Have you ever known someone who seems to be good at everything? You see them try something new for the first time and somehow, they seem to be excellent at it. Not fair, right? I don’t know about you, but this hasn’t been the case in my own life. I’ve had to work and work some more, practice and practice longer, start and then start all over… many, many times. When this is the case, it’s easy to feel discouraged about the thought of trying new things. We end up dreading the work that it will take and would rather not even try. So how then can we have the chance to succeed if we never begin in the first place?
#1 OVERCOME FEAR AND COMPLACENCY
The first and most important step is to overcome past failures and the fear of comparison. Because we are venturing to try something new, we are faced with the unknown. It’s easy to let feelings of inadequacy paralyze us and our creativity. We must remind ourselves that we are unique and what we do doesn’t have to be exactly like someone else. Fear stifles our freedom which then enprisons us in what is most comfortable. Being comfortable sounds good, but this actually causes complacency. In the long run, this does more damage to our creative spirit and gift. Creativity begs itself to be expressed, heard, and seen.
#2 FOLLOW YOUR DREAM
One of my favorite shows to watch is So You Think You Can Dance. The talent and creativity week after week blows me away at times. Years ago, I came to a point where I finally had had enough of watching this show and wanted to dance myself. This felt so foreign to me because I had no previous dance experience other than some that I had done in past musicals. I had never had any real training so I definitely was afraid that I would look stupid trying to dance. Even though this fear was real, the desire and passion I felt to dance was stronger. I couldn’t dismiss it and so I pushed all fears aside and took action! I had to follow my dream concerning dance, so I signed up for an adult dance class at a local college.
#3 DON’T GIVE UP
There were definitely fearful and awkward moments, throughout this process, but I stuck with it. I had to be patient with myself and remind myself that I was a beginner. We all have to start somewhere and that is OK. More than OK, it’s the way things go usually. Since I had to pay money for the class, there was no way I was going to skip out early. Class after class, I found that I was learning and growing. Though it was small, I still was making progress. Instead of seeing all the things I couldn’t do perfectly, I focused on the steps I was making. I was learning to do things and this only fed my desire more and more to continue.
#4 SURROUND YOURSELF WITH TALENT
In my class, there were quite a few students that had taken this class several times just because they enjoyed the instructor. Instead of comparing myself negatively to these ones, I let their examples spur me on. I had others to look at to see how moves went. It was evident that they had been doing this for a lot longer than myself. I found that I started picking up more things here and there by just watching them and dancing alongside them.
I had this same type of experience concerning music. After playing the piano for 20+ years, I thought that I was pretty good. I got comfortable and confident with my musical ability; unaware, I had reached a plateau. When I moved to Kansas City to join the International House of Prayer, I found myself surrounded by many excellent and accomplished musicians. I realized very quickly that there was so much more for me to learn and grow in. Their excellence helped push me to become a better pianist, just like my experience with these dancers.
#5 HAVE FUN
I’m sure at times I did look goofy but I tried not to take myself too seriously. Enjoying the process and not expecting to be perfect really made these classes fun. I looked forward to them every week and even decided to two more classes the following semesters. During one of them, the instructor approached me and invited me to be in her dance company. I thought this must be a joke?! I was the most inexperienced dancer, yet she chose me still. I wasn’t looking to become a professional dancer or famous but decided to do it anyway.
You may not ever get recruited to a dance company or signed to a music label, but this shouldn’t keep you from pursuing your dreams and creative desires. Try new things creatively, who cares if you have no experience or degree? If you have an idea for something creative, just go for it. Take the first step and be successful. What’s holding you back?
Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful. Albert Schweitzer
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. Mark Twain