How To Be Creative And Overcome Social Anxiety

How To Blast Through The Fear Of What “They” Will Think Of You

Are you as creative as you’d like to be? Are you using your creativity on a daily basis to bring yourself and your ideas into the world? Creativity is inherently rewarding and it is essential in creating art, solving problems at work, and growing a thriving business and earning more money.

What is stopping your creativity?

Join Dr. Aziz as he highlights the biggest blocks to creativity and how to blast through these so you can reach new levels of creative inspiration.

Click below to hear this episode!


The Confidence To Be Fearlessly Creative

Hey, how are you doing today? Welcome to the show. Thanks for joining me. I’m excited to be with you here today because we’re going to get into something that is higher level confidence. As in if you are at the level where you can’t make eye contact with anyone and you can’t go to the supermarket and you think everyone hates you then you’re going to want to go back and listen to some older episodes first like maybe the first few episodes of what is shyness and how we break out of it and all that stuff and really work up to this because this is higher level stuff. But when you can start doing this in your life then you are reaching beyond what I call just social confidence but really social freedom and that’s getting closer and closer to what you’re here to do and your potential and really living the life that you’re meant to live here and that you really want to live here and a big key part of that is creativity.

And that’s why today show is called How to be Fearlessly Creative. Because the more creative you can be, I mean and trust me, creativity takes a lot of courage and confidence, doesn’t it? But the more creative you can be, the more your life can improve, the better your life can be, the better you can feel, the more confidence you can build. I mean it’s an amazing potential and opportunity. So, we’re going to dive deep into that today and if you want to jump into the conversation and let me know how this show and other shows are impacting you then go for shrinkfortheshyguy.com and you can send me a message through that site, you can leave me a voicemail that I can listen to which is pretty awesome. I just listened to a voicemail the other day from a guy in Saudi Arabia so hey hurray for the internet or you can also call the studio hotline (206) 338-3176 or go to Facebook.com/shrinkfortheshyguy or Twitter @shyguyshrink. So, lots of ways to stay connected and just keep me posted about how your progress is going. But let’s jump into the topic of today which is creativity.

As I said before it takes a lot of courage to be creative, to be expressive, to put yourself out there in some way, to create something and that could be anything. I don’t know where you’re drawn to be creative in your life. It could be art, music, writing, moving your body in a certain way, wearing a certain kind of clothing, poetry, singing, creativity in business, coming up with new ideas, new products, new services, new imagery for your marketing, I mean there’s anywhere in your life. There can be creativity that can emerge. And we have to look at first what’s blocking that creativity. What do you have inside of you right now that’s being locked away by some cage, by some fear, by some doubt and when it’s going to come out? Is your mind saying I’ll do it later?

Is your mind saying “Now is not the time” or “I’m not good enough yet?” Or are you doing this and if you are, I’m so glad you’re listening to the show because we’re going to help you break free of that which is I’m just not a very creative person. I was at Best Buy the other day and I was getting a little writing tablet you could draw and doodle on. So, when I’m working with coaching clients via Skype, if I’m in person I’ll have a little whiteboard where I can make notes and draw out certain things and I want to do that via Skype so I got a little tablet. You can write on with a stylus and stuff. And I had some questions about it at Best Buy and there’s a dude there, he’s like, “Can I help you, sir?” And I said, ”Yeah, I have a question about these two different tablets and some of their features.”

And he said, “Oh, let me get you Britney. I’m not very creative or I’m not a creative person.” And if I had more time I would have gotten into it with him there like, “What do you mean you’re not a creative person?” But my wife and little baby were in the car and I was like, “Okay. I’m not going to help this guy change his life right now.” But that’s a life killing phrase right there “I’m not a creative person” and if you’re saying that to yourself, remember the identity thing that we’ve talked about in previous episodes, anything you say after “I am” becomes part of your identity and if you say “I am not a creative person” then you will not find creativity. It won’t come out of you and that’s not true.

Everyone is creative. Look at little kids. They’re drawing, they’re singing, they’re dancing, they’re moving, they’re doing all kinds of crazy shit and you have that inside of you right now. So, don’t believe the BS story “I’m not a creative person.” That’s just an identity that you’ve constructed to protect you from what creativity might bring. The fears that we have which we want to jump into right now. In fact I got a question. This is about to spun my idea to do the show and this is a question that I got from an email. So, let’s jump into that right now in this Ask the Shrink segment.

