Go Creative! in Business Q&A: How Do I Balance Creativity and Consumption?

At this month's Go Creative! in Business workshop  we had a fascinating question about creative consumption for creative entrepreneurs. (The workshops are an opportunity for you to ask questions and go more deeply into some of the issues explored in my books. Get a monthly workshop reminder here)

Here was Angela's question:

I feel like today's consumerism comes between me and my creative business. Everywhere I go I'm bombarded with messages about great things to do and own that I don't have. Will I ever have them? Should I work towards them? It's all so distracting and confusing. Mostly, I feel like I want to create more of my own stuff and consume but am I being selfish in wanting to cut so many things out? My husband and kids think I'm crazy. 

We are all creators and consumers. Every day, consciously and unconsciously, we both create and consume. One of the first steps in becoming more consciously creative is noticing how these two different energy flows show up in our life.

Consumer-us focusses on what we HAVE or want to have. Creator-us focusses on what we DO or want to do. Angela's impulse to consume less is, indeed, a creative impulse.

Creative Consumption For Creative Entrepreneurs: Two Guidelines

  1. Own nothing that you do not love, even the most practical thing. Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up has brought this way of thinking to millions of people. She proposes a simple process. Take every possession you own in hand by holding it and seeing does it evoke some kind of “joy” for you. It sounds vague but it works well. When you hold an object in your hands and turn your attention on it, you'll quickly perceive its psychological effect on you. Any possession that gives you negative or mixed feelings is costing you creative energy. Let it go.
  2. As creative business owners, we have a second guideline. Our possessions (workspaces, homes, stuff) should support what we are consciously creating in our work. Anything that does not serve that core intention should also be let go.

Apply these two criteria—they must give us joy and they must support our creative business–not just to things, but also to people.

Especially energy sappers and nay-sayers that drain your creative confidence.

Of course, if they are close friends or family, you'll want to keep them in your life. They (presumably) satisfy the first criteria: they bring you joy.

But what we can always let go of is the hold that anyone's negative opinions and thoughts have on us. We don't have to take in anyone else's complaints, fears, negative predictions or resentments, let alone act from there.

Eleanor Roosevelt once said: “I don't have to attend every argument I'm invited to.” The same goes for every doubt and distraction and creative drain. When our friends and family don't get what we're doing, they can collapse our creative energy, if we allow it.

Don't allow it.

Don't try to persuade them to your way of thinking and seeing, either. Arguing or defending your choices is creatively draining for you. Let your actions speak.

Once you're fair to the needs of your relationships, stay centered and focussed as you move confidently in the direction you wish to go. You can find others who do get it, who can offer creative support and motivation.

Especially at the start, before we've proven ourselves to ourselves, we need people around us who give us confidence.

Who let us know that we can trust the process and trust in our own power to succeed in our creative intentions.

Creative Consumption For Creative Entrepreneurs

Letting go is also, always, an opening up.

Other things and people will come forward to fill the space you've opened by divesting and decluttering.

Be vigilant. Don't allow anything new in that doesn't satisfy your new criteria: you must love it completely and it must support your creative business.

TRY THIS: Creative Consumption For Creative Entrepreneurs

What is the balance of creating and consuming in your life?

  • Which do you feel you focus on, primarily, at the moment: having or doing?

  • Are the things you own/want to have coming between you and what you do/want to do in any way?

    F-r-e-e-write your answers to these questions.

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