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How Perfectionism is Getting in Your Way || with Kolbie Blume

creativity podcast Dec 06, 2020

Tell perfectionism to take the back seat and have the courage to tell your own story.



If you've been around for any amount of time you know this, but our premise here is that life is about progress, not perfection. As a recovering perfectionist I know the highs are so high, but the lows can destroy your sense of self. There is no overnight cure for breaking out of that cycle. Sometimes we are taught the opposite is true, but really once you see how perfectionism is getting your way, you are free to live a more fulfilling life.


You will know Kolbie Blume as an artist, author, and But she has not always been the successful creative that she is today. In this interview she really opens up about the exact moment she decided the worst thing she could do by trying something, was fail, but that her world wouldn't end there. Kolbie's message is about how creativity (something EVERYONE has within them) is the antidote for the poison of perfectionism and this epode will leave you with a lot to think about and act upon.



About a few other things...


The Strive Hive helps Progressors who are eager to take action and strive for daily progress access LEARNING, CHANGE, AND COMMUNITY, so that they can find more and lasting personal growth and fulfillment. Join us for weekly chats, monthly masterclasses, self development book club, accountability and more!


For the final episode of 2020 I want to hear from YOU! Email me a voice memo or call in to answer this prompt: 2020 taught me... Let's make this "Dear Progressor," episode the best yet.


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Songs Credit: DRIVE by Dj Nicolai Heidlas @nicolai-heidlas Music provided by FREE MUSIC FOR VLOGS AND VIDEOS




Monica: Thank you so much for joining about progress. We are every excited to have you here. 


Kolbie: Oh, thank you so much for having me, Monica. I'm thrilled.  


Monica: Now, Kolbie, I was just telling you offline that interviewing creatives are my favorite people, because there's always more to the story. I think we look at people like you, and we just think you were born this way, and maybe there are different aspects of that where you were creative from day one, but most of the time there's a story behind it.


So I would like to start with hearing more about your own creativity story and how you grew into this throughout your life. 


Kolbie: I love that question. so I have always been creative. I feel like creativity is something I was naturally drawn to as a child.  especially in my childhood, I pursued a lot of performing arts.


I did theater and choir all through junior high and high school and a little bit of college and I loved, I've always loved writing and [00:01:00] music. And so I have. A lot of creativity, I've pursued a lot of creativity throughout my life. But the funny thing is I always thought I was terrible at art, so, so terrible.


 I was just trying to think about why I always thought I was so terrible at it. And I think  it was because when I was in about fourth grade, maybe it was third grade, we did a program called meet the masters where a parent would come in to my elementary school and talk about a very famous painter or artists.


And we would try to replicate the works that they did. And I just knew that my work wasn't as good as van Gogh's. I just knew it wasn't perfect. And so, because I could tell the difference that like, Oh, well clearly what I just made is very bad. I didn't want to pursue it because it felt like, well, what's.


What's the point of doing something, if I'm not [00:02:00] going to be the best at it. And of course that was my perfectionism talking.        


Monica: I'm kind of curious though, then how you stepped outside of that to, you know, there's going to be a bottom, a rock bottom some time. hopefully you didn't reach a big rock bottom, but how are you able to transition out of this perfectionist to place of looking at yourself and actually try something.


Kolbie: Yeah, I love that. You said that you are. Using the term rock bottom with perfectionism. It's part of why I love the phrase recovering perfectionist, because I think that with perfectionism, the highs are so high. The validation that you get from the praise of other people, it just makes you feel like you are the most special person in the world because everybody is telling you that you are, but the lows can destroy you. They are completely detrimental to your sense of self, right? When [00:03:00] you let perfectionism leads the way and you let perfectionism be in charge of your worth as a creative person, then that means any time you don't meet that standard, that impossible standard of consistent perfectionism, then your sense of self is completely gone and your creativity has gone too.


I don't know that I have like one specific memory in my life of hitting rock bottom, but I do know that I've had multiple, I mean, I would say maybe panic attacks maybe then that could be classified as rock bottom, but when I've done creative things and I feel like I've failed at them,it just horrible. It wasn't until I heard the term mirrored sense of self a couple years ago that I realized my whole life I had been.


