If you had to choose between being anxious and confident what would you choose? If you had to choose between low creative esteem and creative confidence what would you choose? If you chose confidence and or creative confidence read on.
Like happiness, Creative confidence is one of those things you can’t really get directly. They are results, not pursuits. Anyone who feels insecure or anxious tends to have a “to-do” list to become confident. But what if there’s a different approach to gaining creative confidence?
As an Innovation Coach and Consultant, I work with executives and staff with low confidence and poor self-esteem in the area of creativity. This gives me a relatively unique insight into the world of confidence and how it works: I get to see very specific patterns and habits that cause people to lose confidence and feel insecure.
If you can identify these habits in your own life and work to eliminate them, I think you’ll find that creative confidence has a way of showing up on its own.
- Asking for reassurance.
I usually tell people during a Design Thinking Sessions to relax and have fun. Does this mean that all innovation is fun? No, but if you feel anxious, ask for reassurance, and then get it, you temporarily feel relieved of our anxiety and fears. This, however, becomes an addiction not to go against the grain.
Creative people sometimes totally go against the grain that the lack of reassurance cant deter them. Be prepared to be alone sometimes.
- Ruminating on past mistakes.
Rumination is a form of thinking where we repeatedly review and replay previous mistakes or negative events in the past even though doing so has no real benefit but does have the side-effect feeling bad about yourself.
On the creative journey, you are going to make mistakes but you have to pick the lessons and move on with a renewed mind.
Give yourself permission to live life going forward instead of keeping yourself a prisoner of the past.
3.Making decisions based on how they feel.
Creatively Confident people use values-based reasoning to make decisions, not emotion-based reasoning.
Imagine the following scenario most of us have found ourselves in some form or another:
Your alarm goes off, you roll over and see that the alarm reads “5:00 AM.” You glance outside, and while it’s still pretty dark, somehow you just know it’s cold out there — really cold. On the other hand, your bed is so toasty! Which brings you to a decision point: Should you get up and go for that run like you planned? Or hit snooze, rollover, and hopefully hit the gym after work?
After a few back and forths with yourself, you decide that it’s just too cold out there, pull your blankets a little closer to you chin, rollover, and promptly fall back asleep.
This is emotion-based reasoning. You’ve made a decision based primarily on how you feel, rather than what’s most important to you. Your value was to start exercising regularly to improve your health (and physique, of course!). Your feeling was anxiety over the discomfort of running in the cold and the relief of your warm toasty bed. Ultimately, you decided to stay in bed in order to avoid the discomfort of getting up early and going for a run.
Now, I’m not here to tell you that going for a run at 5:00 AM is good or bad, right or wrong, healthy or not. The point is that you made that decision and then chose to act otherwise. And that’s a problem for your confidence.
When we consistently act in a way that’s contrary to our own values, we erode our trust in ourselves — and along with it, our self-confidence.
Each time you say something’s important, then act contrary to that commitment, you teach your brain that you can’t be trusted and that you’re not reliable. And the biggest reason we all do this is because our feelings tell us something different.
See, our feelings and emotions tend to be oriented toward what feels good in the short-term: Avoiding pain, feeling pleasure, eliminating uncertainty, etc… Of course, there’s nothing wrong with any of these per se. The problem is, the pursuit of feeling good now, often comes at the expense of doing good in the future.
On the other hand, when we regularly follow-through on what we say is important to us, our brain trusts us more. Which means, the next time we’re faced with something difficult, your brain is likely to respond with confidence (Yeah, we got this!) as opposed to fear (I don’t know… Seems too tough.).
In short, if you want to build creative confidence, you need to change your relationship with your emotions. Try to see them as potentially useful messengers but never primary decision-makers.
Begin in small ways to consistently follow through on decisions you’ve committed to, each time knowing that you’re building trust in yourself. And when your brain really starts to trust that you’re the kind of person who goes after what’s really important — as opposed to what feels good or easy now — that’s when the confidence comes.
See you at VelocityXperience this Saturday 21st March 2020