“A creative life is an amplified life. It’s a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life, and a hell of a lot more interesting life. Living in this manner—continually and stubbornly bringing forth the jewels that are hidden within you—is a fine art, in and of itself.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
I am a very goal oriented person. I set my mind on something and head straight for it. That being said, I am human, a business owner and very easily distracted. “Tasks” pop up all day long. An email response, an urgent text, a new client, a photo emergency, a great idea from my business partner. These tasks build themselves, brick after brick into a fortress created to separate me from my time. I don’t even blink twice when I see that intricate wall. I head straight for it and start dismantling the tasks, lifting one off the top and then going back for the next, because in the moment, this dismantling feels satisfying.
What I don’t see, as I’m micro-focused on dismantling, check those boxes, clearing that inbox, is that at the end of the day, I have not accomplished anything truly BIG, truly groundbreaking, truly spirited. What I have accomplished it a wall comprised of distractions, and If I had taken a moment to step back, to pause, breathe and consider, I could have just walked around.
I love any day where I get to feel spirited. That is the natural feeling I have after completing 15 back-to-back Unapologetically Extra sessions. I have accomplished something. I have given something. I have achieved my goal. I spent 3 uninterrupted hours devoted to only one thing. No text messages. No emails. No small talk. No distractions. Just the person in front of me and a goal at the forefront — to make this person realize how truly amazing and capable they are. I’ve never really thought about it like this, but perhaps, this is why I love shooting. It shuts off the tasks and opens me up completely to my creative capacity. These sessions allow me to stretch. To reach higher and dive deeper into the experience, rather than my inbox.
I’ve been re-reading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, where she expertly brings creativity and its natural human barriers into focus. I love the way she paints creativity, as if it’s another person, standing next to you in life, walking down the path alongside you, ready when you are to be let in for inspiration. But we must be prepared for creativity. We must make space in our lives and our brains for openness, for enthusiasm, for expansion.
If I’ve learned one thing as a business owner, it’s that enthusiasm and space for creativity quickly get buried in fear, a force that builds quickly and covertly. I’ve looked up after burying my head in fear and seen a fortress constructed around me. My fear manifests as massive task lists and beautiful checking boxes OR as another new shiny idea to pursue, rather then working hard on that one I’ve already committed to. Because new ideas are easy. It’s the idea you’ve been pursuing for years, the business that you’re deep in the middle of and know the short comings of, that is hard to lean into.
It is human nature to organize and build a life around fear. We want so desperately to avoid hurt or discomfort. And when we bury fear deep in daily noise, we can check those boxes and build that fortress right on top of our fear, moving around it, making “progress” but still remained attached to the underlying limiting belief. Because here is the paradox, the compulsion to check the boxes, simultaneously removes the barriers to the root cause, and if you ever allow yourself to reach the end of your check list, there you will find your fear, still waiting for you. Still present. Still waiting to be examined.
I urge you to examine your fortress. Take a look at how you built it, where it’s weak points are, and how important that wall is anyway. There is something to be said for tearing it all down and starting over. For dismantling every task, every log, until you’re exhausted, laying on the ground, arms and legs splayed and truly in contact with your fear, truly present with the reality you were hoping to avoid. What does it feel like to be in contact with your fear? And if you take a moment and really dive into it, can you dig down into that earth, root around in your root cause and be truly honest with why the tasks are more important than your creativity? Can you provide yourself this luxury?
So here is our challenge to you. Clear one weekday every single week. For the owners of Brand Launch, it’s Thursdays. Hold this day sacred for creativity. Ignore your tasks. Ignore your inbox. Ignore your phone. And dive into your own brain. Into the big things that are holding you or your business back. For me, I’ll spend most of these days writing. Writing feeds my soul and releases me in a way that no other activity even comes close to. For my businesses, I’ll be building out large scale automations, tackling a fear of mine that if I remove myself from daily procedures, nothing will get done right. Both of these dreams take time and dedication. Time I so rarely give myself but I am committing to. Join me on this journey. Let’s get creative together.