Creativity defined: a 3-step guide to nurturing your creative spirit
The secret to thriving in your life and work as a creative or entrepreneur, comes down to this simple 3-step formula.
This 3-step creative formula is one we developed specifically for thinkers, creators and entrepreneurs who want to thrive in their life and business. This formula is right for you if:
you can’t get your vision off the ground or it isn’t growing in the way you think it should
you are struggling to balance your business or creative work with your personal life
Creativity Defined: What is creativity?
Before getting into the formula, let’s define what creativity is. We deem creativity to be the essence of our being and the engine of progress. Evolution bequeathed humanity with an inclination towards imagination and empowered us with the unique ability to manifest ideas.
For that reason, creativity should be adopted as a virtue. Scientists pursue truth, artists pursue beauty, and theists pursue goodness. Philosophers esteem these three as the utmost of values — the transcendentals, as they are so endearingly called.
But there is one that transcends even these because it is the method by which ideas, inspiration and integrity manifest. We can be good, beautiful and truthful, but we can not thrive if we don’t create.
Though creativity is an innate ability in every human being, those who identify with it more deeply — thinkers, creators and entrepreneurs — need special techniques for nurturing their creative faculties.
Creativity Defined: How to nurture your creative spirit
Our 3-step formula is especially for those facing fear, frustration or failure. As these are symptoms of a lack of flow — blocks in one or more areas of the formula — hindering you from creating and working at an optimal state.
The formula shows you how to balance and flow through three intimately interconnected elements — freedom, fulfillment and financial success — that are key to enduring happiness and your ability to thrive in life and business.
Freedom means empowerment to live on your own terms and freely express your ideas, talents and interests.
Fulfillment is obtained by listening to your intuition and building a growth mindset to enhance creative output.
Fortune is a byproduct of mastering the art of creating value for others so you can live abundantly as well.
Creativity Defined: Freedom
Freedom is all about having the liberty to live and speak your truth. Your truth is that which gives you self-esteem (take a moment to read about self-esteem and how it is linked to happiness).
When you don’t know your truth or feel restricted in the pursuit and expression of it then your self-esteem plummets and you can’t be happy. You will also struggle to build a business that resonates with your audience because what you put out there will feel insincere — to you and to them.
There are two core elements — Empowerment and Expression — that make up the freedom part of the formula.
When you feel confident and in control you are empowered. So your ability to thrive — in life and business — relies on building up and protecting your self-esteem. Though we may not all admit it, we all regularly face empowerment challenges particularly because running a business has a high likelihood of failure, according to statistics.
As a creator or entrepreneur you are playing the odds. And this is why building self-esteem is a staple tactic in our coaching program: fear of the future. People are most confident when they believe they know what lies ahead. It’s hard to be confident in the midst of uncertainty.
But you can build your confidence on one fact of life: no one can predict tomorrow. Someone in a traditionally “safe” job is no more certain of their future than you with your statistically more risky endeavor.
That’s because statistics deal with known data — facts and figures based on past occurrences — but they can't calculate what's to come. So stay present and focus most of your energy on today — live as close to your truth as you can right now — because that's what you have the power to control.
Your ability to communicate clearly, effectively and consistently is fundamental to your sense of freedom. So all manner of expression — be it visual, verbal, etc. — must be actively refined and come from a place of truth.
Because self-expression is so important for creators and entrepreneurs, we take all of our clients through an extensive branding exercise if they haven’t yet gone through one, as branding is a powerful method of speaking your truth.
The way you present yourself and your business to the world does wonders for your sense of pride and freedom, while simultaneously attracting a dedicated audience who can relate to your unique voice.
Creativity Defined: Fulfillment
Humans have an innate desire to grow. After our basic needs are met we shift from the drive to survive to the desire to thrive. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs explains this more thoroughly. This theory by psychologist Abraham Maslow suggests:
We all ultimately strive for self-actualization i.e. granting our deepest desires, achieving our loftiest aspirations and fully utilizing our innate abilities (some may call this pursuing purpose).
