Creative work is some of the most important work that we can do. It can also be the hardest. When you pour part of yourself into your work, you open yourself up to criticism. You can tie yourself in knots anticipating the feedback, critiques and suggestions of others. You can try for perfection, or you can put off the work until the time is right and you are in the space to get it done. In the long run, you are engaging in avoidance and sabotage. In no way do you escape the worst critic of all.
We find ourselves at the beginning of another new year. Without much effort, it could feel a lot like the years that have just past. I very much hope for a different outcome. Experiencing differently, though, requires doing differently. To that end, I am stepping out of my comfort zone and shifting gears a little bit as we go forward. Part of the reason for that shift is professional, without question. Some if it is also very personal, as I challenge myself to take on new experiences and show up in different ways than I have in the past.
We are entering into the final days of 2021. It has been a whirlwind and a roller coaster. The year has felt interminable, and it has gone by in the blink of an eye. There has been hope and there has been frustration. There have been a few successes along the way, and not an inconsiderable number of setbacks. As I reflect on my own year, I can honestly say that I have accomplished more than I might have expected, and leave the year with a positive stance. That outcome was not always a certainty.
Once again, we approach the close of the year. 2021 has been a difficult and awkward year for many, myself included. Despite that, it has arguably been one of my best writing years yet. A lot of what I have written is personal. Much of it is heart-felt, if not heart-wrenching. Many of the messages and conclusions I arrive at are important for myself to pay attention to, let alone anyone else joining me on this journey. What follows is an exploration of your favourite writing of the year, as well as mine. In most things there is alignment, but there are a few outliers along the way as well.
We are all familiar with the expression “the elephant in the room.” It is something that I have come to expect and even seek out when facilitating others. The reality, though, is that we each have our own personal pachyderms that dutifully follow us through life and haunt our work. The longer that we put off doing things, the more that we defer problems and the longer that we avoid pursuing our goals and ambitions, the larger and more omnipresent becomes the grey mammoth in our grey matter. You can learn to make the elephant go away. First, though, you need to recognize it for what it is, and what it represents.
I seem to have a bit of a thing for metaphors lately. Particularly metaphors of exploration. This week, I found myself challenged in ways that I haven’t been previously on several fronts that I currently lack sufficient expertise. Any one challenge might have been daunting. Encountering all of them at once was downright intimidating. That put me in mind of a movie that I once loved. In that, I began to find some answers.