Like all relationships, our relationships with ourselves are strengthened by time, attention, and respect. Through the course of a day, we can make countless large and small choices to honor the truth of who we are and what it is that we believe. We can strengthen ourselves and support our own development by making these choices in the way that is truly right for us. We can also focus our attention on the honoring of our truth in specific and deliberate ways so that we can feel more fully expressed and more completely alive.
01 Creativity: Speak it, dance it, write it, draw it, play it. Creative mediums give form to what is true inside of us. The medium itself can draw out, refine, and help us see our truth in a different way. Once it is outside of us, we can see it from a new, more objective angle.
02 Livelihood: When we live out a major part of our life in a way that is right for us, it is a way of honoring the truth of who we are. Do something that you love with people whom you love, and you will feel a sense of authenticity—not to mention joy—permeate your life.
03 Ritual: Like creativity, ritual gives us a medium to express what is most important to us. You can use ritual to honor yourself directly or to honor deities, animals, and plants that represent things that are important to you. Taking the time to do something where the main purpose is to acknowledge, mark, or clarify intention strengthens our connection to what is important.
04 Communication: Especially if you tend to hold your words back, learning to speak what is true for you throughout your life and with all people is a powerful way to honor yourself. No more hiding, adjusting, or omitting. Know and speak your truth as often as you can.
05 Dream: There is what is true now, and then there is the truth that will emerge over time. One can be an echo of the other. We can honor ourselves by letting ourselves envision our futures, feel our potential, and dream our desires.
When we honor what is most true about us, what we most value, what is most important—that is when we strengthen ourselves, show ourselves respect, and create avenues for our full expression in the world.
In my LifeWork Community program I teach a number of ways that we can more productively work with our true self and bring its expression through our mask and into the world. The following are some of the areas that I address in my program and questions that you can use to support yourself in moving towards living your true self.
People sometimes believe that you do personal development work if you are broken, but that is not really the case. Yes, it is true that hurt people work on themselves to feel better. However, it is also true that the best place to start your work from is a place of total acceptance. When we do our personal development work from a place of more and more appreciation, we gain so much more for our efforts.
What is one thing that you get on your case about that you can start to accept about yourself?
Personal truth can sound like a lofty concept and like it is detached from everyday life, but this does not need to be the case. Our personal truth can be a felt and lived experience. In fact, it is. When we live our personal truth we feel happier, more loving, and more energized. When we step out of integrity we feel less happy, closed, and like we have lower energy.
When do you feel that you are connected to your personal truth? What does it feel like to you?
Forgiveness is a pathway to healing. Healing is a state of harmony and peace. When we hold onto grievances from the past the pain of these events is carried in us and is reflected in the world around us. We continually activate the pains so that they can be healed. The idea is not for us to suffer through life but to become aware that the pain is there so that it can be transformed.
What are you carrying from your past that needs to be let go of? What needs to happen for you to be ready to let it go?
Our most highly attuned state is a creative state. Creativity and its expression are the result of being able to be in the present moment, spontaneous, and positively focused. Creativity is a form of healing and an aspiration of conscious growth. We cannot create without the willingness to see more than what has previously been.
How can you nurture creativity in your life?
People crave a sense of meaning and purpose. Without it, we often feel lost at sea. The trials and tribulations of life are hard to weather because we face them with no sense of what to do with them. We may even end up feeling victimized by life and see ourselves transform into a perpetrator. When we have a sense of meaning we create a pathway through the challenges of life and create a sense of inner peace.
What is most important to you? Why is it most important?
We all need a break sometimes. When we’re kids, breaks are given freely during playtime and nap-time. The importance of play to psychological development has received a lot attention as we watch our kids feel the pressure to achieve more and more at a younger and younger age. This pressure, though, extends to us parents, too. By understanding the importance of ritual and play to our identity, we can better recognize when we need a break and what it should look like.