Ask The Shrink

Hi Dr. Aziz, I love the show. I’m applying what you talked about, I have become much more confident around others but one thing I struggled with still is my writing. I mostly like what I write but I never share it with anyone. When I imagine sharing it with someone, I become very critical of anything that I’ve written, someday I want to be a writer and have people all over the world read my books. How can I be more confident in my writing? – Corey. Now, this is an awesome question. First of all how many people like if you’re listening right now, can you relate to that like you want to create something, you’d feel like you have a book in you or you want to make music or something is in you and maybe you’ve gotten to the point where you’ve allowed that out when no one is around and you can do it when no one is around.

But when someone is around when you’re going to show it to them then all this fear kicks in, all this criticism and you’re like “Oh, that doesn’t sound good. That’s awful. That’s not good enough.” You get all perfectionistic and it gets stuck in you, right? Of course right, we all experience that, I have experienced that, everyone experiences that. But we got to learn how to break out of that. And in order to do that we have to uncover what is the biggest fear that’s behind creativity? Why do we all have these reasons, these identities to protect us and all this nonsense? Underneath it, what is the fear?

And it’s a really basic fear. And guess what it is? It’s going to suck. It’s not going to be any good. My writing is going to suck. My music is going to suck. They’re going to think my voice sucks. And therefore, I suck. I’m no good, right? It’s like my work is no good. People judge it and criticize it and therefore I am no good. That’s our deepest fear.

That’s what we were trying to protect ourselves from. But the great irony is we try to protect ourselves from feeling like we’re not good enough, but then when we stifle all our creativity and squelch what we’re here to do and here to offer and here to give and we end up feeling pretty bad about ourselves anyway, don’t we? So, we got to learn how to shift, that we got to break free of that and stay tune right now because we’re going to take a quick break and then we’re going to get into the specifics of the fears, how to break through them, how to unleash your creativity at a way that you might have never experienced in your entire life. So, I’m excited to jump into that with you in just one minute so stay tune.

A couple of years back I was working with a client who was writing a book actually so this is very fitting for your question, Corey. We’re going to be touching on this throughout the entire episode using your question as an example to help all of us become more creative and more free to express ourselves. I was working with this guy who was in the process of writing a book and he’d stalled out after the fourth chapter and he’d had written those four chapters like a year ago and just had not progressed and he knew the content of the rest of the book. He wasn’t like he had no idea what to write, just couldn’t find the time or he realized that he was distracting himself and procrastinating and so he came to see me to help him to really make progress and write his book.

And so when we got into it, I was like what is the fear of writing this book? And of course he was like, “Well, what if it sucks, right?” That’s the fear that we talked about before the break but we got even more specific and here are some of the things that he said and see if you can relate to that. In fact before I share what he said, think about something creative that you want to do. It could be writing a book but it could be something smaller than that. Maybe just picking up the guitar and learning how to play it or using your voice or singing around others or dancing or anything creative, making some art and imagine doing that. And what do you fear? What fears come up when you imagine that?

For him, it was “Well, it’s not going to be good enough.” And I said, “Okay. So, let’s say, assuming someone’s going to read it and say that it’s not good enough.” He’s like, “Yeah, that’s right.” I was like, “What else would they say? What would be the worst case scenario of what they could say?” And say, “Well, they say not only it’s not good enough but it’s not intelligent and it’s poorly written and the author is an idiot.” I said, “Okay, that’s a pretty harsh review.” And he’s like, “Yeah, that’s what I’m afraid. That’s what I’m afraid that not just one person is going to think but the vast majority of people are going to think that.”

And that’s where we got an interesting stuff about fear of the critics and what they’re going to say. We’re going to get into that deeper in a minute to help you break free of it but first we just got to get what are the specifics? And so, ask yourself that question about whatever creative endeavor you would want to pursue. What specifically am I most afraid to hear? “Your voice is off key. You’re not very good at the guitar. Your art looks childlike or undeveloped or unsophisticated.” Like what is the fear that you hold specifically and then flip it, ask this. I asked them the exact question. I said, “Okay, in the best case scenario what would a critic say about your book, the best case scenario? You’d read that review and you’d be like oh, damn this is the best thing I could read about my book?”

