It may be hard to believe, but I am not, by nature, a social person. I enjoy public speaking (after A LOT of practice) and have no problem navigating a board room or Twitter chat, but a cocktail party gives me hives. This morning, as my daughter, the social butterfly, flitted from kid to kid around the room at the school holiday party, I stood away from the crowd of chatting parents. I was simply content observing the kids and parents enjoying the gathering. At the table filled with food, a student sat by herself, engrossed, not in an animated conversation with another child, but in the pages of a book. This young girl was me twenty years ago, though not much has changed.
It just so happens the father of the girl at the table had pulled away from the crowd and was standing next to me. We struck up a conversation and both of us joked about being anti-social. I mentioned this was ironic considering my job and naturally he inquired about my career. Now, no one outside our social media bubble knows exactly what I do for a living, so I kept my description of community management brief. His first reaction was nothing like I had ever received.
“What a creative job,” he said.
Wait a second. Creative? Did this man just describe my job as creative? I suppose when I am neck deep in policy and process development, I do not feel creative, much less describe my position as such. This description took me by surprise in a very good way. It was great to think of myself as an artist instead of an egghead. Also, it was a good reminder to embrace the creativity between the guardrails. After all, haven’t I said before the reasoning behind policy and process was the knowledge and freedom to communicate?
Being creative takes a lot of work when we are working so hard to be adults. We miss the vibrant colors or the joy of coloring outside the lines using every crayon in the box. As author Twyla Tharp, states in her book, creativity must be made part of your life, as a habit. Once again, creativity takes a lot of work. It is one thing to read the words of this book and quite another to act and reflect creatively. As I pondered why the gentlemen from the party described my position as creative when I thought and felt anything but, I began to wonder if I was pigeonholing creativity as a chaotic mess.
The recent Fast Company article about Hollywood director and legend, Martin Scorsese encapsulates the art and science of creativity. Scorsese outlines his creative process of historic reflection, indulgence and learning how to play the inevitable corporate game. This man is anything but a chaotic mess. He reflects precision to the core. A man who has built processes and teams to create visual masterpieces. The chaos is channeled while creativity is maintained and reflected.
Now this is more my style.
I am awful at drawing and can barely paint by numbers, yet maintain other creative outlets.
- Writing Fiction (Yes, I am actually writing and can hear, “Do the work!” coming from Julien – no more flinching.)
- Digital Scrapbooking
I’d like to think that actively engaging in these outlets has allowed for my creativity to shine though the policy, diagrams and books I hide behind.
What are your creative outlets? What does being creative mean to you?