The most normal and competent child encounters what seems like insurmountable problems in living. But by playing them out, in the way he chooses, he may become able to cope with them in a step‑by‑step process. He often does so in symbolic ways that are hard for even him to understand, as he is reacting to inner processes whose origin may be buried deep in his unconscious. – Bruno Bettleheim
I think Bettleheim’s assessment is as applicable to us adults as it is to our children. As technology infiltrates our lives, it is increasingly difficult for all of us to be “on vacation” or “out of touch.” Our moments are crammed full of information and activities – from compulsively checking our smart phones to over-booking our days so we don’t have any time to decompress. The net effect is a slow but sure erosion of our lives into a never-ending to-do list. We may not even know when we need a break.
What I know is that play is a necessary component to a full and fulfilling life. In fact, ritual, play, and creativity are central to the evolution of consciousness and culture.
Ritual – whether it has it’s roots in religious, cultural, or personal expression – allows us to create a symbolic container for our experience and work towards a desired outcome. Rituals allows us to mark something that holds importance to us. It provides a means of working towards a solution or resolution to something that remains unresolved in our lives. Play, on the other hand, refers to the process rather than the outcome. At it’s best, play is a pleasurable expression of our essence and that leads us in unexpected directions.
While ritual is often associated with religion and religious practice, recent research suggests that ritual may be more rational and secular that it appears. According to an article in Scientific American, “even simple rituals can be extremely effective. Rituals performed after experiencing losses – from loved ones to lotteries – do alleviate grief, and rituals performed before high-pressure tasks – like singing in public – do in fact reduce anxiety and increase people’s confidence. What’s more, rituals appear to benefit people who claim not to believe that rituals work. Recently, a series of investigations by psychologists have revealed intriguing new results demonstrating that rituals can have a causal impact on people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.”
At it’s core, ritual permits us time and space to contemplate and honor meaningful connections in our life, while play takes us outside the parameters of our daily lives and into a sense of timeless creativity.
Dr. Stuart Brown from the National Institute of Play defines play as a voluntary and pleasurable act that “offers a sense of engagement, takes you out of time” and whose efforts are “more important than the outcome.”
The effects of play can be profound as it allows adults and children to express parts of themselves that don’t come out in everyday activities. Further, play creates novel alternatives to otherwise ordinary situations and trains us to have fun. Play also kick-starts our creativity and prompts us to use it in the manifestation of something external to us. This process reveals what is most important to us because we tend to innovate around what we believe is most relevant. Play and ritual are both integral to our understanding of the nature of who we are. When we need a break, turning to play and ritual are a good place to start.
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Creativity is a big buzz word these days, particularly in the business world. I’ve come across a lot of articles that talk about the benefits of cultivating creativity in your personal and professional life. And for the most part, I tend to agree with them.
But what these articles tend to miss is that creativity is a collective process. They tend to perpetuate the myth that creativity is a mysterious, solo act. And this simply isn’t true.
Creativity has as much to do with how you respond to yourself as it does with how you respond to your environment. It requires that you say “yes” to yourself more. “Yes” to daydreaming a new solution to a vexing problem. “Yes” to the fact your “out-of-the-box” idea might actually be the right idea.
But creativity also requires that we say “yes” to others more, especially when it pertains to our passions and life purpose. It requires that we say “yes” more to inviting the input, feedback and support of those we trust most.
All too often, we safeguard against failure and risk as we contemplate acting on our “crazy” dream or goal. This limits our capacity for creativity and innovation and keeps us further from our dreams.
This is where creative thinking is essential. It connects us to a greater sense of possibility. It also connects us to our authentic self. When we tap into our creative self, we quickly realize that the “only one right way” myth really isn’t true. What is true is that there are always limitless options. Yet, we’re conditioned to ignore this limitlessness.
Here are several ways that you can boost your creative energy in your life.
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If you are ready to take this next step towards your life purpose, I can’t wait to meet you.
Our True Self is defined by seven intrinsic qualities. I initially identified these qualities during my study of Christian anthropology while in seminary. As I went on to study psychology and religion at Harvard, I found that these qualities are confirmed in the great religions of the world and in the modern scientific study of psychology as defining the unique nature of human being.
Human beings uniquely possess these qualities, and they are given to each of us. The true self is not reserved for those who have devoted their lives to becoming mystics. We are born with these resources which are available to all of us at any time.