And he’s like, “Well, I guess they’d say it’s amazing.” I was like, “Yes. Good. What else?” “In a way they’d say the book change my life. Everyone must read this book.” I said, “Great, great. What else?” “Well, they’d say it’s so intelligent and so well-written. The author is up and coming and he’s amazing. He’s the best.” And I laughed, I said “Great, great. It’s the flipside. It’s the opposite of what you would fear to hear.” And I hope you’re asking yourself this exact question too like what is the feedback that you love to hear about your creative work. “It’s intelligent. It’s amazing. It’s life changing. It’s profound. It’s beautiful. It’s incredible.”

So, once you have that those are the two poles and you can think about it like two ends of a continuum, right? On the far left, you got the worst case scenario which is “It sucks. It’s the worst things I’ve ever read. The author is an idiot or the creator is an idiot.” Now on the other end, the far right end of the pole, you have “This is the most life changing incredible amazing thing I’ve ever seen witnessed, read, heard, viewed, all that stuff, right?” Now what I asked them I said, “In between those lines, where do you think your first book will fall? Your first attempt terrible is zero and amazing that other side is 100. Let’s give it a number.”

Now it’s an interesting question that I asked them there because I said, “Did you catch the language of that question? I said where will your first book land?” What’s implied in that question? He’s going to write a second book, right? That was on purpose. I did that on purpose to help him realize that this was a process and that creativity is not a result. Creativity is not like I did that, I’ve done it, I’m always creative and now I’m done. No, it’s a process. If you’re a writer, you write. If you’re an artist, you’re a painter, you paint. If you’re a singer, you sing.

If you’re a guitarist, you could make music with your guitar like you just keep creating it. It just keeps coming at you. It’s not like, “Well, I created this one thing and if it’s good then I’m done for life and if it sucked them I’m also done for life because I’ll never do it again.” No, that’s a horrible way to approach creativity. Instead you got to say, “This is who I am and this is what I do.” And we’re going to get more into that in a little bit about how to approach creativity and how to deal with the critics. But I asked him where he thought he would fall between 0 and 100 and he said, “I don’t know maybe a 40, 50.”

I was like, “Oh, some people think it’s amazing. Some people think it sucks. A lot of people think it’s pretty good or okay.” And he’s like, “Yeah.” And I said, “Okay, that seems pretty reasonable for me for a first book. Would that be okay with you? Would that be okay with you if your first work was not the most amazing thing in the world?” And I find this again and again and in myself too it’s like, “I’m not going to do it unless it’s going to be the best thing in the world. It’s got to impress the fans of it everyone.”

There’s a one guy I’m working it right now he wants to be a musician or singer for his life and we’re working, helping him work through this stuff because every time he sings he feels like he’s got to impress the shit out of everyone that’s listening to where they’re like “This guy is the most amazing singer I’ve ever heard” and if he doesn’t do that and he’s a failure. Now, what kind of set up is that to stifle your freedom and expression and creativity, right? And so, you got to let go of that need to impress everyone and would that be okay with you if your first thing wasn’t the most amazing thing in the world and you viewed it as a process? And besides, who is saying all this anyway? Critics? Critics are giving you that’s what you’re basing what the critics say. So, let’s take a quick break and when we get back, we’re going to get into critics and creativity as a process and continue to further help you be free to just share your gifts with the world. So, stay tune we’ll be right back after this.

How To Overcome Your Fear Of What Others Will Think

Hey, welcome back. Let’s start with the last thing I touched on which is who is saying this? It’s the critics, right? Well, who cares what the critics think? Are you going to determine your life based upon the feedback of a small subset of people? I mean the reality is there’s a broad range of responses and some people aren’t going to like it and some people are going to like and you got to view your work, your creativity as a process. If you put all of your worth on one outcome then you’re not going to be very creatively fulfilled in your life. So, for example, when I worked on my first book The Solution to Social Anxiety and my first program and the first program I recorded was Confidence Unleashed, I have fears about that.

Of course, I did, right? Like what if my book sucks? What if we all know that same stuff I’ve been talking about? What if my program is not good enough? What if it doesn’t help people? Oh, God! And but I’ve learned that at that point, I’d been living this confidence thing for so long which is you got to take the risk. You got to put it out there and here’s how I help myself to overcome that fear. Because I actually had one person who asked me like, “Oh, you’re writing a book, huh?” and I said “Yeah.” and he said, “Oh, aren’t you scared about if it’s not good enough?” I was like, “Wow, thanks for asking that question, dick.”

