Who does not have an inner critic, a little gremlin on their shoulder, whispering little nothings in their ear?
If you give small kids a set of Lego blocks or a box of pencils and paper, they are not likely to sit and ponder whether they feel, in fact, creative… They don’t yet have a sense of self-criticism.
They won’t torture themselves thinking perhaps they are not good enough to give it a go. They’ll just grab the goodies and get started!
WHAT WE GROWN UPS DO
As adults, we come across many opportunities for joy, adventure, growth or learning, but do we jump in and have fun? Nooooo. Because by now we have been told or shown repeatedly what other people think we are good at, what is stupid or dangerous, what’s unlikely to succeed. In short, what we should or should not be doing.
Aaah, that word, SHOULD. I was raised on a steady diet of shoulds, don’ts, musts, and can’ts.
‘Don’t make noise in case it annoys the neighbours’.
‘You shouldn’t wear that dress to work’.
‘You must get all A’s and B’s at school’.
‘You can’t sit on that chair, it’s only for special occasions’.
This was the refrain of my youth. I was raised by my grandmother and great-grandmother, fun loving, Victorian-type women who spent their lives not doing anything in case they did something wrong. And remembering the war.
Or anyway, that’s how it seemed. School and work reinforced that message, of fitting in, not making waves, conforming to expectations.
Being self-employed, I don’t have anyone to ‘carry’ me, I’m the boss and the employee.
So my self-confidence having a day off is not very productive!
Then I did some research, and I found that identifying my character strengths helped me silence the little critic in my head, and it gave me a new confidence.
GET CLARITY WITH THIS TOOL
Is it any wonder that as women in our 40s and 50s, we question ourselves and lose some of our confidence? That we feel crushed by the opinions of family members who tell us off for wanting to build something new, something that hasn’t been proven?
And that we end up being our worst critic, doubting ourselves because a little voice in our head whispers “it will never work, you’re not good enough”.
I have a nifty trick for you to help you overcome “shoulditis”: want to know what scientists think you are good at? I have the perfect thing for you.
Go to the VIA CHARACTER site and take the free survey.
HOW KNOWING MY STRENGTHS HELPS ME
I was surprised to see Creativity as one of my top strengths!
When I was younger I loved to write, draw, paint, and work on ceramics. But as an adult, I only dabble in painting when time permits. I’m no professional artist!
I have since realised that I use my creativity in business every day.
- I help others plan their marketing
- I think outside the box
- I work on business models with clients
- I create graphics and workshops
- I write articles.
I AM creative, and using this skill makes me feel happy and fulfilled.
Imagine if the first cave person (I’m convinced it was a woman) had stopped carving the first wheel! Where would we be?
Failing hundreds of times didn’t stop Edison and his light bulb, or the Wright brothers and their plane.
Or for that matter thousands and millions of women who failed at baking, and cooking, and sewing, and jam making. And all the other domestic pursuits that have traditionally been the female domain.
Did you stop toasting bread because you burned a couple of slices? No!
BE A ROLE MODEL
Your business is no different. All those overnight successes you read about spent years planning, failing and starting again before they ‘made it’. You will fail, you will make some mistakes, and then some more. That’s how we all learn. But you’ve got this.
Because you are talented, and strong, and are willing to try and try again.
As Po says in Kung-Fu Panda, ‘There is no secret ingredient, it’s just you’!
So go get your coloured pencils and work on next year’s planner, create that vision board.
Make those plans and be prepared to fail.
And be a role model to your kids, show them what it looks like to be an adult who dares.
Print your Via summary and stick it next to your desk: remember your strengths, they are part of what makes you unique and irreplaceable.