Putting It Into Practice
Finding Your Joy – Pt 5: Putting It into Practice.
This is our last entry in the “Finding Your Joy” Series. Last week we talked about gifting yourself the time to practice your craft and discover your joy, and giving yourself permission to be creative.
During this season of gifting to others, it’s important to remember that you have natural gifts and talents that deserve to be honored and used.
However, putting all this into practice is another story altogether!
I’ve heard from many of you about which problems stand in the way of your creativity. Here’s the top 5…in order so far: Staying focused, Motivation/Inspiration, Finding the Time, Finding your Passion (which we’ve addressed in this series already), and Organization!
You’re not alone! With everything else going on during the end-of-year holiday season, it can be hard to find time for yet another project!
Maybe you’ve been dreaming about a wonderful creative project, but it feels overwhelming, and you have no idea how or where to start. So many ideas, so little time and energy! Or maybe you’re just feeling the winter blahs, with the cold temperatures, the low hanging clouds and overcast skies. You might be asking “How do I get MOTIVATED to do anything?”
…a valid question. I’m here to help!
Let’s talk about some ways to make that a little easier and help you move forward with your creative goals using mindfulness and strategic action. I use these tactics over and over, and they never cease to bring some clarity. I hope they’ll do the same for you.
#1: Embrace Systems and Processes That Help You Stay on Track (~time and focus)
This one isn’t very sexy but if you have good systems and practices in place, you’ll get moving much faster. I put this one first for a reason – it’s THAT important. You’ve probably heard more than you wanted to about goal setting, especially this time of year! This isn’t a goal “setting” strategy-it’s a goal “achievement” strategy! Everyone’s making resolutions, turning over a new leaf, or planning their weight loss goals. No matter the “goal,” those who succeed in reaching their goals usually have strong systems in place to support them.
I’ve been in many seminars by Stu McLaren and Jeff Walker, and I love the way they talk about this. The emphasis is on progress not perfection. Taking baby steps. Just keep moving forward. You don’t have to get it perfect; you just have to get it going!
What might your system look like? It might start with a morning ritual that supports your creative practice. It might be staying engaged in a supportive Facebook community for accountability and encouragement. Maybe you invest in a planner or app that helps remind you to preserve and protect your creative time. Write it down, plan, and commit. What gets written down, gets done. Focus on systems and processes that will support you making progress and getting better every day.
#2: Keep Your “WHY” Front and Center-and be Honest with Yourself (~focus and motivation)
Having a dry spell from time to time is normal. It gives your mind time to rest and rejuvenate. However, it can be hard if you’re excited about a new creative undertaking but can’t seem to find the time to dive in. So, here’s a question to ask yourself. Consider whether you are staying “stuck” because it feels safe and familiar. Because it’s more comfortable than risking failure or attempting something you’re not sure of.
If you’re deeply in flow on an interesting project, or a new learning experience, and you suddenly hit an obstacle, you need to listen. Your mind and body may just need to catch up. Take a break. Let it all sink in. You may need some time before it you feel ready to move forward again. Now is the time to be honest with yourself. Make sure you’re not just stopping to avoid discomfort.
There is an old saying out there that states the only way to grow and l earn is to step OUTSIDE your comfort zone! That’s the only way to do it. Remember your school days. The only way to get out of high school was to feel the uneasiness of moving from one grade to the next. It was fun, exciting, and a little scary.
We all can push ourselves and embrace new goals. To do that, we have to get comfy with that feeling of discomfort that arises when we’re trying or learning something completely new. Here’s where your “WHY” comes into play. If you are clear on why you are doing this in the first place, it makes pushing through the discomfort that much easier.
#3: Your Journey is Your Journey (~focus and motivation)
Stay away from the comparison trap! This is hard! Especially in today’s world of Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest! It’s difficult to stop comparing ourselves to others. You may be saying: “She’s so much better than I am. There are so many people doing this already. Why am I even trying! My stuff will never be any good. I’m too old to learn this.” I could go on and on! And I have in the past!
SO, remember that your journey is your journey. These people started at zero too! And, if they can do it, so can you. Take it as proof that it’s possible. Don’t judge yourself based on what others are doing. You aren’t seeing the struggles they went through. And anything can be made to look superior on social.
Set expectations for yourself but only compare to where you were earlier, and how far you have come. Compare you to you. Use your support systems and processes (see #1) to help you achieve those goals.
One of my favorite sayings is “Create before you consume.” Meet your own goals, then use social for inspiration and ideas. Don’t get distracted, and don’t fall victim to shiny object syndrome, but bask in your own success!
#4: Just Show Up (~time and motivation)
This is probably my favorite “go to” solution because it takes decision making out of the mix. Just show up. Not optional! Not negotiable! I find that, even when I’m not motivated, when I show up in my creative space, something always happens.
By showing up you tell your mind that this is the time, ready or not. Just look through supplies, practice a line, experiment with a technique. Give yourself space to experiment and try something new. The goal isn’t to produce a perfect piece each time. The goal is to do your part by showing up to that space. This builds habit, expectation, and eventually a true creative practice. You’ll move your hands in new ways and your brain will switch gears to focus on this exploration.
I’ve used this tactic many times and I can attest that it really works. If I just show up, I will either become inspired, or add a new idea to my journal, or I’ll get my space clean and organized. But what happens long term is that I train my brain to be creatively present during that time. I have found that increases my motivation ten-fold. Give it a try, without expectation or judgement. Make it a habit.
#5: Rejuvenate and Reset (~time and organization)
The other tactic I use, deliberately and with caution, is intentional downtime. Intentional being the key here. Take some time off. And I mean completely off! Put your supplies away. Turn off your computer and don’t check social media. Let it all go. Clear away your supplies and straighten up your creative space. It’s mindless work but very gratifying to rearrange your supplies and clear away what’s no longer needed.
Then enjoy something totally different. Sit outside in the sun, read a book, stay in bed and re-watch a favorite movie, take a drive, or go to the park. Even a day at home enjoying a bit of self-care counts. Do whatever you want as long as it’s not toward a particular goal. But remember, don’t take your phone with you.
You and your mind need to reset occasionally. If you’re burnt-out, motivation and inspiration will be hard to find. It’s so refreshing to unplug every now and then. DO it with intention and just let go. You will feel refreshed when you return to your studio and quite possibly get more done!
Do you have other techniques you use to find inspiration and to stay on track? Share them in the comments below. Tell me which of these resonates the most with you. I’d love to hear from you.
Be-U, on purpose, 4-Life!
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