4 Tips for Creative Confidence
The poet and novelist Sylvia Plath famously said that the worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. Popular blogger and inspirational speaker Danielle LaPorte believes that doubt is actually a part of the creative process. And even a brief study of the creative greats will reveal that they have all had their insecurities and moments of doubts.
It seems that doubt is an integral part of living a creative life.
Luckily, though, the creative urge is strong.
It can and often does inspire creatives to do their work, despite their doubts. Some even use them as fuel.
So it is possible to feel the doubt and create anyway.
But in the interests of enjoying the creative journey, is it possible to reduce the doubts we feel? Are there ways to minimise the inevitable insecurities that are simply part of being human?
I believe so, and after testing out my theory in my own life and with my clients, I found that some tactics work particularly well in reducing episodes of doubt.
The trick is to work at building up a stronger inner confidence and a surer sense of self – so that the fears become less of an issue.
And here are 4 of my favorite habits and strategies for increasing creative confidence:
4 Tips for Creative Confidence
A Meditation Practice
My all-time favorite recommendation for boosting confidence, inner calm and intuition is a meditation practice. I believe meditation naturally melts away our insecurities and doubts, so we don’t need to battle them or power through them. Meditative practices retrain our minds to focus less on the worries and negative ‘what ifs’, so that we enjoy a new inner calm, we feel an increasing confidence in ourselves, in our ability and our power. We’re also more open to the idea that life is on our side and that things will turn out well. (Click here to read more about the health, happiness and creative benefits of meditation.)
Creativity is all about trying new (unpredictable) things and one way to make that easier is to practice in small ways, when the stakes aren’t so high. This helps us get used to trying things that aren’t guaranteed to succeed – and learning that we survive, even if things don’t go as planned. When we fail in small ways, it teaches us that we can try, fail and still be ok. We get used to learning from the feedback and not taking failure so seriously.
Having an attitude of playful experimentation helps us to try unpredictable things more confidently. Sara Blakely, the billionaire owner of Spanx, has this to say about failure: “My dad encouraged us to fail growing up. He would ask us what we failed at that week. If we didn’t have something, he would be disappointed. It changed my mindset at an early age that failure is not the outcome–failure is not trying. Don’t be afraid to fail.”
Celebrate your wins
Training your brain to notice more of your successes can really help build confidence and self-esteem. One of my favorite techniques for doing this is to keep a success diary. Recording all the mini wins that we all experience daily – the ones that we barely notice or quickly forget – will help to build a stronger self-esteem that is less susceptible to doubt. A success diary also serves as a powerful reminder of just how creative and successful you are, long after the wins have faded.
You can also revisit these, if you ever need a confidence boost or a reminder of your skills and abilities. And if you include some enthusiastic celebrations for your small wins, you’ll also be training your brain to notice even more wins in future. (In my house, we always have a bottle of fizz chilling in the fridge, awaiting the next special win to celebrate – there’s always something!)
Self-doubt can often be triggered by comparing ourselves to others, worrying about what others will think or taking on other people’s opinions instead of our own.
To guard against these types of worries, we can build a stronger connection to our Inner Self, our innate wisdom, judgement and strength. We can learn to hear our own powerful inner voice – and to trust it. This is a relationship that develops like any other – over time, with attention and care.
If you’d like to begin developing this confidence-boosting connection to your Inner Self, start to notice what happens when you follow your instinct and trust your gut.
How do things play out? Compare this to what happens when you deny your intuition or your heart’s wisdom. It may take time to connect with this inner confidence, but it’s a powerful skill that can serve in all aspects of life. And when you learn to trust your judgement and access your inner guidance, your creative confidence will soar.
Would you like to make your creativity your career?
Click here for the free ebook: The Joy of Dharma For Creatives.