Stuck? Creativity Is a Leader’s Friend

Everyone feels stuck at some point. Stuck in a job they don’t enjoy, stuck in a community they would rather not live in, stuck in a relationship that no longer feels as good as it once did. Stuck in anything not only feels awful, it means that we believe we are no longer making progress, changing, or moving through life. The loss of dynamic engagement is a heavy weight to bear, more so than most imagine.

In my work coaching emerging and established leaders, the antidote to feeling stuck is creativity. In tapping into our imagination and original ideas we find ways to move over, around, or transform the blockages on our path. Creativity comes in many forms and is an essential part of each person—although many of us have forgotten our creative impulses in the crush of adulthood and its attendant responsibilities.

Feeling stuck? Here are some easy, creative steps to lead you out of inertia:

· Give yourself some space: Creativity needs time to evolve. Unlike so many of our day-to-day activities, creativity is not a linear process and therefore requires space to allow new ideas to emerge rather than hunted down, figured out or over-processed. To invite creativity into your life, commit to carving out time to allow the process to unfold.

· Surround yourself with inspiration: Everyone feels those moments when they are filled with the clarity, wonder, and excitement of creating something new. Generally those times occur when we are surrounded by things, people or places we love; for some it may be a natural setting with a notebook in hand, for others it could be an artist’s studio filled with canvases and paint, or a kitchen with fresh ingredients just waiting to be transformed into an amazing meal. Whatever inspires you, pull together those elements into a clean pallet to ignite the process.

· Get lost: In today’s world, leaders are often heralded because they always know where they are and are able to tell others how to move forward. Yet, sometimes in the process of getting lost we discover things that allow us to see more clearly. It takes great strength to “let go” and allow ourselves to just be in the process of creating something new, regardless of the outcome of our endeavor, the insights, gained during the process are priceless.

During the past few years, I have integrated a variety of creative spaces in my life. My office now hosts of creativity table filled with collage materials, I’ve planted a garden and I have a stack of books filled with inspiring speeches. While my collages may not end up on museum walls, they have inspired successful workshop exercises; my homegrown produce doesn’t always end up in gourmet meals and yet fresh tomatoes and basil make a wonderful summer meal; and I may never deliver a Nobel acceptance speech and my writing, coaching and speaking are all enhanced by these brilliant insights. Even more importantly, the act of engaging in these creative endeavors has moved me through more than one challenging situation with fresh insights and a renewed faith in my own creative and leadership abilities.

Being stuck isn’t the problem, not taking action is. When we feel stalled in our lives, giving ourselves the gift of creativity is a wonderful tonic. Not only will you feel better, I guarantee that you will be wonderfully surprised by what you create in the process. Leadership is love in action, and being creative is an action you can take regardless of how stuck you feel—and you won’t be stuck for long if open up to your creativity.

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