[00:04:00] Basing my value on what other people think of me. And of course that's what mirrored sense of self means, right? That you allow other people's perceptions of you to build your identity. And so I think that. My path toward creativity and discovering art and painting in particular was just kind of littered with a lot of highs and a lot of lows.


And at some point it reached a focal point where. I was kind of tired of the roller coaster. Yeah, I, it was, it was really hard to not know where my value stood at any given moment. And, and it led to almost a benign experience where. When I was in my mid twenties, my husband was in law school in the evenings.


And so I worked a nine to five and I would come home and be alone for hours. And, [00:05:00] I would watch these videos on Instagram of people, hand lettering and people doing watercolor. And man, if I didn't just watch them for a whole evening, multiple evenings in a row, because they were so mesmerizing it. It stirred this deep desire in me, this deep longing, where I suddenly found myself thinking, man, I wish that I could do that.


I wish that I had the skill and the talent and the knowledge to do something like that, which was funny because as I mentioned earlier, I kind of swore off art when I was younger, because I decided I wasn't perfect at it. Right. So I wasn't going to do it. And so discovering. Kind of out of the blue that I had this desire, this longing to pursue something that I knew I wasn't good at was surprising.


And I pushed it away for. Along for many weeks maybe even [00:06:00] months. But then at some point, the, I wish that I could do that turned into, well, wait a minute. Why can't I do that? What, what is stopping me from doing that? What's the worst that could happen if I tried to do this thing and when I reframed it that way, like, why can't I do this?


Suddenly it took the pressure off. Because I realized, well, the worst that can happen is I try it and I'm terrible and I never do it again. So, so I bought some brush pens and I fell in love with hand lettering and I was. So bad at it. When I first started, like everybody is, I was so bad at it, but I loved it so much.


Not because I loved the things that I made, but because I love how it made me feel when I was doing it. And that is  what leads up to the creative flow, right? When you [00:07:00] realize that the process of creating is actually the thing that you're looking for way more than the product that you make.


so I did the hand lettering. And after a few months, I tried to do hand lettering with watercolor and it was like love at first sight water doing watercolor was like nothing I'd ever experienced before. It was like putting my heart onto a page, watching creativity. Visually happen in front of me, it was, it was like magic.


 I loved watercolor lettering so much, but I was still thinking, well, there's no way that I'm a real artist though. Like I couldn't do landscapes or something fancy like that. I haven't gone to art school. So I'm just going to stay in my lane and do my letters 


After a few months of doing calligraphy, but looking at landscape artists and thinking, man, I wish that I could do that. It once again, [00:08:00] took my mind shifting from, I wish to, why not? And you know, now I. Have quit my job and I teach people how to paint watercolor landscapes, and I just published a book on watercolor landscapes.


So you just, you never know what's possible until you finally tell perfectionism to take the back seat and have the courage to tell your own story. 


I've enjoyed every word that you said. Not only because I feel like it mirrors so much of my own story, my own personal development, but also how it goes back to the roots of what this podcast is about, which is not about perfectionism.


Although that's been a big player, it's about identity. It's about knowing where your value is and, you know, what you just showed us is. This is something I, I I've said from time to time. So it might sound familiar to people, but the transformation really does lie in the process, not the outcome. Yeah.


Even with creative works, [00:09:00] even if we're just trying to develop ourselves outside of creativity too, the development is the process. And that's where the transformation is. It's, it's not in what you get to. And that's where perfectionism is so sneaky. Right. And you've explained this well, is it. It, makes you believe a lie that your value is based off an outcome and what you so clearly said to others' perceptions of you, which is not reliable because not only are others' perceptions of you, both subjective, they're also fleeting.


So, it's just not the way to live. And so many of us have done this for so long. It's really hard to wrap our heads around doing something different, going outside of our comfort zone of how we perceive ourselves and how we think others perceive us. And that cycle of reaffirming whatever identity we've created in our minds about who we are and who we are not.


