Over the years I’ve come to understand that creating is a vulnerable act. This journal post is about letting go of control and perfectionism. Here it comes…
I used to be a control freak and a perfectionist. Up to the point that my stomach got sick.
Well not that I am not any of it anymore, but just a different one. I am healing, growing, and blooming. Yeah!
Control and perfectionism are now being transformed into presence and undertaking. I am building the habit.
It was executive coach Laura Dellinger who helped me uncover what was draining my energy right at the pit of my stomach. She asked me to curiously observe it and draw it for two weeks. I gave it novel attention and love. It dissolved and as I kept my curiosity open a new set of possibilities started to revolve.
Soon after in conversation with Colin Smith, the listener, I heard myself say “at the other end of control there is presence”.
Fast forward a few months while texting heart-based executive coach Aedy Sun I realized a light has turned on within me. I could now better understand it.
Beyond perfectionism, there are little steps made with heart intention. These are shaped by self-love and (self-)acceptance, made of repeatedly and honestly acting on the belief that I’m trying my best, while consistently moving forward toward a place I might not even know where it takes. It is about trusting that my values, vision, mission, and purpose will guide me toward the place that is needed for me to become more of my best (true) self. I am growing. I am flourishing.
Everything is perfectly imperfect just as it is. Yeah!
There is no right, there is no wrong, no better, and no worst.
There is no failure, only learnings.
I am perfectly imperfect, and there is a unique special beauty in it. In acting on my perfect imperfection I shine the light that truly inspires others to become more of themselves, and with it create a positive impact in the world.
I am here to grow, learn and love.
When we do things from our heart, from our true selves, we shine from the inside.
I have been observing…
When creating, many times I might feel that something is not “completely right” but still it is not easy to tell what or why this is. There is blurriness and unclarity about what should be refined and how.
In these moments it feels like an invisible wall stands between me and what needs to be done. I can not move ahead.
Contrary to rational logic, if I try to move according to “the plan” and do “what is expected”… if I try to find the “perfect answer” or if I strive for more clarity, the creative flow drains out and it gets even more stuck. The more I aim to “get it right”, the bigger, heavier, higher, and wider, the invisible wall builds up. Do you know what I am talking about?
Creating is a vulnerable act, it comes from the heart.
I’ve got to better understand it. To create with my whole soul I must let go of control. Open to the outcome, not attached to outcome.
I must accept the “half-done”, the “this is not completely okay”, and… (watch out!) let it be in the public eye.
Ahhhh, almost a panic attack!
Can you already sense what I am talking about between the lines?
Well, I have found out that when I do, say, publish, or share,… all of the sudden I can better sense. As if an energy dam had been freed.
In taking one (courageous) step ahead, in overcoming my fear of judgment and my self-judgment resistance, all of a sudden a wave of potential from the universe seems to be released and new possibilities are unleashed.
Yes, your intuition was right. Suspending fear of judgment unlocks the creative flow.
When I “expose myself” and open to the public eye the “half-cocked idea, the imperfect words, the not-exactly what I imagined project”, only then, I can better sense what’s needed to be adjusted, amended, tweaked, to make it a tiny bit more “perfect” – this is more aligned with what my deep inner self senses it is ought to be. I feel it is “what is meant to be” when it resonates out loud with my values, vision, and purpose. I can feel it, it puts me in touch with existence.
To dissolve the wall I have to be brave.
Yes, it is then that I get a new insight and realize… “Ahhhh that is what needed to be changed!”.
When I courageously show up, I can better sense the soul of the creative work and with it, I am able to further proceed to actualize it.
As I do so, if I feel it is still unfulfilled, or not completely okay, I tweak it again, and again, and again, and again until I come to a place where the work has a life of itself. All of a sudden it feels easy and as if it had been always already there. I then recognize it, I have reached the end of the creative process. The work and I feel as one, completely resonant. There is a sense of serenity and comfort, I feel connected to something bigger than myself.
The beauty of this process is that if I curiously explore with focus but not control, if I undertake each step with presence and trust, no matter how lost I might feel in the in-betweens, I end up finding what I was looking for but I did not know how to name it.
Doing unblocks the creative flow.
Doing unleashes clarity.
Doing frees fresh energy.
A new set of possibilities is released at every (little) step. Click click click sings my computer mouse as I move on…
I’ve come to understand that, in seizing any sort of creative undertaking, there is a need to just do it and suspend judgment in doing so.
