This week's chapter dealt with conquering those things that sabotage our creativity. To be honest, I didn't get as much out of this chapter as I was hoping I would. It seemed to focus on remembering and identifying sabotage, which is important, but didn't give a great deal of juicy detail on actual ways to conquer it. Yes, there were some personal victory stories, but I just felt this chapter fell a little flat when it came to empowering.
I've already mentioned my two main saboteurs in previous posts: the guilt and the naysayers. I don't feel like I want to give any more energy to them with yet another post. Instead, I want to share how I conquer them.
THE EGO WALL
When I was in theatre in high school, on performance night, the dressing room mirrors were surrounded by colorful signs of encouragement made by cast and crew members for each other. Everyone got their "dressing room star" with their name on it, there were funny signs relating to character's lines in the show, and envelopes with names on them which held more personal messages from one individual to another. I was amazed and delighted by this community outpouring of love and appreciation towards each other. I still have my notes and signs that were part of that wall.
It was around this time that I read a novel (I think it was by Grisham) where there was talk about an "ego wall." Basically, a wall in someone's office where awards, degrees and other certificates were proudly displayed. For some reason, this idea of an "ego wall" really struck me; I loved it and have always remembered it. And have used the idea to create my own versions of the "ego wall" over the years.
My "ego walls" have included items like:
- letters of appreciation from teachers or friends
- award plaques for floral design
- certificates of completion for course work I've done
- pictures of items I've created that I'm proud of
- empowering collage work I've made
- framed, meaningful, beautiful cards I've received
- certificates from volunteering
I also have "ego folders"-- manilla file folders full of little items that gave me "strokes." One that is labeled "plays" holds notes and signs from theatre, thespian awards, programs from all the plays I was involved in, pictures, newspaper articles and drama class certificates. Also all the programs from the different choirs I was involved in-- from Seraph choir at church when I was 6, through high school choir. A second manilla folder is labeled "writing" and holds writing certificates and letters of honor, favorite poems and stories I've written, notes of encouragement from teachers and the like.
Okay, so perhaps you're thinking a lot of that is ancient history, what about NOW? Well, I'm fairly new to polymer clay, so no awards or certificates to speak of (yet). But here is what I do-- I take pictures of everything I create. Everything! And if I'm feeling a little low, well, I pull up pictures of the first things I ever made. Then I compare them with recent items I've created. Wow, I've come a long way! I'm learning so much. My techniques are visibly improving. It really boosts my ego to see where I am and where I've been and how far I've come. It's awesome. And it works.
Does this sound egotistical? Hell, yeah! And why not? Sometimes, you gotta be your own best cheerleader. And if you love what you do, and love what you're creating, then why not flaunt it? Surround yourself by it! Make your creative victories VISIBLE. Remind yourself and tell the world-- Hey, look what I've done! I challenge anyone who's reading to make yourself an ego wall (or an ego corner or and ego folder) and just see how good it feels to look at it.
And, if there is someone who inspires and encourages you-- LET THEM KNOW IT! I received some wonderful feedback earlier this week, and it filled me with gratitude. I'd like to spread that feeling around. How about you? Maybe there is someone who deserves a note of encouragement. Maybe there is someone whose creative work you admire. Tell them and let them know why you appreciate it! Send a card or a nice, personalized handwritten letter to them. Make them a sign for their ego wall or create a special certificate for them.
Help conquer saboteurs by spreading around a little bit of empowerment this week!