When to keep going…
The magic in follow through.
I was walking my two miles that I committed to walk 5 days a week when I found myself fighting to get in that last half mile. I was bargaining, trying to convince myself that it was far enough. 3/4 is far enough right?!
Then I started to see a pattern that I had been falling into. I started off doing the full 2 miles, sometimes more, then I scrapped that last lap, then two, then I was convincing myself that 1mile was better than no miles. I was starting to quit before I had even started some days.
What if I was doing this in my business?! What if I was doing this in my creative projects?! What if I was doing this in all my goals?!
How many success stories have you heard where it was in those last ditch efforts that something magical all came together? I can name at least three… but not right now.
And of course in sports it is that last quarter that can change an entire game, which changes the entire season. That last lap that gets me 500 steps closer than I was, that could be where all the magic happens. Ok, maybe not on my treadmill but in life YES!
I don’t know about you but a painting never seems to come together for me until the last moment. I have to add that last layer that I really REALLY don’t want to do because it might not work out. But it is when I give it all up and add that last layer when all of a sudden the magic is happening, layers are popping, imagery is making sense. To be clear, sometimes the layer I think is that last magical layer is a total flop and that is when I know it wasn’t actually the last layer.
As we are rounding up the year now with only two more months to go I can come up with a million legit reasons why I should just pause and let it go til the new year, just lump it in with the resolutions. Instead, I’m going to use this as an opportunity to tune in closer to my thoughts and see when I’m using my logic to get myself out of doing the hard work. I’m going to come up with some ways to use that same logical mind to get me to persevere instead.
I’ve made you a quick cheat sheet to follow to see if you are really ready to stop and try a new way or if you are just talking yourself out of the game changing opportunity because you can’t see the end just yet.
It is a downloadable flow chart for deciding if it is time to rest or time to keep going. It is a quick little way to tune into where your thoughts and body really are when you are struggling. It doesn’t have every possible thought or every option you might need. It also should never override a deeper knowing of what you need. If it doesn’t feel right, do what you feel called but let this be a starting place for tuning into what you really need.
Creative Project: 2 Ways to Keep Going on a Current or Old Painting
Tip #1 - Turn it around. Turn your image 90 or 180 degree turn and see what you see there. If you see an image begging to be pulled out follow that urge. If you see nothing and still feel lost go to tip #2.
Working in a new direction keeps you from attaching to what is already there. You have to let it go and become something new. This can be a challenging point for those that feel uncomfortable covering over “pretty good” work and going into the possibility that it could all fall apart. Start trying this on pieces that you have less attachment to and work your way up to that important piece you’ve gotten stuck on.
The turning of the page is also like a turning of our own creative perspective. You might realize that the image or painting is trying to tell you something new that you didn’t see coming. If all you can see are the pieces that made a house image by turning the image around those lines no longer pull you toward that same automatic assumption. It opens you up to see something else that was hiding in the background.
Tip #2 - Block it out. I know I tend to cling to a spot in a painting where I love the color or texture and it just won’t let me move forward. If turning the page doesn’t get me moving I have to bite the bullet and just cover over that area that I like the most to allow a whole new image that I might love completely to emerge. Again, this is no easy task when you don’t trust releasing the known for the unknown. Practicing this in painting gets you used to that uncomfortable feeling in all layers of you life. Even in painting this can feel overwhelming, start small and start on what you feel you can totally release as a failure and welcome the unknown and the possibility of failure.
We are almost to 2019, so finish the year tuning into what you need and finding the magic that might be left to discover in 2018.
These images show you how I used both tips in the painting from last month. I didn’t love it and I didn’t know what to do with it. I decided to use it to get closer to finishing a different project I have going but I needed those “keep it going” techniques to turn it around into a piece I could use and love.
Answer these questions during or after you create.