So, I would like to know how discovering the side of yourself that you had. Not even tapped into for so long, which is what our theme is this month. It's never too [00:10:00] late, but how this transformed your perception of yourself, how this changed your identity in a way that is helping you reach new Heights personally, in ways that you can have imagine little in the business, which is awesome, but even just internally.


Yeah. I, I love that question because that has been a question I've been seeking to answer for the last four years. And I don't think I'm ever going to stop finding answers to it, which is the most amazing thing about creativity is that it never ends as long as you make it about the process. Right. And, I think that is one of the most damaging lies that perfection tells you, is it, it caps your choices. It takes away, opportunities because they don't look like what you initially thought. Having that mind shift mindset shift is definitely [00:11:00] one of the most important transformations in my life. Because up to the point where I decided to give hand lettering a try, I had taken risks.


It's not like I, you know, wasn't brave and didn't go out and try to do things. just as a little bit more background after college, I moved to Washington DC and I got an internship at the White House with President Obama and I was a writer in the white house after that for a few years.


And I feel like I did, I did a lot of cool things while still having that perfectionist badge. Yeah, it was, I mean, that was a life-changing experience in and of itself, but. But even during that time, I was still grappling with this idea of myself and this idea of myself that other people had, that I needed to pursue a certain career, or I needed to act a certain way if I was going to be successful.


One of the things about being in Washington, DC, and [00:12:00] especially being surrounded by so many people who have political ambitions, which I don't .  So many people in that zone are, they do have that ambition.


And so they feel like they have to hustle, hustle, hustle all day long. They have to work 80 hour weeks. And the problem is that the people who do work that long, who do exude that hustle mentality are the ones who get praised. And so it kind of. Going from where I was as a perfectionist in Utah. Cause I was born and raised in salt Lake city, Utah, to a perfectionist in Washington, DC, just like further cemented my.


perception that I needed to act a certain way if I was going to have a quote successful life. But when I had the courage, when I was just sitting at home, waiting for my husband to come back from law school, [00:13:00] or when I was sitting in my office during a lunch break, when I had the courage to ask.


Well, why does it have to be that way suddenly opened the flood gates for why does anything have to be any certain way? Why, why does it, why do I have to be successful? Only one way. And, it allowed me, as I explained before to pursue art and creativity in a way that I never thought I could before, but it also allowed me to view being.


To view marriage in a different way. Like, so what if my marriage doesn't look like anybody else's does that mean that it's unsuccessful? So what if my husband and I bicker a lot, because we're just super open communicators. And does that mean that we are in an unhappy marriage? No. That just means that other people look different than me and.


You know, I, I just bring up all these random other life, life [00:14:00] questions because that one moment. I honestly can narrow it down to that one moment of deciding to buy some brush pens and try something that I thought I was terrible at, gave me more and more courage along the way to say well, so what if I'm terrible at something?


Does that mean that my life isn't worth living? If I'm terrible at doing things? Well, no, of course not. The more, I discovered that I can do something just because I want to, just a desire or a longing to do something is enough to go after it, with everything I have suddenly opened up a lifetime of creative pursuit and possibility. And it made me realize that if I fail, I don't have to keep going if I don't want to, but if I want to, I [00:15:00] can learn so much more about myself through that failure.  


Monica: I'm just sitting here with my mouth open.


One of the things that really struck me there is, you know, when you remove your worth from the outcome that we've talked about, when you were remove your value, your sense of self and your worth from an outcome, and you try something and it's messy and it's not perfect and you're even bad at it or fail at it.


The weird magic that happens is you still somehow gain more courage and more confidence because the worth wasn't hinged on it. And even just doing something that you've thought about doing for so long. And even when you fail at it or it's bad, whatever, it still will give you more confidence and security and more sense of self.


It will only continue to shore up that sense of self because, you know, like I did this thing that I said I was going to do. It's a really good feeling. 


Kolbie: Yeah, [00:16:00] that's, that's so good because one of the lies that perfectionism tells us, right, is if you fail, it will destroy you. And if you fail, you can't get back up again.


