We were once fearless to let everyone see and admire our drawings. As children, we took pride in gifting our parents with endless sheets of finger paintings, macaroni art, and heartfelt song and dance performances. Self-consciousness and apprehension about our creative expressions were non-existent.
Once we started socializing outside of the home and the need to fit in and be liked become imperative, the opinions of others began to take hold of the way we showed our creativity and presented ourselves. We sought validation and approval from others, so much so, that our artistic expressions began to seem stifled.
Sharing our work with others puts us in a vulnerable position – open to criticism and judgement. This is what we often fear most as creatives.
Our work as practitioners provides us with opportunities to show our creative side in many ways. Speaking engagements, workshops, social media content, and publications are avenues for us to showcase this facet of ourselves. Yet, despite the encouraging nature of our colleagues, it’s still easy to doubt ourselves and we often choose to delay or forego sharing our creative output.
Can you recall the first time you shared your first video blog or podcast episode?
Were you excited or anxious?
How much coaxing did you need to finally press the publish button?
Did you keep hitting refresh to see if there are people who dislike your work?
Creative output is subjective and a matter of taste for the audience. The flexibility of the criteria of what makes a piece of work good or bad adds to the anxiety of putting out our creative efforts for the world to see.
As creatives, the biggest hurdle that requires us to muster every courageous muscle in our body is sharing our work publicly. But, here’s why it’s imperative to overcome this stage:
We discover our authentic voice and style.
When we are authentic with our creative expressions, we draw from a place of truth that will resonate with our real audience.
In our journey to finding our true self, we may find our work to be derivative or an iteration of other creatives that we admire. This is a normal part of self-discovery.
Sharing work that is anchored on our vision, beliefs, and opinions will lead us to our unique interpretations. Ideas will flow more easily when we create art with our voice and style.
We will find our niche and the demand for our work.
There’s an adage that goes, “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
How many of us have thought, “How wonderful would it be to [ insert creative hobby ] and also earn from it?”
If we continue to simply wonder and not take the courageous leap to use our creative skills to make a profit, how will we know if there really ever was a market for what we do?
The world population is now in the billions and that increases the likelihood that we will have an audience for our work. To find our niche, we must be brave enough to share.
We have a chance to inspire others.
Not everyone will appreciate your work. It’s impossible to please everyone but that’s not where our intentions lie when we share our creativity.
There will be negative feedback and that’s okay. We can view that as an opportunity to grow and expand our skills. What’s more important to keep in mind is that someone else will be inspired by it. Don’t ever forget that.
By showing up and putting energy and passion into your creative projects, you’ll attract others to your cause. The person who is afraid to share their creativity just may get that extra push they need because you shared yours.
By letting fear take over or even suppressing our creativity, we risk losing the chance of finding creative fulfilment. Let’s not allow this opportunity to pass. “Later” becomes “never” and that is an end we will regret.
Crafting authentic work requires courage on many levels: Courage to listen to our heart, to accept feedback and criticism and the ability to continue despite it.
I call on anyone who is reading this to please share your creative work in the comments below. Let’s start here. May we all let our creative spirits soar.