it's not the critics who are creating... you are

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It’s easier to criticize than create.

I see you. Sitting there, re-reading your email newsletter for the seventh time. Pouring over your blog post before you hit publish.

You hesitate to admit it, but you’re scared to put your work out into the world.

What if they hate it?

What if you make someone mad?

What if [insert friend or family member name] reads this and it hurts them?

What if someone takes it personally?

What if they think that you’re a fraud?

My clients tell me that these are the inner critic stories that run through their heads before they put their work out into the world. Whether it’s a new offer, a sales page, a course they’ve been working on, or an email sharing how clients can work with them.

I understand because those voices run through my mind as well.

Here are some truths when it comes to putting your work out there:

  1. It will get easier if you keep doing it and those voices will always be there.

  2. The voices might change their narrative as you keep shipping your work.

  3. Your work isn’t for everyone and that’s a great thing. Can you imagine if you had to make the entire world happy? Phew! No thank you.

  4. If these voices don’t exist, you may not be stretching yourself.

  5. You have to do the work on yourself—forever.

I know, I know. I wish I could sit beside you and tell you that the more you create you’ll eventually turn into a middle finger flaunting, don’t give a flying fudge CEO and not caring one shot of whiskey what others think.

And, as you continue to push you will continue to feel fear creep in.

Here’s what you can do.

  1. Notice those thoughts. And simply observe. No judging your inner critic. It’s there to try to keep you safe. Tell that MOFO to take a seat in the back because you’re driving today.

  2. Give your critic a name so you can have a conversation with them as an outsider to your creative badass self.

  3. Listen to what your critic has to say, thank them for trying to keep you safe and then tell them you’re doing the thing anyway.

“There’s plenty of room in this vehicle for all of us, so make yourself at home, but understand this: Creativity and I are the only ones who will be making any decisions along the way. I recognize and respect that you are part of this family, and so I will never exclude you from our activities, but still—your suggestions will never be followed. You’re allowed to have a seat, and you’re allowed to have a voice, but you are not allowed to have a vote.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Criticizing is an easy job. Creating is challenging work.

Notice your real-life critics.

Do you value and respect their opinion?

Are they where you want to be?

If the answer is no and no, I think you know what to do.

Thank them for their opinion and keep on creating.

If you’re struggling to create or afraid to put your work out there today, this is your sign. I believe in you, and I believe in your creative work.

I’m going to wrap this up with another one of my favorite quotes:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” - Theodore Roosevelt

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