You will have no other chances, but. That's a lie it's because the truth is creativity is a practice and failing is a practice you can practice failing. And in fact, I would argue that there is no success. There is no true success that wasn't paved with. Tons of failures along the way. And that's because failure isn't, you know, a reflection of somebody incompetence.


Failure is a reflection of somebody's courage to build up their tolerance for uncertainty and to build up their, their knowledge and their experience. So that "not yet" [00:17:00] turns into, you know, their future. And it is perfectionism wants you to believe that being striving to be perfect is the brave thing, but actually it's not; it's the safe thing because it perfectionism tells you that you have to stay on one path in order to be successful.


And, It doesn't want you to veer off of that path because it's afraid of what might happen if you do. And when you can learn to recognize that false confidence for what it is, which is fear, then suddenly you realize, Oh, okay. Maybe I have a better sense of what my choices should be than my perfectionism does.


Monica: Yeah. Yeah. And you can think for yourself, act for yourself. And again, the confidence just keeps getting, doubled down on because you're continuing to affirm, this is who I am. And sometimes those failures along the way, [00:18:00] help you have more direction than you would have had otherwise, if you hadn't tried.


which is everything. So, we have been talking a lot about how perfectionism holds us back in general. And I just want to add here for those who might be tuning in for the first time here, perfectionism also looks like people who aren't trying, who stand on the sidelines or who give up pretty quickly. That's perfectionism too. So there's a spectrum to this. Well, let's talk about creativity more specifically. I'm sure there's a lot of listeners who think this is all well and good, but when it comes to creativity, they're like, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. You do not understand. I am not a creative person.


What would you say to that? 


Kolbie: I would say that's false because creativity is about creating things. And because you are a human, it is your birthright to create things. And, regardless of whether or not you're a mother or whether or not you're a parent, whether or not you have biologically created life that doesn't really have anything to do with it.


What [00:19:00] does have to do with it is your intelligence that you were born with and your ability to make new connections every single moment of every single day, your ability to make meaning where. There just exists things and facts and your ability to put together stories and build a life. You are every day in the act of creating things.


And so people who tell me that they're not creative, I just, you know, want to take their blinders off because they're being creative every day, they just haven't tapped into the truest potential that they have because of their, you know, inability, but maybe unwillingness to embrace that part of themselves because man, it is scary.


It is scary to create things because there are so many things that you think could go wrong. [00:20:00] And there are so many ways that you could have, you know, other people try to invalidate the worth of your creativity. And so it takes a strong sense of self to be a true creative, and that's why I don't think perfectionism and creativity are compatible at all.


Monica: And it's almost a chicken and the egg question here too. Like, as you lean more into the creativity, which leans into outside of your comfort zone, leads out of your comfort zone, leads more into messiness leads into failure too. It's almost like, well, what is. What is helping the sense of self as a sense of self helping the creativity process or is the creativity process reaffirming the sense of self.


And I really think they go hand in hand, which is what I want to talk to you about next. So if someone feels that. Yes. Okay. I can see it. Now. I can see that in the past, I have been in this cage to my own creativity, my own possibilities in my life. Even if it's not artistic, you know, in nature, what can they [00:21:00] do to get outside of this cage and find this, you know, belonging in themselves, but within the creative process.


Kolbie: Yeah. I love this question too. I think that. Once you've recognized how perfectionism is caging your creativity. Once you've recognized how, you know, maybe your. I still don't like to say unwillingness to move forward, but your fear is the better word you have fear of going after all of those possibilities that you long for, but you're just so afraid that you're not enough.


You can't really unsee it. Like once you see how perfectionism cages all of that, it's hard to, it's hard to go back. But taking that first step forward is by far the most difficult thing because it's unraveling a lifetime of lies and one of the. [00:22:00] Most important ways that you can, you know, take control back from your perfectionism and let you and creativity take the wheel, which I loved the way that you described they go hand in hand because, one of the ways that I like to compare perfectionism and creativity is perfectionism is our, in our critic, and it's characterized by an inability to tolerate being a human right. Perfectionism wants to drive us away from our humanity because it constantly says, well, who we are isn't enough.


