Your Creativity Test

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Which of the following multiple choice questions would apply BEST to the correct answer?
A….
B…..
C…..
D……

And you look at the clock.

How would you describe this situation BEST?
A….
B……
C…..

Shift in your chair, stare at the clock, scratch an itch, and sigh deeply. How many MORE of these do you have to answer?

Dear God….there are 155 questions and you’re only on question number 45. And you already want it be over.

And in it creeps.
I hate tests
Why do I have to do this
What is the point?

Have you been here?  Staring at a screen or blank piece of paper, finding yourself shutting down?

What if the test is something else, like meeting a writing deadline or submitting your creative work for consideration, or completing your project?

Tests come in many forms with your Creativity. They come in many forms in your life.

And the question we often find ourselves asking is:
Why the heck is it is taking SO LONG??

 

Last week I sat down to take an online test for my ICF accreditation. ICF is the International Coaching Federation and as I had completed all my hours and my mentoring sessions with my coach, this test was the last piece. I had an idea it would take some time, but felt pretty prepared.

I was excited. I had put in a lot of time with my studies and mentoring, and was looking forward to the official accreditation to validate my intentions and efforts, and take
me to the next level as a coach for my clients.

So, I dived in.

I had three hours to complete the test and thought,
There’s no way it will take that long!

And then I saw there were 155 questions.

It began smoothly, but I began to fidget and become frustrated with the questions. So many were written in corporate settings and all my training and experience has been in the private sector.

I wasn’t seeing myself in these questions.

I began to fidget.
And I began to get frustrated.

And I began to slow down.

I found myself saying the questions out loud, trying to make sense of it, and starting to doubt myself. And an inner voice started saying

Who are these questions for?
Why aren’t they including me?

And I slowed down even more.  I was coming up against a wall.

This wasn’t what I usually experienced! I was valedictorian in school, I practice meditation. Why am I having so much trouble?

And then I stopped and realized…THIS was the test.

Could I take a moment and be aware of what was getting in my way, take a breath, release it and then move forward?

Yes….it was just taking longer than I thought.

Two and a half hours later, I hit the final button and received the message congratulating me,

You passed!

Indeed. This had been the end goal.

What if I had stopped?
What if I had thrown up my hands and yelled and screamed?
What if I had spiraled down into the anger and belief I was being “wronged”, and didn’t finish in the three hours?

Maybe then I would believe I was a quitter. Maybe then I would just avoid it all together.

And what would happen to all that work and energy I had put into my training?

What happens to all the work and energy you’ve put into your Creative Craft?

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Meet Billy Porter. He’s a Tony and Grammy award winning singer, been in countless Broadway shows, directs, composes, and is a playwright. He’s one of the most celebrated performers on the Great White Way today working across all mediums.

In a recent interview he said:

“For me as an artist, the best thing that ever happened to me was the lack of work. The best thing that ever happened to me was that it didn’t turn out the way I thought I was ENTITLED to have it be, because I was talented. You know what I mean?

Everybody’s talented once you get to a certain level. Everybody in the room can sing. Everybody in the room can act. Everybody in the room is cute.

So, what makes YOU different, what makes you stand out?

What makes you rise to the top above the rest?

It’s  about showing up.

It’s about having the courage to try new things, to create your own project, to create your own work. Right now I’m working with this director and we are doing plays in a living room. If you’re not interested in doing plays in a living room then you can’t be interested in doing a play on Broadway.

You have to be willing to do your work anywhere. You can not WAIT for anyone to give you permission to practice your work.

You have to be practicing all the time.”

All the time.

So, where do you stop and slow down? Can you view each challenge and moment of “this isn’t how I thought it would be” to act as information instead of feeding a belief you are not capable?

What if you showed up, regardless?  That belief you are not capable would probably get blown out of the water. You may star on Broadway, you may get a coaching certification, you may even decide to launch a business based on your Creative Spark.

This is YOUR test. Take a breath, come back to the practice, and rise.

Rise to the top and create anew.

Waiting for the Train

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How do we navigate impatience?

How do we navigate disappointment when our efforts seem to be squashed again and again, even with the best intentions?

Weren’t we supposed to BE there by now?

You look up at the clock and all you see and feel is that tick tock….tick tock. And you can feel so hopeless, and that you literally have no control over your dreams.

You can feel like you are in the midst of so many moving pieces, not getting the results you want. And you are frustrated.

So, what’s the answer?

I was walking through a crowded and busy subway station today. Under the belly of New York City, all shapes, sizes, demographics, and ages come together for that speeding train to take us to our destination.

And everyone seems to have a different pace.

Me?  I was moving fast.  I wanted to get to the end of the platform to catch my train and was very focused on this task.  Along the way, I side-stepped those moving slowly, those distracted by their phones, and those walking two by two with a friend.

Those at a different pace than me.

The train came into the station quicker than I expected, before I had reached the end of the platform, so I turned quickly and waited at the door for those to exit, and sat down in the cool air conditioned car. I wasn’t where I wanted to be on the train, but I was on it.

I was going to make it home, just from a different place.

And the question arose,
“Where am I in all of this?”

I began to think of all my years of professionally dancing, and having to constantly be aware of the other performers on stage.  While we had rehearsed and spent a lot of time to perfect the show, spacing was everything. I needed to be aware of my spacing in regards to the other dancers.

I needed to learn how to be a PART of the ensemble, and still accountable for my role.

I had to hone my periphery vision, much like the subway platform.  This is how I got on the train. So, how are you boarding?

When the impatience arises, what is YOUR role in it?

Are you pushing it out of your way, and cursing under your breath?
If you were on the crowded subway platform, would you shove those aside that are moving at a slower pace?

We can’t control others, but we can learn how to be in a world of constant shifts and changes. We can move with the flow, instead of fighting it tooth and nail.

Because what we resist, persists. And change is a constant.

And in truth, the fight is within.  We aren’t battling with the “others” on the subway platform.  We are battling with our perception of our ROLE in it.

You can make a choice in the moment to get caught up in all that is holding you back from putting your work out to the world, and start blaming all the external circumstances.  OR, you can make another choice, one that isn’t grounded in beating yourself and others around you up.

One that is grounded in freedom.

Freedom for your Creativity
Freedom for your Artistry
Freedom for your Dreams

And what if, with all of this, we took a moment and recognized we actually ARE on the train….

We can allow each other, and most importantly ourselves to move at our own pace, and take comparison out of the equation.

We can be accountable for OUR role, and be aware of the space between us and our fellow passengers on the train.

We are all making our way there.  It just may be from a different subway car than you originally expected.

But our Creative Life is happening, every day and the train is moving. Time continues. Your point of power is the present moment. That’s all we really do have.

So choose the role that actually feeds that.