Overcoming Creative Cowardice: How to Push Past Your Fears and Create Beautiful Things

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Ever feel the pressure to live up to something you don’t think you are?

For a good bit of my life people have told me I’m creative.

But when I look at the people I consider creative, I’m convinced I’m still on 1st grade level.

Despite my thoughts on my own skill level, I believe all of us have a bit of creativity in us.

I also believe creativity comes in different forms.

You’ve got your bold creative that will proudly proclaim their creative genius on their social media bios, business cards, and beyond.

You’ve got the “I was born creative” types who have won all the art and music awards since elementary school and sold their first piece of art or composed their first original song by the age of 7.

You’ve got the subtle creative who makes it look all too easy without even trying.

And then there are those like me.

The cowardice creative.

I use my creativity when its needed or asked and I hide it or act like it doesn’t exist otherwise.

I’m sure there are many creative types like this.

Either you discredit your creativity because you’ve compared yourself to someone else or you just aren’t confident in your gift because you’ve not heard affirmation enough to believe it for yourself.

Whatever the case, I completely get it.

And I’m completely over it.

You see the problem with creative cowardice is that it keeps you from pushing past your comfort zone.

It keeps you from taking risks.

It keeps you from creating.

At work I’m one of the lead producers and many, many days I have to remind myself that it’s my job to pitch ideas and come up with fun elements to incorporate in our shows. I have to remind myself that I have creative influence.

Last year I played it very safe. Just did the basics to get by, but this year, I decided to try something different.

Let’s actually pitch more ideas and knock down some of the limitations I’ve put in front of myself.

How can we change things up as a team and add more creative elements to our programs?

And so it began!

Sets on Sets on Sets.

I was placed in charge of producing a new program from scratch and we had all of 2 weeks to pull it off. It was a real group effort. The team worked hard and we got it done in a smooth and beautiful way.

I pitched the set idea, worked with our  team and acted like I knew what I was doing the whole way through, even though I was completely unsure and a bit nervous that stuff would turn out crazy looking.

I imagined looking at the set once it was all assembled scratching my head saying, “It looked right in my head!”

But that fear was never realized and the set and show turned out great!

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After the success of the first big set/show, I asked to do another set!

This time I wanted to do a rock-climbing wall outside of the studio.

Ummm…yeah, so that didn’t happen, so we went with plan B.

A camping scene!

Even though my request for a dirt ramp and a real camp fire got shot down, once again, the team pulled it off beautifully!

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We have another set in the works that will be used on this Monday’s (March 30th) program, I may update with pictures of that later, but for now, I’d like to share a few things I’ve learned in the process of pushing past my own creative cowardice.

Push past your self-created limitations.

IMG_09821. Be Flexible

In each of these cases there were moments of conflict and sacrifice. Just like I had to let go of the idea of the rock-climbing wall, it was crucial to be flexible. If you aren’t flexible then you’re more likely to shut down and do nothing when something doesn’t go the way you’d originally hoped or planned.

Bend so you don’t break.

2. Follow Your Creative Instinct

We’re often told, “trust your gut.” Well I believe within each of us, especially as God’s kids, we have an innate ability to “feel” what’s right and wrong. What’s off and what’s on. There were many times where I’d ask for something to be done one way, then when it was executed, it didn’t “feel” right so we adjusted until it “felt” right.

IMG_0987Now I’m a big stickler on not trusting your emotional feelings, but this is not an emotional feeling I’m referring to. I believe this is the power of the Holy Spirit working in us to discern and make good decisions. It’s Holy Spirit confirming things when we can’t quite articulate what exactly the problem is but we know “umm…something about this isn’t quite right.”

Trust your creative instinct. It’s God given.

3. Just do it

The more I’ve pushed myself to think of ideas, pitch them and work with our team to get them done, the more confident I’m becoming in trying new things.

Even when I’ve gotten shut down, it’s enabled me to think beyond my first thought which is a mental and creative exercise in itself. So if your original idea gets squashed somewhere along the way, don’t stop there; regroup and do the new plan.

Trying makes you bolder, even if you fail. Of this I am convinced.

IMG_00122 Timothy 1:8-9
“…by the power of God who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our own works, but because of His own purpose and grace which He gave us in
Christ Jesus before the ages began…”

These verses in 2 Timothy pack a ton of truth— layers upon layers.

Lets just take away a couple points for the purposes of this post.

When we hide or inhibit the use of our gifts whether because we’re being a coward or lacking confidence, we are really hindering the purpose and calling that God intends to accomplish through us.

We have received gifts so that we can accomplish a holy calling. The calling and gifts we’ve received have nothing to do with how many times we do or don’t get it right, but they have everything to do with the purposes of God and His Kingdom agenda.

This thing is way bigger than you and me.

So to those who feel a bit like I’ve felt —operating as a creative only when it’s convenient, needed, or asked— only stepping out when it’s absolutely necessary, I want to challenge you to not sit on the gifts that have been entrusted to you.

Vision. Innovation. Creativity.

They are inside of you for reasons beyond what we can see. When we allow our Creator God to operate through those means in our lives, I believe we will become the influencers and leaders in media, business, the arts, and every other sector of society God has called His children to work and lead within.

Have you ever wanted to hide a gift or talent God has given you?

How do you think sitting on that gift may hinder you from accomplishing your purpose?

What can you do today to push past the temptation to hide or hinder your gifts?

Watch

You can watch the full programs that these pics came from by clicking the images below.

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6 Comments
  • Sasha
    April 17, 2015

    Thank you for sharing this post, your personal experience inspires me! I have been feeling this creative cowardice recently partly due to not knowing which avenue to take with exhibiting my creativity. But like you mentioned, sometimes you just have to do it. Congratulations on your awesome sets!!

  • Faith
    April 14, 2015

    Needed to read this! I’m not the creative type at all, however, I do have a gift that I keep behind the scenes because of fear of failure, and feelings of inadequacy. This line: “I want to challenge you to not sit on the gifts that have been entrusted to you.”- is everything! Thanks for the push!

    • Kandis7
      April 15, 2015

      Thanks for stopping by Faith! So glad to hear this encouraged you :)

  • Vee
    March 29, 2015

    Excellent read! Congratulations on the amazing sets!

    • Kandis7
      April 15, 2015

      Thank you Vee! Each one has definitely been a stretch and challenge, but so worth it in the end!

  • Chrystal
    March 28, 2015

    Love this post. LOVE IT!

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