Meeting Elizabeth Gilbert at Conference

Over the years CPHR’s annual conference has had a wide variety of famous and inspiring speakers — but this years conference, Power Up, featured Elizabeth Gilbert. I have to say I am a fan of her work, and most recently, her podcast “Magic Lessons“.

Her talk was engaging and some of her ideas have begun to inspire me:

Befriend Fear — choose to focus on your curiosity

Elizabeth Gilbert talks about fear as a moody teenager – talking to her fear personified has helped her overcome it. But not “overcome” as in it’s gone away, no, it’s still there, but she doesn’t let it make decisions for her anymore. She said (paraphrased) “Ok fear, yes you can come along for the ride. Get in the backseat. Yes, I’ll listen to you but you don’t get to tell me where to stop or where we’re going”. Instead, use fear to highlight things you’re curious about or help you focus on what really matters to you.

Done is better than good

This one really hit home for me, in fact, with writing this very blog. It can be paralyzing to worry about something not being good enough. But really, when you realize everyone feels this way, it’s freeing to just decide to finish, good or bad. Without sharing or finishing your project, it will always haunt you and get increasingly better in your fantasies. As soon as something becomes real it’s not as shiny and perfect, but it allows you to learn from it, and for others to react to it, and that’s worth a lot more than perfection.

We are all creative

I’ve heard from so many people over the years tell me “oh no, you’re the creative one”, you decide! Yes, I’ve chosen a career as a designer, but instinctually I know we’re all creative. Like kids are creative. Somewhere along the line we were told our ideas were wrong, we listened to fear and stopped trying. This was such a refreshing topic, especially at an HR conference, but it does remind me to encourage my clients and collaborators to create with me. Design isn’t something that can be done (well) in isolation. So many of my clients have amazing ideas and we simply help them activate them. It’s all part of creativity.