Danny Gregory is an artist, entrepreneur, and founder of Sketchbook Skool. His newsletter supports artists and other creative individuals. This one hit home.
This week I was working on a project and I hit a huge brick wall. Bam! Faceplant. I was struck with a panic what I had written was just crap. Self-indulgent, Trite. Redundant. It shook me to see what rubbish I’d made. Shook me to the point that I started to really doubt everything about myself. Was this, all of this — this weekly letter to you, my YouTube videos, Sketchbook Skool, my books, my every utterance — all just puffed-up banalities wrapped in a thesaurus? I went there. Self-pitying, self-deprecating, destructive depression. It happens to me every so often, this sort of utter loss of confidence. A feeling of fraudulence and shallowness. After she pulled out of the US Open, Naomi Osaka wrote this on Instagram: Recently I've been asking myself why do I feel the way I do and I realize one of the reasons is because internally I think I'm never good enough. I've never told myself that I've done a good job but I do know I constantly tell myself that I suck or I could do better. I know in the past some people have called me humble but if I really consider it I think I'm extremely self-deprecating. Every time a new opportunity arises my first thought is, "wow, why me?" That’s Naomi “highest paid athlete on the planet” Osaka (!). She hits the same wall. Even harder than I do. As an athlete or a creative person, (professional or not), you are your own boss. So, what kind of boss are you — to you? A lot of us are pretty bad. Think about some of the conversations you have with yourself when your work isn’t going well. Do you put yourself down? Do you dismiss your accomplishments? Do you fail to give yourself guidance? Do you lie to yourself? Now imagine that that voice was coming out of your boss. You’d quit on the spot. Think about how much of your time you waste with criticism and poor motivation. How biased and inadequate your reviews of your work are. How little you do to set clear goals and paths to success. If a company had a manager like that, they’d be sacked. Think about the little you do to develop your skills, how poorly you invest in your passions, how you fail to promote your accomplishments. If you were a company, you’d lose your best workers and go out of business. Look hard at your inner dialogue and ask yourself: if your monkey were your boss or your friend or your spouse, would you put up with your behavior? Or would you look for another job? Your pal, Danny