When I was a young designer working at a small ad agency, fresh out of art school and full of anxiety, Tara (my sister and creative director) told me “If you don’t feel like you want to throw up you’re not doing it right.” It was her way of telling me that it’s okay to be scared, that feeling of crippling anxiety can actually be good for you - if it doesn’t break you. So that’s what Jonathan Fields’ book Uncertainty: Turning Fear & Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance is all about. I know I’m a little late to the game on reading this book but it’s a must-read for any creative entrepreneur who wants to feel good about feeling scared out of their wits about pursuing their passion as a living. Because launching your own creative business is a lot like graduating from art school - where your future most certainly looks uncertain.

I don’t want to dive into an entire review of the book but instead highlight a specific concept that Fields brings to light:

Uncertainty: Chapter 4

Find Your Certainty Anchors, chapter 4
Here Fields talks about utilizing ritual and routine as a way to bring some certainty into your seemingly chaotic creative endeavor. When creating we typically alternate between:
1. insightful big ideas &  
2. the execution (refinement, expansion and production)

For me the big ideas always seem to strike during down time and often I come against some resistance when it comes to the execution. Scheduling downtime into your work flow and developing reliable habits is a great way to combat feelings of uncertainty and resistance.

For example, sometimes the least productive thing I can imagine doing when under a tight deadline is go for a run or have coffee with a friend - but without fail these scheduled pauses in my work day are when the big ideas seemingly come out of nowhere and refuel me to execute on looming projects. And I always meet my deadlines. So rather than draining my reserves by staring at a blank computer screen I’m out recharging so I can move forward twice as fast when I return to the work. That's where ritual and habit comes in to play.

Uncertainty Highlight

Ritual helps train you to sit down when you most want to stand, when you're forced to work on the part of the process that leaves you anywhere from bored to riddled with anxiety.

Some examples of rituals and habits, in life & work, that keep me feeling anchored are:
• Eating the same thing for breakfast every morning (coffee and oatmeal)
• Having a uniform of black & grey (a la Steve Jobs, but sassier)
• Waking up and going to bed at the same time every day (sounds simple enough, but it’s kind of a big deal)
• For me when designing: opening my file and setting my rules and margins (sometimes getting started is the hardest part)
• For Tara when writing: typing little mini-headers for each copy section, and taking comfort in making the words “headline here” a smaller font, italicized, maybe a nice light grey (before actually diving in and letting the words flow in chunk-by-chunk)

And Tara would kill me if I didn’t mention that the actual steps we take in our creative method are the same - every single time. A defined creative process allows us to move into each job with confidence rather than feeling overwhelmed by the limitless solutions. It has inspired us to uncover creative methods with the artistpreneurs we work with - to bring productive habits to light for them so they can feel a little more anchored in their own endeavor as well.

What are some of your rituals and habits that keep you sane? Do you have a creative process or way of working to help you combat the resistance? Let us know in the comments or on our Facebook page.

Braid Method Branding for Creatives ECourse

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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