In this episode I learn about my blind spot and how to respond to it.
Reflection Flow by Doxent Zsigmond (c) copyright 2018 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/doxent/58328 Ft: Javolenus, Rocavaco, Siobhan Dakay
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Hello and welcome to the Creative Shoofly Podcast. I'm Thomas Beutel. This podcast is about my creative process, and one thing I've found is that I really get in my way a lot when it comes to making art and being creative. I want to do this podcast because I know it will force me to think more deeply about creativity. I'm hoping that doing this will push me and challenge me to create better art.
I stay pretty busy. I have a great client base that keeps sending me interesting projects. I also have a bunch of my own creative projects, things I've started, things I've planned, things that I still dream about. As I mentioned in a previous podcast, I carve out two hours each weekday morning to work on my own stuff and I've been sticking to it.
So why does it feel like I'm not accomplishing much? Why do I have a nagging feeling that I'm just spinning my wheels?
I recently read up on my Myers Briggs type. INFPs like me are said to have vibrant, passionate inner lives. They're said to be creative and imaginative and introspective to the core. That all resonates with me pretty well.
INFPs are also said to be unrealistic self-critical and often unfocused. Yep. That pretty much nails it too.
I was looking over my 15-month goal calendar recently and an inner voice showed up. "Why aren't you finished yet?" It's like a bot, no feelings, no compassion. Just nagging. "Look at all these goals you need to hurry up and do them all now."
I gritted my teeth. As someone who is introspective, I needed to understand where this voice is coming from and respond to it somehow.
Maybe I can appease it, satisfy it, make a compromise, something so that it would just shut up.
My first thought was, I'll speak to this voice daily. Last year I started a daily completion journal. This is where I write down what I work on creatively that day. It feels great to look at that journal and see all the things I've worked on since I started it. But writing down what I've been completing didn't seem to be satisfying that bot-like voice. "You have so many goals," it kept saying, "how are you going to do those?"
I also do a daily check-in and reflection. It's part of my scrum-for-one process that I've mentioned before.
The scrum or huddle is just me. It's a solo huddle where I check in with myself and ask, "How are things going? What's working well? what's getting in the way?"
So I tried adding a short conversation with that bot voice, a sort of dialogue with Mr. Hurry-Up-and-Finish.
But I found that I was not very effective in arguing on my behalf. No matter what I said, pointing out how much I was doing every day, every week, explaining how much progress I was making, and learning new techniques, the bot voice would just say it wasn't enough. "Hurry up!" it always said.
I work with a wonderful coach on these very issues, and she pointed me to a resource on INFPs that I hadn't seen before.
It's called Personality Hacker. They have an interesting approach to Myers-Briggs. Instead of being focused on behaviors, they focus on how the mind works and how each personality type learns information and makes decisions.
One of the things they propose is that each personality type has a blind spot. My blind spot is called Effectiveness.
For INFPs, it's the voice of unrealistic expectations. It asks things like, "How can I make this work?" and "What will it take to get the job done, regardless of feelings?"
Effectiveness is a type of extroverted thinking. And for certain Myers-Briggs types, it's actually the primary way of thinking and decision-making. It's their strength.
But for an introverted-feeling person like me, it's really the opposite of the way I do things. Effectiveness is my blind spot.
So I decided to call it Effie the Blind Spot Bot.
When I thought through why I was making any progress in addressing Effie's nagging... I realized that it was Effie's voice that was driving that conversation.
Have you ever had a big slap-on-the-forehead moment when you realize something really basic and all you can do is laugh at yourself?
That impulse to use Effectiveness to figure out how to get the job done, regardless of my feelings... that was exactly what I was trying to do to appease that Effectiveness voice, to satisfy it somehow and calm it down.
I was chasing my own tail, going round and round and never quite catching it.
Effie my blind spot bot says, "How can we get this done, regardless of feelings?" It sounds straightforward and it sounds like a reasonable request.
But what I've learned is that leading with my blind spot doesn't work. It isn't a place of strength for me.
My strength is introverted feeling, the I F in INFP. When I start something creative, the question that I ask from a place of strength is, "Does it feel right? Does it feel authentic?"
These questions focus on alignment.
And when I ask these questions, I find that I have more energy around a project, and I'm far more committed over the long-term to get it done. As Personality Hacker points out, each of the personality types has its strengths and blind spots.
If you're interested in learning about yours, I recommend checking out the Personality Hacker website and their podcast.
I've always found that examining my own motivation, especially around creativity is the strangest thing. It seems so elusive and hard to figure out. It's like an internal database without a query language.
That's why I appreciate resources like Personality Hacker. They build a language that helps with that examination.
All of this is a wonderful revelation to me. Had my coach not pointed me to Personality Hacker, I would not have learned about Effie. Now whenever that voice speaks up and tries to hurry me up, or complains about not finishing projects, I remind myself to think about alignment. I ask myself, does it feel right.
By doing that my creative projects are now far more successful and satisfying. I recently embarked on a new project of learning live coding for music. It's complex and it has a really steep learning curve. But it's so rewarding when I create music that feels good to me.
Thank you so much for listening to this podcast. I really appreciate that you take the time to listen. I hope there was something in this podcast that will help spark your creativity. And I would love to get any feedback that you have. You can email me at [email protected].
I hope you'll join me for the next episode of creative shoofly. Until then, stay safe and stay creative.
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