Now that you’ve all heard my recommendation about taking risks in order to stretch and practice your creativity, I thought I would provide some quick tips on how to feel comfortable taking risks. For most of us taking a risk is scary. Of course that is natural; however, fear can be a huge obstacle and can cause us to continue to always do the safe and same thing when making things. Here are my three best tips for feeling comfortable when taking a risk in your creative endeavors.
Outline your next steps
When taking on something new, we can be overwhelmed by what we don’t know. Racing thoughts and worries can overwhelm you at the times when you most need to focus. Agonizing over what needs to be done can keep you awake at night. When this happens, simply grab a piece of paper and write down your next steps. This seems simple, but writing down worries allows your mind to let go.
See that photo of me down there? That was last year around this time at Bust Craftacular. That holiday fair was my first ever craft fair, and I had been accepted about two weeks before it happened. When the acceptance email came, I was ecstatic and overwhelmingly busy. I was working from Italy and Spain up until the weekend before and only had two days to really prepare. I got through it, not only with the help of the man as an assistant, but with many to do lists that I checked off as the week went on. I was able to create 25 new products before the fair happened. They were the first cat magnets I had ever made. Sure it wasn’t the best prep I could have done if I had had five extra weeks, but those magnets changed the direction of my shop in wonderful and completely unexpected ways!
On that note, comes my second tip. Simply take a moment and….
Imagine the possibilities
When we are stressed it’s easy to imagine all of the things that can go wrong. Instead every time you catch yourself doing this, force yourself to imagine all that can go right. Then accept that even more possibilities can come up than you can even imagine. For more support in practicing this, check out this Creative Mornings video about the freedom of not knowing the future by Jessi Arrington. I keep an arsenal of inspiring videos such as this one at the ready to watch when I need a quick reminder.
Welcome the discomfort
My last piece of advice is to accept the discomfort that comes with taking a risk. Once you can recognize that fear can be a signal of an opportunity, it becomes much easier to stretch yourself in new directions. Discomfort in decision-making can then become a signal for you. If you feel worried about the work or possible bad outcomes that could come out of a decision you want to make, take a step back. Recognizing the fear will help you stop to consider the opportunities. Recognizing the fear will help you stop the worrying. Once you’re able to do that, you can then decide to stretch yourself. Staying in our comfort zones is easy, but when we choose to do things out of our comfort zones, we choose to grow.
This post is part of my Chasing the Creative Impulse Series, which explores techniques for sustaining creativity in a busy life. I believe that the habit of creativity comes from practice and not just from a compulsive feeling to create. This series outlines ways that I’ve maintained a creative life.