“Confidence is not inherent to our DNA. You can learn to be courageous, you can learn to be brave. The way to do this is to be afraid of something and do it anyway. Do the thing while you’re afraid of it.”
– Brandon Stanton, Humans Of New York
image by Bruno Martins
It always amazes me how coincidence works. The other day, after a rather long stretch of feeling uninspired, I went looking for a podcast to listen to while at the gym. As I scrolled the choices, I stumbled upon Elizabeth Gilbert’s Magic Lessons. I’ve always loved Elizabeth Gilbert and felt especially drawn to her last book Big Magic which touched on the creative process. Her podcast addresses the same topic and was exactly what I had been looking for. Within minutes of starting the first episode, I could already feel my creativity and inspiration reinvigorated.
This week’s episode felt especially poignant to me (episode 202) and I found myself pausing the podcast several times to take down quotes and make notes on my phone. What really struck me was the idea of learned courageousness and iteration in the creative process.
I can’t even tell you the number of times I wrote or talked about iteration as a part of my last job, but for some reason it never occurred to me that I should be applying it to my own creative process.
As I delve deeper into my own creative work I find myself thinking more and more about fear and confidence. They really go hand in hand. Fear can be so paralyzing which, in turn, completely stunts any chance you have of feeling confident. Even with the best of intentions, there is always that voice telling you it won’t be good enough or that no one will care about it. That your work will go unnoticed or un-liked. It’s a scary thing to put yourself out there for the world to see, or worse, ignore.
My own personal creative struggle lives right in front of you. I, too, grapple with fear and confidence. I, too, find that oftentimes what I’m working on doesn’t feel quite right. I worry that it will suck, that it won’t matter. To be honest, sometimes what I create does suck and doesn’t matter all that much. Yet, I push myself to create with confidence anyway, despite the voices, the doubts, the fears. I push forward, even if I have to fake my confidence a little, or a lot. Because if we never start, we can never grow.
“The work will tell you what it wants to be while you’re working on it.”
I just love the quote above. We get very caught up in releasing creative work only when we deem it perfect. I like the idea that work has a mind of its own and will shape itself as it unfolds. But only if given the opportunity. The first iteration of anything isn’t usually the best.
Gilbert poses the thought that every famous writer, painter, sculptor, actor, dancer started without accolades, awards or notoriety. This really puts things into perspective. In order to improve all we have to do is start. It won’t be easy or perfect, the work may suck, seriously, it may be totally lousy, but, go ahead, create with confidence anyway.
Today’s Makings Of Small Step: What calls you creatively? Make the time to answer the call then go forward and create with confidence.