Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction. ~John F. Kennedy
Tonight let’s continue on with some more revised excerpts from my previous writings on Making a Leap Towards Creativity. As I mentioned last week, the words relate to creating a life on purpose. These thoughts come from my heart, and I believe they will help you to live and do your work “on purpose” and to make your life and your business really make a difference in your universe!
Last week we left off just before Embrace Originality, so let’s pick it up there.
Originality stems from tapping into what’s inside of you and connecting that with what you see and notice around you. It sometimes involves expressing ordinary things in new, no so ordinary ways. By getting out of the ordinary, you have greater opportunity to place yourself next to great thinkers. Great thinkers help you to see life, projects, ideas, systems, and people from new angles and new perspectives.
Being around great thinkers is personally very important to me. In my life I purpose to make time to surround myself with those who are, in my opinion, greater thinkers than myself, and with people who have had richer, grander, and different experiences than I have encountered. I want to grow and develop my mental faculties and go beyond societal and self-imposed limits. I want to listen to the minds of others, those who are not afraid to launch out from the deep, to be different—those who don’t even think too much about being different because they are so busy simply thinking and creating. Original thinkers are inspiring!
Being original can start with an old idea. Is there something you do, provide, use, or offer that you can express in an original way, or flavor with a new and interesting “twist”? Don’t be afraid. Every great thinker started their journey with others laughing at them. Laugh right along as you express your own right to be original!
I tend to “emphasize utility” in my life and work. Although I value and love to think on new planes, I am definitely a very practical person. I want my ideas (out-of-the-box as some of them may be) to help others make their lives better in real and concrete ways.
The people in your sphere of influence can be better off because you provide utility. Look at the needs of a group of people—your clients, your family, your association—and identify the problem, challenge, or objective for the group or the individuals within the group, and then get creative in helping to bring about a positive and useful solution with as little negative consequence as possible.
The ideas, products, and services born of innovation, invention, and creative thinking can— and most of the time should— be actually used on a practical level and in practical ways. Think creatively in the formation, and emphasize utility in the application.
Elaborate with Some Restraint
In my career as a marketing and success coach (and in past years also as an Interior Decorator and Home Fashions Designer), I’ve discovered that it is important to elaborate on ideas. This is particularly true when I work with clients who hire me to help them find or see new and creative concepts for their lives or businesses.
As a professional, I have to help the client see, identify, and develop their personal vision, even when they think they do not have a particular vision. I could go out on a limb with creativity and abstract ideas, but I sometimes restrain myself, because I have learned that you must first meet people where they are and lead them out with care. You just cannot overwhelm people if you want help them to capture a new vision for themselves.
I sometimes start by helping them to uncover what they do NOT want. Then we can begin to brainstorm, plan, solve problems, and build solutions related to what they DO want. I ask them a lot of diagnostic questions. I help to develop ideas in them that actually originate in them and not in me. I simply help them bring what they want to light.
Once we develop a plan of action that will thrust them forward in their lives or careers, it is important for me to keep their action steps clear and somewhat simple. This way the client does not feel overwhelmed, and instead they feel in control, capable, and hopeful, excitedly anticipating meaningful changes.
This is especially true when they have just gone through the effort, and even the pressure, of identifying their most meaningful goals and true business and personal lifestyle desires. The last thing they need or want are too many actions to take on at one time. I let them bask in their newfound direction and creativity peacefully for a while. Then we take the first actions.
Later, as they grow in their vision and in their skills, they can add new goals and additional action steps. Initially though, a moderate amount of information and a nominal number of decisions and action points will serve to empower my clients without causing them frustration or discouragement. This gets them standing solidly on the road to self growth and business improvement with amazingly positive results.
Stay Open to Discomfort
Most of us would like to coast in a place of “arrival” and feel a sense of completion when it comes to tasks, projects, applying solutions to problems, and success in general. We want to quickly get out of the uncomfortable places and back into comfort. This is our natural inclination.
Yet growth (improvement) is actually a continual process. Getting used to constant movement, whether fast-paced or slow, is a very good idea, and embracing occasional boughts of discomfort is mandatory for success. I have found that my most substantial and significant growth comes when I allow myself to willingly enter a place of discomfort. Ironically, I am now very comfortable with being uncomfortable, and I mostly enjoy it!
Sure, sometimes you can coast, but if you want consistent growth spurts that result in greater levels of success, you must stay open to times of discomfort.
Stretching your thinking to learn new things, building radically on current skills sets, and extending your mind to think in new ways takes real effort. I think it is metaphorically like having a baby. To birth something spectacular, there is pain or unsettling pressure (or as some people who have never had a baby would say, there is slight discomfort)! The creative mind is willing to grow and fulfill the creative process in spite of the pain or pressure. There is no other way.
I do think though, that in your personal and business growth, you should focus most on improving your strengths instead of trying to get better in your areas of weakness. It’s fine if you want to gain new skills where you have few or none, but putting most of the attention on the areas of your greatest strengths will ensure that you grow and expand in your area of expertise.
Hang with Great Thinkers
I touched on this earlier, and here we are again. Who you surround yourself with plays a huge part in determining where you’ll go and even how you’ll get there. High energy thinkers are the alternators of life—they help keep your battery charged.
