Raise your hand if you’ve ever thought the following:
- I don’t consider myself creative.
- I really don’t know how to be creative.
- Being creative comes easy for others, not me.
Meet Faye*. Faye is a social worker and loves her job very much. She’s even gotten her Master’s degree in social work and hopes to really make a difference giving help and support to families from broken homes. Faye considers herself to be very organized and great at following the rules. In fact, she prides herself on thinking inside the box. She says that the box was created for a reason and serves a purpose. Faye believes that working within the confines of the box keeps orderliness and control of the situation.
According to Faye, she is not a creative person. She believes being creative is ‘thinking outside of the box and is the ability to see the grey area out of a black and white world”.
One day on the job Faye had the task of working on a particularly difficult case. Her challenge was to gather five siblings ranging in ages 8 to 16 to interview and get them to open up to her about their feelings about what was bothering them while living at home. No small feat, as the last thing children at that age want to do is open up and talk about their feelings to an adult. Faye had to get creative; she knew that confronting the kids with her traditional interview style of questions like, ‘tell me how you feel?’ would not work this time. Their guards would go up, they would become defensive, and completely shut down. Faye found herself trapped in the box.
What we don’t know about Faye is that Faye is an amazing cook. She finds joy in experimenting and creating new meals (according to step-by-step recipe directions of course) for herself and her family. Their full bellies and look of satisfaction from her loved ones whenever she serves a meal simply makes her feel happy.
So returning back to Faye’s problem of getting the five kids to open up about their feelings at home. Faye decided that she would bring her love of the kitchen into her job as a social worker and asked the five kids if they had ever had apple pie before. They excitedly replied yes thinking Faye had brought them a lovely pie to eat. Faye then asked the kids, “you love apple pie, but have you ever made one before”? The kids looked at her in disbelief telling her they’ve only had store bought pie and couldn’t even conceive of an apple pie being made at home. Faye returned to the kid’s home with a bag full of ingredients for apple pie; fresh apples, flour, cinnamon, the works! The kids looked on with excitement eager to get started in baking their apple pie. Faye helped them put together the recipe for the apple pie and in doing so; she created a perfect opportunity to engage each child casually with her interview questions that would allow them to open up and share their feelings. And open up they did! Faye solved her problem and got out of her box by bringing her love of cooking to the job. She brought the kids a new experience, got them to open up and got answers to the questions she needed in order to do her job.
Sounds like a Faye is a pretty creative person after all, huh?
I share this story about Faye because I know there are many of us out there like Faye. We feel this sense of disconnectedness from our creativity even rejecting it all together calling ourselves ‘not creative’. We’ve created this imaginary box for ourselves that leaves little to no room for imagination and creative expansion. It’s commonly believed that creativity is one of those things that is reserved for the select few who can wield a paint brush, sing a tune, or compose a sonnet in the blink of an eye. If those things do not come naturally for us, it creates the idea that we must not be creative. In that context, we make creativity completely out of reach for ourselves.
Let’s start over by redefining how we think about Creativity.
- Thinking outside the box starts with knowing that there is no box to begin with.
- We are all naturally creative beings and express ourselves in unique ways.
- Our individuality is our creativity.
- Creativity is an expression of who we are, how we see ourselves, and the world around us.
- Our creativity is like a wandering hungry dog, the more you feed it, the more it keeps coming back.
- Being creative has less to do with ‘what’ you do and more about the person doing it.
What new beliefs can you adopt to open up to your creativity? Post in the comments below!
We will be continuing this discussion on Wednesday this week during our FREE weekly series In Spirit tele-circle. Join us for I’m Not Creative and other lies we tell ourselves on Wednesday, July 10th @ 8pm Eastern to learn about the stories we tell ourselves about being creative and how connecting with your creativity can align you with your career purpose. Sign up for the Free tele-circle!
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*real client, name changed