While attending school, most of us have heard this at one time or another,
“Show your work.”
While this was a good idea and easy in school, showing your work has become more and more difficult as an adult. Showing your work (your creativity) can now impart anxiety because it leaves us open to judgment and ridicule. As Brené Brown states, revealing your work is similar to the song Hotel California, you can check-in, but you will never leave. (1, pg 64) You have released the work, and there is no way to retrieve it. It is out for public viewing, and a lot of times we have released it into cyberspace.
At this point, we all need to step back and reflect.
- Is it a good thing to share? (2)
- Are we willing to hand over our self-worth to others by allowing their judgments to impact us?
- Should we be using our talents to our fullest?
By sharing wisely, I mean to share with a trusted group until you are comfortable with sharing more openly. Then afterward go ahead and take the risk of sharing broadly. Sharing broadly allows others to build on your work/creativity. As I say at the end of each blog, an interactive audience enables learning for us all. You will find an audience that appreciates you. But as Austin Kleon states, “you don’t really find an audience for your work, they find you. But it’s not enough to be good. In order to be found, you have to be findable.” (2, pg 1) For that reason, share broadly and be open.
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ~ Maya Angelou
Preserve Your Self-worth
Part of sharing broadly includes allowing others to build on your work. The collaboration can be exciting. To attain that audience that appreciates your thoughts is encouraging. With the highs, there can also be lows. Beware of those that begin to tear you down. While feedback is necessary and useful, don’t allow others to dictate your self-worth when giving you feedback.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena…” ~ Theodore Roosevelt
Spring Forward with Talent
I understand it was a lot easier in school when your reputation wasn’t on the line, and you were able to share your raw talent without judgment. (1, pg 64) Refer to your self-motivation of using your talent to its fullest. Spring forward with your talent. Even if you are in a work environment where your ability isn’t needed or appreciated, find ways to promote your creativity and show it outside work.
“I would like to be remembered as someone who did the best she could with the talent she had.” ~ J. K. Rowling
So, did I convince you of the answers below?
- Is it a good thing to share? (2) YES
- Are we willing to hand over our self-worth to others by allowing their judgments to impact us? NO
- Should we be using our talents to our fullest? YES
Consider these thoughts on showing your work/creativity. An interactive audience enables learning for us all.
(1) Brown, B. (2012). Daring Greatly. New York: Penguin Random House.
(2) Kleon, A. (2014). Show your work. New York: Workman Publishing Company, Inc.