So this week over on Instagram we are finishing up our Creativity Challenge week, and it's inspired me to revisit some of my favorite creative resources and projects. And before you sign off because you think you are not creative, let me just say that YOU ARE CREATIVE. We are all creative in different and unique ways, and learning to foster our creativity helps us tune in to possibilities and opportunities we never noticed before. Look, if you meal plan or dress yourself every morning or buy home accessories at Home Goods, then you are making creative decisions and flexing your creativity muscles. In other words, we are all making dozens of creative decisions every single day. And once we learn which decisions matter to us and which ones drain us, we can start creating a life where we automate or outsource what drains us and we focus on and enjoy what excites us. So, basically? Understanding your creativity is a huge key to creating a life you love. This week's Friday Five is all about some of my favorite tools to unlock your creativity and figure out what matters most to you. I hope you find something you love!
1.Creating Your Best Life
This book is an oldie but goodie. I first read it back in grad school in 2014. It's a workbook style guide that walks you through creating your best life. Now, in the world of self work, many resources are a bit vague, open to interpretation, and lack tangible advice and practices to really get you moving. This book literally has blanks for you to write in. It gives you step by step instructions for activities to help you work through your life and start creating a life you love. It offers personal stories that are relatable and inspiring, and it outlines research data that will motivate you to get going on your own journey. I refer back to my copy often, and definitely recommend it for anyone who is in a season of transition, anyone who needs clarity or direction, and certainly anyone who loves to put pen to paper to figure things out.
2. Succulent Planter
I do not have a green thumb. I kill most plants very quickly. But about a year and a half ago I got a small succulent for my home and it is still alive today. So I then graduated to another potted plant, which is also still alive. Not thriving, but living. Next, I moved on to planter boxes on our front porch rail. My mom created a lovely mixed container to start me off. I kept them mostly alive for 5 months before they needed to be replanted. And I did that myself. I went to Lowe's, picked plants, arranged them in the planter, and planted them in dirt. And now I am feeling so proud. They actually look really good. I feel like people should see them. And in another gardening feat for me, I also planted a succulent container. Did I know what I was doing? Heck no. So I looked around at Lowe's and I copied. I grabbed some pea gravel and a few different kinds of succulents and I planted them in a pot. They look super and I'm feeling confident. If you've never experimented with gardening, I really encourage you to give it a try. Start with some potted plants or a small container. Succulents are a great start because they are hard to kill (although, yes, I have killed succulents in the past). But working with plants is a good creative outlet for me at home. It's fun to involve the girls, and sometimes it's nice to do alone while they sleep or play with Jordan on the weekends. I spent an hour outside by myself last Saturday planting my new window boxes and my succulent container, and it was just good. For the longest time I was overwhelmed by the idea of gardening, but I'm finally embracing the fun of experimenting.
3. Prayer Jar
Do you pray for yourself? For your own dreams. For your own heart. For your own health. I had a dear friend point out that so many of us forget ourselves in our own prayers. But why? I think it's because we don't stop to think long enough about what we deeply desire. And we don't want to face the parts of ourselves we need to work on. So we skip ourselves. But I think that's a mistake. And I love my friend's idea for a prayer jar. This is an old one, the one she started me on two years ago. I wrote prayers for myself and put them in a jar. I made myself write a prayer request for my own life every day and drop it in the jar. It helped me understand what I needed help with, what I wanted to be better at, how I wanted to show up in my relationships. And once I faced what it was I needed and wanted, I actually asked God for help. Isn't it silly that sometimes we are even afraid to ask God for help. If you struggle with praying for yourself, a prayer jar might just be good for your heart.
4.The Creative Habit
If you are one of those people who says "I am not creative", then this is the book I want you to read. This no nonsense book on creativity focuses on the work of creativity. The hard and persistent and necessary work of honing and harnessing creativity. Twyla Tharp is one of the most world's most renowned choreographers. She is famous for her creative staging and choreography. She's worked all over the world with the most talented dancers and producers in the industry. She is a perfect example of a "creative". But her message in this book is that her work is not a product of a lightbulb moment and sudden inspiration, but a lifetime of committing to her craft. Spending time in the creative process, developing a habit. It's a fascinating take on creativity from one of the world's top creatives.
5. Vision Board Activity
My absolute favorite. Now, I know this photo isn't great, but it's my favorite vision board of all time. I made it 3 and a half years ago when Jordan was let go from his corporate job. We lived in Charlotte and had a new baby. I had just quit my job to go to grad school and be a mommy. We had no idea what to do. So I did the obvious....I went and bought a bunch of magazines and card stock and glue sticks and we made vision boards. This was mine. It was about the total picture I wanted for my life. First, I wanted to get back to dance, a part of my life I had left behind when we moved to Charlotte 3 years before. Next, I wanted Jordan and me to feel like the couple in the top right....excited to jump up and tackle the day because we love our lives every single day. I wanted a cute little house with big trees near the beach. I wanted to build a life by the water where I had room to roam, physically and creatively. And I knew this life would take work and we would need a lot of strength and endurance to make it happen. Ya'll this board was a fantasy. It was nothing like my life at the time. We lived in a tiny condo just blocks from uptown Charlotte. The job I had just left was in fashion retail. I was in grad school for organization development. And I was an exhausted new mom with no idea what we were going to do with our lives after this job loss. But I made this crazy board. And 3 weeks later we moved to the beach. And I'll tell you now. This board is my life. I literally have my own dance business that I created to fit my life. I live just a few miles from the beach in a cute little cottage with huge oak trees in the back. I love the work that I do with Selah and with Mini Motions and as a mom, and Jordan loves his work with small businesses. And we feel as much like that couple as anyone with 3 kids under 4 possibly can. So I'm telling you, visualization is powerful. From some of the most successful business people and entrepreneurs in the world to me, the stay at home mom whose husband just lost his job. It works. When you can see what you want you can pull those images up in your head every time you're struggling, questioning, working late, staying home instead of eating out. It is straight motivation. So try a vision board. Grab some magazines and scissors and glue and do a craft. Tape it to your closet door and tell me where you are in two years.