I went down a creative rabbit hole on YouTube late last night and feel the need to share this message from fellow creative Reggie Ballesteros.

He's a stay-at-home dad and photographer, and he recently teamed up with some other content creators to talk about all the ways us creatives (specifically photographers) get stuck in our own head when it comes to putting ourselves out there.

The whole video is well worth a watch, but here's the short of it:

1. Stop worrying about your gear. 

While the video is aimed at photographers, this applies universally. You don't need the latest and greatest camera to start taking pictures. You don't need the newest computer to start writing or designing. You don't need the "best" publishing software to make your own website. You don't need the highest quality canvas to paint a masterpiece. You don't need the professional editing software to make a video. Use what you have. You'd be surprised at the magic that can come from some creative constraints.

2. Stop waiting for the perfect moment(s).

There have been so many times when I thought to myself once i finally get xyz, then i'll be ready to start. This applies to so many life situations: buying a home, having a baby, getting married, starting a business, making a blog, creating a portfolio... the list goes on. The fact of the matter is, XYZ don't always align. Sometimes you get X and Z together, but Y is missing. Sometimes you only have Y, but X and Z are a distant dream. Whatever our circumstance, whatever our aspirations, we've got to find the magic in every moment, in every season, in every situation, instead of waiting for the stars to finally align and tell us it's time to start.

3. Stop comparing. 

This message is like a broken record at this point, so I'll keep it brief. We all know how dangerous it can be to compare ourselves to others - creatively or otherwise - but many of us still do it. I'm going to go against the grain here and say it's actually okay to a degree. In some ways, comparison motivates us and pushes us to hold ourselves to higher standards, but it's a slippery slope. Once it becomes a hinderance, it's time to re-evaluate.

4. Stop worrying about what people will think.

This one is tough. Our whole lives, our success has been driven by numbers and grades from other people: report cards in grade school, SAT scores, GPAs, number of college acceptance letters, salaries, credit scores, account balances, number of social media likes, number of social media followers, number of social media shares, etc. Many of these markers are very, very important, but they shouldn't be allowed to stifle our creative dreams. Gajan does a great job at explaining how to move through (not necessarily past) this mindset in the video above, so definitely watch his take if you'd like more insight.

5. Stop thinking about what the experts have to say.

Instead, start making creative decisions for yourself. An expert's opinion is still just an opinion at the end of the day, and those opinions will vary greatly from person to person. We all need to find what works for us and what works for our circumstances. And that may not be what works for your favorite "successful" creative. I use the term "successful" here loosely, since there are so many markers for success. Also, it will likely take lots of hand-on trial and error to even find what best serves our creative needs, but that's the beauty of the journey.

Cheers to enjoying the journey. 🥂

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