After challenging you to do something that scares you, I’m gonna do it again. This time it might look different. I read a lot about creativity, the process and the products of. When I speak with people, however, I find most people don’t view themselves as creative.
Creativity means art. Painting. Dance. Sculpture. Something official.
That idea does you (and me) a disservice. We are all creative. We all have unique talents that we can develop and grow and share with the world.
You don’t have to pick up a paint brush to be creative.
I see creativity as any way we play with ideas and mix things up. You have to express yourself and your perspective. In the frame of purposeful action, how can you bring a creative approach to your core issue?
Purposeful Action: Play the strengths game to brainstorm creative approaches to your core issue. (Instructions below.)
Go back to your lists of strengths and things that bring you joy. Write each one on a piece of paper or sticky note. One pile for strengths/skills and one for joys.
Then choose one paper from each pile (so two different things strength and joy) and use them to think of a creative approach to your core issue. Repeat at least ten times, so you have a bunch of different ideas.
The point of this is not to be practical (we do that enough already), but to have fun and let your creative side shine.
Don’t censor your answers. I also encourage you to come up with at last three ideas for each pair.
Creativity is a skill that can be (and must be) exercised like any other muscle. The people who produce great work practice their creative craft everyday. There’s no reason we can’t bring our creative perspective to the table in all that we do.
That’s the element that makes us different. That makes us able to achieve the goals we have in a way only we could.
Have fun, then choose one idea and try it!
PS. You might feel that expressing your creativity doesn’t scare you, and that is awesome if that’s the case. If that’s you, then play the game and keep creating sans fear.
Making friends with fear may not have been the message you wanted to hear right now. If you’re going to take action, toward anything, at some point you have to make fear your buddy.
Fear lets us know when we’re extending our comfort zone.
I’ve written lots about fear before. How it’s useful and how, most often, it leads us where we need to go. (Not as in ‘down a dark alley’ kind of fear.) Into the unknown. Uncertainty. Into the limits of what we think we can do.
I’ve been pretty quiet most of my life. That’s kind of an understatement and I’m kind of tired of it, to be honest. A couple years ago, I remember a moment when I was upset about something (can’t remember what). And I thought:
That makes me want to scream inside my head!
So full of emotion. So upset. And my reaction was to keep it all to myself. To scream in a way that would not be heard.
It made me wonder if friends and family knew what I was passionate about – likely not. I vowed then to begin, and persist, to speak out about what I believed. It’s supremely difficult. That’s partly why I created this challenge. To keep me on track. To offer you support in raising your voice too.
Fear is a part of the equation when you’re showing your heart.
Fear of being ridiculed. Fear of ‘Who are you to…’. Fear of failure. Fear of success. Fear of the unknown. Fear of loss. Fear of gain. Fear of whatever it is that keeps you quiet, hiding, and motionless.
Fear is what stops you AND it’s your pathway out.
Purposeful Action: Do something that scares you. Rinse. Repeat.
You know the fear I’m talking about. You can feel it in your heart, maybe even a gripping of your entire chest, when you think about doing that thing, whatever it is.
Yoga helps with this, by the way.
Go do it. Embrace the fear (and it’s cousins anxiety and resistance). The world needs your voice. Your kindness and creativity. Don’t let fear hold you back. Don’t let it keep you in the audience.
Don’t let the fear be in charge.
It happens to all of us. Particularly if you’re striving for a goal of any sort. We make our To-Do lists and factor what must be done.
Our focus becomes the never finished.
There is ALWAYS more to do. When you focus only on what you need to do, it leaves little time to appreciate what you got DONE! (And little time to even breathe.)
Taking time to review and appreciate what you DID makes a difference in your outlook. It gives you a chance to see how you’re giving purposefully, taking baby steps, and making your way toward your goal even when you think you’re not doing enough.
(Because don’t we all feel like we’re not doing enough most of the time? Or is that only me…)
Purposeful Action: Make a Done List.
