Are Your “Shoulds” Sabotaging You?

Creative people are gifted rebels. We see things differently and we do things in our own way. This gets us into trouble, thank goodness! What’s life, if it’s just living the status quo? It’s not enough for us!

Woman holding a guitar

Some of you may be quiet rebels, living your truth without making a lot of waves. Others are shouting who you are from the rooftops.

Rebellious little girl

So sometimes, when you make your own to-do lists and tell yourself you “should” do something, guess what? Your inner kindergartener says, “you’re not the boss of me.”

Why? Because it feels more like a chore than your deep, inspired passion.

So you procrastinate. Or distract yourself. Or mope. You feed your inner critic bonbons. And you don’t finish what you actually want to complete.

Don’t get me wrong. I know you’re not a slacker. In fact, you are probably super responsible to other people. Just, perhaps, not always to yourself.

It hurts when you let yourself down. It can undermine your confidence, sap your enthusiasm, and seduce you into giving up.

So I need to ask you something. Why do you value what you want to do?

Stop. Don’t read any more of this blog post until you answer that.

Chances are, something came to mind pretty quickly, like “because I love to paint,” or “I want to make a difference in the world.” You might be sitting up a little taller, your backbone straight and strong when you say this.

Now, take that answer and go a little deeper. Ask yourself why that is important to you.

It could be that you feel more alive when you brush paint across a canvas. It could be that you want to make a difference because you care deeply about people. Do you feel a softening in your chest? Are you feeling a little more vulnerable? If so, you’re getting closer.

Watercolor painting of colorful tree

That beautiful combination of strength and vulnerability is telling you something. The value and importance of why you want to create are your energetic roots—and your wisdom. Tap into them. Let them ground you and nourish your enthusiasm.

What can you do with all that strength and enthusiasm? You can commit to anything that moves you in the direction of your goal. And mean it.

You can commit to painting or writing an hour a day, no matter what. Or playing the piano. Or knitting. Or designing your next piece of jewelry.

Yes, you can.

Ultimately, you have to make that choice. No one else can make you commit. There’s no magic potion, spell, or list of steps that will do it. It’s up to you.

We don’t always know why we finally choose to commit, or when it’s going to happen. It can be an accumulation of imperceptible inner changes, like an underground stream that travels a long time before it emerges into the light. Or it can be a swift response to an idea or situation, like someone flipping a switch.

All that matters is that you make that choice and then do it.

You can do this! I know you can.

If you’re hedging, here’s a tip: commit to doing something that is a stretch, but not too much. You want it to be doable, but not too easy. Why?

You need to make your goal realistic, so you can experience success, obviously. But you also need to make sure your goal stretches you, at least a little. Pushing yourself just beyond your comfort zone does three things:

  • It makes it more exciting!
  • It moves you further along.
  • It teaches you that you can do more than you realized.

Once you experience success, you’re more ready to take the next step, and make it meaningful. (And your inner kindergartner loves to get those gold stars!)

Woman's hands writing at desk with flowers

Honor your commitment to yourself by taking action.

A commitment you make to yourself is just as sacred as a commitment you make to your spouse, or child, or friend.

You’ll see how much you can do, and how far you can go, one commitment at a time!

IGB Post date: 2015-09-29

Posted in Choices, Commitment, Creativity.