News Creativity in the Workplace

“A creative idea will be defined simply as one that is both novel and useful (or influential) in a particular social setting.”
– Alice Flaherty


“I don’t have a creative bone in my body” is one of the most common phrases I hear when people meet me. I roll my eyes – it’s is all I can do to not slap people in the face. We have over 100 BILLION brain cells and are wired for creativity!! I believe it is our birthright.

When people cling to the perception that they are not creative it is like owning a car and never using the radio, seat warmers or window wipers. Vehicles have clever features and driving around year after year, never making use of them is very similar to not activating your creative muscles. Heck, I would even go so far as to say that not embracing your creativity is like driving a car and never putting it in reverse or turning on the radio or opening the sunroof.

The segregation between “bizarre creatives” and “normal people” is growing thinner each year as people are embracing the shifting definition and interpretation of creativity. It is no longer divisive or seen as something only available for the selected few from the gifted gene pool. The definition of creativity is broader and more inclusive than some realise. Writer Elizabeth Gilbert said it well, “Creativity is the relationship between a human being and the mysteries of inspiration.”

We are treasure troves of gifts, talents and raw humanity. Living a life in search of all the gold within you is creative living!! It’s that simple! Being creative is not solely about being able to draw, paint, play an instrument, sing or dance. Creativity it acknowledging the beauty within you, shining a spotlight on it and saying “This is the light and energy I offer to my family, my tribe, my community…my world.”

“Easy for you to say Sarah” I hear you say! “You are so creative! What about people who don’t feel creative? Can creativity be learned and if so what can I do to grow my skills?”

Well, I’m so glad you asked! First off, you would be surprised to know that I recently took a business skills test and “Creativity” was not in my top 5 skill sets!!? “Forgiveness” was at the top of my list, which warmed my heart and kind of hurt my ego…not very creative?? What? Maybe I just need to take the test again without distractions, or maybe I have a long way to go in growing my confidence of my own creativity! Either way, I want to grow and hopefully you do too, so here are my four tips. I honestly could list an alphabet worth, but that would be overwhelming, so let’s just start with the basics.

P - PRACTICE - “Practice make perfect..." Bullshit. There is no such thing as perfect...practice makes better. So let's get better. Let’s start with embracing ourselves and saying “I am creative,”. Let’s dismiss any lies that have held us back from not living life as the creative beings that we are, with an endless supply of creativity within our own DNA.

Practice doing things that stretch your creative muscles. Look at a problem or situation and try to see it from every possible angle, like the 7 hat trick. Drive or commute another way home from work and get away from the monotony of life. Try a new food at least monthly. Travel, even if it is just somewhere local that you have been “meaning to” check out. Write a letter…the old-fashioned way and put it in the mail! When putting food on a plate, take an extra moment of love and make it look like a nice restaurant dish with thoughtful placement and a little garnish. Brush your teeth with your opposite hand. It’s the little things of breaking up the routine that get these creative juices flowing!

M - MEDITATION - In 2012, a cognitive therapist named Lorenza Colzato and her research team tested two methods of meditation on people who were new to meditation. They discovered that Open Monitoring Meditation increased the novice participants’ divergent thinking levels, which is an important factor of creativity.

Are you like me and come up with really great ideas in the shower, exercising or whilst driving? Do you know that science behind that? DOPAMINE! When our brains are in a more relaxed and restful state (which is usually when doing menial tasks), within those few moments of daydreaming, dopamine is released. This happens as you disengage your mind from overthinking tasks or problems and as your mind wanders…BOOM! Eureka! The solution you have been fretting over feels to fall effortlessly into your lap.

Practice meditation…being present…breathing. The effects on your soul and business relationships will be phenomenal.

S - SLEEP - Did you know that sleep scientists say that getting less than 8 hours of sleep is like going to work on a pint of beer? This is because lack of sleep or a pint of beer reduces our cognitive abilities by 1/3. And I used to brag about how much I accomplished in 20 hours and how many coffee's made it possible. Gone are those days!
You can now go to bed at 8 or 9 PM and not feel like a grandma, lazy or guilty!!

Our bodies need sleep for health and creativity more than we give our bodies credit for… and if you aren’t convinced, then listen to Arianna Huffington’s story. Arianna, (founder of the Huffington post) passed out from working so hard, cracked her head open and was lucky to not lose an eye. She now has 3 nap rooms in her office building and encourages all her employees to have a short rest when they need to, and has seen increased results in productivity within her company.

A - AUTHENTICITY - Have you ever acted in a school play and then got off the stage and stayed in character for a year? No. It would get old and everyone would have teased or complained until you finally were yourself. For 20 YEARS - I did just that!! I acted and pretended to be someone I wasn’t to get the approval of my family and the surrounding conservative culture I was brought up in. It got to the point where most people thought I was who I pretended to be. Living as a fake, drains the soul, creativity, and life out of you faster than anything I know.

After over a decade of pretending, I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and couldn’t walk or draw without injecting toxic medications into my body to reduce the swelling of
my joints. After 5 more years of increased depression and mood swings I was diagnosed with Bipolar II and added more medications to the cocktail of alcohol and drugs I was already taking.
Emotions are completely linked to disease, and if you carry resentment or unforgivness in your soul it is no wonder if you are in physical pain.

On Boxing Day 2017, I watched the Greatest Showman movie and saw misfits boldly sing “This is Me” and it saved my life. I thought, “If the bearded lady can say ‘I am brave, I am bruised, this is who I’m meant to be’, then so can I”. And soon thereafter, after years of depression and chaos, I left a 12-year marriage to a great man because I couldn’t pretend to be straight one more moment. It was the bravest moment of my life.

I haven’t needed or craved medication, drugs or alcohol since! Granted I have felt the RA creeping back, but I did go overboard and made up for 7 years of a reduced sugar diet by eating daily pastries and treats for 7 months! For those that don’t know, RA (although an incurable autoimmune disease), can flare when you eat a poor diet. What you eat and drink effects the pain levels and swelling of the joints, which is why you’ll find most people with RA try not to eat white sugar, starchy foods or red meat. I see the pain a blessing because I have shifted to an extremely healthy diet and am feeling better each day…which is increasing my creativity too!

Embracing who I am has enriched my personal life, empowered me as a mother of two, and as this is a business article...has doubled my income! Imagine what living authentically can do for your business!

If you remember anything I have said, please remember that creativity is your birthright… you were born free…born creative…so no matter what lie you were told or believed, you my friend are a creative soul.

If I can be creative after years of medication, hiding who I am and being in constant pain, you can certainly embrace your creativity!



"I believe that curiosity is the secret. Curiosity is the truth and the way of creative living. Curiosity is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. Furthermore, curiosity is accessible to everyone.” E. Gilbert, Big Magic

For those of you who want to get started on your creative journey – start by reading these books over Christmas.



If you’re not the reading type, I offer one-on-one creative sessions, team building sessions, and classes. My next Paint with Sarah class is on 19th January 2019 – details here.

I’ll be performing at the ShireWomen Indulgent Christmas Party on 30th November so if you want to chat about having me perform at one of your functions, or have me paint a piece for you, shoot me an email at artistsarahrowan@gmail.com

 

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