In general, I am the type of person that likes to be as effective and efficient as possible. So when I sit down to get things done, and I run into obstacles, I get frustrated. Most of the days, when I am working, I chug along confidently. Things just flow, I cross things off of my to do list. I feel optimistic and confident that I can hit those deadlines. I laugh and sing as I high five myself. It’s like some Touch of Magic is happening in the background, helping me move things along, getting stuff done! It’s exhilarating and inspiring.
But other times, I hit dead ends. It could be when I have a conversation with my boss that doesn’t go the way I wanted it to. When a pitch that I poured my heart and soul into gets rejected. When I find out that someone else got the promotion I wanted. When I notice an error in my work that I already submitted for approval. When these things come up, I get frustrated and distracted. And I think that I just can’t deal. When I feel like it is all too much. There are days when things just don’t go the way I planned them too.
You know how that feels, right? It's when you're working there trying. HARD. But nothing is going your way. It's frustrating, uncomfortable, and makes you want to cry. You start freaking out.
One day, in the middle of this mental freak out, I realized I was expecting myself to have everything figured out already. To have the work already done. I noticed that I was being really hard on myself. Criticizing everything I was doing. Mean thoughts in my head like “"It's NOT working Erin! All these hours and days and you're still not done yet! You're not nearly as far as you should be on this project. Your team is going to be so angry and disappointed. Why did they even hire you!"
Sitting there in the uncertainty and the chaos of my mind while the time was ticking away was beyond challenging and uncomfortable. I felt like running. Like giving it all up. Throwing the towel in and walking away. I was so overwhelmed I found myself unable to keep focus or continue working.
What was going on here? It was in that moment when I realized that I wasn’t trusting myself. I didn’t trust myself enough to know that I could handle this. I didn’t trust myself enough to believe that I could make all of this work come together. I was looking for a Touch of Magic to give me some sort of inspiration or insight or amazing discovery that could help things start to flow again. That could tie all of these things together in a way that would make a difference in this world. I had this ideal notion that if I was really good at my job, if my contributions really meant something, then things would just be easy and effortless and fast. When I am in the middle of the creative process, I often think that if I was really good at something, it would easily just happen.
But the reality is that the Touch of Magic sometimes takes time. A long time. We have to trust in ourselves and our abilities that creating work we are proud of takes time.
Great work takes time. A Touch of Magic will appear on its own, when it is good and ready. So when we find ourselves feeling the tug of uncertainty and the negative thoughts start to take over, we can pause. Take a deep breath. Dig deeper into our faith that the Magic will show up. And trust in the time that the creative process takes.