I am a self-proclaimed lifelong learner.
And PROUD of it!
I love reading books, tuning in to podcasts, and watching inspiring YouTube videos.
Since you’re here, reading this blog, I’ll take a wild guess and say you probably feel the same!
We live in a world where so much information is available to us right at our fingertips, and it’s a beautiful thing. But, you’ve likely noticed that the easy-to-access articles, posts, tweets, and, yes, even blogs can be both a blessing AND a curse.
Content can absolutely be EMPOWERING, but it can also become addicting. It is all too tempting to go down the rabbit hole of content consumption. Before you know it, HOURS may have gone by without you even realizing it!
Now, the answer to this dilemma isn’t to stop learning.
Far from it!
The world around us can spark new ideas and perspectives when leveraged well.
However, if content CONSUMPTION keeps you from taking action and actually CREATING (a KEY ingredient to running a successful creative business), you’ll want to listen up.
In this post, we’ll explore how to find a balance in your routines so that you can consume mindfully and create consistently as a creative entrepreneur.
It may seem straightforward, but I think it’s important to define these two terms for clarity.
CREATION is anything new you put out into the world. While it may pull on inspiration from different sources and experiences, it is something you’ve made with your own unique flair.
CREATION might look like:
When you create, you tap into your own opinions, ideas, skills, and wisdom!
CONSUMPTION is anything you take in from the outside world. This could be for educational purposes, communication needs in your daily life, inspiration, or just for entertainment!
CONSUMPTION might look like:
When you CONSUME you are allowing outside influences into your world, for better or worse (and sometimes simply because it is necessary).
Creation and consumption are like a give and take; an ebb and a flow that require balance, mindfulness, and intentionality.
I feel like Instagram – heck, the entire Internet! – should include a pop-up warning:
“DANGER AHEAD! Continuing to scroll through reel after reel may result in ZERO productivity. Proceed with caution!”
If you’ve ever held an iPhone, you’ve experienced what it’s like to get absorbed by websites, articles, emails, and posts. It gets out of control quickly if you aren’t careful!
Mindless content consumption can be detrimental, causing you to lack the initiative needed to take action and distracting you from the actual work you need to do. It can even contribute to a lack of self-confidence as a business owner!
Here are three of the biggest “dangers” of consuming before your create original ideas of your own!
We’ve all been there! You may THINK you’re getting ideas and tapping into inspiration. But if you spend too much time reading OTHER people’s opinions, checking out your competitor’s content, or looking at current trends in your industry, it can be really easy to lose sight of what YOU think or believe. Instead of trusting your own creativity and perspectives, you may start to default to what everyone else is saying, doing, or creating without realizing it!
Instead of filling up your creative cup, too much consumption can have the opposite effect and leave you feeling paralyzed.
Can you relate?
Sometimes “learning” is used as an excuse to avoid putting yourself out there. It’s the reason many entrepreneurs become serial course enrollers. If there is always something else you “need” to learn before you can get started, you’ll always find an excuse and a distraction.
When you tell yourself you need to learn A, B, & C before you will feel “ready,” well, you’ll never be ready, will you? Learning should propel you into action, not stunt your growth!
Consuming content can also be totally distracting. But, when you disguise distraction as inspiration, it can be far too easy to self-sabotage your productivity.
This is probably happening to you if you’ve spent more time scrolling through Pinterest in search of new design inspiration instead of working on that original program idea you’ve been sitting on for far too long…I see you!
Zero shame – I’ve been there, done that myself!
But I want you to open your eyes to this reality:
You harm your ability to get meaningful things done when you get sucked into Pinterest, your email inbox, project management tools, the news, or anything else!
Talk about huge time suckers!
I am by no means saying not to do these things because they are necessary parts of being an entrepreneur and a creative! But, when you prioritize and make space for your OWN unique perspectives and ideas FIRST, you’ll start to see a massive, positive shift in your ability to create innovative products, content, programs, and offers for your business distraction free!
Imposter syndrome is RAMPANT in the creative business space. It can be so easy to compare yourself to what your competitors are doing and the success they (seem) to have. If you struggle with feeling worthy, capable, and qualified in your business, creating before you consume will be especially helpful!
When you create first, you learn to lean on your inner wisdom before looking for answers outside of yourself. Creating first can be a HUGE confidence booster instead of being overwhelmed by comparison.
This expression was first coined by Marie Forleo. I remember stumbling across this expression in her book, “Everything is Figureoutable” and having one of those light bulb moments!
Marie shares, “Don’t confuse getting inspired with getting things done. Create before you consume.”
It’s become quite a common phrase, but I’ve adopted it as my own personal mantra because I find so much power in the idea!
This statement is SO true for me and many of my clients!
When you prioritize action and creation above all else, you are better able to:
Ever create something and realize that it didn’t come from your brain but from something you were reading, watching, or listening to earlier?
