This week I pushed myself past my perceived limits with mountain biking in Quebec. On the first day on our trip we headed out to the trails at the foot of Mont Saint Anne and within minutes of being on the trail I tipped over, unable to unclip my shoes from the pedals while going up a rocky hill. I bruised my knee and opposite elbow and was really annoyed with myself.
At that point there was a choice I had to make: focus on my fall, feel sorry for myself and let the fear of falling again creep into my mindset or I could get up and start fresh leaving that perceived failure behind. Let me tell you it wasn’t easy. I so wanted to feel sorry for myself in that moment.
Luckily I chose to start fresh, and the rest of the ride was enjoyable and without further accidents. Fear crept in a few times as I tried to talk myself out of going up a steep hill, but then my cheerleader voice stepped in and spoke up. I literally cheered myself on saying (out loud) “you can do it”, “you’re doing it!” And it worked!
This is what we have to do when these fear gremlins come out trying discourage us, we need to be our own cheerleaders. We need to believe in our abilities. And we need to set our focus on a goal and stay focused on it. If we don’t, our ambitions get swallowed up by “I can’t do it” chatter.
This experience got me thinking about how the same holds true for creative fire. Creativity can’t live in an environment of discouragement and fear, its fire becomes smothered. Creativity thrives in an environment of encouragement, understanding, and hope.
But how often do we give creative self the surroundings she needs for growth? Fertile ground for creativity doesn’t just depend on external conditions such as the space, materials and understanding and encouraging others. At some point these external conditions mean nothing if the do not translate to our internal world.
We need to learn to be or better yet, remember how to be our own creative cheerleaders. This means giving up the self-pity, excuses, negative self-talk and in exchange we open the doors to our potential through creative expression. Unhindered by doubt and internal or external judgement, creativity is abundant.
It’s your choice.