These seven gifts guide us from within and define our unique nature. We may nurture these qualities or we may or take them for granted; if we choose the former course, our life will be opened and filled by meaningful opportunities–if we choose the latter, we will remain wanting and helpless, functioning at a level far lower than our potential. Nevertheless, even if we fail to utilize them, these qualities lie dormant, for we never lose them. They exist within us, waiting for us to awaken them:
“Children are born true scientists. They spontaneously experiment and experience and reexperience again. They select, combine, and test, seeking to find order in their experiences–“which is the mostest? Which is the leastest?” They smell, taste, bite, and touch-test for hardness, softness, springiness, roughness, smoothness, coldness, warmness: they heft, shake, punch, squeeze, push, crush, rub, and try to pull things apart.” – R. Buckminster Fuller
Spontaneity is our ability to express our self without hindrance. We preserve and develop spontaneity if we feel safe, cherished, and free from distress. Spontaneity captures the innocence, readiness, and freshness of a child. The spontaneous person embraces joy and affectionate humor just as children, who are less inhibited and socially constrained, naturally express their authentic and visceral feelings. Those who are spontaneous beyond their childhood years retain honest access to the full range of their emotions. People may attribute spontaneity to those with a youthful character; but while spontaneity involves innocence, child-likeness, and having fun, it also entails resilience and the ability and readiness to heal, mature, and develop, to expand our competence. Our spontaneity spurs us to growth because we are destined for expressing our aliveness.Psychologists have identified six universal emotions that we express cross-culturally: happiness, joy, surprise, anger, sadness, and fear. While we often associate access to the positive emotions as a sign of maturity, awareness of and access to the full range of one’s feelings more accurately characterizes one who is spontaneous. To assess our spontaneity, we must ask: Do I feel openness and readiness in my activities? Do I possess a freshness and enthusiasm in life? Do I have access to only certain emotions? Do I feel greater restraint or greater ease with these emotions?
“The first reason for man’s inner slavery is his ignorance, and above all, his ignorance of himself. Without self-knowledge, without understanding the working and functions of his machine, man cannot be free, he cannot govern himself and he will always remain a slave, and the plaything of the forces acting upon him. This is why in all ancient teaching the first demand at the beginning of the way to liberation was: Know Thyself. ” –George Gurdjieff
Reasoning is sound thinking; it accounts for our understanding of life and our progress in it. Through reasoning, we can discover more about the world and about ourselves and participate in life in endless ways. With the potential depth of our ability to understand, we are designed to explore, engage the world, and find solutions to our problems.
“Creativity is…seeing something that doesn’t exist already. You need to find out how you can bring it into being and that way be a playmate with God.” – Michelle Shea
Creativity is a unique expression of our ability to make something out of our “originality of thought.” Although we cannot, like God, create ex nihilo(“out of nothing”), we have the power to generate and transform things: to convert our ideas into new forms, to make our dreams realities, to shape our self and our world–to inspire, excite, incite, calm, and originate. When we create in connection with God, we feel inspired and empowered. Through creativity, we can develop skills which we often do not fully understand or engage. By applying our abilities to new possibilities, creativity builds self-awareness and strengthens identity.
When we create, we take risks and embrace new possibilities. The creative process taps the source of both our intrinsic nature and our individuality. This permits us to discover and express more of our other intrinsic gifts and more of our self. It helps us to recognize those qualities and to harness their power.
We generate creativity from within rather than accepting external formulations of it. For this reason, we often feel that what we create is who we are–it is part of ourselves. When our work permits us to create, we often call it art and equate the product with our self-worth. One of the miracles of each of our lives is the possibility of leaving our distinct — creative — mark through the expressions of our creativity. Creativity is a unique expression of our own experience and achievements.
4. Free Will
“The most tremendous thing granted to humanity is choice, freedom.” –Søren Kierkegaard
Free will is our ability to choose. Moreover, it is our ability to think outside ourselves–to gain an observational sense of our situation. Exercising free-will, we recognize that we can draw upon our own voice, rather than echo what we have been told. By examining the choices we have, we can establish our voice in relation to others and feel integrity in our position.
To not make choices is to give up a part of our self. Those who feel as if they have lost their will often feel trapped. If we feel that we have no choice or are locked in, we need to examine what constrains us. By drawing upon our spontaneity, reasoning, and creativity, we can release ourselves from these shackles.
