I recently had a session with one of my “woo-woo” friends to discuss some of the blocks I felt like I was experiencing in my life and my business. (It’s OK. I can call her that. She knows I call her that.)
At one point in the session she asked me, “What are you doing to bring play into your world?”
I was a bit taken aback.
For me, “play” always kind of had this childishness or silliness attached to it.
And yet when I really considered some of my favorite times in my life, a good dose of silliness was always at the heart of it.
I responded by telling her, “It may sound silly, but music is such a huge part of my personality. I love music. And I used to write poems for people. In fact, way back in the day, when I worked at our local pool, I wrote “perfect cheers” based on the SNL skit. We’d all get a good laugh out of it.”
With an intuitive, woo-woo smirk on her face, she lovingly said, “Why aren’t you bringing that into your business?”
I honestly didn’t have an answer. I think it’s because I usually like to be thought of competent, thoughtful, and professional.
Singing and making up little rhymes doesn’t seem to fit with that. “Play” doesn’t seem necessary.
Of course, we left our session with her encouraging me to write some songs for my Facebook live show. She challenged me to share this part of myself with all of you. (I’ll just say this…brace yourselves.)
But this discussion brought up the concept of “play” in a more real sense than it ever had before. And for me, play is really synonymous with creativity.
Here are a few ways to become more creative:
Consider a time in your life when you felt the most creative.
For me, this question takes me back to working at the pool. (If I do say so myself, it was the best job ever.) Yes, I worked with my friends, got tan, and spent the entire day outside, but I was also entrenched in creatively writing these cheers and then performing them for my friends. I know. It sounds completely absurd.
But in reality, it’s not. I felt free. Light-hearted. And creative.
For you, ask yourself what activities make you feel like a kid again? We all have an inner child and she’s probably dying to play “Capture the Flag” with you.
2. Determine how you can bring more creativity into your current world.
One of the biggest fallacies of creativity is the belief that only a gifted few possess it. I’ve often heard people say “I’m just not that creative” to which I say, “That is just not true.” We all have creativity inside of us and yes, some are far better at channeling and expressing it than others.
Creativity is simply the act of creating something. Anything. It’s not only art in the traditional sense: painting, drawing, sculpting. It could be gardening, cooking, sparking a new business idea, making up a new game, dancing, or even writing.
The trap of believing you’re not creative enough is often sparked by Pinterest and all the other traditionally “creative” things people are doing on social media. Yes, if you can transform Bell jars into home decor and make signs out of barnwood, you are creative.
But that’s just one kind of creativity. It’s important to explore your own brand and not get caught up in the game of comparison. Another person’s creativity is not superior to yours.
3. Choose to cultivate creativity. (And let go of the need for control and “doing it right”.)
Right after that session with my friend, I spent the weekend with my husband and some of my dearest friends. No kids. No responsibilities. Amazing.
In that one weekend, I engaged in several activities that reminded me of who I really am. I love to sing, dance and laugh. I enjoy silliness and I’m not ashamed of it.
We sang our faces off at an outdoor Billy Joel concert, danced the night away to live music we just happened upon at a local bar, and we laughed so hard, the next morning’s pain was less alcohol-induced and more side-splitting laughter induced.
I haven’t had that much raw, unadulterated fun crammed into one weekend in a long time.
I wasn’t worried about whether I was singing in tune, dancing well (which never happens) or if people thought we seemed crazy. Our freak flags were flying and we had a blast.
If dancing and singing aren’t your thing, no problem.
Again, those are only one kind of creativity.
Figure out what yours is and if you don’t know how to find it, pay attention to the creative opportunities and outlets that arise in your community. Grab a bold friend and sign up for a class.
Just try something!
An attitude of cultivating creativity can be amazing for parents, too.
I had a Groove Schooler (this is a woman enrolled in Groove School, my group coaching program) once tell me she feels guilty because she doesn’t always want to play swords with her two boys. My response was simply this: “If you’re not having fun, it’s not playing for you. All our kids really want is for us to enjoy playing with them.”
We don’t have to feel obligated to play with our kids at their activities, all the time. We can introduce them to some of our childhood favorites. If we’re having fun, they’ll have fun, regardless of what it is we’re doing. (And yes, I completely understand this probably only works up to a certain age, but really no one should be forced to play Barbies 10 hours out of a day.)
And finally remember this, we have to build time for creativity into our lives. If we wait until we “have time”, we’ll never get around to it.
So today, I encourage you to ask yourself how you can bring more play and creativity into your daily work and life. Pursue opportunities to learn something new for no other reason than to gain a new experience and have a little fun.
I promise you, your heart and your soul will thank you.