The only class I ever got thrown out of at school was art. The teacher and I both knew I was no artist. Although I make my own Christmas cards and enjoy photography, I have always firmly believed that I can’t draw and I’m not creative.
Recently I was lucky enough to have a great teacher, Graham Shaw, who taught me how to draw cartoon faces. Using the techniques he taught me in my training sessions, I have graced my flipcharts with faces to make the messages more memorable and interesting.
Last week I had the pleasure of facilitating a one day Emotional Intelligence course here at Happy. On the course we talked about how our beliefs may not always be useful and may be limiting our potential. During the course I asked the group to draw something that would be a positive anchor for them. All of them were able to draw something that was recognisable and meaningful yet I heard several people say my old familiar mantra “but I can’t draw”. “I can’t draw either” I said. One of the participants scoffed and pointed at my flipcharts and said “don’t be ridiculous”. I conceded “at least I used to think that I couldn’t draw”. I then spent 5 minutes teaching them one of the techniques that I had learnt and saw smiles across their faces.
That moment really connected me with how my own belief had changed. Because I can draw and when I do it puts a smile on my face.
Not only can I draw cartoon faces but I am going to learn how to draw cartoon animals and so much more. As I told the group this, I felt utter excitement and joy. Just like when I was a child spending hours doing silly little cartoon pictures, back in the days before I told myself I couldn’t draw.
I am now starting to think of some of the other things I can’t do that perhaps I can (like writing a blog!).
Just because I am no Picasso why on earth should that mean that I don’t draw. How many of us tell ourselves that if we don’t meet the highest standards then we aren’t good enough and we shouldn’t even try? Perhaps if we free ourselves from those constraints, we will meet standards higher than we ever thought possible.
What do you tell yourself that you can’t do? And what does that mean for the way you limit not only your potential but also your joy?
Nicky Stone, Happy People Facilitator