“A return to reverence is the first prerequisite for a revival of wisdom…Wisdom comes from awe rather than shrewdness. It is evoked not in moments of calculation but in moments of being in rapport with the mystery of reality.” –Abraham Heschel
Spirituality is our response to God’s call–our communication with the spirit of life’s Mystery. Spirituality is a Mystery not only because it involves something beyond our mind and knowledge, but also because it comes from our experiences of God. The power of that relationship to spirit is unique for each of us; we tap the power of spirituality in our encounters with God, which gives us a clear vision and an understanding of life. That is why there are different paths to spirituality. Our ability to grow spiritually is made possible through a recognition of, and commitment to, developing our relationship with God. By penetrating beyond the temporal and engaging the Mystery we can find the guide for our journey of fulfillment. To engage our spirituality we must engage our personal relationship with God and make this relationship central in our lives.
You can experience God, but whether you subscribe to a particular religion, develop a personal understanding of spirit, or deny all divinities and are an atheist, there exists one certainty: things occur in life over which you have no control. You can attribute these things to fate, randomness, nature, physical reality, or God. I personally believe that it is the Spirit that provides the answers for us in all things. We find the Spirit when we discover and actively engage our True Self –connect to our Self, Others, and God and hear the voices of our thoughts (our mind), our feelings (our heart), and our spirit (our soul), we both explain and understand our nature and how these connections bring us fulfillment.
“The supreme end of education is expert discernment in all things–the power to tell the good from the bad, the genuine from the counterfeit, and to prefer the good and the genuine to the bad and counterfeit.” –Samuel Johnson
Discernment, as Johnson notes above, is our ability to distinguish Good from Evil–and to choose the Good. When we choose between Good andEvil, we demonstrate what principles are guiding us. Discernment is thus the ability both to make moral choices and to act accordingly. It is not being judgmental, as in disdainful and imperious moralizing; it is judgment driven by Truth. Discernment emerges from knowing, choosing, and acting on the Good.
The simple ability to distinguish “right” from “wrong” begins at age three according to psychologists who study moral development. Howver, from even our earliest experiences, we begin to grow in discernment by developing virtues. Therefore, the extent to which we develop virtue (such as kindness, justice, caring, truthfulness, courage, and the like) we ignite the quality of our ability to discern. While our individual temperament may be drawn to one virtue over another, refining these proclivities through the discipline of enacting virtue shapes both our character and our ability to discern. Through discernment, we express our connection to the concerns of humanity at large and define our character.
“One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: that word is love.” –Sophocles
Love is the culminating point–where we put the True Self to its greatest use. Love is a profoundly caring and intensely passionate and personal connection that generates respect, honesty, and reciprocity. Love also involves a physical, emotional, and spiritual attraction to another. We are driven by the powerful urge to love and to be loved, for love is intrinsic to our social nature. By trusting another to know one’s own self through their eyes, we free our self to union–to love and be loved. Loving connections convey the ultimate expression of the authentic self through an active engagement of Self, Others, and God. But while love is frequently identified as life’s most fulfilling experience, it can also be our most difficult pursuit — it often gets confined to only one of these three crucial relationships. Authentic love may begin by engaging only Self, only Others, only God–but if the love is authentic it always leads to the other two.
Loving will be a sacred connection — the highest human function, entrusted to us by God. When that sacred trust is broken, by us or by another, we feel it. When a lover does not act with the kindness and respect that a sacred love naturally includes, we can feel that opening up to that person was a big mistake. Although loving may include sex, a relationship based only on sex is not love. Love is a connection that opens the inner floodgates of one’s being to another. Because of the inherent vulnerability of exposing the self in a relationship, you feel love when you feel safe and are comfortable enough to “let go” of your defenses. In this healthy expression of love, both people are accessing their True Self.
John T. Chirban, Ph.D., Th.D. is a clinical instructor in psychology at Harvard Medical School and author of True Coming of Age: A Dynamic Process That Leads to Emotional Stability Spiritual Growth, and Meaningful Relationships. For more information please visit www.drchirban.com.
