The important role of rejection in our creativity

There are people who would be okay living a life free of rejection.  That life sounds safe and comfortable but is it an environment to create the best art?  Each of us has some unique ability, something we do that no one else can do quite like we can.  That's your art.  We face the challenge of finding the space we need to create that type of art.  For some, creating this type of art might come with compensation for using this unique gift mix.

I'm learning my first try is not always what the other person wants, as in the finished product didn't live up to the expectation. There is always the small sting of disappointment and the questioning begins.  "Am I capable?"  "Can I actually do this?"  "Am I not good enough?"  These are real feelings I have when someone comes back to me that the first try hasn't hit the mark.  But is rejection a necessary step for you to create your best artwork?

What do you do when you face rejection?

Here's what I'm learning if I want to continue to create art:

1.  My art is product of me - I'm learning to separate who I am from what I create.  In my case someone hires me to create something for them and they have an idea or theme they would like to see.  If I miss the mark I haven't proven myself to be a false artist, I just didn't capture their thought well.  So I need to dig deeper match up their thought with what I am capable of creating.

2.  Delivery is important - As much as I would like to think it's only about what I create, it's also about how I deliver it.  I'm still learning a lot about delivery but I pay attention when I am wowed by someone else's work or service.  Again, this doesn't say much about who I am as much as about what I am or am not doing.  That can be fixed.

3.  Art to the masses becomes commercial - I'm not going to be able to make everyone happy with my art.  But what makes artwork fun is it's a unique experience.  I'm not trying to create something commercial, which I expect everyone to use and be familiar with.  Instead, I'm trying to create something for one person.  It's not B2B (Business to business), nor is it B2C (Business to costumer); what I want to do is P2P (Person to person).  I want to give someone a gift, something they can call just theirs and the love it.  If someone rejects something about the work I've done they are looking for something that is truly theirs, I can't get upset with that.  My goal can't be to make everyone happy, just the person I am trying to serve.

Rejection can't be the end point to what you uniquely do.  When creating art try to use rejection in the one of the following ways: 1. As a sharpening stone, you might be able to go to a new level with your art.  2.  Is it your artwork facing rejection or your method of delivery?  3.  Are you trying to please everyone or serve someone?  Commercial art is cheap, your art is unique.

How hating lawn mowing is changing the way I work

  I have a confession.

I hate lawn mowing.  I know, seems petty doesn't it?  The summer is upon us here in Missouri, which means humidity and grass growing like crazy for at least two months.  Mowing weekly is not uncommon until the scorching heat gets here and then those of us without sprinkler systems will watch our yards turn to dust.  I've already mowed my lawn four times this May.  But the last time I was out mowing I began to realize something.

I was angry and uncomfortable.

After 45 minutes of mowing my front yard and then 45 minutes into my backyard I realized I was freaking out.  This is probably killing my lawn cred but it happened.  I realized my shoulders were tight, I was gripping the lawn mower like it was trying to race away from me, AND I was gritting my teeth!  I was also feeling a great deal of anxiety.  What in the world was going on with me!?

That's when it dawned on me: I hate mowing the lawn.  It's repetitive.  Back and forth.  Back and forth.  Same results every time I go out to mow the exact same space.  And you're not going to believe this: The grass grows back.

This realization is a small bit reassuring because it cancels out the chance I'm OCD...on the other hand there's a strong chance I have ADD.  What I have learned is I am not built to do the same thing in the same space every single day.  I'm just not wired that way.  Sometimes you have to give yourself permission to work in the manner your wired and make sure your environment is cohesive as well.  What have you done to change your work environment to make you more effective?

Here are some ways I've learned I work best:

1.  I actually need windows - A bright and airy space helps me relax and focus.  If I'm in a smaller, walled environment it feels like the walls are just getting closer.

2.  My day has parts - I think of my work day as segments.  The first third of the day is for me.  It might be drinking coffee, catching some GMA, playing golf, working out, having a devotional time, working on my business, and blogging.  The first part of the day is all mine.  The second third of my work day is for people.  More often than not this is the time I meet with people.  I rarely eat lunch alone.  The remaining third of my work day is administrative.  This is where I get work admin and communication done.  I often use a great tool to schedule emails through Gmail called Boomerang.  Boomerang has multiple uses but my favorite is it allows me to schedule emails to people.  I use this so my communication is received in what's known as the "First touch" window.  Meaning people are more like to interact with your communication if it is viewed in the window they first check their email instead of it getting buried in their day.

3.  I move around a lot - It's not uncommon for me to move locations anywhere from two to three times a day.  Why?  Because every time I change locations it helps me refocus.  Of course, everyone may not have a job where you can physically change locations but here is a recent inforgraphic that might help you think creatively.


Lawn mowing is changing the way I work.  I have to be aware of my environment as well as the way I structure my day.  Everyone of us needs to find the environment that we can work the best in.  To make the most impact we need to not just work but create and create solutions.  What are you doing to have the best work environment you can?