The Newsletter of the Creativity Coaching Association
Welcome to the October issue of Creativity Calling!
A big, "Welcome!" to all of our new CCA newsletter subscribers. I know you'll enjoy the articles written by our creativity coaches. I find I am inspired and challenged to expand my creative self every month!
For October we have a tasty goodie bag that's brimming with sweet, creative ideas and perspectives. Melissa suggests we look at ourselves differently, using Halloween symbols to do so. Then two coaches take on the topic of perfectionism in this issue. Donaleen provides an honest assessment with a playful look at her perfectionism. And Cathy Stechschulte, the CCA's newest certified coach, shares how overcoming perfectionism unlocked her creativity.
Sandy paints a colorful picture by asking us to "see" a White House administration where creativity reigns. Finally, Miranda helps us examine our personal style of creating to better understand our unique creative process. Fascinating articles!
We encourage you to forward this newsletter to friends, family and colleagues.
Do know that we covet your feedback, so please continue sending the CCA your feedback and suggestions.
Beverly Down , President & CEO,
Creativity Coaching Association
By Melissa A. Rosati
Halloween celebrates a seasonal transition, offering us the opportunity to move into a new phase of our own creativity. Nature always shows us the way. So it's fun to play with symbolic connections. Read through the animal symbols and inquiries. Choose your Halloween power animal to shepherd your creative energies throughout the coming winter months.
Bats: These cave dwellers teach us about trusting our sensory experiences of the physical world. Every night, bats emerge from darkness, navigating the ambiguities of cool fall breezes in search of food. In your creative work, where are your blind spots?
Spiders: Oh, the tangled webs we weave when we slack off our creative practices. Not so with spiders. Living its creative life, each spider's web is a fully-furnished home for eating, sleeping, birthing, hanging out and observing you surfing the Internet rather than writing your novel. The spider asks us to look at our behaviors. What choices service you and which ones do not?
Wolves: The wolf and the artist have the "loner" myth in common. Wolves and humans are highly social creatures. No one succeeds alone in any endeavor. Like the artist, the wolf is a powerful communicator. With a wide range of vocal signals, the wolf knows how to lead its pack in collaboration and when to take a break and go forward alone. Right now, do you need help to achieve your goals? Whom might you ask?
Ravens: When "Nevermore" comes knocking at your chamber door, your neck hairs prickle but you can't resist peering into the darkness. The raven is a messenger on the quest for deeper self knowledge. With the raven, you experience your shadow, a creative, messy space of richness. In fact, ravens can be trained to speak. What is a lie you are telling yourself? What's the truth you need to speak?
Cats: A skilled huntsman, the cat is patient, flexible, and tenacious in pursuit of its objective. Their aloof behavior offers an interesting teaching for us, especially when it comes to rejection or criticism. Developing strong boundaries in professional distance helps us to move beyond setbacks and to trust our own instincts. Where are the dramas in your life and what's the impact on your work?
~ Melissa A. Rosati, CPCC, coaches women who are remaking the world through writing and the arts. She is the host of 31 Voices March, a weekly internet radio show. www.melissascoachingstudio.com
Cutting Through Perfectionism
by Donaleen Saul
I had never thought of myself as a perfectionist, but in a recent conversation with a friend who's known me for many years, she casually said, "You're like me. We're both perfectionists." We are? I am? What is a perfectionist anyway?
I've always understood it to mean that you set high standards for yourself and for those around you; that you can be counted on to deliver a high quality performance, service, or product; that you want nothing but the best in all situations. Isn't that a good thing?
Not according to Jungian therapist and author of Addiction to Perfection, Marion Woodman, who sees it as a consequence of an imbalance arising from a culture that emphasizes specialization and perfection, and as a major cause of eating disorders, substance abuse, and other addictive and compulsive behaviors.
Maybe not such a good thing.
Unfortunately, many of us are unconsciously seduced by the fantasy that would have us believe that if we were only perfect, we would be beyond criticism, we would be loved, we would be good, and we would never be rejected or hurt.
That's a lie and it's a destructive one. It makes us so terrified of making mistakes that we're incapable of delegating, meeting deadlines, handling feedback, or seeing the bigger picture. Worse, it robs us of our willingness to be vulnerable, which is crucial for creative people. In fact it's crucial for everyone.
So what can we do about it?
Here are some ideas.
- Embrace imperfection as a delightful aspect of being human. When I deliver a workshop and some minor thing goes wrong in the early stages, I feel relieved because everyone in the room relaxes, including me.
- Set deadlines. The more time you give to complete a task, the longer you will dither over getting it "right." So limit your time and do the best you can within the time available.
Make a list of your failures. Be playful about it. If the list is long, pat yourself on the back. You're committed to growing and learning and you're not paralyzed by perfectionism. If it's too short, it means you've got a big list of things that you'd love to do if you weren't afraid of failing. Time to start doing them!
~ Donaleen Saul is a creativity coach, writer, and editor based in Vancouver, BC, Canada.
By Lynn Wyvill
Votes are counted. We have an artist in the White House!
The new President and administration loves to paint, write, dance and dabble with everything that inspires them to be innovators with their creative ideas.
As the new staff assembles in the West Wing the changes throughout are astonishing and notably different. Easels line walls in all offices and board rooms, doodle pads replace leather binders, interns are trained to be proficient with making brushstrokes before they can use a keyboard, and it's now mandatory for memos to be written with crayons. Music has been piped in to replace the sounds of the office work, but not just any kind, the type that pumps the brainwaves to enhance the tasks at hand.
