What If Creativity Was Your Gateway to Growth?

The thought that creativity could be a gateway to growth came to me recently in technicolor vividness, and it is making so much sense.  And it seems the more I embrace this idea, act on it, and follow my intuition on it, the more creative I realize I am.  But first, I had to unpack my belief system.

 

See, I used to think I was not creative, and in fact would say that out loud, and laugh about it, truly believing that I was not creative.  “I can barely draw a stick figure,” I would say, or “I’ve never taken an art class in my life.”  

 

Thinking back (way back), it dawned on me where this thought came from.  As a child, I was obsessed with horses (and unicorns).  I decided I wanted to draw horses, so I got a book on how to draw them.  I sucked at it.  I could never get my drawings to look like the ones in the book.  So I decided then and there I was a terrible artist, and never again did I attempt to draw anything.  Ever.  After this experience, I decided to never take an art class in school because I thought I would fail.  

 

I took art history classes, explored galleries, and beautiful buildings all over Europe during a semester abroad in college, but never drew, never painted, never spun a pottery wheel.  Then in my 40s it occurred to me that I actually AM creative…in the kitchen.  I love to cook, rarely follow a recipe completely, and love making up new dishes from whatever we have on hand. I claimed that as my one creative redeeming quality, and left it at that.  

 

 After serious burnout working insane hours for a large regional CPA firm as a working mom, I reluctantly started my own business in 2010 doing bookkeeping and taxes.  I attracted creatives like a magnet.  I had graphic designers, musicians, florists, coaches, start-up entrepreneurs, inventors, and writers.  I loved working with them, but part of me didn’t understand why, and why they loved working with me.  The feedback I received was that I was non-judgmental, was able to listen, hold space, help them get organized and meet deadlines, and that I was able to help them view money differently and work with it more easily.  We had amazing conversations and brainstorming sessions, and I felt I was having an impact on them, and they were having an impact on me.  And we had so much fun working together!

I’ve always been an idea person, an out-of-the box problem solver and a planner.  Like I can see 5 steps down the road instantly, and backtrack the steps needed to get there.  I connect dots, especially seemingly unrelated ones, and paint a picture in my mind of what’s going on that wasn’t clear just minutes before.  I kinda thought everyone did that for a while, until I realized that was not the case.  

I just looked up a definition of creativity.  From Human Motivation, 3rd ed., by Robert E. Franken: Creativity is defined as “The tendency to generate or recognize ideas, alternatives, or possibilities that may be useful in solving problems, communicating with others, and entertaining ourselves and others.”  Aha.  It’s not just art.  Art is amazing, but there are other forms of creativity, so if you think you aren’t creative, think again. 

 

I found that as I worked my way up in my career, people had a hard time following my line of thinking because…it wasn’t a line; it wasn’t linear.  And traditional and corporate ways want linear.  I often didn’t feel like I fit in.  I had a hard time explaining how I knew what I knew, and was often either dismissed, disbelieved, ignored or told no, that won’t work, or that won’t happen.  Except it did.  On many occasions months or even a year or more later, what I had thought of and suggested a year before was suddenly a great idea, and I had to remind people that it was my idea originally.   This “sudden insight” by others was often brought on by a crises (hello, Covid), or change in the economy or market.  While I can’t predict the future, again so many things were signs, however subtle, my brain just puts them together and creates a solution, or a plan.  If we had implemented some of these things sooner as was my desire, we could have avoided some difficult situations, lost money, lost employees, lost clients.  

My lesson is that while I don’t need to defend myself, I do need to learn to sell my ideas better, and think long and hard about the threads I am seeing that lead me to said conclusion.  This will allow me to bring others on board with my ideas, merge with other ideas creating even more ideas, and help us move forward, solve or prevent a problem, and be ready. 

I rely heavily on my intuition, which is a very strong inner knowing that I pair with a spiritual connection to nature and the universe, and I trust it.  I didn’t always trust it, but I definitely do now.  Sometimes I question it, but I know better.  Even when it doesn’t make logical sense, I still follow it, because I truly know, it knows. 

What does intuition have to do with creativity? Creativity starts with intuition.   Connection with our intuition does not involve intellect, or even conscious thought.  It is tapping into our body, our senses, our feelings, our inner knowing.  When we do that, the conscious mind and creativity explodes with ideas.  The two go hand in hand.  

Maybe this is why we sometimes need time alone to connect with that inner knowing, to do our best work.  Maybe this is why we crave new experiences, travel, love learning, and exploring.  For me, when I am rock climbing, or mountain biking, or trail running in the mountains, or on the river, I am having fun and challenging my body and my skills.  But it is also often when I get my best ideas.  My brain is focused on the task at hand intensely (it has to or I could be seriously injured), and it allows another part of me to free up, to open, and the ideas fly in like a flock of birds hitting my bird feeder in the morning when I put the seed out.  Hungry, coming out of nowhere, all different shapes, sizes, colors and calls.  

 

But I also have ADHD, and I have learned that many creative people have ADHD.  I recently saw a statistic that people with ADHD are 500% more likely to start their own business, and I know one reason why.  We don’t fit in the box! We value freedom.  We have ideas we want to birth into the world, and starting a business is a great way to do that. 

And if you own a business, creativity may be one of your best assets.  But, it can also be a distraction (think shiny object syndrome).   Being able to harness our creativity to create and do great things also requires focus, follow through, time management, self-management, and some organization.  As business owners, we get to do lots of fun stuff, and we are the boss, yes!  We also wear many hats and some of the things we have to do may not be all that fun.  Or worse, drudgery.  

If this is you, consider scheduling a Time Really Is On Your Side coaching session with me, where we dive into your relationship with time and productivity, and find ways to make the things you are procrastinating on happen, lessen the resistance, learn some hacks to make some things more fun, and set up accountability that works for you.  

So, do I think I am creative now?  You bet I do. 

Am I now embracing being a creator?  Yes, I am. 

Am I doing more creative things these days?  Yep.

I am intentionally doing some new creative activities that I am loving, my brain is loving, and is building confidence and expanding my creative self even more.  I started painting with watercolors, signed up for guitar lessons, and am writing more often.  The book I started writing in 2022 is calling me to get back to working on it, and I can hardly wait.  

Intuition is the ramp.  Creativity is the gateway.  Growth – be it personal growth, business growth, impact growth, growing connections – is the benefit. 

I can’t wait to see what you create!

DM me on Linked In or email me at mkooicc@confluencecoaching.life to schedule a time to chat.  I’d love to hear your story.

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