When you subscribe to my Insiders’ Newsletter, in my first email to you I ask a question, and I really want people to answer it.
I ask, “What’s the biggest challenge getting in the way of your living the full-color creative life of your wildest dreams?”
Not everyone replies, of course, but often people do, and the responses I get make for some great blog and podcast content!
The other day someone named Greg wrote back:
My biggest block is motivation. I have a seriously hard time getting past the idea that I suck.
Greg is not alone! His response is wildly typical.
I sent Greg a reply, and because so many people (including me!) have the same issue, I wanted to share my response here on the podcast and blog.
If you’ve ever struggled with this kind of self-critical thinking yourself, this one is for you!
Ah, the “Everything I Do Sucks” Gremlin. I know it well.
It’s what made me quit making art at age 13.
It’s what made me quit making music at age 15.
It’s what made me give up writing at age 27.
All things I now do with great joy!
Too bad I spent decades not creating, bound up in misery, believing that the fact that I sucked meant I should quit!
Seriously. Even if you do suck (which is your subjective opinion, btw, and who are you to say that your opinion that you suck is more valid than someone else’s opinion that you’re awesome?), the only solution to that is to DO THE THING in order to get better at it and unsuck!
Remember, much as we all hate making crap, the fact is that we NEED the crap to fertilize the good stuff! (Click to tweet.)
You have to crawl before you can walk, and you have to fall on your butt a few thousand times to learn how to walk!
We need the crap to fertilize the good stuff!
Seriously, the solution to the “Everything I Do Sucks” Gremlin is simply to allow yourself to make crap. (Click to tweet.)
Yes, I understand that you don’t want to make crap. Nobody does. Shoot, I sure don’t!!!
But that permission is essential.
It’s like getting drinking water from a rusty faucet.
You’re thirsty, so you turn on the taps, but what comes out is brown, funky, disgusting — unfit for human consumption. Blechhh!!
But how do you get a drink? The solution is not to turn the taps OFF! No, you let the faucet RUN.
You let it run for a good, long while, and eventually — voilà! — clear, potable water!
It’s exactly the same with our creativity.
If we never allow the gunky flow to come out, we never get any better!
We NEED the crap to fertilize the good stuff.
Plus remember: just because you ALLOW yourself to create crap doesn’t mean you will. It just means you’ll create! (Click to tweet.)
Now, I understand that allowing yourself to create crap is not something that comes easily for most of us. We’ve trained our entire lives to be good at things, so it goes against everything in us to allow yourself to be bad.
But this part is essential.
If you do not allow yourself to suck, you will never do anything, and you’ll while away your life, longing and wishing, but never actually doing.
Never deriving joy. Never seeing what you might create, if only you’d given yourself a chance.
It’s easier to understand this than to act on it, however.
And the way we learn to allow ourselves to suck is the same way we learn to do anything: practice.
Set the intention that you are stepping in the Creative Sandbox in order to make a mess.
Set the intention to practice forgiving yourself for being human.
Set the intention to not let those self-critical gremlin voices stop you.
Set the intention to treat yourself kindly and gently, to love yourself up, not beat yourself up.
And most importantly, set the intention to keep resetting these intentions!
If you can do this, you will get there eventually. I see this as a life-long practice, but trust me, it’s worth it.
I hope this helps!
For a regular visual reminder to help you keep creating, even if your “Everything I Do Sucks” Gremlins are harping on you, click the button below to download a printable copy of my two manifestos: the Creative Sandbox Manifesto, and the Imperfectionist Manifesto.
Quotes In this Episode
Don’t beat yourself up, LOVE yourself up! (Click to tweet.)
Resources In this Episode
My Stovetop Model of Life Design blog post
Imperfectionist Manifesto blog post
Free Manifestos poster (free download!)
Thanks for Listening!
Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!
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Now go get creating!
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