12 Days of Creativity for 2022
Creativity is such a buzz word now, it's practically lost its meaning. In the past few decades it has evolved from artistic genius to craft making, from a talent you do or don't have to a skill you must develop to succeed in business. Every one of these ideas misses the mark, or touches only one part of it.
Creativity is the force of Life itself. We see it all around us it in Nature... from the stars to our cells. It flows around and through us all the time whether we see it or not. Through all the cycles of life – from birth to death – it keeps us alive and growing.
Human beings have been bestowed with direct access to creativity. And the quality of our lives depends on how well we learn to use it, how much we believe we have access to it, and how willing we are to take the risks to take action on it.
It all starts with how you think. Your actions follow your thoughts. And your results follow your actions.
If you have a project (creative or impact, professional or personal) that's stalled, this post is for you.
Read on for 12 mind-altering, heart-opening, life-changing secrets I've discovered through my lifetime as a creative adventurer.
1 What's that empty feeling?
The greatest joys of life can only be found outside your comfort zone, in the land where disappointment gives way to adventure. Yet we live in a society that asks us to accept the status quo and conform to what we’re told. I spent the first 40 years of my life trying to play it safe. Until I couldn’t. Millions of people do not have the freedom to know what they know, want what they want and do what they’re called to do. If you’re one of the fortunate ones, try this. Just for today tell yourself the truth. Take a breath. Then take a moment to answer this question: Is there something you ache for? Something more you long to do? That’s creativity.
2 What are you hungry for?
How many people live their entire lives without fully acknowledging who they are and what’s important to them? It’s way too easy to spend your lifetime in a job, a marriage, a belief system, even a country that doesn’t fit you. It took a painful conjunction of three major endings in my life for the gnawing of my own hunger to wake me up. It hurts a lot to see the gap between what you have and what you want, to realize you’re not there. But the only way to authentic fulfillment is through that emptiness. Just for today honor your hunger. Take a breath. Take a moment to ask yourself: What do you long to do with your one and only life? That’s creativity.
3 Who do you think you are?
Into every creative process come moments of fear, self-doubt and second-guessing. The voice in your head might belong to you or someone you love, but the questions it asks you will paralyze you. To create what no one has created requires that you go where no one has gone. There are no maps. It’s frightening. I spent decades of my life not doing and not doing and not doing what I most wanted to do. And you can stay stuck here for a lifetime. Or… you can turn the corner. Just for today turn away from that negative voice and choose what you love. Take a breath. Take a moment to answer this question. What can you see that no one else can… and what’s it worth to you? That’s creativity.
4 What’s out there?
When you finally find the courage to break away from the crowd, it’s exhilarating. At first. There’s a sense of power like no other. Free at last! You’re on your way… following your own inner guidance system to points unknown. But the eventual success of your creative adventure relies on good preparation and reliable support. When I left the United States 20 years ago, I had no idea where my six-week walkabout would take me. It didn’t take many months for me to learn just how indispensable a net would be. Just for today let go of what you know and set sail toward what you don’t. Take a breath. Take a moment to answer this question. What’s possible beyond what you know? What resources can you call on while you’re out there? That’s creativity.
5 What do you know for sure?
There is joy in the simple doing of creative work. When you can stay in the present moment, the making itself will sustain you. But what comes next? What do you want to do with it? Are you hoping to make money, be recognized, help others, build a business? That’s a different brand of creativity for sure. Once you’ve quit your day job or left your status quo, you may well feel lost. Your dream is as clear as it ever was, but it is not here yet. You question. When I was fired from a freelance job 25 years ago, it was hard to see anything else. But oh what was to come! This is the time you have to dig deep into what you know for sure, to stabilize yourself and stay vigilant so that when opportunities arrive you can see them. Just for today go deep into yourself and keep a lookout. Take a breath. Take a moment to answer this question: What do I know for sure? What can I count on? That’s creativity.
