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Just 10 seconds of courage

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Courage means "the ability to do something that frightens one".

I believe it takes a serious amount of courage to follow a creative dream. It did for me, at least. Bounding into the unknown that is for so many creative entrepreneurs was really scary for me!

I had so many unanswered questions:

What if I'm not successful?

How much money will I make?

How do I even get started?

I finally realized that I just needed a little courage. And then my pastor, Craig Groeschel, said something that really hit home. "For so many things in your life, all you need is 10 seconds of courage." I have used this to calm my nerves so many times over the years. 

Because the truth is, becoming successful means putting yourself out there and doing some pretty scary things from time to time. 

Personally, I'm not one that enjoys public speaking, approaching strangers, and making cold calls. Heck, I don't even like calling in a pizza! But all of these things have been essential to making my business thrive. I've had to show my work to important people (scary!), give presentations, speak to crowds, make cold calls and introduce myself to strangers more times than I like to think about.

Do you know what got me through each time? Remembering that it's only 10 seconds. Then I'll have started what I need to say (or do), and my nerves will have quieted down.

I feel so passionate about this topic because I used this to help me a few weeks ago. I recently finished making a few new portfolios, and I have a list of dream clients I want to send them to. Of course, I picked up the phone and began to dial my #1 choice. Dialing that number was so hard, and I thought my heart was going to jump out of my chest! I was so nervous, I had to sit for a moment and just think about building enough courage to get me through the next 10 seconds. And it worked!

What about you?

What do you need to do right now that requires 10 seconds of courage?

This side of practicing "10 seconds of courage" over and over again - It's 100% worth the risk, even when the courage leads to you receiving feedback. There's an art to it. 

GETTING GOOD AT RECEIVING FEEDBACK

This last year, I read a book - Dare to Lead by Brene Brown. It is about leadership, emotional intelligence, and values. One of the key takeaways I had, was focused on how to give feedback but more importantly how to receive feedback. In the book, she focused on what this looks like in a professional, corporate environment. While this is a beautiful, needed perspective, I put on the filter of artist and surface designer.

Oftentimes, as artists, we struggle to put our work out into the world. THIS IS REAL! The hesitance comes from a couple of different places:

We hesitate to share because we are afraid - that our work might get copied and/or stolen.

We also pause in fear to share, waiting until our big break, hiding it.

It feels so so vulnerable to put our work into the world. But this invitation for '10 seconds of courage' means that in order to share our work - it also means inviting feedback.

What happens when you get feedback, a no, or the feedback you get seems highly critical?

As creatives, artists and humans, we are on the receiving end of feedback from EVERYONE, ALL THE TIME, deep breath - this is a lot. And, unfortunately, the person who gives the feedback isn't always skilled. The litmus test then becomes our ability to receive feedback, regardless of the person giving it having the skills to do this appropriately.

In the world of creative entrepreneurship, there's a need for self-awareness and a sense of resiliency.

Can we take the feedback and let it land lightly, allowing it to be constructive but not weighty to the point of being an obstacle?

SOME OF THE FEEDBACK I'VE RECEIVED ON MY ARTWORK

The hardest feedback I ever received, was when I was standing at the quilt market. I had three top companies that I wanted to license with. One of my top choices had been holding my portfolio for months - giving me ways to revise my work and change certain things. I approached the art director - and she says "your work looks like everyone else's and you're nothing special. This HIT ME SO HARD.

It's truly the worst-case scenario and 100%, not the line I ever wanted to hear, especially holding my first portfolio.

I have submitted work and heard, certain animals looked odd and out of place, that my work looked sad, and dark like I was depressed - which actually wasn't true at all. The importance of all feedback gave me the perspective that the people reviewing my work didn't know the backstory and inspiration behind my work. This was new to me and a vital part of my growth in receiving feedback. No one who reviewed my work had embraced the backstory or inspiration.

We all receive feedback, good and bad...and yes, negative feedback usually has a little more sticking power. Your work is personal, and there's more than you are brave enough to listen to.

Be brave enough to listen and really take it to heart and apply it to the next round of work. as hard as it was to hear that my work 'looked like everyone else', maybe it was true - maybe it was instrumental in me digging more into my signature style. 

Mastery requires feedback. This perspective makes me lean into feedback a little easier. every piece of feedback - even

Growing resiliency - every piece of feedback doesn't need to settle deeply in my soul - it just needs to settle in a way that's valuable and leave the rest - THIS TAKES COURAGE

FEEDBACK STRATEGIES

  1. stay calm

  2. remain respectful

  3. listen

  4. try not to shut down

  5. don't be defensive

  6. ask questions

  7. stay curious

Think about your strategy for feedback - what's one of the strategies from above that would help you build your feedback resilience... as you implement these....this means you took the jump towards your 10 seconds of courage and shared your work with the world.

You're one step closer to mastery.

Love, Bonnie Christine

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