Monday, February 24, 2014

Creativity is an Action Verb

When I talk to clients or lead classes I am not always able to give a clear definition of creativity.  I know it when I see it.  Webster’s defines creativity as:  cre·a·tiv·i·ty (noun) the ability to make new things or think of new ideas.  Yes, that is a basic definition for creativity.  However, I find creativity to be more than just new things or new ideas.  First, it is an action verb that encompasses innovation, originality, improvement, progression and imagination ALL wrapped in the Creative Flow.  Here’s the deal though, creativity comes in ways that we don’t even realize.  Let’s use the common pen as an example.

This is what our Neanderthal relatives drew symbols with.  Yep, it is a stick.  I image one day someone picked up a stick and started making symbols in the dirt.  However, that someone had the innovative, original and progressive idea to PICK UP the stick.  It might not seem like much but that is creativity in action.  Later our ancient relatives would wrap a stone on the end of the stick.  Hunting and writing all in one.
When you think about the progression of the simple pen you began to see innovation and creativity in motion.

Did you notice the shirt with the pocket?  Yep, that was invented to hold your pen.  Someone had the idea to add a pocket to hold a pen.  That is creativity in action.  Now, if you look around your world you will probably notice all kinds of pens.  Colored pens, gel pens, pens with sticky tabs and the pen that is probably the most innovative of all.  The stylus for the tablet.  Creativity will continue to change the "pen" and one can only imagine what it will look like 500 years from now.

The whole point of this blog (hahahhaha get it? point?) is to convey to you that creativity is an action verb AND that we use creativity all the time.  Creativity is NOT just about writing a poem or painting sunflowers.  Creativity is an energy that each of us is born with.  As I have said a gazillion times if the Creator created us in their image then we too are creators.  Creativity is your birth right and when you use it as a verb it can transform your life.  I help women cultivate creativity.  Cool uh?  For more information visit my website at


Monday, February 17, 2014

You Are Never to Old to Create

A few years ago I worked as the director of program development for an assisted living company.  One day Henry, a 98 year old dashing gentlemen who lived at one of our communities called and asked if we could schedule an appointment.  A couple of weeks later we are sitting in the community dining room drinking coffee.  I am ready to hear his complaint.  You see, I assumed that is why we were meeting.  He looked at me and said “I think you believe in dreams and I need your help.”  Ok this was new approach.  In front of him was a folder.  He pushed it over to me and said “I just finished writing this symphony and before I die I want to hear it played by an orchestra.  Will you help me?”  I sat there in amazement, “Yes, I will help you” and that is exactly what I did.  I contacted the local junior college music department and four weeks later we had a symphony at the community.  Henry and his friends heard his music.   

You might be thinking, ok that is nice, but was it good?  Was the symphony good?  I really don’t think that matters.  Henry could barely hear and see and yet he spent years writing his notes and humming his symphony.  I think that is pretty good for a 98 year old.  But those of you who believe that the outcome is more important than the journey I will tell you his symphony was beautiful.

Each and every one of us has a creative soul.  If our creator is creative and we are in the image of our creator….well then we are creative.  It may take us a while to finally explore our creative passion as it was for Henry but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.

Every once in a while I will work with a client who thinks they are too old.  I smile and think of Henry EVERY single time.  Yes, age can slow us down but that is no excuse to NOT to do it.

When Henry said “before I die” those words lodged in my brain.  Every day I let my creativity out to play.  I don’t want to get to the end and think about all the creativity projects I want to do before I die.  What is your creative dream?  What are you waiting for?  

