I really needed this fabulous weekend. The past couple weeks have been stressful as we strive to create great shows, while facing the challenge to bring the season in “on time and on budget.” So, it has felt great to kick back, curled up to finish a novel I’ve been slowly reading. I had planned to do things around the house and to promote Rainbows Over Ruins.
If you haven’t read my book yet, the story focuses on my growing awareness that there is a creative thought process that makes it possible to identify what you truly desire, choose actions that support it and get the results you want. Since my entire career has centered on producing, facilitating, and supporting the unfettered creative spirit, coaching this process in order to achieve our creative potential is a natural outgrowth. The book has been a first step in that direction.
Anyway, a funny thing happened on the way to making progress on my To-Do list. One of those items was to focus on the needs and desires of my target audience. Because the book is about our recovery after a landslide destroyed our home, I was looking for people who have to change for any number of reasons or survive difficult situations as I have done. They will have to prepare to transition to new opportunities, develop their outer game by setting goals and taking positive actions as they rethink, redefine and reignite their purpose. If they are developing businesses (and a significant number are), they will engage in strategic planning, team building, and deal with conflict resolution. It will be easier if they ask for help.
As I meandered through the Internet doing a Google search, the keyword I liked most was the word “creativity.” When you are in recovery mode, you benefit from the ability to access your creative potential. This involves the inner game, connected to limitless possibilities. As new creative techniques are learned and applied to common life and workplace challenges, an entirely different energy emerges. It yields a positive outlook and forward looking capacity, even in the face of adversity. It energizes the creative spirit and makes all things possible. If you learn how to flip your thinking, pop paradigms, ask better questions and use power habits, you find your creative self and reap the full benefit of the creative process for personal development and business projects.
With thoughts about creativity tumbling around my mind, I felt a call to look over the draft of my business plan. If you’ve read the book, you know that I have a dream to create a center where people can learn these skills, as well as writing an additional book about the creative workplace. Turning again to the draft proposal, I was reminded of one of my Dad’s stories. It was a bit of a horror story, really, about the tragic ends to doctoral students who could not answer one key question when they went before the panel for their doctoral review: What is the benefit of this work for individuals and businesses? What is the value? In the case of the business plan, the questions would be: Why do we need a Center? Why do we need to improve our creativity?
So my last day off is being spent answering those questions. It has been very helpful to turn to the work of Bruce Nussbaum, author of Creative Intelligence. (I had picked up a copy of his book several months ago in one of those serendipitous moments – a Godwink – when an entire table at Barnes and Noble was dedicated to books on creativity.)
It feels good to hear my own words validated on his pages. We are all creative, even when we are just doing our jobs, even if we don’t think of ourselves that way. But Nussbaum also makes two points that address the question if this work has value to others. Of course, he believes it does.
From a needs perspective, everyone feels the effects of a rapidly changing world. We live in what the military calls VUCA, a time that is “volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous.” Nussbaum observes his students coping with this by an awareness that they need to create their own opportunities “in order to survive, and they [want] to learn how.” (Creative Intelligence, p. 16). Of course, it isn’t just the students who face this. All of us do. “We need to prepare ourselves for jobs that don’t yet exist, using technologies that haven’t been invented, to solve problems that we haven’t recognized” (CI, p. 33).
This affects anyone in transition or any form of life crisis. Just as the rug is pulled out from under them, they face the need to redefine and recreate themselves in a new world they barely understand. They need a way to raise their awareness that there are creative skills they can learn so that they have the means to face these issues in a proactive way.
But the joy of this work – and I’m all about joy and well-being – does not center on the needs aspect. Bruce Nussbaum also mentions Sonia Manchanda, of IDIOM (India), who asks: “Why not focus on aspirations – dreams that we may not believe are even possible?” (CI, p. 29)
Remember, within each crisis is opportunity. Each of us has the chance to learn to focus our ideas into creations that have value and bring us joy, a sense of accomplishment, and the chance to help others. Great potential comes from strong aspirations coupled with the willingness to flip one’s counterproductive thoughts, develop power habits and direct them toward successful results.
I may not have a center yet, however, thanks to a strange meandering 3 day weekend, I am centered on its value. May you find similar times to discover your aspirations and begin to see them unfold.
To Your Success,