In late 2019, with the help of a colleague, the idea to create my own framework that illustrates how I approach branding was born. I spent a few months tweaking it, reconceptualizing it, and timidly asking some friends what they thought about it. I expected to get overwhelmingly enthusiastic support and someone to confirm that I’ll soon have eager clients lining up to say, “Just shut up and take my money!” I received loving smiles, nods of approval, and some questions for clarification, all of which I took as signs that my framework wasn’t WOW material yet.
Another couple of months of chewing on the framework went by and I reached a point where I couldn’t think of what else to add to it. But I kept on trying.
It did hit me at some point though, how we’re always so close to our thoughts and ideas that we can easily dismiss what we have or think it’s not good enough to share. That was in the spring of 2020. I didn’t share it then.
A few more months passed by, and in an effort to release my grip, I mentioned it in my newsletter as something that I was going to reveal soon. Saying things out loud always works to hold ourselves accountable, right? Well, I didn’t share it then, either.
I held onto it for another six months.
I finally accepted that I had created something that deserves to be out in the world, and felt courageous enough to share a sneak peek of it with my followers on Instagram last week.
And you know what happened? The very next morning, something shifted and I started seeing the framework differently. There was room for improvement, after all! *facepalm*
Oh, the stubbornness! I felt embarrassed and frustrated (why couldn’t I have had that epiphany 24 hours earlier?) and after a quick moment of panic, I just had to laugh at the absurdity of the situation.
Harold, everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can’t let the world judge you too much.maude, harold and maude
It finally sunk in: we have to free up room in our head for inspiration to find its way back…and we can’t do that without letting some of our ideas out of there in the first place.
There’s a limit to how we see things when we’re so close to them…when we’ve reflected on them for so long that we end up ensuring our eventual inability to see them any differently. We’re also limited by our own view of the world.
Here’s another challenge with holding on to our ideas and creations for too long. The longer we go, the harder it gets to share them. The doubt starts to grow, the pressure to make them great keeps building up, and that standard of perfection keeps getting higher. The longer the wait, the harder the pain of being let down if we initially don’t get the response we hoped for. We set ourselves up for disappointment. Those expectations we place on ourselves are a heavy burden to carry.
Instead, hold your ideas gently as you develop them, giving them room to fly. I’m learning the importance of letting things go, letting them be, letting others in. So much time is lost in pursuing “perfection” on our own. We often have no clue how much of an impact our work can have on others until we allow it to serve its purpose. If we really want to make sure our work evolves, at some point we have to bring others into our creative process. That’s how we show up authentically in our work…learning as we take action, which is always in service to our evolution.
Your work doesn’t have to be earth-shaking. I say this for myself, as much as I do for you. All it has to be is something that you care about, something you want to say. That’s the first and only requirement. And if you believe (or even suspect) that it may be helpful to others, that’s all the more reason to let it out. We often wait for clarity or some type of assurance before we take action, but it is vulnerable action that leads to greater clarity.