For the past ten days, I have been participating in a challenge created by Stella Orange(copywriting coach extraordinaire) called Shut Up and Writeathon (#suawriteathon). I wanted to use this challenge as an exercise in taming my inner critic, so that I could get out of my head and into the hearts of the women that need to hear what I have to say. I expected to just be proud of myself for finishing what I started. But I got sooo much more out of this experience. The last assignment from this challenge was to write a blog post with 5 things I learned over these 10 days. I had already been meaning to post to this blog for weeks, but I didn’t actually write anything because, among other reasons, I have been nervous that I don’t have anything original, interesting or valuable to write about. Since the Universe is conspiring in my favor, Shut Up and Writeathon showed up just in time to push me to do the damn thing so that I can show up more consistently and powerfully in my coaching business. Here are 5 lessons I learned that I hope will inspire you to take a step in the direction of the career freedom and delicious living that you dream about:
- To thrive as a creative (and particularly as an entrepreneur), you must develop discipline. Just because I’m making my living in an unconventional way doesn’t mean that I get to throw structure out the window. Stella offered a list of 18 “Shut Up & Write” disciplines that can come in handy when you doubt your ability to create anything of value. The 3 that I chose are “Routine, not mood” (get in the habit of creating SOMETHING–in my case, marketing copy–Every.Damn. Day. Whether you feel like it or not), “Set a timer” (and mark it in your calendar so that you honor it like you would a commitment to someone else) and “No beating yourself up” (pretty self-explanatory).
- Until you’re honest with yourself about why you aren’t sitting down to do what needs to be done, you won’t see results. My biggest distraction was the voice in my head telling me that I have no business coaching people because I’m not perfect and I don’t have all the answers. Up until I sat down to reflect on what was keeping me stuck, I would have sworn up and down that I wasn’t writing because I felt “tired” or “drained” from my day job. Clarity is everything. But once you get clear, you have to actually DO something!
- Imposter Syndrome, as painful as it may feel, has a purpose. The mean voice in my head telling me that I’m not trained enough or knowledgeable enough to help my clients bring about the transformation they desire is really just trying to protect me from fear and humiliation. If I can turn that fear into fuel, I’ll be reminded that my expertise comes from my life experience and ability to hold space for clients to self-reflect. Those plus my dedication to personal and professional development make me more than qualified to guide my clients from “burned out & stuck” to “free and fulfilled”.
- If I’m not willing to produce garbage, I will never get to a point where I can strike gold. When I commit to writing every single day, I give myself permission (and time) to move through the shitty draft process and eventually create something that resonates with the people it’s meant to touch.
- I have a choice in how I respond to my Inner Critic. Just because I tell myself something doesn’t mean that shit is true! “You’re not good enough” is a story that we tell ourselves because we’re too busy comparing and competing to notice all the proof we have already produced that we do have what it takes.
Creativity is a vital component of my business success, so I can’t afford not to cultivate it. No matter your medium–writing, painting, fashion design– if you have something to share with the world, it’s easy to talk yourself out of creating. You can convince yourself that it doesn’t matter, or that it isn’t necessary, or, worse yet, that no one will ever pay you for it. You worry about the vulnerability hangover that comes with laying your thoughts and feelings out for others to tear apart. I get it. You’re sensitive about your shit. But judging from the support and validation that I’ve gotten from fellow #suawriteathon participants, you’re not the only one that gets nervous about putting your shit all the way out there for the world to see. And if this dream keeps haunting you, you owe it to yourself to act on it. So, what will you do today to feed your creativity? Let me know in the comments: Which of these lessons resonated with you most? How do you plan to act on it?