influenced by others that we can learn from in our industry, our humility transforms into an attitude of gratitude and appreciation for scary challenges that we have learned are actually an opportunity for beneficial growth. If we can embrace that fear, combined with confidence in sound practices, is just part of something better to come. We can then be more comfortable with our own creative talents, strengths and passion and be of great value to others earlier on in the courageously creative learning process.

Here is an interesting infographic that showcases the “10 doubting thoughts that can cripple creativity”

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I’m doing it afraid!

November 30, 2012

afraid

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Fear kills everything – creativity, ambition, passion, purpose…everything! I’ve written about how fear effects creativity, however, this post is about the other.

It has been almost a year since my last post. Funny, that sounded like a confession to a priest. I could give you an excuse, like I’ve been busy with so many projects, that I’ve had some life changes or that I had writers block. The truth is that I just procrastinated until a year went by – mostly because I was afraid to write something new.  I’ve also had a lot of personal change in my life and have been trying to find the confidence I once had as a writer. Today, I’m doing it afraid.

One of the changes in my life, in the last year especially, is that I have a new relationship with God. Joyce Myers, a Christian evangelist, taught me this phrase, “do it afraid”. It seems to have had a real impact in many areas of my life. Her perspective is that whatever it is that I’m afraid of isn’t worth keeping me from what I should be doing. What’s the worst that can happen? Will I die? No. Will I get embarrassed? Maybe – still won’t die. Will I get a chance at growth and a new experience even if I fail? Yes. Will I have missed that opportunity if I didn’t try? Yes.

I turned 47 this year. My youngest child is no longer a teenager, I’m going through a divorce – for the second time and I bought my first pair of reading glasses just a week ago. Truth is I needed those about three years ago. I’m now a grandfather and for some reason decided to get eight tattoos making up an entire sleeve on my left arm – ok that part is pretty cool. And I finally decided to do something about my PTSD I developed from the Army and my experiences in war, a lot of stuff to be afraid of right?

Here’s my point. There were times I felt like giving up. There were many times I wasn’t sure what I was doing anymore. Even still, times I questioned my confidence in the things I’ve always trusted. Until the day that phrase entered my life. “Do it afraid”. At first it was just a quiet voice in the back of my mind, but it has been growing louder over this last year. Today I choose to listen to it. I’m doing it afraid!

So what does that mean? And how has it already helped me? It means I’m surrendering my fear and taking the risk of failing with the hope that there will be some personal growth and change. Yes, CHANGE. They say the definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results each time. I’ve been stuck in that cycle too long and I’m willing to venture into the fearful unknown for the sake of change. It’s already working. Mostly because when you have to surrender to something, it works best if you surrender it to something bigger than yourself. I choose God for this purpose. The difference is nothing short of a miracle.

I’m sharing this with you because it has been a fear of mine to present myself to the world in a different way than I present myself to God. In essence I’ve created two different people to live the same life and that hasn’t worked out so well. It has been killing my spirit. Thus, preventing me from change. Acceptance can be a fearful thing – mostly because honesty can be brutal. Today I’m doing it afraid.

The benefits are already being revealed. Each day I become less afraid of things that use to keep me from growing, learning from others and defining integrity I thought I could never obtain. Not to mention, my creative abilities and passion for life are more flavorful, more meaningful, and more purposeful. John Maxwell says, “ talent is NEVER enough”. He outlines 16 different principles that help to form a more purpose driven life. Still, fear can keep you from implementing even just one of them. Today I’m doing it afraid.

To many of us go through life fearful of trying something new, different or unknown. I’m halfway through my life and I refuse to behave this way any longer. Today I’m doing it afraid.