Creativity for the Rest of Us

Investing in Our Inner Life

off trailWe spend a lot of time and money developing skills to stay relevant and competitive in the work we do – learning new technologies, broadening our knowledge base, and staying connected in an increasingly virtual world.

As a consultant and coach in change leadership and team development, I’ve done countless programs on leadership, facilitation, conflict resolution, learning styles, designing for engagement, and creativity in many forms. I’ve learned from some of the best in the business. All of these experiences have deepened my technical skill base and been of great value to my practice.

Yet some of my most impactful learning has come when I went “off trail.” Off trail are the subjects and fields that capture our interest and attention that we have a harder time justifying or dismiss because we don’t see the direct connection to our work life. Logically, they seem like a distraction, a crazy idea, a questionable use of time and money without a clear, practical link to our business. Yet we are inexplicably attracted to them as if drawn by a tractor beam.

The case for wellness programs is a no brainer. They have a direct affect on our health without which we can’t be of service in the way we want to be. It’s more of a stretch to justify the time and expense of artistic curiosity, contemplative time, and the exploration of our inner landscape.

It is the investment in my inner life that has provided the greatest return.

I learned a ton about how to be more spontaneous and present when facilitating groups through improv classes. Gardening taught me about interdependence and the cyclical nature of change. Collage provided endless opportunities to notice themes and patterns. Painting was the portal into the articulation of deeply rooted feelings of which I wasn’t yet aware. Building birdhouses gave me a kinesthetic understanding of the creative process.

Meditation continues to teach me to trust. Stillness is where I go for counsel. Regardless of whether I’m actually successful at meditating or not – when I’m still and quiet, the guidance I am seeking appears. The title of a program, the topic for a blog, or the answer to a design problem I’ve been wrestling with, often come to me in stillness. It’s where new connections between ideas come together. It even works to find things I’ve misplaced. Instead of racing around looking for my keys, I stand quietly and ask them to come to me. More often than not the item (and its location) appears in my mind.

The investment in my inner life is immeasurable. I am a more impactful teacher, consultant, coach, and parent because of going off trail and developing my inner life.

What’s the Return on Investment in developing our inner life?

  • Trust in our own wisdom
  • Values based decisions
  • Courageous action
  • New and fresh ideas
  • Increased creativity
  • Expanded awareness
  • Greater contentment

So…what if business planning began with stillness? What if your strategic plan is a collage? What if the vision for your life were written as a haiku? What if you quietly sat for a minute before every meeting or challenging exchange?

How would your life and interactions be different? Please share your experience in the comments below.


And now for a moment of blatant self-promotion…

Invest in your inner life. Go off trail with me in my new program – Women at the Well – A New Year’s Retreat to reflect, refresh, and regenerate your inner well.


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The Mystical Wells of Ireland 2017 COME TO THE WELL