It seems to be human nature that we want to associate and define ourselves by what we do or by our accomplishments- and as a creative person at times, for me, that seems like a logical mindset. Recently I’ve started to look at things a little differently.
I’m reading the book The War of Art: Breaking Through the Blocks and Win your Inner Creative Battles by Steve Pressfield. If you haven’t read it I highly recommend that you do. In it, he talks about how resistance takes hold of us and all the ways it can show up in our lives and in what we’re out to accomplish.
As a designer, developer and entrepreneur I’m always facing my inner demons about how my work and what I create defines who I am . . . it was a passage in this book that woke me up- he talks about the difference between a pro and an amateur around their work.
“We do not overidentify with our jobs. We may take pride in our work, we may stay late and come in on weekends, but we recognize that we are not our job description. The amateur, on the other hand, overidentifies with his avocation, his artistic aspiration. He defines himself by it. He is a musician, a painter, a palywright. Resistance loves this. Resistance knows that the amateur composer will never write his symphony because he is overly invested in its success and overterrified of its failure. The amateur takes it so seriously it paralyzes him”
As much as we would like to think that we’re defined by what we do or what we create- that is just not the case. Now you don’t have to agree with this statement, but I promise you if you just take on looking at your life, your career or expression from this perspective/point of view something will open up for you.
For me, I’ve found that I have a new sense of freedom in what I do and the projects I take on. I am not attached to the outcome- now that’s not to say that I’m not committed to doing a kick as job, I just don’t let the success consume me and ultimately incapacitate me. It provides the freedom to go full out, balls to the wall if you would, in what I’m up to.
Have fun with your job, have a sense of humor about it and if you find yourself being resistant or being significant about what you’re up to- take the advice the Joker gave to Batman “Why so serious?”