[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).