The Newsletter of the Creativity Coaching Association
Welcome to the May issue of Creativity Calling!
Spring continues to delight me. Last week I spent several days in Montreal, Canada, a city blanketed in colorful blossoms and budding trees and signage all about that read "Springtime of Peace". What did it mean?
Forty years earlier—May 1969—celebrity newlyweds chose the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in downtown Montreal to stage an extraordinary event. We now remember it as John Lennon and Yoko Ono's "Bed-in for Peace". I especially appreciate this couple's wise focusing of their energy, i.e., on what they were FOR versus what they were against and in zeroing in on the pro versus the anti. To this day I love their statement: Our Life is our Art. Talk about a creatively actualized couple -powerful stuff!
This month we at the CCA invite you to reflect on your life being your art. Ask yourself: "Is my life manifesting my heart's desires? Am I expressing the truth of who I am?" All of us can purpose to move in the direction of new growth and positive choices. Along this line, our talented coaches offer up some interesting perspectives for us to ponder.
Please remember to send us your ideas for topics you would like to see addressed in future newsletters. We love your input and suggestions!
Beverly Down , President & CEO, Creativity Coaching Association
Can Your Clients Hear Your Message?
by Quinn McDonald
We want people to listen to us. We want to be understood. We want to be seen and appreciated as our best selves. Why doesn't it always happen? What goes wrong?
To be heard, you have to speak in a way your intended audience can hear. If your audience doesn't understand, most likely you are not connecting. Not using the right metaphors, vocabulary and logic your audience can understand. An artist speaking about her art to a gallery or to a potential customer has to explain her work, not in terms of her own understanding, but in the way best understood by the people she is trying to persuade about the value of her work.
Why can't we just be ourselves? Because if we ask our audience to work too hard—to leave their normal train of thought, to veer off into a new way of thinking—they won't. They'll do what they do while reading—skip to a conclusion they are comfortable with, rather than work at coming to a new conclusion. Because audiences do what's easiest for them.
If your prospective client doesn't understand abstract art, and you explain abstraction in a way you are familiar with, but your audience is not, you cannot be heard. But you already have the skills needed. You already do this specialized communication frequently, perhaps without knowing it.
If you want your cat to hear you, open a can of cat food. It's a sound your cat is familiar with, one that leads to a reward—food. So the cat listens and runs to her food bowl. If you want a business colleague to listen to your ideas, you will have to explain it in a way that is engaging to your colleague. Is she a big-picture person? Start with the overall outcome, then move to details. Is she a process person? Start with how this project will work, then go to results. Is she a micro-manager? Start with some details, then grow the detailed vision into a big picture.
What if you don't know what kind of person your colleague/prospect is? Ask. Going for clarity always makes it easier to understand the person you are communicating with. A business question could be, "Would it be more helpful if I start with the big picture?" is a question that asks for help. You might want to give your listener a choice. "Which is more helpful, starting with a big picture or starting at details and building to the big picture?"
If you aren't sure your prospect understands abstract art, you could ask, "Do you like abstract art?" or "My art is mostly abstract, does that appeal to you?"
Most people know what makes sense for them, and will be pleased you asked. They will then be ready to listen to you.
Sure, it's easier to explain it the way you like best. But that won't get you heard. Because being heard comes after being a good listener.
~-(c) 2009. All rights reserved. Quinn McDonald is a certified creativity coach who writes about communication topics and runs workshops on business communications. See her work at www.QuinnCreative.com
Is It Enough To Just Be Different?
by John MacDonald
One of the most common misconceptions about creativity, shared by the general public and artists alike, is the belief that creativity and difference are equivalent. Let's look closely at this: "Creativity is the ability to create something no one else has ever created." There are 3 serious problems with this definition:
1. "Creativity is the ability to create. . ." By equating creativity with difference, the vast, open, and boundless process of creativity is pushed to the extreme—to the so-called "cutting edge" of a style or movement. By this definition, the more over-the-top or unconventional something is, the more it is considered creative. Suddenly, the universal and limitless potential for creative play has become limited to a handful of people creating a few objects for a small audience.
2. ". . .something. . . " If you begin your artistic exploration by focusing your efforts on the "something", you're already locked into the end product. With your attention and your intention there, how open will you be to the possibilities that arise when you're immersed in the process of creating? If the end product has become the point, probably not much.
