Artists don’t need perfection, but it’s tempting to wish for it.
Have you been holding yourself back from a creative endeavor because you have a nagging voice in your head that says but I’m not good enough yet? It says things like I can’t share my art online. I can’t apply to that group show, I can’t show this to my family, I can’t start a YouTube channel, or I can’t *insert activity* until I am better at this.
Does this sound familiar? I do this to myself a lot. I have projects I want to do right now, but that little voice pops up and is like nah, you’re not good enough.
While there is immense value in self-awareness and being able to judge your own abilities, few of us are fair judges of our own work. While you waste time wondering if you are good enough to do what you dream of, you may be letting opportunities pass you by to get there.
So when exactly are you good enough to try something? Right f***ing now.
I know I know, you might need some more convincing, so let’s dive deeper.
What is good enough?
If you find yourself thinking you’re not good enough to do “X”, I encourage you to examine your standards for what is enough. I bet you’re being unfair and standing in your own way.
Who are you comparing yourself to?
Let’s say you want to become a watercolorist and you follow @kelogsloops on Instagram. With 1.2 million followers and mastery of magically blended skin tones, it would be easy for anyone to feel like they aren’t good enough to do what this artist is doing. If you’re just starting out, you’re not going to be at this artist’s level, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get there, and that doesn’t mean you aren’t good enough to try.
Don’t fall into a comparison trap. Everyone has a different journey. It’s okay to set your sights high and have idols and role models, but if those people are making you feel sad and unworthy, then I suggest you stop comparing.
Are you expecting too much too fast?
Everyone has to start somewhere. There isn’t a shortcut to being awesome and humble origins are abundant in the creative field. If you are expecting to gain 100k Instagram followers in a month, that’s too much too fast. If you are expecting to get a solo gallery show before you’ve picked up a paintbrush, that’s too much too fast.
Sure, anything can happen, and some people hit it lucky with their creative endeavors, but don’t expect to skip all the hard parts and go straight to the success. It’d be great, don’t get me wrong. I dream about some pretty fanciful outcomes for my career, but the moment those dreams turn into expectations they sow the seeds of disappointment.
Dream big, but put your head down and do the work.
Remember, there is growth in simply trying.
Alright, let’s say you apply to a gallery show and you truly aren’t ready. What’s the worst that is going to happen? You don’t get in? Or let’s say you start a YouTube channel to share art tutorials and you don’t get any subscribers. Or you share your art on Instagram and you don’t get new followers.
If you don’t get the results you expected, this is an opportunity to grow. Going through the work to even try to pursue your goals will inevitably lead to growth. When we fail, we learn even more. When we fail, learn, fail, learn, fail, learn and repeat this over time, we find ourselves years down the road with memories and experiences of a creative life fully lived and explored.
You don’t have to be good enough to try.
Get started now.
You don’t have to be great, you don’t have to be the best, and you don’t have to compare yourself to anyone. You’re never going to reach a point where you exclaim “I’ve done it! I am officially good enough!” Creative people rarely get that sense of satisfaction, and that’s a good thing! Keep setting your sights higher and higher.
If your thoughts of not being good enough in this moment lead you to the false conclusion that you won’t ever be good enough, then I encourage you to tell your inner critic to kindly f*** off. Declaring you’re not good enough protects you from disappointment because it prevents you from trying something new, but it also prevents you from growing and moving forward.
Your internal critic is wrong.
If I’m not good enough thoughts don’t lead you to seek ways to improve, then they serve no purpose and you can and should ignore them. Today, right now, this very second, you are good enough to take the first step to do what you want to do. Start small. Take baby steps.
You are good enough. Let me say that a little louder: YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH!
Now go make awesome things.
Please leave questions and comments below while commenting is open or reach out to me directly Please leave questions and comments below while commenting is open or reach out to me directly through Instagram or email. I’d love to hear from you! Make sure to sign up for my email list below to never miss a blog post.
P.S. You probably know by now that I am here to help artists with these posts. If you need help with your online branding, Instagram account, or just want a creative accountability coach, then check out my consulting services. You can easily add a session to my online calendar now.