The Newsletter of the Creativity Coaching Association
Fall is about to happen and for many of us, we experience a renewed
desire to learn, to move forward, to accomplish something exciting. Fall
reminds us of going back to school, of new notebooks and pens, of new
ideas and people — even if we are adults and no longer in school. For
me, autumn is also a very inspiring time, as the brilliant colors of
the leaves, the crisp air, and the color of the evening sunlight all
move me towards wanting to write, paint, photograph — and make stew.
In this 3rd issue of the Creativity Coaching Association newsletter,
you will find several items. First, we have an exciting announcement
about a new partnership we have formed. Next, the events in New Orleans
demand that we express our feelings on this topic and so you will find
an "ode" to this great city. Finally, we offer a few articles
and tips about creativity that we hope will inspire you in your endeavors.
Thanks for your interest in the Creativity Coaching Association. We
invite you to email us with your comments and feedback.
Rick Benzel, Executive Director
Exciting News!!! CCA Teams Up with Creativity
The Creativity Coaching Association will be partnering with Creativity
Portal (www.creativity-portal.com), one of the most popular and noted web sites
for creativity. Founded more than five years ago by its publisher, Chris
Dunmire, the Creativity Portal offers articles, tips, projects, and ideas
for creative people of all kinds.
As stated on its web site, Creativity Portal is "an imagination-inducing
sanctuary for artists, writers, crafters, and creativity enthusiasts. It's
been featured in Imagine magazine, Writer's Digest, Blogger's Buzz, and thousands
of other places Web-wide. It features free coaching articles, creative projects
and printables, and quality hand-selected 'how to' Web resources designed
to inspire your creativity."
Beginning in October, 2005, the Creativity Portal will become the "front-end" web
site for the Creativity Coaching Association. Our web sites will effectively
be joined, allowing you to flow seamlessly from one to the other. The partnership
allows you to read great articles and projects about creativity while being
able to find and communicate with creativity coaches at any time.
We look forward to a productive, inspiring, creative partnership and are
confident you will benefit from the new joint effort. If you have not yet
visited this wonderful web site, click over to Creativity
Ode to New Orleans
You may have left your heart in San Francisco, but we are all heartbroken
over New Orleans. Even if you have never been to this city, we all know it
is one of the great creative cities of the world. Its history, architecture,
food, music, and diverse peoples give this city a distinctive creative soul
unlike any other in the world. There's hardly a person alive who doesn't
conjure up colorful images when they hear the words Mardi Gras, Creole, gumbo,
or jazz. Losing New Orleans to the triple whammy of the hurricane, the flood,
and the insult of all insults, lack of leadership from you know who, makes
this tragedy simply gut-wrenching.
It may be just a coincidence, but I recently learned that New Orleans is
known as the Crescent City because of its geographic shape as the city is
situated on a curve in the Mississippi River. If you recall from the June
newsletter, the word "crescent" is etymologically related to the
word "creativity" and perhaps this explains why New Orleans had
so much creative soul. (See Eat a Croissant, Be Creative to read about this
It is also ironic to note that New Orleans got its name from the French
city Orleans, because the American city was named in 1718 for the "regent" of
France, Philippe II, duc d'Orleans. This duke was the nephew of Louis XIV
and, after the Sun King's death, Philippe was put in charge of the next king
of France, Louis XV. Apparently, Philippe was known for a certain amount
of "immorality" and it may be that his spirit has lived on in New
Orleans for centuries.
We all can only hope and pray that a new New Orleans can be rebuilt
quickly to bring this creative city back from the dead and to provide jobs
and housing again for hundreds of thousands of deserving people who made
it their home.
A Creative Linguistic Note
The Power of Your Craft
by Etta Mology
Are you drawn to developing your artistic skill to the point of feeling
like you truly have a "craft?" If so, there's a very good
reason you may want this degree of skill. It has to do with the
fact that the word "craft" actually has its roots in the
Old English word "cræft" meaning to have "power,
strength, or might." In other words, having a craft is having
Our dear friend Etta Mology explains this interesting relationship.
Apparently, the Old English word (actually borrowed from the old German
word "kraft") was used to signify power and strength. The
usage was then extended to the mental use of power, and eventually
came to mean artistic skill. By extension, the word was also used to
describe a trade or occupation requiring manual dexterity or skilled
artistry. At some point in Middle English, the noun "craft" was
also used as a verb, to refer specifically to the artful construction
of a text or discourse, as in "that writer crafted a great story."
Furthermore, the skill implied in the word "craft" eventually
also came to signify a vessel or boat — probably because of the craft
one needed to build a boat.
Finally, somewhere along the way, the word "craft" also
came to mean "skill in evasion or deception" as in talking
about a crafty thief or even the crafty fox.
So, putting this all together, please refrain from being a crafty,
sly person. It is so much better to have a craft in your life, or to
write well-crafted words, or to craft beautiful songs, or to build
sea-worthy crafts using your knowledge of the carpentry craft. Whichever
your choice, there's power in having a craft!
And Now a Word from Our Sponsor!
If you are new to this newsletter, perhaps you are unfamiliar with the Creativity
Coaching Association. We are an association of about 50 creativity coaches
and we are here to help you improve your creative work, whatever it may be.