And so we have to strive for this unrealistic expectation. That's away from who we are. But creativity. Is our inner longings and it's anchored by our innate desire to keep growing more into who we are. So it's anchored in the fact that we know deep down, we are enough right now and we can. Only get bigger and more powerful if we [00:23:00] have, if we have the courage to do it.


And so the way that you can take your creativity back is to practice. Self-compassion. Self-compassion is one of the greatest antidotes to the, poison that is. Perfectionism because perfectionism says, "You are not enough, you will never be enough, you can keep trying and you have to keep trying, because that's the only way that you can possibly get close to enough."


Self-compassion says, "Whoa, Whoa, Whoa. That's a lie. And you are a human it's. Okay. And normal to be messy. It's okay. And normal to have fear, but you are worth love. You are worth being loved and you have so much love inside of you." [00:24:00] And self-compassion is what allows you to let it out, despite your perfectionism, trying to keep it back in with all of its might.


So perfectionism says, perfectionism says you are only what you can produce and self-compassion and creativity say, I am not what I make. I am who I am and who I am is beautiful regardless of what output I give to the world. 


Monica: Hm. I'd love that connection to the back, to just to circle back really quickly, what we talked about, how important identity is. That really is the foundation to weathering all of life's storms. But even these internal ones where we feel like, you know, washed to and fro with who am I? Am I this? Am I that? Am I this thing? This outcome? And you know, really, like you're saying, self-compassion teaches you otherwise, there, there is an anchor there and it's inside you. And that, that thing inside you wants to keep growing too. That's the push. [00:25:00] I think we all have as humans, it's a unifying push to grow and to, to be better and to do better too. 


Kolbie: Yeah. I love, I love that. And speaking of that, push, one of the, I talk about perfectionism a lot on social media.


I recently just made a few tic tocs, talking about perfectionism and. And, you know, you always get a few people who are like, no, no, no. Perfectionism is a good thing. Perfectionism wasn't was what encourages progress and what helps me to be better. And that's where I have to stop and say, I understand why you think that way.


I understand that you think perfectionism is the reason that you have determination and commitment and grit. To your passions, but what you maybe don't understand yet is that perfectionism is not the reason you have those things. That's another lie that perfectionism is telling you.


It's telling you that you can only be committed if you're committed to being perfect. [00:26:00] And, and I would say a good replacement for perfectionism in that way, because you might be, if you're listening to this podcast or other. You know, ideas that around the fact that perfectionism is toxic, you might think, but who am I without perfectionism?


Like, am I a committed and deeply passionate person if I'm not committed to being perfect because I'm saying that because I have thought those very things multiple times, same here. And for me, an excellent replacement for perfectionism is mindfulness because perfectionism says. You have to pay attention to every single detail, no matter how important needs, because you're the kind of person who pays attention to every single detail.


And you're the kind of person who does what it takes and, you know, puts everything first before yourself because you care so much about the outcome. Whereas mindfulness says I can be present and look for the [00:27:00] details that matter and be committed to myself. And still be comfortable and love being human.


So the key for mindfulness and art specifically is, perfectionism tells you when you make something, you have to label it either as good or bad. That's the thing about perfectionism is it's so binary, right? 


Monica: I was just going to say that very word. Yes. Yes. There is no in-between.




Kolbie: There's not either either it's perfect or it's imperfect.


And when it's obviously perfect is better than imperfect, right. And mindfulness says there is no good or bad art. You don't have to label something as good or bad. You can just label it as there it's a creation. It exists. [00:28:00] It only exists because you put it there. And considering creativity as a process is so important because when you, instead of thinking about how excited you're going to be, when you've created something beautiful, if you think and feel about how beautiful the process is, So how you feel when you're making something, how you feel when you hold the brush and put it to paper, how you feel when you see the paint explode in a sheen of water and a blends of colors, like that's the magic right there.


And so when you can be in that moment and allow mindfulness to take control and keep track of all of the details that really holds a meaning for you and all of the details that you want to tell your story, then you are telling perfectionism, I can be committed and I [00:29:00] can have determination and I can choose what story I want to make and keep pursuing this creative thing, because I love the process so much. So I don't know if that all made sense, but for me, mindfulness was such a good substitution for detail oriented, because I think that's one of the labels of a perfectionists is, Oh, I'm very detail oriented, which means that. You know, I adult oriented results oriented.


