I teach and mentor about cultivating a creative lifestyle which I’ll share more about in future blogs. I am often inspired to write about what is current in my life and what I am in the middle of learning that other Creatives would also enjoy. I teach about the Improvisational concept of Yes/And in regards to creativity, and I also practice living from the positive not the negative 95% of the time . . . but today it’s going to be about the word No.
Over-commitment: Why do we do this? This is almost the #1 block to creativity in our lives. When I’m over committed, I am stressed out, in a rush, on auto pilot, am tired, easily frustrated, and then it can become paralyzing. And leads to BURNOUT! Creativity is out the window and then my design falls into a rut, it’s all about the pedestrian kitchen at that stage that I can do in my sleep but won’t win any awards.
We have good intentions when we say Yes, but the problem is we often live in a dream world. In my ideal life I would have all the energy in the world. But of course I can go on a strenuous 26 mile bike ride and then go work with a team on a house for a worthwhile cause in the afternoon. Why wouldn’t you want to do that! I want to be able to do it all. In my mind I can, with energy to spare, so I say yes. But when the day comes and I literally can’t walk after the bike ride, the last thing I want to do is be surrounded by people (that’s my over-stimulated introvert talking) and try to paint or dig weeds.
Rules to live by: If you feel like you SHOULD do it, because you think people expect you to say yes, then you need to say no. If you think you SHOULD do it so people are happy with you, then say no. If you are overestimating your ability, then you need to say no. It’s OK if deep down you really want to do these things, but we have to be honest with ourselves and with others. It’s better to say no ahead of time than at the last minute, or worse yet to force ourselves to go through with it and spread ourselves too thin, also killing creativity.
Comparison: This might be the #2 biggest block to creativity. We all have different energy levels. I tend toward a slower, more methodical pace with micro bursts of output. In high school I was the sprinter. Even at the end of a longer run, I would sprint to the finish line as soon as I could see it. Some of my mentors will live 10 lives in the time I live one. And watching everyone on Facebook doesn’t help. Stop comparing yourself to people’s lives and careers on Facebook!
(I was reading the Sunday New York Times and ran across a couple great articles on this.)
Some of you reading this may be those who will live 10 lives in the time that I live one, and that is fantastic! The rest of us need to stop comparing ourselves to anyone, our way is just as beautiful as theirs, it’s just different.
In The Four Agreements book, #1 is Being Impeccable with your Word. I am really working on this one, keeping my word to myself, which has everything to do with not over committing. I need to get real with myself and with others.
#2 – Don’t take anything personally. What others think about you isn’t your business, and let’s face it, they are probably not thinking about you at all.
#3 – Don’t make assumptions. We don’t have to be Wonder Women or Super Men. Don’t assume someone is a super hero because of what you see online.
#4 – Always do your best. Let’s go a little easier on ourselves so we can actually do our best with the things we choose to commit to.
Say yes to self care. Embrace Spring. Get out in nature. Move your body. Shake off the winter cobwebs. Be selfish with your energy. Don’t be afraid of saying no. Let the creative juices flow. Find your own balance. Be true to yourself. Do something creative every day.
*All photos and images drawn and/or taken by Paula