It is human to avoid. This trait probably even predates homo sapiens, by about a zillion years. The creatures who stayed in their holes in the ground survived, while the ones who ventured outside were eaten. It ain’t survival of the fittest. It’s survival of the most anxious.
The survival strategy of remaining frozen in your burrow clearly works to a point, but when used willy-nilly, it becomes hard to get anything done. It leads to that old bug-a-boo, procrastination. Freud’s favorite word, neurotic, can be defined as using a survival strategy after its outlived its usefulness. This genetic atavism leads to the number one problem that people present in my psychotherapy office: “I know what I should do – I even know what I wanna do – why don’t I do it?”
This monumental impediment and its fix, especially around creativity, is the subject of Steven Pressfield’s terrific little book, The War of Art.
Pressfield uses another old Freudian word to describe the problem: resistance. This progress-stopper has been called by lots of names: the gremlin, the devil, maleficent, the underminer, the underdog. Like anyone who has encountered the power of the thing that prevents us from writing that novel, inventing that app, working to end sexual abuse, or losing that fifty pounds, Pressfield knows that this is an uncanny force of indomitable strength, that by all appearances has a life of its own.
Pressfield tells us that the first thing we need to do to beat this damn thing is to acknowledge its existence and understand its power. Stay close to your friends, but get closer to your enemies, kind of thing. In pithy, compelling, powerful, and entertaining chapters, Pressfield does as good a job as anyone describing just what this nasty little demon is like. If you want to know what’s getting in your way, you’ll find the answer here.
The author then goes on to give us the solution. It’s also pretty simple: do it anyway. This requires, just in the beginning, feeling fear. Avoidance, or resistance, happens so we don’t feel the fear. Instead, we feel indifference, boredom, tiredness, laziness, or we come up with all kinds of excuses – my toenail itches, it’s too cold outside, my mother wasn’t nice to me – rather than feel the fear that actually doing something involves. So, if you take action, you will be scared. After all, you, in all probability, will screw up and fail. But who cares? It’s not like you are going to get eaten by a saber-toothed tiger.
Once you get through that hard part, and you devote yourself to the daily work come hell-or-high-water, then, Pressfield tells us, a miraculous thing happens. Other forces – benevolent forces – come to our aid. The devil has us if we are sitting on the couch with our fingers up our noses. But the minute we just start and practice, something like God comes to visit.
Here, Pressfield is right on. He tells us not to wait for passion or inspiration, because it isn’t there in the beginning. We don’t get it for free. Inspiration is a gift we receive for hard work. It comes long after we begin.
I’ve watched these powers at work over and over again in my own, and others, lives, and I’ve tried to enlighten my clients about this about every way I could think of. But Pressfield lays it out better than I can manage. The only part I don’t like is when he tells people not to go to therapy! Having tried every technique against this formidable foe, I accept that there’s no magic formula to what is gonna hit the magic button for someone.
Just buying the book, and even reading it, is no guarantee of getting the message. When that inner critic is in force, he can even snark out Pressfield’s sage advice. But don’t listen to that cigar chomping skeptic that sits on your left shoulder who tells you that Pressfield doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Pressfield isn’t somebody who found it all easy and just gets to lord it over us mortals with his elephant poop wisdom. It took Pressfield seventeen years to have his inner breakthrough. And when he did, at fifty-two, he finally sold something. He wrote The Legend of Bagger Vance, which was turned into a movie directed by Robert Redford, starring Will Smith, Matt Damon, and Charlize Theron. Now, if that’s not a proof that miracles come to those who just keep doing it, I don’t know what is.
reblogged from www.glennberger.net Dr. Berger is a Dr. Berger is a psychotherapist, relationship counselor, business coach, artist coach, and young person’s mentor.
Creativity isn’t a physical product: a story, a painting, a wreath. Acquiring the skill to make items takes practice. Creativity, on the other hand, takes a commitment to a certain mindset. As Robert Henri put it “The object is not to make art, but to be in that state which makes art inevitable.”
Creativity is the intangible quality of being able intelligently synthesize concepts in a fresh way. But how can access this place of innovation and new thinking?
