“I am the least creative person I know. I can’t even draw a straight line.”
“I don’t have a right brain, let alone think of myself as a creative person.”
These were just some of the things I told the world about me, truly believing for 50+ years that I was only a left-brained, black-and-white thinker. What I’ve come to learn is that I was taught to believe that I was ONLY that person.
When I was barely 17 and pondering college choices, my father told me that I would never make any money as the communications major I wanted to be. So I suppressed all creative urges and followed the only logical path by becoming an accountant.
As Carl Jung said, “Nothing has a stronger influence psychologically on our children than the unlived life of the parent.”
Despite being a pretty good accountant (even though I hated the work), and then a successful recruiter for the past 27 years I now realize that there IS an artist in me. She doesn’t paint with brushes, she can’t carry a tune, and she doesn’t like to dance, but she is creative with words. My inner artist was first suppressed by the imprint of my father’s words and remained in hibernation every day for the more than 35 years following as I successfully went about my professional life.
I always presumed that art was only made by those like my best friend, who is an accomplished oil painter, or the talented musician or dancer that I admired from the audience.
Without knowing it, though, I have been painting with words; sharing my unique perspective on what I’ve come to understand about the world with the financial advisors I counsel, and when I first started writing for industry media sites and our own Perspectives blog. Still, I didn’t think of myself as creative in the least. Launching this “Best Business Life” project and writing the book that I hope to publish on the subject has opened an awareness in me that has been the greatest breath of fresh air and a real gift: I AM creative, I AM a businesswoman with an over-developed left brain, yet I AM also able to see shades of gray.
Ultimately, I AM an artist with words and I do have a right brain.
My father’s fear that I needed a “real” job to ensure my financial security essentially robbed me of the freedom to figure out for myself what I wanted to be when I grew up. In conversations with friends and clients, I find it’s not uncommon. Truth be told, left to my own devices, I’m pretty sure that I would have chosen some practical professional path to pursue because I love making money and I was always good with numbers. But, it has been the suppression of my “creative self” that caused a sense that something was missing for most of my adulthood.
That is, listening and paying attention to that still small voice within that urges me to express my true self, to create works of art using the written word as my tool. Although they may not be necessarily beautiful or perfect, the process has brought to me indescribable joy along with a great sense of wholeness. Ironically, it has also made me a better wife, mother, friend, and CEO, because I feel more alive…able to be more present, opening a pathway that was formerly shut tight.
Dictionaries define creativity as, “The ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like; to create meaningful new ideas and forms using originality, progressiveness, or imagination.” I flex my creative muscles when I cook, when I accessorize with a pretty scarf that makes an otherwise traditional outfit more interesting, and when I hike on a mountain, taking time to appreciate nature’s beautiful sights and sounds.
What I’ve come to learn is that we all have an artist within. No matter how we spend our days or our professional pursuits, allowing an outlet for our creativity to flow is the most authentic expression of one’s uniqueness and the surest way to make us attractive to others. There is nothing more appealing than a person who radiates light because he or she is living a life rooted in the expression of true self: A self that listens to their inner voice and is dedicated to a congruent path to their own Best Business Life.
Originally published at bestbusinesslife.com