"We don't have that kind of money for a stage display,"
"I only have a iPhone camera..."
There will always be limitations. Whether we are part of an organization or just trying to get through the day, we constantly can find roadblocks ready to stop us in our creativity. I am currently reading a great book "Created for more: 30 days to seeing your world in a new way" by Jonathan Malm. Every chapter has a theme to "help awaken the spiritual act of creativity within [us]." His main point in the second chapter: limitations force creative solutions. The second I read that it hit me. This has been true my entire creative life! AND typically when I run into a limitation, I have the freedom to be more creative! After spending some time with this idea, I thought I would share some major limitations I have come across and how we can overcome them.
Ah, Resources. Gear, Money, Budgets. "If only I had..." story of my life. No matter what creative channel I am working in, this limitation ALWAYS comes up. When I first started getting into electric guitar, I became obsessed with new pedals! I thought if I would only have "___" pedal, I could have an amazing sound. It got to the point where I had such a huge pedal board I could hardly carry it. I ended up downsizing and keeping what I really needed.
The best way to battle the limitation of not having the resources you need is to maximize the resources you have. If you have a budget you get to work with at your church, figure out how to stretch that budget into ways you never thought possible. Don't forget you can look around and, if possible, sell some of the resources you haven't used in years. I think this is being a good steward with what you have.
Another way to maximize your resources is to push their limits to the max. Going back to when I started building my pedal board, I actually was using an iPad to drive many of the pedals I needed. I built a bluetooth unit with pedals to send cues to my iPad so it was if I had the pedals on my pedalboard, but used all of the horsepower from the iPad to drive the sounds I needed. I was able to have an amazing amount of sound at my fingertips for the fraction of the cost if I were to buy all of the pedals individually. Eventually I was able to save up and purchase specific pedals for specific needs, but this was a great way to get me started without having to purchase several hundred dollars worth of pedals and use what I already had.
Another example of this is to use everyday items to fill the gap. Example: when we first started getting into video at Evident Church, we didn't have all the money upfront to dump into fancy equipment. If you know anything about video, there are several key components that are mandatory. One - a good camera, two - great sounding audio, three - lighting, lighting lighting! Obviously I wasn't able to purchase top of the line gear right away so we worked with what we had. I purchased a consumer DSLR camera with a kit lens, used an audio interface with an old mic we had laying around, and used some ikea lights we used for ambient lighting in our Headquarters. Believe it or not, we were able to create some pretty incredible videos without purchasing very much.
If you can perform at a professional level with amateur gear, just think what will happen when you have professional gear to work with! Every time I purchased a new pedal I tried to push that specific pedal to it's maximum potential. Every time I ran into a roadblock where I needed a new piece of equipment, I first used what I had. Maximize the resources you have available at your fingertips to jump over this limitation.
It's easy to get hung up on not having the people you need. I was just recently at a large church talking with the worship team and they said they didn't have the musicians they need so they bring in someone outside the church. People can absolutely be a limitation. So what do we do?
If we want to overcome the limitation of not having the people we need, use the people you have! I don't mean run the same few people you have into the ground. Look around at your people and think about who you can invest in.
When I started at Evident, the worship ministry was small.... like 3 people. That's too small. The same few people were playing every weekend and it still wasn't enough. The first thing we had to do was lower our standard of excellence. That doesn't mean we sacrifice quality for quantity, it just means we have to look at what is most important. For me, having more people involved in a worship ministry is more important than creating a rockstar band that never hits a wrong note.
As I started to get to know the people at Evident, I would hear of people who may have had some musical experience in their past. I would first start to build a friendship with them, then help them develop their skill, and then add them to the team! Within just a few short months our 3 people turned into about 10-12. On Christmas Eve we had a full stage of musicians!
No matter what your situation is, there are people you know you can develop and train. Don't look for the same people who do everything, try and find someone who is ready to get involved, and has potential. They are out there, waiting for their shoulder to be tapped.
This is my favorite limitation! I know that sounds funny, but I love running into a roadblock where I have no choice but to figure out how it works. Whether I am working on my motorcycle, trying to figure out how someone did a transition in Premiere Pro, or learning a new riff on electric guitar, we live in the age of information. We seriously have all the information we need to do anything!
Here's a few resources I use to learn:
Youtube.... duh... Seriously. so. much. information. Sort through the junk and learn like crazy!
Skillshare - This is a great resource for creatives. There's a small fee, but you can usually find a code. I think I paid $50 for a whole year. I would recommend this website. There's lots of classes for specific skills. Invest a little and harvest much.
PremiumBeat - This is a great website for video and editing. Lots of great blog posts and links to free content. This blog may not be for you but there are several out there for your specific need. search google for what you need.
facebook - Believe it or not... Facebook has a great support of creative people who want to do more than share photos of their kids or silly memes. There's a million different groups on Facebook full of others who have the same passions as you. I am in a group called "Canon 80D." This group is devoted to people who have the same camera I do and they share what they are doing with it. These groups have a wealth of information, all you have to do is join the group that suits you and use Facebook to learn.
Pinterest - I use Pinterest for two things: 1. learning information about a specific topic or 2. find creative ideas to help me overcome limitations. This site originally was designed primarily for females, but it has changed. I suggest it for every creative!
Time. Time is amazing. No matter what, I don't have enough time. I currently am unemployed and somehow STILL don't have enough time to do what I want to do. There is only one way to overcome the limitation of time: fit the big rocks in first. Have you ever seen the example of someone filling half a bottle full of sand, then stones, and then large rocks? The rocks never fit. BUT if you fit the big rocks in first, add the small stones in between, add sand in AND pour water in after the sand, you actually fit more in than before!
Figure out what your priorities are and get them on your schedule. If you really want to overcome the limitation of time, you have to prioritize what is important in your life. Once you get what's important in your schedule, everything else will fit in between.
At the end of every chapter, Malm adds a challenge. Here it is:
“Choose one project you’re working on. Then cut your resources for that project in half. Move your deadline closer. Cut the budget. Remove some technological resources. Create some limitations. Now think creatively. Look for unique ways to accomplish the same goal. Decide what’s really necessary for the project. You’ll find many of the resources were unnecessary for accomplishing your goal.”
At the end of the day, you can overcome any limitation if it means enough to you. In every area of our life we run into limitations and you have to choose what is most important to you.
What limitations have you ran into that I didn't discuss? How do you overcome them?