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Posts tagged ‘Creativity’

WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT TREES…

While shoveling my front walk this weekend, the two huggable-sized trees on my front lawn beckoned me to wander closer.  As I did, I noticed that they appeared to be disrobing – shedding bark from their trunks all the way up through and into their branches.  As someone who gets chilled easily, I wondered why anyone (or anything, for that matter) would disrobe while outside in the elements during winter weather extremes.  After all, even in nature, coats play a significant role when temperatures plummet and winds whip up.

For close to 15 years, these trees have adorned and held a prominent place on my front lawn.  I have cared for – nourished, protected, pruned…even hugged – them as I would a pet or child.  And, although they’ve always tended to respond in a bit of an unconventional or temperamental way – blooming and switching leaf color and shedding leaves long after others have done so – they’ve never attempted to abandon their protective coats in this way.  As I reflected on the great Horticultural Resources at the University extension office just north of us, I nestled into feeling a bit more comfortable knowing an arborist who knew local tree behavior was not far away…and might be able to offer an explanation to help put my heart (and tears) to rest.

This, of course, did not stop me from thinking about and reflecting on the important – and critical – role trees have always played in my life.  Besides offering a window into nature, they appear to unknowingly provide a perspective that often helps me sort out certain aspects of life.

For example:

  • On the surface, trees appear disengaged and unaffected. Birds seek their shelter as birthing centers; squirrels use them as playgrounds – scampering up, down and around their trunks and branches; rain saturates their tentacles, snow embraces them with a soft, but frigid blanket; winds jostle them around.  Yet, despite (and through) all of this, they continue (mostly) to stand erect and offer support.
  • Trees appear to form few attachments. Birds come and go, snow and ice dump and disappear (or become absorbed).  Yet, without holding on or seeking a state of permanency or reward, they constantly offer a sturdy, stable environment for nature’s elements and those in need…and they perform this role with grace and a demeanor of pride.
  • They continually reach for the sky and ask little of us. Regardless of the weather – blue sky, rain, wind…even snow – they silently seek out what they need to keep moving forward with their lives.  Despite looming perils, they reach out – for the sky, for the warmth, for the sprinkling – to achieve their goal – to keep growing so they can continue to offer their support in what can often seem like a perilous world.

TREE POEMWhile trees play such a critical role in our lives – shade, fruit, shelter, perspective – they often go unnoticed and unappreciated.  It’s only when one makes time to walk, wander, and awaken oneself to observe all that surrounds them that they truly live.

As we bathe ourselves in Holiday Season pleasures, may we each be blessed with perspective and the awareness of the many magical elements that surround us – be they in nature or within ourselves or each other.

Crafted, researched and written by: LIZ CARLOCK
The Write Resources, LLC™
© 2015 EM Carlock

Credits:  https://www.pinterest.com/pin/571605377675620176/

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FITTING IN…

real jobDo you ever sit in your office, cubicle or fishbowl space…and wonder “what the heck am I doing here – in this space, surrounded by these people, emblazoned with this title, performing these functions?  Is what I’m doing meaningful and is the setting (or culture) right for ME?”

Over the years, as I traversed the work world, I’ve often asked myself these questions – actually so many times that the number of pauses/blips might be embarrassing to reveal.  Often, I’d sit in quiet solitude and reflect on these questions – trying to constructively answermission-statement-cartoon or at least sort out where and why I’d landed where I had.  I’d spend this time alone to consider and ponder – people, events, happenings – and to unfold what might have caused these questions to flare up or resurface.  Answers rarely materialized.  In most cases, I believe – deep down – I knew I didn’t “fit in.”  But, settling in and occupying space in various places or situations just seemed to be “the right thing to do” (plus, doing so ensured the bills would be paid).   So, extinguishing these questions or other conflicting thoughts assisted me in aligning with “the right thing to do.”  Strolling down the “chosen” career path – one that appeared to allow entry into what appeared to be a new and different “adventure” every four years – seemed to make the most sense.

Working for someone else has consistently baffled me – creating confusion and challenges.  Taking up residence in those traditional-type settings – job descriptions, hierarchies, restrictions on vacation and sick time – did not allow my free-spirit – filled with unique or unusual ideas – to meander in the way it was designed.  Initially, selecting and remaining in a field of study (Marketing) that was highly intriguing and offered many opportunities to gather, grasp, and interpret the human thought process was extremely rewarding and insightful.  However, embedded in these cultures – even within smaller organizations – were way too many rules, regulations, titles, hierarchies and reporting structures which dampened and hampered any real creativity and squelched any momentum toward execution of those ideas.