Who are the five people you spend most of your social and business time with (outside of your immediate family—kids and spouse)? Are your friends, colleagues, business associates, and even the people you date helping you stay motivated and focused? Do they drain you and add drama to your life, or do they inspire you directly or indirectly to see and realize your goals?
I think it is important to surround yourself with great minds who will not allow you to go through life taking the more easily traveled road. Creative people elicit and provoke thought in one another without even realizing it. Sometimes it’s a still and quiet thing, and sometimes it’s more animated, but just being in the presence of a positive person, a loving soul, a thinker, a problem solver, or an idea person can be enough to trigger new and exciting thoughts and ideas in you.
Then occasionally, step out into the arena of the off-the-charts wild-thinkers! Find out where they congregate and get with them for a while. There are greater minds than your own—always. Your ideas and thoughts may seem ingenious—to you! There are others who may challenge those thoughts. Exceptional thinkers help stimulate your creative process by causing you to be accountable to the soundness of your ideas. Your challenger may be another person, a group of people, or even yourself once you get around these wild-thinkers!
Notice Your Emotions, and Use Them for Growth
I can be an emotional person. I’ve been known to cry at sentimental T.V. commercials or movies, and I can easily empathize with how others feel. I can hardly watch the news because sad happenings cause my heart to hurt for people and their families, even though they are strangers to me. I feel things very deeply at times.
I am also very intuitive, and I can easily “read” people. Sometimes, I think I can understand their motives just by watching their behavior. This has been a blessing and a curse.
Through the years, I have shed more than my fair portion of tears. I’ve been hurt by the ill-intentions of others, and I have seen people I thought were decent and on my side do hideous things to me and to others. I have been blown away, shocked, and surprised, and then again not so shocked or surprised (since people show you who they are the first time). Yet I still let it hurt me.
I often wasted precious time thinking way too long and way too hard on what someone else maliciously said or did. Over time, I put walls up to protect myself from further harm, and although I was still a generous, kind, and caring person who sought to inspire and connect with others, I managed to keep people from getting too terribly close to me because of lack of trust. This shrinking back kept me from reaching my full potential as a human being. By letting myself be hurt I was only hurting myself!
Boy have things changed! In order to go on in my journey to fully become my true and authentic self, I had to learn to channel and control my emotions and not let them drive me. Now, I let them guide me and work FOR me. This is freedom!
My emotions have become a teacher, a marvelous catalyst for greater personal development. I am learning every day to use the behaviors I see in others as a teaching tool to better understand myself, and to better understand human nature and human pain & desire in general. I know not to react, but to respond and to be proactive—to bring my emotions and all of their positive energy into the creative process, leaving the negative energy behind.
I’ve learned the art of space—to separate my feelings from the words and actions of others, and to not retort or give my power away to anyone by choosing NOT to be hurt. This isn’t defensiveness. It’s a conscious decision to stay in peace. Drawing healthy boundaries is vital. I now discern and decide with grace who I let into the core of my circle of influence. I know and trust myself and the wisdom God has placed in my heart.
As a lifestyle, I’ve learned the practice of never taking things personally to the point of hurt feelings, even when people do intend harm or are selfish, because their behavior is NOT about me, it’s about THEM. It’s really none of MY business, and that is such a liberating way to live.
Most people do not usually start out planning to or intending to hurt others, but often they are caught up in emotional deficits that they have never dealt with. The average Jill or Joe just wants to know someone sees and hears them, and they often go about seeking this in the wrong way, letting their egos and insecurities lead them. What they really want is to feel important and significant, and they want to feel valued and loved.
Knowing this allows you to stay clear of defensiveness, retaliation, and unhealthy competitiveness, and it compels you to relate to others from a position of strength, compassion, and kindness. You actually hold tremendous power to enrich the lives of others by your words, behaviors, and reactions.
Position Your Ideas and Actions within a Meaningful Context
I am always seeking to create meaning in my life. Everything that I do must have meaning and a purpose. Aside from when I am just plain having fun (which actually serves a purpose), I never want to be involved in projects or ideas that are frivolous.
Here is an example. As I grow one of my businesses, I want to know that the people I hire as contract workers truly benefit from working with me. I want to contribute to their lives economically. I want to know that the people I choose to help me in my business are people who really derive value and benefit from the relationship. It is not enough to just pay someone. I want to contribute to the prosperity and self-esteem of others. I would never hire workers because I can get the labor cheap, and meanwhile take away from the soul of another individual. I want everything I do that involves others to build and contribute, and never tear down or take away.
I think it is also important to see the big picture. Seeing the big picture, say in my company or in my relationships, allows me to form ideas and contribute to them so that they are in line with my real life objectives. I almost always function in terms of seeing the big picture, and I place my life experiences and relationship interactions within that big picture.
So here is our stopping point for today. Next week I’ll continue this message with “Synthesize Ideas”, so get ready! There’s more Creating a Magnificent Life and Business “On Purpose” to come.
Have a Week of Purposely Creating The Life & Business You Really Want!
Read the rest…
Read Part 1 HERE
Read Part 3 Here