This is a personal post which I hope may be of some help to people who are reflecting on their life choices. Right now I am trying to figure out the next chapter in my life. As part of this transitional phase, I have been doing a personal audit of myself. During such an audit I tend to think of what I’ve done (ability, experiences, skills, etc.) and what the outcomes were (good, bad or indifferent). From there I try to figure out what made me happy/feel good/were positive experiences and/or what was missing. I could make the sweeping statement that I’ve never been truly happy, but I don’t know if that would be accurate. I think a more correct statement is that I am looking to find a way of living that is fulfilling (for me) and I think that will lead to contentment and overall happiness. Initially, what I found somewhat startling after my assessment is how much I have tried to conform, how much effort I have made to take my curvy little body and shove it into a rigid cold box. Maybe it shouldn’t be so startling, because it is expected that we conform to regulations in order to fit in to society (not that creativity equals anarchy), but it made me sad. Sad to think that the thing missing from my life, the thing I decided to sacrifice in order to conform, is true creativity. Sad, because it felt like the thing missing from my life was me.
Then I thought, was this concept correct? Did I really sacrifice creativity? And if so how did it happen? In general everyday business requires routine, that the machine moves along the same way every day it operates, the process itself is important. I learned that lesson early on from work and business school. I understand its need, and to that end I deliver my work steadily with a consistent work ethic/routine, often times putting the needs of the company ahead of my own. I was the gal you could count on, but where I shined was problem resolution. And then I realized that maybe I had not sacrificed my creativity entirely but utilized it in another manner. You see problems do tend to crop up and as a manager you need to resolve them and to your customer’s satisfaction. The best way to do that is to think creatively, creative problem solving helps you find a new way to fix a problem. The first step is to see your problems/issues as challenges and an opportunity for improvement and change. By doing that you see the full potential and can find a way, if not a series of alternatives, to move forward and resolve the conflict(s).
Now, I sit here and have been tackling my future as a issue which needs to be resolved. It’s easy to think in terms of negatives (the economy, various barriers to entry, time frames, and other prejudices which may be held). Over the weekend I had been wrestling with those loud little evil voices, but I’ve strengthened my resolved and slapped myself around a bit to come to the following conclusion:
Now is the time to be creative and forge a new path.
I realized that I had spent so much time building limitations that I became blind to the potential wonderful experiences that life holds for each of us. More to the point I am still evolving as a person and need to allow creativity to be part of my development. I decided my first step is to tear down the prison walls of limitations that I have built and begin to permit myself to live a creative and full life. It may sound odd that I have to start by giving myself permission to be creative, but think about it, most of us spend our adult lives building fences of restriction. When you compare the way you treated yourself as a child as opposed to how you restrict yourself as an adult, we don’t allow ourselves enough time to play, to enjoy ourselves. We’re so busy planning out our lives that we can forget to live our lives. All to often we lose the spirit of creative freedom. Is it because we are afraid of being creative?
I know that there are a lot of little issues that I need to figure out and realistically isn’t that a big part of life, but I think overcoming the fear of being creative is a good first step. The next step is the pursuit of creativity, if it can be pursued. Or maybe the answer is as easy as just be creative.