You saw an ad, a post, a mention in a thread, about Sony’s Talent League by THU or an opportunity that would be great for you. You got excited. It piqued your interest. You bookmarked the page. And then you proceeded to forget it existed. “Who am I kidding, my stuff’s not good enough to submit,” “why bother, I never win anything,” “all of my ideas have been done before, I can’t think of anything good.” And so you convinced yourself it was better to let the deadline lapse, than to make the effort to do something you want. Here are 5 great reasons to shake things up and shift that perspective.

You Miss 100% of the Shots You Don’t Take

Let’s be honest, most of us don’t think our work is good enough. Self-criticism, imposter syndrome, the competition, fear of failure, anxiety, perfectionism, the list of reasons holding us back can easily fill a tome. Those closest to us may fuel our confidence, but our inner critic is ruthless in tearing us down. The truth of our talent actually lies somewhere between those extremes. But until we put our work out there to be seen, we’re the only ones holding ourselves back. You might indeed suck. There is that possibility. But you could also be the next Rembrandt. You’ll never know unless you try. So give it a shot.

In Discomfort There is Growth

It’s scary. I get it. What will they think of my work, does this piece adequately represent me/my talent, how do I compare with others, am I ready to be judged, can I handle the feedback? An inspiring teacher once told me “run boldly towards the things that scare you.” Why? Because if you’re not feeling at least a little apprehensive, scared, uncomfortable, you’re just maintaining the status quo; you’re not challenging yourself, you’re not living up to your growth potential. Whatever happens from submitting your work, you’ll learn something. Perhaps you’ll emerge more confident, realizing you can indeed do most anything you put your mind to. Maybe you’ll try out a new method or technique in order to meet submission constraints. Or perhaps your imagination will take flight, seeing how others interpreted the same creative prompt. There’s magic in the process, not just the end result. Go forth and seek out “uncomfortable.”

No One Needs to Know

You’re thinking about submitting, but you’re worried about the gossip. What will your peer group say, how about that über competitive user in the forums, or Uncle Bob, who can’t resist the chance to share his thoughts on your career path. Just thinking about them gives you a migraine. Well, great news, they don’t need to know. You’re doing this for yourself, remember that. And hey, if you win, imagine the look of surprise on their faces.

It Gets Easier

The first time you submit to a creative challenge, your heart might tense into a wad of knots. But don’t make the age-old mistake of tying your self-worth to how things turn out. Instead, shift your perspective and you’ll realize that these are a great means of practicing your craft and showcasing your work. Each new opportunity is a chance to try something different, challenge yourself, see what you’re capable of, and complete a project. Along the way you’ll gain invaluable knowledge and confidence. Inevitably, looking back, you’ll see your evolution and how your work has progressed in leaps and bounds - each new experience pushing you in ways you likely wouldn’t have on your own. And “rejection” will slowly lose its power over you. No longer a thorn in your side, it will simply be added fuel propelling you forward on your journey. The more you put yourself out there, the easier it gets. 

Think About the Prize

When we think “prize”, money may come to mind. But there’s so much more to be gained from entering a challenge. Whether you win or not, your work is being seen by others in your field, may be judged by influential leaders in your craft, perhaps showcased to a wider audience. And if you approach the experience with an open mind, you may well make new friends along the way, or find like-minded creatives to collaborate with. Post-challenge, you can even reach out to people whose work or background inspired you. And even if you don’t, overruling your inner critic and actually submitting is a win in and of itself!

Still unsure if you should take the plunge? List out the pros and cons and make a decision. Just remember to let your curiosity, not your fear, drive the conversation. After all, finding your magic is an inside job. 

Submissions for the Sony Talent League by THU are now closed. You can be a part of the finalists' journey and learn from it as they develop their ideas. Read their project diaries!