Everything new I’ve ever done, I’ve been afraid to do it.
The newness scared me because I lacked confidence. It was something I'd never done it before, so I wasn’t sure if I could actually do it. This fear applied to new jobs, new relationships, new styles, new recipes, new creative works; etc.
Fear of failure holds us back from so many opportunities and lessons in life. No one ever wants to fail. No one ever wants to look stupid or foolish. No one ever wants to lose money, status, or position.
At the onset of attempting something new, we often overlook a simple fact - failure has the ability to teaches us so much, sometimes more, than what success can sometimes teach us. That’s because we really do learn from our mistakes.
I’m not a fan of the word ‘mistake’. I don’t particularly like the connotation it carries, or the way it's usually used... as in 'failure'.
What is a ‘mistake’ anyway? I prefer to look at it a bit differently. I choose to see it as simply one ‘miss’ on one ‘take' or one shot at something.
If you can start seeing risk of failure from this perspective, then you'll quickly learn that it's simply a matter of re-taking the shot. The newly acquired knowledge of what doesn't work, coupled with a willingness to keep taking a shot, will eventually result in success.
Isn’t that the way we learned to do so many things as children? Things like tying our shoelaces and riding a bike for example.
If you're trying to win a teddy bear at a carnival and kept missing the target, would you call it a mistake? No. You’d call it a miss instead of a hit. Would it teach you something? Yes. It would teach you to improve your aim if want a ‘hit’, right?
That’s how we need to look at new ventures in life. Some will be hits and some will be misses. None will be mistakes in the sense of how that word is usually used to mean failure.
Creativity and Confidence make the best bed buddies.
When we engage with creativity, we partner with our curiosity and intuition in order to make something. Intuition works like a road make to guide us forward, and curiosity encourages us to keep going until we find something that works.
The creative process ignites our intuition, and revs its engine to a level where we can sense, feel, or hear it. It drowns out other noises from the outside world, and turns the volume of our inside world up to 11.
We all possess an inner voice of wisdom or intuition, but in today’s world we seldom recognize it, let alone tap into it or use it to help guide us along life’s journey.
When immersed in creative 'doing', we automatically choose this or that without thinking. We instinctively feel those choices rather than consciously think them. The more we create, the better we get at acting and reacting in this way. The creative muscle is strengthened by being used, just as any other muscle in the body.
Having a strong creative muscle can be beneficial in many areas of life.
One big advantage is that we become better problem solvers, and bigger do-ers. We no longer sit on the sidelines and wait to be rescued. We take charge. Developing more highly attuned instincts, and being practiced in trusting those instincts, creates greater confidence to take action without fear of failure.
Creativity helps reduce stress and anxiety because it allows us to adapt our thinking quickly and instinctively. This fluidity helps us cope better with life's uncertainties when they arise.
When you develop your creative muscle, you begin to see things in a different way, and are more inclined to think outside the box. Situations and scenarios present angles and opportunities, rather than obstacles or obstructions.
Any type of regular creative practice offers an opportunity to become skilled at adapting to different situations and consequences. Sometimes, due to certain physical factors involved in the creative process i.e. drying time, light, water, temperature; etc. we're required to move quickly or react spontaneously. Repeated experience in acting in this manner, especially if obtaining 'hits' while doing so, significantly increases confidence.
Are you familiar with the painter Bob Ross? Bob Ross was a visual artist who had a long running instructional painting TV series back in the 70’s and 80’s. Google him. You can see his videos on YouTube as well.
Bob Ross was super zen. This guy knew how to roll with it. He acted and reacted with the flow of whatever transpired on his canvas. As such, he easily coped with the unknown or unexpected occurrences that are an inevitable part of the painting process. He worked with what he had in the moment by incorporating it into his piece as a ‘happy little accident’. Not once did I ever hear him call anything a mistake. I love Bob Ross!
Engaging with creativity builds confidence because it is in the doing that we discover we can work with whatever we get. There's a certain kind of thrill that comes with that kind of unpredictable ride, and again... even more so if it brings you a 'hit' along the way.
So-called failures are just that: so-called. “Happy little accidents’ give us the opportunity to do the unexpected. Will it always work out? No. Will we learn something from it? Yes.
Being creative is part of our human nature. We take part in the creative process each and every day. We're creating our lives minute by minute, hour by hour, decision by decision.
Developing a creative practice can take a zillion different forms. Without a doubt, and no matter what form it takes, any source of creative making will enhance your life and boost confidence. You get to choose how, what, where, and when you want to create. I encourage you to choose something that excites your soul, fuels your curiosity, stretches the limit of what you currently think you’re capable of, and revs up your intuition.
Here's some starter tips for you:
- If you don’t know where to start, take a class or a workshop. There are a ton of opportunities waiting for you. Find something you're curious about, and go for it.
- Experiment with a variety of creative materials at home, or research different DIY websites to see if something starts a fire in your belly. Then make it.
- Discover what you like and don’t like by trying it out. Nothing has to be forever, just start by dipping your toe in the water. If it makes you feel alive, keep doing it. If it doesn't, stop.
- Make a promise to yourself to reconnect or re-ignite your sense of intuition. You deserve to feel alive and inspired (or in-spirit). You have the power to transform your life from the inside out.... use it.
- Allow yourself to have some fun. Permit yourself to make 'mis-takes'. Get messy with it. Feel the child-like joy of creating something with your own hands – your soul will thank you for listening to it.
Want to feel inspired? Curious about what your soul might want to say? Interested in creating your own unique piece of art... as only you ever could? Check out my "Soulful Art-Making Workshop" coming up on Jan. 18th, 2020 in St. John's, NL.
Michelle Myrick is the owner and operator of AMMO Artworks – a creative arts company specializing in products and services that inspire belief in abilities and the capacity to succeed. She is a singer, songwriter, and musician; a visual artist; and an author. Michelle is also an educator and offers Team Building Seminars, Workshops, Courses, and Keynote Address & Performance for groups and organizations. See www.ammoartworks.com for details and information.