Trading Expectations for Appreciation – EP 303

Humans are pretty generous when it comes to loving other artists. It’s loving ourselves as artists with the same intensity that often needs some work. On this episode, I’m sharing insights from my recent and wonderfully unexpected time off around expectations, identifying when and why previously successful thought processes are no longer working, and leaning into appreciation to find and strengthen your inner voice.

Outline of This Episode

  • [3:15] When helpful thoughts no longer serve you
  • [7:56] Identifying unhealthy expectations
  • [15:36] Leaning into appreciation

Recognize what isn’t working

The creative journey is constantly changing. Yesterday’s mindset might have served you for a time, but today is a new day. If we don’t take time to evaluate how our thought processes impact our art, we may get stuck believing things that stunt our growth and keep us from the results we want. Last year, I developed the mindset that nothing can stop me. Which sounds positive, right? And it was! It helped me push through a lot of obstacles and do things that felt impossible at the time. But for a while now, something has felt off. I couldn’t put my finger on it. I just knew my results were not where I wanted them to be. I decided to take a bit of time off which turned into more than I thought because I didn’t know how badly I needed a break. This led me to the realization that the mindset that got me through 2022 needed to change in 2023.

Shifting from expectation to appreciation

We can have the same creative goal, but the outcome can be very different based on our thinking and how we approach the creative process. My good-intentioned declaration that nothing could stop me became an aggressive demand to muscle through anything that stood in my way. The energy behind it was one of expectation. My mind started to expect perfection and hold it against me in judgment when I did encounter something unexpected. Almost like I was wrong for allowing it to happen. Nothing halts my creative process faster than someone standing over my shoulder yelling at me, judging and criticizing my every move. This is exactly what we do to ourselves when we adopt mindsets like this. Rather than approaching my creative goal with expectation and aggression, I was able to do the same thing with better results from a place of love and appreciation for myself as the artist who creates the work.

Appreciate your voice

As soon as I was able to trade expectation for appreciation, things began to shift and realign themselves. I finally felt the peace that had seemingly left my practice the longer I held on to the ideas that were no longer serving me. Don’t get me wrong, ambition is a good thing. We want to have a can-do attitude when it comes to our art, but never at the expense of our true selves and inner voice. A big part of being an artist is balancing the technical skills needed to create the work and the less black-and-white concept of cultivating our inner voice. I’ve noticed we often give so much credit to the skill aspect that we end up dismissing our voice. Subsequently, our voice gets softer and softer and harder to hear.

Trading in expectation means not expecting your inner voice to be strong and confident 100% of the time. We have to appreciate its full range! Sometimes it will be soft and subtle. Just notice it’s there and appreciate it. Don’t demand that it get louder, but rather recognize it needs to experiment to grow. Get to know your voice. Look for all of the amazing insights it has given you in the past, and anticipate that it will continue to give more. If you listen, it will grow stronger. It will become more assured and bold. That’s when all the skills you’ve been collecting really come into play and the work stands out as yours and yours alone.

Resources Mentioned on this episode

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