Procrastination is the number one enemy to exploring my creative life. I literally get in the way of my dreams when I procrastinate. Self-doubt is a close second and friend to procrastination. And negative self-talk enemy number three and most futile of all because when an obstacle or challenge gets in my way I can say, ‘What’s the use?’ Any challenge can immediately translate into an excuse allowing me permission to throw my hands up into the air and blame the universe or anyone who happens along my path. Procrastination keeps my secret dreams safe and unexplored and no one knows I am procrastinating because I haven’t shared my ugly attempts, my near misses or my vulnerable side.
Reaching my dreams takes consistent action-oriented steps. I need to act upon measured steps or attempts if I want to get closer to realizing a dream. Thoughts traveling through me is my artist’s dialogue supporting the creating of my dreams. They whisper, ‘try this and you will find the answer’ or ‘ask for help of a trusted friend’, and sometimes the answer just flows, after a walk, seemingly out of thin air. But if I do not take action I miss out on an opportunity presented by my thoughts. If I don’t act NOW, the answer, the thought or the idea will vanish.
I have leaned to trust my thoughts as inner guide or inner voice trying desperately to reach me - if only I heed its message and take action. NOW!
To put art or creativity off until tomorrow means I can count on more tomorrows getting in my way. My thoughts are always encouraging me to move forward and past my fear. Inch by inch or action by action I improve my skills at trying and before I know it I have completed something I can share.
If I take the time to slow down and listen to my thoughts and embrace their warmth I will know what I need to do next to reach a goal and ultimately realizing a dream.
Just as I believe everything I need to succeed is right in front of me I believe my thoughts (when suspended in positivity) will put me at the right time and place for the next lesson and my next lesson on my artists journey appears.
But, am I ready for the next lesson? I have never met up with a life lesson that does not challenge and assert its power over my every inch of cellular self-doubt. Lessons are always difficult, hard or challenging otherwise they would not be lessons. Yet, if I don’t embrace beginning or starting something new to me then no learning would happen and I would remain unchanged. I don’t want to be the same version of myself tomorrow or next year or in a decade. If this were to happen to me I don’t think I would be happy or fulfilled and I would never possibly ever know all that I am capable of achieving or understanding. I certainly wouldn’t know me better.
Thoughts such as: I can’t, I won’t, this is impossible, I’m wasting my time, I’m not good at this, I can’t figure it out, I give up, why bother I’ll never win/succeed, amount to increased self-doubt and give way to more procrastination. If I really want something to be part of my life I need to find a way to make small, measured, safe steps toward making it happen.
This type of thought process (negative self-talk) used to happen to me every time I began a project or I had an idea I wanted to bring forward in art making. I’m not sure where this type of thinking began along my journey or if it is natural human behaviour we all share. I don’t know if it was ingrained in me in childhood or if it is simply my personality and make-up of character. But I do know I am the only one that can stop it from getting in the way of my dreams. I continue to practise at letting go of these thoughts even now but if they linger I take my artist for a walk or focus on positive self-care or sometimes just continuing with my project can silence the negativity that somehow can still catch me by surprise.
I procrastinated on completing this blog post all day long because I had to make an about face on the content. A challenge got in my way. The only thing that saved me was writing in increments of a few minutes at a time, all day. I’m so glad I did not give in to the evil voices inside my head and listened instead to my desire to complete what I started. I am never too hard on myself when something isn’t working out and search to find a different approach when obstacles get in my way. When I clear out my negative thoughts what I need is usually right in front of my eyes. I win out over procrastination. At least for today!