Have you ever had a new amazing idea come to you, you’re super excited and then 27 reasons why you shouldn’t do it pop up too? What do you do at the moment, let the fears and impostor syndrome kill your idea? How can you address those fears and use them to your advantage to get yourself back into action?
After the Spring Equinox is a perfect time to really dig deep into what’s stopping you as new ideas pop up alongside your fears. In this episode, we’ll explore what you can do to make these fears useful, how you can move through them and not let them stop you from creating something amazing.
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Welcome to Creative Power! Can you feel the shift in the air now we’re past Ostara, the Spring Equinox?
In the last episode we heard from Emily Tuck about how this shift can affect our creativity and I think this is the perfect opportunity to check in with yourself and your current projects.
Is the energy on them still fresh or in need of a boost? Or perhaps certain projects have ebbed and new things are surfacing.
Around each sabbat and esbat personally I do a ritual that helps me review and reflect. It’s a great practice that allows me to draw together all my activities and ideas. I acknowledge and let go of the completed projects and focus myself on what new projects and creative ideas need my attention.
So this is a great time to check in with yourself and see what is coming up for you. What creative ideas are circling in your head? And if it’s not a solid idea yet, what thought keeps popping up into your head?
Sometimes this thing happens to me where I think about a memory or a random piece of knowledge or thing I read and I’m not quite sure what it means but it won’t leave me alone.
So when that happens, I’ll sit with it and allow my mind to wander or maybe even journal on it to see what comes up. And then let whatever journey into wonderland occur, following all those random trains of thought that may not make sense on the face of it.
But isn’t that exactly what we do as creatives? We bring these abstract concepts, random things and piece them together in a way that builds a narrative and speaks to someone’s soul. And in order to even get to doing that, we need to be prepared to go into wonderland ourselves.
Usually though by the end of this mental adventure it will spark off an idea in me or I’ll see a new part or layer of an existing project I’m working on. This is where it gets really exciting!
Aaaaaand maybe also a little bit scary.
Or maybe a lot scary.
Because who am I to bring this incredible, big idea to the world? I’m just a little human making things in my spare room, in snatched hours in the evening, right?
You start to talk yourself out of it before you’ve even tried. You haven’t even got to the arena, let alone the starting block and you disqualify yourself.
Several things can happen at this stage. It’s like a Choose Your Own Adventure book. Do you remember those? I loved them as a kid! Still love them now if I’m being honest…. I digress.
Anyway, you start reading and then were presented with choices and you’d flick to whatever page it said based on your choice which made for a really exciting way to read a story.
But if you weren’t careful, certain choices would have you rereading pages and retracing your footsteps. Stuck in an potentially endless loop unless you made another choice.
Only thing is we don’t realise we have a choice or we don’t like the choices on offer or some of the choices have such unknown paths that we’re afraid to take them.
So we grind to a halt with our exciting creative ideas, especially now in this period following the Spring Equinox because what is happening as Emily explained in the previous episode is that we’re getting that forward momentum but only just.
Seeds of ideas are only just beginning to poke their head above the surface and so are the 27 reasons why we don’t feel good enough to bring them to life.
As we head through Beltane towards that Summer Solstice we’ll have much more momentum and energy to power through but right now, it’s like being Bambi learning to walk on new legs. Who we are BEING in the world is still emerging, evolving, it’s not solid yet.
We’re coming out of hibernation and figuring out who we are now in the light of spring. Who do we WANT to be now in fact is an even better question.
This is an opportunity to choose another path on the crossroads, do something different to what you’ve historically done and create something new for yourself and your creative practice.
It’s a time where you can dig deep into those limiting beliefs and really clean them out. I’ll give you an example with myself. For me in the last 48 hours, a project that I started and dropped off from last year has been galvanised and needs action now now to make it happen.
