The Newsletter of the Creativity Coaching Association
Welcome to the September issue of Creativity Calling!
Fall is hands-down my favorite time of the year. It's so easy to marvel at nature with the kaleidoscope of colors we enjoy here in the northeastern corner of the United States!
Taking quality time for introspection and realigning my end of the year goals is also something I welcome. What about you? Do you take advantage of the changing seasons to refocus your creative life?
First steps include awareness, then targeted attention on what it is you want to create in your life. In our world today, there's far too much focus given to what we don't want to happen. The late Thomas Troward said, "The law of floatation was not created by contemplating the sinking of things." Now that's clear thinking!
I tap into Troward's wisdom when I step back and view my life through a new lens. All becomes fresh...all becomes new.
This month, three of our CCA creativity coaches have written articles to assist you in seeing your life with a fresh perspective. Kate encourages us to drop our familiar frames of referencing our lives in order to feel more creative passion and aliveness. Susan shares her recent experience while creatively engaging in some serious play with Legos and it led her to visit Legoland in Denmark. And Shaqe offers us four tips for putting our creative inspirations into action.
There you have it...inspirational thoughts and practical tips for beginning your new season with a blaze of glory and color. Enjoy your journey!
Finally, consider joining us for the October 18 Transformational Tuesday interview, as I speak with certified creativity coach, John MacDonald on the topic, "Celebrating Failure". You'll find all the details within this newsletter.
As always, don't hesitate to contact us with topics you'd like to see featured in future newsletters. We love your input and suggestions!
All the best!
Beverly Down , President & CEO,
Creativity Coaching Association
By Kate Longmaid
In Woody Allen's delightful movie "Midnight in Paris," the main character, Gil, a struggling writer, travels to Paris with his fiancé. Increasingly disillusioned with modern life, Gil longs for an earlier time characterized by intense creative passion. Seeking inspiration for his novel, Gil embarks on nightly walks through Paris where he is magically transported to the golden age of the 1920s. There he meets famous artists and writers, who dispense advice to the aspiring writer. Gertrude Stein counsels Gil, "The job of the artist is not to succumb to despair, but to find an antidote for the emptiness of existence." In the end Gil discovers he cannot dwell in the past. He can only go forward, but in a way that is freshly imagined, alive, and true to him.
Art offers an antidote to despair and a central source of meaning in our lives. Most of the things that we experience as meaningful, compelling, and human are the result of creativity. When we are creatively engaged, we feel more fully alive. Every moment holds the possibility of fresh discovery. Rather than living vicariously through the lives of artists long since dead, Gil embraces his aliveness through his creativity and in the process discovers himself.
How can we cultivate awareness and nurture our creative passion? How do we go forward in a way that is freshly imagined, alive, and true to ourselves? Like Gil, we must learn to embrace ourselves as we are, be true to our creative vision, and surround ourselves with people who believe in us. We must allow ourselves to venture into unknown territory, to take risks, to reclaim our sense of curiosity and wonder. We can notice when we feel more fully alive, engaged, and in the present and look for opportunities to maximize these experiences. Like Gil, we can abandon familiar frames of reference to freshly imagine our future - a future not steeped in an idealized vision of what it means to be an artist, but one which is true to ourselves and embraces the creative life in all its richness.
~ Kate Longmaid, Ph.D. is a psychologist, creativity coach, and visual artist who helps people lead more vibrant lives. Her work has been exhibited at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. and can be seen on her web site at www.katelongmaid.com. You can reach Kate at email@example.com.
By Susan Huotari
In 1999, I participated in a product management workshop held by my employer at the Marina Bay conference center in San Diego. The participants included engineers with a sprinkling of managers, marketers and designers like myself. The day started with an assistant raining brightly colored bricks onto each of our desks. A loud chorus of thuds that bounced delightfully filled the room. A timer was set and instructions given to build a Lego object before anyone else. I had never built Lego before, and as we weren't given a picture or instructions as to what to build, I sorted my pieces by color so I could see what could be built from them. The Danish "trainers" were hovering behind us watching. Based on how I had organized my pieces, I was nominated as a team leader. Our teams competed by asking "managers" and "vendors" probing questions in order to create a product that came into being by doing it. Frustratingly we encountered blocks, mostly in our faulty assumptions, but leveraged our team strengths to manifest our Lego product, and by the end of the day we felt camaraderie and accomplishment. This was my introduction to Lego Serious Play.
