5 half-truths about creating your inspired work
Even though you may have braved the long and arduous inner journey of getting clear about the work you are here to create, your story isn’t over yet. Now you have to walk the next chapter – actually bringing it into the world.
Whatever it is you are birthing – be it a useful tool, a piece of art, a consulting practice, a playful adventure, an educational program, a marketing strategy, a conscious business, or a global movement – it is inviting you to embody your newfound creative power.
Prior to your clarity about the work you want to create, you may have romanticized certain half-truths about what this phase of the journey would entail. Perhaps these myths made it easier to get to this point, but now you must draw upon all of your inner capacities as it is time to face the whole truth of bringing your work to life.
Half-truth: You will feel inspired all the time.
Whole truth: You will feel inspired some of the time.
Inspiration is the feeling of creative energy flowing through you into the physical world. There seems to be some misunderstanding that when you are creating your inspired work, you will feel fully charged with energy all of the time. However, it’s not an all-or-nothing experience, meaning you are not either leaping about over-the-moon or dead to the world. It’s a spectrum. At times, you will feel eager and fleet-footed. Other times, you will feel a steady, contented march. There will also be times when you feel like you are crawling on your belly through the mud with cement blocks tied to your ankles. In each event, you are still moving forward.
One of the biggest mistakes I see creators make is that they wait until they feel revved up before they get down to the business of creating. “I don’t want to force it” is the most common rationale. My experience is, however, that it usually happens the other way around. I feel inspired after I get my “ass in the chair” and get to work.
The good news is this means you don’t have to feel inspired to create. You can get to work no matter what you are feeling. Ironically, the more you put yourself into the conditions for creating, the more you end up feeling inspired.
Creator tip: Carve out dedicated time and space for your creative process. When you establish a working rhythm, in other words, when you commit to creating on a daily basis, you will notice that over time you learn how to drop into the flow state more readily. As we habituate ourselves to release our resistance, we become more open to receive and the inspiration comes.
Half-truth: It’s going to be easy.
Whole truth: It’s not going to be easy. It is going to be worthwhile.
“I don’t think this is right,” my client said to me, “it’s not easy.” Her assumption was that if she were creating her inspired work, it was going to be easy. “We’re not going for ‘easy’,” I replied, “we’re going for ‘fully alive’.”
I often say that inspired work is the most challenging work there is, but it’s not the work itself that is hard. To do the work that makes best use of your strengths, gifts, and talents is easy, what’s hard is that it is going to invite you to face every single one of your internal barriers to showing up fully.
Even though your inspired work is created from a place of wholeness within, those old, wounded stories of “not enoughness” still lurk about. We tend to seek out places of comfort where we can hide and feel safe, but your inspired work won’t enable you to conceal yourself anymore. You must claim your “enoughness” and make yourself available to the world.
The more you are willing to brave being seen, the more you allow your creative energy to flow. Interestingly, it’s our nervous systems that are not accustomed to such volumes of energy. It comes as a surprise to many that it’s their “aliveness” that is what’s so uncomfortable in their bodies. It requires practice to acclimate to these expanded levels of energy.
When you reveal your true self to the world without all of the false overlays, there’s nothing left to hide behind. You are exposed. Yet, it is living in this state of openness that provides the aliveness we all seek. This vibrancy is what makes the “not easy” all very worthwhile.
Creator tip: Get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable. The more you can allow yourself to stay open to the discomfort of creating without distraction or deflection, the more energy you will flow. It can be vulnerable to expose our true selves, however, that wobbly feeling is actually a state of liveliness. As you lower your defences, it becomes easier for you to stand in the fullness of your work.
Half-truth: You get to decide what your work will be.
Whole truth: You get to realize what your work will be.
One of my many definitions of inspired work is it is that which you are being called to create. You may wonder who or what is calling you. To put it simply, it is the idea itself. It wants to become real. Creating is the act of bridging an idea from the non-physical realm and making it real in the physical world.
