Creativity has no age limit. Creativity has no right or wrong. Creativity is in the eye of the beholder.
I am fascinated with creativity right now. Maybe it is because I see the beauty of what my children create. Maybe it is because I see uplifting changes happening in the work environment. Maybe it is because I have learned that creativity is not just the ability to draw or paint, but it is the also the ability to design, to organize and to assemble. As Brene Brown puts it, “The only unique contribution that we will ever make in this world will be born of our creativity.” Owning who we are and the gifts that we bring to this world is that first step in realizing our creative potential. I may not be a renowned painter, but can organize every detail of a vacation. My friend has a knack for purchasing the perfect gift…on every occasion. Another friend has the gift of bringing together the right people at the right time to help others make connections. And yet another friend brings to the table all of those wild and crazy ideas that we kick our self for not thinking of! Each one of these people is creative, in their own unique way.
As a parent I am encouraged to see the time and energy my children spend engaging in creativity. Their imaginations are encouraged to run wild whether it is making a clay bowl, building a bridge, gymnastics or skateboarding, drawing a picture of a wolf, a rainbow or a sunny day, hand stitching a Lakota Indian dress or simply finding a new way to solve a math problem, creativity is everywhere. But I am forever aware that in the deep dark corner in the back of the room, lurks the voice of conformity.
“Stay within the lines. There is only one way to solve the problem. Your artwork isn’t good enough . Don’t ask questions, just do as I say. Strive for perfection, anything less is not worthy. What will people think? We always do it this way.”
At a young age the comparison game starts, artwork and creativity become graded and critiqued and our children can start to pull back from their natural expression if they aren’t coached through the reasons why and how to put those lurking voices to rest. I saw this firsthand at a competitive meet this past weekend. It was known going in that all children would receive an award; it was a friendly competition getting parents and children used to the process. But after the awards ceremony, my daughter approached me nervous that at one point, she feared being left out or not getting award. This was the perfect coaching moment and what ensued was a heart to heart discussion on why not all children will receive awards, the power of giving it your all, and dusting yourself off and coming back stronger next time. (But I admit, in the back of my head, I still fear for my children’s disappointment and hope that we are guiding them appropriately to handle that inevitable disappointment.)
There will be winners, there will be losers, but we cannot let the loss stifle our creativity.
So in the end when I reflect back my own creative journey, I am responsible for accepting and owning my creativity. I am responsible for taking that first uncomfortable step to own my creativity. I am responsible for identifying my creative outlet and doing something about it. “Unused creativity isn’t benign. It lives within until isn’t expressed, neglected to death, or suffocated by resentment and fear.” (Brown, 2010)
In the words of Creativity Competency from Lominger, I share with you a few tips if you need to recharge your creativity.
“Afraid you won’t be able to defend your idea? By its very nature, being creative means throwing uncertain things up for review and critique. More comfortable with what is very practical? Being creative begins as being impractical. You don’t have to change who you are and what you’re comfortable with other than when you need to be more creative. Then think and act differently; try new things; break free of your restraints.” (Michael M. Lombardo, 2004)