Our coach members have a wide range of skills and talents that can prove
useful in helping you overcome your creative blocks, deepen your work, or
get your work into the marketplace. We invite you to check out our coaches
by visiting our FIND A COACH page. Many of these coaches offer a FR*EE initial
consultation too, so you have nothing to lose — and everything to gain.
Go ahead, give a coach a call or email today.
Click here to find a creativity coach today!
Are You Doing Great Work? Or merely
Contributed by Michael Bungay Stanier
Milton Glaser — You may not know this name but you probably know at least
one of his works of art — the “I 'Heart' NY” logo. In his
book, Art is Work, Glaser provides these provocative definitions of work:
- Work that goes beyond its functional intention and moves us in
deep and mysterious ways we call great work.
- Work that is conceived and executed with elegance and rigour we call
- Work that meets its intended need honestly and without pretence
we call simply work.
- Everything else, the sad and shoddy stuff of daily life, can come
under the heading of “bad work.”
I combine Glaser’s second and third distinctions to have just three
categories: Great Work, Good Work and Bad Work. (And by “Work”,
I’m talking all of “the stuff you do”. It’s not only
about what you do in the office, but what you do 24/7. Work includes looking
after your children, watching TV, preparing meals, exercise, being with friends,
being by yourself, and so on).
How do you know what’s what? Here’s my litmus test.
Great Work: Great Work brings with it both exhilaration and terror. You’re
delighted when someone asks you what you do, and they have trouble getting
you to stop talking about it. You tap into reserves of courage and chutzpah
to get done what needs to be done. You often have no idea how to do what
needs to be done — and are only a little fazed by that, because you
are certain that this is truly what needs to be done.
Great work is a place where impact and effect trumps over efficiency and
process. It is often a place of waste, because creativity needs waste to
thrive. It is a place of inspiration, where suddenly all your past makes
sense (“A-ha! That’s why I did that, learned that, experienced
that”). It is a place that honors your skills, your passion and your
Great Work is also a difficult place to be. The temptation to “downgrade” to
the comfort of Good Work is constant. Your “inner critic” is
rampant, whispering “Who are you to try this? Who do you think you
are to be this ambitious? Don’t you know you’re doomed to failure?” Great
Work can also be elusive, because it can degrade in a moment to be simply
Good Work. To do Great Work, you must be ever vigilant.
Good Work: With Good Work, there is no shame attached. You’re doing
work that uses your skills, it gets stuff done, it may well pay you a wage.
It’s comfortable, because you know what you’re doing. It is probably
something of a routine or a habit.
So it’s not that you’re having a bad time. It’s just that
when you’re asked by strangers what you do, sometimes it feels like
you’re trying to convince yourself more than them that this is great.
Good Work is often about “being efficient”, without ever asking
the difficult question “is this the right work to be efficient with?” (Peter
Drucker says this: “Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness
is doing the right things”). In a year’s time, you won’t
remember the Good Work you were doing a year ago.
And as for Bad Work, the test is simple. It’s when you have that sudden
flash of realization and you ask yourself: Why exactly am I wasting my life
Take Action: Here’s a quick exercise. Draw a biggish circle on a piece
of paper. Now, divide it into three segments that represent the proportion
of each of these types of work in your life today.
How much Great Work are you doing? More than 80%? Less than 20%? In my experience,
many of us are doing a fair amount of Good Work — but very little Great
Work. The goal is to remove Bad Work from our lives, and continually increase
the amount of Great Work.
What would you have to say “no” to, to double the amount of
Great Work in your life? What would you have to say “yes” to,
to halve the amount of Bad Work in your life?
Resources for Great Work:
- Peter Block, The Answer to How is Yes
- Michael Bungay Stanier, Get Unstuck & Get Going on the stuff
- Richard Carson, Taming your Gremlin
Copyright 2004, Michael Bungay Stanier, Box of Crayons. Michael Bungay
Stanier is the author of the best-selling coaching tool, Get Unstuck & Get Going.
A Rhodes Scholar, he works with coaches, trainers, teams and organizations
to help them get unstuck and get going on the stuff that matters. Sign up
for Michael’s Outside the Lines ezine at web site, www.BoxOfCrayons.biz.
Join Me on a Retreat in France at My New Home
My New Castle in France
Actually, I'm fantasizing here...I don't really own this castle, but I
just came back from visiting it with my daughter Sarah on a great 2-week
trip. If you'd like to see this chateau or numerous others, I can take you
there when you join me on a creativity retreat in France. I've been advertising
this retreat for 3 months now, and have had several expressions of interest,
but we need a few more people to make a group.
I can arrange the retreat to occur either in Normandy, the Loire Valley,
or Burgundy depending on your preferences. In the mornings, we will work
on our creative projects and support each other. Afternoons are open for
touring and sight-seeing. In the evenings, we will share great home-made
meals or go to gourmet restaurants.
Cost: We will rent a large house or castle and share the costs. A small
guide fee will also be required. You simply provide your own airfare + local
travel and food expenses (though rental cars will be shared.)
Send an email to get further details to firstname.lastname@example.org Please
put the words "France trip" in the subject line.
If You're Looking for a Truly Inspiring Read
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To peruse the Table of Contents and download a FR*EE sample chapter, go
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Thank You for Your Time and Attention
This is the end of the September issue and we're glad you made it down to
us an email and
let us know your thoughts and reactions.
Note: If you are interested in joining the Creativity Coaching Association,
please drop me a note at email@example.com for information.