Here are some tips that may help out when things seem stagnant:
Be playful. That’s the first rule. Creativity will not flow freely from an uptight, unwilling source. Don’t be afraid to be irreverent or silly, or to create something that is not your best. Looking at your life or business from a playful attitude may help you see things in a new light.
Embrace failures. You’re going to have ideas that flat out will not work. But that doesn’t mean that parts of your ideas aren’t useful or can’t be recycled for later projects. Don’t give up after just one draft of an idea, but whatever you do, don’t force bad ideas to happen. Instead, put them aside and you may reinvent them later.
Keep a record. Write it. Draw it. Record it. Whatever you do, make sure you take note of the things you’ve done and keep these notes in a central location. It helps you gain creative momentum. Once you see the great ideas you’ve come up with, it gives you the confidence to keep pushing them further. Keeping a creative journal can help you draw from past, unused ideas and watch yourself progress. It doesn’t have to be fancy or even intelligible by other people. As long as you know what your shorthand means, your notes are invaluable.
Try something new. I’m sure you have heard the quote “Same actions get same results.” So, when in search of creative thinking, try something (anything!) new. Attempting new things may shed new light on the things you’re interested in. The more versatile you become, the more experience you’re able to use to leverage your creativity.
Flâner. A French word meaning, “to walk around aimlessly without a plan.” (It actually means something closer to I would like to meet/stroll around with you). The phrase has roots in the actions of 19th century writers, who would would leisurely loaf around Paris seemingly without purpose. However, this downtime has two purposes: you can draw inspiration from taking in the world around you, and you can let the ideas in your head marinate and mature. Take a break from your hard work and nap. Drink a cup of tea and watch a thunderstorm. Loaf around and be with your thoughts. Some of the most creative ideas come when you focus on yourself, or even when you focus on nothing at all.
Cultivating a creative mind takes some effort. Challenge yourself. The more you can put yourself in a space of creativity, the more you can imagine greater potentials for your life or business. And what you can dream, you can do!
What other life might you choose if you could choose more than one? Or, what is the archetypal expression of something that you are living out in your life that you can more fully embrace?
We often focus our attention on being our “true” selves and although this is a worthy process, it has it’s limitations. Our “true” self can have many faces and if we explore them we may come away with the realization that we are far more complex then we can imagine. As Walt Whitman famously wrote “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes”
Kids express themselves in this way so easily. They play being a princess one moment and then a pirate, a spaceman –or in my case it was often a goat—the next. This allows them to explore the many possibilities of what they want to become. It allows them to expand beyond their daily limitations and the importance of this type of thinking is something adults often forget.
While there are a lot of benefits of knowing what we think, what we like, and who we like, it can also become a way of turning off and shutting down. It can become easy to habitually respond rather than take in the whole situation. We can become set in our ways and stop growing.
So, what might you learn about yourself by stretching outside of what you have come to identify with? How might that actually lead you home to being more of who you are?
Want a way to explore new realms of who you are are who you could be within a supportive and fun space? LifeWork Community offers you the tools to more fully all of who you are and better your life as well as that of your family and community. Learn more here
I recently got to take part in an amazing relationship workshop with Caroline Myss at Omega. Below is a selection from her online library which I absolutely recommend you check out here.
Many people take the very limited view that creativity refers only to the arts, sciences and other noble pursuits. Creative expression is not only alive in our major projects, but also present in the normal course of everyday life — how we organize our work space or our home, how we prepare our meals, or even how we structure our time.
Creativity is having ideas that we bring into physical form and as part of this process, everyone of us is given unique creative potentials. What is crucial to remember here is that your contribution will not look like anyone else’s – you can be inspired by others but when it comes to true creative expression there is no such thing as duplication.
The center of creative expression in the body is second chakra because every person’s energetic body is designed to give birth. However the creative process incarnates through your energetic system by traveling through each and every chakra. Along the way, creativity can be blocked in any of your energetic centers.
Common Blocks to Creativity
Creativity begins as a simple notion; if the notion takes hold, it becomes a bona fide “idea.” It is at this point that you begin to strategize–the who, what, where, why, and how questions. Excessive strategizing can weigh the idea down, literally drowning your creativity. Once past the details, you’ll find yourself dealing with self-doubt: “Can I really do this?” “Do I have what it takes?”
