As a life coach, I help people access their creativity and artistic visions. I’ve noticed that when I share this concept, some people have a strong reaction. They clam up. It’s almost like I can see them shrinking, and I know that’s how they’re feeling inside. Their first response is something like “well, I’m not creative, so I guess that’s not for me”. The thought that they could have an “artistic vision” for themselves is immediately overwhelming and feels inaccessible. I assure them, and everyone reading – you can be creative, too!
From an early age, we get messages about our creative skills, and through encouragement (or the lack of it), we form ideas about our own abilities. Some people can embrace the idea that they are creative, and hearing these words helps them open up and get excited about the possibilities. For many people, though, their creativity feels out of reach, or even lost. In a recent coaching session, I explored this feeling of loss with a client. She remembered how she was drawn to illustration, fiction, and cooking. However, her parents overlooked her creative interests, but rewarded her for high grades. Success was defined in terms of academic and career recognition. The message was “test well, and come out on top”. She began to see how her playful and innovative spirit was not a quality that was valued or supported in her family. Not surprisingly, she turned away from those impulses, and didn’t allow herself time to explore. During our conversation, she realized that the messages have helped her become a “high achiever”, but she also longed to set aside the emphasis on efficiency and external goals. Since our talk, she has chosen to spend some of her well-earned time off to read a novel, draw, or indulge the impulse to create a complex meal – just for fun! She says now that those hours are like spending time with a person who had been away for years but has finally come home. It’s a great feeling.
Being creative doesn’t always mean “making art” or “inventing something” – it also means the intention to approach a difficult situation with a fresh outlook. It can mean planning a strategy that feels outside of the norm, maybe a little past your comfort zone but not totally out of reach. It’s making choices which feel genuine and authentic to yourself. You’re creative when you use a metaphor to help you deeply remember a new concept. It can simply mean telling a story about what you want for your future. Once you tell the story and get clear on your vision, this artistic (yes, artistic!) statement is the first step to making those ideas a reality.
Humans ARE creative. It’s why we have such a range of cultures and lifestyles. Everyone has the ability to find a new creative approach, and as a coach I love to help people feel their own resourcefulness. What more could you do in your life by using your creativity? What does creativity mean to you?