This project which was two collaborative book titles started with gusto last year and then I felt intimidated. It was bigger than me. It required a different version of myself to lead it and it threw up a million reasons why I shouldn’t do it. So I stopped because I didn’t feel good enough. Classic impostor syndrome, am I right?
Fast forward to this past weekend and the idea has popped it’s head back up above the ground to ask me, “how about now?”
I want to do the project because it’s a great one. I loved it when we we first met and I still love the idea now. So im asking myself, what is standing in the way of me doing this NOW?
Instead of shutting down the voice in my head with 27 reasons why I shouldn’t, im listening to them. And then I’m dissecting them. I’m challenging them.
Is this fact or fiction? What evidence do I have to support this accusation?
Maybe it’s a thought of who am I to bring this idea to the world… well, why not? The idea came to ME so why wouldn’t I be the person for the job.
We live in a society where we are taught to downplay our talents and reject our unique genius. But that’s the secret sauce that makes these things go.
Think about your favourite artist, musician or writer for a minute. They all have this… he needs sais quoi that is uniquely theirs and you LOVE it. You can look at a piece of work and instantly recognise it as theirs. They’ve put their spin on it, their own flavour and that’s the part you’ve tuned into and got hooked on. Not the idea itself.
We as the creative vehicle for the idea are just as important as the idea itself. Because the idea could float off into space and land in someone else’s head.
Elizabeth Gilbert talks about a moment where that happened with a novel idea she had and didn’t use in her book Big Magic. Which I might add, is an excellent read and you absolutely will want to stick it on your reading list. Essential reading for living a more creative life in my opinion and really helps you understand how creativity lives and breathes with us.
So her idea went off to find someone else to write it because she sat on it too long. And that person would put their own spin on it as they brought it to the world. The bare bones of the story remained the same but the bells and whistles were different.
And I think as creators we forget how important OUR view is and the magnificence of what we bring to the table as individuals. Our unique perspective, all of our skills and experience. Our personality. All the things that make you… you and not anybody else are what people love about you as a creator. It’s what wins you legions of fans when you embrace your authentic self and actually give it a chance to shine out and be seen.
And hey, I know being authentic and not afraid to show it is a whole bucket of scary biscuits in itself so I’ll save that topic for another day. Actually, if you have any questions on any of that, do send me a message on Speakpipe and I’ll answer it for you in a future episode. I’ll leave a link in the show notes so you can send in your questions.
But going back to what I was saying…it’s this lack of belief in our own internal authority that causes a wide majority of creative block and feelings of impostor syndrome. A lot of those excuses and fears that will be popping as you start thinking through new creative ideas, all of that noise and that internal monologue that is trying to stop you in your tracks… that’s your ego. It’s not actually YOU though. It’s simply the ego trying to keep you safe within what it knows, even if that doesn’t actually serve you or bring you any joy. However, it definitely is familiar.
Impostor syndrome keeps us safely inside that comfort zone. But you know what? There’s no growth there. There’s no excitement. There’s no joy. There’s no inspiration. There’s no access to the creative life you truly desire in the comfort zone. What makes us so powerful as creators is our ability and our willingness to step out of our comfort zone, to face our fears and renew ourselves. In our ability to allow ourselves to evolve as human beings. Evolution is not just for Charles Darwin you know!
So… when that inspiration strikes, the new idea grabs you and you’re super energised and excited to do it and then 27 reasons appear in your head as to why you can’t. What can we do about it?
First of all, acknowledge it. Hellooooo impostor syndrome, I see you. I hear you. I hear you but I’m not listening.
In Big Magic by Liz Gilbert, and I know I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again because it’s so good. She talks about it being like driving a car. You can let fear ride in the car with you. But it absolutely does not have the steering wheel. Or control the GPS or map. It’s just a silent passenger.
