The check in we need to keep repeating
We put a lot of emphasis, FEAR and excitement into STARTING. And we often forget that when it comes to our work and our creativity, those same feelings that come along with BEGINNINGS, will keep happening.
There won’t just be ONE starting line, there will be PLENTY.
There won’t be that feeling of uncertainty just once in the beginning, it will be a recurring feeling we experience.
Being experienced, building a craft or learning new skills doesn’t eliminate our exposure to uncertainty or the risk starting something new, unless we decide to opt out of creating altogether.
There will always be the next blank page if we want to keep writing. Another empty blog post to fill. Another open spot to launch and host a workshop. Another bare canvas that’s waiting for paint to be poured onto it.
Starting again and creating the NEXT can feel daunting as we willingly wade into uncertain waters. This task can become even MORE daunting when we weigh ourselves down with those heavy, dense expectations. Slugging them over our shoulders and attempting to plod forward.
I’m talking about the kind of unhelpful expectations that suck our creative wells dry, leaving just a barren wasteland of rigidity, straight lines and one way streets. The kind of expectations that clog our imaginations and close the door on curiosity. The kind of expectations that would prefer you create like a factory, where robotics and moulds make perfect replicas, day in and day out.
The kind of burdensome expectations that look like an insatiable and demanding craving for public praise and validation. The kind that drive the stakes to impossible “perfection or bust” heights.
Unhelpful expectations replace our north stars, our values and our purpose with a generic beacon or standard issue uniform, so we contort ourselves and our work to “fit in”. They get us caught up in this game of one-upping, where the purpose isn’t on the process of creating, it’s lone concern is making the next thing perform BETTER or MORE SUCCESSFUL than the last one.
Checking these expectations is the conversation we need to keep having with ourselves. Whether it’s at the beginning of a new project, when you’re part way through painting a canvas or after you’ve hit publish on a new blog post. They latch on in sneaky and subtle ways and so we have to be willing to keep checking them.
And when we decide they’re the kind that are heavy and unhelpful we need to leave them by the side of the road or ditch them into a paper bag marked “RECYCLE”, so that we can carry on, lighter, less restricted and more immersed in the process of creating.
P.S. At the Sparks + Splatter retreat, I put a paper bag outside the main room and marked it with the word RECYCLE. I invited participants to write out any unhelpful expectations they noticed throughout the day and ditch them into the bag, so they could let go and carry on with creating.
Feel free to create your own recycling bin, so you can release these heavy blocks that are getting in the way of your creativity.