It’s an important distinction as a creator to understand you are not the source of your ideas, you are the realizer of them. It’s also important to note that your role is to birth the idea into being, not to decide what it’s meant to be. This may be a crass analogy, but it’s similar to birthing children. The role of a parent is to facilitate each individual into existence and nurture their growth, not to determine who they are going to be. The same is true for our work.
As you create your work, it will show you what it wants to be. We can exhaust ourselves trying to mentally wrestle our work into some preconceived form. Thankfully, creating is not a mental process. In fact, the less your mind is involved, the better. It’s more an act of allowing your work to evolve rather than implementing some meticulous plan. While we can’t control the outcome of what our work will grow to be, we can commit wholeheartedly to showing up in our creative process and nurturing our ideas to life.
Creator tip: Commit wholeheartedly to your creative process. It’s going to be chaotic and uncertain at times, and that’s okay. As Elizabeth Gilbert said, your role in the creative journey is to have “the sheer human love and stubbornness to keep showing up” no matter the outcome.
Half-truth: If you build it, they will come.
Whole truth: If you build it, let people know it exists and how it benefits them, they will come.
Gosh, I wish I had embraced this whole truth when I began this work over 13 years ago. Previous to that, I spent a decade working in the arena of conventional marketing. The old paradigm of business left such a sour taste in my mouth that I vowed to operate my business in a new way. While I was completely on board with the concept of “conscious” marketing, I was not adept with the necessary skills, especially with what was then the newly emerging landscape of online marketing. In the beginning, I leapt in with both feet believing that if my work was so inspired, then surely people would find their way to me naturally. My naivety did not serve me well.
When my sales slumped, instead of questioning my marketing strategy (or lack thereof), I began to question myself. I started to doubt the value of what I was offering. My knees buckled at the thought that my entire premise of inspired work was flawed. My belief was that when we create work in alignment with our true self, it is our highest service to the world. Thankfully, I eventually circled back to the realization that this is indeed true. What you are creating is very much needed by others, however, there isn’t a magical marketing fairy hovering around those others letting them know your work exists. You have to take the actions necessary to put yourself in front of those who need you, and clearly communicate the benefits of your work.
Far too often, I see people get discouraged prematurely due to lack of demand for their work. They mistakenly believe their so-called failure is the result of their own lack of value, when what it really is, is a need to learn effective marketing and sales.
Creator tip: Embrace learning the art of marketing early in your process. Given the boom of online marketing in the last decade, there is no shortage of ways to connect with those you intend to serve. There are numerous teachers and mentors who are available to support you in creating a strategy that is aligned with your personal values. One of my faves is Conscious Marketer.
Half-truth: One day, creating your work will be done.
Whole truth: Your creative journey is never done.
There is a longing within each of us to feel “complete”. We obsess over our to-do lists hoping one day everything will be crossed off and then we can rest in blissful satisfaction. This never happens, yet we continue to push ourselves to some imaginary finish line.
The goal of inspired work is not to reach the end, but to fall in love with the never-ending journey. One of my clients recently confessed, “Even though I do love my work, I notice that I fixate on the anticipated sense of relief I will get when my event is over. I’m not actually being present to what is happening. I realize I am missing the whole joy of my work.”
We believe that when our work is done, we will achieve that elusive sense of peace. The reality is that even if an aspect of your work does come to completion, you are then standing at the beginning point of an entirely new creation. You wouldn’t want it any other way. Your new desire is what calls forth new energy and keeps you vital and alive. Because once you’re “done” with creating, you’re done with life.
Creator tip: Relax into the unfolding. You’ll only be “done” when you’re gone.
The path to creating your inspired work may not always be as straightforward as you imagined it to be, but every step has wisdom to be gained that will help you claim your role as the true creator that you are.
You may be relieved to know that you do not need to go it alone in this phase of your journey. There are other creators who are stepping into their truth and are willing to walk by your side on your quest to create your inspired work. If you feel called to join us, you can learn more about the creator community here.