In important meetings toys stretch across the conference table, bump it up music in the background, even games are played to overcome the inevitable decisive impasse. Think of playing Twister instead of arguing party lines to resolve differences.
Starting with the first press conference comedians deliver good and bad news, so instead of fearful, Americans can digest the truths and come to mutual understandings that with our visionary outlook and enduring work ethic we will get work done building us a bright and healthy future.
That first presidential mandate would be magical.
- One hour everyday pursuing one's creative passion.
- Art classes daily for everyone.
- Dream journals are prized and regularly reviewed for ideas.
- History and art techniques are now taught on all tours throughout government buildings. American artists a celebrated at every opportunity, and not just for their brilliance, but also for the process of problem solving they mastered!
- Universally dance, music, poetry and painting are taught along with meditation practices to insure fitness of mind, body and spirit.
- Conflicts will first be negotiated through creative means, i.e. painting out challenges could reveal new outcomes.
Imagine the possibilities if creativity ruled the White House? Water cooler conversations spark new questions about discovery from the haiku written or tango steps tried.
What creative changes would help make a happy, healthier, and more balanced culture?
~ Sandy Nelson is a certified CCA coach who loves to help people find their inspiration and get busy making their creative ideas come to life. email@example.com, www.meetyourmuse.com
Pantser versus Plotter
By Miranda Hersey
At this time of year, the interwebs are abuzz with preparation for November's National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), the literary marathon during which participants bang out a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. A debate always emerges, centered on a process question that is relevant to writers and artists alike. Which is better: pantser, or plotter?
A pantser, as the name implies, is one who flies by the seat of his or her pants. No outline, no roadmap, no limits. Pantsers feel constrained by outlines; many say that planning strips away their creative mojo. On the flip side, plotters prefer to know precisely which direction they're headed in. A plotter novelist might produce a full set of index cards with each scene in bullet points before relaxing into the writing process. Writers in either camp vehemently defend their preferences (just google "pantser versus planner" and see for yourself).
Of course, neither approach is inherently better than the other. You need to do what works best for you. But sometimes we get stuck in what we think we "should" do, or what we learned from a mentor's example, or what seems more legitimate. When that happens, it can be difficult to adopt the other method, even if it might be to our benefit.
The only way you'll really know what works best for you is to try both. If the idea of planning your fiction feels frightening, give it a go. You might find inspiration in the clarity that an outline brings. And if you tend to plan the composition of your painting down to the last square centimeter, you might try purely intuitive work and see if that unlocks anything new.
The value of knowing if you're a pantser or a plotter by nature--or if you fall somewhere in between--is that understanding your authentic process is part of your identity as an artist or writer. The more you understand (and anticipate) how you work, the more confident you become, and the more you are able to invest in your process rather than the outcome.
~ Miranda Hersey is a writer, creativity coach, and host of the blog Studio Mothers. As a business owner and the mother of five, Miranda is passionate about helping others live deeply satisfying, creative lives. She lives in rural Massachusetts, happily overrun with people, books, and animals.
Congratulations to Cathy Stechschulte, CCA's Newest Certified Creativity Coach!
Thoughts from a Recovering Perfectionist
By Cathy Stechschulte
Perfectionism showed up early in my creative journey, as it did in my life.
"Perfectionism is not a quest for the best. It is the pursuit of the worst in ourselves, the part that tells us that nothing we do will ever be good enough..."
Julia Cameron, The Artist's Way.
Through my own creativity coaching as a client then a coach and my work as a contemporary textile artist, I have come to understand the need to take action steps to recover from the perfectionism that can truly block my creativity.
Twelve Step Program for My Recovering Perfectionist:
1. Play first then move into more focused, intentional work. Use memories of spontaneity and wonder from childhood.
2. Accept--I will make mistakes.
3. Kick out the inner perfectionist.
4. Listen to my own intuition, trust myself, follow my own wisdom.
5. Reach out to an artist-friend for support.
6. Collect wisdom from other creatives to inspire and affirm.
7. Ask, "What is the worst thing that can happen as a result of this mistake?"
Answer: If the project is worth saving and I love it, I move forward in new directions. If not, I cry, grieve, and start over.
8. Create my way back out of the setback by using what works for me:
- Quiet myself, take a walk, meditate
- Before sleeping, ask for an idea/image for solving the problem
9. Don't be afraid to break the rules; it is a problem-solving strategy.
10. Be a risk-taker. Move beyond the "mess up".
11. Use errors to change direction and guide me to new ideas.
12. Welcome serendipity.
One of my unexpected successes as an artist resulted from a major mistake in the original project I had planned. When I completed the piece, I chose the title "Descansos". from a story in Women Who Run With The Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes.
"Descansos" means that one's journey, which was going in one direction, ended. It needed to be remembered, mourned, blessed, forgiven and let go. Releasing my preconceived plan allowed for serendipity; the errors emerged as new design elements in recreating a unique and powerful piece.
Failures have been a gift to me as an artist because when I mess up, I free up. And, as in other recovery programs, it is progress not perfection that is the most important and attainable goal.
Cathy Stechschulte, MS, is a CCA certified creativity coach for visual artists of all ages and stages of creativity. firstname.lastname@example.org
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~ 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.
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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?
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Hope You Enjoyed Our Newsletter!
This is the end of the October 2012 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.