Lego Serious Play fosters creative thinking through team building metaphors of participants' organizational identities and experiences using Lego bricks. Johan Roos and Bart Victor devised Serious Play in the mid 1990s to challenge business managers' viewpoints. Serious Play combines Piaget constructivism, with play being an activity involving imagination to describe, challenge and create something. It is the Lego Serious Play viewpoint that the interplay between these kinds of imagination - describe, challenge and create, - is the source of original strategy in companies. Hence playing Lego brings creative strategic innovation to companies including Tupperware, Daimler Chrysler, and Nokia.
At the time I wasn't aware that the Danes had invented Lego, and building Lego is a national pastime. So this summer I visited Legoland in Billund, Denmark, to learn more about Lego. Now I'm curious about becoming a Lego Serious Play certified facilitator, to add this tool for working with executive clients.
~ Susan Huotari, M.A. Design, B.A. Psych. As a creative coach, I employ inspiring, playful and productive tools to help you channel your strengths into actions and goals so you enjoy and excel at delivering them, and you fully integrate your creative being authentically into your life. You can reach Susan at firstname.lastname@example.org
Four Ways to Activate Your Creativity
By Shaqe Kalaj
Many things can stimulate creativity, but the four tips below address the key factors in spurring creative action.
1.) Dream Unrealistic Dreams
Too often we limit ourselves because we can't imagine anything being any different than the way it is. We assume that because things have been the same for the last ten years that they will always be the same. But I think the real task is to dream - to imagine your life or your creative work from a different vantage point. You might imagine yourself having a large studio, or passing the audition you have been waiting for. If we can't imagine it, we can't create it.
2.) Learn to Play
Learning to play is the one thing that keeps the desire to create constant. It can be difficult, since we as adults are trained mainly to see what we do as "work." So our task is to turn on our internal switch for "play" when we're creating. Some of the characteristics of play are curiosity, being lost in the moment, and not looking for end results. Play will make your art inviting to both yourself and the audience.
3.) Create a Space That's Your Own
Virginia Woolf, in her book, A Room of One's Own, spoke of the necessity for a writer to have a space of her own. Having a space that's dedicated to your creative work will move you into creating, offering you a space to go to mentally, emotionally, and physically when your creative work is calling you. I think it's difficult not having a space where you can let your guard down, get messy, or find your voice, as opposed to having a space that invites you to imagine unrealistic visions.
4.) Take Action
Taking action is probably where we are challenged the most, because we have to think about how to take those "unrealistic" dreams and make them concrete. So the thought behind this is to take small steps -- this is your bread and butter. By taking small steps we activate possibility and the realization that dreams just might happen.
~ Shaqe Kalaj, The Imagination Creativity Coach™, is a working and teaching artist and Artist-in-Residence for Art & Ideas Gallery in Plymouth, Michigan. www.artandideasgallery.com
New CCA Certification Courses
Starting October 2011
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.
Join Us On October 18, 2011!
CCA's "Transformational Tuesday" free tele-call:
Join Bev Down, CEO of the Creativity Coaching Association, as she speaks with CCA certified coach John MacDonald on the fascinating subject of creative failure.
Here are a couple of John's thoughts, "Making art and making mistakes are inseparable activities. To grow artistically, we need to fail. But far too often we miss the gold-mine of information that our mistakes contain by wrapping them instead in stories about ourselves that cripple our ability to learn. We tend to automatically and unconsciously turn the simple fact of the mistake into a club of self-criticism. And then we beat ourselves mercilessly with it. With our stories we teach ourselves to fear mistakes and to avoid them at all costs, even if it means starving our potential, ignoring our dreams, and denying ourselves happiness. Throw in the negative messages about failure that we receive endlessly from society and is it any wonder we remain paralyzed in the face of failure and deaf to what are mistakes are trying to teach us?"
In this interview we'll look at ways we can open ourselves to our failures, to the information they can give us, and to even Celebrate Failure!
John MacDonald has been a full-time freelance illustrator and painter for over 30 years. A member of the Creativity Coaching Association and a certified creativity coach, he lives and works in Williamstown, Massachusetts. www.jmacdonald.com
To join us on October 18, 2011 @ 2:00 PM, EDT
Tap into Our Database of Creativity Coaches
Dial-in Number: 1-218-936-4141; Participant Access Code: 8673879#
See you there!
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.
- 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 80 coaches who are ready to work with you and propel you forward. CCA-member coaches specialize in nearly 100 different specialties.
Find a coach here.
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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 September 2011 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.