Creative Risk Taking and How it Relates to Self-Esteem

creative, creativity, wings, flying

Putting your work out into the world is a creative risk, plain and simple. You are taking something you’ve envisioned, orchestrating all the resources to bend, shape and craft it into something tangible, then bringing it into being.


There are times when this process is gracefully simple, and times when it’s not. You may have people who support you at every turn, or no one but yourself to motivate you each day. Maybe the idea of trying frightens you silly.


Despite all these conditions (and plenty more), there’s always a reason to try, or not. It depends on how you view creative risk.


For some people the creative risk is always too high, the stakes too big. Others are always ready and willing to try. The only difference between these sets of people is their ability to connect with the sense of self (or self-esteem) that exists underneath all the fear and well-built inner walls.


What’s the Risk, Really?




When you really think about it, your life started out as a creative risk. Everything came together at the right time in the right conditions. Your time spent in gestation and then birth led to you being here, right now. That’s quite a lot of risks that paid off. During the whole process you did nothing special other than exist, just as you are.


And it was perfect.


What’s the difference now that you are older, wiser and a fully fledged human being? How is your innate beauty, creative ability, significance or value at creative risk? It isn’t. Your self-esteem, is.


All the excuses, fears and “maybe’s” build up over time, floating around in your mind and heart have formed creative blocks that are hard to move past to keep you thinking small or feeling as if a challenge is bigger than you.


While you perceive the fear, agitation or emotional stress you feel as a warning signal, these same emotions are also hiding the essential information you need to make an informed decision about the creative risk at hand. It can appear too big to manage and scare you off from trying. But, who doesn’t feel overwhelmed when making choices in an emotional fog?


So be willing to move through the fog.


The question you need to ask yourself is what’s the real risk? Financial challenge? Shame? Loss of life or friends? Or simply a change in habit that feels really scary and uncertain?


When you take the time to tune in and get to the heart of what feels risky, you can stand in clarity, then transition from attempting to predict the future into the power position of choice – in the present.


Are you Ready to Take a New Creative Risk?


step towards creative risk


Once you connect with the depth and range of a risk, you still have an important second act to complete – making the choice to move forward.


Feeling the “yes!” in your mind and heart can make the choice simpler. It’s the “lightning bolt” feeling people typically wait for and gives you the confidence to move forward and try.


However, if there isn’t a clear zap of “yes”, does it mean the risk is too great compared to the payoff?


Absolutely not. It comes down to your willingness to move past the fear of the unknown and flow with whatever happens.


When you think you have everything figured out and every angle calculated is when your self esteem is actually at it’s most vulnerable. Just because you have confidence in taking a creative risk doesn’t mean it will pan out as expected – and that can really mess with you if things go south.


Yet, when you are a bit fearful but try anyway (with a clear understanding of the potential creative risks), you trust your ability to manage whatever happens and still be OK. This is the most powerful way of thinking (and feeling) into if the gamble is right for you.


Creative risk is all about perception and timing. When you think things are going to be hard, they definitely will be. If you wait for 100 percent certainty you’ve already left the planet, moving onto a very different kind of journey. The only way to find out what happens is to give it a try, and risk building a bit of self-esteem instead.


Is there a creative risk you’ve been afraid to take? What’s stopping you?


Want to do a little more reading? Check out a few of my other posts: Change a Part of your Routine or Regret or Learn, it’s Always a Choice.


Photo credit: Ben Rea, Jan Faborsky, Lachlan Hardy