Monday, February 10, 2014

You Do It Wrong

Several years ago I decided to take a beginning Tai Chi Class at a local church.  The class was free and gave me something fun to do with friends on a Tuesday night.  The Tai Chi instructor, Mrs. Wang appeared to be a sweet middle aged Chinese woman.  At the beginning of the class she lined up “the regulars” at the front of the class and the newbies in the back of the class.  The newbies were instructed to follow those in front.   Mrs. Wang starts the music on her portable tape player and begins the Tai Chi movements.  I along with other newbies start following along.  Suddenly the music stops like we are playing a game of musical chairs and Mrs. Wang walks very quickly to the back of the room.  She glares at us newbies and screams “you do it wrong” and then marches back to the front of the class and re-starts the music.  Within a minute the music stops and Mrs. Wang makes her way to the back of the room and “you do it wrong” comes flying at us again.  Mrs. Wang marches back up front and within a minute the whole “you do it wrong” starts again.  By the sixth time I was finished.  I left the lineup and sat down to put my shoes on.  Mrs. Wang stops the music comes to where I am and says “you do it wrong” and as I try to explain to her that I don’t know how to “do it” her face softened with confusion.

I am not a fan of the word “wrong” because it comes from a place of judgment and judgments have roots in perfectionism.  Now, I am not talking about morality issues because there are some actions that are wrong.  Nope, I am talking about “the wrongs” we perceive in our everyday lives.  You can always spot a perfectionist because they use “right” and “wrong” language and they try to bend everyone to their way of thinking.  For the perfectionist there is only black and white with no shades of gray.  Mrs. Wang was a perfectionist with unreasonable expectations.  Expectations is the kissing cousin of perfectionism.

Now I would like for you to understand that if Mrs. Wang had been screaming “you do it right” I would have had the same reaction.  I am not a fan of the word “right” either because it too comes from a place of judgment with scattered roots in perfectionism and expectations.

Now here is the rub, perfectionism, expectations and right or wrong thinking kills creativity.  Creativity must contain options for growth and expansion.  So if you are trying to create the perfect business or the perfect dance or the perfect sketch or the perfect poem you will fail before you even start.   Because I know as a creativity coach most perfectionist won’t even be able to start because of fear.  Fear it won’t be perfect, fear it will be wrong, fear of failure.  At the end of the day perfectionism and expectations rob us of our joy.

As for Mrs. Wang she was asked not to lead anymore Tai Chi classes.  I find that incredibly sad because she did have a passion for Tai Chi.  You could see the joy on her face for a few seconds before she stopped the music.  Her drive for perfectionism and high expectations of others took her Tai Chi teaching away.

P.S. this blog post is not perfect and that is OK!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

How Color Influences Your World

In Creative Play Coaching I encourage my clients to use color.  Why?  Because color has a powerful influence in our lives.  The colors we like and dislike can offer insight into our unique personalities.  Let’s Play!  Grab a piece of paper and a pen.  Think of your favorite color.  If you have two or more favorite colors then choose one.  Now, write down five words that YOU think describe that color.  For example, if your favorite color is yellow, you could write bright, cheerful, encouraging, energetic, and happy.  Now, here is the fun part.  The words that you use to describe your favorite color can also be used to describe you.
Chromotherapist or Color Therapist associate colors with different meanings and treatments.

The following is a list of colors and their basic meanings:
BLACK is sophistica­tion, mourning, evil, anger, and strength.
BLUE is calm, peace, quiet, truth, wisdom, loy­alty, and the spirit.
RED is physical energy, mischief, love, passion, valor, fire, and wrath.
GREEN is healing, learning, growth, life, hope, and brilliance.
ORANGE is energy, endurance, and physical strength.
PURPLE is royalty the inner royalty of each of us and the outer royalty of the divine.
YELLOW is the mind, joy, purity, clarity, and hap­piness.

Fantastic!  Now how do we use this knowledge in our everyday lives?  You already use it whether you know it or not.  McDonald's uses the colors red and yellow.   The colors red and yellow increase our energy.  We eat more and we eat quickly.  Yea, McDonald’s knows this too.

How can you use color in the home?  A red bedroom is great for passion but a blue one will help you sleep better.  How can you use color for your personal appearance?  If you need to feel powerful you should wear______?  Yep, red is your power color.  If you want to project the image of wisdom and peace you should wear______?  Blue.  What colors does the Dalai Lama wear?  How about a priest?  Interesting uh?  If you are trying to lose weight red and yellow plates are out.  You will eat less by using a blue or green plate.  A relaxing reading room should be blue or green.

This color stuff is a lot of fun uh?  So, take some time and look around your home, place of work and even your car.  How is color influencing your life?