Ten Ways to Overcome Creativity’s Number One Crusher
Margarita Tartakovsky
“The worst enemy of creativity is self-doubt,” wrote Sylvia Plath in her journal. And she couldn’t have been more accurate. Self-doubt can persuade us to stop creating or keep us from sending our work out into the world. It can be so influential that it colors how we see ourselves, ensuring we don’t pick up a pen, paintbrush, camera, or other tool for decades.
“Self-doubt paralyzed me for 25 years,” said Meghan Davidson, Ph.D, a psychologist, professor, and researcher at the University of Nebraska. When Davidson was eight years old, her art teacher wrote in her report card that she had “no artistic ability whatsoever.” This destroyed Davidson. Her teacher’s words became a running joke in her family, who had no idea of their crushing effect. It was only after a personal health crisis reminded her of the brevity of life that Davidson decided to pursue her creativity. She picked up a camera. Today, she’s an accomplished photographer whose work has been featured in gallery shows and publications such as UPPERCASE and Artful Blogging.

Jolie Guillebeau’s project of 100 paintings a day “originated entirely from self-doubt.” “In February 2010, I wasn’t sure that I could even call myself an artist, because I wasn’t really painting. I’d been paralyzed from my own angst and hadn’t picked up a paintbrush in months.” She decided to prove herself wrong. After completing 100 paintings, Guillebeau felt more like an artist. But her self-doubt lingered. So she stepped out of the comfort of her studio, and painted outside for an entire summer.

Tips to Overcome Self-Doubt
“Creativity means navigating new terrain, and it’s scary and uncomfortable,” according to Carla Sonheim, an illustrator, workshop instructor, and author of the book The Art of Silliness: A Creativity Book for Everyone.

So feeling self-doubt is natural. “Self-doubt is a part of human nature,” Davidson said. But because it sabotages creativity, it’s important to know how to overcome it. Here are 10 ways to surmount self-doubt, so you can focus on the good stuff: creating.

Remember self-doubt is a story.
As Davidson said, thinking you’re not good at something doesn’t make it true. Her art teacher triggered her self-doubt, but it was the stories spinning in Davidson’s mind that stopped her from creating. And these disempowering tales were clearly distorted.

Remember why you create.
“Remind yourself of what you want to do and why you want to do it,” Davidson said. For instance, connecting to your creativity might be part of your self-care or a longing in your spirit, she said.

Take small steps.
Even when self-doubt is deafening, “take tiny steps toward your goal every day,” Guillebeau said. “Maybe you can’t create the Great American Novel today, but perhaps you can write 750 words? Or your self-doubt is in the way of creating a painting, but at least going to the art supply store and buying a paintbrush is possible.”

Marvel at others’ talent.
When painting alongside her artist friend, Gail McMeekin would feel a flood of self-doubt and insecurity. “[I’d] feel overshadowed and totally inept,” said McMeekin, LICSW, a coach to creative women entrepreneurs and professionals and author of The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women. Today, instead of letting someone else’s talents negate her own or hinder her creativity, she’s learned to “adopt an attitude of wonderment.”

She encouraged readers to “Notice the genius of the people who are teaching you or sharing a moment with you and soak up what you admire and aspire to, to use in your own work. Enjoy the privilege of being around creators who inspire you without trashing yourself.”

Reframe your self-doubt.
Like Guillebeau did with her painting projects, use self-doubt to fuel your creativity. Prove it wrong. Take the challenge. “By determining to prove that naysayer wrong, I’ve managed to create a daily painting practice that has evolved in to my livelihood and my career,” Guillebeau said.

Consider the positive side of self-doubt, like Sonheim. “Self-doubt often acts as a measuring stick, helping me to determine whether I’m playing it safe or really sticking my neck out.”

Surround yourself with supportive people.
“Look for supportive or encouraging people to help cheer you on [in your creative pursuits],” Davidson said.

Celebrate your creations.
For instance, McMeekin displays her paintings around her home. “Let your work remind you that beauty can appear when you trust yourself and luxuriate in your fascinations and playfulness,” she said.

Talk to someone you trust.
Even if they don’t really understand what you are going on about, their comments and questions—and your gut reactions to them—can help clarify the why of your uneasiness,” Sonheim said.

You’ll also be able to process your emotions more effectively when you figure out if they’re internal or external, she said.

Find what puts you in your creative zone.
“Experiment until you discover what puts you into your theta brain and sparks your creative journey,” McMeekin said. She turns to journaling, music and other inspirational tools, such as her Creativity Courage Cards. “I often wear out the same music, and even one song over and over, at times, as the melody entrances me to create and get into my fertile garden in my mind.”

Just go for it.
“You have nothing to lose,” Davidson said. (You don’t have to share your creations with anyone, she said.) “I wish I hadn’t listened to the self-doubt gremlins for 20-some years. I could’ve been doing this for all this time. But it’s never too late to just jump in and play. And go in with childlike curiosity.” That childlike curiosity is a great reminder of how limitless, joyful and incredibly liberating creativity can be. “I often remember the utter joy I felt in kindergarten on that first day when I dipped my hands in gorgeous, brightly colored fingerpaints and was told that I could put my paints on my wet paper any way I chose and it would be all right,” McMeekin said.

