Either you believe you are a creator or you do not. While you might have vacillated between these two beliefs throughout your life, at some point you have to take the leap, you have to claim the power you hold as a human being — the power to create.
This choice is within you in every moment. This power to create is immense and it is loving. It wants to give. It wants to pour itself into the world as an expression of love and compassion and joy.
Can you feel this?
For ten years, I taught a 10-week course on Creativity and Leadership at Stanford Continuing Studies. At the start of each fall quarter, I began by asking the students if they believed they were creative. In week one, so many did not, but at the end of the 10-weeks, this had changed. Why? Because through the course, students experienced their creativity — not as the making of art, but as the real, lived experience of knowing the joy, compassion, and aliveness that is evidence of seeing the world through the eyes and heart as a creator.
Seeing through the eyes and heart as a creator allows one to feel what we can feel when we give up our attachment to judgment — judging self, judging other, judging society, judging the world, judging life itself.
We cannot engage in and with the world in a truly constructive conversation of possibility and potential if we are stuck in a cycle of dysfunctional judgment — complaint, argument, fighting against. We all do it — until we learn that another person is not our enemy, and that life itself is not the enemy. We need to learn this individually and we need to learn it collectively, be that in organizations, institutions, societies, or communities.
It is through our personal, innate creativity that each of us will, together, create a new culture that is more compassionate, interdependent, collaborative, innovative, joyful, humane, and truly supportive in elevating human possibility and potential — because these are the qualities of a person who realizes and embodies their human creative potential.
And it is through us doing this together, in business, in community, in society, and even in our families, that we will strengthen our human fabric.
Our creativity comes out of embracing our full humanity. Until we come to grips with our fear of being human, which is a fear of the life force within ourselves and others, we will not embody the truth of our creative capacity.
Recently, clients I work with are bringing interesting choices they need to make to our coaching calls. These type of choices can freeze us and when this happens we tend to over intellectualize and complicate the processing of choosing.
At a very basic level if we boil them down to their essence, every point of choice offers two possibilities — the choice to follow the inner, intuitive voice of creativity or to follow the inner voice of fear. On our coaching calls, we keep returning to this choice point, no matter the content of the choice.
Getting to this place can take time and a sense of psychological safety. To be able to state a choice really clearly, we have to be ready to see it. But when we are and we can see them this clearly, we can see and feel the simplicity of the choice — between the more expansive, joyful, curious, open feeling of the creative voice and the contracting, judgment, closed feeling of fear.
In each moment, we are choosing between our essential self, who is open, curious, generous, creative, joyful, and very powerful, and the Voice of Judgment (VOJ) that wants to mitigate risk and keep a container of safety around us at all costs. The VOJ’s fears of risk and lack of safety are always not really aligned with reality. We don’t really know what will happen if we choose from that which takes us forward, but with time we come to see that the VOJ is using the past to ‘tell the future’.
The inner voice of creativity is propelling us into the future in the way our essential nature longs to do.
We’ve been conditioned so well to fear what lies inside of us, to not trust our impulse and instincts, to not trust the joy we feel when we even consider that we could possibly choose what lights us up, what we love, what we long to do, what we know would serve others — to not trust the inner creative voice.
This creative voice is not selfish. This creative voice is life itself. Each moment gives us a choice to choose for life and the joy and sense of fulfillment of expressing what is within us.
Simple — and not necessarily easy — steps to begin to deepen trust in your creative voice.
- Take the choice at hand and see if you can boil it down to a yes/no answer. Get as clear as you can on what this choice is asking of you. For the sake of trying it out here, you might play with a choice that feels small and not like a big risk.
- Now that it is a yes/no choice, feel the desire toward this thing that is new, that thing that you long to do, that you love, that causes you to feel alive.
- Notice the voice of fear inside of you. “I could never do that.” “That’s crazy.” “People will think I am too much, too loud, too strong, too full of myself.” “I might be judged, shamed, humiliated.” “What will happen to me if it doesn’t work out?” “I’m better off staying safe.” Notice it has fears, not facts.
- Be very clear with yourself that choosing from your inner voice of creativity does not guarantee status quo success in the way the world sees success. Your inner creative voice is not guiding you to acceptance by the status quo or to uphold the status quo. It is guiding you to more joy, compassion, strength and power. This is a power from within, a power so needed in our world right now.
A lot of people are feeling frustration, anger, and a sense of powerlessness at the hands of those in ‘power’. When we choose from our inner creative voice and we transmute the powerful energies we are experiencing right now, we find that what is coursing through us IS this creative power, our life force. It is meant to be poured out into the world through our human expression.
Creativity is disruptive. Sometimes our inner guidance needs to cut through our fears by disrupting the rote way we are living our lives. And within organizations, the same is true. The creative voice of the organization oftentimes must cut through the status quo with disruption. Ultimately, choosing from this inner creative voice, our lives become richer and we finally open ourselves to a level of joy, success and happiness that can only come from choosing to be more human, more ourselves.
If we as a species don’t claim this and if we don’t come to trust in it, we will not move out of our self-destructive tendencies as a species and into our life-giving capacities. For creativity is life-giving. Creativity is life-affirming. Creativity celebrates life through the enjoyment of being alive, connected to each other, and generously offering ourselves to the world.
Either we believe we are creators or we don’t. At some point we have to take the leap, we have to claim the power we hold as human beings — the power to create. We humans hold the creative power to evolve into more humane, loving, life-affirming people who offer ourselves to the betterment of all beings, human and otherwise.