You may even forget where exactly you stumbled across the concept that SEEMED like yours but really, truly wasn’t…
Don’t wait to get called out on unintentional plagiarism (even if you didn’t mean it, it fits the bill, friend).
When you create first, it is easier to avoid picking up trends or accidentally copying someone else without crediting them. You’ll be able to stop bringing other ideas in BEFORE you get your unique interpretation out there. This, in turn, protects your thoughts and perspectives, empowering you to realize and own your unique flair!
Confidently declare, “this is what I want to get out into the world!” instead of worrying about what’s on-trend. Ultimately, creating first is a vote for yourself!
Stop getting bogged down by all the stimulus flowing in.
When you create first, you can take control of your time.
Time is precious as a creative entrepreneur and often it feels like there’s never enough!
This is the #1 excuse I hear from my audience, 1:1 coaching clients, and COO clients:
“I just don’t have time.”
This is probably true IF you’re consuming before blocking off time and space for your creativity.
No matter how “successful” you are, NO ONE is immune to the time dilemma. But, with experience and curiosity, we eventually learn how to enforce boundaries and protect our time. Creating before you consume is one of those boundaries.
When you consume first, you allow other people’s priorities to fill and take advantage of your time. This doesn’t just apply to consuming information in the form of learning; it also includes consuming communication.
I’m sure you’ve received that URGENT message from a client that makes you feel like you need to drop everything to help them put the fire out! The second you read the email, it jumped up on your priority list. Now, it’s on your mind and occupying prime real estate on your mental to-do list or calendar. It probably wasn’t even on your radar, but now your attention is focused on this “problem.”
But someone else’s emergency isn’t necessarily your priority. If you aren’t careful, you’ll never get anything done because you’ll constantly consume distractions and interruptions.
Consuming takes a LOT of time, but it also absorbs and influences your mental and emotional energy. These two things are crucial to getting into a creative mindset. If you aren’t mindful of how you consume, the time you spend creating later will probably produce a lower quality of work. It may even take you longer to get into that creative headspace.
Create first to stay focused on what you value before you let the entire world in or get pulled in multiple directions!
Creating first will help you minimize self-doubt and that nagging critic in your head.
It will be easier to keep imposter syndrome at bay when you learn to tap into your intuition before looking outside of yourself for the “answer.” Imposter syndrome is, after all, caused by consumption.
Your unique perspective on things can shine through when you keep consumption to a minimum! Not impulsively consuming straightaway creates space for you to prioritize what you deem most important so you can connect to yourself, your work, and your time. This simple but powerful switch will help you evaluate what matters most and cut through the outside world’s noise.
Each of these benefits will help you tap into your creativity more often, increasing opportunities to get into a flow state to avoid draining your creative juices and instead remain as creative as possible!
The most crucial part is putting this into action! Creating first sounds fine and dandy, but you would have done it by now if it were that easy to implement! Here are my best tips to build the structure and accountability you need to create before consuming!
One of the best ways to improve your relationship with consuming content is to have a goal first. Decide what you are consuming and why so you can make wise choices. You’ll be able to focus on high-quality content that is genuinely inspiring instead of spending time on low-quality material that isn’t helpful.
Creation should happen during your active working hours. A great way to hold this boundary is to consume when you wouldn’t be creating.
I recommend consuming content in situations like these:
Set yourself up for success. Create a system to keep track of things you want to come back to later. Think of it like a playlist for all the content and resources you’d like to explore!
When you collect content mindfully, it can help you avoid falling into the trap of consuming too much at once. Instead, log the books you want to read in the future (Goodreads makes this simple), bookmark interesting articles, or save posts on Instagram to return to later.
This will help you be more intentional about what you are saving (it’s harder to keep junk). You’ll be able to ensure that anytime you’re in the right environment or mindset, you have some go-to pieces of content handy.
You know I’m borderline OBSESSED (in the best way) with RHYTHMS in business. You can create a rhythm for learning time too! When you carve out time specifically for consuming new information and learning regularly, it will be easier for you to avoid getting pulled into mindless consumption. You can prevent yourself from drowning in “Pinterest procrastination” and instead use that time to create something useful like an original, innovative blog post!
The key to tapping into your own genius as an entrepreneur is to manage the delicate balance between creating and consuming. Luckily, by reading this blog, you’ve taken the first step. Now that you’ve learned something new, I challenge you to go create something.
Get started on that design, begin mapping out that new offer you KNOW your clients will LOVE, or share your thoughts on a topic that’s been top of mind for a while (before you talk yourself out of it…again).
How’d it feel?
Email me and let me know how YOU’RE choosing to prioritize creative time before letting other influences creep in. My figurative door is always open. Nothing brings me more JOY than hearing about your WINS as a creative entrepreneur. Click here to drop me a line!
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