Exactly. But mindfulness says, I know that some details don't matter and I know that some details do, and I know that I get to choose what details and what part of the process I want to make part of my story. 


Monica: So brilliantly said. So Kolbie, for someone who is, you know, venturing into this, they're going to come across some triggers, I think, with perfectionism. I am still noticing the sneaky perfectionism in ways that I did [00:30:00] not expect to look for because you wrote it out of one place and then it stinks up in another. but in this process, as they're leaning into self-compassionate and mindfulness, I'm sure they're going to see it cropping up in some other ways for them, what can you predict those would be and what tips do you have for them?  


Kolbie: One thing that might happen, especially as you are embarking on a creative endeavor, like art or music or something like that is you might get the courage to be brave and try something new and then fall on your face because it's hard because putting yourself out there is really hard and making creative work.


You know, some people might make it look easy, but it's not. As somebody who spends hundreds of hours every week. I mean, maybe not week, but every month, hundreds of hours every month, recycling so many paper,  () I've recycled thousands of sheets of paper that nobody has ever seen because the work was so terrible.)


 Maybe you [00:31:00] started watercolor and you wanted to paint a beautiful mountain and you start painting it. And it looks like a blobby mess. And you hear a little voice in your head start to say, man, this just looks terrible. Stop it in its tracks. And instead say, "How could I look at this a different way?


Maybe what can I learn from this experience? What beautiful parts of this process am I overlooking? How can this piece inform where I'm going to go in the future?" I think that that is one of the most important roles that mistakes and failures play in pursuing creativity is helping give you knowledge of what choices to make as you continue going.


You know, just some, some paths in the future that this new perspective of having your face on the ground, wasn't available to you until [00:32:00] you went out and, and did the thing and failed at it. But now you have a fresh new perspective on where to go and it, it just helps make your path not easier, but it maybe helps to clarify and bring you more confidence. This goes back to how this funny thing of when you have more courage to fail it, you know, your courage doesn't get depleted. It just builds and builds and builds. It reminds me of this, quote from Maya Angelou where she says you can't use up creativity. The more you use it, the more you have.


 But one important piece of perfectionism that I really wanted to include was that perfectionism is not compatible with creativity. Because it can only exist in a flawless state. And the, by the very definition of flawless, there has to be [00:33:00] some metric to compare that to, there has to be some way that you can know it's flawless. And because there is some metric that you can, you know, say, okay, now we're at perfect.


This is, this is it. If perfectionism existed, if it really was possible, like it keeps telling you that it is, that means creativity has an end date. Why would you ever want creativity to stop? Why would you ever want your journey of self discovery to, to be over? Perfectionism wants, like, if perfection is exists, it means that once you reach the top of the mountain, then your adventure is done.


And I have never met an artist who have said to themselves. Okay, well, This is it. This is my last painting I'm done. I'm done forever. This is no need to do this anymore. It's that's not how it works. It's creativity is [00:34:00] endless and infinite and a deep well. So from one of the biggest shifts for me was realizing that, okay, it's not just perfectionism isn't possible, and so I should stop trying to be perfect. It's, I don't want to be perfect. I don't want perfectionism to be possible because that means that at some point I might never get to experience this creative high again, because if perfection is possible, right. That means at some point creativity isn't necessary and that's just a world I don't want to live in.


Monica: So I have never thought of that in this way. Ever. It's never occurred to me. but it obsolete absolutely makes complete sense. And. You're right. Like, that's not what we want. We want to keep growing there. There always needs to be more. And you see that in the greatest people who've ever lived on this earth, whether they're creative, you know, quote unquote creatives, artists, you know, musicians, dancers, whatever, or [00:35:00] other forms of creativity, leadership, humanitarian efforts, activism.


There's, there's never a finish line. I hope because I think, I think people who believe that those are the people who have those huge falls from grace because they cross what they think the finish line is. And it's vacuous. 