In addition to internal issues, creativity faces external pressures. The outside world will challenge the strength of your inner vision: “What, are you nuts?” “Do you have any idea the risk you are taking?” In order to forge ahead, your heart’s energy must be fully engaged in supporting your creative vision.
Up until this point, it’s all been theory. Now you must examine whether or not you’ve got the guts to put your “money” where your mouth is: Sign up for the class, apply for that business loan, even something as basic as purchasing the wallpaper for your home office. Take the necessary physical steps to put your “idea” into action. As you do, new issues may arise, such as jealousy, competition, control, decision-making, money, trust, and the urge to give up. As you begin your new creative adventures, keep in mind that archetypal patterns of behavior can influence their direction. See if you can identify some of the more common patterns in your life. (more…)
For today’s aspiring entrepreneur, exploring avenues of creativity to find your passion is likely the quickest route to increase your chances of launching a successful business. Where to start? Here, five exercises to help you uncover your passion.
Exercise 1 – Revisit your childhood. What did you love to do? “It’s amazing how disconnected we become to the things that brought us the most joy in favor of what’s practical,” says Rob Levit, an Annapolis, Md.-based creativity expert, speaker and business consultant.
Levit suggests making a list of all the things you remember enjoying as a child. Would you enjoy that activity now? For example, Frank Lloyd Wright, America’s greatest architect, played with wooden blocks all through childhood and perhaps well past it.
“Research shows that there is much to be discovered in play, even as adults,” Levit says.
Revisit some of the positive activities, foods and events of childhood. Levit suggests asking yourself these questions to get started: What can be translated and added into your life now? How can those past experiences shape your career choices now?
Exercise 2 – Make a “creativity board.” Start by taking a large poster board, put the words “New Business” in the center and create a collage of images, sayings, articles, poems and other inspirations, suggests Michael Michalko, a creativity expert based in Rochester, N.Y., and Naples, Fla., and author of creativity books and tools, including ThinkPak (Ten Speed Press, 2006).
“The idea behind this is that when you surround yourself with images of your intention — who you want to become or what you want to create — your awareness and passion will grow,” Michalko says. As your board evolves and becomes more focused, you will begin to recognize what is missing and imagine ways to fill the blanks and realize your vision.
Exercise 3 – Make a list of people who are where you want to be. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Study people who have been successful in the area you want to pursue.
For example, during the recession, many people shied away from the real estate market because they thought it was a dead end. Levit believes that’s the perfect time to jump in — when most others are bailing out — because no matter the business, there are people who are successful in it. Study them, figure out how and why they are able to remain successful when everyone else is folding and then set up structures to emulate them.
“If you want to be creative, create a rigorous and formal plan,” Levit says. “It’s not the plan that is creative; it’s the process that you go through that opens up so many possibilities.”
Exercise 4 – Start doing what you love, even without a business plan A lot of people wait until they have an extensive business plan written down, along with angel investors wanting to throw cash at them — and their ideas never see the light of day, according to Cath Duncan, a Calgary, Canada-based creativity expert and life coach who works with entrepreneurs and other professionals.
She recommends doing what you enjoy — even if you haven’t yet figured out how to monetize it. Test what it might be like to work in an area you’re passionate about, build your business network and ask for feedback that will help you develop and refine a business plan.
It’s a way to not only show the value you would bring, but you can also get testimonials that will help launch your business when you’re ready to make it official.
“Perhaps most importantly, though, it’ll shift you out of paralysis and fear,” Cath says, “and the joy of seeing the difference your contribution makes will fuel your creativity.”
Exercise 5 – Take a break from business thinking. While it might feel uncomfortable to step outside of business mode, the mind sometimes needs a rest from such bottom-line thinking, says Levit, who has recently taken up Japanese haiku, a form of poetry. Maybe for you, it will be creative writing, painting, running or even gardening.
After you take a mental vacation indulging in something you’re passionate about, Levit suggests coming back to a journal and writing down any business ideas that come to mind.
“You’ll be amazed at how refreshed your ideas are,” he says. “Looking at beautiful things – art and nature – creates connections that we often neglect to notice. Notice them capture, them in writing and use them.”
reblogged from Entreprenuer.com