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Don’t do it because you have to; do it because you can

Posted on April 18, 2012

Last summer, I attended a retreat for women artists and musicians. I met some great people and had a wonderful time, listening to musicians and learning more about songwriting. I even played a few songs myself, which is no small feat, given my horrible stage fright.

But besides coming away with a few Brownie points for bravery and connecting with kindred souls, I learned something else that I think about nearly every day.

My friend, the gifted musician Jan Krist, was one of the leaders of the retreat and led a workshop on creativity and fear. As a group, we were commiserating about the difficulty in writing songs, when she quipped:

“Don’t do it because you have to; do it because you can.”

In the context of creativity, that made a lot of sense. But I carry that phrase in my back pocket 24/7. When I don’t feel like exercising, I remember those words, get off my butt, and grab my running shoes.

When I don’t feel like doing laundry, the words scream at me and I get to work.

Same with managing bill paying, washing dishes, and just about everything else I avoid doing (someday, cooking will fall in that category, I hope).

Write this down. Put it in your pocket or tape it to the wall. Think of all the things you keep putting off because you don’t have the time or motivation, or because you’re glued to the computer playing games or checking out Facebook (don’t even get me started with Pinterest!).

Don’t do it because you have to; do it because you can.


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