Start before you’re ready.
These words were shared with me by my good friend and fellow broadcaster GhostyGeist. While the words on their own are simple, the combination sends a powerful and rushing energy throughout my body. Like many others, I am a bit of a perfectionist, you could say. Especially in regard to expressing myself creatively. Logically, I know that when attempting to do something I have never done before, it will not turn out to be even remotely close to what my mind intended it to be, and the only way to get better at something is by doing it. But emotionally, when this happens, I get frustrated and stop.
While being a perfectionist is one thing, this also links to vulnerability. Most often when I create, I put a lot of myself into it. Having spent the bigger part of my life building up a defensive wall, exposing myself still feels very threatening. Yet, it is the only way to form meaningful connections — which is one of the things I value the most in this life.
It has been a bit over two months since I had my first official stream on Twitch, and I am still flabbergasted by all the love and support I have received from members of this community. If you’re unfamiliar with this part of the multiverse, Twitch is a live streaming platform. The primary focus on Twitch is video games and users can watch other people play games, interact with other viewers and broadcasters, or live stream their own gameplay to the world. While the primary focus is on video games, broadcasters are providing other types of content as well, such as talk shows, art, and cooking. As I expressed in my first blog post — I never saw myself doing this!
Broadcasting and content creation is a completely new realm in my social reality and contradicts the narrative I held of myself — introverted, technologically inadequate, and a completely incompetent graphic designer. Now, however, my days are filled with social interactions, fiddling around with software, editing videos, and creating overlays and emotes for my Twitch channel. If I had continued to let my narrative control my life, I never would have pursued this.
While some of you know this, others may have just randomly stumbled upon this piece of text, I am a full-time Social Innovation student. Social Innovation, as defined by the Performatory, is about improving the social interaction between people in such a way that they embrace or come up with new ideas, perspectives, or solutions — innovations that tackle social, environmental, economic and/or cultural challenges. I am nearing the end of this educational program and am now working on my graduation assignment.
My supervisors gave me the go-ahead to connect my broadcasting and content creation journey to the graduation assignment, and specifically to the course called Experience Design. Experience Design is a combination of marketing and imagineering. The American Marketing Association defines marketing as: … the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large. In Advanced Imagineering, Diane Nijs (2019) calls Imagineering: unlocking and orchestrating whole system experience innovation by designing and using properly a generative image that shifts the collective focus from problem to aspirational future. In essence, Experience Design is all about designing and creating for the purpose of adding value for others. And that is what I aim to do. However, I also need a strong foundation to build upon, which is why my graduation assignment will largely revolve around developing LvlUpLulu as a brand. This development should be aimed at aligning LvlUpLulu with the needs and values of the target group and with a purpose of establishing mutually beneficial relationships.
Lastly, from a Social Innovation perspective, while co-creation, collaboration, and value-based services are definitely key aspects of that, there is something else happening as well — with me. By placing myself in a completely new setting and challenging my behavioral patterns, as well as my narrative, I am changing. By using my mind and body in this new way, new pathways are being created. More and more I am moving away from “perfectionism” and towards doing. More and more I am opening myself up, allowing myself to be vulnerable, to share my emotions, and to let people in. More and more I am becoming aware of how my narrative, throughout my life, has kept me locked in place. This realization is empowering and allows me to step away from ideas I held about my future, which in turn opens up for new possibilities.
I am the creator of my own path.
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