How to Free Your Imprisoned Artist

Artist and author Sharna Fulton shattered a myth I’ve been carrying around. Sharna is the creator of Chloe Pink™ , the 7-year old character who inspires and motivates girls to be independent, adventurous, and believe in themselves. In our conversation, I’d been bubbling over with adoration for artists, specifically Sharna’s uber-cute illustrations paired with super empowering messages. How deeply and abidingly jealous I am of artists! She stopped me, “But Jone, you are an artist.”Really? No, I don’t think so. “I’ve read your work—that’s art,” Sharna said, “don’t you see that?” I found myself blurting out how, in 5th grade, I’d won every single “top student” award—except in art. While telling this old-but-not-buried story, I could even picture my (losing) 5th grade art project. It involved a good deal of seriously manipulated paper-maché and oil paint that took several days to dry. At age 11, I was no fool. I got the message loud and clear: I’m no good at art. I’m not and never will be an artist. I’d better stick to what I am good at. Are you holding onto any messages, any myths about what you’re able to create? If you are, here’s one absolutely fool-proof way to … [Read more...]

Creativity Takes Courage

We tend to be happy to leave creativity to the artists, musicians and entertainers of the world but in fact it is vital for each of us. Creativity has been clearly linked to one’s health and happiness but did you also know it has been identified as a key component to leadership success in business? Creativity is not limited to artistic and musical expression—it is also essential for science, math, and even social and emotional intelligence. Creative people are more flexible and better problem solvers, which makes one more able to adapt to technological advances and deal with change—as well as see there multiple solutions to every problem. It is a key to success in nearly everything we do. But creativity is a core skill that some of us non-artist types (like me) need to practice. Here are three things that help me to keep the creative juices flowing. 1. Clear your head Don't think so much. Take a couple minutes each morning to grab some paper and just write-anything- just freehand write, uninhibited, without thinking about it or stopping for five minutes. Then tear it up and throw it away. After a little while I was amazed how much this cleared my mind and ideas just … [Read more...]

Creative Creatures: 5 Questions You Must Answer

Got the creativity gene(s)? One thing I love about my coaching practice is that I am encircled by highly creative people. Creative Creatures’ minds race daily with terrific ideas for solving problems, bringing joy, igniting beauty, and making the world better for at least one other person, likely more. Trouble is, many of us don’t know how to convert our limitless creative ideas for books, for businesses, for birthing our amazing ideas into the world in tangible ways. And, without a partner in the process to bolster our courage, we may find our creative ideas fade away. If your list of creative ideas multiples daily, you’re not alone. In talking with an extraordinary idea person last week, I realized that my Creative Creatures quick consults (15-20 minutes) revolve around five initial questions. These questions are intended to help Creative Creatures begin to find the balance between creative chaos and the order and structure so  needed to make ideas come to life. Five Questions To Answer First What’s your one brightest burning idea? Nope friend, not your daring dozen today, just one that is really burning in your gut, your heart, your mind. The one, even loose idea that … [Read more...]

Want To Be An Inspirational Leader? Get a Little Bit Crazy

Buzzwords like inspirational leader get bandied about and then quickly blurred with conventional wisdom about leadership. Be self-aware, be values-grounded, be credible, be a story-teller, be results-driven, etcetera. I suppose that’s all true. But what makes a run-of-the-mill leader, even those who at times flirt with greatness, markedly different from a truly inspirational leader ? I believe it’s the Little Bit Crazy Factor. Leadership gurus today, like New York Times best-selling author Bob Rosen, argue that great leadership requires being healthy. One of his Six Roots of Healthy Leadership, Rosen says emotional health is a necessity, that leaders need to stop their negative feelings, to stay optimistic, and to avoid getting carried away by enthusiasm. There’s evidence that Rosen doesn’t have it quite right. Play with me for a moment. Make a mental list in 30 seconds of the most inspirational leaders of all time. Who made your cut? Perhaps our lists overlap, at least to some extent. My list included Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Winston Churchill. Men heralded as among the greatest, most inspirational leaders of the 20th Century:  they … [Read more...]

Four Healing Questions & Three Men Making Music Matter

Cross-cultural anthropologist Angeles Arrien tells us that in many traditional cultures, when an ill person goes to the healer, he or she is asked four questions: When did you stop singing? When did you stop dancing? When did you stop telling your story? When did you stop sitting in silence? Arrien calls these the healing salves. I love to think about them as the four healing questions because once we answer these questions, we see our pathway forward, we know what’s missing and we know what to do to start healing – more singing, more dancing, more telling our stories – and making more time to sit in silence too. Numerous studies show that creative activities – drawing, writing and singing – raise serotonin levels and decrease anxiety. Last week my serotonin levels were raised vicariously when I had the privilege of seeing PROJECT Trio (pictured below). Peter Seymour, Eric Stephenson and Greg Patillo make-up PROJECT Trio*. Their mission:  galvanizing artistic awareness through performance, education and community engagement. The three Brooklynites believe there is a direct correlation between artistry and scholastic achievement. They are convinced that creativity … [Read more...]

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