Today I have a short story from my childhood that may help bring a little more peace and joy to your creative heart.
NOTE: This may be a 5 minute investment but I feel it has the potential to transform your creative journey…
The Tale of the £1 Jackpot…
When I was little my mum used to take me and my siblings to the coast to visit my grandparents in Bridlington.
Since we spent most of our childhood days in a landlocked county in the North of England, this was a real treat for us all. (I’ve always loved to be beside the sea.)
The seaside destination itself was exciting – the candy floss on the pier, the happy hours whiled away in the slotties, the afternoons on the beach, dipping our toes in the freezing North Sea.
But what I most remember from those childhood trips is not so much the fun of the holiday.
I remember the highlight as a single moment en route.
Because my savvy mother used to promise £1 to the first one of us children to See The Sea! as we travelled to the coast.
No doubt this was a good investment for my mum, diverting the attention of 3 siblings away from the usual bickering or complaints, or the relentless Are we nearly there yet?
This simple game was designed to keep us quietly and intently looking out of the window for the last 10 or 20 miles of the trip.
(£1 was worth the effort in those days!)
And I can distinctly remember the sheer delight of being the first to spy the vast glistening body of water between the hills of North Yorkshire, catching that all-important first sight of our highly-prized sea-view.
Glimmers Of Hope = Creative Fuel
I believe there’s a similar magical moment to be found in our creative adventures.
It’s the moment when we first get the sense that the idea we’ve been nurturing from the first flashes of inspiration… may actually be coming to life – the first indication of This is working!
I call that special realisation The Glimmer.
It’s that first flash of possibility, or even inevitability, that what we’ve been seeking is before us.
It’s that first exciting realisation that maybe, just maybe, we can do this.
It is happening.
It will work.
And this moment is not only a delightful aha – it’s a potent creative energy.
Because consider the different energies you bring to a project when you believe it’s possible and tantalisingly within reach, versus the energy of confusion and doubt, wondering whether it will work, or if it’s all just a waste of effort and time.
The shift from doubt to belief can fuel any creative endeavour.
With more faith, motivation, excitement, certainty and optimism – you naturally have more wind in your proverbial sails.
Success is inspiring.
So looking out for these early signs, these Glimmers of Hope, these faint-but-promising pieces of evidence, can be hugely encouraging.
All you need to do is stay alert and hopeful – like an excited 7-year-old girl eagerly scanning the horizon on her way to the seaside.
And if you’d like an added incentive to keep the faith and keep a lookout – I have a theory that The Glimmers may even be the biggest prize of all…
Spying Land: A Mindset Shift
If you’ve ever watched films involving a great journey of discovery, you’ll know that the greatest jubilation – the moment when the story turned from one of striving to one of success – was often not the moment when the voyagers arrived.
The pivotal moment of celebration and delight was usually when the sailors first spied land, or the travellers first saw the castle turrets, or the wanderers first caught sight of the promised land.
Something shifts in that moment – there’s a new level of certainty, a sense of relaxation as all the doubts melt away because the end is in sight.
There’s a new (and usually very welcome) feeling of inevitability.
After this pivotal mindset shift, it’s just a case of going through the motions until they reach their destination.
The story is not exactly over – there is still journeying to be done – but the tale has turned from one of tense anticipation, to one of relief, satisfaction and successful denouement.
The Joy of The Journey: The Ultimate Prize
Throughout my own creative journeys, for many of the projects I’ve brought to life, I’ve had a habit of analysing the process and identifying the most satisfying aspects.
(I am obsessed with enjoying the journey – I believe it is the secret to life.)
And I’ve noticed that often the greatest joy is not when we most expect, ie when we achieve what we set out to do.
The final victory is very often not the greatest delight.
Because by the time we get to the finish line, we’ve been on the home straight long enough to get used to the idea, so it’s not a huge surprise.
And while the feelings of accomplishment are a lovely boost, (and helpful in uplevelling our self image), they quickly fade.
In Positive Psychology this is called the Hedonic Treadmill – we soon become so accustomed to the new that we’re continually chasing the next big goal, vision or dream.
Plus, as creative beings, there will never be an ultimate DONE, there will always be something new we want to create, something more, bigger, better, brighter.
We want to create – not to have everything done.
For many creatives, it’s the joy of the process that inspires us, not solely the achievements.
And if you have any calling to excellence and mastery, you will never be finished!
“Have no fear of perfection –
you’ll never reach it.”
A creative & happy Tipping Phase
So, given that what we really love is the process, and given that there will never be a final completion, why do we so often miss the joy of the journey by racing towards the Finish Line?
Why not pay more attention to the delights to be found en route?
This is not only a strategy for enjoying life more, and contentment has its own creative superpowers.
But I believe that it’s here that the real value and magic lies.
And from my field research to identify the bests bits of the process, I feel that the highlight of the whole adventure is not at the end of it – it’s those first glimmers of success.
These Glimmers mark a wonderful new Tipping Phase where everything becomes so much easier and even begins to take on a life of its own.
• • •
So I hope I’ve inspired you to keep an eye out for this pivotal moment, so you can notice it, enjoy it, and maximise its many benefits.
Because if this subtle mindset shift really is the greatest delight of the entire endeavour – with more attention to enjoying the journey, we’re so much better placed to not miss it.
In my childhood travel games on the way to the coast, it wasn’t the destination or even the winning £1 that held the most joy – it was that magical moment of promise, that sudden sense of heightened anticipation of the good things to come.
That was the true prize in spotting those early signs, so I hope I’ve inspired you to hone your own Glimmer-spotting senses.
Because creative magic happens when you do…
PS If you’d like more on the subtle power and magic of Glimmer-spotting, I have a very simple two-word mantra that will help you reap the many benefits.
And if you’d love a step-by-step approach to this kind of life-enhancing mindset-boosting, we dive into these themes more deeply in Your Creative Dharma.
“Despise not the day of small things.”
When you’re up to Big Things in the world, glimmers of hope and optimism can make a whole world of difference…
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