Are you one of those people who can turn their hand to pretty much anything? You can take a piece of fabric and, with the help of a few pins, a pair of scissors and maybe a sewing machine, you can produce a garment that actually looks like something you would wear and not something that you have to pass off as "cutting edge" or "avant garde" the one time you're brave enough to wear it. I have certain skills in this area myself ;-)
Or maybe you are one of those people that maintains that they don't have a creative bone in their body. The thought of going to a craft workshop or "upcycling" either horrifies or mildly amuses you.
Ever since Caroline Burton Fibre Art began, I have been using the tag line "Created Creative". It's kind of catchy, it aliterates nicely. But it is also the essence of why I do what I do.
At the core is my belief that I am created by God, in his image.
And since He is the absolute authority on all things creative (just take a look around), it stands to reason that I have that part of His personality stamped all over me too. And so do you.
Use it or lose it!
While we all might inherently have it, creativity is a part of our psyche that we need to exercise. You could do a little self analysis right now to check how open you are to creative processes....
- How keen are you to try new things? Don't get me wrong - if you're the sort of person who thrives on routine, that's absolutely fine. But it is also important to recognise that it would be easy to miss out on so many of the opportunities that life can hold if we don't make the effort to provide space for new experiences and people in our routine. Creativity is defined as the use of imagination or original ideas to create something - making sure that you are habitually open to new ideas and experiences helps to train your mind to be more receptive to the creative process. If this is an area that you want to work on, how about taking the plunge and trying a new hobby? It might also be a great intro for meeting some new people, another awesome ingredient for creativity.
- How accepting are you of ideas that don't match yours? It can be really easy to get tunnel vision, particularly when someone comes along with a different way of doing something that we've been doing the same way, without thinking about it, for years. On some level, it feels that we are being challenged. Consciously accepting that there can be lots of different ways of doing the same thing is an important part of creative process. You may be able to see immediately that some of the other ways are ludicrous. But make sure you see them for what they are; other ways to achieve the same objective (even if they are more time consuming, costly, outlandish, etc). Maybe you could even try these other options out for yourself, just for fun!
- Are you OK with relaxing your hold on the reins? Or do you have a tendency to micro-manage situations so that you don't feel that things are out of control? This has been a big one for me as a parent. I generally seem to have lots of things going on (mums are great at multi-tasking, right?) and as a result, when my kids want to spread their creative wings, my thoughts immediately go to how I can maintain control of the situation so that I don't end up with another massive mess to clean up and how can I keep the momentum of all the other things I'm juggling while I am helping them. It has been important that I loosen my grip on the control in order for them to be able to explore their creative ideas and develop their own creative expressions as they've grown. Yes, it means that I may occasionally have to help them to clean up the odd mess so huge that I wonder whether it might just be easier to cut our losses and find a new place to live. It's the same in work situations - people can only be their best creative selves (which is always going to be more beneficial to the company as a whole, so long as it's appropriately channelled) when their working environment encourages initiative, collaboration and the free flow of ideas.
But why should I bother - does it really matter if i'm not all that creative?
If you've slipped into a touch of complacency when it comes to this area of your life, firstly, don't beat yourself up - even the people who seem to you to be the most dynamic have seasons in their life where they just feel like they want to lock in cruise control for a while. But you are actually selling yourself short when you don't bother. There is so much more to be gained and enjoyed in a life where you push yourself to try new things, be the one to put your hand up and say "Actually, I have a good idea..." and then RUN with it. I know this because I am really fortunate that my husband (all round amazing man) has always encouraged me to go for it - take the risk. When I have an idea, his response is always along the lines of "Well, there's nothing stopping you....".
It is when we push boundaries and step out of our comfort zones to forge new ground that we find out what we are really capable of. And this is where we find personal fulfilment. Why? Because that's the way we were designed! Created Creative!!
You are uniquely you.
You may have the sort of creativity that means that your hands can make things which look the way your brain wants them to. But you may not. Your particular type of creativity might be expressed through the awesome strategies that you come up with for dealing with conflict. Or in the way that you can use programming to build a solution for your business. My point is that your creative expression can look vastly different to the next person's.
So the next time you're tempted to claim that you are devoid of creativity think about the last problem you solved or the last idea that made you throw yourself a high five and think Yeah! I thought of that!!
See? Look at that, you amazing, creative creation x