Not Being Creative Enough

When I read about or see an awesome campaign, news placement, event, or idea, my very first instinct is to panic and dish out self hate. Why didn’t I come up with that? I’m not good enough to do something like that. Those people are so much smarter than me. Blah, blah, blah… 

Rather than making myself feel defeated, I’m trying to actively switch my mindset. No matter what my brain says, I am not unworthy or unable and I can’t let that little voice in my head hold me back. Unfortunately, my first reaction is not positive, but I must remember that I can move past it and on to something more constructive.

Posing proactive questions helps. What about this is inspiring? What best practices from it can I employ? What made this successful? What parts of this do I want to emulate?

It’s also important to remind myself that I CAN do great work. Confidence is a huge component in creativity. It’s easy to recall those times I couldn’t get a story idea or pitch to stick. But what about all those news placements I did secure, those successful campaigns I planned, leads I generated, those great social images I created, the results that I drove, those problems that I solved?

I’ve grappled with this concept my whole life. Am I creative enough? Am I smart enough? Am I good enough?

So to get myself over these reoccurring roadblocks I’ve leveraged my Evernote.

ONE – I’ve started to make notes that list out top accomplishments. What creative work have I done that I am proud of? When did I feel happy? I was surprised how quickly I filled up the page. I have played big roles in not just successful campaigns, but monumental business decisions. Go me!

TWO – Rather than shying away from the successful work of others, I’m now trying to capture them as sources of creativity. I have a handful of notebooks in Evernote that I use to keep track of things I like. Yet I could be better at maintaining them, adding more and referring back. My lists include (1) catchy email headlines, (2) great thought leadership pieces, (3) inspiring business spotlights in the news, (4) cool images and design, (5) social campaigns that were successful, and (6) general marketing ideas that I want to remember.

The only problem is that I often go on long hiatuses when it comes to populating these lists. A lot of the time I am out and about when I see things that inspire me, or I’m in the middle of an important project and can’t stop to capture the source, or my negativity gets in the way. Using my phone camera and screen shot capabilities has been helpful. I can go through what I captured on a weekly or monthly basis and evaluate when I am in the proper mindset.

Some people are naturally creative, while others must work at it. I like to think I fall somewhere in the middle of this spectrum. So I just have to exercise my brain a little more and give it that extra boost!

It’s also important to remember that I won’t always succeed on my first try. Even if I poured my heart and soul into a campaign, it might not take off right away. I can’t let that stop me.

My new mantra: Find inspiration in the process, not just the outcome.




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