Permission, Fear and Creativity

I have a gorgeous friend who is the Queen of permission. For me anyway she embodies all that is good about a creative, focused, talented woman who is able to give herself permission to pursue her passion, her art. And I love her because she models this good thing to me, always. When we chat face to face, meet in the supermarket, text message, read each others’ blog posts it doesn’t matter what way we communicate she is there to say it is ok to do what you do. Do what you love to do, what you were made to do…… and there it is. What was I made to do?

I am speed reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic at the moment. I feel a little uneasy about the title here, because I don’t believe in magic. But I do believe that we are created in the image of our Creator and that is something supernatural and awesome. It encourages me to see myself as a creative woman, in a created world. So when the desire to create and live a creative life comes (whatever that means to you) I am ready to embrace it.

I have been thinking about creativity for a very long time and one of the things I love to do is encourage other women to be the best they can be and celebrate all their creative talents. As a coach it gives me such pleasure to work with people, to share their story and help them achieve their goals. It is around this notion of permission that many of us come unstuck. Permission to start, to stop, to change, to learn, to take a risk, to experiment and to simply be. Women especially get trapped into the “should do” and “should not do” cycle and we don’t allow ourselves to pursue the very thing our hearts  desire.

 The bottom line is that we are afraid. And granting ourselves permission just might bring to life some of these fears. Here is Gilbert’s list:

“Let me list for you some of the many ways in which you might be afraid to live a more creative life: You’re afraid you have no talent. You’re afraid you’ll be rejected or criticized or ridiculed or misunderstood or—worst of all—ignored. You’re afraid there’s no market for your creativity, and therefore no point in pursuing it. You’re afraid somebody else already did it better. You’re afraid everybody else already did it better. You’re afraid somebody will steal your ideas, so it’s safer to keep them hidden forever in the dark. You’re afraid you won’t be taken seriously. You’re afraid your work isn’t politically, emotionally, or artistically important enough to change anyone’s life. You’re afraid your dreams are embarrassing. You’re afraid that someday you’ll look back on your creative endeavors as having been a giant waste of time, effort, and money. You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of discipline. You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of work space, or financial freedom, or empty hours in which to focus on invention or exploration. You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of training or degree. You’re afraid you’re too fat. (I don’t know what this has to do with creativity, exactly, but experience has taught me that most of us are afraid we’re too fat, so let’s just put that on the anxiety list, for good measure.) You’re afraid of being exposed as a hack, or a fool, or a dilettante, or a narcissist. You’re afraid of upsetting your family with what you may reveal. You’re afraid of what your peers and coworkers will say if you express your personal truth aloud. You’re afraid of unleashing your innermost demons, and you really don’t want to encounter your innermost demons. You’re afraid your best work is behind you. You’re afraid you never had any best work to begin with. You’re afraid you neglected your creativity for so long that now you can never get it back. You’re afraid you’re too old to start. You’re afraid you’re too young to start. You’re afraid because something went well in your life once, so obviously nothing can ever go well again. You’re afraid because nothing has ever gone well in your life, so why bother trying? You’re afraid of being a one-hit wonder. You’re afraid of being a no-hit wonder”
Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

 I want to encourage you today to face your fear and give yourself permission to begin the creative journey. If you would like to chat more about your project or idea I would love to hear from you.