Archived from the week of 5/14/18 @ The Guilde:
“Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.
The rest of it will take care of itself.”
-- Elizabeth Gilbert
It was wonderful to swim in the currents of creativity, our theme last week at The Guilde. Our aim was to blast open a wider perspective on what constitutes creativity and entitle each of us to claim more of it in our lives.
The research confirms our belief that creativity is a vital, essential, innate part of us all. Neuroscience teaches that creativity is a function of the cerebral cortex; everyone is born creative and can practice and grow their capacity at any time. The challenge, therefore, is not in having creativity, but in engaging and releasing it throughout our lives. In fact, only 1 in 4 people believe they are living up to their creative capacity, and studies show that the average American unlearns creativity throughout their adulthood. The field of psychology posits that on a personal level, creativity is the key to joy, aliveness, fulfillment, freedom and wholeness while on a societal level, it is the key to innovation, contribution, and the architecture of our world. In fact, creativity is often called out as the single most important human skill of the future.
Some of our favorite thought leadership on the topic comes from Tom and David Kelly at IDEO, who teach that people with creative confidence have a far greater impact on the world. But they frame creativity in an expansive way: “Creativity is using your imagination to create anything new in the world — ideas, solutions, approaches, experiences.” And John Cleese’s view: “Creativity is not a talent, it’s a way of operating.”
Through this lens, creativity is not siloed for artists and self-identified creatives. Rather, creativity is a way of life, an approach, a faculty that can be equally applied to our relationships, the home front, the way we move through our lives, and the space we give to bringing new ideas, visions, and businesses to life.
What does all this have to do with us as women in particular? Most women are familiar with putting off their own creative work until everyone else’s has been taken care of. But creativity is a muscle and perspective that requires a real and significant investment of time and energy. Creativity needs quiet (time each day), engagement (focus and commitment), dreaming (imagination and free thinking), relaxation, release (letting go), and play (new ideas, deep conversations). In other words, creativity doesn’t just happen; rather, creativity is a value that requires resource allocation.
What is clear to us is that in order for that to happen, one must feel (1) entitled to devoting time, space and energy to her own creative process; (2) willing to take unrestricted risks with no guarantee of any particular outcome; and (3) willing to recover a child’s curiosity, playfulness, and lack of concern with being judged. Why does it matter for women? Because everything meaningful and important that is architected in our world – products, social initiatives, public policy, art that moves us, you name it – is the function of someone’s creative process and vision.
What we know from our own experience and from working with women to draw forth their creative visions is that historically, women are just beginning to grow our entitlement muscle, our self-permission and our facility for the risk-taking required in creating. What we also know is that beyond the cost to our society at large of women not leading with their creativity, there is an enormous personal toll to us when our creativity goes dormant. We compromise our self-esteem when we give up on something our spirit wants to express; we silence our contributions when we dismiss our own creative ideas; we waste our life force; and we quite possibly engage in something negative or destructive instead (e.g. criticism, judgment, or control over others).
So here’s what we’ll leave you with: It is essential that women make space for our creativity. Beyond our own well-being, the world is crying out for our creative contributions. On a micro, day-to-day basis, that means allowing ourselves periods of wide open space to live in our own, beautiful, wandering brains – the default network mode - where our creativity can emerge. Doing so is not a fruitless pursuit; it’s where our synapses fire and our greatest ideas, solutions and innovations are sparked.
Cheers to taking your full creative license,
xo, Dana & Kristan