Tapping into Your Creativity

happy girl at sunset
Recently I read a story about a dad cleaning out the garage with his five-year-old daughter. When they came across a large brown cardboard square, he saw a box. His daughter squealed with delight. Why? She visualized a lemonade stand! Together they turned her active imagination into reality. The next day the little girl set up shop serving ice-cold lemonade to neighbors and anyone who happened down the block. You can imagine her pride at the end of the workday when she smiled up at her dad displaying a grand total of $27.12 kept safely in a shoe box.
little girl trying to sell lemonade

The lesson in the story lingered with me for days. It is so natural for children to think outside the box, but sometimes a difficult feat for adults. We all possess the ability to be creative. Sometimes inventiveness hides beneath the surface giving us the impression we have lost our ability to innovate.

When was the last time you let your imagination soar? What month or year was it when you broke the rules and did the unthinkable? Draw on your memory to conjure up your most creative project. Remember feeling the joy of breaking the boundaries?
Challenge yourself written on a whiteboard

The trick to being creative is to draw out your inner optimist. Stop fretting the outcome, just let go and have fun. Much like a runner preparing for a marathon, you can get in the zone by employing some warm up strategies.

Music can stimulate your creative genes. Do what Einstein did…listen to Mozart. Tune in to some good old rock and roll if that is your preference. Tap into nature by lacing up your hiking boots and hitting an interesting trail to release endorphins. Maybe a quiet stroll in the park strikes your fancy. Stimulate your mind by doing crosswords or a puzzle.

Once you’ve done your warm up, relax. Let the new ideas percolate up to the surface. Starting to feel that creative spark? Write all your thoughts down. Don’t strive for perfection. Brainstorm and have fun with it.
What’s next? Action! Pour out your inspiration into a project. Start that children’s book you always wanted to write, or hit the craft store for supplies and begin to paint your masterpiece. Create and compile a book of poems, sign up for piano lessons, or enroll in a drama class.
Grand piano pianist playing concert

Continue to develop your inventive side. Make it a habit to tap into your creativity often. By doing so, I promise you the next time you view a brown cardboard square, you will NOT see a box. Now, let’s go make some lemonade!

Why Do Optimists Succeed?

well being
I have a passion for what my parents called, “rags to riches stories.” You know the tales of how an individual or partnership went from obscurity to fame and made a ton of money in the process.

Ever heard of “Amazing Grass?” No, not that kind of grass. This is a super-food company started by two Silicon Valley telecom hotshots. Brandon Bert and Todd Habermehl quit lucrative careers and started the health food business on their kitchen table. The team’s ascent to success began with a beverage that Brandon drank each morning as the two carpooled to work. The elixir consisted of a rehydrated mixture of organically grown wheatgrass, barley grass and alfalfa. He eventually convinced Todd of the health benefits when Habermehl, who spent many hours on planes during business travel, often came down with colds. What began as a healthy habit evolved into a brilliant business idea.

Armed with energy and enthusiasm the pair parlayed a loan from the Small Business Administration into a product testing phase. Soliciting opinions and making improvements they eventually launched a full product line. What really resonates with me is these optimistic entrepreneurs followed their passion and created healthy products.

Another company that tickles my positive ideals is “Life is Good.” How could you not love an organization whose tag line is spreading the power of optimism? In the late 80’s Brothers, Bert and John Jacobs created tee shirts and spent five years on the road trying to sell their products. The business idea never really amounted to much. Discouraged and about to toss in the tees and get dreaded “real” jobs, they produced 48 shirts with one of Jake’s original drawings. It was a smiling face with the words “Life is Good” written below the grinning mug. When the shirts were an immediate hit at a Cambridge street fair, the pair knew they were finally on to something. Local retailers embraced the message of optimism and the demand for products soared.

My favorite part of this story is that it is not just about selling apparel. The company is committed to doing good as evidenced by the “Life is Good Kids Foundation.” Bert and John are passionate about helping children overcome abuse and neglect.

Is there a project tickling the back of your mind that fuels your passion. Could it be you are stagnating in a job you dislike or a career that does not match your interests? Do you stare at the clock waiting for the end of the workday and fantasize about starring in your own rags to riches story?
Business woman holding a clock

Why not act on your dream? What it would take to make the plunge? Based on these two companies the answer appears to be a great idea, dedicated hard work and most of all passion. There is a direct correlation between passion and success. If you possess a yearning desire to accomplish something and wholeheartedly commit to it, you will succeed.

Included in the success formula is a hefty dose of optimism. Determined winners believe in their dream independent of external conditions. To be effectively optimistic, requires a constant stream of positive thinking.

Another important fact about optimists: they understand and recognize when things become problematic. Even those with sunny attitudes experience stormy days. When confronted with bumps in the road and setbacks, optimists regroup, persevere and work on finding a way to move forward.

Okay, ready to join the optimist team? Begin by visualizing what it is you wish to accomplish. Find a mentor or coach to play on your team. Remember you are only as good as the company you keep, so share your vision with like-minded people. They will encourage you.

Feeling more positive? Draft up your plan.

Break it down into bite-sized pieces and set goals for each milestone. Continue to share your passion with positive individuals and watch your list of supporters grow. Remember, life is good and you can make it even better by fueling your passion with a can do attitude.