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Grief and Courage

It's been an emotional week, going public with the closing of my business Larke. There's a grieving process to work through - grief for the hours put in, for the energy spent (and money spent too!), but also for the emotional work put in, the hopes unrealised, the worry and what-ifs. The dismantling of dreams. The trickiest part though was perhaps admitting to myself that this particular dream wasn't actually for me - it was something I certainly could do, but not something I was certain I wanted to do.

So I'm feeling all the feels, but already emerging is a deep pride in what I have done. All the lessons learned and skills developed, but also a pride in not falling for the fallacy of sunk costs, of listening to my heart, and having the courage to choose the path of my life on purpose (pats self on back).

I've just been listening to the latest episode of Creative Pep Talk where Andy J. Pizza is talking to author and podcaster Todd Henry about bravery and courage. They talk about how easy it is to fall into the trap of fearing change once we have something to lose, once we have invested so much in something, or become known for 'a thing'. They argue though for the importance of asking tough questions of ourselves like - 'If I were to start this over, would I be doing it this way?'. The hardest part, says Henry, is listening to the answer, should that answer be no.

One of the intriguing strategies they spoke about to avoid the 'white knuckle clutching' was to break our creative projects into shorter timeframes, more experimental in attitude, with smaller bets and lower stakes. I am a sucker for the big-piece-of-A2-paper yearly plan, making massive goals for the entire year. When circumstances change and the validity of the goals are tested though, they don't prove agile, and I abandon them altogether, leaving a trail of projects half done, desires unfulfilled, and no progress made toward anything much.

Instead they suggest working in trimesters - three months on a path, then assess and pivot if the idea's not working, or develop further if it is still interesting to you. This way there's not such a feeling of heavy investment, just a three month jaunt... let's see what happens if we go this way.

I love this idea and I'm going to try it. Three months seems like a lovely natural period of time too - a season, or a trimester of a pregnancy to grow a creative baby.

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