3. ". . .no one else has ever created. . ." By placing the criteria for what defines the creativity of your work in the hands of other people, galleries, museums, etc., you're surrendering your creative journey to others. If the creativity of your work is dependent on what others are doing, that's where your focus and vision will be—on what others are doing.
Creativity is not about doing something that no one else has ever tried, it's about working and creating in ways that you have never tried. Can you take responsibility for your creativity? Can you follow your own vision and stay true to it, regardless of what others are doing? Can you be so busy with the difficult task of wrestling with meaning, uncovering who you truly are as an artist, discovering a style, media and technique that allows you to most efficiently and beautifully express your vision, that you won't have time to worry about whether or not the outside world considers you or your work creative? When you work authentically you will be creative, with no more need to think about it than a fish thinks about water. When you're being authentic, being different doesn't matter.
~John MacDonald is a freelance illustrator, painter, and creativity coach, who specializes in working with visual artists and particularly around issues of anxiety and fear. To learn more, visit www.thecreative well.com © 2009
by Tina Games-Evans
How Journal Writing Can Help You Gain Clarity
Are you feeling stuck? Or perhaps you're contemplating a new creative project or a new creative direction?
During times of deliberation or when you're facing a creative block, journal writing can help. It can be a powerful way to connect with your authentic self and your core beliefs. It can also help you see the many options that will lead you to a bigger vision.
Journal writing is a form of therapeutic writing. It's the process of chronicling those many thoughts that are swirling around in your head—with no worries of being censored.
From our poetry to our music to our storytelling, writing what we see, think and feel has always had therapeutic value. Our entire history as humans comes from thousands of years of artists, writers and cave dwellers taking the time to record their perceptions of life at the time.
Through your journal, you can process your thoughts and hear the advice and encouragement of your wisest, most loving self. Writing slows down your thoughts and allows you to think more clearly and to process with more clarity. It can also help you focus your mind with laser-like accuracy, enabling you to clearly hear the voice of your soul.
A popular journal for creative people is an "ideas journal" - a place where you can record all the brilliant ideas that come into your head. It's a place for recording and examining your thoughts, feelings and desires that are related to a particular idea. And by journaling about them, you can explore any doubts, fears and confusion. Getting it all out on paper will help you gain insights, clarity and understanding.
Another popular journal for creative people is a "project journal". Once you've made the decision to embark on a creative project or a creative path, you can chronicle your journey by documenting all the many thoughts and feelings that pop up along the way. It's a great way to help you sort out any frustrations and keep you on track.
So if you're stalling, pull out your journal and dump out the mental clutter.
~Tina Games-Evans is a creativity and spiritual life coach who works with women who are challenged by issues related to the loss of personal identity - and who desire a more authentic life - filled with purpose, passion and creative expression. Her websites are: www.journalingbythemoonlight.com, www.MoonlightMomsCircle.com, and www.JournalingMoms.com.
New CCA Creativity Coaching Classes
" Life is not about finding yourself...
Life is about Creating yourself.
~ E.W. Wilcox
If you've been thinking about becoming a creativity coach, or adding creativity coaching to your existing life coaching, consulting, or therapy practice, we invite you to explore CCA's Certification Program. Our program includes a variety of basic and advanced coaching courses that can be done online or through telecourses in a reasonable period of time. The knowledge and skills you will develop in this program will serve your own work and open up opportunities for you to professionally coach others.
For details, please visit our Certification Program web page for a full explanation of the courses offered and requirements.
Tap into Our Database of Creativity Coaches
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. " --Mark Twain
- just starting out in exploring your creative desires?
- a working artist who is stuck on a creative project?
- looking for something new to juice up your creative work?
- going into midlife and feeling that now is finally the time to do the art you always wanted to do?
- already a known artist but interested in taking your success to the next level?
For any of these situations, why not hire a creativity coach? Check out our database of over 70 coaches who are ready to work with you and propel you forward. CCA-member coaches specialize in nearly 100 different specialties.
Read this Book and Get Motivated
If you have not yet purchased your own copy of Inspiring Creativity, why not take advantage of this special offer today? An anthology of 22 powerful essays by professional creativity coaches, the book will get your creative juices flowing and make you feel more confident, excited, and ready to tackle your creative work.
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Hope You Enjoyed Our Newsletter!
This is the end of the May 2009 issue. Send us an email and let us know your thoughts and suggestions.
Note: If you are a life coach, executive coach, literary agent, therapist or any other profession involved with creative people, and you are interested in joining the Creativity Coaching Association, please drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org for information.