Being raised in an extremely traditional family/lifestyle, my desire to “break away” – maybe even rebel130520.womma_ – began to surface shortly after my father’s passing when I was 16 years of age.  During that period of time, nothing made sense – so, trying anything (even failing at) offered an option or alternative.  Actually, truth be told, my inner spirit craved to be set free of the structured, unexplained and angst-ridden life I was subsisting within at that time.  The series of twists and turns this event evoked would propel me into a continual, never-ending life of questioning – a constant search for meaning.

Little did I realize at the time, that although I had been deposited into a structured, guided life, the fragileness of human existence (and my father’s passing) offered me the possibility of wiggling out and trying on new and different aspects of life which might not have been encased in my on-going existence.

Throughout my career, it seemed natural for me (despite the reluctancy and hesitation of others) to:

  • Apply for (and be invited to interview for – even land) jobs I was barely 40% qualified for;
  • Create numerous positions (3) for myself within a tight/traditional organizational structure;
  • Negotiate self-driven/directed work hours;
  • Elect to commute between two work locations in two states (every two weeks) just so I could work with a specific boss/manager/team;
  • Find unique methods for coaching, guiding and managing my manager; and
  • Select (or even create) specific projects I specifically desired to work on.

Despite all of my efforts at this “work style creativity,” I remained perplexed – by the environment, the spirit/nature/ attitude of others, and much more while working within these highly formalized and structured traditional (Industrial Age hang-over) settings.

Now, years later and with a much healthier outlook and focus – feeling like I “fit in” – I’ve found my way to a fascinating book that not only situates my questioning in a new and different light…but, puts rational, productive teeth into answers that offer concepts, terms, attitudes, and approaches to re-stitch my understanding.  While reading this book, I was thrilled (and even felt vindicated) to learn the sources of my feelings of alienation – in those Industrial Age settings.

In his new book,“Why Employees Are Always a Bad Idea”, Chuck Blakeman offers terms, phrases, and concepts that explained the reason for my feelings of not “fitting in” – I am more of a creative Capitalist who managed to wind up in workplace structures driven by Industrial Age mores.  On his web site, Blakeman offers the type of environment I’ve been seeking much of my work life…a place that offered support (and a culture) to allow ME to be ME…a place where I could find meaning for myself and contribute to a world within which I co-exist.  Blackman encourages us to…

IMAGINE A COMPANY OF ANY SIZE:

  • With no titles, no departments, no corporate ladder, no office hours, unlimited vacation time, and profit sharing for everyone.
  • That invites the whole person to work, not just the part tied to the machine.
  • Where leaders hire people they will never have to manage. In fact, where there are no employees or managers at all, just Stake Holders.
  • With no written policies or HR department, because rules destroy creativity.
  • Where the driving force is Making Meaning, not just money, and as a result, everyone makes a lot more of both.

It goes without saying…we now live in a very different world.  That being said, regardless of our generation, age or stature in life, we each need to continually remember (and embrace the fact) that we own the ability to “grant ourselves permission” to identify and be who we are – even at work.d-man-who-you-illustration-person-holding-question-mark-standing-phrase-rendering-human-people-character-44176547

Crafted, researched and written by: LIZ CARLOCK
The Write Resources, LLC™
© 2015 EM Carlock

Graphic credits:  http://www.gocomics.com/theargylesweater/2015/05/30, www.internationalmuseum.com, www.tomfishburne.comwww.dreamstime.com

CREATIVITY AND BUSINESS … can they co-exist?

In my ongoing effort to pass along ideas that might encourage others to consider the value of following their passion – to take the leap – I recently caught up with a former business associate, Angela Bruskotter,  who has done just that – embarked on a major career transition.  For the third year in a row, she’s been immersed in creating and presenting her paintings at local art shows.  She, therefore, only had a few hours to commit to being “interviewed” about her own career transition.  I thought her experience, what she’s learned through that experience, her process, her perspective on business and passion and so much more might be worthwhile to others.

ME:
I understand you have quite a solid business background.  Can you share some details?

AB:
Sure.  In 1988, I earned a B.S. degree in Finance from Golden Gate University in San Francisco.  was Valedictorian of my graduating class and graduated Summa Cum Laude – top student in Finance. I was recruited by IBM-New York City to sell computers to Fortune 500 companies. Up until three years ago,I held various high level marketing and sales positions in large and small, public and private companies. 

