If we set unreasonable expectations, like sequestering ourselves in our studios or offices for hours at a time in order to make headway in our creative work, we can actually end up interfering with our creative process, rather than empowering it.
In fact, this is a perfect way to actually encounter large blocks of resistance and rebellion.
Dr. Robert Maurer’s book, One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way, explains how having such high expectations of ourselves can activate our brain in a way that impedes our creative process. The back of the brain, which houses the amygdala and hippocampus—the home of fight, flight, and freeze responses, as well as the storehouse of emotional memory—can get over-activated by unreasonable expectations and try to protect us by resisting such goals. What does it urge us to do to protect ourselves in the face of such lofty goals?
- Fight! (You can’t make me do this!)
- Flee! (I just really have so much to do, I can’t find time to create right now!)
- Freeze. (Um, I just can’t bring myself to choose the right color for this painting!)
- If we approach our creative life in small, incremental steps, (like going to our studios and working in 5” increments), we train our brains to say, “Hey, this is fun!”
- If we reframe our thinking to include questions like “What could I do in the next five minutes that would be exciting or easier in my creative life?” then our creative projects become things that we get to do rather than what we have to do.
….and then a wonderful momentum builds that can shift our whole approach to what it means to come to our creativity in a shining way!
(Cyncie Winter is a coach-in-training with Jill Badonsky’s Kaizen Muse Creativity Coaching Program. Contact Cyncie if you would like to learn more Jill’s work and how to enliven your creative life).