At the end of the day, write a list of everything that you actually did. Think about your goal of purposeful action, but also think about your relationships, your self care, and your joy and your job. What action DID you take? Write it out and allow yourself to savor those moments. Can you see threads of your core issue/theme in the small, seemingly unrelated actions too?
When you focus on the actions taken, it gives you momentum to keep going. Baby steps or elegant leaps. You see how you’re making progress and that gives you a sense that you can keep going.
It all makes a difference. To you and the world.
Some days it’s just too much. You don’t feel like trying, sticking with it, or making much of a difference. And you know what?
You are human. There are days when your plans will get derailed, you’ll forget about your blossoming habit of living with purpose, and taking action is the last thing you want to do. You need those days, self care days, sometimes. But you know what else?
Often you need to push through the ‘not feeling like it’ and do it anyway.
At some point, to develop a new habit – no matter what it is – you have to take action when you don’t feel like it. I always think about those who did far more with less. In this case, our comfort can get the best of us. Life will not always be perfect; we must keep going.
Old urges will continue to rise, perhaps for years. Urges do not matter, actions do. – Dan Millman
What are some ways to stick with a new habit?
A few ideas:
- Be clear on the WHY of what you’re doing.
- Remind yourself often of the WHY. Sticky notes work.
- Make yourself accountable to someone.
- Plan a reward or event that motivates you.
- Schedule the thing you’re trying to do.
- Automate it if possible. (Like donations.)
- Have a saying or mantra to repeat to yourself when you’re tempted to avoid action.
Purposeful Action: Write a note to yourself and post it where you see it everyday. (Bathroom, computer, fridge, etc.) List three things:
Action you want to take.
Why you want to do it.
Mantra to keep moving.
And then go do it.
Contact the person, write the story, send the letter, make the call, share the joy. (It matters.)
Most people allow their habits to run the show. Without giving any attention to either habits or what the title of their “show” might be.
You’re not most people.
You’ve stepped up as someone who wants more. You’re content with life, yet you know you have more to give. When talking about Purposeful Action, you must tend to habits. Most of the actions you take are habitual, like it or not. That’s how humanity works (and one reason why change is so hard for us).
It’s habit for me to:
rely on my my husband to wake me up
drink a cup too much coffee
get frustrated when my boys don’t listen
read things that inspire me
put off writing by organizing
sit cross legged in my chair
stretch while I’m waiting for anything
check email too often
keep a pile of papers that need attention
and the list goes on…
You have your own list of habits whether they’re conscious or not. If you craft habits that support your core issue, values, and making the difference you seek, then habits help you along the path.
Habits help rather than hinder.
There’s upfront work on your part, of course. That’s why we’re here. My hope with this challenge is to provide a spark. A spark that leads to you crafting habits, and thus a life, that supports your positive visions. For your core issue and, really, every area of your life.
Purposeful Action: Take note of your habits. What’s your morning routine? How do you habitually interact with the people in your life? How do you rely on habit in your approach to work, driving, your phone, or your to-do list? What’s your midday and evening routine?
Do your habits support the positive vision your have for both your core issue and your life?
You might choose to keep a log, in a journal or simple 3×5 card, of when you notice acting out of habit. Jot down the habit. Consider in the moment if that habit supports your positive vision. If it does, brilliant. If not, what habit could you cultivate instead? There are a million ways to do any one thing.
We are what we repeatedly do.
Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
You can say the same thing of Contribution. When something becomes a habit, you no longer need the brain space to make decisions around it. When you make writing daily a habit, you don’t have to decide or discuss writing everyday.
You simply do it. It is what you do.
This is also why places want you to join or donate on a monthly ongoing basis. If you don’t have to RE-DECIDE every month, you’re more likely to keep donating or stay involved. You don’t think about it, and you’re still making a difference. (Of course if you auto-pay to a gym or yoga studio, it’s up to you to actually USE the service you’re paying for!)
That’s another habit to cultivate.
Bonus points if you come up with a name for your “show”. What would the TV show of your life be called? 😉