When Change Makes You Anxious
Did you think you would enter the professional world, all labeled and degreed, ripe with undergraduate knowledge and indisputable enthusiasm and it would carry you the rest of the way? Yeah, we did, too.
It's easy to believe that the rollercoaster of excitement and passion is an infallible ride toward the career of our dreams. And that the choice of what to do with our lives would only need to be made once, when we buckled up the first time.
But the biggest mistake we can make as creatives (and humans) is to remain the same. In order for our creativity to thrive, we have to let ourselves be changed on the regular. It's not only scary, it takes an incredible balance of energy (read: curiosity and openness) and restraint (read: knowing the difference between instinct and flakiness).
"We have to simultaneously cultivate childishness and deep wisdom to make even a minor commitment to our calling. In other words, creativity demands every inch of us."
It's no joke to get up day after day, fight the battle anew and hope that you live up to those demands. It can be heavy to create. It can be tedious. You will get tired and frustrated. You will rationalize that if you just stopped, no one would notice anyway.
But what if we could see that this disheartening isn't defeat, but a shedding of an old skin?
What if we could see this resistance as the calm before the creative storm?
What if we stayed just a minute longer?
small change makes a big difference
And each tiny transformation leads toward something you can't quite put your finger on yet. You know this presence. It's that small voice in your head that says, just go to that meeting, just write that next chapter, just email that contact, just stay in it.
Staying in it means we can let the excess fall away. We can stick around long enough to see why what no longer serves us no longer serves us. We can let the cream rise to the top because we're allowing it the time to settle.
The desire to quit is part of the process. So can we let ourselves quit something other than the entire process? Can we instead let go of a habit, a goal, a partnership, a vision, a dream that no longer serves our highest potential?
Reinvention is good, but it doesn't always feel good. There are growing pains in authenticity. But when we accept that transforming dreaming into making means letting some things go, we realize we don't have to always feel comfortable doing what we're meant to do.
We don't have to feel pure joy to be making the right choice.
We don't need to feel validated every step of the way.
In fact, we shouldn't be feeling all of those things every step of the way if we want our instincts to stay calibrated.
To stay in it as a creative requires a lot more than simply passion. It requires surrender to the elements of change. But when we do stay in it, weathered by that creative storm though we may be, we reinvent ourselves. We reinvent our work. And we arrive at the threshold of our unlimited potential.