Embracing creativity in business


[This is a guest post from the newly-published and all-round awesome, Jennifer Lee]

One of my favorite childhood snapshots is of me in kindergarten art class donning pigtails and a red apron, with paintbrush in hand. It reminds me that creativity has always been an important part of my life. As a kid, I entertained myself by drawing, painting, and playing make believe.

When I got older, though, I went through a phase of letting the inner critic shut down my inner muse. I compared myself to others so much so that I stopped doing my art. I focused on being a good student, landing a great job, and climbing the corporate ladder. It wasn’t until working with my first life coach back in 2000 that I began to reclaim my creative spirit more fully.

Now as an entrepreneur, I live and breathe creativity everyday. It infuses my work, how I go about my day, and how I express myself personally and professionally. Sure, I’m living my creative passions and dream, but it’s not to say that it’s all bright colors and pretty pictures. The inner critic still gives me a wicked earful, especially when things aren’t going right, I’m overwhelmed, or feeling vulnerable (all of which can be quite often!). Rather than get shut down by that doubt and judgment like I did before, I can continue to put one foot in front of the other because I’ve cultivated a deeper relationship with my inner muse.

For example, when I was pitching my book and writing my manuscript, intuitive painting kept me sane and moving forward. I’d let my frustrations, fear, blocks, and emotional gunk out through painting wild, gigantic, and “ugly” images. It was a safe space for me to explore and work through my own stuff and in turn that helped me to keep on writing.

When it comes to my business, I love inviting in my inner muse to play. I literally surround myself with my Right-Brain Business Plan: my big-vision collage hangs from my bulletin board, my perfect customer profiles are on display in a cool carousel, and the wall behind me is covered with my sticky note project plan to map out my year. (Oh and of course, my kindergarten art class pic is up in my office, too). These visuals keep me inspired and feed my creative spirit. I’m so grateful that I’ve embraced creativity in my business because it gives me permission to be ME, it helps me innovative and, it helps me savor the fruits of my labor.

How does creativity show up for you in your work and life? What are some simple ways you can cultivate a deeper relationship with your inner muse? I’d love to hear!

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Jennifer Lee, the founder of Artizen Coaching and author of The Right-Brain Business Plan, spent a decade climbing the corporate ladder before pursuing her creative dreams. Through her popular workshops, coaching practice, and writing, she empowers others to follow their passions. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and can be found on Twitter and Instagram (@jennlee).

 

8 responses
  1. Rebekah

    I let a couple of bad reviews on a middle school craft project keep me from creating for years. The past few years have been about me rediscovering my love of photography, writing and creating.

  2. Jennifer Lee

    Hi Rebekah, Glad to hear, you, to have been rediscovering your creative self! Yay!

  3. JoDee Luna

    I relate to your post on so many levels. Creativity infuses my life with meaning and yet when my inner critic complains, I wince and withdraw. I’m glad I found your website.

  4. Kath

    For so long I have held back. I read Rebekah’s comment and had a sudden memory of all my art work being thrown out at the end of grade 8. I had an appendectomy and missed the end of school, when my Mother went to pick up my work it was gone. They had discarded it. I remember being so proud of what I had done. Then I never had an opportunity to be in such an environment again.
    Interesting little tangent there, but that is why I read blogs.
    I am doing daily writing, surrounding myself with inspirational things and keeping at my unravelling.

  5. Jennifer Lee

    Thanks JoDee! I understand about the w/drawal that happens when the inner critic pipes up. Sounds like you’ve got some good creative practices though to keep you moving forward!

  6. Jennifer Lee

    Kath, oh how disheartening to have your artwork thrown out when you were a kid! Glad that you’re finding so many creative ways now to keep at your own unravelling. :)

  7. Marie-Pier

    Great post. For me, creativity and business goes hand in hand, even more when it’s time to solve problems. Thanks.

  8. Lois Olson

    Jenn, I love how you said that when you “…embraced creativity in my business because it gives me permission to be ME…” That’s so true. Your comment inspires me to be ME in my business as well. Thanks!

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