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How I rediscovered my creativity
How I rediscovered my creativity

Many years ago I found myself in a place where I was very unhappy with my career path. I was unhappy with my work and the direction it was leading me. My creativity was beginning to suffer and as a result, I felt like my work had little meaning. The harder I tried to push myself the worse it got until one day I decided it was time to take action. I lined up a meeting with my mentor and explained the situation. He told me if I wanted to get my mojo back I needed to start being truer to myself and more respectful to the process. I only wish I had slowed down enough at the time to truly appreciate what he was trying to tell me because that message was much more powerful than I realized. The process he was referring to was the creative process, of course, but I was young and my only goal at the time was to climb the ladder as quickly as possible. Now that I’m older and a bit more patient I understand exactly what he was trying to say. So now it’s my turn to share the same advice with you. Be true to yourself and be respectful of the process.

The creative process
I wish creativity was more like a dog because if it was all you would have to do is scratch it behind the ears and you would be buddies for life. Then the next time you needed it all you would have to do was whistle and it would come bounding up to you ready to play. Creativity unfortunately is not a dog it is, in fact, much more like a cat. It shows up when it pleases, tries to grab your attention when you’re focused on other things and it never seems to be around when you’re looking for it. When it finally does show up it sits there just out of reach licking itself while you struggle to gain it's attention. There is a process to creativity, a process you must honor in order to achieve your goals. If you understand what your process is and you are respectful to it you can climb mountains. The minute you lose that respect it will evade you like a ninja in a dodgeball game. I’ve had to learn that lesson many times and I will probably continue to relearn it every time I try to shortcut the process.

So what does it mean to be respectful to the creative process?
The process is a mental game. Your mind needs to be free of all the clutter we tend to fill up on as we make our way through our day. The process of clearing the mind is different for each of and you will need to find the best way to clear yours as you make your way along the journey but being respectful basically means honoring yourself and honoring the process once you have discovered it. Creativity requires a certain amount of openness. Are you in a relaxed, productive state of mind or are you running from project to project out of breath and out of time? When you feel the stress of burnout nipping at your heels do you double down or do you pay attention and ease off on the gas until you can catch your breath. Do you believe in the work you produce or do you just punch a time clock and count the agonizing hours until the weekend finally arrives and you are done? Have you sold your soul for a paycheck or have you maintained your integrity. All of these things add up. When we are discontent, overworked and no longer believe in the outcome, of course creativity is going to suffer. Creativity favors a receptive open mind. This is why your best ideas probably come to you when you’re out for a peaceful walk, in the shower or just about to fall asleep. If you are looking for creativity look no further than your ability to be open to it. If you are struggling with that look at the things that are distracting you. Obviously, you are not going to be able to resolve all of them at once because it is impossible to live a life without conflict but if you can begin to disengage yourself from enough of them your mind will not feel like it’s being pulled in a million directions at once and that is when you can begin to open up. When you are open to creativity you will no longer have to search for it because that is when it will begin to find you.