As a kid, I loved creative endeavors, but I gave them up at age 7. My sense of my own creativity was squashed early on. After a few scribbled paintings, I was told that I was better off sticking to academics and sports. I believed the feedback. Instead, I hung out with creative people and riffed off their energy, joking that I couldn't draw a stick figure.
When Kate Randall and I led our Inner Wild Child Immersion last year, she guided the group to their inner wild child through art. I was standing on the sidelines when she encouraged me to be a participant. I had not painted anything since I was little. I was nervous. I mean, as a co-leader, I was suppose to look like I knew what I was doing. And what I knew for certain was that I was bad at art.
But something happened when I grabbed the paintbrush. There were no rules. There was no goal or intended outcome. It was liberating. I grabbed every color on the floor and went for it. I smashed paint, dribbled it, colored over it, squished it up and spread it out. I stomped on my canvas and I caressed it. I scribbled outside all the lines. When I was done, something had let go. I felt whole and satiated.
It was at that point, I realized the deep primal need to create and to express without rules. I also recognized that I had been creating my whole life. It just didn't look like art. My favorite jobs were ones that I got to shape and build something. I created programs out of scratch, I invented metric systems to evaluate intangibles, developed profiles for the right executives for new industries. My beliefs about creative endeavors had been far too limited. Everyone has a need to create. As I went through the timeline of my life, I have been at my best and happiest when I've sparked something. When I brought something to the world that was not there before. When we create, we are liberated.
"Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It's a gift to the world and every being in it. Don't cheat us of your contributions. Give us what you've got."
Steven Pressfield, The War of Art
If you are unsure how to begin, join us in for the Inner Wild Child Immersion this May. (Sorry men, this time around is for women only)