Creativity and the Who Method
Most people think there are creative people and non-creative people, right? Or…maybe not. What if we are all built to be creative? Maybe it just looks different for everyone. My mom is an amazing watercolor artist. I struggled with art in high school and still struggle sketching a stick figure which comes up more than you would think. So for a long time I just thought I didn’t get that creativity gene. But over time I started to think it’s not a gene – I’ve actually become a pretty good graphic designer and photographer. I know I have an eye for how things should be laid out, a love of white space that drives some people crazy to fill it, and a knack to find just the right angle to photograph from on a whim. And…maybe someday, I’ll learn to draw more than a stick figure…or not. More importantly, I’m not going to label myself non-creative because there simply is no upside.
People continue to say they aren’t creative, but they can write well, or they come up with a unique sequence in a yoga class, or they paint on those little rocks and leave them in secret places. Who are those special people? Hello – that’s creative. Try thinking up a creative way to solve a problem in your business or to get creatively organized at home. Put that extra swirl on the cupcake or drip that BBQ sauce on your dinner plate just as elegantly as any fancy chef.
What if you just said, “I’m creative”? You’ve got it in you, just play with it. It seems that once many of us have ‘grown up’, we leave that place of wonder and play. We leave the mind space where anything is possible. What could you create if you brought play back into the equation?
So to bring play back in, I’ve developed a simple practice called The Who Method. Basically I flip my thinking. I ask myself “who” do I want to be, not who do I think I am with all my mistakes as evidence every time I try something new. I use it when I’m ‘stuck’, when I have writer’s block, and when I find that I’m beating myself up for things that don’t come out the way I had envisioned. Here’s a few examples:
~ Me in my mind: “I’ll never get this website working. Why can’t I figure this out? Why am I such a dumb***?”
~ Also me: “Who do you want to be girl?” Ugh. That hits home. Would I talk to my best friend like this?
~ Me a few minutes later: “If I could feel creative today, what could that look like?” Maybe that looks like getting just one webpage laid out the way I like it, giving myself grace that it isn’t super perfect, and doing a little happy dance, literally, once that page is completed. Happy dance is key.
~Me in my mind: “I’m pretty sure I’m an adult and I still draw stick figures to illustrate relationships when talking to clients. They are going to think I’m totally unprofessional. Is there a crappy human award?”
~Also me: “Who do you want to be?” Do you really want to be good at drawing or do you want to use drawing to make a point to serve a greater good?
~Me version 2.0: “Stick figures are awesome. They get the point across in a clear way and literally don’t mean anything about me as a person”.
But this is how we talk to ourselves, right? We berate and put down and overthink. We say here we are again, we’re never going to change. Give that private punching bag upstairs a break and give the play of The Who Method a try. Who do you want to be for yourself and for others? If we think of ourselves as someone who is creative for just a moment, that opens a crack in the door where our perspective can change and those creative adventures have an opportunity to find us. Don’t shut it down with your words or your thoughts. Simply be curious about the work in progress. And then be truly open to the shift you are creating.