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Sparking creativity

Cheri S. Hill

Everyone has a purpose in life … a unique gift or special talent to give to others. And when we blend this unique talent with service to others, we experience the ecstasy and exultation of our own spirit, which is the ultimate goal of all goals. The question is how do you fire up your imagination so you actually ignite your creative spark in a way that allows you to express it to the world?

The essence of the formula is passion. Passion is what excites and compels you, what makes your life rich and extraordinary. When you are passionate you are focused, intentional and determined. Your body, mind and heart are all moving toward the same goal in unison. Passionate thinking is a driving ambition. It comes from a place within you that provides emotional reinforcement. This energy is what you want to harness in propelling your dreams into reality. The passion of the kind of vision I’m talking about has a transforming, transcending impact probably the greatest impact of any single factor on time and quality of life.

Now if you’re in the habit of thinking you’re not creative, it’s time to abandon that myth. You just need to rekindle your natural creative spirit. Remember when you were a kid? You could turn a lump of clay into a dinosaur, wooden blocks or Legos into an entire city and with a giant box of crayons you could capture the world with your rainbow of colors. You had no problem letting your imagination soar without limits.

Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, in the process of growing up, you gave away your blocks and abandoned your box of colors. Creativity is a lifelong process and takes time. Ideas must form and percolate in your mind.

Here are six vital tools that I call your Creative Core:

No. 1: Curiosity

You must have a burning desire to know about the world and everything in it. I love to travel, attend unique and interesting events like the Cotati Accordion Festival or the Genoa Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival. I’m not a cowboy nor do I play the accordion, but they totally intrigued me because they sounded interesting. What are you doing to expand your own knowledge and experience? What are you doing to step outside of your box or comfort zone and just do things simply because you can? When you take life or yourself too seriously, you end up stressed and uptight, a state that does not allow the subconscious to explore and your ideas to flow. Fun is a great creativity enhancer. Sometimes the best thing you can do to get your mind thinking creatively is to relax, laugh, and enjoy yourself. The key is to figure out what is fun for you, and then to make a point to do it more often. If you think you don’t have the time, it proves you need to make the time!

No. 2: Openness to people and ideas

You must be willing to accept people and ideas that differ from your own background. I ask questions simply to stimulate conversations, which allows me to explore new paths and often leads to new ideas. Questions are one of life’s greatest creative tools. They allow you to endlessly learn. The universe of what we don’t know is always expanding and the only way you can come close to knowing what you don’t know is to keep asking questions.

No. 3: Risk-taking effectiveness

You have to be able to experience life unafraid to take a risk now and then. I call it walking on the edge. Sometimes that’s where your newest ideas and biggest payoffs actually are. To stretch into the potentials of our growth or an untried effort, we need proper timing, good judgment real discernment of what hunches or trends to follow and an ability to improvise when needed.

No. 4: Collaboration

Having a collaborative team available to you that can come together at the right moment can help you develop and strengthen your ideas. Teams are especially valuable in business situations, where they can dramatically improve the chances of an idea’s success in the world. One of the best ways to collaborate is to build a large network out of a broad range of people to whom you can go for guidance, suggestions and feedback. This is also about reciprocity. You will find that whatever support you give others will come back to you when you need it, that’s the power of networks.

No. 5: Fashion yourself a creative place

Do you have a special place where your ideas, thoughts, feelings and daydreams seem to flow more freely? If not, it may be as simple as adding some color, energizing artwork, plants, music or toys. In many cases, it’s a space or location where you feel relaxed, unpressured, and open to inspiration. The reason is that when your mind is relaxed, it gives your subconscious free reign to sift through the hodgepodge of ideas and images floating within, and make connections between them. These unexpected links often become the inspiration for a new idea, to reinforce your vision and to make plans for the future.

No. 6: The law of gratitude

Gratitude fills your heart with the joyful feeling of being blessed with many gifts and allows you to fully appreciate everything that arises on your path. As you strive to keep your focus on the present moment, you can experience the full wonder of “here.” When you live in gratitude and create a space in your consciousness for appreciation for all that you have right now, you experience more joy which is the foundation of wellness. When you live in wellness, life is much easier and you have so much more energy!

Invest in your creative core. Take time every day to encourage your personal creative exploration. Investigate something new that you find interesting, listen to a new style of music, read books and magazines totally unrelated to your current interests which can feed your mind in all manners of unexpected ideas and opinions, or talk to someone who’s perspective is different from your own. Over time, you will find that your creative juices will flow with increasing ease and enjoyment. You may even discover that great idea or come face to face with your next profitable business opportunity.

Cheri S. Hill is chief executive officer of Sage International Inc. in Reno and a national speaker and author. Contact her at cheri@sageintl.com.