But you can’t accomplish self-actualization (or fulfill your purpose) without a commitment to improving yourself and your work with smart strategies, good habits, and well-placed investments in your future. So the key to fulfillment is having the right mindset — a growth mindset — which you can develop in three ways.
Regardless if you perceive them as negative or positive, don't ignore or try to overcome your emotions but learn how to listen to and use them as energy to fuel your creative work.
When we work with creative entrepreneurs we help them identify their dominant emotions and understand how they show up in their life and work. Then we create strategies for leveraging those emotions to bring about desired outcomes.
Your ability to tap into your intuition and balance rational with emotional thought (i.e. listen to your head and heart) will help you think clearly and make better decisions. We see a disconnect from intuition often in clients who come to us because they:
don't know how to start or stop something
don't know what to do or where to go
don't know which decision is best
"Don't know" is often a symptom of noise — too much information, too many opinions. So we work with creators and entrepreneurs on turning down that noise so they can become familiar with their own inner voice.
No matter what kind of business you run, as an entrepreneur you are a creator. You must nurture your creative energy so that you can consistently generate the unique ideas, products, services and experiences that will add value to the lives of others.
In our modern world we are hyper-focused on outcomes and end goals instead of the journey itself, which shifts the focus away from creativity. So the best way to nurture creativity is to understand how you are creative and to integrate it into a solid life and work routine that gives you space to create.
The most common challenge we see with clients is equating running a business with making money which tends to stunt the creative process, as this is not the role and responsibility of a creative entrepreneur.
Our understanding is that only governments have the authority to "make money" — and citizens use money as a medium of exchange. So unless you work for the U.S. Department of Treasury (or similar agency) then you should be focused on creating value for others. If you do that, money will naturally follow.
Creativity Defined: Fortune
We don't know any creators or entrepreneurs who don't want to make a living doing work they love or run a business that is able to sustain their ideal lifestyle.
The issue is that many business owners don't have a wealth mindset and tend to overly fixate on the financial aspect without doing the necessary work that comes beforehand (as outlined in the previous parts of the formula).
But, business growth and personal growth go hand-in-hand. Once you've gone through the the Freedom and Fulfillment parts of the formula, you are ready to shift to the elements that make up Financial Success.
Adding value is fundamental to the health of your creative or business pursuits and your ability to generate wealth. It’s virtually impossible not to prosper when you are being useful to others. Because when you are truly meeting a need, fulfilling a desire or solving a problem, people will gladly compensate you in exchange for what you have to offer.
Having a service mentality makes it easier to understand how you can uniquely add value to your audience with your ideas, skills and talents. This is why in the Fulfillment part of the formula we discussed why you should focus on creativity and not money making per se.
In our coaching program we use out-of-the-box tactics such as Design Thinking to help creative entrepreneurs identify their audience’s pain points and create solutions that serve them.
To be abundant you must think abundantly, develop a growth mindset and get out of a scarcity thinking. This will make you more in tune with the needs of others and thus in a better position to create value for them (and subsequently wealth for yourself).
Getting out of a scarcity mindset is the first step. This is the negative belief that everything in life is limited or never enough (be it money, time, or relationships) such that your thoughts, decisions, and actions are driven by a fear of lack.
Next, is building a wealth mindset which means thinking positively about your resources, cultivating gratitude and mastering the art of creating value.
Only after you’ve accomplished the above should you move into more technical tactics, as we outline in our thriving business plan series, such as refining your pricing, building your marketing sales funnel, etc.
At this point you will see dramatic shifts in your ability to uncover opportunities, see possibility and identify ways in which you can advance yourself and your work.
We always find the financial component to be the most fun part of coaching creators and entrepreneurs. All of the work on the other elements in the formula culminates into an open, positive and creative energy. That energy empowers us to come up with fresh ideas that help them attract a larger audience and drive more revenue much faster.
Take Inspired Action
The major cause of imbalance and blocks in your life and work is likely due to being overly focused on only part of the formula. Each element is interconnected and equally important to your personal and professional development.
Our workbook will guide you step-by-step through the formula so you can balance these three elements, be more intentional in your creative pursuits and become more effective in your ability to prosper and progress.