Stepping outside your comfort zone

Recently I did something way outside the normal for me. I was inspired by my good friend Vincent and his very cool restoration of a vintage Tonka Truck. I’ll add his video down below so you can enjoy that as well.

After a brief conversation with Vincent, I decided to set up my phone for video, laid out a few very basic tools, and attempted my very own classic toy restoration/refurbish. NOT something I’ve ever done and certainly not something I ever thought I’d be doing!

I decided to do a little surgery on my classic G.I. Joe figures that I’ve had since I was a kid. The little rubber bands that held them together had basically deteriorated to the point of no return, so after browsing through a tutorial Vincent sent me I just hit record and dove right in.

Here’s the video, it’s in two parts because IGTV was being stupid and I had a hell of a time getting it uploaded.

AND here is Vincents awesome restoration video as well!

Why am I sharing all of this?

No, it’s not to brag and say look at the cool thing I did. I’m fully aware that my “restoration” was actually fairly simple and not really all that creative or technical.

BUT.

I totally enjoyed it. It let me just appreciate working with my hands in some capacity. I felt like I was accomplishing something in a way that was very different than when I complete a good photo. It was tangible. Most importantly, it lit my fire to want to keep exploring other things outside of my “wheel house”.

Here’s what I learned this week

  • Having small weekly goals is absolutely a great practice. But HITTING those goals is an amazing feeling. No matter how big or small, celebrating the victories is important.
  • We can never know what small victory, small goal achieved, may be the springboard into a totally new direction. It’s exciting and keeps our creative minds alive and vibrant.
  • Another funny thing about goals and pushing yourself outside your comfort zone, the more you do it, the larger your comfort zone gets. Which means the variety in your creative process grows, your creative voice continues to change and become more refined yet beautifully layered. Your “wheel house” is suddenly bigger, but your art is so much more YOU.
  • Unrelated to goals, I’ve recently been down a huge rabbit hole. Discovering and re-visiting a bunch of art that may be one of the most pure examples of artists just letting it rip and having fun. Art that lets the most random and wild flights of fancy combine in ways that shouldn’t make sense. It’s the world of vintage sci-fi and fantasy artwork. From classic book covers to the work of amazing magazines like Heavy Metal. Expect to see some more if this in the coming weeks.

As we head into the weekend my wish to you is that you’ll try something outside your comfort zone. Something that may feel like it’s coming from left field in relation to your usual creative work. Throw yourself into it, enjoy it for what it is, and when you’re done pay attention to how stepping out of your comfort zone made you feel.

I’m pretty sure you’ll like what you find.


David (Usually Dave) Szweduik is a photographer, podcaster, and all around geek from the great state of Minnesota and can be found weekly on his podcast Adventures in Creativity. There you’ll find him having conversations fueled by curiosity around the amazing world of all things creativity.

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