“Overcoming self-doubt involves believing that you can do it, accepting your strengths and limitations, fixing what you can, and then taking a risk by moving forward, even if you don’t have all the answers,” Sonheim said. She shared this quote from actor and author Alan Alda on creativity: “Be brave enough to live creatively. The creative is the place where no one else has been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You cannot get there by bus, only by hard work, risking and by not quite knowing what you are doing. What you will discover will be wonderful: Yourself.”

My view


I love church hill

Night Walks

So I did my lovely nightwalk that I’m trying to be super regular with, and somewhat failing at, and I started to remember why I love night walks. Yeah, they aren’t safe, especially given my purse was recently stolen from my car in my backyard (don’t ask why i was stupid enough to leave it in my car, its called whiskey people, it could happen to anyone). But after the first two blocks, its liberating, freeing, it feels good, AND i love looking in my neighbors windows. Love it.

Gorgeous setups, lit and not framed by the ‘i cleaned and perfected my house so i could take photos and put them online’

ps, Nikita, 134 maple street, falls church virginia, its maple AVENUE mofos. >_<

anyway..back to those houses, peoples homes are so personal and so revealing and so awesome, so i don’t spy on the people, i just spy on their decor..its lovely.

So back to the nightwalk, I kept it short tonight because i ran into a lovely friend Becca while walking and I stopped in patrick henry’s which is my favorite bar in church hill, grabbed a water, said my hi and byes, and walked back. all in all, decent night

Birdy Nam Nam

Birdy Nam Nam’s ‘Defiant Order’

6 Things You Need to Know About Leading a Meeting

If you don’t know how to run effective meetings, your business, your organization, and your career are doomed.
There’s nothing worse than a bad meeting. You sit there grinding your teeth wondering why in the world you have to waste your time sitting through something that never should have happened in the first place.

The fact that we’ve all been there, sometimes weekly or even daily, doesn’t make it any less annoying. It doesn’t even begin to take the edge off that nagging thought that you could be making so much better use of your time.

But here’s the thing. Meetings aren’t just an unfortunate fact of business life. They’re a hugely important fact of business life. They’re how strategies are debated, budgets are vetted, projects are reviewed, and plans are agreed upon. They’re how deals are negotiated and how they ultimately get done.

Not only are meetings the most efficient ways to get certain things done, they’re the most effective tools for managing teams–if they’re done right, that is.

I once calculated that I sat in more than 30,000 meetings during my 30-year career. Every type of meeting you can think of, from executive staff and board meetings to project reviews and strategy sessions. From one-on-ones to all hands operations reviews. From press interviews to customer meetings.

And you know what? I learned a lot about how to make meetings more effective. Here are 7 tips that I guarantee will make a big difference for you and your organization.

Learn this equation. No leader + no documentation + no follow up = waste of time. Every meeting has to have a leader, a stated purpose, a start and end time, and a valid reason for each and every person to be there. The leader documents conclusions, plans, action items, whatever, then follows up.

Do you even know what you’re doing? Every leader should know how to run effective meetings, like how to set ground rules for constructive engagement, how to use tools like Parking Lots to take issues offline, and how to bring people to consensus.

Have them in the afternoon. I once read in a Scott Adams Dilbert book (no, I’m not kidding) that people do their best work in the morning, so you should have meetings in the afternoon. I asked my staff and they agreed unanimously. Turned out to be a great move. Also most people are more relaxed after lunch. Don’t ask me why.

Beware the hive mentality. I’ve worked with companies where executives were double and triple booked in meetings most days and managers were required to have weekly one-on-ones with their boss and staff (and monthly with peers). How in the world do CEOs expects their management teams to get anything done that way?

Lose the hallway meetings. Founders and other start-up executives are often fond of ad-hoc hallway meetings. The problem is that decisions are made without input from key stakeholders. Sometimes that’s a smokescreen for passive-aggressive behavior. Other times it results in strategy du jour. Either way, it destroys organizational effectiveness.

Challenge the status quo. If you run a periodic staff meeting, occasionally ask your team what you can do to improve it and help make them more effective. You’ll usually get at least one good suggestion. Not only that, but your folks will appreciate it.



via f-l-e-u-r-d-e-l-y-s: Muses. By Conrad Roset.


love love love conrad roset’s work, would kill to get that texture in hair regularly


via File:Mary Magdalene In The Cave.jpg – Wikimedia Commons.

Jules Joseph Lefebvre (1836–1911) Link back to Creator infobox template wikidata:Q433973



ever the beautiful the old resonates beauty and grief so passionately.

the best art is that which exists in your own universe within yourself.


I’m not miserable per se, but I’m not impressed or pleased with myself either. The whole crush thing is looking like, a pointless effort upon my lifes energy, but as an aside, my new schedule starts tuesday! And his is diff, so maybe I won’t see him at all. >_< lying to myself solves nothing.

I’ve been watching dr who alot lately, it makes me happy in a historical nerd kind of way. I prefer when they go into the past than the future but meh, do what you can.

Currently reading below…pretty alright. Better than suffering through Steven Erickson’s 20 page descriptions of furniture while I wait for the next Brandon Sanderson piece.


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