Raise your hand if you've ever avoided something hard or scary. Now raise your hand again if you did that scary hard thing and it wasn't as bad as you thought it would be, or it was as bad as you imagined but you were still able to do it. I can't be the only avoider out there. ;) One key thing that I've found myself avoiding, and being forced to face head on recently, is asking for help. Does anyone else feel me on that one? Because I'm afraid of people saying no, I decide in my head what their answer will be (no, of course) and respond accordingly. The problem with this line of thinking is that I remove the opportunity for someone to say yes and to offer their resources, time, or talents to help me when I really need it. Another sneaky way that this mindset can appear is if or when people offer help, we assume that they don't mean it and don't take them up on it. This type of avoidance is really self-sabotage (disguised as "thoughtfulness" or "not being a burden") and as creative people we can allow this mindset to stop us from moving forward toward our dreams. In reality, if you've taken the time to build creative community around you, people are going to want to participate and collaborate to see you be successful, and you'll want to do the same for them.
How do you avoid avoidance and self-sabotage? Here are four techniques that have helped me:
1. Give Yourself Permission to Dream. Lately I've been working on dreaming bigger and giving myself permission to dream beyond what I can accomplish on my own. Dreaming engages your passion with your vision, and together they are an unstoppable force to override your fears. Once I open myself up to broader possibilities, I have to participate with other people, and do hard things, in order to see my dreams become reality.
2. Do the hard things first. Make a list of what you need to do and prioritize the hardest (scariest) things first. Once those monsters are off of your list you'll feel so much better and be able to move forward with the other less frightening tasks.
3. Ask for Help - and don't take it personally if people say no. Everyone has reasons for how they respond, most of the time they have nothing to do with you. Give people a chance to say yes, and then take them at their word; trust their yes, and their no, as being genuine.
4. Take the Deal. If someone offers you an amazing opportunity to do something that you love - take it! If you get an amazing connection to an important person in your field - reach out to them! If someone asks you a question - follow up! If a door opens toward your dreams - take the deal.
Emily is a creative entrepreneur, born in the South, raised in Colorado, and loving life in Brooklyn, NY. As the co-founder of Bright Ideas she spends her time doing freelance photography, writing blog posts, drinking black coffee, experimentally cooking, laughing, playing minimalist puzzle games on her iphone, exploring NYC, and dreaming of ways to help more people be creative. You can follow Emily’s adventures on Instagram or Twitter, see what inspires her on Pinterest, check out her photography on Facebook, or read more of her posts here.