As a Creative Arts Therapist, entrepreneur, and general lover of the creative process, I find that I am most myself when I am exploring my curiosity and dreaming about what could be. I thrive when I am functioning with a growth mindset, as it feels innately connected to my sense of purpose and expansion as a human being. When I am imagining the possibilities, I feel a spark of energy and often want to share the experience and ideas with others. Sometimes the spark dims when fears surface, and I feel a twinge of imposter syndrome or general uncertainty. I feel trapped by what seems impossible or out of my scope of understanding, and am at risk of getting stuck in a cycle of anxiety.
So what do I do?
The simplest answer is to keep going! This is easier said than done when you are stuck and fear is at the forefront. Finding a way to keep going can look a lot of ways in your creative process, but here are some options I have found helpful.
When fear says to go small, see what it is like to go big in your imagination. Dream like there are no possible limitations. What if you already had the resources, budget, knowledge, or perfect collaborators? What would it look like? What would it feel like? What if your dream was already happening? Where would you feel or see a sense of flow? How might your life look different?
Stay in your dream just a little bit longer, and see where it takes you.
MAKE A MESS OF IT.
When I start to think through possibilities, my organizational mind wants to take over. It’s like the speed of my thoughts are quicker than my consciousness will allow me to follow. The mental default is to try and stop the flow in order to track my ideas.
Organizing your thoughts can be helpful at some point, but it has its place. Allowing the flow to happen can bring new insights or take you into uncharted territory with ideas you had yet to discover. For me, I often have to make a mess of it all before I can find a direction. This may be with stream of consciousness journaling, an aimless bullet point list, or literally getting my hands dirty while making a mess in an unrelated project. This brings me to my next point.
CREATE TO INCUBATE.
When I really feel stuck, I know it is time to do something else. If I can get myself back to the present moment, then I can find my breath and rhythm again (Check out my blog on 5 Tools For Coping With Stress Without Thinking About It. URL at bottom of page). Playing with my children, painting something, moving and dancing, or cooking a good meal, all connect me back to the present moment. The thing I need is to let go and have fun.
Step away from the mental load. What you need to grasp will reveal itself when you are ready.
TAKE A RISK.
Creating anything is about taking risks and trusting the process (and yourself) as it unfolds. While some risks could be disastrous or outright dangerous and should be avoided, taking calculated risks can help you build confidence and learn what you like or don’t like.
Whether you’re my client in a therapy session, a fellow entrepreneur processing the most recent challenge, or a friend working out some choreography, we are all helping each other take new risks. We are learning to be vulnerable with ourselves and others. We are learning how to make mistakes and fail successfully.
When I feel uncertain about taking a big leap, I start by finding my way to that spark of curiosity with smaller risks. These can come in the form of fun self-care to bring something bright to your day too! Be your own sunshine! Try a new coffee or style your hair differently. Know that you’ve got this.
ASK FOR HELP.
No matter where your creative journey is taking you, find your community. Reap the benefits of learning what someone else has already discovered, or witness someone else on their journey. It can be incredibly validating! It’s rewarding to give back and share your knowledge too.
For me, this currently means staying connected socially with friends, working creatively or dancing with others (I am a dance/movement therapist after all!), and connecting with other entrepreneurs. I have most recently had the honor of being a participant in the C200 Champion program (URL at bottom of page), which supports women entrepreneurs. It’s invaluable for me to have a community of women entrepreneurs across multiple industries that can share, relate to, and grow from each other’s experiences.
Learn and grow together. Don’t do it alone.
Interested to learn more about our creative processes as creative arts therapists? Contact us (URL at bottom of page) or check out our other posts for Creative Arts Therapies Week on Facebook (URL at bottom of page) and Instagram (URL at bottom of page).