This inspiring conversation with designer Seth Godin allows us to understand that our creative self’s fear and resistance do not magically disappear; nonetheless remaining creative can be freeing.
Advice on how to keep clients by saying “no” to them /
Seth Godin, writer and designer, had a fascinating conversation with Debbie Millman, concerning creativity, courage and how to keep these flowing with the passing of time. The trigger for the conversation was Godin’s book, V is Vulnerabilty: Life Outside the Comfort Zone, an alphabet that, rescuing the children’s book format, tries to make us reflect on how frustration and the process of aging has made us fearful of the creativity we practiced for an important part of our lives: our childhood.
According to Godin, the difference between a creative person and a frustrated one is the attitude they face the same type of problems with: from how to spend 24 hours without losing our minds and an uncompromising client, unsure himself of what he wants, who is constantly asking for things and they’re always urgent. The answer is to learn how to say “no” and thus keep the client. This requires a fair amount of courage that is, quite simply, a sense of responsibility and respect for our own work.
“I think we have to be disagreeable in the service of the client, not disagreeable in the service of the Resistance”, which, to Godin, consists of not working with our own talent, in refusing to be creative because of the fear we feel when it comes to exposing ourselves in public.
According to Godin, the art of saying no, consists of “when we’re being disagreeable, we’re doing it on behalf of the client achieving more — not our ego achieving more, not us being more famous, but the client getting more of what he or she wants. That means you have to pick clients not who pay, but who want the things that you want.”
But, how can we address the Resistance? A classic example of this type of resistance would be the paralyzing fear of the writer before a blank page, the famous “writer’s block”. For this, Godin has a good suggestion: dancing.
That is what we do for a living — we dance with the Resistance, we don’t make it go away. You cannot make it go away — you cannot make the voice go away, you cannot make the fear go away, because it’s built in. What you can do is when it shows up, you say “Welcome! I’m glad you’re here. Let’s dance about this.”
What we need to do is say, “What’s the smallest, tiniest thing that I can master and what’s the scariest thing I can do in front of the smallest number of people that can teach me how to dance with the fear?” Once we get good at that, we just realize that it’s not fatal. And it’s not intellectually realize — we’ve lived something that wasn’t fatal. And that idea is what’s so key — because then you can do it a little bit more.Tagged: Eccentricity, Seth Godin, entrepreneurs