All life changes and projects involve the creative process, not just the arts. Anytime we want to grow a business, invent a better toy for kids, or improve our writing skills, we need to make new connections and create something new! We change something and put our original spin on it. The word courage means heart and when we strive to stretch ourselves and do something courageous, our heart must be entranced with the idea. As Maya Angelou says, "One isn¹t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential."
In order to help you to build your creative courage power, you need to learn to take positive, calculated risks, and replace your fear with faith. Here are three strategies to fortify you:
1. As you set an intention for your creative courage, you must embrace it with your body, mind, spirit, heart, and your money. You must want it so much that you feel it in your bones and the core of your being. Write it down, visualize it, and practice having the guts to do what you want to do. I have a client who wanted to get promoted at her interior design firm. She needed to do something to prove her originality and talent so that she got noticed. She had an idea for an inspired, but novel color scheme for a big showroom, but she was scared to put her design out there. When I challenged her and we worked out the bugs, she put her room together, invited in the media, got two new clients, and her promotion. She wanted this advancement so much that she was willing to go to the wall for it.
Build Your Creative Courage Now
By: Gail McMeekin
2. What kind of a risk-taker are you? The word risk means, ³to sail around a cliff² stepping into the unknown, being experimental. What is your track record with risk-taking? Name one big risk that you took that paid off and analyze why. What strengths did you bring to the endeavor? Was your intuition supporting the venture? What were the ingredients of your success? On the reverse side, when have you taken a risk and it flopped? Flops are learning experiences. Did you not do enough research, tick off the wrong person, or give up too soon? Does your pitch or portfolio need to be snappier? Look at the facts head on and change the recipe and try again. As Churchill says, ³Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.² We all have patterns to break. Marcy always went to work for savvy, impressive women only to end up feeling controlled and stupid while Toni was always late for meetings with potential new clients. Identify your inner saboteurs and destructive patterns and release them.
3.You need to dissect the limiting beliefs, old wounds, and other dynamics that make up your fear. You need to know exactly what you are afraid of and if it is a real possibility or not. Are you afraid of losing money, being humiliated, feeling foolish, being criticized, or rejected, perhaps? You need to know your enemy in order to forge the right battle plan. For example, if we fear rejection, we need an anti-dote. I once knew a group of women writers who all wanted to get published but they were afraid to re-send out their work after a rejection. So they banded together and when a rejection letter came in for one group member, another group member sent out the next batch of writing to other publishers. There was no time wasted on brooding and self-doubt. New material went out immediately. And they all got published. Find a support team that loves you and work, and help each other!
Practice being courageous throughout your life so that you can build that courage muscle to become strong and fit for any obstacle. Someone cuts in front of you in a line, speak up, express your real opinions on things, and look for chances to take small, but potent risks each day. Courage can be cultivated. Every time you resist the temptation to hold back, hide out, or not try again, we lose your creative essence and contribution. Lead from your heart and conquer.
Gail McMeekin is the founder and president of Creative Success, LLC, and the author of The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women and The Power of Positive Choices. Her work has been featured in Redbook, The Boston Globe, Health, Investor's Business Daily, The Sunday New York Times and other national publications, and she is a frequent guest on radio and television. McMeekin holds an MSW from Boston University, a certificate in Human Resource Management from Bentley College, and completed the coursework for the Coaches Training Institute. She lives in the Boston area with her husband, Rusty. For more information, please visit her at www.creativesuccess.com.
So what is courage? Courage is the quality of mind or spirit that enables you to face difficulty, danger, or pain with manageable fear. Some fear arises daily in the life of a creative person, as we are always working with novel ideas. Creative courage is essential to self-expression and that expression, regardless of its form, is creative.
Photo Credit: Bruce Franklin