I had been feeling like I was in a bit of a rut. I was restless. I was tired. I lacked energy. I wasn’t showing up the way I wanted. When I realized this, I began exploring where I was. I saw that instead of grounding my day with quiet introspective time, I was choosing to start my work day early. Instead of getting out for run and going to yoga during the day, I was choosing to stay at my desk to get a few extra things accomplished. Instead of spending time with my husband after dinner, I was going back to my desk to check off a few more things on my ever growing to-do list. I was putting off doing things with my friends so that I could move things forward at work. Despite working longer and harder, I didn’t feel good about what I was doing. I simply was not creating what I wanted in my work and life. And, that got me thinking about creativity.
What is creativity? I used to think I wasn’t creative. Mainly because I thought creativity was the same as being artistic. Now I appreciate the limitless forms that creativity takes. Yes, there are the artists who paint, carve, write, dance, sing… And, there’s the scientist formulating new hypotheses and testing ideas…the parent exploring the best way to help their child feel better…the child finding a way to get to something that is in an unfamiliar and challenging place…the manager trying ways to inspire and guide the team to success.
How do I express my creativity? As I thought about it, I realized that creative energy serves life and work in so many ways, like trying new things – a different running route or yoga posture, or a new way of organizing the day, like building relationships – making new friends, or finding new collaborators to ensure business success, like designing something new – cards or jewelry or a garden that make me feel good, or a new approach to helping people discover how to be their best.
Creativity…is in reality the ability to reach inside yourself and drag forth from your very soul an idea. ~Lou Dorfsman
How do I open my creativity? I smiled when the answer to this question came: Well, in all the ways that I had been pushing aside: quiet time, running, yoga, being with my husband, engaging with my friends. These things help me slow down enough to get grounded, find meaning, discover what’s important, make connections, bring disparate ideas together.
How we spend our days is how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour and with that one, is what we are doing. ~Annie Dillard
What stimulates my creativity? I realized that to be creative, I need to be grounded, focused, and have a clear line of vision. What is it exactly that I want to create? A balanced life lived with integrity…Loving and kind relationships…Joy in my work…An inspired team…Powerful outcomes that make a difference for people.
Passion is one great force that unleashes creativity, because if you’re passionate about something, then you’re more willing to take risks. ~Yo-Yo Ma
Then, there’s the matter of creating it.
An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail. ~Edwin Land
How do I act on my creative energy? What am I willing to do to create those things? How do I hold myself back? When is my ego telling me I don’t deserve it, I am not good enough, smart enough, experienced enough to accomplish it? How do I still the voices or move ahead in spite of their echoing clamor inside my head?
The comfort zone is the great enemy to creativity; moving beyond it necessitates intuition, which in turn configures new perspectives and conquers fears. ~Dan Stevens
How can I keep my dreams alive? Be strong enough to allow my ideas to dance? Open to what might be possible? Allow myself to step out beyond the edges of the familiar? Ah…back to some things I’ve explored before: vulnerability and strength, courage.
Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties. ~Erich Fromm
All along the key for getting out of the rut – in fact, for avoiding the rut in the first place, has been right in front of me. CHOICE: Choose to create quite time, choose to treat myself to a run or yoga, choose to spend time with my family and friends, choose to turn off my work, choose to shut down fear. Make choices that align with what I want and what I value and check to ensure I am in integrity with my guiding principles.
…focusing on things that are normally taken for granted is a powerful source of creativity. ~Edward de Bono
* I took the opening photo this summer in southern Albania along the coast near Palermo Castle between Himara and Saranda. Something about it speaks to me of the way that creativity and courage come together.