Creative Compass Minicourse

Creative Compass Day 3: Confront external factors

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Your goal for Day 3: Identify what external factors (people and resources) stand in the way of your progress & make a plan to address them

Just as when we addressed your time use, when considering your time/attention budget for people in your life, you may need to consolidate activities, you may need to choose not to be involved in some things, and you may need to actively work to renegotiate some expectations of how you’re going to show up as a colleague, parent, or friend.

None of this is easy, but remember: you need to put your own seat belt on first. When you are actively producing your creative work, you may have more hours that you’re unavailable; but when you are present, you’re capable of being more fully present for all the people in your life than when you’re unhappy and anxious because you can’t manage to focus.

That’s how it works with people who are essentially on your side.

You may also have the unfortunate situation of having people in your life who are not in favor of what you’re doing.

Maybe it’s a boss who will not be flexible.

You might have an editor or producer who is basically supportive… except that you’ve dropped off the face of the earth and screwed up their schedule (or so you fear… you haven’t dared ask).

It could be a parent or spouse or friend who undercuts you and makes you feel as if you’re not capable of achieving what you desire.

In some of these cases, that’s simply an immovable wall that you need to circumvent. Your job is to be aware of its dimensions, and avoid. (For example: a negative “friend” who mocks creative ambition? Time to stop hanging out with that person. Unsympathetic boss? Scrupulously avoid mention of your creative project with him while looking for a new position.)

In other cases, it’s time to make a plan for a very hard conversation

Finally, some projects will require actual cash outlay for materials or production, or may entail giving up income because you’re doing this rather than that. Not knowing what these numbers actually are can cause you to freeze up.

Your dilemma

There are people and other external factors that you don’t have direct control over, but that can derail your creative intentions.

Your action plan

Tease apart and define what seems impossible until you figure out how to make it merely (very) difficult.

Or easy. Easy is an option.

Define the specific sacrifices or uncomfortable conversations you’ll need to have, and determine when you will move forward with them.

Creative Compass Day 3 Q&A

Fill in the form below to make a plan for dealing with your external factors


Put those dates on your calendar!

Further reading: Ash Ambirge’s “Smart Ass Guide to Dealing with Dream Zappers”
Seth Godin on dealing with fear of criticism

Looking for more help with uncovering and facing your dilemmas?

Check out my book, Growing Gills: How to Find Creative Focus When You’re Drowning in Your Daily Life, which is full of exercises that will get you clear on what’s next.

Jump to Welcome page — Day 1 — Day 2 — Day 3 — Day 4 — Day 5