Yet, note that this is a “doing” that is modulated by “being” true and more of myself, not just doing for the sake of itself.
Creativity is energy flowing.
Judgment blocks it.
Curiosity opens it.
Creativity is made of love.
Creativity is made out of the unconditional love for diversity.
Because to love is to be open to the field of possibilities.
It is about observing, absorbing, uniting the dots, combining, and recombining hopes.
The more open, the less judgmental you are, then the more possibilities can be considered, included, excluded, and recombined. I learned that from Isabelle Wolf, an amazing creative leader, and dear friend.
Creating (my business, my web, my coaching programs, and client proposals, etc. ) is a process. A journey in itself.
Becoming who I truly am is also a discovery ride.
It requires the courage to test and fail, which in truth means to trust and learn. To grow has nothing to do with being wrong.
Ahhhh what if you fail in front of others? – My ego responds!
What If you do not know how to solve it?!? – My ego gets worried.
Have you also felt that sense of vertigo? As if you were stepping on an invisible cliff walkway.
That is why I believe the best way to create is to co-create. What I enjoy the most is building up projects hand in hand with my clients, involving as many as possible stakeholders in the creative dance.
I have come to understand that all the answers are always available, yet I am not always the one who has them. I need others to also sense and better comprehend.
There is a sort of empathic grasp. When I sense what they sense I more deeply understand.
True is that sometimes I still resist and hold strong.
There are days in which my self-critic voice talks louder than my self-worth.
I am slowly building muscle.
So far, what best helps me is to take Laura Dellinger’s approach, which is moving from worry to wonder.
What am I resisting?
What is the (hidden) emotion?
What is asking to be heard?
When I create I open up… I depart from certainty land and intentionally move towards an uncertain terrain, there is where I would find what is yet to be materialized.
From the intangible realms to the tangible ones. From idea to object, project, service, or experience.
The wildest heart-inspired imagination resides in the infinite field of universal possibilities, where things are made of that kind of potential that is invisible to the raw eye.
I have been observing…
I can not create too many things at the same time…
… otherwise, I get stretched out from too many sides. Trying to hold on to too many directions puts me at risk of breaking down. Anxiety, nervousness, insecurity, worries, and concerns hijack my senses.
When I create I have to tame my creative self, doing one thing at a time. Keeping intention, holding the vision, and trusting the journey.
I have now learned to build up an energetic container made of trust and self-love. It is like an astronaut suit to go out into outer space.
I trust in me, I trust in the universe. The muscle I use is the one of self-assurance.
When I create I have learned to set boundaries and push out of the playground everything else that is not related. To set full focus on what is here and now at stake, nothing else.
I have also made an agreement with myself. No matter what, I have to stay there, getting comfortable with the uncomfortable, with the unknown, with that taste of uncertainty, and that deep guts sense of unrest.
Not control, but presence allows me to sense the (creative) flow.
Moving slowly. One little step at a time. Listening to heart intelligence. Yes, the subtle voice of intuition that is always whispering to my awareness, yet not always heard.
As I move on I have to let go of fear and attachment to what looks already nice and glow. Building and breaking up again and again while sensing what needs to be done.
It works best when I turn the switch to “playful mode”.
It’s a discovery game!
Judgment released. Self-judgment suspended.
I need to remind myself: to create and to analyze are two different games.
Playtime is failure-free. Everything is just perfect as it is, the moment has to be made of enjoyment. I call Chief Curiosity to be my guide and take the driver’s seat to possibility land.
When I create I enter into vulnerable mode. I open up the field of potential. I do not know the answers… I am afraid… I am fragile… and that is okay.
Because now I better understand that creating is a vulnerable act because it comes from the heart. As per Brene Brown’s advice, I will hold on to courage.
Despite the fear, when love is my guide, energy raises, and creativity surfaces.
In Wayne W. Dyer’s words, “Love what you do, do what you love”.
Power to you!
Be invited to Start Here walking The Journey to the Heart. Dare to unlock your true creative potential to make that impact your heart craves and your soul is willing to gift.
Thank you, Laura Dellinger, Colin Smith, Aedy Sun, Inken Rohweder von Trotha, Isabelle Wolf, and Gemma F. Bosch for inspiring this piece.
Drawings and collages by Marie Reig Florensa
Rose image by rawpixel.com on Freepik