Category Archives: self awareness

Doing What it Takes

Doing What it Takes

I’ve been backsliding a little.

As the Holidays approach, I’ve found myself getting distracted; not by holiday shopping or baking cookies, but rather just by the desire to chill out and join my friends in “taking a vacation” from everything. In a different period of my life, I would have been going to office holiday parties, having eggnog at the office and just generally getting into the “time off” mood.

As a self-employed person, my life is different now. But I still find myself wanting to slow down, and get ready for a series of days off from work.

This morning, I reminded myself that I need to do a bit more before I can relax with my friends. There are a few more tasks I must accomplish and the attitude I need right now is: “do what it takes” to get them done.

I used to think “doing what it takes” meant I had to martyr myself to my business. I would say things like, “I’m doing everything I can think of” and “I’m working *so* hard!”

But the truth is, I wasn’t doing *everything* I could; there is so much more I can do than simply what *I* can think of to do. Telling myself these things gave me an excuse feel sorry for myself. And then it allowed the vicious cycle of beating myself up for not accomplishing to kick in, which ultimately leads to avoidance. With a touch of anger and frustration.

And while I do have strong work ethic, I’m learning that effort-ful striving is not necessarily the same thing as working to accomplish something.

What does lead to accomplishment – real, tangible, meat and potatoes accomplishment – is not striving; it is the process of blending your doing with your being. As a Creative, I can tell myself all day long that I just want to “be myself” and do what I love. I just want to share my gifts with the world. That’s great! But without the doing part, without taking action on those gifts, I end up sitting in my proverbial garret, waiting for a Prince Charming to come buy my services and creative work. And then crying out: “but I’m doing everything I can think of to do!”

There is so much more that I can do than simply what I can think of. (See my posts: “Get A Proselytizer” and “Seeking Creative Community”) Finding and connecting with people in your industry, or one like it, can go a long way towards helping you brainstorm new and different ways to approach your business and life’s work.

There was an article floating around on my Facebook feed recently from Cracked.com: “6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Better Person” and although I don’t agree wholeheartedly with everything the author said, there were definitely a couple of good nuggets in there. The main thrust of that article was Do What It Takes to become the *better* person – the person you truly want to be in the world.

“the sheer act of practicing will help you come out of your shell [...]People quit because it takes too long to see results, because they can’t figure out that the process is the result.”

“Don’t get me wrong; who you are inside is everything — the guy who built a house for his family from scratch did it because of who he was inside [...] — ‘who you are inside’ is the metaphorical dirt from which your fruit grows.”
Read more: http://www.cracked.com/blog/6-harsh-truths-that-will-make-you-better-person_p2/#ixzz2Fhx0QntF

So, thinking about that: the process IS the result, and who you are (what mindset you’re coming from) IS the dirt from which your work grows, I find myself more determined to Do What It Takes. Not to flail about looking for some magical answer to how to grow my business, (and don’t even get me started on how to grow my business the *right* way…) but rather to take regular, even daily, steps to learn more, risk more, practice more. To Do What It Takes, not just what I *think* it will take.

(PS: WordPress is still giving me trouble; I can’t insert pictures or links into my posts. I’m working with my site admin on this, so thanks for your patience!)

Blocks

Blocks

Day 8 of 30 Days of Imperfection…and I haven’t been writing every day. But, I am also studiously not beating myself up for that!

Tonight, I’ve just gotten home from a busy day, and all I want to do is decompress. Sit in front of the computer, watch videos and pet my dog. But it’s been several days since I last blogged, and I am aware that doing so whether I “feel like it” or not is part of the process of this challenge.

I’ve been feeling blocked. I keep saying things like: “I don’t have time,” or “I’m too tired,” or “I’m too busy to write…”
This afternoon, a client asked me: “What do other Creative people do when they’re blocked? How do they get out of it?”

Well, that depends. It depends a lot on the particular individual, but it also depends on where the block is coming from.

I encourage anyone who’s blocked creatively (and this doesn’t have to be limited to artists!) to look at the root of the block. Sometimes, we’re blocked because we’re actually afraid. Sometimes, we’re blocked because we need to fill up our energy wells – to rest more, to take better care of ourselves. Sometimes we’re blocked because of other emotions: anger, jealousy, grief.

I’m thinking now of the costumer I know who couldn’t bring herself to enter her studio, clean it up and get back to sewing, after the costume she’d worked so hard and lovingly on got lost in transport and never worn.
Only after I coached her on grieving the loss of that beautiful work — where the block was coming from — could she go back into her studio with a renewed spirit of creativity.

Some blocks are more practical: perhaps you need to talk to someone more experienced and get their feedback on your idea. Maybe you need an accountability partner to help you stay focused so that you can push through.

Ask yourself: “What needs to happen in order for me to make this project a priority again?” Let yourself explore all aspects of it, including – and especially – the feelings that come up. If, after you have looked at this creative block from a variety of angles, you still don’t feel inspired to pursue the project, then ask: “What will it take for me to let this one go?”

It’s OK to let go of unfinished projects, but it’s worth taking the time to determine what the true reason is that you don’t want to pursue it.

It takes no small amount of courage to face into our creative blocks. Remember to ask for help! A close friend, a mentor or a coach can provide the support you need to explore what’s really holding you back and help you to take concrete steps to move forward – over, around or through what’s blocking you.

(PS: I don’t feel so blocked now! Thanks!)