Banish Your Inner Critic to Unleash Creativity – edUi Conference 2015

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  • Banish Your Inner Critic

    to Unleash Creativity

  • Denise R. JacobsedUI Conference w Charlottesville, VA w 9 November 2015

  • @denisejacobs#edUiConf @eduiconf


  • Want the slides? Go here:

  • Photo by Derek Kearney


  • Founder + CEO, The Creative Dose

  • Upon a time

  • 29 June

  • I was going to be a writer!Photo: Denise Jacobs

  • Instead of creativityPhoto from

  • Destructivity

  • The voices in my head were merciless

  • I totally freaked out

  • I shouldn't be writing thisI misrepresented myself

    I don't know enoughThis should be someone elses book

    Im going to look stupidEveryone will see that Im a fakeWhat if it's not good enough?What if I'm not good enough?


  • 2 days

  • Worked non-stop

  • Pushed myself to burn-out

  • My internal critical voices

  • Made this happen

  • Physical evidence of fear

  • A different kind of fearPhoto: Denise Jacobs

  • Internalized criticisms + fears

  • = The Inner Critic

  • F.E.A.R. =

  • Or

  • YES! (and)

  • The enemy of creativity

  • Stress & frustration

  • Suppress generative impulses in the brain

  • Thoughts =h!ps://

  • Electrical impulses =

  • = Brainwaves!

  • Know your brainwaves

  • Blocks creative expression

  • The parts of your brain that are responsible for self-monitoring are literally turned off during creative endeavors.Creative people have mastered the art of turning off [the inhibitive] part of their brains to let their ideas flow more smoothly, unleashing their imagination.- Tina Seelig, InGenius

  • How to ID your Inner Critic

  • Listen for internal critical talk

  • OMG, Im SO busy!

  • I should have done more by now

  • Theyll find out Im a fraud

  • vs. NAILED IT!

  • I dont know enough

  • It needs to be FLAWLESS

  • Ill do it tomorrow

  • Really, Ill do it tomorrow.

  • I will do it tomorrow!

  • Feed each other

  • Afflicts ALL of us! (@ 8:15)

  • I dont have what these people want to see they want to see a funny guy! Thats not me. - Jerry Seinfeld, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee

  • *Everyone* has these thoughts


    Instructions: 1) Write down one fear around your creativity 2) Crumple paper into ball Then

  • 3) Throw across the room!

  • Sound familiar?Photo: Denise Jacobs

  • Youre not the only one

  • In order to unleash

  • We need brain management


    You must be unintimidated by your own thoughts because if you [try to create] with someone looking over your shoulder, you'll never [create]. Nikki Giovanni

  • The goal is to manage anxiety so that our energies are used for the productive and satisfying art of creating

  • rather than the destructive and debilitating art of self-torture. - Clare Warmke, Idea Revolution

  • How do we

  • Banish the Inner Critic?

  • You cant outrun the voices

  • Eliminate Have to/Should/Must/Ought

  • Replace with I choose/ I decide/ I will

  • Say NO to Comparisons

  • You & what you produce is unique

  • You cannot compare your insides to someone elses outsides.

  • Establish boundaries

  • (Btw, this your new mantra)

  • Beat Impostor Syndrome

  • Impostor Syndrome Paradox

  • You will onlyexperience impostor syndrome whenyou are competent and skilled.

    (re-readthis as many times asnecessary.)

  • Ask it questions

  • Be compassionate

  • Reassign duty

  • Cop a Power Pose

  • Our bodies change our minds, our minds change our behavior, and our behavior changes our outcomes.- Amy Cuddy, Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are TED talk

  • Breaking the loop

  • Perfectionism

  • Perfectionism is self-abuse of the highest order. Anne Wilson Schaef

  • The real problem

  • Perfectionists focus on the finished product

  • Rather than the process

  • The Best vs The most

  • Clear the pipes: Morning Pages

  • Be bad/make it ugly

  • Embrace the SFDTwitter, circa 2006

  • Satisfice

  • Amen!

  • Fear of being judged?

  • Remember egocentricity

  • Reframe fear of failure


    Fear is not real. It is a product of the

    thoughts you create. Do not misunderstand

    me. Danger is very real. But fear is a choice.

    - character of Cypher Raige, After Earth

  • Embrace failure and mistakez

  • Being right keeps us in place. Being wrong forces us to explore. Steven Johnson, Where Good Ideas Come From

  • Copy the #fail mastersPhoto: Denise Jacobs


    Take steps, #FAIL; Go again!

  • Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.- Henry Ford

  • Decouple performance from identity

  • Perfection Excellence

  • Dont let perfect become the enemy of good. Voltaire

  • Procrastination

  • The trick is not self-identifying