I’ve always thought of myself as a creative, because I love creating things and using the right side of my brain. I enjoy thinking deeper and following my intuition.
However, I have this not so great tendency of attaching my self-worth to my work and what I put out into the world.
Maybe you do too - and that's why you're reading this post?
The reason why this isn’t good is because my self-worth is dependent on the reaction of others (or I guess in most cases, the lack of reactions to others).
This past year, I’ve been trying to work on detaching myself from the things I put out into the world.
Not because I don’t put my heart and soul into it, but because my self-worth can’t be dependent on what I’m currently putting out into the world whether it’s a blog post, newsletter, or something else.
We’re always seeking validation from someone.
Our dress size, the number on the scale, the amount of Instagram followers we have, etc.
I'll be honest - I have this really bad habit of checking my stats every morning, and sometimes my mood is dependent on that.
I’m working on it. I’m not perfect. Some days, I don’t have my life together and I just have to trust that the work I’m putting in is coming together.
I get it now. I get why it’s hard for so many people to “put themselves out there”. I’ve never really struggled with putting myself out there online. Myspace, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, blogging, newsletters. I’ve done it all. There are times when I’m terrified of putting my heart out there (ironically as my following gets bigger), but most of the time, I’m willing to say it like it is.
I wish I was as willing to get vulnerable and honest in real life as I am online, but that’s not the case. Not at all. Maybe I’m a keyboard warrior?
Putting yourself out there can be so terrifying. And when you place your self-worth on outside factors you can’t control (ex. how people react to you or the way in which they speak to you)?
It can really be a recipe for disaster.
You are not how other people see you.
Their reactions and actions are a reflection of them and not you.
But as creatives, as human beings, as women, as people who put ourselves out in the world, who put our hearts and souls out into the world… it is so important to set those healthy boundaries for yourself.
To know firmly who you are and what you stand for. To have those core people in your life who love you for who you are. To understand that you can’t control other people’s reaction to you.
Because as Elizabeth Gilbert talked about in her book Big Magic, you don’t want to be so afraid of creating something horrible that you never create anything again.
The truth is some of your creations might be not good.
Because as Ira Glass says, you have to give yourself time to be a beginner. You have to go through a volume of work and it’s going to take a while. It takes a while to get there, so don’t pay attention to anyone who sells you the idea of overnight success.
Overnight success doesn’t exist. It isn’t real, and it definitely isn’t sustainable. You gotta put in the work and a lot of it - to get better, to develop your craft, to strengthen your skills.
“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
― Ira Glass
You have to continue creating. Continue showing up. Continue doing.
Even if no one applauds you for it.
I mean look at Gary Vee - he did Wine Library for a whole year when no one was watching him or even knew who he was, but he kept showing up and kept creating.
Because consistency beats talent when talent doesn’t show up to the party.
Keep showing up even if no one else cares or notices you.
Keep creating even if no one is giving you praise.
Keep going and working on your craft.
Put your heart and soul into it, but don’t let the outcome become your identity.
Because you want to make sure you remain a whole person even when things go south (and they will go south sooner or later).
Things always go south, so you want to build a strong foundation for yourself.
Focus on building your home first (foundation) and then you can think about all the pretty home decor (accessories). Because a strong foundation will hold even when the wind blows.
Other people will try to rain on your parade, but that doesn’t mean they get to ruin your home. Not without your permission anyway.
You’re capable of so much.
It’s time to stop taking yourself out of the game so easily.
You got this.