Approaching Greatness

My path to Creative Mastery; WEEK 4

Approach: ap•proach (əˈprōCH/) – noun way, means of arriving; method, procedure, technique, modus operandi, MO, style, way, manner; strategy, tactic, system, means

Greatness: great•ness (ˈɡrātnəs) noun what one arrives at with the right approach.

On this path of creative mastery, I am discovering that it is all in the approach.

‘Tain’t What You Do, Its the WAY That You do it!”

My name is Candice Roberts. I am a 5th generation Canadian settler and a Performing Artist located on unceded Coast Salish Territories also known as Vancouver, BC. This is week 4, out of the 52 weeks that I will document my path of creative mastery through the process of tap dancing.

Why tap dance? I spoke about this in Week 2, but in a nutshell, it happens to be one of my rare and valuable skills. It just is.

Can I serve the world through tap dancing? The answer is yes, but you must understand that it is through the side-effects and not the actual act of tap dancing itself.

The commitment to a goal such as this builds my self worth which feeds my excitement for life, which has me living with a greater sense of satisfaction and purpose which in turn has me connecting more openly and meaningfully with myself, my environment and with community. I can give more, share more, and be more present.

Perhaps you’ve always wanted to tap-dance or “insert creative act” yourself? By the end of these 52 weeks, I aim to be well on my way in being an expert of the creative process and I’d love to support you in being more creative in the ways that are important to you.

The suffix “ology” is common in the english language to denote the study of a subject, often the science of something, but sometimes it is the “art of” as well. Isn’t it? What about “the art of” study itself?

I like to think in these terms. The art of learning, mastering, cooking, dressing, loving, thinking. Is it the “spirit” of the approach? Can it be named? I’m curious about the ways in which we can creatively approach our goals and dreams.


This here is Loretta of “Lunch Lesson’s with Loretta”. She is a suppressed, repressed and transparently depressed motivational coach that teaches lessons from her own closet on “How to Love Yourself”. She instructs, that an affirmation is something you tell yourself over and over until it’s true. “I am so happy!” she says with a concentrated smile and sad eyes. Oh, she tries so hard to be.

Loretta is a character created and played by myself that speaks to my own experience with self-healing and self-help. I bring her up here, because she is a part of the process of changing my psychology to “be” the kind of person worthy of greatness.

Through her I play with the tropes of new age healing and self-help culture because I have sincerely self-helped myself right off of the slippery slopes to doldrums and worthlessness. This is transformation through clown. Charlie Chaplin was quoted with saying:

To truly laugh, you must be able to take your pain, and play with it.

So, what about the approach to motivation? I’ve made a public commitment, so dang it, I need to maintain a continual surge of drive!

Here are 3 key insights I’ve discovered so far in the art of sustaining motivation.

1. Intrinsic Motivation

Daniel Pink, an author of books about work, management, and behavioral science speaks to this approach of intrinsic motivation.

It is “…the desire to do things because they matter, because we like it, they’re interesting, or part of something important.”

In his TED talk “The Puzzle of Motivation” he goes on to talk about intrinsic motivation which the internet tells me “refers to a behaviour that is driven by internal rewards”.

Mr. Pink’s talk is mainly about creating environments in the workplace that produces a self driven model of behaviour where team members have their own intrinsic drive and curiosity for the work that needs to happen. I found this all very interesting, inspiring and relatable to my own creative process.

In exploring my own personal motivations for obtaining mastery of the creative process, I did a great writing exercise I found in an article by motivational psychologist Benjamin Hardy. The goal of this exercise is to find clarity and get you “operating from your deepest conviction”.

“if you can get to the core of WHY you’re doing what you’re doing, you can then realize just how important that thing is to you…. Clarity leads to motivation.”- Benjamin Hardy

The exercise: You ask yourself “What is it about __________ that is important to me?” You answer with the first thing that comes to mind and then you ask again; “What is it about (your new answer) that is important to me?”You do this at least 7 times and get to the root.

It is a very interesting process. I found that tap dancing is very meaningful to me, and in the end, everything I tested this on came down to the roots of LOVE and feeling connected.

2. Craftsperson Mindset

This is a mindset that focuses on the quality of what you are offering the world. It is a focus on building the “rare and valuable” skills that interest you, or that you already have a leverage on.

I read about this in a book about the “quest for finding the work you love” by Cal Newport. The title of Cal’s book is taken from a Steve Martin quote, which indeed is another approach: Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You.

The Craftsperson Mindset is about putting your head down and focusing on becoming of value, it is about finding satisfaction in the development of your skill.

I’ll also mention the honouring of the process. Loving and accepting where we are at and what we are doing for the pure joy of it. Also, a mindset for EVERYTHING! My head is down, my feet are shuffling, 5 count riffle… you are mine this week!

How You Do Anything Is How You Do Everything- who the heck said that anyway? So many people quote that~

I listened to a great podcast episode presented by Freakonomics called “How to Become Great at Just About Anything”. There was a wonderful story in there about a woman researcher who had a dream to become a great singer. She shared her process of deliberate practice through recordings and her transformation is incredible.

Which brings us to;

3. Deliberate Practice

Deliberate practice is about stretching a little further than where you are comfortable. For me, each practice session is about mastering bite size rhythm combinations and new techniques, such as, ahem, the 5 count riffle.

I have been having fun with tracking and creatively documenting my hours of deliberate practice. This approach is NOT about mindless repetition or punching in practice hours, but requires focused energy and rigorous skills assessment.

Deliberate practice also suggests the importance of having a mentor or teacher. I take a class at the Rhythm Room twice a week and am looking into funding support options to work with Jennifer Bishop more intensively.

When working alone, I have found that in filming myself I am able to have immediate reflection and assessment as an outside eye. This week I have discovered Tap Tutorials on Youtube such as Masters of American Tap and Operation Tap. Being that I already have a fundamental level of skill these youtube tutorials are incredible. Free training with masters!

With so much inspiration, one must remember to exhale!- paraphrased from my clown teacher David MacMurry-Smith

This week was remarkably creative, full of insights, discoveries and choices. Here is what I am doing; directing my own life, getting better at the things that matter and learning where I can be of service.

This week’s deliberate practice chalked in at 8 hours, which brings me down to 9,472 hours left to mastery! (By way, this 10,000 hour thing? It’s a game for me. There IS a Mastery Hack.. Ha!) James Altucher says there are Seven Steps to Learn and Master Anything As Quickly As Possible.

This is great news because according to the math, at the rate I am going, it would take 16 years to reach mastery. Respect for the process and all that, but I ain’t getting any younger. James says that sharing the knowledge is worth thousands of hours itself….. so,

Haven’t you always wanted to tap dance? Get at me!

I love my family… The Myrtle Family Band!
Creative for Life- Physical Theatre for Kids!

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