Do you find it hard to bring a project across the finish line? I was decluttering this week and came upon some notes from a retreat three years ago. Oh, the marketing for these retreats! I wanted to go for so long and finally made it. And then, I found out the leader was not “my type”. Not a sensitive. Her advice and teaching weren’t a fit. Was that a tragedy? Not really. Because that step moved me along.
Sensitive creatives may have more challenges to completing projects, staying on track and finding support that fits. In fairness to this teacher, my proposed project list numbered 20 or more ideas. No wonder she was wringing her hands! She insisted I must choose. While that wasn’t the solution for me at the time, it was true I needed more realism and focus.
Even non-sensitives, though, have challenges with soul work and productivity. I happened to catch this teacher on a podcast sharing her latest work. It was not going well. Though it had been seven years in the making, the timing was seemed off.
Everyone can be challenged when you take an idea (metaphysical realm) to the physical realm. This demands you learn what works for you and keep at it. The mission for sensitives is to keep moving, keep learning what works, and keep growing that self-respect and love along the way.
Here are 7 challenges I see for creative sensitives working toward completing what matters. (Are you an HSP/Highly Sensitive Person? Take the test.)
1) NAMING THE SOUL WORK / THE DREAM / WHAT’S MOST IMPORTANT
Deciding what to focus on, the current priority, amidst the myriad of choices can be difficult. Choosing one thing means leaving some things behind. Creatives are often full of ideas and hopeful visions, so leaving things behind can pose some heartache. Yet naming the thing, and completing it, allows other things to be next. And completion is usually mega-healing and growthful for the soul.
2) RECOGNIZING YOUR DERAIL STYLE AND STAYING THE COURSE
Your unique history, personality, hopes and fears will inform the ways you tend to derail or sidestep completion. In my case, I’ll think of brilliant new ideas to try, though I already have a full plate. For others, it may be perfectionism, difficulty letting go, performance anxiety, the difference between the real and the ideal, etc. Knowing your derail style helps you stay aware and recover faster from derails, and stay on track.
3) FOLLOWING INTUITIVE INTEL AS IT ARISES
It can be a challenge to follow intuition, especially if it seems strange at the time. I’ve learned first to hear it, then to just do the thing. Make the call, give the dollar to the homeless friend (even turning around when it was too soon to act), finish the CD now, etc. In the case of the phone call, it led to the car upgrade I’d been working up to for years. This is an important muscle to strengthen for creativity and staying in tune.
4) KEEPING PERFECTIONISM IN PERSPECTIVE
Sensitives tend to have a strong perfectionistic streak. Keep in mind, your vision of what is possible will often far exceed most people’s requirements. While this high-minded striving has its place in the right situation, it can also lead to many unnecessary extra hours. Keep in mind, you don’t have endless time in this life. You probably have more you want to do beyond this project. The next thing on the list, waiting for this to be completed, maybe be even more important than this step.
I was working on a music CD a long time. After recording, I listened and felt it wasn’t good enough. It sat on the shelf for years. But then I couldn’t let it go. I listened again and realized – hey, it is good enough. Especially since what I really wanted was to write new songs. So, let some projects be a jumping off point for what is next, and keep the big picture in view.
5) GETTING FEEDBACK AND HELP WHEN NEEDED
Is there something on your project list that’s important, yet it isn’t getting attention? I saw this recently in terms of the dreaded “declutter the papers” project, lol. This was important but often the last thing I wanted to do at the end of the day. I decided to hire a friend to be my accountability partner. Having to report that, “Yes, I’ve done the half hour today”, started things moving. It felt great!
Help and feedback can be huge for creative sensitives. Whether you hire help, or find a partner who also needs project support, it’s often a mega benefit to reach out to supportive peers or professionals.
6) REALISM ABOUT TIME AND ENERGY
Best laid plans can be derailed by events beyond your control. Projects often take three times as long as you think, at least. There is room for five projects at once, etc. etc. In addition to the common productivity wisdom, sensitive creatives may need even more – for example, extra recovery time after achievements. They may have more anxiety or self-criticism. Strengthening completion muscles teaches a lot in terms of learning when to keep moving through obstacles, and when you might need a break.
7) INCREASING SELF– TRUST, RESPECT AND LOVE ALONG THE WAY
My spiritual practices are a key to staying on course. Recently when making a big project transition / completion, there was a lot of intensity I didn’t quite expect. A few days before that my meditations suggested gentleness, tender self-care. Huh? Didn’t quite make sense at the time, but half a week later, it did. I’ve been through enough big transitions now to know … recovery time, and tenderness prn, are key.
I’m still learning better ways to cope with life on earth as a creative sensitive. It can feel like a mad mushy juggle much of the time. Yet with regular check in’s, I stay focused on the soul work learnings as much as possible. I’ve learned that small steps can really make a difference. Courageous movement matters. Every little bit helps happiness, clarity and the world.
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