Welcome to part 1 of The Breakthrough — a new series focused on creative breakthroughs — how to have more of them, how to accelerate them, and, most importantly, how to be kind to yourself in the process.
I am majorly obsessed with studying the patterns of breakthroughs, because while there is certainly an element of magic that means we can’t entirely control or guarantee them, understanding and applying the knowledge of your own patterns around them is a creative skill that we can all learn.
And this skill operates like a superpower that can save you hours, months, years, and in some cases — decades of your valuable time and energy.
That’s why I’m doing this email series. Because my 2023 intention is to help you have the most creatively expansive year of your life, and because when women and other creatively untapped voices expand, everyone wins.
And breakthroughs catalyze expansion.
According to its classic dictionary definition, a breakthrough means moving through or beyond an obstacle.
In a creative breakthrough, you move beyond an obstacle so that you can bring forth more of what is within you. To do this, it gives you access to 2 things, sometimes fairly suddenly:
1. Access to more creative flow
2. Access to more of your true self
And, if you are working on a particular project or endeavor, access to more of its self and soul.
Which brings me to the other reason I am obsessed with creative breakthroughs:
While breakthroughs manifest in all kinds of ways, they always involve a coming home to your inner truth and a release of obedience to external standards and expectations.
So a creative breakthrough = YOU, breaking through the cultural blocks that don’t belong to you, which, in my opinion contributes to our collective expansion. Every time you have a breakthrough, we all get a little bit freer.
In my work supporting creators, I’ve seen creative breakthroughs come in the form of:
- An ah-ha or sudden clarity
- A new idea
- The courage to make a bold move
- The decision to quit or release something or say ‘no’
- Clear direction about what to do next
- Starting a creative habit or project you’ve been trying to start
- Resurgence of authentic enthusiasm and life force
- A rejection of a rule that is keeping you in a box
- A meaningful, inexplicable but palpable shift
- A realization that hiding is no longer necessary (return to more wholeness)
- Saying yes to something you really want even if you don’t know how it’s going to happen
- Getting the perfectionism to move to the backseat so you can DO THE DAMN THING
- Giving yourself permission to rest or take a break
- Making a decision you’ve been putting off
- Instant download or flood of ideas
And I have seen breakthroughs result in:
- Completion of projects that had previously been stalled
- Financial windfalls
- Ideal clients and collaborators
- The end of procrastination
- Reclamation of passions, identities, and dreams
- New income streams, project plans, and expanding the body of work
- Professional opportunities that have felt previously out of reach
- The courage to tell the story you’ve been waiting to tell
- Inner space
- Leaps of all sizes
What about you? What have been some of your most meaningful creative breakthroughs? And what has been the result?
If you want to take this deeper, here’s a 3-minute exercise:
Fill in these 2 blanks:
An area of my life or creative work that could really use a breakthrough right now is _____________.
And the thing I really desire as it relates to this area is __________
After you fill in the blanks, I invite you to give your responses a little space and air, without trying to negotiate yourself out of what you wrote or trying to figure out exactly how the breakthrough will happen.
And if you’d like me to hold them with you, hit reply and let me know what you wrote.
I know it can feel obvious, but an important key to having more breakthroughs is:
ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT
Flow research indicates that flow follows focus.
Asking for the breakthrough is the simple but obvious thing we sometimes avoid doing.
But if you’re like me, sometimes clarifying a desire and focus can be challenging, which is why I need to remind myself daily to apply this principle. There are all kinds of nuances and complexity as to why this can be so hard for some of us, but if it feels like an edge for you, I encourage you to approach the exercise with curiosity and compassion, but feel into your courage and do it anyway.
Because here’s the curious thing — if I were able to stand on the street and hand out guaranteed creative breakthroughs, many people wouldn’t accept them.
My big wish? That you have a creative breakthrough as we move through this series. And if you do, I hope you’ll hit reply right away and share it with me so I can celebrate with you.
Because your breakthroughs, of all kinds, deserve to be wildly celebrated 🎉
PS: My friend and colleague Samara Bay wrote a brilliant book called Permission to Speak that helps us have a breakthrough with our voices. I love this book so much!