Recognizing the signs

Last time, we talked about the (many) things that make us fantasize about the life of an idea person.

Four specific examples were:

  • Dealing with lots of details
  • Facing fear and doubts
  • Making decisions
  • Lacking necessary knowledge (for example, about how to launch)

And I shared with you that those are things that must be done to bring creative projects to life (sorry)—but also some of the biggest places we tend get stuck.

And way too often, when we get stuck…we give up.

Not because we’re quitters, but because we’re not prepared for being stuck—or even worse, we don’t recognize when we are!

So I want to look at those struggles as something other than a negative. I want to look at them as signs.

When you start feeling fear or doubts, for example, you essentially have two choices. You can give in and give up, letting the fear and doubts get the best of you. Or you can recognize those feelings as signs that you have some work to do before you can get moving again.

The same goes for getting overwhelmed by all the details, feeling like you lack the necessary knowledge to take the next step, and coming up against tough decisions.

Those moments that feel so hard are signs that you have work to do.

You could even think of them as road signs, and this post as a little bit of driver’s ed. (Bad memories? Knocked over a cone? It happens. Look at this as a chance to do better this time around. ;))

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by decisions or details, it’s a sign you need to stop and look at what’s making you feel overwhelmed. When you do, you can name the problem, figure out a solution, and then…move on! Green light.

If you’re not sure which choice to make, especially if you’re feeling afraid of choosing either one, it’s a sign you need to stop and carefully examine each choice and the potential outcomes—and maybe do a little worst-case thinking to show yourself it’s really not that bad. When you do, you can make a more informed decision, put those fears to rest, and then…move on! Green light.

So really, these moments of struggle are more than just signs. They’re opportunities.

Opportunities to keep moving forward with the things that are truly important to you—or, if appropriate, consciously choose to stop working on something that no longer suits you.

But if you don’t study for your written driver’s test, you won’t get your license the first time around. (Ahem.)

And if you don’t prepare for being stuck, you won’t get the green light. Instead, you’ll be waiting at a railroad crossing, impatiently waiting for a train that has no end. (Well, it has an end…but the end involves you doing some work. Ok, so maybe this driving example is breaking down a little. Ha! Breaking down! Get it? Ok, moving on.)

Preparing for being stuck takes some work, but the time and effort are far outweighed by the benefit.

You don’t have to back away when the details get overwhelming, when that little voice whispers fear and doubt in the middle of the night, when you need to learn something new, or when you have to make big decisions—or, you know, when the thing you struggle most with happens.

When you’re able to read and follow the signs, your experience with creative projects (and decision-making and writing and client work and more) could be so much better. Perhaps even, at times, easy and breezy (woohoo!).

Because when you’re confident in your ability to pull yourself out of being stuck without a ton of hassle and be more aware of when you feel stuck in the first place, the world opens up.

You’ll take on projects that excite you more.

You’ll say yes to the things that you really want to do.

You’ll be much better equipped to make your vision (of how life and work could truly be) real.

Because you’ll know you can handle the inevitability that something will come up.

I want to live in the kind of world where creatives like us pursue the things that truly make us feel passionate.

I believe the world needs our very strongest selves (and that we deserve them as well).

Next time, we’ll talk about how to read these signs and follow them all the way to stronger selves and more fulfilling creative projects.

Until then, I’d love to hear your driver’s ed stories! (And please, tell me I’m not the only one who didn’t study. I still haven’t heard the end of it from my father. I guess I thought the quick run-through they did in class was enough? Sigh.) You can comment below, or you can join me in conversation on this Instagram post!

With much love,
Erica


P.S. Friday is the day! Stay Unstuck: A Guide to Awareness and Action will be ready for you! Stick around to hear all the details. (And if you want to get excited, you can read three posts I wrote talking more about what you'll find inside. Scroll down to the bottom of this page for links!)