It's hard to see what's more, what's next. And what's more, you know, what's more within me.


What's more within this work in this life. we definitely don't want to get to that point. I would say any of us. 


Kolbie: What happens when you do succeed, what is your life going to look like, then?


What will you do when you don't have a map to follow anymore? And. That's why practicing creativity every single day and being comfortable with the uncertainty of creativity, because it's all about what you don't know. Right? It's all about the thrill of seeking a connection that hasn't existed yet [00:36:00] because you haven't made it exist yet.


And, and so as world leaders, and as we, you know, normal everyday humans practice creativity. It doesn't matter what happens to us because we already know, we don't know what's going to happen. We already know. We're not sure what the future brings. And we like it that way because we like the challenge and the thrill that comes from creating the world that we know is possible and continuing to create it because those possibilities are endless.


Monica: Hmm, and that definitely helps us stand strong to when comparison sinks in. I was wondering if you have any final tips on that specifically? 


Kolbie: Yes, I do. I think that when you're making art and when you're making creative things, especially when you're just learning and as a beginner, it feels like the only way you can get any kind of, you know,tanding or [00:37:00] ground to be on, you have to compare to somebody else.


You have to look at your work and compare it to somebody else's work, and that's the only way that you can learn. And I'm just going to say, comparing your work to other people's work is most often debilitating rather than helpful. If you compare your work to others, with the purpose of finding some kind of value in your work, it's never going to be good enough. And it's only going to separate you from community, and from being able to connect and make other connections with others, because it's still putting some kind of map for you to traverse instead of being brave enough to venture out on your own and make those connections on your own. 


So, instead I recommend comparing your work with past work. Instead seeing your progress, and this is where it definitely plays into, [00:38:00] listeners of this podcast, Monica, because, you know, progress over perfection, always, seeing how, you know, things that you feel like you have improved or ways that you feel like you have delved into your creativity, even deeper by comparing your current work to your past work is a great way not only to, you know, help navigate your way forward, but also to build a cohesive story for yourself and to recognize the power that you have to grow.


I will say that sometimes comparing your work or, you know, looking to others to help guide you or to learn can be useful, but you just have to remember that it's about learning. 


And creativity and, you know, the tools of creativity like art and music and words, and all of those things are just the tools that you have to help you express that. And, so that's another reason why comparing yourself to other people [00:39:00] isn't helpful because creativity is about you. Creativity is about your inner longings. And about the way that you want to connect with the world and build a community. It can stand on its own in that way.


Monica: Well, Kolbie, this has been, I've said inspirational a few times, but this truly has, it's reinvigorated a lot of how I want to see myself for one, but also how I want to live and also helped me identify some of the traps that I've still been kind of falling into, especially comparison and how sneaky that alone has been for me.


I just want to thank you very, very much for the work you've done also for the courage you've taken in your own life to pivot in these monumental ways and show other people how it can be done, especially when perfectionism used to have such a hold on on you. And I'm sure it still creeps up on you just like it does for me.


I would love to direct people to where they should go, especially with your new book as well. 


Kolbie: Well, thank you so much for having me on this podcast, Monica. [00:40:00] It has been just a treat. If people want to find more of my work, you can go to my Instagram accounts. My handle is this writing desk. And you can also go to this writing To find out more about my book, which is called wilderness watercolor landscapes.


It's a book that I wrote that has 30 step-by-step projects, wilderness watercolor landscapes that you can learn to paint, regardless of what level of artists you are. I wrote it specifically so that the first, A couple of chapters of the projects are for very beginners. And then you can build on your skill as you go through the book until you have, you know, made more complex landscape pieces. That's where, that's where I am. 


Monica: I love it. I'm literally going to get off this call and go buy that book right away. I, I, again, I just, all these [00:41:00] talents coming together for you, but not just talents because sometimes I think we say talents when really we should say all the hard work and development that you've been through to get to where you are.


It's just blessing so many people me included. Thank you again so much for being on the show. 


Kolbie: Oh, it was a pleasure. I am so happy to have been here.


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