ME:
Although an outdated theory, many are still drawn to the concept of dominant abilities and patterns (left  brain = logic, language, and analytic, and right brain = creative and expressive).  What’s your own perspective
on that theory as it impacts your career change? (more…)

IS WORK A BLESSING for you…

Each day, many of us awake at the crack of dawn, lift our cradled heads and align our weary bones to begin our day.  Some go directly for their jolt of “joe”…others embark on a more natural jolt – our workouts.  Ultimately, we all wind up embarking on that journey to our respective jobs/offices.

As I watch folks at my gym prepare for their day, it’s relatively easy to distinguish those heading off to work for someone else.  They – especially the women – groom and dress more meticulously, their pace is slower, and their lumbering ambiance forewarns of doom.  The small business owners, on the other hand, tend to carry themselves in a very different manner – their choice of clothes and their grooming regimen are much more casual, and they move as if their internal battery has been overcharged (and that’s pre-caffeine)!

Okay, okay…maybe as a well-adjusted entrepreneur and small business owner – one who has served time within numerous corporate settings – my observations and perspective on this topic are a bit jaded – maybe even somewhat biased.  I will admit…it’s definitely possible that my A+ personality (and my love of freedom) could be obscuring my view of the situation.

However, despite potential for a slanted attitude on my part, one is moved to wonder where passion and intensity for work – in general – originates or comes from.

Recently, while reading Eric Butterworth’s book Spiritual Economics, I landed on a page and paused for what seemed like eternity.  My eyes (and heart) began to fill.  As I allowed myself to become more absorbed into the painting on this page, I noticed deep, profound sensations cropping up within me.  Minutes later, I realized and recognized that I had become so captivated by this painting (which Butterworth refers to as “The Blessing of Work”) because in many ways it represents and reflects my own feelings – and surroundings – when I perform my art of writing.

Oftentimes, the day-to-day world within which I live/exist becomes suspended; bright light refracts my mind’s eye as I seek to reveal and unfold words that will allow me to craft sentences – not just any words or any sentences – but, ones that invite readers to join me, stroll or dance along and be transported via thought and emotion.

My blood began to percolate.  My own work process surfaced and begged to be (more…)

THOUGHTS and the Creative Process

THOUGTSOn any given day, hundreds of thoughts, ideas and questions wander in, out and around our minds/heads.  At times, there are so many wandering in every direction – most with little shape or form – it often feels as if we are trying to manage and rope in a pack of feral cats.  Many environments, spaces, and arenas brim with ideas that beg us to welcome them in as thoughts.

As I journey through my week, mental molecules are continually ignited by something I’ve read, seen or heard.  I often wonder if it’s best to shut them out (at least some of them)…or if it might be better to simply allow them to dance until they collapse from exhaustion (or “bop until they drop”) and find their own way out of my head.

Either option concerns me and causes me to pause and wonder…what if one of those thoughts, ideas or questions was worthy of pursuit?  Could a wandering thought possibly be an idea for a new book or a unique venture, innovation or invention?  So as not to miss any wandering fragments, a mini recorder and a notepad and pen have become constant companions.  As thoughts tumble (or get kicked) from my head to my lips or into my hand, I capture them to be pondered, referenced – even researched – later.  The folder that contains these fragments is full – actually overflowing.

As a writer…this is how my creative process currently progresses.

As a seasoned, professional business entrepreneur, I continually wonder and ask myself if this technique is healthy… does this process really lead to positive, productive results or outcomes?  Naturally, as my great fortune would have it, a book crossed my path that offered some insights – maybe even some wisdom – to help guide me in my on-going attempt at “roping in those feral cats” – maybe offering a lasso of sorts.

WATTLESThis book “The Science of Getting Rich” was introduced by Wallace D. Wattles in 1910.  Most would likely agree… learning the science of “getting rich” definitely sounds like a task or project worth undertaking.  I wondered though if the principles or techniques Wattles suggests might continue to be relevant today and worthy of further examination?  I was also curious if the strategies he offers might be applied to other ventures or aspects of life (like my creative process) as the torrent sea of ideas, thoughts, and questions swims within us?  Below is a summary of Wattles thoughts and suggestions…see what you think…

THINKING (and Acting) IN THE CERTAIN WAY (more…)