For ambitious artists, waiting on the sidelines hoping for the right opportunity is NOT an option. Creating the life you love through your creativity will require that you stretch beyond what you think you’re comfortable with right now.
In this episode of Creativity Excitement Emotion, David shares why you need to make a mess now, and what you can do to clean it up after the fact (if you even need to!).
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00:17 – Why you should make a mess in your career and life
01:26 – Freeing yourself from the domain of “good” or “bad”
02:41 – What it looks like to make a mess
05:51 – Declaring the incomplete, complete
06:17 – Turn to a mentor or coach for help
07:00 – Building your “mess muscle”
07:27 – Look at what needs to be cleaned up, and clean it up!
07:57 – Determine what you will continue to do, and what you won’t
Today we get to talk about making a mess. And I am an advocate for going and making a mess in your music career and frankly, even in your life, in your projects, in romance and practically every area of life where you want to begin to see results.
Here’s the thing. We only live once. Sure. If we were to think in terms of abstraction or spirituality, we probably do live forever in some way, shape, or form. Maybe we’re spirits, maybe we get reincarnated, maybe there’s an afterlife.
But as far as this life is concerned, the one that you are living right now, this one, this opportunity… It won’t come around again. And that being the case, if we sit on the sidelines and wait and watch and observe as though we are watching TV or YouTube or Netflix, which is pretty much what smartphones and social media and TV and movies are training us to do, we don’t get to enjoy all the exploits and spoils that are available.If we sit on the sidelines and wait and watch and observe as though we are watching YouTube, we won't get to enjoy the spoils that are available. Click To Tweet
Now, I understand that making a mess can be scary, it can be uncomfortable, it can also be very confronting, so we are going to talk about some of the ways to deal with conflict, to deal with rejection, to deal with anything else that comes up along the way that doesn’t strike you as being “good,” and understand first and foremost that whatever is good or bad is a label that we create. It’s a meaning that we’ve been trained to assign.
Everything is supposed to be good and bad and divided into like, don’t like, right, wrong, like it, don’t like it. Everything tends to go into that category when we’re not aware of it. So, we can easily end up creating stories around what is good or bad.
The point is you’re going to get results and that’s exciting, isn’t it?
I mean, it’s much better than life at a standstill. Your music career at a standstill, your romantic life at a standstill. Nothing’s happening. So, you assume you’re wrong, you assume you’re bad, you assume you’re not attractive. You assume you’re being rejected by everyone, and that’s your reality, and you’re stuck there. And maybe, the truth is, if you took a few more chances, that would not be your reality at all.
So, what is going and making a mess look like? Well, in your music career, it could look like instead of just making a list of venues to call, calling those venues, making an unreasonable goal to call 20, 30, 40 venues a day, and figuring out which ones are going to say “yes” to you.
In dating, it could look like sending more messages. Joining Facebook dating, joining Match, joining Tinder.
People have so much going on about, “Well, I want it to be casual,” or “Well, I don’t want it to be casual,” or “I’m really not sure what I want but I’m here because I think I want something.” Stop it.
You don’t know what anything has the potential to turn into before you’re in it. People get hurt in the things that they’re in. They don’t get hurt in the things that they’re out of.
I mean, sure, rejection can hurt. But much of what we think is rejection is perceived rejection. We’re alone and lonely, so we assume that we’re being rejected when reality might dictate otherwise. It could just be that you’re not taking a chance and no one around you is taking a chance to express their true feelings and to be authentic.
You don’t have to make this complicated at all. You could just have one funny one-liner. Not a pickup line, a one liner. Something funny or something curiosity invoking.
You don’t have to come up with a million lines. You only need one. You just need some kind of icebreaker or some kind of opener to get the conversation started and you can take it wherever you want from there.
In your projects, create a whole mess of conversations. Go talk to 50, 60, 70, 80 people a week.
See what you can create together. Who’s willing to partner? Who’s not? Who’s willing to collaborate? Who’s not? You might get a bunch of no’s. The moment someone says “yes,” the project suddenly has life. And it can be a super exciting experience.
And here’s the interesting part. Once someone says yes, and especially if they’re notable or well-known in your community, suddenly you’ll find a lot of other people saying “yes” too.
And honestly, dating is the same way. What the stats show is, unless you are unusually creepy or weird, if you approach the opposite sex, chances are whatever request you make will be accepted 50% of the time.
That means if you get one “no,” you’re usually going to get one “yes.” If you get two no’s in a row, you should get super excited because the next one’s probably going to be a “yes.”
And trust me, this message is for me as much as anyone else. I’m not perfect at going and making a mess, but I do make a lot of messes.
Look at all the projects I’ve started, right? I’m excited about all these things, or I was excited about all these things at one point or another. And one of the big things I realized, I should not make myself feel guilty or ashamed for not finishing some of them.
There are ones that I still put a priority on and plan to finish, but some of them I should just declare complete right now so that I can be free and clear of whatever guilt I’m holding onto about it not being done.
So that’s the first key to dealing with whatever comes up as you go out there to make a mess, is to declare it complete.
If you’re not going to deliver on a promise and it affects others, then let them know as soon as possible. Preferably before the deadline or the date approaches, right? Don’t let someone know on the date of your show. “Oh, sorry, you know, we can’t make it.” Like, let them know well in advance. Hopefully, as much as possible, a week in advance, a month in advance.If you're not going to deliver on a promise and it affects others, then let them know as soon as possible. Click To Tweet
Number two is, yes, you probably will make some people angry, or some people may reject you. Or, I think more likely, a better way of defining that is you’ll have some unpleasant experiences while going out there and having lots of conversations and making a whole mess of projects.
The number one most helpful thing that I’ve found in that is to have somebody that you can personally count on to talk to, to process this stuff.
It could be a mentor. It could be a boss. It could be your best friend. It just depends on the relationship and the trust that you’ve developed with that person over time. But processing whatever unpleasant experiences that you’re going through with them will help you get through the events quicker.
And the next solution is simple. The more you build your muscle to take chances and to take risks and to strike up conversations with strangers and do uncomfortable things, the more that you’re going to feel comfortable doing them and it will seem less strange to you. And trust me, there are people out there that have 20 conversations a day and don’t think anything of it. And you can get to that point, but you’ve got to put in the work.
But I would say the most important point in all of this is once you’ve gone and done the work, and you’ve made a big mess, consider what it is that you’re going to do to clean up. Look at what needs to be cleaned up, right? Who did you promise some things to that you did not deliver on? Go make that right. What projects did you not finish? And is there a consequence for not finishing them?
And if there aren’t any consequence so far as other people go, there’s still an impact on you. So, notice what that impact is, and declare it complete in your life.
And out of the mess you’ve created, what are you going to continue? And what are you not going to continue?
And then once you’ve got all of that squared away, it’s time to go and make a mess again.