6 Where’s the overwhelm?
Every creative journey is laced with storms. Things don’t work out the way you hoped. They take longer, cost more, get fewer results. Setbacks may pile on top of you. Your emotions rise to meet them and stir up the waters even more. But all the fighting only makes it more difficult to find clarity. I’ve had to learn this lesson many times in my lifetime, and it’s always painful. In our productivity-driven society we’re not taught to step back. But sometimes that is the most efficient response… and the only way to capture the creative seed you’ve been seeking. Just for today stop fighting and allow the next step to appear. Take a breath. Take a moment to answer this question: Where is the next green light to follow? That’s creativity.
7 Where is the wonder?
Chaos is part of the creative process. Science recognizes it as the birthplace of everything. It is an empty, weightless space where new forms can take shape and become visible. One of my life’s greatest discoveries has been that just when things get really crazy, something wonderful is about to be born. Halfway through the creative process, you are far from the status quo you first left. It is as scary as it is exciting. But what arises from it is precious and beautiful and new. Just for today become a container for your idea and commit to seeing it all the way into existence. Take a breath. Take a moment to answer this question. Who do you need to be to create your work? That’s creativity.
8 What’s your hurry?
Oh, the agony. You’ve done so much work. You’ve invested everything. You’ve done all the right things, or so you thought. So why isn’t anything happening? Where are the results you were promised? So many times after working my a** off to make my vision real, I’m impatient; and when I can’t see those results I’ve doubted myself deeply. But every creative work has a gestation period. And no matter how urgent things feel to you, some things can’t be rushed. All there is to do is wait and allow the process to run its course. Just for today trust the process and allow your idea to take the time it needs to develop. Take a breath. Take a moment to answer this question. How can you manage your emotions while you’re waiting? That’s creativity.
9 What do you hope for?
When you finally begin to see the fruits of your hard work coming into form, it’s not always what you were hoping for. It’s not quite right. The shapes don’t please you. It’s hard on the ego to see your reflection in a work-in-progress. Perfectionism rears its head and snaps at your heart. How many creative works I’ve just walked away from because I couldn’t bear it! Creative work is not born perfect, but it is born beautiful. Just for today sit still and be present with what is actually happening. Take a breath. Take a moment to answer this question. What is there to appreciate about your creative work right now, when the work is not yet complete? That’s creativity.
10 Where is the pressure?
Are your expectations for your new work too high? Are you asking it to do too much too soon? Pressure is part of life on Planet Earth. But it needs to be just right for any living thing to thrive. Too much will kill it. Not enough, and it will never be born. I can remember in younger days imagining the first draft of my song would win a Grammy. Crazy! Don’t expect your fledgling new work to support you too soon. What you see today is not yet what it is to become. Grant it the grace to grow in its own time. Just for today make space for the fledgling and let it be just as it is. Take a breath. Take a moment to answer this question. How can I nurture this new work with unconditional acceptance while it matures? That’s creativity.
11 How many iterations are required?
The hard work of the creative process begins once you think you have something. It is physical work and can exhaust you. And emotional because it requires you to “kill your babies.” This refining station is the discipline of mastery and no creative work is complete without passage through here. Just for today detach from your beloved work and cut everything that needs to go. Take a breath. Take a moment to answer this question. How can you sustain yourself for the relentless work of making Good into Great? That’s creativity.
12 When is it enough?
After all the work you’ve done, to release your work into the world requires one final dose of courage. I love to tweak, and there will always be something tweakable. But eventually, if I don’t say it’s enough, the work will die on the vine. You have to simply come to a place of peace within yourself (if not exhaustion) to say, “It is done.” Only then when you’ve done the work can the work serve its purpose in the world. And isn’t that the vision that got you started? Just for today when you’re finally willing to call your work complete, choose to set it free. Take a breath. Take a moment to answer this question. Could it be complete? Am I willing to let this work go so that it can serve its purpose in the world? That’s creativity.
These 12 secrets will help you move through every step in the cycle of creativity. No matter what's happening now in your creative project or your life, there is always a next step.
Only when you know where you are in the process can you see what that step needs to be. The Wheel of Creativity is the compass to show you where you are.
What if you started 2022 with a new power tool in your creative toolkit?
Join the Wheel of Creativity Community to learn more about the Wheel and how to use it to take your next step.