No, I didn’t say that but he was. I was kind of like, “That’s kind of shitty question to ask but okay.” But what came out of my mind it was actually a great service to me that question because what came out of my mouth surprised me and it’s stuck. And I was like, “Oh, yeah, I guess that could happen but then my second book will be even better because I’ll take what I learn from the first one and make it even better.” And I meant it in the moment and then it stuck with me, I was like “Oh, yeah” and so anytime from that on I’ll be sitting down on my computer, writing or something like that, when the fear popped up what if this is no good and then I had a strong desire to just check my email.

I really, I have to respond to those things right now, right that procrastination and I said, “Wait a minute. It’s fine. This book it sucked but the second one will be better.” And just knowing that it’s a process, same thing with the program Confidence Unleashed which actually in the process of totally revamping Confidence Unleashed taking everything out of it that’s working really well and umping it up and adding even more and making it more precise and focused and tight and both the book and the product have gotten great reviews. But I’m like I want to make it even better because I know even more now its three years later I have so much more I can add in to help people in their lives.

And so, viewing it as a process, you can always improve, always make things better and if you see this as one outcome then you’re going to be really stuck and really restricted. You know another thing that can really be helpful in this process is finding someone who can support and encourage you. Because just like that guy who asked me “Aren’t you worried that your book is going to suck?” there’s a lot of people out there who have given up on their own creativity, who kind of said like “I’m not creative or yeah, no one is going to read anything you write or blah” just kind of negative energy and you don’t want to share your tender kind of – you can think of your creative impulses and your new projects as like little seeds or little, you could called starts. If you’re going to start from the nursery, the plant store starts are like seeds that have been grown to about one-inch plant. So, these tiny little green things and they’re very fragile and you want to be careful of who you expose your starts to.

You want to find someone who is going to help you water it and give it sunlight. So, when you tell your idea to like, “I’ve been thinking to write this book” and you want somebody who is going to be like “Oh, cool. What it’s about?” You don’t want to tell it to the person who is like “Oh, book, huh? Yeah, well, no one really reads books these days anyway.” You hear the craziest stuff from people, right? So, you want to find someone who is going to support and encourage you and share your creative ideas with them, most likely they are creative person themselves and they’re acting on that creativity. If that person is you share it with someone and they kind of give you a negative response or whatever, don’t share with them about that again. Because you need, you already have enough of our own self-doubts, right? We don’t need someone else piling on their crap. So, you want to find those people who will support and encourage you. So, what is the action step, right? How do we take all the stuff and put it into action?

Action Step

Today’s action step is to figure out your creative desire. What is something that and maybe it’s something that you’ve done a lot of already and you just want to ump it up. Maybe it’s something that you did many years back and you’re like, “Oh, I don’t do that anymore. I’m too busy. I don’t have time. I don’t… right?” And to see is there a fear that’s really getting in my way and how can I view this as a process? This is just who I am. This is what I do. I sing, I dance, I paint, I draw, I play an instrument, I write, I do poetry. Like what is your creative impulse?

And then just start doing it. Photography, it could be so many different things and I’m probably just giving one-tenth of what’s out there in terms of creative expression and realize this is who I am and then just start to do it more in your life. That’s the action step. Start to do it more. Don’t talk about it. Don’t say, “Oh, yeah, one day I’m going to get a real nice camera and then I’m going to start taking…” Just take your cellphone out there and start taking photos, take your old shitty camera, start taking photos. Just get into the creative act and the creative process and start letting yourself out because underneath that’s what you’re here to do is create and share who you are in your own unique way with the world.

So, thanks so much for joining me today and listening and I’d love to hear about your stories of creativity and what’s come from you in this episode or this show or anywhere else in your life. You can go to shrinkfortheshyguy.com and send me a message through there. I’d love to hear from you and until we speak again next week, may you have the courage to be who you are and to know that you’re awesome.

Music Credit

All music is licensed or provided royalty free.

Intro:
DeepSound – Lost Ground
(Licensed through Pond5.com)

Ask The Shrink:
Boccherini Minuet
(Licensed through Pond5.com)

First Ad:
Mind Over Matter
(Licensed through JewelBeat.com)

Second Ad:
Music By Steven O’Brien – Short Upbeat Piece For Guitar In D Major
soundcloud.com/stevenobrien/short-upbeat-piece-for-guitar
(Creative Commons License)

Action Step:
DeepSound – Yellow Dog
(Licensed through Pond5.com)

Outro:
Lokfield – Terra’s Theme Dubstep
soundcloud.com/lokfield
(Creative Commons License)

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