“The artist’s world is limitless. It can be found anywhere, far from where
he lives or a few feet away. It is always on his doorstep.” ~ Paul Strand
It’s difficult in today’s world to truly accept our creative capacity. We live in a world that is constantly working to impose structure and order, when we often need to break free in order to live fully. We need to focus on becoming limitless.
One of my coaching clients, Karen, emailed me in a panic with the following subject line: Exhausted & Panicked.
“I am desperate to find the right person to head the marketing efforts for my business. I want a creative powerhouse to get us better established on social media and generate leads, so I can do what I love and serve clients. But I’m so busy with day-to-day operations, I don’t have time to think and figure out how to attract this magical person. Plus, I’m worried the candidate I’m searching for doesn’t exist. I need a highly creative person who can serve as a project manager and comfortably analyze data.”
Karen was caught in an undertow of limiting beliefs that folded in half the garden hose of her creativity, problem-solving chops, and strategic mind.
I picked up the phone and called her immediately. She answered with an embarrassed laugh. “Do you think I’m losing it?” she asked.
I echoed her laugh. “Of course not,” I said. “I know this place you are in right now so well and how painful it is. I want to get you out of it by giving you an easy assignment to settle all the swirling thoughts disrupting your access to your insight and intuition.”
Here is the simple, three-part assignment I gave to Karen:
1) Get out your journal. Set a timer for 30 minutes and write down all your panicky, edgy thoughts in a torrent of stream-of-consciousness thinking. Keep your pen moving and do not stop to judge what is pouring out of you. Just get it all out.
2) Close your journal and do not read over what you have written. Turn off your phone. Put a small notebook with a pencil in your pocket and go for a 30-minute walk.
3) Focus your attention on what you observe all around you. Notice shadows, trees, buildings, people’s faces, signs, clouds. Whatever catches your eye. Select one thing you see and make a rapid sketch. Spend no more than three minutes on your sketch and then keep walking. Do not try to actively problem-solve or come up with ideas. Invariably, though, ideas will come to you, so capture them in your notebook as you walk.
“Got it!” she said, her voice brightening.
When Karen returned from her walk, she called me and we discussed her experience. She felt much more calm, focused, and clear. Her mind had settled down, and she could feel the channels of her brain running with an unimpeded flow. She was becoming limitless.
She had also scribbled down some idea seedlings in her notebook: “map job description,” “review company value statement,” and “check-in with clients for leads on candidates.”
In a little more than 80 minutes, Karen had cleared the path to the portal of unlimited possibilities. Now, all she needed was help mapping out a strategy for how to approach her hiring process. We took her idea seedlings as our rough outline and created a timeline with action items. From there, it was simply a matter of left foot, right foot and staying on track to becoming limitless.
Inspired Creativity + Strategy = Unlimited Possibilities
All of my hard-charging entrepreneur clients initially resist (mightily!) the notion that inspired creativity has anything to do with business success. They insist they are not creative and express deep frustration that I’m asking them to journal, sketch, paint, write a poem, take a nap or a walk.
They want to cling to the familiarity of the battery acid of adrenaline and cortisol as it tightens like a vice on their skulls. They want to push harder and reach for self-punishment and discipline as their way forward to becoming limitless.
When I explain that inspired creativity simply means breathing in what fills us with passion, delight, and greater awareness, they lean in to listen. Once we open our focus, we can move our hands a bit and reconnect to our creativity backchannels, our genius.
Take a moment and reflect. What is a goal you have that feels out of reach, overwhelming? What is preventing your becoming limitless?
Do you notice when you bring your goal to mind while in a state of anxiety, how the connection to the powerful seat of you breaks and sputters? This dropped signal tends to snowball once in motion, dousing your fear with Miracle Grow.
If we can get back into balance and settle the wild, bucking animal within us, our unlimited creativity and problem-solving abilities can stand on firm footing and deliver delicious new insights into becoming limitless.
This raw, superhuman talent is available to us in any moment. It simply requires a bit of practice and guidance.
Once we’ve tasted the sweetness of what we are capable of and how our inspired creativity can take us to the shores of limitless possibilities, I can promise you’ll never tolerate fear-based living and leadership ever again.