What Keeps You From Creating?
This month we wrap up the 2016 accountability groups, and in our last session we’ve seen clear evidence of participants who have increased their ability to stay clear and focused on their creative endeavor. It’s been a great experience to share the large successes as well as the small set-backs with a group of people committed to their creative life. That’s what we do at LifeArt Studio—help people increase creative energy, focus, and performance. In this process, we return again and again to three core principles.
- Lifestyle design. Many things contribute to constructing a happy, productive, creative life. Learn to structure your home, your work-space, your calendar, your schedule so that you can experience what is meaningful to you.
- Habits of mind. Identify the attitudes and beliefs (conscious and unconscious) that keep you from feeling good, being creative, or moving forward in an area of life.
- Skill set. Hone the necessary knowledge and skills to perform or produce your creative desires.
What does an accountability group do?
The purpose of an accountability group is to help you stay focused on all three of these arenas, to get help where you see weaknesses, and to be reminded to stay dedicated to the process.
We are adding two new accountability groups to our 2017 offerings, and you might be a good candidate to join us. To determine if such an experience is right for you, I offer a very quick overview of 9 factors we have found that keep many from moving forward with an idea, a relationship, a project, or creative endeavor.
In exploring these 9 avoidance tactics, participants have improved the discipline, the focus, the energy, the resilience, and the grit it takes to stay with a project for a significant amount of time. See if anything on this list is an issue in your creative life, and if so, think about joining us in January.
9 Factors That Contribute to Avoiding Your Creative Work
- Level of Urgency. Most people say that they are more productive when they have a deadline to meet. It creates urgency. If you’re working on a project or “thinking” about working on a project and the months (even years) are dragging by, this factor might be holding you back.
- Perception of Competence. We all face that inner critic: “I’m just not good enough to do this project. I’m weak, undisciplined, lacking in drive.” This is a common story we tell ourselves to avoid doing the work. (And it has to stop.)
- Attention to “create-space.” Have you created the appropriate space and condition under which to create? A place to write, a studio to paint in, a place to meditate, a dedicated space for your materials. And then, have you marked a time on your calendar to actually get to this “create-space” regularly?
- Level of Fear/Resistance. This is the big one. “I’m just not good enough. What will people think? It’s too hard. No one will like what I’m making, anyway.” In an accountability group, we find the “assignment” that hides underneath the resistance.
- Connection to Mission. “What am I doing? What do I believe in? How am I serving? What is my purpose here? “ These are huge questions, but we find they surface regularly in accountability groups. Research shows that intentions and goals that are connected to our higher mission will be easier to accomplish than activities that are tangential or even antithetical to our core mission.
- Levels of Support, Encouragement, Necessity. Who is your team? Who has your back? Who really cares about your success and accomplishment? Find your tribe and let them give you what you need.
- Monkey Mind. There is no denying that regularly quieting the chatter-y mind will increase your capacity for living and creating more happily and productively. (We have the data to prove it!)
- Believing you are the “maker” instead of the “instrument.” Sometimes, we suffer because we believe it is our job to handle everything. Well. . . that’s pretty much impossible. Practicing surrender is one of the highest skills a creative can cultivate.
- Showing the Work. It’s amazing what happens when you muscle up the courage to show your efforts to an audience—a friend, your colleagues, or your accountability group. When you see the care, the attention, the respect, the admiration that others give you when you have been willing to offer a small part of yourself to them, everything changes for you as an artist. You take baby steps. You build confidence. You go back to the drawing board. You revise or re-work. You show the work again, and again, and again. It makes you better, and better, and better. It makes others better, too. It’s all good.
Join us in January and see what can happen to your creative living. You can contact me here for more information.