The Commitment Phobic Creative

11-Mar-2014

Today I want to chat a little bit about the fear of commitment – especially for you aspiring creative entrepreneurs who maybe haven’t quite made the leap from the day job to your dream job. That leap can feel graceful or it can be sloppy and end with a twisted ankle – I believe one’s ability to commit is a contributing factor in what that leap looks like. 

Have you ever seen the movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall? If not, it’s great. Check it out. There is this scene where Jason Segel (one of my celebrity crushes since Freaks & Geeks days) is trying to build up his nerve to jump off this cliff into the Pacific Ocean. He finally just mans-up and makes a running jump – but mid-leap changes his mind. So in his airborne hesitation he sorta ends up clinging to the tropical cliffside vegetation, and really has no way back up, and no way back down, without some serious rock-scraping and possible skull-cracking. If he would have committed to the jump he would be in the water having the time of his life rather than clumsily clinging to the edge of a cliff. 

Kathleen here. Last week I shared about the question creatives trying to do-it-all should ask before they say “yes,” and that’s “why am I doing this?” But once you decide why, and the leap is there in front of you – how do you stop from making a cliff-jumping blunder by second guessing yourself?



Your leap may not be so dramatic as a scene from a romantic comedy, but sometimes just taking even a few steps toward a new idea or dream can become a one-step forward, two-steps back scenario for creatives making a decision. 

I can always pinpoint a commitment phobic creative by taking note of the following symptoms:

1. You hoard blank notebooks. You might be a commitment-phobe if you buy really special notebooks for dreaming, scheming, and grand planning but the first page intimidates you and that beautiful leather Moleskine remains blank for years. 

Try this: Put pen to paper. Listen, just because you brainstorm some ideas and actually write it down does not mean you’re married to it. There is a magical mind/body connection that happens when you go through the process of writing and sketching that will get your gears turning in a new way.

2. “Now, what exactly do you do?” If you’re using vague language or describe yourself as a “jane of all trades” you might be afraid of committing to building a successful creative business that draws a sustainable income. 

Try this: With that pen and paper write down all the things you can or want to do in your creative business. Now cross out the ones that you haven’t actually been paid for in 6 months. Great. Now you might have a shorter list – cross out half of it. That’s right. Now what’s left? If you have more than two or three items on your list I want you to circle the top two services, skills, or products that excite you or draw the most income. From there I want you to update your website to be more specific and describe how you can be hired for just these two things. Then consider making the rest hobbies. 

3. You have a website for every business idea you’ve ever had. Or even if your business website and portfolio are separate from your blog you might be afraid of committing to being who you are in business. And we believe that only when you blend the personal with the professional that’s when real connections and dream jobs are made. 

Try this: If you’re not ready to combine or ditch some of your sites try bringing just a little bit of business into your personal blog. Tell your readers what a day in the life is like for you. Or maybe share the behind-the-scenes of a project you’ve been working on. Then go to your creative business site and read all the words on it out loud. Does it sound like you? Or does it sound like a robot wrote it? Update by injecting just a few words you actually use in real life onto your site. 

4. You have a profile for every social media platform ever. But you’re spread thin and aren’t really engaging with any of them. 

Try this: Pick one social media platform that is your favorite. Spend just 30 minutes a day there for 2 weeks. Add (or delete) friends, interact with them, and start conversations. Social media is often a frivolous after-thought but it’s crucial to any successful creative business. 

I’d like to close this post by saying that fear and excitement feel very similar in the body. There is sort of a liberation in committing. What feels yuck is indecisiveness. Because honestly, the problem isn’t actually making the wrong choice. Usually, the right answer could be any of the choices, but it’s the act of deciding and doing – that makes it actually feel that way.

When do you feel most indecisive as a creative professional? Tell us on Facebook.

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The Braid Method Branding ECourse is for creative entrepreneurs who are ready to support themselves financially with their business, create a blog or consistent online presence, and finally turn the work they’re already doing into a digital product, package, or offering for dream customers. This branding ecourse comes with 7 learning modules in a 300+ page digital download, a workbook with 20+ branding exercises and scripts, a quarterly masterclass, and an exclusive Facebook group so you can connect with us and other students.

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