The World Needs You to Share Your Process

I’m in an optimal position. Though it’s quite the blow to my ego to admit that I’m tens of thousands of dollars down the debt hole or that I’m struggling like crazy towards my goals, I’m revealing my process. I’m broadcasting my personal and professional growth, real time. I haven’t already made it. I’m not a success. I’mm starting from the bottom, scratching, climbing, fighting my way through the chaos toward the mystical land of prosperity. I’m fortunate enough to be able to share my grand expedition with the world (or, at least with my loving community of social media + blog followers).Austin Kleon wrote one of my favorite books on getting your name out there and finding your voice.  Show Your Work urges artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and humans to show their process. He says,

“The best way to get started on the path to sharing your work is to think about what you want to learn, and make a commitment to learning it in front of others.” 

Once upon a time I went to art school. I never ever showed my work. I’d make things and keep them to myself. I’d create but never share. I thought that my stuff wasn’t good enough or interesting enough unless it was perfect (knowing now that the process is often times more interesting than the product). I dwelled on the defects so much I never gave myself credit for the progress. The result: nothing happened. My classmates didn’t relate to me, I didn’t allow my professors the opportunity to help me, the public had no idea I was an artist and I didn’t become any closer to establishing my artistic identity.

I’ve always been an extreme perfectionist and I don’t like to do things that I’m not good at. Especially not in front of others. I always felt that to portray the image of myself I wanted to I had to only show my glam sides. We all know that’s a bullshit way of living. It’s time to shake that off.

Today, I share the hell out of everything. I’m totally transparent. Because it serves me, and it serves others to share my process. There are an army of people out there to connect with. We can all identify in some way with insecurity, jumping around from project to project, uncertainty, fear, not knowing what the fuck we’re doing. That’s why YouTube tutorials, how-to articles, DIY projects, progress photos and behind the scenes content is so popular. We are learning together. When we share our trials, our small victories and our failures we transform our work from an individual to a collective process.

Photo Source: Steal Like an Artist

Photo Source: Steal Like an Artist

We can go at it alone. We can hoard our work and only reveal our shiny, finished products. We can agonize and over analyze and labor in secret. But in an age where sharing is so welcomed and the internet makes anything possible, you’d be crazy not to leak at least a little of your process. People crave it. People want to see what you’re making. They want to see how you make it. They want to see how you went from nothing to finished product because it makes their dreams more attainable.

It’s scary to show your work. Terrifying. You can’t predict how people will react. You don’t always know if what you’re producing is any good. The point is to learn in front of others. Put yourself out there in a raw and real way. Your work may not always be perfect, likable or finished, but what your audience is relating to is your story.

Every single mentor you’ve ever had, every single writer, successful business owner, entrepreneur, artist or public figure you look up to has been where you are right now. And it would help us all out a little more to share more of our blooper reel.

Self document. Track your progress. You’ll thank yourself one day.

 

Comments
  • Ashley Murphy
    Reply

    So. Much. Yaaaasssss! The first challenge of the #ProductivityChallenge today was to share something we’re working on and I literally winced when I read that. I thought, “I can’t share my process! No one should ever see the process. They should only see the final product.”

    But then I read this blog post, and now I’m going to share. Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic talks about sharing your imperfect, incomplete work the same as your cultivated-to-completion work, and it’s because perfection is a myth. Nothing will ever be “perfect” and as your graphic mentions, process is messy.

    Brene Brown (another one of my faves) talks about showing up and letting ourselves be seen – that vulnerability is the character trait that seemingly confident people possess the most. To be bold and brave we must be willing to share our imperfections and our process.

    Loved this post, Kalyn! Thanks for the swift kick in the ass to stop hoarding my process and allow myself to be seen.

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