Competing messages stacked on top of each other.
Competing messages stacked on top of each other.
I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed lately. Overwhelmed not only by what needs to be done, but by the competing theories and messages in my head regarding creativity, and my place as a professional. So, I looked back through my notes from Adobe Max this past Fall, and read my notes from a session by Denise Jacobs. It was titled "Banish Your Inner Critic". She discussed an exercise of asking your inner critic questions. I thought I'd try this as an exercise in finding creative space. I focused, and opened with a question that has been bothering me for some time. This is my conversation with my inner critic that morning. Me: Okay man, why do you think I'll never be as good as others at what I do? What are you protecting? What are you afraid of? What do you want? Inner Critic: Freedom, security, sleep. We deserve to rest. I'm afraid of failure. We need security for our family that we love so much. Me: Compelling. But why not at least try? Inner Critic: They'll make fun of us if we fail. I'd rather not try than fail. It's easier. Me: We have to do something more if we're going to fail. We're fearing what we haven't even experienced yet. We're good at thinking & turning inward, but what about doing something? Inner Critic: Who are you think think you're great? People will see you as a fake. Don't be a weirdo, don't be weird. You should find a way that's comfortable. there's got to be some accepted way to do things , something safe, something that will help us look good. Do things in some accepted way. You're going to look like an idiot. You're going to look desperate for attention. Me: I hear you, I know, but please stop with the negativity. You know, you're useful when I need you, but not when I'm trying to be creative. Inner Critic: What you're trying to do is selfish. There are other things you should be spending your time and energy on. There are more righteous and selfless endeavors for you to pursue. Me: Look, can you just help me when I need you? When I need an analytical view I'll come to you; not when I'm creating. Inner Critic: There are others doing what you can do, so you should leave it to them. Me: Why? Inner Critic: They'll always do it better, and it's best to not look foolish. Me: I have to be inspired, I have to create. Does it mean that nobody should pick up a basketball simply because Michael Jordan did? Listen - help me when I need that analytical piece; when I need an editor. But, our creative side needs room to breathe & operate. Inner Critic: I fail to see the value in that. Me: Well, there is. You'll have better, & more, meaningful work to do, once we allow the muse back into our soul. Inner Critic: Don't you have work to do right now? Me: I do, & you can help organize it. You have your place, but not as the overseer of the entire process. Help me organize, edit, & analyze; but let go of the creative process. Can we just work together? I'll feed you, but you have to let me find good work for you. Inner Critic: *silence* Me: I'll take that as a yes.

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