"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced." - Vincent Van Gogh
Content can take many forms. Of course it can be written, but now it can also be on video, podcasts, teleclasses, webinars, blabs, periscopes, the list goes on and on.
New platforms and new ways of creating content can be intimidating.
Saying "I can't... " is a surefire way to guarantee that you won't create something, that you won't grow, that you won't make a difference.
Even Van Gogh wasn't born being a professional painter. He had to start somewhere.
As adults, we often stop ourselves from trying new things because we think we won't be good at them immediately. We have high expectations right from the beginning. And that often means we never give ourselves the chance to try and to learn and to improve.
To dabble in something has a different feeling.
When we dabble, we lower our expectations. We give ourselves some space to just give it a shot.
There is a great bar in Milwaukee that serves up canvases with their drinks. (They do sessions led by artists, and other cool things too).
One night, I was there with my husband during "Gallery Night." It was a public event in the area, so lots of people were out and about checking out places in the neighborhood. A couple of guys walked into this bar and ordered a beer.
One of them looked skeptically at the people who were painting, including me, and asked what was going on.
The bar tender explained how it worked and offered him a canvas and some paint. But he declined with a half smile that looked simultaneously embarrassed and "too cool."
But he kept watching other people painting. His friend encouraged him to give it a try. And finally he said, "Okay, why not?"
It was such a treat to watch him (and eventually my husband too!) dabble in the world of painting, something they had zero experience with.
And the result?
It turned out to be a lot more fun than they thought, and the end product was far better than they ever expected.
That's the magic!
Now, those men may never paint another picture again. But they can no longer say that they "can't" do it.
This painting bar has grown a successful day-time business of hosting corporate groups for team-building and leadership events. It's hugely popular because when people are made to dabble in something outside their norm, new possibilities open up.
They become more vulnerable. They support each other differently. They take risks in ways they otherwise might not.
Many years ago, I thought that when I started my own business, it would be one of those "Paint Your Own Pottery" shops because I love encouraging and witnessing people dabble in new forms of creativity.
Now I do that in a different way, working with entrepreneurs on creating content. The similarities are striking.
Rather than stepping up to a blank canvas, you are stepping up to a blank computer screen or a video camera or a smart phone. In any of these cases you must be willing to put something on it and see what happens.
When you start by dabbling, you open the way toward improvement, new creations, and growth.
What is the thing you've been wanting to try for a while but haven't done it? How can you dabble in it? Get started!