Because the truth is, it doesn’t matter how successful you get or how many things you create. The fear will always be there. Its shape may change. The things it’s afraid of may change. If right now you’re wondering who the heck you are to pull that big idea off with zero funds working from a cupboard under the stairs in the middle of the night… by the time you’ve made millions and have legions of fans, you’ll be afraid of whether you’ll ever have another idea as good as your last. Whether you can replicate your success or if people will get bored of you.
The narrative may change but the presence of fear will always remain the same. Make your peace with it and learn to let it tag along. Because actually, the fear can be useful. How? You can use those fears to plug gaps and solve problems.
Let’s say your internal monlogue has started on a rant about you being just one person with not enough funds or resources to pull this thing off. So this is an opportunity to see what you can do to change that.
Creative people ARE natural problem solvers. We are INCREDIBLY resourceful whether we acknowledge it or not. We can find our way out of metaphorical paper bags. If you really want it and the desire to make it happen is greater than your fear, you will 100% find a way to make it happen.
That might mean you need to work on your self-image. Do you see yourself as someone capable of pulling this off? Do you believe, deep within you, that you have the leadership qualities or organisational skills in order to make it a success? No? Okay, how do we solve that? Go learn from those who have those skills. There are courses, mentors, books, videos galore. Heck, in this digital age there is tons of free information on the internet to get you started.
Use your fears as signposts for the gaps and be proactive about filling them and solving them. Because then what you find is that, without you looking or noticing, somewhere in the journey, who you are in the world completely changed. Suddenly when you think about working on that creative project, you can’t find those fears anymore. They evaporate and change the narrative. Because you’ve answered the fear, you’ve found a solution.
And when a fear or limiting belief has been solved. Next time it pops up it has nowhere to go. The train of thought stalls in your mind. And in that gap where your brain doesn’t quite know what to do because what it thought was an issue isn’t a problem anymore, that’s when you can take action to move your idea forward and create something new.
So on a practical level, as I said earlier when impostor syndrome kicks in around a new idea, the first thing to do is really acknowledge its presence. Listen to the fears and objections.
Work out what you can do about them on a practical level. What can you do to gain the knowledge, skills, experience or resources you need to make your idea happen? Who can help you with this?
If there’s one thing I’ve really learnt in the last year is that it is so much easier when you don’t walk it alone. Having a good friend for accountability or a therapist or coach like myself for support working through those blocks really help you feel less alone. Because creativity can be a lonely business when you’re trying to get an idea out of your head. Build a network of supportive people around you to make the journey easier and then it won’t be quite as scary to walk in the dark.
And right now as we’ve just passed Ostara, the Spring Equinox, this is a prime time to really face those things holding you back. We’ve got a whole nine months until the end of the year, what story do you want to tell by the end of it?
Do you want it to be a story about how you didn’t move forward on that great idea because you were scared? Or do you want to tell the story of an adventure of a lifetime creating something incredible because you dared to jump and find your wings on the way down? You get to choose how your story ends, make it a good one!
And as I said earlier, ideas will be starting to poke their heads above the surface, looking for you to help bring them to life. And as they grow and so do those 27 reasons why it’s not a good idea for you to do it grows too, use these next few weeks as an opportunity to face those fears head-on.
Because by the time we hit Beltane on the 1st of May, we’ll be gaining momentum fast, we’ll start to feel that energy of being raring to go and get out there and do something. So if you address those fears now while the energy and potential are still rising, by the time you feel the call to dive into action mode… you’ll be ready. You’ll have addressed those fears and impostor syndrome won’t be there to stop you.
In fact, it’s while I’m planning to run my 90 Day Moon Writing Flow challenge starting again on the 1st of May. People have got their heads around their ideas, are committed to the action and are ready to write that book.
So if you are thinking that you’d love this to be the year you write a book but still can’t quite get yourself moving… use this time to really dig in as to what is stopping you. And I’ll see you on the 1st of May in the writing challenge to get it done because by then… we’ll be ready to move in big ways. So the question is this, how are you going to use this opportunity to get yourself ready for the shift into doing and creating?