Saturday, February 14, 2009

Chapter #6~ Conquering Saboteurs

It's week six of TNC: 12 Secrets, hosted by Jamie at Starshyne Productions; we're halfway through the book already! Can you believe it?

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.


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've even put up a certificate I got from participating in jury duty!

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!


peppylady said...

I'm sure hoping Chapter 7 will be something on conquering saboteurs more then just listing them.
Which is fine and one has to know and admit things that may be painful.

Today I learn a new way of taking care of saboteurs and hope next week I can share it.

Coffee is on

Anonymous said...

Love this post! I love the "ego wall" concept...I save a lot of "kudo" stuff but never take time to use it as a motivational tool! Also, I take photos of all of my work as well! And yes, comparing them to earlier stuff is a wonderful motivator, seeing how much you have achieved in skill and execution. Thanks for sharing!

Diana said...

I like your idea of displaying my first pieces in on my own wall. They are primitive, but I can see improvement in the pieces I create now. Hopefully soon, the work I do today, will look primitive to what I create next.

KathrynAntyr said...

What a great idea to have an "ego" wall, folder, or corner. I collect affirmations and this is working for me. Some of the affirmations come from the great compliments that I get from others.

Genie Sea said...

I'm with you 100%. I prefer to call it Self-Appreciation :)

Snap said...

My granny used to say "if you don't toot your own horn, who will?" WooooHooooo! YeeHawww! Go, Go, Go!

Lissa said...

This was just soooo great to read. My stuff is stored in boxes (more like (stuffed,thrown, wasting away), somewhere, but I could start this week....

JulieZS said...

I'm loving the idea of an Ego Wall. I guess I have one, but it isn't out in the open, as it is a file folder filled with that type of stuff. Instead of having a bulletin board of to-do's, I think I'll switch to having up some "have-dones" and succeededs. Thanks for the idea!

laundrygirl said...

I don't think it sounds egotistical at all. I keep a big binder with invites, postcards and any press clips from all of my shows as a reminder of how far I've come. It's a great way to gain some objectivity when the negative, lying thoughts creep in...

ay said...

I agree on the ways to combat it being left out a little in this chapter. I was looking back to find ways of conquering the saboteurs and really found two things is all. I love your ego folders! Excellent. I started keeping a "you can do art" list of comments and figured I could print it out and collage with them sometime if I am depressed. Thank you for the award too! I will post it in awhile. :)

GraceGal said...

I smiled my way through your post:) How great is the idea of an ego wall and displaying your creativity! I have a bit of that in my art room, but I am going to ponder how this can look for me now. And thanks for your encouraging comment on my blog.

wildheart said...

What a great post. And I loved your idea of an ego wall. What a great way to combat those nasty inner gremlins and give ourselves a big heaping dose of self love!

CynthiaMarie said...

Love this positive post on not giving much energy to saboteurs and your method of self care!

love to you


Today, I've learned to daily become the creative woman imprinted upon my soul!

1,000 Faces of MotherHenna said...

Yah!!!!!! Cheerlead away -- we all need the good stuff! It is so easy to keep company with my misery, but you know it is really hard to hold the Kudos stuff. Recently started a document on my computer with beautiful, artful border, with clips from notes or comments people have left me that made me feel Cheerleaded :) It's such a kindness to my heART to see it. OOOh and the gremlins are like "ow ow, shiny sun, need sunglasses owwww" and they run away :)
Lots of miracles to you!!!!